Cabbages and Kings

A diary by the authors of the Louis Kincaid series

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Location: Fort Lauderdale/Elk Rapids, Florida and Michigan, United States

We are the New York Times bestselling authors of the Louis Kincaid series and other stand alone thrillers. We have taught writing at major conferences for ten years.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Ask not what you can do for your cell phone...

I was going to wax philosophic about book stuff today but when I started reading over what I had written -- three different entries! -- it was all self-important gas. I mean, do we really need my opinion on Border's decision to stock all their books face out? Methinks not.

So while I wrestle with getting the concept for the next book in and free up my brain cells for fresh material, I offer you some really useful advice. Now, bear in mind I am a techno-phobe, a true Luddite as my friend Jerry Healy keeps telling me. (he should talk; the man is still using cans with string.) But even I have to admit some of this is cool. So print this out and keep it in your wallet.


1. EMERGENCY HELP: The Emergency Number worldwide for Mobile is 112. If you find yourself out of the coverage area of your mobile network and there is an emergency, dial 112. The mobile will search any existing network to establish the emergency number for you, and interestingly, this number 112 can be dialed even if the keypad is locked. Try it out.

2. LOCKED OUT? Okay numbnuts, you locked your keys in the car. Does your car have remote keyless entry? Is there someone at home with spare remote? Call their cell phone from your cell phone. Hold your cell phone about a foot from your car door and have the person at your home press the unlock button, holding it near the mobile phone on their end. Your car will unlock. Saves someone from having to drive your keys to you. Distance is no object. You could be hundreds of miles away, and if you can reach someone who has the other 'remote' for your car, you can unlock the doors (or the trunk).

3. HIDDEN BATTERY POWER. Imagine your cell battery is very low. To activate, press the keys *3370#. Your cell phone will restart with this reserve and the instrument will show a 50% increase in battery. This reserve will get charged when you charge your cell phone next time.

4. CELL PHONE STOLEN OR MISSING? You can disable it. To check your Mobile phone's serial number, key in the following digits on your phone: *#06#. A 15-digit code will appear on the screen. This number is unique to your handset. Write it down and keep itsomewhere safe. When your phone get stolen, you can phone your service provider and give them this code. They will then be able to block your handset so even if the thief changes the SIM card, your phone will be totally useless. You probably won't get your phone back, but at least you know that whoever stole it can't use/sell it either. If everybody does this, there would be no point in people stealing mobile phones.

5. FREE 411: Directory Service for cell phone companies are charging us $1.00 to $1.75 or more for411 information calls when they don't have to. Most of us do not carry a telephone directory in our vehicle, which makes this situation even more of a problem. When you need to use the 411 information option, simply dial: (800)FREE411, or (800) 373-3411 without incurring any charge at all. Program this into your cell phone now.

You're welcome! Back tomorrow with something sage and salient about writing, I hope.