Friday, November 15, 2013

iPhone 5 display replacement

The problem

About two weeks ago I noticed my iPhone 5 had a faint, but ugly pink hue in the center of the screen. At first I suspected some software issue, because it looked as if the hue was exactly in the area an iOS7 table view uses for its cells to be displayed (i. e. full screen, but with a few points of inset on the left and right edges). Apparently someone must have left some kind of view with a red-ish color behind the table view that was now shining through, because of all the translucency effects iOS7 comes with.

Turns out though, that this was going on in all kinds of apps, including Instapaper, Pocket, Chrome, Safari Calendar etc. All those certainly would not put any views behind the actual content. Getting more suspicious I showed the problem to several colleagues who all did not see it at first, but once I had pointed it out to them (most visible on a white background) none of them could "unsee" it, either.

Warranty Check

I checked the warranty status online using Apple's Self-Solve Page and realized that I was the second-to-last day of the 1-year warranty for the device.

First order of business was to go to a nearby Authorized Apple Partner to ask for a warranty replacement or repair. Though upon comparison with the manager's iPhone 5 he could see that he had the same issue (now also not being able to unsee it, you are welcome ;)), he said that it would be easier for me (no time without a phone) if I contacted Apple while within the warranty period.

So I followed the advice and called AppleCare the next day. The representative on the phone suggested to visit a nearby Apple Retail Store if I would like a replacement unit or immediate repair, if I didn't mind driving there (about 50km from where I live). Because the problem had been reported while within the first year, it would be ok if they did not have an appointment right that day.

So next thing I did was make an appointment for the Genius bar the the Apple Store CentrO which was exactly one week past the original warranty.

Genius Bar

Arriving there at the bar, the Genius could immediately confirm the color issue and started checking out my warranty status. From there the — what I thought would be a 20 minute procedure — journey began.

Because the Apple Care agent I had called a week ago had apparently forgot to change my warranty status (their term, no idea what it exactly means), they could not offer me a free exchange or repair. So I had to call Apple Care yet again to have them do that. Anyone who has had contact with them knows, that this will take a while. While I was on the phone my Genius finished his working day and handed my case over to a colleague.

After about 10 minutes waiting I got someone whom I told about the story again and asked him to fix the warranty status for the colleagues at the store to see. He told me he was not authorized to do so, but would now check with his supervisor. After another 15 minutes of waiting he was back, telling me all would be good and that he would now pass me on the supervisor.

She — a nice lady this time — told me she would not extend my warranty for 7 days, enough to cover me for this appointment at the store, to that they would be able to offer a free exchange or repair. According to her, the store employees would be able to see the change immediately, having access to the same database. She also left me with her email address and phone number, so I could contact her directly should anything be left clear or to just provide some quick feedback once my problem had been resolved.

Back to my Genius — who was apologizing for the long wait I had already had so far — he could not see the change to the warranty status yet. After refreshing my case file in his app, he finally said he would now proceed on his own authority to not keep me waiting much longer. I was already expecting to be able to leave really soon™, because I was expected elsewhere.

However, once I had taken my phone out of its case, he put it into a bag and said that because it was a screen related issue, they would now replace the screen. He would make sure that I got an expedited repair and that the guys backstage would hurry, but he could not make it much shorter than another 45 to 60 minutes of waiting. So much for my dinner plans with the wife… Instead I went to Starbucks first and then spent some 30 minutes playing with iPads and MacBooks in the store.

Finally, after what totalled to about 2 and a quarter hours, I had my phone back, with a new screen and without the pink tint.

While in the end everything turned out satisfactorily for me, I must say that there is room for improvement here (which I also sent by email to the 2nd level support agent)...

Lesson learned

Whenever contacting Apple Care close to the end of the warranty period, make sure to have them immediately extend your coverage for a week or so to give you time to get an appointment at the Genius Bar. Had I known that before, the whole procedure would probably have taken not longer than an hour, including the repair.

One more thing

PS: Is it just me, or is the waiting music on the AppleCare hotline just horribly bad quality? Seems whenever the music got quieter, it was more or less replaced with all static and garbled sound. Had the voice quality not been great before, I could have believed the connection failed somehow.

Update: See AppleInsider for an update regarding the music quality :)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pseudolocalization for Cocoa Apps

Over on the codecentric blog I published an article about localizing iOS and OS X applications called "Pseudolocalization for Cocoa Apps". It is probably the first of a few, because it turned out rather long already.

Coding Serbia: iOS for Java Devs

At the first ever CodingSerbia conference in Novi Sad, Serbia, I did an introductory talk about how iOS development works in general, with a focus on Java developers who did not have any experience with either the tools, frameworks or even Objective-C as a language.

The slides can be viewed here:

A recording has been made and published on YouTube:

Friday, June 28, 2013

Man in the Middle? - No, thank you!

After speaking about the topic the Developer Week 2013 in Nürnberg this week, due to some scheduling coincide I repeated it today for our codecentric "Dev-Friday" in which internal or external speakers present some topic to the whole company.

For a while we have been recording these for colleagues on vacation or otherwise occupied during the talk to watch it later. Several of them are available on codecentric's YouTube channel publicly. As of a few moments ago, so is my "Man in the Middle? – No, thank you!" talk on the possibility of – and countermeasures against – man in the middle attacks against SSL connections.

For your convenience, here is the video:

The slides can be found on Slideshare, the iOS sample application is on my GitHub page.

Feedback is welcome and appreciated.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Time Machine password not working?

I have been meaning to write this down for quite some time, but it always eluded me. When you are using Time Machine to back up your Mac, you get the chance of password-protecting your backups.

Whenever the machine is restarted you will have to unlock the disk by entering the password, unless you store the password for the backup disk in your keychain. For paranoia's sake (and to keep the password fresh in my memory, just in case) I do not store the password in the keychain.

Now, what happens quite regularly to me is this: I reboot the machine for some reason or other, and while it is doing that, I leave the room and do something else. Before I know it, maybe an hour has passed before I come back. In the meantime, the external Time Machine drive has gone to sleep, because it was not used for an extended period of time. On the screen, there is the password dialog dutifully waiting for me to unlock the protected volume.

As soon as I do so (being very sure the password I type is correct) I hear the external drive spin up again. Because I use a dual-drive RAID enclosure it takes a bit longer to get ready than most drives, because it powers up the drives with a slight delay to go easy on the power supply. All in all I estimate it takes about 10 seconds before the drive is ready. This, however, seems to be longer than the OS is willing to wait for the drive to report back, making it believe that the password was wrong. It will ask for the password again and again, and no matter how often you make sure you typed it correctly, there is no chance of convincing it to accept it.

When this first happened to me, I was getting a little panicky, because I thought that either I was losing my mind, not remembering the very same password I had been entering for months, or that something might be wrong with the drive. Turns out, everything is fine, the drive is mounted with the first attempt, it is just the dialog that remains open and drives you crazy - which, of course, you will not realize if you have a bunch of windows open, preventing you from noticing the icon on the desktop. Watch this short video for of demonstration of what I am talking about:

As you can see, the backup volume is mounted and the dialog is still up. So if you run into the same situation, don't worry. Just cancel the dialog and the backup will run normally.