This is one of the less pleasant facts of wireless-phone
life: Although GSM phones (sold by Cingular and T-Mobile) can in theory let you switch from one carrier to another
just by changing the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card on
the inside, most are locked by their carriers, preventing that
Carriers do this because they sell phones below cost and
plan on making up that subsidy in service charges. Some will
unlock the phone on request after a certain period; in other
cases, customers will have to pay somebody to unlock it for
them, as we wrote early this
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* My phone doesn't work in my home. How do I
know if it's my phone or the service that's at fault?
You can't -- at least not by yourself. What you can do is
borrow a friend's phone, if that friend is on the same service
but doesn't own the same phone. If his/her phone works, it's
the hardware at fault. If this second phone doesn't pick up a
signal either, it's more likely to be the carrier at fault, and
you'd be better off looking for a new one.
BTW, if you missed the Web chat I held on the wireless
guide, or you signed off when we had a temporary server
meltdown halfway through, here's the transcript.
Further Thoughts on the Apple's iPod Photo
After I had filed my review of Apple's iPod Photo Friday
night (the second column in a month or so to doubt the utility
of digital-music players that can also show photos), I started
talking with my editor about what might make such a device
more appealing and worth the extra dollars it would cost
above a music-only device.
(If Apple can cut the price of the iPod Photo such that
picture viewing becomes an essentially free feature -- or one
that merely costs $20 or so extra -- this would be a different
equation, but that seems a little while off.)
We threw a few ideas around: What if the gadget included
its own digital camera? My thought: You'd probably have a
terrible digital camera, and a lot of people already own one,
built into their cell phones.
What if the MP3 player had memory-card slots for a quick
transfer of photos from camera to player? That'd work, except
that accommodating all the incompatible storage-card
formats on the market would make for a rather bulky
What if the screen will was a lot bigger? Not bad, but in
that case you might as well turn it into a full-fledged
handheld organizer ... in fact, that's exactly what I expect to
see somebody do. Hard drives are now small enough to fit
inside devices the size of a Palm or Windows Mobile
After this little debate, I headed out of the office and into
Metro. As I waited for my train home to roll into the station, I
did what any iPod user would: popped in the headphones,
picked an artist to listen to, pressed play and shoved the iPod
in a pocket, hiding its color screen from my sight.
-- Rob Pegoraro (firstname.lastname@example.org)