Two iPhone App Requests for the Lazyweb

After using my iPhone for over two months now, I really have only three lingering annoyances with it. Two, which can hopefully be solved quickly via the magic of the lazyweb:

  1. No way to simply give a URL its own button in the main menu (like, for instance, your favorite humor site). Solved with iPhone Apper!
  2. No way to either increase the duration or recurrence of vibration when you receive an SMS message (currently, it lasts about a half second and never buzzes again, causing me to miss it the great majority of the time).
  3. No over-the-air or wifi syncing capabilities (probably not solvable without Apple’s help).

Numbers one and two seem imminently solvable given the groundswell of development activity within the iPhone community lately, and number two would be of benefit to nearly everyone who uses vibrate mode.

I was hesitant to hack my iPhone at all until last night when Newsvine Lance showed me how easy and clean it has become to install apps. In case you’re curious, just download the AppTap Installer to your Mac, sync up, and you can begin testing out new apps and customizations without any dirtywork or scary command line stuff. After the Installer is installed, launch it and install “Community Sources” to get the full array of applications available for your iPhone. The first ones I recommend installing are Summerboard, BSD Subsystem, MobileFinder, Mobile Terminal, and NES (in that order). It’s important to install Summerboard first so your list of applications is infinitely scrollable.

Anyway, back to the lazyweb stuff.

For number one, it would be nice to simply be able to add an application called, say, “Bookmark Launcher”, and have the app prompt you for a URL and the name of the Bookmark. After you type the URL and name in, an icon would be created in the main menu that takes you straight to the site. Quick and simple. See iPhone Apper.

For number two, either of two things would solve the problem of missed SMS vibrations: tack on an extra second or two of vibration when an SMS (or any alert) comes in or keep vibrating every 5 or 10 minutes for up to an hour until the alert is dismissed. I was skeptical that this pet peeve of mine could ever be hacked around until I saw the, uhhh, “interesting” app iBrate. Say what you want about the app, but it’s a nice proof of concept for modifying iPhone’s weak vibration alerts.

Before I was a crotchety old man, I’d have tried to tackle these two potential features myself, but alas, I don’t have the expertise. Anybody have any ideas? I’ll sport a brand new Samsung Upstage music phone to whoever solves number two. It’s the worst phone ever invented — I know — but it’s new and it’s free, and it goes for over $200 on eBay.

10 comments on “Two iPhone App Requests for the Lazyweb”. Leave your own?
  1. Vladimir says:

    Mikey D giving away free stuff again. Be happy your phone vibrates at all, I dropped my current LG phone on the ground a week after owning it and its not vibrated since.

    And yes, I know, LG sucks.

  2. Jim says:


    I have the exact same problem! I am always missing my alerts (txt and calls) when set to vibrate. It is compounded for me as I am leaving my curve behind which was never shy about letting me know something was up!

    Good luck mate

  3. Mike, it’s fairly easy to roll and app up that’s simply a web link. For instance, see my latest screenshot: the “Twitter” icon is simply a weblink app that opens up Safari and points it to PocketTweets.

    Make an icon for it and you’re set.

    Shoot me an email and I can role one up for you. You can always duplicate it and change which link it points to as well.

  4. nick says:

    you know what i would really like to see? a bluetooth icon on the home screen. you push it and it turns bluetooth on. push it again and bluetooth turns off. i cant imagine this being too hard to build.

    turning bluetooth on and off right now is 4 layers deep. not exactly ideal if, for instance, youre in the car and forgot to turn on bt so you can use your hands-free system or headset.

    i’m imagining you hit the button, bluetooth turns on, a little window pops up telling you what it’s paired with (not unlike the request to join a wifi network popup window) and then youre ready to go.

  5. Steve C. says:

    Hey Mike, I haven’t personally tried it but “iPhone Apper” sounds like it’s what you need for request #1. Shaun Inman posted about it here:

  6. Mike D. says:

    Josh and Steve C.: Ah thanks! Perfect! Ok, so I guess it’s just down to the vibration enhancement app now. I really wish I could write it myself.

  7. Todd says:

    I haven’t tried it as I don’t have an iPhone yet, but iPhone AutoSync may help you address your third request.

  8. Josh says:

    From the website… “However, I could not figure out exactly how it works, as it seems for now it works more like a reminder service which then syncs the changes to the iPhone when you connect it to your computer rather then magically syncing your iPhone over Wi-Fi whenever your iPhone is on the same network as your Mac.”


  9. Michael Lamb says:

    In response to #2:

    Searching around I found this app:

    Which puts a + in the taskbar when you miss an SMS or email. The author hasn’t released the source (yet), but it would be trivial (for an ObjC dev) to take the iBrate code and meld it with this app.

    Either way, it looks like the solution is doable.

  10. iGuana says:

    Found out how to make the Vibration do whatever you want, you need to edit the PLIST file in /System/Library/Frameworks/Celestial.framework named: SystemSoundVibrationPatterns.plist

    The part with default is for the default vibration alert. It has an off duration, an on duration and a total duration. You can add an infinite (I think) amount of off/on durations to the existing ones, so that the vibrate will go on and off for the number of times you like. The integer value after the duration is the how long it needs to vibe. (or not incase of the offduration) and the total duration speaks for itself. Here and example of mine plist.

    It has 3 vibes now like my old SE had. In real it gives 4 vibes but you get my point.

    (Want to thank the guys at hackint0sh for inspiration)

    OffDuration 2
    OffDuration 3
    OnDuration 2
    OnDuration 3

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