IT tools

The last month was a hard one for me. Besides a bout with incredibly debilitating kidney stones, I also tried to switch cell phones – something nearly as stressful as switching jobs, moving, or getting divorced, especially for someone like me who is so completely dependent on this tool.

I’ve been a dedicated BlackBerry (BB) user since they came out. Fred White got one and then he got one for me. Over the years, it has ranked right up there with WD40 and duct tape as far as being a life-changing invention. There’s just no way I could keep up with all my businesses, employees, subcontractors, clients, readers, students, and family members without my smartphone. Like most of you, everything I have to do is in the calendar; it wakes me every morning and I have everything in notes from airline frequent flier numbers to future editorial ideas to the paint colors on practically every house I’ve built.

In any case, our resident IT people told me that I had to wean myself off the BB unless I wanted to get the newest model that doesn’t have a keyboard. BB is evidently no longer going to support “Enterprise Server” (it’s what makes the BB platform work so well). If I didn’t want the new BB, I had to get either a Droid of some sort or an iPhone.

I have an iPad and like it, but have never been thrilled with the iPhone. I just don’t like the way some aspects of it work and the virtual keyboard is horrible. So I bought a Samsung Galaxy. I knew it was completely different from my BB but since it is the most popular phone out there I figured it would have to be good.

How wrong I was. I hated it. My productivity during the next couple days plummeted. I couldn’t do anything on it. I didn’t like anything about it other than YouTube videos played better and it had a real pretty screen. It was too big, I couldn’t type on it, and couldn’t find anything. I didn’t know if an email or text came in when I was using it. Mainly, it seemed that I had to push 10 keys to do what my BB does in two. I was actually angry and stressed out, like a junkie who didn’t have his fix.

So two days later I took it back and got the latest and greatest, old-time BB 9900 with a keyboard. I got my email working through Outlook webmail, ported my calendar and notes over via BB desktop manager, and am using it without Enterprise Server. Despite a few oddities, I am so much happier. I could not afford the time to relearn the most critical tool that I use in my job and personal life.

Many of you must be facing the same problems with critical software you use every day – the latest versions of Microsoft Office and all of your wireless devices. That’s why we’re going to start running more articles in future issues of CE News dealing with how to use some of these tools that we all depend on so much.

We’re also going to be rolling up our Rebuilding America’s Infrastructure (RAI) quarterly pub into a monthly section in CE News – something we think will benefit everyone. RAI was created in a knee-jerk reaction by the previous owners who, in my opinion, didn’t really understand our audience. The thought process went something like, “Infrastructure is going to be big,” and so they created a pub with that in its name when CE News and Structural Engineer already deal with building and rebuilding the public works infrastructure.

In any case, there are going to be a lot more changes coming for CE News to make it more interesting, more relevant, and more valuable to you than ever.

Mark C. Zweig

Posted in Uncategorized | January 29th, 2014 by

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