BlackBerry Pearl modem script update

Posted by: grant on Fri, 22 September 2006 5:43 PM -08:00

Okay, I've spent the last couple of days hacking out the stuff that doesn't matter, the stuff that isn't relevant for the BlackBerry and the stuff that didn't change anything when I took it out. The end result? No change in either download or upload speed. sigh

So, looks like I'll be working on this some more this weekend. I've finally got a handle on the modem commands the Pearl likes and doesn't like, and I now know more about Apple Remote Access scripts than I ever expected to. So I've turned to the master himself, Ross Barkman. Hopefully he'll respond to my email with some major mojo I missed, but as it stands this thing's as fast as I can make it. I'll release a cleaned-up version early next week for those who care (or want to hack around themselves), and I'll keep plugging away at it this weekend. Keep your fingers crossed.

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Use your BlackBerry Pearl as a Bluetooth Modem under OS X

Posted by: grant on Wed, 13 September 2006 9:41 AM -08:00

For the graphically inclined: Dave Taylor has kindly cleaned up my directions and added screen shots of both your Pearl and your Mac during the entire process - something I should've done long ago. You can check it out here. Thanks Dave!

Last Update (I hope): This page is now a 284k download before images - more, now that I'm updating it. Ouch. So, I've set up forums to try and make the tech support and help process easier for everyone. I've tried to include all of the valuable information in this post into forum posts already, and I'm going to direct folks over there from here on out rather than answering technical questions here. This is an experiment, so I reserve the right to backpedal at any time. :)

Read all about it here, or head over to the forums.

Update 6: Tom from our nation's capital has posted the correct login information for Cingular - I've updated the post to include it. Thanks Tom!

Update 5: Helpful reader JohnnyC pointed out that if your default editor is TextEdit, and you're opening the downloaded file with TextEdit in order to remove the extension, it's likely that you're converting the script to TextEdit's default Rich Text Format (rtf). This will cause problems, as Internet Connect doesn't know how to deal with rtf files.

So, either make sure you're saving it in plain text format or rename it by highlighting the file on your desktop and then clicking once (just once!) on the name of the file. Hope that helps those with the 'Connect Failed' error.

A clarification: the APN "" only works for T-Mobile USA as far as I know. If you're with Cingular, Rogers, or any other cell provider, you'll need a different APN. In addition, your provider may require a username and password to use their EDGE data service - T-Mobile doesn't. (Okay, they require that something be sent, but they don't check it - hence the 'guest/guest' suggestion below.)

Update 4: I've posted some additional tips for those with the disconnect problem here. Let me know if they help.

Update 3: A few people have pointed out that my directions are incomplete - I've updated them to include a few extra steps. If everything's working for you, I doubt you'll see any benefit from setting things up again.

Update 2: I just registered 208kbps download speed on the Speakeasy speed test, which is pushing the practical limits of EDGE. I'm therefore prepared to say the download speed's about as good as it'll get.

The upload speed, however, is another matter. I'm getting 8kbps on that same test, which seems really low. So further work is necessary. If you get a better upload speed than me, by all means let me know.

Update: I've uploaded a new version that improves performance (at least download performance) by a factor of 2x for me - I'm now reliably getting 135-150kbps speeds. It's only a one character difference from the previous version - what have you got to lose!

In the long tradition of only writing software when it solves something that annoys me, I've written an OS X modem script for the BlackBerry 8100 (a.k.a. Pearl). If you have an 8100, you can now use it as a Bluetooth modem with your Mac. Here's how you use it:

  1. Download the script here. Please Right-Click and Choose 'Save As'.
  2. Copy the script into /Library/Modem Scripts.
  3. If you've already paired your Pearl with your Mac, open Bluetooth Preferences, Select your Pearl from the list of devices and press 'Configure...'. (If you haven't, choose 'Set up Bluetooth Device' - the following dialogs will be shown after you've paired your phone with your Mac. Make sure your Pearl doesn't require a password for your mac to connect to it - the 'Trusted Connection' option for the pairing should be set to 'Yes' on your phone, not 'Ask'.)
  4. Make sure 'Access the Internet with your phone's data connection' is checked. Also, make sure 'Use a direct, higher speed connection' is selected. Click Continue.
  5. In the Modem Script pulldown on the following screen, Select 'BlackBerry 8100'. Use the following settings for the other fields, then click Continue:
    • Username, Password: leave blank
    • GPRS CID: *99***1#
  6. Open the Internet Connect application. Select the Bluetooth icon at the top. Under Phone Number, put your APN (for T-Mobile and the BlackBerry Unlimited plan, I use, for Cingular it's "wap.cingular"). Type a username and password (I use guest/guest, for Cingular you'll use "WAP@CINGULARGPRS.COM" as the username and "CINGULAR1" as the password) in the appropriate fields.

That's it! Let me know if it works for you. I don't believe my settings are getting the most out of the device's EDGE support, so I'll be tweaking as I learn more. Credit to Ross Barkman and Tim Hatch for the original scripts I tweaked to make it work.

Caveats: I've only tested this with my G4 PowerBook and OS X 10.4.7, so I have no idea if it works with anything else.

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