Humor: My Blackberry Is Not Working

January 10, 2011

What good is a tech blog without some humor mixed in. A relative of mine sent me this video, titled “My Blackberry Is Not Working”.  I figured, since I have done some articles on the Blackberry, plus I am the owner of one of these devices; this video may be helpful to others when their Blackberry is not working.

For the rest of you, if you do not know what a Blackberry is:

BlackBerry is a line of mobile e-mail and smartphone devices developed and designed by Canadian company Research In Motion (RIM) since 1999.[2]

BlackBerry functions as a personal digital assistant with address book, calendar, memopad and task list capabilities. It also functions as a portable media playerwith support for music and video playback and camera and video capabilities. BlackBerry is primarily known for its ability to send and receive (push) Internet e-mail wherever mobile network service coverage is present, or through Wi-Fi connectivity. –

My Blackberry Is Not Working

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Opera Mini on my Blackberry

July 3, 2010

If you are looking for a decent web browser for your Blackberry or your web capable smartphone, then take a look at Opera Mini & Opera Mobile .

Opera Mini

The Opera Mini browser has been specifically engineered and developed with the mobile phone user in mind. The browser interface is elegantly designed and is engineered to use a tenth of the bandwidth of other mobile browsers; thus, reducing data usage and saving you money.

I am currently running the latest version of Opera Mini (v5)on my Blackberry (pay-as-you go phone) and believe me, there is no better web browser for a phone out there. As a matter of fact, I never ever dreamed of seeing a browser on my phone that is comparable to the browser on my computer. Take a moment and watch the video below to see Opera Mini and Opera Mobile in action.

YouTube Video
Opera Mini 5 and Opera Mobile 10

YouTube - Opera Mini and Mobile

Features That I Like:

  • Saves money on data charges
  • Loads Web pages much more quickly than other mobile phone browsers
  • Multitask with tabs
  • User interface has been designed for both touchscreen and keypad-style mobile phones.
  • See your top Web sites visually laid out on your screen in Speed Dial
  • Sophisticated URL auto-completion
  • Reads the largest pages comfortably
  • Address bar and toolbars disappear until they are needed, allowing you to see more of the page you are viewing.
  • Backup your bookmarks, Speed Dials, and search engines to My Opera, and keep them synchronized between different phones

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Send Text Messages from your Email to a Mobile Phone for FREE

September 18, 2009

Recently the blog, AskBillFirst posted an article “Sending a SMS Text Message to a Cell Phone From Your Email” that not only caught my attention, but also fit in well with the article I have posted here on the blog titled “How to use a Blackberry Smartphone with a cheap “Pay As You Go” mobile phone plan…

The information Bill posted was a solution that further keeps the cost down on my Blackberry using that plan. I have to be frugal when using the SMS text messaging feature with my Blackberry, because texting can be quite addictive. I try to be smart in the aspect that there is only a few people I actually use the SMS texting feature with.  With a “pay-as-you-go” plan the secret is to not reveal your cell phone number to everyone, because once your number is out there you will receive calls and text messages (that you really do not want) that ends up costing you. For every text message I send I lose a minute and for every text message I receive, I lose another minute.

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If you are unfamiliar with SMS Text Messaging, let’s stop here for a moment, to give you a good description:

Short Message Service (SMS) is a communication service standardized in the GSM mobile communication system, using standardized communications protocols allowing the interchange of short text messages between mobile telephone devices. SMS text messaging is the most widely used data application on the planet, with 2.4 billion active users, or 74% of all mobile phone subscribers sending and receiving text messages on their phones. [Wikipedia]

What Bill posted on AskBillFirst is a very simple and FREE solution to sending and receiving text messages to/from mobile phones by using your email account. Here’s how it works. To my knowledge, nearly all of the major carriers have what is called SMS Gateways. Visually the gateway, to you, appears as an email address; HOWEVER, you need to know (2)-two things in regards to the person you are texting :

1.)  Their “phone number” and ;

2.)  The “mobile carrier” they use.

The neat thing about this, and I have already tested it with several carriers, is that when you send the text from your email to a mobile phone user, they will receive the text on their phone (as normal); AND, if they reply to the text message, the response they send will come right back to your email account (not your phone). This process has saved me from picking up my phone at home to send (and receive) a text message and saved me from losing my precious minutes on my “pay-as-you-go” plan.

Reflected below is a clip from AskBillFirst that lists the format, for the most common US Carriers, to use from your email account. I encourage the readers here on What’s On My PC… to make Bill’s blog, AskBillFirst, one of your daily stops.  Thank you Bill for this information!

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A “What’s On My PC…” Web Clip!

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If you know the carrier your friend or family member uses, it’s easy to enter their information in the To field of your email, type a subject and then the message. When you click send, it’s delivered to their phone. When they reply,  the reply is returned to your email.

The following is a list of carriers and the format you would use to send the message to someone.

Mobile Carrier – Maximum Characters – Email Address
Virgin Mobile – 125 characters – PhoneNumber@vmobl.com
Beyond GSM – 160 characters – PhoneNumber@txt.att.net
Cingular AT&T – 160 characters – PhoneNumber@txt.att.net
Verizon – 160 characters – PhoneNumber@vtext.com
Boost Mobile – 140 characters – PhoneNumber@myboostmobile.com
Nextel – 140 characters – PhoneNumber@messaging.nextel.com
Sprint – 160 characters – PhoneNumber@messaging.sprintpcs.com
T-Mobile – 140 characters – PhoneNumber@tmomail.net
Alltel – 140 characters – PhoneNumber@message.alltel.com
Qwest – 185 characters – PhoneNumber@qwestmp.com
MetroPCS – 185 characters – PhoneNumber@mymetropcs.com
Cricket – 143 characters – PhoneNumberMMS.mycricket.com

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Become a Blackberry Pocket Cop

September 13, 2009

Baltimore City, MD Police Department, using Federal Stimulus money, is issuing  Blackberry devices to every patrol officer. Since I am a Blackberry owner I found this article quite intriguing. Definitely a 21st Century concept that just may be the beginning to a trend nationwide.  There are positives reflected in this story, as well as negatives.

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A “What’s On My PC…” Web Clip!


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By Ben Nuckols

September 4, 2009 7:21AM

Every Baltimore Patrol Officer To Get a BlackBerry

BlackBerry devices, which are made by Research in Motion, are likely to take the place of computers for officers who don’t have them in their cars, and laptops may not be replaced after they become obsolete. The devices are also equipped with global positioning software that will allow commanders to pinpoint exactly where officers are.

The devices allow officers to run warrants, check vehicle registrations, and pull up criminal histories and suspect photos. Officers who use them can be more efficient and spend more time outside of their cars…

Early reviews for the devices have been positive. Officers using Pocket Cops made twice as many arrests over a 3-month period than those equipped with radios or laptops, according to statistics provided by the department. They also hauled in more offenders on outstanding warrants.

The devices are also equipped with global positioning software that will allow commanders to pinpoint exactly where officers are. That technology concerns police union leaders, who suspect that officers might face undue scrutiny.

[ Source: Enterprise Security Today ]


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File Manager Software for BlackBerry Devices

September 1, 2009

First I would like to state, “I Love My Blackberry”…

Many of you may not know that I put together an article “How to use a Blackberry Smartphone with a cheap “Pay As You Go” mobile phone plan… back in March of this year.  The article continues to gain in popularity AND, yes, I am still using my Blackberry 8320 with the T-Mobile “pay-as-you-go” plan with continued success.

image Today, I want to alert Blackberry owners who may have been using the BBFileScout file manager software that the author of the software has changed the name to just “FileScout”.

If you are a heavy duty Blackberry user then you need this software on your Blackberry. FileScout is an awesome utility that gives you control over the management of your file system on your Blackberry. FileScout is pay-what-you-want (Donationware): and currently runs on RIM OS 4.3 or higher (sorry no support for 4.2.1 devices) AND with Blackberry models 8110, 8130, 8220, 8310, 8330, 8700, 8800, 8820, 8830, 8900, 9000, 9500, 9530 & 9630.

FileScout – The “all in one” file, zip, text and image manager for your BlackBerry®

image

FileScout Core Features:

FileScout is a file system browser for your BlackBerry® (including hidden files)

Create directories, copy, move, rename, or delete files

Zip and Unzip files or complete directory structures with your BlackBerry® (no support for password protected zips)

Copy and delete complete directory structures

Open all media files (supported by your BlackBerry®)

Register additional file types with other (3rd party) applications (if supported)

Open files (like ini, xml, etc.) as plain text so you can edit, mark, copy, and paste text fragments of files that normally can’t be opened with your BlackBerry®. This can become very valuable when you receive email attachments that are not normally supported by your BlackBerry®

Delete pre-installed wallpapers, videos, and ringtones in order to free memory on your device***
Please note: once these features are deleted, the only way to get them back is to hard reset your device!

Display thumbnails for supported image files (if enabled in the options)

Search for files and directories on your BlackBerry® device

Send any file as an email attachment to your BlackBerry® contacts

Send any file via Bluetooth to another device that support OBEX

Define a favorite directory list (as shortcuts)

Show details for files & directories [modification date, is hidden, etc…]

Resize (& rotate) images in order to save time and money when sending photos to your friends via your BlackBerry®

Create playlists (across multiple folders)

More to come? – is there really something you miss for a file manager application? If so, let the software developer know!

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A FREE “Must Have” App for your Blackberry

May 12, 2009

UPDATE (8/30/2009): The author of  the BBFileScout file manager software, for the Blackberry, has changed the name to just “FileScout”.  The content and information in this article remain the same.

I hope you had the opportunity to read my article “How to use a Blackberry Smartphone with a cheap “Pay As You Go” mobile phone plan…” The point of the article was to demonstrate that there are workarounds to owning a Blackberry Smartphone (to make it useful), without subscribing to a costly data plan. Recently I discovered another FREE (donationware) workaround; or I should say addition, that makes the Blackberry all that more powerful.  Since my acquisition of the Blackberry Curve 8320 I found that the Blackberry lacked a decent file system browser. The “geek in me” wanted more than just the basic file explorer that is buried under the “Media” selection of the Blackberry OS. I wanted a file system browser that was comparable to what I experience on my PC.

After getting my bearings on how and where to look for free Blackberry software resources, and how to install those resources that were of interest, I came across the excellent file system browser called “BBFileScout” .

image

BBFileScout is FREE (donationware) and will work on all Blackberrys’ with OS 4.3 and higher. According to the BBFileScout web site, it has successfully been tested on Blackberry models 8110, 8310, 8330, 8700, 8800, 8820, 8830, 9000, 9500 & 9530. I can attest that it also will work on the 8320.

BBFileScout is more than just a basic file system browser, it is a file manager with the ability to recognize file types and associate them with the default applications, just like on your PC. For example, If I browse to a jpeg (picture) file and open it, the picture will open with the default viewer; or if I browse to a PDF file, it will open with the default PDF viewer, etc… This option alone sold me on the app; BUT, this was only the beginning.  BBFile Scout opened up a whole new world on my Blackberry and gave me that true feeling of having a PC in my pocket.

Here are the “Core Features”, as reflected on the web site:

  • BBFileScout allows you to browse the file system of your BB (including hidden files)
  • Create directories, copy, move, rename or delete files
  • Zipping files or complete directory structures
  • Extracting Zip archives (incl. structures)
  • Furthermore BBFileScout supports copying and deleting of complete directory structures
  • You can open all (by your Blackberry® supported) media files
  • Register additional file types with other (3’rd party) applications (like pdf’s)
  • BBFileScout allows you to open files (like ini, xml, etc.) as plain text, so you are able to edit, mark, copy & paste text fragments of these files that normally can’t be opened with your Blackberry®. This can become very valuable when you receive eMail attachments that are not native supported by your Blackberry®
  • With BBFileScout you can delete pre installed wallpapers, videos and ringtones in order to free memory on your device*** – but please note, that once they are deleted the only way to get them back is to hard reset your device!
  • Display Thumbnails for supported image files (if enabled in the options)
  • Search for files and directories on your Blackberry® Device
  • Send any file as eMail attachment to your BB contacts
  • Send any file via Bluetooth to another Device that support OBEX
  • Easy & smart creation of Playlists (across multiple folders)
  • Define a favorite directory list (as shortcuts)

You can install BBFileScout “over the air” to your Blackberry® device or can install it via the RIM DesktopManager

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Online Blackberry Bible

April 20, 2009

CIOIf you are a RIM Smartphone (Blackberry) owner, then you will find this information, “clipped” from CIO, invaluable…  It is a great read on everything you need to know about your Blackberry…

Blackberry Bible

You can click on any of the titles below and you will be redirected to the CIO web site for that specific topic… Enjoy!

1clipsm [ Source: CIO ]
BlackBerry Bible:
Everything You Need to Know About Your RIM Smartphone

From keyboard shortcuts and tricks from mobile experts, to free software downloads, battery life tips, device reviews and insider commentary, we offer you our expert guide to help you master your smartphone and earn a BlackBerry black belt.

BlackBerry Tips: Using Folders
to Unclutter Your RIM Smartphone

BlackBerry Browser Shortcuts:
Killer Keyboard Tips & Tricks

Best BlackBerry Shortcuts:
Aflac’s Mobile Guru Shares Tips

Five Essential RIM BlackBerry Keyboard Tips and Tricks

Advanced Keyboard Shortcuts for Power Users

BlackBerry Storm Shortcuts:
20 Touch Screen Tips and Tricks

More Advanced BlackBerry
Keyboard Tips and Tricks for Power Users

BlackBerry GPS Navigation Tips:
Mastering BlackBerry & TeleNav Navigator

BlackBerry How To:
Change E-Mail Signatures (BIS & BES)

BlackBerry Tips & Tricks:
Boost Your BlackBerry Digital Camera Experience

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Web Sites formatted for your Blackberry…

April 2, 2009

If you own a Blackberry, or any mobile phone or handheld device for that matter, that has the ability to access web pages on the internet, then you will be interested in the link below (from Blackberry Forums).  This listing  is an excellent compilation of sites that has been formatted for portable devices (such as the Blackberry Smartphone). The listing appears to have been last updated Oct ‘08; however, I found most of the links alive. Another great use for a listing such as this, is if you are on an extemely slow dialup connection and need to get to the news, etc… fast.

[ CLICK HERE FOR SITE LISTING AT BLACKERRY FORUMS ]

In the event you desire to import the list to your favorites,
you can download the list here – [ DOWNLOAD ]

blackberrygoogle

Recently I posted, what has become a very popular article:

How to use a Blackberry Smartphone with a cheap “Pay As You Go” mobile phone plan…

As an update to that article, I continue to make use of my Blackberry with the cheap phone plan AND have found no problems locating resources for the PDA/Phone.  So far, I’m loving it…

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How to use a Blackberry Smartphone with a cheap “Pay As You Go” mobile phone plan…

March 26, 2009

I love my gadgets, and when opportunity presents itself to try something different, I cannot resist.

The object of the this story is to demonstrate how I maximized the usage  of a Blackberry Smartphone using one of the cheapest mobile phone plans out there. For the sake of this article, the model phone that I used for this project was the Blackberry Curve 8320 Smartphone.

If you do not know what a Blackberry is, I encourage to visit the Blackberry website [ CLICK HERE ] .

Blackberry Smartphone

When it comes to mobile (cell) phones I cannot see myself conversing for a 1000 minutes (16.66 hours) a month. That is two workdays to me or time that I can allocate to other things where I can see results. Please do not get me wrong, a mobile phone is very much needed in circumstances where your business or livelihood is dependent on quick communications. The plan which I currently use is a “pay as you go” plan (with T-Mobile). I have learned to discipline myself with the usage; PLUS I do not give my number out or use it for lengthy conversation.

I have always been fascinated with PDA’s, have owned quite a few, and was currently looking for something that would provide PDA capabilities, as well as, mobile phone capabilities. I did not want to pay a lot or get trapped into a lengthy service contract with a mobile phone provider just to own a computer in my pocket.

During a recent visit to the local mall I entered into my usual question and answer session with the sales rep at one of the T-Mobile kiosks.  I have done this in the past at other locations in an effort to educate myself about mobile phones. One of my primary questions has been,  “What phones will my T-Mobile “pay-as-you-go” SIM card work in?”. You would be surprised at the answers I have received. I have always been told I would have to purchase another phone plan, if I wanted a Blackberry, etc… Ultimately I always leave very confused about mobile phones. In this case, the sales rep proceeded to inform me that my SIM card in my cheapie phone would function in any of the phones they had. The sales rep proceeded to show me several phones including the Blackberry (all with heavy price tags if I were to buy the phone straight out).

As my “gadget luck” would have it, I was preparing to leave and the sales rep proceeds to tell me that he had an used Blackberry Curve 8320 for sale, minus the software for the phone.  Long story short, I get what I think is a good deal on this phone…  I buy the phone and with my cheap “pay as you go” plan, I challenge myself (as a project) to find workarounds to getting data to and from the Blackberry without the need to purchase a high priced data plan.

Reflected below is highlights of how my project turned out…  Some of the information alone may be helpful to other Blackberry owners and in some cases, depending on the phone (and provider), may not work at all. Some of the information reflected may be common information to mobile phone power users and may make me appear as if I don’t have a clue about mobile phones…  Well I don’t, but I am learning!  All I can tell you is, that I took a cheap phone plan (pay-as-you-go) and an expensive smartphone and customized it for my personal needs.

SIM Card – SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) is the card located in your phone that is a module that identifies to the mobile phone provider, who you are. It can also serve as storage media for your contacts, etc… The module can usually be removed and swapped to other phones (with the same provider).  In my case the SIM card worked with no problems and all my contacts were transferred to the Blackberry.  I now have voice communications with the Blackberry using my “pay as you go” plan.

Coverage – My phone coverage improved noticeably.  Locations where I could not get service, I now have service.  Proves to me that some mobile phones are better in transmission and reception than others.

Blackberry Desktop Manager Software – Since there was no software with the smartphone to manage the phone from my computer, I had to go find the software on the internet. I easily located and downloaded the software from “Blackberry” and installed it on my PC . The Desktop Manager Software is an integral piece that you need to keep your phone software up to date; AND to provide file management, software management, and backup capabilities. The installation was also bundled with a Roxio package to manage and convert audio, video and photo files.  After learning the Desktop Manager Software, I knew at that point this was my gateway for installing third party software onto Blackberry.

Calendar, Contact, and Task Management – In order to take full advantage of the calendar, contact and task management portion of the phone, I needed some type of syncing capabilities. The Desktop Manager Software provides syncing capability to Microsoft Outlook and to Yahoo.  I exclusively configured my Yahoo internet mail account to manage my contacts, calendar, notes and tasks on my Blackberry. When I connect my Blackberry to my computer, run the Desktop Manager Software, it automatically syncs with my Yahoo account on the internet. This also gives me the ability to pull up my information from any PC connected to the internet.

Wi-Fi – The Blackberry Curve 8320 has wi-fi (wireless) capability.  I configured the Blackberry to connect to the wireless router in my home, which provided me with (at first) limited access to the internet.  You will see below the workaround I utilized to gain full access.

Internet Browser – The browser on this particular phone was very, very limited (proprietary to T-Mobile) and did not provide complete internet access via my wireless access point. I initially did not think this was possible without a data plan, but after some careful thinking, I knew there had to be some way that I could bridge that gap. I downloaded and installed Opera-Mini which is browser software designed for mobile phones. I now have full access to the internet via my wireless router or at any wi-fi access point that will let me in.  (Note: Opera-Mini is an awesome browser for this purpose).

MicroSD Card (with PC Adapter) – RadioShack had an 8 gig MicroSD memory card on sale ($20), which I installed into the Blackberry…  I now have storage capability; plus when  connecting the Blackberry to my computer it is recognized as a mass storage device. I can now transport my files, portable apps, etc… This particular phone model has a camera (w/photo viewer), video camera (with video player) and voice recorder (w/audio player) built in.  With the added storage I successfully converted a full length movie to play on the Blackberry; added MP3 music files, photos, documents, etc…

Software – Now that I have learned to install software onto the Blackberry, I am currently exploring the internet for “freeware” software for the Blackberry.  Several sources that I have located are:

Blackberry Freeware

Blackberryfreaks.com

Blackberry Freeware Lovers

In closing, I have been quite pleased with the outcome of this project and the Blackberry Curve Smartphone.  I welcome any comments or suggestions.

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