Thursday, July 16, 2009

IPhone 2g/3g Unlock to 3.0 Firmware (India Airtel Vodafone)

This post has been a long time coming. It was surprisingly easy to jailbreak / unlock the iPhone 3g to the 2.2.x firmware and now amazingly simple to move to the 3.0 firmware. A big thanks Dev Team for making this available for free, simply phenomenal what these guys are doing.

The actual process though can get a little intimidating, but iClarified takes even that mystery out of the unlock. NOTE: These steps work, but please do them at your own risk. If something goes wrong, there is no support.

Firmware Files are here.
NOTE: When you save the files, they tend to save as zip files, rename them to .ipsw and it works just fine, seems like a browser thing.

1. Jailbreak your 3g iPhone. Works with any carrier in India / US. Verified in both locations.

2. Now, once the Jailbreak has occurred, follow the unlock steps by Dev Team here.

3. Enjoy!

If you own a 2g, then its even simpler, the jailbreak process wil do the unlock as well. Follow steps here.

The above steps I've exercised on a 2g and 3g phone and so far they work pretty well. This post is as-is and author takes no responsibility. I spent some time tracking down these steps online - thought it would help others to collate them in a single location.Good luck and enjoy the iPhone!

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

SulaFest 2009

Heard about sula winery? The ones that make satori merlot and dindori as well I think. So yes, that sula winery has a yearly bash called sula fest. The premise is great, food music and lots of wine - how can you go wrong?

So we packed our bags and headed down to nasik for the event. We have aLways wanted to go to sula vineyards but coil never justify what we would do there. One 45 minute wine tour was not enough of a draw. So sulafest was just the thing.

Nasik is about 3 hours by road from mumbai. Take the eastern expressway and folllow the signs, even when in doubt just keep going straight and you will hit nasik. The roads are being done up and the portions that are done are gorgeous. Once it competed nasik won't be more than 2 hours away.

Getting to the vineyard itself was a bit of map and small board reading bimut with some local guidance we made it. It would help if the boards were not all yellow background be more legible.

So having reached the vineyard we got our tickets and since nothing starts on time we had some time to kill. The setup and ambience were amazing and we were hopeful for an unforgettable evening.

Since we had time to kill we took the wine tour. Not really worth the price and he a boring second half. The de-stemmer machines and the wine containers were cool. Wine ultimately was mediocre at best. Location is amazing. The ideal thing to do is to take their merlot and sip it on the balcony overlooking the vines. I am no oenophile but the wine was no fun. Also if you been to napa valley you will instantly recognize the d├ęcor.

So onwards to sulafest! Some food stalls were up which was good cause we were starving. Good food. Silly system if having everyone buy coupons from one location. I don't get that. Music was wafting through the air and the atmosphere was turning magical. Glasses in hand we headed to the amphitheater. Very much like shoreline in the San franciso bay area if you've been there. This is no doubt influence by the owners brief stint at oracle.

We noticed dark clouds gathering but figures it's march. The worst could be a quick angry shower and that would be that.however we were wrong. It rained and poured and thundered. Firnaime odd reason the organizers had not planned for this even though there was rain forecast.

Anyhow things went south pretty quick. People were oullednunto the little Italy restaurant ( great ambience!) and why else is there to do on a rainy evening except drink up the wine.

Ultimately it looked like nothing was going to happen. Quite disappointing. Then someone managed to salvage some equipment together and got jilebee cartel going and boy did they Rock out the party! Those guys are good!

However we hadncime to see a live show so wree totally bummed. The artists we talked to wantes to play as well but the equipmen was already carted down and ut wasnofficially a rave party with jalibee cartel taking it home.

So that was sulafest. Great potential but didn't come through due to the rain. I wish the organizers had thought about the rain especially since it was predicted no less! Once the rain happened it was just chaos and it wasn't clear who was in charge and what the procedure was to resume action.

The organizers had although thought about rain when they printed the tickets! Tickets had a clause thy no refunds to be given if rain happened- well good thinking whoever came up with the content for the tickets. Would have been good to share with the folks who were on the ground as well. It was almost like they took the collected money and bolted leavung some
Poor hassled collegekids to take the fall. Also VIP tickets were a sham so incase you're going next year just buy the general admision.

Will I go next year? I probably will, but not before checking the forecast! The space is amazing and no doubt that an open air concert will rock! In the meantime organizers please get your act together!

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Mumbai Votes

15 days left to vote.

This is the first time I'll be voting, so am very excited. I also have this sudden pressure that I've got to make the right choice or else everything will fall apart! Seriously though, I'm still debating if a single vote counts. Theoretically speaking, yes it does. But if you look at it realistically, if your single vote is not part of many same votes, it may not matter at all. I have started feeling that you have to be part of a vote bank to count.

But keeping the cynicism aside, I will vote this time.

But now comes the question whom to vote for! This is where it gets tough. How do you figure out everything about the candidates? Do any of the candidates have criminal records? How have they performed so far on issues most important to the constituency? What have they spent their annual budget on?

I mostly tend to turn online when I need to research anything. I'm so glad that all this information is easily available online. I wanted to share some of these sources with everyone.
MumbaiVotes is an excellent website with thoroughly researched information about candidates. Everything about them, right from their criminal records, parliamentary records, spending information. Any articles on them. MumbaiVotes has even interviewed the candidates about issues important to their constituency.
Agni is another website which has a comprehensive agenda put up that I would hope all candidates would address.

Any other sites you would recommend?

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Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I am always surprised at the range of stuff you can do online in India. I recall being pleasantly surprised when I first came back to India and am still pleased to see the rapid pace with which stuff comes online. I have been paying my taxes online for some time now much to the discomfort of my CA who doesn't trust online payments so much. But it works and works well - touchwood.

However this blog isn't about that anyhow. Had to renew my passport and got wind that you could now do this online. Quickly googling it revealed that allowed you to fill out your application online and after printing it you were notified of date on which you had to visit the passport office in worli to drop off the application and your papers.

Sounded pretty easy so filled the app got all the papers. Bunched all the originals together and copied them once as instructed and reached worli on the day notified by the website.

Online world meet offline world! First order of the day was to figure out which passport office? Old or new. Correct answer is new passport office, the Bengal Chemicals office.

Turns out that the appointment system was scrapped a few months back and now you just showed up at the passport office within 15 days of filling out that online form. Ok, so won't be a 15 minute cakewalk as I had imagined.

So back to sarkari world. Long line, guards and peons wielding power and feeding you nonsense. Long line, middle of the afternoon and I had also picked a day before a long weekend Holi and Id were happening. Found out grom my co-sufferers that the smart folks had turned up early in the morning and were only just getting out by 12.

Then the paranoia- dd you get all the documents ? Did you fill out the right forms? Did you get enough copies? Are you feeling lucky? So now you're bonded with the other folks around you in the line. Great, because you are getting ready to spend atleast 4 hours with some of them only I didnt know this then!

Ok so the verdict was - I had the right forms. Needed extra copies of everything so that means two copies of all originals. Also I had to copy my existing passport. Good news is that the line has in / out privileges. You have to join the line before 12 otherwise there is a cutoff and people are turned back.

Once you get inside it's a long wait. There are two types of lines inside - submission line and payment line. Submission is sloooooow and after that the payment line seems very brisk.

Overall the whole thing took 4 hours perhaps longer due to the holidays.Looks like the application is moving ahead. I had my police verification recently - about 2-3 weeks later. Haven't paid any bribes yet. Fingers crossed.

To summarize
1. Take all your originals
2. Four copies of everything. Two to give when you submit your application. Two for the cop who will abruptly demand copies when he shows up.
3. Letter from society confirming your residency and since when.
4. Keep atleast 6 photographs ready.
5. Three copies of existing passport if you have it.
6. Snacks to munch inside the waiting room
7. Patience!

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Oscar ka Saya!

Was thriling to watch Rahman take home an Oscar the other night, Gulzar was gravy! A lot has been written already about slumdog and whether you are pro or against it.

Me, I loved the movie and was left with a sense I euphoria post watching it. "it was written" captures so much of our attitude as Indians and how we approach our lives notwithstanding the metaphorical "shit" that we wade through to get to wherever we're going. Ah too philosophical even if superficially so!

This is not a review of slumdog though - I thought it was a really good film - this is why I watch films to be transported and be part of something different - am a sucker for underdog stories, what can I say!

However, Rahman the genius that he is hot his rightful due. I thought that slumdog was an average soundtrack - his Dilli 6 soundtrack is so much more satisfying. As he delivers more music he keeps evolving and melding more influences in his music - the recent infusion of mood and jazz influences ( jaane tu... And rehna tu from dilli 6) are sheer joy to listen to. His unfailing inclusion of a quawwali or sufi influenced songs are almost always gems a true religious experience agnostic of your literal denomination or allegiance.

I don't believe that an Oscar changes anything
About how I feel about Gulzar or Rahman - both genius in what they do. However, recognition is good and world over the Oscar is the gold standard, so to win at that stage is phenomenal and the worldnis richer for their "discovery" of Rahman.

Me, I say
A. He was lucky
B. He knew all the answers
C. It was written
D. All of the above

D, final choice.

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Wither Voter ID Card

General elections are fast approaching and being the "responsible" citizens that we are, the wife and I have been trying to get our voter ID cards. This entire process is turning out to be an impossible task! We have been trying to our cards made for the better part of one year and u have three separate countrefoils from the three times now that we have submitted our applications!

Why thrice? It's my lucky number!:) (and I love to clog the already loaded government data entry folks!) - seriously though - each time we have been told that the previous time did not stick - hence thrice! All this with the help of the local corporator who we feel can get the cards since he's part of the system and also because he has a vested interest in recruiting new voters - or so we think!

We had read somewhere that you could vote if you had a counterfoil of submission -turns out we were wrong, you got to be on the voter top for it to work which brings us back to why this post is happening.

About two weeks back a local group decided that they would do a voter ID card drive, very well meaning and atleast they were doing something! Anyhow, so we went thinking we could check our names in the list - place was very busy, was great to see so much turnout amongst the "corporate" crowd! Anyhow it was chaotic, even they had probably not anticipated the rush! Predictbly, our names were not in the list and the lady says - fill it out one more time cause the administration has screwed everything up! What?

So that was it for the wife and me. While discussing this we thought
A. Why is a pan card not enough to guarantee voting rights?
B. Instead of overloading the system even more by asking people like me to file AGAIN why not volunteer to do data entry? Those people are overloaded or just lazy and indifferent.
C. Are politicians in this country deliberately preventing the middle class from voting?

On a hunch we checked with all the househelp that visits our homes. ALL of them without exception had their voter cards! That's pretty damning evidence if any!

We will probably have to take atleast three days off work to go to the local EC office to try to get registered or perhaps moving to a slum might get me my card quicker?

For all our well meaning candle marches and pledges etc( which I don't subscribe to)- the plain truth is that a whole swathe of us are just being systematically prevented from voting and our schedules don't give us the luxury to take 3 days off to run after apathetic government officials who in cahoots with the politicians to deny you your basic right!

If PAN cards can be automated to where it's a dumbed down process - why is this so hard? Thee is no will hence so way. Meanwhile I am putting in my note for 3 days off.....

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Friday, February 13, 2009

iPhone to blog

My blog posts have gradually dwindled to zero and I've been wondering if in this world of twitter and facebook whether my creative juices needed to be canned in a short status message in facebook or a "tweet"!

Recently got an iPhone, no, call it the "Jesus" phone - it "saves" you from mundane phones! An experiment for me to see if I blog a little more with this device.

For those keeping score - it's an unlocked iPhone and works great so far with airtel in India. Will post the steps I took to unlock the iPhone for free. The idea is to jailbreak it and then unlock it. The dev-team folks have gotten as far as firmware 2.2 and I must say it works as advertised - very nice! Will post links to a blog that had a great step by step post on how to do this.

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