What are friends for?

by alec on September 10, 2014

“Happy is the man who finds a true friend, and far happier is he who finds that true friend in his wife.” Franz Schubert, the composer, apparently wrote that.

Three years ago I joined BlackBerry. Since that time I’ve connected with and befriended many of the BlackBerry community, especially the developer community. It’s a tight knit and fantastic group.

One of those folks is Morten Lindstrom, a Norwegian guy who somehow found himself living in Trinidad. I’ve met him at countless events, and we invited him to be one of our BlackBerry Elites.   He’s a thoughtful, sweet guy, who always has ways to help BlackBerry succeed in the Caribbean.

Aside from the fact that the Caribbean is gorgeous, I could never figure out why he chose to live there. Trinidad is hardly the center of the tech universe, after all. He moved there to help people. As he said to me “The Caribbean being a developing region, with many smaller countries, it allows a small man like myself to bring knowledge, experience and energy from the outside world in to this region, and even a small man’s work can make a big impact. Being able to guide and empower the youth would require so many more resources abroad, much more than we alone could manage. Just being able to every day feel that my work has done good for somebody – it is all worth it.”

That’s why he, and his Jamaican born wife Nicole, live in Trinidad.  To give back.

I’ve recently learned that Nicole suffers from sickle cell anemia. She’s dying.

There is treatment available in the United States, however. To buy that treatment, Morten has raised a whopping $250,000 from insurance, from his personal funds, bank loans and folks in his local community.

However, Nicole is too weak to travel to the United States to be treated. Morten is trying to raise an additional $40,000 to fund a local specialist to build up her body strength, to fund the travel, and to get her to the treatment she needs.

I tweeted about this when I learned about. My twitter peeps (mostly BlackBerry folks) collectively raised $4,640. Thank you. That’s a good start but obviously not enough.

You all know I like challenges, whether it’s recording goofy music videos, or jumping off tall buildings attached to a rope.   So here’s my challenge to you.

Personally, I have donated $200. Here’s what else I will do: I will donate another $250 when the campaign reaches $10,000, $250 more when the campaign reaches $20,000, $250 more when it reaches $30,000 and $250 more when we achieve the $40,000 target. That’s another $1,000 I’ll contribute.

Morten also offered to work, if anyone wants to hire him.   Unfortunately, I can’t hire him, otherwise I would.  If anyone wants to hire, I’m sure that would be appreciated.

So please take up the challenge, join me in helping my friend Morten and his true friend, his wife, Nicole.  Click to visit Morten’s fundraising page.

Note: I met Morten while employed by BlackBerry, but he’s my friend and this appeal appears on my personal blog page. It is in no way affiliated with or endorsed by BlackBerry.

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Next Up – The Internet of Things

by alec on January 26, 2014

Always remember that the future comes one day at a time.  Dean Acheson, American Statesman.

Last Thursday, news broke that I had accepted a new role as the Vice President of QNX Cloud, a new business at QNX (a BlackBerry subsidiary).  As an industry we’re closing in on connecting every phone on the planet — maybe 5 billion in total.  What’s next?  Connecting up all the machines.   QNX Cloud is a business focused on building enabling cloud based technologies for Machine to Machine and Internet of Things businesses.  QNX Cloud is infrastructure that enables a wide range of connected devices (ranging from automobiles to power plants, consumer electronics, and more) to be managed, updated, and remotely monitored.  Our goal is to facilitate so-called “big data” analysis of data coming from these connected devices, and to provide programming interfaces that allow the creation of sophisticated new applications that deliver real business benefit to our customers.

John Chen, writing on Inside BlackBerry, described this move as a “return to his roots”, but I prefer to think of it as a continuation of a path that I have been walking on for most of the past 20 years of my career.  A future that, for twenty years, has been coming “one day at a time”.  QNX Cloud is a developer product, first and foremost.  It’s targeted at networked and embedded devices. To be successful, we’ll need to build an ecosystem, channels to market, and recruit strategic partners.  And because it’s a new initiative, it has many characteristics of a start up.

Wish us luck.

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BlackBerry 10 Jam rocked, because of you!

May 7, 2012

Last week was a whirlwind for BlackBerry developers.  BlackBerry 10 Jam was the official launch of the BlackBerry 10 platform to the developer community – SDK’s, tools, and of course the BlackBerry 10 Alpha device. This was a moment we’d been working toward since before DevCon Americas in the fall.  I know there was a […]

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It’s time to hang up the spurs, Alex.

April 17, 2012

Last Friday, YouMail released their latest visual voice mail client for BlackBerry.  At the same time, they put up a blog post telling the world that this was end of the line for the BlackBerry customers – no new work would be done on BlackBerry. I thought it a little bizarre.  As publicity stunts go, […]

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Chatting with @Scobleizer about RIM

February 17, 2012

“So, did you see what I wrote?”, he asked? And that’s how my conversation with @scobleizer started.  I had dropped him a note a couple of weeks ago when our Alex Kinsella and he were having a little dust up on twitter, and suggested we grab some time.  Today was the day. “Yes, I saw […]

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Try Something New Today!

January 9, 2012
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I’m in Las Vegas for CES.  I’ve been coming here for industry events for 25 years now.  Yesterday, however, I did something I had never done in all that time.  I rented a car, and drove out of the city to see what else Nevada had to offer besides gambling, hotels, and shows. An hours […]

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Five Killer Travel Apps for BlackBerry Users

January 7, 2012
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Anyone who follows my 4Square updates on Twitter will know that I travel a lot.  This week it was a quick jaunt to Waterloo.  Next week, I’ll be in Las Vegas for CES 2012.  In February I’ll be at BlackBerry DevCon Europe in Amsterdam, and Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.  And in March, I’ll be taking […]

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Happy New Year!

January 6, 2012

It’s been kind of a crazy 2011.  As a result of that, this space has been neglected.  Truth be told, it hasn’t been just due to being busy, though.  It has also been due to figuring out the relationship of Saunderslog.com to my new role at RIM. Last week, Andy Abramson wrote that there used […]

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What’s in a name? Branding your product.

October 31, 2011

I stood at the cash at the local Tim Horton’s (a Canadian doughnut chain), and ordered a “combo” – sandwich, coffee, and a doughnut.  “And which baked good would you like with your lunch, sir?” Baked good.  Wow! Questioned, he explained that “baked goods” just seemed an easier and shorter description than enumerating all the […]

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Raising a Glass to Steve Jobs –-1955-2011

October 5, 2011

I’ve just been sitting and chatting with my parents on the phone. Told them that the first computer I ever laid eyes on was an Apple II.  It was at the CompuMart store at the corner of Roosevelt and Byron in 1978.  We used to head down there after school. The owner, a tolerant guy […]

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