Archive for February, 2006

How I unlocked my Samsung x426 Cellphone and saved $10

Sunday, February 26th, 2006

I had an old Samsung X426 flip phone lying around which a friend needed as a “Pay As you Go” spare phone for his someone. The Cingular store gave us an option and told us, “… if you have an unlocked phone all you need is to buy refill minutes…”.
Nice, the challenge was to get it unlocked. A quick search on Craigslist gave me a “will come to the nearest Walmart parking lot and unlock in 5 minutes for $10” option — The guy said, he would do a Samsung x426 without using any software or a device. That rang a bell.
Here are the steps I followed (collated from multiple sources, courtesy Google):
1. Ripped the battery and Inserted a SIM card from another network provider than the one who locked the phone
2. On power up the phone reported “Wrong Card”. Keyed *#9998*3323# and then selected “Exit”
3. Selected Menu #7 (“Jump to Fail”) which caused a reboot of the phone.
4. On reboot entered *0141# and selected the call button. “Personalization” appears on the screen.
5. The splash screen of the new SIM provider shows up.
6. Anyway, power cycled the phone and called my landline. The phone was now unlocked.
Enough money saved to cover a week’s supply of small cappuccino from the corner coffee shop. Total time spent 20 minutes!
Good use of technology = $10 = free coffee for a week 🙂

Keeping a meaning in daily meetings: How Genentech does it everyday

Sunday, February 12th, 2006

Everyday in corporate meetings we have to sit through “mindless”, “unintelligible”, and gibberish-laden presentations. Most of the times, it’s only after first 10-15 slides the actual “meat” of the presentation comes out — if not it’s covered with buzz words, marketing-speak and what not to sift through.
Genentech, a company which symbolizes itself as a “beater” of corporate bureaucracy and CYA (“cover-your-ass”) culture, has a game called gBuzz Bingo. To play:
1. An employee downloads a bingo card from the intranet. The bingo card features terms like “actionable”, “traction”, “value-added”, “win-win”, “strategy”, etc
2. The card is then taken to a meeting where a not so positive outcome is expected.
3. The boxes next to the words are checked as these words are uttered.
4. First to complete these words win — The player shouts out “gBuzz!” and is declared the winner, effectively silencing the bull-shit being discoursed.
On the side, sometimes I attend meetings where a lot of swearing and finger pointing happens — Here are my favorite phrases to be checked off a) “Where are the dates?” b) “Are you sure?” (1 point for every 3 utterances) c) “Is the project on track?” (1 point for every 3 utterances) d) “I don’t think you got it covered.” etc. etc. There are more. Shout it out and for repeat cases, gift a box of detergent soap to the person next Christmas.