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  1.    #1  
    This past week, my employer decided to add a BES to our corporate environment, and naturally, I hopped on board as a user. As far as I know, I'm the only Treo user, as we have wireless enterprise activation enabled, and most users don't have local admin access to install the desktop software. Since I have the needed rights, I decided to give BBC a whirl and see if I could get it to work in the large corporate environment.

    What follows is my ordeal.

    (The following started moments after I received my PIN from our BES Admin and confirmed that my account was in a state of initialization.)

    First, I extracted the executable to my desktop and installed as admin. The first sync went fine as a Palm Installer Package was placed on my Treo. This self-extracting file then proceeded to install several BES-specific files onto the device, and asked me to reset.

    Then the second stage started, and the desktop software was installed. "This is going well", I surmised, as I selected the Exchange Server for my corporate email provider, and went on with the install. At this point, I had expected a prompt to move the mouse around to create a unique PIN for the device, and that indeed happened (only on the first install try though... more to come on that). Then the software prompted me to wipe my calendar items and replace them with the BES calendar, which I also did. At this point, inexplicably at the time, the BBC conduit froze, and I received a response from the desktop saying essentially that the install failed and I needed to do it again.

    And I did... 9 times that afternoon. To no avail. Each time, the error was the same, except that I no longer was prompted for a PIN. I checked the BBC desktop settings, and consulted some minimal help online (believe me, very little is out there on this piece of software) and decided that I might need to manually generate my PIN instead of the default automatic setting. I did so, and the PIN screen displayed "Update Pending". This never changed in the umpteen installs to come, until the final successful install.

    At this point, I decided to do what every Treo owner has to face eventually, but avoids like the plague - a hard reset. I went one better, and did a full factory reset, which requires intervention from a colleague. Believe me; four hands are required. Anyway, we went forward with the reset, I reinstalled the desktop and Treo software, and...


    Time for tech support.

    First I called ATT and explained the issue. They suggested that it surely must be a Treo issue, so they bridged me to Palm. Palm had zero clue about how to rectify the matter, and suggested that I pay (literally) a visit to RIM. Well, RIM charges for support, and I was not willing to fork over the cash for that, so I called ATT back and requested a bridge call to RIM. They complied, but not before we discussed which BBC data package was the one that was needed. The second CSR insisted that the first CSR had added the wrong package, so she changed it. Still, nothing resulted in my install. After the 15th install, RIM and ATT joined hands and discussed the matter with me.

    The ATT rep decided lunch was more important and left me in the hands of a seemingly incompetent RIM rep who asked me 100 questions about things I had already done. Frustration set in when the rep decided I needed to re-flash the Treo. I refused and requested that we call it a day.

    On day two, I decided that I would be better off trying something new, so I proceeded to uninstall every conduit on my desktop PC along with the Palm software. What I found was a host of errors saying that sync20.dll and hotsync.dll were having problems, and I actually became stuck in an uninstall loop. After killing the MSIEXEC process and starting from scratch, I noted that the Palm software was still in the Add/Remove Programs applet, but it would not allow me to invoke MSI. After hours of headscratching and tossing of cups and pens across the room, I figured out that Palm was installed on the "All Users" account by default. I had to uninstall it as the superuser, reinstall it as the local admin user (me) and then install the BBC software.

    This resulted in a clean install, but I still did not see any email. I did not receive any service books, and the account displayed as suspended. This required yet another call to RIM. Blame was passed back to Cingular and back to RIM, which led me to suspect a conspiracy of some sort. Was it the data plan? The PDA? The install package? Fate? Who knew? No one, apparently.

    At this point, I requested that the BES admin delete my account entirely from the BES, and regenerate it, along with a new PIN. After that was done, I figured I would try installing YET AGAIN.

    Finally, I saw success after countless hours of labor. However, I was VPNed into the server remotely at the time, and it turns out that the initial calendar syncing is painfully slow even on a LAN, let alone a WLAN connected by VPN. So, predictably, the calsync crashed. But gosh-darn it, I had my BBC email!

    I surfed around, fiddled, and connected the dad-blamed thing, and it was great to finally have a successful install. However, all was not good for long.

    I have found two extremely stupid issues. First, my calendar items display an hour behind. I had the BES admin change my time zone, and my calendar items show up with Central Time in the body, but the time on the calendar is still wrong. I'm not sure yet about this issue, but it's not even the most critical one.

    It turns out that no matter what I try, I cannot run IM and/or Blazer at the same time as BBC. If I initiate an IM, I lose the data connection to IM/Blazer. If I disconnect from those apps, I start receiving my BB email. Apparently, I have both a APN and a MediaNet APN in the Network preferences. When I connect to IM/Blazer, the MediaNet APN is invoked. Same goes for IMAP email. But the BB APN is required for BB email.

    So... is this the norm, or did they just misconfigure my PDA? Today's adventure in phone tech support led to no resolution as I again was tossed from ATT to Palm. Tomorrow, I plan to discuss this further with RIM. I cannot imagine this is supposed to be the norm.

    I'm curious... how many users out there have a successful configuration of BBC on Cingular, and how many of those users have two APNs in their network prefs? If I delete the MediaNet APN, will I lose connectivity? Did ATT set me up incorrectly in the first place?

    Thanks for reading my lengthy soliloquy, and any answers will be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2  
    It turns out that no matter what I try, I cannot run IM and/or Blazer at the same time as BBC. If I initiate an IM, I lose the data connection to IM/Blazer. If I disconnect from those apps, I start receiving my BB email. Apparently, I have both a APN and a MediaNet APN in the Network preferences. When I connect to IM/Blazer, the MediaNet APN is invoked. Same goes for IMAP email. But the BB APN is required for BB email.
    This is standard. I'm on T-Mobile and the APN shows up when my bb-connect is running, but to use Blazer/IM I have to suspend my bbc and let it connect to Internet APN. Suspending the bbc lets blazer/IM work better since bbc won't try to re-connect while you're browsing/IMing.
  3. #3  
    I use BBC on Cingular (Treo 650). I had a successful installation on 1st try. However, have had to reinstall a couple of times since then due to hard resets. Did have trouble with one reinstall due to fact that the BES calendar had a lot of "appointments" (>140) and this evidently leads to problems with the provisioning process (similar to your unexplained failure). Archiving your Exchange calendar appointments will fix this issue.

    With regard to two APN's, that is the correct setup for a Treo - and Media Net. Always make sure Media Net is selected as the default APN under Network prefs. The Treo will automatically switch to Media Net when you utilize Blazer, etc. and after exiting that application it will automatically switch back to (takes a few minutes).
  4.    #4  
    The fault in this design is that it renders background apps useless, like Mundu IM. Also, if I am using VNC to admin a server, I cannot receive a service request via email from the BES. I have to log back out of data and into the BES to get the message.

    This means, effectively, that my device is not receiving real time push email. If you're using personal email, that's fine. In MIS and tech support, that's not acceptable. I'd be better off forwarding all of my messages from an instance of Outlook to an IMAP account that was being read by Chatter. I have to say, the reliance on two APNs is a severe disappointment for me.
  5. #5  
    Dump the BBC, and use Versamail with exchange activesync.
  6.    #6  
    Quote Originally Posted by matty032 View Post
    Dump the BBC, and use Versamail with exchange activesync.
    Were that my call, I would. The BES is the corporate standard, and I have to work with what I am given.

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