Posts Tagged: data

Furled and Unfurled

Morning Glory

Photo of local morning glories by Ms. Jen with her Nokia N8 camera phone.

Tues 07.12.11 – Today was a good day that started with a lovely and fun UX interview with Thomas Mann on Skype video. We had a good chat about mobile devices and travel. I love talking with good sharp, designers as their minds can leap from place to place and connections can be made. Thanks to Thomas!
And then Jeremy linked to Brian’s conversation over at Google Plus about owning one’s own stuff versus engagement in the here and now on whatever is the big right now online service.
I have been a proponent on this blog and in person of owning your own stuff on the internet for years, even during the boom years of 2005-2008 when everyone thought that the services and Web 2.0 would take care of everything and your data would persist no matter what. I had several memorable conversations in that time period with a few prominent tech folk about how we can’t trust a company or online service with our data as we don’t know when they will lose funding or lose interest or be sold off to folks who will turn off the service and what we will do about our data when this happens.
As the business cycle waxes and wanes, as companies furl and unfurl, I want to own my photos, my text, and my data. Not only do I want to store my data where it can be seen by the world, but where I pay the bill and can freely upload, download, and back up with ease. For me that has meant paying rent on server space and a domain name since 1999 and having duplication / triplication of backup both to a physical hard drive and a cloud service on top of my server space that this blog lives on, in addition to all the spaces and services that I participate in online.
This blog is my studio, gallery and reception space, as well my living room of which you are all invited to. I may visit many places online and some of them may be second homes, like Twitter, but this space is where my heart lives.
Where does your online heart and home reside? Do you have full, partial or no control over your online home? Do you care?
What happens if you don’t want to own your own self-hosted blog, will more projects like Jaisen Mathai’s OpenPhoto crop up that will allow all of us to share our data to online services but also have all of it backed up to our own accounts at Dropbox or Amazon S3?

A Suggestion for External Communication

Part Two of my improve Nokia’s Communication Idea Set.
One of the frustrations in participating in projects / campaigns with WOM World can be the difficulty in communication and getting timely information. This is not news to the folks at WOM World (we had a big conversation last week about this) nor to other folks who work on campaigns/projects with them. Now let me break this down into the problem, the extenuating circumstances, and the proposed solution:
The Problem:
I love participating in projects / campaigns / whatever you want to call it with WOM World & Nokia but I find myself frustrated that much of the information that is needed to complete my side of the project right either comes late or quite a bit into the campaign. Take the example of the lack of Nokia viNe widget for the last month and a half of that campaign and then finding out about a similar widget by some other team at Nokia via another blog.
The Circumstances:
(please note that the following are not unique to WOM World or Nokia, but happen all over the world in a variety of businesses)
1) Nokia is working with at least 3 external agencies / vendors on any one campaign: Interactive ad agency, WOM World/1000 heads for the outward facing blogger interface & social media marketing, a possible pr agency, etc. This is on top of the one or two or more internal Nokia teams that may be involved in the project (the developers who are making the service, the marketing team, etc). This is a lot of cats to herd. And it is a lot of folks to be informing each other of what each member of their teams is up to, as well as what other teams at Nokia may be up to that might help the campaign/project at hand, all while on a tight deadline.
2) Almost every company on the planet has teams that are understaffed and overworked. It is a reality of the business system. ‘Nuff said.
3) WOM World’s primary mission is to follow social media and bloggers and then let the world know about what those folks have said. WOM World does not create its own content. At the same time as WOM World is blogging about what we are blogging about, they are also sending and receiving mobile devices all over for trials, and participating in / conducting Nokia campaigns with bloggers and social media folk, as well as interacting with Nokia and other agencies to make sure that WOM World’s portion is working. See #1 & #2 above and you get the point.
4) Ok, I could now talk about how different cultures view the dissemination of information or lack thereof, company cultures, and transparency v. Finnish mind reading tricks, but I won’t muddle up the subject at hand with more details or conjecture.
The Proposed Solution:
Provide a back channel for each of the projects / campaigns as a way of getting information out there and keeping folks informed, and as a way to build community.
What do I mean by a back channel? Before Nokia Open Lab in Sept. most of the participants had very little information other than initial email invite, as the website for the event was not up yet, so Roland Tanglao set up a wiki to help us communicate and share more info that folks may have gleaned.
By having this wiki, the Open Lab participants were able to share our flight times to meet up at the airport, information about the event, information about Helsinki, and most importantly – after the event – links to our blog posts, photos, tweets, etc that we created about the event.
Instead of talking less in public spaces about the Open Lab because we had our own private place to talk to each other, we talked more in public because we had more information and we felt more empowered.
So, I propose that for each campaign / project that Nokia and WOM World work on (either together or separately) with bloggers and social media folk, that a wiki or Friend Feed or an old school link portal or some other way for us to aggregate all the information we need to share with each other, as well as a listing of all the posts / tweets / etc that we have written about the campaign / project.
Arguments Against:
Since I floated this idea by WOM World’s Donna and Siobhan last week, I already have the objections to my idea. Of which the biggest objection is that if a wiki is set up, then the fear would be that the participants would just chat to each other on the wiki / forum / back channel and would not post about the project.
Counter Argument:
In the instance of the Nokia Open Lab 2008, having the wiki did not stop us from blogging and tweeting about it. In fact, we posted more and responded to each other in our blogs because we were sharing information and we had built a community.
WOM World may have posted a few links to our writings during and after the event, but by having a back channel we were able to self-aggregate all of our social media and blog links about the Open Lab and it can be viewed by the public which only increases the Long Tail effect for the event.
When we were talking last week Siobhan suggested that FriendFeed would work within the constraints of WOM World’s primary mission, as it could aggregate all the posts for all of the participants of any given project. But, unless FriendFeed has good filters for all of the incoming feeds, we would also see all of the other posts by the same folks.
A wiki or like, either on the WOM World site or external wiki like PBwiki, would also allow us to share links and information that would be helpful during the project, like my finding the Maps + Photography widget last week, it would allow not just the participants but the whole world see a complete or almost complete list of the posts on the project both during and after in one place, as well as build community.
The Conclusion:
Please help those of us without degrees in Finnish Mind Reading out. I would love to know who the other participants in the Nokia viNe project are, I know a few, but it would be great to follow all and not just thier viNe posts but also their blogs and other social media, as well as to share information that will allow all of us to better participate in the project.
Information + Links + Community = a Big Win for Nokia in the long run.

My Day with Nokia’s Sports Tracker

When I first heard of the new Nokia mobile app shipping with the new Nseries phones, Sports Tracker, I envisioned a mobile stop watch combined with GPS and a how many steps have you taken monitor. Dull. Sigh. Where is an updated, GPS enabled Lifeblog?
Ok, I grew up in a family that was sports obsessed, esp. my first stepdad – my mom’s second husband. He was on the Olympic committee, competed in the Pan American games and has won in the Master’s division of the some sort of spin off of the Olympics (Allison, help me here). My childhood, from ages 3 to 13, was spent with the stepdad, mom, and various other mom-related relatives who were pathologically compulsive about exercising at very darned opportunity.
Beach volleyball in the evenings? Check. Olympic style kayaking and canoeing? Check. Surfing? Check. Running? Check. Skiing? Check. Hiking with a pace meter and stop watch? Check!
By the time I was 8 years old, I was hiding when the folks were ready to go out for yet another bout of daily evening EXERCISE! Me hiding with my mom yelling at me that it was time to leave. My high school rebellion was to cultivate super-white, never see the sun skin. To do this in an ultra-athletic, sun-worshiping family was even more rebellious than teenage pregnancy or drug use. I kid you not. The cousins that got knocked-up and/or were smoking pot were excused as long as they were in competitive sports and winning.
The cousins have sports trophies and I have a great collection of black vintage dresses and goth jewelry. I also now have great skin.
So, the nice folks at Nokia’s WOM World asked me to evaluate the Sports Tracker app, as it will be used on the Urbanista Diaries adventure as our way to track our path and upload our photos to the Nokia server.

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Now Using My N95 as a Modem for my MacBook via Bluetooth

Ok, wordy title, but after doing some reading on WOM World, I decided it was time to plunge in and set up my Nokia 95 to act as a modem for internet connection to my MacBook Pro to be used on the go when no wifi is present.
This frees me up to be able to compute online, albeit slowly, anywhere. No wifi or expensive wifi? No ethernet cable? Anywhere that I can access the internet on my N95, I can now tether my Mac to it for connection.
Thanks to AT&T for my unlimited data plan, even if Cingular’s EDGE is slowish, and thanks to The Nokia Blog for the tutorial on How To: Tether Your Nokia to a Mac for Net Access Via Bluetooth.
A note for other AT&T customers who want to set this up, I still have my old AT&T sim chip from 2004, so I am using the mMode settings and my APN is “proxy”, no username, no password. If you are a Cingular customer or you got your sim chip during the Cingular era, then your APN will be different.
Since I am at home, now that I have proven that I can use my N95 as a modem and written this post, I shall go back to using the wifi.