Using your GPRS phone as a modem with linux

I’m using Ubuntu Linux 6.06.1 Dapper Drake.
This should probably work for other distros, but I can’t be sure because I don’t really know what I’m doing.

The little piece of magic you’ll need is an application called wvdial. It should be come standard with your distro.

Then, a USB cable job to connect the phone to the PC. Chances are that you’ll be able to get it to work this way over bluetooth too, but I don’t know for sure.

Ok. easy steps:

1. Make sure your phone can access the intarwebs with its internal browser via GPRS. Contact your service provider to get this sorted. Will Cell C, if you can send MMS, you can access the intarwebs.
2.. Connect the phone to the PC via the usb cable
3. Open up a terminal, and type the following:

$sudo wvdialconf

Enter your password at the prompt.

Stuff will happen, and hopefully your phone will be configured.

Then, using your favourite text editor (I used nano – replace “nano” with “vi” or “gedit” or whatever )

$sudo nano /etc/wvdial.conf

Find the line that looks a little like this:

; Phone = [blah blah blah]

It doesn’t actually say “blah blah blah,” but I can’t remeber the original text. You need to change that to your service provider’s Access Point Number (APN)
For Cell C, change that to:

Phone = *99*#

For MTN, change it to:

Phone = *99#

For Vodacom, change it to:

I have no idea. Best phone the helpline guys and ask what the APN is.

Then, change password and username fields to whatever they should be. I used “null” for both.

Save the file.

4. Run $wvdial

The end. Check if you are connected by typing


If you have something with ppp0, then you’re a winner. If not, sorry.

Bye bye dial-up. Hello GPRS/EDGE

Don’t try calling me at home anymore – it shouldn’t work.
In an effort to restore balance to the force, and combat those who order ADSL from the Beast, I’ve cancelled my Telkom line. It is no more.
Although, the real reason for cancelling it was because my dial-up modem died – again. I was advised that getting my cellphone to play modem in linux was actually a snap. And indeed it is.

So, having got my cellphone to work as a modem, I bought myself a data bundle for a value less than what I’ve been paying for my monthly phone-bill (which almost wholly consisted of calls to my ISP). Hopefully 500 megs per month will be enough. Won’t be downloading any Linux distros though.

The sadly-sadly consequence of this is that I’ve also cancelled my ISP account. One month notice required. Therefore, the original waffle group page (and the twisted tour) will soon disappear into the digital oblivion. Better check it out one last time before it’s no more.

Optimus takes on Hillfox

Optimus ran a fund-raising/marketing campaign at the Hillfox Value Centre during the B&B market effort.

Angie roped in all her friends to perform some sort of function, and they in turn roped in their partners. I was roped in too, but that should hardly come as a surprise.

Edit: This is incomplete. I’m sure I clicked “Save as Draft” but it would appear that perhaps I did not. I’ll finish it off in due course.

More of that edit stuff: No I won’t. Stop kidding yourself.

I’m writing a novel in November… eherm.

That’s right kids. I’ve stumbled upon National Novel Writing Month. I only need to write 50,000 words in 30 days and I’ll be a winner.
And it doesn’t even have to make much sense. They even said that it’s likely to be crap, but the goal is “quantity,” not “quality.”
Sounds like a job for Commitment Man!

But wait, there’s more!

The good fortune fairy isn’t finished bestowing gifts.

Two posts earlier I mentioned that I received a relatively large tax return. Angie picked me up from work that day and told me more ridiculously good news.
The National Lottery has granted Optimus R300,000—no strings attached. In other words, they are free to use the money, in part, for salaries.
This in turn means Angie gets paid actual money (she’s been volunteering up until now).

Understandably, I am well chuffed.

It even brings into to question my generally cynical attitude towards the lottery. I’m not the only one who thinks the lottery is a dubious operation. Some people have gone to considerable effort to make socio-political statements regarding its value.
There is Laugh-it-off who rebranded the National Lottery as “The National Robbery,” and the Lotto as the “Lo$$o” in The Laugh It Off Annual Volume 2., and this other hacker dude (who I think LIO ripped the National Robbery concept from) who took the liberty of renewing the lottery’s domain name for them, and hijacking their site back in 2002.
Although the lottery is kind of deceiving the poor into thinking they have a good chance of becoming millionaires, it is actually doing some good. Incredible as it seems, the lottery is helping to do good, just like their adverts imply.

Hmm. Much to consider.

Something always works out

The food in our house ran out yesterday. Well, we still have rice, but I think you get the point.

Normally, we’d go buy some more food, except my credit card is maxed-out, Angie cancelled hers, my cheque account is overdrawn, and so is Angie’s.

Last night, in a state of mild concern (a few months ago it would have been extreme panic) I decided to check the bank balance. Hoping to find some money that we could use to buy food. Angie asked me what the point was, and I said, “Well maybe someone has deposited money into my account.”

“Who? And why?” she asked.

Good point. I don’t get paid until the 25th, so really there would be no reason for any money to have materialised in the account. Still, I had this feeling.
Of course, my balance was still severely negative. We resolved to just continue using the credit card/overdraft to buy food and essentials until the damned bank rejected the card.

This morning, I stopped off at the ATM to draw some money, half expecting the machine to laugh at me. It didn’t laugh, but it did surprise me. The balance was no longer negative. Someone had deposited R7000 in my account.

Most people complain about tax returns, but today, Trevor Manuel is my biggest buddy.

Toshiba/Microsoft/End-User Wars

Admittedly, it doesn’t quite have the same ring as “Star Wars,” but I figure that certain portions of my readership may find this interesting.

Kyle (the honorary family member) has embarked on a crusade against the major corporations of evil etc. etc. that:

  1. Refuse to sell their notebooks without Windows pre-installed
  2. Refuse to honour the terms of the EULA – i.e. refund the user that doesn’t accept Microsoft’s licence

To be read in the following order:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4