Advanced Blackberry – Keyboarding

I love the Blackberry. I suspect that I will love the (upcoming) Android more, but for now, I love the Berry.

The perception is that Blackberry is functional and therefore lacks some bells and whistles which are ever more popular in Android and iPhone. I’ll save that argument for another time, but Blackberry can be advanced for advanced users. What follows are some advanced Blackberry tips.

Blackberry has two side keys called convenience keys. These can be reprogrammed to be anything the Blackberry recognizes as a function by using Options > Screen/Keyboard setting. People complain that the Blackberry does not multitask well, but program one of the side convenience keys to Application Switcher. Now, say you are in the Viigo news reader reading this item, press the convenience key and up come all of the applications on the Blackberry hotbar including the home screen. Go to the home screen, work in any application, click on Viigo again, and you are back where you left off, at this specific article.

The other side convenience key can and should be set to Lock. This locks the device down, and in case you did not know, Blackberry is booby trapped: type the wrong password x times and you get to master reset (security wipe) the personal information. Pull the battery instead? Forget it! In that case you get a JVM boot error and you get to reinstall the Blackberry OS on the device, but you still don’t get at the personal information on the device.

Blackberry is a secure device, but like any piece of technology, it is only as secure as the user’s knowledge. Plug the Blackberry into a USB you can copy a file onto the memory card. This is not secure because it is not protected by the Blackberry’s security. If you then move the file from the SD card to device memory, you still are not secure because you have left a deleted copy on the memory card which can be retrieved by a professional (or a 16-year-old in his parents’ basement). Instead use Bluetooth to transfer the file. In Blackberry, you can receive in Bluetooth directly to the device memory, bypassing the memory card entirely, and, assuming you have your Blackberry properly secured in the security settings, you have not made an unsecured copy on the memory card.

Speaking of security locks, they can be a pain. To ease your pain, I will bend security rules and tell you about a password lock trick: The first character of my Blackberry password is the spacebar. If you have a Berry you understand: you can find the spacebar with your thumb in the pitch dark without even trying. Pressing the spacebar makes the keyboard light up, and you can type in the rest of the password. By now I do this in bed or in my car at night without even thinking about it. Pressing the spacebar lights up the keyboard and starts my password at the same time.