Say Hello to Unlocked Cell Phones


A couple weeks ago Congress passed a bill that allows you to easily unlock your cell phone. What this means is you can finally unlock your cell phone and use it with your carrier of choice, including internationally. President Obama cemented the measure by signing the bill into law Aug. 1.

As it stands now, most mobile phones are tethered to specific networks and sold to you at discounted prices that wireless companies subsidized. Since these devices are locked, they cannot be activated or used with another wireless provider. This legislation now pushes Congress to consider whether other devices (i.e. tablets) should be eligible for unlocking as well.

This whole process has been in the works since late 2012, when Congress ruled that cell phone unlocking without your wireless carrier’s permission was illegal. Many mobile users were upset with this and petitioned against it on the “We the People” petition site.

Obama wrote on the site, “Administration called for allowing Americans to use their phones or mobile devices on any network they choose. We laid out steps the FCC, industry and Congress should take to ensure copyright law does not undermine wireless competition, and worked with wireless carriers to reach a voluntary agreement that helps restore this basic consumer freedom. The bill Congress passed is another step toward giving ordinary Americans more flexibility and choice, so that they can find a cell phone carrier that meets their needs and their budget.”

It’s great having an unlocked phone, especially if you’re a frequent traveler. I was fortunate to have my iPhone 4S unlocked by AT&T a few years ago so I could use it internationally. When it came time for me to upgrade and sell it, I had no problem because having it unlocked was a huge selling point. Soon this will be a common benefit for all.

Yelp Adds Video Feature

Whenever I go to a new place, whether it’s a restaurant, tourist attraction or store, I usually Yelp it to get a little background and feel for what others think before I go there. Just in case you’re not familiar with Yelp, it’s a user-generated business review website/app that allows you to read and post reviews, pictures and now videos, with a feature that was added just last week to its iPhone app.

This new video feature allows you to take 3-12 second videos to showcase a business’ ambiance, lighting or noise level. It’s an upgrade to the existing photo feature and will hopefully give users a better feel for places they’re about to visit. In a blog post, Yelp stated that it believes a video can sometimes capture more than words, and that’s why it rolled out this new feature to enhance users’ posts (they’re not meant to be video reviews). For now this feature is only on the iOS, but an Android version is in the works and should be out soon.

Correction from July 22, 2014, “Testing Out An Electric Bike: Fun, Easy”

The entry-level price at Ebikes Hawaii is $1,095, not $1,899. The biggest seller is the folding Kuo from A2B and costs under $1,500. Free test rides are available, and rental prices start at $40, not $50.