a developer's notes – a semi-technical web development BLOG

August 23, 2012

How to offically unlock your AT&T iPhone 4. Was it sucessful even without a confirmation from iTunes?

Filed under: General Tips — Duy Nguyen @ 10:55 pm
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Things you will need:

    You must have an AT&T account in good standing (or know someone who does)
    iPhone must not be tied with an existing contract or have an outstanding bill


1. Call or get on a Chat support with an AT&T representative. They will ask for your account information to verify that you have an account with them. If you don’t have one, ask a friend to call for you or to get on the support chat for you.
2. Tell the rep you are traveling and need to do an iPhone unlock.
3. Give the rep your phone’s IMEI number. On the iPhone, Settings >> About. You will see the IMEI number.
4. You will get an email from AT&T with the instructions. Actually getting the instructions is important because that means they have put your IMEI number in their system to authorize the unlock when you do it through iTunes.

Here are the instructions from AT&T:

Thank you for contacting AT&T Customer Care about unlocking your iPhone.
We have reviewed your request and confirmed that you are eligible to have the requested iPhone unlocked.

To complete the unlock, simply:
1. Open iTunes on your Mac or PC and verify that you have internet connectivity.
2. Connect your iPhone using the dock connector to USB cable that came with your iPhone.
3. Backup and restore your iPhone using iTunes .
For information on backup and restore, please visit http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1414.
4. After restoring, your iPhone will be unlocked.

Additional information on unlocking can be found at http://support.apple.com/kb/TS3198.

For questions regarding AT&T’s wireless service and iPhone, please visit the Phone/Device Learning Center.

We thank you for your continued business and look forward to providing you with the best customer service.

AT&T Customer Care Team

**Make sure you when you RESTORE, YOU MUST RESTORE TO FACTORY SETTINGS! THEN you can restore from the backup you created. You won’t lose any information. My first attempt, I just did a Restore From Backup immediately after the Backup. And it did not work. I verified it didn’t work with AT&T. See the chat log below.

You are supposed to get a confirmation from iTunes indicating that your iPhone is unlocked. But many users, including myself, did not get one. To verify, you have to call AT&T or chat with them online. They are able to check if your phone was indeed unlocked or not. Obviously, you can use a SIM card from another carrier to test with, but I did not have one.

Here is the chat I had with the AT&T rep.

Please wait for a chat representative to respond.
You are now chatting with ‘Amy Budge’
Amy Budge: Thank you for contacting AT&T Live Support Chat!
Amy Budge: I understand you are needing a status update on your request?
Me: No. The request was completed and I was sent instructions on how to Unlock. I need to confirm that it was successful. iTunes did not give me a confirmation that it was unlocked.
Amy Budge: I apologize for any frustration and inconvenience.
Amy Budge: I will be more then happy to help you.
Amy Budge: I appreciate your business and patience. One moment while I access your account.
Amy Budge: The device was unlocked on AT&T’s side. You need to complete a backup and restore in iTunes to complete the unlock.
Me: Yes I did that but there was no success message from iTunes. Are you able to check if it was truly unlocked?
Amy Budge: It is not unlocked.
Me: Back up, and restore from back up? Or restore back to factory settings?
Amy Budge: You need to do the backup and restore again in iTunes.
Amy Budge: You need to back up your information so you do not loose anything. Than hit restore in iTunes.
Amy Budge: You need to have an AT&T sim card in the device. You need to have the latest version of iTunes. You also need to be connected to the Internet while complete the steps.
Me: Yes I have an AT&T sim in right now. Let me download the latest itunes and try again.
Amy Budge: If you need assistance with the backup and restore I can provide the number for Apple.
Me: I have a link to the support documentation from the email I got from At&T.
Amy Budge: Ok.
Me: Can you hang on while the restore completes?
Amy Budge: I sure can.
Me: Is it true that after several unsuccessful attempts, the iPhone will be tied with AT&T for good?
Amy Budge: That is not true with the iPhone.
Me: Thanks for that. That is what the last rep told me.
Amy Budge: Let me re-confirm. I am unaware of this.
Me: ok.
Me: iPhone is retoring iphone software now…
Amy Budge: Ok.
Me: …restoring iphone firmware….
Amy Budge: Ok.
Me: now is asking me to set up my iphone
Me: I will proceed to restore from backup
Amy Budge: Yes.
Me: The restore is complete. And I am back at the home screen on iTunes. Can you check if the unlock was successful?
Me: I did not get any message that says it was successful.
Amy Budge: I have refreshed and it is now successfully unlocked Mr. xxxx.
Me: Thank you for the confirmation. Are you able to send me a confirmation via email?
Amy Budge: I am sorry but I do not have a confirmation email I can send. I can assure it is now successfully unlocked.
Me: Do you know why iTunes did not give me a confirmation?
Me: I will be traveling overseas soon so it is important that it works with another carrier while I am overseas.
Amy Budge: I cannot say why iTunes is not providing confirmation as it is Apple’s software.
Me: Ok thanks.
Amy Budge: I understand and your phone is ready to use with another carrier.
Me: Thanks for checking and your help today.
Amy Budge: You’re Welcome Mr. xxxx! Is there anything else I can do for you today other than assisting with unlocking your iPhone?
Me: That is all.
Amy Budge: Have I resolved your reason for contacting chat today?
Me: Yes.
Amy Budge: Thank you for contacting AT&T Live Support Chat. Have a Wonderful Day!

February 15, 2012

Is the 4th Gen Kindle Reader ready for programmers and reading PDF programming books?

Filed under: Reviews — Duy Nguyen @ 11:15 pm
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Sure I have eBooks on my computer but navigating, editing, and writing notes is very easy with a mouse and keyboard! But sometimes using a laptop to read your ebooks isn’t practical. Imagine going on vacation and taking a LONG 5+ hour plane ride. (In my case, 13 hours.) Not many airlines let coach riding passengers use a power outlet so your laptop will probably die out before you want it to.

I’ve been holding out on the eReader and tablet world for quite some time now but with the recent price drops, it is hard to resist. Or is it? Right now, Februrary 15th 2012, The iPad 2 starts at $499 and the DX is $379. Pretty expensive if you’re just looking for an eReader. Unless you have the cash to buy an iPad or Kindle DX, who’s screen is 9 x 7 inches, smaller screens will be a little challenge to read on. There is also the Kindle Fire for $199, which is in the middle of the prince ranges. And of course there other brands which I have not researched. I’d love to hear if anybody has a good recommendation. But for now, here is my review of the 4th generation Kindle Reader. I will be reviewing the Kindle Fire next.

Of course, reading a traditional story book with a small Kindle is easy. You don’t have to navigate around as much, the font size is readable, you have a table of contents to navigate with, etc. So….is the Kindle Reader at $79 dollars a good investment to buy for reading technical books as many of us programmers do? Let’s take a look.

I have many ebooks in PDF format that I have on my computer. So let’s import a programming book into the new Kindle Reader.

Here is the Kindle with the full portrait view

Looks good right? Let’s check out the TOC now.

As you can see, the page links are pretty small to read.

Here is an image of a more complex picture with images and source code.

This is what source code looks like in a full portrait view. The formatting looks great because it is exactly like the original eBook. Except very VERY small. (Don’t let the zoomed image fool you.)

Now how about we put it in landscape view? This is good as it make the font a little bigger. But now you will have to page down twice to go through 1 page.

How does this compare to a real magazine? Here is a full portrait view. The font appears to be half the size of magazine print. This makes it very hard to read without having the Kindle practically on your face. This is a side by side comparison with an article in Rolling Stone magazine.

What about the landscape view? Not bad but it is still a little smaller than regular magazine print.

How would it look like if you zoom? The kindle Reader has the following options:

150% is the smallest? I wish you can customize it a little better. But if you choose 150%, this is the zoom box that you get.

So the problem is that now you have to navigate from the left to right side of the page AND (two scrolls) from top to bottom of one full page.

Left side of the page:

Right side of the page:

But the text DOES look comparable to magazines. This makes it very readable.


Is the Kindle Reader ready for technical reading such as programming books? Not quite. Here are the reasons why you should still stick to paperbacks.

1. Ease of Readability: You can’t read the font for a long period of time because of its size. Even if you set it on landscape view, it is still smaller than a regular magazine. Yea you can send the PDF to Amazon and have them convert the text to be more Kindle friendly, but it will mess up all the formatting that source code needs to have. Unless you’re good at reading spaghetti code, this is not a suitable solution.

2. Navigation: If you are importing ebooks in PDFs format, you won’t have the table of content for navigation. The TOC is only for native Kindle ebooks. So you will have to create your own bookmarks to navigate with. 1, for the TOC, 2 for your last read place, etc. Also, to go from page to page, you will have to use the dedicated buttons on the Kindle. If you want to go to the next chapter, it won’t be that easy. I find it easiest to read technical books by chapters or subjects. Unlike reading a traditional book where you can read from front to back, you jump all over the place with technical books.

3. Highlighting and Notes: Yea you can add notes on the Kindle Reader, but typing is a pain and the visibility of the note is NOT easy. You will see a small point marker that indicates there is a note present. If you had a real book (or on a computer), you can pencil in notes and use a highlighter with ease. I’m sure a Kindle with a keyboard will work better but it would still seem to be a pain. Also, if you had highlights already in your PDFs, on the Kindle reader, it will be gray, making it even harder to read.

With that said…this is why you might get one. Portability! Though, there ARE better options out there. But if you’re on a tight budget you might be able to live with just the Kindle Reader.

Who wants to carry big heavy programming books all over the place? Sure I would rather read from a paperback but you can only fit so many in a book bag. And if you are traveling, you need something portable. The Kindle Reader also has an extremely long lasting battery life, making it great on a plane. But I wish the readability was a little better.

So unless you are tied down with the Kindle Reader, there are better options. Either more expensive tablets / eReaders, or stick with the classic paperback. If you plan to just read one book, a paperback is an easy solution. But for multiple books? You might have to pony up the cash.

I will be reviewing the Kindle Fire next. Being priced at $199, the Kindle Fire is more than double the price of the Kindle Reader but gives you an extra inch of screen real estate. It is also touch screen so navigation might be a little easier.

So unless you are going to use the Kindle Reader for traditional reading books, be prepared for this! 0_o

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