This has been a tough month for my BlackBerry experience. It started a few weeks ago, when I swapped devices with my father. He wanted an 8830, I had an 8830. I wanted a Curve, so I had him get the Curve, and then we swapped. Only, the backup process didn’t work as planned, and I was left with a tabula rasa. After taking a week or so to recover all my phone numbers and third party applications, I was set. Then came my story from yesterday, where in I upgraded to OS 4.5, but botched the process. Again, I was left with no numbers and no third party apps. I’ve recovered them again, and I thought it appropriate to list the applications that have survived through two purges. These are the essentials in my book.
Of course, the best part about losing my phone numbers was that I rid myself of numbers I’ll never use again. There are plenty of types of people included in this, including people from college whom I’ll never speak to again, former coworkers, and random people I met while a bit inebriated. Those I obviously can’t list. But I can list the apps I kept all the while.
Please note, even though Desktop Manager backs up your BlackBerry as part of the OS upgrade process, you should do one independent first. That way, you won’t find yourself in the same predicament as me.
This is the one BlackBerry application I simply cannot live without. SnapScreen takes screenshots of your BlackBerry right from the device. You just install the program, and whenever you run it a red frame surrounds the screen. You can then hit the Menu button for a number of options, including saving the image to your SD card. To access the image on your computer, just hook up your Berry in Mass Media Mode, and you should be able to retrieve it from your card in the /pictures/SnapScreen directory.
I’d still prefer the ease of BBScreenshooter, but since I’m a Mac user that just isn’t in the cards. As such, I have to use the slightly inferior SnapScreen. It’s not a huge deal, of course. The advantages of ScreenShooter are that you take the images right to your hard drive, you can customize the file name from within the program, and you can manipulate the size of the image. None of that is available for SnapScreen. Still, for Mac users who can’t use the JavaLoader.exe file, it’s a good alternative.
You can nab it for $7.99 at the BBGeeks Store.
Yes, we at BBGeeks love us some Google Maps for BlackBerry. It’s a comprehensive mapping program, providing driving directions and GPS integration. Yes, BlackBerry has their Maps application pre-loaded on the device, but it’s just not the same. In fact, I’ve deleted BlackBerry Maps from my device to save some space. No need to have two programs that do essentially the same thing.
As I’ve said, this isn’t to make BlackBerry Maps look bad. On the contrary, it’s a very function application with plenty of uses. However, Google Maps is the superior application as I see it. Not only does it offer basic functions, but it has added street view and walking directions. To put the cherry on top, it also has pubic transit information, which is super-sweet if you live in an area where you commute by train or bus.
It’s free, so it’s at least worth a try. I think you’ll be impressed by the features it offers over BB Maps.
Google Calendar Sync
Okay, so maybe I’m a Google junkie. I’ve talked more than once about the BlackBerry and Gmail, espousing the advantages of their IMAP system. Right above, I talked about how great Google Maps is. Now I’m onto another Google app: calendar sync. Since I use Google Calendar, it makes perfect sense.
Google Sync does just what the name advertises: syncs with your online Google Calendar. This is helpful for many of us on BIS who don’t necessarily use Microsoft Outlook, the preferred syncing application of BlackBerry. For those of us who use Mozilla Thunderbird, this can be even more useful. If you install the Lightning plugin, you can sync your Thunderbird calendar with Google. Then both calendars can be synced wirelessly with your BlackBerry via Google Sync.
Now, if only Google would come out with a contacts sync, we’d be set. Then you could sync your contacts and calendar between Thunderbird and Google, and then sync them to your BlackBerry. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a while.
I try to maintain a healthy lifestyle. You know what they say: Healthy body, healthy mind. Problem is, I don’t always have time for the gym. I’m sure many of you share the same predicament.
To help me here, I enlist the help of nexFit, a program that shows you a number of gym-less exercises you can do just about everywhere. When I can’t make it to the gym, I just pull out my Berry and I can do a number of routines. I never knew there were so many variations on the push-up.
It’s not cheap, though. It’ll run you $24.95 at the BBGeeks Store. If you’re short on time, though, it could be worth it.
If you’re a fan of real MP3 ringtones, there is no better application than NextPimp. You just download the quick launch icon to your BlackBerry, and you can browse their website for a ton of free real ringtones. I still have “The Ocean” by Led Zeppelin set as my ringtone for a few friends.
The best part is that you can set any ringtone you download as default right from the download screen. That saves the hassle of having to go in and change your profiles manually. That, combined with the wide selection, make this a must-have application. Plus, it’s free.
Finally, my theme
I’ve made no secret of my love for the Today Plus theme. I like having plenty of stuff easily accessible. My biggest gripe with upgrading to OS 4.5 was that I’d have to use a 4.5 theme. Why else would I get it, right?
Thankfully, 4.5 has a number of premium Today Plus themes. It’s a bit different than the older versions, with only your calendar and messages displayed. This is good, since I hated having my call log there. It’s a feature I can just hit Send to pull up, so it makes little sense to dedicate screen area to it. It does add two rows of icons on the main screen, which is useful. The Menu button, as always, gives you the full applications menu.
I know some are leery of purchasing premium themes, but I think this one worth it. You can get it for $6.99 at the BBGeeks Store.