Last weekend, I decided to tempirarily change phone to a BlackBerry (since my HTC Touch Pro’s space bar was broken) which I had mannaged to get for free as it was supposedly broken. Apparently it would not charge and it was also missing a trackball. Well the charging issue was easy enough to fix as it was not a problem for me and the trackball I was able to fix by spending £1.99 on eBay – admitedly, I bought a purple trackball over a white one, as it was cheaper and not only was the phone missing a trackball but a plastic ring that goes round it.
Once I had the BlackBerry all up and running, I wacked my SIM card in and started using it – to my releif the web browser worked and – thought I wouldn’t have to give in to giving RIM £5 per month to get BIS.
Obviously a person like me who is an avid tweeter would need to download twitter as their first app. After doing this, I then realised using BlackBerry App World to download all my other stuff would be easier so I downloaded that.
After downloading an array of other apps I then tried to set them up. I started with twitter and facebook. Neither of which worked – both stating connection errors. I then tried some other and most gave connection error with the odd exception!
I spent absolutly hours baffled by the anomily that resulted in some apps (including Blackberry App World).
It was only later when I tried to set-up my gmail that I realised. To add an email account on a blackberry you must integrate it and it was when I tried to do this that I realised how RIM have made it almost imposible to use your BlackBerry to the most of its capability without paying £5 per month.
To use email on a BlackBerry, you must first purchase £5 to get BIS enabled. This is fair enough in the corperate scenario where they are trying to access email through a BES as it is like purchasing a user CAL for your server, but when you just want to add your free webmail account you should be able to do this through standardised and open protocols like on most other phones. For someone who has been using Microsoft Push Email for years, this was an outrage!
I personally need access to my emails on the go and if I was going to use this blackberry as my temporary phone, I would need to get BIS! After 3 phone calls and eventually getting through to the T-Mobile retentions deppartment and mannaged to haggle 350 minutes in return for BIS – which was much better than the origional offer of downgrading from 600 to 350 minutes, Unlimited to 300 texts and the loss of my standard ‘always-connected’ internet.
It didn’t take long for the BIS to become active and after it was, what do you know? Oh…. All the apps that I downloaded that could not access the internet and were all ‘coincidentially’ made by Research in Motion started to work! Convinient how you pay them £5 per month and suddenly all standard services that you’d be able to use on any other phone using normal ‘always-connected’ internet start to work!
In my opinion, this is totally outrageous. You are basically paying £5 per month for the privilage of owning a BlackBerry and do you know what the worst bit is? The majority of BlackBerry owners don’t even realise they are paying this premium.
The amount of people who own a BlackBerry because of the BBM feature, really are very naïve. They all say how with a BlackBerry they get BBM which allows unlimted chat to their friends but it only works if your friends have BlackBerries. For the £5 they are paying for that privilige they could be getting more minutes and unlimites text which they could use to anyone on any network; not just BlackBerry owners!
For those who then have the argument that BBM gives more funtionaily than text messaging, then unlimited internet would allow you to use social networking, instant messaging and push email. All of which would provide an experience that surpasses the features of BlackBerry Messenger.
In my opinion BIS only makes sense for companies that have BES!

This post is designed as a way for me to test moBlog on my mobile. moBlog is a Windows Mobile program that allows you to blog remotely from your mobile. It is quite easy to set up and works with a variety of blogging services and allow you to have multiple profiles and muntiple blogs set up simultaniously!

The interface for writing blogs is in HTML but has a preview option to view the blog before uploading. The writing sceen is very simple and is literally a large text box but you do have limited formatting features which just allow you to insert the appropriate HTML tags for whatever formatting you want!

Examples of the formatting avaiable:

  • Bold
  • Italic
  • Underline

Note: Bullet points are not avaiable but I know the HTML for them and using custom HTML tags seems to work even on the preview.

The last feature provided when writing a blog is the ability to insert pictures. If this works you should see a stock photo from my HTC Touch Pro bellow:

As a basic bloging programme, this is acceptable but there are some major flaws which make the program difficult to work with! My main issue is when you try to write a blog or use the software in landscape. Th way the screen reorganises is impractical and require lots of scrolling to navigate. Rather than resizing the input and preview boxes to a 480 x 640 screen, it simply adjusts the width for 640 keeping the height as it is when in portrait mode. This result in the software being appropriate for a 640 x 640 screen and since this does not fit on the screen, a second scroll bar is added so that you can navigate the larger area. So that this makes more sense I will upload some screenshots late 🙂

Although the formatting options are limited they are much greater than those offered by my alternative which is by using the browser and full sized WP admin panel. The advantage of using the WP admin panel is that although the WYSIWYG does not work in Opera Mobile 10, it is better than the preview in moBlogs as it shows a more precise representation of what the output will actually looks like! For example, in WordPress, I have notice that using line breaks in the HTML view results in a line break in the output however the preview in moBlog does not acount for this.

Another disadvantage of moBlog is that it is not very user friendly. It uses a basic Windows CE design and is not as asthetically pleasing as using the online interface.

Overall I would not recomend moBlog forf the mobile blogger as it just doesn’t provide all the nessasary features required by a blogger today.