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August 18, 2008

Vacation reports and other things people are doing (or not doing)

ESPOO, Finland – Humans are insane. We are driven to create nifty tools and driven to use them like mad. Of course, many of our stories here at Nokia Conversations is about incredibly obsessive creative folks grabbing the tools Nokia has created and pushing the tools to their limits, doing things we never expected.

Today is about pushing those limits (but doing the expected). And the theme is adventure and fun. Though, I do end with a disturbing note about something that isn’t being done.

Vacation reports – Just name the darn streets

I’ve been seeing lots of reports from people who used their GPS-enabled phones to navigate during their holidays. Being clever individuals, some of them used that lesson to think of similarly interesting things.

Recently, I mentioned that some digital maps do not show any street names in some towns in India. Being the naive socially-minded software guy, I suggested that we ’empower’ individuals to help companies map and name these streets, a co-creation love-in for maps, so to speak.

Nah. Janne Jalkanen, who is straight to the subject, wonders if the digital mapping companies should just go ahead and name the streets themselves, establishing a de facto name for these streets.

Heh. That would be funny. Scary. But, funny.

Vacation reports – Trials and tribulations

As for how it was to use these wonder-gizmos to navigate the world, I think the jury is still out on this. My take is that each and every mapping solution has a strength another one doesn’t have, and users are carrying all the apps they can use.

For example, Phoneboy mentions Google Maps being good at finding businesses in North America, but misses the Nokia Maps side-loading (to save on data costs) and turn-by-turn navigation assistance (the comments to his post echo his sentiment).

Dirk Snoyt, a guest author at Darla Mack, is a heavy user of Nokia Maps and was able to find many business and sightseeing places (he was in Europe), but was also able to find some idiosyncrasies between the offline and online use. Go read the article, since he pushed his N95 to the limit until it took an unplanned break on him for a week or so.

Pumped-up super-user with toys

And speaking of folks really giving their phones a work out, Alfie posted a wee diary entry of all the things he did with his phone on a busy day. You almost get winded just thinking of what a busy day it must have been for that poor N82.

On some days, even I scare myself with all the things I make my phone do.

Rapping users with toys

Mark Guim, from TheNokiaBlog, makes a great observation, mentioning that big-name rappers are using Kyte to broadcast videos online from their mobile devices. And since Kyte works on an N95, Mark wonders how long will it be before one of these rappers pens a tune crooning for a Nokia device? They already do it for other brands.

The prospect of a rap song written about a Nokia device makes me nauseous. But, what the story really highlights for me is that Kyte and Qik are tapping into a video broadcasting boom and inadvertently the N95 has fallen in the middle of it, the star device of this boom. I hope that Nokia is paying attention and come up with a device to replace the N95 as a video broadcasting tool. And I think they are paying attention – we use Kyte a lot at work and Qik is part of the 2008 Forum Nokia Innovations Series program, which we wrote about last week.

No one to play with our toys

Ok, so there were some things folks were not doing. Mike Guim points to some photos by John Dodds showing a busy crowd on Regents St, London, ignoring Nokia’s flagship store. Mind you, this is the same crowd that swamps the Apple Store and the Nike World store within spitting distance (ok, only if you are a good spitter, but close nonetheless).

Rather than me going on and on about this, it would be great if John did as one of his commentors suggested and dig deeper into this from the customer’s perspective. I know I’d point to it (or, hint, accept a trackback to this article).

Indeed, it would be great if folks who have visited the various other flagship stores, left a comment of what they thought. I will start of by expressing sadness at how empty the London and NYC stores were when other shops were bustling. I’ll stop there and let you guys do the speaking.

Image is an old finnish map I saw at the museum in Kälviä. The eastern border changed drastically after WWII.