A flying Nokia N95

Boat at the beach

Today has to be a nice day for an article about something that you can’t possibly do with an iPhone. Simply because it totally lacks one feature. Namely, high quality video recording.

Disclaimer:
I take absolutely no responsibility for the damage you might cause as a result of trying to do something similar to what we have done in this article.

I just spent a week on the western coast of Denmark. To be precise, in Klitmøller. A very nice place. Known for wind and great surfing in addition to nice family friendly summer homes and a fresh west coast nature.

I’ve been pretty offline and spent the days with my family relaxing. But there’s always time for some important experiments. My experiments usually include images or gadgets. This time I had an idea about some spectacular aerial video shooting. The combination of my brother-in-law, Dr. Jacob Torgersen with a PhD in genetics and an extended interest for windsurfing, a Nokia 6630 test unit, a Nokia N95 main unit, a kite, some wind, my degree in media engineering and a big roll of duct tape should be enough to manage some interesting tests.

Aerial photo from a kite

The Nokia N95 has excellent video recording capabilities, so in addition to all of the other stuff it can do it is a very light weight video camera. Of course it is a bit risky to send a $500,- phone up in a $30,- kite but we have a lot of duct tape. And everything can be solved with a lot of duct tape.

Measures

First, we measured the balance of the kite and found the best place to mount the phone to avoid instabilities during flight. Then we mounted my old Nokia 6630 as a test unit and sent it up.

Kitecam Nokia 6630

Everything flying smooth until the first serious vibrations sent my 6630 down into the gravel from about 20 m. The first result of our tests is a fact: a nokia 6630 survives a 20 meter drop with minor scratches. Amazing. And our first conclusion: not enough duct tape.

Nokia 6630 Crashed

We’re not very patient when it comes to experiments like this and Dr. Torgersen seems very confident in his kiting skills. Time to mount the Nokia N95 and get some better quality video.

More duct tape this time.

Kitecam Nokia N95

The kite goes into the air. Dr. Torgersen puts his years of experience with windsurfing and probably a bit of genetic science behind the navigation and we end up with a pretty cool video.

http://flash.revver.com/player/1.0/player.swf

He even manages to land the thing quite smooth and I am still a happy user of my undamaged Nokia N95.

Yes. It flies. And you can download the original MP4-file as it looked directly from the Nokia N95 here.

Update:
And when you watch the video on your Nokia N95 maybe you would want to connect a big screen. Bigger than the iPhone.

A flying Nokia N95

Blogs are important marketing tools

Yesterday I posted a short article about a promising software called McNucle that lets you set up your Mac at home as an advanced media server. A couple of hours after I posted it I got an email from Mr. Maarten Bruyninckx of the iNuron team. The people making McNucle:

Hi Eirik,

We noticed you reviewed our software on your blog. We’d like to thank you for taking the time to give our product a go and write about it.

If you have the time, could you tell us a bit more about the problems you had and what didn’t feel intuïtive to you. We’d certainly appreciate that as this kind of feedback is invaluable to us. We know the interface by heart after testing it for hours and hours… A fresh look on things always helps us to look at it from a different point of view.

Thanks again and good luck with your blog,

Maarten Bruyninckx & the iNuron team

This is a win-win-win-win-situation. I immediately think of iNuron as a serious company that listen to their customers. Chances that I remember them is instantly higher because of that mail. Chances that I write about them again (like right now…) is higher. And I will probably give them valuable feedback when I get back to the software and test it again.

I am not the New York Times or CNN, but I have between 800 and 900 subscribers on my RSS feed and thousands of unique visitors each week. If you have a quick look at this blog you will see that the content is mostly about media technologies and internet services. So, the people hanging out around here is probably pretty interesting for a company selling media server software.

And even better, the prize of that mail was a couple of minutes worth of writing. Cheap, effective and non-intrusive marketing if you ask me.

Some examples

I have experienced this a couple of times during my years as a blogger. Tim Cutting of Niveus media that immediately answered my pretty bad review of their remote control. Gibu Thomas of Sharpcast commenting on my review and communicating with my readers. Lucas of AmieStreet really listening and discussing their product and possible improvements on my blog. And other small signs of attention like Mary-Louise that works for Guy Kawasaki commenting and the quick “Thanks” from Jeff Jarvis.

And how do they do it?

Here are two (of many) solutions:

1. Follow the logs of your own web site. Look at the referrers. Suddenly you see that you have some traffic coming in from a strange place called eirikso.com or something similar. Check it out. If it’s a blog or a forum consider leaving a comment.

2. Subscribe to a search with your company and product names. Two places to do that could be Technorati or Feedster. Learn how to use an RSS reader and add a search feed. For the guys from iNuron this search at Feedster will always keep them up to date on blogs mentioning their product. Or this one at Technorati.

For corporate people that only check their email it is also easy to add such a feed to Outlook or run it through another service that can give you an email alert.

If more people knew this maybe companies like Lefdal would have commented on this one etc…

Now you have no excuse. Join the conversation.

Blogs are important marketing tools

McNucle public beta

200706190004

I like software that let you access your content from wherever you are. The stuff they call placeshifting. 10 000 photos on your computer at home? Want access to them at work? No problem… etc.

I have been running ORB on some of my Windows boxes. An amazing piece of software. For photos I have also tried Sharpcast. A truly remarkable solution as well. Now I just gave McNucle a go on one of the Macintosh computers in our house. It’s a similar solution. Install some software on a computer running at home. Install a browser on the computer you want to use when you access the content. And off you go.

My 60 minute test was enough to install the server. Play around with it. Have some problems and remove it again. I would say that it seems promising, but not completely intuitive. And it’s a beta, so minor problems should be accepted. I will have to follow McNucle and come back when they release a final version. You can download a public beta from their page.

McNucle public beta

Two very strange coincidents

SailingClose

I am at the phone with my friend Asbjørn Følstad of SINTEF in Norway (The Foundation for Scientific and Industrial Research). He asks about my recent trip to Ljubljana. I answer and also directs him to my blog where I have published my presentation and some images from my trip. He looks up eirikso.com while we’re still on the phone. Suddenly he says somethink like:

“But, what!? That’s me!”
My immediate answer is “what are you talking about?”.
“I am talking about that boat that is about to be run over by the large ferry”
“That’s me and my friend out sailing last sunday”

Now that’s a bit of a coincidence! Mr. Følstad is an experienced sailor and could tell me that the situation was not too dramatic. He knows the water and the course of that ferry very well. Still, there wasn’t a lot of wind and the Crown of Scandinavia was closer than usual.

But the fact that I shoot that image from several hundred meters away totally at random and then we learn that it is a friend of mine on board. Improbabilities…

Then this happens:

RGB

Some minutes ago I recieve this comment on my post from Ljubljana:

Ana Says:
June 15th, 2007 at 1:27 pm e
Oh, by the way, the guy on a bicycle with a blue T-shirt is my schoolmate from grammar school, his name is Matjaz.

What should I say? There are about 300 000 people living in Ljubljana. And one of my readers know the person in this image. I was busy shooting something else when this nice combination of colour and people and motion struck the corner of my eye. Strange stuff.

And by the way. I do a bit of street photography. A lot of the images are not published on public sites like Flickr because I don’t like to publish images of people that I have photographed without asking. When the images are as nice as this one I use my right to publish images photographed on public places. If you find yourself in any of the images in my Flickr stream or here on eirikso.com and want to be removed please drop me a line.

Two very strange coincidents

Blogres 2007 – Presentation and images

Village

Yes, all the images and my presentation is online. Here’s the short story:

I just returned from a very nice weekend in Ljubljana where I was the keynote speaker at Blogres 2007. A very successful Slovenian conference on blogging. Huge amounts of credit to Renderspace for the arrangement and the hospitality and the aucience for interesting discussions.

I go to a lot of conferences and very often they are influenced by the fact that people send senior workers and leaders to them because they have been with the company for a long time and deserve a trip to a conference. At Blogres 2007 it was a young, interested and enthusiastic audience. Mostly Slovenian bloggers, but also representatives from different companies and Slovenian media. I was also interviewed by Slovenian national TV and a Slovenian magasine. I’ll get back to that if I manage to dig up some links.

After my keynote speech I also attended Nicolas Fermont’s interesting presentation about creating a snowboard community and Michael Manske’s funny and oh-so-familiar presentation about how foreign media cover Slovenia. I am from a small country myself and could really understand the frustration.

In general I found Ljubljana a very nice place to visit. Slovenians seem more organized than the Italians and less eastern european than the Croatians (and don’t get me wrong, I really like both Italians and Croatians as well).

Glasses, bottle, glass

People in Ljubljana in general speaks very good english, they have excellent (and for a Norwegian very cheap) food and beverages.

RGB

Slovenia is even smaller than Norway regarding population. They’re about 2 million and we’re about 4.5 million. But there are a lot of similarities. I could understand a lot of the challenges regarding what you face when you’re small country with a small language and your own very special culture.

Communicating

And, Slovenia is nearly as high tech as Scandinavia. More than 1.7 million mobile phones and pretty good coverage of broadband.

Going down

And of course I shouldn’t forget arts and nice architecture…

I have published my presentation on SlideShare with links to relevant articles.

https://s3.amazonaws.com:443/slideshare/ssplayer.swf?id=62732&doc=blogres20073487

I also snapped a lot of images. Some from the conference and quite a bit from the city of Ljubljana. You find the complete Flickr set here.

The party

I am verry sorry for the fact that I took the good weather to Norway when I left. I had a fantastic weather during my stay, but it started raining the second I entered the taxi to the airport.

Leaving

But don’t be afraid. I’ll come back to Slovenia. That’s for sure!

Blogres 2007 – Presentation and images