Monthly Archive for April, 2008Page 3 of 21

Canadian department blows half-mil on BlackBerrys

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CashmoneyFollowing a recent audit, it’s come to light that Natural Resources Canada might be able to save trees, but they’re having issues getting a hold on their IT dollars. A cool half-million dollars were spent on 900 BlackBerrys and 720 cell phones within the department over the last year. Just as a point of reference, that works out to $76 per month per BlackBerry, versus $55 in Manitoba’s government. Poor policy work is to blame here, as individuals were given free reign to get their own plans rather than use a bulk corporate deal; there was also no differentiating personal from business use on said plans. Now that Natural Resources have been caught with their pants down, they’re hurriedly getting a policy together which, in the bureaucratic time zone, means nothing will happen until September. Saving on straight-up wireless costs is one good reason to have a policy in place, but there’s also growing concern that legal issues with BlackBerry-based overtime may arise if the proper HR policies aren’t set up.

India DoT comes under fire from Canadian government

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David MaloneCanadian High Commissioner David M. Malone sent a letter to A. Raja, India’s Communication and IT Minister, questioning the way India is handling the controversy over BlackBerry security concerns. Malone said that the Department of Telcom had “inspired little confidence that those involved on the Indian side are actually empowered to settle the matter…” and requested a conference with “the relevant authorities.” He also criticized the constant media leaks (whoops) and India’s apparent willingness to negotiate through the media. All in all, it is a very polite but very scathing letter, and we can only hope that it will help to finally put the whole matter to rest. It was dated April 17th, but if Raja sent a response, it hasn’t turned up yet.

$10 off Wallpaper Megaplex

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A sunsetThe guys at S4BB just let us know that they’re offering a special $10 off promotion for their Wallpaper Megaplex, bringing the price to a cool $4.99. The promotion runs until May 4th, and will give you access to S4BB’s huge catalog of wallpapers. They have every kind of category under the sun — from soccer to sunsets to cars — in their database, and a huge number of wallpapers in each category. If you’re a wallpaper fanatic, you can’t really go wrong.

WES Exhibitor Spotlight: Nomadz

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NomadzNomadz is a new personal safety tool for businesses and travelers. If you’re going to a foreign country, you can simply fill out your itinerary and you will be alerted to any potentially dangerous situations you might be involved in, from terrorist threats to thunderstorms. You can contact the Nomadz team if anything untoward happens, such as a car accident or injury, and they will alert the authorities, as well as get maps and directions to business meetings or wherever you need to go. They mention that they are working on a new health service, which will give you information on drug interactions and remind you of dosage schedules, and even give a second opinion based on information your provide. Definitely something to look out for at WES.

BlackBerry newbies blog about ‘their first time’

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QuicklyBored LogoThe delirious post monkeys over at our sister site QuicklyBored recently received BlackBerrys to increase productivity (i.e., they wanted a raise, so we gave them some of our hand-me-downs instead). Since then, they’ve been blogging like crazy, describing both the joys and the frustrations involved in their new addiction. Our boy Simon also sat down with them for a podcast on the BlackBerry’s mobile entertainment capabilities and the most recent BlackBerry 9000 rumors. You can listen to it here, and check out some of their most recent posts below.

Installing software to your BlackBerry via OTA
Taking BlackBerry screenshots is a huge pain
Using TinyTube on your BlackBerry (Part 2)

Feel free to mock their blatant newbery, but make sure to also include some handy tips to help them along their way. The BlackBerry community takes care of its own, after all.

New York Times questions RIM’s ability to fend off Apple

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RIM vs. AppleIt’s a nice sunny Sunday here in Ottawa, which means I’m on a park bench, sipping a chai latte and reading the New York Times via some Grand Theft Wi-Fi. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the Times has joined the legion of people questioning whether RIM is in danger of hemorrhaging market share to the company that Steve Jobs built.

It’s a fairly well-written piece that addresses many of the issues surrounding RIM today: can Apple lure IT Admins away from the security of BlackBerry? Will RIM ever be able to create a device that puts the iPhone’s OS and applications to shame? What role will Google and Android play? Will RIM’s close ties with carriers be an advantage or their undoing? However, I feel the most important element to the article is the change in tone of RIM honchos regarding the upcoming battle for smartphone supremacy. Consider this quote from Jim Balsillie:

“There’s no question the level of focus and intensity on wireless platforms has gone up an order of magnitude,” says Jim Balsillie, R.I.M.’s wiry, jargon-slinging co-chief executive and strategic brain. “The stakes are so very high, not only in the size of the market and market share, but in who has the important position in the ecosystem.”

That’s a far cry from the platitudes spoken by the Jim-Dog when the iPhone was first announced. We’re glad to hear it. Game on, RIM.

(image via the New York Times)