Barney's Rubble

A Nice Break

The accidental death of Doug's blackberry gives him the chance to take a real vacation -- for three days.

During my July Cape Cod vacation I vowed to disconnect from all electronic tethers -- steer clear of e-mail and stop looking at my BlackBerry every two seconds.

I did pretty well with my laptop, which actually stayed closed for nearly a whole day. But the BlackBerry was still ever-present.

I really wanted to enjoy the Cape, especially because I got a new boat to replace the one that conked out every time I took her out. I even had to swim it to shore one time after my main engine and kicker both died.

The new 20-foot Key West center console is far more reliable. It's me that's the problem. I still do dumb things like driving into a foot and half of water, nearly ramming the dock and remembering to put the plug in at the very last minute.

One mistake turned out to be a minor blessing. While putting my boat back on the trailer I waded knee deep into salt water. Seconds later I realized the BlackBerry was in the lower pocket of my cargo shorts and took a minor dip. It barely looked wet -- only the lower half -- but despite a major drying, it never fired again. This wasn't a tragedy: the BlackBerry was 3 years old and almost died from a slight sprinkle -- it was clearly on its last leg.

This event was actually liberating. With a dead BlackBerry, I couldn't check my mail on the beach or in the restaurant, and no one could call. I was finally on vacation. Thus followed three glorious days of sunshine, overpriced fried seafood and sleeping late.

That is, until I went grocery shopping and happened past a Verizon Wireless store. Big mistake. The lure was too great. I stopped in and an hour later -- I'm not sure why it takes so long to get a replacement phone -- I was the proud owner of a brand-new BlackBerry. Frankly, I'd prefer an iPhone, but I don't trust the AT&T network yet.

I wasn't ready to give up my freedom, so I didn't connect the phone to our BlackBerry Exchange Server. Another trick: The reception on the Cape is horrible, so I purposely left the phone where it couldn't get a signal -- which is just about anywhere in the house.

Now I'm back and getting reengaged with work. It's kind of like going back to grade school after a summer break. And while it's harder to get back in gear compared to a working vacation, I'm ultimately more refreshed. But I still haven't set up e-mail on the BlackBerry.

I may have to reconsider plans to buy a netbook, because it will only keep me online more. My guess? I'll probably break down and get one anyway.

Do you have trouble getting away from work? Tell me about it at dbarney@redmondmag.com -- and this time I'll be sure to check it.

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

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