Dumb & Dumber III: Blackberry Madness
2009-07-23 (updated 2009-08-13)
After years of delay, I finally succumbed and acquired a
Blackberry. I had previously resisted the Blackberry's charms for two
reasons: (1) Lack of a data plan that would allow me to cost
effectively travel to other countries; and, (2) The fact that the
Blackberry would convert every email into plain text—discarding any
text mark-up applied by the original sender.
Verizon now offers a flat-rate, unlimited, data plan that works is
200+ countries; which overcame my first objection. RIM upgraded the
BES and Blackberry device software such that when replying or
forwarding emails the sender's text mark-up is preserved; overcoming
my second objection.
Given that the Blackberry platform is about 10 years old, my
expectation was that it would be a mature, well thought out platform;
instead, I've encountered a hodgepodge of poorly implemented features
reminiscent of the crap written by Microsoft's new-grads and coop
students. This poorly implemented feature set is supported by a cast
of faithful Blackberry zealots who are convinced that everything
crapped out by RIM is gold.
For the record, my new BB device is a Blackberry Tour 9630.
Top of mind dumb stuff:
- Voice Dialing—if no headset is connected (direct-wired or
Bluetooth) then when Voice Dialing is activated the interaction with
the device is done in speakerphone mode. This is exceedingly poor and
it astounds me that the Tour made it out of Beta testing with this bug
intact; yet, here it is.
- Speakerphone toggle—it is only possible to switch between
speakerphone and normal mode while a call is active. It is not
possible to switch in and out of speakerphone mode before making a
call. Another ridiculous limitation that ignores how users interact
with their phone.
- Mediocre audio quality—my 4 year old Motorola Razor the Tour
replaced had better audio quality (on phone calls) than this brand
spanking new Tour. Given RIM's ongoing profitability, there is no
excuse that they have not licensed a proper mobile phone handset
- Time zone switching—the Tour, and all Blackberries, do not have
the ability to set their time zone to wherever you are currently
located. I travel weekly on business, and to make my BB function
properly in other time zones I must manually open the BB's advanced
option panel and set the time zone to wherever I'm located. The BB
zealots claim this is because if the BB makes the change automatically
that all my appointments will get screwed up; which is a bald-faced
lie on their part. When I manually change my time zone, none of my
appointments gets messed up. The only conclusion I can draw is that
the guys at RIM are idiots and morons and the RIM-zealots are
- Poor email synchronisation—the synchronisation of email between my
MS Exchange account and my BB is poor, at best. The only feature that
works is simple deletion of email (in addition to initial delivery):
If I delete an email from my BB, then it eventually gets deleted from
my Exchange account (and vice-versa). If I move an email from my
Exchange inbox into another folder, then the email continues to appear
in my BB; requiring me to manually delete the email from my BB.
Again, the RIM guys appear to have been hired from the cast of "Dumb
and Dumber". [Update 2009-08-13]The BB zealots tell me that when an email is
moved into a .PST file that the Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) is unable
to determine what to do with my email because that email is leaving the Exchange
server environment. As with the other BB defects, the rationalisation of
the defect is foolishness: a move consists of two logical tasks, a "copy"
followed by a "delete"; it is inconceivable that the BES is unable to detect the
"delete" as such.[/Update]
I'm signed up for a two-year contract; so, I'll continue to use the
device. That said, I'll definitely be looking at non-BB devices when
my contract comes to an end. Hopefully Verizon's competitors will
begin to offer decent data plans so that I can make the switch.
Rather than finish this piece on a negative note, I will admit that
it is handy to be able to do a bit of web-surfing from my handset, and
the Google Maps GPS integration is very nice. It is also a plus to be
able to carry all of my 2,000+ contacts in my handset and to be able
to send a short email to them without breaking out my laptop.
©Copyright 2009, Christopher & Jean Rath
Address: 1371 Major Rd., Ottawa, ON, Canada K1E 1H3
2009/08/13 @ 12:53:51 (