Friday, October 31, 2008

Featured on S60 Blogs

My S60 Ambassador report about Nokia Maps compared to the iPhone's Google Maps is featured in this week's report of the week on the S60 blog!

Source: on 10/31/2008 at 11:50pm EST

I recently joined S60 Ambassadors after hearing about it at the S60 Evening in NYC. As a S60 ambassador, I'm suppose to tell the world about my experiences with S60 and in return I get points which I can redeem for awards. The award thing does sound pretty vague but since I already talk about S60 to everyone around me, I found my channel to write down my stories and recognized for it.

Although there is the general S60 stories, from time to time there are campaigns to push a certain service/product and awards given to ambassadors at the end of each.

To get points, I have to write reports of my discussion with people around me about S60. Depending on the quality of your report you are awarded 40 or 50 points.

Each week a report is chosen and featured on the S60 blog. This week happens to be mine so I won a 2 month trial of the Nokia E71.

You can read me S60 story at: Maps 2.0 Report of the Week: Anotheran Beats Back the Taunts

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Gogo Inflight Internet Review

If you've recently flown on a American Airlines flight between JFK to LAX/SFO/MIA then you may have noticed the following at your gate:

Sometimes there's even a representative to address any questions you may have:

Yes, that's right. You're a lucky one. Your American Airlines flight supports Gogo Inflight Internet. American Airlines is the first airline to support wireless in the air in North America. Sometime in 2009, Delta will have all their domestic flights supporting Gogo. Pricing is $12.95 for flights more than 3 hours while flights less than 3 hours are $9.95.

Get the speed tests, customer service experience, and find out if Gogo is worth it after the jump.

Getting Connected
On your flight you'll see a gogoinflight infrastructure wireless access point running on 802.11G. The plan will need to be above 10,000 feet for you to log in and get Internet otherwise you will get a page about the service not available.

The Gogo login screen for computers:

Gogo even has a mobile optimized login screen for phones if you so wish to use that instead. Unfortunately, if you've already logged in with your laptop you won't be able to use the same connection for your phone or vice versa. It makes sense though because they wouldn't want you sharing your connection with everyone else on the plane.

You'll need to create an account if you don't have one already and enter your credit card information for billing purposes. I think it takes about 4 screens to get online (login page -> create account -> credit card information -> verification phrase).

The all important speed test
I did a couple of speed tests on Gogo and were impressed with the results:

Flight from JFK to LAX

Flight from LAX to JFK:

I did a couple more speed tests with other locations and found download and upload speeds were fairly consistent to what I got above. However, latency fluctuated a lot between the tests.

These tests show that the Gogo wireless connection is pretty good for light surfing, latency is really bad for any kind of online gaming, and e-mails are going to work fine here. This is exactly what Gogo is targeting.

User Experience
I think the part I hated most about the service was having to enter my credit card information while the person beside me and people behind me can easily see my laptop screen. I need to invest in a 3M privacy screen. Thankfully Gogo gives you the option of saving your credit card info for the next time you use their service.

Connecting was effortless and I was online after a few seconds of entering my credit card and entering one of those verification screens with random characters.

I had no issues with Youtube streaming and web pages loaded as fast as I were on my cable modem at home with Rogers highspeed Internet.

Although I was able to, for the most part, smoothly stream the CNN live broadcast of the 2008 final debate between Obama and McCain, that's not what it was designed for. You're sharing Internet between everyone else on the plane so try to be nice to everyone else trying to use the Internet and not hog the bandwidth.

I did notice that things started to slow down near the end of the flight. Possibly because more people got online.

Customer Service
I had latency problems on my 4th flight with Gogo so I contacted their care agent via their chat. I was #1 on their queue so I got a connection with an agent within 3 minutes. She needed my e-mail address to open my account then she asked me what problems I was experiencing. Within 2 messages she was able to tell me there really was a latency issue with my flight and that she would follow up with the most convenient method to me. I told her e-mail was fine.

She was polite and it sounded like she knew her stuff about the service. I'll update this entry as soon as I get a reply from her on the latency issue.

Overall I found it really good for my web surfing, my gotomypc session, Outlook, and IM'ing. I've already used it 4 times with very little issues. For the long flights with AA that feature Gogo, the $12.95 is well worth the money if it'll help you pass the time and avoid those bad ABC Eye on America programming that AA provides. Considering inflight calling use to call $3 per minute and Boingo/T-Mobile hotspot are $9.95 per day, Gogo is priced very competitively. I highly recommend using Gogo Inflight Internet but I am concerned that Internet will be slow as more people start using Gogo.

Update Nov. 21, 2008: A day after I reported the latency issue, I received an e-mail follow up that addressed all my concerns. Another thumbs up to Gogo inflight Internet!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Nokia Productions Premiere

I was in Los Angeles for two days to see the premiere of Nokia Production's social collaboration video directed by Spike Lee. The video was impressive to say the least and the Avril Lavigne concert followup was very energetic.

NOM2173 - Share on Ovi NOM2201 - Share on Ovi

We had a chance to interview Spike Lee on his involvement on this project, access to the VIP floor, and a bit of the Avril Lavigne concert - all after the jump.

This past summer Nokia started an online social collaboration project to bring together images, photos, sounds, and video from people all over the world to create one movie that would be directed by spike lee. There were three themes staggered by 3 weeks each: birth, life, and death. Five winners were chosen from each of the themes and would receive a trip to LA to watch the premiere.

So faster foward a couple months of hours of content capturing and editing and we have October 14, 2008, the date Nokia Production's social collaboration is revealed.

Interview with Spike Lee
But before we jump to the video, a few of us bloggers who won the WOM World Death Scene Challenge (a mini contest within the final theme of death to remake a death scene from a movie) got a chance to interview Spike Lee:

Spike Lee arrives - Share on Ovi Spike Lee Interview - Share on Ovi

Source: ekai on YouTube

You can read/watch the video of Spike Lee's interview on a number of other blogs like WOM World. In short, he talked about content is more important than the tools that were used to create it and with technology advancing so fast it's giving everyone the tools to create their own creations that were once only available to the priviledged.

The Venue
Later that evening we arrived at Nokia LA Theatre where they were setting up the stage for the concert and admiting the finalists of the Nokia Productions to the VIP area.
Nokia Productions Premiere in LA - Share on Ovi

It was a good idea for Nokia to have it outside. The weather was very cooperative in LA and people can drop by to see what was happening.

All the winners had access to the VIP floor:
Nokia had a number of working phones for testing and people on hand to describe them Open bar
Lots of space An attractive DJ
People dancing Spike Lee hanging out at the DJ booth

The Announcment
I had a lot of doubts about the video. I saw the videos from the winners of the various themes and were so different from each other, which is to be expected when you have a contest for content coming from all over the world. If Spike Lee was going to limit himself to just content from those 15 winners then I wasn't sure how he would make the video coherent let along be of a decent length.

So here is Spike Lee and announcing the video:

NOM2185 - Share on Ovi NOM2186 - Share on Ovi

The Collaboration
With over 100,000 participants and over 1,000 media submissions from all over the world with Spike Lee directing, I would like to present our collaboration:

My Thoughts
I was impressed by the amount of footage he took from all the submissions. It was good to see that he didn't limit himself to the video from the 15 winners. It's a lighthearted video with a good matching song. Although our blogging team had some mixed feelings about it, I thought it was a good video and a good first time around.
What did you think of the video?

Outside was a booth to compete for a 5310 by playing Guitar Hero 3 Mobile edition and collect prints of photos they took of the winners with the 5310.
NOM2196 - Share on Ovi

The Concert
The follow up to the Nokia Productions video was Avril Lavigne's concert:
NOM2197 - Share on Ovi NOM2198 - Share on Ovi

Avril sang really well. Sad to say, I was slowly getting into her music too. She was playing all here oldies - stuff that had us going, "I know that song!"

Final thoughts
Overall it was a successful event with a lot of energy. I really hope Nokia extends their social collaboration efforts by making this an annual project since a lot of people didn't hear about it until it was near the end. It will definitely help push Nokia as not only a handset maker but also a company that helps people leverage technology in their creative efforts.

You can view all my Nokia Productions Premiere photos and videos on my Ovi channel

You can also view the video of Spike Lee's interview on WOM World.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Live from the Nokia Productions Premiere

i'm blogging live at the Nokia Productions Premiere

The Nokia Theatre:

The VIP floor:

Spike Lee giving a short speech and talking to the DJ

Avril Concert:

Monday, October 13, 2008

Nokia Premiere Itinerary

I'll be flying to Los Angeles tomorrow morning to attend the premiere of Spike Lee's video for Nokia Productions. If you have a question you want me to ask Spike Lee, just leave me a comment or message me!

Here's my itinerary (all in local time):

Day 1 Tuesday 14th October
9:00 Fly out to LAX
13:00 Attendees to meet with WOM World / Nokia - Hotel
14:30 Travel to Hotel to interview Spike Lee
15:00 Interview Spike Lee
16:00 Late Lunch
16:45 Head back to Hotel
17:00 Time online and prepare for Première
18:15 Arrive at Nokia Productions Première
Time at Première
TBC Return to Hotel

Day 2 Wednesday 15th October
7:00 to 9:00 Breakfast
10:00 to 12:00 Online time
12:00 + All attendees fly home

It's going to be a busy two days!

I will be on twitter so you can follow me here:

You can follow the Premiere here:

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Nokia 5800 XpressMusic Announcement

After months of leaks and being featured in a movie, the Nokia 5800 has finally been officially announced.

The 5800 is going to be a great phone from Nokia with multimedia at the top of its agenda.

The Nokia 5800 is the first phone running S60 5th edition which brings finger and stylus touch support and a re-worked UI for touch such as an on-screen QWERTY keyboard.

Quick facts:
Name: Nokia 5800
- 5800-1 EURO GSM 850/900/1800/1900, HSDPA 900/1800
- 5800-2 NAM GSM 850/900/1800/1900, HSDPA 850/1900
- 5800-3 China GSM 950/900/1800/1900
Weight: 109g
Dimensions: 111 x 51.7 x 15.5 mm
Battery life (stand by): 406 h
Battery life (talk): 525 minutes

Hardware-wise, the 5800 brings midrange N-series specs such as:

- 3.2 MP camera Carl-Zeiss optics with dual LED flash
- WiFi (802.11b/g)
- microSD up to 16GB
- 1320 mAh battery
- 3.5mm headset jack supporting Nokia AV (TV-out)
- integrated GPS

What does stand out is the 3.2 inch, 360 x 640 pixels resistive touch screen. Unlike the iPhone but more like the Blackberry Thunder, the Nokia 5800 needs you to push the screen.

It looks standard fare S60 so I hope you weren't expecting something different.

Watching the hands on videos, the 5800 is going to be slow in transitioning from landscape to portrait and vice versa and switching applications. Not sure I'm digging the idea of so many icons and pushing them. S60 3rd edition has a number of shortcut keys that you're going to miss in this iteration.

I think it was a great move by Nokia to position the 5800 as a midrange phone. This way people will be more forgiving with the first round bugs in the 5800 and not expect it to be as polished as Apple's iPhone. It also gives Nokia space to release a much higher spec'ed phone after they work out the kinks with 5th edition.

One big question for all previous S60 owners, how many of our favorite S60 3rd edition applications are going to work on 5th edition?

List of S60 5th edition changes: All About Symbian
Hands on preview: Engadget, SlashGear
For more information see: Nokia Remix Event