Tuesday, August 17, 2004
Restaurant Teatteri is the downtown Helsinki
Restaurant Teatteri is a favourite destination for drinks, food and trendy company. It is situated on the Esplande, smack in the middle of Downtown Helsinki. The food is good, but the bar is really the justification for the visit. They do good drinks and you will bump into some of the trendies people in Helsinki. It is also liked by tourists giving it an international feel to it.
I am a big fan of their salad bar open daily. The concept provides a base salad with two toppings for a fixed price. It is fresh! The interior is well designed and it feels like a livingroom. The menu is broad from Tapas to burgers. Everyone will find something to their liking. The quality is good, but I would not call it gourmet, but something just short of it.
Sunday, August 15, 2004
Lego is great, but have they lost their soul
I was reading an article about Lego and their struggles. Having followed their innovation I sometimes wonder is it self caused or a result of a fundamental change in children’s taste?
I think it was self caused, driven by the quest for growth, and in that quest they lots their soul – let the imagination to the builder not the creator.
I have always had an amazing relationship with Lego. I was always building Lego, surely has affected my personality. Some of my strongest childhood memories are tied to Lego. I still remember when my father built me a Lego camera, with which I was ‘taking pictures’ next to him. He was a renowned advertising photographer in Finland, and I wanted to be like him. My Lego camera made it possible. I was not more than five.
To me it has always been totally clear that my kids will be introduced to Lego. This intro came this spring. Karen was about 2.5 and I decided she should have the classic size, without any prebuilt modules, just a big box of basic bricks. The package said one should be four. At first she was not able to join them, now she creates interesting shapes and adds lots of fantasy to them. A single dot brick can be a person, a chair or food all witin a minute. I am very pleased with my choice to directly go for the ‘classic’ bricks.
There are two things that disturbs me with the Lego product range:
First I think the Duplo and bigger bricks have too short lifespan. Before the age of two the attention span is seems too short, making the bricks bigger does not seem to solve the problems. I must admit this is based on a very small sample Karen and her friends.
Secondly I do not like the kits where everything has been ‘pre-designed’ leaving little to imagination. They are also overpriced. I can see a business case for this in relatives buying Lego for gifts…but that is greed. Their way of linking to hot brands like the Harry Potter range is not adding to their core value.
What I am excited about is:
The fact that Lego is starting to offer classic bricks by the kilo. I think this is great. It is just like buying candy and this is something kids are familiar with. They are getting back to their roots, providing infrastructure for imagination.
What I would like to see is a range of premium ‘classic’ bricks
These would be the classic bricks in new plastic materials and new colours completely compatible with the classic bricks. This would enable construction of very different looking objects. I could even consider ordering some very special colours via the web. The have a bit of this here
I am also optimistic about the Lego “smart” bricks. I could see that one could create ‘computing’ blocks with sensors and plug them together to make amazing machines. Their developer community seems to be growing. This would be the ultimate 'plug and play'.
The Clickits is a very good idea, these jewellery construction set is perfect for small girls. Karen loves her, eventhough I guess she is too small for them.
Finally I am excited about the idea of rolling out theme parks or experience hubs. I am soon looking forward of taking the family there.
I really wish Lego would focus on the core of feeding human creativity.
Tuesday, August 10, 2004
Mobile digital Logbook
For centuries sailors have kept logbooks of their travels and experiences. Sailors log dates, positions, distances sailed and other events occuring during the journey. These became wonderful assets for historians, but were really poor for realtime sharing. As we now live in the digital age, I wanted to try to build a mobile and digital version of the Logbook. I then used it in the archipelago, yes, we have GPRS coverage, where there is 'just' nature.
The concept is a vertical timeline, where I have a small thumbnail and then a column of text and a button to open the full post. (See attached photo) The concept seems to be quite good. I invited my family to watch it and they seemed happy getting pics and updates of journey progress. I decided to write in Swedish, as it is only for a restricted audience.
What I noticed is that sailing at 5 knots and typing is actually more 'processor' intensive than driving 100km on the freeway. I just noticed that I either lost my course or made typing errors. This peaked one day with 30knots of wind.
What I really enjoyed is that it is quite unobstrusive to create content and while sailing there are plenty of small moments when it is posible to create content.
The PC is just too big, power hungry and vunerable at sea.
This type of concept will work well for all kinds of ad hoc travel logs, where the traveller travels light, only with the mobile.
I used the ATOM enabled blog client proof of concept we created. We we have shown once in a while.
Sunday, August 01, 2004
Back from the past, ready for the future
Five weeks has passed and I am returning to technology and my work. During the 5 weeks I had only one session on the net and a few times browsing via my phone. I do not counting mobile blogging as internet time as is is so unobtrusive to blog with the phone. Living so intensively with new technology as I do, I notice that the summer break gives me an opportunity to reflect on what works and what does not work.
I wanted to share a few insights with you:
1. Logbooks and travel logs are perfect for mobile blogging
This summer big insight was that mobile blogging is really a simple way to archive and share moments. I made a Logbook blog (It is a private blog, for family and friends), where I recorded our sailing progress and things we saw and did on the boat. It provides for a much richer experience than a traditional Logbook and since it can be shared to family it provides a good opportunity to keep in touch. This concept has potential. I will make a special post on it later.
2. The mobile is perfect for idle time tasks.
When I had some 'empty' moments I renamed pictures in Lifeblog, this kind of task takes only a small moment and once it is renamed it is searchable. I have always been of the opinion that the mobile internet strength lies in doing small task in idle time. Renaming pictures is a typical one.
3. The pocket camera will disappear
I took lots of pictures mostly with the phone. I also had the Sanyo hybrid camcorder with 3.2 mega pixels and 7x optical Zoom. It was not used that much, but I got some important shots, like the time we saw a boat on fire. I am now even more convinced than before that the traditional pocket camera will disappear. The optical Zoom is not enough to justify a separate device. Resolution is also quickly not an issue any more.
4. The laptop is not a leisure tool
I had the laptop with me, but I only used it to upload pictures to Lifeblog, I saw no point starting to use the computer. The key reason is that leisure time is spent outside, not inside and computer transmissive screens are no good in sunlight.
I am looking forward to an interesting fall, and with 'batteries' charged, I am ready to roll...