Blackberry to Android Incredible 2 Migration

  • At day 3, this migration from Blackberry to AI2 seems more like a technological/digital odyssey.

I'm 51, and I remember how to program DOS code without wiping out my hard drive.  I was never facile, nor proficient, but I was in that "knows enough to be dangerous but not helpless" space.  That meant that I could generally figure out my problem, OR failing a solution, I could call upon an expert and explain my problem so that they could understand it well enough to give me a solution--and I could understand and execute the solution.  That's a good place to be in whatever endeavor (cooking, mechanical issues, etc).

As I have these self-service proclivities, I've had a rather frustrating conversion which I will chalk up to part me and part deficiency in documentation.  Like most things, you have to be clear about your primary usage.  I use my Blackberry to be able to

  • make/receive calls
  • see my calendar
  • view and briefly respond to e-mails (from several e-mail addresses)
  • view the stock market and some of my positions 
  • and, penultimate importance, to connect to the internet when my provider was down.  Most recently we were down for 8 days straight and then 2 days intermittently--with those intermittents being really, really long outages.
I don't use it to
  • browse the internet
  • watch movies
  • listen to music
  • navigate my way around
Frankly, trying to do anything with the internet is so frustrating, that I don't bother, and it largely is not built for those purposes.  But  there are times (e.g. being lost, wanting to find something quickly on line) when having more facile interaction with the internet and increasingly disliking the frustrating interface of the Blackberry was so compelling that I knew at this moment of decision, I was ready to opt for the temporary frustration of changing to and learning a new interface to make prospective use easier.

However, the temporary frustration was less temporary and more frustrating than I had planned--and good fodder for a post.  I'm tired of the small keyboard, small screen, clumsy interface.  My finger hurts at times from that hard plastic roller ball (may I never use it again!).  The ease of "finger gestures" (that still makes me laugh) is far preferable.

While I typically do painstaking research prior to making a decision, I did not do so in this case.  My options for really cool stuff was limited because I do not have 4G availability, so I did not need a 4 G phone.  At my local Verizon store, they recommended the HTC or Motorola.  One fella liked one, another fella liked the other.  I opted for the HTC Android Incredible 2 for no other reason than the younger fella recommended it, and these days, younger folks are the ones that interface with these things the most.  (Sorry old timer--he was my age!).

Here is a moment for you to chuckle dismissively at me--but hold your epithets:  I did not understand that Android is an operating system v. a phone.  Color me stupid if you like, but I thought it was just a phone maker.  No, I don't pay attention to advertisements that would have clued me in that Android phones existed under multi-manufacturers.  I've had a cell phone for a very long time.  I've only had a Motorola and a Blackberry over these many years, and a Blackberry for the last 2.  The wiggly tether port that semi-worked then failed completely was the impetus for change. That part is key.

Naturally, when I got my Android home, (and I was still without cable), my natural inclination was to tether the damn thing and hook up to the internet.  Nope.  In fact, 48 hours into owning this phone, I have found no way that a tether recognizes the phone except through PDA Net software (which I don't think that I need now--but it will come in handy.

What is important to understand, is that the phone device is connectively promiscuous.  It has Wi-Fi, tether and Blue Tooth capapbilities.  However, I have not successfully connected via tether (other than with PDANet) or Blue Tooth.  Somehow my phone does not want to pair with it.  I'm sure there is a good reason, but I don't know it, and I'm tired of looking for it.  I've gone into phone geek forums, and all of the 'fixes' proposed for many of my issues are not fixes that I wish to make.

My computer is my mainstay, and Outllook is central to how I manage my e-mail and my contacts. I want to be able to synch my calendar to my phone.  Apparently HTC makes a synch program--I downloaded it and all of that, but for whatever obvious or obscure reason, it cannot recognize my phone when tethered, and the program is not much help because there is no troubleshooting.  I guess PC programs is not something that the phone makers spend much time on trying to get to working.  It is worth noting (ahem!) that this is likely due to my age band---My computer is my business life, not my phone.

I found a great program called MyPhoneExplorer  It is a free program that will allow you to control your phone from your PC easily.  It is evident to me that for those of us of a certain age who were required to type, that we can type so much more quickly than we can peck.  Kids these days peck fast and cannot type.  They also do not peck in full sentences, and I refuse to truncate my communication due to the interface.  What do I like about this program in the 3 hours that I've had it?

  • It's free, but I will donate to the authors now that I have been able to connect my device (tried tether, blue tooth, and Wi-fi finally worked). The theme is Wi-fi connectivity!
  • The software interface if very clean and visually pleasing.  I was able to clean up some of my contacts on my phone easily, consolidate multiple entries, delete some that are no longer needed.  It was so much easier to do all of these things through this interface.  You make these changes and then "synch" and your phone is changed.
  • I was able to get my calendar to synch.  This made me very happy.

If you prefer a PC interface with your phone and prefer to type and mouse your information to edit it, you will not be disappointed.  While a piece of me wants to troubleshoot the BlueTooth and tether, the other piece of me is resistant to burn more time outside of sharing my own frustration about it.  Surely, I'm not the only person out there with this frustration.

Now that I'm over the hump...meaning that my two biggest frustrations, not being able to utilize my phone as a connect to the internet and not being able to synch my Outlook calendar, have been overcome, I have the following bulleted observations.

  • I realized that my 5GB data plan changed all of a sudden with my new plan.  I did not understand that I had changed my plan.  If you are a Blackberry user and you are making this change through Verizon, make sure that you understand any data plan changes.  I'm seeing warning messages that I will be charged for my current plan month's overage because my plan went from 5GB to 2GB.  It is also worth noting, that I though that I had unlimited data usage.  I do...on my phone.  Something else I did not understand.  Moral?  Understand your minutes, data and data plan as they pertain to (1) your phone and (2) your internet connectivity.
  • Regarding internet connectivity:  make sure that you use your Wi-fi on your phone to connect to your home's data network.  No need to pay for usage when you can use your internet carrier's.
  • My phone can be a mobile hotspot now!  That is great because when we are all home, and the internet is out, my other family members can connect via my phone.  Coming off of extended hurricane outage, this is truly a great feature.
  • I love the finger gestures navigability. So much easier than the ball (though I realize that newer Blackberries have another feature.
  • I discovered voice recognition. This is a nice feature to use so long as you have good diction. I found that it speeded my ability to answer e-mails; and provided some laughable translations.
  • The key pad takes some getting used to. You will feel fat fingered. Two mitigating factors: it proposes alternatives to characters and words, it rotates to make the keyboard bigger...oh, and allows you to speak.

There are some things that I don't like.  In addition to the tethering issue and general connectivity that I've lamented on already, here's the biggest one:  it does not allow you to get rid of apps that you will never use.  I will never use NFL or Let's Golf app....or several others.  I find this enormously troublesome that I cannot uninstall these apps.  Shame, shame, shame that the user experience is subordinated to commercial incentives.

I will say that Verizon's customer service has been superb.  I was treated like a valuable customer (I'm an annuity payment!).  They were clearly well trained, responsive and customer centric. 

Anyway, I'm much happier now that I have re-established some digital dependencies in a way that I can work without them getting in the way.


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