Blackberry review

Well, I finally couldn’t stand my crappy pay-as-you-go phone, and got a Blackberry. I am a former Treo user, so I was expecting some growing pains and culture shock.

I didn’t run into much.

The BB is a nice piece of hardware – a big plastic slab. I’m a cheapskate, so I got a simple (cheap) BB 7230. With the crappy screen. And (literally) 16 MB of flash RAM. It feels like you could step on it and it would keep running. It hasn’t crashed yet. It’s performance is – adequate, I’d say. You see the hourglass coming up some times, but it’s never so bad where you’re really bummed about it. You can multitask a little (using some fancy keystrokes), but you don’t really want to do that on this particular model, with its 16MB of Flash and 2MB of actual RAM (ew).

The battery life seems absolutely excellent. The device required more care and feeding than I’d hoped for – I did an OS upgrade, and I had to put in some funny WAP settings I read about somewhere to make the SSH client I grabbed function properly.

The one thing – one thing – which is bad, is in fact so bad that I’m seriously considering whether or not to use the device – is: Blackberry Web Client. (aka BWC, or BIS?) It’s super shitty. First off, it only gets my mail every 15 minutes – which is not very nice, but dealable. The thing that really kills me is that it doesn’t seem to synch whether or not I’ve read an email back to the main server. And a good chunk of what this thingee can be useful for me for is to read email, and have it be marked as ‘read’.

Now, it’s possible that it _is_ marking my mails as read, and I’m not waiting long enough (possibly that whole 15 minutes) to let it do so. If so, then I’m happy. I’ll test soon. In fact, how about now? 3 messages marked unread on the handheld. 1 marked unread on my mail client. Will read all three on handheld, should leave all as ‘read’ in both places. As of 1:41pm. OK. Finished as of 1:43pm. Should be synched (sunc?) by 2pm. Or so. Nope, it’s 2:05pm and a new message has shown up in my desktop client, but not on the BB, and the message that I read on the BB now does not show up as ‘read’ on the desktop client yet. Perhaps we have to wait for the synch… Okay, it’s now 2:13pm and it’s STILL not synch’ed. Crap. I think it just doesn’t work. I have IMAP, they just don’t seem to be accessing my mail account that way. I’ll fiddle on the server-side to see what I can come up with. Edit – OK, I’ve fiddled. This Blackberry service is useless shit. I don’t need to read every email twice. This is no way to work. I have fucking IMAP, there’s nothing stopping you from marking them as ‘READ’ (as in the opposite of ‘unread’). Shitheads. Just being shills for stupid pointless ‘enterprise’ mail systems like Exchange. What fucking crap. I mean, I agree, IMAP is an abysmally designed protocol, whose inevitable adoption was actually stopped by its atrocious design.

The help files on the device are (as a client told me) quite easy to access and read, and very helpful to have handy. Brickbreaker is an extremely lame game which is bundled and mediocre.

And the actual Blackberry service is relatively inexpensive – specifically I’m on T-mobile, I’m paying $20/mo for BB, plus another $30 for 300 minutes (and I’m barely going to scrape by this month on those). Sprint was cheaper, by $5/mo, but I’d get creamed on the phone. Whereas this cheapo t-moble blackberry did not cost me very much at all.

So – I dunno what to do. The new low-end Treos came out and I bet I could do pretty well with them. I think I’m now sold on ‘GSM’ as the phone technology of choice for me – smaller phones, better (seeming) battery life, phone calls automatically interrupt data connections (all good things). And I think I like T-Mobile. I do miss my pay-as-you go plan though. I never felt like I was getting robbed, whereas I’ve gone over (probably way over) my plan this month and it stings like hell. I think I heard that T-Mobile won’t do the Treo (680 I believe?) because they’ve had return problems on the Treo line. I don’t blame them. This Blackberry doesn’t crash. I had to power-cycle it once, when I was doing all kinds of crazy multitasking and stuff (my own fault), its battery life is wonderful. Just this blackberry mail service is fucking shit.

I miss little things like my blog posting software, and camera, and other little trivialities that don’t really add up to much. But, most of all – ChatterMail. Ah, old Chattermail. You crashy, but extremely powerful and useful hunk o’ junk. IMAP accounts, marks as read, instant-push email, slurps battery like it’s going out of style. I miss you so, Chattermail. Please come back to me. Please.

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