Articles by Gary Mazo

Using Dropbox,, Google Drive and SkyDrive on the BlackBerry PlayBook

We know that we need more native apps for our beloved PlayBooks. We also know (even more so after BlackBerry World 2012) the BlackBerrys are for people who need to get stuff done. In today's world - no matter what business you are in - getting stuff done means having access to cloud storage.

For some platforms, there is an app for everything - including cloud storage. Our sister site (iMore) ran a great article on all the available apps for cloud storage on iOS, and it is worth a read.  For us PlayBook owners, we need to get a bit more creative. The good news, however, is that we can access all major cloud storage services on our PlayBook as easily and as effectively as any other platform...we just need to work a bit harder at it!

State of the Mobile Nations survey - The point of the stylus

Steve Jobs put an end to the Newton project, largely because he hated the concept of using a stylus. The original Palm Pilot was a runaway hit - largely because of the use of the stylus and its handwriting recognition. Now, Palm is dead and Apple is ginormous, so, who was right? Well...maybe they both were.

Just as the iPad is reaching the stratosphere in usage, the stylus is making a comeback.

So, we want to know what you think. Does the stylus inhibit or amplify your touch screen experience? Let us know by taking the short survey below.

Take the Survey!

Messaging app for PlayBook OS 2.0: Checking, replying and composing messages


The Messaging app in PlayBook 2.0 is one of the most welcomed new features. From one, central location, you can check, respond and compose messages. Both Email and Social Networking messages can now be handled in one app.

When you see that blinking red light, a simple touch of the Messages icon will allow to you to see your new Email, Twitter Direct Messages, LinkedIn messages and Facebook messages. We will show you how to check your messages, read them, reply and start a new message for any one of your connected accounts right from the Messages app. Read on for all the answers to your Messaging questions! 

Messaging app for Playbook OS 2.0: Explanation of the Unified inbox

The Unified Inbox may very well be the "killer feature" of Playbook 2.0. Having one place in which to read and send all your messages is the future of mobile communication.

Prior to the OS 2.0 upgrade, the only way to email or message was to "Bridge" your BlackBerry to the Playbook. Even when bridged, you only had access to your various email accounts that were on your BlackBerry.

The Playbook surpasses virtually every other platform with the inclusion of a unified messaging inbox. What that means is that in one place - the Messages app - goes not only your email, but also Facebook messages, LinkedIn messages and Twitter Direct Messages.

iPad 2 vs. PlayBook 2.0: Tablet Smack Down!

Two months ago it might have seen crazy to speak of the iPad 2 and the BlackBerry Playbook in the same sentence. The iPad 2 is the grand-daddy of the tablet world and the Playbook was received like the poor step child. No native email, contacts or calendar - only useable with a BlackBerry Smartphone - the list was lengthy and the comparison of the two tablets was not a fair fight.

Enter Playbook 2.0. Now we are back to square one and the battle is on. Much is new in Playbook 2.0 and much is improved from when the Playbook first hit the shelves last April.

One factor that we are not looking at for the "competition" but users should think about is price. Currently, a 16GB iPad 2 will set you back $499.00 and a comparable PlayBook 2.0 can be had for $199.00.

So, now its time for the ultimate battle - it is David vs. Goliath - Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Mohammed Ali. There will be 10 rounds in this battle. We will use the 10 point must system - meaning that the winner of each round gets 10 points and the loser gets a lower number. We will look at both devices in detail and put them to the test. Will it be a knockout? Will it be a draw? You might be surprised to see the on.

BlackBerry Desktop Manager for Mac

[ Note from Kevin: We know a lot of you were excited to see the Facebook note and tweet from @BlackBerry today that Desktop Manager for Mac was now available. While that didn't pan out and it's not officially available yet, we figured we'd bring you a little DM for Mac fix via a BlackBerry 101 article. Our pal Gary Mazo, VP and Partner of Made Simple Learning put this one together, which will actually be a chapter in their future BlackBerry books. But you're getting it here first for free! Thanks Gary!! ]

For years, Windows users have enjoyed the seamless Synchronization of their contacts, calendar, notes and tasks with their PC via the BlackBerry® Desktop Manager Software. Now, for the first time, this "piece of mind" that comes with knowing your data is fully "backed up" is available to the Mac® user.

If you are a Windows user, this will seem familiar, yet very much streamlined for the Mac. If you have never used BlackBerry Desktop Manager, you will now be able to not only synchronize your data, but you will be able to backup, restore, Sync your iTunes® playlists and more.

BlackBerrius Maximus: Berrys at the Ballpark


There is nothing like summer in New England, if you live up here, you know what I mean. If you are a baseball fan - there is just no place like Fenway Park - the place to be - in the summer here in Boston.

Recently, I was able to score two tickets to Fenway (no easy feat in this town) and I took my BlackBerry toting 17 year old with me. Two red sox fans, two BlackBerry 8900s and two tickets to Fenway Park - what could be better.

Since my son Dan is just about as much of a techie as his old man, he affectionately has earned the title "Maximus Junior" around here. We decided to use both Berrys to the max that day.

So, a Bold, an iPhone 3GS and a Pre all walked into a bar...

So, a "Bold," an "iPhone 3GS" and a "Pre" all walked into a bar......

OK, so let's try to envision this. It is a Friday night after a long week. Three "Amigos" decide to get together for an after work evening of drinks and catching up. Now, these three friends have a long history with one another - a history of trying to one-up each other about pretty much everything. Our night begins with the arrival of the first "friend."

A car pulls up to the bar - not just any car, but a beautiful, slick Porsche 911 Turbo. Out steps the iPhone 3GS. He looks quite dapper in his new non-smudge coating. He is wearing a beautiful Argentinean Vaja iVolution suit - must have set him back close to $150 for that - but he is wearing the colors of Italy and he looks smashing.

Next to arrive is the Palm Pre. He steps out of his Hybrid "Pre-us" and walks towards the bar. He isn't wearing any suit at all - I guess it was hard to find one that could cover him up and still allow him to slide out that tiny little keyboard of his. He waddles inside - his stout, rounded shape making it a bit difficult for him to walk upright.

The last to arrive is the BlackBerry Bold. He shows up on his Harley. When the rumble of the engine stops, he hops off the bike - still wearing his Otterbox suit after a hard day at work. He realized (because of the multiple alarms going off) that he is late to meet his friends, so he runs inside.

BlackBerrius Maximus - Part XI - To Pre or Not to Pre

"To Pre or not to Pre" - that seems to be the big question in the Smartphone world this week. Here, I will give you a diehard "CrackBerry" user perspective of this new device - does it live up to the hype? Can it every replace your "beloved Berry?" Let's take a look.

Slacker vs. Pandora – Internet Radio Smackdown

It is good to be a BlackBerry user these days. Developers are embracing the platform and options exist today that didn't just a year ago. One of my favorite programs over these past few months has been Slacker Internet radio. Since I cancelled my satellite radio subscription, I have been using Slacker almost exclusively as a way to keep my music fresh and varied.

A few weeks ago, Adam let us know that Pandora Internet Radio (which had long been a favorite when I would stream music from my PC or Mac) was now available for the BlackBerry. Sadly, being a T-Mobile subscriber this wasn't available for us...yet. Just last week, a new update made Pandora available for T-Mobile customers (and, I presume, most others) in the US.

So, what do we do now? Which is the king of Internet radio for the BlackBerry? I did a full comparison and have my thoughts on the matter below.

BlackBerrius Maximus - Part X - Our "15 Minutes"

It was pop icon Andy Warhol who is credited as first saying that we all get "15 Minutes" of fame in this world. Now, some of us get a little more than our allotted "15 Minutes" and some of us get a little less.

Very recently, my friend and colleague, (our beloved CrackBerry Kevin) met me in New York City for what turned out to be our "15 Minutes." Now, Kevin is pretty famous and has gotten more than 15 minutes of fame - but this was a pretty cool thing we did for CrackBerry Nation - so watch the video above for the end result and read on for the details behind it all after the jump!!

BlackBerrius Maximus - Part IX - Function over Form

It is an age old debate; form over function or function over form? Why can't we have both? Well, sometimes we can - but usually we gravitate towards one or the other. There are lots of classic examples of this debate; BMW or Honda? Armani or Levis? Timex or Rolex? You get the idea. Now, the tough question is: "Which are you - a form first or function first kind of person?"

I like to believe that I sort of straddle that line between form (style, panache and coolness) and function (usability, dependability and value.) In the great Smartphone debate, it was always a "no brainer" for me - function trumps form - after all, BlackBerry does trump the iPhone, right? The iPhone is sexy, flashy, "fun" and full or form over function. The BlackBerry is solid, reliable, predictable (some might even say - dull.)

SlingPlayer Mobile for BlackBerry Beta Review

I love my Slingbox - I have for years. I have actually have two slingboxes - one is the Sling box Tuner - for basic cable and one is the Sling Box Solo for the HD box.

The concept is one that Sling Media calls "Place-shifting." In a nutshell, (for those not familiar with "Slinging") is that you take your TV lineup - or whatever might be on your DVR - and you watch it wherever you are. The Sling Boxes themselves are varying prices - and the PC or Mac software - allowing you to use a high speed internet connection and essentially "log in" to your own TV - is free.

You can be anywhere in the world watching your own TV or DVR - it is very cool. Our son who lives in Vermont has been watching his TV via our SlingBox for most of his college career - it has saved him a bunch of money!

A couple of years back, Sling Media began to sell Mobile software for the almost defunct Palm OS and Windows Mobile. BlackBerry and iPhone Users clamored for quite some time and it seems like the cries were heard. The SlingPlayer for BlackBerry has been in private Beta for several months and recently moved to a public Beta that is seems very close to being a "finished product."

Review: Seidio Spring Holster for the BlackBerry Storm

I love my Storm, but this thing is kind of big. It is just big enough to be uncomfortable in my front pocket - which is too bad. I sometimes feel uneasy about putting it in my coat pocket unprotected - I don't want to scratch the screen (or the nice shiny finish for that matter.) So, what am I to do? I have never really been a fan of "Holsters," I think they make me look like a 45 year old businessman, oh wait...I guess that's what I am. Anyway, I was please when the Seidio Spring Clip Holster showed up - it offers a nice way to "holster" my Storm and also use it without a case blocking features, buttons or the screen.

When the Storm is in the Spring Clip Holster - it is protected. When I take it out, it is au natural - a nice compromise.

BlackBerrius Maximus - Part VIII - 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!

Review: BlueAnt Supertooth 3 Bluetooth Speakerphone

As more and more states pass laws requiring that drivers use Handsfree devices - the choices for Bluetooth shoppers are almost staggering. Headset or speakerphone? Built in Bluetooth or use a peripheral? Responding to consumer needs and concerns - BlueAnt Wireless has updated one of their more popular products and made it even easier to use.

Last year, I was very pleasantly surprised by the BlueAnt Wireless Supertooth Light Speakerphone. It was so far ahead of others that I had tested that it eventually earned the coveted place of honor as the best of the best in my wife's car.

Well, the ST3 (SuperTooth 3) is even better - and, it is staying in my car!

BlackBerrius Maximus - Part VII - New Year's Eve Edition

Eenie, Meenie, Miney Berry... Which Should I Choose?

What a year! 2008 will definitely go down as the "Year of the Berry" for me. My little SIM Card found a home in no less than 7 different BlackBerrys this past year! While much of the use could be classified as "professional," there was certainly a "searching" for the perfect Berry as well. So, let's take a look at the year that was and maybe you can help me choose amongst my Berrys and I can keep my SIM Card parked in one device for at least a few months in 2009.

Embracing Your BlackBerry (and understanding it a bit more)

Wow! What a couple of weeks it has been in the BlackBerry world. If you are a brand new BlackBerry Storm user and new to the BlackBerry world - this article is for you. There has been so much written this past week - so many opinions, so much frustration, jubilation, anger and confusion that it is time for all of us to just.....relax and embrace the Berry.

So, get a cup of coffee, place your Storm in one hand and scroll slowly through this article and let's see if we can't clear up some confusion, provide some useful information and make your BlackBerry experience a more pleasurable one.

BlackBerrius Maximus - part VI - STORM CHASING!

I'm getting too old for this! I can recall times in my life where I "camped out" to be part of something important or just something cool. In college, I drove from Boston down to New York to camp out in Central Park to see Simon and Garfunkel's big reunion concert and then again for a No Nukes concert with Springsteen and the gang. That was a long time ago. I did go to CompUSA when Windows 95 came out - at midnight - for the big launch. In later years, I took my kids to the midnight launch of the Harry Potter books - but this was different.

I live in New England. It is almost December. I am 45 years old. Nevertheless, there I was on a very cold November morning, standing in the freezing cold at the closest Verizon store - in Hyannis, MA. At 7:30 AM. Now, I had done my homework the day before; I read online that supplies would be short and that this local store would have only 35 units (or so I was told.)

BlackBerrius Maximus - part V - the Flip Edition!


BlackBerrius Maximus: "The 8220 Edition" - One Cool "flippin" Phone 

OK - I already know what you are thinking - BlackBerrius Maximus and the Pearl "Flip" 8220 sounds like an oxymoron. Well, hang on to your hinges because this is one very capable little Smartphone. How capable? Well, it provided conversation, music and entertainment for over three hours in the car with a 13 year old - enough said? Details after the jump!!