Thursday, October 25, 2012

Supporting old iPhones: Keep a local copy of older apps

It's not hard to keep an old computer running well -- just don't update. 

That's harder to do for old iPhones, especially for a family where every phone syncs with one instance of iTunes (and thus all share apps, movies and the like). If I accept all updates I find that perfectly good apps no longer work on old phones -- even the still Apple supported 3GS.

So I've copied all 1.7GB of apps from iTunes Music\Mobile Applications to a local store. When a valued app stops working on an old phone, I can delete the update and restore the older version. Going forward I'll accept the updates, and if something breaks I'll evaluate a reversion.

I wonder how this works for users who sync to the Cloud.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Retrospect Professional for Windows 7.7 bug: recreate backup set workaround

Dantz barely sells Retrospect: for Windows, and the version I use (EMC) is obsolete, so this bug workaround will probably go unused. Still, if you're the one desperate person ...

The normal function for recreating a Backup Set Catalog File (essential!) is broken. After clicking Recreate "to build a replacement Catalog File from the Backup Set's media" and choosing File Backup Set medium you get the open catalog dialog. Which, of course, does not exist.

The workaround is to choose Tools:Repair Catalog then select Recreate from disks (even though you are recreating from Files, which in Retrospect is not the same as Disks) then All Disks then navigate to the folder holding your backup files. It will take a very long time, but it will recreate a catalog.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Brother printer: check drum life before ordering new printer cartridge

I've ordered 3 printer cartridges since I bought my Brother 2140 a bit over two years ago [2]. Yes, we still print. It's a kid thing. The toner light is on again [5], so I'm toner shopping.

I don't mind buying them, the printer is reasonably economical and, ever since I set it up with an Airport Express print server rather than using my Snow Leopard iMac it's been trouble free. the cartridges aren't cheap though, a new cartridge is a good fraction of the price a new printer with its low capacity "starter" cartridge. [1] So I like to check the drum life first.

I thought I could do that through Printer Setup or CUPS (http://localhost:631/admin/?ADVANCEDSETTINGS=YES) interface, but I couldn't get it to work. This did:

How Do I Run a Self Test on a Brother HL-5240 Printer? |

You can print a 'Printer Settings' page by pressing the 'Go' button on the front of the printer three times within 2 seconds. This page will provide information about the printer, such as its' media access control (MAC) address."

From the Printer Settings page I see I've printed 10,152 pages and I'm on my "fourth" (third really, first was tiny [4]) toner cartridge and the drum has 13% remaining life. That suggests a low cost printer drum is good for about four cartridge replacements. The current alternative is the Brother HL-2270DW or HL-2240D; they use the TN-450 printer cartridge; my current printer uses the TN360.

I bet I can get one more cartridge out of the drug, so this time I'll get the high yield cartridge [4]. After this cartridge is done, I'll get a new printer. [3]

[1] When you price a printer, always add the price of a standard cartridge to the printer price.
[2] Some scummy vendors are selling obsolete printers for about $300 on Amazon. I'm surprised the sleazy side of Amazon doesn't get more attention. 
[3] My LaserWriter 360 lasted about ten years, but I think it costs about $1000 @ 1992.
[4] I think I accidentally bought the standard rather than high yield cartridge with my last purchase. 
[5] If you tape over the clear plastic portal used by the toner level sensor, you can keep printing. There are many web pages that describe how to do this. The trick is to put the tape on the toner cartridge, not the carrier. When I put it on the carrier I tend to forget, and then run out of toner. This way I order a new toner, and wait until printing fails before I replace it. 

Apple extends iMac drive replacement program - will refund what I paid

A year ago, after a month of system instability but no SMART reported errors, I paid an Apple Store to repalce my 27" iMac drive. It was an annoying process. I had to buy a drive test utility to figure out what was going wrong; the drive was losing data, but the 'smart' drive OS was hiding the bad sectors from the OS. When paid to have the drive replaced it was a warranty-like service -- I had to go with the standard 1TB swap. I couldn't upgrade.

Later Apple introduced a replacement program, but my serial number didn't quality. Recently they extended the program
Apple has determined that certain Seagate 1TB hard drives used in 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMac systems may fail. These systems were sold between October 2009 and July 2011.
I received an email telling me to replace my drive. It suggested I contact Apple support if I paid for the drive. I did and I was told that I'd be refunded. Here's what I did to contact them:
  • When to the Apple support site and tried each of my four Apple IDs until I found the one that currently holds my repair record.
  • Wrote down the Repair ID and Case ID.
  • Found the menu option for 'disk repair' in the email contact form so I could schedule a call.
  • Answered the call and was routed to support person.
I'm not sure my Repair ID and Case ID were all that useful, I think they could have found me by phone number, name and address.

Update 10/24/12: Apple sent me this email, which certainly sounded suspicious ...
We need banking information to complete your refund...
Bank Name:
Bank Account Number:
Bank Routing Number (9 digits):
It's legit of course, but still. A Google search on 'checks routing number" images told me how to parse my barely used checkbook.

Update 11/7/12: Two weeks after I sent in my bank information Apple responded with a new request for bank information AND a scanned repair receipt. Not happy.

International iPhone: Using a Canadian SIM card had surprising effects on return to US - Google Voice, Voicemail, Siri

I've never heard of anything like this, but for what it's worth my use of a Canadian SIM card was associated with several iPhone 4S (unlocked) malfunctions on my return to the US. All of them were correctable, but they were surprising. I ran into six problems over a few days -- all new.

  • The first time I turned on with my US AT&T SIM the phone couldn't find service. It found AT&T on a second power cycle.
  • There was something odd about iMessage. Alas, I didn't pay much attention and don't recall how I fixed it.
  • My data services were a bit odd. Emails seemed to send normally, but they weren't received. I had to power cycle the phone to fix taht.
  • Siri failed 100% of the time, instead of the usual 40% failure rate. She woke up but didn't seem to receive my voice instruction. Turning Siri on and off fixed that.
  • My voice mail didn't work. I had to reenter the pass code.
  • Calls to my Google Voice number went directly to voice mail and didn't call my phone. I had to delete my mobile number from GV, then reenter and reverify the same number.

I don't know if all of these problems had the same cause, but they could all be related to problems reestablishing the relationship between my phone's IMEI  and my AT&T number.

Thinking over my swap sequence, I began by swapping in  a Rogers paygo SIM while in Canada. I turned on airplane mode until landing, then I turned it off and at that point my iPhone (IMEI?) was "roaming" in the US - interestingly, under T-mobile. For kicks I tried to text, which failed. I then turned the phone off, and put in an AT&T SIM.

The next time I return to the US from Canada I'll put the AT&T SIM in before I first enter AT&T coverage. I wonder if the transient T-Mobile roaming was the real problem. The Google Voice malfunction was particularly annoying.

Friday, October 19, 2012

VMWare Fusion 5: faster with a single file than with 2GB files?

I've been girding my primary machine for the Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion conversion for about a year. Yes, before ML was released.

Have I mentioned that I hate OS updates?

The good news is that I'm starting to like Mountain Lion on my MacBook Air. I like it enough I'm even considering replacing my main machine's problematic Magic Mouse with a Magic Pad after the conversion. So now I'm closing in on the last steps, including update my historically sluggish VMWare 3 XP image. Today I downloaded a trial version of VMWare 5; annoyingly the download is 5.0 and the first step is to upgrade to 5.01.

During the installation VMWare 5.0 offered to free up disk space; my Win XP VM had again swollen to 120GB [1]. After clean up and conversion it turned into a single 50GB file. This surprised me; I'd previously used 2GB stripes because I hoped Time Machine backup would be less affected. I suspect VMWare strongly prefers the single file model. I also took this upgrade opportunity to tell the VM to use two cores, and I shrank the XP memory allocation to the recommended 512MB [2] and set Windows internal memory management to system controlled (default).

 Probably thanks to the single file, but maybe due to the second core, the XP instance feels much quicker. In particular I'm hearing much less background disk access.

I'll stay with the single file for now, and I'll exclude it from my Time Machine backup. It will be copied by my nightly disk mirror and I'll keep an instance on another local drive.

[1] I shrank it in over a year ago, and use it very infrequently, so this large growth suggests a bug somewhere - VMWare, Windows XP, something about my setup. I'll have to keep an eye on it. I suspect at some point I might want to start over with a fresh XP image, but that's a painful thought. It's probably easier to just shrink the image periodically. In retrospect, I don't recommend converting an existing Windows system into a VMWare image.
[2] I could easily give it 2GB, but I suspect there's a reason VMWare recommends this modest allocation.

See also:

Thursday, October 18, 2012

iTunes smart playlists with nested rules

I had absolutely no idea this was possible, but iTunes smart playlists can have nested rules (Mac OS X Hints). I tried it, and it works. Option click the icon for adding rules and you get nested rules.

Unfortunately based on comments we learn that iCloud Match can barely support smart playlists at all and that nested playlists don't always work with iOS. So in general it's safer to build playlists atop playlists rather than use nesting, but it's so cool Apple once did this.

Alas I expect Apple to lobotomize iTunes with version 11 to match iCloud's limited capabilities. Until then, cool feature.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Working with a MacBook Air 11" - Tips

I don't  use my MacBook Air that often, since I usually travel with a corporate behemoth and I'm otherwise home bound or occupied. So it's taken me  a while to figure out how to make best use of the 11" screen. Here are some tips I've picked up:

  • Apple made full screen mode for this device. Forget the stories about it being iOS-lite; you need full screen.
  • Mountain Lion full screen works (Lion was awkward) thanks to the the 3 finger mission control gesture.
  • You can move mission control screens around, so you can arrange the full screens in a common sequence that makes it easier to navigate them.
  • Browser tabs now make sense. Each browser gets its own window (full screen), but tabs work within a screen. (There are some odd things with Chrome, full screen, and app switching, but not enough to make me displace Chrome as my full-time non-iOS browser).
  • Sparrow for OS X is essential for a Gmail user, esp. now that Google's UIs waste vast amounts of screen real estate. Sadly it's in minimal maintenance mode (at best) since the team left for Google. It doesn't, for example, support Google two-factor verification; you have to use one of Google's security-annihilating not-really-application-specific passwords. I hope some other team will replicate Sparrow. If the Sparrow team/Google were honorable, they'd open source this app. $10 on the app store for ad-free, and worth it for however long it lasts. Since the data lives on Google there's no harm in using it for now. [1]
  • I need something like Sparrow for Google Calendar -- we are cursed by Google's miserable space-wasting UI [2]. I may try OS X again, too bad Fantastical isn't a native extension to Google Calendar (it works through iCal). BusyCal is $50; if it were $20 I'd try the free trial. [3]

[1] IMAP syncs too much data locally, and Apple is incompetent at delivering net services like email and calendaring. I only need my full multi-GB email repository on my home server.
[2] Apple can't do net services, Google can't do UIs. Sigh.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Low income computing and emergency mobile in Canada: Rogers Paygo by the minute with 100 MB/month data.

I've been tracking low cost approaches to computing over the past few years, especially because the cost of personal computing has increased so much.

Increased you say? But, you say, it's possible to buy a (not too useful) Nexus 7 for $200? What about those low cost wintops? Heck, the Raspberry Pi is almost free! How can the cost have risen?

Ahh, but today a computer without net access is almost a doorstop -- and net access is not cheap. It's not hard to find families paying more for monthly communications than they would for payments on a new car. Even though we are relatively cheap (rabbit ear TV/no cable, 2 netflix DVD plan, kids are H2O wireless voice-only mobile, war on AT&T) our family's yearly all media communications bill is probably close to $3,000 [1]. That's unaffordable for many families. It dwarfs even the 4 year amortized price of a MacBook.

So how low can one go and still be able to do basic email (Gmail), basic messing (iMessage or ad-supported), maybe some Google Voice or VOIP [2], perhaps a bit of Facebook? Based on some headache inducing research from a recent trip to Canada i think one could do it for about $170 a year including Canadian taxes - not including the cost of acquiring a 3GS (0-$150 depending on friends and family)

Here's how I get those numbers:

  • Buy a $100 voucher for a Rogers PayGo by-the-minute plan. This will provide emergency mobile service for 40 cent/minute and expires after 1 year. There's a $1 fee each month for "911 access".[3]
  • Pay $10 a month for 100MB of data. [4]
  • Get a GSM iPhone 3GS Need iCloud services for basic backup and computer-free configuration so need iOS 6.
Are there cheaper ways to get emergency voice service, basic email, messaging and Facebook in Canada? From what I've seen in the US PayGo market this is probably about as cheap is it gets. The beauty of PayGo vouchers, of course, is that cost overruns are contained.

[1] Guesstimate, includes some media costs which aren't purely communication costs. [2] Google Voice is not VOIP of course and it's also not available in Canada. [3] I can't rule out other hidden fees that may hit. Mobile carriers are evil. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Review: Snapfon ezONE-C Senior mobile phone (GSM, unlocked)

I bought my 83 yo mother the unlocked GSM Snapfon ezONE-C Senior Cell Phone with Big Buttons for about $80 (it's $60 now) along with its car charger (forgetting she doesn't drive any more!). I then carried it to her home in Montreal and activated on a Roger's 40 cent/min (but 0$/day) PayGo plan.

My mother likes her Mac Mini and iPad, but she's largely blind, quite arthritic, and has peripheral neuropathy reducing her sense of touch. So most phones won't work for her. This was the only phone we could find that she might be able to use. She needs, for example, to be able to call for help when Montreal's sometimes unreliable wheelchair transport service fails to show up - leaving her stuck in her wheelchair as snow swirls, water freezes, and hungry wolves approach over the ice.

It is impressive how few devices are made for people like my mother.  I assume the demand isn't there. Certainly if she were younger she might do well with a VoiceOver iPhone, but the combination of age and diminished touch make VoiceOver hard for her. In any case that was my best guess, but the next best choice to this $60 phone is probably a $700 iPhone 5.

Based on limited use, here are my impressions of the device. I'll also add a modified version of this review to I'll start with the bad, then the good. Bottom line: I think it will work, but I'd rather buy a better version for $100 than the current phone for $60.

The Bad

  • It doesn't get its time settings off the mobile network. Very weird.
  • I fear it doesn't  persistently store its configuration. I don't want to test this, but I think prolonged removal of the battery will wipe all setup - and setup is a bit painful. File this under "suspicion" not proven. Settings do survive a quick battery swap. (Maybe it's storing some data on the SIM card, in which case I might have been confused by a SIM swap.)
  • This is a very Chinese product -- feels like it was built for the Chinese or Japanese market. That is, it has a number of weird add-on features like an FM radio and a flashlight that mostly add complexity and seem weird for the US market. On the other hand, I think my mother might actually use the FM radio. It uses the ear set as an antenna. In my testing it worked well with an iPhone ear set and with iPod ear buds despite the manual saying only Nokia and SNAPFON earphones work.)
  • It has too many features that can simply cause confusion and will never be used, like 'conference call' and 'call waiting'. Even SMS is of dubious value. The radio introduces many options.
  • The power connector is small and hard for my mother to find. I stuck a rubber matt near it so she could find it. It is easily confused with the headphone jack.
  • It feels fragile and unreliable. We're not talking iPhone 5 build. I'd happily pay $40 more for better build quality.
  • Display is small and text layout is a bit off. I suspect it was designed to show characters, not Roman letters.
  • Buttons take some push -- they are cheap!
  • It comes with "PureTalk"; it's probably not the best PayGo solution but it's not entirely bad. For the US market I'd suggest H2O Wireless instead.

The Good

  • Big buttons!
  • Ringer is LOUD and voice loud even at intermediate settings.
  • The instruction manual is large type.
  • I could get a camera lanyard into the lanyard hoop with a bit of fiddling (essential accessory, should be bundled with phone).
  • It speaks numbers as they are entered. Great feature!
  • Seems to have very long battery life.
  • The quick dial numbers will work well I think, even though we decided not to enable the SOS feature for now.
  • Yes, the flashlight and radio are quirky, but my mother might actually come to like them.

I created a large print 1 page handout for my mother that included a simplified version of usage directions and the numbers I programmed in for her.

Canada travel: Activating a Rogers paygo SIM for your iPhone or other unlocked GSM phone (voice only).

I live in Minnesota and have mobile service through AT&T. My iPhone 4S has been unlocked by AT&T.

While visiting Montreal I activated my mother's SNAPFON and my AT&T iPhone 4S with Canada's Rogers Wireless. There are clearly right and wrong ways to do this. I'll share what I learned and update this if I discover a better path.

I chose Rogers because their spectrum is compatible with GSM phones, including AT&T unlocked iPhones. They are the largest mobile carrier in Canada, and even more beloved than our AT&T. I'll outline what I did, then provide some additional detail.

  1. Decide what PAYGO plan you want. We had two choices - By the Day and By the Minute. By the Day costs $1/day but usage fees are lower. By the Minute is more per minute but there's no daily charge. It's not clear you can change plans. I should have gotten By the Minute for our needs, but ended up buy the By the Day plan -- which will burn through money faster. Surprisingly, you can change plans at any time by using *611 (below).
  2. Decide what 4 digit PIN you want and what area code you want.
  3. Acquire SIM cards (micro or full). I picked up 2 iPhone Mini-SIM and 1 GSM full size SIM from a Rogers store at Pte Claire mall. They were free.
  4. Buy vouchers: $20 (expire 30 days) or $100 (expire 365 days). [1]
  5. Activate phone by one of three methods: online (don't [1]), by phone (need another phone), at Roger's Shop or at some resellers. Tell Rogers which plan you want. 
  6. If you want data you have to add that feature separately. Same for voice mail, etc. See update below; I ended up adding 100MB of date from the Rogers PayGo web site.
  7. Place and receive at least one call [2]

Additional details:

  • Being a geeky kind of guy I picked up the SIM and thought I'd do the rest online. I'm still twitching from that experience. After I'd walked through various issues, including going out and buying a voucher, I got a message apologizing that my phone couldn't be activated but they'd maybe send me an email. Someday. That came with a phone number for help, which I called and the valiant support person somehow figured out a workaround. Look, just don't do this.
  • I strongly recommend having the phone activated at the place that sells you the SIM, even if they charge something like $10 for the privilege. Typically you''d but the $20 voucher and, I think, the all day pay go plan. Don't get anything else - no voicemail, nothing. Certainly don't give Rogers your credit card number. If you give them an email address make sure it's a spam address. When I activated (by phone, because I wasn't smart enough) they said they'd use a "generic" address for me and didn't care about email and phone.
  • Once you get a Paygo number it's good for 6 months with no use. After that you lose the number and have to get a new SIM. [3]
  • I bought my mother a $100 voucher and used that to activate. I bought an additional $20 voucher to take back to the US. If she runs low I can use with that voucher to get her emergency minutes. 
  • Each month money is deducted for "911 service" and for any other benefits you sign up for.
If you have a SIM, and want to activate or buy minutes without going to the Rogers store [1], you go to many magazine or grocery stores and ask for a voucher. They print out something like these:
These papers have a number to call for activation: 800-575-9090 then hit 4, 4, 1 and wait for operator. They will try to get your credit card and do the usual upselling around "promotions". You can choose between the 'any day' and 40 cent/min plan. I think the any day is the one you want, the 40 cent/min is priced for strictly emergency use and allows activation with a $10 voucher.
I did my iPhone activation that way -- dialed the number, gave them the SIM card number and the Voucher number and enjoyed a painless process.
Once you have an activated phone you can buy a voucher and add more time by entering *114* then the 14 digit voucher number.
Good luck. Remember, avoid the web - at least until you're all activated. Get activated at the time you buy the SIM if possible. Buy the vouchers.
Handy numbers used by Rogers:
  • *225: text balance
  • *868: enter PIN if requested then enter voucher number to add minutes.
  • *611: automated assistance, includes adding minutes, changing plans -- but all voice recognition. They hide the options for the cheap plans, but I was able to change my mother from 'Any Day' to 'By the Minute'. HOWEVER, I was unable to add/modify features on my iPhone. When I entered the 10 digit number Rogers couldn't find the account. (tone problem?)

- fn -

[1] you can activate the phone and buy time online -- but this needs a Canadian credit card. Also, I'd sooner give my credit card to a crack addict than give it to Rogers. Lastly, from my painful experience, anything done through their web site is very problematic.  Just don't do it. [2] I've seen this with AT&T too. Until you call out once, and perhaps receive one incoming call, the phone may not be truly on the network. 

See also

Update 10/12/2012

As I noted above when I entered my phone number on my iPhone Roger's automated *611 service didn't recognize the account. I don't know if it was a problem with tone interoperation or their accounts. Since by this point I was a bit crazed I decided to try creating an account on

Surprisingly, since I already had a Paygo phone and had already registered, this was fairly painless. I found out what address I'd been given when I phoned in:

Screen Shot 2012 10 12 at 8 07 28 PM

The name is my TrueName, but the address is made up. This is evidently the Roger's "generic" address. I can see why drug dealers like PayGo plans.

From the web site I found I could switch from Any Day to By the Minute -- but since my minutes would expire anyway I didn't bother. For me the Any Day plan was ok. I added 100 MB for $10, so now I can use iMessage and do light email or even consult a map if I have to.

I also learned I could add my MOTHER's number to my account, as long as I knew her number and PIN - despite differing names and addresses. I'm not used to this degrees of anonymity; evidently the PayGo world operates on old rules. So this is actually somewhat convenient.

Another reason to visit this site is to adjust marketing preferences -- though it takes a few days for that option to be available. Of course I gave Rogers my spam-only email on

Update 10/15/2012:

The data service didn't work. I reviewed the detailed bill summary and it showed only one data transation of 147KB. I don't know if this was due to bug in Rogers system or if my American 4S isn't compatible with Rogers data services. For the moment I'd say this is a voice and text only solution.

Update 10/3/2014:

Since I first wrote this I setup a Canadian bank account, so I can top up via Interac. Very convenient. I discovered however that, unlike every other prepay service I’ve used, when you ‘Top Up’ Rogers sets the expiration date to 30 days from payment, not 30 days beyond the current expiration. In other words, you should not top up until the very last day.

This is a scummy practice. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Microblog flow - an update

I've revised my microblog flow, built on IFTTT / My Recipes, pinboard, wordpress, and FWIW, here's how it works for today:
  • all pub pinboard shares go to a dedicated wordpress blog that's google indexed
  • pinboard 's' tag shares go to (intact) and twitter (often truncated)
  • 't' tags go to wordpress and twitter with link back to
In general I'm deprecating twitter and favoring

Monday, October 08, 2012

How to fix a corrupted Google Doc

Not all my Google Docs transferred well from v1 of the Google Docs editor to the current version. One document with an unusually long table was particularly problematic. Google's cursor tracking was off, and even small edits create ugly formatting artifacts.

I tried exporting to Word, the editing in Word and reimporting, but the results were messy -- though at least editing worked again.

I had more luck with Nisus Writer Pro. I exported as RTF, opened in NWP, saved as RTF and reimported to Google Docs. Then I used a menu command to translate it to GD native format. Seems fine now.

PS. Unrelated quirk -- when I reimported it didn't become associated with Google Drive. I had to search to bring up the new version, then drag to Google Drive to have it show in the Google Drive menu. Google Docs need a bit of usability work

Thursday, October 04, 2012

What I learned from reading the iPhone 5 manual

I've spent thousands of hours on iOS since I bought my 3G, but it was only two weeks ago that I learned I could control appointment color assignment (iOS 5).
Clearly, I needed to read the manual. So, on a recent flight, I began with the current iPhone 5 [1] doc (I have a 4S on iOS 5, I'm waiting until more bugs get worked out). I got about 1/4 of the way through because I was learning so many new things I started taking notes. 
So, for the benefit of fellow veterans who haven't read the manual for a while, here's what I didn't know (most is iOS 5 and higher, a few are iOS 6)
  • If you encrypt your iOS backups then your credentials will be backed up (otherwise you need to reenter them)
  • Prevent iPhone from trying to correct a word or phrase:  Create a shortcut, but leave the Shortcut field blank.
  • Siri (the user guide has more detail than I've seen in any article, FAQ or book)
    • To cancel a request and start over the magic word is "cancel". (I couldn't find out how to do that last Feb)
    • Remember to tell Siri which Contact is "you". (I thought I had, but it was null). Add phonetic pronunciation of unusual names. Add relatives (wife [2], mother) and kids. Add work address. Add distinctive nicknames for people who are hard to pick out from the crowd. (This enables things like: "Remind me to call my daughter when I leave the office")
    • When you start using Siri listen for two quick beeps. That means she's listening.
    • If Siri doesn't respond when you bring iPhone to your ear, start with the screen facing you, so your hand rotates on the way up.
    • Headset call button: press and hold. To continue a conversation with Siri, press and hold the button each time you want to talk
    • If want Siri to relearn your voice, turn it off and on (this can help if Siri is persistently unavailable too, easier than a full communications reset)
    • Training Siri
      • use headset you use in car and without
      • don't talk into bottom of phone
      • make a bunch of requests and correct: tap on Siri description 
  • If documents and data are enabled iCloud will share your personal dictionary between devices. (Don't know if it will share Siri speech files.)
  • Dial pause: press and hold *
  • Dial wait: press and hold #
  • Last number redial: tsp call
  • Conference calls to five are GSM only. Call forwarding and call waiting may be GSM only too. 
  • FaceTime: you can move your local image around the screen.
  • Get voicemail when visual voicemail isn't available:  Dial your own number (with CDMA, add # after your number), or touch and hold "1" on the numeric keypad.
  • Change the indentation (quote)level:  Select the text to indent, tap the right arrow icon at least twice, then tap Quote Level.
  • In iOS 6 there are a lot of interesting advanced options for email, some of which make Gmail less awkward.

I suspect there are at least as many gems in the rest of the very well done manual. I wonder if anyone else has ever read it (excepting book authors).

[1] I read the iBook version.
[2] Siri can't understand Emily's last name, but 'my wife' she gets. If I say "my son" I get a list of all my children (sons and daughter) and it's easy to select one. If I say "friend" then Siri scopes the search to friends in my contact. These tricks help when you have large numbers of contacts (ex > 1,0000).