A Twitter conversation with Blackberry

Keys from my Blackberry Bold (9780)

Keys from my Blackberry Bold (9780)

When I originally went to my carrier (Wind Mobile) to buy a phone I initially didn’t intend to buy a Blackberry. Most friends had switched over to an Android or iPhone and having seen the capabilities of friend’s phones my initial thought was to buy an Android phone with HDMI out. I later changed my mind and bought a Blackberry based on the fact that previous Blackberries had no problems connecting up to my Linux boxes (the same remains true of the 9780, though synchronization of everything is a bit tricky). For the most part I’ve been satisfied with my Blackberry despite being shown by an ex-RIM/Blackberry that my Blackberry would have failed their local quality assurance (if you turn it to the side you shouldn’t see light shining through). {My Blackberry wasn’t made in Canada} But my needs are quite simple: I use the phone to call people locally, to send text messages, to email myself photographs, and in the morning and evening bus rides home to check my Twitter feed.

In fact without question Twitter is the #1 application I use on my Blackberry Bold 9780, that is until a few weeks ago, after the release of update v4.2.0.8. Right after installing this update Twitter disappeared from my phone. The first thing I did to try to find Twitter was use Search to search for the Twitter application across all the folders of the phone – no luck. Then I checked the Blackberry “My World” and noticed it is indeed installed. While there I noticed others complaining that the update had also broken the Twitter installation on their phone. User Tanto-Wijaya-84997 posts:

“Didn’t Work. The twitter didn’t work after upgraded! Really annoyed! I am now using Uber Twitter! Fix it!”

Another user amritsadarangani posts:

“Does not work on Blackberry 9800 (torch) please re-update application…”

Dozens of others in theBlackberry  app store complained about either not being able to change their header or interaction working only sometimes.

Further evidence of the fact that it’s simply buggy is the fact that I no longer have the option to “Send to > Twitter.” Twitter is in fact installed, but some bug in the updated code is preventing it from working correctly on many Blackberry phones. Like Tanto-Wijaya-84997 I’m now using UberSocial, but I preferred Blackberry’s Twitter application because it felt more responsive and doesn’t take so many keypresses to retweet something (right now I’m pressing R five times in UberSocial in order to retweet – there must be a better way?) With my #1 application not working I decided to DM (direct message) @BlackBerryHelp. Initially I received no response for several days, so I decided to send them another message, on July 25th I received my first response:

“What device and what device software are you using? Type myver and click the space bar in any text field to find out. ^RG”

This appeared to be the first steps towards a helpful resolution. Having been a part of Computer Recycling for 12 years and doing consulting before that I know basic diagnostics are important and that sometimes particular machines have issues and work arounds to issues. On the same day another person suggested I verify that the application icon wasn’t hidden somewhere (in another folder). I’d already performed a search and noted that Send to > Twitter was gone (Send to > UberSocial works just fine), but I manually went through each folder and repeated my global search anyway (I make mistakes, even simple ones sometimes).

Perhaps the best advice I got was from ^VG at @BlackBerryHelp on July 26:

“We¬† apologize for the inconvenience. Please try the workaround in this article. http://t.co/NF16CKK4uM Let us know if that helps. ^VG”

This was the solution I thought might have a hope of working, installing a version from BlackBerry’s web site (as opposed to the applications store). I’d already tried uninstalling and reinstalling Twitter from the Blackberry store several times without success – it installs, but neither the Send to > Twitter nor the application itself appear anywhere other than in the “My World” of my phone. Unfortunately the workaround did not work, Twitter appeared to install, but again no icon, it didn’t appear in search and no Send to > Twitter.

So I looked for a solution on my own for a bit. I found Security > Secure Wipe and I did a secure wipe of all the applications on my phone, still no luck with Twitter, so I DMed @BlackBerryHelp back and got the “Please search for Twitter” from ^RG on August 9th (the original contact) followed by verify it’s installed (which I had, it was in My World as being installed and I’d already mentioned it to them). It was the final response from @BlackBerryHelp that made me write this post:

“Due to the complexity of your issue, please contact your carrier for live investigation, diagnosis and resolution ^RG.”

Previous to this I’d expressed that I “wasn’t happy” (in pretty much those words). It was a bit like talking to a help phone representative that’s reading from a script – yes it’s helpful once or twice, even if you are an experienced technician (because it’s easy to overlook that the cord is unplugged or the 12v cable isn’t plugged into the motherboard to use a few examples from technical problems people forget sometimes when they’ve seen a problem a hundred times).

Considering that a number of other users have reported that the upgrade also broke Twitter for them I’m quite sure the problem is not with my carrier, Wind Mobile. I doubt Wind will be able to resolve the issue when BlackBerry cannot. In this case I think it’s more of a matter of BlackBerry refusing to recognize they have an issue because they don’t want to really help older phone users – not that the 9780 is that ancient of a phone, this is only the 2nd year of my Wind contract. Given that BlackBerry is trying to pass the buck instead of saying something like “let us investigate the issue more and get back to you” it’s not likely my next phone will be a Blackberry…

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