Wednesday, May 26, 2010

My Tech Disasters: Chapter 43

Every now and then, as an ageing technology journalist wanting to prove he can still hack it, I like to indulge in a little DIY. So when, having spent an inordinate amount of cash, I took delivery of a 3G Apple iPad brought over from New York by a kind friend, I set to work.

The problem, you see, is that the device will not work on a 3G network with a normal SIM card. You need to slot in a special micro-SIM and these are not yet available in the UK. But I had spotted on the internet that there was a workaround. Some clever folks had found that you could cut down a standard SIM so that it would fit into the iPad's SIM holder. A British friend had tried this out and assured me that it was quick and simple - and worked.

The various online guides suggested using anything from a meat cleaver to pair of scissors to undertake this task. Not having a meat cleaver to hand, I assembled a variety of tools, including a penknife, some scissors and a ballpoint pen. I took a standard O2 pay-as-you-go SIM card, which promised me a month's unlimited web access for £10 and began to hack away at it. And, as you can see from the video, I failed miserably. When I inserted the SIM into the iPad, the device remained oblivious of its presence. It seems I had trimmed just a little too much.

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So that's £10 down the drain. What's more, I'd had an earlier Tech Failure with the same SIM, trying and failing to use it (before trimming) in an HTC Desire phone. Mobile operators aren't keen to see these expensive pieces of kit used on anything but a nice chunky long-term contract SIM, so they don't make it easy. After hours of endless fiddling with the settings - and helpful advice from online friends - I ended up crashing the whole operating system

As for the iPad, I hardly think you need yet another review. So I shall wait until a rival product comes along to compare and contrast - luckily, I'm told there will be one on the market in just a few weeks' time. Then I can have a go at breaking that too.


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