We’ve been working on BBGeeks for over a year now, though most of our readers haven’t become familiar with us until recently. While all of us here at BBGeeks have been tapping away at our devices for longer than the site has existed, maintaining a site dedicated to BlackBerry requires a different level of geekdom.
Along the way, we’ve picked up a number of tips and tricks for the BlackBerry, and have tried to pass them all along to you. Today, we’re compiling some of the odds and ends into one piece. So…
Did you know your BlackBerry can:
1. Buy you an extended vacation from work
Nursing a hangover? Meet a hot flight attendant on the way home from a business meeting? Feel like laying in bed all day on a random Monday? Well, if you work in an office large enough where your physical absence won’t be noticed, your BlackBerry can be an enabler.
BlackBerry devices connected to work via BES have a remote file management system, which allows access to damn near everything on your work computer. Just make sure it’s in your shared folder and voila, you’re ready to access every spreadsheet and report your boss could possibly demand you send him.
Ah, but don’t think it’s quite that easy. You’ve got to keep your story straight, and sending e-mails from your BlackBerry doesn’t make sense if you’re at your desk. As anyone who has received an e-mail from a BlackBerry knows, the end of each message is tagged with “Sent via BlackBerry,” or something along those lines. Thankfully, there are people out there who not only noticed it, but did something about it. You can also check out our article on how to change your BlackBerry auto signature.
Just one more little nuance to avoid being caught. By default, reply e-mails sent from Outlook are tagged with “RE:” while those sent from a BlackBerry are tagged with “Re:.” It’s not difficult to head this problem off at the pass, it’s just that you have to remember it every single time. If you’re up to the task, then you’re probably ready to work from home without anyone – except maybe your secretary – being the wiser.
2. Let your boss know where you are at all times
Two things you need to know about your BlackBerry GPS in a corporate environment:
- In order for a GPS to work, the system must be able to locate where the device is.
- Most BlackBerrys issued to an employee from his or her company have GPS automatically enabled.
You may think your boss is a complete nincompoop, but he didn’t get to where he is without covering his ass along the way. If I can think of manipulating the device in such a way, don’t you think your boss has? Hell, for all you know he pitched it to his boss and it earned him a promotion.
Now, if you could only use that to your own advantage and track where, exactly, your girlfriend goes every night when she says she’s at the gym.
3. Turn off
I know what you’re thinking: I’m a heretic for suggesting that a BlackBerry can actually be shut off. As my roommate (an avid cell phone user who would have a BlackBerry if he wasn’t dirt poor) says, “Why have it if you’re not going to have it on?”
I can make a list of situations in which it would be appropriate to click the Turn Power Off icon, but they’re pretty self-explanatory. Here’s a rule of thumb: if you’re supposed to be enjoying something — dinner, a movie, the company of a loved one — it’s probably best to just shut the damn device off.
Your e-mails will still be there, as will the messages people leave you. It’s not like I’m suggesting the BlackBerry should be shut off during working hours — far from it. But when you’re out to dinner for someone’s birthday, it’s rather rude to be answering e-mails.
4. Give away corporate secrets
Let this man’s gaffe be a lesson to us all: removing the battery of your BlackBerry will not erase the memory. In fact, it is designed specifically to not do that.
Common knowledge would dictate that the majority of Blackberry owners already know this. However, if a vice president at JP Morgan can make this mistake, I suppose it’s possible for anyone. Then again, this particular VP forgot a cardinal rule of business (or at least in my own personal business):
If your company issues you a device and you end up leaving the company, it’s probably not a good idea to hawk said device on eBay, whether or not it contains confidential information.
And if you’re going to flip property that’s not yours for a couple of bucks, take the five minutes to delete the content. Simply removing the battery won’t work; what is this, 1995?
5. Turn you into a time-efficient machine.
It’s quite easy to get disorganized when you’re constantly exchanging e-mails and phone calls, especially if you’re doing it on the go. How much time did you spend reviewing Client X’s file? Did you really take a half hour composing that e-mail to your boss? Time always seems to be slipping away when you’re working on your CrackBerry…
There are now a bevy of time management applications available, though, that can let you know exactly how much time you spend on various tasks. This is especially beneficial for those who bill by the hour: nickel and dime your clients with impeccable efficiency!
These applications can work for regular working people like you and me, too. Maybe when you see in writing that you spend four hours a day composing e-mails you’ll quit using your thesaurus application and just get to the point. Think of all you can do in the time saved by writing these quicker, more pointed e-mails. Why, you could spend it writing more e-mails!
Don’t think it ends there, though. You might not even have to think about your e-mails at all anymore. Beyond time management/time tracking applications, there are those that will send out automated messages. All you have to do is create a couple of templates and BAM, Annoying Client No. 1 is deflected with a few clicks through a program.
Hell, if you’re crafty enough, you might even be able to create automated messages pointed at your boss. Yeah, it will take time to create all of the response templates, but a few hours (or days, whatever) spent now can mean a ton of saved time and grief down the road.
6. Cause you to become a safety hazard
Like many BlackBerry users, you might be addicted to the device. By that, I mean that you have a hard time putting it down (or shutting it off, as mentioned in No. 3). You e-mail while walking across streets, while driving, while you’re supposed to be taking important instructions. But it’s okay, right? After all, you were born to multitask.
Not so much, according a study by Ryerson University. Then again, I’m unsure why they need a study to tell us that using your BlackBerry while performing tasks that affect other people is unsafe. We’ve all seen people driving while talking or texting on their cell, and it takes about two seconds to realize that they’re creating a hazard.
Look, I’m not here to preach. But for the sake of my safety while I’m traipsing around town, I urge you to cease the BlackBerry-ing while driving. While I’m not a stickler for the legality, I am a stickler for reason and logic, and reason and logic dictates that when you’re operating a two-ton killing machine, it’s wise to pay it your undivided attention.
7. Makes an excellent cobbler recipe
Mmmm mmmmm. Just mix 1/2 cups sugar, 1/2 cup flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 8 cups blackberries, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, and 3 tablespoons butter. For the topping, mix 2 cups flour, 4 teaspoons baking powder, 3 tablespoons sugar, 1 inch salt, 1/2 cup butter, 2/3 cup milk, and 1 egg, lightly beaten.
Yeah, it may have nothing to do with the personal digital assistant, and it does contain a whopping 7.5 grams of saturated fat (35 percent of your daily value!). But boy does it beat getting hounded by your boss.
Of course, you’ll have to hit the treadmill to work off those calories – which coincidentally gives you an excellent opportunity to catch up on the e-mails you missed in the hour and a half it took you to bake the delicious dish. But when you’re answering eight-point questions from clients, just think of that cobbler. Mmm…fatty deliciousness.
8. Serve a an effective weapon
Originally, I thought the best way to use a BlackBerry as a weapon would be to simply hurl it at your adversary and let the device go to work. Think about it: the shell has to be of a certain durability, there are plenty of pointy parts inside, and if the screen shatters properly, plastic shards can be scattered throughout the flesh of your opponent.
But then I came across an advertisement for a stun gun disguised as a BlackBerry. Genius! Think of all you could do with it. That mugger will never see it coming! Why would he stab you if he thought you were merely thrusting a BlackBerry in his direction?
Ah, but I jest. Actually, the only way I can see this being useful is to taze unsuspecting friends. They think you’re texting one minute, but the next minute: WHAM! Tazer to the nuts.
I still say it’d be more fun to just chuck it at someone.
9. Make you all thumbs
Apparently, typing with your thumbs isn’t the best way to be composing messages, at least not as far as your health is concerned. Tendonitis and even arthritis can be down the road, say doctors.
A tidbit at the end of that article reminded me that doctors said the same thing about video games back in the day — gamer’s thumb it was called. And it looks like they’re still saying it, citing cases of mysterious people succumbing to these ailments.
I’ve been playing video games for as long as I can remember. So have nearly all of my friends. Not once have I ever experienced or heard of such injuries. Have you? I’m seriously wondering, considering the sample size I’m dealing with, just how serious a risk repetitive thumb motions are to your health. But what do I know? I’m just a kid with a BA. Gotta trust those guys with advanced degrees…
10. Time travel
Okay, so I’m definitely lying here. But with the way Research In Motion has been developing features for the PDA, you have to figure this will be on tap somewhere down the road.
If Hank Morgan go back in time, enter King Arthur’s court and depose Merlin by using his knowledge of an impending eclipse, think of the dominance you can exert with your BlackBerry. You’ll be the toast of the town.
11. Make you go insane
I’ve been at the conventions. I’ve met the people. We’re all a little whacky. In fact, being crazy might be a prerequisite for covering BlackBerry news. Doug and Simon, and Kevin, too. You’re all nuts. Cooper, Rae, and me? Total whack jobs. Who else would make a BlackBerry commercial like this?
Crossing street image via flickr user DCVission2006 under a Creative Commons license.