After several years of absolute resistance to the whole idea, I broke down and got a cell phone the other day. It's actually a crackberry, er, a BlackBerry. The reasons for that route were multiple: I love the big colour screen, the keyboard is nice (though I also like the turn-the-phone-sideways-and-slide-out ones), it's geared towards email which doesn't set my teeth on edge like phone calls do, it has an interesting trackball based interface with the "perl" and it's unlocked so I can pick up SIM cards when I travel and have a local number during my stay.
This neatly solves part of the "giving my number to people, which results in them calling me" problem since a lot of the time it'll be a temporary number. Excellent.
And really, that's my whole issue with these devices: people disconnect from their surroundings and instead chit-chat with friends or business associates constantly. Constant dislocation of attention undermines direct human interaction and contributes, in my opinion, to the erosion of local community and society.
So it was my little quiet personal protest against the whole thing to not have one. It did give me many opportunities to share my thoughts on the matter since people would, upon finding I had no mobile phone, usually ask the magic question: "Why?" (Sometimes I got the impression they thought I was lieing to them and just didn't want them to have my number, as if that was easier to believe than me not having a phone. Heh..)
There was also the "I hate not being able to go places where people can't get in touch with me." thing. People have repeatedly pointed out to me that I can turned of a mobile phone or even leave it behind at times. While I know that, it still bugs me, and I've also had the "but I called you! Why didn't you call me back!" conversations before which are completely avoided by not being reachable at all.
Anyways... now I'll have to play the "no you can't have my number" game to protect my solitude. Which could probably be fun in and of itself, in some ways ...
So.. BlackBerrys... Linux... not great friends. I did find the Barry Project which is hosted by a Canadian company and which does actually work, I've discovered. Unfortunately for me the OpenSync support in KDE3 requires OpenSync 0.3 or better and OpenSUSE 10.3 comes with a 0.2 version it seems. I did find 0.3 packages in the OpenSUSE software barn (as I like to call it ;) so maybe I'll install it from there. Hooray for on-click install from a web browser.
Once that's figured out, I can experiment with syncing to this device from KDE4 apps.
I was going to write a DataEngine + Plasmoid for my new crackberry, which would give me a perfect testbed for plasmoid resource affinity (aka "hiding and showing user specified plasmoids when resources, e.g. devices, go away or become available"). However, the code in libbarry is ... frightening. It works, so kudos to them and all the people who put time into reverse engineering it, but the documentation for the user API is slight and the code itself is .. well .. I'll probably let it sit on my disk for a few more weeks so I can forget what I thought while looking through it for the first time so I can approach it with a clear mind.