Sunday, July 31, 2011

Navigating the BlackBerry PlayBook With Gestures

When you bought your new PlayBook and set it up, you were forced to learn 2 gestures.  The "swipe up" from the bottom bevel for Home Screen, and the Apps menu "swipe down" from top bevel.

However, if you are like me, you probably were anxious to start playing with the PlayBook and didn't bother to look at the help or setup to find the out the other gestures.  Using the PlayBook is a lot like golf.  Anybody can just go ahead and pick up some golf clubs and hack around but your enjoyment and ability to master the game vastly improves if you learn the basics.  The same holds for the PlayBook.  

Here is a link to a one page printer friendly PDF chart of all the gestures!

Below is chart you can refer too as well.  Happy PlayBook'n

Keyboard Pop  – To bring up the keyboard at anytime even when not prompted just swipe diagonally up/right.

Swipe – To scroll through a list, pan across a webpage, move between pictures and more, just touch the screen and slide your finger up and down or right and left.

Pinch – To zoom in and out of a webpage, picture or other content, touch the screen with your finger and thumb and pinch them together, or spread apart to zoom in and out.

Drag – To move an item from one place to another, touch and hold the item for several seconds until it starts shaking. You can then slide your finger to the position where you want to place the item.

Home Screen and minimize apps – Swipe up from the bottom frame onto the screen to view the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet home screen, which will allow you to open a different application and view other applications you are currently using.

Show the menu – In many applications, you can find additional features, options, and help in the application menu. To access this menu, swipe down from the top frame onto the screen. Once you are finished, just tap away from the menu to close i

Switch between apps – You can flip between your open applications without having to return to the home screen. To do this, while viewing an application, swipe in from the left or right frame onto the screen. You can then swipe left or right to move between open applications.
Show the status bar – You can peek at the status bar without leaving the app you’re using currently, which is really handy. This is a great way to quickly check your notifications, see the time, keep an eye on your battery power level, change system options, and more. One of my favorite tricks is to use this gesture whenever I want to enable the orientation lock feature. To do this, swipe in from the top-left frame onto the screen.
Close an application – The first step is using the gesture that allows you to view the home screen, which is swiping up from the bottom bezel. You can then touch the application window that appears and flick up to close the app. You also have the option of tapping the X that appears to close the application as well.
Switch between views on the home screen – Swipe left or right in the lower part of the home screen to change between views such as All, Favorites, Media or BlackBerry® Bridge™, for example.

(Thank-You CrackBerry for original content and images)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Mindmaps: My Favourite Professional BlackBerry PlayBook App

The PlayBook for me is first and foremost a professional tool.  Sure I play the games, and often find sticky fingers on my PlayBook from the kids using it to play DoodleBlast or PopCorn Rush.  But what I love about my PlayBook is that I can show-up to meetings (which I have way too many of) and my hands are completely free.  I got my BlackBerry on my side and my PlayBook in my pant pocket or my Jacket Pocket.

When I pull out my PlayBook, I get a few glances but when I start to zip around on it in a meeting, that's when I notice people around me starting to look over my shoulder. 

A typical meeting, will have someone running through a deck that they e-mailed.  I am an impatient person so I tend to download the deck myself and flip through the slides as I see fit without waiting for the presenter to get to their point.  I do this while my responding and composing e-mails, doing my BBM and I've even had the audacity to browse the web for facts that will either dispute what the presenter is saying or support them.  AND I DO THIS ALL AT THE SAME TIME!  Why doesn't RIM do a better job demonstrating/marketing why "true" multi-tasking is so important?  

But back to the main point of post.  The other app which I use religiously is Mindmaps by Vandewalle Bram.  If you are familiar with mind mapping you will find this to be a great intuitive tool.  It's custom built for the PlayBook and it's beauty is it's simplicity.  I've tried all the other mindmapping apps out there for PlayBook but by far, I always come back to Mindmaps.    If you are not familiar with mindmapping, I think you will find with a little practice that you will be able to understand complex ideas, process large amounts of information, and even solve challenging problems with the use of mind maps which provide a synaptic understanding of concepts. 

If you are new to mindmapping, there are several sources to learn about it. Mind Mapping is a great compliment to the tablet, because, let's face it...  VIRTUAL KEYBOARDS SUCK compared to real keyboards but mind-mapping doesn't require you to do a ton of typing, you just need to jot down the key trigger word.

This application allows me to quickly relate concepts, and provides me the base tools to organize those concepts by shapes, icons and colours.  A simple "+" to add and "-" to erase quickly allows me to build branches and tap on my virtual keyboard.  I can pinch to zoom, pan across the map, and quickly find centre.  Once I am done, I can export this to FreeMind which I love on my PC and do further editing if required, or render it as a .JPG to quickly share with my colleagues. 

Something I am looking forward to trying is actually facilitating a session with a live mind-map hooked up to a big-screen monitor/projector all on my playbook.  It's great way to brainstorm with a bunch of people working on a single map.  Of course when I do that, I won't be be able to do all that other cool multi-tasking stuff...

So what are your favourite PlayBook Apps?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sonos Application for BlackBerry PlayBook

Do you have a Sonos Wireless HiFi Multi-Room System and would love to control it through your BlackBerry PlayBook?  Well that sounds like me.  I searched high and low for an app, but to this date there isn't any app for the PlayBook from either Sonos, RIM or any 3rd party developer. 

Luckily for you, I've figured out a way to actually control your Sonos system with your PlayBook!!!

The trick is to take advantage of the PlayBook's awesome web browser, leverage remote PC system, and use the Sonos Desktop Controller.  This way you will be able to basically control your PC running the Sonos Desktop Controller! Here are the steps to do this so you can control your Sonos system from your PlayBook

Step 1: Install the Sonos Desktop Controller on your PC or Mac.

Step 2: Install Remote PC Software & Complete Registration. 

I personally use LogMeIn, as I find the fidelity a bit better than other options. 

Step 3: Access your PC from your BlackBerry Browser by going to and log in. 

Now just type in your ID & Passwords, and you are all set!

Of course you can do a lot more than just use Sonos with LogMeIn but for me, this was what I was really looking for!  You will need to change the resolution a little bit and play with some of the settings to optimize it for your PlayBook, but it is pretty cool and now you can control your Sonos system from your PlayBook!

Now until RIM comes out with a PlayBook Android Player as they promised, this will get you by!

Hope you find this useful

Welcome To Our PlayBook Tips & Tricks Blog

OK, so you've figured out that the BlackBerry PlayBook is the best tablet out there and you are looking for cool tips and tricks to help you out...

Well, I am exactly the same as you so I decided to share what I learn through this blog.  If you have some tips you want to share, feel free to send me a comment and we'll get it up here!