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November 16, 2011

Nokia N9: Patrick Walsh double Guinness World Record attempt

In October we introduced you to the incredibly ambitious Patrick Walsh. Back then he was just a man with a plan. A man who wanted to put 24 hours of his life to good use. A man who wanted to break not one, but TWO Guinness World Records in just one day!

For the best part of a month we left Patrick to his own devices and now he has returned to tell his tale. We warmly welcomed him with open arms, sat him down and requested to know every single detail of his record breaking attempts!

So here it is, all in Patricks own words. But before he begins, here is a quick recap. These are the two record attempts he tried to complete in Dublin, Ireland on October 22nd:

Longest ride on a fairground attraction
Most photographs taken in a 24-hour period


As the alarm on my Orange Nokia N8 rang out I automatically jumped out of bed without hesitation.  It was 7am on 22 October 2011 and the big day had begun.  My destination for the day was Dublin’s Point Village. This is where I had to get registered for the main Guinness World Record (GWR) event of the day:  Longest time spent on a fairground attraction.  However that is not what excited me.  I had applied to GWR for another record:  The most photographs taken in 24 hours.

I had decided pretty quickly that the best technology in which to attempt this world record was the newly released Nokia N9.  It offered everything that I needed to complete this record in the palm of my hand.

The business end of day started at 9:30am when we arrive at the Point Village to get registered for the main GWR attempt of the day.  After all the media work was done and photographs taken by the Irish media, I got to work on putting the final touches to my own personal GWR attempt.

I checked that all phones were ready and fully charged and then, most importantly, I aligned the time on both N9’s to ensure that everything was above board.  I had to make sure that the time on both phones was set to match and was exactly the same so that there would be no duplication of time.  The bigger event started at 10am, but I planned to start my GWR attempt 9:45am, just so that I could capture photos around the event before entering the Pod on the ‘Revolver’ for the required 24 hours and 30 minutes.

Team Building

First up was my lovely Blue Nokia N9, who was given the name ‘Bluey’ for the duration of the event.  The Black Nokia N9 (named the highly original ‘Blacky’) was resting peacefully in my bag with the back-up Nokia power pack.  I had taken the time to wrap these up in a fluffy blanket to keep them warm.  Whilst in Antarctica a few years ago with my Nokia N95 (known as ‘My N95’) I learned the hard way that the cold has a detrimental impact upon battery life.

I couldn’t afford to waste any battery capacity at all throughout this important 24 hours.  Every kilojoule of energy would be vitally important to help break this world record.  I was confident that the Nokia twins, Bluey and Blacky would not let me down.

Ready, Steady… Snap

So as the clock on Bluey clicked from 9:44 to 9:45 I began snapping in earnest.  For the attempt I wanted to make every photo different.  This shouldn’t be too hard considering I would be sitting in a revolving wheel for the next 24 hours, with the wheel taking just over two minutes to complete a single rotation, giving me a continuously different view.

In addition to making every single photo different, at this early stage I was attempting to be as artistic as possible with each photo, whilst also trying to take as many pictures as possible before entering the Pod.

Just before 10am I was called to enter Pod 11 on the Revolver, my home for the next 24 hours.  The Pod was designed for six people sitting, so it offered plenty of room for two.  As we did our first loop on the wheel I was trying to get nice photos looking down the River Liffey into the Irish Sea.  It was very cloudy and threatening, but at least I could still photograph the views all around me, as it wasn’t raining!

Ooops!  Spoke too soon.

Within minutes of me dismissing the rain, the heavens opened and dumped rain upon our GWR attempt by the bucket load.  As the rain battered our windows and restricted our view outside, I tried to get as artistic as possible and used the water running down the window to bend the light. In addition to that I was taking photos of everything possible within the Pod.

Goodnight Bluey, Hello Blacky

After around 6 hours of continually taking photos Bluey closed her little blue eyes and went off to sleep. I already had Blacky out of his warm bed and ready for a hard day’s work.  Bluey was instantly hooked up to the Nokia power pack before being wrapped up in a warm blanket and it was all systems go for Blacky.

First thing I noticed was Blacky was not working any faster than Bluey.  This amazed me!  When you consider that Bluey has just taken over 2,000 photos and had been constantly worked for over six hours you would think that it may have gradually performed slower over time.  No, not a chance.  A Nokia N9 that had been worked non-stop for hours on end was working as effectively and efficiently as a totally unused Nokia N9.  I was seriously impressed.  This fact alone tells you all you need to know about Nokia handsets.

The functionality, ease of use and exceptional battery life of the Nokia N9 has been inherited from the other great Nokia phones of the past few years such as the N95, the X6 and the N8 etc.

Nokia has always done the simple things better than anyone else and that is the reason why I have never been tempted, for even a second, over the past 18 years, to purchase a device that didn’t have the letters ‘N’ ‘O’ ‘K’ ‘I’ and ‘A’ on the front.


As the Revolver is located alongside the River Liffey that runs through the heart of Dublin I was hoping that I would get a wonderful photo of a lovely Irish sunset as it sets into the river.

Unfortunately the cloud was hanging so low in the sky that the sunset never happened. It just got continually greyer as the day went on, before going completely dark. This wouldn’t make for great photos, but fortunately I had planned for this. I had brought paper and pens in which we could mess around writing messages to the world, before taking pictures of them. Which we did.

However all was not lost, as the operators of the Revolver switched on the lights, lighting up the entire big wheel and giving me something to aim my camera at throughout the night.

The Essentials?

So you are probably wondering what I did for food, toilet breaks, etc?  Well it wasn’t too bad actually.   We had stocked our Pod with enough food to feed a football team, and we even ordered pizza to be delivered to our Pod.  We had a desire for some hot food and we thought it would be funny to put in an order for Pizza. “Please deliver to Pod 11 at the Point Village,” we requested, and without any reaction they agreed.  They must get some seriously strange requests!

Throughout the night we were allocated certain times to leave the pod for toilet breaks.  This was good, as apart from the obvious, it also gave me the chance to take some pictures that weren’t from inside the Pod.  So I would walk slowly as possible to snap as many pictures as possible as I went.  Then I would go inside the Portaloo and… well the picture taking would stop.  No one needs to see that.  Not even for a GWR attempt.

We had brought pillows (for comfort) and sleeping bags (for warmth) and at around 9pm we settled in for the night, as the wind was picking up to the point that it was rocking the Pod considerably.  I was too focused on the taking pictures to consider any implications of this.  I just wanted to make sure that the weather didn’t become so severe that they would decide to cancel the event on health and safety grounds.

The Night Shift

Just after 10:30pm Blacky decided that he wanted to sleep and so he did, after putting in a great shift.  Bluey was fully charged and wide-awake again after a nice few hours of sleep and a recharge, and so she got to work on the night shift.

At around 11pm I pulled out my Nokia N8, which I had preloaded with many new songs and got myself plugged in for the night.  I have always been a massive fan of The Phantom of the Opera so I had the soundtrack loaded on to my N8 knowing that it would take a few hours during the night just to run through it once.  This was exactly what I needed.

As the rain lashed against the windows of the Pod and the wind howled outside I felt safe and warm, as I settled in for the night with Bluey in my hands, snapping pictures and humming along to The Phantom of the Opera.  The occasional sip of an energy drink ensured that I kept myself awake and focused on the task in hand.


Having travelled extensively throughout each of the seven continents, I never fully appreciated how stunningly beautiful the sunsets and sunrises were in Ireland until I came back.  The vast array of colours that are splattered across the sky every dusk and dawn is something truly to behold.  As I was going to be at the highest point in the city for both of these great events I was excited that I would capture great photos that I could share with Nokia fans from around the world.

However, the sunset never happened due to the low laying cloud, but I was hopeful for an Irish sunrise, which I don’t get to admire often enough!  Throughout the night I was hopeful that the cloud would break up and we would be offered a treat from the gods.  I had no idea of the status of the cloud cover, due to it being so dark, and my visibility be drastically reduced due to the rain battering the widows of the Pod.

Unfortunately, it was a non-event also.  I could see through my heavy eyes that the sun had peaked up over the horizon down the river, but as the cloud was so thick and heavy it prevented me (and the wider world) from experiencing and capturing a beautiful Irish Autumn sunrise from a unique vantage point, on a Nokia N9.

The Final Hurdle

As the sun brightened the day from behind the clouds, my now tired body started to perk up once again.  I knew that we had now entered the final stretch and this was confirmed as Bluey fell asleep on me after putting in a great shift throughout the night.  Blacky was woken up and put straight into the action.  I wasn’t sure if there was enough energy in the now depleted power pack to have provided Blacky with enough power to get us through to 9:45am on 23 October 2011, but I was hopeful.

I had a quick check to make sure that power saving mode was on and that all other programs running on the phone were turned off, in order to give us the best chance of prolonging battery life on Blacky!

I snapped photos like crazy.  I knew that this was the final hurdle, and the fatigue I was feeling from during the night had disappeared.  I was motivated, focused and alert.  As the final hours passed I become more focused.  The Phantom of the Opera was turned off and the Nokia N8 placed back in the bag.

As the minutes ticked away on the big official clock that faced us at the bottom of the Revolver I knew that this had been a successful night and that Bluey, Blacky and I had put in a great shift.  As we revolved for what seemed like the thousandth time the digital clock finally struck 9:45am on Sunday 23 October 2011.  Time was up.


24 hours had passed, 1,440 minutes had flown by, and 86,400 seconds had disappeared.  I had done what I had done. It was all over, I could do no more!

As I sat in the Pod waiting for us to complete the 24 hours and 30 minutes required to break the other GWR, I switched on the phones to find out how many photographs had been taken over the 24-hour period. I was absolutely delighted as I found out that I had captured just under 8,200 photographs in total.

It turns out that I was taking an average of 340 photographs per hour and nearly six per minute.  I had captured an average of one photograph every ten seconds for 24 hours.

As I got out of the Pod to massive cheers from well-wishers and the gathered media I had a massive smile on my face.  I was proud of what I had accomplished… and I was proud of the effort that Bluey and Blacky had put in to make this all possible.

With sore thumbs and heavy eyes I switched off the Nokia N9 twins and put them to sleep after a hard shift.  Then with a smile on my face, I jumped on the tram with only one thought on my mind:  My bed zzzZZZZZ

More about Patrick

It turns out that Patrick is a man who has lots of plans! He is currently putting the finishing touches to a book based on his travels throughout the world using nothing but a Nokia.  All the fantastic photographs shown in the book have been captured using Nokia phones. Check out for more information.

To see some of the images from Patrick’s double world record attempt please head to Nokia Connects Flickr. All the images in this post are in the set!

To follow Patrick’s adventures further please check out the group ‘is: Nothing but a Nokia’ on facebook.