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My exciting activity of the weekend and the closest thing to a lesson that I could extract from it.

Sunday Open Thread 12/18/2010 | iPhone Weekend

So I spend several hours this weekend trying to restore my wife's iPhone 3GS. As if we don't have enough Apple stories, I'll still share this one. Originally, sim-locked on AT&T service, we had to get it “fixed” for use overseas. I had this routine done “professionally” by a local kid, making some extra dough on the side.

This time though, wanton for punishment, I decided to do it myself. Once I restored the phone through the regular iTunes channel (easy part), I started realizing how complicated this was going to be. A 4.1 version software with a 05.15.00 band wasn't going to be easily “fixed”. Luckily, the phone was an “older” 3GS model (could you believe that matters too?!), something you can figure out by reading the serial number where 3 numbers tell you the week and year of production!

Once I used redsn0w to get it “jailbroke”, the unlocking part would not happen (because of the band). So, I had to not only fix the software but also upgrade the band to 06.15.00. This I did and then went through Cydia to unlock the phone using “ultrasn0w” (all these tools have weird names!), and got everything working alhamdulilah! But as I continued my pangas (a choice Urdu word for “messing”), the phone went back into recovery mode, needing another restore! Only then, I realized what “cannot be downgraded” meant (a warning that popped up when I was changing the band). So iTunes would keep getting stuck at the band, and giving a “1015 error”.

I had to then beg HE Shaykh Google to find instructions that provided tips for the fix, landing on a video that showed how I needed to download a “custom” firmware that allowed the phone to be restored without messing with the band. Once done, I had to go back through the initial routine, and voila, after 8 hours of pangas, I had a restored, unlocked phone! Funnily enough, though it wasn't that funny at the time, the problem with the signal that led to me into the restore activity didn't get fixed.

Okay, so I have bored you enough but you can imagine my frustration trying to decode geek language? But it was a nice learning exercise and I feel like a bit of expert now (feel free to use our new “Ask geek Amad iphone questions” feature).

Trying to relate this iPhone exercise to a post on MuslimMatters was my next challenge. I was thinking of how Apple has probably deliberately left security holes (the conspiracy theorist I am ; ) ) in their devices, to “allow” the “fixing” to happen so that they can sell more devices! I mean the AT&T (for instance) locking deal only helps AT&T help Apple sell more phones. So, what's wrong with squeezing a few extra sales on the side?

And, here's my stretch analogy (excuse the cheesiness… it's just an open thread after all!), mankind similarly has these built-in, by-design, flaws, entrances for shaytan to get into our system and hack them for diversion of our fitrahs to other than the “pure”, warrantied network of Tawheed. But it takes great efforts and significant reprogramming to divert it. In other words, man has to dispose himself to corrupting his fiṭrah in order to redirect his worship to other than Allāh. The concept of Qada wal Qadr is also reinforced. Ultimately Allāh has willed what will happen to you, but it is you who makes the choices (the effort) for corruption, that leads you to that ultimate will. Without these flaws, mankind would be perfect and there would be no test left.

So forgive me for sharing my less than exciting activity of the weekend and the closest thing to a lesson that I could extract from it. One advice though, if you are in a similar boat: Take the iPhone to a pro and spend 8 hours reading a good Islamic book. You'll definitely get more out of it : )

What exciting activity did you engage in over the last week and what amazing lessons did you extract from it? : )

allah fitrah

About Amad

Amad Shaikh is one of the founders of MuslimMatters, Inc. His identity is shaped by his religion (Islam), place of birth (Pakistan), and nationality (American). By education, he is a ChemE, topped off with an MBA from the Wharton. He was one of the founders of the TDC, and in what seems like a distant memory, he served as the President of U. Houston's MSA. His interests include politics, cricket, and media interactions. Career-wise, Amad is in management in the oil & gas industry (but one who still appreciates the "green revolution").

16 comments

  1. Panga’s” indeed. Interesting! Some of the techie terms went over my head.
    Maybe we can also view this article as a how-to for wives: “How to keep a husband occupied for 8 hours”.

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  2. I was thinking of how Apple has probably deliberately left security holes (the conspiracy theorist I am ; ) ) in their devices, to “allow” the “fixing” to happen so that they can sell more devices!

    not quite, but something a bit more intrusive..I just ran into this article the other day..

    Your Apps Are Watching You

    A WSJ Investigation finds that iPhone and Android apps are breaching the privacy of smartphone users

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704694004576020083703574602.html

    Our weekend was as normal as could be with some furniture shopping (a carpet, 3 piece glass table set, and entrance walkway cabinet for less than 1000 SR ($267)…

    Lesson: Go shopping with your wife, redecorate your rooms every once in a while, redo the paint/wallpaper.. it will strengthen your relationship (even if its strong) when you do “certain” projects together… and it renews the spirits in the house??!!!?? Insha`Allah..

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    • The redeeming part of it all was that it was the wife’s phone, so I blamed all my hours spent on tech curiosity on my mission to improve something for her, and that she should be thankful for it. It’s great when u can do that!

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  3. subhanAllah! I am debating if I should get an apple macbook pro or not. And this post just clearly is the best place to ask this question. Which is best? A Macbookpro or a PC? Mind you I intend it for general use and I have tried different brands over the years. Please advise.

    (Shaykh Yasir Qadhi’s conversion is a strong point:D)

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    • I think apple products r great, but I am too loyal/lazy to the pc to change now. As they say, it’s allabout the switching cost and my hurdle hasn’t been met yet!

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      • i too am very loyal to the pc but i have decided to convert and the way to remedy the situation is that on the macbook i buy i will install the windows 7 inshAllah. Thereby switching at will :)

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      • I recently purchased MacBook Pro and I love it and believe me, it will take you less than an hour to get familiar with all the differences from PC.

        The thing I love about MAC is that God forbid is anything ever happens to it, I just take it to an Apple store (and there are plenty of them in Big Apple) and their customer service is great. My mind is in peace that my investment is secure at least for next three years.

        I debated alot whether I should get such an expensive notebook as I would need it for general use only (though I do plan to go back to school but its still a big if). At the end, I was like you know what let me just buy it and pamper myself =D (but it obviously meant no shopping for a while) lol

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        • I also switched to iMac this September, during Ramadan, after the umpteenth PC hard disk crash. I have no regrets, alhamdulillah! Macs are great.

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          • jazakumullah u khairan for the advice. After much contemplation and Istikhara, I have decided to convert to a macbookpro. It wasnt easy but I guess its worth the money. and Allah Knows Best

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  4. I recommend any and all MACs for PC / Laptop use if you have little children because their customer services rocks. Last week, my son dumped a canister of salt all over my wife’s macbook pro, she took it to the Apple Store, and they replaced it for free. Same with the power source, only a couple of months back.

    In terms of usability and all the other stuff, if you’re just a casual internet surfer, you should look at the applications you’ll want to use. If they’re on both, and you can learn the differences between a MAC and PC quickly, go with the MAC, otherwise, stick with a PC.

    Siraaj

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  5. Disappointed to not see anything about the eclipse. It would have been a good way to remind Muslims about Salat al khusoof

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  6. I can totally relate to this Amad – isn’t it fun toying and figuring this stuff out?

    I’ve had countless escapades like this, most recently I learned how to use a crystallography program for class (used to find molecular structure) and broke my school MSA’s blog a few times figuring out the wordpress and html/css programming. Alhamdulillah I’m pretty comfortable with it now ; )

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  7. speaking of i-phones, here’s a list suggesting Islamic Apple Apps that might be helpful to know about –

    http://www.suhaibwebb.com/personaldvlpt/best-apple-deen-apps/

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