How to block a number on the iPhone

Once in a while, I get an annoying scam phone call telling me that my car warranty is about to expire and blah blah blah. It always comes from the same number and every time I try to get through to a real person instead of a recording, it hangs up on me or just keeps playing a recording over and over again.

Since AT&T for some reason won’t block specific numbers on cell phones, it’s up to the phone itself to block the numbers. There’s no elegant way to do it on the iPhone without jailbreaking it, so what I did was this:

  1. Download a silence ring-tone from here.
  2. Load the ringtone onto my iPhone.
  3. List the number I want to block under a contact named “Blocked”.
  4. Assign the silent ringtone to the Blocked contact.
  5. Add any other numbers I want to block under that contact.

There’s a more detailed tutorial about it here. This method solves the problem of having the phone ring and picking it up, but it doesn’t help if your phone is set on vibrate as well. It also doesn’t help when you’re on one line and the blocked number comes up on the other line and you accidentally switch over.

Useful iPhone Apps

I made a short list of iPhone apps that I’ve found to be useful. I’ll probably add more to it later, but my top three picks so far are:


Twittelator
I like Twittelator better than Twitter’s official app. It’s free, ad-less, and has features such as attaching pictures, location awareness, and even a emergency button that’ll send an emergency message with your location to all your twitter frieds. Why you wouldn’t dial 911 in that situation is beyond me though. A lot of people have been saying that it’s buggy, but I haven’t had that many problems with it. Once in a while, it can’t grab new tweets from twitter, but it hasn’t crashed on me yet. *crosses fingers*


The New York Times App
I don’t know what the official name for this app is, but it’s just the New York Times on your iPhone for free. It takes a few minutes to download all the content for the day, but after that, it’s easy to browse all of the articles. There’s also the option to browse articles by category and even adding your favorite categories to the bottom dock bar for quick access. I like to read this in portrait mode, but for those who think the text size is too small that way, rest assured that this works in landscape mode as well.


Google Reader
Maybe this is cheating since Google Reader is a webpage and not a stand-alone app, but it’s fantastic. Just browse to reader.google.com on your iPhone and you should get redirected to the mobile version of the site. List view is easy on the eyes, but it gets a bit laggy when there are a lot of pictures in a post. The only improvement I can see for it is to have some sort of floating menu-bar or dock so that I don’t need to scroll all the way down the page to ‘mark all posts as read’ or go on to the next 15 most recent posts.

With the exception of Google Reader, all these apps can be found on the iTunes store for free.

Griffin Nu Form Review

I bought the Griffin Nu Form iphone 3G case mainly because 1.) I wanted something to protect my iphone, 2.) I don’t like the sticky feel of silicone cases, and 3.) it comes with a display protector. I had to order it directly from Griffin because at the time, it wasn’t available in any stores near me.

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I went with the white case because the site didn’t show a picture of the back of the black version and the black didn’t look all that dark. The plastic is hard, but flexible so I don’t have to worry about it scratching up where it touches the iPhone. The case was easy to get on since it comes in two pieces (the white piece and the grey piece) that just slide and lock together, securing your iPhone in place. All of the ports and side buttons are accessible with the case on and if you want to dock your iPhone, the bottom part slides off to give better access.
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Because the case isn’t too bulky the front of the iphone still looks slim and minimalistic. What I don’t like about the case is the piece of plastic they include as a screen protector. It’s an oil magnet and got smeary and smudgy as soon as I took it out of its package. It slides in over the screen of the iPhone and the rest of the case is supposed to hold it in place, but I find that it moves around a tiny bit. There are cut outs for the speaker and home button, but they look cheap. I didn’t notice any effect the protector had on the touch screen, which is good, but I’ll probably replace it with a less smudgy and thinner protector when I find it.

I wasn’t sure I would like the design on the back, but now that I’ve seen it in person, it’s not so bad. I would rather have the back just solid white and grey, but the design isn’t too tacky. The white is matte, so I can see it getting dirty pretty quickly, but I’m sure some soap water will clean it right up. Overall, I’m pretty pleased with the case other than the cheap screen protector it comes with.

Price: $24
There’s a coupon code that works till 2008-07-31 if you order off the web site: FIREWORKS

edit: My case started peeling at the bottom, and I contacted Griffin’s support about it and got a replacement painlessly. More info is in this post.