Brian Moreau

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The rise and fall of a Blackberry:

AKA The Blackberry Blackout!

Blackberry Pin on BusThere was once a time when the humble Blackberry Mobile phone was considered a bit naff. Boasting a keyboard it was popular with hard core text addicts and business users wishing to access email on the move.

Despite its limited features and style it somehow became trendy in the playground.
I’m unsure why this was but I would hazard a guess that the only feature of attraction was the now famous Blackberry Messenger application or BBM.

The app allows you to chat completely free to other Blackberry owners making it ideal for friends and family groups.
Another popular feature of the BBM is that you do not need to give out your personal and private phone number. Communication can be established simply by giving another user your private and unique Blackberry Pin code or BBPin.

This allowed BBUsers to safely post their BBPin Codes on social networking sites, the back of seats on buses and probably in the free ads too.

What a riot
Now unfortunately the media reported that some of the rioters and looters were using BBM to communicate and coordinate the riots. There was also a certain amount of riot related communication conducted on Facebook and I suspect many other chat apps were used by the people involved too but somehow Blackberry got the blame.
Maybe the majority of the rioters who were I believe under the 30 year age range coincidently happen to own a “trendy with the young” Blackberry.

Consequently the news media sites homed in on this and blame for the riots quickly got pushed towards Blackberry itself.

Stephen Bates, managing director of Blackberry stated to the Commons home affairs committee that there are 7 Million Blackberry users in the UK of which 37% are aged 20 or less.
Blackberry is thus a phone of choice for the youth.


BBM TweetsBlackberry Blackout
Blackberry is now, or at the time of writing this, experiencing data communications problems which are preventing BBM and some other chat apps from working.
Some users are also experiencing browsing and email connectivity problems, although there is little or no publicity about that.

The problem originating at a data centre in Slough UK struck at around 11AM on Monday 10th October 2011, was affecting online services for consumers on various networks all over Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Users are venting their frustration on Twitter and other social networking sites.
Many are unaware of a technical problem and are attempting to reinstall applications on their mobile phones. Some have even carried out complete factory resets in a bid to get their messenger service fixed.
Some users were having to resort to using SMS so they could communicate with their friends and loved ones.
This outage is causing real distress and upset among its users, some even turned to drink and no doubt there will be other social impacts on society.

RIM Share PriceBlackberries are falling in Autumn
A knock on effect is financial shares in Research in Motion or RIM the manufactures of Blackberry are falling faster than the autumn leaves.
Despite the success and growth of the Blackberry shares in RIM have been in steady over the last 3 years and are now at an all time low.
Now I won’t speculate that this network outage is affecting share prices but I suspect long term the Blackberry will now find its way into land fill sites and decomposing with the autumn leaves only at a much slower rate of course.

BBM Twitter Trends MapTwitter is 1st for news not Sky!
One of the intriguing things I find about this story or event is that Blackberry users were completely unaware of the wider problem and many felt personally victimised.

I first became aware of this problem when my friend using a blackberry had to text me because their chat app was not working. She reported her friends not being able to use BBM either.

I had not seen any news stories on the problem so when I got home I searched on Twitter for BBM and found it was Europe wide.

A very useful website that displays trending twitter topics on a live map showed the extent of the problem.

I eventually started to see some news stories appear and it even got mentioned on some radio stations but only after I had used live search technology to find the cause.


Credit to Christine Simms who without her and her Blackberry this article would never have been possible.




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The rise and fall of a Blackberry
© 2012 Brian Moreau

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