Operamini on the Blackberry rocks

One of the features seriously lacking on the Blackberry is the mobile browser. That is one of the reasons I was considering getting a smartphone with Windows Mobile. The Blackberry browser just sucks. I’m not even sure it’s qualified to be called a browser. It does the job, but poorly.

I’ve had just about every model of the Blackberry and I’m currently on the Pearl (8100). I’ve tried the 8800 and then went back to the Pearl just for the small form factor. Typing on it is a real Pain In The Ass until it learns your custom words, but I find the features and the small form factor are worth the hassle of getting SureType customized. But I digress…

Enter Opera Mini 4. (It’s in beta.)

I installed Opera Mini on my Blackberry on Saturday. It was super easy to install. Just go to www.operamini.com on your mobile browser and choose the download link for the beta of Opera Mini 4. My first impression was, “Wow, nice!” It feels just like using Opera on a Windows Mobile platform, which is exactly what I wanted. It crams the whole page into your screen, then you can pick what you want to zoom in on, and scroll around on the page. The downside is that it takes a few seconds to load, but who cares? Once you’re using it, you’re fine. Also, it wasn’t readily evident that I needed to use the QW and OP keys to use the bottom two menus (if you’re on a regular phone I’m sure it would be obvious to use the two navigation buttons, and the 8800 is the same — you use the Q and P keys).

It has only been two days, less actually, but I still find I’m using OperaMini more than the “old” Blackberry browser. Score 1 for Opera!

And there are a whole host of features I haven’t even explored yet!

Websites I Use Daily

I stumbled back onto Tumblr today and signed up. I’ve typically tried to limit the number of online tools I use. Tried. As I was adding my feeds into Tumblr, I realized that I actually use quite a few, and fairly frequently.

What I use:

del.icio.us (my feed) – this is by far one of the most useful websites. I can save anything quickly and easily. I use the del.icio.us extension for Firefox to save stuff, and I fairly frequently go back to find something I’ve saved. It’s also good for finding stuff that other people tag. I also subscribe to the del.icio.us/popular feed in Bloglines. And my username is “angela”. How cool is that?

(my feeds) – I have so many RSS feeds in Bloglines that I never have time to read them all. I almost daily have time to peruse the del.icio.us/popular feed and the Digg feed. When I have more time I go down the list with the Blogs and Gadgets directories being my next reading choices.

Twitter (my feed) – This is more of a fun thing for me. I do it when I get a chance, and it only takes a second or two so it’s easy to pop on over to the site and update it. I’ve got it added to gTalk to get updates for those I follow. Since I have gTalk on my Blackberry, I can update it from anywhere. Like when I’m stuck in traffic.

Digg (my profile) – I never post and rarely comment on Digg, but I still visit it every day nonetheless. I like it for the information and entertainment, but the community is rather…dumb as a collective.

What I’m testing:

Tumblr (my profile) – seems cool. Signing up was amazingly fast and easy! The interface rocks.

Pownce (my profile) – I also have just signed up for Pownce. Not sure what I think of that yet.

What I have tried but don’t use:

StumbleUpon – I installed the Firefox extension and played around with it a little. I never really used it that much so the next time I reloaded my system, I just didn’t install it. I never ever go to the website.

Magnol.ia – There’s not really much point in using it if I’m already using del.icio.us, and I’m too tied to del.icio.us to make the switch.

Worth mentioning, but usually warrants weekly visits, not daily, are:

Facebook – I really try hard not to go on Facebook. It’s such a timesucker. I think I’ll only go for a minute, next thing you know it has been half an hour.

LinkedIn (my profile) – I’m probably on LinkedIn every other day or so. More so lately because I’ve been updating my contact information to reflect my recent changes.

Technorati (my profile) – I should probably visit this site a lot more often, but I just don’t find the time. Pretty useful for watching trends and researching though.

I’m sure there’s more to this list. What do you use?

Big changes coming!

Yes, it has been a year of changes for me, and still more to come. More than a year of changes, actually. Back in January I posted about my not-so-good 2006. As most of us know, most change ends up being for the better, and my last year or so is no exception.

I promise to post a huge all-telling update soon, but first I’m switching hosts. I’m heading over to Pair Networks – I’m sick and tired of my email and website being intermittently available.

BES and Exchange hosting – Exchangemymail.com vs. LanLogic

After two days of fiddling with my email, I’m finally up and running on both Exchange and BES with all proper connections from my Outlook clients and my Blackberry.

Jake recommended I use LanLogic, but I researched other options and found that LanLogic is a little steep on the storage pricepoint compared to other vendors. Jake insisted that didn’t matter so much since their service is excellent, but I wasn’t so sure. Exchangemymail seemed to come highly recommended according to posts in the Blackberry Forums, plus they offered a small discount. So I went with Exchangemymail.com, not knowing that Jake actually did use them before going to LanLogic. I soon found out why, and went the same route he did.

  1. The signup for Exchangemymail went relatively smoothly, no issues there.
  2. (Problem 1) I logged in to my control panel and attempted to set up a user. The first try didn’t work – I got an error that the account wasn’t created. The second try didn’t either. The error was “Email address can not be created because registrar status of the domain is not ‘Ready’.” I created a support ticket and apparently the issue was on their end. They did some magic and I re-tried, successfully creating the account.
  3. I set up DNS (I’m using my own hosted DNS through DynDNS) according to the welcome email I got.
  4. I set up Outlook (2007) according to their documentation and it connected fine.
  5. I tested sending email from my client to my gMail account. Presto.
  6. (Problem 2) I replied from my gMail account…uh oh. I was getting a bounce-back error saying “544 No relaying allowed – psmtp”.
  7. (Problem 3) I created a BES account in my control panel and attempted to activate my Blackberry. No amount of trying was helping. I wiped it a gazillion times and retried.
  8. (Problem 4) I attempted to log in to the Postini control panel but kept getting the error “Invalid log in or server error. Please try again.”
  9. At this point I contacted support via the ticket system about the newest three problems. Their (pretty quick) response was that they were having problems with Postini which was likely the cause of all of my issues. About 90 minutes later I got an email from them stating they were able to add me to the system and I should try again.
  10. I could now send email to my new account from gMail, but I still couldn’t log in to Postini (no biggie, or so I thought) and my Blackberry wouldn’t activate.
  11. I ended up solving the activation problem myself my getting around the wireless activation by installing Desktop Manager, which really isn’t needed unless your wireless isn’t working, and activating it “wiredly”.
  12. Day two. (Problem 5) I realize that I can’t send mail to Jake. He can send mail to me, but my emails to him go into the Black Hole of Lost Email. I contact support again, explaining that he’s a former customer and it’s likely due to some setting they still have. Sure enough, that’s the case. Although they said it’s “normal” to keep old settings around…which I find odd. They removed the setting and asked me to try again. I tried again and it didn’t work.
  13. (Problem 6) I settle in to setting up my new domain’s website and the PHP form just won’t send mail to my address. Finally, I check the obvious and try sending mail to my gMail account instead of my EMM account and it works. Now, I’m pissed.
  14. (Problem 4 again) I tried logging in to Postini again thinking maybe it’s some sort of spam setting not allowing mail through from my site. No go.
  15. I tried sending mail to Jake again. No go.
  16. I wrote a final email to them:

At this point, I’m extremely dissatisfied with EMM.

1. I’m still not able to send emails to [Jake’s domain].
2. Sending emails to my primary email account at EMM from a form on my website doesn’t work, but it does send to any other email address. I suspect this is related to Postini BUT
3. I can’t log in to Postini. Still. I mentioned this in the last ticket.

At this point I have to abandon your service and request a refund. I have wasted nearly two days of effort on your service, and while your response has typically been swift, I can’t afford any more delays.

Once my account is canceled, please remove all instances of Picobits.com from your system.

Angela

I signed up for LanLogic and was set up with my Exchange account immediately. I emailed them and asked for BES to be set up and Ted emailed me before I even had a chance to switch my DNS to the new servers asking me to switch them. I emailed him back and was set up with a BES account right away.

I still had wireless activation issues, the same issues as with EMM, but it wasn’t such a big deal since it was something I could fix myself anyway.

I got my refund, minus the “activation fees” from EMM.

Jake got to say, “I told you so.” And he was right.