“Must Have” apps for BlackBerry Torch

I’m about to trade in my BlackBerry Torch 9800 for a couple of HTC EVO devices from Sprint. The job I’m moving to, while still a BlackBerry shop, does not provide them for my position (yet…).

But I’ve been refining my collection of BlackBerry apps for a while now. Mostly with my Bold 9000 but these apps have served me well on the Torch for the brief time that I’ve enjoyed using it.

As you check out the list below, remember that my BlackBerry device is primarily a business tool needed for communicating day-to-day support issues plus nightly oncall support notifications. So it needs to be available for all this – sometimes 24 x 7 – and it needs to do all this and be a reliable telephone to boot.

In order of usefulness and not including standard apps that come with the phone :

Pocket Informant: (in app store) Without hesitation the most useful application I have. It replaces the default calendar, tasks and contacts applications and expresses daily commitments in a clear and useful manner. I can quickly see what scheduled calendar entries I have for any day along with relevant tasks so I can work through them as the day progresses. I favor the agenda view as being most suitable for my needs.

BerryWeather: (in app store) A great weather app that I have set to show the current conditions on the home screen as well as a tiny little icon showing temperature in the icon strip. I have mine configured so that my current GPS location (updated every hour) is considered my “home” location and is what displays on the home screen. Then I keep track of my actual house location and Toronto (so I know how lucky I am to be living here). It also shows weather advisories as they are made available.

BatteryBooster: Actually, I only got BatterBooster because I wanted to get SmartWiFi but BatteryBooster was being offered for 1/2 of SmartWiFi’s price and had SmartWiFi bundled in as a package deal. BatteryBooster looks like it would probably help somewhat but many of the options did things like turn off the phone radio if the signal strength dropped too low or (with another bundled piece called PowerControl) it can turn off the whole unit at various times during the day. Since I often have a 24×7 requirement for my BlackBerry, this doesn’t benefit me at all. But the SmartWiFi app is great. Basically it figures out what cell towers are near WiFi spots you use. If you move away from those cell towers it turns off the WiFi radio. Likewise when you return to those cell towers it reenables the WiFi and reestablishes contact – completely transparently to me. I just happen to notice that my device is browsing the web MUCH faster when I get within range of those hotspots and I can see that I’m not wasting my WiFi power otherwise.

MailMinder: I make copious use of Profiles and filters on my blackberry. But the simple distinction between “normal” messages and “Level 1” was not quite what I needed. I have things set so most messages just appear on my device and I’ll get to them when I get to them. But I wanted to be able to distinguish between different kinds of high priority messages since, depending on the situation, I may or may not need to address them right away. So I use MailMinder to draw distinctions between messages from certain friends, warnings from the servers that I monitor, critical issues from the servers that I monitor, messages from my wife and notifications from my personal calendar on Google Calendar. MailMinder allows me to have distinct tones and LED colors for all of the above. Especially handy when I’m on call and the only thing I want to wake me up are critical server issues (and maybe messages from my wife…). If I’m in a meeting, the device can silently let me know just by its LED that a message has arrived from a friend and I can ignore it without even touching the BlackBerry. However a server failure worthy of interrupting the meeting will give me a blip and a red LED and I must be on my way.

RingScheduler: Another great app for someone with differing notification needs throughout the day. I have mine set so that it uses the “Normal” profile as its default. Every evening at 10 pm it switches to the “Phone only” profile until 8 am. On nights when I am oncall, I have oncall scheduled in my calendar as a 10 pm – 8 am meeting. RingScheduler sees the keyword “oncall” in the meeting and automatically switches me over to a custom “oncall” profile that I created. If I have an ad-hoc meeting or simply want to ensure that the BlackBerry will not disturb folks around me for a period of time, I can select the “Schedule Ringer Now” menu option that is available nearly everywhere in the device and set it to hold any of my profiles for a selectable period of time (a few minutes, a few hours), then the BlackBerry will switch back to whatever profile makes sense (default, timed, meeting based) when the ad hoc period ends. Very good if you have ever silenced your device while in a movie or a meeting and then forgotten to reset it and missed those phone calls or emails afterwards.

Ascendo DataVault: A worthy replacement for MiniSafe. It follows the same paradigms. My passwords, logon information, bank account information, etc. are stored in an encrypted file on my BlackBerry – available to me at any time. I bought the bundle that syncs the data with a desktop companion so I can more easily update and reference the same information when I’m working on my PC. It also boasts the ability to fill forms for you on your PC but I use a different app for that so I haven’t tried that functionality.

Twitter (from RIM): I’m not a power Twitter user by any stretch of the imagination so my needs are simple. I tried other offerings such as “Uber Twitter” and a couple of others whose names escape me now and they were not as good as this simple app made by RIM. It actually works in the background to refresh tweets – something the others seemed to have problems with – and it integrates very nicely with my messaging app so I can see that I have new tweets just by inspecting my inbox. And the notification is removed from my inbox when I return from Twitter. Simple and functional.

Bloomberg Mobile: Pretty clean, easy to set up and accurate. It’s amazing how hard it is to get a decent stock price app. I have concerns about battery drain with this app so I always exit out of it so it is not constantly running. But I like how it presents my data.

Facebook (by RIM): While I am sure there are probably better Facebook apps out there, this one from RIM is pretty straightforward, allowing me to post simple updates and pictures without any fuss at all as well as read items from my friends. It lacks the ability to honor the  filters I have set up on the web version to ignore crap such as game updates from bored folks but fortunately not too many of my friends are that desperate for stuff to do…

Google Sync: I only use this to sync calendar entries (not contacts) so I can speak solely to that half of its functionality. If you sync with another calendar system, Google Sync will recognize that fact and will not sync those entries with your Google Calendar. Have a LOT of experience working with corporate calendaring systems I can appreciate that there are probably huge complications that this avoids. But I put it to you that Google should develop read-only calendar entries so that so that your *complete* calendar can be reflected in Google Calendar and be available to aid in planning. As it is, I must choose what calendar to update for what events so that my wife or coworkers can see my busy times. Fortunately the BlackBerry *does* show all entries from all platforms, so I work mostly out of pocket informant.

Vlingo (Professional): I went crazy and sprang for the full version of Vlingo. Seduced as I was by the prospect of being able to largely dictate my emails. Two things: First – If you are in a modestly technical environment and you use a fair amount of jargon in your messages, especially names (people or computer names) then you’ll spend plenty of time manually correcting these. Vlingo’s “learning” ability seems to be more about grammar and sentence structure than individual words. No matter how often I corrected it, it never managed to spell my name correctly.  Second – I really don’t think that voice recognition is quite there yet. This app is amazingly good compared to other versions I’ve experimented with even in the past few years, but it either gets my words almost exactly right or laughably wrong. There does not seem to be a middle ground here yet. My favorite use for this app is to read incoming SMS text messages to me while I drive. The free version will accomplish this for you.

Gmail app: As I have my BlackBerry configured I really can’t work properly with Gmail using the native BlackBerry messaging application. In searching for the link for Gmail Mobile I see that there may be remedies out there for this but it’s a bit too late for me now. I review new messages on my handheld and then delete them permanently (handheld & mailbox) or just off the device (handheld only) if I want to add a label in Gmail later and then archive it. I use the Gmail app because there really isn’t a practical way to keep Gmail messages on the device in the default app and the Gmail app allows me access to search my entire Gmail mail database.

Evernote: I use Evernote on my PC a fair amount. I thought I’d use it more on my BlackBerry than I do, but even with the Torch device – which sports a respectable enough camera – Evernote takes such poor pictures that it is really only useful for non-text grossly obvious subjects. But the ability to search Evernote is handy.

Pandora: I’m of mixed opinions about using my SmartPhone as a music player. The idea of my phone being dead because I was listening to the latest “Katie Melua” song seems distasteful to me. Especially when I actually *do* have an iPod available to me. But the iPod’s weakness is that it cannot introduce me to new music and Pandora does a great job of that. This app doesn’t seem to have buffering issues (that I’ve noticed) and the commercials are not a nuisance. I may even upgrade my Pandora subscription to a paid membership if the Android version of this app is as good as this one.

BeamExplorer: If I really want to manipulate files on my handheld I plug it into my computer and use “mass storage mode”. But this little app is useful when you’re on the road and you want to find or move something other than a straight media file around.

Remember all of these are apps that I use pretty regularly and they are all worthwhile. My needs are more oriented towards business and communication and I think the apps that I favor reflect that. YMMV but I would not hesitate to recommend these apps for the right needs. Most of them I feel are best of breed except where I’ve indicated otherwise.

RSS Reader for Torch

On my PC, I love using Google Reader to aggregate my RSS feeds. I used to have (it’s probably still current) a paid-for copy of “NewGator” and I’ve tried several other alternatives, but the one that just worked the way I do was the Google product.

When I started using my new Torch BlackBerry device I noted that it had a “Social Feeds” application that really isn’t up to the standard that I felt RIM’s other, similar applications are. i.e. Facebook, Twitter and BB/Enterprise Messenger – all of which I use and like. This integrated tool while sporting some of my criteria for a good RSS reader, fell quite short of the mark.

What I am looking for:

  • Syncs with Google Reader (I don’t want to have to figure out where I left off on a feed whenever I move to a different platform – It might not have to be Google’s product, but I want multiplatform synching)
  • Removes read articles (or at least hides them)
  • Notifies me when new articles are available
  • Caches the articles / information on the BlackBerry rather than making me wait for each article while I’m reading them. Or at least intelligently caches the next few while I’m reading the current one so I can zip through them at my speed, not AT&T’s.
  • Same as above for pictures associated with the articles – I have an unlimited data plan, *some* extra bandwidth consumption is an OK price to keep up the reading momentum.
  • Shows me an abstract and lets me easily open the full article if I decide to move forward.

I’ve had Viigo on my various BlackBerrys for a while now. It was OK but there were a lot of flaws that I finally grew weary of working around:

  • Every time I updated Viigo I would have to re-enter my credentials (they tend to update a lot)
  • Also it would lose my feed position and everything would show as unread again on each update
  • Before I got my “touch” device it was a pain navigating because they were unable to navigate a page at a time using the space bar like every other app on the BlackBerry
  • With my Torch I find that every article is just a little too big to view on the screen and I have to “pinch” EVERY ONE OF THEM before reading – even in landscape mode
  • If I follow any link in a Viigo article, I can not get back to the article, I have to close it, and open a previous one, *then* open the original one. And I’m not where I left off but back at the top (needing to pinch it again)
  • Viigo never seemed to actually do anything in the background even though that’s how I had it configured so feeds only updated when I re-opened the app
  • There were far too many layers in Viigo, most of which I never used but had to navigate through and I can’t get rid of them. I think there were a lot of plans to expand that never really took off.

So Viigo is not really very efficient for RSS reading.

So I downloaded the latest version of BerryReader. I heard good things about this app’s ability to sync with Google Reader. But I found the interface absolutely useless – certainly no touch ability – but I found it really didn’t work for me at all. It *did* seem to sync with Google so I’ll give it that much.

I went to try out “Feeds” but they have no free trial, so even though I have heard good things about it I don’t try ANYTHING on my BlackBerry anymore without a trial. Too many apps are designed to work only in very niche ways that you either love or hate. That’s kind of why there are so many apps out there for all these devices.

I then tried “Unread” (cute play on current zombie craze I believe) and it was certainly better than BerryReader, but took a long time to load up (I only have 118 subscriptions). It actually nicely mirrored the subscriptions (folders/labels) of my Google Reader, but it was cumbersome in that it can’t hide stuff you’ve already seen. So each time I open it I end up wading through a bunch of stuff I’ve already read before. I had other issues with it but I was basically just frustrated by this point

So I opened the Google Reader URL and, now that I have the new Web Kit Browser that comes with OS 6, it’s actually pretty good. It automatically figures out that you’re on a mobile so no need to figure out a special URL for it. One really nice thing is, besides being 100% synchronized with Google Reader (because it *is* Google Reader) most of the features that I am looking for are part of this package. Of course I’d still prefer to have a dedicated app that integrated with my message application so that I can see when new items become available, and I still have to retrieve everything live, but so far no other app has stepped up and distinguished itself as being superior to Google’s free offering.

So color me satisfied. I’ll check again in another 6 months or so to see if anything has improved, but this seems to be a vastly underrepresented corner of the app market.

Playing with my new BlackBerry Torch

I’ve had my BlackBerry Bold (9000) for a few years now and it was starting to show some signs of age (besides its rather beat up case), dropping calls more and more often and rebooting spontaneously during the day.

So I put in for the new AT&T BlackBerry Torch (9800), being the BlackBerry administrator for your company does have a few perks and occasionally testing cool equipment for use at the company is one of them.

A while ago I had the Storm 2 in my hands for about 1/2 hour when I gave it back saying there is no way I’d recommend that device in our organization and I kept my venerable Bold. Of course some poor souls went ahead and ordered the Storm 2 anyway. I think it was one of the more “swapped” devices in our company as people quickly realized that it was a miserable end user experience unless you spend your entire day consuming “Youtube” videos.

I had the chance to briefly play with a Torch device early last month when a RIM rep came by the office to introduce himself and I was suitably impressed. Having the keyboard as a fallback is ideal because I create a reasonable amount of content with my device and my emails are not just one liners but often span a couple of paragraphs of detail. Not something lightly undertaken with a screen keyboard.

I’ve had the device for a little over a day now and my opinion of it is mostly positive. The Bold is sitting mere inches away from me in case I should change my mind, but the Torch is winning me over.

I had a couple of hiccoughs getting the device set up. After the device transfer wizard and enterprise activation were completed I noticed that none of my email filters had come across. I ended up calling RIM and working with them. Eventually a battery pull and a slow synch resolved that issue for me. Probably the biggest mini nuisance is the fact that OS 6 changed out all the sounds. My beloved “Sonar” was gone and all the dings and tones to which I’d become accustomed were replaced with new ones. While I’ve kept some of these new tones I was able to find a zip file that lets me get many of my favorites back. “Sonar” is short and poignant and has yet to be rivaled as an alert that one of my servers is in distress.

Something that surprised me – and this seems to be OS related rather than anything else – is that all the sounds are initially VERY muted. This can be remedied by going into your profiles and raising them from the “inaudible in a business environment” 2 (which was what “low” seems to have been translated to) up to a 6 or 7. Then things are fine. But I thought my alarms must be failing at first because I was not hearing them above the every day hubbub of my co-workers.

The large screen is really nice. I’ve been using FaceBook and Twitter for a while now and was singularly unimpressed with that experience on my Bold. On the Torch the same apps have much more breathing room and they really lend themselves to the touch screen.

And even over the same network and with a reportedly lackluster processor, moving through posts in either of those apps is very satisfying. I used to just forward any posts that contained links to my email account because reading the linked-to items was annoying. The zoom of the Bold browser (this was with the 4.5 OS – the 5 OS was *just* released this past week by AT&T for the Bold 9000 – laggards) invariably ended up making the text a little too wide to be seen on the screen without swinging the cursor from side to side to see the ends of the sentences. The OS6 browser (combined with the length / width of the Torch screen) AND the infinitely controllable pinch zoom makes that a thing of the past.

And the rendering of web pages appears to be much better as claimed. “Nearly Perky” would be my characterization. In spite of the purportedly overloaded AT&T network and the commoditized processor, the web experience is satisfactory.

The only places where this unit does not shine are:

1) Periodic lapses in performance in the screen interface handling. Sometimes you press a dialog button with your finger and nothing will happen – no feedback, nothing – and then several seconds later that buffered input plus the several other attempts to hit the button will manifest – to your displeasure. And flicking the menus screens with your fingers is often a little sluggish. Not a show stopper but definitely a point on which I will agree with reviews that I have seen that is a low-light in an otherwise satisfactory product.

2) The Keyboard is actually a little hard to slide open. There is no notch or any readily apparent place to easily slide the screen to reveal the keyboard. Maybe I’ll figure out a technique for this but I use Google Voice and HAVE to press 1,2,3 or 4 to acknowledge a call before I can talk to the other party. I’ve set my phone to answer on sliding out the keyboard which speeds up the process but opening the phone with one hand is not an easy prospect. I somehow think a slight notch just below the trackpad would simplify this, but then I’m not a usability expert.

Overall still very happy with this unit and I believe I’ll be recommending it as our “Go To” device (as much as my folks will listen to their technical support services folks…). The acid test will be next week in the business environment. Can I use it as handily as my old unit? I’m confident that it will be up to the task.

My BlackBerry Software

I was exchanging messages with King and thought I’d post my thoughts on the software that I currently use on the BlackBerry.

Hey King,

I don’t use a lot of apps on my 9000 Bold BlackBerry, but I swear by Pocket Informant. It’s great for getting tasks on your calendar and I like its presentation for contacts as well.

I haven’t used the “keyboardless” version of it yet. I used to use it on my iPaq and the BlackBerry version is up to par.

I don’t have any recommendation for a calculator as I pretty much use only the 4 functions these days, but other software I use frequently:

– BerryWeather – my favorite feature is setting my “home” screen to my GPS coordinates so it is always showing me the current and forecast weather for wherever I happen to be. I keep 3 other permanent locations set as well so I can always check home, Toronto and my airport’s weather.

– Profile Scheduler – I use profiles heavily (along with filters) and the scheduler automatically puts it into phone only mode for night time. So I don’t get woken up when a friend sends me some funny message at 1 in the morning…

– I often have used google maps on my device – haven’t had much cause to lately since I’m always near a computer or my gps.

– Something that has potential but IMHO isn’t quite there yet is drivesafe.ly  (yep that’s spelled correctly). It can detect when you’re driving (by gps speed) and will auto respond to email and text if you wish and will read you your incoming email and texts. Pretty cool to know whether or not that new incoming message is something to deal with at the next light or not.

– Besides those products I regularly use the Blackberry Facebook App, Enterprise Messenger (with our corporate SameTime IM system), Viigo and UberTwitter. All are OK but none are drop dead gorgeous apps.

I synch wirelessly via BlackBerry Enterprise Server to my Lotus Notes for mail, calendar and journal/memo/notebook. But I synch manually to Lotus Notes at work and to Outlook at Home (outlook is my master) and am able to take advantage of outlook’s superior print and formatting capabilities with no major issues.

I have tried several flavors of synching contacts, calendars, etc. with google-centric products but I have found all of them lacking.

There is a product that you can search for that you would pay some modest monthly fee for that will wirelessly synch your outlook with the BlackBerry that I researched somewhat for one of our SLT folks who was leaving the company and I would definitely give it a try over any of the other solutions I’ve seen to date if I didn’t have a work-provided wireless solution.


On Fri, May 7, 2010 at 7:43 PM, King wrote:

I have taken the plunge, and gone for the BB Storm 2.

Any recommendations for ‘must have’ software?

a Calculator?  The one that comes with it is just basic +-*/ and I use the
more ‘impressive’ functions a fair bit on my treo.

A contact list?  I was able to import the contacts from my trio, but it
has not converted as cleanly as I would like.

Also, what do you use on the desktop to sync to, Outlook? Google service,
Lotus notes?  What I would really like is a full address book, from which
I could print mailing labels on the PC side as well as maintain all
contact info.


BlackBerry Enterprise Server Data Dictionary

If you have a BlackBerry Enterprise server (BES) you have a configuration database that is used to manage pretty much every aspect of the server and all of your BlackBerry devices.

Periodically, I need to access this database directly to retrieve information that is not exposed via the BlackBerry Manager console. But it can take a while to work out which view or table contains the information that I am after. And sometimes the name of a column doesn’t necessarily reflect its contents. So there are plenty of test SQL queries that I need to do to suss out which pieces I need.

After checking online I could see zero references to a data dictionary for this configuration database. Even checking RIM’s own tech site yielded no clues so I called them up and asked for it directly. The tech told me this was the first time anybody had asked that question (presumably of him, not ever). He didn’t know but he checked and soon sent me the following note:

Hello Marc,

Thank you for contacting BlackBerry Customer Support.

Unfortunately the information requested is not publicly available.

Should you require further information on this subject, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Thank you again for contacting us.


BlackBerry Customer Support
Research In Motion Limited
NA Toll Free: 1-877-255-2377
UK Toll Free: 0808 100 7466
Europe: +44 1753 558400
Worldwide: +1-519-888-6181
Email: help@blackberry.net
Web: www.blackberry.com

So there you have it. If anybody knows differently I’d love to hear it, but apparently we are not to have a reference to this central resource and must continue to guess our way through our reporting.

Verizon Pushes BING to Certain BlackBerry Devices

In a shady deal that alters settings on end user devices without their permission or knowledge, Microsoft and Verizon have agreed to make BING the default search engine on certain BlackBerry devices. Those I know of for certain are the 8830, the Tour and the Storm 2.

I am told that you can select other search engines but only BING can be the default.

Also, apparently a new BING icon also appears on the devices after a hard reset (pull the battery).

This may be OK for new devices where end users expect a lot of extra stuff that they do not require and will clean up. What is NOT expected is for new stuff to show up suddenly unannounced. It is confusing and it is invasive.

I expected better of Verizon.

Memory leak issue for RIM Blackberry Devices – Especially 8830

*** Update May 8, 2009 ***

Verizon finally did see fit to release the OS 4.5 update and, so far, it appears that it is addressing the issue for us. We set a date of May 15 (approximately 3 weeks after upgrading) as our “OK Date”. This means that folks in our pilot group would have gone 100% longer than before without a recurrence of their messages vanishing.

So, while the memory does still dip significantly in the devices I’ve seen, it appears that the updated OS is addressing the worst of the memory symptoms. Kudos! From the below you could see I was entirely not expecting this.

*** End Update May 8, 2009 ***

We have been having a problem for a while know that has surged to the forefront of our corporate consciousness at the beginning of spring break (April 4, 2009).

Folks on that day began reporting in droves (basically about 5% of my total blackberry user base) that some or all of their email had disappeared, many on that Saturday, but many others on the days after that.

In looking into the issue I discovered that our Blackberry help desk has been fielding similar issues on the order of (anecdotally) 5-10 such incidents per week.

The problem has been largely experienced by our 8830 users. Made more awful by the fact that only this past summer we upgraded most of our handhelds to the new 8830 model.

Facts that I have at my disposal:

  • RIM claims that the memory manager in the 4.5 OS addresses this issue
  • I have a BOLD (OS 4.6.x) that shows massive memory consumption that is corrected by removing and replacing the battery or by simply performing a reset (Alt – Right Shift – Del).
  • People are complaining about this issue whether their devices communicate with a corporate BES or not (in the various forums that I have been reading)
  • The vanishing messages are a normal function of the low memory manager on the Blackberry OS. The priority is to allow new incoming messages and (supposedly) the last resort is to delete the oldest or least accessed existing messages to make that room

This is what I am thinking:

  • The problem is device related and is a memory handling issue
  • The problem has not been resolved with OS 4.5 but rather folks now receive a warning at about 400K of memory so they can take action before messages begin to vanish
  • The problem manifests in devices other than the 8830 but newer devices have so much memory that the issue is masked and wreaks less havoc. My bold can easily get to 6 Megabytes of file free out of 37 that are normally available. That’s 31 Megabytes of space that’s being wasted. That’s also more than double the maximum File Free that I used to have on my old 8830. Except for those apps supplied with the bold, my 3rd party apps are the same on this device as I had on my 8830.
  • The sudden surge in reports stems more from the fact that so many people were going to be out of the office and needed their email accessible on their handheld devices than any sudden change in the environment (indeed, I had been out of the office for the 2 days prior to this issue and I’m the only one making changes to our BES). Unless Verizon is monkeying around with stuff on their network.

RIM is insistent that the issue is resolved in the 4.5 OS. Since Verizon is our primary service provider and they’ve been unable to certify the 4.5 OS for their devices for about a year now, this is not a reasonable solution for us.

Plus, it seems that there are a fair number of other Blackberry users out there who are encountering this issue regardless of their handheld version or OS.

What needs to happen:

  • Short term: I need to create an application that would reset the device on a schedule. One of my team members has found one called “QuickPull” that *almost* fits the bill but needs some tweaks (see below) and can’t be distributed via BES.
  • Long Term:  RIM needs to get off its behind and acknowledge this memory management issue and actually address it. Pull back on the whiz-bang (crappy storm for example) and make sure that the basics are rock solid. Folks needing to reset their devices on a daily basis is just silly.
  • Long Term as well: What’s with this limited memory in these devices? We should be able to upgrade or add memory as we need to. The advice from RIM to “remove applications” and “minimize what you store” belongs back in the late-80’s along with a 640K memory limit and QEMM software!

Specs for reset application:

Since it is going to be necessary to create a workaround to allow folks to use their devices with the security of a corporate email system (i.e. messages not disappearing) I need to find or create a reset application that –

  • Resets the device (reclaims all that wasted memory)
  • Is distributable by BES (ALX and COD files)
  • Operates on a schedule that is user configurable but has a default time set by policy. That time is localized (i.e. 3 am is 3 am your timezone).
  • Prompts user to allow delay or skip of reset
  • Recognizes phone in use and delays reset
  • Can be set to only reset if device is locked
  • Inexpensive

That’s what I have. So far I’ve gotten to the point where I can produce a “Hello World!” app on my handheld. Let’s see how long it takes to address this workaround.

We’ve been working unproductively with RIM – they keep wanting us to delete applications / themes etc.

We’ve been working with Verizon, they’re promising the 4.5 OS RSN (Real Soon Now).

TCP APN for Verizon Blackberry 8830’s

It took me a while to figure this out so I’m documenting this mostly for myself but if it helps anybody else then that’s icing on the cake!

In a few words, don’t touch, save, change or in any way alter the contents of these fields!  Ever.

The following applies if you have a Blackberry communicating with a BES (Blackberry Enterprise Server). I cannot say if this will work for folks outside the corporate sphere but I see no reason why not.

Verizon support is clueless about TCP APN settings. Basically, if someone is using an application that doesn’t work and the solution is to update the APN, what you *really* need to do is:

  • Use desktop manager to backup the device
  • Wipe the device (you should be able to retain 3rd party apps if it asks)
  • Restore the device and turn on the radio <– it should automatically Activate itself – no need for Enterprise Activation.

Excerpt from the Crackberry forums posted by CrackBerry Genius:


If you messed with your APN settings on a VZW8830 by putting something in, even if you clear it out and save it’s still messed up. If you’ve done this programs like BBWeather and Opera Mini WILL NOT WORK.

You must do an OS reload or possibly just a Wipe on the handheld to get this fixed. I personally did an OS reload to fix it, but never tried to do just a Wipe from the Security/General menu to see if that was sufficient.

I performed the above operation and got BBWeather to work just fine. I was having a similar problem with Jott for Blackberry but since then they’ve made that app a paid-only service and the price is much steeper than the value that I feel I’d get from it (but I’d love to try it again to see if it works at all).