Gadget Box: A Handy Built for BlackBerry Application


I like to think of myself as a handy guy, but in actuality, I’m not. Oh I have a garage full of tools: hammers, saws, power tools of all shapes and sizes, I just don’t use them very much. As it turns out, the tool I use most is a hammer. Hammers can fix anything. Well, hammers and duct tape. And if you’re like me, I know where my hammer is but not many of the other tools. My garage is a disaster (but that’s a different blog).

On a recent chore weekend, I found myself with a list of things to fix, pictures to hang, stereo components to rewire, and spaces to measure. I thought about digging through my garage for all the necessary tools, then I decided to have another cup of coffee and check my sports’ scores. I pulled out my BlackBerry Z10 to load my sports app when it hit me: is there an app to help me with my weekend chores? That’s when I found Gadget Box.

Gadget Box is the handyman’s dream. In one application you have a flashlight, speedometer, protractor, level, compass, ruler, Morse Code generator, height estimator, and units converter.  First on my list was to hook up a cables to my TV box for my upstairs TV.


Of course, the TV box was inside a very dark cabinet. No worries. Using the transform hard shell on my BlackBerry Z10, I could prop up the device, turn on the Flashlight and have a steady source of light on my subject. I connected the cables and was done. Since Gadget Box is a Built for BlackBerry application I knew that it followed the BlackBerry UI/UX guidelines for gestures. A simple swipe with my thumb and the flashlight was gone and I was back at the main screen.

Next on the list: hang a new antique, land-line phone on my wall. This chore required me to put two screws in the wall that were in line with each other. I’m told they need to be “plumb”. I guess I need something other than a hammer. So with a couple of self-drilling screws and my BlackBerry Z10, I was ready to go. I put the first screw into the wall, then used the app’s ruler to measure to where the next screw would go. A really groovy thing about Gadget Box’s ruler is that it slides. So I could put my finger on the app’s ruler to “hold it in place” and then slide the Z10. This allows you to measure distances greater than the height of the phone. Very handy.  To make sure the hole was plumb with the other screw; I used the level in Gadget Box. The initial screen had a typical bubble level that I wasn’t too keen to use in this situation. No worries, I clicked the overflow menu where I could select a Plumb Bob and I was all set. Made the mark on the wall, set the screw, and the new land-line phone was hung perfectly straight. Kind of ironic, I used a mobile phone to help hang a land-line phone.


I could go on about my day and how I used Gadget Box, but that probably wouldn’t be the best use of your time. The important take away from this story is that Gadget Box is a Built for BlackBerry application. And because it is, I knew how to use it before I even installed it. The application felt familiar to me from the very first swipe to the last interaction. I also knew that it would provide me more functionality than just a simple single function application. Instead of one app for a flashlight, another for the level, and third for measuring, I had a multi-function application that provided me with enhanced productivity; another key criteria for a Built for BlackBerry application.

The only thing Gadget Box is missing is a duct tape application and a hammer – the two tools I already have. (I don’t recommend using your BlackBerry Z10 as a hammer). So if you’re like me, a weekend handyman, check out Gadget Box and discover the enhanced productivity it can bring to your BlackBerry Z10.

About Tom Anderson

Tom Anderson – Senior BlackBerry Developer Evangelist – Tom started his career in 1986 with Microsoft Corporation where he was a Program Manager on such products as Windows 3.11, Windows for Workgroups, Windows 95, and Internet Explorer. He was also the creator of the Windows Resource Kit which began that product line. In addition, Tom presented at many trade shows and gave technical presentations with the Microsoft Executive Staff. He left Microsoft in 1995 to form Three Points Consulting with Marianne Reid Anderson and Bob Taniguchi. Three Points focused on bringing the power of the emerging internet technology to everyday life. Tom’s innovative technology solutions played a key role in the successful acquisition of Three Points by TechRx. At TechRx, he acted in the role of CTO until it was acquired by NDC Health of Atlanta, Georgia. In 2004, Tom decided to become a High School Teacher as his primary method of giving back to the community. In 2005 he joined the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School (PA CYBER) where he was awarded the Keystone Award for Innovative Use of Technology in the Class Room. During this time, he also earned a Master’s degree in Software Design through Capella University. In 2009, in addition to teaching, Tom returned to software development creating various web and mobile applications.

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