blackberry

Change of heart on the iPhone 3G - sticking with my Blackberry Curve

I feel obliged to reply to my own post title "Apple Drops iPhone Price to $199 and Converts Blackberry Fans", and let you know that I decided to actually stick with the Blackberry.

It turned out that I'm not eligible for the upgrade price because I bought my BB less than a year ago and signed up for a 2 year contract with AT&T. So the new iPhone 3G would have cost me $399 for the 8GB model and $499 for the 16GB model - and I just can't justify that much money for a phone and web browser.

Also, reports of the 3G's fast internet speed indicate that it comes at the price of battery life - spent in as little as 2 hours! I can easily go for 2 days on a single charge with my Curver, and I'm not enthused about the prospects of having to plug an iPhone in for charging every few hours.

Fortunately RIM will be releasing the Blackberry Bold very soon in 2008 and it claims to have 3G speed - so I'll keep my eyes on that one instead, and I still use my Curve around the clock for web browsing, email, texting, twitter, taking pictures, listening to music, and finding my location on Google maps.

So it's all still very good in Blackberry land, and I know you want one of those t-shirts ;-)

Are there any better web browsers for mobile phones?

Question: I have My Portfolio set up at iGoogle and can see it fine on a PC. But when I go to iGoogle using my Blackberry it does not show up - everything else on the iGoogle home page I have does. How can I see My Portfolio? (I used to have it at my Excite homepage but they no longer offer that service of showing your personal portfolio.

Answer: The default web browser that comes with Blackberry mobile phones is just "ok", but not great. It doesn't do a very good job of showing complex web pages, and usually strips them down to a more mobile-friendly smaller screen size.

Opera has a web browser that's completely free called Opera Mini, that runs quite a bit better on a wide variety of phones. It lets you view web pages in full view, and let's you zoom in on the areas that you want to see.

Here's the iGoogle page in full screen view:

Notice the rectangle on the screen? That's the zoom viewfinder, and watch how it zooms into that area of the screen when I click the scroll button:

How do I take screenshots of my Blackberry?

Question: I occasionally want to take a picture of my Blackberry screen to explain to friends or coworkers how to do something on the phone, or to show them what a game looks like. Is this possible?

Answer: Yes, it's possible to take screen shots of your Blackberry device using a free program called BBScreenShooter.

You can even take psuedo-video of your Blackberry screen with the BBScreenStream program that takes snapshots every half second or so in a continuous loop - similar to video surveillance cameras.

You'll need the javaloader.exe that comes with the Blackberry development kit, which you can get from Motorola. The dev kit is a huge download though, which seems overkill for just one file - so I stuffed it in my downloads folder and you can get JavaLoader.exe here without having to download the whole dev kit.

Place JavaLoader.exe and bbscreenshooter.exe in the same folder, and then double-click bbscreenshooter.exe to run the application.

Email messages aren't being received on my Blackberry

Question: Even though I have set up profiles for my Blackberry Curve phone, I still do not receive email messages when its on. The phone rings but not when I get email at any of the email addresses I have set up.

Can you help?

Answer: I had this problem a while back with my Blackberry Curve, and the solution was to resend the service books - something you can do from your Blackberry using it's built-in web browser, or from another computer using Internet Explorer or similar web browser.

Open the Blackberry website (https://att.blackberry.com/ for AT&T users) and log in with your blackberry account info. Click the "Service Books" link and then click the "Send Service Books" button.

If you are experiencing difficulties sending or receiving email from your BlackBerry device, sending service books to your device will usually take care of the problem.

How to transfer pictures from a Blackberry phone to your computer

Question: I have some pictures I took with my Blackberry Curve that I'd like to copy over to my computer. How do I do this?

Answer: With Blackberry phones you have a few choices for copying photos to your computer, or for copying them from your computer to your Blackberry. These instructions also work for copying music files and videos.

1. Transfer via email.

This is the easiest way, and doesn't cost any money because data transfer is included in the Blackberry service. With the picture open on your Blackberry (Media -- Pictures -- My Pictures -- and then find your picture), press the menu button and select "Send As Email" (you have to scroll down a ways on the menu to find this option).

The email will show up on your computer with a file attachment containing your picture in jpg format, which is compatible with any photo imaging programs and will even open in Microsoft Paint (although I recommend a program like Paint.NET which is free and awesome).

The only drawback with the email approach is that you can only send one picture at a time, which gets a little tedious if you have several pictures you'd like to copy to your computer. In that case I recommend the USB data cable approach described below.

2. Transfer using bluetooth.

Open the Media application on your Blackberry to view your pictures, and open the picture that you want to transfer. Press the menu button and select "Send Using Bluetooth" (you'll have to scroll down the menu towards the bottom to see this option).

You have to have Bluetooth enabled on your BB, otherwise you'll see a warning message:

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