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Defending RIM Blackberry Against Productivity 120

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the always-online dept.
Jasksk writes "Is Blackberry causing masses to lose productivity? This article on CoolTechZone.com clears the myth. The author writes, 'Ever since the patent litigation has settled between NTP and RIM, Blackberry has recaptured the headlines, but this time, it's because of the device itself. While numerous users, generally corporate executives, adore the device, the environment surrounding Blackberry isn't too positive. A number of recent reports and columns are portraying Blackberry (and similar solutions) as time wasting, productivity lowering behemoths that don't deserve to exist.'"
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Defending RIM Blackberry Against Productivity

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  • Well (Score:5, Funny)

    by Wellington Grey (942717) on Saturday April 08, 2006 @09:53AM (#15090571) Homepage Journal
    If your job is to never think one thought for more than 59 seconds, then yes, the blackberry is a productivity blessing.

    -Grey [wellingtongrey.net]
    • Re:Well (Score:5, Insightful)

      by amcdiarmid (856796) <(amcdiarm) (at) (gmail.com)> on Saturday April 08, 2006 @10:06AM (#15090617) Journal
      Blackberry (and Good) Devices are good for productivity - assuming you can prioritize.

      1. Some things need to be answered in real time. For Example: Say you oversee Hazardous waste disposal & need to be notified about stuff. (Is it important to move a cleanup team, or is it a soda spill); Say you run a network with automated email for things going wrong. (server down & you need to call the right person)

      2. Some things you just want to keep track of while you are out. You can check them in the taxi on the way back to work. (Client has problem X, if it gets big enough you may have to call - otherwise wait untill you are at the office.)

      Not to say that the same dorks who IM everyone at work all day won't waste time on a crackberry, but there are whole classes of people (managers & consultants) who need to keep tabs on stuff when they are away from the office.

      Personally, I get a lot of business from email referrals. If I wasn't too cheap to pay for the data line on the phone - it would probably help my business expand faster.

      $.02 It's mine and I want it back.
      • Re:Well (Score:5, Interesting)

        by arivanov (12034) on Saturday April 08, 2006 @10:22AM (#15090671) Homepage
        While what you say is true in principle the reality does not get even close.

        In order to prioritise on BB you need to have perfect or nearly perfect mail delivery filters that are guaranteed to be applied prior to the mail being picked up by BES. Not a single one of the corporate email systems officially supported by BES is even close to fitting this description. Exchange has always been a piece of sh** as far as filtering is concerned (regexps in an exchange filter on a custom field anyone?), Lotus is not much better and Group(un)wise is not far off from either one of these.

        So in reality you get all of your emails, get distracted, interrupted, your concentration broken and after that you can prioritise.

        Err.. No... Thanks... I like to be disturbed only when there is a real emergency. This is best done with an email-to-SMS interface.

        First - it is 20+ times cheaper to run per user.

        Second - it can be made to rely on a single box to run - the mail server. For comparison, BB in order to operate requires your email infrastructure to run properly, your firewall infrastructure to run properly, the Internet connectivity to run properly, BES to run properly, RIM itself to run properly and the GSM operator internet connectivity to run properly. That is a fat and long bill of materials for an emergency warning system. Definitely too long to my liking.

        By the way, out of all obvious targets RIM is the only one yet to be hit with a good oldfashioned DDOS. It will be entertaining to watch the congresscritters jump up and down when it finally happens (provided that you are not the person responsible for running BES in your company).
        • by MadEE (784327)
          I just have a special email for my wireless devices and simply white list devices or people who I allow to disturb me. I really can't say much about SMS since I had the feature removed once I started getting constantly spammed by it.
        • Second - it can be made to rely on a single box to run - the mail server.
          Your mail server has built-in cellular service?
          • If it had an PCMCIA it would have been built in. As it does not have one, I have to use a serial to a 5 year old Benefon (write off with a dead battery and broken screen).

            From there on it of course depends on the cellular working, but after all so does BB. It does not depend on the firewall, it does not depend on a separate BES server, it does not depend on the internet working and it does not depend on RIM being alive and not swamped by a fat DDOS. Exactly as I said.

            It took me 40 minutes to write the actua
        • Agree with you 100%. I've been using email to SMS for 7 years now and it fills all of my notification needs and is dependable.
        • I did not say it was worthwhile to run a good/crack server. I said if you have restraint it's not a time waster.

          The Technical issues are not that hard, albiet not cheap either. s far as filtering: At least on good, if your exchange account is setup with filter rules and subfolders, so will your goodlink device.

          Restraint is the ability to decide not to look at something when there is nothing to do about it. If you have it, having a crack device is not a time waster: This means NOT LOOKING AT EMAIL DURING
        • > Not a single one of the corporate email systems officially supported by BES is even close to
          > fitting this description. Exchange has always been a piece of sh** as far as filtering is
          > concerned

          The BES part of that certainly doesn't fit my experience...

          Setting up mail filters in Outlook is a "wizardy" thing designed to allow even idiots to set up mail filters, and no, it doesn't let you do anything too complicated.

          However, I've not had a problem with the BES honouring "don't sync this folder" aft
      • Agreed. I just had an epiphany with my BB tonight while shopping with my old lady at the mall today. It's a great device to play games on while aimlessly following her as she trys clothes on. We spent 3 hours at the mall, and it only seemed like 2 and a half.

        I'm definitely keeping the BB.

    • My notification of e-mail is off. it doesn't ring, vibrate, etc. just blinks.
      I check it from time to time. Some special e-mail notifies, but that's different.
      Lots of filtering and prioritizing.

      Those people that depend on it as their e-mail readers are idiots.

      How is it any WORSE than Palm or any other daytimer device? Or daytime device with e-mail? They're not ratting the blackberry- the solution in general and they're calling it Blackberry. It's like calling inline skates 'Rollerblades' or tissues Kle
    • Ah, you mean it's aimed at managers?
  • by Spy der Mann (805235) <spydermann.slashdotNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday April 08, 2006 @09:58AM (#15090588) Homepage Journal
    I thought the Blackberry wasn't popular because it made you stay wired to your job even when you went out with your family and stuff.
    • Nobody forces you to take your blackberry when you go out, nor do they force you to have it on.
      • by kfg (145172)
        Read your employment contract. It is becoming increasingly common that they do.

        Hell, even before the ubiquitously wired age I once lost an instore commission sales job because I didn't spend my time off the clock just sitting by the landline waiting for them to call me in to fill in for somebody.

        Or course I thanked them profusely for letting me go. . .

        KFG
    • by Wellington Grey (942717) on Saturday April 08, 2006 @10:22AM (#15090670) Homepage Journal
      I thought the Blackberry wasn't popular because it made you stay wired to your job even when you went out with your family and stuff.

      That's funny, I thought that's the reason it is popular. What proper capitalist lets his family get in the way of work?

      -Grey [wellingtongrey.net]
    • by kfg (145172) on Saturday April 08, 2006 @10:53AM (#15090757)
      Increased time on the job does not innately translate into increased productivity.

      The idea that it does is the single greatest idiocy of the modern business age, producing such braindead corollaries as thinking that saving half a second per mouse click actually means you spend 2 more minutes a day doing productive work.

      Human productivity is entirely dependant on human factors, not machine factors, and humans are notoriously variable, even chaotic, in their behavior.

      At best they get tired, at worst they have this shit called "feelings."

      KFG
      • As someone which has worked as a software developer under both a "8 hours a day, 5 days a week" system and a "10+ hours a day 5-7 days a week depending on how lucky you are" one i can categorically state that the first is at least twice (maybe more) times more productive than the last.

        Overworking makes for tired people, tired people make many more bugs than rested people. Bug solving can cost up to 10000x more man-hours that doing it properly in the first place.
        (No kidding, bugs that go all the way to prod
    • The Blackberry has become the latest in a long line of technology devices that some use to prop up a threatened sense of self worth. First, we had the pager. Then, when every plumber's brother had a pager, we moved to big, huge, analog cell phones. Then smaller digital cell phones. Now we have Blackberries and SmartPhones with push email. Almost all the time when I recieve an email with the "Sent from my Blackberry...." it is in response to something quite inane, and easily could (and probably should)
      • See, I'm dominant over you, so I can check my Blackberry in this meeting, which I (being the alpha geek) decreed to be blackberry free

        Perhaps a small script which sent 1,000 copies of an email saying 'Put the f!@£ing blackberry away and pay attention,' which could be activated from your mobile / laptop / whatever in meetings is required?

      • Almost all the time when I recieve an email with the "Sent from my Blackberry...." it is in response to something quite inane, and easily could (and probably should) have waited until they were back at the office.
        Yes, but maybe people don't really want to have to track you down when they get into the office just to tell you whatever it was. If it is trivial, as you said, then it's better for them to be able to send a message on their way to work (when they have nothing to do), so they can get on with the

    • a few things that will help that kind of thing

      1 about every fortnight or so have the battery on your BB give out and then charge it
      WITH YOUR BB OFF

      2 turn in your employer to OSHA for a workplace hazard (obviously if you have been "on call"/ working for 80+ hours straight its unhealthy)

      3 bring you kids to work if you get called when you are doing something with them
      (Your subteen daughter is such an angel she wouldn't disturb anything >:-))
  • Defence? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by onion2k (203094) on Saturday April 08, 2006 @09:58AM (#15090590) Homepage
    The article basically says three things:

    1. People use their Blackberrys too much.
    2. People don't need to be on call 24/7.
    3. People who do use the Blackberrys alot and are on call all day are workoholics.

    So there we have it. *Clearly* a Blackberry makes me a more productive worker because .. err .. no, sorry, there were no reasons stated. It just does coz it's ace or something.

    I really hope the author never has cause to defend me on anything.
    • cheap shot (Score:2, Funny)

      by xusr (947781)
      ...and I hop I nevr need you forr an editor...

      ;-) just kidding, of course. Solid points on TFA.

    • Re:Defence? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by slofstra (905666)
      On the other hand, because of your BlackBerry you could: 1. Read the paper and have an extra coffee in the morning, because if there was an emergency at the office that morning it would be on your BlackBerry. 2. Program your Blackberry so it blacks out certain hours. 3. Buffer requests (compared to the telephone) - let it ring and look at it when you finish certain tasks. Notwithstanding all this, the article is not wrong, but the issue is more a matter of developing social norms and etiquette around Bl
    • ...If the person is on call throughout the day, the productivity would surely dip and we would have burnout symptoms as stress builds up.

      With that said, innocent people who are experiencing side effects must realize that it's not Blackberry's fault that the user is addicted and depicts signs of workaholism all of a sudden. Just because the user can't control his habit and wants to be on call nearly every waking moment is not the device's fault. Blackberry was designed to be a productivity tool and it has he

    • It was nowhere near that kind. The entire article was an ad hominem diatribe targeting Blackberry users. The author included a few disengenuous statements to make the content appear fair and balanced, the typical qualifiers such "any user who types 24/7", which immediately and promptly became non sequitors as the text picked up its thread against all users. A few simple quotes which raise my suspicion Gundeep Hora doesn't spend much time away from his mouse:

      "The feeling surrounding the melodrama comes from

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Saturday April 08, 2006 @10:02AM (#15090599) Homepage Journal
    And if you thought cell phones caused people to be rude, blackberrys surpass that effect greatly.

    They should be totally banned in situations like meetings, or at a grocery.
    • I cant tell you how many times I wanted to take one from someone and through it at their face. I was on a chairlift once, middle of winter, some guy is emailing on his blackberry. These things are just stupid.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        It's 'THROW'.

        Quite clearly the terrible articles that Slashdot is linking to recently is retarding people's grammatical abilities.
      • I was on a chairlift once, middle of winter, some guy is emailing on his blackberry.

        I can't count the number of times I've called my buddies from the lift to find out where they are, or why in the hell they're missing crazy deep freshies. Now if he had a laptop out and was clacking away, I could understand your dismay, however there could be a perfectly rational, skiing/snowboarding-related explanation for his use of a business tool during a traditionally non-business activity.
    • They should be totally banned in situations like meetings, or at a grocery.

      You are kidding me, right? You don't want me to call my wife while I'm grocery shopping. This is different from me chatting with her in the grocery store? Perhaps you think talking in public is rude and that we should all silently keep to ourselves, heads down, like convicts.

  • by Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) on Saturday April 08, 2006 @10:02AM (#15090602)
    A few people in our organization have them and I find them (the devices) to be somewhat distracting. During meetings, I see coworkers constantly, not so covertly, glancing down to IM someone, read their mail, or mostly check stock quotes. However, I suppose this is mostly a cultural issue. Here in North America, that would be considered rude. When I'm in China, I notice that people don't think twice about stopping mid-sentence to take a call or read an incoming IM. When I asked a few people about the practice, they seemed genuinely puzzled by the question and said that it wasn't considered rude or out of the ordinary at all. So I guess the answer is "it depends on where you are." :-)
    • A few people in our organization have them and I find them (the devices) to be somewhat distracting. During meetings, I see coworkers constantly, not so covertly, glancing down to IM someone, read their mail, or mostly check stock quotes.

      Then don't be so boring when you're talking to them! In some meetings, I hope and pray that something comes through on my Blackberry.
  • Disclosure? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 08, 2006 @10:05AM (#15090613)
    Blackberry (and similar solutions) as time wasting, productivity lowering behemoths

    Shouldn't Slashdot disclose its interest in this story as a rival time wasting, productivity lowering behemoth?
  • by CheechBG (247105) on Saturday April 08, 2006 @10:12AM (#15090636) Homepage
    I can tell you that these things are a pain in the ass. Not so much from a technology standpoint, but mainly from the users. I get calls all the time: "My blackberry didn't receive this email in 2.3 seconds, the system is down, FIX THIS NOW!!!"

    There is a certain threshold that exists between productive and slave. Slavery, indentured or not, exists when you are inextricably bound to your employer, and have to respond immediately to his commands, on demand, 24/7. At least in my office, with most of the BB users, that line has been crossed.

    From a technology standpoint, Blackberry Enterprise Server isn't really THAT bad, I just wish there would be more QA from RIM's developers. Hotfixes and service packs come out far too often, but at least they are trying.
    • Your comments on slavery are spot-on. In America we've become willingly enslaved to the Almighty Dollar. Vacation time is considered precious and isn't offered nor taken as much as it should be anymore. Some think it's a bad sign to take vacation since it will give the impression you're somehow "lazy." Holidays are rarely paid for any reasonable period of time, and there's never such a thing as a "hiatus" (except maybe at Intel) where you can spend a few months of your life actually enjoying the money you'r
      • too busy making a living they forgot to make a life. amen brother.
      • An interesting way to look at one's salary is to, instead of look at it per-month or per-year, measure it per-hour.

        It can be a real eye opener when two persons compare their salary and they figure out that the one that has a salary which is 10% higher per-month than the other one, still makes 13% less per-hour since the first one works 10h/day and the other one only works 8.

        This even before you take in account that not all hours have the same value for someone - that next hour working after having worked 10
    • I can tell you that these things are a pain in the ass. Not so much from a technology standpoint, but mainly from the users. I get calls all the time: "My blackberry didn't receive this email in 2.3 seconds, the system is down, FIX THIS NOW!!!"


      Age old case of luser error more than anything else. ;)

    • I will second that.

      I have observed that on multiple occasions.

      When I roll out an improvement to the antispam systems the BB users complain to the BB admin that the system is broken.
  • by MojoRilla (591502) on Saturday April 08, 2006 @10:12AM (#15090637)
    First, this is one of the worst written articles I have ever seen. Maybe it was typed on a BlackBerry?

    The article says that having a BlackBerry means being on call 24/7, which surely must result in a dip in productivity, and annoy your family and friends. The article concludes by saying that people addicted to their BlackBerry are in the advanced stages of workaholism, and that isn't the tools fault.

    I am a BlackBerry user, and I can say, without hesitation, that is is a great tool, and depends completely on how you use it. I used to carry a RIM pager and a phone, and am very happy to now have one device. I love having my outlook calendar available easily. It has helped me avoid missing many meetings. Having the ability to read email is nice, as well as get buzzed for high priority issues. Finally, I like the fact that contacts sync with my desktop, and that I can dial a number on the phone that was sent in an email or meeting request.

    One major problem is the default configuration for BlackBerries, which buzzes every time a message is received. This invites users to constantly read messages, and become addicted to instantly replying. I turned that feature off in the first two or three days I had mine, and have been much happier since.

    Another issue is that reading lots of text on a small screen can be difficult. Sometimes I have problems getting through an email, only to see it later at my desk, and discover it is much easier to read. But this is a convenience versus readability thing.

    In all, the BlackBerry is pretty neat tool. It can help people who use it sensibly, and it can cause workaholics to turn into monsters.
    • It is an extremely badly written article. Another example:

      "Since tier one executives are "required" to be in touch due to the criticality of their professions, no one needs to be on 24/7. It's humanly impossible"

      What does that mean? How is "no one needs to be on 24/7 a consequence of executives being required to do something?
      • agree. I wandered the site a bit and found a lot more stuff that read like the author was given ten minutes to write the article, and that all that mattered was word count. I can't believe a human editor recommended this article or this site. The content is zero.

        Want to talk about productivity? Don't waste my time with noise like this. Slashdot editors, your job is to find the important stories, remember? Finding noise is easy.

      • It is an extremely badly written article.

        I don't know...I kind of like how the author cunningly used filler and overly descriptive phrases excessively to make for a complicated, yet thoughtlessly provoking, statement of nothingnessnessly:

        "Due to this excessive usage, mobile users apparently feel hectically busy and except empathy, while leaving others flamingly frustrated.

        Pure art.

    • It is VERY poorly written. My rule is, whenever I hit the first speed bump (mispellings, improper word usage "except" instead of "expect", poor grammar, illogical structure, etc.) in an article, I hit the back button. My chopped and lowered Logitech 380SX just can't take those speed bumps, let alone my sorry gray matter.
    • Even better, if you click on the author's name you will find that Gundeep Hora is the Editor-in-Chief of CoolTechZone. Zoinks! I think the Editor-in-Chief needs an editor. Perhaps one of the Slashdot editors could help him out.
    • Here's how I deal with my Blackberry: Number one, it's always on buzz. Makes it easier to ignore. Number two, if I'm in a meeting, need to focus on something, or there is something that is a priority, the Blackberry is silent. Yes, I occasionally forget to turn it back on immediately, but that's very rarely a problem.

      This leaves me with a device that notifies me of stuff when I want to, gives me the ability to always be in touch (when people pay 7 figures for your software, they expect to have someone they
      • Here's the important thing: I switch the damn thing off if it bugs me. I'm its master, not the other way around. Anybody who complains that the Blackberry doesn't let them focus has not grasped that concept.

        Amen! I'm tired of hearing complaints from people who don't seem to understand that there's an off button.
    • See I Live in the UK and the blackberry has never really appeared over here, but i have to ask myself why it seems every American needs one, or loves one.

      Why not use a phone? Lets look at some of the Nokias, a Nokia 6600, will send emails, it will recieve SMS's, it can make phone calls and keep everything in your Outlook calender folder on itself. Thats all a blackberry does isn't it? Now thats an old phone using two, three year old technology. So why is a blackberry twice its size? You might say for the ke
      • All I can say is, you've apparently never used one. I've had two generations of the BB... an older, Black one with a full keyboard, and I currently have a fancy new silver one with a call and hangup button, and a full keyboard. It's literally given me back two hours a day. I travel a lot, and often drive for day trips to meet with customers. When I'm stopped for lunch, or waiting to go into a meeting, I can catch up on email, surf the web, IM with co-workers. I'm more productive, and I get more done.
        • I'll admit i haven't used a blackberry but for university work and the like I did look at blackberrys and decided they were out of date. I got a Orange m5000 free with my contract (unlike the blackberry which costs money) this has a keyboard, mega pixel camera and built in wireless facility.Everywhere i go within university I can sit down open it up and start doing coursework in excel/word use a few pocket apps that are relevent, and then log on through the universities wireless and check my (exchange) emai
  • by murdocj (543661) on Saturday April 08, 2006 @10:19AM (#15090658)
    At my last job, people in our parent office were addicted to various forms of "multitasking" including reading their email during meetings, answering the blackberries, etc. The only problem was that they weren't multitasking, they were unitasking and not paying attention to the current situation, which meant that the meeting was useless. They seemed to be incapable for focusing on a single topic for more than a couple of minutes.

    The funniest thing was when the uber-development boss, who was the worst offender, both in showing up late to meetings and not paying attention, decided that his particular meeting was critical and that laptops, blackberries, etc would be forbidden. Of course, then he pulled out his blackberry at the first meeting.
    • Blackberries aren't the problem as much as it is the people who abuse them. Remember, Blackberries don't annoy people; inconsiderate people annoy people. Case in point. Once I had a job interview at a law firm. Not to toot my own horn too much, but I'm one of the more well-qualified candididates on the IP law market. (Top five, uh, top four, law school, Slashdot poster, yadda yadda.) Interviewer is a bigwig, head of IP litigation, etc. Anyway, we shake hands and then he almost immediately excuses himself an
  • by Britz (170620) on Saturday April 08, 2006 @10:19AM (#15090661) Homepage
    Well, Pushemail is not email in the traditional sense. Email was like mail. When you wanted to your mail you started your Pine, queried your pop3 server and got your mail (this changed a bit with imap and instant notification I must admit, but many non technical people still fire up their email app whenever they feel like it and don't use notification stuff on their desktop).

    IM on the other hand is much different, because you get the message (if you have your IM turned on) the instant someone sends it. Like a telephone call.

    Pushemail is the same. It is more like SMS than email. Many mobile devices also have email now in the traditional sense.

    Even though PushEmail is different you still get emails that people send with the email state of urgency in mind. When I need something now I would use a telephone call or an SMS text message or IM. When I write longer messages with lower urgency I use email. I think many people use that the same way. That is why I certainly can see why pushemail could reduce productivity with people on the receiving end that just can't get their priorities straight (I think I would have a hard time keeping myself doing what I was doing when the Blackberry just went off, but I don't own one).

    Maybe people should just turn off the push feature.
    • When you say "Push Email", all I hear is "Opening connection to remote mail host on port 25".

      The claim that this is an evolution over POP'ing your mail down from the mail host is ... well ... characteristic of someone who's not used to being informed at his shell prompt that he has new mail waiting over in /var/spool ...

      Seriously, now. This is just a pocket-sized mail host. Email has been "pushed" to a remote machine for ages and ages.

  • by Slashdot Junky (265039) on Saturday April 08, 2006 @10:34AM (#15090709)
    In my case, it saves me time in one way. My team run an application on it that allows us to work with helpdesk tickets with a "real-time" connection back to the office. If not for my Blackberry, I'd have to make a phone call and setup my laptop. Both of which take signicantly more time for most tasks.
    I also like the over-the-air sync'ing of contacts. I care nothing about the rest of the Blackberry specific features, and my particular handheld sucks as a phone. My company is deploying a new model which is suppose to be more phone-friendly. I hope so.

    Later,
    -Slashdot Junky
  • Blackberry (Score:4, Funny)

    by GIL_Dude (850471) on Saturday April 08, 2006 @10:36AM (#15090713) Homepage
    And here I thought the problem with them is that when people read your email, all they can seem to respond with is:

    Hmmm
    -----------------
    Sent from my Blackberry Wireless Handheld


    Like we couldn't tell that it was sent from a device on which it is a pain to type! BTW, it was really hard to post this because good old Slashdot couldn't manage to use the "Humor" filter and kept inflicting me with the "lameness" one because of too many junk characters... If only the people sending those inane notes on their Blackberries would encounter that same "lameness" filter!
  • Research in motion uses outdate technology, that is tide at the hip to their servers with a pin. I.e. when their servers go down so dose the blackberry e-mail, the fact the devices dose not have a master rest is also a problem. Trio 650 dose not have this problem nor do most of the smart phones and other wireless PDA on the market. This is not to mention the fact RIM see no need to add an external flash drives on their device. The biggest claim to fame is their track wheel. Witch is a lot more functiona
  • Here's my view: People with blackberries get connected in such a way that they become part of the network, part of the enterprise hive mind. I can't believe that for any company, information is so critical that it needs 24/7 user awareness. I think this is becoming a management problem. Companies must be able to manage their human resources so they don't have to rely on just a few crackberry people to run the whole operation. You'll also find Blackberries--and other mobile devices and applications--cause
    • Email itself is a management problem. There are a lot of people at my office that will send an email and then anywhere from 0-15 minutes later they are coming over to my desk or calling me expecting that I have read their email and want answers.
    • I can't believe that for any company, information is so critical that it needs 24/7 user awareness. I think this is becoming a management problem. Companies must be able to manage their human resources so they don't have to rely on just a few crackberry people to run the whole operation.

      I work in international shipping. If one of my trucks is on its way to the harbor hours before a deadline and gets a flat tire, I need a replacement truck immediately. If this container misses the boat and the customer

  • If you get a good night's sleep... all this distraction, multi-tasking, can't concentrate non-sense begins taking care of itself. Sleep-o-nauts wanted! [sleephacks.com]
  • It's not the device, it's the communicating.
  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday April 08, 2006 @12:14PM (#15091069) Homepage
    Well, maybe college Freshman English. No justification, all opinion.
  • Maybe if the meetings weren't filled with gas bags blithering on and wasting my time, I might actually want to pay attention. An hour of Texas Hold'em is *WAY* more productive than anything going on in the conference room.
  • "A number of recent reports and columns are portraying Blackberry (and similar solutions) as time wasting, productivity lowering behemoths that don't deserve to exist."

    You mean, like, say, the Internet? :)
  • terse = good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PMuse (320639) on Saturday April 08, 2006 @01:24PM (#15091394)
    I'll say this for the blackberry: it has improved our email culture. Email messages from blackberry users are shorter no matter where they send them from. Where I used to get:
    After considering your suggestion that you do a . . . [two paragraph redundant description of my proposal] . . . , I have decided that this is a necessary step, despite the associated expense. You should begin right away. This is a top priority item that should be done before the other tasks you are currently working on.
    Now I get:
    Yes. ASAP.
  • I keep trying to tell my boss that these constant interruptions are draining my productivity. That damn telephone device keeps going off, and then I have to talk to some customer about fulfilling *their* trivial needs. What about the company's needs? If only we could get rid of all these customers, I'd be able to get everything I need to get done in 1/4 of the time!
  • Article is silly... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RichardtheSmith (157470) on Saturday April 08, 2006 @02:04PM (#15091576)
    The article is silly and lacks any depth of understanding of the real
    issues.

    In the 80's you had to be near a landline phone and only a small
    handful of people in academics and the research community used email.

    In the 90's if you worked in IT and spent a non-trivial amount of time
    on the road or on-call, you had to carry a pocket pager *and* a cell
    phone. It wasn't until the late 90's that email became ubiquitous,
    and even then it was still limited to 9-5 in the office environment.

    In the "00" decade, many different initiatives came along to merge all
    that stuff into one thing, so that it's no longer about the device or
    the communications medium, it's about just being in communication
    period. The Blackberry is simply the most successful example of that.

    The real "killer app" aspect of the BB is that you can take all your
    possible methods of being interrupted, route them through a single
    device, and then turn that device off when you no longer wish to be
    interrupted. It gives you the power. What you do with that power is
    entirely your choice.

    The other killer app is the ability to merge your email and cell phone
    address lists and have them update instantly and on-the-fly thru the
    wireless network. This is just the fulfillment of "computer-telephony
    integration" that we have been promised for the past 20 years. BB was
    the first one to make it into a real product that people could benefit
    from.

    Saying that a new technology invites rude or disruptive behavior is
    nothing new. There were many people who thought electric lighting was
    evil because decent people should not be working after the sun went
    down. That problem won't be going away, unfortunately.
  • At my old company you could always tell when someone was a blackberry user.

    An email summarising some problem would go out to the team and within seconds back would come a one line response from some manager. At first I thought this was great, instant responsiveness and would fire off my own contribution, only to receive another one liner in reply.

    It rapidly became clear that the blackberry user was skimming through the emails and not really taking it all in before replying. Several times a veritable showe
  • I agree. I don't even have one, and they still lower my productivity.
    I want my email read tomorrow, after I have fled the building.

    At least I have two good thumbs, even if one is stuck where the sun don't shine. ;-)
  • So the article starts of slating the BlackBerry and then goes on to say:


    It's unfortunate that a select few users can't seem to keep their fingers of the device and unnecessarily attend messages when they could be doing something better, but that's not the case. However, it's simply not appropriate to blame the device when it's the user who's clearly the problem.


    Bravo. What a bunch of sensationalism crap. At least put some time and effort into the subject matter instead of just slating it. Theres pos
  • by crath (80215) on Saturday April 08, 2006 @03:03PM (#15091817) Homepage
    I continue to avoid Blackberry and Good devices because they do not properly deal with multipart MIME email. The email RFCs provide for email clients with varying levels of capability, but current mobile email devices (especially the Blackberry) ignore the RFCs and dumb down everything to plain text.

    I completely get it that the vendors of these devices are trying to keep bandwidth usage to a minimum, and so only allow their client devices to push plain text bits over the wire; however, that is not a good reason to strip everything back to plain text. In my work environment, we mark up email text and rely upon the receiver using an email client that hasn't been completely neutered.

    When Blackberries were first introduced, our wireless networks did not have the capacity to push a large volume of rich text email; however, with 3G networks now actively being rolled out there is no longer any business rationale for imposing this limitation.

    On a related note: this is yet another example Microsoft continuing to demonstrate their incompetence. In their pursuit of Blackberry's market share, they should have brought full-featured portable email to market. Instead they only just managed---in Mobile Office 5---to produce a client that marginally outperforms the Blackberry client. Bill Gates needs to stop hiring co-op students and hire real developers who can produce full featuerd software.
  • The problem with the CrackBerry is the same reason why it's working "so well". Instead of you checking your e-mail which is what e-mail was created for (asynchronous communication), the e-mail is pushed to you. The problem in the M$ world started when Micro$oft decided to make exchange push the e-mails to outlook instead of outlook checking the e-mail at a user-chosen interval.

    Exchange is not just pushing e-mail onto users but it's also pushing the CrackBerry onto addicted executives and politicians. It's s
  • Is there really a great media conspiracy claiming Blackberry is forcing people to use these devices 24/7? That seems to be what this article is trying to defend against. All I see is an incredibly short, pointless article spread across two web pages to increase ad impressions.
  • Why is this even a story? The author couldn't make a point out of a drawerful of knives. Oh wait - this is Slashdot. Never mind.
  • The toy isn't going to hurt productivity. The people who are going to use it do do some thing useful are going to do something useful. They ones in meetings who use them to im each other are going to be doodling on their notepads rather than working anyway.

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