Net10, Tracfone, or Straight Talk Customers try the third SIM chip.

Have an iPhone but can’t use your data because you’re using Net10, Tracfone, or Straight Talk? Try swapping the Net 10 SIM.

When I bought my Net 10 SIM activation kit it came with 3 SIM chips: 1 micro SIM (for iPhone 4 or newer), 1 regular SIM for GSM networks, and 1 regular size pink SIM card designated for T-Mobile phones specifically.  I know that putting the T-mobile-specific SIM  gave me the “Cellular Data” settings when I put it in the iPhone while trying to perform the SIM swaps.

In the weeks I spent battling with my iPhone’s APN settings I never thought to try to actually activate my phone through the Net10/T-Mobile SIM. By activate I mean putting the Net10/T-mo SIM into my phone, calling Net10 customer service, and having them switch my service over to the EIN number for the Net10/T-mo chip. Since my iPhone can use native T-Mobile airwaves using a T-Mobile SIM, it would seem reasonable to be able to use T-Mobile airwaves via a Net 10 SIM designed for the T-Mobile network.

If you happen to have an iPhone 4 or later you still have options. You can shave down the regular sized SIM card to fit into a micro SIM slot. I did it with an xacto knife in about 20 minutes and does not need to be a perfect replica of a real micro SIM.

Disclaimer: I gave up trying to use my iPhone 4 on Net 10. Since there are no contracts I simply switched to T-Mobile monthly no-contract plans. T-Mobile is network pretty horrendous in my area but I don’t talk on the phone much. With T-Mobile I can use iMessage, MMS, and 2g/3G web — the stuff that matters to me.

Free EPUB readers for Mac Desktops

My iPad has iBooks which allows me to read EPUB format ebooks and PDFs. However, your lovely Mac cannot alone does not come with an EPUB reader. There are a few paid options in the Mac App Store but luckily I found 2 free non-App-Store options. I’m surprised there are not more decent open source options for reading EPUB files.

Calibre ebook management

Although it’s massively bloated (224 MB) I have found Calibre to be a very good e-book reader. It’s interface is somewhat iTunes-like since it attempts to be a one-stop-shop for your EPUB needs. I don’t really like using library management interfaces like this and would like for a reader-only download.

[Update 6/15/2013] I’ve been told that Calibre can convert ebooks from one format to another. This is an interesting feature that I have not tried yet.

Stanza for Mac

Stanza was a great ebook reader for iOS/iPhone/iPad before iBooks or Kindle came out. Unfortunately  Amazon bought Stanza and killed it. I haven’t even checked if Stanza is available in iTunes for iOS anymore. Nevertheless the spammy download sites like CNET and Brothersoft still have the last version of Stanza for Mac available for download. Stanza is a slimmer 35 MB download but its ebook rendering engine is not as good or accurate as Calibre.


At 92MB Azardi is much slimmer than Calibre and provides simple EPUB reading pleasure. The rendering is slightly more accurate than Stanza but wow the user interface on Azardi is comically difficult to wade through.

[Update 6/15/2013] – I’ve given Azardi a second look since it’s much smaller than the last time I looked at it. I have a small capacity Macbook Air so every MB counts on my HD! I can say that the rendering seems faithful to the EPUB and the application loads much faster than Calibre. The user interface to manage books is still a bit quirky to me but I don’t have a huge ebook library so it provides the straightforward EPUB-reading ability that I was looking for without a lot of bells and whistles.

Azardi EPUB Reader

Azardi EPUB Reader

List of EPUB reader software (Wikipedia)