Tech: IT Easy - BlackBerry outage cripples users worldwide

It just goes to show just how much we depend on our smartphones for work and fun. Last week, the worldwide BlackBerry outage affected Jamaica for just over a day, and it also showed just how many smartphone users are really dumb.

Let's back up for a second and explore what happened. Part of the reason that BlackBerry is so popular is because it's so secure and part of the reason BlackBerry is so secure is because it uses a private network to move data (your email, browsing history and instant messages).

As it happened, one computer in the RIM network failed. This is not normally a problem, RIM, the maker of BlackBerry, has thousands of computers (which it calls servers) all around the world to back up the data flow if one crashes. Unfortunately, when all the data from the crashed server hit the data in the new server, the doubled up data caused the new server to crash; and so on.

The failure 'cascaded' around the world leading to longer outages in Europe than in North America. Here in Jamaica, we were out for about a day and half. Quite frankly, a day and half too long!

But, we are smart right? We know exactly how to fix the problem! We send a broadcast message over BBM with some nonsensical number and that will make BB work again. Right? Wrong!

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