Monday, August 18, 2003

Why I Missed My Blackberry until I start using MSN Mobile

During the power outage last week, the first thing I tried to do was use my cell phone. No luck! It seems that on the network I was on, only incoming calls were accessible - I couldn't call out. (not quite sure why - maybe it was that guy on the cell phone who kept on calling all the radio stations). We actually had to find a non-cordless phone (cordless phones require electricity) and plug it in to call out and of course, now I can't find any of the phone numbers I usually call - why not? they are all on the computer.
 
To be sure, some of them were still on my phone so I could find some of them. Trish pulled out her old Zaurus ZR-5000 PDA and had some numbers in there, thankfully (after changing the batteries). It was then that I really started to miss my old Blackberry. Now, I'm really not impressed with RIM's support (they wanted to basically charge me for a new unit to fix my old one) which is why I stopped using it. But when I had my Blackberry, I could send out emails (not relying on cell coverage) or at least page any other Blackberry user to find out what was going on. Then, I also had my entire life on it, with access to contacts, calendar and more. Those of you who have PDA's might be going "and the point is...." but the fact that the Blackberry was my EMAIL device as well as all of those other things, really did change the way I worked. (I'm still waiting for a PDA that does all of that - if you know of a good one, comment on it and let me know). Of course, Blackberry didn't have a good IM client either and their web support was going to cost me plenty.
 
Which is why when the power came back on, I immediately grabbed a list of my contacts from my computer to put into my Siemens S40 phone (great phone). But still there was something missing: immediate contact. I had played with MSN Messenger's Mobile device support a few months back but found it lacking. On Thursday night, we had dinner with my sister in law (during the blackout) and I had mentioned that when she was looking for new phones for her son, make sure she gets one that supported MSN Messenger (he's always online). With power, I started looking into it and found that MSN has, in fact, upgraded their Mobile Device support so now proper Messenger functionality is available on my phone with minimal effort.
 
After a few minutes and sample messages, it was up and running and I could send MSN Messenger messages to anyone I needed to, all from my cell phone. I could even send email messages from my Hotmail account. Combined with the T9 editor on my phone, I was actually becoming fairly productive again, even without a Blackberry. Example: to find out who's online, I simply send an SMS message with CL in the body. It returns a list of who's online. I can then reply to that message noting the contact 1-9 etc and then the message. Fast, easy, and simple (once you get used to the acronyms). Maybe I really can do everything on my phone....

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