Using O2 ZTE MF100 Mobile Broadband on Mac OS X Lion

A few days ago I took the leap and upgraded my Macbook Air to OS X Lion.  After a seamless (and typically Apple) upgrade process, I was enjoying the benefits of an even more refined operating system.

However, one of the first things I did was test out my mobile broadband – and there the problem began.

I have an O2 mobile broadband dongle, the ZTE MF100 USB stick. When I originally installed it a small application called O2 Mobile Connect installed and worked a treat for connecting to the O2 service.

After upgrading to OS X Lion the application crashed as soon as it opened – I assume because of a change in an API somewhere. After hunting around the O2 site (and Google) I could find no update on getting the Mobile Connect application to work on Lion, or even where to download it.  It would appear that O2 have ditched supplying the ZTE dongles in favour of Huwaei branded sticks.

Anyway, I was damned if I was going to lose my mobile broadband (and I certainly didn’t want to uninstall Lion), so here’s how I eventually got the stick working:

  1. Open System Preferences
  2. Click on the plus sign to Create a new service
  3. Choose ZTEUSBModem as the interface
  4. Name the service O2 Mobile Broadband (or something recognisable)
  5. Set Telephone Number to *99#
  6. Set Account name to 02web
  7. Set Password to password

Note that this is for Pay Monthly Broadband – I think the details are different for Pay & Go customers.

Key step: set DNS server to 193.113.200.201

And hey presto, I now have mobile broadband working again.

Hope this helps anyone out there trying to get it working.

The Novice’s Guide to Replacing a Bathroom – Part 2

In late April (this year) I started out as a novice replacing our main bathroom. Last night I finished the bathroom project, and although still a novice, I’ve certainly learned a thing or two.

The Motivation

It’s taken me two months, and a lots of hours of work, late at night and during weekends. I could have paid someone to do this, but I wanted the satisfaction of understanding how it works, and it’s been a nice distraction from work.

The Final Outcome

The bathroom now looks nice and clean, spacious and modern, while retaining some of the history of the house (I’ve left the old radiator in, the door and window frames are the same).  We have a new toilet, sink and taps, bath and taps, new floor, new tiles, new light, new mirror and rails.  We’ve kept the old shower (which is actually quite new).

It should be good for many years (and baths) to come!

Laying the new floor

What I’ve Enjoyed

The most rewarding moments have been grouting the tiles (turns an ugly looking wall into a very nice finish), fitting the skirting board and connecting up the taps.  The one job I paid for was fitting the tiles – this took an experienced handyman a whole day just to cut and fix the tiles – I did most of the grouting.  This would have taken me at least twice as long to do.

In goes the bath

What I’ve Learned

Ripping out the bathroom initially took a lot longer and was a lot more difficult than I had anticipated.  This may have been in large part to problems with leaking pipe stops and not having the right tool to undo the bath taps.

Almost every plumbing joint I made leaked the first time around. Compression fittings like to be nice and tight, then they work fine without any PTFE tape or sealant. However, plastic pipe fittings (in particular the water inlet to the toilet cistern and the bath waste) took several attempts to get them sealed. I naively assumed that just fitting the supplied rubber washers would do the job. In the end I resorted to large amounts of silicone sealant – I’d pump this in first time from now on.