View Full Version : Blackberry work around
11-03-2004, 06:20 AM
I have decided to "force" my GTD implementation to work with my BB - it's too convenient to have PDA/Phone/Email all in one!
My work around the absence of the so-important categories field is to use prefixes for each task (aca for @calls, aof for @office, etc...). When away from my PC/Outlook, I can "filter" the BB tasks by typing the appropriate prefix in the find field. Works pretty well, considering.
Although this is OK for the BB, I still like using the categories field because I like the look of the "Grouped by Categories" view in Outlook, as opposed to a flat "sorted by prefix" view. It's a bit of a pain when creating a new task to have to complete both the prefix (for BB) and the Category (for Outlook). Here's my question: Can I, how do I, write some type of Outlook script that I could run to populate the categories field based on the task description prefix? Help please!
11-07-2004, 11:07 PM
this is a simple macro that takes everything left to the first ":" and sets it as the category. The Task has to be open to work.
Dim oItem As Object
Dim oTask As TaskItem
Dim sCategory As String
Dim lPos As Long
On Error GoTo Task_Error
Set oItem = Application.ActiveInspector.CurrentItem
If TypeOf oItem Is TaskItem Then
Set oTask = oItem
lPos = InStr(1, oTask.Subject, ":", vbTextCompare)
sCategory = Left(oTask.Subject, lPos - 1)
oTask.Categories = sCategory
Set oTask = Nothing
On Error GoTo 0
MsgBox "Error" & Err.Number & " (" & Err.Description & ") in procedure SetCategoryFromDescription"
11-09-2004, 05:04 AM
OK - this sounds like EXACTLY what I need, except I am obviously not technically adept enough to understand how to use the macro. Can one of you please give a more detailed description as to how you are using the blackberry tasks, what this macro will do, and how to use it in Outlook?
Thanks so much!
PS - I agree with you Luc - I think the blackberry is too good a tool and all it is missing to implement GTD is categories for Tasks. I am forcing it to work the same way you are - prefixes on the subject line.
11-09-2004, 03:00 PM
You can follow the advice in http://michaelhyatt.blogs.com/workingsmart/2004/06/automating_your.html
to set up a macro in outlook (obviously you have to copy the macro above instead of Michael's :wink: ).
two another caveats:
1) the code is just a quick hack and assumes that the subject of your task contains a :. If it doesn't you'll probably get an error.
2)The code comes with no warranty. Use it at your own risk!
Hi someone just mentioned that the BB software 3.8 will enable Outlook categories. Wondered if anyone else had heard this?
12-10-2005, 04:54 PM
There are a few dozen companies that have seen the RIM work-around and the specification under an NDA, I included. I won’t elaborate on when, where or details that might give away my ID but I will attempt to give you enough information to set your heart at ease that the BlackBerry work-around isn’t such a big deal at all – IMO.
There are (as far as I have seen) two versions. One is indistinguishable from the current service (The StealthBerry) and the other is far more interesting and introduces more features (dubbed “The Blackcherry or The StrawBerry”) that will be integrated into future models if a settlement is not reached with NTP. I’ll attempt to describe the latter product first.
Appearance, Function, Ease of use of the Blackcherry
After the standard alert, I picked up the BlackCherry prototype and the preview screen looked very traditional. It included a list of email headers. The headers contained the name of the sender, the subject, the date and time received, an attachment indicator and an importance level indicator. I believe (but do not recall for certain) that there was an indicator for the type of email (Fax, Video, Gif, etc.) but I may have been looking at the attachment file header itself. Either way, it was very informative and if anything it was an improvement as far as a preview screens goes.
At the preview screen were several soft key options. They were: view, forward, reply, move, and delete all. The view key (after selecting a header) brought up the selected email. I noticed a slight delay before the first page was displayed (almost 2 seconds). The forward key allowed for forwarding an email to another recipient. The reply allowed for replying before viewing the email (not sure why anyone would do that), the move key is provided for moving an email to another folder (never tried that), and finally, the delete key deleted the header and the email on our corporate server (ability to delete spam while waiting at the airport). All-in-all, the demo BlackCerry service was the same or better than before, except for the slight delay after selecting the view key. There are only minor user interface changes (mostly positive) and the learning curve is negligible. Personally, I don’t believe updated instructions will be required. The updated Blackberry service is still very intuitive, maybe even more so.
There are no software updates required for the Stealth or the Blackcherry handsets. The new BlackCherry has revised firmware. The BES remains unchanged (no updates). The work-around is actually preformed at the NOC in Canada. My understanding is, the NOC update is very minor. I’ll talk more about that later.
As presented, there are absolutely no changes to any security features or security specifications whatsoever.
This is (in my opinion) the best part. The only change at the NOC is – The email headers are pushed to the handset (like a link to the email), vs. the headers and the first page or two of the email body. The resulting effect is, the Blackberry recipient receives a notification of an email (i.e. who it was from, the subject, the description and a ton of other information describing the email but not the actual email. Then, based on information displayed within the header, the subscriber determines an appropriate function, such as view the selected message. When the subscriber selects view, the body of the email is retrieved and then displayed, a process that takes 1-2 seconds. The effect is indistinguishable from the current Blackberry service. In other words it’s a push – pull system. The headers are pushed and the body is pulled. Believe it or not, it’s that simple and the result is invisible to the subscriber.
From what I have been able to ascertain, more than 160,000 subscribers are currently and unknowingly experiencing the Stealth service. The actual market trials are being conducted in countries other than the U.S. Only 0.5% of these subscribers have voiced any dissatisfaction relevant to the slight delay introduced during retrieval of the email or noticeable differences at all. Better than 99% seem to go on with their Blackberry life as usual – According to the perfectly honed speech.
The NTP patents have (at the very least) a singular weakness. They are all limited to a one way (push) email systems. At the time the NTP Patents were filed, two-way pagers had yet to be invented and they were not contemplated by the NTP patents. Hence, NTP’s inventions do not cover a two-way pager or system that would be required to push only the header (not the actual email message) to the pager and enable retrieval of remotely stored email based on a transmission from the pager – One-way pagers cannot transmit anything.
Information about the NTP one-way paging system can be found at the links below.
Why the Wait?
I have no idea what they are waiting for. Perhaps they have filed their own patents on the push-pull system and they are waiting for them to get approved or there is some other strategic reasoning.
Final review *****
12-11-2005, 03:58 PM
Could you not add one additional task "HEADER" for each group that would look like:
a01wc: do this
a01wc: do that
a01wc: take a nap
a02ho: pay bills
a02ho: procrostanate on taxes
a02ho: play xbox
If you start each task header with a 0 (zero) will it not sort to the top of the group and thus look on your BB like a category header in Outlook?
Note that I have added the numbers 01 and 02 to your format, so that you can have specific control of the default list order.