Category Archives: General

Free advice about tech, iOS, Japan, Photography and more.

I created a skype account called “zadvice”. I would like to use it to help people interested in topics which I have experience with. English, Italian, Spanish and Japanese speakers are welcome. This is a free service, I don’t have much time but I can spend an hour or two per week giving my impressions and advice to people interested about:

  • Japan
  • Business in Japan
  • Working and living in Japan
  • iOS development
  • Mobile Development
  • Open Source software
  • Job hunting
  • Working experience
  • Job interviews (IT related)
  • Create a Resume/CV (IT related)
  • Startups
  • Multicultural working environments
  • Learning languages
  • Technical advice (IT related)
  • Living in Europe
  • Western culture
  • Japanese culture
  • Photography
  • Italian language
  • Japanese language
  • Spanish language

Send me an email: pietro (at) zuco (dot) org and let me know what you would like to talk about. I will let you know if I can give you some advice on that specific topic. I wish I had all the answers. I just want to help people having trouble to find specific information in certain areas.

I won’t talk about:

  • Questions related with illegal activities.
  • Questions related to legal maters, such as tax informations. I’m not a lawyer. For that, contact your lawyer.
  • Emotional stuff related with family/partners/romance and so forth.
  • Mental illness or phycological problems. I’m not a psychiatrist.
  • Please contact a specialist of the branch you need (legal, medical, friend) if the topic of your question is about legal matters, medical issues or emotional stuff.

People must be 18+ years old.
You must have a webcam, I want to see to whom I’m talking to and you will see me.

Based on the emails received, people will be served as first in, first out.

I’m not responsible about what you decide to do with the information I provide. I’m not responsible of the outcome of your actions. You are responsible for your own actions and decitions.

If you find the information useful, share your experience with your peers and let me know your feedback.

How “official iphone unlock” ignored me (officialiphoneunlock.co.uk)

I have an iPhone I bought in Japan when I was living there. It was SIM locked by Softbank. I moved to Europe and I found a website (http://officialiphoneunlock.co.uk) that provides factory unlocks. For those of you who don’t know, a factory unlock is basically a definitive way to unlock your SIM locked phone. No need for jailbreak. It’s perfectly legal and clean. At the beginning I was a little bit suspicious but the site looked right. On a first look they have a support number, a contact email, testimonials using http://trustedreviews.eu with very good reviews. They have a Facebook page with 33K+ likes.

I submitted the IMEI of my two iPhones a 4S and a 4. Total cost 117€ (£93, $160).
After a couple of days I got the following answer for both phones:

iphoneblocked
blockedreason

iPhone marked as ‘Blocked or In-Contract’.
“The IMEI you gave us has been rejected by the carrier for unlocking due to being marked Blocked, usually meaning it’s a lost or stolen handset, but handsets can be blocked for any number of reasons including non-payment of bills, blacklisted, bad ESN and/or contract issues or still in contract. We cannot supply a refund for handsets that come back as blocked – this is mentioned on the website before purchase.”

At that point I decided to check what was going on with my phones. I contacted the Softbank international service and they confirmed to me that my phones weren’t in any of those states. They also provided me with a link to check the status of my phones by providing the IMEI. The page is in Japanese, but look at the image bellow, I translated what it means:

cleanphone

(click on the image to see it in full size)

The text in Japanese: ○: 利用できます(後日不正契約が認められた場合を除きます)
Means:
Allowed to use. (excluding the case in which the contract is recognized as fraudulent in the future)

My contract with Softbank is totally closed, the iPhones are my property now and I have no issues or pending payments with them. I’m totally in peace with Softbank.

In the same email from officialiphoneunlock.co.uk they continued:

anynetwork

“Good news however. We can easily unlock your Blocked handset on our ‘Any Network’ service which is guaranteed, the cost of this is an additional £50.00 and takes 24-72 hours. Please remember this service will NOT bypass an iCloud Activation Locked handset.
To upgrade to the Blocked service, please use this link http://www.officialiphoneunlock.co.uk/worldwide?mb=2
If you use our Guaranteed Any Network service and it fails for any reason, we refund ALL monies for that IMEI, including your original payment.”

This is when things turns even worse. They suggest me to pay extra £50 to unlock my phones and in case it’s not possible they will refund everything, including my original payment. Wait a minute. You can refund everything if I pay another £50 but you can’t refund my original payment?
This literally sounds like SCAM to me but comments of people in Facebook look very good.

I tried to reach them by phone but I got no answer. The answer is just a recorded message saying that they are busy, and after a long while, the communication just dropped. Also the phone recorded message said that they don’t attend support by phone.

I wrote several emails in their support page but again no response.

I wrote an email to the only email I got from their site: sales@officialiphoneunlock.co.uk but no response as well.

I sent a message using Facebook, no response.

I posted in their wall, the post was deleted…

I also commented on one of their posts in their Facebook page. And, so far, no answer.

unlockfb

At this point what else should I do? The next step should be to contact the police, notify the site as SCAM, and keep my personal online war against officialiphoneunlock.co.uk to see if they will eventually refund my money.

I don’t care if they couldn’t unlock my phones, that’s fine because technical issues are normal. But what frustrates me and makes all this really fishy is the fact that they don’t get back to me and ignore all my attempts to contact them.

officialiphoneunlock.co.uk if you guys cannot unlock my phones, that’s fine! But I want my money back because my case is none of the special cases which don’t get refunded.

[UPDATE 2014/08/26]
I was contacted by dalpay.com which seems to be the company used by officialiphoneunlock.co.uk to manage the payments. They reviewed my case and decided to refund the payment. Now I’m in peace with officialiphoneunlock but I would like to use this incident to talk about common sense. None of this would have happened if they just replied to me, even with a “we are working on this” or “we will review your complain”. The fact that officialiphoneunlock just ignored my attempts to communicate with them, left me with no other option but to complain publicly. Just a simple gesture of attention to your clients is enough to avoid a complain that will eventually damage the company’s reputation and image.
This is also a good opportunity to remember the importance of complaining in social media and blogs. It works and companies offering online services should be more responsive to their clients.
——————–

Forcing air currents in urban areas for weather change. Ideas #1

I’m not a meteorologist or an expert in the matter. Anyway it doesn’t mean I cannot have an idea. Maybe it makes sense or it doesn’t, anyway here it is.

Summer in Tokyo is like hell on earth. Huge humidity and this year will be remembered in particular. I always read that the main causes are urbanization disorder that prevents air from moving, extensive use of air conditioning and inefficient construction materials that absorb heat. I don’t know if these are the causes. Anyway what if we paint the roofs in one area white and another dark. That will create a difference in temperature and therefore an air current. There are articles that predict that white roofs are not the solution and that it will be even worse. (here, here)

But what I’m saying here is not about just reflecting light. I’m thinking about how to create a huge cheap ventilator effect inside the city.

tokyosummermap

Air in the dark area heats up, and creates a current moving from the white area. The idea behind this post is to use huge areas to work as artificial ventilators creating air currents by using houses roofs for heat absorption or heat reflection.

Mirror

mirror

Who are the people reflected in the water? When I took this picture I was thinking about that, what if things where just reversed, the train going in the opposite direction, the majority of people left-handed, keys closing clockwise. I was in the opposite side of the river that goes with the railroad, in Ichigaya station (市ヶ谷駅). Continue reading

Safe house

I found this house visiting Tarragona (Spain). After living the M9 quake of 2011 in Tokyo I cannot even think about living in such a house. Maybe I’m wrong and this house is perfectly safe, I doubt it…

Safe house

I didn’t know that I died when I was 30

How many people in this world achieved amazing results within the first 3 decades of their lives? Alexander the Great by the age of thirty, had created one of the largest empires of the ancient world. Jesus Christ died around 30. Albert Einstein conceived in his mind his most important theories, before 30. Nikola Tesla also achieved his most important inventions during 3 decades, and many others. 30 years is a life, an entire life. No more than 200 years ago, life expectancy was around 40. That means one life! Nowadays life expectancy in the industrialized world is 2 or 3 times that, which means, at least two lives in one!

Culture and society understands life as a progressive path with goals down the road to achieve. Birth, Education, Job, Family, Old Age and Death. All this on a “life spam”, but it doesn’t specify time. So what about if we extend our lives up to 120 years? That means that we again start to work before 25, and keep working until we retire, let’s say 90… Does it make any sense? So, let’s face it. We humans can achieve whatever we want, in the first 30 years of our live. We can change the world in just 3 decades!

So, I propose to change our vision to a new way to understand life and goals. I’m 36 at the moment I’m writing this. If I assume my symbolic death when I was 30, it means that now I’m 6 years old. But I don’t need to go to elementary school and I don’t have to deal with all the obstacles of my lack of experience as a 6 year old child. I want to imagine, that I woke up and now I’m 6 years old but I have all the knowledge that I’ve accumulated in my first 30 years of life.
I already spent one life, whatever I did it’s done, I can’t change it. But, I can learn from that life experience for my new life that’s started 6 years ago and I just didn’t know. So instead of start thinking in terms of “I’m too old now”, “I lost the train and the opportunity to do this or that…”, “I can’t start a new career now”… I will think in terms of “I’m 6 years old and I know a lot!!, I still have one more life left in this video game”.

So that’s it, I’m still in the middle of the road of my life, that means I have just made the 50% of it. We can start over again, planning again, studying again, doing again whatever we want and work for this second chance we have.

If you are in your 30s think about this: you just started your clock again and you maybe didn’t realize about it. If you are in your 40s, you are just about 10 years old! You still have a life ahead so don’t loose the illusion. If you are far away from that, remember that at 60, you will die again, and a third chance is given to you, so don’t waste it, because that’s the last one, at least based on our current medical advances :)

This is my exercise for this 2012. Realize that I died at 30, I’m 6 years old, and my life started again. Let’s take a break, and rethink about everything. I have the opportunity to make it again, better and more interesting than before. Go ahead and do the same. Think about what you have done until now and if you are not satisfied with it, now it’s the moment to start anew!

Good luck!