Sunday, September 30, 2007

Kevin Rudd, Can You Really Speak Mandarin?

Kevin Rudd, the leader of federal Australian Labor Party, was recently caught by Julian Morrow at a press conference for faking his Chinese ability.


I personally was impressed by Julian Morrow's accurate mandarin pronunciation as well as the usage of slang term "smart ass".

Wired magazine, you have so much to learn!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Simon Pegg & David Schwimmer as Call Center Monkeys

The Big Nothing is a dark comedy about three people tried to blackmail a local Catholic Reverend about his secret sexual fetish.

One of the humorous scenes is the following where Simon Pegg & David Schwimmer are working as customer service representatives.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

HOWTO: Samsung SCH-u740 Ringtone Unlock

I personally think selling & buying ringtones is a rip-off, especially when the mobile phone is equipped with a memory card slot for loading additional media files. However it is a common practice among mobile phone providers. The phone companies would often lock the phones t0 prevent them from getting ringtones freely.

Recently I got a Samsung SCH-u740 from Verizon Wireless. It is preloaded with ten ringtones which none of them I liked. At least I should be thankful they were not those moronic classical music ringtones. Like many other mobile phones, additional ringtones can only be purchased via its online store.

Using an USB cable (Samsung PCB200BBEB) with software drivers (Samsung Mobile USB, BitPim (, and a PC, I was able to unlock the phone and load my own ringtones.

Samsung SCH-u740 with Ringtones Enabled

As of right now, there is no dedicated setting for u740 within BitPim version 1.0.1 or test release Therefore the phone is connected as “Other CDMA phone”.

The phone’s file system is similar to any operating system. Ringtones are stored in a directory located at


In my case, I loaded a remix version of the theme song from The IT Crowd (UK version, not the upcoming American shite!). MrInfo.db is a database file to let the phone know there are additional ringtones available for use and locations of the ringtone files. To generate the database file, just reboot the phone either via BitPim or manually.

One thing I found interesting was the dates of these files. Notice they are marked as “11/20/80”? Certainly it does not mean we are living in the 1980’s (or do we?).

The default line in MrInfo.db ends with “|0|0”. For example, in my case it originally shows


It needs to be changed to “|0|3” like this

Use Notepad to change it and save back into the phone.

Reboot the phone once more, you are done.

Repeat the same process if you want to load more ringtones & enjoy.

Update: Mar. 23, 2008 - BitPim 1.0.5 supports Samsung SCH-u740:

To view directories within Filesystem, be sure to check View Filesystem under View:

Friday, September 7, 2007

Samsung SCH-u740 from Verizon Wireless

It has been almost two years since I got my LG VX5200 from Verizon Wireless. Although it was a reliable phone, it did have some issues. For one, the speaker vents kept collecting dust particles and precisely pack them underneath the phone’s external display.

Earlier this week I celebrated my Labor Day off by visiting my local Verizon Wireless store and try to wheel-and-deal my way to a new phone. For long time, I have been eyeing the Samsung SCH-u740, which is retailing at $400 without contract.

At the store, it is sold as a package deal of $129.99 with 2-yrs contract. The package includes the phone, Bluetooth kit, car charger, & a carrying case. I asked Drew, the sales person, what each of these accessories cost and their mark up. He said the package price is 40% of items if they were sold separately.

I told Drew that I personally don’t care about Bluetooth kit, car charger, and the carrying case, especially when I could purchase them much cheaper at an online retailer like Drew tried to compromise by throw in an additional 1GB MicroSD memory card, which is priced at $34.99 at Verizon’s store.

$34.99 for one 1GB MicroSD card?! I have got them for $5.25 each from

Eventually Drew caved in deducted $80 from the $129.99 and since I am a returning customer, I got additional $50 mail-in rebate. I only had to pay the 8.2% sales tax and got my Samsung SCH-u740 for $4.10.

BlackBerry 8100 vs. Samsung SCH-u740 (2of3)

Comparing with my BlackBerry 8100 from T-Mobile, Samsung SCH-u740 has some good features:

1. Full QWERTY keyboard - At first I was little concerned about cramming all the buttons in such small area, but after using it, I was pleasantly surprised by how great the buttons worked. Also, some special characters can be accessed by press-hold the corresponding button.

BlackBerry 8100 vs. Samsung SCH-u740 (3of3)

2. Music Player - There are three dedicated touch-sensitive buttons on the exterior where it can be easily accessed. The memory card slot is on the exterior (BlackBerry’s is hidden under the battery compartment).

3. Web Access - Comparing with T-Mobile’s EDGE network, Verizon’s EV network is a little faster.

4. Camera - Both the BlackBerry and u740 have a 1.3MP camera with maximum resolution of 1280x960 pixels. However, u740 also has video recording capability.

BlackBerry 8100 vs. Samsung SCH-u740 (1of3)

To be fair, BlackBerry 8100 also some features that u740 lacked:

1. The Pearl - Using the little trackball instead of pushing through navigation buttons made scrolling screens & menus much faster and easier.

2. Charging & Earphone Ports - BlackBerry uses the standard mini-USB connection to charge the device, send & retrieve data files, and a dedicated 2.5mm jack for earphones. While the u740 relies on a 20-pin adaptor.

3. Email & Calendar - Since BlackBerry was designed as a mobile office device (or electronic leash, depending on how you use it) for people on the run, it is much accommodating with modern office needs.

4. Ringtones & Media - BlackBerry allows MP3 set as ringtones easily without the cumbersome process u740 needed (purchase ringtones from Verizon online store, or hack it with BitPim & USB cable). BlackBerry’s built-in media player supports more file formats.

Both phones have its’ own advantages & disadvantages and I am very happy with both of them. I am also happy that I did not chuck $600 on an iPhone and get boned like these Apple-whores.

Related: Samsung SCH-u740 Ringtone Unlock