Wednesday, December 13

Stop Giving The Raspberry To The Blackberry, Part 1

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I have created this to make things easier for people needing to call technical support. Oddly, I get the most calls about iPhone, Blackberry and wireless modems. Interestingly, these are the three devices that are the easiest to use. Granted, there are some people out there whom I feel call just to hear themselves talk. However, over the years of working for a major communications company, I have learned that only in about 50% of the cases is there a real technical problem. The rest are just people don’t understand the equipment.
In the first few entries, I will focus on the Blackberry. I have one, and it is truly an amazing piece of equipment.
I will show you the basics of the Blackberry, how to find important information about the device, and a few things you can try before calling technical support.
This part of the blog will be based on the Blackberry 8800 series with OS 4.5.x because it is the one I have. The Blackberry 4.5.x and 5.0.x are almost identical. The only big difference is the 6.0, which is just coming out, but very few people have.
First let us look at the Blackberry’s basic function keys, click the image to see it larger:

As you can see, the basic functionality of the Blackberry is very similar to a computer. Let’s take a closer look.
To left of the device is the Power/Standby key. Some models do not have this. On Blackberrys that don’t have a power key, the red (End) key is the power button.
On the top right of most devices is a Mute key. Sometimes you may be promped to press it. This is where it is if you need it.
Below the Mute is an LED status indicator. It has multiple uses, depending on how you have it setup. For example, it can be set to flash when a new message arrives, or to flash when you are in a coverage area. It will blink yellow when the battery is charging while the power is off. It will also be solid red when the battery gets to zero charge, which you should never allow to happen.
Below the display are a set of keys that are often used.
The green key (Send Call) opens the phone dialer and call history, and allows you to place a voice call. You also press this to connect your call.
The next key is very important. Technicians will ask you to use this a lot. It is theApplications Menu key, also called the Blackberry Key. It has the Blackberry logo on it. This is used to bring up the main menu, or submenus. If a technician asks you to press Menu, this is it.
On the other side, is a key with a curved arrow. This is the Escape key. It is just like on a computer keyboard. When you get to a section you don’t want, press this to go back to the previous menu.
Next to Escape is End. Also known as “the red button”. Press this to disconnect a voice call. Also, as mentioned before, it is the power button on some models.
In the middle is either a trackball or trackpad. To simplify things, I just refer to it as the Tracker. This has multiple uses. It is used for scrolling, and it is also the Enter key, by pressing it.
Next, we will look at two very important sections of the Blackberry you may be asked to check while on with technical support. ‘Status’ and ‘About’.

Next is, About. This shows you what version of Blackberry OS you are running, along with other hardware related details. This is important, as it verifies if you need to upgrade. It will also show you what types of networks your device supports. There are three types of mobile networks, CDMA, GSM/GPRS and HSPA. These will be discussed in more detail in another entry. About can be accessed on most devices by selecting Options and then About. Here is the Blackberry About screen:

Check with your mobile service provider to find out which OS version is current, as each provider has their own system customized to their service. I suggest avoiding “generic” operating systems, use only the one suggested by your mobile service provider.

The Status screen is important, as it provides your PIN and serial numbers. The PIN is a unique ID that is hard encoded into every Blackberry. It is in hexadecimal format, so it can contain numbers and letters, 0-9 and A-F. In addition to using secure Blackberry Messenger, your PIN is also used by technical support to look up your email settings. Email will be covered later.
The serial numbers are also used to look up your provisioning status on the Blackberry server. Depending on the model of device, it may be an ESN starting with 076, or an IEMI or ESN Hex, starting with the letter A and then a bunch of zeros. As you have probably figured, IMEI or ESN Hex are in hexadecimal like the PIN. There may also be an MEID and/or ICCID. Status can be accessed on most Blackberrys through Options and then Status.
Here is the Status section:

This is it for Part One. In Part Two, we will look at setting up email.

From the desk of Paul,
Technical Support Level 2 for “A major communications company”

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