Sunday, October 11, 2009

Some time saving small applications on my BlackBerry Bold


My last blog post was all about my Social and Business Networking from my BlackBerry, and all this used fairly big memory hogging applications installed...both a necessity and a blessing.
Now, I would like to cover off a few much smaller applications that increases the BlackBerry Bold's efficiencies.
Theses applications aren't flashy, but are extremely effective in what they do, and they all do their thing, really well. It should also be noted, quite a few of these applications don't even have an icon to speak of (their application resides in the menu), and certainly none of these appear in my home screen. Without them though, I would be a little bit frustrated and nowhere near as productive.
So, in alphabetical order:

•Anagram:
A simple free application (it competitor is the pay for "Gwabbit") that captures the data contained within an email signature and assembles it into either a new contact or updates an existing contact, in your address book. Perhaps it does need a few more steps than Gwabbit, but it is free and for me, works quite well.

•AppInfoRevealed:
This application advises you of the version you are running of a particular application you are currently in (does not work with all applications mind)

•BatteryBooster:
This one is considered to be a bit controversial, as some BlackBerry users think it works, and others firmly do not. I think it does work, and approximately adds one hour to the life of my battery, which for me, is brilliant.

•BerryAddon:
A simple application that enables a whole range of things to "work" such as call blocking, vibrate and ring at the same time, logging calls to your calendar, prompting to save phone numbers not in your address book etc. I use BerryAddon to log my calls.

•CaptureIt:
Basically it does what the name implies; captures a screen shot of your BlackBerry onto your SD Card (that's where I got the included screen shots from)

•ForwardWithEdit
Ever had an email that you wanted to forward to someone else, but perhaps remove some details first? Well, this is what ForwardWithEdit does, just remember it won't forward attachments.

•LaterDudePro:
From my good friend @FabianMH comes a really neat application that gives you a prompt after missing a call to remind you by a number of different methods, to action it at a later time/date.

•LedReset:
Occasionally you will have a random LED flash, for no apparent reason, and this application simply sorts that annoyance out.

•MagicMail:
Do you send regular "similar" emails from your BlackBerry? Would a template or number of templates make things easier? If so, look no further. Although you have to set up the templates yourself, once done, it is amazing how many emails in very little time, you can thumb out.

•MemoryUp:
Again, similar to BatteryBooster, another controversial application. With applications like the new BlackBerry Messenger 5.0 weighing in at 2.4mb, SocialScope, Facebook, Viigo, SugarSync and BlackBerry Application World each over 1mb, your BlackBerry memory can be a thing of the past. This attempts to continually free up memory. I don't have any hard evidence either way, of it effectiveness, but from a comfort level, I am happy for it to be installed.

•MessageSchedule:
Similar to LaterDudePro is what it tries to do. I am trialing it comparing the two, and then deciding.

•QuickLaunch:
When you start getting quite a few applications, your home screen starts overflowing with icons, and thus slow down finding an application you need. QuickLaunch alleviates this by creating a list of applications (you decide what is/isn't included in the list) accessible anywhere by the use of one of convenience keys. And...the list is key letter sensitive and organisable. It also contains a very handy device info screen (showing version of Operating System, memory, battery life, etc).

•SaveNumberAs:
My original prior to BerryAddon, but haven't had the heart to remove. Simply instead of using the native "save number" which always saves a number as business, this one, like BerryAddon, allows you select the type of number (work, home, mobile).

•TimelySMS:
Ever forgotten a friend's birthday? No more...load up a customised SMS and date and time activate it.

So there you go. A few applications that make my mobilised life on my BlackBerry Bold that much more efficient and time effective.

Hope this helps some of you.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Social networking / media direct from my BlackBerry Bold


Anyone who knows me, both personally or say on twitter, realise how attached to BlackBerry I am, and how much I rely on the BlackBerry to manage as much as possible, my social media/networking duties. What follows is the list of applications I regularly use to achieve all of this.
Row one, left to right:
• Messages:
What the BlackBerry does best. All of my 7 email addresses, google alerts, Facebook alerts, twitterlerts, meeting requests, etc all land.
• Calendar:
I have taken the bold step of combining all calendars (including Facebook) into the one calendar. For me, that equates to ease of referencing from the BlackBerry, and synced to Outlook.
• Address book (contacts):
All of my contacts, business and personal, are included here, even my BlackBerry Messenger contacts, and all synced to Outlook.
• Tasks:
My business life, right here, and again, synced to Outlook. At last count, I had 134 tasks spread over 6 months. Being an Account Manager for a time and workload management training company (Priority Management: http://prioritymanagement.comau/) means these tasks are the be all and end all critical part of my worklife, which frees up time for my social media/networking activities.
• MyListyPro:
My personal life, right here, with cloud computing, and soon to be connected to a web app as well, for your desktop/laptop. I find it easier to keep my personal & work related tasks separate, for now. I can share a task/list with someone else via email or BlackBerry PIN or even post to twitter.
• BlackBerry Messenger:
Of course, using BBM 5.0. The BlackBerry Messenger is like instant messaging but between BlackBerry devices, using the PIN (a combination of numbers and letters unique to each device) as the address. I have 143 contacts currently in my BlackBerry Messenger.
Row two, left to right:
• SocialScope:
I can use twitter more effectively and quicker on the BlackBerry with SocialScope than with any other application (including desktop clients). SocialScope also utilises the native BlackBerry shortcuts and auto-text. It also integrates with Facebook. No other twitter client in my opinion comes close.
• Viigo:
Awesome free RSS reader which in its fullest form, has an inbuilt twitter client and weather app. With Viigo, you can select websites to subscribe to, and post links from these, directly to twitter, Facebook, Delicious, or even email to yourself. I guess you could call Viigo the workhorse of my social networking/media strategy, with SocialScope being the racehorse.
• Facebook:
Accept friend, meeting/event requests, comment on your friends' status, receive and send Facebook emails, right here.
• Xing:
Similar to LinkedIn this is a world wide business networking site (http://xing.com/). Enough said.
• tumblr:
I have both a tumblr and posterous blog. I can post to either using email from my BlackBerry, or in the case of tumblr, this client, whether it is text, photo and text, quote, or links.
• SugarSync:
Recently updated to support BIS this application allows you to access files and photos etc from your PC/laptop from your BlackBerry. Very handy to aid with blogging. I purchased a 30gig plan.
Row three, left to right:
• Wicked Blogging App (wordpress):
This blog is of course on Blogger, but I have a parallel blog on WordPress, for the very reason so I can use the Wicked Blogging App. Again, ScreamingToaster uses cloud computing to keep the memory footprint low. Compared to the free WordPress app, Wicked is much more user friendly and flexible. You can share locations, meet new users, post to twitter and PIN message other BlackBerry users directly from this app. Blogger and TypePad support through Wicked is coming.
• DulyNoted Pro:
This is the third ScreamingToaster app on my BlackBerry, and yes, again, uses cloud computing. It too can post to twitter & share information via email or BlackBerry PIN. I use DulyNoted for my work in progress social media projects, as distinct to MyListy Pro. All three Apps integrate with each other, and will all soon be linked to a web app on your desktop/laptop (so my BlackBerry has five twitter clients).
• Browser:
(this is where I access fftogo (FriendFeedToGo) from and of course any worthwhile links I come across or are referred to. I really can't be bothered using a third party browser, as the native BlackBerry browser is perfectly adequate for my requirements.

• Twitterlerts:
Awesome app to conduct close to real time searches on twitter, using specific keywords. I can state here that I have paid it forward to a some BlackBerry users who were having issues of varying degrees, and we haven't previously met on twitter.
• Shazam:
Music forms a great background for me to blog with or when I am working on a project. If I hear a song I like, I can find it using Shazam, and even purchase it. Awesome for resurrecting that old '80's playlist ;)
• BlackBerry Application World:
here in Australia we only get access to the free apps, or apps that do have a free trial period, but it is a good place to keep an eye out for new BlackBerry apps, especially those which will boost my online experience, right from the BlackBerry.

I have other smaller, integrated apps that assist with my productivity and ensuring my BlackBerry experience is a very positive one, and one blog post soon, we shall go through these in detail.

I hope this helps someone out there...the BlackBerry really is a mobile workhouse, with a social media/networking tendency.

Enjoy!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Paying it forward .... twitter style

The amazing thing about twitter, is the almost instantaneous nature of the conversation (or referred to as "tweets" from the twittersphere). The tweets are usually short and to the point, and really, how can they not be, when you are only allowed up to 140 characters per tweet?

So how does one pay it forward on twitter?

Firstly, paying it forward...

Paying it forward, if you weren't sure, is a concept by which I try to live my life by, and I know others do the same. To pay it forward, simpl means helping out someone randomnly (unplanned) in a way that potentially may give that person the necessary leg up so that they can achieve something important in their life. To you it is nothing of any great significance, and doesn't really cause you any discomfort, mentally, emotionally, physically, nor financially.

To the recipient however, your paying it forward may just be the missing piece in the puzzle for them to achieve something positive/life changing/life saving from their life, for their life. For example, placing some spare change into a parking meter, allows a person to park (they may actually have no money), and make that critical job interview on time, therefore win the interview process, get the job, and become employed for the first time in two years. What did it cost you.... $3.20 perhaps. But for them, that $3.20 helped them get their life back on track.

So, I understand the concept of paying it forward, now how can I pay it forward on twitter?

Twitter works on building a social/business network by finding people to follow, and people follow you..... and so it goes.
  • You can pay it forward by simply connecting two people, who may not know each other, together, and you have paid it forward, because you are the middle link.
  • Someone may be on hard times and needs that leg up.... you know someone who can assist, and by bringing them together, you have paid it forward.
  • You come across some information tweeted by someone you follow, and you think it is interesting enough to retweet (share it again)... this information then goes out to all of your followers, maybe onto someone who really needs this tweet... you have paid it forward.
Paying it forward on twitter can really work. What does it cost you? Apart from your time... nothing.
So, the next time you feel an urge to share the love, I have three words to share... Pay It Forward.

Thomas

Updating your BlackBerry device's firmware... what, why and how?

One of the first I do when taking delivery of a new BlackBerry, or when one of my friends or colleagues at Priority Management (http://prioritymanagement.com.au/) do, is to update the firmware.
The firmware, is the BlackBerry device's Operating System (or OS for short). Quite often, your new device has a version of the OS that has already been upgraded, but it just happens to be not on your BlackBerry. So why would you bother upgrading. Quite simply, an upgrade is an improvement over the last version (normally), whereby RIM may have tweaked battery life, reception, updating of a particular application, and/or the removal of any bugs that may have been in the last version. Usually, the upgrade contains little incremental improvements, but as any BlackBerry power user would attest, any little tweak, no matter how small, towards further refining and improving the BlackBerry experience, is always welcomed, and eagerly sought.
There are basically three ways you can find the new improved OS:
1. Set up a notification from your Carrier message, so you either get notified of the OS upgrade, by either SMS, email, or when you connect your BlackBerry to your laptop / PC via the BlackBerry Desktop Manager
2. Subscribe to one of the many BlackBerry forums (http://blackberryforums.com.au/, http://berryreview.com/, http://crackberry.com/, etc)
3. Search the internet.
Each BlackBerry has a different version of the OS so you really do need to pay attention to which one your BlackBerry runs (BIS users, go Options>About>3rd line displayed). Of the three BlackBerry devices, the following has been observed:
• BlackBerry Pearl (8100): v4.5 (you may still be running v4.2)
• BlackBerry Curve (8300): v4.5 (you may still be running v4.2)
• BlackBerry Bold (9000): v4.6
My BlackBerry Bold's OS is as follows:

BlackBerry® 9000
smartphone (3G, Wi-Fi)
v4.6.0.301 (Platform 4.0.0.245)
Cryptographic Kernel v3.8.5.50a
Branding Version: 1.0.122.129
Micro Edition Configuration: CLDC-1.1
Micro Edition Profile: MIDP-2.0
Micro Edition JTWI Version: 1.0
Micro Edition Media Version: 1.1
Micro Edition PIM Version: 1.0
Micro Edition File Version: 1.0
Micro Edition Bluetooth Version: 1.1
Micro Edition Location Version: 1.0.1
Micro Edition Security and Trust Services (APDU) Version: 1.0
WLAN Version: 2.4.0.91{16}
http://www.blackberry.com/
Copyright © 1997-2008
Research In Motion Limited.
All rights reserved.

You may also decide, in an endeavour to have the latest OS, to use another Carrier's OS, and not your Carrier's version. Prior to uploading onto your BlackBerry device, you need to ensure the vendor xml is removed first.
For instructions on how to upload your OS, please take a look at any of the previously mentioned BlackBerry forums for a comprehensive step by step guide.
So take a moment and check which version of OS you currently have installed, and see whether or not an upgrade may be warranted.

Enjoy,
Thomas