Monday, November 24, 2008

My New Tool

I am often accused of loving my "toys". I often respond, "it's not a toy, it's a tool". I had a phone in my car before cell phones. When I purchased my first cell phone, shortly after they were available, my law partners could not understand why I needed to talk on the phone while driving. "It's a toy!" was the mantra. That was the early '80's.

I am probably more tech-savvy than many of my same-aged colleagues; it's part of being an Apple geek for the past 24 years. However, contrary to some public opinion, I am not one to rush out and purchase the latest, greatest computer/television/PDA/camera/_________ (fill in the blank) on the market. I realized a long time ago that there is no "latest, greatest" because the market is always bringing out later and greater. I tend to shop for something that will satisfy my needs and stick with it for an extended period of time.

Friday was the exception. For months, I had been bombarded by e-mails, snail mails, video clips, television ads, flyers, and word of mouth ad nauseum about Verizon's new BlackBerry Storm, "The World's First Touch Screen BlackBerry". It went on sale Friday.

At about 3 p.m. Friday, I received a call from a friend asking if I had my new Storm. "I'm customizing it now," I replied. "You're !#$%ing me!" was the response. "I tried to buy one today and they were sold out", my friend said. "I was just kidding when I asked the question."

Unlike my friend, I had been to the Verizon store at 7:45 a.m. and received voucher #26 to earn the right to purchase a Storm. I thought I was going to buy one in the morning. But that store only received a shipment of 25. I was told to come back in the afternoon when the second shipment would arrive.

I had made the decision to upgrade because if I am going to pay for Smartphone technology, and an extra $30/month to have e-mail and Internet access on my phone, I want a system that works well. I cannot use an iPhone because they do not work on Verizon's system. The BlackBerry I acquired from my darling daughter when she upgraded to the then latest, greatest version before leaving for school in May left much to be desired. E-mails referencing the Internet were gobbledy-gook and scrolling to find the "news" in the Star Tribune's "news alert" meant trying to decipher paragraphs of html code to get to "Vikings lose again". I'm too impatient to spend a lot of time figuring out I've received junk e-mail. The Storm was advertised as an alternative with a legitmate smart phone Internet browser.

I think BlackBerry hit a home run. It took me the weekend to figure some things out. By Sunday night I posted a new status on my Facebook page: Sam is thinking that the Storm is the first purchase in a long time that lives up to its hype- a Verizon iPhone!

I've been receiving inquiries all morning asking what I think about my new tool. Apparently, Verizon's marketing has reached a lot of people all over the country. In response, I prepared the following memo and decided to post it here as well as on Facebook. That way, I can just refer folks to Prairie Pondering and get back to work and/or playing with my new toy. ;-)

To my friends/family asking about my new BlackBerry Storm:

I decided to try to put some quick thoughts down on paper because I’m getting a lot of questions about my experience.

First impression: I love it. I now have a BBerry that meets the expectations I had about being able to access the Internet. The browser it uses is miles above the earlier version on my 8830. E-mails that come with html code are intelligible, not meaningless code.

Navigation: If you have used a touch screen device, like an iPhone or iPod Touch, it doesn’t take much getting used to and makes moving around menus and applications pretty fast. It incorporates the same menus as my old BBerry so the learning curve was not too steep.

Typing: BBerry uses three different means of typing. Standard QWERTY in landscape mode and, in portrait mode, either the old multi-tapping to get the letter you want on a phone keyboard or a “smart” typing system (like on the iPod Touch) that figures out which word you want from the sequence of tapping. For example, it knows that tapping the AS-TY-ER-ER-BN keys on the combined QWERTY keyboard, means “Stern”. It’s a little counterintuitive at first until you just let yourself go. Then it seems to work and there’s mechanisms for correcting as you go (although they require clicking on options and slow you down).

Screen: Bright and easy to read. No “pinching” like the iPod or iPhone to increase/decrease screen magnification; there’s a menu work around for that. I am using a screen protector and I’m constantly wiping off finger prints.

I haven’t used the music capabilities or loaded photos on the device. Verizon has a roll out special where they are packaging the device with an 8 gb Micro SD card so I didn’t need to buy one. There’s a lot to learn.

I use a MacBook Pro and I had some problems with my initial synchs. The Verizon store where I bought it could only transfer 3,000 of my 5,500 contacts. I could not get the calendar to synch until I went on the Missing Synch website (I already used the software) and followed instructions for clearing out my Apple iSynch software. It’s worked fine since. If you are using a PC, it should be more seamless. The CD’s I received with my device are not for use on a Mac so there are features I guess I won’t be able to access.

Recommendation: I wouldn’t get any other BBerry. I already sent in my rebate form, not worrying about whether I’d want to return this one.

1 comment:

Peter said...