BlackBerrius Maximus - Part VIII - All for One and One for All

By Gary Mazo on 2 Feb 2009 07:38 am EST
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BlackBerrius Maximus - All for One and One for All

When last we spoke, I was trying to choose my "device of choice" among my many BlackBerrys. I have settled (at least for now) on my Storm. It does pretty much everything I would want a device to do. So much so, that I posed a challenge to myself - "what if I didn't use anything that was electronic for an entire day - except my BlackBerry Storm?"

Now, this was intriguing - I would have to find a way to do everything that I needed with my Storm - or not do that particular task for a day. Could I do it? How much could I do? How many things could I give up? This was a good challenge for my new "do everything" device. How would it hold up? How would I hold up? Read on to find out!

I prepared for this day the evening before. When I went to bed, I didn't set my trusty Timex Analog Alarm Clock - I put the Storm in "Bedside Mode" and set my alarm for 5:45. The alarm went off without a hitch - the "William Tell Overture" roused me from my slumber and my day of one device had begun.

Thankfully, my toothbrush is not electric - so that was a task I could accomplish, but there would be no shave with the Electric Razor today - one strike for the Storm. Maybe the boys in Canada can put a little trimmer into the next model! No worries, though - I work from home and had no plans to see anyone that day.

Fortunately, my beautiful wife Gloria offered to bring me coffee (which she often does) so I didn't have to face the reality that I could not make coffee with my BlackBerry. While perhaps bending the rules already, I made the determination that since I made the rules in the first place, and since the first cup of coffee was very important to the rest of the day - I could live with this little "grey area" in the rules.

It was about 10 degrees and the streets had ice and snow on them, so there would be no bike ride today - it was the weights for me. Now, usually, that is a job for my iPod Touch - using either Pandora or Slacker radio or one of my playlists. Not to worry, my Storm has about 4 Gigs of Music, many of my playlists and I found that as long as I disable "Compatibility Mode" - Slacker works great for streaming (even caching) Internet radio on my Storm. I put on the "Classic Rock" station or my personal "Springsteen" station and have a great workout.

Showered, dressed and at my desk by 7:30. My usually activity is to power up both my computers and run the SlingBox on the MacBook and check my emails and start working on the PC. Today was going to be a "No Computer" day. Again, - no worries. I don't have to sit at my desk, I realize, -since I'm not using my computers. What a nice change; I can sit at the table and eat my breakfast.

Instead of reading the New York Times on my PC, I just click on my NY Times icon on my Storm - all the days stories - all the news that I need. Just to be sure, I go to my browser bookmarks and go to MSNBC.com and then the Wall Street Journal Site - OK, enough news - I feel "caught up" on the World's events.

Usually, at this time I am half watching "Sports Center" on my Mac (via the SlingBox) and reading my email. Not a problem, I found that while not made for the Storm, it is possible to get the SlingBox public beta to work. I click on my SlingBox icon and turn to ESPN and I am seeing how my Celtics just won again - nice.

I don't need to mention Email on the Storm - I only have 9 email addresses that I use daily - so I actually have room to have one more set up - all my Email comes through and I spend the next hour and a half or so reading and responding to email. I type furiously on my Storm, answer my emails, return texts from my kids (don't they know they are not supposed to be texting at school!) and every so often check the forums at CrackBerry.com. and then a quick look through my channels on Viigo.

My business partner, Martin, needs me to look over a PowerPoint and a couple of Word documents - no problem - Documents to Go works well for me and I can even track the changes in the editing mode. I shoot the documents off and follow it up with a phone call.

Back at my desk, I look through some papers and then I return a few more phone calls. I plug in some headphones and fire up a playlist in the media player while I continue to respond to my emails. Now, I have a problem. It is almost lunch time and I can't use the stove or the Microwave. Then it dawns on me - I fire up Google Maps and find the local Pizza shop up the street. I look at the "street view" just because I can, and then I call them, place an order and have them deliver my lunch - all from my Storm - perfect!

Lunch time is usually time to take a break and either play "World of Goo" on the Mac or "Tiger Woods" on the PC. Today, I just go to my video player and continue watching "The Dark Night" in beautiful widescreen on my Storm. The Blue Ray version had a "portable" digital download that I was able to convert, remove DRM and load on my Storm - very cool. One quick game of Nintaii and I am back to work. I did miss "Flick Fishing" on the iPod - but maybe that will come to the RIM App store someday!
More emails, more phone calls - all the time listening to Slacker or a playlist. My Calendar alarm goes off telling me to go to the bus stop to get my daughter - no need for a watch today, and I don't even miss it.

I edit a few more documents with Documents to Go, check the news and weather and realize that I really can't get that afternoon cup of coffee. I wonder if Unity 4 Life can make coffee. ...Nope - it can't....not yet.

Then, a bit of panic sets in....did I make an appointment on my computer yesterday for late this afternoon? Was I supposed to be somewhere? Uh oh, what to do - I didn't sync my Storm last night - so I might be in trouble. Then it dawns on me, I have Google Calendar running on the PC, but I didn't have it on the Storm - just my other three BlackBerrys. I quickly download Google Apps, sign in and go to my Calendar - sync ...and....bingo - I was right - I had a phone call scheduled - but I now had the number and time on my Storm so I'm the only one that had to know I had forgotten about it (sorry Kevin....you never knew I forgot about you, right?)

The work day had come to an end and I survived pretty well. It was my night to cook dinner - but Google Maps and another delivery took care of that just fine. Unfortunately, the Dishwasher counts as electricity - so dishes had to be done by hand.

I checked in after dinner with my Online Classes that I teach - responded to my students, answered some more emails and played an old fashioned game of Scrabble with my wife instead of watching TV. All in all - it was a good and productive day with just my Storm.

Let's recap all the things my Storm took the place of that day:

1. Alarm
2. Watch
3. PC
4. MAC (Slingbox)
5. TV
6. iPod
7. Refrigerator and Oven (using Google maps and the phone for delivery)
8. Internet Radio for Music (used Slacker and moodio.fm)
9. DVD player
10. Video Game Player
11. Web Browser, Newspaper

Would I want to use only my Storm every day? I don't think so - but if I had to, I could. I know you are wondering about Battery life. I did make it through "almost" the entire day without needing a charge - I was pretty impressed. Now, if I could only get this thing to make coffee and start the Microwave - it might just be perfect! My Storm is "All for One" - all my devices for one day and "One for All" - One device for almost all my needs. Until next time.... Maximus, out.

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Topics: Editorial

Reader comments

BlackBerrius Maximus - Part VIII - All for One and One for All

30 Comments

Ah yes, my role as Storm Naysayer Supreme thus secured...

There is least one thread on the CB RR board stating that the alarm clock fails day after day to the point that people that have to make the meeting... use a back up.

As for the rest of it, I am more than happy to allow that the Storm is a wonderful do-all device, but it just isn't consistent. You cannot read 10 random stories about it without TWO being romance novels and 3 being horror stories and the other 5 are somewhere in between.

I wish all luck with this device... the question isn't whether you can use the Storm alone for one day (you have many other options) ... the question is could you use the Storm alone EVERYDAY?

i use alarm clock 7 days a week and have never had any issues with it.
And my "romance novel" IS THE BEST YOU HAVE EVER READ.
loving my storm!!!!!!

There is no question that that as a productivity tool that the Blackberry has done wonders for the business person. This test from Mr. Maximus is a great one if for no other reason it tests the practical aspects of an all-in-one device for everyday usage.

A great challenge! With some of the slick features offered by Unify4Life, perhaps you will be able to get the microwave started, the stove cooking and the coffee pot perking BUT all of these require additional electricity.

All that needs to be done now is for the the Storm to be able to capture the power of an electrical storm and we're all set for life (as long as the storm clouds roll....)

Great Job BlackBerrius Maximus.

too have slimmed myself down to a single device. That being the BlackBerry Storm. I’m an IT professional as well as a Wireless Technician. Loaded with FTP, Telnet, SSH clients, desktop remote access, and a wonderful text editor, my Storm can and does serve as a mobile office for me.

I'll admit I don’t use the multimedia aspect as much as I could, but I do have (as with Maximus) Dark Night at my fingertips.

Mine wakes me up every morning without fail to the melodic sounds of modern jazz. And the battery power lasts me through the day quite easily.

So CHEERS to a device that has the capabilities to take us out of the office and off the chain that attaches most of us to our desks.

You stripped the DRM away from a movie? Thats a DMCA violation, tisk tisk.

We also need to get you away from that eletric razor. Give a double edge or a straight a try; wet shaving is where it is at.

Great post! It's nice to go on the internets and read about my favorite phone being awesome.

Also, I agree 100% w/ Darth Vader, shaving with a straight razor is where it's at.

Thats awesome! I get great battery life out of my storm and working in the plant I run cnc machines so I love listening to music all day with my shur headphones! Great report!

Let's recap all the things my Storm took the place of that day:

1. Alarm (following a battery pull)
2. Watch
3. PC (including an awkward delay in typing, refusal to rotate kbd, fixed by battery pull)
4. MAC (Slingbox)
5. TV
6. iPod (with a crash while in Media Player, followed by battery pull)
7. Refrigerator and Oven (using Google maps and the phone for delivery); Google maps not working properly, so using Blackberry Maps as a (poor) substitute
8. Internet Radio for Music (used Slacker and moodio.fm)
9. DVD player
10. Video Game Player (Word Mole and Brick Breaker only. No other good games were available)
11. Web Browser, Newspaper
12. Battery Pull

Elsewhere in the forum it says it wont work on the CDMA phones... Any help would be appreciated

Thanks for the great read

interesting read.

a little off topic request, can anyone point me to any tutorials on getting a remote desktop/vnc running on curve.

i am new to blackberry, got my first last month from tmobile. am a winmo convert and any help is appreciated.

Great Read. And I totally agree. My Storm does it all for me. I wont be giving up my 80 Gig Ipod, but I keep about 500 songs stored on my Storm, and could have plenty more if need be. Slacker Radio does the trick too. I've only had my Storm for about 5 days now...and I've had no battery pulls to date.
Email is impeccable, Google Maps and Youtube work GREAT (used Google Maps for a year on my Samsung i760, but was not able to get any Youtube functionality). Love the calendar, Facebook, Myspace, and Xberry Live (Im a big gamer). Overall this is a great phone, and i dont really have any complaints.
The only thing i'm missing now is a good weather application. Weatherbug is not compatible and I was using Viigo for my weather, but the program took SO LONG to load and update, so I just got rid of it. I use AP Mobile News for all of my news now. Other than the weather app missing, Im weathering the Storm quite well!

Seems like the battery is impressive if you could make it through "almost" a whole day on one charge.

Good read

You ripped the DRM from The Dark Knight?? I can't even get a decent encode Elmo's World on my 8900 - and I spend half a day trying different encoding schemes. Once you pass a certain encoding threshold there is only sound - no video. Suggestions welcome...

Anyway, what did you use to remove the DRM from the movie?

-V

Thanks for all the comments! Here are the answers to some of the questions asked:
1. Which OS am I using? That is an interesting question - I have tried many of them. I was running .85 or .86 when I was doing all this stuff - yesterday went to .99 and it didn't work well on my Storm (mine is unlocked and running on T-Mobile.) I had to go back to .75 for now.
2. As far as the straight razor advice - thanks - I've had a full beard for 25 years - only shave my neck - so the electric works well (and my kids had just bought it for my birthday!)
3. SlingBox - this is tricky but doable on the Storm - these are directions from SlingMedia on how to do it:

To install the SPM, using your Blackberry Browser (not Opera Mini) type in the following URL:

http://download.slingmedia.com/player/
mobile/bbbeta503/US/SlingPlayer_def_EN_US.jad

download and then run the application. This is the Pearl/Curve version of SPM.

Recognize that the application will be running in Compatibility Mode. This means the device is simulating trackball motions, you need to drag your finger up and down and side to side to imitate the motion of scrolling from one selection to the next and clicking the screen simulates a trackball click.

The application works on both Verizon's EVDO and AT&T's EDGE (from my first hand knowledge). If you are using AT&T you need to input the correct APN into the SPM's settings. The APN for AT&T & T-Mobile are:
AT&T
APN: wap.cingular
Username: WAP@CINGULARGPRS.COM
Password: CINGULAR1
T-Mobile
APN: wap.voicestream.com
Blank Username and Password

Hope that helps

Did you really need to mod that? I thought my points were valid, albeit a little harsh.

That is not a typical workday. Period.
Look at the things that were mentioned in the post.
-E-mail (a blackberry is supposed to handle that)
as for the multi-media stuff, well rim's been adding that over time, and now that type of thing is expected of a smartphone...nothing mentioned in the article is a mind boggling new usage case...
"If its not enjoyable to you then dont read"
-I read this blog, obviously, because I enjoy a large portion of the content...this article was lame... negative feedback is a large part of this new two way media stuff...There was no reason to mod that... imo

I will agree that you accomplished your goal very well, but I don't know that you should have been able to watch tv via slingbox. ;)

On a side note, if you do this again, you can use a french press to make your coffee.

You were making up negative lies about the Storm. Its because of misinformation like your lies that almost kept me from getting the phone in the first place. It is the best smart phone I have ever owned and you and the rest of the negative whiners are simply spreading lies.

Lol I have never seen so many people so afraid of a phone before that they have become obsessed with derailing it.

You can act all innocent but your comments are not funny and they are not constructive in anyway. They are just lies.

are people not allowed to express their own thoughts and opinions now? i guess not..to mod his comment I think was disrespectful..you could have at least let him say what he needed to say. all you did was cut him off.

I knew that the Storm was a nice replacement to my computer, you really can never see us apart. But wow, you used your Blackberry for all that. However you must realized that you can't play Scrabble every night, because then you would start having fights about words with your wife lol. But hey all of our communication and computer needs are on this baby.

Thanks for the story. I am new to Blackberry and recently purchased a VZW Storm and have been enjoying it. This site has been very helpful in the last few weeks. I noticed that you used Slacker Radio on your Storm but when I went to Slackers site they say that the Storm is not yet supported. How did you get Slacker working on your Storm?