- Started off like a charm, I connected the cradle to the com port and ran the initialization software. Here is where it got tricky. Apparently, the Blackberry and my Palm Pilot are completely incompatible. In essence, my Palm had a draconian hold over the port. I ended up having to uninstall my Palm as well as doing a "find File" for all the lingering pieces of Palm software and remove them before the Blackberry software would install. Once the Palm software was removed the remainder of the initialization went smoothly.
Work with the Software
- Once the software was loaded an application loader, part of the BB Desktop Manager, walks the user thought the PIM functionality components of the device.
- The Blackberry asks the user to determine which calendar, task, contact and email service is in use so that the device can sync. These include: Goldmine, GroupWise, Lotus Notes, Lotus Organizer, MS Outlook, MS Exchange and Netscape to name a few. This portion was well organized and easy to use.
- The Blackberry software also installs a program call the BB Redirector. The redirector works in conjunction with the users email account. In theory when a new email his your mail server the redirector sends a copy of the email to your 957. Setting up the redirector was again, easy and intuitive, once the devicesí PIN is inputed then you're essentially finished.
Using the Device
- Once I had the system completely installed I began using the 957 to augment my life by using it to help me keep track of my tasks, calendar and send and receive emails. Over all the experience has been good. Syncing the device to my PC is simple. Making it even easier, I adjusted the BB Desktop Manager to sync my 957 automatically once I set it into the cradle. This makes it very intuitive. In addition, once the BB Desktop manager, while syncing, detects a change in one of my sources of information it tells me how many changes it is going to make and gives me the opportunity to choose whether or not to accept the changes
- Sending email over the BB system is simple and the keyboard is great. Very functional. Once I got used to changing between letter, uppercase letters and numbers and symbols associated with those keys I was doing great. Receiving email has been different. To begin with, the redirector must always remain on for the email function to work. In addition, my MS Outlook also needs to be open for the redirector to work. Being an old fashion guy, itís hard for me to leave my laptop on 24 hours a day 7 days a week. But Iím sure thatís just me.
- More importantly, I have found the redirector sporadic and, to date, unreliable. If I were sent an email that I needed to have Iím not convinced that I would receive it in a timely manner. Sensing that I might have had it set up incorrectly I called the BB help desk and spoke with a very helpful and seemingly competent technical officer. They reviewed my configuration and concluded that everything was set up correctly. Since then things have remained a bit sporadic.
- I love the way the device is designed and functions better than a Palm. The Screen is readable and the track wheel is a great design feature that the 957 has usurped from previous BB devices. The track wheel allows users to:
- Scroll and select
- Scroll thought accenting characters on the keypad
- Horizontal scroll and changing options
- Another wonderful feature is when one is composing an email, for example, the user can press a character and hold the key down and the 957 will replace the character with an upper case character. Functionality I would love to have on any keyboard.
- The device has clear, intuitive icons for easy navigation. The icons are better than Palm.
- Finally, the device itself is a great size and shape with a positive feel to it. Iím just wondering when they are going to add a phone?
Monica Gonzales is an Unstrung staff writer.