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.

Simple Note Taking

I work for a retailer of a cell phone company and remember several months back our BlackBerry rep came in to ask us questions about sales, accessories, problems, etc like all manufacture reps and took notes from our responses and suggestions.

Now the reason I’m choosing to write about this is because of how she took down the notes during this particular visit. She had her 9930 in hand at all times and was just flying on the keyboard taking down everything we were throwing at her. For whatever reason this didn’t stand out to me much till our next manufacture rep came in with a trusty old pen and paper and just seemed old fashioned and slow with the note taking.

I started doing stuff like this on my phone and it started to make much more sense because I could just simply copy and paste this info right into and email without having to type it all up after just handwriting it. If I wanted to wait to get it onto a pc or laptop I could wait and just sync with desktop manager and all my notes are immediately transferred to my pc for easy access later.

Now some people will say they are faster at typing on a computer and that’s probably true but if you figure in the time to hand write all the your notes and then type them all up on the computer I guarantee it would have been a lot faster from your phone.

I remember seeing stories of some music artists that use their BlackBerry phone to write lyrics and I recently saw a story that a guy wrong up an entire autobiography on his smartphone that also happened to be a BlackBerry.

For me personally I find it easier to input everything on my BlackBerry Bold 9930 and use a pc/tablet for viewing it later if needed. My phone is always on and with me so I never have to worry about finding a pen and paper or firing up a laptop to take down some important notes.

This is a simple feature I think a lot of people over look on their smart phones. We type on our mobile devices more then we realize and become quite quick on them over time so quick note taking would seem logical on these devices rather then resorting to older and slower methods.

Simple Blackberry Features Commonly Overlooked

People are always asking me why I stay with BlackBerry who currently have one or already left to try another platform. My answer is always that I’m efficient with my BlackBerry and it gets things done well. I’m able to maneuver around my BlackBerry faster than anyone I have seen and its all thanks to some simple little shortcuts that are now basic to me on a BlackBerry. These aren’t “advanced user” methods I’m going to explain but these are just simple things anyone can do to make their BlackBerry experience more enjoyable and efficient.



Keyboard Shortcuts

BlackBerry has the dial from home screen feature enable by default but if disabled it opens up a lot of shortcuts for you. From home screen press the BlackBerry key -> options -> launch by typing -> change to Application Shortcuts. Now to do the same thing you did before when dialing from the home screen you just need to press the call button then type.

P – Phone/Dialer/Call log
T – Tasks
U – Calculator
O – Options
A – Address Book
S – Search
D – Memo Pad/Notes
H – Help
K – Lock keypad (when password enabled)
L – Calendar
M – Messages
B – Browser
N – BlackBerry Messenger
V – Saved messages
C – Compose Email

These simple shortcuts make basic navigation of the phone quick and easy. Only one I didn’t like at first was N for BBM but I got use to it and like that its next to my main messages shortcut. If you want to dive deeper into the power of shortcuts there is an app called ShortcutMe to make more powerful shortcuts.



Autotext/Word Substitution

I overlooked this for a long time as well. Simple things like making r = are and u = you can help speed up your texting and maybe keep your emails a little more professional. You can use it for more then just 1 word as well. You can make 2 letters write a whole paragraph if needed. Very powerful tool if used right but always remember to back up your phone cause setting these backup is never fun if lost. You can either use Desktop Manager to do it or Auto Text Backup app and doing it OTA.

This is a shortcut I made to quickly reply to someone saying “I’m busy with a customer” by only typing 3 letters.



Simple Blackberry word shortcut.



This reminds me that this also works for #FF (FollowFriday) for you twitter junkies. (#blameitonBrock)



Memo Pad

This app is great for saving information on just about everything from grocery lists to product keys for apps/programs. I use to jot down notes about what my girlfriend might like for her birthday or Christmas because without my phone handy to “write it down” I would never remember. People often ask for links to sites or app downloads and I have a memo saved for most of them so that I can just open the app type a word that is in the memo and I have it right in front of me.



Cut/Copy/Paste

This is a simple feature that allows me to quickly share and save information. Hold down the shift key and scroll with your track pad to select an area of text. Now if you hold alt and press down on the track pad you will copy the text. This doesn’t always work with web links cause sometimes it will try to open the link instead of copy it. In this case you can press menu and select copy. You can also “cut” the selected text by holding alt and pressing the delete key. Finally to paste the text you have copied or cut you just hold shift and press the track pad.

Last shortcut is the easiest and I’m sure most know it already. Double tap the space key and you get the . (period) punctuation. This auto capitalizes the next letter you type as well.

InstaPhoto Blackberry App

Image

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.