Sunday, April 15, 2007


I've been caught in vines and thorns!

I just was issued a BlackBerry device (8703e) this week. (for work personal use...)

To the best of my knowledge, there are fewer of these issued in our whole operational area than I have fingers on my hand. We should know, as our group does the end-user desktop installation of the units. No one else in our IT department even has one...including the managers...something which I hope doesn't cause too much friction.

I feel a mixture of pride and foreboding at being selected as one of the elite few to carry one. Kinda like waiting for the second-shoe to drop.

I've always been "on-call" with my issued pager and my managers have had my personal cell-phone number, just in case. But now with email push, no more excuses.

I spent a few hours building my contact list and practicing my micro-keypadding technique. Using the letters is easy enough. I got the "shift" down, the number pad seems a bit awkward. And I wish pulling up the symbols would be one step easier....but it isn't too difficult. Just need practice.

It is going to take a while to get the short-cuts/tips down to memory...but I am a fast learner.

They are so new, we don't really seem to have crystal clear usage policy. Most of it is similar to our enterprise cell-phone policy, however, it doesn't explicitly cover web-browser usage. Being an IT guy, I also quickly figured out that I can hook it the Blackberry up to my laptop via USB, use it as a modem, and with my VPN running, connect into our network directly from the road. However, no clear policy on that either.

Looks like I have some more policy writing and development to fine-tune for the policy department.

Only have a few minor issues to work out still:

  • need to figure out setting up my voicemail,
  • need to figure out why the older items on my BlackBerry didn't clear out when I sync' ed it with my desktop email account.
  • can't seem to open attachments yet to view (Excel, Word, PDF...).
  • need to practice button usage (accept/end inbound calls, enable speakerphone, use applications during calls...)

I'll probably need to spring for a 2nd charger to keep at the house. There are some tips for stretching battery life, but the backlight display and wireless update connections seem to drain it at a rate faster than my personal cell phone.

I also need to consider getting a different holster. It comes with a hard-plastic swivel holster, but the front-edges seem to push down on the last column of keys/buttons on each side and that keeps the backlight illuminated longer that normal (even with the keyboard lock on). I am also concerned that this will wear the "stickers" on the keys down too fast.

Interesting Factoids (from the Wikipedia):

In a strange coincidence, Blackberry is the name of the thinker and problem-solver rabbit in Richard Adams' "Watership Down". Blackberry is able to understand complicated concepts, such as boats, that the other rabbits cannot even conceive.

The ability to read e-mail that is received in realtime, anywhere, has made the BlackBerry devices infamously addictive, earning them the nickname "CrackBerry". Use of the term CrackBerry became so wide spread that in November 2006 Webster's dictionary named "crackberry" the "New Word of the Year". Newer models with Bluetooth compatibility are colloquially nicknamed "BlueBerries".

In Scotland, the members of the Scottish Parliament who are from the Scottish National Party apparently call their BlackBerry devices "Brambles", which is the Scottish word for a blackberry.

Links for personal reference:


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