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Blackberry Bold 9700 Smartphone

Introduction

The Bold 9700 was released in November 2009 and can still be bought new from Amazon. I have only had my Blackberry since January 2012 and I obtained it second hand in January in New Zealand from a friend who had switched to an iPhone. I just used it as a 'standard' phone for the first three months as I could not get cost effective Blackberry services in NZ. It was originally set up for New Zealand Telecom service but was not locked - they never are in NZ. In April I put in an existing Vodafone PAYG SIM and added a Blackberry Services bolt on for £5 a month and with no further effort all the Blackberry Services came alive as the Service Books (which define all the interactions between the phone and one's service provider) were automatically downloaded. You may have to Re-register (see below) but I do not think I needed to - the phone had never have been used in anger.



Blackberry Bold 9700 Features

Available Features
* Trackpad navigation
* Bright, hi-resolution screen
* Full QWERTY keyboard
* 3G technology
* Wi-Fi® and Bluetooth® enabled
* 256MB flash Memory
* 3.2 MP digital Camera with
Video Camera
* Multimedia Player
* Wireless Email
* Organiser
* Browser
* Phone
* SMS/MMS
* MicroSD card Reader
Size and Weight
Height: 4.29 inches (109 mm)
Width: 2.36 inches (60 mm)
Depth: .56 inches (14.1 mm)
Weight: 4.30 ounces / 122 grams (including battery), 3.17 ounces / 90 grams (without battery)
Battery & Battery Life
* Battery: 1500 mAHr removable/rechargeable lithium-ion battery
* Talk Time: Up to 6 hours (GSM and UMTS)
* Standby Time: Up to 21 days/504 hours (GSM), Up to 17 days/408 hours (UMTS)
* Music Playback Time: Up to 38 hours
Display
* High resolution 480x360 pixel
colour display
* Transmissitive TFT LCD
* Supports over 65,000 colours
* 2.44" (diagonally measured)
Camera & Video Recording
* 3.2 MP Camera
* Auto Focus, Image Stabilisation
* Flash
* 2X digital zoom
* Video camera recording:
Normal Mode (480 x 352 pixel),
MMS Mode (176 x 144 pixel)
Maps & GPS
* Includes BlackBerry Maps
* Integrated GPS with A-GPS
Data Input & Navigation
* 35 key backlit QWERTY keyboard
* Dedicated Keys: Send, End, Menu, Escape, Left/Right Convenience keys (default VAD and Camera) ,2 x Volume/Zoom, Sleep, Mute (Play/Pause)
* Trackpad - Located on front face of device, ESC Key to the right, Menu to the left
* Intuitive icons and menus
Voice Input & Output
* Integrated speaker and microphone
* Hands-free headset capable
* Bluetooth headset capable
* Integrated Hands-Free Speakerphone
Media Player
* 256 MB Built-in memory
* Video format support: XviD partially supported, H.263, H.264, WMV3, MPEG4, Sorenson Spark & On2 VP6 (Flash support)
* Audio format support: .3gp, MP3, WMA9 (.wma/.asf), WMA9 Pro / WMA 10, MIDI, AMR-NB, Professional AAC/AAC+/eAAC+
Ringtones & Notifications
* Tone, vibrate, on-screen or LED indicator
* Notification options are user configurable
* 32 Polyphonic Ringtones – MIDI, SP-MDI, MP3, WAV
Bluetooth
* Bluetooth® v2.0
* Mono/Stereo Headset
* Handsfree
* Serial Port Profile
* Bluetooth Stereo Audio (A2DP/AVCRP)
* Bluetooth SIM Access Profile supported
Security
* Password protection
* Screen lock
* Sleep mode
* Optional support for S/MIME
Wi-Fi
* 802.11b/g enabled
* Wi-Fi Alliance Certifications: WPA/WPA2 Personal and Enterprise, WMM, WMM Power Save, Wi-Fi Protected Setup
* Cisco CCX certification
* Wi-Fi access to BlackBerry® Enterprise Server
* Wi-Fi access to BlackBerry® Internet Server
* Direct IP web browsing over Wi-Fi
* Support for UMA
Wireless Networks
* 3G (HSDPA) compatible
* UMTS: 2100/1900/850/800 MHz (Bands 1,2,5/6), 2100/1700/900 MHz (Bands 1,4,8)
* GSM: 1900/1800/900/850 MHz
* Quad-band support: GSM 850; GSM

 

Blackberry Applications and Tips

To make it useful as more than a phone I needed to find several applications - apps, as everyone now seems to call them.

Blackberry Applications I use or have installed.

DataViz Documents to Go suite (Microshaft Office look-a-like and more)

The Blackberry came with the basic DataViz Documents to Go suite installed but that has very limited functionality so I decided to pay for the Premium Edition through the Blackberry World which was an extra £15. That turned out to be a problem as they never sent the unlock codes having taken my money through the Blackberry Store. I however found that others had had the problems and had put a suitable unlock code on the web which I had no compunction in using as I have receipt for the £15. If like me you receive no joy from Dataviz having paid your money see http://forum.blackberryseeker.com/showtopic-305.aspx for details on how to proceed. Anyway to continue:

Documents To Go Premium Edition is an all-in-one solution that provides users with the ability to view, edit and create Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files and attachments as well as view critical PDF files all on their BlackBerry smartphones. It obviously does not have all the functionallity of Office but generally the more complet functionallity is left in place when you edit a document on the Blackberry. Also included, I understand, is an easy to use Windows desktop application offering bi-directional file synchronization and providing users with a simple way to transfer and manage important documents.

BBNotePad 1.1.3 (122 kbytes) Downloaded from author's site - Free

The Blackberry does not have a simple text editor and BBNotePad was the best of the free ones I could find - simple but very effective. It was downloaded and installed before I had Blackberry services and access to OTA (Over The Air) installations. It is limited in the maximum size of file but otherwise does what the box says.

Contacts with Dropbox - Import Export contacts as vcard or CSV file (788 kbytes) BBWorld

I paid a small sum for this and it is not clear how useful it is in practice now I have Google Sync.

Dropbox 1.0.49.1 (1620 kbytes) BBWorld Free

The easy way to access anything from (and much less easily pass to dropbox from) the Blackberry. You can only access (by opening) files for which you have an application on the Blackberry so there are limitations but it is still a very easy way to share documents.

File Manager Pro - Zip and File Utility 1.7.0.2 (306 kbytes) - form BBWorld

File Manager Pro is the advanced file and Zip archive manager for your BlackBerry smartphone which allows you to manage your files easily and quickly using its powerful new features. In addition, File Manager Pro allows you to open, create, extract and append to Zip archives that are today’s de facto standard for distributing compressed files. See http://www.martintobing.com/view/127 for more details. Downloaded from BlackBerryWorld

Google Sync 0.7.4 (421 kbytes) Free

An important (I would say essential except that I know it is under threat of withrawal) part of my use of Blackberry - it enables Contacts and Calenders to be syncronised with Google (Gmail) and hence to Thunderbird and Lightening. Seems to work very well and synchronise most fields other than Categories which is a pity. It no longer seems to be available for download which may be a problem in the future. See http://support.google.com/mail/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=82619&topic=21198&ctx=topic See below for an alternative in BIS Sync which I am currently shifting to.

GoogleTalk 3.0.0.23 954 kbytes BBWorld

I think this must have been pre-installed as I would never have added it!

My Vodafone 1.3 (160kbytes) BBWorld Free

Almost a waste of time as it does very little compared to the vodafone web site.

NetworkTrafficControl 0.2.8 (86 kbytes) BBWorld Free

Screenshot
This seems to be excellent and gives a full set of information for the day and 'billing month' for Radio ie via mobile data plan and Wifi which is probably unlimitted. It just runs in the background once started so you can look at any time. It does not monitor data used by bluetooth (tethering) to the phone by a laptop which needs to be monitored on the laptop.

What I have found is that the data actually used seems very low and I wonder if it actually correct but the few checks I have carried out seem to confirm it. I have not checked if it continues through a restart.


Opera Mini Browser 7.0.0.4 (600 kbytes) BBWorld Free

Screenshot
This has transformed browsing on the Blackberry although it seems to be slow to enter each page once there it is brilliant. It is also a great saver of data as all the pages re compressed on the Opera site by up to 90% before thay are downloaded. There is a tabbed display and all the 'toolbars are hidden until you need them. Zooming on a click makes most sites accessible. You can see an example of how it displays this page on the left (Note the image has been heavily compressed and is nothing like as clear as the screen).

PDF To Go 2.000.004 (1134 kbytes)

A part of Documents to Go that is only available in the Premium edition and a major reason to pay for the premium Edition

Installing Applications on the Blackberry

I spent a long time when I first got the Blackberry trying to find out how to install applications on the Blackberry without having active Blackberry Services. The following firstly covers installing from the Media cards then covers all the other sinstallation methods I have used so far.

Install from the media card by fool Your BB into thinking you have an OTA install

The Blackberry is really designed to install files OTA (Over The Air) ie using a network or whilst connected to the Blackberry Desktop Software on a PC ususally via a cable. There is no direct provision to install from a file. You can however 'fool' the Blackberry into installing from files once you can get them onto the SD memory card in the Blackberry which can be done using the USB connection from a desktop/laptop machine including those running Linux as the Blackberry can be made to look like a USB Mass Memory Device.

First you have to download the files needed for the installation on your laptop or desktop. This will depend on the application and they may be separate files or zipped up. The files you need will have .jad/.jar and .cod/.alx extensions. They should be unzipped, if necessary, and saved in a folder on your desktop or another location ready for transferof your choosing. Finding all of the necessary .cod files can be difficult especially if the author has deliberately hiden them. I understand there is a Windows freeware program, BlackBerry OTA Downloader, (one download link I have found is at http://blackberry-ota-downloader.en.softonic.com/blackberry) which enables a user to download all the necessary files and to then save to a folder on a hard drive or to move them to an SD Card for future installation.

When the actual install is done the application will be loaded/installed to your device. As of this writing BBs still don't have the ability to install applications on a memory card and to run from the card. Assuming you have saved the necessary files to a folder of your choice on your PC you now need to get then onto the Blackberry SD Memory card to continue the install.

Once you have all the files connect your BlackBerry device to your computer using the USB cable.

The first time you connect you should see a prompt asking if you want to enable Mass Storage Mode - Select Yes.
There should also be an option to turn on Mass Storage Mode automatically in the future. If you select Yes so you won’t have to repeat this in the future when you connect to your PC.
You can change the setting by BBMenu -> Options -> Memory where there is a drop down for Mass Storage Mode Support and also for Auto Mass Mass Storage Mode When Connected which is what you are changing.
Note - when you are in mass Storage Mode use of the card by the Blackberry is inhibited so everything will not work when you are plugged in which stops you charging from a laptop so use with care.

Your BlackBerry should now be recognized as a drive by your computer. Note that you should see both the BB device (probably labeled as BlackBerry) and the folders included on the Media Card.

Drag the folder where you have saved your installation files (or Copy and Paste) from the desktop to the Media Card. If you are going to install several applications it is worthwhile setting up a folder structure and making sure the folder names are self explanitory.

Disconnect the BlackBerry from the USB cable.

Press the BB Menu key and select the file manager - in my case called Files in Applications. Work your way down to the Media Card and locate the folder containing the installation files.

Choose the file ending in .jad. This is the file the BlackBerry will “think” is a download item and includes all the scripts to carry out the install from the other files which it will expect to be in the same folder. You should now see a download screen. Select Download and the install process should begin.

There will often either automatically restart of the Blackberry or a prompt that the changes won’t take effect until you reset by a battery pull.

After restarting there will be new icon in the home folder or more often in the subfolderApplications - it may sometimes be in Downloads. You can move it to where you like by highlighting then Menu -> Move or Move to Folder.

Note that this installation method does give you the ability to reinstall later should you need to but if you need a registration key to activate the software make sure you keep that safe.

This is how I installed BBNotePad.

OTA (Over The Air) Application Installations

OTA installations are the easiest to install. You must have Blackberry services and a mobile connection to be able to access the Internet and download the required files for the install directly to your BlackBerry device. Many sites offer an OTA link - in some you will have you submit your phone number or email address and they will send an SMS or an email with the appropriate link.

There will often either automatically restart of the Blackberry or a prompt that the changes won’t take effect until you reset by a battery pull.

After restarting there will be new icon in the home folder or more often in the subfolderApllications - it may sometimes be in downloads. You can move it to where you like by highlighting then Menu -> Move or Move to Folder.

Note that installing this way does not give you a backup of the OTA download if you need to reinstall in the future. It is therefore important to do periodic backups of your device and make sure you have selected that applications be backed up as it is not usually the default backup selection. Also retain the registration key if one is needed to activate the software.

Blackberry App World

Similar to the above and brings most of the Apps available together in one place accessible from the Blackberry menu and allows you to easily pay for them - often the software's site will just link to the App World for installation. You can go back into App World and see the status of your software and App World will also notify you of updates when they are available. To use App World you just Search for what you want and follow instructions. I have found in some cases that payment does not deliver the required registration keys for proprietory software.

Using BB Desktop To Install Applications

The software developer’s website will often have a download link for use with the Blackberry Desktop Software:

This installation method has the advantage that you have the ability to reinstall later should you need to but make sure you save any registration keys to activate the software.

Shortcuts and Tricks for Your BlackBerry:

I have highlighted some of the tips I use most.

View and switch apps using Application Switcher

One of the best things about the BlackBerry platform is multitasking, so take advantage of this to switch between your open apps quickly. All you need to do is Press and hold the Menu key and a listing of open apps will appear. To switch between them, just tap or highlight and select the icon of the app you want to use.

General Tips

Working with Text - Messages and most text/word processors

Selecting and copying, cuting and pasting Text

Once you have the selection you want clicking the trackball will open a menu - copy will be pre-selected with cut and delete below in the list. If instead you click delete it will be deleted without entering the menu.

To paste, go to insertion point, or open a new message or whatever, click the trackball, and then select 'Paste'.

Shortcuts whilst Composing Messages or entering Text in most applications

Calendar Tips:

The Calendar is, by default, set up to allow what is called Quick Entry but this disables the ability to easily change the view. You should at least try both options - you can change mode by entering the Calendar click BBMenu -> Options-> General Options and Change 'Enable Quick Entry' to NO.

You can now:

Insert Phone Number and other 'system' information using AutoText:

Type the following 'AutoText' entries followed by the spacebar to insert system information into text.

Using Applications While on the Phone:

While on a phone call, press Menu key and choose Home Screen to, for example, check your calendar or look up an address. Remember to press Green phone key to go back to phone app to disconnect your call.
While on a phone call, press Menu key and choose Notes (Memopad??) to take notes while on a call. Saved call notes appear in Messages folder as a call log entry, along with your emails.

Reboot Your BlackBerry:

Most people reboot a Blackberry by the brute force method of removing the battery. There is hover a hidden comand - While holding down the ALT key and the Left Shift key at the same time, Press the Delete key until BlackBerry reboots. This will reboot your BB. No stored data will be lost.

Re-Register (Re-Activate) your Blackberry

Assuming you are a BIS user (meaning personal email only) then after an upgrade the service books for your email should be resent automatically. However, after an upgrade, change of provider or if you experience problems, it's a good idea to go to Options >Advanced Options >Host Routing Table >Menu Key >Register Now. This will force the device to register on the network and your provider will push your service books back onto the machine. It should not change any data or settings.

Hidden Settings Menus on the BlackBerry

There are a number of well hidden settings menus for the use of service staff which have gradually become public. There is a fairly full list at http://www.martintobing.com which formed the basis for my original list - extra items have come from numerous other places, mostly Blackberry conference postings and I have removed a few which refer to the BES setups or are ones I consider dangerous. I have highlighted the ones I consider useful and have tried.

Change Battery Graph to Numerical Value:

You can change the coverage indicator to show 'signal strength' in digital (dBm) format. This is a fairly easy and safe one to try out and shows the overall proceedure .While at the home (icon) screen, hold down the ALT key while you type NMLL. The bars change to digital mode. A lower number is better, and anything between -90 to -50 dBm is good. The figures are not very clear to read so, repeat the process of holdng down the ALT key while you type NMLL and you will get the signal bars back.

Help Me Screen:

ALT+CAP+ H – Displays the Help Me screen that lists detailed device information including software version, pin, IMEI, uptime, signal strength, battery level, file free, and file total.

Event Log:

Hold down the ALT while you type LGLG. This brings up the event log where you can clear events (frees some memory) and can be useful for advanced trouble-shooting.



From Address Book

ALT+VALD – Validate the data structure and look for inconsistencies
ALT+RBLD – Force a data structure rebuild

From Inbuilt Browser

ALT+RBVS – View web page source code

From Messaging Application

ALT+VIEW – For messages, displays the RefId and FolderId for that particular message. For PIM items, displays only the RefId.

From Search Application

ALT+ADVM Search Application Enabled Advanced Global Search

From Home Screen

ALT(left)+Shift(right)+Del – Restart the Blackberry
ALT+JKVV – Display cause of PDP reject
ALT+CAP+ H – Displays the Help Me screen
ALT + EACE – Displays the Help Me screen
ALT + ESCR – Displays the Help Me screen
ALT + NMLL – Switches the signal strength from bars to a numeric value.
ALT + LGLG – Displays the Java™ event log.

From WLAN wizard screen

ALT-SMON WLAN – Enable simulated Wizard mode
ALT-SMOF WLAN – Disable simulated Wizard mode

From Theme menu

ALT-THMN – Change to no theme (B&W)
ALT-THMD – Change to default theme

Date/Time (Date/Time menu – No ALT+ required)

LOLO – Date/Time Show Network time values

SIM Card (Options->Advanced->SIM card – No ALT+ required)

MEPD – Display MEP info
MEP1 – Disable SIM personalization
MEP2 – Disable Network personalization
MEP3 – Disable Network subset personalization
MEP4 – Disable Service provider personalization
MEP5 – Disable Corporate personalization

Status (Options->Status)

BUYR – Data & Voice Usage
TEST – start a device test (Keyboard, GPS, RF, Audio (Handset, headset, bluetooth, Misc)

Sorting out Multiple Contacts and Calendars

Contacts:

1. Go into your address book
2. Hit the Option key and choose options
3. Type "rset"(will not show on screen)
4. Each entry will come up in turn and give an opportunity to clear all address book data with a YES.

Background from Crackberry:

You can use "RSET" with both calendar and contacts. Its the same process for both, so I'll use the calendar application as an example. Pull up your CALENDAR application, go to OPTIONS, and type "RSET", just like that, out of no where, a dialogue box will appear asking you if you want to wipe-out the calendar (don't worry about erasing all calendars, a separate dialogue box will appear for each calendar item in your berry). If you only want to wipe out a particular calendar, simply hit "NO" to the calendar(s) you want to keep as is and hit "YES" to the one(s) you want wiped. Same exact process for contacts applies. For both, if you do decide to wipe out a CALENDAR and/or CONTACTS profile, and it is linked to an OTA-sync account, as soon as the wipe-out is complete, the berry will try to OTA sync again.

Calendars (cical enties)

Each calendar has a cical entry which can be removed to prevent future syncs by:

go from home screen -> options -> advanced options - > service book find and delete CICAL for calenders you do not want to sync

 

Useful Links - mainly to do with upgrading

I looked into upgrading me Blackberry Bold 9700 to version 6 software but there seemed to be a consensus that more would be lost than gained except in browsing where I am using Opera in any case. I have included some of the links I found interesting.

Download sites for operating system upgrades

Upgrading information

Blackberry OS Upgrade Myths

Applications

BIS Sync - The Blackberry native alternative to Google Sync

Google Sync (the app) is no longer available for download from the Google mobile apps website. It is threatened that people who already have it will be able to use it till October and then Google to stop the syncing via the already installed app completely at the Gmail end.

BIS Syncing is an alternative and uses the facilities built into the Blackberry by RIM. Some people find it better but less flexible as far as the number of calendars and it may change the address fields slightly. The proceedure to swap is

Changes made on the BB (to calendar or contacts) should be reflected instantly on the Google Account. Any changes made on the Google Account take longer to reflect on the BB Device as this only checked periodically by RIM for obvious reasons - allow 4 hours average.

If you do want the contact list updated instantly,a suggestion is to go to the Contact Options on the device - uncheck 'wireless sync' for the particular Contact List (in the Contact List Options). Save. At this point, you will get an email that sync has been disabled. Now, go back to the Contact Options and go to the Contact List Options and RECHECK 'wireless sync'. This is more like a manual sync.

BBSAK (BlackBerry Swiss Army Knife)

Unfortunately BBSAK is once more a Windows program which does not run under linux using Wine. It does however do a lot of very useful things, for example if you need to backup applications. It also lets you save particular .cod files which are the basis of applications and also to create a .jad file to reinstall them. I have done this to preserve my files for Google Sync which can no longer be downloaded so I can reinstall it up to the point where Google completely stuff one by removing any facilities at the Gmail Contacts end. It is also the first place to go if you somehow 'brick' your Blackberry and for reinstalling or updating the operating system

It is much better documented than most programs so I will not go into any specifics - the following is a quick guide/feature list:

Barry

Barry brings some of the funtionallity of the Desktop Manager to Linux. There is only an outdated version (0.15) in Ubuntu at present although 12.10 will have the latest version.

There is a full description and documentation for the latest Barry (0.18.3) starting at http://www.netdirect.ca/software/packages/barry but in summary Barry can

Installing the latest Barry on Debian, Ubuntu or Mint

Starting with the 0.18.x version series, Barry and OpenSync binary packages are available via apt-get. See http://www.netdirect.ca/software/packages/barry/installdebian.php

To install the latest version of Barry onto Ubuntu 12.04, you will need to update your /etc/apt/sources.list file by:

sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

andding the following line

deb http://download.barry.netdirect.ca/barry-latest/ ubuntu1204 main

There are multiple versions of Ubuntu and Debian available. Replace the word "ubuntu1204" above with the version you are using from

ubuntu1004
ubuntu1104
ubuntu1110
ubuntu1204
squeeze

For Mint, pick the version of Debian or Ubuntu that your version of Mint is based on.

Finally, you will need to update your apt keyring by:

gpg --keyserver pgp.mit.edu --recv-key B6C2250E
gpg --armor --export B6C2250E > barry.key
sudo apt-key add barry.key
sudo apt-get update

Barry is split up into multiple binary packages. For most non-development systems, you will need to install libbarry18 barry-util barrybackup-gui barrydesktop libtar0 by:

sudo apt-get install libbarry18 barry-util barrybackup-gui barrydesktop libtar0

Note: You either need to specifically include libtar0 above to force an update or you will get errors until the next System Update as Barry provides and is dependent on the newer version.

You are now ready to run Barry Desktop from the Dash. I have done some trial runs of the GUI and the it is impressive in its ability to inspect and edit all the database items. Backups failed until I updated libtar0 but after that I could make backup of all my data in a few seconds which makes me feel much more secure playing with address books and synchronisation.

Barry Screenshot facility for Blackberry

I tried the screenshot facility by:

bjavaloader screenshot test.bmp

Screenshot
and there was a file in my home folder just like that . I have converted it to a .png to save space but it still shows the clarity of the Blackberry screens 480 x 360 resolution. I have used this several times on this page with a higher compression so I have left this as well.


 

 

Synchronising Blackberry Contacts and Calendars with multiple PCs, Laptops [and other Smart Phones]

  1. This is arguably one of the most important functions required for life on the move or even in multiple locations. It is essential to be able to replace an old fashioned Address Book which carried with one kept updating for life and for a Diary/Calendar. One would expect these functions it to be implemented between all PDAs, Smart Phones and Computers in a variety of flexible ways including the Internet (Cloud in modern speak) but that is not the general case - it may apply to Apples but that is about it. I have a system between my computers (SyncKolab) which uses a standard IMAP server on my website (My email servers are a paid for service) to synchronise Thunderbird Contacts, Calendars and Tasks - it is reasonably reliable for Contacts but less so for Calendars and there is a compatible version for Android devices I have not used as I have not yet switched to Android.

The Blackberry used to have an App provided by Google to synchronise Contacts and Calendar Items to Google Gmail Contacts and multiple Google Calendars on the web - you needed a Google account but it was free and you did not need to have a gmail (email) account in use on the Blackberry. That has been withdrawn but the Blackberry Internet Service (BIS) has built in support of synchronisation of multiple gmail accounts and you can enable the synchronisation of Contacts and Calendars when you add a gmail account. It is not quite as flexible and instantaneous as the Google Sync which was normally done manually but BIS Sync is fully automatic. Changes on the Blackberry and sent immediately to Google on the Web but changes on the web are only found when BIS (ie your ISP) checks and pushs them onto the Blackberry - this is, as would be expected, less frequent than the checking and pushing of email and changes can by repute sometimes take several hours to propagate. To loosely quote a selection of RIM documents:

BIS Gmail Calendar synchronization by design only synchronizes as far back as 14 days for individual events. Reoccurring events such as birthdays will appear past the 14 day threshold. Any future events will synchronize to the BlackBerry. Entries made from the BlackBerry are synchronized to the web-based calendar within seconds. For entries created on the web-based calendar, it can take up to half an hour for the appointment to appear on the BlackBerry smartphone. Only the primary/default calendar for each account is synchronized and shared calendars are not supported.

A single BlackBerry can synchronize with the Contacts of multiple supported email accounts. Each email account will have its own contact list which can be seen in the Contacts Options. The contacts can be displayed in a single unified list or can be filtered based on the email account they are synchronized with. The wireless synchronization will only synchronize between the BlackBerry smartphone and the associated email account. Contacts will not synchronize from one email account to another when multiple supported accounts are integrated. Wireless contact synchronization with Yahoo! Mail, GMail/Google Mail requires BlackBerry Device Software 5.0, BlackBerry 6, or BlackBerry 7. Contact synchronization with MSN, Hotmail, and/or Windows Live email integrations is only available on BlackBerry smartphones running BlackBerry 6 or BlackBerry 7. Contact synchronization occurs every four hours and is limited to 10,000 contacts. Once this number is reached, data synchronization of new contacts will stop and the BlackBerry smartphone user will get a message. See here for more details

"You have reached the maximum number of contacts allowed by your <emailaddress> account. The BlackBerry Internet Service will continue to synchronize the existing contacts for <emailaddress> on your BlackBerry device to your <emailaddress> account. You can continue to add contacts for <emailaddress> to your BlackBerry device but the BlackBerry Internet Service will not synchronize these new contacts with your <emailaddress> account."

In summary the BIS Sync service gives a very simple way to link a Blackberry to a new or existing free Gmail account to backup and synchronise Contacts and Calender Items between Blackberries and, at this point a web calender and webmail contacts list. It is not perfect - one is at the mercy of Google choosing to make further changes or withdraw the [free] services and Google is rapid taking over from Microsoft as the most evil large corporation in my mind. But for the moment it is the best and simplest option assuming we can also get reliable way to integrate Thunderbird/Lightning with Gmail so we are not dependent on having a live web connection and using a webmail solution.

The BIS Sync Service does not synchronise every Blackberry field and makes some changes during synchronisation. There is a table below but in summary: Address Fields 1 and 2 are merged whilst Categories, Display Name, Custom 1-4, Birthday, Anniversary, Web page and Pictures are not synchronised by BIS Sync.

Another feature of BIS Sync is that it only Synchronises with the 'My Contacts' Group in Gmail Contacts. Any Contacts added on the Blackberry are automatically in this Group when they are transferred to Gmail Contacts and Contacts added on the Web to Gmail Contacts are only transferred when they have been added to that Group. My Contacts is now the only Group created by default in Gmail Contacts. This is the not unusual - almost all programs sychronising Smart phones and PDAs synchrose the My Contacts Group.

At present there are a few add-ons to Thunderbird which can Sync Contacts or Calendars between Gmail and Thunderbird but none that do both. There are bound to be some limitations as there will be three different implementations of Contacts and Calendars supporting different fields but perhaps the bigest concern is that the Add-ons (Extensions) have been written by single enthusiasts with very little additional support which gives problems in being kept bug free and up to date as Google and Firefox evolve.

 

gContactSync for use in Synchronising Thunderbird Contacts to Gmail and hence between many Machines and to a Blackberry.

gContactSync is an add-on (extension) that synchronizes contacts between Google (Gmail) and Thunderbird, and also supports importing contacts from Facebook, Twitter, and more. You can synchronize multiple accounts with multiple address books, and it fully supports regular and hosted Google Accounts. By default, it synchronizes the first four e-mail addresses, the first screen name and number of each type in Google and every attribute in Thunderbird (not all of these are visible in Gmail, however). It adds several new fields to Thunderbird for e-mail addresses, screen names, and numbers. Anything that is not synchronized should ideally be preserved but there are a couple of important exceptions where data can be lost in Thunderbird following a reset which results in a reload from the server. There are currently (December 2012) two versions 0.3.5 which is more stable but lacks the facilities to do what I require and the beta version of 0.4 (0.4.0b2 in Dec 2012) that I am using.

gContactSync can be set up to synchronise multiple Gmail Groups and in that mode expects the default groups of My Contacts, Friends, Coworkers and Families as was the case with Gmail Contacts until very recently when the defaults were changed to the single My Contacts group. See http://support.google.com/mail/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=97952 for further details of the changes and situation with existing contacts in those groups. Thunderbird does not implement Groups - there is a hidden field called Categories but that is not used by gContactSync and instead there has been a slightly uneasy shotgun marriage between Google Groups and Thunderbird Mailing Lists. I say uneasy because there are considerable differences between their Raison d'être - Thunderbird's Lists are a rather basic mechanism to add lists of contacts to emails and therefore expect an email address to be present whilst Google's Groups are much more flexible. Furthermore there are some long standing and intermittent open bugs in the Thunderbird Address Lists, in particular with respect to drag and drop. See https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=282841#c8 as an example of problems going back over 6 years.

Preparation - Backing up and test set-up

When I started to use gContactSync I took a lot of precautions in backing up as when such synchronisation programs go wrong they can destroy lots of contacts or make multiple duplicates - I am not sure which is worse so better to play safe!

Installing gContactSync

I installed version 0.3.5 in the initial stages and almost imediately switched to the latest development (beta) version - go to gContactSync , scroll to the bottom of the page and expand Developer Channel where you will find the link to install the latest development version. Once you have downloaded a development version it will automatically update to the latest development version.

Setting-up gContactSync.

It is important to do the initial Synchronisation correctly. Either the address book on the PC or in gmail preferably needs to be empty to avoid any duplicates and I found that by far the best way and the easiest way to just create a new empty address book in Thunderbird (Open the Address Book -> File -> New -> Address Book) or even easier create it within gContactSync and then synchronise to a Gmail account with an existing Contacts list. You can then copy your existing contacts across to the new Address Book in sections and synchronise to get them into gmail if they are not already there. There are various choices on the setup screen for an Account in the Groups and Contacts to Synchronise dropdown and one needs an appropriate choice.

During all my early tests and for many months I thought that the All Groups and Contacts was the best option but I am currently experimenting with more success using just the My Contacts option. This has the advantage of automatically adding every item in the Thunderbird address book to the Google Contacts 'My Contacts' Group without having to create/use a flaky Thunderbird Mailing list. Your choice will have to depend on whether you already use Google Groups, use Thunderbird Mailing Lists and/or are synchronising a PDA/Smart Phone. I had so many troubles with Thunderbird and Lists in the past that I have never added them to my Personal Address Book (PAB) and have just used them when absolutely essential in copies of my PAB so my choice is more obvious as I do not need to ever synchronise them. I however intend to look again into the behaviour of Thunderbird Lists in more detail and will initially write up what I find in a Diary page.

gContactSync Testing with Beta Version 0.4.0b2 and higher (Dec 2012)

One is prudent to run some initial tests when you start to use an new synchronisation program and not to risk your master address list (Personal Address Book) or arguably ever - run gContactSync on Personal Address Book (PAB). There are a few extra steps I went through to ensure that all the fields are correctly synchronised as gContactSync is forced into a making a few actions which seem a little idiosyncratic at first sight but are actually sensible and others are work-rounds for shortfalls and bugs in the Google APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). It is worth reading http://www.pirules.org/blog/ which is far more than a blog as it has the various bits of information that help one work out why some things have been done the way they have.

You will notice that once gContactSync is install the contact editor has a lot of more tabs as gContactSync (and MoreFunctionsForAddressBook if you use it) both add their own extra tabs. You will also note that address book items without an email have often have a dummy address added - without this a contact without a email address will not synchronise - the program description implies they have this dummy email address added by gContactSync to get round a Thunderbird problem with address lists items without email addresses causing a freeze/crash. One outstanding anomaly if you are set up to synchronise all groups and Contacts is that one synchronises with a new contact (or one that has been copied into the address book) it does not end up in 'My Contacts' in gmail contacts but in 'Other Contacts' which does not transfer to the Blackberry and likewise deleted contacts are also transferred to 'other contacts' from Thunderbird - I find that for my appliation editing is best done on my Blackberry. This seems to be a known feature rather than a bug but it would be nice to have an option available.

You may wish to follow the same route as I did to test gContactSync and the various workrounds I will come to latter. What I did was to set up an extra two address books so I could test using synchronisation between these two contact lists rather than use separate machines. I used a 'spare' gmail account I set up earlier for this purpose. This technique worked very well. I started off by creating the two address books then added the two new accounts to them. I turned off all the fancy things with phone numbers in the preferences windows so I kept as close to Thunderbird as possible.

You need to have Address Synchronisation turned on (this is off by default on version 3.5 but should on in 0.4.0) as there were and still are various differences in the way Thunderbird and Google store addresses. Thunderbird stores what are know as structured addresses, which are the individual components of an address (street, city, state, zip code, country, etc.) while Gmail originally only stored a formatted address which contained the entire address in a single field. Google now automatically converts addresses between these two formats hence version 0.4 has it on by default.

The basic test was to create a new Contact and make sure it is transferred between address books and then fill in all the standard and extra fields and see that they were all transferred correctly - that is not always the whole story as the changes also have to be detected so the test really needs to be done field by field. Many of the fields are common between Google Contacts and Thunderbird addresses but some are not consistent and more likely to give problems. These include Phone numbers and fields that make up an Address. There are also a set of extended fields in Thunderbird some of which can only been seen and changed by Extensions such as MoreFunctionsForAddressBook and some are added by gContactSync and these also needed to be investigated.

I should also describe my set up as there may be interactions to sort out. I am (Dec 2012) using Thunderbird 17.02 with the Lightening Extensions to give Calendars and Tasks - an almost universal set up. In addition I have several Extensions which are to do with address books:

Unexpected results in the tests

  1. New Contacts have to be synced before they are added locally to My Contacts then synced again if you are using options synchronising groups to lists. Not sure if this is a bug or an anomaly
  2. Address Line 2 is a real problem - it is not synchronised as it does not exist in Gmail Contacts but it can still shows a conflict if it is changed and updating of everything on that card can be blocked. A quick and dirty workaround is to force synchronisation in the case of a conflict to be from the server to local which at least allows other changes to be propagated even if the second address field does not sync or see below for better solution. This is a bug in my book.
  3. Contacts without a email address will not synchronise - the program description implies they should have a dummy email address added by gContactSync to get round a Thunderbird problem with address lists items without email addresses causing a freeze/crash but this does not occur if the field contains and invalid address or a text string such as none or is cleared locally. Clearing the field online in Google Contacts leads correctly to the dummy address being created. Not sure if this is a bug or an anomaly

Summary of supported fields and synchronisation results using gContactSync (and SyncKolab) TB to TB via Google and Blackberry to Thunderbird via Google using Google or BIS Sync on the Blackberry.

The initial table has been extended to include a comparison of gContactSync (SyncG') with SyncKolab (SyncK' ) which I also use and similar results from BIS Sync for Blackberry to investigate the wider integration of address books.

y = supported or sync works . N or n = Not Supported or sync fails. h = hidden field. C = Column can be displayed. S = Cards can be searched for this field.

Some shortfalls and need and consequences of Workrounds in the various programs are highlighted.

Field
Basic TB fields
MFFAB fields gC'Sync fields SyncG' SyncK'

BB fields

BIS Sync
or GoogleC
First Name
y
y
y
y
y
Last Name
y
y
y
y
y
Display Name
y
C
S
C
y
y
Prefer Display (Tick)
y
y
N
Nickname
y
C
y
y
y
y
Email
y
C
S
C
y
y
y
y
Additional Email
y
C
C
y
y
y
y
Screenname
y
C
y
y
Prefered Format
y
y
y
Allow Remote
y
y
Y with 3.0
Work
y
C
C
y
y
y
y
Work 2 (BB tel field)
             
n
 
y
y
Home
y
C
C
y
y
y
y
Home 2 (BB tel field)
             
n
 
y
y
Fax
y
C
C
y
y
y
y
Pager
y
C
C
y
y
y
y
Mobile
y
C
C
y
y
y
y
Mobile 2 (BB tel field)
               
y
y
Home Address 1
y
C
y
y
y
y
Home Address 2
y
N/Y
y
y
Merged into Home Address 1 on transfer to Google
Home City
y
C
S
y
y
y
y
Home State
y
C
y
y
y
y
Home Zip
y
C
y
y
y
y
Home Country
y
C
S
y
y
y
y
Home Web Page
y
C
y
y
y
n
Birthdate
y
Birth Year
y
y
y
n
Title
y
C
C
y
y
y
y

Department

y
C
C
y
y
y
y
Organisation
y
C
C
S
y
y
y
y
Work Address 1
y
C
y
y
y
y
Work Address 2
y
N/Y
y
y
Merged into Work Address 1 on transfer to Google
Work City
y
C
S
y
y
y
y
Work State
y
C
y
y
y
y
Work Zip
y
C
y
y
y
y
Work Country
y
C
S
y
y
y
y
Work Web Page
y
C
y
y
y
Custom 1
y
C
S
y
y
User1
n
Custom 2
y
C
S

y

y
User2
n
Custom 3
y
C
S
Y/N
y
User3
n
Custom 4
y
C
S
Y/N
y
User4
n
Notes
y
S
y
y
y
y
Photograph
y
y
y
y
n
Categories
h
y
S
N/Y
y
y
n
Anniversary
y
Y
y
y
n
Additional Emails (5)
y
N
N
Spouse name
y
N
N
Card Mod date
y
?
N
Extra Fields (10)
y
N
N
Phone 6 and 7
y
Y
N
Additional Emails (2)
y
Y
N
Additional Screennames (5)
y
Y
N
People (4)
y
Y
N
Other Phone (BB tel field)
y
y

The above are the results of actual tests rather than what the manuals say should happen. Most have been 'Round Trip tests. By 'Round Trip' I mean that I create or edit, say, a contact on machine 1 (or address book 1), Synchronise twice to make sure that there are no problems of alternating changes. Synchronise on machine 2 (or address book 2), again twice for luck, make a minor change in the comment field to force the change to be propagated back to the first machine and check that everything is what one expects. The fields marked N/Y and Y/N are because I have used a fudge to allow synchronisation of HomeAddress2 and WorkAddress2 between machines running Thunderbird to preserve a large number of my addresses which have a second line (~170 in 1000) and similarly for Categories which is a hidden field but available through some Thunderbird extensions I use. Details are in the next section:

Solving the Second Line of Home and Work Addresses problem and Synchronising the Categories field.

The address field problems occur because the fields used by Thunderbird and by Google Contacts do not match. Google does now support 'fixed' fields like Thunderbird for all Addresses but one field (the second Thunderbird address line has no equivalent). Google Contacts instead has a first address field which supports multiple lines. This gives a problem as the second address field tends to get lost during transfers between machines running TB or during a reset which reloads everything from the Google Server.

gContactSync however has a facility to synchronise 10 extra fields which do not exist in Google Contacts but are fields that gContactSync should sync with other Thunderbird clients. These fields are not visible in Gmail; only gContactSync sees these fields and knows what to do with them. The names must be valid fields in Thunderbird. It's main purpose is for users who synchronize a single Gmail account across several computers (such as businesses who synchronize business contacts to their employees' PCs). There are currently are ten of these extension/extended fields which are preset to useful functions such as 'preferred email format' and the 4 Custom fields. In version 3 they were on a tab which has been removed in version 0.4. The feature is still there but it requires editing preferences in the Thunderbird Config Editor to change the fields that are synchronized.

I have decided that preserving my information in HomeAddress2 and WorkAddress2 is more important than synchronising Custom 3 and Custom 4 that I do not use at present so my fix is:

Edit -> Preferences -> Advanced -> General tab and click Configuration Editor and read warning then continue and Search for extensions.gcontactsync.extended and right click -> modify and change extended9 value to HomeAddress2 from Custom3 and extended10 value from Custom4 to Workaddress2

I have also used the same mechanism to enable me to synchronise the hidden but useful Categories field the same way by,

Edit -> Preferences -> Advanced -> General tab and click Configuration Editor, read warning and ignore, then continue and Search for extensions.gcontactsync.extended and right click -> modify and change the extended6 value to Categories - this replaces something I have never heard of called PopularityIndex.

This has to be done on every copy of Thunderbird you are using (in fact within every profile if you have multiple profiles) before you do any serious synchronisation to avoid loss of information from the second line of Addresses or the Categories.

This may sound complicated so I will show a screen dump of the end result which, after making changes to support Categories, HomeAddress2 and WorkAddress2, looks like this:

Changes to Extended Fields

This change allows the second address fields to be synchronised between Thunderbird address books but not in a way accessible to Google Contacts and at the additional expense of loss of synchronisation of Custom 3 and Custom 4 - I do not use them but that might be a problem to others. I have put a posting in the conference suggesting more such fields are made available.

Summary of Configuration changes made to gContactSync in Preferences.

When these configuration changes have been made the Preferences screens should look like this:

Main tab of Preferences MenuInterfaces tab of Preferences Menu

Setting up gContactSync Accounts

I have rather skipped over how to set up gContactSync Accounts which is where the form of likage between Gmail Contacts and Thunderbird Addressbooks is defined. I will now do so in some detail as I initially did not undersatnd exactly what the various settings implied and the help and howto information is sparse. Firstly one must remember that a Gmail Contact Group can be Synchronised to either a single addressbook or to a TB List within an Address book. A good default is to avoid all use of Thunderbird Lists which are flaky to say the least and to Synchronise only with the 'master' Group 'My Contacts' where all your normal contacts should reside. This is exactly the synchronisation set up used by most PDAs and Smart Phones when they synchronise with Gmail Contacts. This is certainly what I have found best and trouble free for me when synchronising my Blackberry to Thunderbird and Thunderbird to Thunderbird between up to 7 machines.

This is also the default already provided if you touch nothing under Groups and Contacts to Synchronise as the dropdown is already set to My Contacts and you do not need to click Find all Groups for this setting. Just use the New Address Book button to create a new address book with a name such as GCS shown in the example below and the click Add a New Account link to get to a window where you can enter your Gmail Account and Password details. At the end it will look like this for the GCS address book which is highlighted although not very clearly.

Screenshot

One does not have to synchronise to My Contacts - you might have a Google Group called Newsletters which you want to Synchronise to an address book. Now is the time to Click the Find all Groups button and you will see below that the extra Group called Newsletters is in the drop down list and has been selected instead. Click save changes and you are set up.

Screenshot

In the case of Synchronising with Newsgroups you might want to make sure that it is never updated by accident from some machines. Check the Show Advanced Settinngs box to give access to another dropdown menu where you can pick the direction for synchronisation.

Screenshot

The last configuration I will discuss is also the most flexible where All groups and contacts are synchronised. In this case each Google Contact Group is synchronised to a matching Thunderbrd List. I used it for a period but I did not need the flexibility and have never used Thunderbird Lists very much as I have never found them consistent regardless of their use with gContactSync. If you already use Thunderbird Lists successfully or already have a lot of Google Contact Groups you should try this but make backups. Lists Items have to have an email address and gContactSync will add a dumm one when required which is visible in Thunderbird but should not be transferred to Google Contacts. gContactSync will create Lists for My Contacts, Friends, Family, Coworkers and any Groups you have created in Google Contacts and vice versa automatically for your Thunderbird Lists.

Screenshot

Cleaning up old Thunderbird Address Books

My Thunderbird address books have a long and chequered history. They started life at least twelve years ago as address books in Microsoft Outlook and have suffered a number of syncing programs including Microsoft Active Sync and SyncKolab. I have two main address books, the root one formed the basis of that synchronised with the Blackberry and was transfered to the Blackberry via an LDIF export, import into Microsoft Outlook Express then into Outlook 2003 (2003 does not read LDIF or import from TB directly) then was transfered to the Blackberry using the Blackberry Desktop Software which Syncs Outlook 2003 and the Blackberry. It was then Synchronised and Backed up using Google Sync to Google Contacts and is now back on in TB via gContactSync. The amazing thing is that it mostly worked after all that. In summary:

  1. Some contacts without an email address have had a [No Email address found] string added to the first email field which prevent gContactSync from working as it can not add its random dummy email address to the field which is required to make TB lists work reliably.
  2. The original address book has a large number of invalid Birthdays and Anniversaries. The fields seem to need either a sensible date or be blank otherwise it causes errors in the Google APIs (Birthdays) or in gContactSync (Anniversaries) which show in the various error logs and prevent transfers to the server.
  3. Comment fields with characters that could not be read are replaced by err:501 or err:509 during transfers
  4. Cards with duplicate email addresses anywhere elsewhere in the address book are not synchronised or transferred.

The problems above should not affect most people but if you want to see some the somewhat brute force solutions I ended up using on a large address book Click here to to expand this topic

How to get a new card into the Gmail 'My Contacts' Group when synchronising Groups and Lists

It is known that Thunderbird has severe problems with Lists and, in particular, Drag and Drop into them which have been going on for over ten years judging from some bug reports. What is worse the problems seem to be dependent on any changes in version so one week you may think something is working and the next it has again reverted. There are some further quirks when one is synchronising using the 'All Groups and Contacts' setting in getting cards into the My Contacts Group which is essential if you are also synchronising a PDA/Smart Phone. Once they are in the Groups and Lists updates to cards seem to be fine.

What happens is that when one creates a new card or drags one across from another address book and synchronises the card only appears in Google in the other 'group' which I think is to be expected. If one also drags it into the My Contacts list in TB before the first synchronisation it still only ends up in 'other'. If however one does a synchronisation as soon as you have created a new card or draged one across from another address book ie before adding to any lists and then drags the contact into My Contacts list in TB it correctly transfers to My Contacts in Google on the next synchronisation. Trying to get round an initial mistake and not synchronising at the correct time by deleting the card from the local list, syncing then try to add it back does not work and it does not show in the list until after a restart of TB - there must be a shadow of the old entry in the list until Thunderbird is restarted.

This requirement on timing of the synchronisations and problems with deleted entries is not a logical behavior and seems to be a bug but it is not clear if it is with Thunderbird, gContactSync or even the Gmail Contacts API. I have seen somewhere that there is an automatic compaction of Thunderbird address books and lists (at shutdown or computer restart??) which does not always reset all the pointers correctly especially after an error has occured and that in the limit one sometimes has to delete all the contents (or create a new address book) and download again from the Gmail Contacts (ie use the reset function) or reload from a backup (But does a copy of the .mab file still hold the errors??).

I do not like this unpredictable behaviour. At present I am using accounts set up to just synchronise the Google My Contacts Group and I do not have any Contact Lists on the Address book it is synchronised to. I also have an account for All Groups and Contacts with a different address book on one of my machines to continue testing. It may not be a good long term solution to be duplicating every Synchronisation on a machine but it does make testing very easy and gives an element of backup against one-off failures.

Conclusions on gContactSync

gContactSync works surprisingly well once one has done the one off setup and has a clean address book - almost all my problems were not caused by gContactSync itself but by the data fields in my original address books - it is possible that better error checking and handling could be included. I have been using it full time for 8 months between several Linux machines and my Blackberry without any problems. I continued to use SyncKolab in Parallel during this period to synchronises my calendars and tasks and to provide an independent address book. If I did not have an IMAP mailbox available to support SyncKolab I would now be very happy to solely use gContactSync for Thunderbird Contacts and the 'Provider for Gmail Calendar' add-in for Calendars. Yes there are a few quirks and some need for configuration to preserve and access some fields and to make new entries easily but that is a small price for what has been a very robust piece of software. I do however find it worrying that the only pieces of software I know of to carry out this very important task are written and supported by single developers working in their own time whilst Google is withdrawing the support it provided from its competitors such as Blackberry. We all owe a great vote of thanks to such people as Josh Geenen.

Using the Provider for Google Calendars Add-on to Synchronise the Gmail Calendar (and hence a Blackberry) with Lightning

If you need both read and write access to a Google Calendar from Thunderbird/Lightning the best way is to install the Provider for Google Calendar from addons.mozilla.org. This gives a very simple way to get an extra calendar in Lightening/Thunderbird which is synchronised with the Google Calendar and hence your Blackberry if you are using BIS with a Gmail account with synchronisation enabled. There may be some anamolies if you have very fancy repeats or alarms but all normal calendar items and functions are fine.

Get the extension from https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/addon/provider-for-google-calendar/ - Download the file by right-clicking on the link and choose Save-as. Then in Thunderbird with Lightning installed, choose Extras/Tools > Addons and click on the install button. Point it to the downloaded file and install the extension.

To access your calendar data, you need to retrieve your private XML URL from the Google Calendar UI.

1. Open your Google Calendar
2. Click "Settings - Calendars"
3. Click on the Calendar you would like to use in Lightning
4. Click on the private XML button and copy the link that is shown.

The private link will look something like: https://www.google.com/calendar/feeds/username%40gmail.com/private-1ba218e6a25bfc32b25a4eb3f9ee6d96/basic

After installing the 'Provider for Google Calendars' extension you can create a new calendar by File -> New -> Calendar and choose "On the network". Then pick "Google Calendar" and paste or enter the URL to your calendar and check the cache box. Click "next" and choose a name and color. Click "next" and a popup appears in which you have to enter your login (with or without the @gmail.com part) and password and choose whether you want Lightning/Sunbird to save your password. Choosing "next" creates the calendar and provides you with two-way access to the google-calendar. There will be a new toolbar item in Calendar view called Synchronise which synchronises your Google Calendars on demand as well as when you start and at 30 minute intervals.

Using the Blackberry as a Bluetooth Modem

The Blackberry contains a bluetooth modem and Modem Mode Enabled will be displayed at the top of the screen when his is enabled. I have found that the Blackberry Bold 9700 can only initiate a connection in 2G Network Mode after which you can switch to 3G & 2G or even 3G if you are sure you are in a suitable area with good signal strength. These settings are by Blackberry-> Manage Connections -> Mobile Network Options. Having a GPRS connection but not in 2G Network Mode does not allow you to make a connection reliably - you must be in the 2G Network Mode. Once you have made the initial connection you can use 3G reliably and I have held connections for several hours many times. Note I am not sure if this is a feature of all Blackberry phones and all networks - the 2G requirement is true for Vodafone UK and Vodafone NZ but other networks have not been tested.


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