MIR: Dump S60 on your N95 and install the Facebook OS instead?

Foreword by Ewan Macleod: Maybe it’s the 24 hour sound of money being well and truly spunked up the wall as you walk through the casinos or the plastic nature of Las Vegas that gets to you after one or two days — whatever the catalyst, James Whatley has found himself undergoing several epiphanies this week, most notably when it comes to S60, Facebook and phone user interfaces. Hit it, James…


– – –

Before you all call “April Fool”, this idea came around when I was invited along by Debi Jones of Mobile Jones to attend a roundtable discussion hosted by Airwide and MobileMessaging2.com entitled:

Web 2.0 comes to Handsets – New Issues and Upside for Monetizing the Mobile Web

It started with a brief overview from Steve Bratt, CEO of the W3C about Web 2.0 and the similarities with the Mobile industry etc… And then we broke out into four separate groups to each discuss particular questions.

Our table had the not so easy task of answering the following:

“What are the three capabilities consumers will want in the future and what can the mobile industry do to help enable this?”

So, aside from the obvious “Consumers have NO IDEA what they want!” rant I could’ve launched into, I was sitting there with a few folk chucking around such themes as personalized UI, location-based services and, my personal favourite, passive contextual awareness, (I’ll come back to this one at a later date).

Chatting away, sharing ideas, brain working overload… I had an epiphany:

Scrap S60, give me facebook!’

The people at the table looked at me a little dumbfounded and I went onto explain it further…

“Rip out the standard UI in this handset (waving N95) put in facebook!”

The comments came thick and fast:

“Well, I like MySpace. Can’t I have a MySpace phone?”

“Didn’t Helio do that already?”

“Yeah. But you customize the UI couldn’t you? Give users that choice…”

“Ok. Give users the choice to customize their UI…”

“Blah blah blah…”

And that was cool and ok, it answered one of the three things we had to find and stuff… However, I think this is something that bears further thought.

What is Facebook?

By its own definition it is a Social Tool.

(Not a Social Network – You and your friends are the Network, not facebook – remember that one kids).

What is a mobile phone?

Also a Social Tool.

So my question is this: Why not converge the two?

I’ve spoken about facebook in the past and how the users can be segmented in different ways etc. But fundamentally, at the most basic level, facebook is when you think about it an extremely active contacts/address book, right?


Pour that into a handset and what do you get?

I’ll show you:

Your Contacts? Sync’d with facebook Friends.
But not only do I get numbers I also get pictures, updates, status etc.

Your Calendar? Sync’d with facebook Events.
But you get more detail, who’s coming etc (all linked across the different apps etc)

Your Games? Scrabulous anyone?!

What about SMS/Email/MMS? You’ve all sent a facebook message before right?

Your Camera? No change here. Oh, aside from photos being stored to your facebook gallery.

And Fun apps? If you read this blog I’m going to assume you’ve installed an app onto your phone before. You may well have even installed an app on your facebook too… see the link?

Don’t forget the Internet? Ahh… Here’s the killer see.

Facebook currently has no internet per se. No search. No Google box etc… That would be your link off and out of the facebook garden as it were. But hey, you never know with fb – they may well have Search on their roadmap.

Thinking about mobile search, searching the handset, like the current desktop search on the N95 or ‘Finder’ on any MacBook, would be like facebook!

Searching for “mobile geeks” and i’d be shown the event, the group and also any and all of the contacts in my address book that are part of said party.

What about my favourite app, Jaiku? Build it in.

Status updates on facebook? The mini-feed? That becomes your life-stream right there.

It could work.

Think about it.

The number one thing that people hate about changing handsets is relearning the UI: “Aww man, I’m still getting used to it” etc…

What if the UI was the same?
What if you knew how to use the UI before you took the thing out of the box because it’s the same UI that you use every day on Facebook?
And all that’s before we even begin to talk about the trusted relationship that the consumer already has with facebook as a brand…

Ok, so – taking a breath – maybe the web UI is not built to work on a phone. Maybe having a “facebook phone” would be almost as bad as Helio’s “MySpace Phone”.

But why not have the facebook engine running underneath a very basic UI. With all the information embedded and layered underneath each contact or event or picture, creating context sensitive content…Makes sense huh?

I guess what I’m getting at is the ideas and principles behind the semantic web, on your mobile.

It doesn’t have to be facebook. It could be anything. Just join the dots.

What do you think?

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.

MIR: N95 Dead; Insurance Nightmare; N95 4GB Exclusive

We interrupt the scheduled programming to bring you a Whatley on Friday exclusive!

– – –

Fwd: I am not happy


So – Those of you who follow me on Jaiku or on twitter may have seen this message appear late last night:

“N95 – kaput :(“

What follows is an account of two hours of my life from the early evening of last night (Thursday).

Vodafone have pissed me off. Their insurance company more so – they are CLEARLY a 3rd party with nothing to do with Vodafone and as such, let them down on an almost spectacular level.
That aside – VF’s CS has seen better days.

If this issue is not resolved by the weekend, I am off to 3.
You heard it here first.

So – What happened?

Well, over the past few weeks the N95 has taken a bit of a beating it’s, how we say in the UK, ‘been in the wars a bit’. I’ve dropped it left, right and centre and even tossed it here and there too.

Note – it was camera tossing – see here.

Anyway – The phone has been fine. I went to a meeting yesterday afternoon, switched the phone off. All fine. I leave the meeting. Switch the phone on. All fine. I get to the station and, whilst waiting for my train, I decide to check the timetable. This is not possible. Not properly anyway. Because, every time I clicked one of the right sided centre keys, the screen went blank. Bugger.

Train arrives. I get on. I test it again. Same thing; Right centre keys make the screen go blank. Left centre keys bring it back. Bugger it.

I’m just off into town for a couple of drinks with the lass and all of a sudden I have no phone. Damn.

What next? I do what any other Vodafone-loving man would do, I call Vodafone.

Here I have to pause. Here for a second, if merely for sheer dramatic effect I must take a moment, and breathe…

I have waxed lyrical about Red’s amazing customer service before, quite a lot actually; online and off.
Thing is with GOOD customer service, you become used to it.
It becomes ‘the norm’.
Anything less than above average is, well,  just average.

I make the call. Bear in mind that as a ‘card carrying member’ (remember?) of Vodafone’s Best Care program I have come to expect the following to happen:

“Hello Mr Whatley, how can I help you today?”

“Hello there, my phone is broken.”

“Ok Mr. Whatley, we can get a replacement out to you with 24hrs, where would you like it to be delivered?”

And. That. Is. It. Job done.

This is what I expected to happen. What I got was something COMPLETELY to the contrary.

CALL 1 (bodes well doesn’t it?)

“Hello Mr Whatley, how can I help you today?”

“Hello there, I wonder if you can help actually. It’s my phone. The screen really, it started to go off and on earlier and now… Well now it won’t even come on at all”

“And what phone do you have Mr Whatley? Says here you have the N95, is it the 8GB version?”

“No no, I’ve got an old school original N95.”

“Ok, and did you buy it from a store or over the phone?”

“Over the phone. I NEVER go in store.”

“Ok Mr Whatley, and what do you think may’ve the problem on the phone?”

“I’m not entirely sure to be honest, I do USE my phone. I mean REALLY use it. But I know I’ve definitely dropped it twice in the last two weeks.”

“Oh ok Mr Whatley, no problem. It sounds like you may have to make an insurance claim but that shouldn’t take a minute. Well I’ve just checked and it looks like we don’t actually have any N95s in stock anymore, but that’s ok. The insurance will just send you an 8GB instead, is that ok?”

Leaving aside my N95-1 preferences for a second…

“Oh.. er.. ok, can’t really complain! Yes, I guess that would be fine, thank you!”

“Ok Mr Whatley I’ll just put you through to the insurance department.”

“Thank you very much.”


“Hello you’re through to Vodafone In-sure-antz… *giggle* …”

Note – the giggling – the girl that I was put through to was clearly having some kind of joke on the other end of the line and was finding it hard to control her laughter. Hilarious.

“Before I go on… *giggle* …stop it… *giggle* …can I just tell.. *giggle* …can I just tell you that callsarerecordedfortraininperposeees…”  *muffled laughter*

I’ve worked in a call centre myself. This happens. You just get the giggles sometimes.
However, I wasn’t in the mood.

I hung up and re-dialled 191,
I get through to the woman sitting next to the first woman I spoke to the first time round.


“Oh, sorry to hear what’s happened Mr Whatley, I’ll try and put you through again.”


“Hi Mr Whatley, I’ve explained all your details and told them what the situation is, I’ll just put you through now.”

“Hello you’re through to Vodafone In-sure-antz, can I take your name please?”

“Haven’t you got it? Ok. James Whatley.”

“And how can I help?”

“You mean you weren’t told?”

“You want to make a claim sir?”

“Yes. The screen on my N95. It’s broken. I need to get it replaced.”

“And when did it break sir?”

“This afternoon.”

“As a result of what sir?”

“Well, I’ve dropped it recently.”

“When sir?”

“A couple of times. RECENTLY.”

“Oh. So the screen was working today then sir?”


“Did you drop it today sir?”

“No, but I think it’s an issue of overall wear and tear if you will.”

“But you didn.t drop it today sir?”

“Well, no but…”

“Well then the screen failure can’t be down to you dropping it Sir… *sigh* …it’s a warrantee issue. I’ll pass you back to customer care.”

Turns out ‘pass you back to customer care’ is a euphemism for ‘hang up on you’.

If you’ve made it this far – thank you – I applaud your reading efforts. By this time I had travelled from Oxford to Paddington and I’m now at Paddington Station when I make call number 3.

“Hello there, I don’t have time to go through this again. I just want to complain about the poor standard of service that your insurance company provides. First they lack professionalism and second they show no real willingness to help and/or cooperate.”

“Of course Mr Whatley, what is the problem?”

I explain. THIS TIME ROUND I’m advised that I will have to take the phone IN STORE to have it examined.

“Look. I don’t have time to do this now. I called to complain. I need to get on the tube. I’ll call back later.”

By now I am seething. I get off the tube at London Waterloo and the lass is running a little late. I’ll try again. I think.


“Hello there, I’ve had a rough time with CS so far this evening. I understand this isn’t your fault so I won’t scream and shout. My N95. It’s broken.”

“Ok sir, which one do you have? The 4GB or the 8GB?”


“Which N95 do you have sir? The 4GB or the 8GB?”

“Er… There isn’t a 4GB N95.”

“Yes there is Sir, it’s ok, you’ve probably got the 8GB, the black one right sir?”
(this time in a slightly condescending kind of ‘it’s ok sir, you don’t know about your silly little broken phone’ voice)

“Look, I don’t have the 8GB version of the phone. I have the silver one.”

“..The 4GB.”

“NO! THERE IS NO 4GB N95! I work in the bloody industry and I know this phone inside and out and unless you’ve started shipping them with a 4GB MicroSD card as standard then it does not exist. The original N95, the silver one, the one IN MY HAND, comes with 160MB internal flash memory and 64MB RAM. Not 4GB.”

“I’m sorry sir but…”

“Look, let’s no split hairs. I know I’m right on this. It’s not why I called. I called because my phone is broken.”

“Yes Mr Whatley, says here you’ve been advised to take it in-store to have it examined?”

“Yes, that’s right. But that’s not good enough. I need a replacement as soon as.”

“That’s ok sir, if you hand it over in-store they will pop it in a jiffy bag, send it off to be repaired and it will be back within 7 days tops.”

NOTE – I’ve been here before – it NEVER takes seven days. THIS is why I stopped going in-store.

“I doubt that. Plus what am I to do without a phone?”

“They’ll have a phone you can borrow sir.”

“Have you ever had to borrow one from in-store before?”

“They have the Sharp device range sir.”

“Yes. I know. Horrid devices. They’re not nice. Listen. You don’t get it. I’m a mobile phone blogger. It’s what I do. Not having a decent handset in this business is quite frankly a ridiculous notion and I REALLY need to get this sorted ASAP!”

“Yes sir, if you take it in-store tomorrow I’m sure they’ll be able to…”

At this point I gave up. I am SO mad. The phone, FOR WHATEVER REASON, no longer works. Actually, that’s incorrect. The screen no longer works. The phone works fine. In fact, I know my N95 THAT WELL, I’m able to send texts and make calls in the dark.

Fortunately I am lucky enough to currently be in possession of a Nokia N82 (kindly supplied by those lovely folk at WOM World, this device however I have been using as my work phone. That reluctant was I to give up my N95 as my main device I opted to switch out the E61i for the duration of the loan period.

While I’ve been typing up this tirade I’ve been backing up/restoring/sync-ing each device to switch the N82 into my main device and the E61i back to my work device.

Incidentally – I’m not even touching upon the review of the N82 yet, or the amazing differences between the Nseries and the Eseries range of devices that I uncovered by making this switch – they can all wait for another post.

This post – THIS ONE THAT YOU’RE READING RIGHT NOW – is about how disappointed I am with Vodafone. You may call me fickle, but have a read of it again. See if you’d settle for this kind of ‘service’.

I am NOT a happy customer.

And do you know what makes it worse? It’s happened beforesame problem(s)

This time though there has been no resolve.

The issue is still open.

I genuinely do not know what to do next. My instinct tells me to call VF again – To keep on keeping on. This issue has happened before and I got a replacement within 24hrs.

Why is it any different now?

Why is Vodafone’s customer service so inconsistent?

Why do they allow such a shoddy experience when it comes to their mobile insurance – which, by the way, I PAY EXTRA FOR!

If I don’t have a new N95 by the end of the weekend, or at least, on its way to me by the end of the weekend – as I said at the beginning of this post – I’m going to 3.

And I’ll tell every soul that I ever sold onto Vodafone that they made a mistake and that Vodafone don’t care about their customers, nor do they care for their (outsourced) insurance – that’s not worth the paper it is written on.

With that, I am spent. If you made it to the end, thanks.
If you’ve got a spare N95-1 lying around, let me know – I’m open to offers.

– – –

MIR: The N95 Saga: What happened next?

First up, if you missed the rant on Friday, then you should go catch up or else none the following will make much sense.


Up to speed? Good.

Next up – I’m still with Vodafone.


Well. You’ll see.

Thing is, this whole episode has really got me thinking about a LOT of stuff. So there’s a lot to cover with this follow up post, it might turn into another long one. So once again, thanks for reading.

First up – let’s pick up from where we left off.

The early hours of Friday morning:

01:30 – I email my rant over to Ewan

01:45 – He hits publish

01:46 – I post on Jaiku

04:52 – Nokia Geek re-posts the story on
his blog

07:40 – The story re-appears over on the blog by iFelix

08:57 – An SMS arrives from a friend within the walls of VF:

“Would you like me to try and escalate your N95 problem internally? Or would you prefer the vanilla experience?”

I choose the latter, (thank you though for your kind offer – you know who you are).

09:30 – Steve Litchfield links back to the story over at All
About Symbian

Then, at 09:39, the phone rings:

“Hello, James Whatley?”

“Hello there Mr Whatley, my name’s Amy and I’m calling from Vodafone. I hope you don’t mind me getting in contact like this, I’ve just been reading your blog.”

[Note from Ewan: We’re speculating that ‘Amy’ is indeed Amy Rose as covered before on SMS Text News]

“I see.”

“Yes, I searched for your name on our system and then cross referenced the notes on the accounts that I found with your written version of events to see which James Whatley it could be and.. well I found you!”

“Right you are.”

“Mr Whatley, I’m dreadfully sorry for everything’s that happened regarding your N95. We’ve investigated it as much as we can this end and it seems the insurers have rather a lot hoops to jump through to process these claims, something we’re trying to rectify. And you see it’s basically a lot of red tape that we can’t really do much about.”


“However, I’ve been in touch with them and sorted everything out and we should be able to get a replacement phone out to you as soon as possible. Now this normally happens on the next working day, but I’m going to make a few calls and see if we can’t get it out to you today.”

“Oh well, thank you very much.”

“Only thing is Mr Whatley, we don’t actually stock the silver N95 anymore. We only have the 8GB version, is that going to be ok?”

“Well, er… I actually prefer the silver one if I’m perfectly honest, but I can’t knock it I guess. It’s very kind of you to reach out like this. Yes. Ok. I’ll take it. Cheers.”

“Right then, I’ll sort things out with the insurance company. You will still have to pay the £25 excess charge for claiming but I can just pop that onto your next bill. I’ll give you a call back in a bit to confirm delivery.”

Brilliant. Fantastic. Wonderful.
Or is it?

We’ll come back to this one. Moving on.

09:50 – I get an email from Colin over at Nokia WOMWorld:

“Hi James

Your two week trial period for the N82 has finished, therefore we need to organise the return of the device.”

Just kidding! Read about your ‘kaput’ N95, so out of the goodness of our hearts we will extend the N82 trial period. How about I send out a bluetooth headset too, make it easier for you to call/pester/complain to Vodafone whilst on the move?”

I very nearly spat my latte out laughing! This did make me smile. A lot. Cheers guys.

10:00 – Steve over at S60Blogger made sure he
mentioned it too
– which, incidentally, then got picked up a few more times on some insurance aggregation sites

10:10 – Paul Sweeney of VoiceSage talks about the Expectations
of GREAT Customer Service

11:29 – I come back to my desk and I have a missed call plus one new SMS:

Hi James, it’s Amy calling from Vodafone. Just calling you back as promised earlier. Got good news the phone is gonna be delivered to you today. Should be with you around 2:30. I will give you a call back, I’ll try you again in a little while just so that I can have another chance to chat to you. Thank you. Bye. – Spoken through SpinVox

14:30 you say? Not bad at all.

Lunch time rolls around and the department head out for a colleague’s birthday lunch.

13:25 – The phone rings:

“Hi, is that James Whatley?”

“Yes mate.”

“Alright, I’m just on Marlow High Street, looking for Wethered House (SpinVox HQ), can you direct us?”

“Actually mate, I’m just on the High Street myself. In Chez Gerard.”

“Oh I can see that, I’ll come meet you.”

13:30 – Yours truly takes delivery of a brand new, never-been-opened Nokia N95 8GB.

Just shy of 12hrs since the original article went live.

So – What have we learnt?

First thing: Vodafone have some kind of ‘Forum Intervention Team’ who are happy to step up to the plate whenever things need fixing, (but we knew this already).

This I must say is a HUGE step forward for any operator/network and is something the rest of the industry can learn from.

To have a team in place monitoring the blogosphere for anything of this nature is a great string to Vodafone UK’s bow.
And it’s the exact same thing I used to do 18mths ago for Refresh Mobile, (way back in their Mobizines days).

So kudos to you Red; you came through and you delivered. Nice work.


And this is a big BUT that was repeated to me over email, IM, Jaiku, Twitter, SMS and even over the phone from my friends and colleagues alike:

“BUT JAMES?! Well done and everything – But what about the average user? If this happened to your Mum she wouldn’t sit down and write two thousand words on how annoyed she was nor would she know the right platform/channels to use to air said grievances! So, what about your Normobs?!”

Well. There’s a few ways you can look at this.

Ewan bet me £5 that I could’ve got a replacement handset from in-store over the weekend and he was probably right. So did I get preferential treatment? Yes. You could say I did. If I was your average every day customer without access to a reasonably well-read wireless news site, would I have got my replacement handset on the same day? Doubtful, (don’t forget though, I still had to pay the £25 excess, just like anyone else – all VF saved me was time).

This however does not necessarily make Vodafone bad. Later that day I was contacted by another friend of mine, again within the walls of Vodafone. He told me about the Forum Intervention Team and how (in his opinion) they do a good job. Not least because they fix what they can online but because every problem they solve gets put back into the system to try and ensure that the same doesn’t happen again. My contact also told me that Vodafone has a ‘Voice of the Customer’ forum. Everyone within Voda has the ability to raise issues to VOC so they can be investigated.

They don’t take this kind of thing lightly.

The good thing (I’m told) is that this whole episode has highlighted the ‘outsourced insurers’ problem to the VOC which will hopefully mean that the end user experience will improve in the long run.

This is great news.

Short term?

If you are a normob (or if you know one) then the best advice I could give you would be to never give up. Keep calling back, keep kicking up a fuss and keep on keeping on until you get the level of service you think you deserve.

Now in closing; let’s address some of the questions raised in the the comments of Friday’s piece::

Quite a few of you mentioned that I should’ve taken the insurance girl’s hints and just told them what they wanted to hear. You’re probably right. But you’re gonna have to excuse my naivety on this one chaps; the thought didn’t even cross my mind. I’ve never had to claim on insurance before and well – I didn’t know the game was played as such. I’ll know for future reference, that aside – it’s still a sorry state of affairs if this kind of behaviour is ‘the norm’.

Hands0n had a cheeky dig at the state of my N95. What can I say? I USE my handset! I don’t care for fancy covers or belt clips. My phone is purely functional. Admittedly I use every function available but that doesn’t mean I should keep it wrapped up in cotton wool. I love the battle scars on my N95. It shows how much I’ve really got out of it, y’know?

Maybe I should send it off to some kind of mobile phone war museum? Hehe.

Joking aside, this whole episode has taught us a LOT about Vodafone.

Yes, their CS sometimes falters but it’s clear they do care about their customers.

Yes, they gave me preferential treatment, but it’s only through people venting their anger (online or otherwise) at poor levels of service that any big company has any chance of learning/changing anything.

And the less said about the N95 4GB variant the better…

MIR: The Joy of Ku: Jaiku Unwrapped

– – –

I’ve been meaning to write this piece for a while now. In fact, ever since Google made that purchase last year the whole blogosphere has been falling over itself trying to figure out exactly what Google intend to do with their now five-month-old purchase.

I had an eye on eventually contributing to this but by the time I got round to it, most of the good stuff had already been covered. Notably this piece by Jonathan Mulholland (‘What Google has planned for Jaiku‘).

Then there were the series of posts at the beginning of the year regarding the spate of errors/downtime that Jaiku kept throwing up – (downtime, by the way, is merely par the course for your average Twitter user. But we’ll leave that one there for now).

Again – this was aptly covered by someone else here (Jaiku users flee to Twitter as a result of Google neglect) and yet again ably kicked back by our friend Mr Mulholland (Think Jaiku is loosing to Twitter? Wait ’til Android devices start shipping).

(Damn he’s good)

So, what am I going to write about?

First off – without presuming too much – a brief explanation:

What is Jaiku?

* Micro-blogging (like twitter)
* Limited to 140 characters (like Twitter) to your first Jaiku
* Jaikus start threaded conversations (unlike Twitter) with no character limit (unlike Twitter)
* Jaiku also enables Presence from your S60 handset: Location + Phone Profile + Latest Jaiku
* Jaiku as a feed aggregator – pulling in all your feeds into one single life stream
* An active contacts book, when futurists debate the address book as being key to any user’s daily life, Jaiku is often looked upon as leading the way
* And above all, a community

That’s that covered. So what now?

Right, well – and there’s definite sleeves rolling up going on here – thing is, since the Google buy-out, Jaiku has become closed – aka invitation only.


However another thing is – every user gets ten invites. EVERY user gets ten. If you’ve been there since the beginning or if you signed up an hour ago, ten invites is what you get.

So some clever chaps over at Weeno Media cracked onto this and thought that they’d play Google at their own game (remember Gmail invites folks?).

And their variant of this game? http://jaikuinvites.com.

What’s it for?

Well the clue is in the name. Jaiku Invites.

You need one? Let them know.

You got some to share? Let them know.

They do the hard part in the background and link up those that need them with those that have them spare.

Supply meets Demand. Magic.

Why the big fuss? Well this is kinda cool.

I’m using this space to tell you about this website because I want YOU to go and sign up for Jaiku RIGHT NOW.

Over the coming weeks I’m going to be going into what it is exactly I love about this service.

There are many, MANY reasons.

Is it the community? The threaded nature of conversation maybe?

What about the presence enabled S60 application? Ahead of it’s time when it comes to true life-streaming.

Then there’s the different ways to contribute to the site itself, (text/app/web/m.web), every one of them having their own plus/minus points. They each deserve a mention too.

As I said at the beginning of this post, I’ve been trying to write a piece about my love affair with Jaiku for some time now.

Each time getting halfway through and realising I’ve gone completely off-piste and spend the next 15mins fighting my way back to the point, (see this post on my VOX for a perfect example).

So I’ve decided to break it up a bit. Consider it a bit like a book club.

I’ve told you about Jaiku, I’ve told you I love it, I’ve told you how to go and get it.

Next week I’ll tell you what is so bloody great about it – (if you haven’t worked it out already)

MIR: Whatley Wednesday – Mobile Advertising

I read this article last week entitled “Why 2008 won’t be the breakthrough year for Mobile Advertising”. It was originally published in the middle of Mobile World Congress.

It makes for very good reading and clearly outlines the one caveat that is currently preventing the mobile advertising boom that has been promised for the past seven years: Advertisers simply don’t have the money to buy mobile ads. Nate Elliott also goes onto theorise that interesting things may happen in 2009 and the real (European) breakthrough will come in 2010.

After spending a few days digesting, I have to say that it is one theory that I buy into… It’s nearly here and the recently announced Mobile Ad deals laid out in that piece show this. Combine that with the consistent month on month growth rate of companies like Blyk – who have bet the farm on this particular return of investment – and you can see that we’re almost at tipping point. But, again, as the article points out, we’ve been almost at tipping point for just shy of a decade.
By way of comparison, in the UK there’s a TV programme called Skins, (it’s young, a bit good, knows its audiences and once you’ve watched a few you’re hooked) and recently E4, the younger, digital sister channel of Channel 4, started airing Season 2.

This in itself is really no big deal. However the amount of cash spent on the blanket marketing is.

You can’t get away from it!

And not in a bad way either. The TV spots are stylised; hinting at character development and yet still keeping the dark, surreal undertone that flows throughout the show. The ‘skincasts’, Podcasts containing interviews with the cast members are there for you to download to your MP3 player of choice, the community is there.

One of the interesting side effects of the first season, and something the UK media like to jump when there’s a slow news day, is the amount of young teenagers throwing themed ‘skins parties’ and, if you’ve ever seen the show, they don’t leave much to the imagination.

The new campaigns around season 2 are aimed at these people. Tapping into this (youth) market, this mindset is a genius move that has (probably) done wonders for their ratings. And it’s not just TV ratings these days either. Other KPIs include web hits, unique visitors, content downloads, podcast listeners, community members etc… There’s a lot to be measured.

So what about Mobile? Is all the money in mobile ads? Probably not.

Is there money to be made from mobile ads? A little, although not the billions that everyone thinks. Not yet anyway. Not without some joined-up thinking around context vs content etc…

2yrs ago I was told “Content is King”, I said then what I still say now. Context is King. You can send me as much content as you like but if it doesn’t speak to me, I ain’t buying.

I digress.

Taking a look at the E4 mobile proposition.


Simple, optimised content which is easy to consume – Basic Mobile Web 101 (but I’ve talked about this before)

Taking a closer look – There are three tabs: Telly, Goss and… SKINS!

Brilliant – Not only that but you can watch a clip from Skins Episode 3 right now – one click away.

That’s great. Not just for the end-user experience but it speaks shedloads about the level of internal buy-in from all parties within the offices of E4.

Skins is clearly their “hero” show for this season and is one of the channel’s better IPs.

This is a fantastic example of a blanket marketing campaign.

Mobile advertising needs to adopt similar thinking. You can’t just throw something into the mobile web and just expect it to work. You need strategy and process. Without this mobile advertising will never be the goose that will lay the golden egg. But it could well be a part of a few select bronze egg laying battery chickens.

The point I’m trying to make with the Skins example is that agencies and big media brands are finally coming to realise the amount of potential that lies in digital media. Mobile is part (albeit a new part) of this space.

And it won’t be long until they catch on. It just needs someone, or something, to make that first leap into the unknown.

MIR: Nokia N-Gage: Possibilities & Potential

MWC – Wow. Cool. Loved it.

2260438012_d1ea0ec723_oI was there on official business with SpinVox and the one KPI I had was to make sure that the headlines on the SpinVox message board were updated constantly (see pic ).

So off I trotted around the congress to get the latest news and views and convert them, quite literally, into text.

And where did I end up? In all sorts of places! One of those places just happened to be the Nokia hospitality suite, on-hand and asking questions to the product managers of their new devices and services. The one I want to write about today? N-Gage – and what fell out of that particular session.

Here goes:

If we, the power users, (according to Jaakko Kaidesoja, lead director at N-Gage) define how future handsets will be created/designed then please, please, PLEASE allow us to DO MORE.

So – what do I want to do? Well, me personally? Not that much. I just want to have the option, the ability to do more with my devices.

Sitting in the Q&A with Jaakko, it struck me what was missing.

It was odd that, of the four Product Manager Q&A sessions that I was able to attend at MWC; OVI, N78, N96 and N-Gage respectively, the one I thought I would enjoy the least was the one that had the most potential.

Given that I went into the N-Gage Q&A thinking that I probably wouldn’t enjoy it that much, Ricky ‘Symbian-Guru‘ Cadden and I, have often traded blows about mobile gaming (he loves it and I hate it), I was immensely surprised at a) how much it got my brain going and b) how much untapped potential S60 apps as have as a whole.

Maybe it was thanks to the previous three sessions I attended that this one got my brain ticking over so much. Geo Tagging for example, something I wrote about recently and has been possible (thanks to ShoZu) for over a year, is now ‘as standard’ across Nokia’s new hero handsets (the N78 and N96) but – hey guys, why stop at images?

The three questions I put to Jaakko were as follows:

Forgive if I’m taking this a step too far but given that the geo tagging functionality has been announced recently, wouldn’t it be cool if I could geo-tag my stats? i.e.: Dude! I was HERE when I beat you!

Jakko: That’s not possible but a good idea

Can I upload my stats to my OVI?

Jakko: Not yet, but it is something we would look at in the future

Can I sync my N-Gage contacts with the contacts in my phonebook?

Jakko: Not yet, but it is something we would look at in the future

THIS is when my brain went into overdrive and I started systematically going through the applications on my handset to find which ones would make logical sense to link up. Starting with N-Gage, why can’t I browse my contacts, click on Ricky and send/book him a time to play [insert ngage game title here]? Ricky would then get an invite from me which he could accept, and in the background the handset would place an appointment into his calendar and link my name with my N-Gage username on his phone – synchronicity inside N-Gage and out – it just makes sense.

I can already attach images and suchlike to contacts; MP3s/Ringtones for example (which is great if you’re away from your phone; Imperial March playing? That’ll be Mum) so, let’s do more.

Given the functionality demonstrated by Jaiku’s presence information, and also some features which are disabled in the current client (but have been seen on the private beta – ie: direct to stream photo uploads and ‘what am I listening to?’ – Last.fm-esque scrobbling on the move).

If Nokia can build in Location tagging, (which, to be honest, is a big ME TOO app that everyone will applaud them for, and yet us early adopters will continue to thank ShoZu) then why not put presence in as well?

This whole stream of consciousness leads me into what originally got me worked up. Strategic alignment across S60 (and why stop there?) applications.

Why not link everything up?!

Only by enabling these things from the off and N-Gaging (heh) the consumer with simple and easy to understand education, will you benefit from mass-adoption.

And I’ll leave it there, for now.

I’ve got a lot more that will hopefully filter through over the coming weeks.

So, stay tuned!