Amsterdam flash marathon

October 12, 2009 at 13:12 | Posted in Uncategorized | 34 Comments

Summit is over, a huge thanks to everyone who attended and made the event memorable!

Now that (almost) everyone has gotten home, it’s time to tell you how Soumya, Daniel, Quim, Lasse and me spent our Thursday.

The story begins back home at 4:45 in the morning. I connected to the Nokia intranet over vpn to fetch the nightly images from the repository. Then jumped in a taxi, collected Daniel on the way to the airport where we met Quim and Soumya for the early morning flight to Amsterdam!

So when Peter talked about fresh software the next morning, he really meant it!

During the flight both me and Daniel went through the list of participants name by name to count the geographical distribution. Thanks for including that information in the registration form, and to remove the Nokia employed people from the list. In Amsterdam we compered the results and decided on amounts of devices per region. The Benelux countries took home the prize of most attendees.

Taxi to WesterGasfabriek

8:25 a taxi to WestergasFabriek, where we located the batch of well packaged N900s, all covered in DHL a tape, fresh from the factory. If the software was fresh, so where the devices!


Half an hour later we had gotten the boxes moved to the Community Hall with a fork lifter where we set up a flashing line.

Flash set-up

Two tables and benches next to the wall, four laptops connected to flashing stations, enough power cables for everything, and we were ready to rock. Quim did unpacking and fed us devices for flashing and picking up and reboxing the flashed devices. For the sake of speed we had decided to flash the devices so that each one of us took one geographical area. That way Quim had an easier time putting the devices back in boxes and marking the boxes with the regions.

Opening device

Our ‘official’ way to open a device for flashing is to slide a shop bonus card in through the crack for opening the back cover and then turn the card. This really is the only way to do it to hundreds of devices. Then put the device on the flashing jig and run flasher. Pop the device off after four minutes (we were doing a full reflash, and the internal memory card is big…) and put it back in the box and make everything look untouched 🙂

And all this needs to happen with a pair of gloves on. No-one likes greasy finger prints on their brand new device!

The hotel cleaning lady must have looked twice when cleaning Daniels room on Friday morning. He forgot the pair of black gloves and two knives laying on the table…

Set going up

At the same time as we were flashing devices the crew at WesterGasFabriek were setting the stage for the summit. The crew literally built the Community Hall around us! At some point the noise got so bad that they brought us earplugs.

After a few hours we kept a short coffee break and continued to go through the batch. The break served as lunch too. Only later did we learn that lunch in the Netherlands apparently consists of sandwitches and something small.

Lasse arrived some time around noon, and got straight into the job. Flying in from Oulu takes more time with the necessary transfer at Helsinki.

Almost there

Quim and I had to leave for some pre-arranged meetings after two. We felt pretty bad leaving the others to finish the job, but it was clear that things could be done in time to hide all evidence of our work before the Summit registration was opened. And sure enough Soumya, Daniel and Lasse cleaned the place in good time and went to the hotel to check-in. The preparations were done and we could relax for the evening and meet everyone at the evening get-together.

Friday morning the feeling of seeing the faces of people when Ari broke the news was in itself worth the early morning wake up on Thursday. The short moment of silent disbelief and the applause. it just feels good to know that we were part of making that happen.

But we weren’t there yet. We had the grateful task of handing the devices out to people. So we slipped out after Ari’s keynote and met at the info desk and started transforming it to the N900 delivery point! Lasse was already setting up the infra and support for the N900 demo area.

After watching Peter give the instructions in the N900 hall over the live tv stream, we braced for the rush. And sure enough, the first people practically came running over! And the big wave of people right after them! The whole info point desk turned into a bar with an N900 happy hour going on. The frenzy of papers, id-cards, summit badges and N900s was wild.

After the rush

At the end of the day we had given out 280 devices, 20 left to the people who for one reason or another couldn’t make it to the summit on Friday.

The news spread fast through the Internet And as we welcomed the first people at the registration desk on Saturday morning, they knew to ask about the devices as they got their badges.


The Saturday special was flashing the devices live at the desk. The flash jig got the interest it deserved, those little things saved our Thursday (Thanks Lasse, for getting them!).

With the last device out of our hands on Saturday, it was time to get together and congratulate each other for the mission accomplished. The whole operation went smoothly with no surprises.

A huge thanks to Anna-Marja, Henrietta and Satu for manning the info desk and letting us slip off occasionally for short breaks. Not forgetting Olli and Peter and everyone else for the fight to make this happen. It was worth it!

I would really like to thank Soumya, Daniel, Lasse and Quim for an unforgettable Thursday! I’ll do it again any time.



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  1. Cheers to us! Cheers to Maemo! 🙂

  2. Wasn’t the event “maemorable”? 😀

  3. Impressive. Big congrats, especially for the decision itself to provide devices!

  4. How many plussa points does one get when opening a device in that way? 😉

    • Mardy, I don’t know, I used my blood donor card. But Daniel just keeps smiling…

  5. Thanks. As an attendee I can safely say that all your effort was definitely appreciated!

    — Jamie.

  6. Wow! It was great reading this post, almost felt like I was there.

  7. Thank you!!!!!

  8. My sincere congratulations for what you have done and for the very nice organization! Maemo really rocks!

  9. […] Amsterdam flash marathon « Maemo DP team blog – view page – cached Summit is over, a huge thanks to everyone who attended and made the event — From the page […]

  10. A fantastic behind the scenes story about an impressive and most welcome gesture from the Maemo Devices team. Thank you very much! You all should feel proud for making 300 attendees very happy.

  11. Now that was quite some work! Thank you for sharing the experience.

  12. Thanks again for the N900s!

  13. Great post. And great summit, it seems! Wish I were there.

    Were those pics taken by an N900?

    • Yes, all pics with an N900. The blurry ones by me. I didn’t use gloves with my own device, and had a nice fingerprint on the camera lens all weekend. The clean images are by Soumya and Daniel.

      • hi! ur the one who game me the n900. thanks again to you and the team!

  14. Thank you all for your fantastic job! All of us there enjoyed the event immensely – the devices were more than just icing on the cake, but a real big motivation boost to start working with all the new stuff that you bring us with fremantle and harmattan (QT here I come… 🙂

  15. Thanks for the hard-work behind getting the devices ready. My N900 looked untouched. I enjoyed the Summit thoroughly – the events, people, and the discussions were great. Great job!

  16. Thanks, my lady and guys, for doing this.


  17. […] topic, of course: The N900. Thank you Nokia for lending those devices: Feels so good to finally have one for personal use! Finally got ideas for some private N900 […]

  18. […] godetevi il testo e le fotografie: Maemo DP Team blog Share and […]

  19. […] and very productive. The organization was excellent, obviously thanks to a generous budget and a dedicated hard-working team. I met several interesting new people with whom I hope to work closely in […]

  20. […] je 300 Nokia N900’s een dag voor dat je er 300 een half jaar uitleent? Hier een verslag: Tags: fresh, […]

  21. Thanks for the great post it was a pleasure to read. Thanks for all the effort you have put into this event! the flash jig looks like it can be used for the PUSH N900 projects.

    • Kees, to use a jig you would need to ask from someone else, maybe Jussi, Quim or Peter.
      The jig does provide power and the necessary jtag serial interface, so it could be a cool hardware hack base.

      • Is there any official or unofficial documentation of the JTAG pinout (supposedly test pads in the battery compartment)? Even without any official jig, it would be very useful for people who’re doing kernel development/debugging to know how/where to attach their JTAG probe

      • No JTAG docs that I know of. I can ask, but don’t hold your breath .

        Asyou know JTAG is one of those things that can make a mess if used incorrectly.

  22. I really liked the flashing jig. When you put my device on it, I wanted to take a picture. But then I realized that my camera was on the flashing jig!

    • 😀
      Good one!

  23. […] and very productive. The organization was excellent, obviously thanks to a generous budget and a dedicated hard-working team. I met several interesting new people with whom I hope to work closely in […]

  24. […] A tu można zobaczyć jak chłopaki (i dziewczyny) z Maemo przygotowywali 300 egzęplarzy z nowiutkim świerzutkim softem: […]

  25. Special thanks to Daniel for finding time to answer a lot of tech questions I couldn’t!

  26. Thanks a lot !

  27. Great summit, I wish I was there! And lots of N900’s 😉

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