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Don Berzley

Don Berzley

Co-Founder of OSBB. BlackBerry 10 app developer. Father of a son with Cystic Fibrosis.

Follow Me On Twitter - @BlkScorp33

Check Out My Apps - BlackBerry World

Help Find A Cure For Cystic Fibrosis!

Website URL:

Developers Corner - Jason Carter

Jason Carter is a very accomplished developer on the BlackBerry 10 platform and has one of the most popular games available in BlackBerry World -- Words Plus.

Jason is a native of Canada and he and his brother Quincy are the guys behind  These two have brought us the great Cascades BBM integration open source code ‘HelloBBM’ that many Cascades developers use for BBM integration.

Jason is a great guy who is very humble and down to earth. I wanted to talk with Jason for quite some time, and I was glad that he took the time to do this interview.

How many apps have you done? Are you currently working on one now?

I have 2 games in BlackBerry World, WordsPlus and Sequent. Currently, I’m concentrating on bug fixes and enhancing the feature of WordsPlus but I have a few ideas of games I’d like to work on or games I think would be just fun to work on.

Is BlackBerry the only platformfor which you develop? Do you also build for iOS and/or Android? If yes, how does developing for BlackBerry compare to the others?

My first entry into mobile development was for Windows Phone, I created a game similar to Sequent during the summer of 2012. Currently, I plan to make BlackBerry my main/only platform I develop for.
And when it comes to platform comparison, I have a number of years coding with the .NET framework and honestly I find Microsoft’s development tools to be amazing. Developing WordsPlus on the new BB10 platform and tools is fun but frustrating in comparison to Visual Studios. However, VS is a very mature tool set and I’m sure BlackBerry’s tool will improve over time.

What was your motivation for starting app development? Is there another developer that influenced you?

My brother, Quincy Carter, is a huge BlackBerry fan and once BB10 beta 1 came out with Cascades he was on it and coding up his very first app, Launch Codes. He’s the one that really convinced me to make something for the new platform. I was hesitant at first, but figured they’ll be a lot of great opportunities on a new platform. And honestly, being Canadian and BlackBerry being a great Canadian technology company, I have a soft spot for them and wanted to be a part of their come back story?

What is your preferred programming language? Would you be interested in learning another language? (i.e. from HTML --> Cascades)

I’ve spent most of my career working with C#, which is also my preferred language. Cascades is great but I’d consider it more of a markup language like XAML, but more interesting because you can mix in javascript. When it comes to learning new languages, I was forced to pick up C++, which I actually hate! But then I discovered Qt, which is very similar to C# (or perhaps it’s the other way around) so I did a lot of business logic for WordsPlus in Qt. So this one experience allowed me to touch 3 languages in total (C++, Cascades, Qt).

Are any of your apps Built for BlackBerry™(BFB) certified? If so, do you have any tips for new developers on being BFB certified?

I have 2 games (3 technically), Sequent, WordsPlus and WordsPlus: Free Edition. Out of those, both WordsPlus games are BFB.
Tips. Hmm, I could say just follow the guidelines but that would just qualify you to be considered. For me, I went with the attitude of building the best game I can make. I wanted a game that looked clean and was intuitive to use by the end user. Also, I wanted something that looked and felt like it could have been a game actually built by BlackBerry as a pre-installed app.And what I mean by that is I wanted to use sheets, peek and flow, pull down application menu and all of the other BlackBerry 10 specific features and functionality available to me. And not just throwing those features in but integrating them in a way that made sense.
I honestly believe WordsPlus was awarded BFB certification not only because it’s a nice game but also because it show cases BlackBerry 10 features, functionality and UI in a great package. WordsPlus was designed specifically for BB10 and just by that alone it will never be on another platform.

Did you have formal schooling for developing or are self taught? Did you attend any BlackBerry Jam sessions for additional education?

Yes, I have a Software Engineering degree. I haven’t attended any of the BB Jam sessions; all of my BlackBerry development skills is from my technical background and BlackBerry’s online documentation. And also the forums, there are some great and helpful developers in the forums.

What are pointers or advice you could give to new developers? Where could they look to get a good start?

I recommend new developers to start small. It’s not that interesting but the fundamentals will get you very far. Jumping into something complicated might get you somewhere fast but if you don’t understand how you got there, you’ll never learn how to make enhancements to your app and even worse, the next app you do you’ll end up starting from scratch instead building on top of your previous knowledge.
For me, BlackBerry’s online documentation and developer forum were the best places to start.

How do you advertise your applications? Do you have a dedicated website or do you utilize social networking (i.e. Facebook, or Facebook page, Twitter)?

I do everything and anything possible. I have landing page (, a Facebook page (, tell my Facebook friends, a Twitter page (@jasonicarter), and I write guest blog posts and try to get reviews. Any visibility is good visibility.

Which BlackBerry do you use as your main device?

I use my white Z10.

Are you a full time developer? How long have you been doing this for?

My career is in IT as a software developer and analyst. I’ve developed mostly .NET desktop, ASP.NET and PHP websites for since 2004. I started doing mobile development in the summer of 2012.

Check out Jason's Apps in BlackBerry World.


Developers Corner

I wanted to take a minute and thank you all for visiting the re-designed (OSBB). We have a lot of awesomeness planned, and we are happy ecstatic to refocus our attention on indie developers.

Not only do we want to focus on helping new and veteran developers, but we also want to amplify current independent developers and their apps. Moreover, we want to give the readers useful information about the actual developer behind the app.

When we decided to refocus and refine our mission around developers, one of the things I personally wanted to do was focus on the developer themselves--not just the apps. So, the plan is to do a weekly interview with a currently active independent developer.

In this weekly series I will be interviewing some of our favorite indie devs and getting to know them a little bit better. Our vision for this is to not only showcase some of the best apps that are out there, but also some of the best developers. I have a couple developers lined up and I hope you will enjoy this series.

Many of the developers that I will be featuring have apps in BlackBerry World now, but we will also be chatting with a few up and coming new developers also.

Please, leave your comments and support these developers, because they are the heart and soul of the BlackBerry developer community.

BlackBerry Live: First Impressions

If you are a BlackBerry fan like myself, the one event we look forward to is BlackBerry Live. I had tried to attend Live last year but was unable to make it, however several of our team was there. This year, I was able to make the journey to Orlando, Florida.

What is BlackBerry Live? BlackBerry Live is the event where BlackBerry make their announcements of what is to come concerning the devices that we love to use. To the masses that is all BlackBerry Live is. However, there is much more to this event than announcements. BlackBerry Live is a forum for a brotherhood.

Two BlackBerry 10 GPU's?

Just a quick post. As I was submitting an app to the BlackBerry Vendor portal today I noticed a small change.
There are now 2 BlackBerry 10 device GPU's showing for All Touch. Imagination GPU and Qualcomm GPU. We are unsure of the difference between the two as of now, but are awaiting word from RIM.

Send King to BlackBerry Live

So, I missed out on my chance to go to BlackBerry World (now rebranded BlackBerry Live) last year. Was supposed to go to BlackBerry Jam Americas in San Jose and missed out on that.
Now, BlackBerry Live is coming up in May. This is your chance to help me finally meet the BlackBerry family I have grown to know. The people I am proud to call my friends.
There are two links below. One to help send me to BlackBerry Live, the other is to keep me away from Blackberry Live for @StephenBB81. Stephen doesn't think I deserve to go. Let's prove him wrong!

*If enough is not raised to send me, or I am unable to attend all money raised will be donated to Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in my sons name*

Donate to send King to BlackBerry Live:

Keep King from BlackBerry Live for @StephenBB81:

*both links send me...

Tutorial - Media Player

*Updated to include link to source, images and sounds on my Github repo*

My first Cascades tutorial is about creating a simple Media Player to use for your own custome sound apps. I like the use of dropdowns to choose your own sounds, as the only sample I found online was using system sounds in a drop down I had to play a bit to get what I wanted. Hence this tutorial to make it easier on others. As this is my first tutorial, I am sure I may miss some things (don't crucify me, please). Now, lets get down to business.

PillPad and CF PillPad for BlackBerry Playbook

PillPad is a BlackBerry application for the Playbook, inspired by and created initially for our 1year old son. He was diagnosed with a rare disease, “ghost disease”, Cystic Fibrosis (CF) before birth and the journey has piled us with tons of medications to remember. **Find out more at**

Due to the amount of medications that he and others with CF have to endure, my fiancé and I thought it would be nice to have a program on our Playbooks to help keep us straight with dosages and frequencies. Also to have something on hand in case we were out of town with our son and he needed immediate medical attention. With everything that goes on with maintenance and caring for our son, it is so easy to forget something, and his medications are keys for survival.

The application is designed for people like our son who need assistance in keeping track of their daily medication intake. The application has been created for the entire family, young and old. It is self guided and easy to navigate. PillPad is set up with different key sections: Patient Information-- add/edit feature, Medication-- listing of all medications, Medical Sources-- Leading medical websites to educate persons of the medications they are given, and Pharmacies-- listing of a few pharmacies in the US, CA, and UK.

The application is one of a kind. The patient area contains all the family members in the household and divided by each person’s name. It allows you to add notes for extra medication instructions and to record the dosage to be taken for each medication. As the medication section and the medical sources section target the patient’s prescribed medications, the pharmacy addition is the heavy hitter. The pharmacy tab takes you to three different locations. It connects you with United States pharmacies, Canada pharmacies, and United Kingdom pharmacies. So that wherever you may be, you have the opportunity to order your medication right from the application. Now that is awesome.

PillPad even has an in-app calculator to help with calculating those fractional doses. Which in the CF world and I am sure in many other in depth illness’ worlds, dosage and fractional dosages can happen within minutes, hours, or days depending on the patients’ body response.
We are very proud to present this application to the BlackBerry community and in the same aspect wanting to raise awareness about Cystic Fibrosis. This application contains a lot of BBUI elements and is very smooth running. The elements used give the application life and functionality.
We hope that the BlackBerry community will embrace PillPad as we are trying to incorporate every aspect of taking and recording medications.

Future updates COMING SOON to include:
*Doctor Information section
*Password protection
*Landscape view

**Updates have been approved and now show in AppWorld.

BIG congratulations to @KMCooley: this month’s BlackBerry Fan of the Month!

Kim July FOTM

Kim July FOTM

Its a new month and that means one thing, a new BlackBerry Fan of the Month. We here at OSBB dont normally post about the Fan of the Month, but this month is a different story.
This months Fan of the Month is part of the OSBB extended family and one person I am proud to call a good friend.
Kimberly Cooley (@KMCooley) has been a very influential part in the BlackBerry community. She has a strong faith in BlackBerry and the community. I recently had a chance to speak with Kim on a more personal basis.

What thoughts went through your mind when you found out that you were selected as RIM's FOTM for July?

I was very appreciative though surprised. There are soooo many great members of Team Blackberry online, so for a second, I had the “why me” moment but quickly got over it. Ha

What prominent person would you compare yourself to and why?

President Barack Obama because of his firm stance on not giving up his BlackBerry. The weight of responsibility clearly doesn’t determine one’s salary or worth, but it does determine what device he/she carries. His Secret Service critics equate to my everyday BlackBerry nay-sayers.

Who is your personal hero?

My dad, Ozell. 1944-1996

I know about 8 months ago you were contemplating leaving BlackBerry behind. Why were you gonna leave, and what was the deciding factor to stay #TeamBlackBerry?

I pretty much experienced the ‘walls all coming down around’ you moment, and simply got tired of fighting, got tired of defending, and got tired of seemingly being lied to. Thankfully, a good friend @blkscorp33 sat me down and had a heart to heart BBM conversation and encouraged me to stay the course and stay loyal to the brand that has stayed loyal to me and proven itself time and time again. This is a prime example of the type of support RIM needs now in this very moment. There I was a 10 year BlackBerry veteran close to the edge, but the BlackBerry community pulled me back in.

How do you view RIM's future with the new BB10 and devices?

I’m optimistic though the announcement of the BB10 delay made my heart literally skip a few beats. I can't even lie about that. BB10 HAS (can't say this enough) to drop on time and has to be the game changer that Thorsten is holding back to continually perfect. I respect the guy. He inherited a huge, untimely mess, but is still holding the BlackBerry car steady on the road. Until Thorsten throws the white flag, I will remain in Black(Berry)!

Read the official post on BlackBerry Blog.

So, there you have it. A little getting to know July's Fan of the Month. Congratulations, Kim from all of us at OSBB/OSBBx.

National Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month

The BlackBerry community, what is it? To some it is just a place to come and get information on the newest BlackBerry OS or device, but for me, it is a family.

I wanted to start this article by saying thank you to everyone reading. You have been a huge support for me in both my personal and BlackBerry life.

Most of you know by now that in August of 2011, I released my "Top Secret Hybrid". This hybrid was never really hybrid, but the birth of my youngest son. He weighed 6lbs 3oz. Now 9 months later he is close to 20lbs and keeping me busy.

What most of you may not know is that my son was also diagnosed with CF (Cystic Fibrosis). For those that don't know, CF is a genetic mutation that affects the lungs and digestive system. There is no cure, only treatments. You can read more here:

It was very heart wrenching to learn of this. Constant trips to see a team of specialists, daily breathing treatments, giving him enzymes before every meal to aid in digestion and extra vitamins. His daily treatment routine in and of itself is a lot of work and takes up a significant amount of time.

I am thankful to have such a great support group with the guys and gals here at OSBB. They have been invaluable to us, and I am very grateful to the BlackBerry community as a whole.

On May 20, 2012 we (my family) will be taking part in the Great Strides walk for Cystic Fibrosis in Wilmington, DE. We have raised about $400 in donations which go directly to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to help fund research and bring us one step closer to a cure. I am asking all OSBB members and the BlackBerry community to help by donating here: Team Lorenzo . You can also show your support by displaying a special avatar on your BBM or Twitter profiles to bring awareness to others!

To those that have donated and changed their avatar, thank you very, VERY much. Your support is appreciated more than you could possibly know.

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