Archive for May, 2011

Fixing BlackBerry sync issue Only cost $1,700

May 6, 2011 Leave a comment

I’ve always wondered why technology refreshes and upgrades in federal agencies take so much time and money. I shouldn’t have wondered, though.

Here’s my one-user tale. I tugged on a thread that started with my BlackBerry. By the time I was done I’d lifted my own wallet.

It all started because the BlackBerry refused to sync on my Mac using BlackBerry Desktop 2.0. Hours and hours with Research in Motion tech support. Vows to get an iPhone. E-mailing log file after log file. Forced to enter all my data in two places, machine and handheld, I was ready to go back to my old Palm Centro.  Then I took the Mac itself, a Mini just three months beyond the extended warranty, to the local reseller. Turns out, a balky motherboard that had the habit of disowning its own USB connections.  Apple hardware may look great, but it’s still hardware,  assembled in the same Chinese factories as everybody else’s gear.

For me, a computer is an economic tool. I can earn more money using it than I save by not replacing it and fiddling endlessly with the old one. Anyhow, a new main board is about half the cost of new machine.  So I bought a whole new Mini. By the time I was done adding the 3-year extended warranty, doubling the memory and having them load the 2011 version of Microsoft Office, the $699 Mini bulked up to  a $1,200 purchase.

Of course, I had to buy a new backup drive. You can get a T-byte drive for a hundred bucks. Ka-ching.

The I discovered my Matrox DualHead2Go Digital monitor doubler wasn’t compatible with the new Mini, which has a mini DP monitor port, instead of a DVI port like the old Mini. Ooooookay. So back to CDW for the DP edition of the DualHead2Go. That set me back another $231 plus shipping. Plus another $150 or so for a 22″ LG monitor for the old Mini, since it otherwise still works fine.

Dumb me, when the Matrox device arrived, I realized all I have are two VGA cables for my twin monitors. The new DualHead has only DP ports, no VGA. And why convert only to get a lower resolution?

Matrox said get male DVI-to-female DP converters, then buy two regular DP cables. But they were out of stock on the converters. (Luckily my monitors have both VGA and DVI ports.) Then I figured, why not simply get male-DVI-to-male-DP cables and skip the converters. So back again to CDW for another $100 for two cables plus shipping. I’m waiting for them to arrive to I can test the new set-up.

So what started as an irritating sync issue and a radio shift’s worth of time on the phone with RIM turned into a $1,700 spending spree that left me with a near-perfect surplus computer.

One piece of good news is that OS-X Snow Leopard likes my five-year-old Dell color laser printer, with drivers that not only recognizes it but also supports duplex printing.

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