Technology & Gadgets

New laptop unlocked

My new work laptop is a SONY VGN-T350 laptop. It has Bluetooth, 802.11g (WiFi), and a really cool feature called WWAN, which is just a built-in GPRS/Edge modem. Unfortunately, the device comes locked from SONY on the Cingular system. I followed the excellent instructions on this page for unlocking it.

There was one big glitch during the unlocking process, when I gave them my IMEI number, they couldn’t find it in their database. It took nearly a week of regular calls for them to escalate this, and finally they gave me the eight digit NCQU (or NCK) number to unlock it. SONY doesn’t care WHY you want it unlocked, I assume because Cingular didn’t subsidize the laptop like it does cell phones.

There’s a few other interesting points that weren’t mentioned in this guy’s excellent article. It is possible to use the Cingular Connection Manager (and SmartWi), without the original Cingular SIM.

For a Cingular generic SIM (not the one that came with the SONY):

Make a custom profile:
Service Type: Packet
Dialed Number: *99***1#
Access Point Name: [leave it blank]
Password: CINGULAR1

For a T-Mobile internet-only SIM (in North America, $30/month, with a Reno 775 area code):

Make a custom profile:
Service Type: Packet
Dialed Number: *99***1#
Access Point Name:
Username: [leave it blank]
Password: [leave it blank]

Here’s a few gripes I’ve been having with this otherwise excellent laptop:

  1. Often I get messages saying “GPRS” is trying to dial, and could not detect carrier (no solution yet).
  2. The T-Mobile SIM on EDGE seems slower than the Cingular SIM on EDGE for at least two locations I’ve tried. I’m using the speed test on this site. My results around the Boulder/Longmont area are 166 kbit/s for Cingular, 100 kbit/s for T-Mobile
  3. Man, that antenna sure is UGLY
  4. I hate the battery-hanging-off-the-back-at-an-angle-look
  5. Memory install on the T350P (only 512MB ) was a b*tch. Following the easy-to-follow instructions on doing this was NOT easy, at least for me. It turns out in their picture, they want you to push down on some little “tabs” in-between specific keys. I ordered 512MB of SimpleTech PC2700 memory for $100.87 including shipping at This is SONY VGP-MM512I [SimpleTech SON-S170/512]. Make sure you seat the memory properly, with no gold showing….

By Dave

He was born in Canada, but currently lives in Boulder, CO up in Boulder Heights.

2 replies on “New laptop unlocked”

Where can I get more specific instructions/pictures on how to install an extra 512MB RAM in my Vaio T-250P?

Some of the memory sites say I have only 1 slot – and it is filled with 512MB – leaving no more free slots??


– Murtuza

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