Documenting pleasing mundanity of Vancouver commuting

Chinatown GateTis oft remarked that what constitutes a commute in Vancouver, may be considered a pleasure sightseeing adventure in other cities.

My treks starting from the North Shore and heading across Burrard inlet via Seabus or Lion’s Gate bridge are certainly visually inspiring albeit a wee bit crowded at busy times (which are almost always in transit-hungry Vancouver).

As such, i often join the tourists in snapping pics along the way. Heck, i film Seabus voyages and Skytrain rides when i can score that very front seat.

Anyhow, along with a rabble of techies, I tested a Nokia N95 phone for 8 days and used it to create a group project so to speak in which Roland, Richard, Rebecca, Kris and I all documented part of the Vancouver commute experience in order to try out different features and engage with one another using mobile technology. The quest: Return and report both the phone’s functionality/usability as well as the mobile presence-ness mojo conjured up during the experiment.

sun building vancouver lovely north van commute
Of course, Canada’s absurd mobile data plans really limit the usefulness but the wi-fi ability and 5MP camera (with solid video) made for some fun times documenting and getting up quick. I connected to the freethenet.ca connections but having to go through the web screen caused an extra clumsy step.

I also extended the phone’s ability with Shozu which allows direct photo upload to Flickr. I found the tool useful but set-up painful and wouldn’t have pulled it off without the help of Shozu warrior Roland Tanglao. I wish there was a direct upload of video as connecting via usb and then dragging the vid files to the ‘puter and then ftp upload was more steps then i’d like. I also didn’t pre-tag in Shozu but did later in Flickr (typing tricky with small keys). Riding the Seabus

Really, the phone’s user interface lacks massaged usability polish which remove the intimidation for all but the geekiest users. We all provided frank opinions to Jean Hebert (great hockey name eh) who was research project dude for SFU at Harbour Centre. We also commented on what we’d like to have in a portable communications device. I want flexibility, versatility, ruggedness, ease of use, big buttons, quick response – not too much to ask right? {Gonna test an OpenMoko phone next.}

My artifacts from the test are the a stretch of 5 vidcasts — both from my commute from North Van to Gastown and also a roadtrip to Olympia WA where i saw The Dirty Birds rock out at McCoy’s and connected to Zhonka Broadband’s free wi-fi hotspots. There are also a solid batch of photos snapped from the office roof to the Trans Canada trail park by my house in Vancouver Commute set.

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2 thoughts on “Documenting pleasing mundanity of Vancouver commuting”

  1. Good old Roland, he’ll definitely sort you out with ShoZu :-)

    If you want to send me more info on the trouble you had setting up the app I’d be happy to help. Any feedback on our activation process is always welcome. I can be reached at mark.jambas@shozu.com

    Best,
    Mark (ShoZu)

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