Mostly Harmless

Mostly about my amusement

Blackberry Pearl

I have been thinking about getting a new cell phone/PDA for a while. When I mentioned to Lily the idea she said “get the iPhone when it comes out”.

I really like the way she thinks.

I mentioned this to my friend and he suggested I try out his BlackBerry Pearl. He got it a while back and became disenchanted with the whole connected-all-the-time thing and has recently gone back to using his Motorola Razr v3. I’ve been using it for a couple of days now and the novelty has not worn off yet.

I signed up for Cingular’s $30/month unlimited data plan. They still charge per message but for surfing and other apps that’s fine.

First thing is the size. It’s small enough that it can fit in my pocket and fits in my hand comfortably. The smaller keyboard took some getting used to but I just type and let the SureType software do it’s thing. It usually gets the words right and I rarely have to correct anything. The size is good and if all PDA’s were this size the world would be a happier place.

Setting up e-mail was interesting. I run my own domain and mail servers. I do not run POP3 or IMAP in the clear; I only use the SSL based versions because I have a real dislike for putting my password in the clear on the Internet. I was concerned that the service would not be able to handle my server because of this.

It was not a problem at all. I gave the system my e-mail address and it was able to do a POP3S connection and get my mail. It was very seamless. When I receive mail it’s because the Blackberry server polled my mail box. When I send mail, it just uses my from address and sends from it’s server. For this reason I turned off SPF in case I actually sent someone an e-mail who checks. From my server logs I can see that hardly anyone is using the SPF records so no big loss.

I have Vista so I went to RIM’s web site to get the latest copies of their software. It ended updating the phone to the current firmware release and I am able to sync up with Outlook 2007. I only use Outlook for managing contacts.

Downloading software to the BlackBerry Pearl was easy and the first one I got was the trial IM+ software. It’s a good instant message client that supports more IM services than I use. It runs in the background and is pretty straight forward. Then I got the GMail client, Google Maps, and some other ones.

The phone experience was good too and I was able to pair with my Bluetooth devices with no problem. I have to get the knack for using the address book but the quality of the sound was okay (for a phone).

It’s also a MP3 player but I have an iPod which I use so I don’t expect to get much mileage out of it.

If I can use it for my personal mail and IM then I’ll be satisfied.

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