Ovivo Mobile shuts down

Ovivo Mobile, the UK MVNO has just shut down. The Ovivo website is giving the announcement and their customers the option to get their PAC code.
The operator's unique offering was the £0 a month sim card (250 minutes, 250 texts and 500mb data) funded by mobile advertising.

Here is the announcement from the Ovivo website:

Dear OVIVO Customers,
We are very sad to announce that for reasons beyond our control, OVIVO Mobile is closing down on the evening of Wednesday 19th March 2014.
We'd like to thank each and every one of you for your support and friendship over the last two years.
To keep your OVIVO number, just fill out this form, and we’ll send you your PAC code.

PAC code request form

To request a PAC code please complete the form below. There is no need to request a PAC code if you do not wish to keep your number. We will arrange for your PAC code to arrive as quickly as possible but there is a high demand for this service.

I'm quite annoyed. Just last week I purchased a SIM card from Ovivo for £20. The SIM card was delivered today and can't be activated.
Not happening. Not happy.
If you too are an annoyed Ovivo customer, feel free to vent your anger and frustration in the comment section below.

How To Unlock An Orange Monte Carlo (ZTE Skate) [Tutorial]

In this tutorial I hope to guide you through network unlocking an Orange Monte Carlo (ZTE Skate). This tutorial is based on the one by tilal6991 and many others from the MoDaCo forums and they deserve all the credit for the achievement. Credit for the unlock process itself goes to All I am doing here is trying to give you a beginner (Noob) friendly tutorial on how to xiaoxyaoswim network unlock your device. I will try and keep the tutorial as simple as possible and include as many images as possible.
Lets make this a little less Orange...

Network unlocking your device may (probably does) void the guarantee on it in many different ways. There is a risk of total and utter failure of the procedures in this tutorial. I am not responsible for:
  • your phone ending up being unusable and unrepairable
  • the retailer you purchased the device from refusing to take it back as a return, no matter how much you argue with the staff...
  • any tears or tantrums because of your bricked device
  • your ban from aforementioned retailer because of the tears and tantrums
  • you punching kittens in a tantrum
  • the RSPCA prosecuting you because you punched kittens
  • any other of your actions
  • global warming
  • the banking crisis
  • the low number of Jennifer Paige hits in the history of music charts
I am writing this tutorial with the masses in mind. I'll run the tutorial so it can be done on Windows. If there is sufficient demand I may also write a tutorial for Linux users too. (Leave a comment at the end of the post if you would like a Linux tutorial). Ready? Here we go!

To unlock an Orange Monte Carlo you will need a computer running Windows (preferrably Windows 7, but Vista or XP might do) with a spare primary USB port, and an Orange Monte Carlo with its USB cable.

Step 1
Create a new folder on your desktop. You can call it as you wish.
We're going back to IT Skills 101...
Step 2
Download "QPST 2.7 build 366" and install it. You may need an unzip package to do that. Once you have installed QPST, you should be ready for step 3.

Step 3
Download the file from here by clicking on the big green Zip link. The download may take a while because it is approximately 150MB in size.

Once you have downloaded the file, unzip it within the folder we created in step 1 on your desktop.

Step 4
Set your phone up for USB debugging. [Menu=> Settings => Applications => Development] and make sure the USB debugging option is ticked.
Make sure "USB debugging" is ticked
Step 5
Connect you phone (switched on) to your computer through a primary USB port. In Windows, you should have the drivers installed automatically by Windows Update. You may have a problem getting this step completed if your firewall is blocking software from accessing your phone. Try looking through this  MoDaCo Forum thread if you have problems with drivers (hopefully you don't...)

Step 6
Run (double click) “install-recovery-windows.bat” from the preparation folder in the folder from step 1 on your desktop.
“install-recovery-windows.bat” running. No need to try and catch it...
You should get an old style black window that looks like this with text popping up. When the program finishes running, the window will automatically close and your phone will reboot. Don't be alarmed, it may also vibrate.

Step 7
Disconnect the Orange Monte Carlo from your computer, and then remove the back cover and the battery.

Step 8
Wait a few seconds and then reinsert the battery and put the back cover on. Hold the phone and make sure you are pressing the volume down button on the volume rocker on the side when you reinsert the USB cable. Your phone will turn on. Keep holding the volume down button as the green android appears and keep it pressed until a white square with FTM appears onscreen (as in the image).

Step 9
In step 2 you we installed QPST on your computer. Go to your Windows Start button, click it, go to All Programs and there you should have a folder called QPST (you might have to scroll down a bit to find it). In the QPST folder open Software Download.

Step 10
In the Software Download window, select the Backup tab near the top (third tab from the left). In the Port section, select your phone (which should appear if it is in debugging mode and connected to a primary USB port). In the QCN File option, select where to save the .qcn file you are going to generate (I recommend the folder we created on the desktop in step). Once that is done press the Start button just below. The process will take a few seconds and then you will have created a .qcn backup file of your device in the folder you chose.

Close QPST Software Download, but don't forget about it copmpletely, we'll need it again later on... (Thanks to dibbles from the MoDaCo Forums for the feedback on this and many other points of the tutorial!)

Step 11
Double check that the .qcn file has a size larger than zero. This is important, so just go to the folder where you saved the .qcn file, right click on it, go to properties and check the size there. It should be approximately  150Kb in size.

Now go to the Unlock folder on your desktop and run Download.exe. A new window will open which should look like this:

Step 13
When you are ready, click the START button and the program will run. This may take a while, and your phone will reboot a few times in during the process. 

Once it is done (Ratio 100/100), you will get a popup window saying that the download was successful. You can close that program and go back to the QPST Software Download program.

Step 14
Open QPST Software Download, as we did in Step 9. Select the Restore tab near the top (second from left).

Step 15
In the QCN File section choose your .qcn file from your folder on the desktop and then click the Start button just below and wait for the process to run.

Step 16
Once that is done, close the QPST Software Download window and disconnect your phone from your computer. Your Orange Monte Carlo should now be network unlocked and able to use any SIM card.

This tutorial is mainly based on tilal6991's tutorial on MoDaCo forums. I've tried to make it fuller and more newbie friendly by adding pictures and filling it out. Please leave feedback and let me know what goes well and/or doesn't with the tutorial. Thanks to tilal6991 and all involved in the effort at the MoDaCo forums.

As usual, feel free to leave comments and/or questions either here or on the relevant post in the MoDaCo forums. Please bear in mind the disclaimer at the beginning of the post.

XBOX Live, I Don't Live There! Fail! [Rant]

I live in many contradictions. The biggest contadiction is probably being an open source software enthusisast and user while also being an Microsoft XBOX Live gamer and user. While I detest Microsoft Windows in its various incarnations on PCs, I love my XBOX 360 and gaming on it. As things stand at the moment, I'm luke warm in relation to Windows Phone 7 but more about that in another post.
I love my XBOX but...

Today I am writing this blog post because I'm annoyed at Microsoft for not letting me change my XBOX Live Gamertag (the account used to purchase content and play games online) from the original country setting (Italy - accidentally set in 2008) to my actual country setting (UK).
Until recently I hadn't been to bothered by the Italian XBOX Live account. My girlfriend was quite annoyed by this, because when movies/trailers/game demos were downloaded they were either dubbed into Italian or had Italian subtitles. Now I want to take advantage of XBOX Live and my XBOX to use all the newer cooler services available (in the UK) such as, the on demand TV and video services. Because my XBOX Live gamertag is set as Italian, I can't access these services. Now I'm annoyed.

I have a XBOX Live gamertag with almost 8000 points on it, 100 unused MS Points in the account and would like to carry on using my Todoleo gamertag without losing it. I definitely don't want to be paying for two concurrent XBOX Live subscriptions, I already hate myself inside for paying for one.
There is no way I can change the country setting to my XBOX Live gamertag, I have tried in many ways. This morning I called the XBOX Live customer service number listed on the website and got through to a customer service representative who very politely told me I couldn't change Todoleo from an Italian account to a UK one, and that the best solution would be to create a UK account. I then asked to take things further to make a complaint about this and was told it was not possible. I was however asked for my email address and told I would be sent a link to a form for feedback on the matter. About an hour after the call I still have not received the link.
It is absurd that in this day and age I can't change the account settings from one country to another. Why is this? Why can't Microsoft recognise the fact that people move around, change the country they live in? All that is happening is that people who do move and are inconvenienced are getting angry and probably less loyal to the services and products. I definitely am!
Anger and hatred are flowing through me at the moment, I feel the dark side of the Force coursing through my veins... I'm going to go and play some Star Wars The Force Unleashed to get over this. Offline.
As usual, feel free to leave comments and/or questions. Let me know if I should ditch my XBOX and opt for a Sony PS3 instead (or is that just as bad?)

What is Google Chrome OS?

Google Chrome OS is a Linux-based operating system designed by Google to work exclusively with web applications. This means that when you turn it on you don't boot into a traditional operating system like Microsoft Windows or Ubuntu, you boot into Chrome OS.

The best way to explain this is how Google have done so in this video:

Even on a three year old netbook Chrome OS boots up in less than 15 seconds. It's fantastic.

Feel free to leave comments and/or questions, any feedback is appreciated. Exclusive Interview With Bill Gates [Updated]

Bill Gates is currently the non-executive part-time Chairman of Microsoft, the American software company he co-founded with Paul Allen. He is consistently ranked amongst the world's wealthiest people, and has also pursued a number of philanthropic endeavours, donating large amounts of money to various charitable organizations and scientific research programs through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, established in 2000.
To celebrate the move of the Todoleo Tech Blog to Bill has agreed to an exclusive interview in which we'll touch on subjects related to the technology and consumer electronics industry.

On Windows
Microsoft Windows is globally the most used operating system on personal computers. Since 1985, in its first incarnation as an add-on for MS-DOS, Microsoft has come to dominate the world's PC market. Microsoft now has versions of Windows that run on PCs, servers and smartphones.

Naturally the first subject I touched on was Windows, which Bill is still really enthusiastic about.

"When Microsoft first started out with Windows the market was totally different, computers were not connected through the internet and software was distributed  in boxes on tapes or disks. I remember playing Leisure Suit Larry and thinking man, look what we've achieved and what I could do if I left the office one night."

"Making computers easier and safer to use through the years, and kickstarting the PC revolution was great. Now Windows is the best way to run iTunes and sync an iPod. You can even install Chrome and Google things. The internet has really changed things. On Chrome I can even go into incognito mode and buy my wife a gift. By the way, Windows 7 was my idea."


I'm personally an XBOX 360 owner and spend far too much time playing games on it. Microsoft has a great product and the media capabilities are useful in the living room, even for non gamers. So I asked Bill what this living room computer is to him.

"The XBOX is a wonderful educational tool. I would recommend it for the character formation of every individual on the planet. There is so much you can learn. If you are getting ready to move to a big city, just play GTA IV for a while and you'll gain all the social skills you'll need. One of the best ways to do your history homework is on the XBOX: play Red Dead Redeption, Assassin's Creed or Command & Conquer Red Alert and you'll know what history was all about."

"At Microsoft we still have a lot of work to do on the XBOX though. I've been buying some games like Gran Turismo and Little Big Planet and still can't get them to work."

"When my wife is not at home I can even use the XBOX as  a media centre and play back some specialist movies I downloaded using Chrome in incognito mode. Man, that is so awesome!"

On The UK
Bill Gates was Gates was made an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) by Queen Elizabeth II in 2005. He is often in the UK, as he is today, so I asked him what his favourite thing is over here.

"To tell the truth, I really come here for the Tesco Finest Heather Honey & Stem Ginger Yogurt. It's really tasty and it has lots of bits of Honeycomb in it. Mmmm, honeycomb...!"

On Mobile
Bill's mention of Honeycomb brought us nicely onto the subject of mobile:

"The future of communication and computers is Mobile. I recently got this amazing phone called a Nexus One. It has a really good touchscreen, I can check my email, Google stuff and even download podcasts on the go. I really like the Outlaws Podcast where they have a segment about Microsoft called Microwatch. The German guy and the Liverpudlian are so informative and entertaining!"
"Anyway, I had better get going. I have to submit a bug in Launchpad on an OS project my friend in London called Mark is working on. It's something to do with DirectX not working properly."

Thanks to Bill for taking time to help launch You can carry on following the Todoleo Tech Blog at its new address:


Yes, this was an April's Fools thing. I see Bill's search engine, Bing took it well though.

Thanks for all the feedback on this!

Feel free to leave comments/questions!

Tweaking Chrome in Ubuntu

There are a couple of tweaks I usually carry out on a fresh Ubuntu install and always forget about until the next install. I'm blogging about these tweaks as a way to make it easy on myself (and others) in the event of  a new Ubuntu install.

Tweak 1: Optimise Screen Real Estate By Hiding System Title Bar

One of the great things about the Google Chrome web browser is how it often maximises the use of screen real estate. Tabs use the space usually occupied by system title bars leaving more space for what it does best: web browsing. 

In Ubuntu the default setting is to have your system title bar visible. I prefer to have it hidden. Here's how to hide the system title bar in two easy steps:

  • Click on the spanner icon at the top right of your chrome window next to the address bar in Chrome (as in the image above). Select Preferences and a new, smaller window should open (as in the image below).
  • In the "Personal Stuff" tab in Google Chrome Preferences window, at the bottom select "Hide system title bar and use compact borders". Close your window and "Bingo Bango Bongo!" you've gained a few pixels for web browsing.
Tweak 2: Enable Backspace As Back/Forward

One of the things many Windows users have come to expect when web browsing is that the backspace button on the keyboard is a shortcut for going back a page in a web browser. Ubuntu has similar keyboard shortcuts which are "Alt + Left Arrow Key" (back) and "Alt + Right Arrow Key" (forward).

If you are uncomfortable with changing your evil brainwashed Windows ways, here's the easy way to enable the backspace key as a keyboard shortcut in Chrome: it's a Google Chrome Extension!

Backspace As Back/Forward for Linux by is an extension that does what it says on the extension webpage (because these things don't come in tins...). Click on the link at the beginning of this paragraph to get the extension.

After having done that, you should be back to your evil brainwashed ways in no time at all.

Please feel free to leave comments and/or questions below.