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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Nokia Open Lab - day 1

View from the airplane
After enduring a 16-hour flight from Singapore (hey, I've flown for longer, my record is 30+ hours!), I touched down in Helsinki at about 1pm for Nokia's first ever Open Lab workshop. It was also my first time in Europe, so I was kinda excited to get my passport stamped by European customs.

Aside: the customs guy also had a sense of humour. On finding out that it was my first time in Europe, he asked, "Why?"

Klaus K Hotel entranceBedroom at Klaus K Hotel
Like all of the other participants, I had been put up at Klaus K Hotel, a nice little boutique hotel that was also the venue for the workshop. I had a single room, and that meant the room was just big enough for the double bed! But no complaints in the entertainment area: a big flatscreen TV!

Scene from HelsinkiScene from HelsinkiScene from Helsinki
I had about half an hour to myself, so I went out to explore the surrounding area. I took the opportunity to test the camera capabilities of the Nokia E71 smartphone, which each participant had been loaned. Needless to say, its picture quality could not compare to what my trusty ol' Sony Ericsson K800i produced.
Nokia E71Sony Ericsson K800i
Scene from HelsinkiScene from Helsinki

The weather was cool and, as long as the wind didn't blow, comfortable enough to just be in a sweater. Judging by the shops, I realised that this was at the more expensive side of Helsinki, which meant that I wouldn't be doing much shopping!

Nokia House entranceNokia House cafeteriaNokia House cafeteriaOffices at Nokia HouseOffices at Nokia House
I met up with some others back at the hotel to visit Nokia House. I admired the awesome river view from the entrance and steel-and-glass facade that seemed to go on forever. We weren't allowed into the offices, of course.

Old Nokia devicesDisplay pouch with solar cellsExperimental Nokia remote controlled dog
We were ushered to a meeting room with some nifty displays. Shelves of old Nokia products (haha, I found an N-gage phone!), some experimental products (a phone pouch with solar cells for auto-recharging the phone inside), some new products and some toys (a robot dog that was controlled via remote control by a phone).

We ended the excursion with a stop at the Nokia store at the entrance. It was quite amusing to see Nokia-branded shirts, notebooks, umbrellas, frisbees.

First dinner in Helsinki
That night, we had a pre-event party at Black, a nearby restaurant/pub. I don't recall what exactly I ate from the buffet, but it was delicious. I chatted with a few folks and some Nokia employees. Later, we were treated to comedy from an American stand-up comic who's living in Finland.

I went back to the hotel at about 11pm with a few others. Even at night, the weather wasn't that cold... if we walked fast enough!

continued...
Nokia Open Lab - day 2
Nokia Open Lab - day 3

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