Archive for January, 2010

Nokia and mapping

January 22, 2010

A few observations on the news that Nokia is now making maps available free for some of its smartphones

  • This is partly about Nokia trying to find out a distinctive market position which is more than being providers of simple mobile phones that mostly make phone calls and send text messages.  Given that they spent the second half of the twentieth century in transition from being a timber company to being a mobile phone company, I think they have a good chance of succeeding, but I hope they don’t alienate the phone-call and text-message market in the meantime
  • Nokia, as owner of the mapping company Navteq, is in direct competition with TomTom as owner of TeleAtlas, and increasingly competition between the two is likely to be defined in terms of mapping services, and what can be done with them, rather than anything else
  • This is a further sign of the smartphone potentially making stand-alone SatNav devices look obsolete.  In this way SatNavs have followed a fairly typical lifecycle for electronic products, in going from novelty to being obsolete over time, but they have done this in an unusually compressed period: what was a novelty in 2003 is already looking obsolete in 2010

Though having seen this I wonder whether Nokia may be going back into the timber business

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Hearing the student voice

January 20, 2010

Over the last few years I’ve regularly attended the conference organised by the business subject centre of the higher education academy – that’s a body that promotes good practice and innovative ideas in university teaching and learning.  The outline programme for this year’s conference has now been published and I’m really encouraged to see that there’s a keynote speaker from the National Union of Studens, who should offer some insights into the student voice.

China Mobile

January 13, 2010

The Guardian has included China Mobile in its list of companies to shape the (forthcoming) decade.  It’s interesting reading, partly because the transformative effects of mobile phones in areas where landlines are scarce mirror those that occur across the developing world, partly because the article discusses the importance of standards in developing interoperable phone networks

A long journey home

January 11, 2010

Thanks to the cold weather, there are lots of stories about travel disruption in recent weeks. So far, the only serious disruption for me was at Gatwick Airport, where I needed to wait almost two hours from a plane landing to my baggage appearing on the carousel.

It turns out that my baggage was handled by Menzies Aviation, part of what must surely be the only large company to include a sound file of a limerick on its website as a guide to pronunciation

A touch less snowbound

January 7, 2010

Despite the weather, both Amazon and Ocado managed deliveries to my home yesterday.  It was still quite slippery underfoot during the afternoon and this morning, and I saw a fox darting along the pavement around 6pm yesterday before heading into somebody’s garden.  Most local schools are open again.  Apparently we won’t have our normal refuse and recycling collections today, but this seems forgiveable; the minor residential roads are very icy and the people who normally empty the dustbins have been diverted onto gritting duties

More iPod attention to detail

January 6, 2010

This shouldn’t really be noteworthy, but I do like the way that my new iPod nano (a birthday present, as I noted a couple of posts back) handles lists in alphabetical order.  If you go to the list of albums, classical music is always identified by the composer first, then a colon, then the title of the work.  Other music is identified by album titles, but with ‘a’ or ‘the’ ignored (as they should be) in sorting out the order.  So the jazz album a Night in Paris by Diana Krall is correctly listed under N and not A

Snowbound

January 6, 2010

Heavy snow in London today: no school for my children (partly because many of the teaching staff can’t get in) and I’ve only ventured a short distance from home to do some shopping locally, though I will go out a bit further in the afternoon.  There’s an impressive selection of snowmen already in our street.  Fortunately thanks to a broadband connection I’ve easy access to my work email and other resources from home.