Stay Connected with a Blackberry

this great little gizmo from rim
is incredibly small thats the thing
but i cant get the gist
of the alt and the shift
that i don’t really bother with them

I finally bit the bullet and got a Blackberry. To tell you the truth I’m not sure I need one all that much but being in technology and not owning a Blackberry just isn’t cool.

The moment of decision came when I was at a business function and I was setting up a meeting for the following week. The person I was arranging the meeting with lit up his Blackberry and asked if next Tuesday morning would be OK.

“I, er, umm, will have to get back to you” was all I could mutter and the look on his face showed he was shocked that I couldn’t tell him on the spot what I was doing the following Tuesday.

The beauty of Blackberries is that they provide you with instant connectivity almost anywhere. They combine a cell phone, an email service, a contact list, and an appointment calendar all in a tiny package. And they keep themselves synchronized with these same
services running back at the office. They also keep track of todo items and can browse the Internet if you want to use them that way. So why did I resist getting one you may ask? Well, for one thing, I don’t want to be a slave to my email. And for another thing, my laptop computer, which I have with me most of the time, has all the same functionality and more and with a much nicer interface. But with the laptop I need to find a high-speed internet location to download emails and, small as it is, I still can’t juggle a glass of wine and read my emails at the same time.

Plus, I always found Blackberry users kind of, well, rude to tell you the truth. You’re sitting at a meeting and there they are clackety-clacking on their Blackberries and not paying any attention to what’s going on. Or they’re talking to you at a networking
event and checking their email at the same time. I even saw a guy the other day checking his email while he was putting on a presentation. There was a lull during the Q & A and he slipped a few emails in. I also caught two people texting during midnight mass last Christmas.

And now I’m one of them.

I can see how you can get hooked on it. Having your email with you at all times is a good way of keeping your inbox empty because you can be working on it all the time. The tiny keyboard takes a little getting used to. You basically use the corners of your thumbnails to compose your messages but it actually works very well. One thing that always gets me with the Blackberry is when to use the Shift Key and when to use the Alt key. They don’t work the same way as a computer keyboard, and often I find myself, for example, typing a capital “M” instead of entering a period. Some emails that go out look a bit like the work of ee cumming’s Archie; you might remember him from high school as the typing cockroach who couldn’t reach the shift key of his typewriter.

When you integrate your Blackberry with your office applications it becomes a very powerful tool. I have it set up to synchronize with Microsoft Exchange (our corporate email system), which is integrated with Outlook, which in turn synchronizes with our corporate Client Relationship Management system. That way I have with me at all times the names, addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers of all my contacts.

We did have a bit of trouble setting up the Blackberries at Nicom IT Solutions, where I work, in that they seemed to interfere with our spam filters. All of a sudden spam messages began appearing in our inboxes, and were duplicated on our Blackberries. But the great thing in working for an organization that sells technical support services is that we have these technical guys available at all times and they soon had it all figured out.

Blackberry service is available wherever there is digital cell phone service although you have to be careful of roaming charges if you are travelling internationally.

The Bottom Line: A Blackberry is a convenient way of staying connected. Just be careful that it doesn’t take over your life.

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