Hockey Scores app updated for a new season

Z10The Hockey Scores BlackBerry app has been updated for the upcoming hockey season for users of both BlackBerry 10 and the traditional BBOS (version 5.0 and higher). In addition to getting scores for the current season, this update also includes some changes to improve the performance of the app on the BlackBerry Passport phone.

About Hockey Scores

This application provides the day’s hockey scores is an intuitive and easy to use format. It also includes additional game statistics such as start times, goal scorers, shots on net, hits, faceoff percentage, team Corsi numbers, and lists out the goal scorers.

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More Levels for Xploding Boxes

ShapeItAppXploding Boxes has been updated to version 5.5 in BlackBerry World, Google Play, the Amazon app store, the Nook app store, the Windows 8 app store, and the Windows Phone app store. This update adds 10 new levels to the game, giving Xploding Boxes 510 levels overall.

About Xploding Boxes

Xploding Boxes is a strategy game where the goal is to start a chain reaction that will explode all of the boxes on the screen. Each level presents a different look and number of touches, requiring a different strategy to solve.

The game itself, and the first 25 levels are available for free, while a one time in-app purchase can be used to access the rest of the levels for just $2.99 while still maintaining your progress from the free levels.

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The Sound of the Fat Lady Singing

This morning’s news has been expected for some time now, but does officially mark the end. I know that John Chen has stated that BlackBerry 10 users “can continue to depend on us”, but they have said that many times before and it has never been true.

BlackBerry 10 is an operating system that has not received a major upgrade in over a year, with no future improvements expected. With no new hardware expected for the platform either, it is safe to say that platform is officially dead.

The decision to announce this change on the day that Apple launched a new phone of their own was probably an attempt to bury this news. In practice it reminds current BlackBerry users of the obvious way forwards.

Coloring a ProgressBar on Android

On newer versions of Android (such as Lollipop and Marshmallow) the activity indicator now has a distinct color instead of just being a shade of gray. While this is neat, it brings up the potential for the color of the activity indicator to clash with your design.

Fortunately it is possible to change the color of these controls. Starting with the xml in the layout, your progress bar will look as follows…


The relevant part of this code is the setting of progressDrawable to a custom drawable object. While this custom object must exist, it doesn’t actually have to do anything. The full source of colorProgress.xml is below and is essentially blank.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<selector xmlns:android="">

Finally we will get to the Java code that actually sets the color of the progress bar. This is done as the program starts up and consists of three steps. First, you filter out the older Android OS versions to avoid crashing the app on Android 4.x phones. Next you get a reference to the ProgressBar object, and then finally you set the object to the color you want.

protected void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState)
ProgressBar progressbar = (ProgressBar) findViewById(;
int color = 0xFF2980b9;
progressbar.getIndeterminateDrawable().setColorFilter(color, PorterDuff.Mode.SRC_IN);
progressbar.getProgressDrawable().setColorFilter(color, PorterDuff.Mode.SRC_IN);

Monkeys and Whales added to Animal Sounds App

ShapeItAppThe Animal Sounds app has been updated to version 2.0 adding support for two new animals, and now supports users of both BlackBerry 10 and Android.

This is a simple app that plays back the sound made by various animals. From horses to dogs to cows, this app includes a variety of animals that will make a sound when you tap on their picture. Version 2.0 of the app adds both a monkey and a whale to the list of recordings that the app can play back.

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Why BlackBerry users hold onto their phones longer

This is a response to an article on the official BlackBerry blog titled “So Happy Together: Users Hold Onto BlackBerry Devices Longer Than Every Other Brand”.

Yesterday BlackBerry congratulated itself for having the users that held onto their phones for the longest, with BlackBerry users averaging 32 months (2 years and 8 months). This was against an industry average of only 22 months.

I happen to be this “average” user given that my BlackBerry Z10 is a phone that was released in January of 2013, exactly 2 years and 8 months ago. Yet BlackBerry really seems to be missing the mark on why I haven’t upgraded my phone.

It is not that I enjoy carrying around a phone with specs that are almost three years out of date. It is that the specs have not improved on any of the newer BlackBerry phones (except for the one with a giant square for a screen).

Since the release of the Z10 the normal shaped BlackBerry phones have not had anything to offer. First the Z30 (itself now 24 months old) offered a larger battery and a slightly quicker processor in exchange for an identical camera, and a slightly lower resolution screen. The Z3 is noticeably worse than every other BlackBerry 10 phone sold by every specification. Finally the BlackBerry Leap has the Z30’s lower screen resolution, but without an improved processor.

Likewise the keyboard based phones running BlackBerry 10 have also done little to improve. The Q5 was a step backwards, the Classic had the same internals with a few extra hardware buttons, leaving the the Passport to be the only BlackBerry 10 phone to improve upon the launch devices. Even that phone is now a year old with no newer version in sight (and no, having three different ways to round off the corners on the case do not count).

So instead I sit here with my ageing phone with no path forwards. Any iOS user with a year old phone can upgrade their device tomorrow. Samsung releases 200 new phones a year. Even struggling HTC manages to upgrade their flagship on a yearly schedule. Yet for BlackBerry users, the only way to get new hardware is to become a non-BlackBerry user.

Niagara Border Crossing app released for Android

ShapeItAppThe Niagara Border Crossing app has been released for Android phones in Google Play and the Amazon App Store. The app shows wait times for border crossings over the Niagara River between the United States and Canada, and is also available for BlackBerry and Windows users.

Wait times are shown for all four of the bridges between Western New York and Southern Ontario. These include the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge, the Whirlpool Rapids Bridge, the Rainbow Bridge, and the Peace Bridge. Separate times are shown for cars, trucks, and also for those using the Nexus lanes.

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BlackBerry 10 OS statistics

August saw the use of OS 10.3.x (specifically 10.3.2) continue to increase. There was actually a bit of a split in the data for this month as users of Pixelated were much quicker to upgrade than users of Stuff I Need. For Pixelated 91% of users were running OS 10.3 while the number was only 84.6% for Stuff I Need users.



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 August 2014 through the end of August 2015.