Mobile Geeks of London V

Yes folks, it’s that time of year… Mobile Geeks of London is upon us!

– WOO! –

It’s been just over four months since our last meetup and well, it’s about we had another shindig! If you’re a facebook person get yourself over to the event page and sign up now…

If you’re not a facebook person then the details are as follows:

Date: 26th November 2008 – That’s TOMORROW folks!
Time: 18:30ish – 23:00ish
Location: All Bar One
Street: New Oxford Street (nearest tube: Tottenham Court Road)
Town/City: London Baby!

Like Beer? Like Mobile? Come on down!

As I’ve always maintained:

The Mobile Geeks of London is exactly what it says on the tin.

It’s not about business development, nor is it, to an extent, just another networking event.

It’s about genuine Mobile Geeks coming together and sharing an evening over beers, talking about the thing they love to geek over most…

MOBILE!

Industry and non-industry folk, mixing it up.
Nice.

So leave a comment if you can make it, hell leave a comment if you can’t!
Just let me know either way…
๐Ÿ˜‰

Also – as well as the usual top sekrit gadgetry that may or may not be on show at the meetup – word has reached my ears that a certain Ben Smith from Mobile Industry Review will be in attendance…

– Pic by Joshr via Ben Smith –

That’s Ben there on the right, (as seen with yours truly at the last event – MGoL IV), he’ll be there along with the rest of the Mobile Industry Review team I’m sure, drumming up support and selling tickets for “MIR Christmas Presents.”

A quick word about that:

If you don’t know about MIR Christmas Presents already, I suggest you jump over and read up. It’s a fantastic way to support two amazing charities – The United Nations Foundation and Childline – and you also have a (rather large) chance of winning some awesome prizes too (seriously).

You don’t have to come to MGoL V to take part you can literally get your ticket from the website right now… But I did take the liberty of dropping Ben a note earlier on today to see if he was doing anything special for the MGoL members and he said:

Hey Dude, thanks for inviting me along – any attendees who buy MIR Christmas Present tickets at tomorrow’s MGoL event will automatically be entered into a special mini-draw to win a few bottles of something (Whisky and Champagne so far)…

Woo! More alcohol!
Nice one Ben.

So there you have it – Mobile Geeks of London V.

Tomorrow night.

Be there or be square.

Whatley out…

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: 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.

Rubbish.

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’s mobile power user insights

Just a quick two parter this week – Ewan gave me my first actual assignment last week and I’m still putting the finishing touches to it, (i.e.: Still need to write it up proper-like).

So – as a bit of cheat – I thought I’d do a follow up post on last week’s Power User Insights.

To be more precise: Address some questions that were asked in the comments (as well as elsewhere online and off) and clarify a few points too…

But first, a quick user story:

At the weekend I killed the browser on my N95. I don’t know how or what I did exactly that made it die in such a spectacular fashion but die it did.

To the point where no matter how many times (or many ways for that matter) I tried to access the Mobile from my N95, it was having NONE of it. I clicked on the app, the screen flashed as if it was about to do something and after a second or two – it went back to the menu screen.

Panic.

Set.

In.

First thing I did was turn it off and turn it back on again… Nope, didn’t work.

Then I tried using one of my phone’s shortcuts to get to the web – Nope, that didn’t work either.

I had these horrid thoughts of having to hard reset* my phone and having to re-build it back up from scratch. Not good.

However – all was not lost – some research online uncovered some prior cases of aforementioned phone browser fever. The problem was in fact my cache. Obviously, not being able to clear it from within the browser was going to be a problem so I had to turn to my trusty Y-Browser.

Image

Once I’d browsed to my C drive and cleared the cache, (over 500 items in there! Eeep!), the browser started working again just fine. Woohoo!

So as an FYI – if this happens to you – you know what to do.

On retrospect, if you were to put a Normob (Ewan – are you gonna trademark that?) into this situation what would they’ve done?

Left it? Sent it back to Nokia? Taken it back to the store?

90% of my friends would’ve done neither and probably just given their phone to me and asked me to fix it.

No, scrap that.

100% of my friends, relatives, acquaintances, colleagues etc… ALL give their phones to me to fix. Not a problem. I like doing it. But if they don’t know someone like me (or you) then what do they do?

Hand it in to a store only for it to be returned 3wks later with a note saying ‘water damage’ attached to it?

At this point I’m reminded of Ewan’s recent iPhone/Parent problems

Ok. Well. Enough ranting and explaining – moving onto part 2:

Got some great feedback from the power user piece from last week so thanks again to all of those that took the time to response – fantastic insights – some of which I think are worth sharing (and linking to).

Terence – your first comment made me go back and edit part of the original content so it now reads:

“…as well as also managing to find time to update my facebook,
…reply to some Tweets…
…and catch up on Jaiku via their m.websites”

Being the mdot evangelist that I am I just assumed that you’d all know that’s how I’d be viewing my content! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Google Reader was mentioned a couple of times – I was unaware that they had a mobile variant for this, and having only just discovered recently the wonders of all things RSS – I shall have to have a play at once!

Antoine of MMM had a great idea about a dock for your device. Apple have that one covered already but yes – a ‘centre of gravity’ for my Nokia device wherever I went would be great.

Mirko – I find when walking around London that 8 of 10 people tend to be either tourists or travelers themselves. Plus I am uber-reliant on my handset and use it whenever and wherever possible. I see your point but I think it’s just down to personal preference.

Active Notes. Well reminded. I used to have this but I think I lost it when I last upgraded my firmware. Anyone who uses the ‘notes’ app on their handset should really lookout for Active Notes. It’s quite handy.

Ben Smith suggests Road Sync for all your email needs. I personally use the one Mail 4 Exchange client that comes built in on my N95 (and on my E61i for that matter) but I shall definitely take a look at this one. Glad to see you find SpinVox as useful as I do too – and a big public thank you for the amount of feedback you sent in earlier this week. It has been circulated and the right people are devouring it as we speak!

Onto Dave’s question about Agile: Dave, I bought Agile Messenger originally about 2yrs ago now, (it maybe longer), for my then N70 and I loved it. At that time it was only around ยฃ7 (about 9 euros) and I had no problem paying for the full lifetime licence. I too have fring installed but to be honest, I only ever really use it when I need to chat to any of my Skype contacts, (you know who you are).

I’m not sure if Agile is worth as much as they’re charging for it these days but it is definitely worth taking looks as I’m certain they now offer a free trial period upon initial download.

Martin – I read your post – great read. Dopplr is something I will add to my bookmarks at the earliest opportunity.

Finally – Martin’s post reminded me of this great TED Talk I saw recently by Nokia Researcher, Jan Chipchase. Enjoy.