Category Archives: Software

Signal Bars

The signal strength of your BlackBerry is pretty easy to see from the number of bars displayed. It’s an intuitive way to measure the strength of the wireless network in your location. However, there is a question when you dig deeper. What do the signal strength bars mean in technical or physical terms?


Signal Bars Screenshot


There is an actual number associated with the signal strength of your BlackBerry. To see what it is, go to the home screen and type Alt-N,M,L,L. If you are on a BlackBerry with Sure Type keyboard like the 7100 series, you
will have to type Alt-B,B,M,L,L.

After typing the sequence, you should see your signal strength meter change from bars to a number. To change it back, just retype the sequence of keys.

The higher the number, the worse your reception. The number of bars is determined by the following chart:

5 bars -40 to -77
4 bars -78 to -86
3 bars -87 to -92
2 bars -93 to -101
1 bar -102 to -120

The minus sign isn’t displayed on your BlackBerry, but the number refers to dBm, which is decibels relative to 1 milliwatt. So just take the number displayed on your BlackBerry signal straighten indicator and put a minuse ( – ) sign in front of it and then you it.

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If you want to save energy, then you should try to stay in a area with good wireless network coverage. In fact a low signal strength can severely impact the time between two recharge cycles of your BlackBerry. Luckily there are some tools to help you save energy in areas witch bad reception:

SmartWiFi remembers locations where there is access to a WiFi hotspot. SmartWiFi then deactivates WiFi whenever you are to far away from a WiFi location. Pretty smart.

Another sweet toy to save energy on the BlackBerry is BatteryBooster, which switches off certain functions on your BlackBerry when they are useless. This app is a good answer to the dreaded empty battery alert. However, with BatteryBooster you still have to charge your BlackBerry’s battery. Just the time between two recharge cycles is increased.

The latest gizmo to get a better reception is SignalBooster. If you permanently live or work in an area with low celltower coverage, it might be worth a try.

Ring2 audio-conferencing solution with BlackBerry remote control

Ring2 Logo





If you work in a large corporation, chances are you probably spend a lot of your time reading emails on your BlackBerry and in conference calls using speaker phones like this very nice one from Polycom.




Now, I’d much rather sit in on a conference call than fly across the country to attend a meeting in person any day. But you have to admit, conference calling can also be a pain. First, you need to schedule the time of the call, tell everybody which number to call and give them a participant code. Once the call begins, so does the confusion. Who is on the call? Is anybody late? You have to ask everybody if you can start and make sure no one is missing. And maybe it’s just my company, but it seems like there’s always somebody (Bob!) who joins the conference call from his cell phone, huffing and puffing down the street past honking cars and screaming people.

Enter Ring2. Imagine you have a remote control where you can see and control everything that is going on with your speaker phone. Now imagine that remote control is always with you anyway, because it’s as close as your BlackBerry.


Ring2 Screenshot 1


Ring2 Screenshot3


Using the Ring2 Conference Controller on your BlackBerry, you get a real time display of all the participants in the call. Even better, the participant list is linked to your address book, so each participant is displayed by name instead of number. But most importantly, you are in full control as the leader of the conference call. Remember that guy calling from his cell phone? You can mute him with one simple wheel click. Someone forgot to join? You simply click on your address book and one click later, the new participant is dynamically added to the call. Is that cool or what?

The Ring2 Conference Controller includes all the standard features you would find in a traditional conferencing solution such as a dial in toll free number, and reservationless virtual conference rooms. Other fun features include the ability to send conference call invitations (pre-filled with all the relevant call information) using your BlackBerry email, the ability to record a call, and the ability to assign billing codes to a call in case your accounting department requires it or you need to bill the call to a customer (if you are a consultant or a lawyer for example).


Ring2 Screenshot 4


Ring2 Conference Controller installed very smoothly on our 8700. Fully integrated with the BES, the deployment for an enterprise is simple. It is fully hosted, so you won’t even need to install new servers in your office. The user interface is intuitive and powerful; we were making calls within minutes of installation.

This is a really innovative product and no doubt it is going to be a success within the BlackBerry world. Now that we’ve used it here at, we’re going to have to keep it! :)

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This article is licensed under a Creatice Commons License.

Incoming Missle Warning on your BlackBerry

Israeli start-up Cellact, a developer of cellular messaging technology, has begun marketing a system to kibbutzim (collective communities), towns and factories in northern Israel that enables the issue of warnings of missile attacks. The system, which will be available to subscribers of all cellular companies, will issue a warning of a missile or bomb attack, shooting, or other emergency announcements.

I hope your life is you 0.20 NIS (== $0.045) worth 😉


The BlackBerry – your Crisis Assistent

Created especially for the BlackBerry platform, WIC allows business and public safety officials to update emergency response plans, create forms and check lists, view images, monitor camera feeds, locate personnel and retain legally mandated records.

Sounds interesting, I hope many people gets help in crisis situations.

Source: BlackBerrys Assist in Crisis Preparation

But there is more, than just waiting for the next alert. You can and should look ahead and prepare for the next crisis. There are a number of manuals, that can help you survive longer in any dangerous situation. First of all I want to mention the US Army survival guide, which is a really worth reading. It’s not to long so you can get through it in a few hours and then you definitely know how to react if there is a war happening.

Another similar tool to get notified about natural disasters is the DisasterAlert app for your BlackBerry. DisasterAlert shows you natural threats on a map so you can quickly react should anything happen nearby.

Please share your tips on how to prepare for any disasters or crisis situations in the comments below.

NextAction! – Productivity made with GTD methods – but won’t start!?

NextAction!Some time ago we were talking about “Implementing Getting Things Done with your Blackberry” and presented the market leading productivity tools.

Because I tested the programs and reviewed them I had them for free. Just a day ago I have purchased the license of NextAction! for myself. Why? Because we have received this special offer I have already posted to you :)
Because I was using a friend’s BlackBerry with BlackBerry OS 4.1 in the first review everything worked fine. However, I started the program on my private BlackBerry and had to see that it hangs. Directly at the start! Sometimes it stays in the BlackBerry desktop and sometimes there comes a black or white screen up and nothing happens anymore. Of course, I got some kind of angry and wrote after some tries and wrote to the customer support.

Once more, it was my mistake. I did not read the product page exactly where it is written: “NextAction! needs BlackBerry OS 4.1 or higher.”. What the hack?!? I thought and checked the BlackBerry OS version. It was really an old one and so I used the information from our article “How to upgrade your BlackBerry to OS 4.1″ (thanks god that we have such informative ones) and upgraded to BlackBerry OS 4.1. Suddenly – it worked like a charm!

So please keep in your mind to read the product description as good as you can. Not only at this specific product, I mean at all products you consider to purchase. You only want to buy that software that you have use for and you only want software, that is completely compatible with the latest BlackBerry hardware.

RIM announces Multimedia BlackBerry

Research in Motion
According to many rumors in some forums, serious and nonserious blogs RIM has now, more or less, official announces the next generation of BlackBerry devices featuring more multimedia features and more memory in a “thinner and lighter design”. We knew it!

Executives told shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting last night that expanding into these two markets with new products is a key goal of the next 12 months.

Next generation BlackBerrys will have improved radio performance, multimedia features, expandable memory and will boast a thinner and lighter design, said Mike Lazaridis, the president and co-chief executive.

Jim Balsillie, chairman and co-CEO, suggested that the new devices could appear as early as October.

Source: RIM announces next-gen BlackBerry

Update: New article “Aircharge introduces credit card payments processing for Blackberry”

Hosted BlackBerry Enterprise Server

For companies with a low IT budget who are in need of a BlackBerry Enterpise Server – this might be the solution: RIM introduces Hosted BlackBerry Enterprise Servers offered through third-party service providers. David Wilmering, product marketing director for Research In Motion: “This way there’s no up-front costs and smaller enterprises can pay as they grow.â€? For more information click here.

BlackBerry EBooks – Special Offer until 2006-07-31

Because of our last article “Reading E-Books on your Blackberry” we have just received an email from BlackBerryBooks‘ content distributor MobileSoftMarket.

They say:

“We are very pleased to see the innovative mobile content in our shop to be brought to the audience of the country wide company leaders. […] So we would like to give BlackBerryInsight the exclusive right to publish a special BlackBerryInsight discount of 10% on all products […]”

WOW! Of course we do! I guess our readers like to get good products, save money and have fun. Here is a complete summary of the discount:

  • Discount Code: HPZ94N
  • Discount: 10%
  • End Date: 2006-07-31
  • Maximum Number of Discount uses: 100
  • Minimum Amount of Purchase: $10