Projectile Physics Calculator released

I didn’t buy my first BlackBerry until January 2009, but the truth is that I actually started writing mobile apps way back in 2004. Back then my target was not smartphones and tablets, but rather my TI-83+ calculator. The majority of the applications that I wrote were silly little text based adventure games with the occasional ASCII graphics, however there was one program that had a more serious twist to it. In addition to all of the games, I also wrote an app that would do my physics homework for me by solving projectile motion problems. Nine years later I have decided to revisit the topic and release the app for the smartphone owning public.

IMG_00000203Granted the new version of the Projectile Physics calculator is much improved over what I was able to hack together years ago. For instance the new version of the app dynamically performs all calculations in real time, while on my TI-83+ it used to take three seconds of computation time to solve for each variable. Also, color touchscreens. However, when looking for an alternative in the current stores I haven’t been able to find anything nearly as complete as what I wrote in 2004.

Starting today, BlackBerry 10 users can download the free app from BlackBerry World while the app will be released for Android and Windows Phone in early November.

Links & Information


Presentation from 2012 BlackBerry World

My presentation from BlackBerry World in 2012 is embedded below.

At this point, the video is over a year and a half old, so some of the information is a little bit dated, but for the most part the talk discusses the importance of continuing to support and promote your app after launch and so this talk applies as much today as it ever has.

The full slide deck for this presentation is available online at

5K road racing website

In a bit of a change from my typical app creation I have instead created a new website that is currently being hosted at This site is designed to helping road racers find running races in their local area.


Currently the site is only available in Buffalo and Rochester, but after beta testing it for awhile I hope to slowly expand it to more cities across the United States and Canada.

Canadian BB10 Carriers

For those who are wondering why Roger’s decision to sell the BlackBerry Z30 last week is such a big deal, simply look at the chart below that shows the distribution of BlackBerry 10 users on the three largest carriers in Canada over the past seven months.


Every month Rogers has almost as many BlackBerry 10 users on their network as Bell and Telus do combined. Even with limited promotion it is entirely possible that Rogers will end up selling more Z30 BlackBerrys than any other wireless carrier.

Use of OS 10.1 grows another 5%

September continued to see growth in the number of users running OS 10.1 (or higher) on their BlackBerrys. While Stuff I Need users continue to be quicker to adopt new versions than Pixelated users, both saw an increase of about five percentage points over the previous month.



This data was collected by BlackBerry World for downloads of the free strategy game Pixelated and the free checklist app Stuff I Need. Data shown on the chart is from the beginning of February 2013 through the end of September 2013.

Forcing a dark theme on Windows Phone

Despite the fact that it looks terrible, Windows Phone offers users the ability to place their phones into a light theme. For any app that applies a specific color or background anywhere, testing against this theme is a critical step before submitting a new application, and is almost guaranteed to cause a few headaches.

While BlackBerry 10 allows you to force a dark theme for your app with a single line of XML, for Windows Phone you need to force individual components into a dark theme. For the most part this is done by remembering to explicitly set your background and foreground colors for every component, this can usually be done either in XAML or in C#. Below is an example of setting the colors for the ApplicationBar in C#.

ApplicationBar appBar = new ApplicationBar();
appBar.BackgroundColor = Color.FromArgb(255, 0, 0, 0);
appBar.ForegroundColor = Color.FromArgb(255, 255, 255, 255);
ApplicationBar = appBar;

Setting the SystemTray to a dark theme requires a bit a more unique approach, where you add attributes to the root element of the main PhoneApplicationPage in XAML. As seen in the following lines of code.


Also note that you can not set the SystemTray ForegroundColor to exactly white. It can be very close to white such as a very light gray, or the FloralWhite that I used, but it can not be exactly white. While the small print of Microsoft’s documentation is very clear on this, the reason why seems to be a complete mystery.

Over 43% of BBOS devices are running OS 7

BlackBerry’s traditional OS saw another month of slow growth towards newer versions of the operating system. The month of September resulted in 43.2% of users running OS 7, and 71.1% of users on OS 6 or higher.


This data was collected by BlackBerry World for downloads of the free BlackBerry strategy game Pixelated. Data shown on the chart is from the beginning of September 2012 through the end of September 2013, and does not include BlackBerry 10 or PlayBook devices.

Free Jack-O-Lantern app now on Windows Phone

1After adding support for BlackBerry 10 a week ago, the Jack-O-Lantern app has now also added support for Windows Phone as well.

About the Jack-O-Lantern App

This application is designed to turn your phone into a virtual Jack-O-Lantern in order to help you celebrate Halloween. You can change the Jack-O-Lantern’s face by swiping in different designs from the left and right for the eyes, nose, and mouth. You can also change the back light colour of the design by tapping on the screen.

Links & Information

More levels for Starbeams

IMG_00000024Starbeams has been expanded to 130 levels in version 1.3 and is available for download in BlackBerry World and the Windows 8 Store.

About Starbeams

The object of the game is to assign colors to each star in order to ensure that none of the stars are connected to another star of the same color. The game starts off easy, but quickly gets more complex, adding more colors and seven pointed stars that can not be changed.

New in Version 1.3

This versions adds levels 121-130 to the game. Additionally the game has been optimized so that the install size is smaller, and the app has a quicker start-up time.

Links & Information


Why BlackBerry can’t be niche and smart watches always will be

Lately I have been doing some writing for The Gadget Masters, with two new posts going up in the last few weeks.

First I wrote about how BlackBerry can’t be relevant as a niche company that focused on only enterprise or keyboard smartphones. Of course two days after I published that BlackBerry announced that they would be refocusing on the enterprise and “prosumer” space. Never mind the fact that I remain convinced that prosumer should not be a real word…

Yesterday I published an article on why smart watches will never take off. That the very idea of a smart watch is going against the momentum of phones being the ultimate convergence device…