Hello, I’m a web craftsman with a passion for the modern web. I build web applications and play with social services and communities.

January 26, 2010 at 7:30 pm

iPhone Recovery ModeToday an App crashed my iPhone pretty badly. This has never happened before and was rather awkward. I was using the App normally and after I ended it and went back to the home screen, the screen went black after half a second and the phone restarted. Or better said: It tried to restart. It couldn’t get past the Apple logo and was totally stuck there. I tried restarting it several times but nothing helped. So I had no choice but restoring the phone from an backup.

Here are the steps to put your phone into Recovery Mode: (using an iPhone 3GS and iTunes 9)

  1. Plug your iPhone via the USB cable to your computer and start iTunes
  2. Press and hold the Screen-lock button and Home button simultaneously until the phone turns off and release the buttons then (in case your phone is not totally stuck like mine you can just shut it down normally by holding the screen-lock button until the red slider appears)
  3. Now press and hold the Home button immediately and wait until the phone starts and goes to Recovery Mode. While on the cable the phone does start automatically after shutting it down. So be quick to release the buttons from step 2 and move over to hold the Home Button

Now you should have the option to restore your iPhone to factory settings. After that you can choose to set the device up as a new one or restore all your personal data from an backup. Once this is done the iPhone will sync all your iTunes media back to the device.

The whole process was quite straight forward but left me without a phone for about 2 hours.

January 26, 2010 at 5:14 pm

LocaNote LogoAbout a week ago I launched a new web service with a few friends from university. It’s called LocaNote. LocaNote is a cloud service that stores personal notes online. What’s special about LocaNote is that every note has a geographical location attached to it. Using this information LocaNote will show you only notes that are relevant to your current position. And since it is a cloud service you can take your notes with you on a mobile device. An iPhone App is in development right now and should be available on the App Store within the next few weeks. The built-in GPS receiver in the iPhone makes it the perfect mobile device for LocaNote. It will automatically use it’s current GPS-location to find notes that are really close to your actual position. Also, when you create a new note it will be placed on your current location.

The website and API is done in Ruby on Rails and the web frontend makes heavy use of the recently released jQuery 1.4.

LocaNote Screenshot

LocaNote Notes View

January 20, 2010 at 10:26 pm

Gravatar (globally recognized avatar) is an Avatar Service from Automattic, the company behind WordPress. It allows users to upload an avatar which is attached to an email address. This way developers all over the world can integrate “Gravatars” into their web services. All they need is a users email address. For the end-user this has the advantage that they have only one place for maintaining their avatars. Any change to their gravatar will immediately have an effect on all gravatar-enabled web services.

So how to implement Gravatar in your Ruby on Rails project?

One way would be to generate the URL to the gravatar manually.

Such a URL looks like this:


The long combination of numbers and letters is a MD5 hash of the users email address.
So the Rails Code in your View could look like this:

<%= image_tag “http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/” + MD5::md5(“user@email.com”.downcase) + “.jpg” %>

Or since you are using Ruby why not go straight for a Rails Gem? “Gravtastic” does a good job here.

Just install the Gem and use


in your User Model.

After that you have a new attribute “gravatar_url” available to any instance of “User”.