Archive for the ‘Tutorials’ Category

Skype for Telus Mobility Blackberries

Today I noticed that Skype will be coming to Telus mobility customers. I got excited as I know Verizon supports almost all Blackberry versions of Skype software. Reading the press release fully though I realized it was only for iPhone and Android customers. In Canada this makes no sense as Blackberry is almost half the market share in this country. It also does not make sense as a Skype Mobile application already exists that would work on all Blackberries up to and including the torch. I tested this by changing my IP address to Chicago and spoofing my user agent to a storm 2 Blackberry running with a Verizon vendor ID and then downloaded it. I have a zip of it here that you can play with, though it will block you if you are not branded to Verizon right after launching the application. The application will only launch if you have gone into options -> device -> application management and set permissions all to allow. So basically if you went to the states, purchased a Verizon phone outright then put Skype mobile on it and activated it in Canada, it would likely work with Telus. There are ways to brand your Blackberry outside of actually buying a new phone but I would be hesitant to use them as they are third party hacks and may brick your phone.


Ultimately all of this turns into a rant against Telus. You are actively leaving a large group of your customers out of the loop of new services to move them away from a trusted platform in this country.  I sincerely hope this is not on purpose and that they will utilize what is already created and enjoyed elsewhere.


-Telus Customer since 2005

Blackberry Slowness

I recently met a family that all have blackberries. All six members of the family have a bbm group for saying things like “suppers ready” etc. Don’t you miss the good old days of just tinging a triangle?

What I realized when they all told me they loved their blackberries, but they were slow all the time, was that they had almost every installed program running at once.

Often when people find their device slow, they pull the battery. In case you are unaware, as of 4.5.0 you can do a function just like alt-tab on your PC (or cmd-tab on mac) to show you everything currently active and running. If an application seems unresponsive, try to close it. If you cannot close the application, (>4.7.1) simply hold down the menu key, and change to a new one or go to home screen. If they application is truly dead, eventually the OS *should* kill it.

Pre-4.7.1 you have to go to the home screen, and hit the blackberry menu key (the little key that looks like the blackberry logo), then select “Switch application”. Post-4.7.1 you can simply hold down the menu key and an alt-tab-like menu pops up. Items within that menu are running and using memory/cpu. Go into them and close what you are not using!

*Note: Some applications like Phone/BBM/Browser etc will always run. Phone for example is a godlike process that cannot be closed. This makes sense when you think – “If my phone were locked up completely, I should still be able to phone 911.”

To use your blackberry efficiently keep in mind that hitting the red END key when in an application will simply push it to the background. Using the BACK key (to the left of END) will actually, majority of the time, close the application.

*Note: Browser cache and log clearing do not actually affect blackberry performance unless they are open and in the background. They have a maximum size they can get to and then they clear old entries automagically.

Hope this helps. It would be wonderful if RIM had a simple “How to use our multi-tasking” howto in the intro when the phone is first powered on.

Google Sync for BlackBerry

Have you been getting duplicate contact and calendar entries on your blackberry after installing Google Sync? (See further follow-up in comments on multiple calendars and how to fix)

The reason? It is built in to all the latest blackberries!

As soon as you add your Gmail account to your blackberry BIS profile (Blackberry BIS is simply the server program for the average individual run by your ISP that holds, and pushes, emails to your public blackberry. Corporate email will use what is called a BES) it is already set up to sync and backup contacts and calendar appointments. When you install and run Google sync it conflicts with this process.

The built in sync is set up like so:

  1. Appointments/Contacts made on your phone are instantly pushed to Gmail
  2. Appointments/Contacts made on Gmail are pull to your phone
  3. All email features are push and instant.

So what is happening when you use Google sync?

  1. Your blackberry makes a new calendar appointment, it syncs it with gmail
  2. Google Sync will find that there is a new appointment, and sync with gmail
  3. There are now two appointments on gmail.
  4. Your blackberry will pull any updates from the gmail server, finding the “new” item
  5. There is now a duplicate item which GS will find and sync with the gmail server.
  6. etc.

Hope this helps any frustrated people out there. If you want to change these behaviors and have a torch for example, hit the menu (blackberry) button, select options, click on the gmail calendar under “accounts”, and modify the “Wireless Synchronization” option.

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I do not adhere to a schedule. I post when I have something to say. I'm a programmer who in my spare time enjoys contemplating the meaning of life, the universe and, everything. So there will be code as well as random little stories, essays and, musing about whatever interests me at the moment.