Curse of Kane as embattled BlackBerry rings in the changes



I must admit to a little bit of schadenfreude - oh, OK then, a massive amount of sheer heart-pounding joy - at the recent travails of BlackBerry. After what they have put me through in the past few weeks, I reckon they're getting what they deserve, and what I wished on them several times.
The Canadians should learn the lesson: never underestimate the Curse of Kane.
Readers might remember how, back in June, I related the problems I had encountered with one of their new Q10 devices. I couldn't transfer contact numbers from my old BB device, nor could I get emails.
The assistance of BlackBerry experts in the UAE, and three hours at the BlackBerry shop in Dubai Mall, were all to no avail. The Q10 just would not perform the basic functions.
Since then, several things have happened. On my trip to Europe, I begged the assistance of three people I regard as technophiles at the sharp end of the telecoms vanguard: my 16-year-old son, my daughter's 21-year-old boyfriend, and my older but tech-savvy brother-in-law in France.
No joy. None of these tech geniuses could get my Q10 working. They all said how good the device looked, but nobody could actually get it to function as a mobile phone or email transmitter.
My frustration was all the more acute because several friends I met up with over the summer were using the Q10, and singing its praises as the best thing ever.
I'd be inclined to accept I've just got a dodgy one-off defective handset, were it not for the fact that this is the second one I've tried.
BlackBerry's UAE agents gave me a new one after I wrote about my problems before, but the replacement is just as bad.
Meanwhile, over at BlackBerry HQ in Ontario, the news has been going from bad to worse. Losses for the second quarter of its financial year came in at a staggering US$169 million, when most experts had been expecting a modest profit. BlackBerry shares lost $2bn in value on that news.
Then, the embattled company admitted it was the right time to "explore strategic alternatives", which is business-speak for "make an offer of more than a buck and the company's yours".
I too am exploring strategic alternatives - Apple iPhone5 or Samsung Galaxy S4? And does anybody want to buy a (hardly used) Q10?
***
It is time to move apartments.
I've heard through local property contacts in Dubai Marina that one of the biggest developments in the area is about to get under way, and life will be unbearable at the north end of the Marina for the next three years.
The view from my 44th-floor balcony is stunning, the full length of the Marina in front of me, the open Gulf to my right and the greens of Montgomerie Dubai Golf Club to the other side. But all that is about to go.
A large sandy space directly in front of my tower block has been standing vacant for the past four years, but now I hear that in November work is about to begin on a huge mall topped off with twin 50-storey towers.
Building this monstrosity will destroy my view, and in any case I don't want to have a building site on my doorstep, so I have to go.
Some locals petitioned Dubai Municipality to have the sight made into a green park, which would have been a blessing for the locality.
But no. Dubai Marina needs another mall and two more skyscraper blocks.
 
fkane@thenational.ae

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