Voiding the warranty on your Verizon BlackBerry 8830 for fun and profit

It’s no secret that I’ve never been a big fan of Verizon, but it’s the cell provider that my employer uses, and since they pay for my cell phone, I don’t really have much choice.

It’s also no big secret that I am a die hard BlackBerry fan (until there is something that has equivalent functionality, including a user changable battery – I’m looking directly at you iPhone).

So naturally when I started working for this employer I got a Motorola Q from Verizon as my work phone (Verizon didn’t have much in the way of modern BlackBerries at that point in time). Ugh, huge mistake, I’ve learned my lesson there, and will never stray from the BlackBerry goodness again. At least until next time something equally attractive comes along.

Well thankfully by the time I became fed up with my Motorola Q’s inabilty to open an email without choking like the star of the latest Max Hardcore movie, they had just introduced the BlackBerry 8830.

So I sucked it up and after several replacement Q’s had the same issues, I told my boss that the Q just wasn’t cutting it, and I needed to upgrade to a BlackBerry. The first few days with the new BlackBerry were pure bliss after enduring six months of pure torture at the hands of the previously mentioned under performing Motorola Q.

Then I had lunch with a friend that had just bought a BlackBerry 8820 from AT&T (basically the same phone with a slightly different feature set). During lunch his phone rang, and I was absolutely floored by the volume of his ringer! It was so loud! I suddenly realized that my BlackBerry 8830’s ringer sounded positively weak in comparison. As it turns out, this is a common problem with the Verizon 8830 (note to Verizon: learn from Dell’s mistakes, and quit screwing with the firmware of the phones you sell).

Also turns out the Motorola Q that was having issues was not the phone’s fault, I ran into someone with one from Sprint, and it worked just fine.

Well it’s been my experience in the past with Dell hardware that is malfunctioning that like 90% of the time flashing the problem device with the actual manufacturer’s firmware resolves the issue. Ok, mission defined, let’s flash the firmware on the BlackBerry 8830 with some standard RIM firmware and see what happens.

It turns out that RIM does not have “standard” firmware for their devices. They instead redirect you to download the latest BlackBerry OS from your device manufacturer! Bummer.

Flash forward 6 months to last week (yeah I just pulled off a flash forward and a flashback at the same time, I RULE!). I am once again having lunch with the previously mentioned 8820 owning friend, when he shows me the latest BalckBerry 4.5OS on his 8820. Then he proceeds to tell me that AT&T wasn’t quick enough with the BlackBerry OS upgrades, so he’s figured out how to find generic OS updates and apply them. SCORE!!!

Well not so much, as it turns out. Apparently the 8830 is only carried by Verizon and Sprint, and there is not an updated OS for it available yet. However some quick google searching turns up beta OS forums.

Now, normally I would never, but since there is a release for the 8820, and the 8830 is not THAT different, the beta is probably extremely close to the RTM version. Just one catch, it will void my warranty with Verizon.

But, seeing as there are compelling reasons to update (louder ringer reported on Verizon phones, html email, and the ability to open Office documents attached to email without a BlackBerry Enterprise Server), I took the plunge.

A couple hours and some torrent downloading later, I have the 4.5 OS running on my Blackberry, and guess what? The ringer is LOUD!!! Finally I can hear my phone ringing without it being right next to me.

And I must say, while slightly slower than the previous 4.2 OS (which I am going to chalk up to it being a beta OS), the improvements are really nice.

For me, losing the Verizon warranty is totally worth it. And I guess technically if I ever have an issue with the phone, I can always revert back to the original 4.2 OS before calling Verizon support.

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# WARNING!
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Backup your 8830 first!

NOTE:
I did not include instructions before for a reason, this is NOT a safe procedure! If you are not 100% comfortable with possibly bricking your phone, DO NOT DO THIS!!!
I am not responsible if you brick your phone! (and neither is anyone connected with this site, so don’t get any ideas)

Before you go any further, make a note of these two links (you are going to want to read the second one in it’s entirety before you start this!):
http://www.blackberryforums.com/beta-you-than-me/

http://www.blackberryforums.com/beta-you-than-me/146196-4-5-0-77-8830-a.html

First, update the BlackBerry Desktop Software to the latest version (I think it’s v4.6) from this site: https://www.blackberry.com/Downloads/entry.do?code=A8BAA56554F96369AB93E4F3BB068C22

After that is done, you are going to want to download two versions of the 4.5 OS. The names of the torrents you are looking for are:

BlackBerry.8830.World.Edition.OS.4.5.0.51.beta.zip.torrent

8830_4[1].5r74.exe.torrent

Once Google has given you links to the torrent files, and you’ve downloaded them, here are the basic steps:

1. Disconnect your BlackBerry from your computer.
2. Install OS Beta v4.5.0.51 (be careful here, the file names can be confusing) on your computer (you are going to use the Desktop Software to load this to the BlackBerry).
3. Navigate to C:\Program Files\Common Files\Research In Motion\Shared\Loader Files\8830-v4.5.0.51_P3.2.0.41\Java, and locate the file “net_rim_bb_medialoader_qualcomm.cod”
4. Copy this file to a safe location (this is your volume corrected ringers, which RIM left out of the final beta for whatever reason).

Now at this point I loaded the v4.5.0.51 OS Beta to my phone, but you should not have to do this (though it certainly won’t hurt).

To load an updated OS to your phone, connect your phone to the computer, and select AppLoader from the BlackBerry desktop Software. The OS update detection should be automatic. If not, you might want to try deleting the vendor.xml file located in c:\program files\common files\research in motion\apploader.

Now, once you have decided how you are going to handle the first beta, you can proceed to the final beta (v4.5.0.77 currently).

If you installed v4.5.0.51 make sure you disconnect your BlackBerry from the computer before proceeding.

Following the same procedure as before, install the v4.5.0.77 beta OS to your computer, but do not connect the BlackBerry just yet.

First, rename the “net_rim_bb_medialoader_qualcomm.cod” file you copied earlier to “net_rim_bb_medialoader_8830.cod” and drop it into the C:\Program Files\Common Files\Research In Motion\Shared\Loader Files\8830-v4.5.0.77_P3.2.0.51\Java\ folder on your computer.

Once this is done, you may want to delete the vendor.xml file located in c:\program files\common files\research in motion\apploader.

Once that is done, connect the BlackBerry, and select AppLoader from the BlackBerry Desktop Software. The installation of the 4.5.0.77 beta OS should now begin.

Again, if you brick your phone you have no one to blame but yourself.

end

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Admin’s Arsenal: mRemote

I don’t know about other admins, but I manage a LOT of remote connections in a typical day. Some days it seems like I don’t do much other than look up passwords and user names for all the remote connections I need to make to get my daily duties handled, well it used to anyway.

I’ve used many terminal mangers, and the only one that had met my needs for managing all of the remote connections I handle on a day to day basis is mRemote. The author describes mRemote as:

mRemote is a full-featured, open source, multi-tab remote connections manager.

It allows you to store all your remote connections in a simple yet powerful interface.

Currently these protocols are supported:

* RDP (Remote Desktop)
* VNC (Virtual Network Computing)
* ICA (Independent Computing Architecture)
* SSH (Secure Shell)
* Telnet (TELecommunication NETwork)
* HTTP/S (Hypertext Transfer Protocol)
* Rlogin (Rlogin)
* RAW

Now while this program has a “portable” version, it is not a portable application in the true sense of the term, as it depends on several applications that must be installed on the machine mRemote is run from to be truly useful. Here are the requirements for running mRemote:

Supported Operating Systems:

* Windows XP
* Windows Vista

Prerequisites:

* Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0
* Microsoft Terminal Services Client 6.0
Needed if you use RDP. mstscax.dll and/or msrdp.ocx must be registered.
* PuTTY
Needed if you use Telnet, SSH, Rlogin or RAW. Included in all packages.
* Citrix ICA Client
Needed if you use ICA. wfica.ocx must be registered.

ATTENTION!
mRemote was only tested under 32bit environments, so 64bit systems are unsupported but may run mRemote just as usual.

Bearing that in mind, all of the machines I would run mRemote from will already meet these prerequisites, so for me, it is as good as portable (I run it from my USB drive anyway).

Also there is a bit of controversy over this program, as the author is looking to take it commercial. However since it is currently open source, even if he does in fact go that route in the future, I’m quite sure that someone else will pick up where he left off with the open source version.

You can download mRemote here.

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