How to configure GVMax on a Blackberry

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This post will show you how to configure GVMax on a Blackberry (OS 5).  Why would you want to do this?  GVMax turns incoming texts sent to a Google Voice number into an Google Talk IM so you can send and receive texts (for free) using the Google Talk application on a Blackberry.  So far this is the easiest way I have found send and receive texts using Google Voice on my Blackberry.  As soon as I got my Google Voice invite I cancelled my text plan with my cellular provider and began using Google’s Blackberry Google Voice Client for all texting.  The client is handy but has some serious limitations.  The biggest problem is that the application can only be configured to check for texts every 5 minutes; this means there is a big delay before a text comes in. It also means that if you are in a conversation you can’t used the threaded view to see a recent response without forcing the application to refresh.  Because of this I had Google Voice setup to send my phone a text and when one came in I would then go force the Google Voice application to refresh so I could see the text and respond.  This got annoying quickly so I kept my eyes open for a better way.

Enter GVMax.  GVMax is a “free webservice that monitors your Google Voice account and notifies you when you receive new SMS”.  The feature I’m making use of is it’s ability to take a text from Google Voice and turn it into a Google Talk IM.  It does this by configuring Google Voice to send an email to your Gmail account when a new text comes in, it then uses a Gmail rule that archives this message (so you don’t get a new alert) and forwards it to a unique GVmax email address.  GVMax then sends you a Google Talk IM with the body of the text.  You can simply reply to the IM in your client and it will send a text using Google Voice to the original sender.  About the only limitations are a small delay on receiving texts (a couple seconds) and nothing to tell you when you are over the 160 character limit.

So, how do you set it up?  Follow along; I’ll show you!

What do I need?

A Blackberry, a Google Voice account, and an instant Messaging application on your phone that supports Google Talk; I use RIMs application. (Refer to these links if you are looking for help setting GVMax up on an iPhone or on Android.)

Step 1: Setting up GVMax couldn’t be easier.  Simply browse to https://www.gvmax.com/signup and sign in with the account associated with your Google Voice account.  This will configure all of the rules necessary in Google Voice and Gmail automatically.  Next, simply make sure your Google Talk client is signed in and you are ready to receive texts.  I recommend that you configure your chat application to sign you in automatically as shown to the right.

Technically you are ready to go at this point, however, if you have other notifications turned on you (and you likely do!) you will want to continue on to step 2.

Step 2: For a month or two I did’t make any more changes other than what is listed above.  However, because I had other notifications turned on, I would get 4 notifications for every text message I received which started to get annoying after awhile.

  1. First, I would get the text that I had forwarded too my phone; just seconds before the IM came through.
  2. Second, I would get the email notification of a text that was filtered out of the Gmail inbox by a rule (the rule didn’t apply on my phone.)
  3. Third, I got the Google Talk IM notification (that I actually wanted to see)
  4. And fourth, I got the native Google Voice application notification; usually 5 minutes later when it finally refreshed and saw the new text message.

Follow along to learn how to disable the three “extra” notifications to make texting using GVMax much easier.

Disabling Text Message Notifications from Google Voice

Once you have the service setup you should no longer need to be notified of texts to your mobile phone as long as your Google Talk IM client is signed in.  When you first setup Google Voice you likely set it up to send texts to your mobile phone.  To turn that off, simply sign into Google Voice, choose Settings – Voice Settings and click Edit under the phone you wish to stop receiving texts with.  Then, simply uncheck the box next to “Receive text messages on this phone” and this step is complete.

Disabling the SMS Emails from showing up on your Blackberry

I’m not sure if everyone will have this problem, but for me each text message that was sent to my Gmail account from Google Voice still showed up in my Blackberry Inbox each time I got a text.  It doesn’t show up in the Gmail when viewed in your computers web browse because of the rule that GVMax adds to resolve that.  The fix is to simply add that same rule to your Blackberry.  I’m not sure if many of you are aware of this, but you can add Gmail filters on your Blackberry so certain messages are (or are not) delivered to the device.

  1. First, find Email Settings on your Blackberry.  Mine was in the Setup folder.
  2. Sign into your BIS or BES account.
  3. Select your Gmail account and from the menu that appears click Filters.
  4. Name the filter (I named it GVMax), change the Filter On type to From Address and enter txt.voice.google.com and voice-noreply@google.com to the filter; clicking Add after each one.  Make sure Do not forward messages to the device is selected.  The finished filter should look like this.  Save it and close email settings.

Disabling Notifications from the Blackberry Google Voice application

This step is really optional, but if you prefer not to get any delayed notifications from the Blackberry Google Voice application (assuming you have it installed) you can simply sign out (Blackberry Button – Exit) of the application.  This way if you want to use it you can always sign in again.  This will remove the menu shortcuts to Call Using Google Voice from the Address Book but it’s the only way to disable the new message notifications from appearing at the top of the screen.  Of course you can always disable any audio or visual notifications in your profile (Normal/Loud/Vibrate etc.) and just ignore the icons if you prefer.  The later may be the better option, at least for awhile, as it will still be easiest to start your text messages from the SMS Using Google Voice option in your address book. But, once most of your friends have a GVMax email address added (see the next paragraph) you can text them directly from Google Talk without even using the Google Voice application.

More about GVMax

Note: Each time you get a text from a new phone number you will have a new Contact Request in Google Talk that will look like this: friendsphone#@mygvmax.appspotchat.com.  You’ll want to add these new contacts to the corresponding contact in your Blackberry address book.  This is very easy to do because the application prompts you and allows you to select an existing contact in just a couple steps.  This only happens the first time the contact texts you.

As I noted earlier you can start texts using the Google Voice application or the GVMax email address on their contact you can just open Google Talk and text them by starting an IM with them.  (Those contacts will always show up as being available.)

Well, that’s about it.  I hope someone finds this helpful and if I missed anything, let me know in the comments!  I couldn’t find any Blackberry specific instructions for setting up GVMax and that’s what prompted me to write this post so I hope it helps someone.

Credits:

I have to give credit to my brother for introducing me to GVMax.

2010 Hill & Valley Antique Auto & Americana Show, Cross Plains, WI

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Today I wandered over to the 2010 Hill & Valley Antique Auto & Americana Show in Cross Plains, WI.  I had never attended this event before even though I live in the area and this was the 27th annual event.  It wasn’t huge but it was time well spent.  I’ve included a couple of my favorite pictures below but the full photo set can be found here.

1949 International KB6

Oliver Tractor

I thought this was neat . .

Supposedly this car hadn’t run in 50 years and was started for the first time to be driven to the show just an hour before starting time . .

1947 Packard Super Clipper – “Fastest Production car in 1947″

This Case Steam-Powered Tractor was a hit; it was used to boil corn-on-the-cob

This 1947 Cadillac Club Coupe had one of the best black paint job’s I’ve ever seen!

Again, you can see the full set here.

Tools

Fixing broken fairings with Plastex

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As noted here, I’ve been doing a little work on a 1990 Kawasaki 250.  The first project involved fixing the cracked fairings.  Now I am not going for perfection here; this fix is simply to get them functional again; not to restore the bike to the original condition.  That would (at the least) require some body work and repainting.  I am just going to fix the fairings using a product that allows a solid repair with little work or cost that will leave the bike looking decent.  I’ve used Plastex in the past on a personal project and found it worked very very well and so I thought I would demonstrate it’s use for this project. Plastex is a product of Canada but is available from several US resellers.  I picked some up from J&P Cycles for this project.

Here are the fairings prior to repair.  The belly cowl was broken in half and the main fairing had cracks on both sides; one of them quite large.

Here are the tools I used and the Plastex kit.

Tools

Repairing the fairings with Plastex is not a difficult process.  I wanted to simply reinforce and repair the cracks from the back side while retaining the original finish on the outside of the fairings.  To do this you simply need to:

  1. Grind down the inside of the cracks with an air grinder or Dremel or similar tool.
  2. Tape the broken pieces and/or the outer surface of the crack with packing tape
  3. Pour Plastex powder into the groove you created and then add the liquid
  4. Wait for it to dry and remove the tape.

Step 1

Here are some images of how I ground down the cracked fairing.  I wanted to remove as much material from the back side of the break as I could without grinding through on the finished side.  The closer you can get to the finished side the stronger the repair will be; provided you fill it in properly with Plastex.  For projects where the outside will be refinished I would grind that side as well.

I also ground a groove into any cracks that weren’t already broken apart so they could be repaired as well.

Step 2

Next I simply taped the broken pieces back together.  The tape keeps the pieces inline (so make sure things are lined up properly) and it keeps the liquid from the two part Plastex fix from seeping through and hurting the paint.  The liquid in the Plastex kit does seem to act as a mild stripper if it sits directly on paint for a long time.  Note that you may wish to reinforce some pieces that need to hold a certain shape as I did with the popsicle stick.

Step 3

I didn’t have anyone around to take pictures of this step so I don’t have an image for this step but it’s really quite simple.  The Plastex kit consists of a bottle of powder and a bottle of liquid.  Lay the piece to be repaired down so the crack faces straight up.  Carefully dab a little powder into the crack left from step one.  Then use the applicator bottle to put drops of the liquid on to the powder.  The drips will level out the powder a bit.  You can add as much fluid as needed; there really isn’t a ratio.  Leave the part flat for around 20 minutes until it hardens and you can move on to another crack.  Plastex doesn’t fully harden in 20 minutes but small fixes with thin applications such as this one are pretty solid after 20 minutes.  Thicker applications need to dry longer and all applications should be left to dry for at least a couple hours before use.

Step 4

Once Plastex has been applied to all of the pieces and has dried thoroughly you can remove the tape.  Plastex can be sanded and painted.  For my purposes I was finished; since the repairs were inside the fairing where they weren’t readily visible I didn’t plan to finish them in any way.  These repairs are quite solid and leave the bike in much better shape that when it arrived.

Conclusion

I’ve used Plastex for another motorcycle project as well as plastic repairs around the house and have found it very useful and quite strong!  This was a very basic repair but in the past I have made replacement tabs and rebuilt missing pieces on motorcycle fairings with great results.  I hope you found this helpful and feel free to comment if you have any feedback!

New Project – 1990 Kawasaki 250

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I have another motorcycle in my garage.  I’ve never owned the bike but I do have had some history with it.  Back in 2002 or 2003 a friend bought it from a girl I worked with.  In mid-2003 I had a big motorcycle accident myself and the friend stopped riding the bike and eventually sold it to another friend of mine.  At some point after that we worked on it in my garage (I think we cleaned the carbs and that was about it.)  The friend then gave it to his mom to ride.  She fell down on it once and it has been sitting ever since.  The gas tank cap was broken at some point (there is a dent in the tank) and it sat open all this time.  My friend wants to sell it and so he dropped it off for me to work on.  The bike is a 1990 Kawasaki 250.  It only has 5,000 original miles and new tires so the primary goals are to fix up the plastics and get it running.  It should be a good beginner bike for someone once we have it up and going.  It will need a battery, a gas cap and mount, and a some clean-up work.  Stay tuned for future posts on the project!

1990 Kawasaki 250

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