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I’m sitting typing this the day after my last day at Nokia.

I’ve got about a week before I start back at the BBC, where I’ll be working in the “Vision” department with content creators and commissioners investigating and demonstrating (I hope) how better to use the internet to help deepen/broaden the stories being told and worlds being built.

I’ve worked at the BBC before – done a couple of tours in fact, but not worked with the storytellers before.

Exciting stuff.

That’s going to be four days a week and on the fifth day… Well, I’ve been working in my spare time since January on Dopplr with Mr. Biddulph and the other dopplristas and I’m very happy to be having some more time to spend whittling that with him.

After 12 years working on digital stuff for other people it feels amazing to do something so directly and get such direct feedback from people using something you helped make. Very stressful but highly-recommended. I’ll be writing more about Dopplr over at blog.dopplr.com.

Also, I’m hoping to get some other neglected things up-and-running again, like this place. More drawing and also I hope some teaching. By which, of course, I mean learning… as in, if you have to tell people what you think, you have to listen hard and think harder – which is learning!

Uh.

If you see what I mean.

So if anyone has a gig teaching who would indulge me in coming along to crit/tutor/talk – let me know!

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Manifesto going in., originally uploaded by blackbeltjones.

This was my manifesto going in.

It’s been three and a half years – which is longer than I thought, but maybe also shorter than I thought at the start of the year.

It’s a long story but maybe we’ll talk about it some time.

It involves beer, the ever-present draw of a spiritual home, and an offer I couldn’t refuse from a man I wanted to work for.

And on the other hand – a small, perfectly formed idea I really wanted to build – with people I wanted to build something with.

Oh, and listening to Will Wright.

On the high-faluttin’ fancy talk above – maybe a start has been made, maybe I’ll reconnect with them on the next Orbit (2012? Timewave-0! Singularity! SolarMax!)

The team at Nokia Design are smart, funny and like to cause trouble, so I wouldn’t bet against it, or them…

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Played for the first time this evening with the Nokia Sports Tracker app on the N95. I placed it in the front pouch of my Brompton bag and set off for the station from the office.

The GPS usually acquires satellites painfully slowly, but it got a fix fairly quickly – helped by being in the middle of semi-rural Hampshire, with the tallest thing for miles being a squat 3-storey technology company HQ…

There’s an “autopause” feature on the app which seems to notice when you’ve been at rest for a while, which is a nice touch – but the best thing was once I’d got home and discovered the ease at which you can export it to something like Google Earth.

It was a three-click operation to save and send the file to my Macbook, where I just double clicked it and swooped in on my little bike ride from orbit.

Magic!

Nokia Design: Explore Concept 2012 on VimeoConcept work here by the lovely people in our Calabasas studio illustrating what Nokia Nseries could do in 2012.

Just the device to have around for the end of the Mayan Calendar and the arrival of TimeWave-Zero/Barbelith/VALIS/The Solar Maximum/Whatever.

Our team was peripherally involved in brainstorming it with them, but they have put together a rather lovely thing here. There had to be a Welshman involved…

Unknown Pleasures Album Cover

“Context-Handback” is something I find that I want nearly everything – or my everyware, at least – to do.

What do I mean?

An inverse-concrete example: something that can’t perform context-handback is my new little iPod shuffle.

I bought it last weekend after a longish break from the Jobs/Ive Hegemon, in order to play some of the iTunes purchased DRM’d gear I’m stuck with, and also because it’s just gorgeous as an object.

More perfect than the perfect thing it seems in both build quality and simplicity.

Foe had owned an original shuffle before but I’d never tried it – I’m finding thought that I really love the surrender to the flow of your own music – music that you perhaps didn’t realise you owned or had neglected, surfaced by the pseudo-stochastic, inscrutable selectah inside the tiny metal extrusion.

Perhaps I’m prepped to enjoy this semi-surprising personal radio station by my other semi-surprising personal radios – last.fm and pandora.

I listen to a lot of last.fm at work, and I find its recommendations only more and more rewarding over time.

But I find I obsess now on feeding it more and more – I want to handback to it from all of my musical consumption – my shuffle, the radio on my N95, shazam-tags from something playing in the pub – everything.

I want to bring it offerings.

And there’s the rub – so little of that musical consumption, in fact the bulk of it done on the go – can be offered back to last.fm.

It’s so frustrating that my musical discoveries and rediscoveries can’t feed back into creating more, or even that I can’t see what I enjoyed in iTunes when I synchronise with
the shuffle.

Faltering steps towards remedying this trivial problem can be seen in something like this hacked-up scrobbler for mobile in S60 python.

More context-handback hopefully in the next few years, until then – unknown pleasures.

treemerge

Some self-indulgence (on a blog? NO!)
Today, November the 3rd, is three years to the day I started at Nokia.

Having been interviewed by Marko in the balmy, bright-blue-skied days of the Finnish summer, and having brought Foe for a recce in the brisk, equally-bright-blue-skied autumn, I turned up in the dour, downtrodded november streets of Ruoholahti and wondered what I’d let meself in for.

Still do sometimes – three years and I’m still learning. Today was spent in the snowbound forest for instance with the nice people who make the 770 internet tablet and the Maemo platform – who are all about a thousand times smarter than me. Fun.

The first two years were spent more in design research, notably (for me at least) working with Janne, Jyri, Marko, Jan and Chris amongst others on the early stages of NFC and thinking about interaction design for what was going to come down the line as the world got that little bit more spimey.

Also being able to spend about a year or so with Janne again, and Minh – thinking, doing, scribbling and playing with the nature of Play – the greatest human universal and endless source of fantastic insight.

I was a very lucky boy.

The last year (corresponding with the gradual decline of this blog) has seen me in a different role – about this time last year I moved to Nokia Design to work with the team designing the Nokia Nseries products, building the user-experience team and generally wrestling with the sometimes overwhelming job of helping to make the most powerful mobile devices – simpler, clearer and more delightful to use while not compromising the superpowers they can grant the owner.

Nothing on the shelves yet that I’ve been involved with – one thing for a mainly ex-web person to get used to is the lead times involved in combining bits and atoms – but there’s some awesome stuff coming in 2007 which our little team has contributed to.

This is the longest I’ve actually spent at one place (even the BBC) and I feel like I want to spend a lot longer here. My original boss, who became a good friend has moved on and this week has seen him make new (very interesting) waves, like Jyri having taken the startup route… but I’m facing the possibility myself that I’ve found what I want to do for now, and so I guess this blog will just keep getting worse for a few more years!

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