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Saturday, February 26, 2005

Qix from Zi Corporation could revolutionize search on mobile phones

Qixfunction1At 3GSM my friend Ben, who knows what is hot, tipped me off on something he found interesting namely Zi Corporation's new S60 application Qix, I ofcourse checked it out and the first impression was nothing less than a spontaneus WOW. Qix could be thought of as Google or A9 on the phone. It lets you find anything just by typing on the keyboard.

The SW will index the content on the phone and enable search from the idle so that the number keypad enters text mode on the second keypress and starts suggesting suitable words from the menu, phonebook or bookmarks which then can be accessed with the Select-key. As the memory of phones is growing the importance of search will evolve just like it did on the web and now also on the desktop. The challenge with the phone is ofcourse that you do not have a full qwerty which means that you need to use text prediction to help with the writing and here Zi with their word completion capability have the base technology for Qix. What they then managed to solve was a major UI innovation how to retain number dialling yet still enable search. It was this little innovation that struck me as brilliant. I know it is a dinky thing, but the devil is in the detail in UI. Another thing I really liked was the way they brought in internet via bookmarks. I need to play with it a bit more, but it will allow you to extend searches to the internet.

Since mobile phones started to integrate phone books into them and people started using them people stop remebering numbers. So there is little need for a number keyboard anymore and the 12-key keypad has become a text keypad, but no one has dared to make text the default, and frankly I do not think one should make it default, and hence this type of thing has not emerged before.

I can't wait to get my hands on this application and test it properly. I have only one requirement for me to start using it is that it needs to support 4 different languages (English, Finnish, Swedish and Danish) in one .sis file as I was told it would take over the editor in the phone, which I do not think would be bad as it has the word completion missing in T9. (I might have gotten this wrong...) So old friends at Zi, send me a mail if you want me to test it, you know my mail address.

12:33 AM in Work | Permalink | Comments (4)

Monday, February 21, 2005

The Square restaurant – chemically formulated for perfection

Square_collageThe headchef Philip Howard, and co-owner of the Square, is a bio-chemist by training giving him some scientific knowledge how different ingredients interact. I have often thought that cuisine can be made a science by combining chemistry with good taste buds. At the Square Mr. Howard puts chemistry into action in each dish served. The  restaurant has been a destination for culinary lovers for more than a decade. Today it has two stars in Guide Rouge (Michelin) and it has retained them for the past 7 years. Sampling the food I agree with the Guide. They are still well worth the two stars.

The restaurant is open in its floor plan, there is something bistro about it, it is probably due to the mix of different sized tables. The walls are filled with modern art, colorist style, a bit like Per Kirkeby paints, but not as vibrant and intense in colour. Table cloths were starched, white and perfectly clean. Despite the square feel to the place there was a warm athmosphere, this must have been due to the friendly, passionate and professional servants.

Like in all good restaurants the food is playing leading role. Their compositions where beautiful creations with a touch of humour. For example my main course the Fillet of Seabass, was served with a wild mushroom sauce laid out as a track after a wheel, where the wheel was made out of a ring of crisp rösti. Funny, decorative and very good.

Genrerally the menu was extensive and classicly French., with a taste of Italian.

I started with one of their signature dishes, Lasagne of Crab with a Cappuccino of Shellfish and Basil.  It was very good, each of the components in the dish where clearly distiquisable both in colour and in taste. The pasta was beautifully al dente, and the cappuccino was nicely foamy. For desert I had the Soufflé, a soufflé made with dates, Pain d'Epice and

Orange

. Souffles are notoriously difficult to get to rise straight, so I guess I wanted to test them. Soufflé not rising straight reminds me of an old story David Ogilvy, advertisings grand old man wrote in one of his book (The Unpublished Ogilvy, I think it was called) where he talks about his ambitions becoming a chef at young age, but chickened out when he saw the old French master chef fire his junior chef for not getting the souffle to rise straight. At the Square the souffle was ofcourse straight and having the waiter drop in a small ball of rhum and raisin ice cream so rich in taste that I still can taste it, made the desert perfect. Rhum raisin ice cream is and has for a long time been a favourite, never before have I had it at a two star restaurant. Souffles are a good benchmark to check the quality of the kitchen as there are so many things that can go wrong, the base, the cooking, the expansion, the colour, the texture, and yet it is a rather standardized dish.

10:08 PM in Restaurants | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, February 14, 2005

Christian visiting 3GSM in Cannes this week

3gsm_logoOne Tuesday and Wednesday I will be at 3GSM in Cannes, so if you are there get in touch and lets have a chat. I will try to post some impressions from the show.

10:20 PM in Work | Permalink | Comments (6)

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Danish Smørrebrød, the classic open sandwiches always makes for a great lunch

A bit of herring, fish and meat on open sandwiches
A bit of herring, fish and meat on open sandwiches
Lots of choice - stomac is not big enough
Lots of choice - stomac is not big enough

I always make sure I take the pickled herring - Curry is my favourite
I always make sure I take the pickled herring - Curry is my favourite

SmrrebrdI do not come to Denmark that often in my current role, and hence I don't have a good chance to have Smørrebrød the primary Danish contribution to cuisine, where the filling is 90% and the bread is 10%. If you are in Denmark you must have some, I recommend the pickled herring, there are several variations from plain marinated in vinegar to ones in mustard and curry. One of the really classic places to eat Smørrebrød is Ida Davidsen, a family restaurant that has been in business for more than 100 years. They offer 178 variations of Smørrebrød. A very long time ago I went there with my parents and then I had a 'fiske-filet' a fried fish filet with remoulade sauce. I remeber that the fish filet was still warm when served on the plate, as a kid at my grand father it was always served cold and still delicious. Another wonderful place is Sankt Annae, at Sankt Annae gade, close to Nyhavn, kind of between Nyhavn and the Royal Palace. They serve a great lunch  on very traditional Royal Copenhagen Musselmalet porcelain. This gives alot of authenticity to the experience. The picture on the left is from Sankt Annae, here freshly made liver paté served with crispy bacon.

02:00 PM in Restaurants | Permalink | Comments (3)

Monday, February 07, 2005

Great menswear in Rome at David of Rome

10493_milan_marketing03210490_milan_marketing029David of Rome is a my favourite mensware shop in Rome, it is owned by Jack Sasson a Itialian gentleman with a deep understanding of italian quality menswear. I have been a passive customer for several years, as my business very seldom takes me to Rome. Last week I had a chance to go to Rome meeting press about Lifeblog. I called Jack and he said he would wait for me. I knew from the past that he runs a sale from mid January until mid February and from mid August to mide September. This is a great time to buy as he runs 30% off almost everything. He carries Georgio Armani, Versace (they seem to be working on a new site) and Ermenegildo Zenga. I am mostly fond of the Zenga stuff. The reason I like to shop with him is that he is very knowledgable, honest and has a really great service. For example once I called him on the phone and asked if he could send me two shirts, I specified what I needed and I arrived few days later, I think he did not even charge me for postage! This time he offered to deliver my pants to my hotel, as I was too busy to pick them up. Few years ago I bought some Zenga suits and a jacket and the quality has been fantastic. I travel alot and stuff down my stuff in a carry-on bag so the quality has to be good otherwise it comes out with wrinkles all over. You can find Jack at David of Rome, Via Berberini 61, about a 10 minute walk from the Spannish steps towards the train station.

His shop looks a bit touristy, but when you discuss with him and feel the quality of the cloth you know that you are in a shop where someone cares for quality and for the customer. If you visit him, send regards from me and drop a comment on this post. He told me that the fall was a bit slow, so I tried to help out a friend...

10:39 PM in Play | Permalink | Comments (12)

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Il Duomo di Milano is breathtaking

Beautiful floor in the breathtaking Catedral in Milan
Beautiful floor in the breathtaking Catedral in Milan
Il Duomo di Milano
Il Duomo di Milano

Doumo di Milano from the outside. They as restoring the front. This is a side view.
Duomo di Milano from the outside. They as restoring the front. This is a side view.

I had 15 minutes extra on the way to the airport and I could not think of a better way to spend it than visiting the Cathedral in Milan. It is amazing. Everytime I come in to these marvels of engineering and design I ask myself what will be left from our generation. Everything we create is short term. There are very few business models which could handle projects like this. Everyone wants returns in less than 5 years or some bold wants to be profitable in 25. These projects where signs of power and maybe the fact is that there are noone powerful enough to build stuff like this. I am ofcourse very well aware that creating these landmarks have not come without great sacrifice of individuals.  I just arrived in Rome one of my favorite cities in the world. I just love the blend of old and new, the human culture is so tangible in Rome. I posted this in the taxi on my way downtown...

07:55 PM in Play | Permalink | Comments (2)