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BlackBerry Hacks
By Dave Mabe
October 2005
More Info

How do these hacks stand up? Comment on a hack from the book by choosing the associated "Discuss" link below. You can also view the code from any of the hacks by clicking on the "Listing" or "Code" links. A number of hacks have been selected to be featured online in their entirety; you may view those hacks by clicking on the hack titles that are linked.

Jump to: Using Your BlackBerry  | Email  | Games  | The Internet and Other Networks  | Free Programs  | Shareware Apps  | BES Administration  | The Web and MDS  | Application Development

Using Your BlackBerry

HACK
#1

Choose a Data Plan
You may know how to choose a voice plan, but what type of data plan do you need
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#2

Cut and Paste Text
Did you know the BlackBerry has a clipboard? Use it to save tons of keystrokes
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#3

Take the Easy Way Out with Shortcuts
Cut the course with shortcuts—perhaps the most powerful and underused feature of the device
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#4

Sync Your Calendar over the Air
Have your calendar items sync to your server-based mailbox continuously over the air
[Discuss (1) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#5

Organize the Icons on the Home Screen
Remove your rarely used icons from your main screen
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#6

Run Programs in the Background
"Minimize" programs using the BlackBerry equivalent of Windows's Alt-Tab
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#7

Type Less Using AutoText
Use abbreviations for commonly typed words to save time (and your thumbs)
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#8

View the Event Log
Your device has a hidden Event Log that can be viewed using a certain key combination
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#9

Use Your BlackBerry as a Modem
When you're in a bind, tether your laptop to your BlackBerry and connect at modem speeds
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#10

Maximize Your Battery Life
Use these settings to disable the battery-intensive functions—your battery will thank you
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#11

Optimize Your BlackBerry Browser
The browser defaults are certainly not optimal. By changing the settings on your handheld, browsing can be much quicker
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#12

Maximize Your Free Memory
Use these settings so you'll always have enough memory for the latest third-party application you want to install
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#13

Get Things Done with the BlackBerry
Kick butt and take @names
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#14

Create Your Own Polyphonic Ringtones
With a little work, you can create your own polyphonic ringtones for your 7100 series device
[Discuss (2) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#15

Store a Photo Collection on Your Device
Save images to your device and choose ones to display in prominent positions
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#16

Turn Your Computer into a Speakerphone
If you have a BlackBerry that supports Bluetooth, use your computer as a poor-man's headset
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#17

Display Signal Strength as a Number
Bars are for wimps! Be different and get in touch with your inner geek by displaying your wireless signal strength in decibels
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#18

Dial Like a Pro
After becoming accustomed to cellular phone use, trying to use your BlackBerry as a phone may frustrate you at first. Here are some phone tips you'll love
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#19

Put Notes in the Call Log
Save notes from your phone calls and recall that information when you need it
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#20

Upgrade Your Handheld Software
Find the latest version of your device's system software and install it
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#21

Type on a Bluetooth Wireless Keyboard
For those long emails, use this fold up Bluetooth keyboard to crank 'em out quicker than the best thumb typist
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

Email

HACK
#22

Clear Your Inbox Quickly
Process hundreds of messages in one fell swoop
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#23

Create Persistent Custom Searches
Use the Search function to create custom views of your mail messages. You can even assign a hotkey to execute your saved search without defining the search parameters each time
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#24

Filter Messages by Type
Restrict the view to only certain types of messages in the Mail application by using these shortcuts
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#25

Use an Auto Signature
Customize your signature and have it automatically appear at the end of each message you send
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#26

Send a Message to a Group of Users
Do you have a group of people you'd like to communicate with regularly? Here are some tips for sending email or peer-to-peer (PIN) messages to several addresses
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#27

Send a Message Directly to Another BlackBerry User
Do you regularly communicate with a particular person or several people who also have BlackBerry devices
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#28

Send and Receive S/MIME Encrypted Emails
By default, you won't be able to view any S/MIME messages on your BlackBerry. Here's how to set up your device to be able to view them
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#29

Six Ways to Check Your Gmail
There are a variety of ways to check your Gmail account from your device
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#30

Use Filters to Control Message Delivery
Use BlackBerry's built-in filtering capabilities to filter messages or classify certain ones as Level 1 messages
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#31

Get Mail from Multiple Accounts
Why use your unlimited data plan for only one email account
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

Games

HACK
#32

Play Texas Hold 'Em
Quit your day job and start playing everyone's favorite flavor of poker for a living
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#33

Play Chess
Practice to become a grandmaster from anywhere using this third-party game. Take your skills online and compete with other players
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#34

Play Free Java Games
There are several free games you can download and play on your device, but don't blame us when your productivity declines
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#35

Play Free Magmic Games
Download these free games from BlackBerry's mobile portal—even the original Texas Hold 'Em version
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#36

Play Zork on Your BlackBerry
With this Java-based mini Infocom interpreter, you can play retro text adventures on your BlackBerry. You can even write your own games if you want
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

The Internet and Other Networks

HACK
#37

Configure Your BlackBerry for Internet Access
Unlock the PC in your BlackBerry by giving it a TCP/IP stack
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#38

Blog from Your BlackBerry
Why should you blog only from your desktop computer
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#39

Read News and Blogs on the BlackBerry
RSS and Atom feeds offer a smaller version of a web site, but some or all of the same content. By using an aggregator, you can cluster all sorts of related sites together and read news and other data from a variety of sources large and small
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#40

Control Another Computer Remotely
Use this open source remote control software to access other machines from your device
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#41

Use Google Maps
Although Google provides access to maps for handhelds through Google Local, this handy program works very similarly to the full browser implementation of Google Maps
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#42

Telnet or SSH to Internet Servers
Tail that logfile from anywhere you have cell coverage with the MidpSSH telnet/SSH client
[Discuss (1) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#43

Telnet or SSH to Intranet Servers
Use the Idokorro client to Telnet/SSH to intranet servers through your BES's Mobile Data Service
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#44

Chat over IM
IM is becoming an essential business tool. Use this program to stay logged into several IM clients at once while you're on the go
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#45

Chat over IRC
Enter chat rooms from anywhere by using this free client software on your device
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#46

Bookmark It on del.icio.us
You can use the excellent social bookmarking service to do a variety of things with your BlackBerry
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#47

Use Backpack as Your Mobile Workspace
Add notes, to-do lists, and more directly from your device
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#48

Use Gmail as a Spam-Catcher
You started adding forwarding mail to your BlackBerry's email address, and now all those spam messages you were getting are going to your BlackBerry. Keep your BlackBerry from turning into a vibrating advertisement platform for pornographers and discount medications
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#49

Use Your BlackBerry Browser to…
There are a variety of eye-popping wireless-optimized sites that provide excellent information from anywhere. Here is a list of useful ones
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#50

Find Your Way with a GPS
Use the BlackBerry 7520 to get driving directions and location-based services
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

Free Programs

HACK
#51

Get Fast and Free Mobile Search
This program provides quick and convenient on-the-go searches of the yellow pages, the white pages, the Web, movies, and more
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#52

Store Your Passwords Securely
Every online service including shopping, banking, and news requires an account and password to be established for access. Learn how to avoid having to remember all the different combinations of IDs and passwords
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#53

Skin Your Device
Customize the appearance of your 7100 or 72xx series device using themes
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#54

Run a Stress Test
Use this free program to put your device through a stress test
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#55

Install a Planetarium
This free application provides everything an amateur astronomer needs. It even transforms your device into a powerful telescope. Well, not really
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#56

Rein In Your Backlight
The default backlight settings are good for your battery, but not good for reading in the dark
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#57

Use Multiple Reply-to Addresses
By default, the BlackBerry doesn't allow you to use more than one reply-to address. This application allows you to create a list of 10 to choose from with each message you compose
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#58

Shop Amazon.com
This program allows you to search, add to cart, and purchase from your device
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#59

Manage Your eBay Auctions
This nifty program allows you to search, bid, and monitor items on eBay
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

Shareware Apps

HACK
#60

Display a BlackBerry Today View
Use this application to display your recent emails, upcoming appointments, and other pertinent information on a single screen
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#61

Sync Your BlackBerry to Your Mac
Mac users don't have to watch BlackBerry users from afar; they can also join thumbs with the rest of the world by using software to keep their Mac and BlackBerry in sync
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#62

Send Voice Emails from Your Device
The power of a recorded message goes a long way. Use this hack to send voice messages via email from your BlackBerry
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#63

Fax from Your BlackBerry
If you have access to an email-to-fax gateway, you can send your messages to the nearest fax machine—in effect, "printing" an email from your device
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#64

Sync Memos over the Air Without a BES
Keeping memos synchronized wirelessly is not just for BES users
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#65

Spellcheck Outgoing Messages
Use a free spellchecker to make up for your fat fingers, er, fat thumbs
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#66

Try a Third-Party Web Browser
This alternative web browser is nice and quick; it also gives BWC users access to full HTML content and more
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#67

Try Another Email Program
This third-party app boasts some nice features and lets you access mailboxes with POP or IMAP
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#68

Edit Office Documents
This software from Dynoplex actually lets you modify Microsoft Word and Excel documents right on your device
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#69

Display a Slideshow
Use this program to cycle through your photographs on your BlackBerry
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#70

Get Real-Time Stock Quotes and Charts
Stay in tune with the markets while you're on the road to satisfy the inner day trader in you
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#71

Track Your Fitness
Use your BlackBerry to monitor your progress on your quest for Olympic glory, or just your quest to lose a few pounds
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

BES Administration

HACK
#72

Add Users to the BES in Bulk
Use a specially formatted file to add multiple users to your BlackBerry Enterprise Server in one fell swoop, saving you lots of pointing and clicking
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#73

Lock Down Your BlackBerry
With all the sensitive information kept on handhelds, no wonder security organizations cringe as more users obtain BlackBerry devices and PDAs. Some simple steps can help put everyone's minds at ease
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#74

Test Your SRP Connection
Use this utility to verify your BES's connection to RIM's network
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#75

Send an Alert When Your SRP Is Down
Wrap some simple Perl code around bbsrptest.exe to create an automated alert when connectivity is lost
The Code
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#76

Ping a User's BlackBerry
Send a specially formatted email message that a BlackBerry will automatically confirm delivery of
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#77

Track Message Delivery Time
Use a built-in feature of the BlackBerry to monitor message delivery times
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#78

Create Alerts for Important Users
Start working on your CEO's BlackBerry problem before she realizes there is one
The Code
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#79

Move the Attachment Service
Because the Attachment Service is so resource intensive, it's a good idea to run it on dedicated hardware
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#80

Monitor Attachment Usage
Determine how heavily your users are accessing the Attachment Service
The Code
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#81

Export User Stats to a Text File
Use the BlackBerry User Administration client to export the current users on your server to a text file
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#82

Create a Web Interface for User Administration
Using the BES User Admin service, create a web interface for adding and removing users
The Code
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#83

Set Owner Info for All Devices
Set owner information on devices over the air with no user intervention
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#84

Query the BES 4.0 Database
Version 4.0 of the BES and the handheld added some excellent capabilities for reporting. Run reports based on model number, code version, and even applications installed on devices
The Code
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

The Web and MDS

HACK
#85

Control Access to Certain Sites
If your company uses a proxy server, don't tell MDS about it
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#86

Track MDS HTTP Requests
Figure out where your users are going using the BlackBerry Browser. You may even find some useful site that you want to visit
The Code
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#87

Detect BlackBerry Browser Requests the Right Way
Examine the headers of an HTTP request to determine what content is best suited for the browser making the request
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#88

Make Your Web Sites BlackBerry Friendly
Use these guidelines to make changes to your site to make it look great on a BlackBerry
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#89

Browse WML from Your Desktop
There are a couple options for viewing WML content from a non-handheld device (that is, your computer)
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#90

Create a Simple Push Application
You don't have to be able to write J2ME code to create a useful BlackBerry application. The BlackBerry Browser along with MDS allows you to push data to devices
The Code
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#91

Delete a Push Application
Once a push application is no longer needed, be courteous and clean up after yourself. Don't litter—send the unused icon to the bit bucket
The Code
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#92

Push Install Applications
If there is an application that you'd like all the handhelds on your BES to install, you can push it out silently over the air
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#93

Simulate Any BlackBerry
Is that image too wide for a BlackBerry screen? Is it going to look the same on a 7100g as it does on the 7290 attached to your hip? Use the simulator to find out
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

Application Development

HACK
#94

Create HTTP Connections
Create simple HTTP requests from a BlackBerry application
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#95

Create a Simple Stock Quote Application
Build a simple stock quote application that will prompt a user for a stock symbol, then perform an HTTP request to the Yahoo! stock quote server, and finally display the stock price
The Code
[Discuss (1) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#96

Integrate the Browser into a Java App
Combine the richness of a Java client with the extensibility and power of a web backend
The Code
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#97

Deploy BlackBerry Applications
Here are three ways to package your applications to be easily deployed on BlackBerry handhelds
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#98

Sign Your COD Files
To distribute your application, you first must request a certificate from RIM
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#99

Control BlackBerry Applications in the Enterprise
While the BlackBerry platform is relatively easily deployed, enterprises with more stringent security concerns or those required to meet recent regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxeley must take steps to assure their BlackBerry implementation is consistent with these needs
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#100

Ensure Your App Is Placed First on the Home Screen
Make sure your program icon gets prominent placement on the Home screen after installation
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]


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