Category Archives: Delivering Quality

The Un-local Nokia

I’ve been pretty easy on my favorite former employer lately, even to the point of gushing over Nokia World 2011 and pouring out pure fanboy praise over a fantastic phone that will only see limited release.  But I don’t think I’d be performing my duty as a recently-renewed Developer Champion if I didn’t provide some much-needed critical feedback.  Lovingly, of course.

Nokia’s physical withdrawal from certain locales is not a new subject for me, but it’s reached a point where I’m more concerned than ever.  Of course most of my focus is on the United States, and more specifically, my home near Dallas, Texas.  In just a few years Nokia as a brand has become a complete non-factor here and just about the entire country.  I’m keenly observant of devices used by others and, outside of a small circle of open source enthusiasts, I’m seeing everything but Nokia phones in the hands of the general public.

None of that is news to most people.  And Nokia has made it very clear that it expects its fairly new Windows Phone strategy, coupled with impeccable and compelling industrial design, to get its high-end products back into regions (like the US) where product sales margins matter.

The continued problem as I see it, though, is that Nokia seems to expect that they can concentrate all efforts on a few key cities.  Its shrinking supply chain system has led to greater consolidation of localization activities at sites far removed from the end customers.  Now, for core needs this consolidation need not be an issue; a phone engine is a phone engine is a phone engine.  But as many companies are becoming increasingly aware, last-mile localization is an absolute must for finished goods.

This translates to customer Care activities as well.  Contract employees at remote call centers just cannot identify with many of the diverse clientele they are called upon to support.  It’s not just language barriers; cultural differences can be a real hindrance (not to mention cybersecurity risks).  But more than that, trade customers (i.e., AT&T, Telcel, Orange, et al) will not tolerate delays in problem resolution.  They will require local presence in key markets.  Continue reading

Nokia’s N9: An Unexpected Owner’s Review

source: conversations.nokia.com

I didn’t expect to be able to say anything first-hand about the Nokia N9.  I really thought my semi-facetious post a while back would be pretty much it unless I came up with some other abstract commentary to inflict on you all.  And I really haven’t used this meandering blog for device reviews, unless you count one admittedly unusual attempt for the slightly-less-cool N8.

So I was genuinely surprised to receive a sleek black N9 in London last month the day before Nokia World 2011, at a special Champions Day event.  And I’ve used it enough to share some juicy details.

First, however, a disclaimer:

The following review is from a drooling, starry-eyed device nut who is contemplating super-gluing an N9 to his hand.  Don’t expect much objectivity.

So let’s do this.  Continue reading

Thoughts from Nokia World 2011

A few weeks ago, Nokia Connects held a media contest to award tickets, travel and accomodation for some lucky blogger to express why he or she was excited about Nokia World 2011.  I already had all that covered, but gave it a shot just in case my wife or a friend could use the prize.  Worth a try, right?

Granted, my entry began by addressing cynicism, some personal but largely general, which had to make it a long-shot.  I walked readers through my Nokia journey for this year, with the aim of providing an objective yet ultimately optimistic view of the company’s prospects.   Continue reading

Why am I Excited about Nokia World 2011?

Today I was challenged to share my anticipation for the next instance of Nokia’s landmark celebration of mobile ingenuity.  So, what will it take to excite me in London on the 26th of October?

Something big.

As regular readers will recall, in May 2010 I asked if 2011 would be make or break for Nokia.  While hoping it wasn’t, I feared it just might be.  Pessimism wasn’t helped later when at least one analyst answered.

This has been an interesting year for the Finnish giant.  It started with a singularity, was punctuated by an Elopocalyptic big bang, and has since churned in an expanding universe of naysayers.  I’ve lately been concerned about Nokia’s universe contracting.  I can’t recall any companies cutting their way to success.

So I’m looking for a great big MAKE from Nokia World 2011!  I’m expecting rocking revelations.  Passion-fueling presentations.  News that assures us a fantastic rebound is closer than anyone dared hope.  Something that restores universal faith in a company I know still has what it takes to not just succeed but exceed.

I’m convinced that much of the recent quiet hints at just that big surprising something.  Bring it on, Nokia!

Nokia’s Design for the Future: Focus on What Works

There’s been a crazy fog of speculation surrounding my previous employer for the past few years, and I’ll admit I’m guilty of contributing.  Many of Nokia’s moves during that time have been unusual, counterproductive and even downright bewildering… so it’s hard to blame anyone for wondering what the heck platform-torching CEO Stephen Elop has really got in mind.

Nokia has always been a leader in hardware.  That’s not even open to debate.  Their serious failures have been, increasingly of late, in softer areas.  Operating systems.   User experience.  Marketing.  In no time Nokia’s failure to execute on iPhone-driven paradigms caused it to fall from leader to follower to company-with-a-questionable-future.

No need to rehash any more history, though, right?  Let’s talk about the company’s future… and why my pessimism started to evaporate tonight.  Continue reading

Works for Me

Want to stop productive bug reporting in its tracks? Want to get the trolling rolling? Toss a flaming “Works for me!” into the mix and stand back.   Continue reading

Linus Torvalds, Linux, and the Issue of Software Quality

Friend and Maemo/MeeGo bugjar master Stephen Gadsby alerted twitterites yesterday to a Fedora bugzilla flamefest, and at first blush it made for interesting comic relief.  Who doesn’t enjoy a good Internet argument?

But a second read sobered me up quickly.  The bug turned out to be an issue introduced into the crucial (and occasionally controversialglibc code library that doesn’t appear to have been sufficiently regression-tested.  The code change reason is described as an execution speed improvement, but it appears to have come at the expense of pre-emptive error-checking.

Most people aren’t going to care about the technical reasons underlying the discovered bug.  Most will, instead, be concerned with its impact.  And that gets us to the reason behind me writing today.   Continue reading