BlackBerry Internet Service needs an update. Badly.

by Volker Weber

BlackBerry Internet Service is broken. Seriously.

First of all, you need to funnel all your mail through this account. Either by forwarding your real address, or by collecting mail via POP from up to 10 accounts. Polling a server does not really give you the "push" experience, so we can assume we are not facing all the problems of POP-collectors.

All your email gets forwarded into the BIS account. And this account has a quota of 25 meg. Right, twentyfive. How long does it take you to fill this up? One month? One week? One day? You have to decide, because that is your only way to automatically manage the mails in your account. Let's assume you have set this to "remove mails older than one week".

Then one Monday morning, two marketing managers think, that their press releases looks much better in a Microsoft document format than in plain email. Of course they don't know that no journalist ever looks at attachments. You either send plain text, or you are being ignored. Anyway, they have just send you two documents 3 megabytes each.

Then one of your friends sends you a few photos he has made over the weekend. 10 megapixel images, 4 of them, 4 megs a pop. If you are counting, your quote is now down to 3 megs. One of your readers has seen this really cool video, and never having read the FAQ send you the video. Yes, you have seen it before, but it was brand new for the reader. And it was really cool. Who are you to be mad at him.

Your next message comes from the quota manager:

Gesendet: Thu, 14 Sep 2006 16:55:48 +0000 (UTC)
Von: Quota Manager
Betreff: Mailbox full
An: vodade-vowe

One or more messages could not be delivered
to your mailbox because they would have
put your mailbox disk usage over its quota.
The system will keep trying to deliver
these messages. To receive them, you must
delete some old messages from your mailbox.

It can no longer accept messages. Easy, you say? Just delete a few messages? Right. However, for whatever reason, you delete them on the device, but BIS keeps them. You use your mobile browser to connect to the BIS account? Forget it. This magical piece of software is optimized for Microsoft Internet Explorer. Which means, it does not work with anything else but Internet Explorer on Windows. You cannot delete messages with anything but Internet Explorer on Windows. Yes, you can select messages, but the Delete button does not become active, unless you are in Internet Explorer on Windows. Genius!

Cannot delete messages

What do you do as a Mac user? You need to get access to a PC, connect to the BIS server, delete your messages, and empty the trashcan. Funny thing: Although you only have 10 messages in your account, BIS thinks, you have 320 unread messages. Yes, you have read them all on the BlackBerry, but what does BIS care?

320 of  10 unread messages

What do I suggest? Give me better choices to manage these mails. Pump up the quote to something manageable. Let me reply to the Quota Manager with some preselected options like "Delete 50% of my mails, starting with the oldest." And then fix this thing to work at least in Firefox. This is a stupid Javascript bug, which has been around for ages.

And once you are done with this, make BES work with a standard IMAP server. You are using one for your BIS. You have the code to make it happen.

OK, feeling much better now. :-)

[This post is related to BlackBerry Internet Service 1.8, as used by T-Mobile, Vodafone and O2. There are newer versions, but I do not have any experience with those, and I have no idea why the carriers have not updated.]


In the Blackberry messaging options do you get the reconcile setting when using BIS.

With a BES setup, the default delete will not remove from remote server and you need to change the email reconciliation settings to read "mailbox & handheld". This may not apply to BIS however I thought I'd mention it in case.

Incidentally, I have BES with IMAP...and pop3 nrpc and http.

Volker - This is why people use Domino, you can even get BES for Domino free with a single CAL using express licensing.

Lotus Passport advantage customers get 10 CALs free.

Not only would moving (back) to Notes/Domino fix your Blackberry issue, it may also fix your http link problem...

Ben Rose, 2006-09-15

Ben, BES only works with Domino, Exchange and GroupWise. It does not matter that all three support IMAP and POP. BES itself does not. This is not an alphabet soup but an architectural decision.

I am also aware of the Wireless Reconcile option in BlackBerry Internet Service. Read this document. However, this screen is empty on the Vodafone 8707v.

Going back to a Domino server is not an option. Running a BES alongside would be total overkill. And finally, I would need to manage my contacts and calendar in Notes. Are you trying to pull my leg?

I am not going to sink my data in proprietary formats again, thank you very much. :-)

Volker Weber, 2006-09-15

Volker is right: at least the Vodafone interface to BIS is terribly broken (rhethoric: how on earth did they get the submit buttons to not show up in a Mozilla browser?) And why doesn't BIS implement the reconciliation that BES has (delete on both device & server) ?

@Ben: There is no such thing as a BES w/ IMAP. In a Domino environment, the BES is an add-in task to the Domino server and as such runs right along it, polling (default 20s) the Domino mail files.

Jan-Piet Mens, 2006-09-15

@Volker - I have an 8707v too and my wireless reconcile isn't empty, clearly the options are different at software level between BES and BIS depending on provisioning.

Going back to Domino, pulling you leg...maybe ;-)

(Although you can export/import contact in vCard)

@Jan - I have BES and IMAP on my Domino sever, along with POP3 and NRPC. Whether it's an add-in task or not, it works and I can pretty much access it with any email client...even Outlook.

Ben Rose, 2006-09-15

Ben, I don't know whether you are playing dumb. :-) We are talking about servers, not clients. BES cannot access an IMAP server. And it does not matter at all what options your 8707 has. This is controlled by service books. And yours are different from mine.

Volker Weber, 2006-09-15

I just think you like to disagree with everything. We're pretty much arguing the same point yet you seem to insist I am in some way incorrect.

Beside, BES can access a Domino server and Domino is an IMAP server, so BES can access an IMAP server...just not the one you choose to use.

Using open standards is all well and good but being open doesn't mean that people support them, however much they should. You server is open and mine is proprietary yet mine works and works well.

Ben Rose, 2006-09-16

I just think you like to disagree with everything.

Ben, I am so sorry. I know you are always right. Please explain how BES accesses Domino via IMAP. And then explain how it works with a Cyrus server.

Volker Weber, 2006-09-16

BES cannot access a server using IMAP, it can access a server that hosts IMAP though. I guess it's all in the grammar.

I can't explain how BES works with a Cyrus server I guess it doesn't.

My point is that if you require a server from which you can access your mail using either a Blackberry or an IMAP client then solutions do exist.

You may not like proprietary or non-open source servers, but the Blackberry is a proprietary device and that's your limitation.

Ben Rose, 2006-09-16

BES cannot access a server using IMAP

Thank you.

Volker Weber, 2006-09-16

My point is that if you require a server from which you can access your mail using either a Blackberry or an IMAP client then solutions do exist.
Which is a completely true and totally worthless piece of information - and uttlery off the mark, too.

Stefan Rubner, 2006-09-16

Stefan, Ben has been off topic from the outset. This post is about Blackberry Internet Service. He chose to evangelize the only thing he knows about: Domino with BES and a few dozen devices.

Volker Weber, 2006-09-16

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