I just spent about 4 hours dealing with my BlackBerry. I use The Message Center. They offer 3GB at a very reasonable price, compared to everybody else’s 1GB. However, I don’t know if it’s a caseof The Message Center messing up or if it’s just BlackBerry service in general. Either way, I’m not pleased.

I signed up for BlackBerry BES service starting on 24 May 2008. Since then, I’ve had three outages where I had no access to my email. Things were basically FUBAR: I couldn’t activate the device. I checked on various points of failure. I started with my own device and ran diagnostic tests by the hundreds. Sometimes, I’d be connected to BlackBerry but couldn’t pass the PIN to PIN test, sometimes I’d have all three listed as no. When they managed to be listed as yes, many times the e-mail addresses tested came back negative. I tried using a Wi-Fi connection, a wired USB connection,I tried everything under the sun. I think it boils down to the BES server and poor administration.

Either way though, I’ve had BlackBerry service for less than two months. And I have had it up to here. As Gordon Ramsey would say, “Shut it down! I’ve had enough!” See, there are just way too many points of failure. The BlackBerry service is complicated compared to my Microsoft ActiveSync experience. I’ve had to wipe my BlackBerry countless times, something I rarely ever had to do with my various Windows Mobile devices.I’ve had ActiveSync service for what was probably two years, maybe close to three, before I switched to BlackBerry. In all that time, I rarely ever had any problems receiving or sending emails. Everything just worked as it should: type in my email address and password and I was good to go. Instead, here with BlackBerry, I have to go througha lot of nonsense. Service books, activations, a lot of crap. I haven’t looked into the technical issue of things, but the way I see it, BlackBerry is based on Microsoft Exchange. System administrators have to run BES on top of it. Then BES talks to RIM’s BlackBerry service, who then talks to the mobile data carrier, who then pushes to the BlackBerry in your pocket. I could very well be wrong, but with Microsoft Activesync, there is one less middleman. Data goes from the Exchange account through Activesync and goes through your mobile data carrier and into your Smartphone.Technical issues aside, BlackBerry has been giving me way more problems than when I was using Windows Mobile. Perhaps my enthusiasm for the BlackBerry Bold was unwarranted considering the service issues. A good device is reliant on the service available. I much prefer reliability over anything else.