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RIM (Blackberry) is in free fall

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  • RIM (Blackberry) is in free fall

    It is stunning how rapidly RIM (Blackberry) is disintegrating. The company was worth $80 billion three years ago. After Friday's bloodbath it is worth less than $15 billion. Some analysts are questioning its very survival. This may impact users in the future.

    rdgeorge

  • #2
    From a GTD perspective, I think this highlights an issue that has come up once before in these threads about using vanilla systems as much as possible.

    If I am going to put my life into a system, I need to know that I can get it back out, for the rest of my life. This means looking at companies, online services, software and data formats.

    For example, with electronic data formats the trick is to look for formats that are "too big to fail".
    If Microsoft accidentally ruined Office and failed as a company, the governments of the world would not let that data be lost and would act to make sure the data within was accessible. So keeping data in plain text (.txt), rich text (.rtf), Word (.doc), Excel (.xls), PDF would fall into that category. Even fifty years from now, there'll still be so much government and corporate data in there, it will never be allowed to disappear.

    Do the companies that make GTD software fall into that category? Look at the files underneath Evernote, Omnifocus, Things, etc. Can you read them with another tool? If not, then you are one day away from total data loss.

    My GTD app is Things. They are a small company. They could shut up shop tomorrow. They could be acquired by just about anybody. They could write code beyond their means to maintain. If they do any of these things, no-one will care enough to put it right for me. I have opened up the database in a text editor, so I know I could extract some of the text if I were desparate, but not really put the whole thing back together again.

    So my Things app is a state machine. It tells me where I'm up to in my projects, but never holds support materials or my inbox. If CulturedCode goes out of business and the system corrupts, then I lose my place, but can put it back together again from support materials.

    I use IMAP email for some lists (inbox, tickler, waiting for) plus excel for support materials, SDMB, reference.

    Vanilla is an important topic when our lives are run by software.
    Last edited by pxt; 06-18-2011, 07:02 AM.

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    • #3
      Stop thinking about the gadget, it means NOTHING

      I see this time and time and time again on the various paperless, productivity and GTD mailing lists, forums and blogs I'm either on, or read on a regular basis.

      The device means NOTHING. Seriously, stop thinking about it.

      There's all this worry about the OS version, the device speed, the ability to get to this app store or that app store or whatever. Irrelevant!

      If the device does what you want, and is transparent in your workflow, then you can continue on with your day, "cranking widgets" and slicing through your projects like a ninja.

      It's only when the device fails to meet your needs, that you start exploring the innards, upgrading the OS, installing new programs and so on.

      Productivity Pr0n... don't fall for it!

      What matters, is your data. How you manage, manipulate, sync and maintain your data. The OP is right, it's not about RIM or iOS or Android or any of that, it's about whether or not your data is still accessible outside the system you use, or on other systems concurrently (and I'm not talking about Dropbox here [rife with their own disastrous deceit and security holes]).

      If you can get your data off the device, off the system into another system, then the device is simply a "portal", or a transport mechanism between other systems.

      It's a tool, like a knife. You use the knife to cut your meat, but you don't care what kind of metal it is made of, what its tensile strength is, how it was forged.. what you care about, is whether it can continue to slice your meat (or your vegetables, if you're vegan) quickly and efficiently.

      When I'm using my device and installing my apps, the first thing I think of is, "If I put my data into this app, how do I get it out outside of this system..?"

      This is critical, because if your data is locked up in an app that exists only on the device itself, inside a proprietary app that has no way to "sync" or transport that data out so it can be managed elsewhere, you're limiting yourself, and eventually will have to duplicate that data in another system, typing it all in by hand or exporting it in some other fashion. Not fun.

      Right now, this is a major issue with the BlackBerry PlayBook. I did a pretty lengthy and detailed writeup on the number of bugs I found in just the first two hours. One of the biggest problems is that any data entered on the PlayBook itself, is stuck there, forever. There is no way to get at the data, get it out, sync it elsewhere. Nothing. Also, with no native apps and no way to get the data stored in those apps back to the desktop or cloud, the system becomes a pretty singular-use black box device.

      In short, don't think about the device as the endpoint... it's just vehicle to get you there. The endpoint is managing your data, whether that be on paper, digital, stone tablets or otherwise. The data is what matters, not the gadget you use to look at it.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by rdgeorge View Post
        It is stunning how rapidly RIM (Blackberry) is disintegrating. The company was worth $80 billion three years ago. After Friday's bloodbath it is worth less than $15 billion. Some analysts are questioning its very survival. This may impact users in the future.

        rdgeorge
        a business man could say they didn't have enough vision.

        They had success because you could see your emails everywhere bu today the email is only a little part. Actually the people are oriented to systems more complete that can sync with other larger devices like the ones in a office. I think this is why Android and Iphone, smarthphone or tablets are so successful.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by pxt View Post

          My GTD app is Things. They are a small company. They could shut up shop tomorrow. They could be acquired by just about anybody. They could write code beyond their means to maintain. If they do any of these things, no-one will care enough to put it right for me. I have opened up the database in a text editor, so I know I could extract some of the text if I were desparate, but not really put the whole thing back together again.
          Should we think to rate more our software if it can export in a more common format our datas?

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by clango View Post
            Should we think to rate more our software if it can export in a more common format our datas?
            The success of any piece of software should be ease of use, and within that label, is the ability to get data in and get data out of the application.

            For many companies, this means failure, as their way to get data out, is via the printer. FAIL!

            If your system allows a common import and a common export mechanism (human-readable text, parseable CSV, manageable XML, etc.), you're making it more useful to others, not less.

            The real reason a lot of companies lock you in, is just so they can make sure you're tied to their software with no lifeboat out. They don't want you to be able to get your data from their software into another competitor's environment, but they're missing the point.

            Any software that has the flexibility to get your valuable personal data in and out, makes it much more broadly applicable vs. another package that may have a very narrow scope of usage or usage patterns.

            The testing you do with an application you're bringing onboard into your personal workflow should always include a checkpoint for that level of inter-operability.

            Comment


            • #7
              One of the reasons I switched from Evernote to DevonThink Pro is to avoid a proprietary file format (I can use PDF with DevonThink Pro).

              Comment


              • #8
                Blackberry data

                Fortunately for Blackberry users, even if RIM closes shop, the data within their Blackberry is still accessible in several ways. First, Blackberry syncs well, if not perfectly, with Outlook and a few others systems. From there, the data can be exported to other formats. Second, a Blackberry backup file can be opened with free software to extract the data that is needed.

                I do not know the future of RIM, but I know of no suitable replacement for my needs. Only Blackberry and Palm have acceptable keyboards for serious use; of the two I strongly prefer Blackberry. Blackberry has the best security features that I know of. Blackberry is made to be very sturdy and have world-wide usability in ways few phones do.

                I'd be happy to hear of any phone that could meet my needs better, but I know of none. I immediately remove a phone from consideration if it does not have a physical keyboard. Of those remaining, I remove a phone from consideration if the keyboard does not support rapid data entry. Swype and on-screen keyboards are fine for light duty use but none of them permit quickly entering large amounts of data without looking at the phone. This limitation is a fatal flaw as it pertains to highly-streamlined processes.

                EDIT: I have just seen a few people who are able to type very quickly on an iPhone, as in 80+ wpm. I give credit to them, though still prefer not to have to look at the phone in order to enter data.

                Johnv474

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                • #9
                  Texting or entering data while driving...

                  Originally posted by JohnV474 View Post
                  though still prefer not to have to look at the phone in order to enter data.
                  It's useful when you'are texting or entering data while driving...

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by rdgeorge View Post
                    One of the reasons I switched from Evernote to DevonThink Pro is to avoid a proprietary file format (I can use PDF with DevonThink Pro).
                    Um, Evernote exports to HTML- hardly proprietary. And produces PDFs too.

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                    • #11
                      to be more clear:

                      Devon Think can use PDF's natively. With thousands of documents involved, I would rather not export to html or PDF in a mass process.

                      Lots of good folks use Evernote, and it does support many devices and platforms.

                      rdgeorge

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by JohnV474 View Post
                        Fortunately for Blackberry users, even if RIM closes shop, the data within their Blackberry is still accessible in several ways. First, Blackberry syncs well, if not perfectly, with Outlook and a few others systems. From there, the data can be exported to other formats. Second, a Blackberry backup file can be opened with free software to extract the data that is needed.

                        I do not know the future of RIM, but I know of no suitable replacement for my needs. Only Blackberry and Palm have acceptable keyboards for serious use; of the two I strongly prefer Blackberry. Blackberry has the best security features that I know of. Blackberry is made to be very sturdy and have world-wide usability in ways few phones do.

                        I'd be happy to hear of any phone that could meet my needs better, but I know of none. I immediately remove a phone from consideration if it does not have a physical keyboard. Of those remaining, I remove a phone from consideration if the keyboard does not support rapid data entry. Swype and on-screen keyboards are fine for light duty use but none of them permit quickly entering large amounts of data without looking at the phone. This limitation is a fatal flaw as it pertains to highly-streamlined processes.

                        EDIT: I have just seen a few people who are able to type very quickly on an iPhone, as in 80+ wpm. I give credit to them, though still prefer not to have to look at the phone in order to enter data.

                        Johnv474
                        I agree with above. The fact that blackberry syncs with Outlook means you can backup your data within a format that is unlikely to become obsolete for a very long time. I have many notes that may be useful for decades. Not really GTD I guess but an important general filing system.

                        I have also learnt that using the best system for GTD means going against the flow a bit. Palm was the best and has gone down. Blackberry may be next, so I must be doing something right!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I enjoyed using my Palm PDA, and "sort-of" liked my Palm Treo smart phone. I lamented the company destruction (some suggest it was self destruction).

                          I enjoyed using my Blackberry Tour. I was going to donate it to a worthy charity, but now will hang on to it, in case a friend might need it as a replacement some day. Maybe I should donate it to Davidco, for someone's eventual use.

                          Synching daily to a different application on a different device / computer is a good idea.

                          rdgeorge

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by TesTeq View Post
                            It's useful when you'are texting or entering data while driving...
                            That's what apps like Vlingo are for... but I agree, I can text and type without looking at the phone or the keyboard on my BB; can't do that on an iPhone, iPod touch, Android or other device without a "real" keyboard on it.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by rdgeorge View Post
                              to be more clear:

                              Devon Think can use PDF's natively. With thousands of documents involved, I would rather not export to html or PDF in a mass process.

                              Lots of good folks use Evernote, and it does support many devices and platforms.

                              rdgeorge
                              ... and natively is the thing, as you point out. If an app requires an export to get data out then users need to be able to predict when problems are going to occur and even then many exports are on a one by one basis rather than a full copy of everything the user has. The only way that export could be safe is if it were part of an automatic backup feature that keeps your data saving into a safe format. That's a feature I'd like to see.

                              Native is the way to go and that's quite rare.

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