Sunday, June 1, 2008

We review BlackBerry Hacks and more

BOOK REVIEW

By Joe Dolittle

Given that the iPhone has been the subject of an overwhelming love-fest in the fanboy world, we decided it's time for the trusty BlackBerry to get some attention. After all, the BlackBerry was all but designed to work with your Exchange server, so it's a nearly perfect fit for almost all OutlookPower readers.

In this all-new book review shootout, we put two books to the test. Read on to learn how BlackBerry Hacks by Dave Mabe, and BlackBerry For Dummies by Robert Kao and Dante Sarigumba stand up to our editorial review.

BlackBerry Hacks

The BlackBerry has become an invaluable tool for those of us who need to stay connected and in the loop. But most people take advantage of only a few features that this marvelous communications device offers. What if you could do much more with your BlackBerry than just Web surfing and email?

This book explores how to take control of email with filters searches work with office documents spell check your messages and send faxes become more secure lock down your BlackBerry and stash secure information somewhere safe manage and monitor the BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) and Mobile Data System (MDS) create Web sites that look great on a BlackBerry and develop and deploy BlackBerry applications.

Whether you need to schedule a meeting from a trade show floor confirm your child's next play date at the park or just find the show times and secure movie tickets while at dinner this book helps you use the BlackBerry to stay in touch and in-the-know -- no matter where you are or where you go.

OutlookPower's evaluation

We're generally big fans of the Hacks series by O'Reilly but have noticed that the level of hacker-ness is often unpredictable from book to book. This book is a great tips and techniques book but if you're expecting to learn about to exploit the BlackBerry beyond what RIM intended you're likely to be disappointed. If you want to learn how to get the most out of your tiny powerhouse in a cookbook fashion then this is a great book.

BlackBerry Hacks by Dave Mabe, published by O'Reilly Media Inc., is 328 pages and has a retail price of $24.95. We give BlackBerry Hacks a rating of 4 out of 5.

RATING: 4 STARS

BlackBerry For Dummies

Whats part PDA part smartphone and part media player? Your BlackBerry naturally! Whether its the popular Pearl the sleek Curve or the hardworking 8800 your BlackBerry handheld device is loaded with features to make your life easier"if you can figure out how to use them.

OutlookPower's evaluation

What can we say? This is a Dummies book. It's not going to tell you anything you don't know, unless you don't know anything. That said, if you've just been gifted with a shiny, new BlackBerry and you're really not sure what the heck this thing's for, then this is the book for you.

BlackBerry For Dummies by Robert Kao and Dante Sarigumba, published by For Dummies, is 384 pages and has a retail price of $24.99. We give BlackBerry For Dummies a rating of 4 out of 5.

RATING: 4 STARS

If you're choosing between the two books, the choice really comes down to brand. If you're already a happy O'Reilly Hacks books fan, then you'll like the Hacks book. If you obsessively collect every Dummies book, then you'll more likely prefer the Dummies book here. If you're not familiar with either brand, then the choice really is whether you want to be taken by the hand and taught everything from the very basic level (that's the Dummies book) or just look up cool things you want to do (that's the Hacks book). But to be honest, if you've been under a rock so long that you're not familiar with either brand, I'm not sure you should be using a BlackBerry.