BerrySOS for when you get berry berry scared.

Poor abused cats

Poor abused cats

I love walking, so much in fact that my abused shoes tend to wear flat in a matter of months. I’ve even discovered that wearing your socks inside out is far more comfortable thn the regular way. Why put uncomfortable seams on the inside when no-one will ever see them. This was particularly problematic during my last visit to Rome. Not the seams, the worn out soles of course. You see for some odd reason, the ancient Romans decided they’d like to have marble kerb stones, and that in combination with my smooth shoe soles, and a touch of moisture becomes a lethal combination. Two twisted ankles later (separate incidents believe it or not) and I’ve decided Rome needs to come into the 21st century.

We’ll let them keep the Colosseum, and quite happily Trevi fountain, but the marble clad Spanish steps are just a lawsuit waiting to happen. I’m quite surprised there hasn’t been a class action suit yet. If they were in the States you’d have the ambulance chasers permanently camped out at the base, business cards in hand. In the UK you’d have some guy in a high visibility vest waving a flag shouting “Please hold the railings!”.

Fortunately I live in Johannesburg where we’ve discovered modern materials such as tar and concrete! Unfortunately we’ve also discovered that crime can indeed pay. As I have a day job, I tend to do most of my walking at night, which is when crime seems to pay the highest rates! The criminals also seem to know that in the unlikely event that you do get arrested and put away, all you need to get let out of jail is a note from your doctor. Kind of like skipping gym class. You don’t believe me? Sadly it’s true: http://mg.co.za/article/2012-07-20-00-selebi-paroled-on-medical-grounds/ and http://mg.co.za/article/2010-01-15-shaiks-medical-miracle/.

So while your ankles are quite safe in Joburg, the rest of your body does take some risk. And while having a phone on you means you could phone for help, I’ve heard it’s rather tough convincing a would be mugger that you’d like to phone a friend at that particular instant. To help with this, and make myself and the rest of you feel a little safer I’ve come up with a solution. BerrySOS.

What this means is that you are now able to set emergency telephone numbers and e-mail addresses on the new “Settings” page (more details on the settings will be available in a later blog post). In an emergency, all you then need to do is hold in your phones volume up button for 5 seconds. This will do the following:

  1. SMS all the numbers you have listed as “SOS Contact Number(s)”. This SMS will have your most recent co-ordinates, and a link to view your current and past locations.
  2. E-mail all the addresses you have listed as “SOS Notification E-mail(s)”. The e-mail also contains a link to view your current and past locations.
  3. Unlock your maps for your SOS contacts to be able to see your current location.
  4. If your app is currently in cellular tracking mode, or if tracking is off it’ll switch to the GPS, and also set the interval back to one minute if it was set higher previously.
  5. The app will then force a new GPS reading.

In case of emergency, hold this down!

Why did I pick the volume up button? Well firstly BlackBerry won’t let you use any of the letter keys if your app isn’t on the screen. Secondly, the volume buttons are active even if your phone is locked! And thirdly, the BlackBerry 9900 exposes the volume button when it’s in the standard pouch. This means the SOS button works without you need to take the phone out of the pouch, or open any application. Quite a valuable time saver indeed.

So now I feel much better walking home from gym rather late at night, knowing that with one button I can have a few of my friends/relatives on their way to witness my uber kung-fu (lol my spell checker initially corrected kung-fu to far-flung!) skills on a helpless attacker!

To make use of these features, please update your app to version 0.96.

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