I’ve already made plenty of mention about my disappointments with the iPhone, especially Apple’s Machiavellian approach towards the platforms development. And their AppStore policies – deliberately unpublished, unknown and unquestionable – are, to be quite frank, pretty questionable (see this story of an app rejected because users could type curse words into a text box, and the ridiculous rejection of Flower Garden Lite for not having features it actually had). But today I’m bitching about something else – its worth as a smart phone to me and my fellow laptop-carrying net-addicts.
For me 3G is all about using my phone as a modem for my laptop, and hooking into high-speed internet wherever I travel in Sydney. Once I traded up to an iPhone, these dreams were quickly killed. While PDANet got me through the interim, the release of firmware 3.0, with USB and Bluetooth tethering was what I was truly waiting for. After downloading it and checking it out though, I found myself sorely disappointed.
Let me start by saying that Bluetooth tethering is wonderful. I can use my iPhone to connect to the internet without even taking it out of my pocket, and the slight speed trade-off is definitely worth it. Well, when it works.
I find myself having to acquire a new IP address every time I connect through my phone, making the whole process less ‘connect and go’ and more ‘connect, reconnect, repair, kick it a bit, and I can limp off’. Once connected I can only get a good 10-15 minutes worth of browsing in before Optus Mobile’s DNS server caves in from the pressure of being asked to do stuff and quietly ignores me. And if I ever get a call while browsing, well the whole phone dies in a fiery blaze. Not only does tethering turn itself off, it disables itself and completely locks me out of turning it back on.
Of all these myriad issues, the most annoying by far is Optus’ DNS. When the DNS silently dies on me, it kills my iPhone internet connection as well as the laptop tethered one, so my email starts to mount up without me realising. Being the techie I so often claim to be, I thought: “this should be easy enough to solve, I can just use an OpenDNS server instead of Optus’ poopy one”. Changing DNS for iPhone is not a walk in the park though.
Being that iPhone inherits much from Unix, my first thought was to edit the nameservers in the etc/resolv.conf file into OpenDNS ones. Oops! etc/resolv.conf is actually a symlink to var/run/resolv.conf. Okay, I’ll edit that file. Hmm, it doesn’t exist. Undeterred, I simply removed the symlink and created my own resolv.conf with the nameservers I wanted. Still no good, seems Apple doesn’t even use the resolv.conf files at all.
For now, the efforts to overcome more shortcomings in the iPhone continue. But I wanted to say this before I continue:
”You know what really grinds my gears?