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Bittersweet BlackBerrys

BlackBerry users in the United States are reportedly now considering life without their devices ahead of a crucial hearing between patent holder NTP and product owner Research In Motion.For some the prospect is distressing, for others liberating.

BlackBerry users in the United States are reportedly now considering life without their devices ahead of a crucial hearing between patent holder NTP and product owner Research In Motion.

For some the prospect is distressing, for others liberating.

Must admit I'm a bit of a fence-sitter. I like the capacity to access e-mails, manage a calendar and make calls on the run as much as the next person, but BlackBerrys and similar devices are hell when it comes to achieving the correct balance between work and life.

Coincidentally, ZDNet Australia's sister site, CNET News.com, ran an article today pointing out that technology -- far from making their life easier -- is raising the stress levels of United States workers to new heights.

Rather than making workers less pressured because they have the tools to complete tasks more quickly and easily, technology is raising management expectations of what work their employees can finish and in what time-frame. Constant connectivity is also problematic as people must deal with the fact their downtime away from their job is limited or non-existent.

The BlackBerry -- crudely nicknamed the CrackBerry by some for its addictive powers -- epitomises this problem. If the BlackBerry service in the US is in fact shut down following the hearing tonight, or at some point in future, there may be some howls of anguish -- but also some sighs of relief.