A Weekend of Restoration Provides a Painful Lesson In Patience and Haste


Last week and the proceeding weekend I was on the receiving end of some terrible misfortune; the worst series of mishaps I have endured in... well, quite a long while. Fools rush in where hackers fear to tread. And I not only rushed in, I kicked in the door and set fire to the house on my in. Very unwise.

When news of Apple's posted firmware update became available I anxiously awaited news from guinea pig unlockers, who bravely installed the update, whether or not updating results in brickage. Gizmodo boisterously (and prematurely) proclaimed that it was all a poker bluff from Apple. No bricks, nor breakage. That news emboldened me to proceed with flashing. Count me in! No sooner had a I begun applying the update when the first wave of reported problems began rolling in. Gizmodo was wrong, and led me to my doom.

But he who proceeds without hearing all the facts, suffers the consequences. I take full responsibility for the untimely but temporary demise of my iPhone. I knew I was playing with fire, and I got burned. That's life. You roll the dice and take your chance.

Unfortunately that was only the beginning of my problems.

Friday night is, for me, a time to hang out with friends and socialize. Blowing off steam from the pressures of work. Not this particular evening as the case would be. My workstation PC had other plans in store for me. I had installed Vista Service Pack 1 beta earlier in the week, which took several attempts to get up and running, and this system has behaved unpredictably ever since. That description could easily be applied to Vista itself - unpredictable.

There is no way to put this subtly; Windows Vista is raw fecal waste material, minus the color and oder. Five years in development by Microsoft has yielded the absolute worst operating system they've ever released. It is slow, cumbersome, offers poor compatibility, miserable gaming performance, spotty driver support. The list goes on. I can't begin to tell you how much I HATE this OS.

So when it became clear that SP1 (beta though it is) actually worsened my "Wow" experience promised by Vista. This was the last straw for me. I pulled out an external hard drive. Backed up all my critical data, and reformatted the hard drive, rolling back to XP Pro. Vista is gone from my hard drive, never to return again. From this point on I am moving over to OSX. I use both platforms daily, Windows and Mac, but Microsoft continues pushing me ever increasingly towards using Mac as my primary platform. When Leopard arrives this month, I'm pushing all of production workload over to my Mac Pro. Windows will live on as a virtual machine running in OSX.

So, in addition to a dead iPhone I now had to make an unexpected OS transition as well. Fun stuff. As I'm typing this I am staring at XP's hideous blue Fisher Price interface and an antiquated Palm Treo Smartphone, which has replaced iPhone as my pocket companion. Needless to say I am not in the best of moods right now, and it's a hell of a way to start a week.

As I'm sure most of you heard; over the weekend some enterprising user discovered a method for downgrading iPhone's firmware from 1.1.1 to 1.02, providing a reversal (or so we all thought) to the bricking that occurred. Not so. It turns out this procedure does not downgrade baseband drivers to an earlier state necessary to reactivate AT&T SIMs. It only enables jailbreakage, so iPhone can be used with WiFi only. A nice start, but it doesn't provide an end game solution to reactivating a "bricked" iPhone.

At this point there is little else to do but wait patiently for iPhone Dev Team to work out a reversal solution. Whether I can hold out for such a workaround is another matter. Right now I am this >< close to applying my $100 Apple Store credit towards the purchase of a second iPhone. It would probably be in my best interest to own two iPhones, using one as a “beater” device for testing and review purposes. With the second unit left in virgin condition as my personal daily use phone.

So in case you were all wondering why i have been so quite over the weekend... now you know. But enough of my whining. It's a new week. Time to get back to work. And get writing again. I never seem to have the time to write good content for this site. The iPhone Blog is run with one hand and four fingers tied behind my back. Since I works as a freelance web designer as an occupation, that's where I have to devote my time. This site is a secondary hobby, which is unfortunate. But I do have some ideas in play that I hope you guys will like. More on that later.

Back to work, and back to writing.

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Reader comments

A Weekend of Restoration Provides a Painful Lesson In Patience and Haste


This is what makes Gizmodo a piece of crap. They rush just to be first to gain all the glory and they dont even credit sources. They write articles as if they themselves did the unlock/downgrade etc.
Stick to places like Engadget and Hackint0sh Kent.. they are much better!

I think that's the best summery of Vista i've heard! Bad luck with the iPhone, hope you get it sorted soon.

Just a quick note to say that I find your posts some of the more fun and interesting reads out there --and usually quite timely.
Keep up the good work!

kent. I thinks its a good idea to have 2 phones...u can test and experiment with one.. While the other stays virgin. Im sorry to hear about your terrible weekend.
Good luck!

I'm glad you have seen the light. I made the switch to Mac OSX at home about three years ago. Unfortunately, I still have Windows at work. I have to say you are making a wise choice... especially since you are into graphic design. Sorry about your phone. BTW, I love your site. It is both informative and entertaining.

I agree with Leif about your posts. Likewise, despite Gizmodo's willingness to rush posts without verification, their site is good to read because it's sarcastic and humorous.
That said, you should have learned your lesson the first time with anySIM.
What's the saying Amy said on Futurama? "Fool me seven times, shame on you. Fool me eight or more times, shame on me."
Love the associated graphics btw. The Job's Java one is a fav. I laugh just thinking about it.

I have to say the (German) iBone graphic is one of my faves, but I digress in my appreciation, Kent, of your one handed blog, bold adventuring and cool professional nonchalance - but especially the facile ability to comment without jumping thro hoops!!! Howd'you doit? what's the plugin, please, please.

One more thing and I'll be quiet:
Off topic? Or on point? forgive me if inappropriate, but "we believe "If you can't open it, you don't own it".
Others try their best to lock us out of the devices we buy, but, Neo's are built for you to open."
Have you taken a look at the thing at openmoko.com
Any thoughts on comparative religion (being an pending iphone believer and a Newton advocate in the day of the ancients)

After coming down a bit from the angry high you were on bro it's good to see you taking full responsibility for the self-bricking incident.
I'd also switch to OSX in a heartbeat if Mac Pro hardware wasn't unjustly expensive. Running OSX86 on a PC with lesser hardware runs faster, but running an OS you can't update till the hackers tear it apart sucks a bit, not to mention the large apps don't wanna run on a hackintosh, like Final Cut 2.
I do admit the quality of the components are better than most PC's I've seen, but not enough for me to spend 4 grand on a box.
Though when coupled with the Mac OS they do last many years with current software, much better than Windows does.

Kent, glad to hear you're migrating to OSX. Once you understand the basic tenet of Apple OS (that the answer is so obvious and simple you probably missed it) you'll wonder how you ever tolerated Microcrap OS.
My wife is on a PC and I utterly loathe working on it. It's so completely non-intuitive, the opposite of an Apple OS completely.
On the iphones... if you need one for all the hacks and one as your personal phone, doesn't that fact indicate that the hacks are essentially dangerous and unstable, meaning that they are also essentially useless due to the danger involved?

ofcourse after getting my iphone i tried to hack it, it died a solemn death. Since then I have accepted ( and restored to original settings ) that i shouldn't screw with it (yet).
that said, during the recent upgrade to 1.1.1, it had to be restored causing some minor heartache but ultimately a fully functional iphone.
I run a 7 year old (that's right pushing a decade and still running strong) powerbook with osx and figure the antiquated processor probably does its due diligence in crashing in 'new' technology. My best guess - although the os functions perfectly - the old hardware is out to kill anything that could replace it.
We have a new (quicker) macbook, but my wife won't let me break it (again yet...)

Call me a wus, but I decided when I got the iPhone that I wasn't going to do anything drastic to the iPhone other than put ringtones on it.
I've been tempted to put some apps on it, but just haven't spent the time to investigate the process.
I would never "unlock" the phone. I don't have a need. I was an AT&T customer before the iPhone came out, so it was pretty much a no brainer to get the iPhone when it came out.
I can understand why people that unlocked it for obvious reasons are unhappy that they can't "update" the phone, but I guess that's the price you pay for doing something that is questionable as best.
What makes me wonder is what are the folks that paid for their "unlocked" phones? Are they getting refunds? Can they return the phones to the people that unlocked the phones for, what was it? $100? Sheesh.
As for Microsoft Vista, I started out a Windows user. I have been a Windows user for many many years. When Vista was in Beta, I was pretty excited to take a peek at it, so I downloaded the Beta 2 ISO and installed it.
What I saw was just awful. I couldn't believe UAC. Mind you, it was a beta, but come on. I couldn't believe how many times I had to acknowledge that I wanted to "change the time of the OS"!
I think I spent about 2 weeks looking at it before I decided that I was finished with Microsoft and Windows and bought my MacBook. I started with the MacBook to make sure I wasn't going to hate OS X.
I had played with OS X back in late 2001 when it was a Beta and 1.0 OS. I wasn't very impressed.
When I started using my MacBook as a desktop computer, I figured it was time to make the full switch. I bought my Mac Pro a few days after they released the box last year and I have been in love ever since. OS X is what an OS should be.
Sure, OS X asks for a password every so often. But it only asks once, maybe twice. Way less than UAC bugs the crap out of Vista users.
So, I'm sorry that your iPhone is on life support. As to your Vista woos, I'm sorry that you had Vista on your computer, but happy to hear that you were able to go back to a Windows OS that works. XP. (Notice that Microsoft has delayed killing XP until June 2008 now. :) )
Good luck with the iPhone!

I'm about to buy the iPhone (in the UK), do I need to get the phone unlocked, I'm already an 02 customer, but i'm not on a contract, i'm pay as you go!?
Also, are you required to get this update that messes up your phone? or can I just ignore the software upgrade?
Hope someone can answer my questions!
Peace, Craig T

Alex - In the UK 'SPELT' is a regularly used word listed in the dictionary. Ever wondered why it's called English?!

I feel sorry for you Kent. Hope you'll get better. Besides you didnt miss much... i was out with friends watching Shoot Em Up :P.. an okay movie btw.

uuuuhhh yeah... I am going to go ahead and need a new post on theiphoneblog now. umm kay? That crying kid is worse than a TPS report.

I am a UK user and have Vodafone and Orange - both are pay as you go. Since Apple UK and 02 aren't officially selling iPhones in the UK, whatever you buy before the 9th of November will be a US model - therefore you will need to have it unlocked as it won't work with your 02 SIM. Nobody is quite sure how Apple will be handling updates from the 9th of November onwards. Perhaps then updates will allow US AT&T, UK 02 and T-Mobile German customers clear access to the phones if they have the respective SIMs.
The upgrade that messes things up (1.1.1) is not really needed. It adds a few things that were good ideas, but most are nothing to shout about. The big thing for that update is the iTune Wifi Store. You can ignore the update. Its best to ensure that your iTunes is setup not to check for updates and apply them, both for the phone and itunes itself - so disable that. Also the phone you are getting needs to have the 1.0.2 firmware or earlier - otherwise any chance of unlocking and adding apps will be a lost cause.
As far as in the UK goes, while I havent tried out my Orange SIM even though its my main number, my Vodafone one works fine and I get all the alerts, SMS, YouTube etc.

Get a your brick'd iPhones replaced by Apple, No charge & No questions!
Get a your brick'd iPhones replaced by Apple, No charge & No questions!
Here's how! You need to follow this instructions very carefully then you can get a new iPhone to replace your brick'd iPhone.
If you are like me, who had an unlocked iPhone and were dumb enough to upgrade to firmware 1.1.1, then read on because your brick'd and otherwise useless iPhone can be or will be replaced by Apple, no questions asked and for absolutely no charge.
First, you make sure that you run the restore on iTunes so that your iPhone will have firmware 1.1.1. You will certainly get an "invalid sim card" error but that is exactly what we want.
Before restoring, you need to remove the sim card from the iPhone. Run restore to install firmware 1.1.1 on your phone. Run the restore 3 times! YES! I said 3 times! This will make sure that there will be absolutely no trace that an unlock occured on your unit. The first restore leaves an electronic imprint of the the phone being jailbreaked. Thats why it is important that you restore at least 3 times. Also, when the restore is complete, do not re-insert the sim card in the iPhone. Doing so will trigger the phone to report an invalid sim card error and it will also silently log on to the AT&T network and the iPhone will report to the network. Since the firmware 1.1.1 will have an updated baseband frequency, reinserting the original sim card will cause the iphone to change its IMEI because the old sim card will have a string of program written on it which identifies the baseband firmware of 1.0.2. This difference will cause the iPhone to change the IMEI of the unit. That is why the IMEI on the display on the phone and the IMEI etched on the back of the unit will not match. This is the only way that APPLE will know if your phone was ever unlocked or Jailbreaked. Provided that the IMEI matches i.e, the IMEI displayed on the unit and the IMEI etched on the back of the unit matched, Apple will cover the phone's replacement free of charge. Once the iPhone has been restored, the original IMEI will be displayed on the screen upon pressing the "i" icon on the screen and will remain matched to the etched IMEI on the back of the unit as long as the sim card is not inserted. Apple has now accepted responsibilities for causing some iPhones to become unusable because of a bug in the firmware 1.1.1, ultimately, Apple screwed up on releasing the firmware 1.1.1 with bugs still unresolved and prematurely because they were trying to beat a deadline to release the update...(This came from a very reliable source from right within the coder and programmers in Cupertino, I have a friend who admitted to this! He also said that he will get fired if they found out the source of the leak...heheheheheh.) Because of this, Apple is obligated to either reflash your phone or issue a replacement to you. The complete reflashing of firmware for the OS and baseband can only be done by their service centers as the reflashing software is issued only to their service centers. The firmware which is automatically downloaded to your iphone during an update through iTunes does not have the codes and strings of commands for the baseband, therefor if you downgrade to firmware 1.0.2 from 1.1.1, the the baseband frimware remains at 1.1.1 hence causing the sim card error and discrepancies.
Once, your phone is restored with 1.1.1 and provided that the IMEI matches on the display and etched on back of unit, you can call Apple Tech Support and tell them that your phone showed the sim error only after upgrading to firmware 1.1.1. They will of course ask you if the phone has been unlocked. You will tell them that your computer knowledge extends only as far as clicking a mouse and that you have no idea how to even start to hack or jailbreak your phone. Apple Tech Support will give you a case number. They will fed-ex you a box to send back the phone. Put the iphone in the box and send it back. You get it back from Apple within 48hours....it will of course be locked up again and it will have firmware 1.1.1 loaded on to it, but it will beat having a $600.00 paper weight at home....Hope this helps those stupid enough like me to who had their phone unlocked and upgraded to firmware 1.1.1