Sunday, August 29, 2010

Reloading An App, Revisited

Here’s an update on the post I did a couple of weeks ago about troubleshooting an app on my iPod touch. To Apple’s credit, someone from the iTunes Store Customer Support Team finally responded to me and was very helpful. Their first suggestion was to do exactly what I had planned on doing after I read their knowledge base, delete and reload the app.

I followed Apple’s directions, and even went a few steps further. I backed up iTunes, and then sync'd my nano and touch. Fresh copies all around! Speaking of copies, I made sure I had a copy of the old iTunes 8.0.20 installer, which I did, just in case. Next I backed up my PC to an external drive, and then I upgraded to the latest version of iTunes (

Surprisingly, all went well. When iTunes 9 was finished installing, I rebooted the PC and then tried resyncing my ipods. Everything worked fine.

Next, I deleted the app in question from both my Touch and iTunes. Then I went to the app store and repurchased it. iTunes recognized that I had already purchased the app and allowed me to download it for free, nice, and then a dialog box popped up that said:

"You must authorize this computer to download this application. There are also other applications on your Computer that are not authorized and will be removed if you don't choose to authorize now."

Not nice. So of course, I reauthorized the computer that I've been using to handle my account without interruption for at least 3 years. Very strange, but what's worse is the next message:

"You now have 5 of 5 possible computers authorized to use this account."

Why iTunes decided that the system I've been using for so long is suddenly not on the list is a total mystery. It's been authorized for 5 years, and it's been at least 3 years since I've replaced any components in it. Is it possible that iTunes 9 does a more thorough consistency check then iTunes 8, and just noticed the work I did 3 years ago? Regardless, at some point in the near future I’m going to need to deauthorize all the computers on my account and start fresh, but that’s for another time.

Anyways, the app appeared to download correctly, so I resynced my touch and tried to start the new copy of the app, and got the same error as before; a brief black screen followed by getting dumped back at the desktop.

bummer : (

I tried rebooting the PC and the iPod and then resyncing again, just in case, but the app still didn't work.

So, there I sat, broken hearted. Paid 5 bucks for an app that farted.

My bet at this point is that this latest version of Raging Thunder 2 just doesn't run on OS 2.2 as advertised. Polarbit still hasn't responded, but when I reported back to the iTunes support team that it failed again, they quickly offered to credit my account, which I quickly, and gratefully, accepted.

I can’t say enough good things about the iTunes Store’s customer service, and I’m glad I finally have all the computers upgraded to iTunes 9, even though to do it safely is a bit of a chore…The Sharing feature is the nards.

My only fear in all of this, is that my beautiful, shiny, fast as lightening 2nd gen touch is rapidly being painted into that inevitable high tech corner, obsolescence, at least in the available app department. I’m sure it won’t be long before all new apps are iOS4 specific, and I’ve seen the results of upgrading the OS on a 2nd gen touch. Poor battery life and general flakiness.

Hopefully, the good people of Apple will have come up with a tweak or two by the time that becomes necessary. In the meantime, I’m going to continue enjoying its current functionality, and that’s spinning tunes and eating downtime. I’ve become obsessed with trying to beat my wife at Five Dice. We play whenever we’re waiting in line, and it makes the wait go by in a flash. Passing the device back and forth is part of the fun, it makes it a much more interactive experience. Problem is, she always beats me. I think the tally stands at about 20 to 2 right now, advantage; wife. The fact that she’s constantly taking my first roll, and sometimes follows this by logging the score in a totally inappropriate box, isn’t helping my cause any.

Hey, you don’t think she’s doing it on purpose, do you? Maybe I should call her on it.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!

It’s the Dog Days of August, my favorite time of the year. When else can you lounge by the pool all day, cook dinner on the grill, then sit back in the AC comfort of Man Town and flip back and forth between Sunday Night Baseball and Sunday Night Football? Red Sox/Yankees, no less.

The only thing that could make this day more complete would be if the Pats were on, but that’s coming soon enough. Their first preseason game is this Thursday night @ 7:30 on WBZ-TV 4, against the Super Bowl Champion, Colt Beatin' Saints.

God I love this country!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

iPod Tip Of The Day: How To Troubleshoot An App

I’ve always been happy with my music purchases from iTunes, and up til now, with my App purchases also. About a month ago I purchased and downloaded Raging Thunder 2, a racing game for my Touch. I had searched long and hard for games that would work on a 2nd gen touch running 2.2, as a large percentage of the games and Apps available in iTunes these days are designed for devices running OS 3 or later. I’ve been tempted to upgrade, but I’m of the mind that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

My fear is that both the 2nd gen Touch and the Apps I currently have were all developed for OS 2. There's been a lot of hardware upgrades to the Touch since the 2nd gen, and both OS 3 and 4 were developed essentially for a different device. Why should I take the risk of having a buggy, flakey iPod when it already performs like a champ? Nah, I've been burnt to many times by their upgrades. When OS 3 first came out there were all sorts of posts about Wi-Fi strength and battery life going down on 2nd gens that had been upgraded. Seemed the processor just wasn’t up to all the new tasks, which is probably why they replaced it in the 3rd gen devices.

OS 2.2 has been a solid version, and I’ve been quite happy with my Touch just the way it is. Sure, I’d like to unlock the Bluetooth capabilities, and also be able to play games head to head without having to pass the iPod back and forth, but these are small things I can live without, so for now I just look for Apps that are rated to run on 2.2, but they’re getting harder and harder to find. I saw on the product description for Raging Thunder 2 that it ran on devices running 2.2 or later, so I paid the 5 dollars and downloaded it.

It appeared to load correctly, but once installed, it wouldn't start. Just a brief black screen, and then I’m dumped back at the desktop. Since purchasing it, I’ve sent 2 messages to the manufacturer, reported the problem to Apple by clicking the report a problem link in my receipt, plus every time I try to open the App, the Touch wants to know if I'd like a bug report sent to Apple. The message says that someone from Apple will look it over and get right back to me. No sir, not true. It's now been a month and I haven't had a single response from either Polarbit or Apple. Guess I'm out 5 bucks, but it's not the monetary loss that bugs me the most, it's the lack of response. The App store and the manufacturer should at least acknowledge my complaints. My emails have been very polite and chock full of details, plus they have the bug reports, so I’m sure they know exactly what the issue is. Instead, I have to scour their knowledge base, and then try a long list of “maybe this will fix it” solutions. Oh joy.

There’s a 90% chance that my problem is either a bad download or a bad install, and Apple does let you download things again that you’ve already paid for. You just need to delete the App from your iPod, and also from iTunes, then you go to the App store and select it for purchase again. iTunes will prompt you that you already own it, and ask you if you’d like a replacement copy for free. Click here for the full procedure for troubleshooting/reloading an App.

The instructions also say that you should upgrade to the latest version of iTunes and the latest OS before you try to download it again. As I said before, I’m not interested in OS 4, but I am going to upgrade iTunes from 8.02.20 to 9.2.1. We have version 9 on both my laptop and my wife’s iMac, so I know its stable, plus 9 has a nice sharing feature. Once all of our machines are running 9 we’ll be able to move purchases between all authorized computers, which will save a lot of hassle.

Of course, before you upgrade, you should always sync your iPods and do an iTunes backup, just in case…

Man, this is turning into a huge project! It would be soooo much better if either Apple or Polarbit would confirm what I need to do, but it’s a self service world these days, so I better get started. I’ll let you know how I make out.