Profile Apps

It's Monday morning, and you're just about to close a very important deal with a new client. You've been working on this for months and have been eagerly anticipating the results, as it has made its way through your sales funnel. In fact, you've been doing some early celebrating this weekend, even downloaded a song you heard at the club as your ringtone. It's been secretly playing in your head the whole time, but now it's playing from your BlackBerry. You forgot to switch your profile before the meeting.

Here is a comparative review of two applications that may help out with your profiles;
WCS Inc's BlackBerry Profile Scheduler and ToySoft Development Inc's Profiler. Both of these applications, once set up by you, will help you avoid these embarrassing moments by managing and initiating scheduled switching of profiles. The question is: who does it better? Who deserves the title of Scheduler Supreme?

ToySoft's Profiler v 1.5

Using ToySoft's profiler, you can schedule profile switches using the 6 native BlackBerry profiles and up to 10 custom profiles you create using the application. If you have created your own profiles using the native Profile application, however, they will not be initially accessible through Profiler. I'll touch upon the work around shortly.

Creating a new profile is almost as easy as creating a new appointment in your calendar. The first task is to assign a name for the new profile schedule; which could be Work, Holiday, Shopping, Sleeping, etc. This will allow you to search through your Profile schedules at the main screen. The next section will ask if you want to activate the profile and have your Berry vibrate in its holster or if its keyboard is locked. The reason for this is due to RIM security. Profiler is unable to activate the scheduled profile switch when locked or holstered. Like any good User or Abuser, we will reach for our vibrating BlackBerry to see what's up. This unholstering or unlocking will then allow Profiler to activate the switch.

While we are on the subject of RIM security workarounds, now is a good time to touch upon the previously mentioned custom profile issue. As I said, the custom profiles won't be initially accessible, but you can make them available. You can do this by selecting Edit Custom Names from the menu. Here you can replace names such as; Custom 1 with the names of your custom profiles. Make sure that you maintain the order in which the profiles appear in the native Profile application. Voila! You can now access your custom profiles in Profiler. Let's head back to creating a New Profile schedule.

The next step is to choose a profile to use during the desired time frame. When choosing a profile from the list, you should see your custom profiles as well. Profiler also lets you select a profile to switch to after the scheduled time. Depending on your schedule, you can also select which days of the week you want the profile to be active. This newly completed Profile will now be listed on the main screen. Any profile can be deleted or edited at any time. Each Profile schedule will display the starting profile and time, the ending profile and time, the name of the Profile schedule, the days in question and if it is activated.

Temporary Profiles can be created as well. These apply to your native calendar. I haven't had the need to use this feature very often- some of you may find it useful. These profiles seem to be only good for the current day- you cannot create a future temporary profile. Appearing as appointments in your calendar, there are two methods of input:

1. In Profiler, select Calendar Keywords. Next you choose a keyword, say "CrackBerry". Below the name, you can choose a start and end profile. With this keyword, you can now easily enter it into the subject line of a new appointment. For today I can input "CrackBerry Review" in the subject line and block off 2pm to 7pm for the calendar event. During this time the profile settings I selected for the keyword will now become active.

2. From your Calendar, then select New. From this point you can either select New Profile and choose the start and end profile for the appointment time or manually input the code. For example, if I wanted to have the starting profile as quiet and the ending profile as loud, I would input [s_3][e_1] or s_quiet e_loud. S and E indicate starting and ending profile. As this is more time consuming, I stuck to selecting new profile and let Profiler do the work for me. In the Profiler application, you are able to view and delete Temporary Profiles.

Profiler
the main screen

Profiler
creating a new profile schedule

Profiler
calendar entry

WCS's BlackBerry Profile Scheduler

I frowned when I discovered that BB Profile Scheduler wasn't compatible with my Bold. Nor was it available for the Curve 8900 or Pearl Flip 8220. Any device with OS 4.6 seemed to be out of luck. OS 4.7 was supported, so Storm users were in luck. I brought my 8310 back to life, albeit briefly, to try out BlackBerry Profile Scheduler. Before you get started, make sure you edit the application's permissions. Navigate your way to Options> Advanced Options>Applications>BB Profiles. From the menu, select Edit Permissions and change interactions to allow. The first page of the Profile Scheduler informs you that the application is inactive and that there are no defined rules. Now, I've been known to bend a rule or two, but now it's time to make some rules.

As with Profiler, adding rules in Profile Scheduler is quite simple. In this case, all selections are made in a centralized column. Choosing which profiles to use was a little different; Profile Scheduler let's you choose one profile to run. At the end of its run, the profile returns back to its original setting. You don't define an ending profile to switch to. You can also decide the time interval and which days it will be active. Your list of rules will be displayed at the main menu. Each rule will show the assigned profile icon on the left and the details, and active/inactive status on the right. To activate or deactivate a rule, highlight Activate or Deactivate Scheduler, depending on the status of the rule. Keep in mind that you only have access to the original 6 profiles found in the native BlackBerry Profile Applications. You cannot create new profiles, nor manage any previously created profiles. Security issues crop up again when your Berry is holstered or locked. Your Berry will vibrate when it's time to switch profiles, unlocking and unholstering will prompt the profile switch.

Rules can be created in the Calendar, but unlike Profile Scheduler, I was able to set them for future dates. Enter in a new appointment as you normally would. Press the menu button and select Assign Sound Profile. Choose the desired profile and save your changes. Complete the details of your appointment as required and you're done. The appointment details won't visually indicate the assigned rule.

BBProfile
the main screen

BBProfile
creating a new rule

BBProfile
calendar entry

Software Slugfest

These are two very similar applications and the solution they offer has been sought after for a long time. Based solely on my current device, the Bold, I would automatically go with Profiler. Despite that, let's see how these two measure up.

File Size - winner: Profiler
Profiler will take up 79kb of space and BlackBerry Profile Scheduler will take up 119.4kb. Neither will really make or break you, but Profiler ends up the biggest winner (or is it Biggest Loser?)

Appearance - winner: Profiler (my personal opinion)
Though both applications are easy to understand (visually speaking), Profiler appears more up to date where Profile Scheduler maintains the old school feel.

Compatibility - winner: Profiler
Profiler supports OS 4.2 and higher, so it will work with the 8700 series, 8800 series, Pearl and Pearl Flip series, Curve series (including 8900), Bold and Storm. Profile Scheduler is a little confusing. The minimum requirement field, in the CB Store, says you must have an OS of at least 4.1. Further down it says it will work for 4.0, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.5 and 4.7. No 4.6 love from this application...

Features and Updates - winner: Profiler
Hang on, as this will be a fast exchange. Profiler can handle 16 different profiles, Profile Scheduler handles 6. Profile Scheduler can create future profile switches in your calendar where Profiler cannot. Profiler lets you choose start and end profiles. Based on the fact that Profiler has been actively updated and Profile Scheduler hasn't seen an upgrade since 2007, Profiler will hopefully be adding more and more features soon.

Conclusion

After the dust has settled, it looks to me like we have a winner; ToySoft's Profiler. You can manage more profiles more efficiently. The only downfall it has is the inability to create future, Temporary Profiles. As it is more actively updated, perhaps this can be overcome in future builds. Both are available at the CrackBerry store, Profiler costing $9.95 and BlackBerry Profile Scheduler costing $9.99. These two applications also have free trials available, if you want to try before you buy.

Download/Purchase