Posts Tagged “Blackberry”

Bahrain_Grand_Mosque

As a Western ex-pat working in the Middle East you quickly learn that if you want everyone to show up for a meeting, don’t schedule the meeting during prayer time.

Muslims pray 5 times a day. 3-4 of these prayer times will be during work hours. What complicates things is that the prayer times are not at the same time each day. The times are based on the lunar calendar. The first prayer in the middle of the summer is at 3:30am and that same prayer in the middle of winter is at 5:30am. You should know that most of the Middle East does not change their clocks for daylight savings.

So, how do you know when it will be time to pray. I have utilities that I use to make sure that I don’t schedule meetings during prayer times.

As I use Microsoft Outlook, there is a plug-in, that will schedule the times of prayer times on your calendar. If you don’t want to have all of these in your calendar there are a number of prayer time downloads for mobile phones that will do the same thing. I use Salaat Time for Blackberry. I also use a system bar utility that gives a notification bubble just prior to the prayer time. This application is also handy at it will show that prayer times every day for the full year; it is also called Salaat Time .

You can use one or more of these utilities to help you schedule a meeting in the future.

Note: Cross posted from executiveGEEK.

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I have been in the Middle East for just over a year and it has been eye opening. Apart from the cultural adjustments, one of the things that has become a peeve is how Western companies do not recognize some of the differences that will impact their devices or their software outside of Western countries.

It is no secret that I am a big fan of RIM’s (Research In Motion) Blackberry. However, there are some things that should be considered when selling this product in the rest of the world. For example, the work week is different in the Middle East. Muslim religion dominates in the region and therefore Friday is the day of worship. Depending on the country, your other day off is either Thursday or Saturday. In some countries, they also work a half day on the Thursday. None of these can be accommodated by the Blackberry.

Although I can set Saturday as the first day of the week, there is no way for me to tell the Blackberry that Thursday and Friday are the weekends (or Friday and Saturday). This presents some minor annoyances such as viewing the month and the Blackberry shades the Saturday and Sunday. To some aggravating issues when it comes to having the alarm only active on weekdays.

It would be a simple change, as a screen that simply asks you to fill in some check boxes for weekend or weekdays.

Blackberry sales in the Middle East are growing rapidly. I have read that this is one of RIM’s fastest growing regions. There is both a status and fashion aspect to the Blackberry in the Middle East. Hopefully this will push RIM towards accommodating the the nuances of the region.

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OK, I know it has been awhile, but I moved across the country; so I was a little tied up ;)
Webmessenger

I have blogged about a couple of other instant messengers for Blackberries before, and have had various amounts of success with them. There is a new player out there. WebMessenger has been around for awhile, but they recently announced that they were offering their personal instant messenger for FREE!

I tried it out and it was a breeze to set up. One of the biggest issues with Instant Messengers has been to get MSN Messenger, or Live Messenger on a Blackberry. WebMessenger does this without a hitch. RIM has been saying for some time that they would have a version for MSN, but so far only Yahoo and Google Talk.

Before you try to get it working on your Blackberry, you need to set up an account on the WebMessenger site. You simply tell them your logins for each of the IM’s out there and then when you login on the blackberry, all your contacts will be there.

…now if I could just get Rogers to offer a cheap data plan.

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How often have you been in a restaurant or a movie, and someone’s cell phone blares out the latest rendition of the owners favorite hip hop track, or the blaring sound of a ring from a phone of the 60’s? I have heard that some places are considering jamming cell phones because of this.

It is annoying and many consider this to be rude.

I have found a solution. I found an MP3 file where someone recorded a sneeze. I then found the site www.coolservice.dk. It allows you to upload any MP3 file, then download it onto your Blackberry, or any phone that has internet access. You simply upload the file, and it gives you a code number. You go to the download site on your Blackberry browser, enter the code and it will be downloaded. You then save the file and it will be listed in your ring tones. Select Profiles on your Blackberry and then change the tone.

Now when your phone rings, it will actually sneeze. I have found this much less obtrusive while in public places.

You can listen and download the mp3 file below.

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I have had a Blackberry for a few months now and am finding more and more features for it. This week I finally found an IM client for MSN Messenger. (note to US readers, AIM is the IM of choice in the US, in Canada MSN is the most widely used) The advantage of EQO is that is can do ICQ, Yahoo Messenger, AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) and even Skype via a plugin.

Blackberry does have IM support on its server software, but only if you have the most recent 4.1 version

Now I have email and IM wherever I go…(I just have to figure out if that is really a good thing ;)

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This past week Microsoft released a patch for Windows to update the dates for Daylight Savings Time (DST) in Windows for North America in 2007. Previously we “sprung forward” on the first Sunday in April and “fell back” on the last Sunday in October. Daylight Savings Time changes to March 11 and November 4 in 2007. The reason behind this extension is to reduce the amount of electricity used.

This impacts everyone running Windows. Most of us have the automatic updates turned on. However, many don’t realize that the automatic updates are only for the critical security and bug patches. There are also optional software and Office upgrades on the Windows Update Site. You must go to the site and manually download the optional updates, as the daylight savings time patch is one of those updates.

UPDATE Links:

Microsoft’s Preparing for DST changes in 2007.

Microsoft Windows Patches for DST changes.

RIM Blackberry Patches for DST changes.

DSTpatch.com with more DST patches.

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