One Week of Crackberry — initial thoughts

I thought I would hate the Blackberry experience — I always pitied those poor people huddled over their clunky devices, email being forced upon them wherever they went — so I resisted and was just as happy as can be with a Treo for past three years.

I’ve been plagued with Notes as my corporate collaboration glue since 2000 when I joined McKinsey (I have yet to work for a Microsoft Outlook/Exchange enabled organization) and at IDG my Treo was supported by some third-party synch software that permitted me to pull my mail from the corporate servers when I wanted to.

I viewed Blackberries as electronic leashes, a true get-a-life tool for people who think it’s cool to check email while on vacation, who check their messages while at social events, in short, workaholic losers. I sort of cheered when RIM was getting sued, feeling it was a partisan position to be in the cooler camp with the Treo.

Alas, Lenovo’s IT department does not support the Treo, so I muddled along for a year with no mobile Notes capabilities. Last weekend, driven in part to get a true quad-band GSM service so I could roam internationally, I switched myself and the family to Cingular (now AT&T), returning to the GSM provider I used from 2001-2003 when I was in Switzerland and last needed good international coverage. Back then I couldn’t get an AT&T signal in the house — a bit of a problem — so I was eager to dump them and go with a provider that could.

But I digress — I got authorized to enable my Notes account on a Blackberry Pearl — the high end, candy-bar form factor phone, with a tiny trackball pointer interface (that looks like a pearl). After a fairly bureaucratic set up procedure I finally was pulling email by Wednesday.

Here’s the quick review:

  • If I don’t use the phone constantly it goes into auto-lock and requires me to pound in my eight-character Notes password (an alpha-numeric combination). This is an utter and complete pain in the ass. A colleague beefed about this onerous “security” requirement and told me when he beefed to the IT Gods that he could use his phone in his car, he was told he wasn’t supposed to use his phone in his car.
  • Getting email and calendar updates is a good thing and makes me less itchy when I am AWK (“away from keyboard” in World of Warcraft parlance)
  • The phone is ergonomically the best I have owned
  • It’s Bluetooth is vastly superior to the Treo. The Treo had a three foot radius, the Pearl is more like 30 feet.
  • The camera is better than the Treo
  • The web browser is weird
  • I can’t figure out how to enable my and GMail mail into it.
  • I need to set up voice dialing so I can use it in the car.
  • I still hate cell phones and look forward to a disconnected retirement.

[I’d post a picture of it, but RIM has decided not to make any pictures available from its Flash website. Nice site guys, but if you want bloggers to shower you with love, consider a simple assets page with all your product imagery, video tours, etc. available under a CC license)

Author: David Churbuck

Cape Codder with an itch to write

0 thoughts on “One Week of Crackberry — initial thoughts”

  1. Dave
    Re: “I still hate cell phones and look forward to a disconnected retirement.”

    When I was an IBM employee (2000-2004) and before they discovered I was older than dirt and only one month away from being vested and therefor prime outsourcing fodder, I used Lotus Notes on the road on my Thinkpad T22. My fingers are too gnarled to use those small devices anyway.

    I digress…

    At IBM, I was known as that Neanderthal Tom who used a Parker 51, blueblack ink, and painstakingly wrote correspondence on linen paper notepads. If the note had to go any distance, it was folded neatly, placed in an envelope and mailed. It may not have been efficient, but each note gave me a sense of accomplishment.

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