Sunday, April 27, 2014

Program Verizon Galaxy S4 for PagePlusCellular

In order to activate this phone on PagePlusCellular, we need its 15-digit IMEI. Go to Settings, More, About phone, Status:

Activate your phone on PagePlusCellular with the first 14 digits of its IMEI as ESN/MEID. Then you'll have MIN and MDN, let's assume 6265558888 and 6265559999, respectively. You also need to find a Verizon PRL (such as 60008.prl).

Enable DM Mode, so we can program it. If your phone is updated to 4.3, simply dial ##366633# and select Enable DM Mode:

Plug the phone to your Windows PC. If the drivers installed fine, you'll see two new serial ports in Device Manager:

Only one of the ports is what we need, let's assume COM5. If it does not work, then change to the other port (COM4) in the following steps. If you don't see these ports, you need to download and install Samsung USB drivers for your phone.

Start DFS, click Ports, double click on COM5, then double click SAMSUNG Mobile USB Serial Port (COM5) to select this port.

Now send SPC (000000) and Pwd (2009031920090615) to be able to access phone's secure area:

Programming, General, CONFIG: Read, Ruim Confi:, change from RuimOnly to NV_ONLY, Write. "RuimOnly" means the phone gets configuration from a UIM (SIM) card, then we cannot program it. So we change it to phone's NV area where we can access and make changes. Click "Reset", the phone will reboot.

Once the phone is boot up, send SPC and Pwd again. Need to do this every time after a reboot.

Programming, NAM. Read, fill in your MIN and MDN, then write. Optionally, you may find your SID and set it too. Under the PRL section, load the PRL, then write. Wait for few seconds for the PRL uploading to finish, then click Reset. The phone will reboot.

Now you can make phone calls and add LTE data like what's showing in this video:

Change the phone back to DM Mode disabled, as now we have done its programming. Otherwise it won't show up as a media device on your compute.

Above procedure applies to other phones, such as S3, Note 2 and etc.

New BIOS (1.07) for Miix 2 8

Don't know where it came from, but some people have applied it fine. I have not tried it, because my Miix has been running flawlessly and stable, I have no desire to change its current status by applying any update.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Force LTE or HSPA only

Although Pantech Burst is the cheapest LTE phone, it supports fully both AT&T and T-Mobile networks. Its built-in hotspot is the most featured I've seen - you can change the IP address from 192.168.43.X to anything you like and it can automatically select an available WiFi channel. It is very similar to the Pantech Element tablet, you may refer to that article for how to unlock it, root it, enable hotspot and etc.

In my area, T-Mobile HSPA and LTE signals are spotty, T-Mobile phones can only pick up the bad tower (CID) that gives only 0.3 mbps speed, but the cheap Pantech can pick up the right tower that gives 8 mbps speed on HSPA. LTE is too weak to be usable, but sometimes the phone still switches to it, resulting slow speed (theoretically LTE is faster than HSPA) and fast battery drain (too fast for charging to catch up with).

Therefore, I have been looking for a way to force the phone on HSPA only. I have found many methods and tried them, but this is the only way that works:
  • Install Secret Code Revealer app, this is the same app that we use to enable hotspot.
  • Run it, search codes and then go to the list.
  • Launch the 368368 code, then click on RAT mode, there you can see it was set to automatic by default. You may change to UMTS (HSPA), GSM or LTE, then it won't switch automatically between them.
See this video for details:

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A script that opens the deep video folder

If your digital camera or camcorder use MTS format, it is a PIA to open the folder of MTS files:


You may make a shortcut to this folder, but, if you are like me who uses lots of external USB storage devices, the "G" changes all the time from D to H.

Here is a better solution:

Right click on your desktop, New, Text Document, name it as OpenV.bat. Then right click on this file, Edit, copy and paste the following line (single line):

for %%d in (d e f g h) do if exist %%d:\PRIVATE\AVCHD\BDMV\STREAM explorer %%d:\PRIVATE\AVCHD\BDMV\STREAM

and save the file.

From now on, once you inserted the SD card from your camera, simply double click on the OpenV.bat file and it'll open the video folder for you:

You may download this OpenV.bat here. You may unzip it to anywhere in your computer and then create a shortcut on your desktop.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

PagePlusCellular and LTE, yes you can have both

I was messing around with my Galaxy S4 and was surprised to find out that it was able to use T-Mobile LTE and meanwhile PagePlusCellular for voice!

I had a T-Mobile SIM in my S4 and sometimes used its LTE network. You know, I have switched to VO3G long ago and no longer use traditional voice service. Although I activated my S4 on PPC, I never used it after some initial tests. One day a SMS came in telling me that my PPC balance was low. Weird, how come the PPC SMS get in while I am using T-Mobile data?

So, I dialed 611, wow, it went to PPC's customer support line instead of T-Mobile's, as you see in above video.

This is great news for those who love PPC but wished for better data. Here is the steps to get the best of both worlds:
  • Get a Verizon LTE phone. They are SIM unlocked, support both CDMA and GSM networks. Not all of them support T-Mobile's LTE though, but at least S4 does.
  • Get PPC voice service on S4. You need to change S4 from UIM only to NV only and manually program it for PPC. Make a voice call to make sure it works on PPC.
  • Get a T-Mobile SIM card and activate it, if you don't have one yet. My SIM is on prepaid. Insert it into S4.
  • Set S4's preferred network mode to GSM/UMTS and add as APN. Make sure data works.
  • Now set S4's preferred network mode to LTE/CDMA. Then it should get on T-Mobile's LTE data and, when you dial a #, it should go through PPC's CDMA.
That's it, enjoy the best voice and data. Although I have not tested, I believe this works with other LTE services too, such as AT&T, Verizon and Sprint.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Double the battery life of Galaxy S4

The battery life of Galaxy S4 is great, but I want it to be even longer under some conditions, for example, while roaming and using it as a WiFi hotspot for my Miix. After some search, I bought a 6200mAh battery with back door on ebay for $11. It was shipped from Florida and it arrived after 2 days.

The thickness of the battery is double of the original, i.e., 10.8 mm vs. 5.4mm. Therefore, its actual capacity is more likely to be 2x of the original, 5200 mAh. Still not bad, especially for the money.

The new weight is still very acceptable at just 6 oz, well the new back door does add bulkiness to the very slim body of S4.

Some friends told me that these cheap batteries do not hold their charges after 1 month or 2, let's see. All I can say now is so far so good and for just $10 I do not worry much. There are some 7200 mAh ones on ebay for $30. The extra $20 does not worth the higher labeled capacity, but I wonder if their performance lasts longer?  $30 is kind of too risky to try.

[update 04/19/2014] The Anker 5200 mAh battery gets very good reviews on Amazon, cost only $10 more than above no-brand ones. Anker even makes a whopping 7800 mAh one, if that's interesting to you.

[update 04/19/2014] The Anker is good.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

AHK, cannot live without

The whole point of computers is to run programs. What if nobody has made a program to do your job? Then nothing else is easier and more powerful and efficient than AHK.

Many of my tweaks need AHK, here is a little more on it to get you started. After this, you can simply copy and paste my tweaks and enjoy them on your computers.

Download and install AHK.

Right click on anywhere on your computer, New, AutoHotkey Script. Then right click on this new file, New AutoHotkey Script.ahk, Edit Script.

Type this line at the end, and save:


Now, double click on the file and you'll hear a beep. Congratulations, you just made a program and ran it successfully!

You can try more things, such as this:

Sleep, 3000
Sleep, 3000

Now run this script again and you'll hear 3 beeps between 3 seconds.

Now you can do some real stuff, such as remapping the WWW key to Del for your Miix keyboard:

;WWW_Home -> Del

To exit the script, right click on the "H" icon in the system tray. If you don't have the Miix keyboard yet, you may replace "SC132" with "BACKSPACE", then it becomes "Del":

;BackSpace -> Del