Blackberry Storm – A biased review

Let’s get this out of the way. I am a Mac guy, have been for years (except for some ‘experiments’ with windows in college, but isn’t that what college is for?). I wanted an iPhone before they were out. And, I want one now. There are three reasons why I will not have an iPhone: AT&T. Say what you want about Verizon, but their service is still the top. If I had an iPhone, I’d be greatful to get signal where I live.

Ok, so that is out of the way. I got a Storm on the first day. This was my first touch screen phone and my first Blackberry. The first day I owned it I spent learning how typesure keypad works and how to navigate the Blackberry OS. Everywhere I go I get “is that the new Blackberry?” and people asking about it, what I think, etc.

Here is what I think. I love it.

Let’s talk about the touch part, since that is the part that sets it aside from the iPhone, Instinct and any of the others. The screen registers your fingers as soon as you touch it. Keys will change to blue as you run your finger over them, but nothing will happen. You have to actually press the screen down for something to occur. The entire screen is a button. This reduced the number of mistakes I was making compared to the iPod Touch significantly.

There are three keyboard layouts. In vertical mode you can get either a SureType pad, or a normal phone pad (hit 6 three times for “O”). Suretype is RIM’s condensed QWERTY keyboard found on the Pearl. I was sure that I’d never figure out how to type with two letters on one key. A guy in line with me gave me some advice which has worked. “Just type,” he said, “the phone will figure out what you are trying to say.” And he was right. After a few days I can use it with some proficiency. The advantage is you can type with one hand in this manner. The other keyboard is the full QWERTY. You get this when you turn the phone on its side. Unlike the iPhone, however, you can get this keyboard in any program where you type. Actually you can pull up a keyboard at anytime by pulling it from the menu.

Speaking of menus, everything is pretty much menu driven. The ‘berry’ button (which I am sure has a much more technical name) opens the menu. You either press it again to select the highlighted option, or you select the one you want by clicking the screen.

The browser so far seems to work quite well. I used it the first day to show off the new Star Trek trailer from YouTube. Playback was good, even if the video was a bit stretched to fit the screen. Now, if you tap the screen, that is touch it but don’t push down, the browser will zoom. A feature that is useful at times, but too easy to do accidently. While the ‘real’ browser experience is nice, like my experience with the iPhone, in the end, mobile websites still work the best.

Messaging is where the Blackberry shines. There are reviews everywhere about Blackberry messaging, and from my experience, they are right. Coming from a Windows Mobile phone, it was a vast improvement. I have four email addresses set up on the phone, and push email is my new favorite thing. There are rumors of calDAV support coming to the Blackberry, which would allow syncing with Yahoo! and Google calendars (or any other calDAV ones as well).

I’ve used the media part a few times. It works pretty well. I do wish the volume control was a bit more precise. The screen is great for video and pictures. The phone has a 3.2 Megapixel camera with a flash. The pictures are good, even though there is a delay as the camera focuses. The phone can also take video at a decent resolution. Not sure I’d make a movie with it, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t thought about trying.

The OS is a multitasking OS. This means that if you have one program open, you can open others without having to close the first one. Now, this has had me digging though folders trying to figure out what an alert on the top of the screen was. (I had gotten an IM)

Ok, and as a final note, the blackberry can copy and paste. So there.

New Toy

So I am big on toys. I mean, they are important from the ?wow that makes life easier? so simply ?oooh! shiny!?. Well this new toy is definitely shiny. I got the new Mac Promo package which had some programs in it from organization to iTunes. One of them, this one in fact, is called Mac Journal.

But! I hear you think, this is not Mac Journal! This is a WordPress blog!! And you would be correct. For you it is. But for me, now, it is a program living on my computer.

Now why, oh why, would this be useful? Well the idea is that if I have somewhere to collect my thoughts, spread stuff out, work on it, save it for later, etc, that I wouldn?t have to ponder so much about entries, and, well, post more.

So this is my first post from my new shiny toy, let?s hope it isn?t the last.

Edit: now here is a question.. what happens if I edit one of these? Let us, you and me, find out together, no?

Protecting Your Computer

THIS IS AN OLD POST, this was written in 2008. there is better information out there. Still, back up your shit. Seriously. No one, not Dell, not Apple or Microsoft, not Google not Best Buy, no one NO ONE but you are responsible for your digital belongings. Your pictures, your music, your documents and emails, all of these things are yours, and you need to be proactive in keeping them safe.

-j

If you use a Windows computer you need to protect it from the internet. The following is by no means intended to be an end-all be all list. Nor is it one that will last forever. See the date of this post? If it has been longer than a year, I’d do some research to make sure these are still good solutions. Computer technologies don’t stop.

Firefox: (mozilla.com) Web Browser. The best thing you can do for your computer is not use Internet Explorer. Most viruses/ad/spyware comes in to your machine using exploits through IE. This is _not_ to say that Firefox is immune to this, or that this is the only way to be infected. This is a simple first step at protecting your machine.

AVG (Grisoft.com) Anti-virus. High quality, it will scan your system, scan incomming email and help clean and quarrentine infected files.

Adaware (lavasoftusa.com) Free. This removes ad/spyware from your computer. You know that random pop-up window that appears when you aren’t even in Internet Explorer? this will help with that.

Spybot Seek and Destroy (safer-networking.org) Search and Destroy () Free, use with adaware. Where Adaware shines with adware, spybot shines with spyware. Spyware is used to collect information from your computer and send it to another computer. This is usually bad.

Backup, backup, for the love of all that is holy, backup!

caveat emptor! Becareful of what you download! Where did you find it? Is the site reliable? Has the software been reviewed on other sites? Check these things out. A bad software download can cripple your machine.

Seriously. Back up. Get an external hard drive. Get a thumb drive. Burn CD’s or DVD’s. Print them out! Imagine this, if i came in and took a hammer to your hard drive, what would you lose? what would you need? Now take those things and back them up.

I am a Mac user. The luxury of that at this time is I don’t need any of these things. Linux too provides more security than a Windows machine. The trade-off? You would need to learn a new operating system. Not all your software can be found (and most would need to be repurchased).