Brickberries For Breakfast

Single blackberry

I know it’s Friday and, therefore, I’m supposed to be doing a food theme.  Something happened to me yesterday which is food-related in name only but I guess it will have to do because I want to write about it while it’s still fresh in my mind.

I use a Blackberry (that’s as foodie as we’re getting today) as my primary communications device when I leave the office.  Yesterday, as I went into NYC for meetings, I updated an app (Facebook) and rebooted the device as usual.  Done it many times and never an issue.  Except yesterday, when it became a Deadberry.  A Brickberry.  A Blackberry that powered up but wouldn’t boot.  What a day it became and in perspective, what a lesson.If you carry a Blackberry, you should know that there is only 128 Meg available for application memory, and it doesn’t matter if you have more memory in the device (I have a 16 Gig media card in there) – apps only live in one place and you only have 128 meg.  When you get close to that limit, the device has problems booting, as I found out.  The folks at the four different AT&T stores I visited were helpful – we tried a new battery, a new sim card, and prayer – but ultimately unless I wanted a new phone on the spot, I was screwed.

What a strange feeling.  Panic begins to describe it – no phone means no way for clients to reach out to me.  No on demand email access, no way to reach out to tell folks you’re running late and will be someplace in 5 minutes (and I missed a text asking me where I was meeting someone too).  I knew a restaurant name but couldn’t immediately look up an address.  I hadn’t printed out my calendar and had no way to see if I had remembered all my appointments correctly.  I couldn’t let the Mrs. know when a dinner I was attending was over and when I’d be home.  No way to do the social stuff either – check in to locations, tweet my thoughts, etc.  I felt surrounded by people but completely isolated.  Bizarre, especially since I’d grown up in business without cell phones or instantaneous communication of any sort and yet I felt as if my ability to do business had been shut down almost completely.

A few random points here.  To me, the role of technology is to get the hell out of the way – you pick up a phone and it works, you don’t know how or care – and when we’re painfully conscious of it, the tech has failed.  I think most folks would more readily leave home without their wallet or keys these days than without their phones.  This is why mobile is such an area of emphasis and opportunity for most businesses.  Yes, I found ways to check my email using my iPod touch but I had to find a hot-spot to do so (thanks, Starbucks) and I couldn’t do that at a moment’s notice.  Finally, the link to technology isn’t optional for most of us any more.  We’ve become our devices in a certain way – when they fail, so do we to an extent (and thanks to my clients for being understanding!).  The device is now fixed with fewer apps on it and an upgraded OS but the feeling has stuck with me.

Have you had anything similar happen?  What’s your take?

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Filed under Reality checks, Thinking Aloud

4 responses to “Brickberries For Breakfast

  1. Radar

    Sounds like you need an assistant!!

  2. Eric D

    That stinks Keith. More and more road warrriors I know are relying on iPad/Touch/Phones for mobile stability (make sure you use iOS 4.2) and smooth wifi. I think all the flavors of Android mean the jury is still out on equivalent platform realiability.
    wifi is FREE at ALL Starbucks and McDonalds (thanks AT&T) so connecting at high speeds without the usual Cellular congestion, Device app/memory error grief. Best of all perhaps, TSA doesn’t need to scan iPads/Touches at airports!

    • Yeah, I’m still thinking about a different device although I know from my iTouch that I have issues typing on the “virtual” keyboard. Less of an issue on an iPad but that’s a tough device to check while walking down the street!

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