iPhone 3.0.1 Jailbreak

I decided to spend a bit of time last night jailbreaking my iPhone, using this tutorial on the Gizmodo website – and it all worked perfectly (although one bit missing in the instrucutions is that when the phone says it is “waiting for restart”, you may need to unplug and replug the cable to prompt it onto the next step).
It’s not that I’m particularly interested in installing dozens of unauthorised applications. Indeed, I’m quite happy with all the legit applications I’ve downloaded from the iTunes store. I did the jailbreak in order to unlock the phone and allow me to use another network’s SIM, ahead of an upcoming trip to the UK.
I’ve been stung quite badly in the past by data roaming charges. In one case last year, I had a similar trip to the UK for a week, and while there made only light use of the phone, but still managed to run up a staggering €160 of data roaming charges – based upon a cost of about €5 per megabyte. And although O2 Ireland have improved things slightly since then (you now only get charged for the first 4 megabytes each day while roaming – but still at €5 per megabyte – so a potential of €20 a day), I was still looking at a potential bill of well over €100 worth of data charges if I wanted to use data.
This is in contrast to the domestic data charges of an operator such as Orange, who charge a maximum of £2 per day for up to 25 megabytes usage – and that’s on their prepaid tariff.
And so it was pretty-much a no-brainer, in term of deciding whether or not to get my iPhone unlocked. I’m going to be saving a fortune while I’m away – and as I’ll have my UK SIM in the iPhone, I’ll not have to carry two phones around with me.

Black Friday

For one day only, Apple are having a sale in their Irish online store, with various offers, including €100 off a MacBook, and €11 off an iPod Nano. If you were planning to buy any Apple kit, then today might be a good day to do it, as it’s not common to find discounted Apple products.

The day after Thanksgiving (today) in the United States is commonly known as Black Friday, and many retailers have one day sales. It’s not so common, however, for the Black Friday sales to apply outside of the US.

MacBook Hard Disk Replacement

Last night I performed a hard disk upgrade on my Apple MacBook. The original 60GB disk that came with the machine has always been woefully inadequate from the start – particularly as I have about 64GB of music files alone. And so, up until now, I’ve always had to store my media files on an external drive.
The upgrade was inspired by various tutorials available on the net, and is made especially painless by the OS X Leopard backup tool Time Machine, which enables an easy restoration of files onto the next disk.
You can use any 2.5inch SATA disk drive as a replacement. I bought myself a 250GB drive from a local computing shop for just under €100, but you can probably get larger and cheaper drives online.
The physical swap over of the drive only takes about 5 minutes. Just follow the instructions in the online tutorals. But you might need several hours to restore the data onto the new disk afterwards. In my case, I had to partition the disk (using the Disk Utility on the Leopard install DVD), and install OS X onto the disk (taking about an hour), before restoring all my applications and files from the Time Machine backup – which took another couple of hours.

Posted from my iPhone

I forgot all about this. I installed some iPhone specific templates a while ago so that I would be able to post from my phone. But this is the first time I’ve tried it out. And so far it’s looking good. Not that I’ve got anything to say at the moment.

International Access

Did I mention I got an iPhone last week? Well, generally, I’m delighted with it. Not only is it a thing of beauty, but it has a well-crafted intuitive interface that just ‘works’, straight out of the box.

However, every silver lining has it’s cloud, and in Ireland it’s the partnered network of O2. I’ve never, in my 15 years as a mobile phone user, been a customer of O2 before, and I can’t say I’m thrilled about it now. The iPhone tariffs are very poor, in comparison with other networks.

But that’s not my gripe today. I knew I was signing away my life in order to get an iPhone, so I’ll not moan about it now.

No — the subject of my rant today is that of international dialing.

It seems that O2 have a policy of blocking international calls for new contract customers for the first 3 months of service. I’ve a vague idea why they do this – to establish that consumers pay their bills properly, before increasing their credit exposure on high-values calls. But the thing I don’t understand is why they refuse to allow people like me to pay a deposit, in order to over-ride the rules.

Surely if I offer to pay them a deposit of €100, then I can be trusted to dial some international numbers – on what is, arguably their ‘flag ship’ product at the moment – until I’ve established myself as a reliable customer.

But no. They don’t allow that. If I was on pre-pay, I could dial anywhere I liked. But because I’m on bill-pay, I can’t. Well not over the O2 network anyway…

I spotted on the iTunes application store tonight the Truphone application, which brings Voice-Over-IP (VoIP) to the iPhone. Using a wi-fi network at home (or anywhere else for that matter), I can call international numbers for as little at 3 pence a minute. And they’ve even given me £2.00 of free credit, just for signing up.

Without the restriction imposed by O2 I doubt whether I would have bothered to seek this alternative solution. But now that I’ve found it, I rather think it’ll be used quite extensively in the future.

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