MIR: Jaiku Unwrapped – Part 2

In years gone by, expert craftsmen were named Masters. Master Builders, Master Blacksmiths and so on. In this new period of our history, labels are changing. Whatley is one of the only Master Jaikus that I know. He knows and uses the service inside out. Jaiku is his third eye.

Today we bring you part two of the Joy of Ku – Jaiku Unwrapped. Part One is here.

All good? The Master pulls down the hood of his dark billowing robe, turns toward us as we bow benevolently – and over to James.

– – –

Ok – so those of you that read my last official Whatley on Wednesday a fortnight ago (ignoring all the N95 shenanigans that happened in-between); and were quite interested to read my little introduction to Jaiku, then you’re probably wondering what I’m going to cover this week in part two of ‘Jaiku Unwrapped’ (nice title Ewan).

First up: Are you on Jaiku? If yes, read on. If no, go to http://jaikuinvites.com and get yourself in!

Next: Let’s talk about features

Well, there’s a lot to cover. I first encountered Jaiku way back in the Spring of 2007 as an early S60 app. This first iteration being ‘merely’ the cell-tower-naming, life-stream-enabled, active contacts book… and breathe.

So what does that mean?

Cell Tower Naming – Each Jaiku user can name the cell tower that is currently in use by their mobile handset. This information is then shared with your [Jaiku] contacts. This is cool.

Most of the cell towers near me are called variations of Teddington; Teddington Station, High St, Home etc and if any of my Jaiku buddies find themselves in the area, their Jaiku app updates their location accordingly. Can be fun when you’re browsing your contacts and you notice one of your friends is in one of your cells.

Life Streaming – Jaiku was at launch (and arguably still is in some respects) WAY ahead of its time when it comes to TRUE life-streaming. Any and all feeds can be pulled in and aggregated into the one stream. Here’s mine:


Comprising of my Last FM, Flickr, YouTube, Twitter and Various Blog Feeds.

All of my content in one place. Fantastic stuff. Interesting how this is now the business model for the relatively new Friend Feed. Something that I’m yet to try out but I’m told offers a very similar service on the full life stream front. Big deal, Jaiku’s been doing it for ages.

Friend Feed lacks a mobile component however which means no cool, location based stuff.

That aside, all of this life-streaming is no good if you can’t do anythingwith it. Which leads nicely into–

Active Contacts – Now that you (and your contacts) are all life streaming content or Presence Information, Jaiku takes on a more interesting role as a replacement for the native contacts application within the handset. Having Jaiku as an Active Contacts book allows you to see who is and is not available for calling just from one quick glance. Each contact displays the stream coming from their handset – this encompasses everything I’ve mentioned so far (Location, Life Stream Feed Content) and adds to it calendar info (shared, hidden or busy) AND profile information too.

The screens below are taken from the S60 app with my phone set to three different profiles:

The Profiles being General (Green), Vibrate (Amber) and Silent (Red) respectively.

If my Jaiku is displaying a red icon, now’s probably not a good time to call.

Note you can also see my latest ‘kus’ as well as the next event in my calendar; this information is opt-in as part of the sign-up. For the sake of sanity (and privacy) I normally have this set to busy but have shared for the sake of the screenshots.

Having this option available for all of my contacts would be excellent.

A quick glance can show me:

Where you are, what you’re doing, what your plans are, what you’ve been listening to, the last photo you shared, the last video you shared, the last blog post you wrote.

It goes on.

All of this stuff comes together to form one S60 app that is truly something spectacular.

Not got an S60 handset? Try http://m.jaiku.com instead. Not as functional as the app but still easy and accessible from your handset.

All this so far has been about the utility. The product. The usability. The benefits.

In my next (and last) Jaiku-themed piece I’ll cover off the final piece of the puzzle.

The thing that, in my opinion, truly makes Jaiku special:

The Community.
First is this piece from Jonathan Greene who gives a rough outline of the features I’ve mentioned above. It’s a good read but the good stuff is at the end with his fantastic video (from last year!) about the (now live) beta client of the S60 app.

Second is this post from co-creator of Jaiku, Jyri Engestrom. Entitled:

Blind Men’s Baseball – The Social Importance of Peripheral Vision

This one quote: ‘phones were designed with the assumption that when a person picks up the receiver to dial a number, they already know who they want to call.’ says it all for me.

Next week I’ll be in Las Vegas spreading the SpinVox love at CTIA.

If you’re heading out yourself, come find me and say hi.

If not, see you in a fortnight.

Thanks for reading.

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