Confessions of the Neither Cool Nor Corporate: Treo to Tour

Inwardly, my heart sank when I read the recent SFGate discourse on the polarization between iPhone and BlackBerry users and what it says about you (in a nutshell, I read it as Cool vs. Corporate ), because I knew my old Treo had broken for the last time and I was about to become an accidental and perchance reluctant early adopter of my first “cutting-edge” hardware device since the Sony Walkman — namely, the BlackBerry Tour. Thusly I heaved a big sigh and released my exclusive grip on the “neither/nor” don’t-label-me Treo world, and Became Corporate.

I had been happy with my old trusty Treo, not finding itself anywhere on the Cool to Corporate spectrum, but I had dropped it one too many times (making it a bit untrusty after all), and though I of course tried to keep using it, the shattered glass of the touchscreen posed the danger of lacerating my face whenever I answered the phone.  Plus, it stopped working, there’s that.

My Last Treo

My Last Treo

After a brief odyssey through a number of refurbished Treos, each mysteriously breaking in some other essential way, my enormously patient gadget-queen wife arranged to upgrade me to a BlackBerry Tour.  It arrived to me *the day of its release* — and she even heroically fought through apparently known BlackBerry/Mac issues and synched it for me while I was bathing and reading to our daughter that night.  And I promptly began my odyssey.

For all my online complaining about the difficulty in shifting smartphone paradigms — going from something so familiar and ubiquitously used to the “who moved my cheese” experience of misplaced keys is akin to the electric cool-aid acid test on unwitting lab rats — I actually did pretty well just playing around without (of course) even cracking the handy Getting Started guide (which I did AFTER I switched my BlackBerry off — at least I think I switched it off — that is, I’m not sure why I have to switch it off coming from the land of the nearly-always-on, insta-response Treo).

My New BlackBerry

My New BlackBerry

After trying to use the device like a Treo — which meant using a sub-standard mobile Web browser to launch minimal mobile Web applications in the place of all those Cool and/or Corporate device-native cutting-edge applictions such as bubble pop or whatever (does anybody even write applications for the Treo – anymore?) with a nevertheless comprehensible keyboard and near instant response in the applications (I had lived in m.facebook.com and m.twitter.com) — I finally was assimilated and downloaded the respective device-proper applications such as Facebook for the BlackBerry, ÜberTwitter, and Gmail for the BlackBerry.  I even pined unsuccessfully for blip.fm for the BlackBerry and learned I was not alone.  I learned to swim in the floaty interface as best I could, and I tweeted with my geo-location.  I even stopped — momentarily — trying to touch the touchscreen to get it to do things and let go of “Liking” on Facebook. And lapsed briefly into brickbuster (or whatever it is).

So I should hardly rant, and I hate to rant, but I’m going to rant.  After two weeks now, these things still drive me to absolutely NUTS:

  • Where ARE my text messages anyway? On the Treo, It was simplicity itself — it merited a special key, and it was simply SMS — simply threaded, simply reply-able, simply alerting and lighting up the device with the incoming messages themselves.  Not so on the BlackBerry, apparently.  If I can even tell apart the multiple BlackBerry messaging options.
  • And please by the way don’t make me register YET ANOTHER email address!
  • Somehow, at least by default, the nature of “alerting” on the BlackBerry levels text and email messages in the same playing field — and this is not what I want! (Think of all my BlackBerry friends I pestered the first few days, freaked out that my phone was ALWAYS vibrating! “WHY, why does it do that?”)
  • I can’t use trackball as insertion cursor effectively.  Can anyone? The trackball motion also skips and messes me up in brickbuster!
  • Who Moved My Keys!? Especially the questionmark and period!
  • Most disturbingly, why do my wrists hurt?
223K and still ticking

223K and still ticking

I’ll probably become second-nature with this strange new device soon and maybe I’ll even start to feel like it makes me seem Obamalike instead of corporate and conservative.  Maybe I’ll even feel like it’s highly featured and grow to wonder how I ever got along without it.  Not yet.

The first morning after, I awoke from dreams about trying to use the dang device.  I was trying to learn to use the trackball *just right* (ahem) to roll the umlauts over the “U” in UberTwitter).  Plus, my hand hurt.

I guess now a new car to replace my 223K-mile car can’t be too far.  Please just don’t let it be a corporate car.  Unless it’s also a fuel-efficient yet powerful RACECAR!

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