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Portable Gadgets

Yes, portable gadgets might serve as an office away from the office, but they can really impede on your personal life. Don't think this hasn't happened — you could be in the delivery room with your wife awaiting the arrival of your precious bundle of joy, and still be expected to respond to the ringing of the cell phone or buzzing of the BlackBerry (although we all know you're not supposed to have these things on in hospitals!).

Let's look at a few ways to use — and abuse — your BlackBerry, the mega-popular communications tool from Canada's Research In Motion.

First, it may look like you're in the office when you're sending a message from your BlackBerry but a tech savvy co-worker or client on the other end of the line probably knows you're not really in the office.

How's this, you ask? You see, while someone who receives a message from you might see jdsmith@informit.com, there are ways to see whether the sender is really in the office.

One way is to take a look at the bottom of the message. By default, BlackBerry messages contain a signature file that says "Sent from my BlackBerry Wireless Handheld." Doh! What — you didn't know that?

Removing the BlackBerry signature at the bottom of every email is a breeze. This isn't performed on the BlackBerry itself, but rather, it's a setting in the BlackBerry desktop software.

Here's how to do it:

  1. Open the BlackBerry Desktop Software on your computer. By default, it will be under Start, and then Programs (or All Programs), and then BlackBerry or BlackBerry Desktop Manager.
  2. Four icons appear in the window: Application Loader, Back Up and Restore, Intellisync, and Redirector Settings. Double-click on Redirector Settings (underneath the picture of the antennae).
  3. Under the General tab (the first tab you should see), the last option will be titled Auto Signature. As you'll see, the default setting is Sent from my BlackBerry Wireless Handheld. Simply delete this entire phrase (and the solid line before it) or choose another signature that doesn't tell recipients that you're not in the office! Cradle the handheld and synchronize.

Here's another BlackBerry tip:

If you want people to think you're using Outlook at your desk (when you're really nursing a hangover in bed), be aware some technically savvy folks will see you're on a BlackBerry — if you don't watch your step.

When you receive an email message in Outlook and respond to it, the subject line (for example, "report") now has a "RE:" in front of it, like "RE: report". But did you know that when you reply to a message using a BlackBerry, it adds a "Re:" in front of the subject, as in "Re: report", instead? Don't see the difference, you say? The Outlook response has an "RE:" all in capital letters, while on the BlackBerry only the "R" is capped. If the recipient (such as your boss) is knowledgeable enough, he or she will catch on to your little conspiracy. So be sure to change "Re:" to "RE:" in the email's subject line, before you send that reply!

Be sure not to tell too many people about this trick, as it's a little-known gem!

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