BlackBerry News and Reviews

Finding your PIN, IMEI, Free memory, OS Version on a BlackBerry


Today we are looking at a cool tip that allows you to get a bunch of information about your BlackBerry displayed on the same screen. To bring up the screen, simply type the 3 following keys ALT CAP H on your BlackBerry keyboard.

In fact, there is a good chance you’ll need some of this information during the life of your BlackBerry. For example, after the trial period of an application you installed expires, you might be required to provide your PIN to unlock the full version. If you are unfortunate enough to have to call the customer support of your wireless carrier, you will have to provide your IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity). Not a bad idea to track your App Version either. RIM regularly provides upgrades and you might want to keep your device updated.

## This Article Was Originally Published by on December 20, 2006.

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Auto Signatures for BlackBerry Email

I’m always on the lookout for ways to do things more efficiently with my BlackBerry. Recently I’ve been playing around with Auto Text with some fun results. Auto Text provides a way to substitute text strings when you are composing an email message. You can find your current list of substitutions by going to Options–>AutoText.

My list was prepopulated with a bunch of commonly mistyped phrases such as “adn”, which would automatically be changed to “and” while composing a message. This comes in handy when you have fat thumbs like mine that get ahead of themselves.

Options > Autotext

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BlackBerry Typing Tips

Probably the most useful class I took way back in Junior High was typing with Mrs. Judy Flint. Of course, that was when people still used manual typewriters and hunted wooly mammoths with big spears. But that skill has since served me well (typing, not spear wielding) through the many late nights I’ve spent hacking away at the computer. I’m no speed demon, but thanks to Mrs. Flint, I can still comfortably type 60 words per minute without even glancing at the keyboard.

Unfortunately, my thumbs aren’t as comfortable typing on a BlackBerry as my fingers are on a computer keyboard. I wonder if today’s version of typing class ought to include a session or two on thumb typing on a mobile keyboard. I love reading emails on my BlackBerry, but I loathe typing responses and I end up limiting myself to a few short sentences when I have to reply.

So I went looking for a few typing tips and stumbled on over to Mark Rejhon, a super moderator over there, has put together a rather excellent tutorial on thumb touch typing. For those of you looking for some speed tips, I’d recommend checking it out.

And slow as I am on a thumb size QWERTY keyboard, I’m even worse on the SureType style layouts like the 7100 series and the new BlackBerry Pearl. I much prefer a full size keyboard, but I know people who do like the abbreviated layout. Here’s a flash tutorial on using the SureType devices.

And finally, I found the website Is there a keyboard layout for mobile devices that’s better than a QWERTY layout? These guys think so. I took their typing challenge and I must say that their layout works very nicely for a small handheld device. Check it out and share your thoughts.

## This Article Was Originally Published by on October 21, 2006.

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Installing 3rd Party Applications

There’s a whole exciting world of applications for your BlackBerry out there. Installing those applications is a pretty straightforward process, though there are occasional issues that crop up. If you do encounter problem, there’s usually an easy solution. This article will talk about the steps to install a new application, and then discuss the most common problems that people encounter.

There are two ways of installing applications to your BlackBerry. You can download the software over the air (OTA) using the web browser on your device, or you can install an application from your PC using the RIM Desktop Manager.

To install OTA, you must have a URL for the sofware you want to install. The URL will point to a JAD file somewhere on the Internet. After entering the URL into the browser on your BlackBerry, it will prompt you to verify that you want to install the application. Say yes, and if all goes well it will install on your BlackBerry.

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Defeating BlackBerry Spam

I hate Spam. In the last few years, as the volume of unwanted messages has increased, Spam has mutated from a minor annoyance to a real impediment to productivity. Spam is particularly annoying on a BlackBerry because it is a much more intimate device than a PC. We carry our BlackBerries with us, inviting that intrusive little buzz of a new email into our lives as we venture away from the office.

If you are using the BlackBerry Enterprise Server for your email, then you probably already have some Spam filters set up by your administrator. There are a number of software packages that will filter out Spam before it gets sent to your BlackBerry.

If you aren’t a BES user, you are probably forwarding your email from your other accounts. Rather than forward all the email from those account directly to your BlackBerry, consider forwarding those emails to a Gmail account instead. Then configure that Gmail account to forward to your BlackBerry. This way you can take advantage of Gmail’s Spam filters, and you have a 2GB archive of all emails sent to your BlackBerry.

In addition to server side solutions, you can also use email filtering on your BlackBerry to get rid of some Spam. To create a filter, start up the Messages application. From the thumbwheel menu select Options > Email Filters

Message Options - Email filters

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Signal Bars

The signal strength of your BlackBerry is pretty easy to see from the number of bars displayed. Ever wonder what those bars mean?

There is an actual number associated with the signal strength of your BlackBerry. To see what it is, go to the home screen and type Alt-N,M,L,L. If you are on a BlackBerry with Sure Type keyboard like the 7100 series, you
will have to type Alt-B,B,M,L,L.

After typing the sequence, you should see your signal strength meter change from bars to a number. To change it back, just retype the sequence of keys.

The higher the number, the worse your reception. The number of bars is determined by the following chart:

5 bars -40 to -77
4 bars -78 to -86
3 bars -87 to -92
2 bars -93 to -101
1 bar -102 to -120

The minus sign isn’t displayed on your BlackBerry, but the number refers to dBm, which is decibels relative to 1 milliwatt.

## This Article Was Originally Published by on April 26 , 2006 

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Easy Gmail setup for your BlackBerry

Millions of users now rely on Gmail for their personal email needs, in some cases even in a professional context. Gmail has been in beta for quite a while now but don’t worry, this is a rock solid service. Great web based access, over 2gig of free storage, all the features you might need such as spell checker, html body, auto draft backup…

There are 2 ways to setup Gmail for your BlackBerry:
- Pop access
- Forward.

I’ve been using Gmail for many months and Forward is definitely your best bet. For a start, Pop is slower than Forward. Your BlackBerry web service checks for new pop emails at regular intervals but it can take up to 10 minutes to get your email. When forwarding, as soon as Gmail gets a new email, this is forwarded to your BlackBerry and you get it instantly. Pop is not always reliable; I had to reset my settings a few times when it stopped working for no reasons.

Setting up Forward on Gmail is simple, follow the steps below:

1. Go to Gmail web site, login and select “Settings”
2. Select the Tab “Filters”
3. Then click on “create a new filter”
4. In the field “Has the words”, enter “in:inbox”. This will prevent forwarding Spam emails and only forward the ones who end up in your inbox

## This Article Was Originally Published by on April 22, 2006

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No wifi, no hotspot? Get Internet connection on your Laptop using your BlackBerry

I recently upgraded my 7290 to a brand new BlackBerry 8700, keeping Cingular as my wireless carrier. I was thrilled when I got EDGE instead of GRPS: getting emails, browsing web sites, everything is much faster on the EDGE network. Then it got me thinking; what if I could connect my 8700 to my laptop and benefit from the fast Internet connection wherever I am? No need to pay $10 to $20 a day to get Internet access when I stay in a Hotel? Only a few airports provide free hotspots, wouldn’t it be great if I could stay connected for free? After all, I am always traveling with both my laptop and my BlackBerry and I am already paying for unlimited data connection.

Well, the good news: it can be done. The bad news? It took me a few days, many hours on the phone, tweaking settings to get it to finally work. Hopefully the steps below will save you a lot of time.

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Accessing Other Applications While On The Phone

It happens to all of us and if you are a BlackBerry rookie you can feel a little panicked when it happens -- you are on a call on your BlackBerry and someone asks you if you are free on Wednesday. You need to check your calendar. But how to do that while still on the phone? Perhaps you need to access other applications; you might want to send or receive an e-mail or send and receive an SMS.

Well, you can simply access other applications when on the phone without cutting your caller off. How you do it, however, depends on the device model.

For older BlackBerries select simply select "Home Screen" from the menu while on the call by hitting the track wheel. Then access the applications you wish to use.

For the BlackBerry 8700 Series and BlackBerry 7100 Series devices, press “Escape” to reach the applications.

For the 7250 hold “Control” and then click the “Escape”button.

Then press the phone/send button or select the phone application to return to the Active Call screen.

If you are on a call and need to jot down a number or name quickly you can use the "Notes" feature of your newer BlackBerry. (OS 4.1 and later)

During the call, press the track wheel and select "Notes" from the menu. Type what you need to save (numbers or name or whatever you need to remember) press and from the menu select "hide notes." When the call is complete highlight the last call in the phone menu, press the track wheel and select 'View History'. You will see the tiny note icon on that indicates you made a note. To view or edit select and open 'edit notes'.

For other OS versions, simply press the ALT key and press "Escape." Then select "messages," "home screen" or wherever you need to access during that call for the info you need.

You can also use this function while using other applications. For example, you might be writing an e-mail and need to access your calendar. Follow the same procedure as above.

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Do You Suffer From Ringxiety?

The world of the CrackBerry is now afflicted with yet another form of anxiety disorder. According to the Guardian Newspaper in the UK, the latest form of distress to haunt Blackberry and mobile users is called “ringxiety.”

Britain apparently is coming down with this latest of maladies. “Many of us will be familiar with the basest form of ringxiety - when one phone rings and everyone in the vicinity suddenly starts checking their pockets or handbags with frantic abandon,” says the article’s author. But some cases are far more serious and some individuals have reported hearing their phone ring at concerts, while driving or even while in the shower.”

The anxiety is being compared to phantom limb syndrome, where amputees still feel the sensations of a limb that isn't there any more.

The phrase came from a professor from California (of course). David Laramie, at California's School of Professional Psychology in Los Angeles claims he is a sufferer himself, and believes even some inaudible sounds can create the perception that his phone is ringing. He also claims his ringxiety can be sparked by simple things such as TV or radio commercials.

We at experienced this ourselves yesterday. We posted a commercial on the site. The ad features a ringing BlackBerry and every time someone in the office watched the video everyone looked at their own BlackBerry. Very strange.

According to the Guardian story even vibrations can trigger the same response.

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Vanessas Corner: Jounce, a New Puzzle Game for BlackBerry

The first seconds I started to play Jounce, I thought it was a “Space Invaders” with a bad name. I must admit I’m from the Atari generation. Remember back when a game was to entertain and kill time as opposed to today’s big hits where the goal is to kill each other? Call me old fashioned but I like games that are fun. And Jounce is a challenging, puzzle-like, fun game. You don’t need to read a manual to learn how to play it (who has time for this anymore?) and it can be played with one hand on the thumb wheel. I particularly like the fact that you can stop and go back to the game exactly where you left off. Your boss comes in, you stop. Your boss leaves, you restart. Get the drift? As the levels progress, bombs, worm holes and angled walls are introduced to spice things up and complicate the game a little bit more. No “lives”, no “energy” or any other stress-inducing things. I’ll give you three good reasons to pay the $9.99 Jounce is sold for:

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Vanessas Corner: Quiet Please

Imagine you’re on a very long flight dying to catch some zzzs and the guy next to you is on his cell phone going on and on about something that doesn’t concern you. Nightmare? Unfortunately not.

Emirate airlines will be allowing in-flight cell phone usage as soon as January 2007 and many other airlines will follow. Can you picture it? I suggest you stop at the nearest pharmacy on the way to the airport and get yourself a good pair of earplugs ’cause you’ll need them soon.

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Vanessas Corner: Arkon CM910 Vehicle Mount for BlackBerry

After years of missing calls because I couldn’t find my BlackBerry in my purse while driving, I knew there was something out there to make my life a little easier. I must confess I was at first very skeptical about this miraculous multi-way hanging gizmo.

Could I have finally found a way to have my BlackBerry within reach inside my car? I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Arkon Vehicle Mount does indeed let you choose the best way for you to hang your BlackBerry.

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Vanessas Corner: a CrackBerry World

As some of you might know, the dictionary has a new addiction, errrr, I mean, addition. CrackBerry. And I guess almost everyone knows what it means but I don’t think that everybody understands how one gets caught in the BlackBerry web. You might be new to the Crackberry experience or you might know someone that is deep and lost to its sleepless powers. Here’s a true story.

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Vanessa's Corner: Introducing Vanessa's Corner

I’d like to take a moment to introduce our new contributor: Vanessa!

Although she once formerly disdained the BlackBerry, a fateful 12 hour car trip with a BlackBerry changed her perspective and Vanessa has been assimilated converted amazed to find that her BlackBerry has now become an integral part of her life.

We’re so happy to have her on board that we’re giving Vanessa her own little corner of the website, Vanessa’s Corner, where she will offer her own unique insights into BlackBerry ownership.

Please join me in welcoming Vanessa to the site!

## This Article Was Originally Published on

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Interview with Morgan Slain, CEO of SplashData

November 30th, 2006: Hi Morgan, thanks for agreeing to talk with us today. Let's start with a little background information. How long have you been interested in mobile software?

Morgan: Absolutely, my pleasure. I've been a mobile applications enthusiast since I bought my first Palm Pilot in 1997. I became interested in the business side of mobile software when I joined Palm, Inc. at the beginning of 2000. One of my first projects was to take a look at the Palm applications market and figure out how we could make it bigger.

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Interview with Pinstack Founder Hayden James is a free Internet forum community for BlackBerry users. It started in 2004 and has become an extremely popular destination and a valuable resource for BlackBerry owners. Pinstack's founder, Hayden James, was kind enough to give us a few minutes for a quick chat.

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Interview with Magmic CEO John Criswick

Magmic Games is a leading developer and publisher of mobile entertainment, offering a wide variety of games for BlackBerry handsets. John Criswick, founder and CEO of Magmic Games was kind enough to take a few minutes and talk with us.

First of all, how do you pronounce your company's name? Is it a "g" like in "magic", or a "g" like in "magma"?

John: It is a G like in magma, in fact the word magmic has the same roots as magma as in a "slow moving hard to stop fluid".

Last summer you launched a new division called "Bplay" to focus exclusively on the BlackBerry community even though the name "Magmic" is practically synonomous with BlackBerry games. Why did you feel the need to create a new BlackBerry-only identity?

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I had a nice interview today with Lalou Ramos of Network World Asia . We discussed and a host of topics surrounding the online space. One of the questions Lalou asked about is whether or not we have plans to offer the site in other languages. My answer was of course Yes!!!  But we currently don't have the in-house capabilities to make this happen. If there's anybody out there who would like to help us take to all corners of the globe in all languages, please be sure to contact us and help make it happen!

Check out Lalou's article here...  

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Prima Leather Low Profile Jacket

The Prima Low Profile Upright Jacket for the BlackBerry 8700 is a sleek, stylish, and functional leather case. It sports a low profile, giving easy access to a holstered BlackBerry.

Prima Low Profile Jacket Unboxing

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