Thursday, February 16, 2006

What do blackberries and air have in common?

Answer: I need them both to survive.

Ok, it might be a bit of an exaggeration, but only fellow Blackberry users seem to understand the complete horror show that is losing one's Blackberry. I was Blackberry-less (my device doubles as my mobile phone) for a week earlier this month, and it surprised me at how dependent I'd become on it.

It wasn't so much the inconvenience of losing the data - that was all stored back on my laptop at the office and restored easily onto the replacement device. It wasn't even the security aspect, because the device was locked and password-protected, and the supplier was able to suspend the number right away. Nor was it the mobile phone aspect because I went back to an ancient pre-paid handset.

What was most annoying about the whole Blackberry-less experience, was that time spent in cabs, on the Tube and other equally good opportunities to catch up on the day's backlog of email, was now gone. It's always a challenge to get through the seemingly increasingly number of emails that come in (especially when your email address is listed on your company's web site!), but to lose the opportunity to catch up on emails in those weird little free timeslots through the day is grim.

Because I work with colleagues around the world, there are many instances where I have to respond to someone's 'end of day' request, whether it be from Asia at 7.30am GMT or the US at 9.30pm GMT. The Blackberry lets me do this quicky and easily without the hassle of dialing in from home, or waiting around for an email from someone else to come in.

Proponents of the 'Crackberry' line of thinking that Blackberries are addictive may have a point - but having been without mine for a week, I'm more convinced than ever that are they a business critical tool, especially in an industry and role where you need to move information between people very quickly.

Happily, my replacement device is now up and running. And if you recount your story of losing a Blackberry, I will be endlessly empathetic.


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