Archive for November, 2011

Getting technology to work right

November 18, 2011

One reason I bought an iPhone 4S a couple of weeks ago is that an Apple store salesman had told me that with this new model I could load a slideshow and present it directly from my smart phone to a multimedia (LCD) projector. The idea that I could carry only a handheld (perhaps with a fold-up external keyboard) and a small projector (no laptop computer) to do presentations was appealing to an air traveler like me.

After I had the phone, I bought a hard case to protect it from possible injury, and a two-year extension AppleCare technical assistance plan.

I uploaded my slideshow to the cloud,

downloaded it to my iPhone, connected the iPhone to the multimedia projector using a VGA cable (I could have used a HDMI/digital AV Adapter cable) and played the slide show. It looked great!

Because I had included videos with sound in the slide presentation, I also needed to connect external speakers that use a 3.5 mm standard cable to the iPhone’s earphone jack.

As I was inserting the cable jack plug I noticed that it fit too loosely in the jack, and I didn’t feel the satisfying snap of a close cable plug fit. When I played the video, alas there was no sound. How could this be? The iPhone 4S must not use a standard plug. If so, I thought,  there must be a convertor cable. I called the Apple store, but the person who answered the phone hadn’t a clue and suggested that I come in and look through their accessory products. I looked up accessories in the Apple online store, but didn’t see a cable that seemed to meet the need. I called AppleCare. The technician I talked with didn’t know, and after doing some research online without any success, suggested I take my iPhone and the multimedia projector to the Apple Store and see if the problem could be solved there. I had my doubts.

This story has a happy – and perhaps instructive – ending. At the store I asked to speak to an iPhone expert, and explained the problem to a perky young saleswoman who figured out right away that the problem was mechanical. Although it had not been an issue for the specially-designed iPhone earphone cable plug, the edge of the hard case was preventing the standard cable plug from being inserted fully. She removed the case and then the standard 3.5mm cable worked fine.

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