Cydia Apps for a Time Walker's iPhone - SECOND ROW

This iPhone screenshot is from an episode of a TV show called Flashpoint, which I discovered on my hard drive, and with which I discovered that the most common video container in the world (anything ending in .AVI), is unplayable on this 'iPhone' handset! It took a little bit of screwing with to get right, but there is an MPlayer app on Cydia you can use to watch this forbidden format. With a few skips and jumps, and provided you don't sic it on anything too hi-rez, it works. But MPlayer expects you to upload its data to an oddly placed folder. I recommend setting this up not as a folder, but as an alias pointing somewhere inside the standard Media folder (just so it doesn't become too difficult to back up all your media at once). Here's how.

iFile to /var/mobile/Media

Use iFile to navigate to your /Media folder so that what you see is pretty similar to the above. (You may not yet have as many folders in there as I do.) This folder is where most of your jailbroken iPhone apps will look for files. You can get to it by various routes (because of preinstalled aliases, which display in iFile in blue), and they are, starting from the top: (1) /private/var/mobile/Media, (2) /var/mobile/Media, (3) /User/Media, and (4) ~/Media — all of those paths lead to the same /Media folder. Once you get there in iFile, tap 'Edit' in the top right corner, then tap the big '+' to create a new folder inside your /Media folder.

Create /MPlayer folder

Fill out the first two fields as shown above. (Case matters.) 'Directory' is a contemporary synonym for a Mac-style folder. The rest of the fields should default to what you see. Tap 'Create'.

iFile to /var

Tap the top left button a couple of times to navigate iFile back to the /var folder, and then tap 'Edit' and then '+' again.

Create /media alias

MPlayer ignores your /Media folder and instead looks for its files in /var/media. Fill out the screen as above to create an alias instead of a folder at /var/media and to point that alias toward the /User/Media/MPlayer folder that was just created two screenshots ago. Now tap 'Create' and exit iFile, and your MPlayer is set up. Just use Discover to transfer your AVIs to your /Media/MPlayer folder, and start MPlayer!

Start MPlayer

If you've done the setup and transfer right, your vids should show on MPlayer's list, like Flashpoint appears on this one.


Rather than rotating itself breathlessly with every jerk of your hand like a mental cat chasing a laser pointer, MPlayer opts to simply mix and match orientations in one view, and I have to say, I don't mind the result. It does everything it needs to do without much of a mode switch, which is actually superior to the built-in player. (Apple's screen reorientation acts like its got all the CPU power in the world, but the reality is it gets easily confused and stuck for long moments at forty-odd degree angles.) Run MemTest (that's fourth row, I'll be posting more on it soon) to clean your memory right before playing your video: it can help performance.


The most featured Cydia app is Cycorder, and for good reason: it does for creative video output what MPlayer does for input. You see, one of the video creators to whom access to the iPhone is officially denied is you, because Apple thinks the iPhone hardware's video capabilities are too poor for your tastes! Personally I find the results produce a visual feel that can be quite involving, and sometimes even a little eerie. (Both those links were, like the entirety of this article, written and captured entirely with this handset, and uploaded with Pixelpipe, which you can find in the App Store. And the 'PPVideoEnabler' app that patches Pixelpipe to read your Cycorder vids is available on Cydia.)


So, you're watching AVIs without conversion on the iPhone. It's not perfect but it basically works for most 350MB-or-below TV episodes. And you're lifestreaming video like you're a roving eye out of Max Headroom. Why not bust out of the same format prison, in sequential art? What you call, comic books. Pictured is just a smattering of comic book files discovered on my hard drive, and then, 'Discovered', via wifi, to my iPhone's /Media/Comic folder, where iComic (also on Cydia) looks for them.

iComic options

Select a .CBZ file. (Unfortunately, iComic doesn't do .CBRs yet, but the conversion process is fairly trivial.) Note that you have the option to skip to your last position, or pick pages from a list.

iComic portrait

In portrait mode, iComic just got completely out of my way like a movie player and immediately filled my screen with pure comic. Which transmogrified into pure frustration, when nothing I tapped or swiped appeared to turn the page, or even exit. I was stuck on page one! Turns out the controls are very simple, if not iPhone-intuitive. Tap bottom corners to page forward and back. Tap top left corner to return to the list. It's a bit picky about accuracy, which seems unnecessary. Anyway it looks great, and in landscape mode, you can even read it...

iComic landscape

Not too shabby. And you can pinch and squeeze to your heart's content. The actual comic book pictured, by the way, would likely not be accepted to the App Store, due to mature themes that appear to have bounced out this artist, and this one, and this one. So odious to me is the news of such barrings that I don't plan to submit Hypothesis to Apple at all, and will instead be looking into how to assimilate iComic and codistribute via the free culture the way these artists have done.


On free culture: there are hundreds of thousands of free eBook files out there in various formats, and though you aren't wholly prevented from accessing most of them without jailbreaking, you are still placed at an annoyingly far remove from whatever personal collection of .TXTs or .RTFs or .PDBs you already have. Besides, THEY ARE JUST TEXT. This really should not be that complicated: have a file, read a file. You can get back to that ideal by installing this Cydia app textReader, and then transferring your eBooks to the iPhone's /Media/textReader folder.

textReader portrait

Fonts are adjustable, and the app will do landscape, if you swing that way! But it does not read all formats. I seem to have inherited a lot of TomeRaider files, for example, and have yet to find a way to read them on this phone. 8(

NEXT: THIRD ROW - Google Reader, Classic Gaming
Posted via Pixelpipe.

[Published originally at The Laroquod Experiment.]

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