Schizo-Janne asks why Finland is lagging behind in WLAN deployments. There are roughly three free ~WiFi hotspots in Helsinki, a major difference to our neighbour Tallinn, which has open ~WiFi almost everywhere in the city center. Well, the Finnish cities of Oulu, Turku, and Lahti have already started lacing themselves with WLAN networks, and the Lappeenranta University of Technology WLAN network is to my understanding also spreading into the city, so the situation is not really that bad.
But Janne is right to ask this. Finland is not really very innovative in this area at the moment, partly because it's not seen as very important. A lot of Finland's technological and financial innovation is currently poured towards the 3G (aka WCDMA, aka UMTS) development and deployment. While technologically it offers a similar solution to WLAN, and Finns are doing pretty well in mobile phone usage (though nowhere near the top), there is one key difference that people tend to ignore when talking about these things.
Freedom to innovate.
In order for you to develop a fancy new 3G app, you need to talk to and appease operators, cell phone manufacturers, and all sorts of different companies that are in the so-called "value chain". Everybody wants their small piece of it, and you end up thinking about things like "brand dilution" and "quality of service" and "code signing". All this creates quite a lot of energy, and it does not guarantee that you will create a good app - it just means that you are really good at presenting your case, and it does make sense to a lot of people. Even if you wanted to just build a simple SMS-based service, you would need quite a lot of investment of at least time, if not capital, to interface with the network: you need the PC with a bunch of cell phones attached. Or buy a platform from an operator.
Open WLAN, however, means that you can start to innovate at very, very low costs. Web space is cheap, PHP can be done by anyone, and startup costs are minimal. All you need is the idea, and the tools and the knowledge are mostly there already. Granted, you can also run a browser-based application on a 3G phone, no problem, but this always is at cost to the user: the browser-based UI is not optimal for a small device. And developing an optimized GUI for a mobile device is difficult and sometimes nerve-wrecking.
You can split the space in two ways: you can concentrate on innovating vertically : building entire solutions from the low bits to the end application. Or you can innovate horizontally - build platforms which allow other people to innovate and build upon.
3G or WLAN.
It's just like "Nokia or Linux".
I'm not saying Nokia wasn't a success, obviously it was (and is). But I do believe that in the future, it's more probable to see a new Linux-like success story than a Nokia-like success story coming from Finland. Which is why supporting platforms for free innovation would be so important.
Of course, being CC -licensed, Elisa does not have to pay any license fees to Kopiosto (the Finnish copyright organization) or anyone else, which probably is the real reason behind this move. There is already quite a lot of decent quality CC-material out there that's not getting the publicity it deserves, so this kind of a move is likely to bolster goodwill on Elisa, and more public recognition to Creative Commons.
(Though, my guess is that someone is going to inhale a stack of peas on this one and start screaming that corporations supporting free content means that artists will starve to death [starvation in general is a very big problem in Finland] and demand banning of anything that's freely available, and that corporations should "observe their responsibilities towards Finnish artists" and support them instead of some "crap, second-rate free content just because they're being greedy." The concept of sharing seems to go above some people's heads... There is nothing wrong in sharing your work for free, as much as there is nothing wrong in asking for money from what you do. Both ways have their advantages and disadvantages, and in the end, the customer should be allowed to decide.)
Update: Elisa spokesperson says "users can freely download and share the content without fear." That is also a reason why looking into CC-licensed content is a good idea: if you use only that, you don't need to implement costly and complicated Digital Rights Management solutions which usually kill all usability. You can even play up the fact that "it's okay to share this" to gain extra publicity. Especially for a pilot, it makes little sense to spend all that money.
Update2: Nope says in the comment section: "Just in case somebody was wondering, the project website is at http://www.indica.tv/ where anyone can also submit their own video clips at http://www.indica.tv/cc/." Thanks!
Ever since I implemented the ~SpamFilter module for JSPWiki, the WikiSpam situation has improved dramatically. It works in two ways: first, it checks the submitted text against a list of regular expressions (typically domain names, but this is user-editable). This is what most blacklists do. In addition, it also has a limit how many pages the user can edit in one minute. If the user submits more than X number of edits, their IP address gets automatically blacklisted for a limited period of time.
In case the user is blacklisted or submits a blacklisted URL, he gets redirected to a page called "RejectedMessage", which describes the reason for the rejection of the edit. Most bots (and clueless spammer slaves, working in Brazil or China or wherever, and submitting spam manually) will continue to attempt editing this page, but since they are already blacklisted, they'll keep failing.
In addition, all the non-current revisions of pages at jspwiki.org have the Google rel=nofollow attribute set, so any WikiSpam that goes to the repository has no impact on search engine rankings. The spam is relatively trivial to remove as well, as one single spammer usually makes only about four-five changes to the site before getting blacklisted. They want to work fast to spam as much as possible, and this system forces them to work slow...
Of course, all this means that RejectedMessage has become the most accessed page in the history of JSPWiki. That's fun.
Today's copyright insanity comes from Bruce Schneier's blog:
But management nixed the idea, on advice from lawyers, because of concerns about copyright infringement. The problem was that players might use their virtual instruments to play copyrighted songs, and the game company might be sued for contributory or vicarious copyright infringement, for failing to prevent this.
A pen (and a flute) is truly mightier (and scarier) than a sword... I have an idea (for free use, just remember to pay me): Why don't we just license musicians the same way we license driving? I mean, obviously the music arts are very dangerous, as one could inadvertently play music that someone else has already invented, so we should slap obligatory training and yearly license fee for anyone who practices or performs music. This money could be used to pay starving artists (the mythical creatures that inhabit the caves in Kansas). In addition, we could also license listening to the music: make everyone pay every time they hear a tune that has been copyrighted. (No wait, I think that's already being done.)
For the humour impaired, the above paragraph is sarcasm. S-A-R-C-A-S-M. Or irony. I always get them mixed up. But I reserve the right to have been right if someone seriously suggests in the future that music performances in private establishments (like homes or offices) should be stopped because someone might play copyrighted songs.
Is copyright still enabling innovation and creativity? Maybe a hundred years ago - but today... I don't know. It certainly doesn't look like it anymore.
Michael Fry does not like people syndicating his comic strip, Over the Hedge:
United Media does not offer RSS feeds of their strips, with or without advertisements, so therefore these scraped feeds are the only way to follow such comics. Fine, they don't want this scraping to happen, that is their right, but I do find the rhetoric that is used here, completely and utterly stupid.
Why the fuck would removing advertisements be the same as holding a gun against someone's head!?! That is blatantly absurd - the former is the same as going to the toilet during commercial breaks, the latter is a threat to take a life of a person! There is nothing similar in these two cases. There's also the delusion of "lost sale" here... If the Hedge is not available to me via RSS, I'll just simply stop reading it. There is no "lost sale" in advertisements in this case - and even if I went to that site, I would have ad blockers in my browser.
The other side of me just wonders, why is "making Hedge so easily and freely available" undermining economics? If your economics consists of making life difficult and expensive for the users, then perhaps yes, but if your point is to sell books - aren't you better off telling everyone about your great thing? You know, advertising?
Anyway. There are many services that still do this scraping thing, all over the world. All it requires is a few lines of Perl or Python for anyone with an inch of coding ability. If you can read the HTML, you can scrape it. My fear is that once content producers realize this, they will start to offer their products embedded inside Flash files, or custom image plugins, or perhaps in DRM-protected videos (containing nothing but the image). Perhaps all text will be sent as images to stop scraping, or all sites will be turned to Flash. This will kill usability on so many fronts it's not funny anymore, and drive away users instead of getting more of them.
But what should be understood that scraping as such is not legal. You can, by sending a simple email, to shut down an offending site. You can stop it, once it starts to happen, using normal legal recourses. You just can't prevent it without losing your customers. Please don't even try...
Saw Star Wars III. I think that if you spliced episodes I, II and III together, you might get a pretty decent movie. Just take the last half an hour from this one - because no other bit in it deserves saving. The first third of the movie is mostly boring - I yawned at the attempts to create sense-of-wonder (you know guys, there's a thing called "too much").
The middle part of the movie I mostly giggled through, much to the annoyance of my fellow moviegoers, I'm sure.
The final third had a bit of the same feeling as the old saga, and I had nearly a tear in my eye at one point. But still.
Star Wars III is kinda like going to a bad hamburger place: It's crap food, and then you laugh at a poor waiter who drops a tray and makes a mess, but their ice cream leaves a decent aftertaste.
Next time, I'll just have the ice cream, thanks.
From the Star Wreck web site:
The historical date is: 20.8.2005.
I'll believe it when I see it - I think the original premiere was supposed to be three years ago or something... ;-)
(But the trailers look very good. Darn, I think I'm gonna be in Seattle on the night of the premiere...)
Yesterday I just stopped, in the shop, right next to the sausage section. I saw a beautiful woman, packing Carelian pastries in a paper bag, oblivious to my staring. I just couldn't help looking at her, and smile like an idiot.
She turned and came to me. Asked: "What are you laughing at?"
And I replied: "I was just looking at you. I think I'm still terribly in love with you."
I'm so happy I found her.
Whee! Got this happy surprise in my mailbox. Back in business :-)
thank you for submitting your paper entitled
"User-initiated context switching using NFC"
to the IJCAI-Workshop Modeling and Retrieval of Context (MRC2005).
We are pleased to inform you that your paper has been accepted as FULL PAPER for publication and presentation.
Blogitutkimus has something that looks like an beginner knitter could come up with: an incomprehensible mess of strings.
However, since this is a blog dedicated to blog research, it's actually a map of the Finnish blogrolls - i.e. who endorses whom in their sidebars. The reason why I'm in the middle with the most links is not because I'm part of a mythical Bloggers Inner Circle [BTW, meeting at eleven at the Usual Place. Bring your capes. And a frog.], but likely because I happen to have my entire up-to-date subscription list available automatically, whereas most others seem to maintain their "recommended reading list" manually. Or that's my guess.
It's a fun pic. You can find all sorts of interesting data in it, and support almost any opinion you can think of. It'll be interesting to see what Jere can dig out of it :)
(I'm reading too many blogs anyway. I should probably start dropping the ones I don't read so regularly anymore...)
Here's one reason why the new media will triumph over the old one: it has little integrity. Traditional media is bound by certain rules: some legislated, some self-imposed. But in the new media, there's always someone willing to skirt the bounds of good taste, morale, or legality to make a few bucks. People place far fewer restrictions on themselves than media corporations do - witness the FCC Decency Rules, for example. Advertisers will love it. A lot of people will probably suffer for it.
It places a heavy burden on the reader. And an even heavier one on the old media, who'll either have to play up their strengths or succumb to the flow. After all, a lot of the media (especially TV) is mostly about catering for advertisers, not viewers.
Ironically, this may mean good times for the really old, established media (such as YLE, the Finnish Broadcasting Corporation, or BBC) that have been rummaging through the times in a juggernaut-like fashion, protected by the TV license fees: they can embrace the benefits of the new media, without the commercial pressures; neither will they have to face the competition for advertising money, which is always affecting the advertising-run businesses. They have far more freedom than anyone else in the game. And when things are changing rapidly, freedom is good.
A Finnish proponent of "intelligent design" speaks his mind in this morning's Helsingin Sanomat link here, subscription required. Orkut Media happens to have an article on the very same subject (though it also has plenty of say about the recent attempt by Alabama to ban any book authored by a gay person):
(Link via Red State Rabble, which follows the ongoing Kansas fight to teach intelligent design along with [or preferably in place of] evolution.)
I've spent most of the day (my only free day in Tokyo!) indoors, thanks to a flu I caught. I went to bed yesterday around eight o'clock, feeling pretty tired. Of course, about five people called or SMSd me, either to try and drag me to have a beer, or asking, if I could bring them a PSP, or a Sony Librié or both. And games. And food. And DVD's.
My plan was to wake up at 4.45 to go to the Tsukiji Fish Market to get a fresh sushi breakfast and then get to Yodobashi Kamera for shopping, but after tossing and turning most of the night, not getting any sleep as I shivered and sweated alternatively, I simply had to give up. As I finally woke up, it was about 2 pm, and I was feeling like shit. The bed is not the most comfortable in the world, so my back ached. Along with a splitting headache that pretty much made me unable to do anything but soak in a bath for a while and go back to bed.
It wasn't until eight pm, that I managed to get myself out of the door to get some soba and to buy some candy from a neighbourhood shop, feeling generally woozy. So, I ain't gonna be bringing twenty kilos of electronics from this trip; sorry everyone.
Traveling induces stress. A four-day stretch of business meetings requires you to be mentally alert, and the evening programs tend to be taxing to your physique. When you add jet lag (which is worse flying east, at least for me), and three-to-four hours of sleep every night, you're pretty much a sitting duck for any sort of bugs, of which there are plenty in a city of 20+ milllion people, and many of which your immune system has never seen. On many occasions, you don't even have extra days; you just go from airport to hotel, hotel to meeting place, meeting place to hotel, hotel to airport... And after a while, you start to hope you were home more often, and then you start optimizing your flight schedules even more to minimize the amount of time you spend away from your loved ones.
Traveling is great, I love it. But it comes with a price.
Next to the Shinagawa station, a small band had set up their wares. I stopped by to listen, and gently swayed in the music (or maybe it was the fever) and for a moment, was transported elsewhere. The girl had a hauntingly beautiful voice, and she sang words that I could not understand, yet touched me. I got her CD, an autograph, and a smile.
Five am. wakeup tomorrow to get to the plane. Yay.
Then maybe New York again in two weeks.
Update: It hasn't gone exactly as planned. First of all, I have 38.4 degrees temperature and I am in Bangkok.
You see, the Finnair MD-11 tried takeoff from Osaka Kansai twice, and had an engine problem both times. So we ended up leisurely strolling back and forth the tarmac, from the gate to the takeoff area, and back to the gate for two-and-a-half hours, until the captain gave up and laconically told us that "this bird ain't flying nowhere today". After some slight abuse from business class passengers, I ended up on this slight detour from Osaka to Bangkok to Helsinki; to arrive on Sunday morning at 6 am, only 15 hours late of original schedule, with about a total of 30 hours travel.
Yay x 2.
(Though in all honesty I have to say that flying with Thai Airways is always nice; they seem to have more leg room than anyone else, the service seems a bit faster and the food is pretty decent for airplane food as well.)
Many people have had less-than-pleasant stories with dealing with Apple Finland, but I have to say that so far the service has been top notch. I took my laptop to be serviced last week, and they gave me a replacement laptop (a nice, brand new 15" Powerbook with backlit keyboard) as a loan and put my hard drive into it. So I can still keep doing all the stuff I'm used to while my own computer is being diagnosed and refitted...
I mean, I've had to call Apple support hotline twice, and actually had friendly, fast and knowledgeable service on both times. I've even had a knowledgeable and enthusiastic salesman demonstrate Tiger (OSX 10.4) to me - in a department store! It does not happen often with computers.
Whatever you may think of Apple hardware or policies, they really have the user experience nailed down. There are some advantages in paying a bit more than the cheapest price for the highest bang.
Henrik Ingo has written a book about Open Source and what it means. The book could've used an editor's gentle touch, and as many open source projects, it looks a bit shabby - but as with many open source projects, the contents are of reasonably high quality. And befittingly, the book is also licensed under the Creative Commons public domain -license, so you can do whatever you want with it.
It's a comfortable and easy read, and not only for geeks. Henrik writes with humor and a knowing touch. If you've ever wondered what this Open Source -thingy is and what is it exactly that makes Linux as good as it is, check it out. You can read the book for free on the web site, or you can order a copy, if you prefer solid formats.
(And why did I write a review of a Finnish book in English? Who cares... I'm in Tokyo, a city which I seem to be returning to no matter what I do, and I've been drinking a reasonable amount of reasonably good sake at a reasonable price.)
At the risk of sounding like a Nokia commercial (I know, I've blogged about work stuff before), I would like to direct your attention to Nokia Sensor, a cool (and free) app that gives you the ability to make and display a local home page on your (relatively recent) Series 60 cell phone; a home page which other people in your vicinity can browse over Bluetooth.
A friend of mine said once that he dreads the day when you can go to the toilet, and without taking a peek, figure out who is in the next booth. Well, I happened to have a prototype version of Sensor on my phone at that exact moment, so I had to bite my lip and deftly direct the discussion elsewhere, but... that day has arrived.
It remains to be seen how popular this thing becomes, but it does demonstrate how cell phones are slowly becoming extensions of your persona instead of just a way to throw your voice to a remote location. Mobile phones have been the Great Equalizers of Distance - one can call anyone anywhere, but what Sensor (and a few apps before it; it's not an unique idea, though it's certainly one of the first apps of its kind) does is that it assigns more meaning to your proximity, your immediate surroundings. Which usually is more interesting to you personally than what is happening across the street or in Bolivia. It's different to show an aspect of your personality to people who are within 10 meters of you than to a random Googler searching for "dock woman porno" (a recent favourite in this blog).
(Disclaimer: I work for the company, and was involved at a very minor level in the early development of Sensor. Plus that I also am a geek, who gets very excited at new mobile technology, and actually likes the idea of having a computer-assisted social life (CASL)).
Can anyone think of a cuter game than this?
I hear it's one of the more popular games in Japan now...
Amnesty International has issued a statement on Human rights in the Blogosphere. Nothing new, but it just underlines the fact that blogs are being taken seriously all over the world.
This is one downside; another is the amount of information presented as fact. Blogs are individual expressions of opinion. Where "facts" are cited, they should be treated with healthy scepticism. As long as the reader makes his or her own judgments about the information, the fact that blogs do not purport to provide a balanced view can be refreshing, as there is little risk of a hidden agenda or bias. They also offer an immediate right of reply and the opportunity for others to correct information or to put across an alternative viewpoint immediately.
The Blogosphere provides anyone with access to a computer the opportunity to meet like-minded people and organise activities anywhere in the world. For activists and journalists alike, it is a powerful tool.
I completely agree with the last sentence. Blogs are tools. Tools for distributing ideas more efficiently. Whether those ideas are about your personal life, the current political situation, the weather, or whether they are completely fictitious, it does not matter. As Ugus has found out, people don't seem to grasp the idea that you cannot treat blogs in the same way. Equally, yes, but not in the same way. All blogs - perhaps even all entries - have to be judged on their own merits.
You can't say all newspapers are the same, any more you can say all the television is the same, except if you're willing to make extremely broad and dumb generalizations that are of no use. The same goes with blogs: Some blogs are journalism, some aren't. Some blogs are diaries, some aren't. Some blogs are news, some aren't. Some blogs are popular, some aren't. Some are fictitious, some aren't. It's very dangerous to attach any sort of labels to anything, simply because labeling things will cause your view to be distorted, and you may no longer see anything outside the label. However, since the labels are pretty much a necessity, these things happen. You just need to be very careful when labeling things, and keep in mind that you have to take them seriously, but you really can't - if you get my meaning.
Anyway. Blogs are tools for publishing words. Nothing more, nothing less. The exact form is not that important, whether it be defined in a mechanistical fashion or as personal online publishing or perhaps something else. Once you have a grasp of blogging is, forget about it, and start thinking what blogging could be. That's where innovation lies - not at defining boxes around boxes until everything falls neatly into place, but at thinking outside the box; ripping the label off it, turning it upside down and shaking it until it breaks.
The word "blog" is broken. Let scholars worry about how to fix it.
You just write.
Sam Ruby likes Ubuntu. I like Ubuntu too: it's been my primary server and desktop OS now for a couple of months. It's one of the easiest distros to install and is (apart from Red Hat's commercial offerings) the least user-hostile Linux to date that I've encountered. If you are considering Linux, or want to upgrade your existing system, you could do a lot worse than picking Ubuntu.
It also delights me to see the internal IBM URL he gives: it points to a JSPWiki instance! Woo-hoo! You so rarely hear from people using your software (mostly only when they have trouble) that sometimes you wonder if anyone is using your thing... So the lone developer has to extract joy from things like seeing a familiar URL on someone else's blog.
I'm leaving for Japan tomorrow for about a week, so I'll post this here for the Great Internet Brain to munch on; it's not likely that I get much development done on the trip - heck, it's not even likely that I get my Powerbook back from repair shop before I leave...
I just yesterday committed an interesting patch to the JSPWiki CVS HEAD: it makes JSPWiki appear as a WebDAV repository. Once complete, this allows things like direct opening of attachments and saving them transparently into the Wiki, without the usual "click on link - edit - save locally - upload new revision back to wiki" -cycle, which can be very frustrating.
This is still an experimental feature (and will be disabled by default in the upcoming stable release), but it seems to work relatively well for browsing. It does not yet allow saving of documents, but that should be relatively simple to implement now that things are in place.
My big problem however, is not technical, it's more of an aesthetical nature (people who don't get how a technology problem can be aesthetical can go to the next blog now): what would be the correct URI space for the DAV support? The problem with DAV is the rendered content - all wikipages are dynamically generated, so the HTML is not a document that is editable.
At the moment, I have everything mounted under /dav (resulting in $blogurl/dav/raw/About.txt, $blogurl/dav/html/About.html for the raw wikimarkup and html rendered versions respectively), but for attachments the source and rendered versions are the same, so you could conceivably just inherit the ~AttachmentServlet from ~WebDavServlet and implement PUT, DELETE, MKCOL, PROPFIND and the rest of the bunch - GET is already done there! But that would result in a somewhat fragmented URI space: you could not just cut-n-paste an URL into a DAV client, since wikipages would need mapping, whereas attachments wouldn't...
Anyway, what is better?
Keep DAV URI space completely separate. The attachment handling is a bit complicated here; and the URIs have nothing to do with the usual browsing URIs.
$baseurl/dav/html/Foobar.html = rendered page $baseurl/dav/raw/Foobar.txt = raw page in wikimarkup $baseurl/dav/raw/Foobar-att/foo.png = Foo/foo.png attachment
Use as much as possible the existing URI space (may result in confusion; very easy to do with attachments; has really no common "root" element).
$baseurl/wiki/Foobar.html = rendered page $baseurl/wiki/Foobar.txt = raw page $baseurl/attach/Foobar/foo.png = attachments
Sorta like Option 2, but with differences (needs three servlets, perhaps the most configurable of all, but brings hassles, may not be intuitive to user).
$baseurl/html/Foobar.html = rendered page $baseurl/raw/Foobar.txt = raw page $baseurl/attach/Foobar/foo.png = attachments
Something else - what? The comment area is open for suggestions...
(And yes, I wrote my own ~WebDAV library - I looked at Slide, as well as RFC 2518 and realized that I can probably write my own Class 1 DAV server in the same time that it takes for me to understand the Slide documentation. Boo hiss. And Slide is HUGE! It certainly suffers from a bad case of JAR-bloat'o'itis...)
...by a coding bug, it seems. I've managed to roll out a WYSIWYG editor to JSPWiki (what, Wiki with actual WYSIWYG editing) and now I'm working something pretty cool as well. Let me just say it involves things like XPath, DOM and a few other nice acronyms... ;-)
Private comments? Drop me an email. Or complain in a nearby pub - that'll help.
|"Main" last changed on 06-Mar-2012 10:13:04 EET by JanneJalkanen.|