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Anyone have a blackberry?

Old 05-18-04, 01:04 PM
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Anyone have a blackberry?

I just started looking at them so I don't know much right now. But how do you like it? How do they work? Are they only/mainly offered through AT&T or are there other vendors? Is there a desktop app/dock you can sync w/ for things like address books and appointment calendars? Do you have to sign up for their mail service or will it sync up w/ a mail service of your choice? Is there any sort of encryption (both of the information on the device itself and the data in transit)?

TIA
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Old 05-18-04, 02:02 PM
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We have about 300 of them deployed within our company but using a Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) at our location, which ties into our MS Exchange services. The users have total syncronization between their Outlook Accounts (Mail, Calendar, and Contacts) through the Blackberry. Its important for many of our users because they are on the road more than in the office....the Blackberry gives them "live" access to their account (both receiving and sending) on the road.

You can also get services via a provider such as AT&T or Cingular, etc. This sounds like what you're doing.

I personally liked the Blackberry quite a bit becuase I always felt connected. However, I became too dependent on it...as reminder for meetings, as an address and task manager, and for communications. I'd find myself using it even on vacations, holidays, and days off....which annoyed the heck out of my direct reports.

Its a great tool, just make sure that you can justify the cost before jumping into it. Most vendors required a min. of 1 year contracts plus the cost of the unit.
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Old 05-19-04, 10:11 PM
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I have one. We have a pilot program at work where we've deployed about 200 to the executives. We'll be deploying thousands late this year, early next. I just transferred to the support team for them and will be administering the Blackberry Enterprise Server and some Notes/Domino stuff. I just got back this evening from the Wireless Enterprise Symposium in Chicago, put on by RIM.

I'm new to this stuff, but have been in IT for the last 12 years.

As stated Blackberry's are offered by all the major cellular carriers. AT&T, Nextel, Cingular, T-Mobile, etc. We mainly use Cingular, with our international roaming people using T-Mobile. The Nextel is currently the only Blackberry with push to talk and speaker phone (I believe).

RIM just signed an agreement to license the tech on Microsoft, Symbian and PalmOS devices among others, so expect to see RIM Blackberry technology showing up on other devices besides just the classic Blackberry.

I love mine. It is connected to our Notes/Domino mail servers at work. I used it exclusively the last 3 days at the WES and never had to break out my laptop.

I handled work emails, calendar entries as well as coordinating with my team on sessions to attend at the WES, etc.

You can do email, calendar, SMS, direct PIN to PIN, as well as voice communication. I haven't researched the non Corporate email functionality, but obviously it's there, I believe you can have it pick up email from certain ISP's or you can have email provided by the cell carrier. As stated ours is connected to our Corporate email servers. And that works great. Wireless reconciliation of email, etc with your corporate mail account.

The current version of the software utilizes a desktop manager (again at least for corporate type setups), but the Blackberry Enterprise Server software version 4.0 software that is slated to come out in Sept will allow you to do away with the desktop manager if you like. Much more will be done over the air.

Browsing the web can be kind of useless if the sites have lots of graphics, etc. Some pages that are optimized for mobile devices work well.

The Cingular devices (maybe others as well) use the GPRS network for data (voice and PIN to PIN apparently use the GSM network) and as long as you have one bar on the GPRS meter you've got good connectivity, I was receiving data even in elevators, etc, where voice coverage was not present.

It does become addictive, being always connected.

Last edited by sniper308; 05-19-04 at 10:15 PM.
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Old 05-20-04, 11:53 AM
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Can you guys go into a little more details regarding the outlook sync? I'm also looking into a blackberry and would use it primarily to have email access. Here are some scenarios:

1. If I send or reply to an email from the Blackberry, does that message get put in the Sent folder on my desktop?

2. Do all the sub-folders in my inbox also show up on the Blackberry? If so, when I sort the messages from my inbox into their respective folders, will that also happen on my desktop?

3. What happens when I turn my desktop off? Does the blackberry then keep track of everything I do and then sync once the desktop is back on?

Thanks for you help and information on this.
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Old 05-20-04, 04:59 PM
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I bought a Blackberry a few months ago, but sent it back. It was great for email, and if that is all you want to do then go for it. The problem is that the Blackberries are terrible PDAs. I was spoiled by my Dell Axim before getting the Blackberry, and the comparison (PDA-wise) wasn't even close. I'm looking at Goodlink as an alternative solution. It seems to be much more capable than the Blackberry system, and (I hope) will work with my Axim PDA.
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Old 05-20-04, 08:08 PM
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I have one through work, similar to as ngp described. I only use it for mail, not for scheduling or anything else. For that, I like it.

Unfortunately, there is no way to open PGP-encrypted emails or emails encrypted with our own proprietary secure messaging format on one (at least that I know of).
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Old 05-20-04, 09:47 PM
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Originally posted by pdutta2000
Can you guys go into a little more details regarding the outlook sync? I'm also looking into a blackberry and would use it primarily to have email access. Here are some scenarios:

1. If I send or reply to an email from the Blackberry, does that message get put in the Sent folder on my desktop?

2. Do all the sub-folders in my inbox also show up on the Blackberry? If so, when I sort the messages from my inbox into their respective folders, will that also happen on my desktop?

3. What happens when I turn my desktop off? Does the blackberry then keep track of everything I do and then sync once the desktop is back on?

Thanks for you help and information on this.
Well we are a Notes/Domino shop so I can't speak to outlook/exchange. Not sure but believe you have to be connected to an enterprise email system (Notes or Exchange through a Blackberry Enterprise Server) to have it do what is called "wireless reconciliation" with the "desktop" or better put with your mail file. Then what you do on the blackberry is reflected on your desktop email client and vice versa. It's not synching to your "desktop" but rather your mail file on either an Exchange server or a Notes server via a connection from the Blackberry Enterprise Server. If you use it for personal email that's not "web based" I'm not sure how it behaves.

So to answer your questions from the perspective of being connected to corporate email through a BES

1. Currently this is configured on the Blackberry Desktop manager and you can either have it file to the sent folder or not.

2. Yes

3. Since in a corporate email system your mail files reside on either an Exchange or Notes server, your desktop being turned off does not make any difference.
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Old 05-20-04, 09:51 PM
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Originally posted by TexasGuy
I bought a Blackberry a few months ago, but sent it back. It was great for email, and if that is all you want to do then go for it. The problem is that the Blackberries are terrible PDAs. I was spoiled by my Dell Axim before getting the Blackberry, and the comparison (PDA-wise) wasn't even close. I'm looking at Goodlink as an alternative solution. It seems to be much more capable than the Blackberry system, and (I hope) will work with my Axim PDA.
RIM (Research in Motion) has signed agreements with several major manufacturers of other devices; such as Palm, Microsoft, Symbian, Samsung, etc, to make the Blackberry technology available of those devices. So many Palms, Pocket PCs and smart phones will be coming out with RIM Blackberry technology, meaning the best of both worlds.
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Old 05-20-04, 11:20 PM
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Originally posted by sniper308
So many Palms, Pocket PCs and smart phones will be coming out with RIM Blackberry technology, meaning the best of both worlds.
As I understand it, they've only got agreements to try to work together (vaporware?), but Goodlink is apparently already shipping for Windows Mobile and Palm. Besides, I'm leaning toward Goodlink for other reasons. It's less expensive and out of the dozens of comparisons I've read, I've yet to find a single one that states Blackberry is a better solution, but most give the edge to Goodlink due to something about the ability to do a complete sync wirelessly without a cradle. I'm afraid my technical skills are somewhat limited and I don't know much about Goodlink since I just found out about them a few days ago, so perhaps someone more knowledgeable about these finer details could shed some light?

If all else fails, I may just pick up a Sprint CDMA CF card and VPN to Activesync, since I'm not convinced that I absolutely have to have realtime email anyway.
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Old 05-21-04, 07:07 AM
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Regarding Exchange on the backend and Outlook on the frontend...works pretty much the same as the Notes/Domino setup.

******** IMPORTANT ********
However, I'm speaking of an imlementation of a Blackberry Enterprise Server on-site vs. having the service provided completely by an external vendor such as Cingular, AT&T, or Verizon. Having an External vendor provide the blackberry may have differences in how the mail is handled so you may want to check with them before assuming that our answers will also apply in that situation.
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Old 05-21-04, 10:34 AM
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Thanks for the replies...I want to implement the Blackberry Enterprise Server and Microsoft Exchange...so this might be the way to go. I'm gonna look into Goodlink as well. Thanks again
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Old 05-21-04, 10:23 PM
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Originally posted by TexasGuy
It's less expensive and out of the dozens of comparisons I've read, I've yet to find a single one that states Blackberry is a better solution, but most give the edge to Goodlink due to something about the ability to do a complete sync wirelessly without a cradle.
Version 4.0 of the BES due in September, but more likely Q1, 2005 will allow completely wireless synch of pretty much everything except pushing extremely large apps or flashing a new OS version to the handheld. The desktop manager esentially goes away. You will even be able to backup the handheld over the air (OTA). You'll be able to push security policies OTA, etc.

Right now email and calendar are synched wireless but personal address book updates and some settings require the cradle, but most "normal" everyday user functions do not require the cradle currently.

4.0 of the BES software will be pretty much the 2nd coming if they get everything into it that they are promising. It will also equalize all features between the Domino and Exchange versions.

Last edited by sniper308; 05-21-04 at 10:27 PM.
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Old 05-22-04, 04:46 AM
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Originally posted by sniper308
4.0 of the BES software will be pretty much the 2nd coming if they get everything into it that they are promising.
Again, maybe I'm wrong or misinformed, but it seems like Blackberry is just playing catchup, not pushing the envelope. Goodlink already has a complete Outlook wireless sync, including email, calendar, contacts, tasks, etc. Plus, Goodlink can wirelessly sync Microsoft Office files (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc.) in real-time, a very useful feature that Blackberry isn't even promising to my knowledge.
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Old 05-22-04, 08:22 AM
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Originally posted by TexasGuy
Again, maybe I'm wrong or misinformed, but it seems like Blackberry is just playing catchup, not pushing the envelope. Goodlink already has a complete Outlook wireless sync, including email, calendar, contacts, tasks, etc. Plus, Goodlink can wirelessly sync Microsoft Office files (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc.) in real-time, a very useful feature that Blackberry isn't even promising to my knowledge.
Are you talking WiFi or cellular synch. Everything I'm talking about with BB is over the data cellular link.

Also, are you talking synching of the office files or attachment viewing? BB does attachment viewing.

Last edited by sniper308; 05-22-04 at 08:25 AM.
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Old 05-22-04, 04:47 PM
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Originally posted by sniper308
Are you talking WiFi or cellular synch. Everything I'm talking about with BB is over the data cellular link.
Goodlink is also carrier-based, not just wi-fi. According to their site, they work on AT&T, Cingular, Orange, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Mobitex. Their real-time sync works on the data carriers. (Again, with the disclaimer that I'm not 100% certain about any of this, as I haven't tried Goodlink yet. I'm just repeating what I loosely understand.)

Also, are you talking synching of the office files or attachment viewing? BB does attachment viewing.
I viewed a demo video on Goodlink's website, and it showed real-time syncing of the files. The ability to open attachments was also there. You can check it out at www.good.com. I'd be interested to get your feedback.
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Old 05-22-04, 09:34 PM
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Originally posted by TexasGuy
Goodlink is also carrier-based, not just wi-fi. According to their site, they work on AT&T, Cingular, Orange, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Mobitex. Their real-time sync works on the data carriers. (Again, with the disclaimer that I'm not 100% certain about any of this, as I haven't tried Goodlink yet. I'm just repeating what I loosely understand.)



I viewed a demo video on Goodlink's website, and it showed real-time syncing of the files. The ability to open attachments was also there. You can check it out at www.good.com. I'd be interested to get your feedback.
I'll check it out. As stated I'm just getting into the BB thing at work. I just joined the pilot team for it. I'm new to Notes Administration and the BB. I've been a system admin (mostly OpenVMS operating system) & group leader for several years, and decided I wanted to get into some different technology.

I'll check out the Goodlink stuff in the next couple of days and give you some feedback. I'll be especially interested in its security, etc.

Thanks for all the good info.
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