(CBS) — Millions of BlackBerry users are having a technological meltdown, as a three-day network outage has spread to North America.
The outage is apparently affecting text messaging, email and Internet access from mobile phones, although not necessarily phone calls.
But, as CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot reports, the outage might actually be a good thing.
BlackBerry user Fernando Grillo got an email from a colleague on Wednesday, saying she hadn’t gotten a response to an email she’d sent him on Tuesday.
Grillo says he responded to the colleague who sent it, right away, like he usually does, but she never got it because he sent it with his BlackBerry.
“She never got an email that I sent her yesterday at 2 o’clock in the afternoon,” he said. “And now I know why.”
Grillo is among the millions of BlackBerry users experiencing an interruption in email service.
“When I’m having issues with my BlackBerry, I’m having issues. No doubt about that,” Jared Cohler said.
Asked how he usually deals with a problem with his BlackBerry, Cohler said, “Usually take out the battery and restart it and see if that works.”
Even though that isn’t solving his problem this time, he said, “It makes me feel better. That I’m doing something I guess.”
Research in Motion, the company that makes the BlackBerry, is working to resolve a massive worldwide outage. It spread to the United States on Wednesday, after days of service problems in Europe and Asia.
“A lot of us depend on getting information, getting it on time,” Grillo said.
Fellow BlackBerry user Reyna Zaru said, “I can’t contact my friends or people I know.”
Dr. Michael Komie, professor of clinical psychology at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, said, “Some people may feel anxious. Some people may feel under-stimulated. So they really have to readapt to the office environment.”
Komie says this technological glitch can also be a good thing.
“Kind of a creative way of dealing with the deprivation is to kind of declare it a technology holiday and kind of get to know yourself without your technology, temporarily,” Komie said.
R-I-M released a statement saying they’re working to fix the situation and they apologize to customers for the inconvenience.
“We are working to resolve the situation as quickly as possible and we apologize to our customers for any inconvenience. We will provide a further update as soon as more information is available,” the statement said. “Although the system is designed to failover to a back-up switch, the failover did not function as previously tested. As a result, a large backlog of data was generated and we are now working to clear that backlog and restore normal service as quickly as possible.”