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Is Blackberry still relevant?

Is Blackberry still relevant?

I have been asked these words too many times to remember and I can still see why people ask.  As of the end of 2014 Blackberry had a market share of 0.5% and this from a company who just a couple of years ago was THE brand to have.  Times have changed and today people would rather have the new iPhone or Android phone instead of spending their hard earned on a Blackberry.  So if we just look at market share then I would say they are not relevant.

What happens though if we look at the bigger picture and not just smartphone market share?

I had the pleasure last week of having a go on a new Blackberry Passport and I will be honest I liked it. The screen is good, the keyboard is good and I can see who it is aimed at – business users. Business users will tend to edit spreadsheets and word documents, write emails etc rather than browse Facebook or watch videos. Business users are where Blackberry sees their future (going back to your roots as such) and with the Passport and the new Classic they have two phones with the traditional keyboard which business users like because they can type quicker.  If I wasn’t already immersed in the Android ecosystem I would definitely consider the Passport.

Lets not forget security as this is what Blackberry is all about.  Blackberry servers are renowned for being secure and with Blackberry Enterprise 12 they have a product which works cross platform so if a company uses iPhones instead of Blackberries that is not an issue.  In the enterprise this is a real bonus. Lets not forget Blackberry Messenger too.

So yes their market share is dismal but if Blackberry target the right users (ie business) with their new and existing products and forget about taking on Android and Apple they may well surprise a lot of people in the next couple of years.

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Cisco, Windows, OS X and Linux based IT Support to small businesses throughout Scotland.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter

 

 

 

 

How to stop kids running up huge bills on your smartphone

I was speaking to my wife this week (yes it does happen) when she said “I found this website earlier today that explains how easy it is for kids to run up huge bills on your mobile phone by downloading apps, you might want to take a look”

So I did and what I found was shocking!! Read the full article at your leisure.


Basically a 6 year old kid spent £3200 on playing an iphone game where you purchase food for farm animals in order to feed them. Scary hey!!

It is not only iphones that have this problem though.  If you read on the article states that Blackberry keeps you logged in for 20 minutes after purchasing an app, while Google will take your money without you entering a pin when you have set up your details on Google Play.  Sounds like a childs playground to me!!

So how do you stop kids racking up huge bills.  Hopefully this advise will help:

  • Actually use passwords!!!!!

The amount of people who don’t use passwords is shocking.  If there is no password you are giving your children free roam over you device which is not a good idea.

  • Use passwords your kids can’t guess

Kids are very smart so don’t use passwords that they can guess and don’t let them watch when you enter the password.

  • Ask your mobile provider to cap your bills

You can cap your bills at any amount above your normal bill so you don’t get any nasty surprises.

  • Supervise your children

I am as guilty as the next person when it comes to this.  My 2 year old daughter uses my Playbook most days and a lot of the time she does without me watching her.

  • Restrict App purchases

Apple

Go to settings – General – Restrictions and then decide if you want your password entered every time you make a purchase or not.

Android

Set up a PIN with your Google Play account.  This is not the default on most Android phones.

Blackberry

At the moment there is no way to disable the 20 minute login after app purchases.  Come on Blackberry get this sorted!!

Windows

Windows has a great feature called ‘Kids Corner’ which allows your child their own phone area on the handset.  It comes with restricted access to your device and also certain apps/websites/services etc.  This is not set up by default.

Remember you may think you are pretty smart but believe me kids are smarter so lock down your phone!!

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows, Mac and Linux based IT Support to small businesses in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter

 

How to add an email signature on the Blackberry Playbook

I have recently been using my Blackberry Playbook more and more as the main source of reading and sending emails and one thing has been bugging me – how to set up an email signature.  So today I am going to to show you how to add an email signature on the Blackberry Playbook.

On your home screen open up Messages and then swipe vertically down from the top in the centre to access the hidden menu (shown below).

Select Settings to get the following screen.

Select Email Preferences and then the account you want to edit.


Turn the Signature option ON and then add the email signtaure you require.  To save the configuration just select Back (Top left corner).  The signature will now be added to all your future outgoing emails.

About the Author

Hi I am Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients in and around Stirling.

For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find a list of my services, testimonials, blog and much more.

 

 

OS British Grid Reference Blackberry App


I do a lot of walking and climbing in the mountains and regularly use my map and compass to navigate when the weather gets bad and apart from some slight mishaps over the years have never got lost.  I will be the first to admit however that it is always nice for a second opinion and it was with this thought I came across the OS British Grid Reference App for Blackberry.

Now personally I hate GPS.  In my opinion it makes people lazy and reliant on technology and when that technology doesn’t work they then get in trouble.  If you know how to navigate by using a map and compass then you can’t go far wrong.  I did think however I would give this app a try to see if it was any good.  It is a simple app that gives you a grid reference of where you are and nothing more.  You then check it against a map and go from there.

It got its first trial run last weekend when I went hiking in the mountains around Comrie with a friend.  The forecast was pretty bad and the Scottish weather did not disappoint!! One minute we had good visibility the next 50m max.  The app got used twice and both times it was nice to have that second opinion of where we thought we were.  We were very impressed with how simple it was to use and how accurate it was (we checked it at the top of the first summit to check how accurate it was) and will definitely be taking it again when we go out next time.

So am I a convert to GPS? Not really.  Yes it has its place but I will still be navigating using my map and compass.

About the Author

Hi I am Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients in and around Stirling.

For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find a list of my services, testimonials, blog and much more.

How to connect your Blackberry Playbook to your Blackberry phone using Blackberry Bridge

Today I will show you how to connect your Blackberry Playbook to your Blackberry phone using Blackberry Bridge.  Blackberry bridge allows you to connect to your smartphone over Bluetooth to gain access to your email, calenders, Blackberry Messenger and so forth when you dont have wifi.

For the purpose of this tutorial I will be using a Blackberry Bold 9780 and a Blackberry Playbook on OS 2.0.1.358.

Ok the first thing we need to do is turn on Bluetooth on both devices.  You will also need to download the Blackberry Bridge App for your smartphone which is available from Blackberry App World.


On your Playbook go to Settings – Bluetooth and click on Add New Device.  Once your smartphone has been found add it.

Now on the Playbook go to Settings – Blackberry Bridge and you should see your smartphone visible on the screen.  We need to click on Set-up.

On the following page you will be asked to set a name for your Playbook.  Enter a name and then click Next.

You will now be told that you need to install Blackberry Bridge on your phone but as we have already done this just press Continue.

Open up Blackberry Bridge on your phone click Continue and then point your phone at the barcode which is visible on the Playbook.  Both devices should then authenticate over Bluetooth and volia your devices will now be connected.

About the Author

Hi I am Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients in and around Stirling.

For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find a list of my services, testimonials, blog and much more.

How to use your Blackberry internet connection through your computer


Today I will show you a handy little tip on how to use your Blackberry internet connection through your computer.  This comes in very handy when you don’t have an internet connection on your desktop PC or laptop but you do have 3G on your phone. Any data you use will come out of your existing phone data plan so you shouldn’t incur any excess charges (unless you go over your data allowance).

For the purpose of this tutorial I will be using a Blackberry Bold 9780Linberry Blackberry Desktop Manager for Linux and Linux Mint 12 but the steps work on all Linux Distributions.  For Windows users you will need to use Blackberry Desktop Software to accomplish the same task.

First thing to do is connect your phone to your computer via its usb cable.  Then we need to download Linberry and install it.

Now we need to click on the ‘Use your Blackberry as a modem to surf the internet” icon (bottom left).

On the next page read the information and then click proceed.

We will now be told that your Blackberry phone needs to be restarted (shown below) so click on Restart my Blackberry

On the follwoing page (shown below) follow the instructions on how to reconnect your Blackberry to the system when it has restarted.

On the next page click Connect.

Your phone will now authenticate with your data carrier and in a minute or so you will be able to access the internet on your computer.

WORD OF WARNING Your mobile data plan is designed for use on your phone.  If you start accessing the internet through your computer you will use up your data allowance a lot quicker than you usually would.

About the Author

Hi I am Chris the owner of ComTech. I provide IT Support, Laptop repairs and Computer repairs to both personal and business clients in and around Stirling. For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find my blog, testimonials, services and much more.  Start supporting a local business today so I can start supporting you.

If you found this blog useful then why not sign up to my RSS Feed for news, tutorials, views and general techie stuff!!

Going Mobile


With the onslaught of mobile computing I thought it was time to take ComTech into the fold.  The website was designed for desktop viewing and didn’t cater for smaller mobile screens.  So it was time to have a look at the available plugins for WordPress to see if anything could be done.

Enter stage left MobilePress.  This little beauty detects when your website is being viewed by a mobile device and adjusts the page accordingly.  Voila ComTech is mobile!!!

Next on the list was to sort out an App.  Most mobile users I have spoken to would rather use an app than go online and browse through a webpage.  So it was time to get one.  One big problem.  I can’t write code.  I can fix a computer, build one from scratch and sort out software and hardware issues but write code – not a chance!!

Then I came across Conduit Mobile.  Without having any programming skills you can design and publish a simple app for your business.  You can also submit it to the Android Market and App Store (you will have to pay registration fees) if you so wish.  I decided to go down the Blog feed route and the app is called ComTech News.  Hopefully this will complement the traditional blog and drive more traffic to my site.  I have already tried it on a Blackberry Bold 9780 and it works lovely (even if I do say so myself!!).

Here’s to going mobile!!!  Anyone else going to join me?

About the Author

Hi I am Chris the owner of ComTech. I provide IT Support, Laptop repairs and Computer repairs to both personal and business clients in and around Stirling. For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find my blog, testimonials, services and much more.  Start supporting a local business today so I can start supporting you.

If you found this blog useful then why not sign up to my RSS Feed for news, tutorials, views and general techie stuff!!

 

 

6 Blackberry Apps for Kids


Ever since I got my Blackberry Playbook my daughter wanted a go.  She is very interested in touching the screen and generally playing about on it.  Bearing in mind that she is only 19 months old I had a look at what Blackberry offer in terms of apps for kids.  This is what I have found so far.

1. Kids Doodle

This is one of her favourite apps.  Everytime you touch the screen you make a line with different colours.

2. Animal Sounds

You move the screen around and press on the animals to get their sound.  Simple but really good!!

3. Drums Lite

Ever wanted to play the drums but not have the space.  You can now with Drums Lite.  You get a full drum kit so just go ahead and hit it.  My daughter really loves this!!!  You can get the paid version but it is really not worth it in my opinion when the lite does everything I need.

4. Piano

Another one of her favourites.  You get a full piano which you can hit and make as much noise as you want (see a pattern yet?).  What else does a 19 month old need?

5. Xylophone

Exactly the same as the Piano but this time with a Xylophone instead.  Again though a really good app.

6. Scratchpad

This app is not actually designed for kids.  It is designed for the business productivity market however it allows kids to draw images (or whatever they fancy).  It is basically Kids Doodle without the fancy colours.

This list is not exhaustive by any means but I hope it gives you some insight into what is available on the Blackberry platform for kids.

About the Author

Hi I am Chris the owner of ComTech. I provide IT Support, Laptop repairs and Computer repairs to both personal and business clients in and around Stirling. For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find my blog, testimonials, services and much more.  Start supporting a local business today so I can start supporting you.

If you found this blog useful then why not sign up to my RSS Feed for news, tutorials, views and general techie stuff!!

 

 

How to transfer files over wi-fi to a Blackberry Playbook

I have been playing around with a Blackberry Playbook (no pun intended) recently to see what is the best way to access network shares and transfer files.  Today I will show you how to mount your Playbook as a network share on a Windows 7 system and transfer files to it.  This works for Workgroups only as I have not yet tried connecting a Playbook to Active Directory.

On the Playbook

  1. On the home screen tap on Settings (this is the grey cog on the top right hand corner of the screen).
  2. We need to jot down the ip address of the Playbook so tap on About – Network.  You should see the IPv4, IPv6 and MAC Address.  Write down the IPv4 address as we will need this later.
  3. Now in Settings scroll down the menu on the left until you come to Storage and Sharing and tap on it.  Locate Network Identification and tap on Properties.  This is where you enter details for the network so choose a name for your Playbook, enter the name of your Workgroup and a User name to access the Playbook when it is mounted.  Once done tap Back.
  4. Back on the Storage and Sharing screen make sure that File Sharing, Wi-Fi Sharing and Password Protect options are all set to on.
  5. Tap on Change Password to set a password to access the files when the Playbook is mounted.

Your Playbook is now correctly configured.  Now onto Windows 7.


On Windows 7

  1. Go to Start – Run and in the Open box type file://10.0.0.172 where 10.0.0.172 is the address of the Playbook on the network.
  2. A box should appear asking for network credentials.  Enter the username and password you set up earlier on the Playbook.
  3. Once accepted you will see two shared folders on the screen – certs and media.  All of your files will be in media.  You can now happily transfer files back and forth between your PC and your Playbook.

Update 22/03/12

If you just want to get data off the Playbook an easier way is to download an app called Wifi File Explorer.  Once downloaded and installed you can access the data through a web page!!

About the Author

Hi I am Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients in and around Stirling.

For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find a list of my services, testimonials, blog and much more.

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