Broaden your Outlook

You’ll need to change office12 to office11 if you’re still running Outlook 2003. And that’s it, you should see a second copy of Outlook open, and you’ll be able to select your second profile from it. You’ll probably want to put the ExtraOutlook command line into a batch file to save typing it out each time.

Broaden your Outlook

Finally, you have proper access to both enterprise A and B’s mail servers, and sure it’s a bit of a hack but, hey, it works. Of course, what I really want now is the same multiserver flexibility on my mobile devices: both the Outlook Mobile in WM6 and the enterprise versions on BlackBerry only work against a single Exchange Server. Wouldn’t it be great if they, too, supported more than one corporate email system? Perhaps these should be the next jobs for Jason and Timothy!

Firming up your firmware

In the blogs and social networks that seem to have almost completely taken over from forums, I see a lot of people complain that they’ve got the latest all-singing-all-dancing smartphone but that it’s a bit buggy, often because it isn’t running the manufacturer’s latest firmware. This is especially true of devices provided by the mobile networks, as opposed to those bought SIM-free, and is the result of a classic catch-22 (strictly a catch-18 for the literary pedants among you).

The problem, ironically, is that the networks are quite paranoid about the quality of the devices they ship, so they’ve all invested in huge testing labs (often at regional level) where they put new phones through their paces. This process can take several weeks for a complex smartphone, and during that time the network will possibly have asked the manufacturer to fix a couple of bugs and issue them a special operator-specific firmware fix. Meanwhile, the manufacturer has been receiving bug reports from other networks, end-users and developers, so its own “base” firmware has all these bug fixes plus lots of others, too. It may even contain new or enhanced features. As a result, when the device emerges from the network’s testing lab it will be better than when it went in, but not as good as what’s currently available elsewhere.

I know a few corporate sales managers who work for the UK networks, and they always sing the praises of their internal testing facility – selling it as a big bonus point – but I reckon that in most cases their lengthy testing cycle works against them. The answer for you, the end-user, is usually to download the latest firmware you can find onto any newly released phone. As well as bug fixes, you’ll likely find that newer firmware increases battery life and improves radio handling, so you’re able to get voice and data more reliably in low-signal conditions.

A friend was recently complaining that his T-Mobile-supplied BlackBerry Bold was a bit buggy, because the carrier supplied firmware was a bit old. Actually, BlackBerrys are a bit different, because they’re not generally sold direct but almost always come via a carrier, so you can’t just download generic firmware from the manufacturer’s support site. The trick when upgrading BlackBerry firmware is to find a newer version from another carrier – at the time of writing, the most recent version for the Bold is being supplied by the Turkish network AVEA (and don’t worry, it works just fine in English). That latest version will probably have changed by the time you read this, but the best way to find the most recent firmware is to head over to www.blackberryforums.com and look in the forum specific to your particular model. You should find a sticky thread about the latest version, but do take some time to read through the subsequent messages, just in case there are any known “gotchas” with that firmware version.

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