Tips & Tricks: A Password-Protected PDA May Save your Bacon One Day

MP900405586 Remember this post from precisely three months ago?  Well, I'm here to tell you; lightning does strike twice – and I mean exactly!

I'm out of town – in the same place I was three months ago – and once again, my Blackberry was working fine this morning…then it wasn't.  It was virtually the identical problem to last time (frozen solid), except for two glaring differences; 1) I haven't made any modifications to the device in a while, so there wasn't any clue as to why this happened and, 2) (this is critical) I could get to my password screen and unlock the device.  I would also like to note that I have virus software and upon reboot, was able to run a sweep before the device froze again – no sign of any contamination.

So, I went over to the same retail outlet, where some of the same people tried to do the same thing (a software repair push).  Fail!  I basically told the techs (same as last time) "I don't care if you have to wipe it out, I have no problem restoring from backup." (Yes, I have a recent backup, just like last time).  I also told them, "Whether this works or not, I have to walk out of here with a working device."

But – just like last time – no love.  They couldn't wipe the device, either.  Now, here's where it gets ugly.  Last time they had a spare Tour in stock – this time, they didn't.  So, they offered to have a new one shipped to me via overnight courier.  Normally this would be completely reasonable.  Unfortunately this happened today, and on this particular day, this device must work.  I can't forward my cell number elsewhere because I'm out of town, on the go and I need to be reachable (is that even a word?)

This is where the password-protection comes in.  With a Blackberry (not familiar with how other PDAs handle this), when password-protection is enabled, a companion security setting automatically enables a 'doomsday' scenario – and you can't turn it off (unless you disable password-protection altogether).  That's right; it doesn't just fail to unlock the device – it allows you to select the number of incorrect passwords you'll allow (from 3-10), then if that threshold is reached, the device wipes itself out.  Even the techs at the store didn't know this.  So, as a last resort, I suggested, since the only thing that did work was the password screen, try repeatedly entering an incorrect password to trigger doomsday.  Even though the device was frozen otherwise, I hoped that enough of the O/S was running in the background that it might work.

SUCCESS!!!

Most of you know I tend to be vague about my devices, but most of you also have long since figured out my PDA is a Blackberry.  The reason I mention it this time is, I'm afraid I'm worn out with them.  Just like my clients, I cannot afford to have a primary device crashing for no reason.  I lost more than half a day resolving this in the short-term, but for the long-term, I'm switching to a Droid.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on RedditEmail this to someonePrint this page