Posts Tagged ‘Blackberry’

Next time, No Blackberry, *OR* T-Mobile

30 April 2012

This photo illustrates why my next phone will not be a Blackberry, and my next carrier will not be T-Mobile:

The phone on the left is my son’s Samsung Gravity, and the phone on the right is my Blackberry 9780.

That is my second Blackberry. The main problem that I have with the Blackberry is that the cell reception, in a word, is deficient. You could say that the reception sucks.

So the situation in the photo is that we were at a restaurant in Jones, OK. Ian’s phone had voice and data service, and my phone had squat.

Ian actually had access to three networks. My phone could see AT&T, but would not connect to it.

If I’m in downtown OKC, of course, I have no issue at all. But all over while traveling, the kids phones have service, while Raegan and I (we both have the same Blackberrys) don’t.

I’ve talked to T-Mobile about this repeatedly. In every email, every phone call, I describe the problem, and in just about every case, it triggers the script: “I understand you are having trouble making phone calls…”, and they want to tell me how to turn the damn thing on. I’ve posted to support forums, post to the Crackberry forums, and several others. There are no solutions. I’ve tried a new SIM, many settings, T-Mo has looked at the phone configuration, reprovisioned it, etc. It’s not just my phone, since Raegan has the same issues. I also had my phone replaced last summer.

In a lot of cases, one of the other phones would have service (say, 3G), while the Blackberry has one less level (in this case, EDGE).

Why is this? It could be that the basic Blackberry has a problem with its radio, but I don’t think that is the problem. I have been with other people who have Blackberrys, with other service providers, but they get service just fine. I think the problem is how the Blackberry is connected to the T-Mobile network. It won’t roam very often; like I said before, a lot of times I can see one or more other service providers, but the phone won’t connect to them (it says it does, but no voice or data).

We’ve been T-Mobile customers since 2005. We had been AT&T customers since we got our first cell phones back in 2002, and when AT&T merged with Cingular, the customers in two markets (OKC and Tulsa) were given to another company (Alltel?) under some term of the merger. That company didn’t do international texting (which Raegan does a lot of), and so we went with T-Mobile.

T-Mobile has really not been of any help in the four years I’ve had Blackberrys, especially in the past couple years, with the 9780. I like a lot of what the phone does. It’s got good battery life, runs a couple apps that I use regularly, and it’s been fairly reliable. But there are times that the phone connectivity that has driven me wild, like when our house was threatened by a wildfire last summer, and it was having trouble connecting from San Diego, of all places. It’s simply unacceptable.

I’ve had it.

A Blackberry Fail

27 February 2011

I got a new Blackberry 9780 back over the holidays, and like it a lot. I’ve noted a couple small issues with it. For one, when reading longish emails, it has a tendency to move to the top of the long message when I am trying to move down. That’s a bit annoying, but manageable. It performs very well on websites.

Yesterday morning, I was trying to make a post on Facebook, using the FB Blackberry app. For some reason, it would crash the entire app when I was entering data into a text box, just as I got to the end of the text box and it was about to wrap the text. This was a repeatable bug. I got the entry in after four tries, by typing the entry into a dummy email, then doing a copy, and pasting it into the text box.

An hour or so later, I picked up the Blackberry to head out the door, and noticed that it was dead. It had crashed at some point in the past hour. I booted it up, and got an error message (after a long time, about five minutes), App Error 603. That started a series of reboots. Each reboot ended with a lot of Java errors and exceptions. The time from boot to being able to do anything was about 15 min. My wallpaper was gone, replaced with the default wallpaper. And when I looked, I noticed that the Blackberry browser icon was gone.

I did a lot of research quickly. The BB would not connect to the BB Desktop software. There was little online guidance. I finally found a page that talked about using the BB Update tool in standalone mode. I ran it several times, and tried to do a backup, but it never connected. Finally, based on a webpage I found, I ran the Update tool without doing a backup.

It took about 20 minutes to load the software back onto the Blackberry. The phone booted up *much* faster – about 90 seconds. I had to turn the radio back on, but I could make calls, and a bunch of emails came in. So I could communicate. It didn’t do anything to the pictures or music, since those were on the phone’s SD card.

I just completed a restore from my most recent backup. I have most everything back except the emails that came in since then, but those are all still on the three email account servers. So it looks like everything is pretty much back to normal.

I should not be surprised this happened. These Blackberry phone are handheld computers, after all, and they crash. The less-smart phones have their code stored in a non-writable memory, I guess. So while it was a bit frustrating, I solved one part of it by storing my backup file on my laptop, so now I can completely restore the phone while mobile, like I was yesterday.

Please Permit Me A Rant About A Blackberry Bug

16 April 2010

OK, it’s not often that a handheld screws up a rare opportunity.

Our daughter Erin went on a field trip to the Myriad Botanical Gardens and Crystal Bridge today. They were having a special program on ladybugs.

While there, Erin was interviewed by Channel 9, KWTV here in Oklahoma City. The interview was not very long, but we thought it was cool.

I do not have a working VCR, and my DVR won’t record over-the-air TV. So I whipped out my Blackberry 8220, turned on the video camera, got it lined up with the TV, and found a steady place to hold it for a good picture. When Channel 9 started the segment with Erin in it, I pushed the start button and we were off!

Unfortunately, seven seconds into the segment, I got a Blackberry calendar reminder pop up. I clicked Dismiss, and the video was still being shown, BUT IT WAS NOT BEING RECORDED! I watched the segment with Erin through the Blackberry LCD, not knowing it was not being captured.

After a few shouted words that were of the unpleasant variety, I did a couple controlled tests and found that this behavior was consistent. Once the reminder pops up, the video recording stops. I think this is a bug in the Blackberry 8220. I will report it to RIM as such.

A Minor Website Fail – AA.com for Blackberry

16 March 2010

I travel a bit, and I use the aa.com site from my Blackberry more and more. Overall, I find it to be highly useful. The aa.com site recognizes the Blackberry browser, and does a good job of showing a site optimized for it.

One thing bugs me a bit. My last Blackberry was a 7801t. I also used it with aa.com. One of the things I used it a lot for was doing seat changes.

My current Blackberry is an 8220. It works with the entire aa.com site, except… it won’t let me change seats. The available seats show up, and the cursor changes to show I should be able to click that seat as a link, but it doesn’t. Other images-as-links work just fine.

I’ve emailed the aa.com support folks twice in the past three months or so, but haven’t even had a response from them. I am going to try again tomorrow. It’s a bit annoying.

Bandwidth Is Our Friend

10 October 2009

Today, as a result of a little bit of Facebook stalking, I ran across a site called nsis.net. It’s an ISP based here in Oklahoma City. NSIS has a bandwidth (speed) test on its homepage, so naturally I clicked it.

I got a measured speed of 5.8Mbps. I tried several other times and got speeds up to 8Mbps. That’s not bad. That is a measured time from my computer, through a 54Mbps wifi link, through a wifi router, through a 100Mbps wire to a cable modem, through the Cox network, to the Internet, and then to NSIS, and back.

I decided to see if my Blackberry would get a report. I fired up the browser, went to NSIS, and got a report back of… 85Mbps (not eight point five, eighty five). My first impression was, I think I’ll download an HD-quality movie to my handheld!

But the reality is, my Blackberry is actually pointed at a proxy server at Research In Motion (RIM), and so the actual test is between the RIM proxy server and the test server at NSIS. The typical link between ISPs is at least an OC-12 (600Mbps) and I’m sure that RIM uses an OC-48 (2Gbps), so 85Mbps for such a test is not unreasonable at all.

I’ve measured the download speed of my Blackberry, and usually get around 150Kbps when I’m on the EDGE network over the cell tower (which is about the same bandwidth as three dial-up modems), but it seems to work pretty fast, since on most web pages, the RIM proxy server reformats the pages for the small Blackberry screen, including resizing the images, which are the real bandwidth hogs. It’s a lot faster when the Blackberry is connected to a wifi access point.

So 85Mbps to a Blackberry is a dream, but it’s a good one.