Archive for May, 2009

2009-05-31

Bolt Browser: Finally, a decent BlackBerry web browser

Yesterday, once again frustrated by the appalling state of RIM’s browser on my BlackBerry Curve, I took a look at the alternatives.  One I’d missed until now was Bitstream’s Bolt Browser.  Well, am I ever glad I checked it out.  This is a WebKit-based browser in Java.  It’s still in beta but even so, I’ll be using it as my default browser on the Curve.  It’s much faster, renders correctly, and finally brings a decent user-experience to the BlackBerry.

I hope that RIM takes notice of this and licenses it for their next major OS release.  It’s still not much compared to Safari on the iPhone, but it is vastly superior to either RIM’s browser or Opera’s Mobile browser.

With a little more polish, it will be an excellent product that I, for one, would happily pay for.

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2009-05-31

Jaunty on a MacBookPro3,1

I’ve recently updated my MacBook Pro to the final version of Jaunty.  Mine is a MacBookPro3,1.  This is a 2.2GHz 15″ with a 128MB Nvidia 8600.  I believe it is the first MacBook Pro to use the LED backlit display.

Overall, Jaunty works a treat on it.  It seems to suspend and resume properly, I was able to pair it over Bluetooth to my Apple Bluetooth keyboard without issue.  I was even able to get the display working on the external 20″ Apple CinemaDisplay that I just won’t let go of.  This is something that I have yet to sort out in XP.  (What can I say, I haven’t tried very hard.)

The only gotcha so far is that the wireless isn’t perfect.  Sometimes it catches my wireless network fine, others it just refuses to get a DHCP lease.  This is a bcm43xx-based wireless card, so there’s no great surprise there.  As I tend to use the MacBook Pro as a semi-portable machine, I’ve just stuck to wired network for the moment.

Anyway, to anyone looking to run 9.04 on a MacBook Pro, my experience has been quite positive overall.

2009-05-26

Tethering a BlackBerry Curve and Linux

As a follow-up to my instructions on how to tether my Bell CDMA BlackBerry Curve 8330 to Mac OSX 10.5, I am also posting how to do the same under Ubuntu Linux 9.04.

Ubuntu 9.04 has nice integration between NetworkManager and various broadband net services.  I had previously configured it to work with a Bell-branded Novatel U727 USB stick.  This worked well under 8.04 but was even easier to setup under 9.04.  It turns out that pairing Ubuntu 9.04 with the Curve over Bluetooth was even easier!

The only trick:  Install blueman-manager instead of bluez-gnome.

Here’s the step-by-step:

  1. Go to the Blueman PPA page
  2. Follow their instructions to add the sources.  (Basically, add the following to sources.list and then run apt-get update: deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/blueman/ppa/ubuntu jaunty main
  3. sudo apt-get install blueman  (This will uninstall bluez-gnome)
  4. run blueman-manager
  5. Right-click on the bluetooth icon in the taskbar, select Setup New Device…
  6. Find the curve, select it and then select Dial-Up Networking (DUN)
  7. Now click on the NetworkManager applet, you should see “Auto Mobile Broadband (CDMA) Connection” as an option.  Pick it, you’re done!

Assuming they dump bluez-gnome for blueman in Ubuntu 9.10, it will be even easier to setup tethering in Linux than it is in Mac OSX.  Yippee!

Oh, and of course, this post was written while tethered.

2009-05-25

Tethering a BlackBerry Curve and a Mac

Work supplies me with a BlackBerry Curve 8330 from Bell.  Until recently, the plan did not include tethering.  This was $5/MB.  I;m not making that up.

The good news is that, thanks to Ryan, I found out that Bell has a 1GB data plan that includes Mobile Connect (Bell-speak for tethering.)

The bad news is that setting this up on my Mac makes absolutely no sense and surfing seemed to be more of a hindrance than a help.  See, even Google isn’t perfect.

So, here’s what I did:

  1. Pair the BlackBerry and the Mac over Bluetooth
  2. Go to System Preferences -> Network
  3. Click on the +
  4. Under Interface select Bluetooth and give it a nice Service Name (BBTether or somesuch) Click Create
  5. Telephone Number: #777
  6. Account Name: Anything (Elsewhere it was suggested bell1x or even 5551112222@1x.bell.ca where the number was your phone number.  Not needed.)
  7. Password: Any four digit seems to work.  (Elsewhere suggested your message PIN, this doesn’t seem to be a requirement.)
  8. Click on Advanced…
  9. Vendor: Generic
  10. Model: Dial-Up Device
  11. Close, Apply, Connect.

You’re done.  So simple.  No scripts needed, no funky usernames or passwords, no APN, no Bell software needed.  Just pair, setup for Dial-Up over Bluetooth and you’re done.

There.  With any luck, I just saved someone an hour of frustration.