Thursday, May 27, 2010

3G iPad - How to convert your SIM card to a micro SIM card

I waited a long time for my 3G iPad and now that it is here, I want to use it how it was meant to be used. I was thinking of my options and the obvious choice was to make use of what I already had: My iPhone SIM.

First things first.
I needed a way to put the SIM card back into the iPhone so I needed to look for an adapter. I had a look around the local shops and surprisingly could not find anything. A simple web search pointed me to what I was looking for. An Austrian company, Microsim-Shop, is selling them for €5.99 with free international shipping. It sounded too good to be true but I gave it a try anyway. I wouldn't be happy being scammed but €5.99 is not a big loss if I were scammed.

When it arrived a week later, I was actually surprised. Not only that it came but also because it came exactly as advertised.





Let the cutting begin!
Side by side, you can see there is a huge size difference between Micro SIM and regular SIM.



Due to this, you need to cut the SIM down to the size of a Micro SIM.

I started by overlaying the adapter on top of my existing SIM card. Then with a pencil, marked down where the edges should be using the inner edge of the adapter.





Once done, you just need to cut the card just outside of the pencil marks to match the size of a Micro SIM card.



The first edge I cut with a razor. The razor made a nice straight line but took much longer than I spend cutting the SIM card.





To save time, I pulled out a pair of scissors instead of using the razor. The edges are not as straight but good enough!



The end result gave me a new Micro SIM card that fit nicely into my new Micro SIM adapter.





The Micro SIM card fits nicely in the tray although you can see I cut a little too much off the slanted edge. Not a big deal as it still fits in the SIM card tray quite nicely.



3G iPad here I come!
Now the ultimate test, I put the SIM card in the iPad and give it a go.



The first thing you have to do is go to your iPhone Cellular Data settings and make a note of the APN settings. Type the same setting into the Cellular Data settings of your iPad. In my case it is mobile.three.com.hk.



Once done, check to see that you catch a signal from your provider (in my case 3 mobile) and ensure it is in 3G. Then open a browser and browse to your favorite website.



Simple as that. You can now use your new Micro SIM to access the Internet from your iPad.

This is not a permanent solution as I eventually want to use both my iPhone and iPad at the same time. But for now it will do. There are other options I use to browse the Internet by Tethering using my iPhone but that is another post all together (Coming Soon!).

As a final note, the technique mentioned above is for information purposes. If you run into any issues, I am more than willing to help although I cannot guarantee this technique will work for everyone. Also, there is a risk that you incorrectly cut your SIM card making it completely unusable. Please use at your own risk!

Friday, May 21, 2010

iPad Arrived!

After months of anticipation, I finally received my Wi-Fi + 3G iPad.

I was not sure what to expect from it, but after playing with it for a few hours, I am extremely happy with it. It by no means is a replacement for my laptop but it is a very nice compliment. Since receiving my iPad, most of my browsing is done from my iPad and once the Facebook application is released, most of my basic computer needs will be covered by my iPad.

The good: iBooks is a very impressive application. It takes the idea of books to a new level. Its like reading the glossy pages of a colorful magazine instead of a dull colored paperback. I haven't read a full novel to really provide information about the readability but the iPad user guide from MacWorld was a nice treat. In addition, there are loads of free downloads at the bookstore to keep you busy. There are other book reader applications such as CloudReaders which allow you to upload all your PDF books to your iPad and read them too. The pages fill the screen nicely and very readable from what I have seen so far.

Comics book applications. I was never a big fan of comics nor manga. But I did download a few of the applications and had a look at the freebies. Again very impressive. The quality of the comics are very impressive and much better than I remember comic books being as a kid.

Games were very impressive. I never played games on my iPhone but downloaded a few and gave them a try. Fieldrunners was a blast. The objective of the game is to defend the field from "runners" and prevent them from reaching your gate. I also downloaded Dungeon Hunter HD which reminded me of the days when I was playing Diablo. Graphics are impressive and the gameplay is excellent. Controls can be difficult at times though. The last one I downloaded was Battle of Wesnoth, which was a cheapo but well worth the $.99 I paid for it. For someone that stopped playing games years ago, I found myself interested with hours of game time with these gems.

SportCenterXL was awesome. I get all the news about my favorite teams right at the palm of my hands. There is no need to go to the web to catch up on my favorite teams anymore.

The basic applications were a nice treat too. Photos are displayed very clear and crisp. It was a treat to sync my photos and view them from the iPad. Mail was nice as well although it took a little time to get used to the keyless keyboard. iPod surprised me with the sound quality. I was expecting something along the lines of my iPhone but was surprised by the clarity of the sound. By no means will it replace your HiFi system but for portable sound, very nice.

The bad: News Readers... I haven't found one I liked yet. On my iPhone I used Byline but could not find anything as easy to use. FeeG+ has a nice concept of combining Google Reader, Facebook and Twitter but I was not impressed by the presentation. But is probably the best of the ones I tried so far.

Facebook still not available?! I remember all the early advertisements showing Facebook but there is no app available yet. This came as a huge surprise to me.

I mentioned earlier that it is no replacement for a PC. I guess that kinda falls in the bad (although some may say that it is i a league of its own). Its much easier to walk around the house with the iPad to do basic computing rather than lugging around the laptop. Especially when you have to go to the bathroom and know you will be in there for a while. ;)

For what its worth, once you get used to the iPad, it really is a treat. I imagined it as a big iPhone at first but it is much more. You will know what I mean when you pick up your iPhone after playing with the iPad for a couple hours.

With its limitations, it is still much more than I was expecting. A big thumbs up from me.

Monday, May 10, 2010

How to jailbreak iPhone OS 3.1.3 using Spirit

I previously wrote an article about, how to jailbreak an iPhone, last year. If you had gone through the walkthrough you may have found that it was long and painful. Since then, I reverted to the unjailbroken default Apple iPhone OS and had been happy with it ever since. But in anticipation of my iPad arriving, I wanted to jailbreak again so I had a way to tether using my iPhone.

As I was on the latest OS, there weren't so many options. That is until Spirit was released. There is both a Windows & Mac client and can be applied to latest versions of OS for iPhone & iPad (3.1.2, 3.1.3 & 3.2). It does require an activated iPhone which should be the case for most people.

So let the Jailbreaking begin:
  1. Very Important! Make a backup before doing anything. You can manually make a backup by connecting your phone, opening iTunes and right-clicking on your iPhone and selecting Back Up.



  2. Close iTunes.
  3. Download a copy of Spirit from the website.
  4. Extract the contents of the zip file and launch the application.
  5. Double click to launch the Spirit application.

    Spirit

  6. You will be given the option to Jailbreak. You know what to do.


  7. The jailbreaking process starts up and lasts for about 30 seconds.



  8. A new message will display indicating that the Jailbreak has completed.


  9. The iPhone will reboot and display a funky background with a progress indicator completing the setup on the device.



  10. After booting, just log into your iPhone and look for the Cydia icon and that is it.



  11. I would suggest installing Rock as the first jailbroken application. Rock provides a nice interface for installing applications, and is much faster than Cydia.
After installing a few applications and a new theme, my iPhone currently looks like this.



At the very beginning i mentioned why I jailbroke my iPhone. It was to install the application MyWi. This application costs $9.99 but worth every penny. It allows your iPhone to become a wireless access point for other devices (such as an iPad) to connect to. If you have an iPad (especially WiFi only model), I highly recommend getting this application.

As a final note, the technique mentioned above is for information purposes. If you run into any issues, I am more than willing to help although I cannot guarantee this technique for your iPhone. Please use at your own risk.