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Me vs. The Blackberry Storm

So shall I make it known that a recent change has befell me, which has has led to the castoff of a standard phone in favor of an all-powerful, all-encompassing, all-inspiring smart phone-in this case, the Blackberry Storm. I have labored, even tortured, endlessly over what could be seen as a millennium in the vastness of the digital world but what could also be described as 6 days to a simpleton, a corporeal being not unlike the scribe of this very written account. What follows is nothing less than a brief history of the trials and tribulations of the manic tinkering and endless customization activities that I have pursued till death's door to ensure that this new Storm suits mine own diabolical schemes...

Cut to lightning flash and thunder. Fade to black.

(Who doesn't love a grand soliloquy from time to time?)

Before I go into the details about how I setup my new phone, some background information is required:
  • I prefer using Outlook 2007. I do not want to use Gmail because the IMAP synchronization is horrible on Outlook.
  • I use Outlook Connector 12.1, which syncs my Windows Live Mail and Outlook 2007 email, contacts, and calendar.
  • I have 3 Windows Live email addresses (for different purposes) all linked together under 1 account.
  • Goal: To have email synced to the BB from all three addresses, but have the calendar and contacts synced from the "main" address.
  • Secondary goal: Certain emails I do not want synced to the BB, such as emails from MyPoints.com (a rewards website). I want to deal with those emails on the PC only.
BB Setup
First of all, I signed up under the BIS unlimited data plan. This plan allows syncing with commercial email accounts (gmail, live mail, yahoo) and is $15 cheaper than the enterprise data plan in Verizon. I also installed the BB Desktop Manager software with the "personal" settings rather than the enterprise settings. I thought about using my BB for enterprise email, but I'd rather not mix  business and pleasure at this time. Then I added my three Windows Live email accounts under the BB's email settings. I was having problems at first but realized that the BB doesn't like certain "special characters" in the password field; so I had to change my password to something that uses permissible special characters.

Email Sync
At this point, my emails were being pushed to the BB. What I've found is that if I delete or read emails from the BB, they show up as read or deleted in Outlook 2007 and online in Windows Live mail. However, if I delete or read mail on Outlook or online in Live Mail, they do not get deleted or marked as read on the BB. This isn't a deal breaker, but is mildly annoying. Even if I connect my BB to the PC using Desktop Manager, the email will not reconcile. From what I have read, the BB software doesn't like Outlook Connector and will not cooperate. Therefore, at this time, syncing only occurs if I read and delete all emails using the BB. If I use the PC, I would have to manually delete/mark as read on the BB.

I installed the latest version of the Windows Live Messenger app on the BB. But after some testing, I realized you do not need this app running on the BB to have your emails synced and it makes no difference in the syncing.

Calendar Sync
I have a "main" Live mail email address that holds my calendar and contacts. Because the BB Desktop Manager is not compatible with Outlook Connector at this time, I cannot sync my PIM data (calendar or contacts). The workaround I have found for syncing the calendar is to use Google Calendar Sync and the BB Google Sync app. I installed Google Calendar Sync on my PC, which then reconciles my calendar between Windows Live and Google. Then I installed the BB Google Sync app, which updates my calendar on the BB. If only Windows Live had such an app then I would not have to do this circular workaround...

Contacts Sync
Right now my BB has my contacts as they were listed on my previous standard cell phone. It is not synced with my Outlook/Live contacts. I haven't found a free method of syncing. I hear Google is making a Google Contacts Sync app, but until then, I am doing it the old fashioned way... by manually importing contacts into Google from Windows Live and then using the BB Google Sync app.