Monday, September 23, 2013

Hidden iOS 7 Features, Installing on Jailbroken Phone & More

I was initially planning to wait for a jailbreak before updating to iOS 7, but with all the excitement over the new look and feel and cool new features, I just decided I'm going to do the update and it is now installed!  Really liking it so far. 

In this post I will first list the steps on how to install iOS 7 on a currently jailbroken device.  Down towards the bottom I will also include steps on installing an iOS 7 theme on a jailbroken device in case you want to retain your jailbreak for now and still have the new look and feel. 

I decided to do the update because I really liked that the screen looks larger with the new interface and being a gadget person, I just like shiny new things.  I was only using the jailbreak for only one app and I can live without the additional features I had in that app for now. 

Another reason for wanting to update was that I came across an article of an undocumented new change in the way Apple can do networking in iOS 7.  It's called Multipath TCP.  It allows you to send/receive data over WiFi, Cell or Bluetooth all at the same time and it could intelligently route traffic on the least congested network as well for optimal speed.  It would also be fault tolerant, in that if your WiFi dropped but your cell connection was still good, this would allow you to keep going on cell without even noticing a hiccup.

For now it appears to be only utilized when connecting to things Apple directly controls, like Siri and it's probably in the very early stages of use, but it could be utilized for all applications eventually.  That is pretty cool.

Here are a few cool posts definitely worth checking out:

Hidden iOS 7 features for iPhone and iPad
Niftiest Feature of iOS 7 That You Haven't Found Yet
6 Frustrating iOS 7 Features and How To Fix Them

Un-Jailbreaking Your Phone to Install iOS 7

If you want to install iOS 7 on a jailbroken device, you will first need to un-jailbreak your phone.  Before you do that, definitely backup your iPhone with iTunes and also save off/import your photos/videos as well.  Once that is done, you will need to choose the restore option in iTunes to remove the jailbreak.  Here is a very short video on how to backup and un-jailbreak your iPhone.

If you want to keep your jailbreak and still get the new look and feel of iOS 7 follow the steps below.

Installing iOS 7 Theme on iPhone

  • Install Winterboard if you don't have it already
  • Add this repo to Cydia (
  • Make sure you add the trailing ‘/’ in the URL
  • Go to that repo and look for the iOS 7 Theme
  • Download and install
  • Go to Winterboard and activate the theme components
Here is a screenshot of my jailbroken phone with the iOS 7 Winterboard theme:

Here are the options I choose within Winterboard to get the iOS 7 look and feel:

 Hope that helps, enjoy!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Friday Inspiration

Thursday, September 19, 2013

How to Install iOS 7

Image Courtesy of

If you're wondering how to install iOS 7 on your Apple iDevices, check out this article on CNET. Here is a key feature breakdown and here is a post on "how to disable some of the most annoying features in iOS 7".  

The wifey tried option 1 last night, which is to go into Settings, General and choose the Software Update option, but it said her phone was at the latest version even thought it wasn't.  The CNET writer also said he had to try about 12 times before his over the air update worked.

If that version doesn't work just yet, you can try the iTunes route, which should work and should be a bit quicker.

Either way, be sure to fully backup your device first.  There is a link on how to do that at the top of the CNET article above.

I'm going to let the wifey update hers, while I wait a bit to see about a jailbreak for mine.  That will also give us some time to get used to things on one device while having the other as is.

Have you done the update?  What are your favorite features?  The GUI look/feel, the Control Center with easy access to WiFi on/off, a built-in flashlight and the proximity sharing app AirDrop?  Those are definitely features I'm looking forward to.  Let me know what you think!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Fun Kiddo Pics - Happy Friday!

Here are some pics from a FaceTime session yesterday with Max/Kinsley. 
Check out some great Hadley 10 mo pics here!  Happy Friday! 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

New iPhone 5S, 5C and iOS 7 Release Date

The "big" announcements from Apple came out today and it's pretty much what people already expected.  There is a new 5S which is similar to the existing iPhone 5 with a little more horsepower and the 5C, which is a lower priced, plastic version of the 5.

To me, there is nothing really exciting with the new hardware that would give anyone reason to upgrade.  However, I'm sure lots of folks will want to upgrade to iOS 7 when it becomes available for download on Sept 18th. 

Word on the street is for the next major hardware release they are testing different screen sizes, which I would think would provide more of a reason to upgrade in the future.

Below are the full details from CBS, anyone see anything overly exciting?  Let me know what you think...

Apple announces iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C, iOS 7 release date

The iPhone 5S.
The iPhone 5S. / Apple

Apple unveiled an update to its popular smartphone on Wednesday at a press event at the company's headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. The tech giant announced the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C -- two very different phones.
Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook started off by saying, "In the past, when we've launched a new iPhone, we lowered the cost of the old iPhone, making it more accessible to new people. But this year, we're not going to do that."

Instead, Apple introduced a lower-cost iPhone 5C alongside the iPhone 5S -- the company's flagship smartphone.

Apple senior vice president Phil Schiller took the stage to announce the iPhone 5C. The new device is made of plastic and has a 4-inch display. It has a hard-coated polycarbonate design, is steel reinforced and has a multi-band antenna. It comes in five colors: green, white, blue, red, and yellow.

The iPhone 5C will cost $99 for a 16GB model or $199 for a 32 GB model, with contracts. A colorful variety of cases will cost $29. The iPhone 5C will go on sale on Sept. 20, with pre-orders starting on Sept. 13.

The iPhone 5S has a 4-inch display and comes in black, silver and gold. The hardware has been upgraded to an A7 chip, and is the first smartphone to be 64-bits.

"The PC world made the transition from 32 bit to 64 bit and it took years. Today you're going to see that Apple is going to do it on one day," Schiller said.
Schiller says the iPhone 5S's CPU performs 40 times faster than the original iPhone. The new iPhone will also include a brand new chip called the M7, which is said to continuously measure motion data. The chip supports the accelerometer, gyroscope and compass.

Schiller says the iPhone 5S's battery life has improved, and will have 10 hours of LTE and Wi-Fi browsing, 40 hours of music and 250 hours of standby time.
The iPhone's camera is getting a major upgrade. Apple is increasing the pixels to 1.5u to capture more light. The camera will also autodetect white balance as soon as the app is launched, and include burst mode and true tone flash.

Just as the rumors suggested, the new iPhone will include Touch ID -- a fingerprint sensor built into the home button. The sensor scans sub-epidermal skin layers and will have 360-degree readability. It is about 170 microns thin, with 500 ppi resolution. The fingerprint sensor can be used to unlock the iPhone or make purchases.

"Your fingerprint is one of the best passes in the world. It's always with you, and no two are exactly alike," Apple senior vice president Jony Ive said in a promotional video.

The iPhone 5S will come in three models: 16 GB for $199, 32GB for $299 and 64GB for $399, with a contract. The phone will go on sale on Sept. 20.
Apple also announced details of its completely redesigned mobile operating system, iOS 7, that will be ready for download on Sept. 18.

Monday, September 9, 2013

How to Pick Mutual Funds

I decided to do a post on how to pick growth mutual funds because I just went through this exercise over the weekend and I know my sister Jen is interested.  She recently asked about how to pick similar funds for a Coverdell ESA for our nephew Max.

This post is not necessarily a post on how to pick mutual funds for a 401k, as you're limited to the funds offered through your place of work.  This is more for rollover 401k accounts, Coverdell ESA accounts, IRAs or personal accounts that you have full control over.  However, the research methods could apply to a 401k, you would just have to individually research the funds that are available to you.

The reason I went through this effort was that I recently analyzed my returns over the last 2 years of my own personal stock trading account vs our various 401k/IRA accounts and came to the realization that I'm not quite the expert stock picker I hoped I would be just yet.  My % gain over that time hasn't been as high as our other accounts.

Based on that, I decided that I'm going to take my rollover 401k that I was using for stock/option trading and take 75% of that account and put it into 5 growth mutual funds.  The remainder I will keep available for individual stock/option trading.  For the most part, 75% or more of that account has been sitting in cash over that time anyway, so I should have done that a while back. 

I decided to target 5 mutual funds to spread the $$ out into different sectors and for diversification purposes.  I wanted to share the way I did the research so that you could do the same research, plugging in the criteria that is most important to you.

To get started, go to Morningstar and use their basic mutual fund screener.  You will need to sign-up for a free account and then you can get started, it will only take a minute or two.

Once you have the basic screener up, you can pick from the different screening criteria that are important to you.  For me, I initially chose the following criteria:

Minimum initial purchase less than or equal to:3000
Load funds: No-load funds only
Expense ratio less than or equal to: 1%
For ratings and rankings I selected 4 and 5 stars
10 year rate of return greater than or equal to: 10

Then you scroll down and click on the 'Show Results' tab. 

That gave me a list of 109 mutual funds sorted in Alphabetical order.  I then grabbed the pulldown that says View: 'Snapshot' and changed that to 'Performance'. From there I clicked on the 10 year column, to sort all of the funds by highest performance over a 10 year period.  Keep in mind however, that past performance doesn't necessarily predict future performance, but that was where I started my research.

I then clicked on each mutual fund to bring up the Morningstar research page and I looked through each one and analyzed each fund based on rates of return over 3, 5 and 10 year time frames as well as comparing expense ratios, looking at the major stocks that the funds hold and looked at the % of US stocks vs non-US vs bonds, etc.

I narrowed down that list of 109, to approx 10 that I thought were the best of the bunch.  I then plugged the 5 letter symbol into my Scottrade account to see if they were available to purchase.

Several of them said they were no longer open to new investors, so that left me with about 6.  Of those, I dug a bit deeper, comparing the 10 year charts of those 6 funds with each other as well as comparing them with the chart of the S&P 500 over that same time frame.

Based on that research, I narrowed the list down to 3 funds.  One was a Natural Resource fund, one was a BioTech fund and the other was a Technology fund.  Good mix so far, but I was 2 short.

For the remaining two funds I changed the criteria a bit.  I upped the expense ratio item to less than or equal to 1.5% and changed the rate of return to greater than or equal to 10% for the 5 year time frame instead of 10 years.  In that way, I would find some funds with good rate of return over 5 years that perhaps haven't been around a full 10 years and might find some funds with expense ratios just over 1% that still have good rates of returns.

I came up with two additional funds from that research, an international fund and a mid-cap growth fund.  I decided I'm going to split the $ equally between those 5 funds with 20% going into each.  I will give the list of 5 mutual funds ONLY as an example of what I came up with as a result of my specific research this past weekend.  This is NOT an endorsement or recommendation to purchase any of these specific funds.  

FSCHX - Fidelity Select Chemicals (Natural Resources)
FBIOX - Fidelity Select Biotech (BioTech)
FSCSX - Fidelity Select Software and Comp (Technology)
POAGX - Primecap Odyssey Aggressive Growth (Mid-Cap Growth)
DODFX - Dodge and Cox International Fund (International Growth)

If you have $10,000 or more to invest, I think picking 4-5 mutual funds is a decent method of investing.  Since many funds require a minimum of $2000 or $2500 for an initial investment, that would allow you to spread your $$ evenly between 4-5 funds.  However, if you're investing say $2,000, you would be limited to 1 fund most likely.

In that case, I would suggest checking out Target Date Mutual Funds.  The way Target Date Funds work is that you pick a year that you may retire in the future and pick a fund with that date.  The longer out the date is, the more aggressive the fund is and the more stocks you would have vs bonds, etc.

For example, VTIVX is the Vanguard 2045 Target Date fund.  Vanguard has the lowest fee funds in the industry.  That is the fund I use for our Roth IRAs.  That fund invests in several other funds and they take care of all of the diversification for you.  Over time, the fund manager changes the % of stocks/bonds, etc. towards more conservative investments as you approach the target date, in this case 2045.  It is a 'set it and forget it' type of investment.  If that appeals to you, I'd recommend researching the Vanguard Target Date Funds.

The other option is ETFs.  When they talk about the stock market on the news, they usually mention how much the Dow Jones, S&P 500 and Nasdaq went up or down on any given day.  Those are indexes, which are just a basket of a certain number of specific stocks.  For example, the S&P 500 is just a basket of 500 specific stocks and the daily results are the sum or all the gains or losses of the stocks that make up that index.  If most of the stocks in the index went up more than the others went down, the index would be up or vice versa.  

When people try to determine how they did in a particular year, they usually compare their % increase or decrease to the % increase or decrease of the S&P 500.

For instance, if you made 10% on your investments in a given year that is good, however if the S&P 500 went up 20%, you would have been better off just investing in the S&P 500 rather than picking individual stocks or mutual funds.  The way you can do that is through ETFs.

If you wanted to match the performance of the S&P 500 for example, you could purchase any number of ETFs, but I'd say the most common one is the symbol SPY.  You can purchase any number of shares or $ amounts of SPY and you just pay whatever the cost is for a stock trade to buy and sell.  You can buy or sell that ETF at any time without penalty just like a stock, whereas many mutual funds require you to keep your $$ in the fund for a year or you could face a penalty if you sell before then.

There is obviously lots to consider when choosing high growth mutual funds, but I hope this post has shed some light on how you might get started!  If you have any specific questions, please let me know and I'd be glad to try and help out. 

Here are some additional resources that you might find helpful:

Dave Ramsey: How to Choose the Right Mutual Funds
Dave Ramsey's Investment Philosophy PDF

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Labor Day Weekend Recap

We had Mom in town from Wednesday night-Monday evening for Labor Day weekend and we had an unexpected visit from some cousins as well!  It made for busy weekend of mostly eating out and enjoying the company.  Mom got to snuggle with the Wookie.

Mom and Wookie man
Thursday Mom took almost a 2 hour walk on the beach in the morning and soaked up some sun while I worked from home.  Wifey had to work.  We started out with dinner/drinks at M Shack (excellent burger place) and then went to a restaurant/bar down a short walk from there to Poe's where Mom/Marla enjoyed some dessert.

Dessert at Poe's
Friday we took a day trip to Christmas, Florida.  First off, who knew there was a Christmas, Florida?!  Not us and apparently we live about 2 hours away.  We went there for an airboat ride with Midway Airboat rides.  I'd highly recommend it if you're in the general Orlando area.  It was so peaceful out there, we were the only boat in the huge area of the St Johns River for the majority of our tour.  It was so beautiful.

The weird thing is we saw a whole bunch of cows, some complete with birds on their backs!  Didn't expect to see cows.  Also saw a few horses, lots of birds and we did manage to find a few gators as well!  Because the water level in the river is so high, we had to go searching a bit.

When the water levels are low they rest a lot on higher ground, but because there was almost no higher ground and where there was, cows were usually close.  Apparently gators don't like to hang with cows.  The tour guide said gators will prey on calves that are sick/weakened, but they stay away from the big cows.

Then we had some cousins come in for a visit Saturday/Sunday and we hit up the beach, did some walking around, went to a fun restaurant Clark's Fish Camp and then walked around St Augustine a bit on Sunday and whew, it was toasty hot.  Then they headed back home a few hrs away in Central FL.  Monday we just hung out and hit the beach.  Good times!  

PorkChop.  He was a grumpy piggy at Airboat Tours at Midway,
Turtle hanging in the bushes
About to head out on the airboat tour
First cow we came across, complete with "back bird"
Horses roaming free
More cows
Gator in the wild, it put on a pretty good show, usually they hide
Gator #2
Swimming away
Lots of cypress trees
And one BIG nasty arse Wolf spider, we got wayyy too close to this guy
Me deep in the woods
Captured a gator!  No not really, but I did get to hold it!
Wifey and Mom Downtown at the Arts Market
Mom and cousin Karen
Karen, holding iPad with her daughter Heather in 
S Korea on Skype & me holding iPad with 
sister Michelle and daughter Hadley in Mississippi 
Dayle was taking the pic. Fun with technology!

Good beach shot of all of us
Great silhouette shot, Dayle is the photo stager
St Augustine shot
A little Hadley FaceTime pic to wrap things up  :P

Hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend!

Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Themes