Friday, 7 June 2013

Don't get ripped off - unlock your potential!


Good early morning, Synapse Circuit Readers! Hmmm... It’s 02:44 and I am unable to sleep... I wanna share with you! Many of my friends on Facebook ask me a shed load of questions about the subjects above: Rooting, going second hand instead of budget and taking out a contract, unlocking and how to avoid being ripped off... All will be revealed... Read on!

If you have been following my blogs on ‘Rooting / Jailbreaking’ (parts one to four) you will know the benefits of freeing up your phone from manufacturer and network software. You should know all about installing a custom Android operating system (otherwise referred to as a “custom ROM”) and that here are various custom Android producers out there! The most popular and reliable (at least as far as I am concerned) is the guys at Cyanogenmod. The most useful place to find information on rooting techniques is the XDA-Developers site! I will link you again at the end of this blog!

Do not worry if you aren’t able to take it all in... Keep reading, keep watching the YouTube videos, etc and the knowledge will come! I am pleased to say that a few of you have been able to root your handsets! The easiest manufacturer to root has been Samsung! I am glad that many of you have rooted your Galaxy S2! It’s one heck of handset, isn’t it? It’s quite old by today’s standards but my goodness does it work well – especially when rooted!

You should also know that once you have rooted your handset you do not have to install a custom ROM.

Do you have loads of tech-junk in your home doing nothing? I can tell you that over the years I have amassed a whole pile of tech-junk in the quest for technical excellence! Can you believe that I still have old Windows 98 PCs doing absolutely nothing? Yeah! I also have some game controllers, digital cameras and so on... Are you anything like me? Good! Nice to meet you! Lol!

You could give the gear away to a charity shop, but these days not even charity shops take on computers as they can’t shift ‘em! You could try giving it or them away to young family members but they’d laugh at you and the antiquated thing you call a PC!

What’s the alternative? The alternative is to strip down the PC like a vulture and remove parts like the DVD writer, hard drive, RAM and so on! I am sure you can YouTube videos on what are the best components to remove! Once the components are removed you can sell them on eBay or Gumtree! I don’t recommend Amazon because last time I tried them I was only given an option to sell what they (Amazon) have in stock already! That’s no good! I do believe you have to pay a premium monthly fee in order to sell what you have regardless if Amazon stocks it or not!

Another option which is really not an option if you get my meaning is those Cash Converter shops! Sadly, the people who run such shops are dirty, lying, unscrupulous, greedy b@$!@*%$! You ought to know that by now! These people just prey on the desperate and in turn they rob people legally! It is disgusting! But I can tell you that these days such shops are losing business because people are wising up and using the likes of eBay, etc. I know that a similar establishment near me has had to downsize its operations; they are feeling the financial uncertainty! Good! So, as a result they will only take the best of what they can resell! And if you are going to sell them decent gear then you are better off setting up an eBay account, etc.

Again, if you have really old PCs your best option would be to sell privately as you won’t get much – if anything for them. You’d be surprised at how many people would be interested in old gear! There many people who just love to tinker with stuff!

The general gist is this when it comes to old gear: If it is analogue you should have gotten rid 10 years ago when people cared! If the PC you want to sell doesn’t feature a dual or quad core CPU then forget it. If your camcorder records on tape, forget it. If your digital camera is under 5MP, forget it! Private is the way to go!

I would also try some PC / Internet Cafe establishments who may be interested in taking your old PC to tweak it for resale. However, that said... Tablets are replacing the need for a PC by the family who just use it to consume! As a result sales in second hand PC desktops and laptops are dropping off! Be prepared to find a dump that will dispose of electrical goods! Be environmentally aware! Believe me when I say I was tempted to just leave my relic of a PC on the streets after lugging it to a Computer Exchange... The little nerds were trying so hard not to fall about on the floor in fits of laughter! I saw the funny side and was laughing too! This brings me neatly onto...

You may have read about my experiences with the Computer Exchange... They aren’t too bad – much better than the Cash Convertor rip off merchants! As I have said before, you will get more in exchange credits than you will for cash! I have to laugh... The Computer Exchange is similar to the Cash Converters in that they hope to make their trade of people desperate for cash! When I took my disappointing budget Androids and pre-smartphone handsets for sale I was offered cash immediately to which I enquired, “How much is that in exchange credits?” Of course, I would have lost a considerable amount had I accepted cash. “Ok, I’ll have an exchange credit...” The person serving me looked a little dumbstruck. “Oh... Don’t you want cash?” For goodness sake! I must know my own mind, right? Idiot! “I’ll have the exchange credit, thank you.” Oooh, the disappointment that I wasn’t desperate for the cold hard cash! Lol! I started to raid my home to rid myself of any tech-junk that was relevant to the Computer Exchange! Oh, they operate very much like Amazon in that they only take on well known brands... Oh, and some will take on rooted handsets and some won’t. Again, rooting is not illegal in the UK! But don’t waste your time arguing with a snotty nosed kid who thinks automatically that his or her youth gives them knowledge over you! Uh-uh! These misguided folk are obstinate in their ignorance to the point of a smugness that you’d love to use as a punch bag! Lol! Just be aware!

My exchange credits started to build quite considerably over the space of a week! I took my Xbox controllers and DVDs that I will never watch again (mainly crap stuff that ex girlfriends bought me who couldn’t be bothered to get me something that I would watch... Lol!). As I have told you... But if you have just joined me I will tell you again... No more budget Android handsets for me! Waste of time and money! Well, I did learn quite a lot from rooting and tinkering with custom ROMs, etc. But all in all a crap phone is exactly that... CRAP! Cheap, redundant, aggravating and pointless!

I wanted to separate my business handsets from personal as the batteries die out on me when I need to reply to an email straightaway, etc. I had my eye on another Galaxy S2 but I thought the better of it as I already have one! I then thought about the HTC Sensation XL and I eventually settled for the HTC One X! It has a very, very good spec on it despite a non removable battery and no RAM card slot... Quad core 1.5GHz, 32GB RAM and a full 1080p HD / 8MP camera! Cool! It was on sale in the exchange shop for £225 and in the end I got it for £80! I was able to build up a good credit from stuff that I would never use again! I am happy for some decluttering! The winner on this occasion is ME!!!! It makes a change! Lol!

When I had my eye on the HTC One X I noticed that it was tied to the Orange network (now Everything Everywhere) and I think it would have cost more had it been unlocked. “Hey, do you do unlocking?” “Yes, we do...” “How much to unlock the HTC One X?” “Well, it’s an Android phone... £25.” “Oh...” Then for some reason I caught sight of a price list that was stuck behind the tills. “Did you misquote, because it says on the wall that it’s £20?” “That’s what it said on the computer the last time I looked...” Meaning that if he could make an extra fiver out of my stupidity / ignorance then bully for him and the shop! Still, £20 is no freaking joke!

Earlier, I enquired by a market stall trader of phone / tablet cases and unlocking... “£25! I can do it for you now! “ “Er, not today as I do not have the handset with me...” He was closing for the day... “It won’t take long; it just takes a phone call...”

The fact that it would just take a phone call got me thinking that I could probably find a way to unlock the phone online! So, I after I bought the One X I went home and searched on the InterWeb and I found a source: Free Unlocks (I’ll give you the URL later).

About Free Unlocks... “Free” sounds too good to be true, right! And you are right! But don’t be disheartened... When you go n the Free Unlocks site you will have the option to pay for the unlocking code or get it for “free”. Naturally, I chose the free option to discover that in order to get my code I have to take up an offer of many offers for printing, online movie rental, bingo and so on... I opted for a printed T-shirt that cost me around £5 with postage and packaging. So, I got a nice T-shirt (I hope it’s nice) with a print chosen by me! That’s a win / win situation! I am sure that if I looked deeper into unlocking I could possibly find it completely free! But I was pretty happy with Free Unlocks despite my natural scepticism at first!

The instructions are very, very simple to follow once you have chosen any one of the special offers. You take up an offer... You then give a requested IMEI code of your mobile phone which you can easily find below its battery or by dialing *#06#.  An IMEI code is a unique number used to identify all mobile devices internationally. Then you will get your unlock code via email! So, be sure to spell your email correctly! Lol! The process couldn’t be easier! My HTC One X was unlocked within minutes! It must have taken about 5 minutes to receive the email with the unlock code!

Please DO NOT get ripped off by these con artists... Maybe con artist is too harsh... Hmmmm... In any event these shops / market stalls that offer phone unlocking for over £5 are dependent upon people who either have more money than sense or those who believe that they are helpless!

Anyway, I was able to get my SIM on the Three network into the HTC One without a problem! Oh, I had to get my standard sized SIM cut to a micro SIM! Fortunately for me a Three store was in close proximity to the Computer Exchange so that I was able to do everything in one fell swoop!

Well, I hope you have enjoyed and learned from my experience! I stay up this late so that you do not taken advantage of! I hate to be ripped off and I hate to see people being ripped off! If I can strengthen the consumer I will take every opportunity! Well, with this good deed done for the day I can go to bed!

More reviews are coming very, very soon! Stay tuned...



Take good care!

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