It’s 2013, Why Can’t you Check your Validation Receipts?

So, there’s a “new” app that has caught the eye of the folks over at IGN, and is gaining steam rapidly on the internet. I’m talking about none other than Super Monster Bros by Adventure Time Pocket Free … by Mario Casas

I’m not going to go into detail about how terrible the app is, the interface, or anything of that sort (though, it should be noted this game has not only blatantly ripped of Pokemon, but stole sounds from Super Mario Games). If you’re interested in that, here’s the IGN video right below:

 

What I really want to focus on, however, is the incredibly disastrous In-App Purchase system it uses.

For those who don’t know, there was an exploit with in-app purchases last year, discovered in versions of iOS 5.1 and earlier. It has been brought back only through a jailbreak tweak, for devices on iOS 6 and later.

WARNING: Expletives in this portion.

Want to know my problem with this app? The fact that it’s so heavily based on in-app purchases (that alone is enough to make me say “Fuck You!” to the devs), but the fact they can’t even add verification code to their application? Are you fucking with me?  For the love of God, it’s not even that fucking complicated to do.

END Expletives

Super Monster Bros. isn’t the only application with this problem; popular apps including: Real Racing 3, Tiger Woods PGA Golf ’12, Plants Vs. Zombies HD, Temple Run, Paper by 53, and Top Gear Magazine all haven’t updated their apps to prevent the in-app purchase trick. The proof is in the pudding, as many other apps, including Jetpack Joyride, Let’s Golf! 3, TIME Magazine, Talking Tom, etc. all have verified validation code in their apps.

Is it ethically wrong to exploit these apps due to developer failure to add a few lines of code? Yes. Does it mean devs should throw in the towel? Not even close.

To get back on track, the In-App purchase system is one of the worst I’ve seen in a while. While playing the Super Monster Bros., you’re constantly bombarded with in-app purchase reminders. It seems as though the entire game is based around these purchases. I mean it. The entire game is based on in-app purchases. Let that sink in your head for a second. Want to get to later levels? You’re pretty much going to need to purchase a new character. Purchase more shots. Purchase more lives. Am I annoying you yet?

The worst part about all of this is the price for all these purchases. Look at this screenshot.

photo

 

 

A whopping THREE purchases are $99.99. There’s two that are $49.99 (one not listed). The rest from $.99 to $9.99. This is straight up robbery, people. If this is the future of freemium, I want nothing to do with it. That’s not to say the freemium model can’t work, because it certainly can. The real solution is for devs to get it together, and create something great; garbage like this should be a clear reminder to us all.

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How to Downgrade iOS Applications

This article serves to guide those looking to downgrade their iOS applications for whatever reason.

Tools Required:

  • Any iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
  • The latest version of iTunes (NOTE: iTunes 11 no longer supports Custom IPSW files; you will need to find iTunes 10, and/or use a developer registered device with XCode to test applications not on the App Store)
  • Mac or PC

The two main goals of this procedure:
1)  Run older versions of apps on devices that don’t support the latest iOS:

Note: As of October 2013, users running unsupported/deprecated versions of iOS will find that it is now possible to download the latest supported version of an app for their device (i.e. Pages for iOS on an iPad 1; the newest version supports only iOS 7 and above, but an older version can be downloaded in its place, rendering an iDevice useful once again).

2) Allow end users of current iOS builds to revert apps to older states – i.e. a new update could include a serious flaw/bug/etc.

This article covers how to downgrade for both non-jailbroken and jailbroken iOS Devices.

NOTE: Downgrading apps that are server based will likely leave the app in question ineffective. Some examples are: Let’s Golf 3 (or most Gameloft apps), Twitter clients not using Twitter API v1.1, and so forth.

Downgrading a Version of an App normally (No Jailbreak):

1.) Search your Recycle Bin/Trash for the app you want to downgrade. You need to look here, since iTunes by default moves older versions of Applications to the Trash/Recycle Bin, but does not delete them.

1.1) Apps may not show up initially, since it may be a hidden file. You will need to enable Hidden Files and Folders; On OS X, launch Terminal.app and write the command “defaults.write.com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE” sans quotes. If you aren’t comfortable with Terminal, here are some other methods of enabling Hidden Files and Folders (Macintosh | Windows)

1.2.) Once you’ve enabled Hidden Files and Folders, search for the app in the Recycle Bin/Trash once more. When it appears drag it out of the Trash and onto the Desktop (or any directory you desire). If you still cannot find the app, it is either deleted from the system, or your files/folders are not hidden.

3. Now, you need to delete the current version of the app in question. In the App pane in iTunes, delete the specified App simply by right clicking it and selecting Delete. When prompted, make sure you select “Move All Files to Trash”. By not selecting this option, your older app may sync incorrectly.

4.) With iTunes open, drag the app you want from the Desktop (or wherever) into the iTunes menu bar. A small + icon should verify the app is ready to be moved into the Applications folder. (You may also work directly with folders in Finder/Control Panel if you wish. The path needed is /username home folder/Applications/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media/Mobile Applications.)

4.1) To verify that the older version of the app in question will sync correctly, right click the app (in iTunes) and select Get Info. Under the Account Name, it should read the Apple ID used to purchase the app. If it does not, you MUST authorize the particular Apple ID with your computer. To do so, go to Store<Authorize Account and enter the specified Apple ID and password.

5.) Sync as normal. If the app requires login credentials, you will more than likely need to provide them again. As I noted above, some applications may be affected by server changes, and may not operate as intended once on the device. This would include Twitter clients that have not updated to the v1.1 API and Gameloft applications.

Downgrading via Crack (Jailbroken devices only)

1.) Make sure your device is Jailbroken. If your iDevice is not jailbroken, you can find out how to jailbreak here. If you’re unsure whether or not your device can be jailbroken, use this checklist.

2.) You will need access to a repository that offers a tweak/package allowing cracked applications to sync. For this example, we will refer to AppSync. Open Cydia and Navigate to the following: Manage<Sources<Edit<Add. Now add the following Repo (URL): http://repo.hackyouriphone.org/. Once the repo is added successfully, let the device reboot/respring.

3.) Open Cydia again. Once the repo shows up in your repository list, search for AppSync for iOS 6.x. (Note: I have not yet tried AppSync for iOS 5.0 and above). Download and Respring/Reboot.

4.) Now, refer to the guide above for non-jailbroken devices. You will follow the guide step by step, except you will be transferring cracked apps (rather than ones from your Trash) into iTunes. If you need a place to find apps, here’s one of them. (Note: I don’t encourage pirating paid iOS applications. You should use sources like these to find older versions of applications only)

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions, feel free to comment below.

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Some Mailbox Math.

If you haven’t heard, Orchestra Inc. is releasing a new mail client for GMail and iOS called Mailbox. It’s gotten quite a bit of buzz in the tech arena recently, mostly because of a unique reservation system. The app is live on Apple’s App Store, but instead of being greeted with setup and login information, Orchestra is requiring it’s users to queue up for invitations.

Between it’s launch on the App Store yesterday and writing this post, ~544,000 people are still waiting on invitations. My personal spot as of this moment is 265,126 (with 265,125 people in front of me, and 279,000 behind me). Want to know when you’ll get your invite? Do some basic math.

At a rate of 1 invite/10 seconds, I shouldn’t expect to see my invite for at least another month. Precisely, when I did the math, I could garner my invite in 1 month, 2 days, 10 hours, 6 minutes, and 20 seconds.

Yesterday, this would have seemed accurate as maybe only ~2-3K invites were sent. However, if you watch the line from the Mailbox App, it’s moving relatively fast. At a rate of 5 seconds per invite, I could receive my invite in just over a week. Sometimes it does move faster, and it’s somewhat difficult to get an average ratio considering invites are sent around the clock. Taking into account downtime and uptime, anywhere from 5-10s/invite seems appropriate.

Should I worry about my invite? I wouldn’t. Currently, Mailbox only supports GMail accounts, so for @me and Exchange aficionados, keep using the built in Mail client.

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My Future:

So, now that I am nearing the end of my fifth semester (wow, a lot of semesters under my belt), one cannot help but starting thinking about the future. I mean, with only three semesters left, you’d think I know exactly what I want to do with myself once I graduate.

And you’re right.

I will be graduating in May 2014 from the University of South Carolina, with a B.A. in English, and a minor in Business Administration. Now, you might be thinking what I think you are thinking; “English Major? What are you going to do with that, be a teacher?”

This is the number one response I get when I tell people my major. I used to let it irk me, but now, I view this question in a more positive outlook: “What can’t I do with my major?” Really. Go Google: “What can I do with an English Major?”. You will be incredibly surprised  at what you will find. Now, as with anything, there are exceptions. I would not think in a million years I could be a chemist with a B.A. degree, nor a chef, nor a hair stylist. These are all specialties, and the latter two require formal training at special academies. 

As far as what I want to do, I want a technical writing job. Or several. Putting together guides in an easy-to-understand manner is something I have enjoyed for quite sometime; more recently with my iOS guides.

Of course, landing a technical writing job that pays enough for me to live very comfortably (above $60-70K) will not come right out of college. I’m more than aware of today’s job market, despite the research from Bloomberg about jobless claims. I know that when I earn my degree, I will be living at home for quite some time, and may be working 3 jobs just to save up money, and pay off my student loans. 

You know when they say “mind over matter”? I believe that what you do with your degree is just like this: YOU make the most of it. YOU need to get comfortable with your situation, whether a top firm hires you straight out of college, you attend grad school, or you’re stuck living with your parents and working for minimum wage.

Life happens. Get comfortable, because the roller coaster called life has barely left the station.

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So, I made some iOS Tones.

Hey everyone,

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today, I decided to mess around with some audio files from a favorite game of mine, Postal 2. Normally, games have proprietary formats (for whatever reason), so I used File Juicer to extract some of Postal Dude’s dialogue to the desktop. Then, using this guide, I created SMS Tones.

To start off, I only created tones for a few sounds. Extracting the game, I found thousands of sound files. I will update the below file over time with more tones. Enjoy!

Click the link below to download. Once you extract the ZIP, all files have already been converted, so just drag, drop into iTunes, and sync. That easy. (Compatible with all iOS devices running iOS 5 and higher)

Download

EDIT: When you import one of those files into iTunes, you need to re-name it (in iTunes). Not sure why it’s happening. It’s annoying, but the tone itself works just fine. Will look into this later. Must haz sleep.

(P.S) – for anyone wondering about the legality of this…read the README in the downloaded ZIP.

(P.P.S) – If you don’t know how to change your SMS tones… Launch Settings < Sounds < Text Tone < File synced. Make sure you check Sync All Tones in iTunes.

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How to Downgrade your Twitter (for iPhone), or any iOS app. *

This article covers how to downgrade for both non-jailbroken and Jailbroken iPhones. If you do not have the file needed to downgrade normally, you must resort to the Installous tweak.

Downgrading a Version of an App normally (No Jailbreak):

1.)    Search your Recycle Bin/Trash for (ex) Twitter 3.5.1 .ipa. It may be a hidden file, so enable Hidden Files and Folders by typing in Terminal “defaults.write.com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE. (Windows users can edit Folder Settings in Control Panel)  Drag it out of your trash can and onto your Desktop.
2.)    In the App pane in iTunes, delete the specified App simply by right clicking it and selecting Delete. YES, move everything to the trash. You don’t need to go back to the Trash as you are going to replace 4.x.x with Twitter 3.5.
3.)    Drag Twitter 3.5.1 .ipa into iTunes. It doesn’t matter where, since iTunes will stick it in the app drawer automatically.
3.1) If you want to double check, Select the Twitter app you just synced in iTunes and Get Info. Under the Account Name, it should read your Apple ID. If it does not, you CAN use another Apple ID, but it must be registered with your computer. To do so, go to Store<Authorize Account and enter the specified ID and password. No crack required since the app will be signed to that ID.
4.)    Sync. Your Twitter information may be gone, but re-logging in should restore everything

Downgrading via Crack (Jailbroken devices only)

1.)    Make sure your device is Jailbroken. If your iDevice is not jailbroken, you find out how to do so here.***
2.)    Open Cydia and Navigate to the following: Manage<Sources<Edit<Add. Now add the following Repo (URL): http://cydia.hackulo.us/
3.)    It should Add, and/or prompt for a Respring/Reboot. Allow that, as always.
4.)    Once the source is added, search the Repo for Installous 4. (Note: I have not yet tried AppSync for iOS 5.0 and above, so I’m writing this for use with Installous). Download the Installous package and Respring/Reboot.
5.)    Now, you will repeat the above guide (normal downgrade) but instead, use THIS FILE. It is a cracked version of Twitter 3.5. With Installous, you’ll be able to sync it without problem. Huge thanks to @most_uniQue for the crack.**

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