Dropbox – Secure Backup, Sync and Sharing Made Easy

Saturday, September 19th, 2009

Dropbox lets you put your important files in a folder on your computer and those files will be automatically backed up and synced with all other computers you share the dropbox folder with. The free account permits up to 2 gb of storage, paid accounts allow higher storage levels.

The free account works great for important files, like your Keepass wallet and things like tax returns or other important documents. The service works seamlessly in the background and supports Windows, Mac, iPad and Linux! Recommended.

Blackberry Curve 8330 Upgrade to OS 4.5

Saturday, November 15th, 2008

Verizon finally released the OS 4.5 update for my Blackberry 8330 Curve. This is the first time I’ve gone thru the update process with a Blackberry and I expected it to be straightforward and painless.

Well, it wasn’t. First, the installer weighed in at a hefty 68 meg, and either their servers are slow or my network connection was unusually slow, it took several hours to download. Then comes the actual update itself. First the installer updates the Blackberry Manager Desktop software, then it prompts you to hook up the Blackberry and it basically does a backup, deletes everything on the device, then installs the new OS and software and restores the data.

Sounds straightforward, right? Here’s what happened.

  • No one mentioned that any Outlook Recurring appointments for full days will get totally screwed up by the restore process. When you run the next sync, the appointments on the device side all have their times messed up and they sync to Outlook as changes that cause every ‘all day’ appointment to suddenly become a multi-day appointment. Very aggravating. The solution here is to change the sync setting on the calendar to one way from Outlook to the device, this needs to be done BEFORE you do the OS update. Then you can update, sync replacing the bad device calendar with Outlooks good calendar, reset the sync settings and you are back in business.
  • The Blackberry device OS install and subsequent restore take a long time and it is not at all obvious that something hasn’t hung. More than several times during the process I was tempted to cancel out thinking that it was hung up, it isn’t, you simply need to be very very patient.
  • No one mentioned that upgrading the OS would wipe out the settings on virtually all 3rd party software you have installed on your Blackberry. I ran into these specific problems;
    • Empower HTML Mail Viewer Pro –  The version pre-upgrade would not reinstall correctly. After emailing Empower support, I was advised to visit www.getempower.com to download and install the latest version. That solution worked.
    • Documents to Go – It isn’t entirely obvious that the Documents to Go is included in the OS upgrade. They uncheck the box to install it during the upgrade (probably since it wasn’t an existing app on the device) and unless you go back into the Application Loader and check that box, it will not be on your device. Also, the version shipped with the upgrade does not include the Excel piece, you need to update Documents to Go after installing it to get that piece.
    • Spades – The game registration is lost during the upgrade. You will need your code to reregister the game.
    • Folders – Any folders you created on the Blackberry are blown away.
    • Viigo – All of your settings, including registration, are lost during the upgrade. You’ll need your Viigo user and password to get going again and all feeds will start over fresh.
    • Google Maps, Opera Mini – These and other apps will all start in their original installation mode, asking you to accept license terms and defaulting to out of the box settings.
    • Keepass – The first sync after the OS upgrade will fail. You will need to open the Keepass application on the desktop and open it on the Blackberry one time each before syncing again, then it will work fine.

All of the above ‘gotchas’ were time consuming to figure out and fix. The entire OS upgrade process is far more time consuming than one would expect, so be sure to set aside a 2 – 3 hour block of time just in case. It is not simple and not painless.

eWallet for Blackberry alternative, Keepass

Monday, October 20th, 2008

Sorry, but my patience has run out.

I’ve waited and waited for Iliumsoft to come thru with the promised eWallet for Blackberry originally scheduled for release July 2008.

No longer will I wait. I’ve found a solution that works for me, Keepass, the open source password manager, with the following pieces to the eWallet puzzle;

  • A plug-in eWallet converter that takes an exported eWallet text file and imports it into Keepass.
  • A windows desktop client (Mac and Linux versions also available).
  • A Blackberry client that includes near full sync (deletes are not supported, you have to manually delete from both sides to keep them in sync with deletions).

This completely free solution works and is available right now. I was up and running in about 30 minutes with the most difficult part being the somewhat cryptic instructions on configuring the sync in the Blackberry desktop.

For those former Palm users who are now on the Blackberry having extreme eWallet withdrawal pains, check out Keepass, you won’t regret it.