Michael J. Radwin

Tales of a software engineer who keeps kosher and hates the web.

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T-mobile SIM unlock, part 2

I successfully completed the T-mobile SIM unlock process that I started yesterday.

T-mobile sent the following instructions:

T-Mobile Sim Unlock Request

Sim Unlock Reference: xxxxxxxx

IMEI: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Unlock Code: xxxxxxxx

Thank you for taking the time to contact T-Mobile. Below you will see the Instructions for unlocking your Motorola device.

NOTE: Before you start you must have a foreign (non-T Mobile) sim card entered into the handset.

NOTE: If the phone displays, “Please wait to enter special code” or “Contact service provider,” you will have to wait for it to change back. Please be aware that the phone must stay powered on to do this. If the battery is low, be sure to plug it in. It could take 15 minutes to an hour to change back. If the phone does not change back, the handset will need to be replaced.

If the display reads “Enter Special Code”, enter the unlock code and press “OK”

If the display does not read “Enter Special code”:

1. Press and hold the * key until an entry box is displayed, then let go

2. Enter *, #, 3, 2, # and press “OK”

3. Enter the unlock code and press “OK.” The display should read “Completed” or


Thank You,

Sim Unlock Department

T-Mobile USA, Inc.

I dropped by Andrei‘s cube this morning and borrowed his AT&T card, popped it into my Motorola v60g phone and it said “Enter Subsidy Password.” The above instructions were supposed to be specific to my phone model, but of course they didn’t mention Subsidy Passwords at all.

Ignoring the instructions, I entered the 8-digit Unlock Code at the top of the message and hit OK. Worked like a charm! The phone displayed Andrei’s phone number and the network carrier info indicated “AT&T Wireless.”

Mission accomplished.

T-mobile SIM unlock, part 1

motorola-v60g.jpg I’m travelling to India next month for work, and while there I plan to use a foreign SIM card with my tri-band GSM handset to make and receive calls. Apparently you can go to the local equivalent of the 7-11 there and purchase both a SIM card and prepaid airtime. It ends up being much cheaper than simply using T-Mobile’s WorldClass international service which costs $2.99/min for calls initiated or received in India.

Most GSM phone vendors in the USA sell simlocked handsets, which means that they won’t accept SIM cards from another vendor. I tried swapping cards with Ryan today and his Cingular card wouldn’t work in my phone (and my T-mobile card wouldn’t work in his).

I called T-mobile Customer Service to ask them to unlock my phone. It was a surprisingly pleasant 7-minute phone call. The rep asked me to verify name, mobile number, home number, and the last 4 digits of my SSN. She then asked me for the exact phone model number, my email address, and why I wanted to unlock my phone. She entered all of the info into a request form and told me that I’d be notified via phone or email within the next 24 hours with my unlock instructions.

So now I simply need to wait. I’ll post more once I complete the process.

[Update 28 April: see part 2]

Magnitude 6.4 Earthquake

Minutes ago, there was a magnitude 6.4 earthquake in California — 11 km NE of San Simeon.


That was one big quake. The building shook for over a minute.

UC Teaching Assistants Strike

ucla_seal_color.gif Ariella and 10,999 other University of California teaching assistants will strike on Thursday.

Although Los Angeles has had its share of labor disputes recently (the MTA bus strike was settled a couple of weeks ago and the Ralph’s/Vons/Albertson’s strike/lockout has been going on for 8 weeks now), this thing is gonna be statewide. TAs from all eight UC campuses will stop grading papers and exams. Just in time for finals!

[Update 03 December: the union has reached a tentative agreement with the UC so the strike has been called off.]

Thanksgiving travel preview

I flew back from SJC to LAX tonight and got a taste of what air travel is going to look like tomorrow, the busiest air travel day of the year.

  • It was busy. Very busy. Two years after 9/11 it appears that Americans are no longer afraid of airplanes.
  • Instead of the usual business traveller crowd, my plane was filled with college students. Every single one of them had an iPod. I simultaneously felt very part of American pop culture (I’ve had one for almost 6 months now) and also a little bit old. No Nomad or Dell Jukeboxes to be found. The hot peroxide blonde sitting in the middle seat to me was talking to the guy next to her (an Amerasian with acne) about what he was majoring in. Both had iPods. And apparently both think the quarter system is better than the semester system.
  • TSA and the airport rent-a-cop security screeners seemed ready for the deluge of travellers. There were many more metal detectors and X-ray machines open than there usually are. Throughput was very good.

If you’re travelling on Wednesday, get there early and don’t forget your iPod.

SWA drops online double-credit bonus

southwest-airlines.jpg My brother forwarded me this unfortunate news about Southwest Airlines’ frequent flier program:

“After seven years of double credit for online flight bookings, Southwest is calling the promotion quits. Southwest loyalists have until December 31 to book tickets online and earn four credits per round-trip flight.” [Smarter Living]

This means that I’ll be earning only 6 free Southwest tickets per year. And unless they lower the present 100 credit threshold, I’m going to lose my Companion Pass next year. Oh well. All good things must come to an end.

On the plus side, Southwest has recently started to follow the example set by American Airlines in allowing the use of cell phones during taxi-in.

Camejo for Govenor

Peter-Miguel-Camejo.jpg Although I didn’t vote for Davis in the last election, I will be voting “no” on the recall this October. He may not be the most charismatic guy in the world, but we Californians elected him.

In case the recall succeeds (which it looks like it probably will), I will once again be voting for the Green party candidate. Camejo is pro-choice, pro-gun control, against the death penalty, and pro-workers’ rights.

The rest of the world may be having a jolly good time with the Arnold vs. Arnold campaign, but I’m not laughing.