general delivery trip into Leadville

My last trip of errands into Leadville was abortive because my forwarded package was floating around Denver somewhere. The package finally came in so I made another run.

post office

I hit the post office around 10am; no waiting and my package was quickly brought to the front.

a few groceries

Safeway was nearby; I wanted to pick up a few things since I was in town and I could use their wifi to set up the new phone.

I pulled it out of the box in the parking lot. Amazon had attached a label that said:

Thanks to you, this product has a second life. We appreciate it. Amazon Warehouse, Amazon Renewed, and Fulfilled by Amazon”.

Dunno if this is supposed to be an attaboy for saving the whales or a “remember you bought a used item” notice. Both, I guess.

It came with a USB-C charging cable and 2A charger.

phone roadblock: booting

Tried to boot it; nada. I plugged it in and it started charging from 0%. I’m not whining about the convenience factor; lithium batteries really should be stored/shipped with a partial charge for their good health.

I transferred charging to a USB brick and headed into the store. As I shopped I started the startup process.

phone roadblock: no SIM ejection tool

The SIM tray is pushed out when one inserts a skinny object like a small paper clip. Reminds me a bit of the old CD manual eject holes, only about half the size.

No pokey-thing in the package so I start looking around. Finally found a staple which I unfolded and used to good effect.

phone roadblock: joining wifi

Once in the store it could see the Safeway wifi but I couldn’t use it because the setup screen wouldn’t allow the “accept terms to join wifi” dialog, and wouldn’t allow access to other apps to start a browser for the EUA agreement. Or so I thought, read on…

The other option was to use mobile data. Luckily I’d inserted the Verizon SIM (and a spare 128GB microSD) into the phone earlier and it seemed to have good Verizon data..

phone roadblock: previous password

Then it asked me for my password, which I entered. Fail, fail, fail.

I re-read the login: it wanted the password of the previous account that was synced on the device. Uhhhh, I don’t know that person or their password.

Fine. I’ll hard-reset it from recovery mode (hold power and vol-down during boot).

phone roadblock: recovery mode

The menu let me pick recovery mode but then crashed with a dead android icon and a NO COMMAND error. Luckily I had my TMO phone in my back pocket and the apparentl fix is “try different button combinations”. I actually did get into recovery 2x but still don’t know what key combo did it.

Once I got in I did a factory reset, which is the nuclear option for such issues.

phone roadblock: still stuck at login

No joy. Still stuck at the old password prompt. This little piece of joy is apparently called Factory Reset Protection (FRP):

Factory Reset Protection (FRP), is a security feature on Android devices with Android OS Version 5.1 (Lollipop) and higher. The FRP provides a built-in security feature you are able to use that protects your device and information, including screen locks and data encryptions. The FRP is enabled automatically when a Google account has been registered on the device and will be disabled if the Google account is removed from the device prior to the Factory Data Reset. Once the FRP has been activated, it will prevent use of your device after a Factory Data Reset in an untrusted environment. This means if your device has been Factory Reset in any other way than Settings > General Management > Reset > Factory Data Reset, the FRP Lock will be enabled.

How very Apple of them. This will require research, ‘though hopefully not a return.


I finished getting the groceries and popped a big chicken pot pie in the crock since turkey was not available. Then I headed to the local propane-monger. Confusing sign on the door apparently meant to say that the 20# tank refills are done elsewhere out of town. In the other direction. Nope, I’ll get by on what’s decanted in my bottles, excess solar, and the Dragonfly that drinks coleman.


I could probably squeak by but I figured I’d take advantage of the $5 fill station at Leadville Sanitation.

The road was closed for paving so I sat for about a half-hour waiting for our turn to drive on the single lane. Actually getting the water was a non-issue.

figuring out the phone situation

By the time I got back to camp Google had sent me an email reminding to finish the setup on the phone. First of all, [cursing deleted]. Second of all, that’s interesting – it means the login was actually successful. Maybe the phone was roadblocking me, not Google.

Since it saw my login I tried Find My Device, which has a reset function. Nope, phone not seen there yet.

I googled a while and found this video, which purported to bypass the evil FRP. Hopeful but not optimistic, I followed along.

Basically it is a user exploit that attempts to break out of the setup process and allow a local password to be set. It was a bit byzantine, as exploits typically are, but I kept pausing and rewinding the video so I could keep up.

I’ll be danged. It allowed me to set up a pattern/fingerprint and continue on. The phone is set up and running like a champ.

Note: it is common for international tech videos to use hand motions and screen walk-throughs rather than speech. This way it works for all languages.

I celebrated by eating the chicken pot pie.


twitter comment thread for this post