Wednesday, March 31, 2004
Sea Horse is a pure Finnish melting pot.
Sea Horse is one of the oldest restaurants in Helsinki. It opened in 1934 and has been a favourite of sailors, workers, artists and locals. The Jazz legend Dizzy gillespie once visited the place and had the fried herring, which I also like alot. He ate everything and run into the kitchen demanding more. I can undertand his reaction.
The menu is rich with Finnish specialities, pure food made of natures best ingredients, with a genereous spoon of butter for that extra rich taste.
The fresco on the wall was according to the legend either done by a starving student or by students breaking in one late night. It was painted in the 1940's and is actually very trendy by modern measures.
Sea Horse has an interesting nick name it is called Sikala, which is Finnish for 'animal house', the Belushi style or a simply a place where you get really drunk and outrageous. The nickname does the place little justice. It is a friendly place without frills, the clientele is a mix of locals and foreigners. The service is down to earth. In my experience people who come here, talk about big and small issues, while having a solid meal or some drinks.
The menu is a nice mix of meat and fish. I prefer the fish side of the menu. This time I had my favourite, their fried herring on top of mashed potatoes. This culinary experience is honest, the real thing. It tried to capture it here It comes with pickled beet root on the side with some dill as garnish. Four ingredients resulting in a full stomac.
Another classic, a bit more sophisticated is the Kuhaa Marski, which is a tribute to the late Marshal Mannerheim, who was a founding father of the state of Finland. Mannerheim was not only an awesome soldier, but also a great gourmet. I guess the dish Kuhaa Marski is an adaptation of the Kuhaa Walewska, the classic favourite of the Marshal, served i numerous restaurants in Finland.
If you are in Finland and want to experience the true Finland, without any tourist frills, go to 'Sikala' and order fried herring, just like the thousands of locals do every year for the past 74 years.
Sunday, March 28, 2004
The SUV of shoes.
There is a gigant trend in shoes which I call convergence shoes, where Cole Haan is driving mass market. I bought a pair of Eldridge shoes. They are as comfortable as sneakers, but are more business like. To me they are like the SUV cars, leisure car in a urban environment. Denmark's Ecco invented this type of shoe and Prada made it hot few years ago. Now Cole Haan, the Nike subsidiary is making it a commercial success. What I like with the Cole Haan is that they really represent a convergence shoe as they merge two brands, the Nike brand for technology and the Cole Haan brand for style. The salesman told me that these types of shoes already constitute 30% of Cole Haan's business. I must say I am impressed by this kind of innovation in such a mature product as a shoe.
Friday, March 26, 2004
Chill out with some serious soul food.The Ian Schrager hotel Clift is an amazing place and its restaurant Asia de Cuba is serving fusion food with lots of chill. Very cool. We were sitting at the very cool bar table, with crystal engravings, giving a magical lighting. The food was an amazing fusion of Asian tastes with heavy meat components. We ordered several dishes which we shared among the table. It made the atmoshere feel casual. The setting of the place is truly moving experience, the quality of the place is very tangible, so tangible that they are in financial trouble. Here are some pictures of the interior. If you are in San Fransisco it is well worth a visit.
Tuesday, March 23, 2004
Convergence lessons from Cebit
Cebit 2004 is over for me and I am now in Atlanta for the CTIA show, where we show Nokia Lifeblog on the Nokia stand.
Cebit was unique as my focus and interest was much broader than just phones. In addition to the telecoms hall I spent a lot of time on the Intel, IBM, Toshiba and at the SONY stand. From observing an array of different products and services some major trends of convergence became appearent.
1. It is getting possible to build the life recorder
Integrating voice, image, video and text is becoming possible in an uncompromised form factor known to the broad audience as a mobile phone. The term phone does this device little credit and hence I prefer to call it a life recorder, as most of the bill of materials comes from recording technologies rather than communication technoloies. Snippets of evidence of this trend can be seen in several phones with integrated video camera recording functionality capable of recording 30fps in QVGA resolution. Some UMTS phones are recording VGA with 30fps and encoding it in MPEG4. Digital cameras which enable VGA, 30fps recording and encoding in MPEG4 are getting common. There is an explosion in memory size. Flash based memories capable to store 1h of video on flash or small 0.85" hard disks storing up to 4h. We are getting minute storage capable to recording as much as tape based video cameras, which are very big and very expensive. Several phones were shown which solved the ergonomics problem and lets voice, text, image and video co-exist without an ergonomic conflict, like mixed one-hand and two-hand use.
1. The Laptop is becoming a personal communications tool.
The integration of Wi-Fi totally changes to nature of a laptop. Laptops are now powerful enough and small enough to really become communications tools. Apple called 2003 'the year of the laptop' and for them the launch of the 12" and the 17" marked a beginning of a new era. I have heard several people say that the 12" is the best computer they ever owned and coming from guys who have had many computers it is a pretty strong statement. It is particularly the segment of ultralaptops which excites me. What makes the Apple 12" so exciting is not only its size but the fact it sleeps so well and very wakes up and gets back online. In an earlier post I made the remark that the Mac penetration was nearly 50% at O'Reillys Emerging technology conference. As the Macs still are out of the corporate world, I was searching for a PC based substitute for the Apple's 12" category and I was stunned by the IBM X40 ThinkPad. It was so well engineered and with the extended battery, solid keyboard with up to 7.5h of time which should be enough for most mobile users. The X40 is small, light and reasonably priced. It could be a big success and it also seems that the PC is catching up with Apple on Wi-Fi simplicity, at least it is possible for consumers to get onto hotspots! Wi-Fi changed my computing behavior completely; I have a really great Mac at home with two big flat screen monitors. The only drawback is that it is fixed to a place. After installing an Airport network I have started to prefer to do my web surfing from my work PC anywhere in my house. Never thought Wi-Fi would have such a profound impact on my computing behaviour. This behavior led me to investigate home servers...
3. The Home server, rebranded as an entertainment center is the future of the Home PC
Intel was showing off the "Kessler" concept which integrated PC, Wi-Fi, RAID and lots of other technology I still do not understand, but it left a permanent impression on me. It was promising a 7-click set up of a home server solution. Since my digital life is in the size of 150GB, I see no future for mobile back up storage. Intel and other players wants to market the home server as a home entertainment center. SONY showed up second generation of their Home Servers, without RAID though. If the Laptop becomes the personal terminal then there is still lots of shared stuff and back up which needs to be somewhere. There are however some challenges. 1. The first is cost. SONY charges about €2.800 for their solution. The second is DRM. This is a sensitive issue, with lots of views and this topic alone could postpone the emergence of the third trend with several years.
Wednesday, March 17, 2004
First Lifeblog compatible phone launched.
The Nokia 7610 imaging phone with megapixel was launched today. It will be available during Q204. It is thinner, narrower and lighter than its predecessors and the camera quality is much better.
La Cinquecento would be ready for a renaissance!
La Cinquecento or the Fiat 500, is in my mind ripe for a relaunch like the Beetle and the Mini. The Mini has been a big success, with around 170.000 sold units last year. The roundish style and retro look of the Cincuecenta could be an interesting alternative to the Smart car seen frequently in downtown in European cities. I hope someone is thinking about it...
According to a talk I heard many years ago the 'Cincuecento is the last car engineered by a single man. He designed the engine, suspension, steering. I never forgot this and a few years ago I had a chance to familiar myself with car manufacturing and car design is way beyond the intellect of a single human.
This car has a special place in my hearth. I spent considerable time of my childhood in its successor the Fiat 600. This car was orange and I does give me some moving experiences, hence the post here.
My mother drove two of them a white and this orange one. It is the Orange that I specifically remeber I even remember the license plate AGF-67. It is interesting how seeing things, like this Cinquecenta in the lobby of the hotel acted as a mindlink, moving my thoughts to my past and triggering me to re-live a moment very vividly.
The car is also featured in Le Grande Bleu, where Jean Reno and Jean-Marc Barr have just ripped of a rich American diver stucked in a wreck and the guys drive of in a Cincuecento loaded with cash.
A small Note (This post was originally generated using the new version of Photblog I just got, where I am able to post both to the timeline and the main page. I made the post like a timestamp for me, knowing I wanted to go back and edit it later.
Tuesday, March 16, 2004
Moving experience 2.0 launched
You have arrived to a new version of Moving experiences. It is my digital home in transition. Version 2.0 is now more mobile friendly, by introducing a third column as a timeline of the most recently phone blogged pictures. What I want my visitors to immidiately get a sense of what I am up to.
A very important design driver for Moving experience 2.0 has been to prominently include text annotations to each of the pictures. I do not think it makes much sense to blog pictures without annotations. If the pictures are taken out of context the narrative in the pictures is lost.
There is a generation of users which are familiar with typing small pieces of text on their mobiles and if this is combined with pictures and shared to people online these immidiately become stories and we have a new form of communication.
Version 1.0 went online on the 19th of January. I have included a picture of the main page of Moving experiences 1.0 to give you an idea how the concept has evolved.
The picture top right indicates the last shared picture. The biggest flaw in this concept was the lack of text describing the picture.
I am at the moment empirically trying to conceive what kind of blog would have a good balance between fixed PC use and moving mobile use. I am very interested in hearing from any visitors of Moving experiences and also get tips on interesting 'photoblogs' on-line. So far I have not seen too much interesting.
Friday, March 12, 2004
Lifeblog has seen the daylight
Nokia Lifeblog, our multimedia diary is finally out in open daylight. It feels great.
I am insanely proud of the whole team, without you, I would still be PowerPointing!
In this post I will try to correct some initial misunderstandings circulating in blogs, before everyones expectations are raised too high and we cause dissapointment to our users and ourseleves.
1.) Nokia Lifeblog is not a blogging tool, it is a logging tool or as we prefer to call it a multimedia diary.
2.) Initially the Nokia Lifeblog will not be available for the Nokia 6620, but some other terminal.
Nokia will show Lifeblog at the Cebit fair in Hannover starting in the middle of next week, so if you are there, stop by the booth and get a demo and the facts.
The views in this post are strictly personal and have not been checked for facts and should thus not hold me or Nokia liable ;-)
There are two very good stories on Lifeblog one by Mark Ward of BBCi. This good discription of this new product. It is amazing to see these super professional journalists doing their work, Mark used stenography to record notes, it was like something of a modern Sumerian writing cuneiform on claypad - beautiful! Thanks Mark I really enjoyed observing you working. Another nice story about this product can be found on the Guardian online It is written by Neil McIntosh. Niel cited the story of my old Friend Kazu Fujiwara and his lifebook. Kazu used to be my collague at London Business Schools centre for design management. His lifebook became a subconsious inspiration for me. Kazu, if you read this: thanks!
More on the misunderstandings:
1.) Q. Why a logging tool or as Nokia prefer to call it a multimedia diary? Nokia feels that blogging is a subset of your electronic life, not the whole life, hence our focus on the PC initially. The first version will not have any features enabling blogging (you can send e-mail from PC version, but I do not call that blogging).
2. Q: Why does Nokia call it Lifeblog? A: We added the 'b' in front of the 'log' as we wanted the name signal a longer term intent. Nokia mission is conncet people and that is what blogs do.
3.) Nokia Lifeblog will not be available for the Nokia 6620, but some other terminal.
Finally: I need to make a disclaimer here. I am writing here as a private person and hence anything I say should not be taken as offical Nokia communication, but opinions of my own. Nokia will inform about the product in due time on its official forums. It is not my plan to make this a Nokia Lifeblog marketing site, there will be separate forums for that. So beware, if you plan to link to this, I might revise this post later, breaking all blog etiquette! Please excuse me in advance.