Author Archives: Ulla

Janne Jalkanen joins Thinglink as CTO

We’re delighted to announce that Janne Jalkanen will join Thinglink as its new Chief Technology Officer on May 10th, 2010.

By training, Janne is a physicist and rocket scientist. During the past eight years he has held various positions within Nokia.  Most recently, Janne was the leader of the Services Early Technology Validation team.  His previous positions include the Program Manager for Near Field Communications and a technology specialist for Corporate Strategy and the Nokia Ventures Organization. Prior to Nokia, Janne worked as a Software tester for Space Systems Finland, and a Virtual Reality Researcher for Helsinki University of Technology.  As his highest achievement Janne counts a piece of code which is orbiting the Earth aboard the ENVISAT-1 spacecraft.

Janne has several academic publications and holds 51 patents in various technical fields. He is an active Open Source developer, a member of the Apache Software Foundation, and a contributor to Apache JSPWiki and Priha.

As CTO, Janne will be responsible for planning and executing Thinglink’s technology strategy as well as preparing the Thinglink production environment for launch.

For us Janne is one of those rare friends in Helsinki who have been hands on the Internet of Things for as long as we can remember. We have debated about unique product codes since 2005, produced podcasts about web 2.0 as well as explored the possibilities of tagging things with NFC technology. We are therefore excited to welcome Janne in the team and look forward to having lots of fun in the Internet of Things!

Follow Janne on Twitter and the Butt Ugly Weblog.

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Become a featured expert on Thinglink

Thinglink has an amazingly diverse user base of design experts: collectors, entrepreneurs, consultants, marketing specialists, web designers, curators, researchers… the list goes on. What they all share is that they – we – are excited by the idea of communities around design.

So we decided we should pay more attention to enabling communities to happen on Thinglink.

The first thing we want to do is to simply give more visibility to people who are knowledgeable in a specific area. For example, our users include experts in new Chinese architecture, Scandinavian modernism, vintage audiogear, bikes, graffiti art, Russian lighting design, American contemporary artists, Africa, Japan… the list goes on. Other Thinglink users should be able to find these experts and start following their updates.

So we’ll start gathering a group of Thinglink users who are interested in introducing new things and gardening discussion in their own area of expertise. Are you interested in becoming a featured expert? Here are three things we ask for:

– You have a good knowledge base in your area of expertise that you have acquired through your profession, collecting or blogging
– You are interested in conversing with people in your field and sharing posts weekly
– You are willing to contribute to improving the Thinglink catalog in your interest area

Bloggers, collectors, and curators: this is your chance to easily share and increase your expertise in the design community! Sign up or ask more, info (at)

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Design in the Wild Photo Contest Deadline Extended until July 1st

Photo contest entries

We have some good news for all the new-comers and late-bloomers: we have extended the deadline of Design in the Wild Photo Contest 2009 until July 1st!

“Design in the Wild, eh? What’s in it for me?”

PRIZES! The Grand Prize is an original Eero Aarnio Pastil Chair (retail value $1500).  And, each Sponsor can grant one honorary mention to any photo submitted to the contest within the limits of the rules, and reward the photographer with a surprise prize! FYI, those gracious sponsors are: Arabia, Eero Aarnio, Iittala, Martela, Tapiovaara Design, and Woodnotes.

“Okay okay. That’s a pretty serious bounty. What do I have to do?”

The Jury is looking for inspiring images of design in real life settings. The photos should illustrate design at home, in the office, in public, or in nature. They can include people although that is not required. We’ve attached some of examples of what’s been submitted so far.  The picture may be taken by the contestant at any point in time anywhere in the world – or even the International Space Station. The jury will select the grand prize winner from among the ten most voted photos.

“Easy peasy – nobody stands a chance against my genius photography. How do I enter?”

Click this invitation link to create your Thinglink account, if you don’t already have one. Once you’ve logged in, click “Upload photos” and upload your favorite shots. When they are finished, you will be able to find a “Submit this photo” link on each photo’s detail page. Last, but not least, invite your friends to vote for your photo! I mean, that’s what friends are for, right?

For more details, don’t hesitate to contact us Thinglink at

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Video preview of the beta

Here’s a short video preview of the Thinglink beta. It gives an idea of what it’s like to browse conversations, products, designer profiles, and photos on the site.

We’re updating the site almost daily, so expect the features and look & feel to keep evolving.

Thanks to everyone who’s sent back feedback on the beta so far. If you’d like to participate, request an invitation here.

(Thanks to The Good News for permission to use their track ‘Backstage Underage’!)

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Design in the Wild photo contest launched in Milan

designinthewild1Greetings from Milan, where thousands of designers, design enthusiasts, journalists and bloggers gather this week for Milan Furniture Fair, the main design event of the year.

I’m doing two things here: officially launching our private beta with 10 design brands; and announcing Design in the Wild, a photo contest for all Thinglink beta users.

Upload your most fabulous photos to Thinglink and submit them to the contest by June 1st. The judges are looking for fun, surprising & striking images of design objects in real life settings.

The grand prize of the contest is a true design classic: an authentic Pastil chair conceived in 1968 by Finnish designer Eero Aarnio. I ran into Eero at the fair today, and he told me he’s uploading selected photos from his archives dating back to the 60s to Thinglink — something to look for if you’re browsing the site.

We’re pushing new updates to the site daily while whittling away at a backlog of 1000+ invite requests. Check out the feedback on Twitter and if you haven’t signed up for the beta yet, request an invitation here.

The fair’s bursting with new launches. To pick two, FastCompany’s Cliff Kuang has a piece on Shigeru Ban’s new collaboration with Artek; and David Nicholls writes about Tom Dixon’s new line in the Telegraph. Find & follow both designers on Thinglink.

If you’re at the fair and want to get in touch, come see the Thinglink demo stand at Martela Black Swan exhibition, Via Tortona 31. I’ll be there to demo the site and meet with journalists and bloggers on April 24th from 10 am to 1 pm 11am.

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Introducing, a new social media for design lovers

Pastilli ChairExciting news! Thinglink has entered a new private beta today.

The invitation-only beta will officially launch on April 22nd at the Milan Furniture Fair with 10 design brands including Arabia Finland, Design Eero Aarnio, Fokus Fabrik, Helsinki Design Week, Iittala, Harri Koskinen, Martela, Selki Station, Ilmari Tapiovaara Design and Woodnotes.

We’ve been quietly working on an update to the Web site for a few months now. As part of this update, the address of the site has changed from to

The upgrade that will launch in Milan adds a new dimension to Thinglink product codes. is a global catalog for design that enables designers, brands, and design enthusiasts to connect and converse on the web.

Designers and brands who upload their catalogs to can build a community of fans around their products. Design enthusiasts who join the conversation on can post messages about their latest discoveries, ask and answer questions about new and vintage products, and share photos of their favorite design objects in real life settings.

The Thinglink catalog includes products from classic and contemporary designers and manufacturers. It contains many kinds of products, ranging from serially produced ones to limited edition items and unique one-of-a-kind objects.

Users can register the products they own and create unique identifiers for their privately owned items. Each product can become the center of a conversation and be photographed and discussed by its fans and owners.

If you’d like to participate in the beta and influence Thinglink’s future direction, please submit a request to join the beta. If you are a returning user, you can log in with your existing username and password.

Go get yourself an invitation and get started!

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We’re changing servers

Thinglink is temporarily down because we’re changing our server from Europe to the U.S. this weekend. Looking forward to be up (and faster) soon!

Update: …and we’re back! North American Thinglinkers will be happy to note a decrease in latency.

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Greetings from DOTT07!

We put up a Green Touch installation at DOTT07 in Newcastle together with the Norwegian Touch project. The local newspaper Evening Chronicle wrote about a magic phone that reveals stories behind objects on a touch!


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Photo editing tutorial for crafters

Lisa Lam has written a useful tutorial on how to take professional-looking photos of your craft products.

“I personally think that craft product shots look more professional when all of the shots have something in common with each other e.g. same model/s wearing the products, same backgound/s same size shots, same shape shots, same style, same frames etc. etc. etc. Of course how you choose to present your shots is a personal thing and will also be very dependent on the flavour of the craft that you sell. I want my shop to be reasonably modern, simple to use, and clean to look at. To that end, my product shots are all the same size, and they all have a pure white coloured backgound. The benefit of having a plain coloured or white background for your shots is that the product is in full focus and there is nothing in the background to distract the onlooker. So I am going to show you how I take product shots with a pure white background…”


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Introducing Thinglink sounds at Designpartners07

Sounds open up new ways of communicating around objects. They are often an experience greater than text; especially when it comes to using a mobile phone interface for navigating in exhibitions.

Sounds can transport the listener to a historical environment or an emotional state of mind. Sounds can be universal or particular, abstract or rational, and they can carry a message in the original voice of the undersigned.

Thinglink, the online design database, explores the marriage of sounds and objects by enabling Thinglink users to add sounds to things. To demonstrate the new feature we have animated seven products in the New Design category of the Designpartners07 exhibition and given them a chance to speak wise words in their creator’s voice. At Cable Factory the exhibits come to life with mobile technology!

The Thinglink sound demo at Designpartners is built in collaboration with Social Objects Ltd and the Touch project in Norway experimenting with touch-based interactions.




How can I add sounds to things on

1) Sign up at and get yourself a free Thinglink account.2) Add a thing (a design product, for example) to your personal portfolio. Say something about it (description), add an image and write a couple of keywords (tags) that best describle your work. Then add a sound file in mp3 file format (max 4 Mb in size). When you’re done, click submit. 

3) Now your thing appears on your portfolio. Other people can now point to it, leave comments, and recommend your thing to a friend.

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