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Old 04-24-2006, 09:43 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Model: 8700
Carrier: Tmobile
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Angry Known problem with contact sync on an 8700g

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Hey all, I'm newly registered and I just wanted to share what happened last week

I do freelance consulting for small businesses. Last week one of my clients got an 8700g from Tmobile to replace his 7230 (which was hurting from lots of heavy use). The user is somewhat of a power user where he has a very busy schedule, two assistants and travels everywhere. He also has over 7000 contacts (yes, seven thousand). Many of these contacts are badly entered with phone numbers in address fields and other strange things. But it hasnt been a problem really until the 8700 came along.
the client has MS Exchange server in house with the Enterprise server running 3.6. All users run Outlook 2003.

So every other time I have upgraded a blackberry, I basically unplug the old one, plug in the new one and sync it. The sync usually takes a long time, but thats about as complicated as it gets. Every once in a while I'll update the desktop sync software...

So I go to sync the device, and it gets through about 3000 contacts and it gives the error [cant read or write application data] (I'll post the exact KB article later, cant find the link right now)
So when faced with this, I upgrade the BB desktop to newest version on their site... Same error.
OK, Then I uninstalled desktop and installed the BB Desktop version on the CD that came with it... same error
This is when I found the KB article stating that you cannot have any special characters in any name fields. So I quickly went through and looked for & $ * ? etc in the frequently used fields in the 7000 contacts. At that point I was like $#&%*# (cursing)
Of course I made a backup of the contacts folder before I did all the above.

So.... at this point I'm sure it must be the fact that I'm running BES 3.6 So I upgrade the server from 3.6 to 4.0 (No small task)... So that disrupts all the users, but I needed to do it anyway and its done, so that wasnt so bad. Anyway, SAME PROBLEM.

I finally called them and since we have Tsupport it was really easy to get someone on the phone. (I should have said I was having a problem with the BES instead of the desktop because then I wouldn't have been transferred to India.) The indian tech dude walked me through deleting the intellisync folder and creating a contact on the BB to see if it would sync. At this point the sync process was only getting to the 4th contact before it crapped out with the error.
So the Blackberry tech guy (who was not bad for an Indian dude) puts me on hold, and then he comes back and says I need to go through and remove all special characters from the 'name' and 'company name' fields in outlook. And that this is a known issue with the 8700g and he's sorry for the inconvenience blah blah.

At that point I was pissed because I had already been there for a long time and my client is like WTF is taking so long (I do hourly billing).... So the pressure is ON.

I sent someone out to go buy a 7290 while I stayed and worked on the 8700g. I exported all the contacts to an excel file and started doing a search and replace. There were tons of periods and dashes and slashes, so I was removing all of them, and its hard, and excel wants to remove ALL the periods from the whole contact database (including email address ARGH) So, about the time I get finished, the 7290 arrives, and I sync the whole thing with no problems.

SO, I just wanted to let you all know, sorry for the long winded post but I wanted to share what happened so you can avoid it. If you have thousands of contacts, I would stick with the 7290 until a patch comes out for the 8700g.

I think its F'd up that T-Mobile and RIM would release the device knowing about a problem like this. I have a friend who has it and she loves it, so its obviously not a major problem...

I'll track down the exact KB articles later.