Unlocking a Verizon iPhone 4S for International Travel

iphone 4s 5 unlock micro sim verizon

Are you planning to travel internationally and want to unlock your iPhone? This post explains steps related to unlocking an iPhone 4S using the United States carrier, Verizon. It may also work for Android phones on the service, but my experience is with the iPhone. The process takes between 10 and 20 minutes to complete. Be sure to read the “Once you arrive” steps so you are able to finish the process.

Before you get started
You should be aware of restrictions Verizon puts on device unlocks. Some but not all of this was covered in a Venturebeat article.

  1. Your account must be in good standing. i.e. you can not owe them money.
  2. They say that your account must have been in good standing for at least 6 months, but I do not believe they enforce this rule.
  3. You may only unlock one device per phone number every 10 months.

Unlock your iPhone with Verizon

  1. While still in the United States, dial *611 from your iPhone. Continue reading Unlocking a Verizon iPhone 4S for International Travel

M.I.A. Uses Twitter, "Space Odyssey" to Bring Attention to the Continued Plight of Tamil Civilians in Sri Lanka

Musician M.I.A. released a song titled “Space Odyssey” this past week that has become notable for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was her reaction to a New York Times travel guide spotlighting Sri Lanka as a travel destination in 2010.

First, new work from M.I.A. is eagerly anticipated as she went on hiatus following a tour for her Grammy nominated record, Kaya. I was at the far edges of the crowd with my sister when she told the audience at Bonnaroo in 2008 that it would be her last performance.  Since then, M.I.A. has largely kept away from music creation.

Second, M.I.A. chose to deliver “Space Odyssey” to fans via a twitter update, where she shared the video via TwitVid, a popular 3rd party service for video hosting that competes directly with Vidly.  While M.I.A’s choice of TwitVid as the media player allowed her to use her Twitter feed to deliver new music directly to her fans, it also has forced everyone to listen to this critically important release in terrible quality video and audio.  Check out the embed above.

Most notably, following the surprise release of the song, M.I.A.’s publicist confirmed that “Space Odyssey”  was released specifically in reaction to a recent New York Times story on the Top 31 Places to Go in 2010 written by Lionel Beehner.  In the NYT piece, Beehner acknowledges that the country has been “plagued by misfortune…but the conflict ended last May.” and goes on to suggest that “miles of sugary white sand flanked by bamboo groves that were off-limits until recently are a happy, if unintended byproduct of the war.”

If you are unfamiliar, a brutal civil war was being fought between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).  Leading up to the end of major conflict in May of 2009, many civilians were killed in efforts by the government to put down the rebel group.  The US State Department has issued a report outlining areas of concern (pdf) where International Humanitarian Law is believed to have been violated.

For some time following the end of combat, a quarter million people from the Tamil minority were forced to remain in refugee camps for months.  Between the brutality on both sides during the war and subsequent forced confinement afterwards, Sri Lanka’s international standing is quite low.  M.I.A. is of Tamil ancestry and fled the country as a refugee.  She has specifically decried (see her explanation at 3:25) the violence on both sides of the war.

M.I.A’s made a bold move in connecting her new artistry directly to a major US news publication’s pithy and embarrassing portrayal of Sri Lanka as a top tourist destination.  She did so using her platform of roughly 82,000 Twitter followers, all eager to hear what she would follow Paper Planes with.  M.I.A. has hit upon a near perfect mix of social networking, social action and artistic expression, most certainly setting her apart as an artist to watch in 2010.

Impressions of the Babson MBA International Component at Instituto de Empresa in Madrid, Spain.

Babson requires its two-year MBAs to complete an international component which may take the form of a “significant international experience.” When I heard that one of the options is a semester (three months) abroad in Madrid, Spain I knew I had to take a hard look at it.

The Babson Office of International Programs hooked me up with a Babson MBA student currently undergoing the program and he found me Andreas Berghoefer. It took some coordination, but after a few weeks, we finally hooked up on Skype this afternoon to go over his experience so far. Hopefully, Andreas doesn’t mind me sharing some of the things he told me here.

In brief: Andreas is from Germany, and a part of the two-year MBA program at Babson College. He was involved in a number of clubs at Babson, especially the Babson Family Enterprise Club. One of his main interests going to the Instituto de Empresa was to reach out to a wider European alumni network.

One of my first questions was on how easy or difficult it is to stay connected to the Babson campus while taking a semester abroad. Andreas said that he still receives all of the emails that he would other wise so that is good. However, he misses out on all of the hands-on activities including Buffoonery which is a bummer.

On the academic side, he said that the quality of each class depends largely on the professor teaching it. Sometimes slides are not translated into English very well and it reflects sort of poorly on what is otherwise a well-regarded program.

Another concern was the administration of the program–which he seemed to feel had more red tape and difficulty in changing than what you’ll find at Babson. He has felt this especially with regards to the IT department which sounds like it is in some state of shambles at Instituto de Empresa. Andreas mentioned that many of the group organization has been outsourced to Facebook at this point. Continue reading Impressions of the Babson MBA International Component at Instituto de Empresa in Madrid, Spain.

Using the Sony Mylo for Blogging and Reporting

Sony MyloI’m taking the Sony Mylo for a test spin this weekend in Las Vegas, NV for reporting on the two Dave Matthews Band shows going on out there. Last year I reported from Bonnaroo using the T-Mobile MDA, but ultimately returned it due to the costly service contract for data over the cellular network.

I picked the Mylo up from Fry’s Electronics, if I keep it the cost will be ~$282 after the rebate. After playing around with it, I’d say it is worth probably actually worth around $150 to me.

The Mylo does not have access to universal connectivity over a 2.5g or 3g network like so many wireless PDA’s, but it does connect to wi-fi. Continue reading Using the Sony Mylo for Blogging and Reporting