Learning about Blackberry and openSUSE - neat

Telephones and I don’t get along.

I was raised in the day of the rotary dial phone, and I always considered the new “pulse dial” pretty high tech … I struggle with any new features in a phone, … and it gives my wife (and friends) no end of amusement. :slight_smile: … Even to this day where home computers have the power of yesterday’s supercomputers, and even in this day and age of a permanently manned space station orbiting the earth (where rich tourists can visit), do I still find even the most basic phone technology amazing.

The past 7 years I’ve carried on old Nokia 3310 around with me. I could not use 1/2 of its features, but it “just worked” for answering phone calls, and making phone calls. I’ve religiously avoided all efforts at home, at work, and from friends, to encourage me to go for a new phone.

Well, no more.

All our engineers/management who are on-call (where I work) have been issued Blackberries and we are required to carry these with us.

So this weekend I sat down and started to read the manual.

… Amazing … simply amazing … (and I’m told the iPhone is even better).

I am still not sure I can properly answer the phone (if called), but I plugged the USB cable from the Blackberry to my openSUSE-10.3 PC, selected the Removeable Storage mode (or what ever its called) and I was able to access the 2GByte memory card in the Blackberry. I managed to copy some videos to it (and play them) and also copy a bunch of songs from various audio CDs kicking around the house (that I backed up electronically).

That simple KDE drag and drop (with konqueror) from my openSUSE-10.3 to the appropriate Blackberry directory just worked. … and I’m truly impressed with this capability.

The screen is kind of small for watching movies, but I can see it being very useful when on a train, or on the bus, or waiting at the doctor’s office …

Impressive ! … and maybe one can teach an old dog new tricks. :slight_smile:

See, now it probably has bluetooth and that notebook your looking at
will have to have bluetooth… :wink:

I have an 8830e, I use a program called sharkmodem (ipp proxy) to
connect to the internet via windows (Phone carrier issue), have yet to
get the “barry” program to connect for an extended period of time on
linux :frowning: But it does get the phone charging at 500mA and can backup
contacts etc.

Have a look over in the Blackberry forums there is a far amount of
linux info.

Cheers Malcolm °¿° (Linux Counter #276890)
openSUSE 11.0 x86 Kernel
up 16:43, 1 user, load average: 0.09, 0.03, 0.01
GPU GeForce 6600 TE/6200 TE - Driver Version: 177.80

Indeed, lots there. I so much of a newbie in this that 90% of the stuff on that forum I do not understand. I did note the scripts for converting a video to a file format that the black berry will accept. http://www.blackberryforums.com/linux-users-corner/65660-vid2bb-sh-using-mencoder-create-videos.html

The script at the top of the page, needs an edit to work with MPlayer as compiled by packman. That explanation is given later in the same thread. The overall script that I believe functions with Pacman packaged MPlayer (and mencoder) is:



## 8100, 240x260 res
## uncomment one of the below depending on your input format
#RES=240:135             # resolution, 16:9 ratio
RES=240:180             # resolution, 4:3 ratio

## 8800, 320x240 res
## uncomment one of the below depending on your input format
#RES=320:180             # resolution, 16:9 ratio
#RES=240:180             # resolution, 4:3 ratio

## generic
ABR=64                  # audio bitrate
VBR=230                 # video bitrate

mencoder "$FILE" \
        -o "${FILE%.*}_bb.avi" \
        -of avi \
        -ovc lavc \
        -oac mp3lame \
        -lavcopts vcodec=mpeg4:vbitrate=$VBR \
        -lameopts abr:br=$ABR \
        -vf scale=$RES

I’m testing it now against a short movie, and I’ll post here, noting if it works.

That script did not work for me (ie did not create a video that the blackberry would play). … I need to research this some more to figure out why.

Because if you encode with lavc’s mpeg4 codec, it will use as fourcc FMP4 which is not recognized by most hard or software players. You need to change the fourcc to either divx or xvid with -ffourcc DX50 or -ffourcc XVID or -ffourcc DIVX

For the Treo650 I had I used ffmpeg, maybe you need to look at that. I
converted full length dvds by using mplayer to dump the stream then
convert to around 250MB for 312x176. My NCIS ones were about 90MB per

mplayer dvd://<track#> -dvd-device /dev/cdrecorder -dumpstream

ffmpeg -i <inputfilename> -r 25 -f avi -vcodec xvid -map 0.0:0.0 -map
0.3:0.1 -s 312x176 <outputfilename>.avi

The mapping was to get the english audio for the second map command and
varies from dvd, so I just played the dumpstream file briefly to work
out which one.

Cheers Malcolm °¿° (Linux Counter #276890)
openSUSE 11.0 x86 Kernel
up 19:21, 2 users, load average: 0.00, 0.15, 0.18
GPU GeForce 6600 TE/6200 TE - Driver Version: 177.80

Thanks for the suggestions.

There are some real neat command line options there.

It appear, though, the problem is elsewhere, and I think the script does work. BUT my employer appears to have the blackberry locked to a 15MByte/file limitation for multimedia. Given this is supposed to be used for work, I can’t figure out why they would do that . :rolleyes::D:D

  • oldcpu wrote, On 11/09/2008 08:36 PM:
    > BUT my employer appears to have the blackberry locked to a
    > 15MByte/file limitation for multimedia.

Consider yourself lucky. I’m the BES admin here and I don’t allow any multimedia distraction :stuck_out_tongue:


Indeed. I am very fortunate to be employed at the place where I work. The organization is very operational, and as long as the job gets done properly (to a very high standard), then the organization is also fairly lenient in other aspects.

I did confirm that the problem is the player on the blackberry model that I am using. I successfully played many music videos that are about 9 to 11 MBytes in length, and I converted them to a playable format using the above script. That player will only play files that are less than 15MBytes. So I am think now that this is not a “management” restriction causing a limitation, but rather this is a Blackberry application limitation.

I’ve now determined there is not a 15MByte file limitation. …

There recently was an office controlled reconfiguration of the blackberry, and after that reconfiguration, I was able to play a 100 MByte video file (converted by an MS-Windows) app on the blackberry. I need now to

  • retry my originally videos using the Linux conversion method (to see if the office blackberry reconfig is the reason long videos now work) or
  • compare the video specs of the MS Windows converted video with the previous linux converted video apps to see if there is a difference explaining why the Linux script converted app did not work.

I note the MS-Windows app was using mplayer’s mencoder in the background, and the Linux script also uses mencoder, and I also noted the audio/video codecs are the same, so if there is a difference, it is likely in the bitrate.

That’s what UFO’s are for, space travel the way it is meant to be, free lol!

I’ve religiously avoided owning a mobile phone for over a decade now. If I can’t be reached on the land line, then i don’t want to be reached, hehehe

  • AlienHealer wrote, On 12/14/2008 08:46 PM:
    > oldcpu;1893763 Wrote:
    >> Telephones and I don’t get along.
    >> and even in this day and age of a permanently manned space station
    >> orbiting the earth (where rich tourists can visit)
    > That’s what UFO’s are for, space travel the way it is meant to be, free
    > lol!

Tell the Ubuntu guy. IIRC he paid quite a few millions US-$ for his trip :slight_smile:


I’ve never paid a cent for my trips, lol.

I’ve had some experience with a mobile given by the company early this year, a samsung something.

Some mp3 would not play, at the forums I got answers such as: sometimes it works, sometimes not; it’s the file size; etc.

The problem is that the manufactures does not publish the multimedia specs. I think most don’t, possibly to obfuscate patent claim issues.

Bottom line with mp3s was:

  • Filename: if more than ~15 characters the file would not show up in the list/would not play.
  • Bitrate: under 160 kbps all would play. Between 160 and 192 some would, some wouldn’t - maybe because of being CBR/VBR, I didn’t notice. Above 192 none would play.
  • File size: only limited to storage size (1GB microSD card in my case).

With 3gp videos:

Video 4CC: H263
Video: 176 x 144 @ 15 FPS, no GMC, no PBS, no QPEL
Audio: AMR-NB 8kHz, 12 kbps, mono. Would not recognize AAC streams.
File size: same as above.

The video plays on only part of the screen, actually with 1.85" diagonal, and still embedded subtitles are legible.

I was side tracked with other interests, and stopped playing around with this.

… but I gave my wife an iPOD touch for Christmas (as that was the present she wanted), and of course while the iPOD touch is superior to my Blackberry, I HAD to ensure that I had as much working as possible on my Blackberry so she did not show me up too much :slight_smile: … Nothing like a little spousal competition to inspire one. rotfl! …

So I discovered this mencoder line, using the Packman packaged applications (such as mencoder and lame) will take a video and covert it to a format that my blackberry-8310 will play very nicely :slight_smile:

mencoder -vf scale=240:-10 input.mp4 -o output.avi -of avi -ofps 15 -ovc lavc -oac lavc -lavcopts vcodec=mpeg4:vbitrate=230:acodec=libmp3lame:abitrate=64

I had to mess around a bit with an “acodec” that worked. Perhaps there is a better one that libmp3lame. “input.mp4” is the input file and “output.avi” is the output file in my example.

I use WinFF. It’s a GUI frontend for ffmpeg. It has a menu option for BlackBerry.
It works perfectly for me so far.

Great ! What model blackberry does this work with ?

Mine is a 8130, but winff doesn’t ask for a specific model.

It can convert the video to 3gp format (The same format used by the BlackBerry video camera) or mp4.

It gives the option to specify bitrate etc. but I’ve never changed from the default settings.

I’ve converted up to a hour long tv program, haven’t tried anything longer like a move yet.

I ask because I noted a program that had a predefined setting to create a video for the Blackberry 9000 series, where the output file from that program would not play on my Blackberry-8310. Hence a degree of caution is needed.

It seems that finding a video converter involves some trial-and-error.
Winff / ffmpeg quit working when ubuntu 9.10 came out. I’m thrilled that it works properly with openSUSE.
Off topic but I also recomend installing the opera-mini web browser on your blackberry. (if you haven’t aready) It’s a lot faster than the one that is pre-installed.