Saturday, March 26, 2011

Invite people via a calendar event

Here is a quick little trick for #TeamBlackBerry!

I use my calendar app quite frequently for both work and personal appointments.  If I have a meeting with a client, I put it in my calendar and set a 1 hour reminder to allow me time to get there (even if I forget I had an appointment).  I also use it for Doctor's appointments, car service appointments etc.  Did you know that you can share those appointments?  Ever since OS 4.5 you have been able to invite people to a calendar event.  This feature is similar to Microsoft Outlook's meeting requests, and all you need is an email address of the person(s) you wish to invite.
Here's how to do it:

 Open up the calendar app and select create new appointment.  Choose the email address you wish to send the invite from (you have a calendar for each email address you have sent to your BlackBerry).  Fill in the Subject, location and time.  Set the reminder for your preferred time.  Now click the menu button, and select invite attendee.  Select the person(s) from you address book that you wish to invite.  I always invite my wife to my Doctor's appointments, so she knows when they are :-)  You can add more than one person if you like.  Once you have finished adding people and you save the event, your BlackBerry will send a request via email to your friends.  But gets better!  If your friends have a BlackBerry also, they can actually accept or decline the appointment right from their BlackBerry.  If they accept it, it is automatically added to their calendar aswell!  If they decline, they can add a reason why and send it back to you.  You will be notified if they accept or decline it.  All names you invite will belisted in the calendar event for you.  What do you think?  Pretty cool stuff?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

BlackBerry Protect

Just released (in open Beta) is a new app for BlackBerry called BlackBerry Protect. This free app runs in the background on your BlackBerry and is a very powerful tool. Not only does it offer wireless backup of your device info (think no more desktop manager back-ups!) But if your family is like mine (we all have a BlackBerry) it's a great way to keep an eye on your family. Let's take a walk through this app.

First thing you need to do is download the app itself here:

Once installed you will need your BlackBerry ID. This is the same one you use for Appworld.

Setup options include allowing location finding (this is unchecked by default, but to use all the features you should check it). Other options include how often to perform a backup, only backup via wifi, and backup while roaming.

Now that you're setup, let's talk about some of the features of BlackBerry Protect.  The following screen shots are of the web-portal that can be accessed at where you will be required to login using your BlackBerry ID. 
-View current location: If your BlackBerry is stolen or mispaced, you can use this feature to view its actual location via the phones built in GPS (some models don't have a GPS, so it won't work on those). A feature I found VERY useful (that wasn't really advertised).  If you have multiple BlackBerry phones in your family, you can sign them all up with the same BlackBerry ID (I used mine for all 4 of our phones).  This allows you to log in and check/modify all phones with one login.

-Loud ring:  Imagine the scene.  You're running late for work, but can't find your BlackBerry.  The last person to use it was your kid, and they left it somewhere.... You try calling it, but its on Vibrate.  With BlackBerry Protect, simply login to the web-portal and select "Loud ring".  This makes your BlackBerry buzz, chime and beep no matter what sound profile it is on.  Locate your phone and head off to work!  Brilliant!

-Display a message: Imagine losing your device!  Most of us can't stand the thought of such a thing ever occuring.  What if you wanted to send the finder of your device a message asking nicely for them to return it to you, and how to reach you?  Use this feature to display a message on your device (even if it was locked when you lost it).  The first picture shows what the message would look like.  I can also see this feature being handy when your child is out passed curfew, and you want to get their attention :-)

-Lock your device:  In keeping with the idea of losing a device, this feature will lock your BlackBerry, keeping any prying eyes from snooping your private info!

-Wipe your device:  Always a last resort, but very important for business people.  This allows you to remotely wipe all your personal info from your BlackBerry in case of emergency.

On device App settings:  Here is a screen shot of the app on my BlackBerry Torch.  You can see that on the main screen the only option offered are the Only backup over Wi-Fi, and allow backup while roaming.  The buttons on the bottom (from left to right are) Backup, Restore, and Messages. 

Pressing the menu key and selecting options will give you a greater choice of options which include: The ability to automatically backup daily/weekly/monthly.  What data to backup.  This includes: Contacts, Calendar, Tasks, Memos, Browser Bookmarks and Text messages.  The final option is to allow location reporting (required to use mapping feature listed above).

All in all this app is truly a must have for BlackBerry users.  I strongly feel that BlackBerry has created a free service that offers huge functionality and unbeatable security for its users.  No cords, no fees AND no worries!