Working with CSV files on the Bold 9900

Posted on October 13, 2012

Recently with the implementation of a Security Information and Event Monitoring (SIEM) tool in our organisation I have started receiving a number automated reports on a daily basis. A number of these are useful to me as Key Performance Indicators of security status of the organisation.

When these arrive on my Blackberry I need a way of having a quick look to see if there are any immediate problems to deal with. Unfortunately my Blackberry 9900 running OS 7.1 with the full Documents to Go still can’t open CSV files.

Enter CSV Table Pro.

This is a basic little tool. It let’s you create, view or work with CSV files. While it is a little rough around the edges it is cheaply priced and achieves the desired outcome.

Once installed you can click directly on the CSV from your mail, it will download and then the application will spawn. I found that it then tends to switch immediately back to the mail application and I had to manually switch to CSV Table Pro using Alt Backarrow.
Problem solved. Enjoy

(I had wanted to add a screenshot but my Blackberry security policy prevents screenshots)

Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.

Bring your own device (BYOD) : workplace mobility presentation

Posted on May 24, 2012

I was privileged to speak at this month’s ISACA KZN Chapter meeting held last Monday at KPMG’s offices in Durban. Thanks to Terence (the local chapter leader) for the invite.

My topic was around workplace mobility, focusing on implementation challenges and leanings experienced  within the workplace. For this presentation I tried something a little different, using Keynote on the iPad to develop and present the talk. This resulted in a slide deck that looks a bit different from my normal style, with far fewer words, more pictures and I hope a smoother flowing more natural presentation. At the same time, it’s probably a bit more difficult for somebody who wasn’t at the presentation to get a lot of value out of the slide deck. If you download it and have questions, please go ahead and ask. It is presented below as a PDF since so few have Keynote.

Presentation here : BYOD workplace mobility v2 (download the PDF)

Blackberry Bold 9900 – Welcome back old friend

Posted on October 17, 2011

In February of this year my trusty old Blackberry 9000 died a sad and final death. The inhouse IT department couldn’t do anything with it, the blinking lights suggested the motherboard was friend and the external repair party wanted R600 to look at it. They also admitted that if it was motherboard it was uneconomical to repair. Eish. With 6 months to go to renewal the device was temporarily replaced by the 8520.

An aside on the 8520, there is very little that the top models can do that the bottom don’t. Sure, the screen isn’t as nice, the keys are smaller, it doesn’t have GPS. It does do twitter, bbm, mail, browsing, Kindle, mxit, whatsapp, and pretty much everything a smart phone should, a little slower yes, but it does work.

After 6 months of the 8520 the upgrade finally happened. Choice 9780 with no pay in, or the 9900 with a R1000 paying. Newer OS, touch screen, bigger keyboard, sold on the 9900.

The most immediate feeling on unboxing and typing in a few setup details, welcome back old friend. My I have missed the keyboard. Blackberry bold 9000 had the best keyboard on a mobile device, ever. The 9900 is the true successor to the 9000. The others were just pretenders.

The new OS is pretty. Still not up to iOS or Android, but is still Blackberry and is an improvement

The new browser is much quicker, renders better, and nicer to use. Big plus here.

The keyboard is great (as above).

The touchscreen. Its there. I use it from time to time. It works well and is unobtrusive. Sometimes navigating is a whole lot quicker touching a few icons, othertimes scroll pad and keys are the thing. You definitely get the best of both worlds, I like.

The trackpad replaces the old track ball. The only thing I disliked about the Bold 9000. It used to get dirty quickly, then get stick and partially work. Ugh. Replaced it after a year, that worked better for 6 months. The trackpad avoids all of that. No moving parts, nothing to get dirty inside. The 8520 had the same and it worked well. Only problem, with my big thumbs from time to time I catch the bottom of the touch screen when scrolling and the cursor jumps. Long term problem or more care needed I’m not sure. Maybe a software fix that disables touch screen while you are scrolling.

I loaded my normal set of applications. Twitter BBM facebook all preloaded just needed updates. Blackberry Travel, Google Sync, Word Press all work great.

Amazon Kindle. Does not work, won’t load as it isn’t compatible. Damn. There has been much talk of the Blackberry platform dying. Amazon doesn’t support the flagship device with the new OS. That is sad, and perhaps an indication of developers abandoning the platform. I hope not, and that Amazon prove me wrong, but in the meantime no catching up with those few pages of my latest novel while standing in the queue at the airport, shopping centre or other stolen moments.

Lastly, Google Sync. As the owner of any smart phone do yourself a favour, install this product. It backs up your contacts and calender to the cloud and synchronises it between devices. My Blackberry, Nokia E71 and Android HTC Desire all share a common address book which is also available in Gmail. Perfect. Get a new device, plug in the credentials your address book is there waiting for you. Perfect use of the cloud, just love it.

Battery life is adequate, seems better than the HTC Desire and the 8520, not up to the levels of the E71 (which I hardly use for online access anymore) but for a fully featured smartphone the 9900 seems to have more than decent battery life.

The device is thin and sleek, wide to allow for the screen and the bigger keyboard, not bulky to worry me in my pocket. The build quality seems solid and has a nice sturdy weight and build to it. Not heavy.

In conclusion, yes, iPhone and Galaxy S II are better, but if you want BBM and mail and uncapped internet and a device which just works, or your organisation says Blackberry is your only choice then this device is a really good choice. Loving it.

(Pictures to be added)

** review typed while waiting in the boarding queue, this keyboard really works well :)

A (most interesting) hour with the DStv Mobile team

Posted on September 01, 2011

This afternoon (31/8/2011) I had the pleasure of spending an hour with the DStv mobile team. Thanks to Maiyo for setting it up and to Bradley and Neil for giving freely of your time.

The DStv mobile product is a fairly simple one. There are the two hardware devices (the Drifta and USB Drifta). The USB Drifta is the simpler one to deal with as it works only with PC’s. There is client software for Windows and as a pleasant surprise, software for Mac is under development and at a fairly advanced stage. No mention of release dates, after the previous debacle around late releases the team is hyper-sensitive to this issue and would clearly rather under-promise and over-deliver, can’t blame them for that one.

Neil spoke a little around the development life cycle, and how the windows client was developed first, then the iPad version, and now the Mac. The Mac version takes the best user interface elements of the previous ones and builds on that. At a later stage the Windows version will be updated to bring this new user interface to us. Although it doesn’t change the fundamental product it is a nice touch. I asked around PVR type functionality which is hinted at in the Drifta BIOS. Sadly this isn’t allowed in the content license agreements.

I got to play with an android tab and phone version of the Drifta clients for a short while. They work as expected, touch interface and look good. Still testing to do and kinks to work out, but they are coming.

I put my three phones (a Blackberry, Nokia and Andoid device) on the table and asked the big question. What happened, the delays, the promises, the angry community, the inadequate response. When are we getting the promised clients.

The team was honest, embarrassed and clearly hurt by what had happened. They missed the deadlines, and badly. They pissed off their customers and are well aware of it and trying hard to avoid repeating the situation. I think this has led to the huge lack of information around current state. They are very scared of creating any further expectations that can’t be met, even if those are through customers misinterpreting what has been said.

Before, we were told that there would be client software for Android, Nokia and Blackberry. That is a very wide statement to make (and was a mistake). There are just too many classes of devices in each of those camps, and by not being more specific false expectations were created. The delays have also led to devices which were mainstream being largely out of the picture and having to work towards moving goalposts. In the Android arena there have been a plethora of devices and OS versions. None of this has made things easy.

That said, they have been working hard to try to bring the client to these devices. They want it out there, it opens up the market hugely and can only be in their interests.

We spoke mostly about Android and Blackberry. Nokia (Symbian) was mentioned more in passing. Nokia has all but abandoned Symbian and moved on to Windows Mobile 7. It wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense for DStv to be investing a lot of effort in a dying platform. By the time they got it out and stable most people would have moved on from the platform.

I asked around compatibility of the clients with handsets. There are minimum requirements. In the Blackberry arena the software was tested on the Curve and Bold platforms. Changes in the OS have caused compatibility problems with some of the newer devices that still has to be worked out. The very popular 8520 (baby Blackberry) only has a slower processor and lower resolution screen is unlikely to work with the software. If when released the software runs on the Curve, Bold and Torch then it will cover most of the newer devices. I hope not too many 8520 users will be disappointed, but it was to be expected.

The Android front is a whole lot more complicated. As with the iPhone, they are concerned about rooted devices and those with video out. Licensing doesn’t allow the signal to be output unrestricted to big screens. This is a mobile service. This means as with iPhone if you have a rooted (jailbroken) device / custom rom you may not be able to use the software. We didn’t go into detail about how this will be enforced, but as with the iPhone environment, I am sure there will be hacked software soon enough.

Given the vast number of devices, and that a lot of the newer cheaper devices are having smaller screens and weaker processors, it will not be possible for the client to run on every Android device out there. If we had to wait for that level of compatibility we would never see the application.

The software will be available through the Android market place. DStv plan to make use of a device whitelisting system, when a user launches the application it will check with the white listing server to see if the device is compatible.  It will initially be available for a handful of Samsung devices (Samsung were kind enough to give DStv significant support in debugging issues), and then additional devices and suppliers will be added to the list as testing and development increases the scope of compatibility. This is sure to disappoint some users out there (myself included as an HTC user) but just seeing the application out there and in use will be a really good start. Once that list of supported devices grows we will get even happier.

The release date for Blackberry I won’t hazard a guess at, and given the discussion around it I didn’t ask. No point raising those expectations again until there is something to see.

The Android application is not far off. We have heard vague and non-committal dates being thrown around after all those missed deadlines (and I explained above why they are so sensitive). A target date was mentioned to me, which I have agreed not to disclose. If they manage to hit that date, a few of the Samsung Android users (on the whitelist) will have an early Christmas present and be smiling. From the conversation, I am confident that as a HTC user I will also be able to use my Drifta as was intended within a reasonable timeframe.

We spoke also a little around technical support, and it was mentioned that DStv mobile are looking to enhance their online experience for customers to improve support. Improvements are always  good thing.

In terms of improvements to software, full screen and jailbroken iDevices isn’t allowed with licensing so we moved onto other ideas. A Drifta with a LCD screen may be a bit expensive, so how about putting a headphone jack on it and letting it be used as a digital radio. May not be much use for some of the channels, but for sport and music this would be great. Often the game isn’t on radio and listening to it on the Drifta could fill that gap. I asked also about an audio only client for lower specced devices that wouldn’t be able to display the pictue (that 8520 and some lower class Android devices come to mind). While these are nice ideas none can really be implemented short-term (my thought, not theirs) as the focus is on delivering the promised client applications first.

Ideas for improvements for the PC software:

  • Searchable programme guide
  • Reminders for upcoming shows
  • Ability to pause (to get that beer from the fridge while not missing the game, or to take an important call)
  • Setting (off by default) the call on startup of the app that currently checks if you have elected to participate in the useage monitoring programme (I personally take offense to having my uniquely identifiable information sent to the central server without permission – but then I did sign up for the programme when it was explained to me)
  • Setting (off by default) as to whether the software should check for updates (mobile data can be expensive)

I was asked my impression of the programming, I mainly watch sports and the news channels. I am fine with the allocation. The “cut down” mobile versions of channels was mentioned and Maiyo pointed out to me that for Cartoon Network they have quietly replaced the gimped one with the linear direct-to-home DStv version (the full version). I missed that along the way, big up to DStv for listening to their clients and sorting that out. I think they could have made a bit of a bigger deal about that and taken more credit for it. E! Entertainment continues to play a block of content that is repeated periodically.  Mnet Series is largely the same as the DTH channel, where licences have not been granted for certain programming, substitute programming will be scheduled.

The recurring theme through the discussions was how to communicate better with the customers, providing more transparency and information, while managing expectations to try to avoid consumer rage. We bounced around some ideas, and I hope that will lead to more information being made available, at a minimum details of what older devices/platforms will definitely NOT be supported, and possibly even minimum technical specifications (per platform) of what would be required in order to at least have a chance of the client working. Consumers would need to be careful not to misinterpret such information as a promise to have it working on those platforms. Still, this would help significantly in making decisions for next handsets.  I mentioned how frustrated I was having been through two phone upgrades between January and June and having no information on which to base a decision. They get this, just need work out how to sensibly release such information.

I was asked around the volume of traffic to this site. For those interested it is currently between 300 and 500 article impressions a day, and about 70% of that traffic relates DStv mobile, the next largest are those looking for details on Cellular service providers’ (Vodacom) compliance (or not as the case may be) with the Consumer Protection Act. Is running the site a full-time job? No, I have a real job. The advertising here brings in around R180/month currently, with that split between revenue for views and for clicks. A click pays anything from 40c to R12 (averaging R3.57), and advert views range from 0c (yes zero) to around 24c/thousand views. All that is highly variable and not enough to even buy me an iPad.

Finally we spoke around me getting added to the media list for press releases so I can keep the information on the site and updated, and possibly getting information just ahead of product and client releases so I can help spread the word and provide support to you, the community.

A very positive meeting, and I think DStv mobile, Maiyo, Bradley and Neil for inviting me to your offices, giving freely of your time and trusting me enough to show me what you are working so hard at delivering. I look forward to further interactions, and a growing community as you roll out the next versions of your client software and products.

If you have questions you would like answered let me know and I will see if I can get answers from Maiyo.

Disclaimer : DStv Mobile have not edited or unduly influenced this article in any way. The team was kind enough to show me a lot of what they are doing and give me honest answers to a lot of questions. In the vein of under promise and over deliver they did ask me not to reveal certain information. Out of respect to them I did send them a pre-release version of this article and on request some minor amendments were made (by me) to avoid creating unrealistic expectations. If this does happen, blame me for over enthusiasm and not the DStv mobile team :) 

P.S. After the fact I did post two additional questions to Maiyo. During the discussion we spoke briefly about Windows Mobile 7, however I did not explicitly ask if they were going to be developing for this platform. I asked for clarification on this. We also spoke a bit around what the minimum specifications might be for supported devices (across Nokia, Android, Blackberry) and whether these could be released. Not so much as to tell you your device would be supported, but so that you could know which devices just definitely wouldn’t make the grade. Useful when buying your next phone. They had not explicitly documented these specs, and they could also vary per platform. I have asked if this information could be documented and shared. The team was a little reluctant as they were concerned people may misinterpret this as an undertaking to develop for ALL devices which met these specifications, which clearly is unrealistic. I have asked if they might share these minimum specs, subject  to proviso’s sure, but some information is better than none. Will keep you posted.

Update : The Android version has now been released, read more here

Don’t get your hopes up, your mobile device probably won’t be supported by Drifta anyway

Posted on June 23, 2011

A lot of people having been waiting in (vain) hope of being able to watch DSTV on their mobile phones (other than iPhones). Information and updates on progress on getting the promised clients for Nokia, Blackberry and Android has varied between slow and non-existent. The “promises” of 1 April 2011, 30 May 2011, Early 2011 etc have all been broken and no new real information or deadlines provided.

A user by the name of “eel” posted on the 13th June on the forum (link here) : (slightly edited)

  • There is an Android client in the works (no timeline yet)
  • There is a blackberry client in the works ( no time line yet)
  • There is a Nokia S60 version in the works (sooner than the other 2, but will only be ready when the coding is done). This version will utilise the Drifta with wifi support but the CPU needs to be above 700mhz.

I don’t know who “eel” is or how reliable his information is. However, if it is true, then it will come as a shock to many Nokia users, myself included. Very few Nokia’s run at a speed of 700mhz or above. In fact, I am not sure that ANY released before the Drifta itself was released in fact run at that speed.

The Nokia E71 runs at 381Mhz, the N95 at 330Mhz, the E72 runs at 600Mhz, N97 runs at 434Mhz. So speed requirement is true, then only Nokia S60 phones released in late 2010/2011 like the N8 and E7 (only 680Mhz) may well work with the Drifta.

So I don’t hold out much hope then as my E71 is well below the requirement. Wish they had just told me this long ago.

This also makes me worry about which Blackberry Devices will be compatible with the Drifta.  The 8520 runs as 512Mhz, as does the 8900. The 9700,9780 and Torch all runs at 624Mhz. Maybe they will just be able to squeeze this to work? Still, most people have the 8520 so this doesn’t look promising.

A lot of the current Android devices run at 1Ghz or more, so it is far more likely that Android users will have a happier experience if the client gets released for them.

I wish DSTV would just come out and say what is planned. The waiting sucks when after the wait you still probably won’t be able to use the device you want when the clients eventually get released. Maybe that is the plan after all? If you wait long enough the devices people have will have caught up with the specifications you actually require but never told them? Too much conspiracy theory in there, but don’t say I never said it.


Quick thoughts and test: New version of Microsoft Image Composite Editor (ICE) 1.4.3 (Updated 14/4/2011)

Posted on April 12, 2011

As any regular reader of my blog knows, I am quite a fan of Microsoft Image Composite Editor and regularly use it to create panoramas and photosynths, and have quite a few synths hosted on

A couple of days ago (7th April) a new version was released, 1.4.3. Get it here. There is also a nice demo video there.

Back last year there was some pre-release information around this new release, the most exciting was that it could now take video input and use it to create the panoramas and synths. I have been looking forward to this release every since so was quite excited at the news.

The new features (as taken from the website) are :

  • Stitch directly from a video (only on Windows 7)
  • Automatic lens vignette removal
  • Improved blending engine
  • Options dialog to control memory usage and scratch disk locations

I don’t know why the video option is Windows 7 only, however my laptop runs Windows 7 so I was very keen to try out this new feature. With limited time I just took my blackberry, made a quick (1 minute) low resolution (around 2 Meg) video (.3gp format). (Update : It works on Windows 7 only as it makes use of some new video API that is present only from Windows 7 onwards).

I chose the composite video option in MS ICE, selected the file and it in, asked about clipping the frame, which I declined to do. MS Ice then analysed the video and selected 66 images which it then stitched together. It created a final image 2560 pixels x 426, covering 360 degrees horizontally and 56 degrees vertically, just 1.09 megapixels. This was a little disappointing since I had tried to get at least 90 degrees vertically and large sections of the video appeared missing (you can see part of the roof and not others). The room was a little dark and the blackberry camera isn’t great in low light conditions, I guess I temper my expectations until I try this out properly with the Canon EOS 550D or the Ixus 210. They at least do HD (and full HD) video.

The end result can be seen below. Very dark and more than likely not doing justice to the new features (my fault I’m sure). I hope to upload more examples soon, but in the meantime check out the first attempt.

Update :

Tonight I took a similar video clip using the Canon Ixus 210 in HD (720p). The result looked much better onscreen and MS ICE also did a much better job with the source footage. Many more images were picked from the video (110 selected, 109 stitched) covering 360′ horizontally and a much better 130′ vertically. This produced a final image 6144 pixels by 2165, giving 13 megapixels. The end result as uploaded to Photosynth is much more pleasing then the Blackberry version and gives a much more complete view of the room.

This video option is definitely one I will play around with a whole lot more. Next time out the Canon Eos 550D to do some full HD (1020P) video.

Followup on Blackberry Data Useage in South Africa #in

Posted on August 13, 2010

Following up on my post around Blackberry data useage found here.

It has now been a week of monitoring my data useage on my Blackberry Bold 9000. Details around my typical useage can be found in the original post so I won’t repeat those here. Needless to say, I am probably a fairly atypical user and certainly on the higher end of useage.

As mentioned last time, I installed David from the Blackberry Appstore so I could monitor my data useage. In the week that has passed my average has been around just over 10 megabytes of data a day. So this would average out to just over 300-320 megabytes for the month.

Blackberry screen capture

Blackberry screen capture of data useage for a week

A quick peek on MTN and Vodacom’s websites to see how much it would cost for 300 Meg per month. Vodacom has a data useage calculator tool here. I entered 300 Meg and this is the very helpful response I got back :

Helpful vodacom

Helpful vodacom

So back to the 3 easy steps to see if I could get a different answer. Tried a few other options, same result. Vodacom clearly doesn’t want me to buy 300Meg a month. I browsed around the site but still couldn’t find the price. How hard is it to tell your customers what options there are and how much they would be ? I did find the Blackberry BIS service price which was R59 a month (prepaid).  (No link sorry, their website seems to produce session specific links so had to remove it). Try and let me know if you find the data prices quicker than I did.

MTN was a little easier. I quickly found their data options and an “Extended Data 350″ option which gave the required data amount for R209 a month.  That though i then discovered was a complete contract not a bolt on to an existing contract. They have a 300Meg option for the grand price of R149 a month. Not too bad and not too hard to find.

So with some very poor maths and mixing and matching between service providers, it would seem that if I was paying for my data useage on the optimum data contract would cost me R149 a month rather than the Blackberry cost of R59 a month, an additional monthly cost of R90.

Is it any wonder then that people, and particularly teens are going for the Blackberry option? They generally like to use Facebook, Mxit, and are increasingly discovering the joys of a service guaranteed messenger in Blackberry messenger.

I fully expect Blackberry to continue to grow from strength to strength, and really hope that the other providers come out with some kind of competitive option. Increasingly other phones are coming bundled with a small data package, but, 30 Meg of data on an Android device (Bundle with SE X10 Mini) really doesn’t cut it, and can easily be used in an hour at the park.

In summary then, people often ask how good a deal is the Blackberry with unlimited data? Extremely good value for money is the short answer.

Blackberry Data useage numbers in SA using DAVID #in

Posted on August 08, 2010

I have been curious about Blackberry data useage for a while. The Blackberry contracts (BIS/BES) are around R65/month and include unlimited data for on-device browsing, email, IM, etc. I do a fair amount of browsing on my Blackberry (rather than my Nokia) largely because of the data. I have a small (30 Meg) data bundle on the Nokia and I regularly go over the limit. Not difficult to do given that some web pages (even on the mobile device) take a few hundred K, making it every easy to use a Meg or two reading just a few sites.

The other factor is that Blackberry is said to use a fair degree of compression through the use of their own data proxies and their own services. So how much value for money do I really get out of the Blackberry service?

I looked around for a tool to monitor the useage, and came across a few, but only one seemed as though it would be up to the task, so I downloaded “David” from the blackberry appstore. It is a 60 day trial version, but is more than adequate for monitoring a few days useage.

After 2 days, here is how it’s looking :

Two days useage +- 18 Meg (and after the 1st day it was around 9 Meg).

That includes Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, downloading some apps, browsing the net, BB Messenger etc. I am really impressed with the relatively low data useage given my patterns of useage. Anyhow, some very quick sums and it would be around 270 megabytes of data per month. For the price paid for the BIS/BES useage, that is really good value for money.

I’m probably an outlier on useage, though perhaps not in the top 2% of users. Still, for anybody looking to make decent useage of their mobile device and not to have to worry about crazy high bills, the Blackberry with “uncapped” data useage is a really good deal. BB Messenger also works a good deal better than MXit, they way its integrated into the device and has message delivery and read statuses. No more messages lost in the ether.

I’m interested in hearing about other people’s useage patterns and their thoughts on the Blackberry data bundle and value for money.

Blackberry Bold 9000 extended battery replacement (update)

Posted on July 30, 2010

I posted a week ago around the extended capacity battery that I had ordered off E-bay for the grand total of $10. Just a quick update after a week’s usage.

First foremost, this thing does what was advertised, and the battery life is a HUGE improvement over what I was getting from the the year old 1500mAh original Blackberry battery. The old battery was struggling to get me through a day. Even with some USB laptop charging during the day, with a full overnight charge and the day beginning at 6am, my battery was flat by 5pm.

This battery is new and yes it’s only the first week, however, with the same usage patterns as above (and described in my original post), the extended battery is lasting to 11pm and still having some life left over. Tonight as we speak I still have half a battery charge left. Wow, I don’t think I could go back to the old battery.

That said, the phone still feels HUGE. The new battery cover makes the phone feel twice the size. I read quite a bit on the device using the Kindle App (and that works great) so I had to get used to holding the phone all over again is it doesn’t feel the same. It also doesn’t fit neatly into my pocket with the Nokia E71. So I’m changing the little habits to make this thing work. Some people just won’t be able to get over the size, but for me, I’m sticking with the extended battery and would definitely recommend it to anybody who is struggling to get through a day.

$10 from soonhua_digital on ebay (US) with free shipping to SA, took a week to arrive (from China). Best R75 I have spent in a long time.

Blackberry Bold 9000 battery replacement (and cheap chinese shipping)

Posted on July 23, 2010

I really enjoy my Blackberry Bold 9000. It has a nice sized screen and a great sized keyboard. I also use a Nokia E71, and in comparison the small little keyboard is a real pain to type on. Over the 14 months or so I have had it, the battery life has deteriorated significantly,  to the point where I can’t get through a day of normal useage (perhaps an hour of calls, some twitter useage, some BBM conversations and fairly heavy email useage).

I read a little about double capacity batteries being available, did some searching around and found one at a very reasonable price on Ebay, with a new back cover to allow the battery to fit. About $10 later (free shipping), a two week wait and it appeared in my post box. Plugged it in tonight. The new case makes the phone a bit bulkier than it already was (not so great), although not quite as heavy. I had thought the extended battery case would give a bulge at the back, instead it extends the size of the entire back of the phone. Still having doubts about whether this is going to be convenient, but, if it really does give double (of the original) battery life, I think I am going to enjoy this.

Will keep you all posted.

P.S. Has anybody figured out how the sellers in Hong Kong and China seem to be able to offer free shipping on small purchases as low as $1? I have serious doubts if we could even post them anything for $1 let alone buy the packaging and the actual item for sale. This is fun new retail therapy (for me), and a completely new way of doing business to ponder. If people have time to spare there is no reason to buy these kinds of items locally. Let’s see if the screen protectors, pouches, camera batteries and lense covers arrive too :)

P.P.S. I bought the battery with cover from soonhua_digital on ebay (US)

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