Sunday, June 21, 2009

How to unlock iPhone with OS 3.0

WARNING: The procedure in this post may not always give the same correct results. So use it at your own risk.

Apple released iPhone OS 3.0. So Dev-Team has released a jailbreak tool for OS 3.0. This lists down the steps for upgrading your iPhone to OS 3.0 and then jailbreaking it. FYI, Jailbreaking and Unlocking are two separate things. You have to Jailbreak before unlocking. Jailbreaking is cracking the OS. Unlocking is making any SIM work with your iPhone.

The procedure is slightly different for iPhone 2G and iPhone3G. So do whatever applies to you. The process is fairly easy and doesn't use any command line tools..

I personally did this procedure only on my iPhone 2G. I have no way of testing this for iPhone 3G.

Upgrading the iPhone
  1. Open iTunes. (version 8.2 or later must be installed. Get it here)
  2. Connect your iPhone to the computer. iTunes will show the iPhone sync screen.
  3. Click the Update button in iTunes.
  4. iTunes will begin downloading the firmware file (about 240MB).
  5. The download progress will appear in the "Downloads" section of iTunes left panel.
  6. You can disconnect your iPhone while the file is being downloaded. Connect it after the download and click Update button again.
  7. iTunes will install the downloaded firmware file to your device. This may take like 20 minutes or so.
Upgrading is finished. If you are using an unofficial SIM the phone will be locked. Now for the jailbreak and unlock.

Preserve the downloaded firmware file
  1. Now you have to locate the firmware file iTunes just downloaded and store it in an easy to access folder.
  2. In My Computer, go to this address: %AppData%\Apple Computer\iTunes\iPhone Software Updates
  3. This folder is where iTunes stores downloaded iPhone firmware files. You have to copy the file corresponding to your iPhone to any folder you like for future use.
Here are the file names:
  • for iPhone3G : iPhone1,2_3.0_7A341_Restore.ipsw
  • for iPhone 2G : iPhone1,1_3.0_7A341_Restore.ipsw
Copy the file to any folder you like.

Jailbreaking Procedure
  1. Download the latest version of redsn0w torrent from here:
  2. Extract the downloaded archive. There will be a program called redsn0w.exe in it.
  3. Run the redsn0w.exe. This is the jailbreaking tool.
  4. Carefully read instructions on the screen and do what it says.
  5. In the first screen, click browse and give the firmware file you copied before.
  6. In the next screen put a tick for Cydia and click next.
  7. Follow instructions on redsn0w and if u follow it the phone will be jailbroken within like 15 minutes or so.
Unlocking Procedure

If you upgraded an iPhone 2G it should be already unlocked. iPhone 2G does not loose its unlock when upgrading. On the other hand, iPhone 3G looses its unlock when upgraded. So you have to install ultrasn0w to unlock iPhone3G.

This is for iPhone3G only.

Unlocking instructions are also available here.
  1. Connect the iPhone3G to the internet (WiFi Only. Cannot use 3G since SIM is locked).
  2. Open Cydia in iPhone.
  3. In Cydia, go to Manage -> Sources
  4. Tap Edit, then tap Add.
  5. Type this in the text box: (There's a Zero in the word ultrasn0w)
  6. Tap Add Source. Wait until it refreshes. If you typed it wrong, it will give an error.
  7. Go to Search and search for "ultrasn0w" and install it.
  8. Reboot your iPhone3G.

Incoming phone number detection issue

iPhone does not support Sri Lankan phone number formats (as many other unsupported countries). So if your address book contact has 071123456 and if you receive an SMS from +9471123456 then the SMS will not detect the contact name for that number. You can fix that after jailbreaking by installing a patch from Cydia. You don't have to do this if you don't have the issue.
  1. Connect your iPhone to internet (through WiFi or 3G).
  2. Open Cydia. (Cydia is automatically installed when jailbreaking)
  3. Wait until it refreshes its database.
  4. Go to search tab from the bottom panel.
  5. Search for "Caller ID Fix"
  6. Some results will appear. As at the time of writing the latest version was "Caller ID Fix for 2.2". I installed this on iPhone OS 3.0 and it worked for me.
  7. If it shows a fix for 3.0 then install that version. Otherwise fix for 2.2 will be OK.
  8. Tap on the item and install it. It will do some rebooting stuff after installing and your contacts should be identified correctly now.
Through Cydia you can install lot more interesting stuff.

Cycoder - Video recording application
Winterboard - Apply themes for iPhone
Categories - Group icons into folders
SBSettings - easy access panel to popular settings

Put any questions you may have on comments. Good luck!

redsn0w torrent download link changed to

Monday, June 8, 2009

NFS Undercover on iPhone

I'm ill. So I found myself some time to install NFS Undercover on iPhone and have been playing it since then. I have played several racing games available on the AppStore. This is by far the most exciting and quality racing game I have played on iPhone. EA really knows how to keep its standards.

The game has nearly all the features as the PC version:
  • Same stupid story
  • Police and traffic
  • Nitros and Speedbreaker
  • Slow-motion and tilting cameras (gives a really thrilling experience)
  • Car customizations (performace and visuals)
  • Quality music tracks (EA always does this right)
Unfortunately free-roaming is not there. Maybe due to memory limitations of the iPhone. But you have all the race types including outruns, hot-car deliveries, cop takeouts, thug takeouts and bounty acquisition. Same cut-scenes from the original game will be there including that sweet girl friend of yours.

Here are some screenshots I took (click on the images for bigger versions).

The map. EA has designed great UI animations for the game menus.

In the garage. You can use typical iPhone finger guesters to zoom and rotate the car. Customizations are available for nearly every feature.

Race tracks are diverse and fairly detailed. You can get a really nice and intuitive driving experience with a fine-tuned accelerometer usage from EA.

Cops are quite good and helps increasing the quality of the game. I still didn't see any heavy SUVs which are my favourites in the PC version!

The game is available on AppStore for $9.99. I also downloaded Assassin's Creed but didn't install it yet. It needs firmware 2.2.1 (I have 2.2) but I'm lazy to upgrade with 3.0 just arround the corner.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Shut Down Comparison!

Studying the ways of shutting down the computer has been kind of a research area among operating system GUI designers. Although we as users do not see it, designing a simple interface like shutting down the computer takes lots of user studies and research. Today with number of operating systems that we use, we can see different approaches they have taken on how to present the user with the least annoying Shut Down interface.

I'll compare the shut down mechanisms of the 3 major operating systems we use; Windows XP, Windows Vista and Ubuntu 9.04. Specifically, I'll consider the number of mouse clicks and mouse movement they require from the user. Although there are shortcut keys associated with them, I won't consider them since ordinary users won't know about them anyway.

Windows XP
In XP, users have to go through 2 dialog boxes to accomplish the task. First, the start menu and the second, the final shut down box.
  1. Click Start button. (click 1)
  2. Click "Turn Off Computer". (click 2)
  3. Move the mouse to the center of the screen.
  4. Click "Turn Off" button. (click 3)
It is clear that this involves 3 mouse clicks and a mouse movement across the screen. Although, as IT people the mouse is in our "genes", this is a fair amount of work load for a typical user. (You should've seen the time it takes for our grandma to do this)

Windows Vista
This is totally confusing for new users. There are number of ways you can shut down. With the default settings, you see a yellow "shut-down-like" button. People mistake this as the shut down button where it actually means "Sleep". To truly shut down the computer, you have to click the small arrow, and choose Shut Down from the not-so-simple menu that appears. This process needs a very high amount of concentration from the user.

This is the way you do it with default settings.
  1. Click Start button. (click 1)
  2. Click the small arrow to the right of Sleep and Lock buttons. (click 2)
  3. Choose "Shut Down" from the the list. (click 3) (This list has 6 items. If you needed to Restart you have to find where restart is in the list. Shut Down is easier since it's the bottom-most item.)
This process requires 3 clicks (same as XP). But it also requires the user to thoroughly concentrate on what he/she is doing, which is too much to ask from an ordinary user.

You can change the behavior of the Sleep button to Shut Down via power settings. Read this for instructions on how to change it. Then the whole process changes.
  1. Click start button. (click 1)
  2. Click "Shut Down" button. (click 2)
Now it's only 2 clicks. So simple. The catch is that the red Shut Down button is very easily reachable. User don't get any confirmation dialog box after clicking this. So when you click it, wooosh! it's bye bye windows. So it's prone to unintended shut downs.

In Vista they have increased the number of ways to shut down and none of them are perfect. XP way is better in my opinion.

Ubuntu 9.04
Ubuntu 9.04 reportedly have a nice and clean interface. This is true for their Shut Down mechanism too. Although they have borrowed the idea from Apple MacOS X, they does a good job integrating it with their user interface.
  1. Click the power button at the upper-right corner. (click 1)
  2. Choose Shut Down from the menu. (click 2) (Menu has 6 items. Shut Down is at the bottom and Restart is the one before that)
That's it. If you are lazy you can leave your computer and it will shut down. But if you made an error in your decision you can always cancel it since it displays this time-out dialog box.

If you choose, you can continue the previous process further.
  1. Move the mouse to the Shut Down dialog box.
  2. Click the shut down button. (click 3)
See how thoughtful they have been. The computer will shut down without any user interaction within 60 seconds. If you are in a hurry, you make an extra mouse click on the Shut Down button on the time-out dialog.

It's "2 clicks" or "3 clicks with a mouse move" depending on the way you choose. But always the result is the same and you have the confirmation dialog so you can undo your decision. This is the nicest shut down process I've seen so far (including MacOS X).

Finally, see how much we can talk about a simple operation like this. (as if we don't have anything else to do!) These subtle changes effect the user's perception of an operating system. And most of the time, these are the "only" things that a user uses to judge an operating system.

Any thoughts?