Free BlackBerry Twitter Apps Roundup

BlackBird TweetIf you own a BlackBerry (s rimm) and use Twitter as much as I do, you’re more than likely frustrated with the experience of using the Twitter web site via your phone’s browser. With more Twitter applications available for the device, do any succeed in turning the BlackBerry into a great Twittering tool?

I compiled a list of the current free BlackBerry Twitter apps and tested them out to find the strengths and weaknesses of each. All of the apps have the basic features (timelines, replies and direct messages), with some standing out more than others due to speed, ease of use, or additional functionality.

All of these apps underwent an obstacle course on my BlackBerry Curve 8310 to test their strength, agility and durability in order to find the better-performing apps. Read More about Free BlackBerry Twitter Apps Roundup

Six Sage 3G Tips for the New Year

The ability to work nearly anywhere thanks to today’s 3G wireless broadband is as much of an enabler today as it was for me in 2004. Along the way these past five years, I’ve learned a few things that might be useful to you.

Are Cellphones Really Displacing Laptops?

Time to Leave the Laptop BehindBack in October I wrote about the myth of all-day computing, noting that the need for a 24-hour battery cycle is perhaps diminishing in the face of altering and fragmenting usage patterns – particularly the rise of the netbook and the iPhone.

Indeed, last week ReadWriteWeb and the BBC’s celebrated Ian Forrester noted that the iPhone is Apple’s Netbook, representing almost half of all traffic through wifi networks.

Regardless of hyperbole, there’s mounting evidence that cellphones are indeed displacing laptops. Back in October, the Wall Street Journal published a piece on whether it was Time To Leave The Laptop Behind, analyzing the impact of smartphones on laptop usage.

Some of the more interesting findings from Nick Wingfield’s article included…

  • Mobile workers rely on their laptops to create PowerPoint presentations and do other heavy-duty computing. But then they leave the laptops in their offices, homes or hotel rooms and take their smart phones out into the world — to client meetings, say, or factory visits.
  • ‘road warriors’ are going even further, ditching their laptops entirely and doing all their mobile work from smart phones.
  • in a survey of 1,402 technology users, only 3% of smart-phone users said they rely exclusively on a smart phone when they’re on the road. 52% said they could envision using a smart phone in the future as their sole computing device.
  • 12,000 of Verizon’s field technicians have moved over to BlackBerrys….replacing 1’500 laptops and eliminating the need to buy 5-7’000 more in the future.

Though the laptop sales remain undiminished, usage patterns are certainly fragmenting and will only deepen as performance increases and prices decrease. Already, I’m finding myself using Mail, Twitterific and Google as much on my iPhone as my MacBook Pro.

I wonder how many other web workers are seeing their attention dividing increasingly between their smartphone and laptop.

Organizing Apps on the iPhone

Ask my wife about how neat I am, and she’s very likely to laugh at you for referencing me and the word ‘neat’ in the same sentence. But when it comes to my digitized life, “neatnik” couldn’t be a better descriptor for me. Ever since the iPhone went 2.0, and third party applications have become available to those of us too scared to unlock our phones, I’ve had screens upon screens of icons.

I’ve found the need to now keep them organized – and it’s driving me crazy! Every couple of weeks I attempt to reorganize my many iPhone apps, and along the way I’ve hatched a few ideas that I think would greatly improve the organization of the platform (at least for those of us who are somewhat compulsive about such things).

First, here’s an idea of what I’ve got stacked against me – 47 apps and 5 screens of icons. (I’m sure my numbers aren’t outstanding by any means – How many apps are you wrestling with?) I try to keep them grouped with like functionality (games, locations, news, utilities, etc), but each time I add or remove something it generally throws my iPhone feng shui off completely! And don’t even get me started on every time I would update one of my apps. (However, Apple saved me a little bit of sanity with last Friday’s 2.1 update – which in case you hadn’t found yet, seems to install the update to an application, in place of its deprecated self. Woohoo!)
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Hannah Montana Crank Calls: VoIP Mischief

Crank calls have never been so easy.

As folks on Reddit have pointed out, Disney’s Hannah Montana Wake-Up Call makes getting up to no good a snap. Just enter your friend’s victim’s phone number and the delightful Miley Cyrus’s voice will wake them up or send them a reminder: “Dear [name], don’t forget that today you have [activity].”

Opening a web-to-phone system to the public without authentication or constraints may be fun — but it’s also ripe for abuse. Without authentication of the sender, users are free to enter any source phone number they want, making it look like the calls are coming from someone else. There’s no opt-out mechanism or audit trail. Even attempts to constrain the system can be circumvented: You can change the recipient’s time zone and wake them up in the middle of the night, or back-date the wake-up call to have it placed immediately.

Visitors must be over 18 to use the service — not exactly Cyrus’ fan base. But it probably won’t make the calls any more mature or limit the mischief.

As we integrate Internet, telephony, mobility and video, we can’t forget the lessons learned online. It’s too easy to let features like authentication, transparency, opt-out and masquerading prevention fall by the wayside in a land grab for names and numbers.

After just 10 hours on Reddit people were reporting the service was swamped, yielding messages like, “Sorry, that number’s already been scheduled for five calls.” Page load times were sluggish, and the fun is likely to end soon.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a sister who needs a wake-up call.

How to manage geeks

Microsoft-1978Geeks are, well, special people.  They don’t think like normal people and they get excited over the strangest things.  I’m not making fun of geeks since I’m firmly in that fraternity myself.  One thing I can tell you having run some large companies with geeks on staff is that because of the traits above geeks can be a real handful to manage.  Russ Mitchell of FastCompany has written a great article, “How to manage geeks”.  Russ shares the things you need to know about geeks to successfully manage them and provides good tips for keeping them working well with the entire team that includes non-geeks.  It’s a good read that anyone who is in a position to supervise techies would be wise to give a read.  Besides, that’s a great title.