Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Give This Guy an A in Entrepreneurship 101

When George Hotz starts classes this fall at Rochester Institute of Technology, he might have to write a "what I did this summer" essay for an English class. If so, he'll have some ready-made material that might well outshine the efforts of anyone else in the class. Besides the usual hanging-with-friends stories, Hotz has a unique one: He hacked the iPhone in order to untether it from the AT&T network.

Hotz announced the news on his blog last week and then provided step-by-step instructions which, if followed, should allow the phone to be used with any SIM card. After an unsuccessful attempt to sell the phone on eBay (where fraudulent bids pushed the price of the phone into the stratosphere), Hotz ended up trading it to a Louisville-based cell phone repair company this week for a "sweet Nissan 350Z" and three iPhones.

(There could, however, be a snag in the works for anyone with commercial designs for the unlocking procedure, as word comes today that Apple might consider legal action against anyone who plans to make money from the hacked phones. The Louisville-based company, Certicell, has stated that it currently has no desire to commercialize the unlocking procedure.)

So Hotz has moved into his college dorm now, and will probably start blending in with all his fellow students. But he has a very noteworthy accomplishment under his belt, and a well-documented blog by which to remember it. (And he also has his own Wikipedia page, as well as a very quotable way to describe his major, neuroscience: "hacking the brain.")

Do not Despair, the blog is there: Despair, Inc. has started a blog, which is bound to be hilarious. Here's a paragraph from the opening post: "Yes, at the moment, the much hyped and already once delayed blog is rather sparsely populated with videos already available (in lower-resolution format) in our Corporate Spin section. Is there any better way to kick off the Despair, Inc. blog than with a dollop of disappointment, sprinkled with annoyance?" Check it out on a regular basis. (And yes, as always, in the spirit of full disclosure, this company is run by a family member, but I'd buy their stuff no matter what.)

Happy anniversary, not-so-happy anniversary: Today is the 2nd anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. If you have a chance, visit the New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund site for a moment. (It's also my sixth anniversary as a homeowner, and I'm still lovin' it.)

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