Tag Archives: smart phone

The Blackberry Calendar is Broken by Design

I’ve been taking my first trip with my Blackberry Storm 2. I’ve battled through the challenges of synchronization. I’ve got my couple of indispensible apps. So I’m all set, right?


It seems incredible, but the Blackberry, the machine that became the archtype “smart phone” has never, ever, figured out how a calendar is supposed to work. Instead of handling dates and time in terms of local time zones, everything is in Greenwich time.

In practice, this means you type more information to schedule something on a Blackberry than you do on normal phones. Specifically, you must always give a time zone.

This is just bad interface design.

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From Treo to Storm II

Last fall, Alex warned me that Apple was dropping their support for the Palm Treo. I couldn’t upgrade to Spotted Lynx, or whatever the latest OS-X is called, until I switched phones. While I had been hoping to hold out for a Verizon iPhone, my patience ended a couple of weeks ago. After a weekend with a Droid, and a brief flirtation with the Palm Pre Plus, I settled on the Blackberry Storm II.

Aside from the built-in contact list and calendar (oh yes, and the phone) I rely on a smart phone for two other things: an ebook reader and a password manager. And I also want to feel some comfort for the phone’s security model. And, oh yes, I need easy access to contacts and calendar on my desktop, presumably through a sync feature.

I didn’t warm to the Droid because it’s too much like having a laptop on your pocket. And since the Pre Plus was a complete rework, I figured it wouldn’t be that similar to the Treo in practice. There was a period of suspense after acquiring the Storm, since I wasn’t sure it would in fact do all I wanted, but things eventually worked out.

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Reading Alcott

My secret vice is that I read adolescent fiction on my smart phone. This awful habit started years ago. I have the collected works of Louisa May Alcott and Lucy Maud Montgomery and I pore over them when stuck in line or waiting for food at a cafe.

Now I find that Bear is likewise reading reading Eight Cousins on her smart phone.

This is particularly interesting because the womens’ roles in Alcott’s fiction tend to be super-traditional, while Bear’s politics are “progressive” to put it mildly. I generally agree with both Bear’s attitude on womens’ rights and her attitude towards Alcott: who cares if her female characters are so traditional!

I think we both appreciate Alcott’s underlying themes: the pursuit of moral ideals over superficial values (despite the difference in moral values) and the fundamental rights of women to self-determination (despite the different view of womens’ roles). Alcott portrays “strong minded” women as positive role models despite the negative reactions of conventionally attractive male characters.

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