Block all web comments with the First Rule browser extension

The first rule of the internet is “Do not read the comments”. Should you ever read the comments at the end of the article, or below a video you never end up smarter, but instead end up irrationally angry because some stranger is saying something dumb.

Yet despite knowing this, not reading the comments is often easier said than done. Scrolling down you see them, just begging you to engage.

Even if you resist replying, just reading through is wasting your time and your sanity. To combat this, First Rule is an extension that removes all comments from the internet.

Available on both the desktop as a Chrome extesnion, and on iOS as an app, First Rule hides the comments on 1700+ websites. This leads you with a cleaner and more peaceful browser experience.

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Nothing Registered Chrome Extension released

Nothing Registered is a Chrome extension that removes the registered trademark symbols from the internet.

Eliminating these symbols from the websites and articles that you read makes for a cleaner and better reading experience. This makes it easier to focus on what is actually being said, and less distracted by the legalese that too often accompanies it.

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December saw the start of the BlackBerry 10.3.3 rollout

After almost a full year of no significant change, December saw a shake up of BlackBerry 10 users, as OS 10.3.3 began its slow rollout.

The Stuff I Need app saw 29.6% of downloads come from users running OS 10.3.3, while for the game Pixelated this was at 15.8% of 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 December 2015 through the end of December 2016.

Weather Beautiful App Updated

The Weather Beautiful App has been updated to version 2.4 for Android, iOS, and BlackBerry 10. This version is quicker to refresh the weather and location when the app is relaunched. Additionally there was a bit of optimization done to the app to make the underlying code quicker and simpler.

About Weather Beautiful

Weather Beautiful is a simple weather app that displays stunning photography of your surrounding area. In addition to the current temperature and weather conditions, the app also allows you to scroll for a full weekly forecast. While temperatures are shown in Fahrenheit by default, there is an option to switch to Celsius.

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Merry Christmas

The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear saviour’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till he appeared, and the spirit felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees. Oh, hear the angel voice.
O night divine, the night when Christ was born.

BlackBerry sold BBM without anyone noticing

Thinking that BlackBerry controls BlackBerry Messenger would be a reasonable assumption, but it would also be an incorrect assumption. As of last June BBM is being run by an Indonesian company called PT Elang Mahkota Teknologi Tbk.

I was on vacation during the June 27th announcement of this new partnership and as such probably just skimmed the press release, but after posting to Twitter on Sunday night it appears that this is new information to a lot of people who follow BlackBerry.

Exactly what is going on?

The main reason this went unnoticed is that the situation is far more complicated than a straight sale. Creative Media Works was created as a division of PT Elang Mahkota Teknologi Tbk (also known as the Emtek group) that operates as BBM, and licenses technology and IP from BlackBerry and is in partnership with KMK Online which is also a subsidiary of PT Elang Mahkota Teknologi Tbk.

It is understandable if anyone is a bit confused by those details.

Furthermore the initial press release referred to the deal as merely a “partnership”, and used terms like “making the BBM API available” when it would have been more accurate to write “handing over development of the app”.

The continued insistence that this is a long therm lease rather than a sale may be technically correct, but it can’t help but make me think of the 99 year lease of Hong Kong.

Today there is an organization that refers to itself as BBM, and is not owned by BlackBerry. Personally I have a hard time not referring to that as a sale.

BlackBerry’s Response

This morning BlackBerry posted an oddly titled response to this situation, that is full of double speak. It starts with the statement that Emtek has “the rights to develop and offer cross-platform BBM” which is a fact that BlackBerry had previously danced around. BlackBerry insists that BBM hasn’t been sold because BlackBerry still has control of BBM Enterprise (which is a separate app that nobody cares about), and the BBM app on BlackBerry 10 and BBOS.

This last point ignores the fact that BBOS and BB10 versions of BBM have not gotten any significant updates since this partnership began. It also explains why the BBM video chat on BlackBerry 10 is not compatible with the BBM video chat on Android or iOS.

Then we have the BlackBerry COO, disputing comments by the BBM CEO, and then ending the post saying that they are “100% aligned on their vision”.

After months and months of hearing that BlackBerry is not abandoning their operating systems (while they clearly have) it has become clear that the company has come to embrace Donald Trump’s approach to facts. As a result I think it is now clear that BBM was sold while nobody was looking.

About Windows Phone

A bit of a side note to all this, is the discussion of BBM on Windows Phone. Every comment talks about “BBM on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone” yet ignores that there has been zero work done on the Windows side throughout this whole process. The BBM app for Windows Phone has always lagged behind, and hasn’t received a single update since the start of this deal. Furthermore it appears as if the app has been pulled for new users, and the link on literally results in a 404 page.

BlackBerry 10 distribution the same as ever

The distribution of BlackBerry 10 OS versions has been mostly unchanged for over a year now, and November was no different. Furthermore for these waiting for the much delayed 10.3.3 there is no sign that it is starting to get rolled out. The number of 10.3.3 users in November was the same single digit number as it was all the back in June. BlackBerry 10 is appearing as static as you would expect an abandoned OS to be.



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 November 2015 through the end of November 2016.

Projectile Physics app updated

shapeitappThe Projectile Physics app has been updated for iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone. After this update the app now uses the official ISO value for acceleration due to gravity. Additionally iOS and Android users are now given the option to remove all advertising from the calculator with an in-app purchase.

About Projectile Physics

This app is a projectile physics calculator designed to solve for all of the components of a typical projectile motion problem. The app solves for both the vertical and horizontal components of the distance traveled, the constant acceleration, the initial and final velocity, as well as the time. These factors are solved for in real time in order to help you get back the factors of the equation quicker.

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Hockey Scores app now on iOS

shapeitappThe Hockey Scores app is now available on iOS. This app provides a simple and quick way to get the day’s NHL scores.

This new iOS version of Hockey Scores contains all of the same features as the BlackBerry version of the app.

About Hockey Scores

In addition to showing the scores of each game, the app also shows the game time, shot counts, hits, faceoff percentages, and a full list of all of the game’s goal scorers.

A one time in-app purchase can be used to remove all advertising from the app.

Links & Information


More levels for Starbeams

phoneStarbeams has been updated to version 2.3 with 10 new levels added. This brings the total number of levels in the game up to 230.

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.

Starbeams can be downloaded for free for Windows Phone, Windows 8, Windows 10, and BlackBerry 10 devices. A one time in-app purchase is required in order to play past level 25.

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Xploding Boxes expanded with another 10 levels

z10Version 5.8 of Xploding Boxes has been released, bringing the total number of levels in the game up to 540. This newest version of the game is available in Google Play, the Amazon App Store, BlackBerry AppWorld, Windows 10/Windows Phone App Store.

Starting with this release, the minimum supported OS version for Android has been increased to 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich).

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.

Links & Information


Black Out updated for Android

The game Black Out has been updated to version 1.4.2 in Google Play, and the Amazon App Store.

How to Play

The goal to Black Out is to tap the tiles, so that they all get ‘blacked out’. This is complicated because whenever you tap to flip a tile, it also flips all of the tiles surrounding it. As such it requires a well laid out strategy.

In order to accommodate different difficulties, the game supports board sizes from 3×3 all the way up to a 10×10 grid. Furthermore, there is also a hint button in case you find yourself in need of help.

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BlackBerry 10 OS distribution steady for almost a year

There has been little to no change in the distribution of OS versions used on BlackBerry 10 phones for the past year. Of course a large part of this is that BlackBerry abandoned their OS a bit over a year ago, but with every device eligible to run the newest version of the OS there are still roughly 10% of users on some variation of OS 10.2.

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 October 2015 through the end of October 2016.

The iOS password field is a mess of bad design

img_0028For such a simple element, Apple has really fallen behind when it comes to password fields in iOS 10.

First of all there is no option to show/hide the password that is being entered. With a virtual keyboard this is important to avoid mistakes in a complex password. This has been implemented by Android, Windows, and BlackBerry but is still lacking in iOS.

Additionally the keyboard ignores the “Character Preview” setting whenever you are entering a password. Furthermore the keyboard does not use the BlackBerry 10 trick of showing an additional row of numerical keys on password fields. Making the number keys easier to access encourages the use of stronger passwords by making it possible to quickly enter more complex passwords.

None of these are major problems by themselves, but overall you would really have hoped that Apple would be able to put to together a better UX by the tenth version of their operating system.