Thursday, July 1, 2010

How to fix your blackberry problem

In British Columbia, we have a HANDS-FREE set of rules that came into law a few months ago. For the majority of us (full license drivers), it meant we must use a hands-free (a.k.a. blue tooth) device to answer or place calls on our cellular phones while driving. Reading or replying to TEXT messages is still a NO-NO but this blog is not about that portion of the new law- it is about bluetooth and a problem that can affect your blackberry

This last week, I got into my vehicle and turned on the Visor mount bluetooth before starting out. I heard the connection beep and thought all was fine. Away I go to start work for the day still thinking all is fine.
Calls are comming in which I answered via my visor mount bluetooth- All still appears to be fine.
I tried to make a voice-dial call via my visor mount bluetooth- All is NOT fine. The call did not go out. The nice -sexy voice did not ask for my command. Something is wrong!!

I pulled over and looked at my cellphone. It is a blackberry- ( the reason for this blog ) and it says "Initilizing....please wait" I waited..and waited..and waited but nothing happened.

"Oh", I thought.. maybe the bluetooth needs to be charged (even though I had not received the sexy-voice reminding me that the battery was low). So I charged the bluetooth that night and started over the next day.

Hmmm.. maybe I should try a test call before I head out.
Guess what?? Same problem.

Ok.. let's try my earpiece bluetooth which is a great stand-by unit. Same problem.

Now I have gone into FULL investigator mode and need to find the answer as there is no way I want to be caught making calls while driving and adding $185.00 fines to my budget. It is bad enough we have toll bridges but that is another story (see our previous blogs).

Today- in full- 100% investigator mode with a "geek mode" add on, I took on the problem as I was not about to go to the local cell provider store and be made to feel silly if the problem is simple.

I checked all my settings. Yes- voice dial is active.
I check to be sure that bluetooth was in sync (paired) and it was finding the correct one.
I deleted the bluetooth settings and paired it again. Still no luck!! What else could it be?

Two hours later, a light came in in my head. Could it be that the battery in my two year old blackberry was too weak.
Simple test for that- plug in the power and see if it will work that way.

Hmm.. what else. It is not a bluetooth device problem. It is not a power or setting problem. What is left.?

Click!!. Since it is not hardware (covered all that above), then it it must be either software or the phone has just bit the dust. For the sake of the pocket book- PRAY for software- PLEASE!!!

I then went to (I suggest you write the URL down if you are using a blackberry) I hit the CHECK FOR UPDATES button and let it do it's thing and............. YES!!!! there are updates and they are SOFTWARE updates.

Follow the instructions; read the prompts and be ready to plug in your blackberry when it says to. Well, the long and short of the next 45 minutes is.. the latest software update not only fixed my voice dial problem but also updated a lot of other programs at the same time.

You will notice, however, (at least I did) that the first voice dial call took a bit longer as it had to find the Address book but that took all of maybe 10 seconds. After that- status-normal.

I hope this helps a lot of blackberry users that have had the same problem. I noticed on some forums that many people had this problem but nobody seemed to have an answer.

D.M.(Riun) Lawrence
Golden West Investigative Group Ltd

Investigative and Personal Security Products Div.

Monday, June 28, 2010

British Columbia PI firms hit hard

Being a licensed Private Investigator in British Columbia since 1980, I have seen the good times, the slow times, the bad times and now the "when will things turn around" times.
Yes, PI's in BC, for the most part have been feeling the slow down of the economy and some more than others.

In British Columbia, many PI firms conduct assignments for our Provincial Automobile Insurance company-ICBC. Many of those firms also have applied to conduct investigations and surveillance on behalf of Work-Safe BC (WCB). Firms that rely primarily on those two sources of assignments are definitely seeing the "when will things turn around" times. Slow?? Heck no!! Almost non-existent is a closer term.

ICBC has a moritorium on and has in one shape or another for about a year. It has been in the last few months that they have totally closed the door to PI's and IA's. When will this be lifted? Nobody seems to be really sure and they (ICBC) are not giving us a potential time frame either. Some people think it will be a few more months but others are looking at some time next year. Either way, the PI's that rely on ICBC as their main stay for work are feeling this in a BIG way.

Work-Safe BC only approves a limited number of firms at any one time to be on their vendor list. It is a long / lenghty process where everything must be completed in triplicate just to apply. They only take applications during set time frames each year and even if your firm is accepted, there is no guarantee you will get a file.

Golden West Investigative Group Ltd, has been one of the lucky ones. Yes, our primary source for assignments has been ICBC but we were fortunate enough to see the writting on the wall a bit ahead of many of our colleagues. As things began to slow down on the insurance side of our work, we targeted other avenues to take up the slack and it worked.

What did we do? We marketed in a BIG way to law firms. Not just for investigation and surveillance files but with an emphasis on Process Serving.
Process Serving not only pays the bills but also keeps us in front of the lawyers without constantly conducted sales calls looking for the regular assignments. Also, a lot of our Process Serving clients are law firms that, when the work starts coming out again from ICBC, will be the same lawyers that will be acting on behalf of ICBC at trial. Hence, we get a double opportunity to be assigned a new file when they start happening again.

Our secondary focus for law firms has been the Family Law lawyers. Yes, they have a constant flow of Process Serving but they also, from time to time, have divorce surveillance work. Granted, in BC (and across Canada), divorce surveillance has dropped off with the changes in the Canada Divorce Act but there are still those few that want to know exactly what is going on and with whom.

The second avenue that has really picked up for us is our Investigation Equipment and Personal Security products web site. Even though investigations may be slow in BC, the sale of low to high end counter-measures equipment, covert cameras and dvr's, GPS vehicle tracking equipment and much more has not stopped on a global scale.

So you see..if you think about it.. and really want to work without getting into Criminal Defence work, there are plenty of opportunities for a PI in BC to keep busy. The secret is to look outside the first avenues of work and see what other opportunities are there.. and there are many.

There are other areas that we have also expanded on, including Custody Access and Access Supervision but to be truthfull, we really don't have a lot of time right now for those.

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