Backup your BlackBerry Media!

Since I work in the mobile phone industry I hear all kinds of stories about lost or damaged phones and people almost cry when they lose everything on their phones due to this. Here I hope to remind everyone the importance of backing up and how simple it is.

People use their phones to capture many different moments in their lives by either snapping a quick photo or recording a short video. We trust our mobile devices with all these precious memories and we often forget to save this somewhere just in case something bad happens. I know this feeling personally and don’t wish it upon anyone.

With every BlackBerry device I have owned Research In Motion has made it very easy for me to sync all of these memories to my PC so that I have a copy of them if something bad were to ever happen to my devices. First you will need to install BlackBerry Desktop Manager if you haven’t already done so. Once you properly setup Desktop Manger under the Media -> Options tab  you can simply plug-in your BlackBerry device and everything will sync automatically. With Desktop Manager I have it setup to backup and sync daily even if I don’t plug my device in every day so that when I do plug it in everything backs up and I don’t need to sync everything one at a time.

Some people hate Desktop Manager or maybe they can’t install it so another way to back up your photos and videos by plugging in your BlackBerry and selecting “USB Drive” so that your computer will recognize the phone and media card memory. Once this is done you can just navigate your way to the drives listed on your computer and you should see two new names appear which in my case is BlackBerry (phone memory) and Flashop32 (media card). Now you can explore all the contents on your device and media card and pick and choose what you want to backup or just select it all and drag it to your folder of choice.

This is important for all users of all different platforms to make sure they do. Find out how to sync your device to your computer so you don’t end up losing it all like so many people have done in the past.

Keeping Organized in a Digital World

I usually try and stay pretty organized with my own things using my BlackBerry Bold 9930 and PlayBook but that doesn’t help my girlfriend and I stay organized with the entire family. We started thinking of ideas and came up with several but all seemed to require multiple apps/services. This is when I remember hearing about Cozi and how it helps busy families stay organized so I took a look into it. What I found was a great all in one family organizer.

I first visited Cozi’s website (www.cozi.com) and got my account setup. My interest in this program grew tremendously just during the setup. When I heard about the program I only remembered hearing about the calendar feature which is great but it seems to have grown or I wasn’t fully informed of the features they offered. So lets get started and go through some of the features they offer for users.

  1. Calendar
  2. To Do
  3. Shopping
  4. Meals
  5. Messages
  6. Journal

Calendar

What I love most about the calendar is with any event I create I can essentially tag any family member or several if needed and it will place a colored dot (selected for each member) and the name next to the event. This makes it easy to see who has what coming up. Now just like all calendar programs you can view the day, week, or the month view. I prefer the week view because it has an agenda kind of look to it and I can scroll down to view next day/week. At the top where is says “type appointment” you can easily and quickly add an event or you can double click on the day and get a popup with your usual calendar options like what, where, start time, end time, and who is attending this event. You can download the Cozi app on Android, iOS, or BlackBerry device which makes all this accessible on the go as well. You can import calendars into Cozi as well as share them with programs like Outlook or services like Google Calendar. I have mine shared with Google Calendar which also syncs to my phone, tablet and PC calendar. I love this feature because I can easily look at my normal calendar and see what I have going on as well as everyone else without using a 3rd party app. Only downside is I can’t add events from my devices synced with Google and I do have to go to the app to add them to Cozi. I can also import a kid’s soccer schedule or school schedule with a few simple clicks rather than each event individually. Under the settings you also have an option to get emailed the schedule for the week on every Sunday. I like this feature because it sums up my week for me and emails it to me in case I forget to check it. This helps plan the week before it begins rather than scramble mid week to get things done.

To Do

This is exactly as it sounds and every smartphone on the market has an app available for this exact thing but since this is just another tool within this one app I find it a lot more useful. You can organize lists for each family member or the entire family. You can also create new lists for each project or whatever it is your working on.

Shopping

This is a pretty simple feature found within many other apps but again having it apart of this one app just adds to the value and power. This is very similar to the To Do lists and you can create new lists for each family member or individual stores if you wish. These are all viewable with the mobile apps that Cozi provides so no need for the old school pen and paper lists that you always forget to take to the store with you.

Meals

This is one feature I haven’t jumped into yet but I’m really excited to start using it. Growing up my step mom had a dry erase board with each day of the week on it with the meal we would have that day. I never thought much of this and how awesome of an idea it was until recently. I have been talking to my girlfriend about us doing this same thing to keep us from going out a couple times a week to pick up all the little things we didn’t get because we didn’t plan for the meal. Now this feature isn’t available on the mobile apps but you can view it from any web browser so this is great for the kitchen with a tablet. You can not only set the meals for each day but you can save the recipes into the app as well for reference when you are cooking the meals. Cozi also provides some recipes for the users to browse through.

Messages

This is a feature I haven’t found a use for yet but is a nice way to communicate a message to the entire family and it will appear on the home screen when you log into Cozi. I’m still trying to get everything in this app setup for my needs so I’m sure I can find a use for this or someone else can if they choose to use this service.

Journal

I haven’t jumped into this one yet but this is a journal or “blog” for the family that you can post whatever it is you want to either save for a memory or share with other friends and family. This a cool way to talk about a trip you had with the family or some event the family attended and want to share that memory or save it forever.

Now like I mentioned earlier with the calendar feature I find it easier to have all this sync directly to my Google calendar. Now the guys over at CrackBerry wrote up a nice article on how to sync multiple Gmail calendars on your BlackBerry PlayBook. In the comments a user mentioned that to get the calendars on your BlackBerry device you couldn’t use the sync settings in the email setup wizard but instead you need to download Google Sync on your BlackBerry and sync contacts and calendar this way instead.

I hope this article inspires as least one user to try this service and enjoy it as much as I have already in the short time I have been using it. I’m looking forward to include this service more and more into our daily functions to keep our simple yet busy life organized.

BlackBerry PlayBook Charging Dock

I came across an issue with my PlayBook charging pod the other day and thanks to people on twitter it seemed the issue was common and easy to fix. Several people suggested cleaning the connectors. I did this very quick and not very thorough so it still didn’t work. When I looked closer at the connectors on the PlayBook I noticed the 3 pins had a concave and they looked dark in the center. Once I saw this I grabbed a tooth pick and a compressed air can to clean it out. It didn’t take long to clean this out and now my PlayBook charges as good as the day I got the charging dock.

For cleaning the charging stand itself I just use a q-tip to wipe away any dust that has built up around the connector to make sure the PlayBook is smoothly on the stand. I recommend doing this often so that you don’t have those moments when it just refuses to charge or appears that it’s charging till you wake up the next day and find that your PlayBook wont turn on and freak out. I was extremely upset the first time I woke up to a dead PlayBook while it was on the charger and don’t want to have that happen again.


For those that are wondering what is on my phone’s battery charger I figured I would let you know that’s a sticker from @pootermobile. Check out www.theworldofpootermobile.com if you like or want to see more of his handy work

BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930 Housing Swap

I use to enjoy being able to swap my old phones (8330) color when I got bored but lost that ability when I upgraded to devices like the 9630 and 9650 due to no colors being available, slightly different story now with my 9930.

This is a long post because I try to show the reader everything I went through so they see the mistakes I made and learned from.

So I got my 9930 when it launched for Verizon and had no choice but to get black and I was okay with that. I wished the phone had come in white like the 9700 and 9800 but I took what I could get at the time. Now ever since I saw the 9900 launch in white I had been waiting for the housing to show up for a cheap price online so I could attempt the housing swap. I remembered paying maybe $20 for housings with the old 8330 so I couldn’t bring myself to paying $100+ for the white housing so I waited. I checked in on forums like Crackberry to see if others had done it and where they got their parts from. I gave up after a while and just settled with keeping my phone black.

After a few months I saw someone with the 9900 in white while they were visiting from Canada and they let me check it out. I instantly loved it in my hands and started my search again. I found the prices were the same still for the housing so I just went for it and ordered mine. I ordered what I thought was a complete set. Now once it had arrived I realized there was more to this than what I had anticipated.

Here is what you should order. First search on Ebay or Amazon for a “White BlackBerry 9900 Housing” and just find a high rated seller (price ranges from $45-$65). Most previews will show the entire phone minus the screen. Some will say they ship with the screen but they don’t. Most will ship with the digitizer which needs to be swapped onto your original LCD and I don’t recommend trying that at all. With that said the second item you should order is the complete screen (this will be around $60). The third item will be the tools if none of the other items ship with them. The tools are a T5 screwdriver, T6 screwdriver and plastic pry tool ($3 if ordered separate). The last item is optional but if you’re nervous about this project and don’t want to have to do any kind of surgery then buy a complete keyboard with flex cables ($10-$20). The complete housing set you will order will ship with just the keyboard and not the flex cables attached which takes some work to swap. After working someone through their own swap and they bought a keyboard separate I realized this might not be the easiest task. The user going through this went through 4 keyboards before just swapping the white keys he got with his full housing with the base of his original keyboard like I did. Worked perfect this way.  

Full Housing. This is what it will look like when you order a full set.

Screen. Take not of the 002/111. Check yours before ordering.

This is what you need to make sure comes with your keyboard purchase.

Let’s start with the screen and the hurdles I found. The screen that shipped had the digitizer but not the LCD attached (I tried to save cost and just ordered a $20 screen). I searched for some other BlackBerry Bold “tear down” videos and found the digitizer was glued to the LCD and I wasn’t comfortable replacing that myself so I searched for a complete white screen with the LCD and digitizer already together. This piece was a majority of the cost to this project. Once I finally got the new complete screen in I felt comfortable doing the swap. I did make 1 small error when ordering my screen with the part number. I ordered a 001/111-1 when in the pic I clearly had a 002/111-1 screen. I installed the screen without any issues despite what people said on the forums but just to be safe you should take your phone apart before ordering a screen and see what yours says.

Once I started taking the phone apart I was feeling good about the experience since the 9930 was very simple to take apart which was a pleasant surprise. First thing to be put together was the screen and this was my first small hurdle. I realized that the “complete” screen wasn’t exactly the same as my black OEM in the fact that it didn’t have the speaker glued to the back of it but this was a very easy swap so didn’t cause me any problems. The speaker was held on casing by some glue which was easy to peel off and stick to the new screen.

The second and biggest issue I came across was the keyboard. Similar to the screen this didn’t ship with a completely assembled keyboard but this didn’t appear to have as much involved with it as the screen so I attempted this swap myself. I pulled they keypad off from the board which took a good amount of force. Once they were separated I realized they weren’t held together by glue but rather a few plastic tabs/pins. This is where I recommend spending a little more money and buy a complete keyboard as well and use what ships with the housings as a backup. I was able to successfully put my keyboard replacement on my original Bold membrane.

Final product:

The battery door I’m using came with the housing I ordered and it is not OEM but I love it. Has a unique look and a better feel then the slick black one that was originally on the phone. Hope you enjoyed the write up and happy modding if you dare attempt it (it’s easy).

BlackBerry Traffic

Some people may think you need to be on the go all the time to new places to benefit from an application like BlackBerry Traffic but I think otherwise. Often times where I live there can be 2-3 different ways to get somewhere with roughly the same amount of time just depends on the traffic for that day and time you plan on leaving.

Now the reason I have come to love this app is it has saved me from being late several times after I snooze one too many times in the morning. This has done so by telling me the ETA and traffic conditions based on color for two different routes to my destination. Since it gives me choices and ETA for both routes it’s easy for me to pick which route I’m going to take with having to study the traffic conditions on some traffic website before I leave. This cuts down on time figuring out my route. I use this a lot for work and since I know how to get to work I just fire up the app simply to get the traffic report and once I know how I’m getting to work I just close that app.

I really like the dual route options in this and haven’t found another app that does the same thing. Now I love Google maps and I was a little disappointed that BlackBerry Traffic runs off of Bing maps but to be honest I haven’t come across any issues with it. I remember when I used an Android phone you could open Google maps and view the traffic layer just like you could with the Google maps app on a BlackBerry but if it doesn’t tell you the travel time for the different routes then you’re really just staring at some red and yellow lines hoping you can decipher them well enough to guess which way is faster.

As an added bonus for those that don’t already know BlackBerry Traffic gives audible turn by turn directions now so you can use it for more than just traffic and have it direct you to your destination. Once I really started using and understanding this app it quickly moved up to my top 5 used apps.

My Bold Tranformed to White

I finally finished my Bolds transformation to the white
casing. After many hurtles I was able to get it put together and working great.