You’d think by this point that I’d have read enough about wet BlackBerrys that I’d know better than to leave a glass of water on my nightstand. Yet that’s what I did on Friday evening. I didn’t spill the whole glass, but apparently enough splashed as to affect my Berry. After letting the device dry for most of Saturday I booted it back up to find it in decent working condition. That is, everything but the trackball. It scrolled to the right find, and it scrolled down fairly. But up and to the left? No responsiveness at all. My insurance replacement is on back order, so until then I have to navigate this thing without the trackball. Here’s how I’m faring. Before I get into the navigation, here are one important point. 1. Buy insurance! I didn’t think I had purchased insurance on my BlackBerry. After the problem arose I called Verizon and asked about refurbished model pricing. The representative kindly reminded me that sometimes I do smart things. Without insurance I’d have been spending $140 or so on a refurbished Curve 8530. With insurance I’m spending $125 — my monthly payments plus the deductible — for a Bold 9650. These are expensive devices, and if you break yours you probably won’t get a subsidy unless you are upgrade eligible. Since that happens once every 20 months, I’d certainly suggest buying insurance. I’d be in a bad situation if I hadn’t. Now, here’s how I’m ambling about my BlackBerry. Uninstall BerrySlider immediately. I didn’t do this, and it started to hurt once my trackball stopped functioning completely. If this happens to you, the fix is pretty easy. Just restart in Safe Mode. To do that, pull your battery and replace it. When the red LED comes on, hold down the Back/Escape key. You should see a little hour glass flip a few times before you get the normal BlackBerry boot screen. A dialog box will appear notifying you that your device has been booted in Safe Mode. I pray that your trackball still clicks, or else you might be really be stuck. Thankfully I can still click mine, so I did that. Then I clicked O on the home screen for options (if you have homescreen dialing enabled, follow the instructions below, though you still might be out of luck). Then I clicked A a couple of times so the cursor scrolled to Applications. Then I clicked B, which brought up BerrySlider. Two clicks of the trackball, plus the D key, did the trick. Disable homescreen dialing and use shortcuts. This is what I’ve used the most, since I’m not trying to do anything fancy right now. All I want is to send and receive phone calls and messages. I’ve found myself hitting M for messages, N for BBM, and L for calendar most often. My daily alarm now goes off no matter what, since I can’t scroll and change the time. Still, if you can’t use the trackball it will be tough to actually get into the options that allow you to disable home screen dialing. I really hope you already have it disabled. Make use of QuickLaunch. I can’t do much in most of my third party apps. For the most part they require me to roll around the trackball. But I can at least check on them with QuickLaunch. I thought about uninstalling it, just to be on the safe side, but it’s ended up being fairly useful. It’s really about experimenting. If you have home screen dialing turned off, you can usually navigate the device fairly fluently even without the track ball. I’m not opening up Twitter or any of my streaming music apps, but I’m able to stay in communication at least. Now all I can do is play the waiting game for my insurance replacement.
Navigating your BlackBerry without a trackball
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