Companies and Users Flock Back to Blackberry

Companies and Users Flock Back to Blackberry

Blackberry is betting big on their new line of smartphones, headlined by the Passport. It bears a resemblance to the Bold, but with a larger screen and a more intuitive keyboard.  The Waterloo company is also winning back corporate clients who are disenchanted with the entire concept of bring  your own device.

One of the big concerns over Blackberry and the primary reason many corporations have switched away was due to the app ecosystem. Many of the top apps like SalesForce and Teamviewer do not have native apps and these are essential to doing business. In order to win back customers Blackberry signed a new agreement with Amazon to bundle their phones with the Amazon Appstore, as the primary destination to download content. This will open up the availability of a wider selection of apps and make it easier for your average user to install what they want, without having to sideload anything.

At a well-known investment firm in New York City, something strange is happening: Mobile app performance issues and privacy concerns have sparked a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) revolt, and now many employees are asking for their corporate BlackBerry back. “It’s a nightmare,” says an IT executive speaking on condition of anonymity.

Battery draining, stress on the corporate servers from many different devices are hindering app updates and providing security. “Things like this drove a wedge between IT and the users,” says the IT executive. “We became Big Brother. Everyone was convinced that we were doing this because we wanted to see what the hell they’re doing. In reality, it’s all about protecting the data.”

There is a movement now to step away from Android, iOS and Windows and embrace Blackberry once more. BlackBerry’s new BES10 and soon to be BES12 really takes care of many issues I.T departments are having now. Blackberry Balance helps segregate the work and personal life and new firmware updates will make them more viable.

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Companies and Users Flock Back to Blackberry

Free! – Episode 7

No manic energy tonight. Very sleepy. Our glistening men will have to use those ample shoulders of theirs to carry a little more weight than usual. Hopefully that won’t be a problem – I found last episode pretty dull in spite of all its touchy-feely character-building pretensions, and I’m really just here to watch Gou be a derp and see Haru and Rin shoot smoldering looks at each other. I’d always thought KyoAni’s slice of life shows were lame, but never before had I actually witnessed a combined beach/desert island/haunted house/slumber party/flashback episode – that is like four played-out tropes too many. Get back in gear, Free. Juggle your resources like this and you’ll never make it to regionals.

Episode 7

0:15 – Wow, this rise out of the water used as much animation as an entire lesser episode of Titan

0:23 – Nagisa if you screw this up for Haru so help me god

2:12 – I kind of wonder if this is any more or less watchable for me than any of KyoAni’s other slice of life shows. I mean, the novelty of it being maleblobs as opposed to moeblobs has kinda worn off, so outside of the vaguely appropriated sports shell, I’m pretty much left with K-On with abs. I guess you fuckers tricked me.

2:52 – Nice shot

3:16 – Holy shit, I’m already liking this episode waaay more than the last couple. They’re actually building some real tension here, and all these shots are great. Are they actually trying to evoke Rin’s feeling of discomfort? Is this show trying?

Oh jeez you guys I’m sittin’ up in my chair

3:28 – Animating a fish must suck

3:48 – HOLY SHIT YOU GUYS. LOOK AT THAT OMINOUS SHOT COMPOSITION. And the split fish shadows dancing on the ground… man, where did THIS show come from?

4:12 – Oh, of course, it’s a dream. That’s perfect – those overwhelming cicadas earlier, now slowly fading into this creeping piano line… all the smudged colors, and the way reality seems to sort of crumble at the edges… alright, Free. Take the stand

4:22 – Well now I’m glad I didn’t do some theme gimmick this week. Lovely shots left and right

4:39 – This is so great. A creepy, distinctive setpiece that conveys every single thing we need to know about Rin’s past and motivation with barely a word. KYOANI WHY U TROLL ME LIKE THIS

5:01 – Why are shark teeth a thing

5:39 – Oh but it is

6:07 – Gou prattles on about her meaningless shenanigans. Haru’s eyes reside elsewhere. Soon!

6:33 – “I’ll have their individual swimming styles and data recorded by the time of the match.” Alright, again, that’s great and all, but… this is swimming. You swim your fastest, and the other guy swims his fastest, and the fastest guy wins. Not a whole lot of room for strategic interplay there

6:56 – Rin’s effect on Haru is so strong it activates his hair-tossling automatically

7:46 – Why are you doing this to yourself?! You’re going down a road I can’t follow, senpai!

8:19 – Don’t we all? There’s not a man on this team without some devastating watersports-related baggage

8:59 – Yeah, it’s basically exactly the same as K-On . Last week someone mentioned how male bonding was much more prevalent and overt outside of America’s defensive, screwed-up society, and that makes sense to me. But these characters just don’t ring as teenage males to me – they ring as children, just the way moe SoL characters so often do. It’s a really weird disconnect, and the fact that they’re using it for male characters makes me think this has just become an established rule of the escapist SoL genre. Is it working? I’m kind of blind to moe – are scenes like this successfully making people want to hold these characters’ hands and pinch their cheeks and tell them there aren’t any monsters under the bed?

9:27 – Man this is a weird effect. I’m recognizing Rei’s character so strongly – it’s a weird mixture of glasses-pusher and the direct moe parallel, the authoritative and standoffish but secretly passionate straight-laced type. And Haru is the blank-faced savant, and Rin is the tsundere, and… dear god

9:41 – Is this the plot of the rest of the show? So, more training, the club will prosper, more slice of life shenanigans, you’ll meet Rin but there will be a conflict and you won’t be able to beat him swimming solo so eventually you’ll meet near the end of the series in the relay and win for real. Did I get it?

9:51 – Not to get 2deep4u or anything, but that’s twice in five minutes that Haru has thought of Rin and then turned to watch an object fly away into the sky. Symbolism!

9:57 – “Matsuoka-senpai, you’re not taking the bus to regionals with everyone else?!” Again Free shows some less-than-graceful exposition

10:29 – This is a conflict I can actually get behind. It only required one dedicated scene to establish, but it’s fundamental enough that anyone can somewhat understand this character now

11:15 – “I’m going to see my dad.” Also nice. I like that they don’t drag this out with some trashy reveal – that flashback already told us everything, so the show can just move on.

11:24 – Here’s another iteration of that “rookies are useful for narrative” thing – one of the main purposes of Rin’s roommate is simply to give him someone to exposit and react to . Characters monologuing exposition to themselves is pretty ugly

11:54 – They are going crazy with the water this week

12:45 – Nice parallel with the roommate’s own feelings. This episode overall isn’t quite living up to those first few minutes, but it’s still a far cry from what this show was last week

13:17 – I love these shots . One of my favorite things about anime. They’re called pillow shots, I believe – they add nothing to the direct narrative, but they convey mood and a sense of space, and work wonders for pacing. A very un-western convention that carries across film, anime, and comics. In this case, they’ve significantly shifted the tone of the show throughout this episode, and here in particular they pull back the focus from the specificity and passion of Rin’s speech to the contemplative wider atmosphere of the early morning in an extremely organic way

13:36 – An absolutely lovely pan. The scenery looks more like a sketch with watercolors than harsh cells. The bird in flight adds a nice focal point to draw the eye upward and also echoes that reoccuring “object in flight” motif

What happened to this show you guys

14:07 – All of it together now

14:19 – Pff, you call those bags under your eyes? Tomoko is not impressed

15:28 – Makoto’s going for a PhD in thoughtful concerned looks

15:39 – Can you feel the heat? Cause you can jump in the pool if you want, the first race doesn’t start for an hour

15:55 – Omigod you guys regionals

16:47 – At least the show also realizes swimming is an absurd subject for a sports show

17:11 – Gou is best Free . I can’t say I’m thrilled that the moment KyoAni adopt a more angular and less moefied design style, they use it for The Swimming Anime

17:42 – He’ll be publishing his thesis any day now

18:35 – Oh no he didn’t

18:56 – Oshit they dropped the bass. Now you KNOW It’s On

19:19 – Makoto stop your body can’t take the strain

19:28 – Nice shot

21:32 – That’s right. ALL the water

And Done

Oh man, intense ending, huh? I guess Haru’s gonna have to start giving a shit if he wants to get on Rin’s level.

Anyway, that episode wasn’t the funniest, but it handily made up for that by being far more visually inspired than I ever remember this show being. New episode director? Either way, I’m all for it, and I’m looking forward to the aftermath of Haru’s sweet, chlorinated tears. If you want to get serious, Free, I am right there with you

Free! – Episode 7

Hanasaku Iroha Episode #20 Anime Review

Hanasaku Iroha Episode #20 Anime Review The preparations for the Kourin High School Festival continue, though the civil war in Class 2-A looks to complicate matters. Omelet rice destroyed the harmony of the class. Can omelet rice restore it?

What They Say:
“Love. Kourin Festival”

Minko, after getting into a fight with her classmates about the menu for the classroom cafe, leaves the Kissuiso early in the morning in order to buy ingredients and prepare. Ohana, worried for her, decides to visit the classroom earlier than the scheduled time to help, but Minko angrily declines. On the other hand, Nako is preparing for her class’s booth with Mizuno.

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Yuina: “It’s like I’m watching some teen drama.” Indeed you are, Yuina, indeed you are.

We pick up where events left off last episode, with Minko dealing with the fallout from her argument with Yuki over rice omelets. But first, a nightmare, where Nako remembers her distress at having to give a name to Mizuno’s painting. We then move swiftly to Minko stubbornly trying to do everything herself, Ohana just as stubbornly trying to help Minko despite the hostility of the latter to the very idea. We also see Yuki and her friends returning to the classroom, wondering whether she should apologize or Minko should. Nako also heads towards classroom 2-A, as Mizuno notices that Nako is distracted, and can finish setting up her paintings by herself. This is one of those very nice little moments in the show, where positive lessons (the importance of friends and being there for them in tough situations) are imparted without any kind of show or pretense. Instead, in an entirely natural manner and context, we see that virtue (loyalty towards friends) put forward without grand dramatics.

This episode is filled with small scenes that highlight the positive social virtues the Japanese pride themselves on. Yuki’s discussion with her friends is another example of this, as she is the one who wants to apologize to Minko, even though she has not done anything wrong. It’s all part of the social pressure to avoid conflict, to reinforce the harmony of the group. The harmony of the group and the need for teamwork and cooperation finds a quiet champion in Yuina, who meets Nako on the way to the classroom, arriving just as Yuki and her two friends appear as well, all of them being treated to the sight of Ohana and Minko furiously chopping away and crying (they’re chopping onions). Minko continues to react hostilely to Ohana helping her, so Yuina steps in to remark that Ohana’s proper place is with her on the service team, while Minko has people (Yuki and her friends) who should be helping her out, with the implication that these are people whose help Minko should accept.

At this juncture, it’s time for lunch. Ohana asks Nako what she would like to have for lunch, and to everyone’s amazement, Nako asks for omelet rice. She, of course, was completely unaware of the heated debate that that particular dish had started in Class 2-A. So, off they all go to the Home Economics room, where there is a full kitchen, and Minko proceeds to cook for them. It is revealed, of course, that Minko knew how to make omelet rice all along. Not only make it, but make it at a professional level, in a style normally done by professional restaurants. And we learn that Minko’s objection to making omelet rice was professional, not personal, as one already suspected. In the classroom, the hot plates they would have to use in order to cook food could never generate the level of heat needed to make the dish properly, unlike the gas burners in the Home Ec room.

Since Minko made food for all of them, Ohana suggests that they make Minko’s lunch by way of thanks. Ohana does not know how to make omelet rice in the style Minko does, but she knows another way, a simpler way that involves ketchup rice and does not require the same level of cooking heat. Ohana and Nako join together to make it, and Minko tries it out. Finding it acceptable, a compromise that works happily for all is found: they will make the less intensive version of omelet rice Ohana and Nako made for the cafe, since that can be accomplished in the classroom.

The day of the festival comes, and the Princess Café is, of course, a great hit. Tohru comes to visit, and remarks upon the menu at the cafe bearing the certain stamp of Minko. Despite that, he decides to order the omelet rice. Minko, of course, makes it with great trepidation and excitement, topping it herself with LOVE written in large letters with ketchup. When Ohana later tries to tell Nako about it, the old “balut” re-emerges.

The comment from Yuina, which is made twice near the end, does much to sum up the feel of this episode. It does very much unfold like a teen drama, with love, angst, longing, and near-hysterical dramatics. Fortunately, it is not annoying, as the execution is good and the characters do not act in ways that outside of the realm of the probable. With small gestures here and there, social virtues are broadcast and reinforced. But the imparting of lessons is not done in any high-handed or tone deaf manner. Instead, they naturally flow from the situations.

The events of this episode and the preview of the next, however, indicate that a certain small snowball has left the top of the mountain and is rolling downhill, gaining mass quickly.

In Summary:
The last episode ended with a knock-down, drag-out brawl, though not on a physical, but merely verbal level. This episode shows harmony restored to group relations, which was an inevitable outcome (this being Japan, after all). The means of restoring that harmony, however, turns out to be the very item (omelet rice) that caused all of the ruckus in the first place. A little flexibility helps. Yuina states that she feels like she is watching a teen drama, and I have very much the same thought, though fortunately for us, this is a well-executed one, not a sappy one nor an overly melodramatic and utterly unbelievable one. Hanasaku Iroha continues to combine believable characters with situations that at least are consistent with the personalities that have been created. It continues to entertain and thus viewers who have already come to enjoy it will enjoy this episode as well.

Grade: A-

Simulcast by: Crunchyroll

Review Equipment:
Apple iMac with 4GB RAM, Mac OS 10.6 Snow Leopard

Hanasaku Iroha Episode #20 Anime Review

Hanasaku Iroha Episode #20 Anime Review

Hanasaku Iroha Episode #20 Anime Review