- Michael Hell (Nokianblog)
- Gregory Taieb (Symbianfrance)
- James Burland (Nokiacreative)
- Ricky Cadden (Symbian-Guru)
- Phillip Schwarzman (S60)
- Rafe Blandford (Allaboutsymbian)
- Steve Litchfield (3lib)
- Mark Guim (theNokiablog)
- Phat^Trance (Dailymobile)
So, tell me something about your person.(age, hobby etc.)
I’ve been interested in Nokia devices for well over a decade now since I spent a bit of time living in Finland, specifically in Espoo outside of Helsinki. I graduated high school when I was 17 in 1996 and took all my open house money, bought a plane ticket to Finland and just spent some time with friends bopping around the beautiful country. It was when the Nokia House was being constructed, I was fortunate to be able to drive by it every day and watch it go up. It’s a beautiful building- even during the construction phase it was an amazing sight. I met so many people, all of whom were of course very proud of their Finnish culture (for very good reason, mind you!) and by extension their Nokia devices. This was when the 2110 was really big, and not many had yet heard of Nokia, or GSM technology for that matter in North America. It was an eye opening experience into the world of real mobile devices, and I never looked back. I’ve owned probably a couple dozen Nokia devices since then, and have counselled many people into making the switch from the other handset manufacturers to the wonderful world of Nokia.Aside from my passion for Nokia devices and Finnish culture, I have great interest in food- food of all kinds, from many different lands. To me, it’s one of the most important aspects of travelling- experiencing other’s culture through their food. It’s a passion for me that eventually became a career. About seven or eight years ago, I was working as the director of public relations for an Internet service provider, and I quit that quite well paying job (certainly for a “kid” of my age) to go scrub dishes at a local restaurant for seven bucks an hour. My girl friend at the time, now my wife, wasn’t too impressed with the decision at first as it was three months before our wedding, but despite her concerns for our future was extremely supportive of my goal to have a job that fulfilled a much needed passion for what I do. She’s a wonderful woman and has been tremendously supportive ever since we met, and I can’t show enough appreciation for her standing by me at every turn in my life. The switch went shockingly well enough- it wasn’t long before my worth was realized in the world of professional kitchens and I was promoted to positions of creative influence and that of leadership in many upscale restaurants. In a few short years I was running kitchen crews, creating menus and dishes that put smiles on the faces of eager customers in some really high-end venues. It was a great time, one that I have no regrets of whatsoever. I’ve since left that world to become a full-time dad and part-time blogger as we recently had our first child. That kinda brings us up-to-date.
How do you come to the mobile and S60 scene?
As mentioned, I’ve been interested in Nokia devices for many years now since my first exposure to the surprisingly industrious and technologically advanced people of Finland- but I’m a total newcomer to the S60/Nokia blogging community. I’ve only started actual “blogging” within the month, though I’ve been a regular commenter on many of the well-known blogs and forums out there for a while now. I’ve also been involved for a few months in a quite reasonably successful forum dealing with the extremely powerful and, let’s say… legendary Nseries device, the Nokia N95.
Tell us something about your forum
We’re in about our ninth month of operation at N95users.com and we’ve developed a large community very quickly. In that short period of time, we’ve gone from a group of a couple dozen Nokia fans eager to discuss the latest rumours and information about the then “to-be-released” device to a rather ravenous group of over 6 thousand N95 users, discussing a wealth of topics in over 3,000 threads, with over 25,000 postings. We’re growing by a rate of somewhere between 50 and 100 users every day- which is just amazing to us, the popularity of the device has been thrilling and has really helped to fuel us to the size forum we are now. We just recently broke 3 million page views, and we’ve got somewhere around 5 thousand visitors per day- which just blows me away everyday. Certainly with the re-organization within Nokia in North America getting ready to pump up interest of their devices in the US and the release of the many new iterations of the flagship Nseries device, we’re expecting the community will be growing for some time. Despite the staying power of what was initially perceived as a “flash in the pan” community and forum, we’ve realized that eventually our community will outgrow a forum and news site dedicated to one specific device, no matter how powerful and amazing it is- so we’re in the middle of getting a new site going that will be more of a split between a blogging site and a community forum focusing on all aspects of Nokia devices and services- http://www.nokiausers.net. This will hopefully ensure that all the hard work our members have put into developing the community will not fade away with the popularity of the N95, and that instead we will grow with that extremely progressive Finnish company, Nokia. We should be rolling on that site pretty soon with stories about the very exciting news about the recent acquisition of Navteq, the impending release of the N81 and the newly released US market N95- as well as coverage of the Nokia event I attended in LA last week.
Why did you start the forum
I actually didn’t start the forum myself, but I was integral in the build-up of it. The forum was created and grew out of sheer excitement and interest for the N95. My good friend Brandon, the admin of N95users.com, started the site and put all the hard work and many, many hours into designing and maintaining such a clean interface and forum structure that I really feel is lacking in so many of the communities out there. I’m not saying we’re better or trying to sound smug, I just think we’re different in our structure from some of the forums out there- and I applaud Brandon for all his work with that- he’s got a real keen sense of these things and has done a brilliant job, in my opinion. Of course he’ll strive to keep the new site as easy to navigate and keep that connected-to “community” feeling. I think a lot of our success is due to the fact that we’re a community dedicated to one particularly powerful and special device. We hope to create that same sense of singular dedication while still catering to the entire product line of Nokia with regards to services and products and keeping our community relevant to the current trends in Nokia and the mobile market.
Do you have an idol
Sure- quite a few in fact… I’ll of course limit it to members of the mobile community for the purposes of this interview. The biggest idol I have right now is probably shared by quite a large percentage of that mobile community- Stefan Constantinescu. I think he’s tremendously insightful and passionate about Nokia, and admire that quite a great deal. The fact that he packed up and moved of to Finland recently with great aspirations and ambitions is just wonderful, and I greatly applaud his decision and determination. Ringnokia.com was one of my all time favorite sites ever- his dedication to it was just amazing every day… so much news, so much insight. I really miss it, but I’m excited to see what he does next in the mobile world. Certainly we can expect the same kind of drive from the guy that we’ve been seeing from him thus far. The fact that he’s gained such a large following so quickly with the success of ringnokia is truly a testament to him. With the same respects I applaud Ricky Cadden of symbian-guru.com for his quick run to the top of the mobile blogging community and his insight and vision for the future of Nokia and S60. There are many others that I could go on and on about, Darla from darlamack.blogs.com… Mark Guim from thenokiablog.com that just celebrated the successful milestone of 1 million page views just before we all met out in LA at the Nokia event in the Hollywood Hills. I like to count them as good friends of mine, and I admire all of them greatly for their work and success in the blogging community.
What was your first S60 phone and which device do you have at the moment?
Hmmm…. First S60 device, I think it was the 3650. That’s at least the first device that got me really excited about S60 and the amazing possibilities of the Symbian OS. At the moment, I’m rocking the N95- a device I’m very proud to be an early adopter of, and very proud of my favorite company, Nokia, for creating and continuing to develop. I’ve also got an N800, though not a S60 device of course. I’m also currently doing a trial of the N76 Nseries device through the generosity of womwold.com.
What do you like most about S60?
Well… there are so many things I like. I admire the progressive nature of all the people involved with S60, all the people and hard work that make it just a fantastic OS for the powerful devices that Nokia keeps pumping out. That’s the biggest thing, I’d say. I love the fact that there are so many developers out there of S60 applications. I think there’s something like 7,800 S60 applications now? That’s quite a great deal of potential productivity and entertainment for almost anyone with an S60 device.
Where should S60 makes improvements?
There’s always room for improvement with everything, of course… but some of the main things I’d like to see is how SMS’s are logged, with the time the message is received being logged, not the time the message is saved. Speaking of the log- it’d also be nice to see if a missed caller had phoned me from their land line or a mobile line- it just displays mobile icons next to their name.
I’d also love to see the ability for feature packs to be upgraded on existing devices- not having to upgrade to a new device every time new feature packs are released. There are some improvements coming in the 9.5 OS that I’m very keen on, but I’ll have to wait for a successor to the N95 for that, or pick a lesser device.
Also- the error messages. How many times have you heard a warning tone from your N95, only to pull it out of your pocket in time to see the error message disappear before you can read it? Very annoying!
The multimedia menu needs some rethinking. Right now, it’s just an annoyance for me every time I mistakenly hit the Multimedia key on my N95, or when I use the slider to change the orientation of the display. It’s a pretty menu, and a neat gimmick at first, but the fascination dies off quickly…
I could go on for a bit about some other current shortcomings of the device- but then how would I get everyone to read my rantings on our new site? 😉
Now a question you miss and you want to answer?
I think I’ve been quite long winded enough at this point! 😉 Thanks very much for the chat, keep up the great work on the site. Cheers!