How to Get Emails Instantaneously On Your BlackBerry

June 15, 2009

I’ve been using a BlackBerry for many years now.  It has always annoyed me that it takes 15 minutes for emails to arrive when using a pop3 email account.  Today I figured out a way to get all emails on my BB instantaneously, even when using a pop3 account and not using a BlackBerry Enterprise Server. And it was so simple.

All T-Mobile BlackBerrys come with one dedicated BB email address (  Emails sent to this address arrive immediately on the phone.  I assume other carriers have a similar email account.

Instead of having my BlackBerry retrieve emails from my pop3 accounts, I now have my pop3 accounts send a copy of every email to my account. As far as I can tell, everything functions exactly the same as before…except now the emails arrive instantaneously.

Although I believe there are more sophisticated ways of doing this (e.g., using IMAP instead of pop3), I found this to be a very simple solution.

I thought I kicked the CrackBerry addiction, but I guess some habits are hard to break.

If you have other BlackBerry tips, please share them.

My Top Tech Tips

October 23, 2006

In running my business, I use a number of cool technologies — technologies to play audio and video on my websites, for blogging, for desktop productivity, and more. Today’s blog entry is a list of my favorites — many of which are free. Please leave comments with your favorite technologies (no spam, thank you). You can download this list as a pdf by clicking here.

WEB – This blog uses all three
1. Goal-Free Living Free blogging or for download (I use the download version)
2. Goal-Free Living Value Aweber for autoresponder, newsletters, webforms and more ($20/month or less and very powerful)
3. Goal-Free Living Value 1and1 for hosting – relatively cheap and reliable. Inexpensive domain registration. Free newsletter and website builder software, plus much more

4. Goal-Free Living FreeWindows Media Encoder – Converts various video formats to WMV format. Free from
5. Goal-Free Living FreeRIVA FLV Encoder – Software that converts video (except WMV) to FLV (flash)
6. Goal-Free Living FreeWeb Audio Plus – converts MP3 and WAV files to flash audio with buttons for website. Free from This was used to create the audio message above.
7. Goal-Free Living FreeFlowplayer – Software for playing flash videos on your website
8. Goal-Free Living FreeAudacity – Audio editing software
9. Goal-Free Living FreeWindows Movie Maker – Simple video editing that comes with Windows XP
10. Goal-Free Living Value Total Recorder – Records streaming audio, microphone input, line-in input, as well as CDs and DVDs. Extremely useful! (
11. Goal-Free Living Value Yasa Video Converter – Converts videos to any format. Useful if converting unprotected DVDs (VOB) to editable video.
12. Goal-Free Living Value DBPowerAMP Music Converter – useful for converting from one audio format to another (e.g., from WAV to MP3) — $14 from
13. Dazzle analog to digital video converter – allows easy transfer of VHS to computer for editing or DVD creation
14. Xilisoft DVD ripper – converts copyright protected DVDs to MPEG files – ($35)
15. Radio Shack Phone Recorder Controller (Model: 17-855) allows you to record phone conversations on your computer or on any recording device. $27

16. Goal-Free Living Value – inexpensive PR opportunities from journalists who want to interview experts
17. Goal-Free Living Value PRWeb – cheap and free press release posting which landed hundreds of newspapers hits
18. The National Publicity Summit – Landed the Oprah article here (
19. Google AdWords and Yahoo Search Marketing – pay per click web advertising

20. Goal-Free Living FreeSharpReader – Free RSS software for aggregating feeds from blogs and news (
21. Goal-Free Living FreeSkype – speak to friends around the world for free
22. Goal-Free Living FreeDownload Accelerator Plus – useful for quickly downloading lots of files from websites – free from
23. Goal-Free Living FreeLookOut email search engine for Outlook (free from
24. Goal-Free Living FreeGoogle Desktop – Free desktop searching engine
25. Goal-Free Living FreeTrillian – Instant Messenger integrator that is free
26. Goal-Free Living for free software to convert any document into a pdf file
27. – remote back-up of data. Recently saved me when my hard drive crashed
28. for easy book publishing directly from Word documents

29. BlackBerry Pearl (8100) from T-Mobile (just got it and LOVE it)

30. for inexpensive images
31. Goal-Free Living for testing your download speeds

Save BIG With My Top Travel Tips

August 25, 2006

From time to time, I will post blog entries which are not directly related to the goal-free topic, but rather are related to the process I went through for pulling together the book. Topics may include getting published, blogging, or internet promotions. If there is a topic that is of particular interest to you, write me. Today I am talking about travel.

Back in 2003, I interviewed people for Goal-Free Living during a 12,000 mile road trip where I used wireless (cellular) internet access in my car to book rooms in 68 hotels ranging from 5-star luxury in Las Vegas to 1-star motels on the various highways. It was an interesting experience and it allowed me to try many different booking techniques. I have refined my approach over the years.

Here is my process for booking a hotel at the best rate

1. First research hotels on Orbitz (or whatever traditional booking system you prefer: Expedia, Travelocity,, etc. I will use Orbitz as the example for simplicity).

2. Next, go to to see if there is a nicely priced property in comparison to what you found on Orbitz. Hotwire does not show you the property name, but it does give you the price, the general location, star rating, and amenities. The prices on hotwire are sometimes as much as 40% off the best price you will find elsewhere. Unfortunately, the savings can be close to nothing. Yesterday, I booked a hotel in Denver. The best price on Orbitz was $86. I got it for $57 on Hotwire. That’s a 30% discount. Not bad.

3. But don’t stop here. Next, go to and offer a rate about 20% lower than the best price on Hotwire – using the same location and star rating. With Priceline YOU name the price for a given star ratings. You might want to check out bidding support sites for some help in your bidding (I don’t bother). With Priceline, I have found hotels for 60% off the Orbitz price. But don’t go too low, or your bid won’t be accepted and you won’t be able to re-bid the same star rating and location (for a period of time). I found that Priceline is consistently the least expensive option, if your bid is accepted.

4. If your bid is not accepted, you have a couple of options. You can go through this process again for a different location or star rating. Or you can just go back to Hotwire for the purchase.

5. Research Hotwire a bit further to get a clearer picture of which hotel you might get. Go back to Orbitz and enter the search criteria. Click on the “Expand search options” link and check off the amenities listed on the Hotwire property of interest. You should end up with a relatively short list (often only one or two properties) that match. This will give you a decent idea of which property you might get on Remember, Hotwire tends to give you mainly major chains like Marriott, Hilton, Radisson, Holiday Inn and the likes.

6. Unless you find a desirable property at a large discount on Hotwire, you may want to consider booking the tradition route.

7. But before booking on Orbitz, go to the hotel website for the chain. For example, if you are thinking of booking a Courtyard by Marriott, go to the Marriott website and search. If the price is the same (or better), I usually book through the chain website as they typically have better cancellation policies and more generous rewards programs. Be sure to see if a AAA discount applies. Always double check the cancellation policies.

8. Before making your final decision, you may want to check other websites, such as which claims to search over 100 travels sites with one click.

9. Finally, book your room and enjoy your stay!

Tips about Hotwire and Priceline

  • When using these websites, if you stay in a hotel for several nights, it seems that the rate is determined by the highest rate for the period. So, if you are staying in a hotel Wed – Sun, you might get a better rate by booking Wed – Thu (weekday pricing) separately from Fri – Sun (Weekend pricing). Using this approach, I saved 45% extra during the weekend. Had I booked Wed – Sun as one booking, I would have paid the higher weekday rate all four nights.
  • It appears that the rate that the hotel gets paid by Hotwire is about $10 less than the price you pay (a couple of hotels accidentally printed the rate they received on my check-in documentation). I have used this to my advantage on a couple of occasions. If I want to extend my stay, I sometimes do this with the front desk and they have honored the even lower price ($10 below Don’t count on this though.
  • Hotwire has a “double the difference” policy. If you find the same hotel on the same date sold elsewhere for less, they will refund double the difference. I only had this happen once and they promptly refunded the money. Be sure to read the terms and conditions for details and restrictions.
  • Caveats about Hotwire and Priceline

  • Hotwire and Priceline are a bit risky. You are not assured of the hotel you will get. Although most of the time I have been happy, occasionally, you get a dud deal. As tickets are non-refundable, if there is a chance your plans will change. For this reason, I tend to book my hotels with Hotwire or Priceline at the last minute.
  • The star ratings are always accurate on (or sometimes you even get upgraded). However, on a few occasions, the star rating on Hotwire was inflated (a 3 star hotel was listed as a 4 star, for example). Both sites use their own rating system that is not always the same as on Orbitz. And keep in mind, star ratings do not mean quality. They mean amenities such as on-site restaurant or the availability of dry-cleaning.
  • You do not get frequent flier miles (or frequent stay points). This is also the case with purchases on and sometimes the other 3rd party websites.
  • You need to pay up-front, so if cash flow is an issue, take that into consideration.
  • A service fee is added, so consider the total cost (you are given these on the final page before confirming your purchase). An accurate comparison can be made between the total cost on these websites with the cost + tax on Orbitz. Unfortunately, you can’t always easily calculate the taxes on Orbitz.
  • Although the process might sound complicated, it does not take much time. And it can save you a bundle. Do you have any other tips, tricks, or caveats?

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