Best BlackBerry Shortcuts: Aflac’s Mobile Guru Shares Tips
Aflac's BlackBerry guru shares power tips and tricks for your RIM smartphone. Here's how to improve your typing, messaging, browsing, attachment handling and more.
By Al Sacco
Managing Editor, CIO
Margaret Genet knows BlackBerrys. Though officially dubbed “operations analyst,” she’s the first Aflac employee to hold the unofficial title of “technology concierge.” Genet’s job number one: Teach executives how to be more efficient with mobile devices and applications.
“I guarantee if you talk to [Margaret] for 15 minutes, she will tell you 30 tricks you didn’t know that will save you time,” says Aflac CIO Gerald Shields.
In addition to providing BlackBerry training, Genet also works with the Fortune 500 insurance company’s executives on laptops and tablet computers and Aflac’s custom mobile applications. Genet’s training typically comes in the form of in-person, one-on-one sessions in and around Aflac’s Columbus, Ga., headquarters, but she also holds the occasional teleconference with executives in New York and sometimes teaches group sessions to business managers in Columbus. And she’s constantly being summoned by those executives and others for repeat visits.
“Margaret’s name has become very, very popular around here,” says Aflac
Vice President of IT Business Partnership Management, Bahija Noell, who helped create the tech concierge position along with Shields in the spring of 2007.
Many of the tips that Genet shares with Aflac executives can be found deep inside various user manuals or buried in BlackBerry websites, but who has time for digging? Here’s a concise list of her most valuable advice. (Note: Some of the tricks may not work on all older BlackBerry devices.)
2) Return to the previous slide by clicking the P key.
3) Start slideshow by pushing the S key.
4) Stop slideshow by clicking the Escape key.
5) Switch to a new view of the slideshow by clicking the M key.
1) Multitask while on phone calls by hitting the BlackBerry menu key during a call and then selecting Home Screen. You’ll then have access to e-mail and other documents–though most BlackBerrys don’t allow for simultaneous voice and data transfer, so Internet access is unavailable while on calls.
2) Find specific contacts from your BlackBerry home screen by pressing keys for first and last initials, with a space between them. If more than one contact has the same initials, scroll to the appropriate contact.
1) Bring up the Enter Web Address field from any Web page by pressing the G key.
2) Insert a period in Web address by clicking the Space key.
3) Insert a back slash in Web address by clicking either the Left Shift or Right Shift keys and then hitting Space.
4) Add an item to bookmarks list by clicking the A key.
5) Bring up your bookmark list by clicking the K key.
6) Refresh a Web page by clicking the R key.
7) Display a list of the last 20 pages visited by hitting the I key.
8) Open browser options with the O key.
Back to Basics: Starts and Stops
1) To put device into Standby Mode so keys cannot be pressed while it’s not in use, hold down the Mute key for a second or two. Undo Standby Mode by holding Mute for another couple of seconds.
2) If BlackBerry slows down, starts malfunctioning or freezing, always try removing the battery and SIM card–if the device has one–and waiting a few seconds before reinserting it. Ninety-five percent of the issues Aflac BlackBerry users experience are resolved by simply removing the battery, according to Genet.
Al Sacco was a journalist, blogger and editor who covers the fast-paced mobile beat for CIO.com and IDG Enterprise, with a focus on wearable tech, smartphones and tablet PCs. Al managed CIO.com writers and contributors, covered news, and shared insightful expert analysis of key industry happenings. He also wrote a wide variety of tutorials and how-tos to help readers get the most out of their gadgets, and regularly offered up recommendations on software for a number of mobile platforms. Al resides in Boston and is a passionate reader, traveler, beer lover, film buff and Red Sox fan.