webb space

A sign of things to come

In the next few weeks I will be adding actually valuable content to this tumblog. I have a series of articles that I am fine tuning on topics such as home network security and home network sharing. I am going in a lot of directions right now with a month-long guard training exercise around the corner and my recommitment to learning new technologies in Microsoft’s ASP.NET platform. 

Anyway, these upcoming articles should be good starting points for a typical computer user. I am attempting to cut down on as much technical jargon as possible. It’s hard to ignore the jargon completely but I promise not to drown anyone in a sea of three and four-letter acronyms. Some of my more technically inclined friends might not gain that much but I think there will be some good information in the articles for anybody. For example, in the network sharing piece I will discuss how to setup a Mac to securely fileshare with Windows homegroups and stream media to an Xbox 360. Considering the growth of Macbook usage, I am sure most would like to know how nice Macs can play with others. 

The Degrade to the Blackberry Torch

…or Ricky discovers intimately how Research in Motion has lost the market they created.

A little under a month ago my iPhone 4 S was sent to it’s watery grave. I briefly used a half-broken Blackberry Curve then gave up and moved to a drug-dealer’s burner type flip phone because it would at least reliably charge. I decided to purchase the iPhone 3GS for free with my dad’s never-to-be-used upgrade to hold me over until the new iPhone was available. 

Well, in a moment of weakness, I decided to let my mom take that upgrade and I’d just use her Blackberry Torch as a holdover. I will admit, I can’t complain about the upgrade from a flip phone to the Torch which charges and has a full keyboard for text messaging. That is not what this is all about, it’s about how this phone is the epitome of why RIM was shot on the saddle the moment the iPhone was introduced and Android was released by Google. 

Lets start with the web browser. One of the key features advertised with the first release of the iPhone was “a revolutionary mobile browsing device” (Apple’s exact words not my own). Truly, the success of the iPhone and Android OS was a fluid, desktop like browsing experience. This Blackberry was released in 2010 - directly competing against the iPhone 4 - and it’s browsing experience is worse than the original iPhone’s by a mile. It’s choppy when scrolling the pages, it’s painfully slow in rendering pages, and it’s unresponsive on fairly simple tasks like recognizing a tap event over a link. 

RIM severely underpowered the hardware and ditched this model - the Torch 9800 - almost immediately. It’s so woefully underpowered it never even received the update to BB OS 7 which rectified some of the terrible user interface errors. For example, the touch keyboard. The buttons are oddly shaped which leads to mis-tapped keys. The send key for text messages is inconveniently below the backspace key which leads to unintentionally sent messages that were undoubtedly half complete and error-filled. To access the number keys, you tap a button just like the iPhone but unlike the iPhone the number keyboard disappears after you tap a key. So if you want to enter the number “1942”, it would require EIGHT key taps! 

It is no surprise that two of the touted features of this phone were a slide-out QWERTY keyboard and a trackpad like the old Blackberry trackball. The touch screen is effectively unusable for texting or any advanced tasks. If your idea of a touchscreen phone is just being able to tap the application you’re going to use your physical keyboard and trackpad with then the Torch is the phone for you!

Looking over the Blackberry website, it seems that newer phones with OS 7 fixed the regrettable keyboard issues that make you think they didn’t even user test the product before releasing it. They’ve also highlighted the improvement in the browser. The newest Torch model promises 40% improvement but even that would make it roughly equivalent to the very first iPhone and Droids in my estimation…for a phone released in 2011/2012!  

So if you wonder why RIM is seemingly a revolving door for executives lately, it really just takes subjecting yourself to not using your Android or iOS device for a few weeks in favor of the best Blackberry has to offer.

this is a website

this is necessary.