Friday, 25-Feb-05 00:00
Google backlash

This was to be expected. The poor Ilkka Pöyry who has filed a defamation suit against Jani of Mummila.net has been Googlebombed. So, if you now search Google for Ilkka Pöyry you will end up in the Finnish blogs and can now read the whole story.

The name "Ilkka Pöyry" is now permanently (well, nearly anyway) linked to this incident, and because of the fact that bloggers have started to chew on it, it will only gain more Googlejuice as time goes on. And that will be very, very, very hard to remove from the Internet. Especially now that US and Swedish websites have latched onto the story, the word is out.

As I said, suing highly interconnected bloggers in world where search engines are the kings, is not a very smart tactic, if you want to keep your name clean. Even if, as in this case, the outrage is mostly around the police overstepping their boundaries, and not on the defamation suit itself.

I don't want to say that bloggers are a community, but bloggers in general should be aware of their power and the responsibility that comes with it: an angry mob can cause hard damage to people (as witnessed in the USA with bloggers "hunting for scalps"). One blog may be insignificant, but in mass blogs can be a force to be reckoned with. Which can be dangerous.

Thursday, 24-Feb-05 01:22
Blogger sued for libel

(Following links are all in Finnish. Sorry.)

Ilkka Pöyry, the headmaster of the Muhos Korivaara school, who has been using (and approving) questionable methods to give fundamentalist religious schooling to kids in the elementary grades (3-4), has sued Jani of Marginaali for libel. (Well, not really sued, it's more like asking the police to look into the matter by claiming that a crime has occurred. I don't know the English words for that.)

While Jani's tone in expressing his opinion is, in my opinion, overly harsh, his feelings are understandable. Knowing Finnish mentality the situation has had to have been really bad, if multiple families have gone against the popular opinion in a small, Finnish rural town. The person who was supposed to investigate the matter within the town reported multiple attempts to prevent his work or to arrive at a certain conclusion, including a lawsuit by the same Ilkka Pöyry (which the police found unfounded). Even an expert group investigation was declared secret by the town council, though the conclusion was made public, and resulted in the Oulu regional government issuing a warning to the headmaster.

Now Mr. Pöyry seems to go around on a rampage, trying to fix his tarnished reputation by suing people who were angered by the news articles (not a smart tactic). It will be an interesting landmark case for Finnish bloggers, because if Jani is convicted, a great many people will have to start and bite their tongues. While Jani's language is harsh, it is not unheard of, and I've read far worse comments about other people in both blogs and the USENET newsgroups. Besides, Jani has written about it only once - some others have been doing it for years.

Update: The Enter-magazine wants to know why the Oulu police is telling Jani to remove the pages, as this is clearly unconstitutional? Only a court can order web pages to be shut down...

Update2: The story of askola.org is also worth reading. A local elected representative of Askola has been holding a column on the Internet, criticizing the Central party -lead town council, and was sued for slander. He was found guilty and was sentenced to 200,000 € worth of damages (which is very high in Finland), but has since appealed to the EU human rights court. The case seems otherwise pretty usual, petty Finnish local politics, but what is really odd is that apparently two separate courts refused to say exactly what he had done wrong and point out the parts of his writings that are libelous. That worries me a lot. Anyway, he has now decided to carry a video camera with him to the council sessions and tape everything, which seems to have a very calming effect on the sessions. I think this is a good example of the transparent society in action, and how it would benefit even on a local level.

Update3: The police has now instructed Jani to remove the offending material from the website according to the ".fi top level domain rules", which state that the police can ask for a suspension of a domain, if it's suspected to be used in crime. However, Jani's web site is under the ".net" -TLD, so to me this sounds awfully like an unlawful threat... What kind of police behaviour is this!?! "Remove the stuff or we'll shut you down completely!" What happened to "innocent until proven guilty"?

Update4: The media got interested as well. Tuomas Kilpi of Enter-magazine has asked the Finnish high-ranking police officials and the Ministry of Communication whether the Oulu police is within their jurisdiction to order arbitrary web sites to be closed down. Keep following the story.

Update5: Hello people from Boing Boing! Welcome to Finland :-). Jani has now an English version of the story for you.

Tuesday, 22-Feb-05 18:15
I'm an ordinary person

It's always difficult to determine whether I should write in Finnish or English, when commenting Finnish blog posts. I think I'll keep writing in English though, because I know there are a bunch of expats reading this, who otherwise would get no exposure to the Finnish blogosphere.

Saara writes an ironic response to a recent Finnish article in Aamulehti by Juha Seppälä. This journalist had went through some of the blogs from the Pinseri list, and wrote a dismissive article on why "bloggers are just ordinary people who say boring things." (Some more commentary in Finnish at Anita Konkka's blog.)

Chris Anderson (the Editor of Wired-magazine) said that (and I'm paraphrasing from memory here) "as an editor my responsibility is to reach to as many people as possible, but as a blogger I just want to reach the 20 people in the world I can exchange thoughts with."

That's exactly what matters. Most blogs (WAY most) in the world have less than 20 readers. They are the "long tail" of blogging. They are the ones where people post pictures of their kittens and talk about their ordinary life using ordinary words. And other ordinary people read their blogs - but those are the people that matter to the blogger himself.

Blogging is about people. Everyone of us tries to be with people that we like and can share things (ideas, thoughts, feelings, stuff) with. We call them friends. Exposing a carefully selected part of yourself to the public is just that; sharing with people that feel the same way as you. Even the people who passionately hate something and gather a large group of enemies, tend also to gain some supporters. You write in public - people react. Who cares if it's ordinary? Ordinary matters to a large number of people. It's their life and their interests.

I don't really know most of the people reading this blog. I seem to get about 600-800 unique readers/day (2000 page views), most of which seem to be from random googlers, so perhaps I have about 200 regular readers. I know some of you, but I can only imagine what kicks the rest of you get from reading my ramblings. Granted, I also get a bit of kick out of thinking that so many people find me interesting. But truthfully, I really care only about a few of you. No offense.

I love an ordinary person. But she's also a blogger. I like to read what she writes, even though we share the same bed, because when things are written they take on a form that is different from your day-to-day life. The words on the screen have been carefully thought out, their order not as random as when we talk. Paradoxically I think it makes me understand her better, as sometimes it's easier to write your thoughts than it is to speak them.

But that's just me. Your mileage may - and should - vary.

Tuesday, 22-Feb-05 13:10
Teacher speaks

Teacher Kari Tuurna says that filtering software is not needed in schools, as teachers can perfectly well control what the kids are doing.

Mielestäni tällaisten ohjelmien näennäinen tarve johtuu siitä, että lapsia ei ehditä/viitsitä valvoa niin, että luvattomilla sivuilla surffailua ei tapahdu. Sama koskee kouluja ja koteja. Itse opetan atk:ta useita tunteja viikossa ala-asteen oppilaille, ja uskallan väittää, että on täysin mahdollista valvoa lasten netin käyttöä ilman tällaisia esto-ohjelmiakin. Se vain vaatii aikuisen läsnäolon kun konetta käytetään.

Jos lapset saavat tehdä tehdä mitä tahansa, ne myös tekevät. Varsinkin sellaista mikä on nimenomaan kielletty. Asia on yksinkertaista hoitaa niin, että koneeseen ei kosketa, ellei vanhempi henkilö ole valvomassa.

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Erinomainen artikkeli, suosittelen lukemaan.

Tuesday, 22-Feb-05 01:56
Speechless in Helsinki

I heard some hours ago that a friend had died in a traffic accident far away. I... I don't quite know what to write. It's a shock you can't quite comprehend. A numbness. A strangely odd sensation, when you don't quite know what to do and how you should feel.

She saw things most people just dream about. She survived things most people only see nightmares about. She did things most people would not dare, or if they did, they would be enough for a lifetime, yet still kept her smile and kept going. She lived fiercely, more fiercely than anyone else I know, even if she didn't always know where to belong. And I and many others loved her for the spark of life which she always brought with her.

I was always looking forward to meeting her, to hear her stories. And I hoped that some day I could take my children to her and hear her recount her tales of wonder and see the things she brought and made (for she had the knack of creativity within her). I was so envious for her courage that I could only admire from a distance.

Good night, and good bye. You won't be forgotten.

(A traffic accident? Sheesh. How not like her.)

Monday, 21-Feb-05 12:37
Yup

It's true. I'm being censored in Stockmann.

Päivitys: Soitin Stockmannin IT-palveluun, ja kysyin suoraan miksi ja kuka he kertoivat minulle seuraavaa. Kirjoitan tämän suomeksi, ettei tule tahattomia käännösvirheitä.

  • En ollut ensimmäinen valittaja, Robert's Coffeen (joka siis pyörittää ~NetCuppia) henkilökunta on kertonut asiakkaiden valittaneen aiemminkin
  • "Ongelmat" ovat ilmeisesti alkaneet viime viikolla. Olettivat, että ongelma voisi olla Soneran palvelimissa ja siinä, että sisältösuodatus on mennyt yhtäkkiä tiukemmaksi kuin on tarkoitus.
  • He eivät ole vastuussa ~NetCupin koneista, vaan tavaratalon PC-tiimi on. (Tähän nähden puhelimeen vastannut ihminen oli harvinaisen tietoinen siitä mistä oli kysymys.)
  • Kun kysyin kuka on tehnyt päätöksen siitä, että verkkosivuillani on "sopimatonta materiaalia" (näin selain minulle kertoi), vastaus oli, että verkkosivujeni (siis tämän blogin) suodattaminen ei kuulemma ole poliittinen rajanveto vaan puhtaasti tekninen ongelma. Ei kuulemma liity verkkosivujeni sisältöön millään lailla (nimim. no millä ihmeellä ne sitten suodattavat niitä sivuja, jos eivät sisällön perusteella?)
  • Suodatus on kuulemma yleinen käytäntö, koska "ihmisiä ei voi päästää minne vain". Kun kysyin, kuka päättää ja millä perusteella minne saa mennä, vastaus oli että on olemassa jonkinlainen "Content Manager" -tietokoneohjelma, joka päättää.
  • Keskustelun lopuksi henkilö oli jo varma siitä, että vika on Soneran päässä, mutta kieltäytyi antamasta tarkempia tietoja siitä, keneltä voisi kysellä lisää, koska en ollut Stockmannin henkilökuntaa. No, hänen kunniakseen on sanottava, että hän jaksoi sitkeästi ja ystävällisesti vastailla tekemiini kysymyksiin...
  • (Myöhemmin tullut sähköposti kertoo: "Content Management-palvelimeen on jouduttu laiteongemista johtuen tekemään konfigurointia, jotka ovat saattaneet vaikuttaa sivujesi näkyvyyteen." Mitvit?)

Summa summarum: Se, että minun verkkosivujani sensuroidaan, on "tekninen ongelma", ja päätöksen tehnyt tietokoneohjelma "on jotenkin rikki".

Kysymys kuuluukin miksi jokin tietokoneohjelma osaisi erottaa hyvän ja pahan, kun eivät ihmisetkään tunnetusti osaa tehdä sitä eroa? Kuitenkin ministeri Karpela olisi valmis antamaan moraaliset päätökset tietokoneen tehtäväksi... Tosin, kuten hän itse toteaa: "Tässäkin tapauksessa täydellisyyden vaatiminen johtaa huonoon tulokseen. Usein täydellisyys on hyvän vaihtoehdon pahin vihollinen."

Niinpä. Ja jos nyt valtionvarainministeri toteaisi budjetin olevan silleen ihan riittävällä kymmenen miljoonan tarkkuudella oikein, ja oikeusministeri kannattaisi ihmisten vangitsemista "ihan varmuuden vuoksi, että varmasti saadaan ainakin kaikki konnat kiinni", niin päästäisiin samaan mukavaan keskustalaiseen rempseään meininkiin, jossa laki ja moraali ovat vain pelkkiä likiarvoja. (Kiitos Henrille tuosta analogiasta.)

Ehdotan muuten, että te, rakkaat lukijani, törmätessänne syyttä suodatetuihin verkkosivuihin, kävisitte paikallisessa IT-tuessa vaatimassa tietoa siitä, miksi kyseinen verkkosivu on sensuroitu, ja kuka kyseisen päätöksen on tehnyt. Antakaa äänenne kuulua.

Sunday, 20-Feb-05 00:58
Paha maa
Syyttömänä syntymään sattui hän
tähän maahan pohjoiseen ja kylmään.
Innocent was he born
in this country north and cold

A Finnish-English dictionary defines the word "ahdistus" as "agony, anguish, anxiety, difficulty in breathing, oppression, torment, tribulation, vexation". I don't think if any of these describe accurately the feelings I got after seeing Paha maa (lit. "Evil land"). I don't even know if the English language has proper words for the desperate anguish that is so ingrained in the Finnish culture.

It's kinda the Finnish version of "Paying it Forward", except this time it's the evil deeds that travel. And boy, does it hurt.

Good film. But don't expect to be in a good mood afterwards. There were some laughs at first, and especially someone who laughed really loud and lot, obviously mistaking the movie for a comedy, but even he shut up really fast after one particular scene. For the rest of the movie, the entire theatre was completely quiet, grabbed and shaken by the desperation oozing from the screen.

It's... I find it hard to think of the film.

But it still had a message of hope. I don't know what to think of it either.

Sunday, 20-Feb-05 00:09
Censored

I just got a report that this blog is censored in public net cafes in Helsinki Stockmann stores. True or not? I have to check... Let me know if you have any info. I'd love to know which places think the contents of this blog are unsuitable to the general public.

Saturday, 19-Feb-05 00:58
Ssshhhh...
Friday, 18-Feb-05 20:27
More desperation

Zds writes:

Minulle selvisi äskettäin käydyn keskustelun perusteella että Lipposen leirillä on tukevat yhteydet Microsoftiin Lipposen entisen erityisavustajan Mikael Jungnerin kautta ja ko. herra on siten myös ollut muodostamassa valtioneuvoston kantaa mm. ohjelmistopatenteista. Siis niinku häh?

Finnish local politics: Microsoft Finland's "information society manager" used to be our former PM's assistant, and thus involved in drafting the official Finnish stance to software patents. He is also to be the new head of the Finnish Broadcasting company, starting 1.5.2005. Fishy? Highly. Typical? Of course. The sandbox over here is so small, that anyone with any power is bound to have political connections. However, no matter how well motivated, how skillful, or how honest a person is, it still looks pretty bad to be involved in politics while having such a high position in one of the few companies in the world that regularly gets screamed at having "evil" business practices.

Friday, 18-Feb-05 12:18
Wikipedia in your mobile phone

Okay, this is useful: http://maxpedia.org. WAP-formatted site for accessing all Wikipedia content. Works fast and looks good on my 6630.

(Via Janne H.)

Thursday, 17-Feb-05 18:13
JSPWiki auth suspended

The current AAA system in the CVS version has been suspended. There will be no more development on it. (And I feel a big relief saying this, as if a weight had left my shoulders.)

This is due to several reasons:

  • I have been unable to do any other work on any other part than the AAA system, as I always get the nagging feeling that I should really work on the whole AAA thing.
  • I really don't like writing AAA. It's a damned complicated system which has dependencies and it touches areas that I don't just understand enough about. I also have a personal feeling that per-page permissions are NOT very useful - at least they are useful to me. They run against the Wiki philosophy, and while I understand that a bunch of people do find them useful, it's really hard to be motivated to do something you don't believe in.
  • The design of the AAA system was faulty from the get-go. This unfortunately meant that it became a bug-infested beast even before it was properly born. I screwed up, and I just don't have the skills to fix it properly: I would just screw it up again.
  • I have little time these days, and it is frankly, better used on things that I find interesting and useful.

With all this, the development of JSPWiki has been slowed down too much. I was hoping to release 2.2 about a year ago, and I haven't been able to release even a single beta. This simply sucks. You may have noticed a flurry of updates in the recent few weeks in the CVS, and this is all due to the fact that I decided to give up on the AAA system and concentrate on the rest of the code base. I have so many ideas and things that I personally need and want that it simply does not make sense for me to keep developing a feature that is simply not interesting. (I'm planning things such as making JSPWiki Lifeblog compatible, providing proper diff and ~AtomAPI support, easier installation, speed optimizations, etc.)

However, all is not lost. Andrew Jaquith has promised to take over the AAA system development, and rewrite the whole thing from scratch. He is progressing nicely, but it is likely not to make in the 2.2 release. If you want to help, please join the mailing list and engage in the discussion there.

Until then, the current AAA system in the CVS will exist, but bugs are not fixed, and no further development is done. It won't be removed, but it'll not be enabled by default.

Monday, 14-Feb-05 16:59
Tits, porn, and censorship

I've been not updating a lot recently, the reason is here - click on the first links...

The most popular Finnish blog apparently is Marika Fingerroos' net diary at http://www.marikafingerroos.fi/. According to today's DigiToday it ran over its 5 GB monthly transfer limit in 24 hours, proving once and for all that a young beautiful lady who's dating a local celebrity and talks about sex on the internet always draws a crowd. Even if her Caps Lock is permanently stuck, and compound words are difficult at times, fluid, funny, insightful, and intelligent writers are no match to a woman who's proudly showing her D-cups and whether she shaves her pussy or not.

Bitter? Me? Hell yeah.

Today is one of the days that I feel like I should give up on the internet and the general population, and simply stop caring. You see, Norway is planning to make ripping MP3s illegal (which is pretty obviously an idea from internet music stores so that they can sell you another copy of your music), and our own Ministry of Culture wants all public libraries and schools to install Internet filters to "stop the filth" (damn, I must start to use more fucking dirty words to get this blog censored).

Especially the internet filtering thing is so lame it defies any sense: I mean - who do you believe: the filter company which is selling you the filtering software and says "yes, it's possible to filter the internet so that only the bad sites go away", or every independent study that says "no, they Simply Don't Work, they miss a lot of the bad stuff and they censor a lot of good stuff as well". Internet should be treated in the same way as TV currently is - make it the parents' responsibility to watch what their kids are doing. We should have programs that make the browsing habits of the kids clearly laid out for the parents or teachers instead of developing anonymous computer software that decides whether something is good or bad for you. Think about what would happen if a corporation would enforce all filter software makers to filter out all negative feedback about them via some legal loophole? Or worse yet - an aggressive religion or an advertiser? Internet advertising for porn is already all-out to everyone; shouldn't that be filtered out first?

I think the decision to put a major part of childrens' education to the hands of a greedy, faceless corporation that can have strange notions of what is good and proper is a fucking dumb idea.

(And before someone cries foul play - I do believe there is a problem with kids being exposed to material they are perhaps not ready to cope with [or their parents are not ready to cope with]. I'm just saying that this is a decision that should be done by parents and teachers themselves, and that people should develop tools that make it easier to follow what the kids are doing. For example, you could project EtherPEG on the living room wall - knowing that your parents might be watching would probably be a bigger deterrent than the challenge of figuring out how to go around the filtering software... The librarians in Tampere say that internet filth is not an issue with them, as the terminals are in a public space, and there's good adult supervision. Which makes sense.

After all, the kids understand far more about technology, but far less about the content than most adults do. Technology should be developed by the geeks, but the morals should be installed by the parents.

"What about privacy," you may ask? Well... As much as I like privacy, I think it's kinda like a driving license - you have to learn and earn it. And once you are mature enough to know what to do with it, you can go and have your own life. It's an odd construction between a right and a privilege - a bit of both, but not quite neither. And much like you can't drive everywhere you like, you can't expect to have much privacy on a public PC anyway...)

Update: Fabula's call to arms and Kari Haakana's commentary, both in Finnish. READ THEM!

Saturday, 12-Feb-05 13:58
Blogger meeting aftermath

I am - against all expectations - not entirely dead.

In fact, I feel rather energetic, which is odd considering the amount of alcohol consumed during last night's Kallio blogger meeting. It was a blast, as usual: thanks to all the wonderful people who I dimly recall talking to: Veera, Leena and others from MyTypo, Skrubu, Schizo, Earl Grey and Misu, Mila, Jarkko, Comradlog, Mitvit, KatjaW, Kari Haakana, and a bunch of others who probably disappeared from my hazy memory.

However, this surprised me like an elk in the fridge and got me completely speechless: As me and Outi walked into the already full bar Toveri, the rest of the bloggers recognized us and bursted into spontaneous applause. I was... flabbergasted, for a lack of a better word. I couldn't say anything then, as my brain was (especially after a few beers in the previous bar) was completely unable to handle the situation at that point, but I would now like to thank each and all of you. Thank you for giving me, an ordinary guy, a small moment of feeling special. Thank you for making Outi feel welcome to Helsinki.

Thanks again for the evening.

(And sorry for not taking my laptop: no traditional guest blogging this time.)

Tuesday, 08-Feb-05 18:03
The Wonders of Science

I'm sure this has some other uses as well - but using it for chickens (however maltreated) would not have been my first idea: http://www.primezone.com/newsroom/?d=71853

Now researchers are perfecting technology which will bring back those good memories. They have built a system which lets people interact with chickens remotely through the Internet.
"This is the first human-poultry interaction system ever developed," said Dr. Cheok. Poultry.Internet consists of a Backyard System and an Office System. In the Backyard System, the chicken is kept in an area with a few web-cams around it. The chicken wears a special electronic jacket, which, when activated, will create vibration and bring the sense of being touched and massaged.

(via B.)

Monday, 07-Feb-05 20:23
Is this the Monty Python box sketch?

I must love her very much... Very much.

Friday, 04-Feb-05 20:51
No more (and podcasting)

Last night was the last night alone. After this weekend, she'll now sleep beside me - for a long time, I hope. After a flight back from Germany I clambered to my apartment, stood outside in the snowfall and tried to fish my keys from my pocket. A strange thought hit me: "Whee! Outi must be home!" and an unvoluntary, unstoppable, wide grin spread onto my face. Of course, she wasn't - that was the last night - but I realized the simple idea of her being there made me deliriously happy.

I guess I'm still in love.

(Kuka suomalainen aloittaa muuten ensimmäisenä säännöllisen podcastingin ja mikä se olisi suomeksi? "Podikastaus?" "Tiedostojen jakaminen kannettaviin MP3-soittimiin RSS-syötteitä käyttäen?" "Podaus?" "Taskuradio?" "Ämpärilähetys?" "Ämpäriradio?")

Wednesday, 02-Feb-05 17:27
Weird-o SMS behaviour

Outi sent me yesterday a sweet text message about mice. True to the nature of these beasts, that SMS started multiplying: for some reason, T-Mobile (yes, I'm in Germany) has decided to deliver that message to me eleven times within the past 24 hours. Even though it has been sent only once.

It seems that every SMS sent from Finland is replaced by this same SMS message - so if you've tried to contact me, I have only seen a message about a mouse from Outi. Sorry. You gotta try and resend, if you had anything to say (or just email me).

Weirdosity++.


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