Saturday, October 30, 2010

Cross Platform Instant Messaging!

Now I know you guys and gals are all cool and own a BlackBerry. But I also understand that not all of your friends can be as cool as we are :-D
Add SMS to BBM
I have friends with iphones, Android phones, and just regular dumb phones. My problem is, BBM is my favorite form of communication (next to a phone call).
Here are several methods of having BBM like conversations with your non-BlackBerry friends.
#1- Add your friend to BBM via their phone number. Since BBM 5.0/OS 5.0 users are able to add SMS right into BBM. To do this, click add a contact from inside BBM. Then select the third option (if its not there, its because you don't have OS 5.0) "Add a text messaging contact". This will place your friend in BBM, but is really just sending a text message to them. Be careful here, if you don't have a text messaging can get very carried away chatting not realizing every response is costing you 15 cents!

Kik Chat

#2 in App world download Kik chat. . This is a cross platform IM program. It runs on most popular platforms including iphone and Android. You will have to create a user ID and add your contacts (you will need to know their user name). What I like about this program is it has the same D and R that we've all grown to love in BBM. Unfortunately it lacks the ability to send photos or videos or voicenotes. The developer is promising many of those features in the near future. Keep in mind that this program uses your data connection and not SMS/text so it should be free of charge to use.


#3 in App world download PingChat! . This is another cross platform IM program. It also runs on all major platforms. Again you will need to create a user ID and you must also know your friends user ID. Once added, you can link them with their contact card in your address book. This will assume any picture they have assigned to them in your address book as well. I found PingChat! to have more features (you can send pictures, and voicenotes ) but it lacks the D and Are of BBM, and somehow feels clunky and difficult to navigate. It does however, do what it says it will do, and that is allow you to send BBM like messages using your data connection (not SMS/text) to other smartphones for free.
Now all you have to do is convince your non BlackBerry friends to install the App of choice and you can begin to enjoy IM messaging across smartphone platforms!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bedside mode

So if your BlackBerry is anything like mine, it is a virtual symphony of buzzes and beeps and music. I have different ringtones for my most used contacts, and different vibrations for each email account I have. Add in tones for BBM and Facebook and you'll understand what I mean.

Problem is my BlackBerry charges beside my bed and I certainly don't need all that noise when I'm sleeping. Enter Bedside mode. Since OS 4.6 this little known feature is designed to keep your BlackBerry quiet when not required.

How to find it:

Locate the clock icon on your desktop and click on it. The clock face will pop up on your screen. Hit the menu button, and select options. You'll see a similar menu as pictured. Under the while charging menu select enter bedside mode. Once you select this a few extra options will show including the time settings. As you can see from my settings, if I charge my BlackBerry anytime after 11pm it will automatically enter bedside mode.

Now scroll down a little bit in the same clock options screen. These settings tell the phone what to do when in bedside mode. As you can see from the second picture, I disable the LED, dim the screen, and switch my profile to silent. If you check off the disable radio, your phone will not receive and emails, BBM or phone calls. Let's say you wanted to have no emails or messages, but still need to have your phone working? Select the phone only profile instead of silent.

This will keep your BlackBerry quiet when you need it to be, and as soon as you unplug your phone from the charger it goes right back to normal again!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

New project...The OMAberry

So, since I became a BlackBerry abuser I have converted many others to my illness :-D

In the past I have even gone so far as to "loan" a good friend one of my old BlackBerrys to try out for a bit. The result is always the same, a new BlackBerry abuser ;-)

My list of converted folks includes:
My wife, my 2 sons, my BFF and at least 10 or so friends. But never have I ever attempted something like this. My mother just turned 70, and while at her house for her birthday party I noticed her VERY old Nokia flip phone. A couple of years ago, for her birthday I bought a small micro SD card and put some music on it. She plays it every day while walking the dog. But now I was actually considering giving my 70 year old Mom a BlackBerry? Am I nuts? My Mom has never been much of a techie, but she enjoys and adapts pretty well :-D

So I dug out an old BlackBerry 8900, made a quick trip to a local vendor and purchased a new purple (her favorite colour) housing. I spent the night setting it all up for her. Hid the icons she doesn't need, put a cool desktop picture for her and called Rogers to get a data plan put on her line.
The next day, I drove by my moms house and presented my gift. She was even more worried than I was :-)

I swapped out her SIM card and Micro SD card. I also setup her BIS account and her BBM. I then showed her how the phone and music works (as that's what she uses the most). I also quickly showed her how to use the camera.

I left her for a week to feel out the phone, and become comfortable with its operation....

And today, I received a sign that I had done the right thing...

I got a BBM from my Mom!

How cool is that :-)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Show your BBM friends what you're listening to!

So, I would hope that you have long since stopped carrying your ipod and just put all your music on your BlackBerry. Its a pretty straight forward thing to do. Most new BlackBerrys come with a small (4 gig) micro SD card. If not, an 8 gig is $20 at most retailers. OS 6 has brought the media player pretty close to ipod levels. But your BlackBerry is so much more :-)
One of favorite "little" things since OS 4.6 has been the inclusion in the BBM options, to show what music you're listening to. It basically broadcasts the title and artist of the song in your status window for all your BBM contacts to see. It can be quite the conversation starter!
To enable this option, in BBM select your profile. Just below your PIN is a checkbox that says show what I'm listening to.
That's it!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Quick list of BlackBerry typing tips

Our friends over at BBgeeks posted up an excellent guide to help increase your typing speeds on your BlackBerry :-)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Need a flashlight?

Have you ever been in a situation where you could really use a flashlight? Did you know you have one built in to your BlackBerry?
Simply open the video camera and press the spacebar. This turns the LED flash on. When you're done, simply press the spacebar again to turn it off!
That's it!
No app required :-D
(note: will not work on the Curve 85xx series nor the Pearl 8100)