How to copy voicemails from your iPhone to your Mac

Sometimes you receive a really great voice mail from a friend or a loved one that you want to preserve or share. Getting off your iPhone can be real pain. Lifehacker instructs you to jailbreak your iPhone or use and audio out cable. Both of these methods are less than ideal. Jailbreaking may void your warranty and in this digital age an analog transfer is weak sauce. The best solution I have found is pretty quick and all digital. It retrieves actual voice mail file from the backup of your phone made by iTunes. Using Pádraig’s iPhone/iPod Touch Backup Extractor, voice mails can be easily extracted. Below is an overview of the process followed by a quick screencast walkthrough.

  1. Download the free iPhone/iPod Touch Backup Extractor.
  2. Make a small donation to Pádraig.
  3. Sync your iPhone.  Note that if you encrypt your  iPhone backups, you will not be able to extract the voicemails.
  4. Launch iPhone/iPod Touch Backup Extractor.
  5. Click Read Backups and select the backup that contains the voicemail you want to extract. For most people there will only be one backup to choose. Only people with multiple phones will have to choose the correct backup. For them the name of the phone and the date of the last backup will help.
  6. Scroll to the bottom of the list of Application Names that appears, select iPhone OS Files, and click Extract.
  7. Switch to the Finder and navigate to the folder into which you extracted the iPhone OS Files.
  8. Your voicemails are in iPhone OS Files/Library/Voicemail/.
  9. The voicemails are numbered files with the file extension .amr. Quicktime will open an play them. iTunes won’t.

If you have any suggestions or improvements for copying voicemails from an iPhone please let me know.

Styling ReCaptcha in WordPress

reCAPTCHA is an effective service for eliminating spam on your site. It is based on Captcha, “a type of challenge-response test used in computing to ensure that the response is not generated by a computer” acting as a spambot.

reCAPTCHA can be used to protect any web-based form spam. This post explains how to customize the appearance of the ReCaptch section. Instructions for installing reCAPTCHA on a WordPress blog are available on reCAPTCHA’s site.

Once the plugin is installed and activated, the appearance can easily be styled. reCAPTCHA offers four predefined styles called “themes”:

reCAPTCHA-red.pngred (default theme)




reCAPTCHA also offers a fourth option allowing complete custom styling of the reCAPTCHA form. This post doesn’t cover complete custom styling but detailed API Documentation is available directly from reCAPTCHA.

The theme is set in the reCAPTCHA plugin code. The code can be edited by clicking the Edit link next to the plugin in WordPress. See illustration.


In the Plugin Editor look for the following code block:

/* Embeds the reCAPTCHA widget into the comment form.
function recaptcha_comment_form() {
//modify the comment form for the reCAPTCHA widget
$recaptcha_js_opts = <<<OPTS
<script type='text/javascript'>
var RecaptchaOptions = { theme : 'red', tabindex : 5 };

The code that reads theme : 'red' is the code that controls the theme of the ReCapthcha. The possible values are: ‘red’ , ‘white’ , ‘blackglass’ , ‘clean’, or ‘custom’.

Set the theme to ‘red’ , ‘white’ , ‘blackglass’ or ‘clean’ and save click Update File. The new style will now appear on instead of the default ‘red’ theme.

If the theme is set to ‘custom’ no reCAPTCHA will appear on the comment form until certain HTML elements are added to display the CAPTCHA to the user. Custom theming is beyond the scope of this post.

Good luck.

A Talk on How to Give a Talk

Apparently this talk is now only available to friends of MIT. Sadly most of us are not in this exclusive group. When I find some time I will post my summary of the talk.