Unlocking your Verizon phone

May 8, 2012 at 4:09 pm (Personal)

I currently own a Verizon HTC Incredible 2 cell phone.

I’m happy with Verizon (they’re the only ones that have good signal inside my house). But when I go outside the USA (I go to Guatemala often), I want to be able to switch the SIM card to one that works with a local mobile service providers. Otherwise I would have to use roaming with Verizon and that is ridiculously expensive.

I gave Verizon a call and they quickly gave me the  “unlock” code for me to enter in my phone. After entering the code, the phone was immediately unlocked! They only made me agree to a very obvious agreement that if I stick another SIM card in there I acknowledged that I was no longer using the Verizon service and Verizon could would not support me while I had that third party SIM card in my phone. But if I then switched back to my Verizon SIM card and ran my phone in CDMA (or Global) mode, I would be supported again.

And one more thing, Verizon uses CDMA. SIM cards are used for GSM. So I tried removing my Verizon SIM card from my phone and I was still able to get Verizon service. Nice to know.

I then stuck a SIM card from a friend that uses T-mobile and switched my Incredible’s mode to GSM, I could make and receive calls as him. Very cool.

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Anika is crawling!

January 29, 2012 at 5:51 pm (Personal)

A few days before she turned 9 months, Anika began crawling!

She had been close to crawling for a long time but her right foot would get stuck on her left knee so she was not able to crawl freely with her knees, she would only move a little bit and then go back into the sitting position; after doing that a lot she could move from one side of a room to the other; but it took her a long time.

One night Carol and I placed a few of her favorite toys at a distance she could only reach by crawling, and we helped her get her foot unstuck. After doing that a few times, she was able to crawl by herself! She only did it by herself a few times and then got tired.

The next day, we wondered if she had forgotten her new skill; but she didn’t. After a few days of practice she could go long without stopping:

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C# controlled lights via USB port

November 15, 2011 at 11:30 am (Computer Science, Personal)

At work, we thought it would be cool if we could turn on some siren lights when a server goes down.

Step #1 to make this happen was to be able to control simple electronics from custom code. I love C# and the USB port is what is common now so I researched and found the FT245RL “USB to FIFO” chip. This chip made it really easy for me. It plays well with drivers known by Windows.

When I plugged in the chip to the USB port, Windows 7 immediately recognized it and installed the drivers for it. You can use a couple of drivers the default is the simpler one to use where it turns the USB port into a virtual serial (COM) port.

Writing to serial ports is really standard so this is the code that outputs a byte through the chip:

private static void WriteByte(byte byteToWrite)
{
    using (SerialPort vcp = new SerialPort())
    {
        vcp.BaudRate = 9600;
        vcp.DataBits = 8;
        vcp.StopBits = StopBits.One;
        vcp.Parity = Parity.None;
        vcp.PortName = "COM5";

        vcp.Open();

        vcp.Write(new byte[] { byteToWrite }, 0, 1);

        vcp.Close();

    }

}

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Bike commuting is over

October 31, 2011 at 9:31 am (Personal)

It has actually been over for a long time but I haven’t posted about it. I didn’t bike to work at all last week. It’s just too dark and I realized that even if I got a front light, cars would see me but I would not be able to see pot holes or other obstacles on the road.

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Fall bike rides

October 20, 2011 at 3:55 pm (Personal)

This weekend Cody, Shaun, and I did our Alpine ride. We start at Corner Canyon on Draper, and go over the mountain to the Alpine side where we go by the natural water slide, the bike ramp that ends into a pond, we ride the “blood chute”, and go through a ranch that has camels.  Yeah, camels in Alpine Utah, strange…

The leaves were falling and changing color. We rode through several spots where the ground was covered with orange/brown leaves and the trees had reddish leaves. It was cool.

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It was a tough ride, it took about 3 hours (I haven’t downloaded my Garmin watch data).

I’m still biking to work but I need a front strobe light because it is pitch dark when I leave my house. This morning a car did not see me when doing a right hand turn to merge into the main street I always ride; I had to stop really hard to avoid hitting it. It didn’t catch me by surprise because I always ride thinking nobody sees or respects bikers so I was ready for that hard stop. Besides, it was part my fault for not having a front light.

For safety’s sake I’ll stop bike commuting until I get a front light, which I hope will be after work tomorrow. The commute is getting cold in the morning but it is still not too bad; the night low is still in the forties. I’ll stop riding when the low gets below below 40F. There is no snow or rain so my guess is I still have 2 to 3 weeks of bike commuting.

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Anika has mastered sitting down!

October 6, 2011 at 10:56 pm (Personal)

For the last month or so, Anika could hold the “sit down” position for a little while, like 10 seconds totally unsupported. When placed on the position she would wobble and then start falling to the side slowly.

But two days ago Carol placed her on the floor and she was able to keep herself balanced! She now does it all the time with no problem. We can’t remember when was the last time we sat her down on the floor, we usually sat her on the bed without realizing it was harder for her to keep her balance on a soft surface.

So we now place her on the floor with some toys around for her to play with. We also put some pillows around so she doesn’t hit her head if she falls.

She’s also starting to enjoy more sophisticated toys like the one you see on the picture. She hits the buttons to play the music, we’re almost certain she does it because she wants to hear the music. She still prefers her old toys though, she can lift those and put them in her mouth =)

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Anika’s first cold =(

September 30, 2011 at 3:03 pm (Personal)

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Boogers and watery eyes did not stop her from smiling yesterday afternoon when I took the picture. But she did have a tough night. She woke up every couple of hours because of a stuffy nose. And had a fever at 3am so Carol gave her some acetaminophen.

I’m totally the one that gave her the cold … It’s one of those mean colds. I hope she’ll feel better tonight…

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Anika’s first tooth!!!

September 26, 2011 at 6:01 pm (Personal)

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There it is! The first little white one! Carol discovered it today when Anika bit her finger.  Anika just barely turned five months 5 days ago.

We’re now thinking this is why she has been drooling sooo much for a month now. Actually it was much worse about two weeks ago. And she was crying a little more than normal last week.

Anika has grown sooo much it is unbelievable. For a while she’s been able to roll to pick up toys but it used to be hard for her now she does it really quick. And she started picking up her binky when she drops it! And she puts it back in her mouth… This still takes her some time and she sometimes gets frustrated but it is still truly amazing how babies learn so much so quick!

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Rode 67 miles (108 km) today

September 24, 2011 at 10:14 pm (Personal)

Today I rode the Heber Metric Century Ride with Cody, Nicholle, and Jeff. I had a great time, nothing like a long ride with good friends. The scenery was awesome too, we went through rural roads with a lot of green fields and green mountains with very blue skies. And the leaves started changing colors around Heber so we would also see some bright orange trees in the middle of the mountains.

We rode through some isolated roads which were really smooth to ride. Well, most of them where, there was 2 miles of hard packed dirt road. And since my butt was already hurting a little, those 2 miles definitely wore it out and I was in pain the rest of the way…

I feel like muscle-wise I could have ridden the 100 mile ride (as opposed to the 100km one). But my butt was definitely not ready for the challenge. Humm,,, well and now that I write this, I remember that my knee also began to hurt a bit at mile 40 so I took some Ibuprofen (400mg) and that made things be normal for the remaining 17 miles.

This knee thing means I’m not doing long rides any time soon. I might do 50 milers but no more than that. I’ve been really good with my knee this year. I really have not made it hurt since April’s SLC Marathon. And today doesn’t really count.

I didn’t take any pictures of the ride =(, but I took one of my “farmer’s tan” when I got home:

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After the ride we went to grab some food and a couple of beers. Carol and Anika met us there but they would not let them in! It turned out the place was a bar and not a restaurant/bar, so you had to be over 21 to get in. I gotta start thinking about that when we’re out with the little one.

Carol, Anika, and I then went to check out Jonsons Mill, a nice bead and breakfast where we might stay some day. We hung out on the gardens, pond, and stream that goes through it. They had a cool thing with a rope where you could make it spin as you grabbed the rope and flew over a stream, it was pretty cool.

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Chilly morning rides

September 2, 2011 at 7:59 am (Personal)

My commute to work is getting chilly, today was my first day wearing full finger gloves. And think I’ll start covering my ears soon.

The sun only hits me in the last mile of my 5 mile bike ride to work.

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I’ve thought for the longest time that my commute was 6 miles but I measured it last week and it’s really 5.2 miles.

I’m happy to say that I rode to work 4 to 5 times a week throughout the entire summer. The days that I didn’t ride to work were days that I wanted to use my old Mazda a little, just to make sure it didn’t break since I’ll be using it during my winter commutes.

I’ll continue riding to work until it gets uncomfortably cold. I have at least one month more of riding.

And to end this post with some cuteness, here’s a picture of Anika grocery shopping that I found on my phone while getting the picture above.

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