BBM – The Barren Wasteland

Last year and the year before RIM was struggling, now they are just a sinking ship, when a few years before that it was everywhere like wildfire, everyone had a Blackberry. I still kept mine because of our Dewaneya being on it, and honestly it is still the best group communication App out there, I think they should have sold it off as an App in the App Store and Android Market, it would have helped sustain Blackberry on the software side.

They held on for so long and still RIM didn’t turn around at all, and a lot of people got fed up with it, they even switched to Android because some people didn’t want Apple. The whole of 2011 didn’t change anything for RIM, and Android & Apple just kept coming up with more updates and better handsets. People started shifting, it feels odd when people start leaving your contact list, at first its normal but then it just got ridiculous, floods of people disappeared. It was honestly sad some of these people were gone, it was nice to to star in touch with them. To be honest up to this point there isn’t an application that is better then BBM and nothing beats a good Qwerty keyboard but they had their problems and they didn’t progress. We are still stuck with the 10 MB which is pretty much useless when roaming, it gets used up in two or three days at most. I don’t know why but it feels like I was abandoned when I see the status update “BBM OFF – WhatsAPP +965##$##$##”, as if the person just gave up and left.

Now the migration has begun, very few people are left on Blackberry, I’m still holding on to it and using it when I can. I’m not a fan of WhatsApp even though pretty much everyone shifted over to it. I tried ChatON and a few other Apps they weren’t that great either. I think I’m probably going to stick to it until this piece of hardware quits, then I don’t think I will be getting another Blackberry until I see some drastic changes in the coming future.

Blackberry 9900 – Lighter, Better, Stronger

We have all reached a point with our Blackberries when we wanted to throw them at the wall. I got the Blackberry Torch when it first came out and I gave up fixing the issues that it had, my email never worked on it. I didn’t think of purchasing another Blackberry really until there was a lighter one and with solid operating system. Recently my Torch has been restarting on its own and with the announcement of the new 9900 I was looking forward to trying it.

Initially I’m not too fond of the Bolds but I needed a thinner Blackberry and wanted to move on from the Torch. I was hoping that the new operating system would be vastly better then before, and I liked that it booted so quickly. I got to playing with it right away and started moving things around, and I liked the OS and the feel of the phone. Its a solid phone but not too heavy, very good for a 5.0 MP camera since other phones have surpassed that now. I especially love the rubber on the outer edge on the rear of the phone and the carbon fiber back, gives a very clean and light look to the phone. It has more of a brushed aluminum frame then it does a chrome frame, thankfully I hate chrome so it isn’t too bad once you see it. Overall its a very nice phone built by RIM with a nice and smooth operating system, I’m going to put it through it’s paces once I’m done transferring one phone to the other. Got the phone for 243 KD unlocked from outside of Kuwait and that includes delivery, if you are looking for a new BB and you want it light then this the phone for you.

Thanks to TouchOfMeh


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Zain Local Blackberry – No Roaming

BlackBerry9800Torch

With Zain you have a choice of two plans, International or Local, with International you get an extra 10 MB for international use and unlimited local, with Local you get no allowance for international but you get unlimited local. With both plans you pay 6 fils per KB, with the international you get that fee once you go over the 10 MB monthly allowance. Now because of all the pricing and billing blunders that people suffered while traveling internationally with a local plan Zain switched off Blackberry Service for people who travel internationally but with a local plan. If you want Blackberry Service running but you want to keep your local plan you have to go to Zain and sign documents stating that you understand the bills against you. Now I can understand the billing issue but they seriously have to find a way to warn people when they are reaching their limits instead of just cutting them off. My friends just learned about this little change in policy while they were traveling, so even if they wanted to activate their Blackberry service they would have to go to Kuwait and sign the document and then they would switch it on, so no way to do it while you are abroad. But for those who don’t want to switch it on you can still use the Blackberry service internationally when you are connected to a Wifi connection.

Blackberry Alternative?

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Seems there is a lot of talk about stopping Blackberry service in the GCC and some talk in Kuwait. Kuwait’s simple story is that they want to block some sites from being accessed as all internet, email, and messenger services are routed through Blackberry’s servers which circumvent most of the blocking requested by MOC from the ISPs. Now Saud is announcing they will stop BB service by this Friday, and UAE by October, so even if you are roaming there you won’t have Blackberry Service.

A lot of people love their Blackberry and can’t stop using it, but as soon as the service is disconnected they mentioned that they will switch over to the iPhone right away. I know a lot of people mentioned that all these smart phones have IM Clients that rival BBM but in reality none is simpler and more standardized then Blackberry, and it just won’t be the same in that case. I know that I have my Android and its a great phone but if they plan on disconnecting Blackberry any time soon I don’t think I would going back to SMS or enjoying the instant messaging as I do with BBM.

BlackBerry: The Alternative – None

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“With no solution available and in the public interest … Blackberry Messenger, Blackberry E-mail and Blackberry Web-browsing services will be suspended until an acceptable solution can be developed and applied,” Telecommunications Regulatory Authority director-general Mohamed al-Ghanim said in a statement carried on state news agency WAM.

I was surprised as anyone else for UAE’s and Saudi’s announcement that they will be cutting off all Blackberry Service of all kinds. Meaning that even if you have a service from another provider from another country it will not work in the UAE or Saudi.

There were announcements a few months back that they were contemplating shutting down the service in Kuwait, but luckily they are too lazy to go through the politics to do it, and it would be an damage many of the telecom company’s bottom end.

They cite security reasons as the main reason not censorship, but the reality is that they have no control over Blackberry services what so ever when people use them. In reality it’s very difficult to figure out someone from their Blackberry PIN, and so they can broadcast msgs, send items to people without having it intercepted or scanned. Blackberry came on fire over the past two years in the MiddleEast, everybody wanted the service, and it really took off. But the authorities weren’t to happy, in Emirates they have a lockdown on communications of all sorts, but this one seemed to have slipped them and they aren’t too happy about it, and the same goes for Saudi.

Now for the real interesting part, last year there was a little debacle with Etisalat trying to install spyware on their handsets through a Blackberry software update. That was really the Spyware product of SS8 which can monitor communications of Blackberry, but it was removed by RIM the manufacturer of Blackberry and people were pissed. Now here is the little details they fail to mention, SS8 develops products such as these but they have to take license proprietary software from RIM to use it. SS8 is only licensed to sell the software in the US, Canada, and the UK which they have to the governments, and they aren’t licensed to sell in any other country including the Middle East, that is why they were pissed about the Etisalat debacle in 2009. So I think the tactic of Saudi and UAE are trying to put pressure on RIM to allow SS8 to sell in the Middle East or the service will be shut down and they will lose a large amount of revenue. I don’t know if they do or don’t block the service in a few months but its going to be a hell of a blow to RIM’s income.

Blackberry Curve 9300

Stumbling onto this video at Crackberry is a good sign, I have had my Blackberry Curve 8900 for 1 year and 7 months now, and this thing is falling apart. The trackball is still faithfull and the phone is operating but it can’t read the micro-SD card anymore and hangs every once in a while. I’m surprised it lasted this long after what I put it through, and I have been waiting for Curve update, and here you have it. It will be running the 5.0 OS and now the rumored 6.0 OS which is fine by me. This isn’t a revolutionary phone but an overhaul of the phone to current technology, and I’m happy that they have mostly worked out the kinks in the new OS, so I’m hoping that it will be a smooth operating OS without any issues. The strange part is the guy on the video calling the Curve 8900, the “8500” which is new to me, other then that it looks like a good upgrade to the current phone, I just hope they don’t take too long to release it.

Blackberry Curve Trackball Annihilation

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My luck with phones for the past few days have been a bit off but this is a bit of a simpler problem. My trackball stopped scrolling down, I didn’t think much of it, I would just cause a lot of friction and it would go back to normal and never thought much about it until today. It really didn’t want to go down, I could go up, left, right but not down so it was annoying. I decided to try to take it apart myself, when I started doing that, it turns out there are more parts connected then I knew so I put it back together. So the next step was to take a very thin flat screw driver to the area around the trackball and insert, but that get the results I expected, instead I destroyed all functionality left in the ball.

Called my phone guy, asked him to replace the trackball section asap, and he hasn’t failed me yet.

25 KD for an original trackball piece with the area around it, 5 hours later the whole thing is done and fixed, good as new. I just can’t seem to change to another Blackberry, if I’m comfortable with a phone I won’t be changing it anytime and soon and switching to the Bold 9700 isn’t on the map for me right now, the 8900 does everything I need perfectly.

BlackBerry Messenger 5.0.0.55


There are some likes and dislikes to BBM 5.0, and I like that RIM tries to address these issues, so with BBM 5.0.0.55 they addressed the issue with the pictures, and cleaned up the status area and organized the groups a little. Its a simple upgrade to your current 33 version but I recommend that you do a full back up before doing any software modifications:

Improvements:

  • Picture Preview, you don’t have to download to see the pictures now
  • Cleaned up text in your status and chat previews
  • Cleans up groups as well

Link: Download BBM 5.0.0.55

Using BBM 5


There was a lot of problems with the pre-release of BBM 5 months ago, contacts were being deleted and the chat program was crashing. This time around its Blackberry that had the official release of BBM 5 with all the new features. After using it for over a week and a majority of my usual contacts have switched over the change is interesting.


Pros:

  • You can see details of the other person’s contact
  • Enlarging the contact’s photo
  • Associating BBM contacts with your phone book, the picture from BBM gets associated with your Phone book
  • Groups are a great edition you can share pictures, lists, dates and conversations between the group and its very organizing unlike inviting people to conversations such as before. Also you can have the group symbol on your Blackberry Homepage so you won’t have to go into the BBM to see it.
  • Barcode scanning makes it easier and unique to add people to your list, you always notice people looking for their BBM PIN no matter how many times you explain it to them.
  • Backing up contacts remotely and locally.

Cons:

  • The one major con that I think BBM 5 has is when your trying to send images. It’s not as easy as before and you have to transfer a picture, it doesn’t compress it and sends a simple small picture as it did before. Takes time to transfer the image so the half the time it fails.


Overall I think Blackberry did an amazing job with BBM 5, the only problem is with sending images but still its a huge step forward. Maybe they will be able to adjust it at a later point, but the benefit of the groups and shareing details are enourmous.

The Blackberry Lunch

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I have found it to be the funniest thing, and it has happened to us a few times as well. There have been a few times when we have gone out to lunch or dinner, one person gets a BBM (Blackberry Message), then another person gets one, then the next. We spend the next 10 minutes bbming the person we are talking to in complete silence, and even sometimes we might be bbming in a group and even the people sitting together at the dining table are involved in the BBM group chat. This is damn addicting and you can notice others who are addicted to it. The one time Zains’ blackberry service went down, I was really really annoyed that I had to use sms to communicate with people, it felt so archaic and slow in comparison with BBM which gives you answer right away, and it so damn satisfying. I even get annoyed with those that don’t answer right away or are too slow to type. I think that BBM is an excellent feature, but sometimes you just have to put it down and enjoy what ever you are doing.