I’m embarrassed to say that I still know people who have a BlackBerry and a cell phone. I’m not even talking about one of the “older” style BlackBerrys. I’m talking about one of the new schwankie Curves or 8800′s. Now, I can certainly understand the desire to “escape” from work. I can also understand that the older BlackBerrys weren’t very nice to talk on as a cell phone since it actually appeared like you had a hockey puck stuck in your ear. But lets be reasonable here. These newer BlackBerrys are actually just as good (and in my opinion, better) as any regular cell phone one the market. And if your aversion is simply related to the “size” of the BlackBerry, I really doubt that the size of the newer BlackBerrys is going to be much larger than your cell phone.
So, my point here isn’t necessarily a time saver, but more of a life saver. You’ll need one less packing mule to carry around all those extra electronics.
Now, lets talk about typing on a BlackBerry. It’s not easy usually to type really long emails, especially when the content is information that you share over and over and over again, like contact information, or addresses. I know many of my friends have an auto-signature setup on their BlackBerrys so they don’t have to type it all in, but for me, I like to put a different signature on different types of messages. Since I have three personal email accounts also attached to my BlackBerry, I prefer not to use my work signature on my personal emails, and I certainly don’t want my personal signature on my work emails. So, here enters the “AutoText” feature of the BlackBerry.
AutoText is a similar feature to that used in MS Word where if you type something like “teh” it will replace it automatically with “the”. Very convenient in MS Word, no? Well, your BlackBerry has the same technology. If you can find your “Options” menu, one of the first items on the list should be “AutoText”. When you click on this item you’ll see a long list of AutoText actions. They usuall look like “acn (can)” this means, if you type “anc” it turns into “can”. The word outside is what you might type and the word in the parentheses is the word that will result due to AutoText. Take a long hard look at this list. Many of them, as you would expect, are just auto-spelling correction items. On the other hand, there are quite a few items that simply save you time typing normal informations. Examples, “hel (he’ll)” (this means if you type “hel” you’ll get “he’ll”) or “id (I’d)” or “il (I’ll)”. One good one is “mynumber (%p)”, which means if you type “mynumber” then it will change it to your BlackBerry’s phone number which is much easier than finding the brackets and dashes and all the numbers.
So, let’s bring this baby home! How does AutoText and your signature come together as something useful? Well, I’m thrilled you would ask!!
I have three “special” AutoText items in my list. My first one is “#w”, if I type #w it inserts my full work signature. My next is “#h” (I call this my “home” signature) which inserts just my full name and my cell number. And finally I use “#a” as my “All personal information”. So by typing #a it replaces it with my name, my home address, my cell phone, my work phone, and some other garbage that I would pass on to friends who would ask me for many of these pieces. I rarely use this one, but it’s nice to have…. beats the heck out typing it all out!