43 Folders

Back to Work

Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.

Join us via RSS, iTunes, or at 5by5.tv.

”What’s 43 Folders?”
43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

Samsung A-920 as a Bluetooth Mac modem

noDRM.com » Blog Archive » How To: Use Sprint/Samsung A920 as an EVDO Bluetooth Modem with Mac

Earlier this year, like many of my siblings in the minor web dorkerati, your author was made a “Sprint Ambassador.” This is actually not nearly as fancy as it sounds — you still have to pay parking tickets and can’t necessarily have rude waiters whacked with impunity. Plus you get this really weird (Kansas? Missouri?) area code that makes all your friends think you’re a telemarketer or a Republican pollster.

Anyhow, the deal is that Sprint sends you their multimedia Samsung A-920 to use for free for a few months in exchange for offline comments (and, one speculates, the chance that their little blue unit might make an appearance in, say, a blog post along the lines of the one you're reading).

The phone’s okay, I guess — although why it takes 8 mother-scratching clicks to send a photo to Flickr from this purportedly high-end “multimedia phone” is just really hard for me to understand. Plus, until the other night, I’d never been able to use the EVDO modem functionality that’s one of the phone’s marquee features. The idea of internet access from any place that gets a phone signal made me salivate in the early days of my Ambassador tenure, but, as with so many of these things, I quickly made my peace with the usual excuse; unsupported on Macs. WANH-wahn. Still gotta drive to Starbucks to check my email on vacation. Oh, well.

Turns out I was wrong, and, boy, do I love being wrong about this.

It’s actually pretty easy to use the phone’s Bluetooth connectivity to get wireless internet via EVDO. I learned this a couple nights ago from an unbelievably helpful advanced tech support person from Sprint. She found some arcane tome that explained, yes, it’s unsupported, but, yes, here’s how to do it anyway on a Mac. And she sat there and walked me through the whole friggin’ thing over 15 minutes. Nice. (I checked three times to make sure this was actually someone from Sprint, since said help seemed antithetical to the global brand of assy customer service they’ve been crafting over the years).

I was going to write up a short tutorial on this, but a bit of Googling told me the work was already done when I turned up this lovely how-to from noDRM:

  1. Here’s the key part - the Bluetooth Mobile Phone Setup Screen. Leave the Username and Password fields blank, but enter #777 as the Phone Number. Choose Sprint PCS Vision as the Modem Script and click Continue.
  2. You should see a Congratulations screen. Click Quit.
  3. Get Connected. To do this, with your phone paired, open Internet Connect on your Mac.
  4. Click on the Bluetooth icon and click Connect.

Now, don’t just dash off to Bit Torrent to start downloading “Black Adder” episodes from your room at the Sheraton; this is really slow access. I don’t have enough experience to know whether this is a result of the EVDOness or Bluetoothiness of the connection, but I’m seeing approximately 100 kbps connection speeds. We’re talking 90s nostalgia speeds, here. It’s still plenty fast for grabbing your email and even (patiently) surfing the web. (If anyone has advice on improving this speed, do share, in comments). Also, I get the feeling that I’ll be paying through the nose if I want this service to continue after my Ambassadorhood is revoked some time this month; I’m hearing prices in the $50/month range, which seems, well, completely crazy to me.

I may have more to say about the phone later (like: GPS map locator; don’t need: CNN on my phone; hate: Bluetooth no sync-y with iSync) or I may not. Who knows? In any case, if your own Sprint Ambassadoritude is just beginning, or you’re a garden-variety Mac user who’s bought the A-920, give the tutorial a spin. Could make life on the road a lot easier this summer.

Brad's picture

Verizon has the same "use...

Verizon has the same "use phone number '#777' and use the correct Modem Script" way to get online, and I use it periodically with a USB cable and my Motorola T730. This doesn't require any special broadband plan; it just uses minutes from my calling plan.

The slowness, I'm pretty sure, is because it's actually dialing up to a network and not actually utilizing the EVDO connection. It's definitely fast for dial-up - no 56k modem bottleneck - but it's not actually a high-speed connection.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


Subscribe with Google Reader

Subscribe on Netvibes

Add to Technorati Favorites

Subscribe on Pageflakes

Add RSS feed

The Podcast Feed


Merlin used to crank. He’s not cranking any more.

This is an essay about family, priorities, and Shakey’s Pizza, and it’s probably the best thing he’s written. »

Scared Shitless

Merlin’s scared. You’re scared. Everybody is scared.

This is the video of Merlin’s keynote at Webstock 2011. The one where he cried. You should watch it. »