iPods, DVDs, MP3 Players

Transfer iPhone backup to another iPhone

Question: I'm very desperate because my iPhone 3GS got stolen and now I am trying to transfer my backup to another phone, an iPhone 3. When I plug it in, it tells me that I can't restore the backup because the software on the iPhone 3 is not up to date.

So I need to set it up as a new phone first and then download the new software. Then, I'm supposed to back it up with the previous phone, however it does not let me do it. Any ideas? I really need all my contacts back.

Thank you so much for your help and for running this site!

Answer: Sorry to hear your phone was stolen – that must have been incredibly frustrating!

I was recently able to do what you described (restoring from the old phone) when I upgraded my ipad recently, and was able to restore from a backup of the old ipad. It works the same way with the iphone, so I think there's hope here for you :-)

For the old phone (the iphone 3), were you able to complete the first step of downloading the new software and getting the phone updated with the new software?

I like to take things in steps, and that would be the first step.

If you got past that step, then what error did you get when you tried to restore from the previous phone?

Netflix now has it's own Wii Channel - no DVD required

Netflix recently pubished it's own Wii channel so you don't have to insert a DVD to view Netflix movies on demand through your Wii.

Previously Netflix account holders would get a DVD from Netflix that they could plug into their Wii, that would let them watch free movies on their TV. Now you can toss the DVD and watch movies directly from the Netflix channel on your Wii.

To set this up, start your Wii and visit the Wii Shopping Channel.

You'll see the Netflix channel and you can follow the screen prompts to download it to your Wii system, or to an external SD Card.

Once the Netflix channel has been downloaded, you can go back to your main Wii menu and select the Netflix channel.

Then you'll be able to watch Netflix movies without having to insert a separate DVD.

Share Your MacBook's Internet Connection with Your iPhone or iPad

Some hotels are greedy and charge for internet connectivity, or even worse they limit internet to a single wired connection per room - like the hotel I'm staying in right now. They only have a single Ethernet cable in the room and no WiFi.

Fortunately I'm using a MacbookPro which makes it's fairly easy to share the internet connection with my iPhone and iPad. Just turn on Internet Sharing and the built-in Airport will act like a wireless access point that you can connect to from any wireless device, just like you would connect to your wireless home network.

Here's the step-by-step:

1. Make sure an Ethernet cable is plugged into your Mac and you can browse the web.

2. Make sure your Airport is also turned on, by clicking the wireless icon in your menu bar and selecting "Turn Airport On".

3. Open System Preferences (click the Apple icon on the menu bar and you'll see it as a menu option) and select "Sharing".

4. Click "Internet Sharing" and make sure "Ethernet" is selected in the "Share your connection from" dropdown, and "Airport" is selected in the "To computers using" listbox.

5. Click "Internet Sharing" one more time and you'll be asked if you're sure you want to turn on Internet Sharing. Click "Start" to turn it on and start sharing your internet connection with your iPhone or iPad.

That's all it takes to share your Mac's internet connection and then you'll be able to connect your iPad or iPhone to it the same way you'd connect to any other wireless network.

Netflix movies very slow to load - but fast on an iPad

Netflix lets you watch movies on your TV using your Wii and also on your computer using InstantWatch, which relies on Silverlight technology from Microsoft.

It works great through the Wii but it's pathetically slow on a computer with Silverlight (which I am convinced is the problem). You can expect to wait 5 - 10 minutes to load up the movie when using Netflix on your Mac or PC computer, and you can expect to wait another 5 - 10 minutes for the movie to "buffer" itself at least twice during the movie.

I've tried it on both Windows and Mac computers using both Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer browsers. Same results. It's definitely a problem with the Silverlight viewer and not the Netflix streaming service because it works great when viewing movies on your TV using a Wii.

Netflix movies fortunately still load very fast on an iPad using the Netflix app from iTunes. It took only a few seconds to load up a movie on my iPad, and I didn't experience any of the slow buffering problems that plague the PC/Mac viewer.

Once the movie was loaded on my iPad, it played almost instantly with no additional buffering. I was able to fast forward and it was able to play from the new position almost immediately - a task that leaves you waiting 5 - 10 minutes for buffering when using Netlix on your computer.

But the iPad solution is not without it's flaws. Netflix movies run faster on iPads but the quality has gone way down. Here's a clip from Surrogates starring Bruce Willis where 5 surrogate policemen are killed by a weapon that zaps their optical sockets.

You can see how bitmapped the clip looks. It's about like viewing a Youtube video which is just one step above completely unacceptable for action shots.

How to record shows from a Comcast DVR to a PC

I love my Comcast DVR because it lets me record all my favorite TV shows and then fast forward through all the obnoxious commercials. It has a limited amount of storage space however, so we're continually deciding between which shows will stay recorded and which shows will get deleted.

There have also been many times when I've wanted to save a show to my computer, or to make a DVD for friends to watch - such as the time my friend's son was interviewed on a fund raiser for MD that was hosted by one of our local news stations.

I was able to copy recorded shows from my Comcast DVR to my Windows XP computer fairly easily using a FireWire cable, a few software drivers, and a free video streaming program.

How to record shows from a Comcast DVR to a PC

1. Download software drivers and streaming video recorder.

You can download the necessary drivers and a free streaming video recorder called CapDVHS from this link (with many thanks to the AV Science Forum).

Unzip the drivers and CapDVHS recorder to a folder of your choice on your computer. You will use these in the next step after you connect your DVR to your PC.

You'll also need a software program to view the recorded video file, and the free VLC Media Player handles this nicely.

2. Connect the DVR to your PC with a Firewire cable.

My Comcast DVR is a Motorola DCT6412 that supports dual channel high definition (HD) digital recording. There are 2 Firewire ports on the back side that let you connect to your PC using a standard IEEE-1394 FireWire cable.

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