Monday, August 17, 2009

jailbreak your iphone

The iPhone is an incredible piece of hardware. So incredible, in fact, that most users sticking with Apple's untainted UI and App Store ecosystem have only scratched the surface of their phone's functionality.

I'm sick of waiting around for Apple and AT&T to finish their spotlight dance and have instead opted to Jailbreak my iPhone. What does this mean? I can do whatever I want with my iPhone, regardless of what artificial software barriers Apple erects to prevent me from doing so.

Jailbreaking your iPhone is safe and easy—you won't lose any data, and you can still be a part of the official Apple ecosystem (sync with iTunes, use the App Store, etc) whilst running your own jailbreak software simultaneously. The installation process is extremely simple, and will mostly require you to sit around while packages install and your phone reboots.

1. First, you'll want to download the iPhone 3.0 firmware, which I have conveniently linked below. Don't skip this step, even if you already have the latest firmware installed. You'll want to save this file (do NOT open with iTunes) to your desktop or some other folder you can access easily.
iPhone 2G (3.0)
iPhone 3G (3.0)
iPhone 3GS (3.0)

2. Download redsn0w.
Mac version (direct download)
Windows version (direct download)
Linux version (direct download)

3. Launch redsn0w and follow installation instructions. The process is very straightforward, but if you're more comfortable with a guiding hand, follow the instructions on this tutorial from step 3.

4. Enjoy your newly found freedom.

The only visible change at first will be a new app on your phone called Cydia. You can use this app to download jailbreak apps (like Winterboard if you plan to install custom themes or Cycorder if you want to record video on older iPhone models). For more info and recommendations, just visit this extremely helpful website!

Friday, December 26, 2008

what's up with the tweets?

Many of you have been asking why my status updates on Facebook always begin with the "tweets:" prefix. It's because I've linked my Facebook status to my Twitter account.

Twitter is a way to keep your friends/followers updated on whatever is happening in your life. You can also use it to share articles, videos, photos, etc. that you think are relevant or interesting to your following. It's a difficult concept to sell, because most people simply retort with the point that you can do all of this and more on Facebook.

All I can say is that Twitter is something you have to try and use for a while to understand. Each post is limited to 140 characters, which means your updates must be concise, succinct, and worth the effort. Believe it or not, this cultivates an entirely different community from that found on Facebook or other social networking sites. Since Twitter is really nothing more than a simple feed (with a few advanced commands like replies and private tweets), the technology can be implemented in a variety of ways and on numerous devices (both stationary and portable). It's perfect for iPhone/smartphone users who want a quick way to keep people updated and get updates from other people. It also means I can link my Facebook status to my Twitter updates via a Facebook app called Tweeter.

For those of you who want to give this service a try, you can visit to set up an account, then visit to follow me! Twitter is becoming increasingly pervasive socially and even corporately. There are quite a few City Church staffers who use the service (including my dad), and City Church even has its own feed to keep followers updated on the latest church happenings. Need more incentive to join? You can even follow updates from well-known celebrities and politicians like MC Hammer, Lance Armstrong, Kanye West, and Barack Obama. Happy tweeting!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

new blog: XNRES

Check out my new blog!

I'm hoping to make it more of a cultural epicenter for my thoughts, making this blog primarily set aside for journalistic purposes/sharing whatever cool stuff I find on the internets.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

my brother, Lucas, and the Kingdom of Heaven

These are pictures of my brother, Lucas, taken from my dad's iPhone on June 19th, 2008, his fourteenth birthday. After completing a nine-week wilderness program (with flying colors, might I add), Lucas and his disgusting mop of hair traveled to Washington, where he is attending boarding school and will be for another year.

I miss my brother terribly. These last few months have been an emotional roller coaster ride for me—my 18th birthday, graduation, knowing some people I used to see every day will have all but disappeared from my life—but not having my brother around has far outstripped them all in its emotional complexity and significance. I (we) have moved through stages of shock, bitterness, astounding realization, and restorative healing since his sudden departure from our lives, with tears of joy and sorrow sprinkled throughout. My brother and I are closer and farther from each other than we've ever been.

A broken world is one of broken relationships—parts of oneself invested in others that have been lost, and will never be recovered. The deepest longing of every human heart, from womb to grave, is meaningful, profound, vital relationship. Many of us have experienced broken relationships, and try to keep from investing in other people's lives for fear that we will once again know the pain of separation. We do this by investing ourselves in objects, both material and immaterial; our possessions, our sexuality, our careers, our talents, our religion. In some way we are all victims of this destructive practice. Each of us has some part of ourselves that we give away to something, rather than someone.

There is a Friend who sticks closer than a brother, who doesn't rot and wither away like everything we know. At its very core, my faith comes out of a deep, growing cry of desperation that comes from the innermost depths of my soul. The one I have placed my faith in tells me that this cry is not in vain; that the longing of my heart is meant to be fulfilled, that I have been created for a world of everlasting, unbroken relationships. He promises me that the Great Dawn approaches and will blast away the midnight of the world we live in. One day I'll see my Father's face and bow at His feet, and the parts of me that have been hidden away in worthless fragile objects will be collected and restored in Him. I'm staking my life, my hopes, myself on it.

The dawn for this comparatively small darkness of my life is coming. The day my relationship with Lucas is restored will be a day of joy and tears. I can't imagine what it'll be like, the day all of creation is made right and the sorrows of this world will be nothing more than a distant memory. But somehow I think the day I embrace my brother again will be a small foretaste of the day I finally embrace the one who knows and loves me more intimately than I can imagine.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

time for change

As the time swiftly approaches for me to embrace the rigors of higher learning, I think it's appropriate to refresh the look of my blog. It's definitely more subdued than my last iteration. Let me know what you think!

For those of you who don't know, I'll be heading north to the University of Oregon this fall. Though I was briefly tempted to show some spirit and plaster my blog with splashes of yellow and green, I decided in favor of a more mellow color scheme, which I hope will accompany a trend of more simple, focused writing to contrast the lengthy tirades of years past.

Currently of interest:
Jon Foreman's Summer Album
The Reason for God
Surprised By Hope
The Shack
Mass Effect
Root Beer Tapper
iPhone 3G
Stadium Park Apartments

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

how to make firefox look like safari

My hope is that by now all of you have had the privilege of experiencing Mozilla's latest masterpiece, Firefox 3. As a design freak, my first priority when dealing with any program is the visual aesthetic. Firefox 2, though incredibly useful, secure, and flexible, looked and felt like the garish hunchback relative of Safari 3, which features not only impressive browsing speeds, but a clean, streamlined interface that fits in with the rest of the Mac OS X experience. Firefox 3 offers a marriage of the two–a beautiful, OS X-friendly interface, as well as speeds that rival even the latest Safari 3.1 release. Being extremely picky, however, I couldn't help but wish that Firefox could integrate exactly like any other Apple-made application. One key difference that actually bugs me a little is the added gradient in the bookmarks bar, which to me just makes it look more pieced-together and bulky. If you feel the same way (and chances are you don't even have the slightest idea what I'm talking about at this point), this post is for you. Herein lies my little tutorial on how to transform Firefox 3's aesthetics to match those of Safari 3 almost exactly.

Here's what Firefox 3 looks like by default in Mac OS X. Not bad.

The first step is to find the right theme. I used GrApple Yummy Graphite, which matches the Safari look pretty much exactly. The maker of this theme has several different varieties, including Yummy Blue for those of you with the default blue color scheme. There's also GrApple Delicious, which is basically the same, but with different-looking tabs. I decided to go for the closest match, and here's how it looks after you install it:

I'd say we're off to a good start. Now, the next aesthetic difference in Safari is that the thin status bar framing the bottom of the page. It's nonexistent by default in Safari (and I like it that way). That option can be changed in Firefox by going to View > Status Bar. But how do you track the progress of a loading page? Safari transforms the address bar into the progress bar when a page is loading. Thanks to an extension called Fission, the same can be done in Firefox. Fission's preferences allow you to change the color of the loading bar, and even use your own image if it tickles your fancy. I stuck with the default graphite, and here's the result:

There's one more thing for us to change in order to make Firefox as similar aesthetically to Safari as possible. Safari combines the "stop" and "reload" button to save space, and an extension aptly named Stop-or-Reload Button allows the same to be accomplished in the Firefox navigation bar. Here's the button in action:

The final result:

Enjoy your new browser!

Monday, May 19, 2008

chastity and the art of manliness

The Art of Manliness, a blog I've discovered and come to love more and more through Digg, has recently posted a gutsy article about the idea of chastity in our modern culture. It's actually a great article, in my opinion, because it presents a perspective from a nonreligious slant, and merely puts forward some great reasons men should, at the very least, seek to confine their sexual activity to intimate, meaningful relationships. While I may not agree 100%, I certainly think we can all appreciate and applaud the effort of these blog writers for tackling such an unpopular issue. An excerpt, which basically sums up the meat of the article, is pasted below:

People today approach sex just as they would approach buying a widget. The focus is on YOUR satisfaction and YOUR pleasure. A man thus fantasizes about his next “purchase.” After that hook-up gives him the pleasure he was seeking, he shops around until he finds another person that can satisfy the urge. When he gets tired of that woman or he sees a better and higher end model, he trades-in that person and goes after the upgrade. The problem is that people aren’t things; they’re, well, people. They have hopes, dreams, feelings, and aspirations just like you do.

I'd encourage you to check out the rest of this relatively short article. It's worth the read.