November 03, 2010, 12:10 PM — Sometimes you gotta bend the rules. And when it comes to technology, some rules are begging to get bent.
You might do it to gain access to features or functionality that your gadget/service provider should offer but doesn't. Or maybe you just want to avoid something you prefer not to do--like coughing up your e-mail address just to gain access to a site's content, or (ahem) paying for stuff you'd rather get for free.
And sometimes you do it because, well, it's awesome.
But awesomeness has a price, and every activity described below carries a risk. Potential fallout ranges from violating terms of service or voiding a warranty, to bricking your favorite gadgets or having a clutch of copyright attorneys descend upon you from a great height.
So these are things you really shouldn't do. Really. And if you tell anyone where you heard about them, we'll deny everything.
1. Jailbreak Your iPhone
Apple iPhone owners fall neatly into two groups. Members of the first group suffer under the yoke of tyranny, endure arbitrary rules over what they can and can't do, and put up with crappy reception (be careful how you hold that thing).
Members of the other group have jailbroken their phones, hacking iOS whatever to get to features, apps, and carriers that are otherwise verboten. There are many ways to unlock the uber phone, but by far the easiest is with Jailbreakme. Simply visit the site jailbreakme.com from your iPhone's Safari browser, and you're done. It also works on the iPod Touch and the iPad--but only if your hardware uses iOS 4.01 or an earlier operating system.
Why this is awesome: Let us count the ways: (1) No more AT&T. You may be able to use your iPhone with other GSM-based telecoms such as T-Mobile. (2) No restrictions on the apps you can use. The Cydia store features dozens of apps that work exclusively on jailbroken iPhones. (3) Have we mentioned no more AT&T?
Why you shouldn't do it: It's a constant game of cat and mouse between Apple and the jailbreakers, and Apple is the cat. Eventually the cat will win and your jailbreak will fail, possibly leaving you with a pretty paperweight (and no warranty). Also, you'll make Steve Jobs sad.
2. Let Pandora Out of Her Box
My personal history is divided into two parts: BP (Before Pandora) and AP (After Pandora). That's how much this streaming music service has changed my life. Unlike normal radio, it plays songs I've never heard before yet instantly love.