Back From the Land of Nokia

My wife and I just got back from visiting her lovely family (which I delightfully claim mine by marriage) in Tampere, Finland. In any case, the visit was a F-A-N-T-A-S-T-I-C experience. As someone living in Stockholm, Sweden, I don’t always hear the best things about Finland. The rivalry between the Nordic countries can be a bit intense at times. Of course, being that I’m married to a beautiful Finnish lady, I take it with the largest grain of salt one can imagine. Nevertheless, my wife’s family are the sort of folks all of Finland should be proud of.

I’ve heard it said that Finns (like Swedes) can be distant and cold. My experience with both is that this is true only initially. They’re simply more cautious than others about letting folks in close. However, when the DO let you in, they let you in. We stayed on the countryside near Tampere and had a great time. These folks, while very much Finnish, reminded me so much of Greeks in their passion and appreciation for life. At their summer place, literally on the shores of lake Roine, we exchanged stories, enjoyed some schnapps and drinking songs, some of the best flame-broiled wild, white salmon you could imagine, fresh strawberries and cream, some laughs, and some tears. Everyone in life should enjoy such blessings, and both my wife and I are thankful to God for the experience. Odds are, dear readers, I’ll be referring back to these wonderful people and the experience we had together again.

Okay. Now comes the techy bit. 😉

I’m very glad to say I was smart enough to take my Nokia N95 with me. I was impressed with it before, but this trip offered a chance for me to really see what it could do. It was nice for me, in these days of iPhone overkill, to finally be on vacation and get the chance to do with my N95 what iPhone owners can only dream about. Armed with my N95 (with a 2GB micro SD card) and my MacBook Pro, I was a picture taking, video clip making, SMSing, GPSing, mobile multimedia machine! Thanks to yet another fabulous tip from Erik the Red, who always has his finger on the pulse of things (thanks, big guy!) I’d long ago installed the Nokia Media Transfer app onto my MacBook Pro. So, basically I was a technofile who was agile and mobile.

So there we all were on the countryside having a great time; children, grandchildren, parents, and one dog. It was great. As you can imagine, many moments arose that needed to be captured. I had the right tools. I took photo after photo, and video clip after video clip. The 5 megapixel photo quality was fantastic. Even the video clips were better than I expected. The one concern I have would be that the video quality become a bit blocky at a length of about 4-5 meters (10-13 feet) or more. Nevertheless, to my delight I discovered that with my 2GB micro SD card I could record up to 1 hour of video or make over 2000 images on my N95. Think about that for awhile folks. 1 hour of video on a mobile phone. Who could honestly say five years ago they saw this capability coming? Not me, that’s for sure. Anyhow, I spent my evenings snapping and recording away with little or no concern about running out of space.

One evening I decided it was time to grab my MacBook Pro, start up Nokia Media Transfer, and transfer both my images and video clips via Bluetooth. Nokia’s Media Transfer app made this a piece of cake. Of course, as someone who’s used the Nokia PC Suite in the past, this is no surprise. Nokia knows how to produce a good interface. I can’t stress enough the importance of a good user interface. The quality of Nokia’s interfaces is one of the things that kept me using their mobile phones all these years.

For one brief hick-up of a moment several years ago I bought a Sony Ericsson mobile. The interface was horrible. I believe I lasted about 3 weeks before I couldn’t stand using it any longer. It was a bad experience. I mean a REALLY bad. So bad I never had the desire to try a Sony Ericsson since, and they’ve put out some great phones since then. But a good interface means a lot, and I strongly doubt they’ve come to where Nokia is in this area.

Getting back on track, seeing as the video clips for the N95 are recorded in mp4 format, it was simply a matter of double-clicking on the clips to have them start instantly playing in QuickTime. No converting; no finding the proper codex. None of that. I do need to add that the caching of the video clips from my micro SD card did take more time than I expected. I don’t know how much can be done about this for now, but it’s something to bear in mind. Once I transferred my images and clips to my laptop, I was able to double-click and enjoy. It took little time before I was able to instantly show folks what I was up to. The time I saved turned into more time to spend and enjoy with the family.

But the story’s not totally over yet! Now I’m in the midst of uploading all of my hard (hardLY, if anything!) work to Flickr for friends and family to enjoy. Niiiiiice! That, dear readers, is how it is supposed to be.

Before I close I want to mention that it seems I wasn’t the only non-Finnish Nokia fan in Finland last week! Stefan Constantinescu of intomobile had his dream come true with a visit to the Nokia plant in Espoo, Finland (as well as Tampere!). It sounds like it was a very nice experience. See for yourself how the Finns treated him. It’s definitely worth a peak.

In the meantime, take care. And if you ever get the chance to enjoy a bit of your summer in Finland, I highly encourage you to do so. But do yourself a favor. Do it with a Nokia in your hands. If you REALLY want some fun, make it an N95. 😉



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