Saturday, June 25, 2011

Matchstick Message #54: People with BlackBerrys are better, I'm not really sure why.$

fromTara Raffi
toStudent Information Requests
dateSat, Jun 25, 2011 at 4:35 PM
subjectMatchstick Message #54: People with BlackBerrys are better, I'm not really sure why.$

Dear RIM,

One thing that is done very well with the BlackBerry is branding. Words that we are expected to associate with the BlackBerry: sophisticated, sexy, professional, rich, snobby, shiny... etcetera. So yes, wonderful job, this is what everybody now knows. One of your tactics, however, is pure branding beauty: putting the dollar sign next to the Enter button and not requiring Alt to engage it.

I mean, it's genius. Make the keys really small and then put the dollar sign between the letters and the Enter key, to inevitably cause the occasional "$" to be appended to the end of our sophisticated, sexy, professional BBMs. It fulfills the other three brand aspirations (rich, snobby, shiny) to have the dollar sporadically interspersed in our sentences, and in a semi-subliminal way reinforces that we BlackBerry Users are richer and more powerful than those unfortunate souls with the Android or iPhone. Detractors may call this method blunt, or tactless. Well, subliminal is archaic anyway--our attention spans are so short today that what counts as subliminal has surely become more lenient ("I really was paying attention, I promise!!") Whatever, the bottom line is this: people like rich, so--whether they are aware of it or not--give them rich. $

So, if for future models you are planning to make the keys bigger, just make sure you weigh added convenience against a loss


Tara Raffi,

Rich Enthusiast


Monday, June 13, 2011

Matchstick Message #53: Mysteries

fromTara Raffi
toStudent Information Requests
dateMon, Jun 13, 2011 at 7:46 PM
subjectMatchstick Message #53: Mysteries

Dear RIM,

Everybody loves a good mystery, under two conditions:

1. its interesting in some way

2. the solution is achievable

The exceptions are:

1. If Reason 1 is extreme, then Reason 2 is maybe irrelevant (Kennedy's assassination, I saw a submarine on the drive up from Santa Cruz last Sunday, who let the dogs out, etc.)

2. Reason 2 is something one would want to avoid (who didn't flush the toilet, was that my ex-boyfriend, why are ICEEs so red, etc.)

Here is an example of a not-good mystery:

Why? I mean, its kind of cool, but not really. And there's no way to find out what it means. Also, Why?


Tara Raffi

Mystery Enthusiast


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Matchstick Message #52: AutoText is the New Black

fromTara Raffi
toStudent Information Requests
dateWed, Jun 8, 2011 at 1:51 PM
subjectMatchstick Message #52: AutoText is the New Black

Dear RIM,

Tough love is good, but love is also good, sometimes. So today we have some genuine, deep, overwhelming BlackBerry love in order.

What about, you may wonder? The wonderful keyboard that actually allows us to type at a good speed (all you people who say you can type as fast on your iPhones and Androids are LYING)? No. BBM, which allows high-speed, high-contact, computer-facilitated human interactions to take place all times of day or night, effectively destroying all barriers of privacy or solitude? No. The sleek, sophisticated design of the handset that makes all BlackBerry Users infinitely cooler and more suave than holders of the iPhone or Android toys? No.

Many of you may object--but those are the only three good things about the BlackBerry!!! Well, unbeknownst to many, there is a FOURTH good thing about this obsession I mean phone we all have: AUTOTEXT.

AutoText is that thing that works in the background that when we type "i", it changes it to "I" to make us look more polished and educated than we actually are. Or less lazy I guess, whatever. Also, it is the magic behind "mypin". Anyway, I stumbled across it when first exploring my phone, and didn't think much of it. It was a few years ago, however, that AutoText changed my life.

It all started because I was underage, which is the most desirable time to go to bars which don't legally permit you to enter. But of course, we all find ways, and I did. Or rather, Bahvini Gupta found a way. Anyway. Every time I typed ID into my phone, it AutoCorrected to I'D. NO! It was so annoying to always backspace and spell it out again! And there was so much talk about IDs, it was unavoidable.

Then I had a brilliant idea. AutoText. I would create a new AutoText for "ID". Since "id" was already taken for "I'd", I made a new one: "ide" became "ID", and then of course plural, "ides" became "IDs". Genii.

So to make a long story short, that was the catalyst for a whole redefinition of my BlackBerry language. Now, practically all frequently used words over three syllables or six letters are AutoTexted. And common phrases. And cities, long names, long pieces of information such as addresses, months, days of the week, and acronyms that should be capitalized.

Here is a selected list of words:

abs (absolutely)
alc (alcohol)
appt (appointment)
apt (apartment)
bb (BlackBerry)
bc (because)
bec (Rebecca)
bfst (breakfast)
def (definitely)
dl (download)
dt (downtown)
esp (especially)
gmaps (Google Maps)
hhhh (hahahaha)
hhhhh (hahahahaha)
hhhhhh (hahahahahaha)
hhhhhhh (hahahahahahaha)
hw (homework)
int (interesting)
iv (interview)
myad (insert street here)
madr (insert street, city, state, zip here)
n (and)
obvi (obviously)
q (question)
ridic (ridiculous)
sbt (shabbat)
tomo (tomorrow)
tvy (Thanksgiving)


Here is a selected list of phrases:

cna (coming to)
cu (see you)
idk (I don't know)
ima (I'm going to)
wau (where are you)


Here is an example conversation:

AutoTextless: Wsup wut r u doin

Me: Actually, we just got to Adrienne's birthday dinner, where are you?
(acly, we just got to adrs bday din, wau)

AutoTextless: Wuttt, I was just gonna get in da shower

Me: Our reservation was at 11, it's a Saturday and the alcohol is going to stop being served!
(our res was at 11, its a satu n the alc is gna stop bn served!)

AutoTextless: Fak


You may think its not worth all this trouble, but it is. You build it up slowly over time, and if you don't do it, it will always bother you. I figure if its a common word and you save at least two letters every time, it makes sense. Now, you may accuse me of falling into the Orwellian mindlessness of Newspeak. OK.

Anyway, the moral of the story is +1 for BlackBerry and iPhone and Android haven't beaten us yet. (Coincidentally, one of my summer projects is to build an app to export the list and make it functional on those phones.) Thank you for giving us something great.


Tara Raffi
Newspeak Enthusiast


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Matchstick Message #51: Enable Alarm Notes

fromTara Raffi
toStudent Information Requests
dateSun, Jun 5, 2011 at 1:07 PM
subjectMatchstick Message #51: Enable Alarm Notes

Dear RIM,

You know when you're packing at night for an early flight, and there are all those little things you need to remember to do before you run out of the door half-asleep? Remember charger, turn off sprinklers, move car into driveway so it looks like somebody is home, etc.?

You could write a post-it, but who can read that early in the morning? And anyway, its the 202nd decade--let's move on from those silly little yellow things.

What we really need is just a simple little box for notes in our alarm. We see them when the alarm goes off. This is the advantage of a phone over the ones with the actual hands and gears. Its easy. Its convenient. It could be BlackBerry. (You could say "just go to tasks, or your calendar", but I don't use those. I want it in my alarm, because I use that.)


Tara Raffi

Memory Enthusiast


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Matchstick Message #50: SMS Text Me At My Gmail!!

fromTara Raffi
toStudent Information Requests
dateWed, Jun 1, 2011 at 5:59 PM
subjectMatchstick Message #50: SMS Text Me At My Gmail!!

Dear RIM,

I'm not sure if this needs any explanation, but let's go through it anyway:

1. Is it possible to SMS Text an email address?

2. Does qualify as a "number"?

I think the answer to both of these questions is obviously not.

So not only is it ridiculous, after you have gone into your SMS and MMS inbox in order to TEXT somebody, for an email address to appear as an option, but it is troublesome for two additional reasons:

1. It takes an extra, unnecessary, step to select the phone number option.

2. The email address comes first!! This means I run the risk of accidentally pressing it without realizing, and if I do realize, I have to expend all the mental energy to move down. Unacceptable.

People will go to their email folder if they want to compose an email. Leave the SMS folder alone.


Tara Raffi

Location Enthusiast


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Matchstick Message #49: Predictive Text Is Expected By Now

fromTara Raffi
toStudent Information Requests
dateWed, May 4, 2011 at 11:09 PM
subjectMatchstick Message #49: Predictive Text Is Expected By Now

Dear RIM,

So its nice that when you type letters in the home screen that contact names come up in alphabetical order, but lets be real--thats a little outdated now. What would make more sense is for the names to come up in order of popularity.

Google does it, and so does Apple. If RIM also jumps on the popularity bandwagon, hopefully I will stop calling Mikey Yatz Mom instead of Mikey Yatz.


Tara Raffi

Popularity Enthusiast


Monday, May 2, 2011

Matchstick Message #48: Call Waiting Always Means Both Calls Ending

fromTara Raffi
toStudent Information Requests
dateMon, May 2, 2011 at 1:38 AM
subjectMatchstick Message #48: Call Waiting Always Means Both Calls Ending

Dear RIM,

If you answer a call on call-waiting, when you hit End, it should only end the call-waiting call. Not both calls.

Call-m on.


Tara Raffi

End Enthusiast