Saturday, January 27, 2007
Kyoto restaurant is a small hidden pearl in Soho.
Last year I stumbled into Kyoto, I do not know what attracted me, it was not the outside, nor its reputation, I cannot say anything than it was serendipity. When I got in, the place oozed authenticity. This place was original and home made. Big pictogram painted on the wall and wall cabinets of super heroes statues, guarding the place. I ordered their sushi set for 12 and I was surprised how well presented it was and when I tasted it I was blown away. I have never had this good sushi for 12 in London. I went back and the more I ate of Kyoto sushi the surer was that I had discovered a pearl. I started bringing my colleagues and friends and they all seemed pleased. I also started have some of the Korean specialties. I decided to introduce myself and get to know the chef. His name is Kim and it is his restaurant, and he does the sushi. He has two other chefs in the kitchen. He is great, very dedicated guy. His motto do it yourself, it not only applies to the interior, but it is omnipresent in the dishes he serves. His Gyosa is great, warm, crisp on the outside and aldente inside. The Tamago sushi is one of his specialties, he cooks it rich in water which makes the omelet much more difficult to handle, but it is moist and mealts in your mouth. The price quality ratio in this place is something of the best in London (look at this review). The place is really small, only 7 tables, no more than 25 places including the bar. It is open for both lunch and dinner.
You can find Kyoto on Romilly Street between Old Compton Street and Shaftesbury Ave. it is easy to get there, but it is not on any natural path in Soho.
So if you are a sushi fan like me, and you do not want to spend a fortune every time, Kyoto is a pearl! Smooth, clean and exotic. Very authentic little place. Thanks Kim, and good luck in the future.
Friday, January 26, 2007
2007, a time for change. Leaving Yahoo
Since late last year I decided to leave Yahoo. I will take a bit of time off to play with the girls, hangout with my wife and meet friends. During spring we plan to complete a big Lego City project we decided to build. A city the size of a door is being built. Complete with a castle, canal, church, some family homes and high street with shops. When not Legoing, I will think about the future of mobility, convergence and internet, so if you want to have a chat, send me a mail or call my mobil. You find latest contact info in the about me page. I am mostly in London during spring. I will be in Barcelona for 3GSM. Later in the spring I will do a trip to US among other saying goodbye to my friends at Yahoo Sunnyvale.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Real Mobile Broadband is available from T-Mobile in UK
I have recently switched operator as I wanted to live mobility to its fullest and for that I needed real mobile broadband. Several carriers are now offering free browsing, but I spent a fair amount of time reading the fine print in the terms of service and most of them either offer it in off peak, only from phone, no voip etc. The only real mobile broadband comes from T-Mobile. It is the Web’N’Walk Max plan (more info here). It is terriffic!
I pay 52.50GPB/month and have a fair use policy of 10GB per month, I can use the phone as a modem and I have done iChat and Skype video calls from the taxi. I think 3G data speed is completely adequate and getting online in about 30sec from I take my computer out of the bag is fast enough even for rather small moments on-line. I have not gone berserk and used 3G for streaming radio or streaming TV, but I the normal things I do, blog, read mail, browse. The big change now is proper PC based browsing. As I am using my Macbook and Launch2net SW which lets me monitor data usage, I am interested in knowing how much I consume, but it is less than I anticipated. On top of the 3G mobile broadband I can added a HotSpot unlimited for an extra 10GBP/month which gives another 10GB and 340minutes in for example BT Openzone networks.
What I really liked with T-Mobile was their customer service, I do not need a handset from my operator and logically then I do not want to commit to an 12-18 month contract. 1 month commitment seems fair. I wrote their customer care and argued my case and to my great amazement they could see my point. I was really impressed by the service. If you want the same, leave a comment on my blog. They read this blog.
With the spec above I cannot call this anything else than mobile broadband so the future is here today.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Will iPhone create a new dominant design in mobile user interfaces?
Last week Apple launched the iPhone, their first entry into a new industry. They promise to revolutionize the phone. I looked at the demos and the keynote and followed the press, without a doubt a stellar technology introduction with amazing PR. Steve Jobs played the world media perfectly, coverstuff everywhere. I liked the UI, its direct manipulation, bigscreen and simple appearance and clean graphics. It will without a doubt energize the imcumbents to massively step up and innovate new things mobile. That alone is a huge favour for everyone.
What I am struggling with: Is it really a good phone?
In my view a phone is a one hand operated device which can be used while moving. While moving users seldom have both hands free. They drive, carry bags, open doors, push prams. Most mobile phones have been designed around this premise for a couple of decades. Due to human ergonomics phones have thumb operated UI’s. Now Steve Jobs proposes to revolutionize the phone with an index finger operated UI. This is a two hand operated device, worst case an inferior phone. In his keynote he said Apple’s goal is to claim 1% of the 1B phone market. But of that market probably 85% or 90% of phones are one hand operated voice devices. The rest are smartphones either by their sophistication in spec or by difference in concept. When Jobs made references to the Smartphones he used the Berries (Blackberry, Treo, Nokia E61 etc.) as examples. Claiming that these are difficulty to use as phones is fair, I completely agree, and so do most users of them, who carry a separate phone for voice. The Berries are mail machines. Claiming to sell 10million in 2008 in Smartphone segment is a very very tall order. But this is the segment he is competing in. 5 or 10 years ago we would have called it a PDA or a Communicator. Naming it iPhone will help positioning pave way for a good evolution, but in my opinion that is a defensive move like some analysts (e.g. Ben Wood) have pointed out. What I read between the lines is that Jobs admits the iPod as a separate device will loose to the phone having the music player as a feature.
In the quest for the perfect convergence device I still think the right route to success comes from physical device transformation. These transformers are still immature and no one has yet cracked the perfect concept. Combining Voice, Imaging, E-Mail and Music, the big four apps that needs to converge.
Another negative surprise with the launch was that Steve Jobs had to turn to the operator, I am asking myself: What added value can they provide except subsidies? Apple does not need, marketing, PR, or distribution help. What they desperately need is cash to bridge the gap of the bill of material and what the street value of such a device is. This smells more like a 700USD device on the street...The deal with AT&T will impact the spec. of the device and this could for example cause delays in the introduction. Not the greatest of moves in my humble opinion. The world operator community must be doing somersaults, the deal of the century, to get Apple to take subsidy drug.
I cannot wait to get my hands on a device and take it on a spin on town. The only way to assess the iPhone is to use it as a phone, it is the killer app, as Steve correctly points out. Even without having seen it, I would select the Nokia N95 for me Camera drives convergence for me and 2MP is two years old stuff. So for the moment my judgment is that it will not revolutionize, but it will energize the industry in a profound way. And that alone could be interpreted as a revolution. Do I think Apple will be successful in the mobile industry, absolutely if they have the persistence.
Image by Niall Kennedy, thanks for sharing it!