BBM for Android delayed, iPhone 5s security, and schools: IT Pro's web comments round-up

This week on IT Pro we seem to have had an influx of conspiracy theorists checking out the site, based on some of the comments they've left on the week's biggest stories.

Readers have been speculating on the "real" reasons behind the delayed release of BBM for Android and iPhone, and suggesting workarounds for the iPhone 5s Touch ID fingerprint scanner.

BBM for Android and iPhone delayed

BlackBerry's decision to call a halt to the worldwide rollout of its BBM messaging system for iOS and Android users left a few IT Pro readers disappointed.

The firm was forced to postpone the product's release after an older, unauthorised and buggy version of it was leaked on various file-sharing sites.

At the moment, there's no word from BlackBerry on when the product will now be released, but some sceptical types have suggested the delay is simply a ruse to drum up interest in the software.

It would be great if they can launch it, but I won't lose sleep waiting for it.

The fantastically named Barbooza even went as far as suggesting BlackBerry may have intentionally leaked the app just to gauge how much demand there was for it.

"Since they realised that there is a high demand for it, they are going to release a paid version of their app so that they can milk as much money as they can from their failing business," he speculated.

Aside from that, most other readers were simply put out at having to wait for it, with one telling a very sad tale about deleting WhatsApp to make room for BBM on his Android device, only to find out it wasn't there when he looked in the Google Play store.

"A simple messenger app launch has caused them untold misery when WhatsApp can handle 300m users...It shows that BlackBerry lacks the resources to expand their infrastructure or support it," said MC Wong.

"It would be great if they can launch it, but I won't lose sleep waiting for it. After all, it took two years to launch its make or break' BB10 devices."

Meanwhile, Nasser who we're assuming is a BlackBerry user made this heartfelt declaration. "Can you stop this, please? BBM is for BlackBerry. Not for Android or the iPhone," he wailed.

Touching base with the iPhone 5s

It was only a matter of time until some hardy hacking group managed to crack the iPhone 5s fingerprint scanning technology, and this week it emerged that one had. So, well done them.

As a result, several readers decided to suggest other ways of outfoxing Apple's biometric security system. Other commentators simply trashed the feature.

Brianm101 seemed unsurprised by the news, before condemning the use of fingerprint scanners on mobile devices as a really, really bad idea.

"The security is weakened in that the required fingerprint is virtually guaranteed to be on the phone or other items that might have been stolen/acquired with the phone," he mused.

So these IT geeks want schools to waste even more money on training and network infrastructure.

"Yes it will give a low level of security, perhaps equivalent to a simple swipe pattern, but not much more."

Yeah, well, IT Pro superbrain TTwonker has already thought of a way round that, by harnessing the power of an iPhone user's little finger.

"Why not use a finger that you don't use for typing as your entry ID, so that when you use the phone, it obliterates that print (like the left pinky)?

"Alternatively, Apple could redesign to store two prints, and then we have a tougher to duplicate code based on 2 of 10 fingers. Still not perfect, but better," he added.

Educating users

A Taxpayers' Alliance (TPA) report about the use of tablet PCs in schools from June 2013, caught the eye of Fuc Face Jr (an IT Pro reader whose username is erring dangerously on the side of being Not Safe For Work).

The document claimed giving kids access to new fangled technologies, like tablets and interactive whiteboards, was a waste of time and does little to enhance their learning experience.

This point was contested by several people IT Pro spoke to at the time, while Mr. Face sided with the TPA.

"So these IT geeks want schools to waste even more money on training and network infrastructure while the REAL infrastructure in crumbling," he said.

"By the time they train teachers and upgrade their networks it'll be time to get new tablets that need a better network."

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.