Supporting Blackberries on Campus

These notes are courtesy of Cathy Cooper, ODAA, in preparation for a talk at the WatITis 2005 Conference

What does BB offer you?

  • Wireless capabilities a Wireless email b Voice service c Webclient
  • Personal Information Management
  • Alarms and Reminders

Wireless Capabilities

  • Most countries in the world use one or more of four common bands
  • Device is compatible with one or more bands, depending on the model; typically tri-band or quad-band
  • Quad-band works in most countries, except Japan and Singapore
  • Tri-band – three of the most common four; consider destination to select most appropriate three (primarily North America or International)
  • Newer devices contain a SIM card which identifies the device’s phone number; phone number can be moved to other devices

Wireless email

  • User is given an email account with the service provider (ex.
  • Can configure email account via webclient
  • Email received by BB server is transmitted wirelessly to appropriate device
  • Email generated on device is transmitted wirelessly through BB server

Personal Information Management

  • Personal information includes address book, calendar, tasks, memos
  • Option to use stand-alone on device, or to synchronize/backup with applications on PC
  • Currently, we don’t have any MAC tools to support synchronization
  • Synchronization is not officially support (how should we word this?)
  • Primary applications to which device will sync: Outlook, ACT,
  • Note that the device cannot sync the Address Book with Eudora, myWaterloo, or Outlook Express
  • At UW, Oracle Connector allows Outlook to communicate with Bookit; therefore, device is able to sync to Bookit via Outlook

Typical Email Configuration

  • Configure BB email account so that Sent-Address/Reply-To match the UW email address (replies to this email will be sent to main UW account)
  • Set up .forward/.procmailrc file to forward email from UW account to BB email account
  • Note that email exists on (and must be deleted from) two email servers
  • Alternative: instead of forwarding to BB email account, have BB email account linked to UW email account; uses a POP protocol so there can be delays in delivery

Typical PIM Configuration

  • Device is able to issue reminders of upcoming meetings, so most people want calendar to reflect appointments
  • Non-Bookit users typically use the device stand-alone
  • Bookit users typically wish to sync device to Bookit
  • An alternative is to use the Bookit webclient to view calendar; radio needs to be on; won’t receive reminders

Time Estimates for Configuring a User:

  • Preparing device, creating BB email account, setting up forwarding file – 0.75 hours
  • Installing/Configuring IntelliSync, Outlook, Oracle Connector and performing first sync – 1.0 hours
  • User education – 0.5 hours
  • Optionally loading Outlook with contacts from Eudora, Outlook Express, myWaterloo – 0.5 hours
  • Transferring to a new device – 1.5 hours

Common Problems:

  • If things go wrong, user wants it fixed fast!
  • Setting vacation message – we have a customized .procmailrc file which handles the Auto BCC: messages from the BlackBerry a Creating .vacation.msg file de-activates .procmailrc file (might have this wrong…) b Using myWaterloo can over-write any custom .procmailrc file
  • Device fails or is stolen - need to configure a new device and transfer available data to it; portable SIM card really helps as user can keep phone number
  • Outlook tries to retrieve record that no longer exists in Bookit – need to get Outlook to refresh its cache so that synchronization can proceed

Known BB Issues:

  • BB generates multiple To: and CC: tags; against standard; some email clients (including Outlook) ignore extraneous tags; Reply-All does not work as expected
  • IntelliSync requires that you specify Outlook as your IE E-Mail Client
  • Some versions of Desktop Manager/IntelliSync don’t seem to work; we’ve stuck with V3.6.0.54
  • Reply-All to Mailman mailing list generates -owner instead of

Another Approach – Blackberry Exchange Server

  • Description of Configuration
  • Problems that this configuration solves
  • Disadvantages

Useful Resources

  • UW’s BB site –
  • Oracle Connector –
  • Info on BB models -
  • Rate Plans -
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Topic revision: r2 - 2013-02-06 - DrewPilcher
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