Farewell Blackberry

So the news last week on Blackberry finally ending manufacturing of handheld devices got me all nostalgic. For IT departments back in 1999 they were a sword that was very double edged indeed…

  • Firstly, it was a very cool thing to have, initially anyway. IT departments had to have them for everybody because we were, of course, on call all the time…
  • It allowed us to communicate anywhere, anytime by email. This was revolutionary. Those under thirty wont get this bit. No more walking into work on Monday mornings only to find all systems were down – you would have discovered this at 2.00 am on Monday morning as three hundred alerts flooded into your inbox
  • It opened up 24/7 working and we have never looked back!
  • IT managers could send emails to the themselves at 3.00 am in the morning checking that email was working. This could cause marital disharmony
  • It buzzed and vibrated a lot. An awful lot if you just lost a domain controller. Thus was especially annoying when it was by your bed (which is where you kept it ALWAYS)
  • It allowed us to micro type FAST. This would come in handy for smartphones. The keyboards were really quite nice and still are (I still miss that tactile clickety click) and as such I still have very muscular thumbs
  • It was truly a work productivity tool that added 2-3 hours onto most IT managers days and, of course, weekends. And as the web browser was so slow it precluded any meaningless surfing. No device has ever contributed to more unpaid work time EVER
  • I was informed that the password was very hard to re-enter when very drunk. This was particularly useful if one was tempted to flamemail in a pub at 11.00 on a Friday evening. This would of course change significantly with fingerprint recognition
  • It added another single point of failure onto hard pressed infrastructures. the dreaded BES server upgrade or “outrage”. It was simply another thing to go wrong especially in pre virtualisation days and it invariably did. No one noticed initially until CEO’s got their hands on them
  • But having said all that, once BB’s got out there into the business it transformed their lives too
  • But for a few months at least back in 1999 IT managers were the coolest people on the planet and it is still a design classic. I still have 4 or 5 somewhere in the attic. An investment for the Antiques Roadshow in 2050

So, so long Blackberry and for future archaeologists there is an estimated 2000 devices under London Bridge probably still buzzing away. …I still think they were rather smart though. Blackberry – we salute you. Sort of…

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