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We are the network: Local, live video, curation, aggregation - How I would have covered the Vancouver 2010 Olympics

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2011-03-09 19:34

tl;dr:Hindsight is 2020 :-) Funding + bandwidth + curation + live streaming with anchors & field correspondents using mobile streaming = a true dynamic people's network which goes beyond merely static text, photo & video blogging that we had in 2004 and 2006

I loved the grassroots coverage of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics from the folks at the True North Media House. But as always :-) I wanted more. If I had the time, energy, and budget (I am looking at you CBC, UBC, and the educational institutions and organizations with money and staff !) here's what I would have done:

  1. Found the funds to provide massive bandwidth to True North Media House to truly make it a place for the rest of us to get our stories out on the Internet
  2. We are the network; we don't need to kowtow or reference the official VANOC sanctioned networks.
  3. With adequate massive bandwidth the people can provide their own network. By network, I don't mean some text blogs with some photos and videos posted hours or minutes later. I mean, wouldn't it have been excellent to have:
    1. Implemented a real live video network up 4-24 hours a day with rotating anchors from all the communities of the host cities (e.g. GBLTQ, Filipinos :-), East Van, South Van, every group in Metro Vancouver who has a voice!) merged (e.g. using CamTwist like software) with live mobile streaming video from mobile phones using Qik to get the local stories live as they happen on the ground) i.e. we don't need CNN, CBC etc.! With a studio with massive bandwidth and a few mobile phones with data plans and live streaming we can make a better grassroots, organic network !
    2. Implemented some modern aggregation technology like Managing News to aggregate social media and then getting local folks to curate and surface the local stories that others were missing or don't care about.

N900 Review Part 1 - Great potential but Maemo 5 still a work in progress

Submitted by Roland on Mon, 2010-05-03 00:39

[thanks to WOMWORLD Nokia for the N900 review unit, the following is my usual stream of consciousness; conclusions later :-) !]

Things I like:

  1. Eye Candy - Great Effects
  2. Audio - Fun sound effects
  3. The truly open potential of Maemo since Maemo (now Meego) is a "normal Linux" not some half open / half proprietary b*stardized Linux like Android. This means out of the box I can install with minimal effort and do all the normal Linux things like install Ruby, python, use SSH etc
  4. Firefox ! Yes. Being able to write Firefox add-ons and HTML5 webapps is (eventually once the speed is improved and Firefox has some time to iterate and improve)) going to be very very good thing
  5. Camera while not as great as the N82 is much better than the iPhone

Things I don't like:

  1. Phone is an app and seems like a half baked app at that. Not sure how to invoke it.
  2. The media player app doesn't multi-task with the camera app. If I am playing music and switch to the camera app, the music stops
  3. Touch Screen is unresponsive
  4. UI performance seems to lag and the latency of the UI is often too slow. Seems very sluggish in other words
  5. No real twitter client, give me something like Gravity please
  6. No ShoZu - the built in sharing programs and PixelPipe are not my cup of tea; I prefer my multi-media to be uploaded automatically (or at least not 1 at a time; need to be able to select unlimited number of photos and videos and upload them)
  7. Maemo UI is non-intuitive but it has potential (to me Meego has more potential in the long run than Symbian!)
  8. Camera is sluggish when processing photos and is also slow to power up and auto-focus and to take a shot when compared to the N82

E75 Review Part 5 - Cost reduced E75 w/built in Qik, ShoZu & Gravity would be a killer multi-media creator phone aka buy the C6

Submitted by Roland on Mon, 2010-05-03 00:11

The Thrilling conclusion: Archaic OS + wonderful 3rdparty apps (e.g. ShoZu + Qik + Gravity) = mobile multimedia creator happiness iff:

  1. You can get this phone at a good price (since it's now over a year old, maybe you can get the E75 at a substantial discount e.g. $200)
  2. You don't mind the user unfriendliness of S60V3 and the puny 320x240 screen. S60 V3 is unfriendly and archaic compared to iPhone and Android and other modern mobile operating systems but Symbian has some excellent free or cheap 3rd party programs for mobile multi-media content creators i.e. Gravity + ShoZu + Qik are all free or under 10 Euro each which means that with these programs you have a multi-media creator's powerhouse.

But since the Nokia C6 was introduced does it make sense to consider the E75? Not for me. the C6 is cheaper, has a bigger screen and more up to date software!

C'mon Nokia bundle ShoZu, Qik and Gravity with the C6 and pitch the phone to multi-media creators, students and journalists! It would be a killer combo.

E75 Review Part 4 - Streaming via Qik uses lots of bandwidth

Submitted by Roland on Sun, 2010-05-02 23:49

Got my phone bill last month and it's my highest bandwidth usage ever. 875MB primarily because I streamed 640x480 video using Qik on the E75. Just goes to show you that as I have suspected, once you start streaming at 640x480 or higher e.g. HD, your mobile bandwidth is going to start rapidly rising and suddenly having a multi-gigabyte data plan makes sense!

In other words once Apple catches up :-)  with Nokia in terms of being able to stream 640x480 or higher resolution video over 3G, 3.5 G or 4G, it's going to bring the mobile network to its knees (at least the Canadian mobile networks and probably most other North American ones which are not designed for mass market video streaming)!

Boris & Roland pontificate on iPhone 4.0, Meego, qik, Drupal,Aegir, Acquia, etc. aka "Mobile and Web Pontifications w/o borders"

Submitted by Roland on Fri, 2010-04-09 00:51
More shaky backlight video from the fantastic combo of the E75, Qik and 3.5G. this time mobile and web related pontifications from Boris Mann of Bootup Labs (and fellow co-founder of Bryght). Check out the video after the jump or read my stream of consciousness pseudo-transcript :-) !
  1. Please port Maemo to Qik, and Nokia please buy Qik; just like Nokia should have bought ShoZu :-)
  2. Miss604's Denial of Service of Attack
  3. Bryght - the first hosted Drupal, first Drupal as a service, 5 years ago
  4. Bryght partnership with Workhabit - 50 servers, Cisco routers, pre cloud, we had DOS attacks and Workhabit's awesome Gary, Aaron and Jonathan fixed the routers
  5. DOS cannot be fixed completely but it can be minimized through various means including taking out the DOS IP addresses at the router level, taking your site down is not a solution, shows that real hosting companies need to own their infrastructure or have DNS separated
  6. Drupal Gardens aka "Bryght done right" aka "Bryght in the cloud is not using Aegir
  7. But Drupal Gardens does use Drush
  8. Bryght didn't use Drush, we used python for lots of historical reasons To upgrade 1000 Drupal sites e.g. from Drupal 5.1 to Drupal 5.2 sites I ran hmupdate.py (or was it hmupgrade.py? it's fuzzy now!) in a for loop over the 1000 Bryght Drupal web sites
  9. Aegir has commoditized Bryght (former Bryght guy, Adrian Rossouw, developed Aegir; Adrian rocks)
  10. The entire Bryght Drupal as a service is available in a box i.e. commoditized
  11. The awesome Emma Jane Hogbin has advocated a web infrastructure e.g. a Drupal cloud for every town
  12. A Drupal cloud for every town is a way to attract businesses because you can spin up a free (government pays for it, far better than bogus tax breaks) scalable, modern, SEO optimised website for a business or non profit in 5 minutes
  13. Dreamweaver doesn't cut it - Technologists have failed because there is still no Dreamweaver for 21st century but wordpress.com is close and Acquia Gardens when it's 1.0 will be even closer
  14. Does Qik have a business model? Yes bundling with handset
  15. Schmap is annoying and irrelevant
  16. Iphone 4.0 is highly relevant :-)
  17. Apple Gaming network is huge - Could Tiny Speck use it for Glitch? Yes! How porous will Apple make it? i.e. will it play nice with other social networking sites? probably not in the near term but maybe in the long term
  18. iAds - based on HTML5! Big ! Will make HTML5 "the voice of the new web dev generation"
  19. Multi-tasking - it doesn't matter, it comes down to UX; area where Nokia is lost (except possibly Maemo! go Maemo go! p.s. I hate the name Meego much prefer Maemo!)
  20. User Experience of multi-tasking is what's important and having to install a 3rd party task manager to make Symbian multi-tasking work is a really, really bad user experience
  21. Yet another shout-out to Jan Ole Suhr for the awesome Gravity Twitter App - best mobile Twitter app on ony platform, only available on Symbian for the moment
  22. Took Boris "83 clicks" to pay for Gravity, sad but true :-) ! Nokia, please fix!
  23. Maemo potential is so much greater than Apple iPhone and Symbian because it's Linux and because it's truly open from the get go rather than openness being bolted on like Symbian :-) !

Shaky pontifications without borders video

E75 Review Part 3 - I'm a fan of the future - High Speed always on always available connectivity w/great video & still cameras

Submitted by Roland on Tue, 2010-04-06 23:08

As I blogged about before (e.g. with my N999 concept), the future is great cameraphone pictures & video coupled with always on, always available connectivity. And the closest thing so far to this future is 3.5G combined with a cameraphone with a decent video camera and still camera, i.e. not the current iPhone's cr*ppy camera.

Sometimes I actually see glimpses of the future. That's how I felt tonight with Qik streamed live (check out the video below after the break) over HSDPA 3.5G from the E75-1. What a great wonderful tool for artists and journalists. Imagine if instead of the decent camera in the E75, it was replaced with the camera from the N93 i.e. something with a usable optical zoom and a Zeiss lens!. Magic! Nokia please make it so :-)

 

 

I'm a fan of the future - quick video at Vancouver Startup Drinks

N97 Review - Can't recommend it to others but I would buy one with my own money

Submitted by Roland on Tue, 2009-07-21 20:30

N97 Review Thrilling Review Conclusion - only recommended for S60 geeks

If I had money which I don't due to transitions in employment and the need to pay $8000 for a new roof, I would buy an N97 NAM with my own money. But, unfortunately (it pains me to slag Nokia since I desperately want Apple to have viable competition longterm and slagging Nokia is like slagging my first love since I loved my first cameraphone, the 1 megapixel Nokia 7610 I bought in 2004!)  I can not  recommend the Nokia N97 for other people i.e. people who are not already S60 geeks.

Buy an iPhone 3GS instead. Sure the camera on the 3GS s*cks compared to the N82, N95, N97, N86, etc but the software is a joy to use and the touch focus is something that Nokia should have done first. and there is a viable useful app ecosystem for the iPhone unlike Nokia (sure it may develop but there is no sign of it).

The N97 works for me because of these apps (in no order):

  • ShoZu - Sorry Pixelpipe your service is unusable until Nokia fixes Share Online, sharing only 30 items at a time is a non starter for me.  The unreliable Share Online which has no cues about whether a photo has been uploaded already is a major annoyance.)
  • Gravity - Gravity rocks, it's one of the best Twitter clients on any platform and is continually being improved! Gravity makes the N97 QWERTY keyboard useful instead of a frill. Without gravity, I'd be content with the superior camera of the N86 8MP and pecking away in g*d aweful T9)
  • Nokia Sports Tracker is a must have for tracking your bicycle rides, walks,etc. It is full of annoyances like not remembering any of your preferences (I always want to share my Maps with everybody, please don't ask OVER AND OVER again) but works well and is very useful and works in the background unlike the iPhone trackers all of which are useless because the iPhone doesn't allow 3rd party apps to multi-task
  • QIK, video streaming need I say more. It just works and keeps getting improved!

If you love the above apps or any of the other few (there are about 50 good apps on S60, on iPhone there are several hundred good apps!) good apps on S60, then that probably means you are an S60 geek and then the only choice in 2009 is either the N86 8MP or N97. However once a 5 megaxel iPhone with decent video comes out in 2010, then I fear Nokia at its current rate of stagnation won't even be able to keep S60 geeks like myself happy.

Why normal people should NOT buy  the N97:

  • the UI is impossible to use for non S60 geeks, hand the N97 and iPhone 3GS to a newbie and may G*d have mercy on your soul :-) ! Can't stand S60 constantly nattering at you asking whether you want to connect or not, of course I do ! touch inconsistently works from screen to screen, app to app and a host of other UX issues
  • the whole thing feels like a work in progress e.g. widgets are a great proof of concept but in reality aren't really that useful, e.g. the twitter and facebook widgets don't display enough useful info and autoscroll, they just display the last 10 or so status updates, these widgets feel like "hello world" rather than actually useful
  • instability - e.g. I reset the phone via *#7370#, set the camera to sequence multiple shot mode and take 16 pictures and the camera app freezes; if Nokia can't get their camera app to work in 2009 no wonder ShoZu also has stability issues
  • there's not enough RAM - even if you install all the apps on the built in 32GB mass memory you still run out of RAM

 

N97 Review Day 1 Stream of Consciousness

Submitted by Roland on Fri, 2009-07-03 00:45
  1. The N97 touch UI is a wart on top of an S60 wart. The S60 touch UI  works  only if you are an S60 geek like me or sloanb. For the mass market aka "humans" as Marc Canter calls normal people :-), S60 and the S60 touch UI are unusable. Please Nokia (speaking as a friend who wants Nokia to thrive instead of merely surviving the iPhone juggernaut):
    1. fix the S60 UI as per Rui's suggestions
    2. start a separate stealth division or company to re-do the UI (as I  previously advocated after Nokia Open Lab 2008 and as Alec Saunders advocated today  or just buy Palm :-)  (yes I know buying Palm is unrealistic, but in the long run it's just as valid as Maemo (which I like but is just for geeks at this point) or even worse trying to revamp S60 to make it usable)
  2. Having said that, I am strangely enjoying using the N97 (the Touch makes perfect sense if you have been living and breathing S60 since 2004 like I have!). I love the beautiful big screen (the N82 screen seems tiny and dark by comparison) and the camera seems faster shot to shot and the pictures are not bad in regular light (e.g. this photo of Dane from the N97 looks better than this photo of Dane with the N82 (need to view both at original size) wouldn't you agree?).
  3. Nokia not having full Mac support for the N97 at launch time in 2009 is inexcusable. The days of the Microsoft hegemony are over. Get over it Nokia, the 1990s are over :-) !
  4. Even if Ovi Maps supported the Mac, I doubt I'd like it. I bet I'd feel the same way as Stefan i.e. I'd still use Google Maps instead of Ovi.
  5. Over the air update of my trial N97 (which is European) firmware worked flawlessly. Unfortunately as per Ms Jen, the same can't be said of the N97 NAM, again inexcusable for a flagship device.
  6. Still not a fan of widgets:
    1. Rather have the weather widget use the official and best Canadian forecast which is Environment Canada's
    2. The facebook app doesn't show enough info and doesn't show Notes
  7. Surprisingly email works better than expected with my gmail account. Major bug is that tags don't show up as IMAP folders which they do in a proper email client like Thunderbird.
  8. Qik, ShoZu and Nokia Sports Tracker (Sports Tracker still has a bad website and inexplicably doesn't upload all the photos you have taken during a ride but that's not an N97 exclusive bug) all work just as well as they do on the N82 and E71 even though none of them except Qik support the N97 officially yet.
  9. Gravity rocks! it's one of the best mobile twitter clients on any platform! Beautiful and fun with the kinetic touch scrolling.
  10. The Web Browser still feels pokey and outmoded compared to the iPhone web browser. Please fix!
  11. As many others have pointed out, the keyboard is fine except that "long" key presses should result in numbers or the other symbols instead of auto-repeating the key.This works fine in the E71! Please fix in a future firmware update.

The N97 ain't my N999 concept but it's closer

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2009-07-01 23:15

On the night before I receive my N97 from Nokia WOM World for a brief trial, just for fun I looked back at my N999 concept/vision from December 1, 2008. And what the heck here's the N999 concept updated for July 2009 (notable updates are in bold):

  1. screen with as many pixels as the 5800 Tube or iPhone (sorry but QVGA doesn't cut it in 2009!)
  2. S60 simplified and fixed as Rui describes
  3. 5 megapixel camera with cover and Xenon flash with 3x optical zoom and 640x480 30fps video (basically re-use the awesome N82 camera hardware and software and combine with the N93 optical zoom)
  4. Quad band GSM and 3G (i.e. works on Rogers and AT&T in North America AND European 3G out of the box just like the N85, no funky North American model)
  5. Built in ShoZu (with 10MB limit removed for 3G and WiFi, make the limit 50-200MB for 3G and WiFi) - killer app for photographers and videobloggers - Qik is built  into the N97 why not ShoZu? (I can't stand Share Online's limit of 6 photos at a time since I take over 50 a day; hope it's removed on the N97)
  6. Bult-in Qik (killer app for videobloggers!) - Qik is built  into the N97 can't wait to try it!
  7. Awesome web browser (Nokia's Web Kit browser was great in 2006, it is now far behind Apple's)
  8. Lots of available RAM (as much as the N95 8GB please!), 8GB storage on built-in card - Reviews are mixed on the N97, sounds like it has a lot of RAM (more than the N95 8GB)  but with widgets it takes up a lot more. - I doubt I will use widgets!
  9. Built in Nokia viNes to take advantage of Nokia's great GPS hardware (killer GPS app!) - viNes apears to be dead. Nokia Sports Tracker appears to be alive, so I'd rather have that built-in
  10. Built in Twitter App i.e. built in Gravity

Now I know the above list is not possible given today's processors and batteries but in that case I can live without optical zoom! Everything else is doable as far as I can tell.

I still don't need:

  1. QWERTY keyboard - I'd rather have an awesome camera and flash than a touch or QWERTY keyboard. And for me touch keyboards are just as good as QWERTY.
  2. Email (Email is dead to me (ok email isn't dead but my resolution is to take any email thread  that I need to keep that has more than 2 replies to a wiki or blog); I continue to use it  for work and to communicate with "normal" folks!) - If the browser is as good as the iPhone's, then webmail clients work just fine.
  3. Touch (would be nice, but not convinced Nokia has the software chops for this; I am not interested in S60 transmogrified with touch, I would prefer touch to be part of a totally revamped user interface that's NOT S60.) - Unfortunately it appears that Nokia's current touch interface s*cks. I hope I am proven wrong by my N97 trial.
  4. Micro SD card slot
  5. Calendar (would be nice but that's what my laptop is for :-) !) - Again with a good enough browser a web client would be good enough)
  6. IM (Twitter is IM enough for me and I am fine with using it in the browser)
  7. VOIP is dead to me except for Skype
  8. MMS - I am not convinced I need it, I can always use ShoZu email photos :-) but I was wrong about SMS (so maybe I am wrong about MMS) - I am pretty sure I am wrong about MMS and I am pretty sure (unfortunately) I will be MMSing my relatives with pictures since they all finally seem to have MMS plans and devices and none of my luddite :-) relatives still use flickr or any of the other public or private photosharing sites!


 

7 things you should know about mobile - Presentation to UBC LFS

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2009-01-14 19:28

See the accompanying UBC mobile brief wiki for notes to this presentation which I gave to the UBC Faculty of Land and Food Sciences on January 13, 2009 (note that this presentation was prepared using the 280 Slides web app which i highly recommend!)

Nokia N97- finally a decent looking competitor to the iPhone!

Submitted by Roland on Tue, 2008-12-02 05:28

Or at least it appears to. The N97 proof is in the pudding which is the user experience including hardware and software (skeptical about S60 but willing to be convinced), but at first glance appears to be great. Hope it's both North American and European 3G and available in Canada officially soon! I trust it has lots of RAM and will run ShoZu, Qik and viNes in short order! Vive la competitiion! Go Nokia go!

QUOTE [From Nokia N97 - The Nseries Dream Device: Nokia S60 News and Reviews]

So what makes this Nokia's Dream Device? The N97 is the first Nseries device with QWERTY keyboard!!!!! Now thats not the only thing that makes this a dream device... and let me just state that the endearing term "dream device" is solely based on my own initial impression and opinion of the device.

END QUOTE

QUOTE [From Meet the Nokia N97 - The New Nseries Flagship!]

On first glance the N97 compares to the 5800 in size and seems like it’s older brother … until you slide the keyboard out and realize you’ve got an altogether new breed in hand. While it’s not a small device, the N97 feels great in your hand and can easily be used while walking without needing two hands in most cases. The virtual keyboards (numbers and T9) were clear and the softkeys seemed eas to access for quick data entry. Of course for larger text needs a quick flip and you’ve got a real keyboard at your disposal. Weight (Approx. 150 g) felt semi-comparable to the E71 and in the front pocket of my jeans it was not in any way uncomfortable.

END QUOTE

QUOTE [From Scobleizer — Tech geek blogger » Blog Archive Nokia N97: the ultimate Facebook device «]

Nokia just announced the N97. I got a chance to play with it last night and realized they have built the ultimate Facebook device. Now, I’m sure, lots of you will wonder how it compares to the iPhone. Well, for a Facebook user it isn’t even close: the new Nokia device wins hands down. Why? Let’s compare:

1. It does 16:9 video. The iPhone doesn’t even do video. So, how can you go to a Daft Punk concert and record it to taunt your friends?
2. It has a 5 megapixel camera. The iPhone only has 2, and the quality isn’t even close. The camera also has a dual LED flash, so you can take pictures in the dark where the iPhone can’t.
3. I can type three Facebook status messages on the N97’s nice QWERTY keybord in the time that I can type two on the iPhone.
4. It does copy and paste, so you can copy URLs to send to your friends. The iPhone can’t do that.
5. It has replaceable batteries so you can charge up three batteries and Facebook for days, while the iPhone needs to be hooked back up to the wall for recharging after a few hours.
6. The GPS device does turn-by-turn and has a built in compass, so you’ll get to your parties faster than with the iPhone, which doesn’t have a compass and doesn’t do turn-by-turn.

OK, so how else does it compare to the iPhone? It has a touch screen, with a cool customizeable home screen. You can add a Facebook component and can drag and drop different components with your finger. You can also use gestures so you can “flick” through your photos. That part is very similar to the iPhone, so you can see that Steve Jobs had a big influence on the user experience.

The device itself has only one button and you can see Jonathan Ives’ challenge taken up all over the device. Close your eyes and touch the device and you don’t feel buttons or other things protuding. Smooth.

END QUOTE


Nokia to reveal insanely great device at Nokia World on Wednesday Dec 3, 2008!?!

Submitted by Roland on Mon, 2008-12-01 05:11

Nokia has to do something soon. Don't think it's quite as urgent as "must introduce something this week" as Scoble describes but the window is closing for Nokia to re-capture the "high-end today but quickly becoming profitable mainstream" mind share that they have lost.

What do I want? Here's my N999 "multimedia-creator phone" vision updated for Dec 2008 (not in order of priority):

  1. screen the size of the 5800 Tube
  2. S60 simplified and fixed as Rui describes
  3. 5 megapixel camera with cover and Xenon flash with 3x optical zoom and 640x480 30fps video (basically re-use the awesome N82 camera hardware and software)
  4. Quad band GSM and 3G (i.e. works on Rogers and AT&T in North America AND European 3G out of the box just like the N85, no funky North American model)
  5. Built in ShoZu (with 10MB limit removed for 3G and WiFi, make the limit 50MB for 3G and WiFi) - killer app for photographers and videobloggers
  6. Bult-in Qik (killer app for videobloggers!)
  7. Awesome web browser (Nokia's Web Kit browser was great in 2006, it is now far behind Apple's)
  8. Lots of available RAM (as much as the N95 8GB please!), 8GB storage on built-in card
  9. Built in Nokia viNes to take advantage of Nokia's great GPS hardware (killer GPS app!)

Here's what I don't need:

  1. QWERTY keyboard
  2. Email (Email is dead to me; I continue to use it reluctantly for work)
  3. Touch (would be nice, but not convinced Nokia has the software chops for this; I am not interested in S60 transmogrified with touch, I would prefer touch to be part of a totally revamped user interface that's NOT S60.)
  4. Micro SD card slot
  5. Calendar (would be nice but that's what my laptop is for :-) !)
  6. IM (Twitter is IM enough for me and I am fine with using it in the browser)
  7. VOIP is dead to me except for Skype
  8. MMS - I am not convinced I need it, I can always use ShoZu email photos :-) but I was wrong about SMS (so maybe I am wrong about MMS)

Would be nice:

  1. Built in S60 Python so I can hack around and do some Geo hacks (and with reasonable security model to let mash up creators create some insanely great mashups) - Sorry widsets, Nokia WRT and flash lite don't cut it for me, but I am willing to be convinced of course!
  2. Built-in Skype (the one on the N800 is fab and yes I know it's on a different operating system but Nokia has some awesome developers, c'mon and get with it :-) )
  3. USB charging
  4. Over the air firmware updates

QUOTE [From Scobleizer — Tech geek blogger » Blog Archive Nokia’s touchiest week «]

Translation: this is the week that Nokia either shines or moves to the B list of the cell phone market. Yeah, you won’t know how this week turned out for a year or two, but there is no bigger week for Nokia.

Now, can you count Nokia out yet? No way. It has the biggest slice of the cell phone marketshare pie. Its devices are much better engineered than Apple’s are (GPS on Nokia is better, so are the antennas, the cameras, and bluetooth radios that Nokia uses). But engineering does NOT equal a great experience. Yeah, my Nokia does not drop phone calls in places in Silicon Valley that my iPhone does, but generally I reach for the iPhone when I want to make a call or surf the web. Why?

Nokia is behind in experience. The executives here from Nokia that I’ve talked to know that. They know this is Nokia’s touchiest week and one where they either deliver a much better device or they are going to face a very tough 2009 globally.

END QUOTE

iPhone 3G arrives - google reader faster, browser crashes, camera s*cks, apps are great but limited by Apple's SDK and p*ranoia

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2008-07-23 22:56

Got the 16GB iPhone yesterday. Stream of consciousness notes so far:

  1. Just like the original iPhone, ithe iPhone 3G still camera s*cks and not having video also s*cks! A slow, 2 megapixel camera doesn't cut it in 2008!
  2. Does seem a bit lighter and battery is faster
  3. 3G doesn't seem that much faster than EDGE
  4. Browser crashes more often
  5. Google Reader is noticeably faster 
  6. ShoZu doesn't geo-tag and only posts one photo at a time and only at 640x480 (yes i know shozu is working on it! go ShoZu go!)
  7. AirMe is better but only does 1024x768 and rquires bogus userid registration (complete with bogus personal questions)
  8. Apps are great; I have already thought of some that would satisfy Apple's p*ranoia :-) and might be fun to develop and might even make money! Apps are great both because of Apple's p*ranoia and also despite it! A "mass market, mobile GPS with decent connectivity and bandwidth" platform is what the iPhone is; the first ever. Sorry Nokia you don't have such a platform (S60 isn't it, Maemo isn't it, S60 Python isn't it, Widsets isn't it, Flash Lite isn't, etc,, time to focus Nokia!) yet. Vive la competition; I trust Nokia has something in the works; it's been a year and either the Nokia cupboard is bare or they are going to launch something truly great soon.
  9. I am waiting for Qik (aka live video streaming) and Nokia Sports Tracker
  10. I like Tap Tap whatever it's called even though it's dumbed down from the unofficial SDK version

Now all I need is a North American 3G phone to confirm 100% that my 3G plan is not locked to my iPhone.

Streaming Video Vancouver June 2008 Critical Mass

Submitted by Roland on Mon, 2008-07-07 03:02

I rode in the June 2008 Vancouver Critical Mass bike ride (check out my Mobile Muse Channel with pictures, videos and text as well as my partial Nokia Sports Tracker map of the route as well as flickr pictures which I can't get into the Mobile Muse Channel since there's no RSS feed) and streamed video live using Qik from my Nokia N95, like I did for the Vancouver Car Free Festival. Only this time I didn't use WiMax just Edge

Some observations and comments:

  1. The ride is quite the phenomenon. As a 3-5 days a week bicycle commuter; it was quite liberating to "take over" the streets and cycle with impunity (if you were in the middle, not so in the back) and be a 1st class citizen (for once!) on the road rather than feeling the need to maintain a constant vigil for cars not seeing you and running you over. Is this a form of civil disobedience or are we just Critical Massh*les? To be honest, I fluctuate between both.
  2. Lots of people taking digital photographs and using their cellphones and taking video but nobody doing this live. Imagine 5 years from now when everything is live!
  3. My Io Gear power unit Nokia N Series power connector is flakey! Aaaargh, too late to return it too.
  4. The N95 really isn't designed for streaming video live over a cellphone network from a bicycle. The S60 interface is designed to be used with one hand while standing still and the phone itself is not designed to be mounted on a bicycle. I would love for Nokia to build a mobile cellphone streaming device but realistically making my own with something like the Bug from Bug Labs (hopefully I'll get mine soon) will (eventually) be the way to go

Rogers iPhone pricing plans revealed: 3years $3440 but appears to be no explicit bandwidth cap and no 3rd party app ban

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2008-06-18 18:03

So the questions start:

  1. Is there a bandwidth cap?
  2. Are 3rd party applications like ShoZu and Qik (if ShoZu and Qik don't port to the iPhone others will) allowed?

IF

ShoZu-like and Qik-like applications appear on the iPhone 3G and they work well and Rogers allows them with a reasonable bandwidth cap (reasonable to my multi-media creation needs is 2GB YMMV :-) !!!),

THEN (it's not a r*poff, hurrah!) AND I'll get a 3G iPhone (since net-net, it's only about $10 a month more to pay than my current $50 per month grandfathered EDGE Fido plan).

The only thing that still gives me pause is the 3 year contract but I can live with it if the apps are there!

So I guess I don't buy one on my birthday but wait to see if the 3rd party apps that I want appear and if Rogers allows them.

From Wirelessnorth.ca » Blog Archive » Rogers iPhone pricing plans revealed: 3years $3440:

QUOTE

$199 + 36months x $90 = $3440 and that’s if you buy the cheap one. Don’t forget the GST/PST.

However, you’ll probably realize you are likely to spend at least that much on cellphone service in the next three years, no matter what your plan.

END QUOTE

Car Free Vancouver Day 2008 Mobile Streaming Video Post Mortem Part 1

Submitted by Roland on Sun, 2008-06-15 19:28

Had a blast bicycling and checking out Car Free Vancouver 2008 from Commercial Drive to the West End to Kitsilano and back to Commercial Drive (we skipped Main Street since it didn't start until 4p.m.)

Here's some of the media we created:

  1. My Vancouver Car Free Vancouver 2008 Videos (Part 1, 2, 3, 4)
  2. Jean's Videos - 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 , 11, 12
  3. JMV's Videos - 1, 2
  4. JMV's Pictures
  5. My Pictures
Nokia Sports Tracker data is missing! (mine didn't turn out i.e. most of my track is missing since I had to reboot the phone thereby losing my GPS Track, aaaaargh! Jean hasn't posted his!)
Things that were Great
  1. The weather! Perfect!
  2. Jean's McGyvered bicycle mount - although I am investigating using the N95 ProClip Motorcycle Mount, anybody know whether it will work on a bicycle?
  3. The event itself. Rockin' great time at all venus. Great food, great happenings (e.g. mojave, Paul Jarvis' band, Japanese food, African Drum circle, etc)
  4. Qik was rock solid. It just worked and buffered when we lost connection.

Things that weren't so great
  1. Rogers Portable Internet combined with FreeTheNet combined with splash screen = FAIL (or at least it seemed to fail a lot more than during our 2 dry runs during today's bike ride, actually we did stream a lot more video than I thought). Next time I suggest EV-DO card from Bell or a HSDPA card (i.e. something designed for mobile connectivity, Rogers Mobile Internet is designed to be portable NOT mobile) plus a travel router like the $170 Cradlepoint CTR500 EVDO/HSDPA 3G Router . I am a supporter of FreeTheNet but again it's designed for non mobile use.
  2. My IOGear Mobile Portable Power loose connection with my N95 caused me to run out out of power at one point - Jean's N82 had no problem so probably an issue with my phone, not the IOGear power.But probably points to the fact that the Nokia power connector wasn't designed to be connected horizontally for charging. I'd prefer a micro USB / mini USB for charging personally
  3. Nokia Sports Tracker's 1998isms (I realize it's beta but if they had used Drupal or any modern system they'd get these things for free) - i) Bad URLs that end in .do instead of being clean ii) no search feature iii) no tags iv) no RSS for tags
  4. Qik's tags have no RSS feeds

Bicycling With Amy Walker to all Car Free Vancouver 2008 Venues on June 15, 2008 and streaming video from my bike

Submitted by Roland on Fri, 2008-06-13 20:40
Car Free Vancouver 2008 Brochure - Riding with Amy Walker on June 15, 2008

Wearing my Mobile Muse 3 technical evangelist and Fearless volunteer hats, I'll be riding my bicycle with Amy Walker, publisher of the fabulous Momentum magazine about all things bicycling, as part of Car Free Vancouver 2008 starting from the Fearless Mobile Booth on Commercial Drive at 12 noon Sunday June 15, 2008. We'll ride to all the other Car Free Vancouver venues (Main Street, the West End and Kitsilano) and stream video live from my bike to the internet.

Check us out at:

How you can help:

  • Come on down and participate! It's free!
  • Take photos and videos and blog about it and tag it: cfvd08

Finally for techies, here's a diagram of how the technology works!

Car Free Vancouver 2008 Streaming Napkin Diagram 110620082191

Car Free Vancouver Live Streaming Video from my N95 on my bicycle

Submitted by Roland on Sun, 2008-06-08 16:13
Fearless / Mobile Muse 3 / Car Free Vancouver Dry Run Route courtesy of Nokia Sports Tracker Beta

In preparation for a "car versus bicycle" streaming video showdown on Car Free Vancouver next Sunday June 15, 2008, Jean (Jean's blog post has the background and lots of useful info, read it!) and I did a dry run early this morning.

Our config was:

  1. helmet mounted N95-1 for me and N82 for Jean
  2. N95-1 ran the following software
    1. Qik - streamed video live over EDGE
    2. Nokia Sports Tracker
Our videos and GPS Tracks:
  1. My video - also below
  2. My GPS Track and map
  3. Jean's GPS Track and map
A question: Anybody know of software to stream in real-time GPS coordinates in RSS, KML or Atom over WiFi or 3G or Edge from a Nokia phone?
Some observations and comments:
  1. Helmet mounted video is more stable BUT on the whole not great because everytime we check our blind spots, the camera moves which is more disconcerting than the jitter from a handlebar mounted phone. I think as Jean noted, we'll move to a handle bar mounted solution like a Gorillopod for the real Car Free Vancouver on Sunday June 15, 2008
  2. A bluetooth microphone with wind reduction like a the Jawbone would probably result in better sound

My video:

Rogers Unlimited Plan is restricted to Rogers' apps, 3rd party apps pay r*poff tax. Buy unlocked N95 8GB instead

Submitted by Roland on Fri, 2008-05-09 17:39

As I feared the $7 "unlimited" data plan for the recently introduced N95-8GB and other Rogers approved devices restricts you to using the built-in apps. The built-in apps are *ahem* (to be nice) not that great with the exception of the web browser (and I fear that Rogers has somehow neutered the "great for Nokia" webkit based browser but not so great when compared to the iPhone browser). 3rd party apps, like ShoZu and Qik, are much better in my humble opinion.

Not only that, you are forced to commit to a 3 year contract if you wish to use the $7 plan.

At this time, if you are mobile enthusiast, therefore, I can't recommend the Rogers Unlimited On-Device Mobile Browsing Plan or buying a Rogers N95 8GB. Instead I recommend buying an unlocked N95 8GB from Tiger Direct or other source and then buying the Rogers 1GB/month $65 'PC Card plan' which Alec Saunders uses with his unlocked non Rogers N95. As far as I know, this plan doesn't have a 3 year contract requirement. And it doesn't have the 3rd party app tax (Alec uses 3rd party app Qik to stream video live and doesn't pay 5 cents per kilobyte).

Anyhow, to end in a positive note, if any Rogers N95-8GB owners want to experiment with 3rd party apps and want to set them up in such a way as to avoid the "5 cents / kilobyte 3rdparty app" r*poff tax, and you are in Vancouver, please email roland AT rolandtanglao.com and let's get together in Gastown at lunch on a weekday and I'll show you how (it's not as intuitive as the iPhone). I've been using Nokia S60 smart phones like the N95 for four years and can show you how to use the powerful but not so intuitive S60 interface to your advantage.

From Rogers.com - Wireless Essentials:

QUOTE

NEW! Adding Unlimited On-Device Mobile Browsing Plan* to your voice plan provides:

* Unlimited on-device mobile browsing access to your favourite social communities like Facebook & MySpace, news, sports and entertainment sites all on the go for one flat monthly fee!
* Access to search the mobile Internet with Yahoo! Search and Google
* Access to information sites like Yahoo! Canada, Canada.com, Windows Live, The Weather Network, Lavalife Mobile and more!
* Protection against high pay-per-use data charges while surfing the mobile Internet

Start saving on all your mobile Internet browsing with Unlimited On-Device Mobile Browsing* or pay per use at 5¢/ KB.

Plan or pay per use at 5¢/ KB

Unlimited On-Device Mobile Browsing Plan
Monthly Fee Includes
$7 Unlimited On-Device Mobile Browsing*

For a limited time, customers who activate on a Voice Plan and add Vision Unlimited On-Device Mobile Browsing* on a 3 year term receive Vision Bonuses. Learn more

*Important: This plan includes unlimited on-device mobile browsing only and is only available on select phones (PDAs such as Blackberry or Windows Mobile devices, PC cards and non-Rogers certified devices are not eligible). Data usage incurred on ineligible devices or incurred while tethering (using device as wireless modem for computer) or incurred using non-Rogers (3rd party) applications downloaded to your device will be subject to pay-per-use charges of 5 cents/KB. A 3-year term service agreement is required for Rogers Vision devices.

What is tethering?

This plan does not include any usage incurred while tethering. Tethering is when you use your phone as a wireless modem to connect to the Internet. The phone can be connected via USB cable or Bluetooth. Once connected, you can access the Internet wirelessly on your laptop using the Rogers Wireless network. While accessing the Internet wirelessly on your computer, data charges are incurred at a rate of 5¢/KB.
What are 3rd party applications?

3rd party applications are applications like Yahoo! Go or Google Maps. These are non-Rogers applications which may be downloaded to the device and incur data charges at a rate of 5¢/KB.

END QUOTE

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