My First Theme

Creating my own theme is something I have tried to do many times in the past but was stuck between being too lazy or frustrated with theme builder to really sit down and try. I finally sat down in the last few days and started to tinker with the theme builder and started to get into it. What I couldn’t figure out by tinkering (which was a lot) I found answers to on various forums and from people on twitter like @Pootermobile.

This is what I was finally able to come up with and might modify over time as I learn more and come up with new ideas. Simple wallpaper friendly theme with just the basic $ for SMS, S for Universal Search, and 0 for profile shortcuts. Everything else I use has a shortcut through default Blackberry setup or I use QuickLaunch for the rest.

Click here for OTA

InstaPhoto Blackberry App

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The new InstaPhoto app that just came out for Blackberry devices is a nice little photo app that comes with some preloaded photo effects and allow quick and easy posting to facebook/twitter. You can either edit an existing photo or use the Quick Post icon to open camera and select a default effect and once picture is taken it saves it and posts it to twitter/facebook for you.

This app was already on the Playbook first but I didn’t pick it up till it hit the phone recently. Since the app has the same name and I use same appworld login for both I bought it on my Bold then grabbed my Playbook and searched for the app but it requested me to purchase it. I decided to look in the “uninstalled” list on my Playbook and there it was Instaphoto just showed “reinstall” and bam now I have it on both for the price of one.

Not sure if it will work if purchased from Playbook first but check phones uninstalled list in appworld and see.

My Top 5 Apps

1: Quicklaunch – $4.99

This has to be my most used and favorite app hands down on my device. I’m all about being efficient with my Blackberry and just about everything I do in my life. This is a very powerful tool for people like me. I have shortcuts setup for things I do the most like view picture folder (space, P), twitter (space, t) and many other apps that don’t have shortcuts. My favorite is the google search function built into Quicklaunch which I set to Space, G for quick google searches. I can often find things before any iPhone or Android user with that shortcut even with my inferior browser. The ability to create folders to keep your list from getting to long is a nice feature as well so you can “hide” the apps you have hot-keyed making it easier to scroll to what you haven’t.

Someone suggested ShortcutMe not to long ago and I watched the youtube video explaining its and that too looks like an even more powerful app then QL but I don’t want to buy another app when QL works perfectly for me as it is. If you don’t have either already check out both and see what you like better.

2: FileScout – $4.99

This app is just an awesome file explorer for your phone that makes finding any kind of file on your phone easy to find and share if needed. I view work documents a lot especially my work schedule for my staff and this makes it so easy access. The ZIP/UNZIP feature is nice as well and didn’t think I would be able to do this from my phone before finding this app.

3: BeBuzz – $4.99

I have set customer ringtones for every notification on my phone from day one but I find that I now keep my phone on vibrate more then anything so the different sounds don’t do anything for me anymore. With this app I can customize the color of the blinking LED for each notification just like I did the sounds before. Now if your like me and seeing that light is like an itch you have to scratch then this app will help dull that pain a little. Now just glancing at the color that is blinking I know if its an email (work or personal)/bbm/text/twitter (@ or DM)/facebook and so on which makes my decision of checking it right then and there much easier. Some colors are more important then others to me. You can even customize colors for specific people so you never ignore them.

4: BeReader – $9.99

I recently fell in love with google reader and don’t know why I didn’t sooner. This syncs everything from your google reader to your Blackberry and has easy options for sharing to email/twitter/facebook. If you are a big google reader fan this is a must have app that is worth the price. I get most of my news now right on my phone while on the go instead of reading it all at once when I get home or wake up. Much nicer getting my news throughout the day instead of all at once.

5: Memopad – FREE and native

I cant believe I use to completely under use this app for so long. I didn’t start using this app to its fullest till I saw a guy on the trolley just blazing away on his phone switching between Memopad and browser checking different sites and tracking packages/orders online right from his phone with such ease. I now use my Memopad for just about everything and since its so easy to find stuff as long as you title each one appropriately. I use it for logins at work I cant remember, app codes, gift ideas, drink recipes I find, links I use/share, and so much more. I have anywhere from 20-30 memos at all times. Some are short term ones but most are long term that I keep handy to easily copy/paste at a later time.

Playbook Cases

So just like phones there are a lot of case options out for tablets. I have looked at most and read reviews on them as well to pick the ones I have purchased. I currently have 3 cases for my Playbook and don’t think I will be purchasing any more because I got all my areas covered with the ones I have. I’m going to talk all 3 in the order I purchased them.

First one I got was the DODOcase thanks to the review that I got from @rezn over at BerryFication. This case had the best look and feel out of any case I have gotten for my Playbook. Very solid feel and good protection. The “stand” option was kinda weak with this case but when laying it flat the case does tilt it a little up in the back and that makes it nice for typing or viewing on a desk. Only thing I didn’t like with the case was the lack of a camera hole but it is easy to get the device out of the case to take a picture if needed. I honestly don’t find myself taking many pictures with my Playbook even with its great picture quality so this isn’t a deal breaker on the case for me. I like this case for work because it has a very clean professional look to it. I also get people asking me if its a book all the time so makes someone stealing my “book” a lot less likely with this case on it.

DODOcase
Click here to view more images of this case.

Second is the Otterbox Defender. I wasn’t always a big fan of the defenders on the Blackberry phones in the past because they made them just too bulky for my liking. I decided to buy one after watching a few youtube videos about the case and reading some posts on Crackberry about it. When I got this case I was instantly in love with it. This case felt so good and natural in my hands it was amazing. The protective screen that goes over the touch screen didn’t dull the touch much to me. Only thing that was hindered by this case for me was the swipe from bottom gesture was a little difficult at times but worked great from the top and side bezels. I adjusted to this pretty quickly and it wasn’t really an issue in the long run. The stand options for this case are the best out of any case I have seen. When I had this case on I wasn’t afraid to let a kid play a game on it or friends/family use it without my supervision (sounds silly but I treat my Playbook like a baby lol). If are you are rough on devices at all (few scratches on your phone after a few months) then this is a great case for your Playbook. Only draw back I have with this case is that cleaning the screen sucks. The outside is easy but dust does get under the screen cover and you have to take the whole case apart to clean in. I’m OCD about my screen being clean so this was very annoying for me. No pics taken while this case was on but you will find plenty if you Google it.

Third case I purchased was a similar design to the iCon Carbon (Canada only) one that has been posted on Crackberry. I found Blurex Slim Leather Portfolio Case while searching on Amazon for a case similar to the carbon fiber one. This cases price dropped to $19.99 which is $10 less then when I got it. Was worth it at $30 so I think its a steal at $20 now. This is my favorite case over all from the 3 that I have now. Its the smallest in size with some great viewing angles from its stand options. It covers the front, back and all the corners well awhile leaving the sides a little exposed. This isn’t really a big deal for me because if it drops its more then likely going to land on a protected corner then the sides. This case is very comfortable in my hands when either holding it closed or open and typing on it. The different stand options are very stable and comfortable to type in as well.

Portfolio case
Click here to view more images of this case.

I enjoy all the cases I have for my Playbook and switch between them all. I find myself using the Portfolio case the most now just because its the lightest and very versatile. They all have there uses and I’m sure everyone will find a use for one of these 3 cases.

If anyone was on the fence about a case I hope this helped you pick out a case of your own.