Friday, March 06, 2009

Getting back the iPhone!

My first generation iPhone running firmware 1.1.4 hacked to work in Sri Lanka, started to give trouble from a few months back, and taking almost a day of being kept switched off to magically recover! I never understood why a 8hr switch off was different to a 10 minute switch off.. but then again, people even suggest keeping the iPhone in the freezer to make it recover :).. I only tried that for 5 minutes..

Anyway on the 10th of February, I upgraded to the new version 2.2.1 firmware.. and immediately realized I had done something really bad.. by Wifi was not working at all.. I then tried down grading to 2.2 - but still no luck.. then I tried going back to v.1.1.4 by even installing an old iTunes version and downloading the ipsw image files.. but trying quite a lot of hints, I was never able to get my modem firmware downgraded.. it had got to 04.05.04_G and I was stuck! Then things got even worse.. the phone would not ring.. but silently record missed calls.. then I gave up everything, and was waiting for someone to find a fix patiently.. I realized that the phone does ring, when its kept unlocked - but that soon drains the battery.. another option was keeping it connected to the charger.. so I did both of these until today the 6th of March..

.. and today, I felt lucky! suddenly.. I felt my phone ring again!.. and I tried it a few times to make sure.. and yes, it has started to work again :).. then I tried my Wifi.. and thats back too! I hope this will help someone else who is like me to get back their iPhones.. the secret being patience! I'm happy to have a real ringing phone back with me.. and I will not try any more upgrades for a loooong time.. its currently running 2.2.1(5H11), Carrier 2.9 and Modem firmware 04.05.04_G

Thursday, March 05, 2009

The Secrets of Housing Loans and Taxation

Ever wondered how much a housing loan would really help you get your OWN house, AND save you tax? Well I've been looking for answers on this topic from many years ago, but was only able to fully figure out everything once I got my own housing loan and tax file some years ago.. All this time I have been secretly giving out information to my friends on this, and today I am going to make it publicly available..

First for some history on this topic, I wrote a tiny Java Script EMI calculator few years back, and its still available on my GeoCities website, which I haven't updated for quite sometime :)

I've also blogged about "How to Get a Loan in 3 days" previously, and would recommend reading it for anyone who is considering this in Sri Lanka

So now for the goodies..
The worksheet has been made available in M Excel format - to support those who still pays Microsoft for software provided free by many others, and is much better most of the times.. It allows you to first key in your EMI details - i.e. how much you want to borrow, how much interest the financial institution is asking for, and the duration of the loan, and then you can calculate your monthly EMI (Equated Monthly Installment)

Search Google for more information on what EMI is and means - its a very fair scheme, where you pay interest for what you really get in a loan. Each month you pay the same amount, but during the start of the repayment, most of this money is counted as interest, and a little as capital repayment, and towards the end of the loan, most will be counted as capital repayment, and less as interest. Thus if you take an EMI loan for 20 years, and pay it for 3 years and want to exit, you still would have to pay back a large sum of the amount you've borrowed - but hey - its a FAIR calculation.. a bank is not your relative, to give you free money!

Next, enter your salary details, and see how much you will save as Tax. BUT this comes at a price.. you will need to open a Tax File and ask for a salary direction to your employer, so that PAYE tax will not be deducted from you each month.

A Tax file is like a Driving License in Sri Lanka, they never expires :).. so thereafter, each year you WILL have to send your tax information to the Inland Revenue Department. These people sometimes even ask people who has died to keep filing tax as well, probably to cover up the massive VAT fraud the officials of this department helped themselevs into. But then again, officials in Sri Lanka rarely resign, even AFTER they are found guily by the supreme court!.. but we know of one who had to bite the dust finally!

So finally .. here is the goodie I promised.

Please let me know if you have any corrections, or suggestions for improvement.. and feel free to share it with others, but please do respect the copyright notice and the name of the original author.