As covered thoroughly by the worlds media over the past 24 hours, making the news summary, tech news, and even the on screen BREAKING NEWS ticker, the coverage of the Blackberry outage of the past 3 days has not gone un-noticed. Every opportunity possible has been ceased upon to expose, critique and cast doubt over RIM and its ability to run a stable network for its 70 million users. Of course, without knowing the in's and out's of the issue, or for that matter understanding what the hell a core switch is, it is impossible to judge fairly. The Playstation network was down for over a month when it underwent a cyber attack, so 3 days in some respects is not too bad. However as Lord Sugar pointed out, the Playstation network was for entertainment, RIM is for livelihood and communication.
Naturally companies like Apple have rejoiced at this outage, with the launch of iOS5 rolling out last night, and the iPhone4S going on general release from tomorrow, what better time to be convinced to jump ship than smack bang in the middle of that. I'm sure there are a good few percent of people who have been considering the switch for a while now, so well done to RIM / Blackberry for giving that group of customers the push they needed. That's not to mention the number of large corporations who are currently trialling iPhone as an alternative to their long term favourite the Blackberry. Again, an outage for this period of time to a business is totally unacceptable, and will have caused chaos I am sure.
However, its OK now because the world is returning to normal, becoming a sane place once again, and the trains and buses ring out with the steady flow of BBM messages being received by commuters. For me this morning it was a wake up call, literally. As the service resumed I realised how annoying people BBM'ing you can be, and how often it bing, bing, bings.... Silent is the chosen profile today! Amazing how a few days away from something can change your perspective of things, and make you rethink your approach. I'm not going to BBM any less I'm sure, nor become less dependent on it for my email, and information flow, but i am aware of how much control it has over me at times.
The biggest thing I missed i think was email, and the ability to make entries to this blog. Sitting at the train station with things to say, but no platform to use (so to speak from, no pun intended). Maybe that is it, Blackberry has become my new voice. My chosen way to communicate with the world in all respects. if so, is that such a bad thing I wonder. A wider audience, I can speak at any time and people will 'hear' in their own time. I can be concise, direct, and open about my feelings without having to experience the reaction first hand. So looking at that aspect of things, i am quite happy with this new found voice. Needless to say, i am still very capable at the real spoken word, and am happy and able to vocalise my thoughts and feelings too.
So, how does the Blackberry crowd feel about all this. An outage for 3 days, that's coming on for 1% downtime, which by any hosting or server company is just completely unacceptable, especially for such a large global company with resources all around the world. 70 million+ customers to serve, BIS and BES, high profile customers like Lord Sugar, President Obama, David Cameron, and countless celebrities. This is the age of the Internet, lightening communication (if your device connects!) and word travels fast... But not as fast as rumours, they travel at warp speed, and carry far more clout than a short empty statement from the company itself. And what exactly did we get over those 3 days.... Day 1, a couple of 'oops' Tweets from Blackberry saying there were some issues they were working on. By the end of the day it was tweeted that it was OK now. Day 2, it was all broken again, and again a few words on Twitter saying they thought they had found the problem and service would soon resume. All this time it was only affecting EMEA..
Day 3, this is when it got serious.. North America was now affected, and the shit had hit the fan. High profile business and entertainment names became involved on Twitter. Suddenly The RIM and Blackberry Twitter accounts exploded into activity. The first BIG statement on Twitter from RIM was ironically about a hoax BBM circulating. ironic considering 90% of users had no BBM, yet their priority was suddenly quashing a rumour. Bad show. From that point on the information begun to flow properly, high ranking RIM exec's making statements apologising for the issues, the Blackberry website also sprouted a Service Status page. Today as the service starts to return to normal we are told on Twitter hourly that there is a video statement to be watched on the Blackberry website from the Co-CEO himself. Where was that when the service was down?
So like I say, BBM is now binging away again, and service seems to be going nicely, however I have one problem remaining that has been there for the past 3 days.... My email is not bloody working! Why I hear you ask. Well as the server outage begun I was switching from my 9700 to my new shiny 9900. It appears that for some reason the RIM servers are caught convinced that my 9700 is still in use on my account, so i cannot register my phone on the network. Everything else BIS works, BBM, PUSH apps etc, but it wont let me transfer my email accounts over. All i get is a message saying it is not registered on the wireless network, and if I try via the Blackberry I get a message saying it cannot communicate with the server. *sigh
Not really much more I can say on the matter really, other than its VERY frustrating not having my email right now, and while the outage was unwanted, it has been an eye opener, for many! So many people not realising how much they used the BBM side of things until they didn't have it. While Apple and other device users sneer, it is worth pointing out that NO other provider offers a service similar to BBM, so all the ner ner nerner ner comments about "my phone is working, look at your useless Blackberry" were a little inaccurate, but RIM deserved it all the same.
Right that's me done. Only thing left to say is I hope those having update problems getting to iOS5 get sorted soon, and those who have lost all their data due to corrupt back-ups get sorted soon.
PS, I was shocked when I suggested to Apple fans that I was going to get an iPhone 3GS for a bit of fun, and as a back up, only to be told it was not worth it, was too slow, and no good..... A few weeks ago this was the next best thing to an iPhone4 and still a very worthy handset, now its rubbish.... Go figure.