A couple of weeks ago I decided to do a wireless upgrade of my Blackberry. It warns you that it will take a couple of hours to do – and also stated that I need to remove some applications as I was running out of memory. This seems to be a common theme with the Blackberry – I don’t know what is so hard about getting Blackberry to store data on SD cards but instead they insist on storing everything on the devices memory – and Windows SmartPhones and Treo’s were no better from my past experience. Anyway – after the upgrade I went to access gmail and initially gmail would just lock up after loading. Thinking a deletion and redownload would fix it, I went ahead and deleted the application. When I went to download it again, the gmail website stated that gmail was not available for the 8830. I knew it was as I’d been using it about 4 hours earlier! I tried several methods of installing and nothing worked. The Sprint website gave me the ability to download my gmail into the main blackberry email application which then meant I had a mixture of gmail and work mail in one inbox. It was also only downloading some of the emails – not what I wanted. I tried searching online and couldn’t find much information and no solutions on this problem.
For some reason I then decided to do another check for wireless update and sure enough, there was another wireless update. Considering the blackberry state couldn’t get much worse I downloaded the new update and voila – gmail was available again. If this happens again, go to Options, Advanced Options, Wireless Update, Check for Updates. I’m now running v188.8.131.52
So far I’ve not seen much difference but yesterday I did see the option to enhance the call quality whilst on a call (but seeing as though I saw this when trying to work out why neither of us on a call could hear each other I don’t think the button really helped!)
The other difference I’ve noticed is that pushing 1 for Voicemail no longer worked and instead the phone asks me to assign a shortcut for the w key. The solution for this is to delete the empty speed dial entry for w and then reboot by pulling the battery out.
I discovered that Sprint have finally released the 4.5 version of firmware for the blackberry 8330 that will work with a BES server. I took the plunge to upgrade my device (as I *really* want the html email functionality). The upgrade went fairly smoothly apart from the following gotcha’s.
After the reboot, my theme was set back to a different one than what I normally use. No big deal but surprising this was the case.
My Cacheberry software lost the database and registration details – again no big deal as I can reload the gpx into Cacheberry and I have the registration details saved.
Blackbird, my twitter client, lost it’s settings so I had to re-enter the username and password again. Again, no real problem.
The biggest thing was that the device lost it’s ability to synchronise with our corporate server – so no incoming or outgoing email – oops! This is a big deal as my blackberry is used primarily for corporate email AND I had to go and get my BES manager to reactivate the phone for me.
Unfortunately I don’t have html email or the ability to view other people’s calendars yet as both these features look like they need the blackberry server upgrading to a new version – something I’ve requested we look at doing, especially as this will make us a lot more effective.
I did like the fact that one of the new applications is voicerecorder – functionality I miss from our old phones as I was able to record timekeeping notes on the phone as I left a client site ready for updating back at the office. Now this functionality is in the phone and you can quickly and easily send the recorded memo via email. It saves it in amr format (for some weird reason) so you will probably need quicktime or another program to play the recorded message if you don’t listen to it on the blackberry.
I also now have the ability to send/receive mms messages – I’m much more likely to receive them as this phone doesn’t have a camera but as everyone else in the office also has the same phone it’s unlikely that I’ll ever use this functionalilty.
One really cool feature is the web browser – finally we have a real mouse cursor that moves around the web – much easier to navigate and as it has a flash player I can also watch youtube videos now.
As far as the memory is concerned, I did find that not going into google maps, gmail or cacheberry seemed to keep my available memory free so I’ll be running more tests to see which application is leaking memory. I do now have 10mb free on the device (but that is probably because I have an empty cacheberry database at the moment)
Overall, a great upgrade – I’m looking forward to the enterprise server to be upgraded and then I’ll really be able to be more efficient with work emails and checking what everyone else is scheduled to be doing at the office.
For more details on the upgrade check the v 4.5 Blackberry release notes .
Last night the blackberry started to act all sluggish again and lock up at random. Sure enough, the memory was down to zero bytes. Unfortunately I’ve already gone through the suggested options of reducing the amount of email stored on the device, calendar entries, deleting the help file etc. I did delete the log by pressing alt LGLG and this gave me a bit of memory to allow me to reboot. After the reboot I had 3.39mb of free space. Not a lot considering it comes with 64mb and has a 2gb SD card attached. Why RIM were so shortsighted to force apps to run from memory only I don’t know but I am sure there is a technical reason. This was also one of my pet peeves with the Windows Mobile and Palm devices – why can’t programs run from removable devices?
Anyway, after about an hour I checked the free memory on the phone again – it had gone down to 2.4mb free. I hadn’t used the phone at all – the free memory had been eaten up by mail that had come in on the phone or something else. The weird thing is that deleting the new email made hardly any difference to the size of the free memory available.
This morning I am down to 1.09mb but I have tried installing and removing a couple of apps and checked gmail. The one app I did download was softreset that allows me to quickly reset the phone – it does the equivalent of pulling the battery out without the hassle of removing the cover and the battery. I’ve been reluctant to constantly remove the battery as this often leads to loose fitting batteries (and I shouldn’t really have to do it!) The icon for softreset looks like a blue screen of death which is rather amusing. After my reboot this morning I had 3.6mb available which is weird considering I have one more app than I did yesterday and I have overnight email downloaded. It does look like I have a memory leak somewhere though.
The blackberry is rapidly becoming my thirdparty authentication tool – the ability to run programs on it to generate secure passwords is very handy – I have another post on this coming up shortly.
I thought second time around was meant to be easier? This one certainly wasn’t. Initially I had to reboot the server to get all of the windows patches installed but one of the Exchange patches wouldn’t install properly and the machine hung. Rebooting, stopping the services and installing the patch manually fixed it. After a reboot the server was back up and I started the install off. The first part of the install went through fine and the server rebooted again. After logging in the server struggled to create (or rather populate) the database on the existing instance of SQL. I kept getting messages that the database couldn’t be created and the logs showed DDL statement not allowed. Funny thing is that the database was being created, it just wasn’t being populated with any tables or data. Not much in google to go on and after trying various things I ended up installing a new instance of sqlexpress on the machine and then using that for the install which went through perfectly. Unfortunately I’ve inherited this particular server so I’m not sure why it failed to install on the built in database which seems to work fine.
I’ve had two requests in the past week to install the Blackberry Professional software for clients – this software allows you to sync your blackberry to Exchange (or domino) without having to buy a Blackberry Enterprise server. It comes with one free client access licence and others can be added for $99 (up to 30 devices).
The software is fairly straight forward to install as long as you follow the documentation carefully and ensure you have the prerequisites satisfied. My notes below are all covered in the documentation but for those of you who don’t read the instructions, hopefully it will help.
- Watch the tutorials/read the manuals from the Blackberry Professional Software Installation Toolkit
- Ensure you check the Microsoft kb articles on setting up appropriate permissions for the Besadmin account as this is needed for the Besadmin account to send the mail for you.
- You do need to install the software as your newly created Besadmin account – not the administrator account. The server does need a reboot and the first login on the server needs to be the Besadmin account.
- When installing the database and an SQL instance already exists on the server you will typically need to enter server\instance for the host – a new database will then be created for you.
- Once you create a user, using the wizard, you will need the user to go to options/advanced options/activate and enter their email, password and activation code that was emailed to them – so this needs to be done before the user goes out on the road with no email access!
- The software can be downloaded from the Blackberry Professional page but you do need to register (with the pin number of the Blackberry Device that is going to be used) as you will get an activation key via email.
- Don’t forget to document the password for the BesAdmin account!
The total time to install is probably about 15-30 minutes pre-configuration of exchange, creating the besadmin account, 30-45 minutes to install the software (plus reboot time) and then 5 minutes to set the first user up.
RIM have come up with a fix for the issue of the 8703e reboots. A couple of our guys have installed it and haven’t had any more problems with them rebooting so it looks good.
The handheld OS update (4.2.x) for the 8703 has been posted publicly on the RIM site
The update was released to fix reboots in several markets (Richmond, Chicago, Raleigh, Honolulu, Cleveland, Columbus OH, Norfolk, Knoxville) and will need to be downloaded to a PC and loaded with desktop manager (v3.2 or better suggested). If on a BES, the customer will need to do a new enterprise activation after update.
In addition 4.2 software supports WAV files. The first point of contact for support is Blackberry care 877-654-9111.
Our blackberry reboots continue to happen (although now that I’m on a 8830 my problem has stopped). In the Blackberry forums there was someone else who had the exact same issue that we did – I thought the person was actually someone else in my company! RIM and Sprint are currently looking at the issue as I blog. The funny thing is that two of the devices have actually rebooted whilst we have been on the phone wiith RIM and Sprint.
Update After 45 minutes on hold whilst the Sprint rep spoke to RIM , we find that RIM do know about this problem and are working on a solution but no eta yet. If you would like to be informed of updates to the software by RIM then send an email to [email protected], subject line Email Update Request for Reboot Issue and in the body put the fact you have an 8703 with issues rebooting at random and that you want email updates on when the problem will be resolved.
Well the Blackberry still reboots even without Google Sync installed so I’m now beginning to wonder if this was the cause of the original reboots a while back or not. The BB has rebooted itself at least once a day, normally around 4.30 to 5pm but today it’s rebooted about 4 times already and it’s not even 1.30pm yet. Oh well, as I’m off for a whole week for Christmas (yippee) I might just leave the phone off to let it get some rest.
Google Sync for the Blackberry is now available – a program that synchronises your Google calendar(s) with the one on your phone which in turn is probably synchronised with your Exchange or Lotus Notes calendar. I installed this yesterday as this would mean I would have my work, personal and wife’s calendar all in one place so I could keep up to date with my availability.
The install took ages to download and run – about 30 minutes in total and a synchronisation was made successfully. However 10 minutes later the Blackberry rebooted. I wasn’t surprised as it has been doing this about once a day for the past week. After the 15 minutes passed for the Blackberry to reboot and come back to life everything was good for about 10 minutes……then it happened again – another reboot. After about 90 minutes of this I decided to remove Google Sync and the phone has stayed online ever since (or at least it’s not rebooted every 10 minutes!)
In summary, a great product when it works but totally useless after the initial sync is done. I’m really hoping the next version will be stable. Needless to say this is only my experience – I’ve not had anyone else in the team try this yet – they probably wont as we can’t really afford the phones to be out of action whilst we test it. I was fortunate yesterday in that I was already on the office phone so couldn’t use the blackberry for incoming calls anyway.