How to clean a BlackBerry TrackBall

The biggest hardware problem I see with (older) BlackBerries is the TrackBall fails to scroll.  It fails to scroll, because over time, it fills up with oil and grime from your fingers.  Now, unlike a computer keyboard, you can’t stick it in a dishwasher.  Doing that would certainly break your warranty and won’t fix the problem.
Dirty vs Clean TrackBalls
(Dirty trackball to clean trackball)

So the solution until now, has been either return it to the seller (if under warranty), or get it repaired at some cost.

I stumbled across William Clangford’s YouTube video, and his fix works very well.  If you have a TrackBall which isn’t scrolling anymore, it’s worth the 49 second investment to watch the video.

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Company BlackBerry says: “JVM Error 517”.

On a Friday night, on my way home from work.

JVM Error 517 I say, “You little bastard”.

Now, sometimes you can fix this by reloading the software on the device.  But to do that, you need the BlackBerry Desktop Manager software, the BlackBerry Phone software itself, and a micro-usb cable.  All were sitting on my desk at work.  Oh, and I’d need to logon to our production BlackBerry server to give myself a new activation password.

Pity the poor non-IT person with this error.  Firstly, they probably couldn’t read it.  I’m mean, what’s the idea RIM?  Is there some sort of Guinness World Record for Smallest Error Message, that you’re trying to win???

And an end-user wouldn’t be able to fix this error.  They’d need someone like me to fix it.  Actually, if I was in their shoes with a personal BlackBerry, I’d be returning to the phone shop with the words “The bluddy things cattle trucked.  I didn’t do nuthing to it.  I want a replacement one under warranty.  Please.”

Apart from larger error messages, the other thing I’d like to see RIM, is the ability to reload firmware from a micro-SD card.  Heck, HTC can do it with their range of devices, which allows me to flash a Windows Mobile device quickly.  But no, RIM, you want me to be tethered to a PC to reload software.  I don’t understand why.

The “JVM Error 517” essentially means that the BlackBerry phone file system has gotten corrupted, and the phone doesn’t know how to repair itself.  There are some who say it’s a hardware problem.  Me, I just wanted a working BlackBerry.

As I’m not a addict to the BlackBerry, repairing it waited until Monday.   As a refresher, I looked at BlackBerry 101: How to Reload the Operating System on a Nuked BlackBerry

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How to “CTRL-ALT-DEL” a BlackBerry

To reset your BlackBerry, three simple keys are all you need to know.
Left alt, Right shift and Right del.  Pressing those three keys, at the same time, will cause your BlackBerry to reset.
(the BlackBerry 9700 pictured has the three keys circled).BlackBerry Reset Keys

Resetting your BlackBerry weekly is a good practice to get into.

“Why?”, you ask?

A reset causes the BlackBerry to restart the operating system, and it frees up memory up as well.

It’s the very first thing I get my customers to do when they tell me their BlackBerry is behaving strangely.

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It’s a new BlackBerry Bold (the 9700).

Good Yes - Fast Yes - Cheap No So Telstra Australia have finally released the BlackBerry Bold 9700.  And if you loved the BlackBerry Curve 8300 series, you’ll love the new Bold.

If you have a BlackBerry Bold 9000, you’ll love it not as much.  That’ll be because the 9700 is a 9000 in a smaller package.
And you Curve users?  Well it’s the same size, and thinner than the Curve.

What’s to like about the 9700?

  • Size, it’s smaller than the current Bold 9000, and a little thinner than the BlackBerry Curve.
    BlackBerry 8300 side-by-side BlackBerry 9700 BlackBerry 9700 is thinner than BlackBerry 8300
  • It’s lighter than the Bold 9000.
  • While in the holster, you can have an audio cable plugged in.
    (this is one of thing that annoys me about some PDAs)
    BlackBerry 9700 in holster
  • Faster than the Bold 9000.
  • The BlackBerry 9700 has a physical lock button, which means we don’t need to place a Lock icon on the home screen.
    BlackBerry 9700 Lock Button

What’s not to like about it?

  • The physical lock button.  I kept hitting it by accident.
    I’m sure I would get used to it.
  • The microSD card is hard to get out.
    There seems to be some sort of lip or catch that holds the card in.
    BlackBerry 9700 - Cover off
  • Trackpad takes a little bit of time to get used to.

How do I think it’ll go in the field, amongst real users?

Very well.  I think it will sell like hotcakes.  And with the Trackpad replacing the fault prone TrackBall means we’ll see a lot less (faulty) handsets being returned to us.
It’s definitely a GOOD thing.  FASTer than the Bold 9000, but unfortunately not any CHEAPer than the current Bold 9000.
I’m looking forward to our customers getting their hands on the 9700.

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Exporting a list of user email addresses from your BlackBerry Enterprise Server.

Was asked to extract a list of users, with their internet email address, and Lotus Notes server name, from the BlackBerry Enterprise Server.

Surname Firstname Username CreationTime ActivationTime InternetAddress ServerDN
Roids Emma CN=Emma Roids/O=ABC 22/10/2008 22/10/2008 CN=Noddy/O=ABC
Blimey Cor CN=Cor Blimey/O=ABC 10/11/2008 12/11/2008 CN=BigEars/O=ABC
Plod PC CN=PC Plod/O=ABC 12/11/2008 12/11/2008 CN=Bluecar/O=ABC

As the BlackBerry Manager does not give you the option to extract this information, I had to write an SQL query:

use besmgmt;
select DisplayName, UserName, CreationTime, ActivationTime, MailboxSMTPAddr, ServerDN
from dbo.userconfig;

It worked very well.

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