Tag Archives: iPhone

Live from BlackBerry Live in Orlando: #BBLive

For the past few days I’ve been working from Orlando while attending the BlackBerry Live annual conference. While drumming up interest and business for our social media agency, I’ve also been contributing to Canada’s source for business and technology news.


Alicia Keys. She might have stolen the show to be honest. At the Opening Keynote she announced an initiative aimed at empowering, educating and supporting women in STEM. The same day she hosted a panel on Women in Tech that was filled to capacity. Then in the evening she presided over a concert experience like no other.

BlackBerry Z10. I’ve been playing with the device since Monday afternoon and I’m really impressed. My primary device is a Nokia Windows Phone 8 so maybe comparing the two is not fair. But I’ve seen Android and iPhone users fall in love with BlackBerry’s newest device all week long. The apps are strong and the device is sleek. I know it’s probably not perfect but it’s a step in the right direction for the smartphone innovator.

BBM. The future is bright. Not just for the popular messaging system on the BlackBerry 10 devices. Watch for BBM to show up on your iPhone and Android devices this summer in a planned rollout. And also watch for BBM Channels: the newest social network.

BlackBerry.  When the keynote began with CEO and President Thorsten Heins announcing the new Q5 for emerging markets, I will be honest, my heart sank a bit. However, after digesting the full Opening Keynote I came away excited for the future of BlackBerry. Firstly, ignoring emerging markets is not smart from a business standpoint and BlackBerry is establishing itself as a leader here. Second, BlackBerry’s QNX and BlackBerry 10 is not only about smartphones. It’s about powering the whole internet and the devices and products that connect to it: smartphones, cars, homes, businesses, etc. Third, I mentioned it above but it’s worth repeating: BlackBerry supporting the case of increasing women’s role in leadership and technology is overdue in the industry as a whole. With BlackBerry carrying the torch, watch for other companies to follow suit.

I have embedded a number of links in the post to some articles and videos I produced during my time here at BlackBerry Live. Feel free to click on them for extra content.

Disclosure: As a contributor for itbusiness.ca I was invited to Orlando by BlackBerry and have been their guest during my stay.

i enjoy using Path and you will too

There’s a new social network amongst us. Path.  To find out more about Path take some time to read this Forbes article.  

Path was started by former Facebook-er Dave Morin.  He was recently on Jason Calacanis’ show This Week in Startups.  I suggest you give it a watch/listen for some amazing insights into Path as well entrepreneurship in general.

I could go into detail about what Path is and what makes it unique but I won’t.  What I will say is that at the moment, it’s a mobile social network (Path calls itself the Smart Journal) which limits its users to a maximum of 150 friends.

This blog post is why I enjoy Path.

I remember joining Path sometime last summer. And I was not impressed. At the time it seemed as a limited social network.  And I was also very hot on Google Plus. But this past Christmas I was re-introduced to Path when it seemed everyone at a party I was at was using the newly released Path 2.0 on their iPhones and Androids.  So I did what anyone else in my shoes would have done:  I crapped all over Path and then proceeded to download the new version.

And I have been impressed ever since.

Beautiful User Experience

From the simplicity of the product to the unique “posting” system, there is no social network quite as easy on the eyes as Path.  Path is very intuitive with very few steps in order to use it.

Replacement for BBM?

I own a BlackBerry Torch and also use an HTC Android smartphone.  The Torch is the phone I primarily use as it has the number I’ve been using for 15+ years.  And BBM is an app that I really like to use.  But using Path on my HTC makes me question whether I really need to use BBM anymore?  I just need to convince/wait for my brother and sister to get an iPhone, Android or other device that Path supports.  (We use BBM to “chat”. No other messenger service has appealed to us yet.) Then I won’t really have an excuse for using BBM/BlackBerry.

Everything that I use BBM for I can use Path instead.  And Path offers so much more!

Music sharing and discovery

One of my favourite things about Path is the music sharing and discovery feature. On Path you can share thoughts, location, photos (and video on iOS), when you wake up and go to sleep, and music.  (Now, remember, I’m a longtime BlackBerry user so excuse me if this sort of feature has been around on other devices and products.)

As many of my friends will tell you, I love my music.  And my music consists of U2, Neil Young (including his stuff with Buffalo Springfield, CSNY and Crazy Horse), Aerosmith (their old stuff mostly), Colin James, Black Dub, Led Zeppelin, Broken Social Scene, Rush, etc…

So I love sharing what I listen to.  And I can also see what my other friends (up to 150 only. It’s another great feature of Path that you should learn more about) are listening to. Or at least that’s what I thought I could do.  Until I clicked on a song icon a few days ago.

Baaam! I proceeded to have about 15 seconds of a song I’ve never heard play on my phone. Path actually allows us to “share” what we’re listening to like nothing I’ve ever seen/heard before.

Anyways, that’s my take on Path.  Do you use Path?  I would love to read your comments below.

(If you liked this blog post feel free to share it by clicking one of the share buttons below.  You can also get my blog posts delivered to your email’s inbox by clicking the follow button under “sign me up” to the right of this blog post.  Thanks!)

The problem with Research In Motion

RIM BlackBerry 7230
Image via Wikipedia

This post will not be the answer to all of RIM‘s current problems (yes, problems). It will, however, help the two-headed beast-led company get back on the path to respectability.

The answer can be found with one word:  Respect.

What I have realized is that RIM does not seem to understand what respect means.  And I hope to address that today here in this post.

Wikipedia defines respect as such: “Respect denotes both a positive feeling of esteem for a person or other entity (such as a nation or a religion), and also specific actions and conduct representative of that esteem.” The writers of that post might as well have added “company” to that definition. Nevertheless, this definition of respect is suitable for this blog post.

This blog post is not intended to summarize all the blunders that have occurred to RIM in recent months. If that’s what you’re looking for, you won’t wind that here.  Search on your favourite search engine or tech blog to read up on those.

Let’s get into some detail below on this thing called respect:

Respect for the brand

The BlackBerry brand has been an innovator in the mobile and email communications space for many years.  The BlackBerry pager was the first device to offer incoming and outgoing email to the masses.  Many of the users were business people yet everyone wanted one. Unfortunately, affordability was not what it is today.

The BlackBerry brand stood for quality, innovation, and status.  Today? Not so much. The public perception of both RIM and it’s BlackBerry products has fallen. And it seems that RIM is the only player not concerned about this.

Respect for the investor.

It’s one thing to defy public opinion and turn the other cheek. Has anyone ever heard of an investor at RIM suggesting that the company is on solid ground? We all know that the stock has taken a beating. But guess who else has taken a beating? The average Canadian investor who has money invested in Canadian stocks and mutual funds.

Almost every Canadian blue chip fund has a healthy portion of its portfolio invested in RIM. Which means many Canadians have lost a healthy portion of their savings due to the struggles at the Waterloo-based tech company.

Respect for their partners.

Partners such as Rogers, Bell, Telus, WIND, retail outlets, PR agencies, suppliers, employees, and many other partners have seen the BlackBerry and PlayBook portion of their sales here in Canada dwindle.

If it wasn’t for the ubiquitous Android devices or Apple’s iPhone, I’m very curious what the state of Canada’s technology community would look like…

Respect for their employees

How hard must it be to face family members, friends, colleagues and even passers-by when they know you work for RIM?

Respect for the consumer

I’ll be honest with you. I’ve had 2 BlackBerry’s. My current one is the Torch. The only reason I use it is because I received it free at a BlackBerry Torch launch party.

The Torch was supposed to give Apple’s iPhone a run for its money. Never happened.

The PlayBook? No comment. Although everyone who uses one loves it.

I’m not even going to mention the 3 days with no data. And don’t get me started on $100 of free apps as an apology.

Respect.  It is this humble blogger’s opinion that if the suits at Research In Motion respected their customers, partners, employees, investors, and brand that they would be in a better position.

Here’s a quick suggestion to get on the path to respectability: Be humble; start listening to your consumers, employees, investors, and partners; start focusing on your core strengths; and become passionate again for technology and innovation.

What are your thoughts?

The Canadian Queen of Apps Answers 5 Questions

Melody Adhami (@MelodyAdhami on Twitter) 
Mobile, an 
  Melody co‐founded
2007 and
named the
 Women.  Today she has reached the pinnacle of her career by being featured in 5 Questions! 😉  

What motivates you to do what you do on a daily basis?

Innovation is one of the biggest motivating factors for me.  To know that every day I go to work and do things that are at the cutting edge of technology makes every day more exciting than the day before.  I love the fact that what I do surprises and amazes so many people.  Making an impact also motivates me to continue to do what I do. When I know that our initiatives change the way people conduct business or the way consumers conduct their daily lives, any amount of hard work seems entirely worth it.

If you had 30 seconds to impart your wisdom on a classroom of soon-to-be graduates, what would you say?

Do what you love because then it doesn’t feel like work.  If you find yourself in a job you hate, re-evaluate and make a change.  Work hard and play harder.

In your opinion, what has been one of the most important technological developments over the past 12 months?

Tablet technology and their proliferation/mainstream adoption. The tablets are changing the way consumers are digesting content both in the types of content and the location in which they consume.  So what I mean is that people don’t have to be limited to watch YouTube clips or reach the news at their desktops.  They can do it virtually anywhere.

If you had a crystal ball, what would you say will be the most important technological development over the next 12 months?

NFC technology and the effects that can be anticipated in the next 12-24 years.  Ultimately, all payment transactions can take place in one single mobile device.  Your phone will not only be your email client, your internet, but also your wallet.

Who is one of Canada’s tech stars and why?

My personal favourite tech star is Amber Mac. I had the opportunity to meet with her a few months ago and I love her energy, enthusiasm and overall tech knowledge.  She is definitely a great Canadian tech star. 

5 Questions with Sonia Ryan

In honour of Canada’s Vancouver Canucks making it into the Stanley Cup Finals, I thought we’d take the opportunity to highlight one of Vancouver’s stars: Sonia Ryan. Sonia Ryan is the Troublemaker at A Thinking Ape. Her vision for ATA is to be THE company recognized by developers as the place to work.  Often described as the “Social Glue” she is dedicated to creating an inspiring experience through creative and experimental initiatives. Prior to ATA, Sonia worked at Bootup and was responsible for organizing monthly mentor visits and workshop, Demo Days, Democamps and Launch Party for the Vancouver startup scene. Sonia can always be found with her iPhone and a smile that doesn’t quit.

What motivates you to do what you do on a daily basis?

My team. I am working at A Thinking Ape and my teams dedication and drive to complete tasks is impeccable. We are all working together to create a solid technology company here in Vancouver and it’s really exciting.

If you had 30 seconds to impart your wisdom on a classroom of soon-to-be graduates, what would you say?

Work at a startup. If you are intrinsically motivated this experience is invaluable because you have an opportunity to understand all aspects of the business.

In your opinion, what has been one of the most important technological developments over the past 12 months?

The tablet was one of the most anticipated gadgets of the year, whether it be the android tablet or highly covetable iPad. We saw these tablets turn into e-readers for our digital books, newspapers, and magazines, and Web TV. Geolocation was also huge and I’m talking beyond Foursquare and Gowalla. The creation of Geo APIs from companies such as Facebook and Simple Geo changed the game by adding rich layers of geo-related data to all sorts of apps.

If you had a crystal ball, what would you say will be the most important technological development over the next 12 months?

Mobile Social Photo apps continue to increase in popularity and I don’t see this slowing down. We have Path, Instagram, Color, Twitpic and I’m excited to see what other innovations occur in this space over the next year. Also, with Amazon and Google’s recent foray into streaming music it should be interesting to see how Apple and the major record labels will respond.

Who is one of Canada’s tech stars and why?

It’s hard for me to pinpoint one person in particular. Being in Vancouver, I will name a few key people I admire: Maura Rodgers, Danny Robinson, my Founders at A Thinking Ape – Kenshi Arasaki, Wilkins Chung, Eric Diep, Ryan Holmes and Boris Mann. I named these individuals because they have been an integral part of my life after joining a startup. I look to them for mentorship, feedback and know that they will always be there for me.