Gefilte Fish Out of Water

A BlackBerry love story.
August 7, 2009, 10:12 pm
Filed under: Feelings, Identity, Infrastructure, Yum


You guys, it only took five months and four days, but I finally got a working BlackBerry in Israel.


iPhones aren’t available or supported in Israel (though they are coming soon), and I had a BlackBerry when I lived in the U.S., so I wanted one over here, too.

blackberry-8800-1Well, they cost $900 (that’s dollars, not shekels) over here, and I read stuff online how if you brought an unlocked one over from the U.S. (about $225), it would totally work fine here, and all you’d have to buy was the Israeli SIM card and phone/data plans.

‘Cept I tried this back in April, and it failed.  Not sure why, but the theory was we tried to put too many 3rd party apps on during the initial data transfer.  Or, it was actually refurbished crap even though the vendor sold it to me as new.

Then, I was screwed b/c my warranty had a grace period before it kicked in, RIM wouldn’t cover it b/c I bought it from a 3rd party vendor, ebay’s warranty had expired, and so had the vendor’s.

Fortunately, the vendor was generous and allowed me to return it for a blackberry-curvereplacement anyway.  I remember buying it from an ebay store called ipod outlet, but suddenly I was dealing with another ebay store named Blue Bay Electronics, so I guess Blue Bay owns iPod Outlet.

Anyway, being that I am in Israel and Bluebay/iPodOutlet is in the U.S., I had to wait until somebody I knew in Israel was traveling to the U.S. (and I was made to pay the return shipping – shady!)…and then dependent on someone from the U.S. to schlep it over here.

This took about 3 months.  *prolonged sigh*

Finally it arrived last week, and I took it to Cellcom on Wednesday to buy a plan and SIM card and get my new baby activated.  Well, first up, the salesguy sold me the wrong data plan.  He gave me all these choices when really the only plan that would allow me to set up email on a BlackBerry was a special data plan offered by (wait for it)….BlackBerry duh.

73890So I got home, and the phone part was working fine, and I could surf the net and all, but couldn’t set up email.  Grr.  Called Cellcom tech support, finally got an English speaking tech, and he told me the salesguy screwed up and that he would void my contract and that I should go back to the store, and he would call me in 20 minutes and I should ask for the shift manager and put him on, and he would explain everything to him.  Shoot me for the run-on sentence; I don’t care.

Except, the workers in the store weren’t having any of that, and then the rep I got seated with refused to talk to the techie on the phone when he called back.  Dramz!  But I’ve been listening to the audiobook of The Secret as I rode my bicycle around town all week, so I just kept imagining the good outcome I wanted and feeling grateful for it as if it had already turned out fine, and the bitchy rep got up to find the original salesguy.  They argued a while, and then finally the salesguy got on the line and spoke to the techie.  After that, Bitchy was nice to me, and I got the new BlackBerry data plan they should have sold me in the first place.

So, then I spent the next six hours tricking the thing out.  I wanted it to look blackberry-bold-11and work just like the one I had back in New York.  Yes, I was completely obsessed with this and completely isolated as I got busy adding apps and themes and ringtones, but not in a bad way; I waited five months for this day, and I was having fun playing with my new toy.

We’ve had a sub at Ulpan all week since our teacher is away, and it was 3am when I finished playing with the new BB, so I decided to play hooky on Thursday.  Woke up mid-morning and decided to call my doc for an appt.  I’ve had uncharacteristic back pain all week, and I wanted him to examine me.  Picked up BB and made the call.

Call kept failing.  [uh-oh, not good]

Used other phone to call BB.  Wouldn’t receive calls either.  Hmm..

Web and email working fine, so I’m not worried.  Call tech support with the old skool phone I’ve been using all this time, but it uses a pre-paid card, and I run out of minutes, so the call drops.  Damn, I had a good English speaker, and we were getting somewhere.  Grr.  Realize I can use work’s Skype account to call back.  I do, but wouldn’t you know it, we’re almost out of credit on our account, and because of a freak issue w/ our card on file, auto-renew was disabled…meaning, the clock was ticking on this support call.

Nice techie.  She tries to call my BB.  No dice.  Tries again.  Call goes through, but the ring tone is all crackly, like the thing is getting fried and then –


the thing completely dies.  Try taking battery out and putting back in.  Looks like it’s booting up and then…dies again.  And again.  And again.  And…again.  Techie signs off.  I’m alone, but I have to go to a place of acceptance.  I’m not going to put myself through another international, drawn-out warranty/return saga, nor am I going to find some back-alley local store to try and fix it.  Despite the success stories I had read, I tried once to bring an unlocked American BB to work over here and failed.  And now I’d tried twice, and it failed again.  Eff this.  I was going to take out savings from America and drop $900 on a new Israeli one and just guarantee success once and for all.

But I get an idea, and I decide to try one more thing.  I take the battery out clothesline2again and replace it with the battery from my neutered Verizon BB from America.  Worth a shot.  Bootup always takes a lil while, so I go into the other room and start taking clothes off the clothesline.

Come back to check on it…keeping my hopes in-check…look down at the screen and – there’s my (wallpaper) niece Alexa – S-U-C-C-E-S-S !!!

WTF, I don’t know why this worked, but I ask God to remove from me the need to replay and figure out this mystery, and I just accept the whole morning.  I also ask God to remove my fear that it will stop working again.  Who knows why it did what it did?  The important thing is that it is working perfectly now (still, two days later), and I am IN LOVE.

Scott + BB 4evah

Scott + BB 4evah


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[…] schlep it back to America to return it for me, then schlep the replacement back over here, I got it to work last summer, and I’ve been quite happy with it.  Until lately.  It’s been giving me […]

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