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It’s seems to be technology rant week on the blog – yesterday Harry took on Apple and its devotees, today Beenie takes on Blackberry.

There’s something rather exciting about your mobile network provider personally ringing you up to tell you you’re due an upgrade.  A bit like Christmas – here, have a present.  At times like these, I pity my old handset.  How quick I am to dump it – without a moment’s thought.  Screw all those times I’ve relied on it, dropped it, spilled crap on it and yet still it seems to work.  It’s dead to me now I know a better, unscratched, more “gadgety” version is up for grabs.  And I don’t even let it down gently either.  No taking a few moments with it.  No last kiss goodbye in a train station with some rain and a violin…  I often hold onto old receipts and train tickets, but when it comes to my phone it’s ‘get rid’.  Get rid, and hotfoot it down to Vodafone.

I had such an outing recently.  I went to upgrade my Blackberry.

Before I continue, I’m sure some of you are already thinking ‘Ha, what she’s about to relay wouldn’t have happened with an iPhone’.  And I am also sure I shall alienate half of TP’s readership when I say this – but hell I’m going to anyway – I don’t like iPhones.  Not being facetious, I have my reasons – they are threefold.

1. The keys.  Where are they?

I don’t know who all you Apple aficionados are with your delicate fingers and deftness of touch but there must be millions of you.  Where are all the clumsy, fat fingered people?   I can’t be dealing with tapping gently at a screen when I’m in a hurry.  I have to bash away at keys, keys that press.  Like a toddler attempting the piano, I go at it with gusto: prod, prod, prod.  Send.

2. The absence of an anti-stress mechanism

There’s no limit to the amount of aggression you relieve when hanging up on someone rude by pointedly pressing a button with force.  ‘Eat this: END CALL. HA.’  I can’t imagine getting nearly as much satisfaction smoothly ‘sliding’ the discourse to a close.  To me that’d be like a car running over my foot and me just standing there like a sheep, bleating: ‘I hope the wheel’s ok!’ Nope, anger equals outlet and outlet equals PRESS (like I’m doing now on my laptop).  And the Blackberry can take it.

3. The scratch resistant glass that doesn’t scratch it shatters – what artistic innovation!

The Blackberry can also take being dropped – like a real blackberry.  Apple phones can’t – they smash.  Which is silly because real apples don’t smash, they bruise – and isn’t that just as well?  Can’t imagine Newton coming up with gravity with apple puree drizzling down his head.

So anyway, I’m a Blackberry person.  And I upgraded.  I traded in my old handset and got £97 in my bank account.  Not only a present, but free money too.  Cha-ching.  It really was like Christmas.

I took my new Blackberry home and tried to make friends with it.  Which wasn’t hard because it was basically the same as my old Blackberry.  Rather ridiculous really.  I took one phone in and hoped to come out with the exact same model.  Only one that was newer and that would make it better.

It didn’t.

To my distress, I discovered my new Blackberry has a touch screen (and yes also a keyboard, hence my distressed confusion).  This is a stupid invention.  There’s barely enough room on the small screen for one of my fat fingers, let alone two.  How I’m supposed to enlarge or zoom into anything is anyone’s guess.  This therefore means the feature is useless.  Which wouldn’t bother me so much if I could avoid using it.  Every time I so much as touch the damn screen something irritating happens – I send ‘fdhbdsj’ to a stranger or PING! my boss.

It’s a social nightmare.

Because of this frequent usage, I find my new handset has the battery power of a dud Duracell.  Unlike Duracells though, shaking it does nothing.  If anything, it makes it worse.  I end up sending another email – or setting an alarm – or changing the date.

I’ve thought about this a lot.  Mainly about how irresponsible Blackberry is.  I mean, you think about it too.  Had James Bond not relied on the stalwart battery power from some non-descript phone in both Casino Royale and indeed Quantum of Solace, terrorism would have been funded the world over and Bolivia would have no water.

And then I think about America, and what a perilous state they’d be in had any of the devices so relied upon by Jack Bauer suddenly conked out at the crucial moment:

 ‘Previously on 24: “Jack?  JACK?  CTU, do you read, I’ve lost contact with Jack.  His cell battery…  it’s…dead…”’

I tried calling Vodafone to alert them to my distress (up until to this point I had considered them like Father Christmas and was confident they’d provide the necessary comfort and back patting and sweeties).  Whilst they did attempt to assist – ‘have you tried charging the device’ – beyond buying a new battery (which they don’t stock) there was little they could do.

And so because I’m lazy and don’t know what Carphone Warehouse is, I’m stuck with my new handset.  For 24 months.  That’s two whole Christmases away.  Blackberry may not even exist by then – we may not even have phones.  It worries me a lot.  Basically Blackberry have pulled the wool over my eyes and all the while, I just grinned like an idiot and took it.

I feel cheated and foolish.

As I grudgingly fumble around under my bed for my Blackberry charger, I find something else there instead.  My silver Nokia 3210.  Now there’s a reliable phone.  10 years on and it still works, good as new.  Perhaps I’ll carry that around in my handbag instead.  Yes, now I feel better, much better – and I’m sure, given the circumstances, James Bond and Jack Bauer would feel better too.  For in most of the crises that I can imagine, I’d far rather be armed with a brick over fruit.

by Beenie Langley

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