Rojakcoder
Of Linux, Programming, and Singaporean Ramblings

Using my BlackBerry

Wed, Oct 8, 2008 1:03PM +0800

Now that I’ve got my BlackBerry working fine, it’s time to get it to work its magic. This, and the previous post, are made with my BB Bold.

A little bit of background on my Bold - I got it from M1, one of three telecom providers in Singapore. It comes with two flavours of BlackBerry plans: a S$30 plan with a data limit of 4 MB and a S$60 plan with unlimited data.

How M1 came up with a 4MB plan is baffling to me. Did they really think that such a limit is practical for today’s needs? The unlimited plan is twice what I’m paying for my phone bill. If I were to get that plan, my monthly bill will come up to a hundred dollars! No way am I going to pay that kind of money. Instead, I picked up one of M1’s unlimited mobile data plan which came with a SIM card that I could put into my Bold. Now this is not a foolproof plan; albeit cheaper, using the data plan meant that I could not use BlackBerry’s push mail function and that I don’t get to enjoy free incoming calls to the BlackBerry. But hey, unlimited Web surfing anytime, anywhere is too good to resist.

An unlimited data plan meant that I could explore other mobile functions freely. The most exciting thing I find is Google Maps on the BlackBerry. The amount of detail and power that Google Maps provide is so amazing that I find it incredible that it is free! It’s so good that I think it’s more than able to serve as a GPS navigation device for driving. The only drawback might be its screen size - it’s larger than most phones but not big enough to be a navigation device. (Edit: after some thought, Google Maps can’t really take the place of an actual GPS device since the maps are pulled from the Internet rather than loaded on the device which is how GPS navigation devices work.)

On the topic of Google, there are several other (free) applications from Google that make using their services such a breeze. Check out http://m.google.com

On the BB, Google has Google Sync that helps to synchronise your Google Calendar with the calendar on the BB. It’s cool because the sync is two-way. If you are familiar with Google Calendar, you know that you can create multiple calendars. On the BB, however, there is only one calendar. So to sync new events created on the BB with Google Calendar, a default calendar has to be specified to which the new events will be added. Not the most convenient way but this is the best option as the default calendar can be changed at anytime.

Of course there is a Gmail application which stores the subjects of emails on the device. Only when you want to read the entire mail will download take place. A good way to reduce bandwidth usage and improve responsiveness.

Another application that I find useful is Got2. It’s a ToDo application layered on top of BlackBerry’s ToDo. The neatest feature I find is the ability to place sub-tasks under other tasks.

Having said the above, there are a few complaints about the BB. For one, it cannot read PDF files stored on the device. It can read PDFs attached to emails but not natively stored ones. And there are no viable freeware to do that! What gives?! Ah well, no device is perfect… Another complaint is that there are no free applications to do IM (think Fring on Nokia devices). Sad…

comments powered by Disqus