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August 7, 2008

Curious people doing curious things. Feel inspired?

ESPOO, Finland – What really gets us going here is when folks push the limits, do things that we never expected, challenge the prevailing wisdom and practice by going out there and doing it themselves. We like the feeling we get when we think ‘they did what with WHAT?’. I guess it is because we marvel at people’s creativity and ingenuity.

I found some interesting stories that I think illustrate how people think and do when you throw a mobile device in the mix.

Read on.

Kilty as charged

If you see a man walking around in a kilt this August at the Edinburgh Festival – uh, well what did you expect? It’s Scotland. But if you see a boisterous smiling guy wearing a kilt at the Mobile World Congress, it’s most likely the inestimable Ewan Spence.

Like swallows to Capistrano, Ewan is making his yearly pilgrimage to Edinburgh to attend and cover the Fringe (where the really interesting things happen). This year he made a list of the tools he’ll be using on his N95. It’s a real list of S60 apps for the resourceful independent journalist on the road. It also is a good cross section of some of the hottest and most useful S60 apps out there.

Have fun, Ewan.

A more visible democracy?

Mobile devices are making it easier for folks to capture events and immediately share them with the world, either through broadcast video, video and photo upload, or even a stream of text messages posted to a website.

JD Lasica, who runs the, has a succinct round up of some ways that internet services are changing US politics. Of note is the senator who Twitters and streams with his N95.

When politics stops being something behind closed doors, will it change the nature of our government elected representatives? For sure.

Does anyone have other examples of mobile breaking through closed political doors?

Racing thumbs for the sake of science

Some people swear by their QWERTY keyboard. Are they truly better?

Veibhav, from The Symbian blog, wanted to know for himself once and for all and plopped down an E71 (small QWERTY), E90 (larger QWERTY), and N95 (regular phone keypad) and measured typing speeds.

He saw some slight differences, though I really do not think they were significant. Also, he tested against a short text sample. Either way, his results are interesting. I’d like to see, though, a qualitative exercise where he goes through his day with each phone individually and assess his hands and output over the course of the day per input type.

What do you think? Do you perceive any differences?

Clever hacks

One term used by observers of human behavior is ‘thoughtless acts’, things we do without thought that turn out to be very clever hacks. There’s a great book by the same name that is rich in such clever thoughtless acts (and categorizes them, too).

Here’s a post of how a taxi driver improvises holsters to hold his phone and wireless headset.

Do you have any photos of such thoughtless acts (particularly with mobile phones)? Send us links!

Monitoring and understanding

Context aware devices are a reality and people are inventing other ways for devices to know something about your context, such as location, movement, activity level, and so on.

We’ve been discussing a bit how it might add context to our interactions, but the visionary Kevin Kelly, in his Quantified Self site, points out a clever device that actually helps teenagers _understand_ the nature of their social interactions.

I feel that context (over time) is raw data that we can learn so much from, whether it be to publicize or to reflect privately on. It’s a deep topic and we have folks here at Nokia working in this area in many interesting ways (and hopefully we can talk about it here).

Would you add a sensor or many sensors to quantify yourself? What would you want to do with all that information? Let us know or write it up on your site and send us a trackback.

Image – From my trip to the animal farm and museum in Kälviä, Finland.