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IDRC 2010 @ Davos

Global Risk Forum DavosThe Global Risk Forum’s International Disaster and Risk Conference (IDRC2010) is on this week in Davos, Switzerland. I’m joined by colleagues from Finland and the US in both a workshop and special session focused on Mobile Technology and ICT for Disaster Preparedness, Warning, and Response.

IDRC has become a favorite conference of mine, having previously attended IDRC 2007 in Harbin, China, and IDRC 2008, in Davos. The Global Risk Forum and IDRC spun out of the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction under the leadership of Walter Ammann.

The conference itself brings together  academics, researchers, governments, industry, and NGOs to focus on the key issues in disaster risk reduction.  This year has already seen significant events, ranging from the Haitian and Chilean earthquakes to the ongoing BP oil spill catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico.  Unfortunately, there is never a shortage of tragedy for discussion.

Our workshop Sunday morning presaged a great conference. As we walked in to the meeting room just before the 9am start (after a late night arrival from Zurich), we were greeted by a fantastic group of attendees ready to get started.  The three hours went by like lightning and I look forward to continuing the discussion in person this week and online beyond the IDRC conference.

Will the N900 see Meego?

N900 Smartphone with text Me Go Away?In my initial post regarding the Nokia N900, I expressed some hope that the product would see improvement through software updates to the Maemo operating system.  Unfortunately, today’s announcement by Nokia and Intel makes it likely that the Maemo-based N900 is at a dead end.   The announcement introduces a new mobile (and device) OS called Meego, which supposedly combines the best of Intel’s Moblin with Nokia’s Maemo.  For the N900 user, the future is quite uncertain.  My own interest in experimenting with N900 app development is now over (iPhone SDK here I come).  There may be hope for current N900 owners being able to install Meego, but it is troubling that Nokia neglected to say anything about the N900 future as part of today’s announcement.

I’ve had a growing number of N900 freezes, typically when I have the Web browser and email apps open, though the overall experience with the phone isn’t that unpleasant.  However, with no updates likely, my days with the N900 are may be numbered.

Update: February 16, 2010… Nokia releases new firmware update for N900.  I had to remove my N900 battery as the phone was locked up this morning, but when it did finally start up, I saw the blinking update icon and performed the update.  The update process on the N900 is well done, and within a few minutes my phone had restarted.  Unfortunately, while exploring the settings for anything obviously new, the phone locked up again! Well, it wasn’t fully dead… I tried calling the phone and though it didn’t ring, the missed call notification light started blinking.  Holding the power button down eventually worked to shut the phone down.  What exactly did this update fix? Not too much, it appears.