Sunday, August 28, 2011

tether with at&t - in an airport - with no bb desktop manager installed! - THE STORY

If you want to achieve this in the shortest way possible, check the post that ends in - THE QUICK WAY

The bb has internet - and you don't want to pay t-mobile's wifi!

I had already configured tethering to work with Costa Rica's ICE and AT&T's network in the US, but, I just re-imaged my laptop a while ago and I lost all of my setup. Of course I didn't re-install the bb desktop manager.

With a good "can do" spirit, I decided to go into my blog in the BB browser, and double check the link I had saved where I learned how to do this the first time.

I did not have the BB software (bloatware?) installed on my desktop. But I thought, "no worries, i've seen that the device, in one of the USB drives, includes an autorun that activates a setup program. even if it's old, i just need the driver to make tethering work".

1st problem

Oh, it did not. After 5 minutes of nonsense and slow loading, it sends you to the webpage anyways.

Not to be discouraged, I thought, well, the browser on the torch is almost as usable as a desktop's - what if I can download it from BB's website and save it on the BB card, then transfer it to the PC with the micro usb cable?

So, I surfed, found and actually started downloading. Yay! WTG! oh wait... download error. That's weird. Let's try again. Let's see, good speed, 30 kb/s, 40 kb/s, i see peaks up to 60... this is going well. Then, around 4%, it errors out. I tried moving the phone, but signal is full - something else is cutting communication. Granted, its 115 MB and i've never tried downloading something so big.

What could it be? The browser? RAM? AT&Ts network???? Or something even more nefarious?

I can try to fix the first one. Let's download some other browser. So I try bolt. I download off the app store, and then that version is old, so I re-download from their site.

If that fails, I can then seek in third party locations for a suitable driver. Hope is not lost, there are many ways to get around this.

I head over to the BB site and try the download. Bolt recognizes I have a file to save and allows me to select the destination. I read it renders pages just like a desktop browser. It might not be a waste of time!

It does not download $h|7. There is no progress bar or error message - when I check in the downloads folder, I only see 0 byte null files. I didn't even see network activity for more than 1 second.

Rather disappointed, I overhear someone saying to a relative, I'm going to that place to get connected, and I remember: hell yeah! there's places that will give you a wired internet connection for your laptop for free!

Alas, I only find a place for charging, your device, but no free internet. Keep on walking, in the words of old Johnnie.

And then, something cool comes up. A google chromebook display. They actually have it for Virgin travellers, they can take it with them on the flight and browse all the flight, then return it at the end of the flight, with wifi on the plane. Now who wouldn't like that!

My approach was honesty. I want to see if I can download an installer I need, to a USB. 3 very nice persons heard my request, and although doubtful it could be done since it's a "cloud device", I reminded them there's a usb port and I have a usb device (coincidentally the phone).

Thankfully, I spark enough interest that they allow me to use a samsung chromebook. I mean, even if I don't get this working, I got free access to a device I won't probably buy, but I know it's neat. I use (and love) gmail, blogger and the chrome browser, so I'm quite happy to get my hands on one of these.

Chrome has an option to select the download location. This does not. The file browser also does not have a copy command. WTF, only delete and rename. Please don't tell me google brainpower could not figure someone might need that. I'll put a separate post on how I got around that, but to summarize, I ended up only downloading the BB usb and modem drivers, which I thought to be all I needed.

No boy, you are wrong. That installs the devices as ports, but you need more.

Basically I could not query the modem, for all I tried. After browsing a bit more, I remembered that in my past successes, I needed the blackberry taskbar tool, of which I could not really remember the name, to be active in order to dial out. Can I download only that?

Actually, you can. I googled and found it's called blackberry handheld manager (there's some irony here, as you'll find out). I am actually able to download the 10 mb's to my cel phone from BB's page. I install and... nothing happens. No taskbar icon.

WTF. There was another version, let's download that. Same thing. I google again to find where this exe gets put, and find it inside program files, common, research in motion. Aha! Let's get rocking.

I execute and it's... different. Like old. And worse, it doesn't work either.

You can imagine my frustration at this point. It would seem I have to have the full blackberry desktop software. I'm back to square one, having gained knowledge and with less time to kill at least.

I decide to take a break and watch football in the Samsung lounge. NFL is looking pretty good this year.

So, if I need to download 115 MBs, I better find those free internet places, if they exist. Google, and turns out DFW does have some, and one not too far. However, you can connect your laptop if you have an ethernet connection, otherwise it's a locked down browser.

Of course I have no ethernet cable. I'll actually pack a small one from now on. And I was sure if I found one on sale, it would be $10 or more. So we have to figure out a way to get the file to my BB.

Well, chrome OS users like dropbox instead of saving to usb (something I had learned while browsing forums). It has a BB client. Let's try that. In good old theory, it will sync whatever file i put on the account to the BB, and hopefully, they have implemented some superior transport mechanism that will survive cellular network's inherent instability and get me, some day, a working copy of the installer into my BB.

Did you notice the tone in the previous paragraph? Kinda emphatic on "hopefully", "should", "I presume" right? This tells you i'm assuming, which since I'm alone, makes an ass of me and only me. I clearly have not used dropbox before. I can't download from inside the dropbox interface, and I actually need a pc where I can designate a "dropbox folder".

Ok, I can't remote desktop anywhere in the world without internet. The only thing I have is logmein in my home PC's setup. Well, let's go see that "locked down browser" and see if the guys at logmein test their stuff.

Sure enough, it's a GUI lock of an internet explorer 6, which is the most compatible thing you will find (except by official standards). And it's wonderfully insecure. Logmein's activex plugin installed without a fuss and I was in my home computer with a pretty decent connection.

I download the package, download dropbox, setup the folder, and check my bb. Nothing. ok, might take a while to sync. Still nothing. Turns out, now that I made a folder, it first has to upload the file to dropbox. Until then, I cannot see the file.

Ok, minutes later, quantity dependent on my uplink at home, I finally see the file in the BB. Select, option, and ... there's no download. No copy, move, or save as. If I try to execute the exe, I get told this won't work on the BB. WTF. Really? You even make an app and you don't think someone might want to make a local copy, say to the SD card, of a file?

I don't know. Maybe it does copy. But at 3G speeds, I'm not waiting for something I can't see.

I'm starting to think of ways to split the file and sending it to the account that is tied to the BB service in 9 mb chunks. Idiotic, yes, but BB messages do download in the background, I get a sense of the progress, and if CRC checks fail, you get a nice X that allows you to retry.

But then, I get to wondering. What if... it's BB's servers that are cutting the communication off. I've had that happen when downloading the BB server software from them. And now I have this uploaded to dropbox, which has a web interface, and I bet BB's browser can detect the download and I can test getting a copy off the file from other, presumably, better suited, servers.

So, I do. It takes a while, but it does not fail, and now I have the software!

#1 if your download fails from the BB site, use something such as dropbox. I've left it on my public folder, if you'll trust I have not modified it or added a virus to it.

That should get you going. Connect your usb cable, enable usb mode, and copy the file from your download location to the PC, and execute.

#2 after browsing the BB downloads, and seeing the proper name for the Blackberry Device Manager, turns out you can download it (the BB handheld manager is on the site but is a very old version from 2004). Go to the same place you downloaded the handheld manager, but choose the blackberry desktop manager. The trick is that below the big download, there's a link to only the device manager in various languages, and that is only 30 MBs. I'll test it and if it works as expected, will put a new dropbox link to it.

#3 Go to and follow instructions. For 3G with at&t, the string should read:


If you get a ppp error, and it already said connecting, you probably need another AP name. I've seen proxy, broadband, and others for ATT, but this worked for me on 3G.

And that does it. Pretty decent, 3 MB download, .3 MB upload, and I can surf very acceptably :)


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Edit -
    long story ! interested on more info about tethering though