Monthly Archives: October 2012

On Keyboard Shortcuts and Uncooked Rice: How to Get the Most Out of Your Blackberry

Some say Blackberry is dying and that they’re nothing more than holdovers from the days when QWERTY keyboards were sexy. Purists will howl; that is their job but the Blackberry is here and it’s here to stay. Whether you’re gushing over a sleek touchscreen slider or hanging on to a knackered, old workhorse from the days when Will Young was just starting out, here are a few things to help you get the most out of your Blackberry.


Charge up and stay connected.

            It makes no sense at all to have so much power in your hands when your Blackberry has no juice. Always charge your phone even when it’s nearly full. Apps like Twitter and Facebook will automatically refresh every five minutes, set that to a less manic interval to save some battery.

When you’re travelling on a train and coverage is wanky, your Blackberry is likely to struggle to get some signal. Turn off data services from the Network Settings on the home screen.

Do more with shortcuts.

Your Blackberry is an absolutely marvelous piece of engineering. Make the most out of it by using shortcuts. Hold down a letter to use it in uppercase. Press “T” and “B” to go up and down a web page. Set your convenience key to compose email, a new tweet or open the camera, whatever floats your boat and if you ever get lost, hit ALT+Shift+H to access the help screen.

If you’re feeling a bit feisty, disable dialing from the home screen and you’ll enter a whole new world of shortcuts. Tap “D” to save a new shopping list then hit “K” to lock the keyboard when you’re done. Though these take a bit of getting used to, but can you spell productivity?

Here comes the messenger.

The introduction of the Blackberry Messenger to mobile phones is what the Concorde was to the field of aviation. While it was born to connect businesses a decade ago, it has now spawned a community, over 43 million strong. You can send instant messages, share photos, links and voice messages across the globe with just a few taps.

Just as the digital revolution has made anyone with a digital camera a potential pornographer, the BBM has been subject to abuse. To make the most out of it, add only the contacts you know and open only files from these trusted sources. Join groups sparingly and be very considerate with group messages. It’s an intelligent community so try not to ruin it.


And when your BB gets sick…

            What separates the Blackberry from most smartphones in the market is their build quality. They’re built like tanks and will take all the beating from your car keys, coins and the occasional spilled coffee. When in doubt, simply hold down ALT+Shift and Delete to perform a soft reset. This is a quick fix when your phone starts acting up.

Dunking your phone in a bowl of uncooked rice or taking it apart and bathing it alcohol are good ways to fix water damage. But for major breakdowns, find a reputable mobile repair. Most units are easily serviceable so never let them charge you an arm or a leg.


But to really get the most out of your Blackberry…

            Hand in heart, any model in the Blackberry line is easily the best smartphone in the market today. If you’ve ever had a touchscreen die on you, you’ll know what this is about.

To really get the most out of a Blackberry, you need to enjoy using it. Whether you’re a small business owner or a student away on holiday, ease into it and you’ll see. Network coverage maybe bad at times or web browsing may hit a few snags here and there but when everything works, it’s just astonishing.  

Bieber, Redknapp and Embarrassing Downtimes: What You Need to Know Before Buying a Blackberry

Software engineers, app developers and the bigwigs that troll the halls of the higher echelons of power in the mobile phone market all agree that Blackberry is nearly immortal (not unlike Megatron whom we’ve seen get ripped apart to shreds, disemboweled and decapitated only to survive to the sequel).

Whether you’re a holdover from the days when all the BBM profiles wore suits (with pagers on belt hoops, optional) or you’re looking to jump the bandwagon on the next best thing since sliced bread (or Twitter banning Justin Bieber from its list of trending topics), here are some things you should consider before buying a Blackberry.


It’s a Bespoke Platform.

Research in Motion’s Blackberry OS is probably one of the most important platforms ever released to the mobile phone market. It’s something that isn’t unlike what Ayrton Senna was to Formula One or what Harry Redknapp was to tactics. These people approached their fields with an unencumbered manner that drove their competition to madness.

Absent all that fuss and faff, you have the freedom to make your handset truly yours. If you’re running a business, then load it up with apps like World Clock 4-in-1 for tracking business hours from across the pond or anywhere else; throw in an elegant slider lock for Executives. If you’re an avid fan of the social media, the new OS comes stocked with Twitter and Facebook.


There’s a BB for Everybody.

Even if the big boys who run the better part of the show come up with dozens of more powerful phones, they’ll certainly be outclassed by the sheer number of units from the Blackberry Family Album. There’s no one-phone-fits-all sell here because there’s a BB for everybody.

If your idea of studying for an exam involves taking plenty of photos of your fancy new hairdo, then the Torch 9810’s camera’s perfect for you. With its seamless integration and geo-tagging, you can upload it for the world to see.

If you plan on building an empire, then look into the corporate options for Blackberry plans. Most governments use them because their security is at least three to five years ahead of others.

And even if you have hands of Petr Cech, you won’t be disappointed by the keyboard on the new Curve. There isn’t a lot of love lost on the tactile functionality coming from the QWERTY against any capacitive touchscreen in the market today.


You Don’t Choose Your Network.

            Your network chooses you. No, this isn’t some cryptic handwriting on the wall but until the major carriers are shaken from their apparent stupor, consumers will always be at the mercy of their poor service and inconsistent data streaming speeds.

As for the Blackberry Messenger, it’s as reliable as instant messaging gets. It’s the best in its class for good reason. But even when the occasional downtime happens; the Apple fans and Android Groupies have a field day. Be prepared to be embarrassed from time to time.

In fine, before buying a Blackberry you should:

  • Know what you want and how you want it from your Blackberry
  • Plan how you’ll customize your handset for all those needs
  • Find a good and reliable network

What do you look for in a Blackberry? Drop us a line in the comments below.

Cardboards and Alcohol – Quick Fixes You Can Try on Your Blackberry

Whether you think of them as handy little devices that can help you stay organized or having htem around was simply a way of life, some models in the great, grand family tree of Research in Motion do have some problems from time to time.

Do-it-yourself repairs and quick fixes for your Blackberry do abound but not a lot of them are recommended for everybody. If you’re ever feeling a bit feisty or desperate to get your Blackberry up and running again, here are a few quick fixes you can try.


When in doubt, RESTART.

If your smartphone starts acting up and turning upside-down in a world all of its own, it’s absolutely important that you remain calm. Don’t panic. It’s almost always fixable, really.

First, get a hold of smartphone and power it off. Slowly take apart the back cover and be mindful where the casing and the body meets. There are usually small snaps you can undo with your fingers. Next, remove the battery and wait for two to three minutes. Carefully put your unit back together and turn it on. This fix will generally sort out small software issues like a slow browser or a frozen app.


Restore your Blackberry to Factory Settings.

            Every now and then, we’ve had errors when updating our smartphones. It can be poor connection, a lost bit of code or a string error on the Java Virtual Machine. Here’s what you can do:

There are quite a few ways of doing this. If you’re on a Mac or a PC, you can enter the terminal or access command prompt and key in commands that will reinstall your OS. When done correctly, it won’t remove any of your third-party apps. It’s a real time saver.

One other thing you can try is choose the handheld wipe. What this essentially does is that it wipes everything out of the system but it won’t touch your third-party apps. So if your issues are coming from bad installers or corrupt files than you’re better off sending your Blackberry off to a reputable shop.

To perform a factory reset on your Blackberry, simply hit OPTIONS, then SECURITY OPTIONS and go to GENERAL SETTINGS then tap the menu key and then choose HANDHELD WIPE. On some models, you’ll be asked to type in the word Blackberry to confirm that you really want to do a factory reset.


Clean your track ball/pad.

            From our experience, the cursor and the track ball are usually the first ones to go in nearly all smartphones from Research in Motion. Generally, if you know what you’re doing, you wouldn’t need to send your phone over for repairs.

What you can do when your cursor’s acting up is to simply remove it carefully. Again, follow the same instructions for removing the casing. Fish out the trackball and wipe it down with some rubbing alcohol and a cotton swab. Wait for it to dry completely before putting it back in.

Sometimes, this may not work especially when you’re running a Blackberry Pearl. The track ball gets too smooth over time and it loses its traction and contact with the sensor. If this is the case, take a small bit of cardboard or some textured paper and firmly roll it over.

In sum, here are a few things to remember BEFORE you try fixing your Blackberry.

  1. Remember to back your data before attempting any repairs. You wouldn’t want to breathe new life on your Torch only to lose all your photos, emails and contacts.
  2. Attempting to open and disassemble your phone will almost always void the warranty. This rule applies to the phone’s manufacturer’s warranty and sometimes for repair shops as well.
  3. If you’ve no idea what you’re doing, hand it over to the professionals. These people know with absolute certainty what your phone’s problems are and their services aren’t as expensive as you might think.

Have we missed anything? What other quick fixes have you tried on your Blackberry? Share your story on the comments below.