Thursday, July 30, 2009

More blackberry bold notes

I figured out the bedside mode weirdness, apparently when you put it in bedside mode, it dims the screen, turns off the bright LED, and provides a perfect clock to put on your nightstand before you go to bed. UNLESS! The blackberry uses the radio to connect or check something. Then the screen lights up to full brightness and annoys the crap out of you. Apparently the only way around this is to specify that radio be turned off while in bedside mode, but that seems a bit ham-handed. Why not just not have the radio trigger the screen brightening up? Whatever. I turned off the radio and probably started sleeping better because I wasn't waking up at every e-mail to check it, but it does get annoying when you wake up, unplug it, and carry it away without realizing that you're still in bedside mode (despite being out of the clock program), and the radio is still off. Annoying, but limited in impact.

Whenever the blackberry connects to certain networks, it seems to emit a three foot field of annoy-your-speakers-and-headphones. It's sporadic, but usually seems to happen whenever I'm on the phone at work, and I have to pick up the bold and move it to the desk next to me, like it's on time-out. Fortunately, I don't use the phone very much :) Not sure what makes it annoy nearby speakers sometimes and not other times, or why I've never had similar problems with other phones (at least, not since 1998). Once again, not a big deal, and really very sporadic, but annoying nonetheless.

Lastly, twice so far, has the red light begun blinking red for no reason, and refused to stop without intervention. This is particularly vexing because not all the icons change when there is an LED blinking event, so you're left digging through the programs to try and find what you need to check. I understand the LED is kind of a cover-all, and it definitely simplifies alerting, but a bit of text on the screen indicating the program that started the LED event would be nice. Anyways, the first time the LED began blinking for no reason, I read that pulling the battery would clear it, which it did, but the second time, I wanted to figure out a way to stop it without initiating a full reboot of the phone. In my annoyance I turned the phone off ("soft" off, not pull-the-battery off) twice, and on the second time it cleared it. Weird. It's been quite infrequent, so no big deal, just more minor annoyances.

Now for the good bits; I continue to be impressed with the battery life, and the speaker phone has been clear and notably not-annoying from the listener's side. Meanwhile the bold remains quite resilient to the junk in my pocket, resting on rough, hard surfaces, spills of food, and life in general. I've been quite impressed with the gmail notifications, which I receive so fast my blackberry trills, and I hit refresh on my gmail in my browser, and it hasn't gotten the message yet. Technically, it's not that important that blackberry alert the second the mail gets in instead of 5 minutes after it gets in, but fuck you, I want to know I have stupid joke e-mails in my mailbox RIGHT NOW! I really am impressed with the speed of delivery. The keyboard is proving to be more intuitive than I thought it would be. I keep surprising myself with how much I can type with just my left hand without looking. I think in a few more months I might even be able to touch type one handed somehow.

As for my implementation, I've found that calendar items work best for reminding me of things I need to be doing. While I can't specify more than one snooze time, I can click to open the event, and quickly change the alert time to an hour or a day in the future using the trackball. I've gotten used to the trackball, by the way, and am pretty good at seeing how many moves I need to make, and moving my thumb just the right amount before clicking it. It really speaks to the amount of testing that must have gone into figuring the exact sensitivity. Since the trackball is so sensitive, a better way to scroll up and down on long pages in the web browser, or when searching for an old e-mail is to use the spacebar for scrolling down, and shift+spacebar scrolling up.

Also, I like AT&T's ability to easily check your phone minutes, data plan, account balance, and pay your bill. Though I suspect this became an industry standard sometime after I stopped owning my personal cell phone, and using my work cell phone. Still good.

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