eBooks on BlackBerry

Up until recently, I have read most of my novels and books on a Palm TX handheld using TextDrive. I used PorDiBle to convert text files into PDB files that TextDrive could read.

This method worked much better when I always carried my Palm handheld with me and used it as my primary calendar and contact management device. The appeal of electronic books is that I always have it with me. Once I started using my BlackBerry to maintain everything, my Palm fell into disuse, and I no longer carried it with me. I started reading less. I needed a new solution.

I have started using Mobipocket on my BlackBerry and Stanza to convert texts. Mobipocket has a whole online store for purchasing texts, but the reader itself is free and can read non-purchased texts that I already have. Stanza can convert between plain text and the Mobipocket format. Unfortunately, Stanza is only available for Mac OS X and Windows. There are other options, but Stanza worked best.

Now I once again always carry the device with my current novel, and I can spend my free time reading instead of playing games on my BlackBerry.

AT&T contracts are meaningless

I had a great experience on the phone with an AT&T representative when I called to transfer my number from an existing corporate plan to my own personal plan. I selected my options, and the representative explained to me that because it was a transfer, I would get a standard zero-month contract. He explained to me that I was free to change my service or transfer my number to another provider whenever I wanted to. This all went through successfully, and I was set.

Two weeks later, I noticed that my account had been slapped with an 18 month contract. When I called, AT&T had no idea why I would have had no contract, and they said that a standard transfer of service contract is 11 months. They told me that the first representative I spoke with was mistaken and that there is no record of my zero-month contract. Luckily I got my contract bumped down to 11 months; however, it doesn’t explain what happened to the zero-month contract.

Edit: 11 months is the standard length for a transfer of service. However, I did not agree to that over the phone. If they can slap me with a contract without any change in service or without my acceptance, their word and their contract are meaningless.

BlackBerry Bold Tethering on Windows XP

I adapted and simplified the directions for tethering available throughout this forum thread at CrackBerry.com. My directions are specific to AT&T in the United States.


Install the latest version of Blackberry Desktop.
Open the “Phone and Modem Options” control panel.
Click the “Modems” tab.
Select “Standard Modem” and click on “Properties”.
Click the “Advanced” tab.
In the “Extra initialization commands:” field, enter the following:


Click “OK” twice.

Open “Network Connections”.
Open the “New Connection Wizard”.
Click “Next”.
Select the “Connect to the Internet” option, and click “Next”.
Select “Connect using a dial-up modem” and click “Next”.
In the “ISP Name” field, type “BlackBerry”, and click “Next”.
In the “Phone number field:”, type “*99#”, and click “Next”.
Select “Anyone’s use”, and click “Next”.
Leave the user name and password fields blank; uncheck “Make this the default Internet connection”, and click “Next”
Click “Finish”.
Click “Cancel”.

To connect:

Connect the BlackBerry Bold to the computer using a USB cable.
Open the BlackBerry Desktop Manager.
Open “Network Connections”.
Open the “BlackBerry” network connection.
Click “Dial”.

You should now be connected. When you are done, go ahead and disconnect.

BlackBerry Bold Tethering on Mac OS X

This forum post at BlackBerryForums.com has all of the details necessary to set up tethering for a BlackBerry Bold on Mac OS X.

I set up tethering quite a while ago. I then updated my Bold firmware not realizing that it would break tethering. After some digging, I found that the solution is to install the BlackBerry Bold PPPD Replacement. This solution is mentioned on the last page of the same BlackBerryForums.com post and also on this CrackBerry.com forum post.

Now tethering works correctly again, and I still have the benefits of the upgraded firmware on my Bold.

Update: BlackBerryForums.com has removed the old post for tethering on Mac OS X. This post appears to be a suitable replacement, but I have not tried these exact instructions.

BlackBerry Bold Firmware Upgrade

I upgraded the firmware on my BlackBerry Bold 9000 from the default to the version using the instructions available on the CrackBerry.com forums. I went ahead and followed the directions, and the flash went successfully. The majority of my settings were restored. I had to enter user names and passwords for the YouMail client and the Google Apps sync client. However, the Pandora client retained its credentials correctly.

I had decided to upgrade my firmware because I had begun experiencing a lot of dropped calls and data connectivity issues. I often had to browse to a website or turn the radio off and on to start receiving email again. My Bold caused my speakers to hum constantly as it toggled between 3G and EDGE networks. After the firmware upgrade, the data connectivity issues and the speaker hum have gone away, but the phone still drops calls more often than it should. Many people had reported a battery life improvement relative to the 167 firmware. I didn’t notice this initially; however, when I updated the YouMail client on my BlackBerry, I discovered a new option to disable polling for new voice mails. Once I disabled that, my battery life improved substantially. After the update, I was also able to connect to Marquette University’s wireless network from my phone. It’s possible I had done something wrong in the past; however, I suspect the version fixed some little bug that made it incompatible with the wireless network on campus.

Despite AT&T’s delay in releasing updates for the Bold, I recommend this update if you are experiencing any problems with the current version of the firmware.

Edit: After using the new firmware for a while, I noticed the annoyance of the Visual Voice Mail icon in the application switcher. Since I cannot quit the application, I decided to find a way to remove it. A forum post on PinStack.com has the solution:

Another option is to simply remove all the vvm cod files from the java folder (7 of them) and then start up dm or apploader and run the through the process. It should tell you that it doesn’t recognize those files and remove them.

java folder is located: C:\Program Files\Common Files\Research In Motion\Shared\Loader Files\9000-v4.6.0.247_P4.0.0.206

Of course the version number is different, but once I removed the files and ran the loader again, the icon disappeared.