First iPhone Woe

I got my first iPhone today. It’s a nice device, but seriously, Aaargh!

I have been using computers and cell phones since 1995, and no device has ever seemed so relentlessly bent on giving me Excedrin Headache #42. You know, the one that makes you want to run outside in your pajamas, lay on the ground, and beg to be hauled off by passing Vogons. (If you’re not smiling, Google 42 and Vogons.)

I want to save you the same headache. So here are a couple of things you need to know, and which you’re otherwise going to have trouble finding out.

Setting Up Gmail on iPhone 4 – 4S.

If the iPhone refuses to recognize your Gmail password, consider this: Do you have 2 factor authentication set up? That’s where, when you log in to a computer or device for the first time, it sends you a text message, with a secret code. This is a great way to protect your accounts. But iPhones and many other devices don’t work with it. They can’t ask you for the secret code, like a PC can.

An iPhone will just keep telling you that your username and password don’t work. So I changed my password to a shorter one, thinking maybe it was too long for the iPhone’s mail app to process. (Yeah, I know, but you’ve got to try something.)

If you have 2 factor, you don’t have to turn it off. Go to this URL:

https://accounts.google.com/IssuedAuthSubTokens

Get an Application Specific Password for Gmail on your iPhone, and use that instead of your regular Gmail password. It worked for me.

iPhone App Store demands security questions, then times out.

You go to the App Store, try to get an app, and it keeps asking you to create 3 secret questions, then it times out. You create the questions, but it won’t let you download the app.

It’s like trying to cross The Bridge of Death. You keep getting cast into The Gorge of Eternal Peril.

I talked to VerizonWireless about this, having Googled it to death and learning that many iPhone users have had this problem intermittently, for months. Verizon confirms it’s a recurring problem – a server glitch at Apple. They keep talking to Apple about it, and Apple keeps slamming into FAIL.

The tech support rep at Verizon said she’d had at least 20 calls in a row about it tonight. So hopefully Apple is still fixing it, again.

I told the nice lady at Verizon that they might want to call Apple again, again, because if it’s not fixed within 24 hours they’re getting the phone back, sideways. (Seriously, I never hassle phone reps, it’s not cool.) But I found that if I just kept tapping on install, and refusing to create their questions three, I could finally continue on my quest.

You have to know these things when you’re a king, you know.

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Firefox Won’t Play YouTube (Flash) Videos – Solution

Many people are experiencing a problem in which YouTube videos and other Flash content will not play in Firefox. Instead a message appears which says:

“An Error Occurred. Please Try Again Later.”

User forums abound with pleas for help, which are either answered incompetently by support personnel or ignored altogether.

I tried so many things to fix this. I re-installed Flash, disabled many plug-ins, ran CCleaner to purge the browser, re-installed Firefox with personalization retained then deleted, and scoured the unhelpful forums.I even ran a clean-up scan of my registry, which I hate doing. It makes me nervous because making changes to the registry can cause serious problems.

The Solution

For me, the issue turned out to be a conflict within Firefox between Flash and RealPlayer. The solution was to change the settings in RealPlayer as described in the Adobe Forums at http://goo.gl/1C7rA.

If you have the problem and are using an alternate browser, you can watch this video demonstration of the repair: