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Blackberry Fussing

 

I'm using a Blackberry Pearl 9105, which I've seen described as "not quite" a Blackberry or "half" a Blackberry because it doesn't have a full keyboard. It's not a bad phone, and I like that it looks more like a normal phone while actually being a "smartphone". But there are a lot of unsmart things about it. One of them is that there is no automatic locking mechanism, although such a phone really requires it. You can lock the keys, of course, but you forget. And every time you answer a call, you have to lock them again.

After lots of googling and manual reading, a few months ago, I understood that a work-around could be to use a password lock. I was using this, but it's cumbersome. So tonight I decided to look in the Blackberry World store for something easier. Aside from the fact that it shouldn't really be necessary to hunt for software for a program that ought to have been in the phone from the first place, it's quite daunting to start a research project on something so trivial as a keyboard lock. But you really need to. There are different prices and functions. Not every application suits every Blackberry. I discovered this by paying a dollar for an application (SliderLock, by Ajani) that simply doesn't work on my phone, although Blackberry World says it does. But it depends on an Alt key - touch-slide mechanism to open, and my particular Blackberry doesn't have an Alt key. Now, Blackberry says that to simulate the "Alt" function on this phone you have to (incredibly) press the right-side volume keys in an "UP-DOWN-UP-DOWN-UP" sequence. Now why didn't I think of that? Instead, it took me 45 minutes to google. Anyhow, that didn't work either for SliderLock. So let's look for another application... Eventually, after debating whether to fork out a further $3 for a different company's keyboard lock, I find there is actually one going for FREE. Jared Company have a nice "Slide2Open" app that's absolutely free, doesn't have tacky publicity nags and does exactly what I want. Perfect. I download and install it, and it works fine.

The lack of an auto keyboard lock isn't the only crazy thing about the Pearl 9105. If an application - like SliderLock for example - misbehaves and makes it impossible to use your phone, there's nothing to do but re-start it. They actually call it to "Reset" the phone. I initially thought might be a method to wipe all my data and return the phone to its factory condition. Okay, so restart the phone. Now how do I do that? A long press on the the On switch? another sequence of key presses on the volume button? But, as I quickly discovered (no let's be honest, s-l-o-w-l-y discovered, through Google again), there is actually no easy way to reset the Blackberry Pearl 9105.

What you have to do is open the back cover, remove and return the battery then put the cover back. And then wait a few minutes: strange that a phone should take longer to boot up than a computer. Also good that you don't have to unscrew the back cover of your laptop and remove the battery every time you want to do a restart. However, there's a solution. Since Blackberry didn't see fit to include a reset mechanism for their phone, you go looking for that on Blackberry World. Fortunately, again I was able to find a free application. It's called (don't laugh) QuickPull, because it simulates the action of pulling out the battery.

I'm a patient kind of fellow, and eventually sort out how to deal with my gadgets. But I know that Blackberry's favourite target audience is "busy professionals". So how do they put up with this stuff? Presumably they actually have lots of time on their hands while waiting at airports.

Blackberry customers in Europe and the Middle East were recently inconvenienced due to an outage in the company's server at Slough. In fact, all the customers' internets and messaging services disappeared into a slimy slough. In the Gulf States, where Blackberries are popular, the news media recorded a significant drop in road accidents due to drivers inability to send text messages from their cars. By way of recompense, Blackberry will be giving away many of the paid applications in Blackberry World for free. I've never actually bought an application there besides SliderLock, but I'm thrilled. One of the applications being given away is "DriveSafe.ly", which reads all your text messages out-loud when you need to stay focused on navigating through traffic in Pearl Square.