Sunday, 24-Feb-08 13:12
Random encounters

After a meeting ended up earlier than I was expecting, I managed to slip to town and see the Lord of the Rings musical. Being a sucker for all things Tolkien, it was a bit of a must-see.

But... as with so many things that get lost in their own excellence, something was missing. It's certainly a wonderful show, and the set decoration and lighting and props are without fail and bloody impressive, but I think the simplifications necessary for it to be squashed in three hours just took its toll. People have criticized Jackson's movies for running breathlessly from one place to another, and the musical only has a third of the time. I don't care too much about the stuff which was dropped out, what was important what they kept in. The producers had chosen to play up the general feeling of loss in the book - everyone loses something, and the world is transformed - but that just makes it a very sad road movie with no real sense of doom.

Anyhoo, today was some nice high tea in V&A, and a visit to Picocon. After the disappointment of the London Comic Con, this was a totally refreshing small convention with the right amount of extremely geeky and silly stuff (like the Fish Fight). The ICSF library is also rather impressive: 9000 volumes in total. It's probably one of the largest Scifi libraries in the world, and made my geek heart weep with envy. Big thanks to Cory and Shuri for getting me there!

Friday, 22-Feb-08 09:28
You know you're staying in a hotel outside your budget, when...

...you get a personally handwritten note from the General Manager thanking you for your stay - addressed to "Ms Jalkanen".

In other words: "We're trying really hard to appear awesome, but..."

London. I just love this city!

Thursday, 14-Feb-08 00:18
Hello Kitty MMORPG

Mind boggles.

Hong Kong – February 12, 2008: Sanrio Digital (www.sanriodigital.com) today announced the closed beta launch of “Hello Kitty Online”, a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) based on the famous Sanrio characters. Hello Kitty Online allows players to explore and adventure in Sanrio’s fantasy world, a magical land that has recently fallen under the influence of a mysterious and malevolent power.

(Via Joi Ito.)

Wednesday, 13-Feb-08 10:17
Finnish police arbitrarily censors pages which criticize censorship

Finland has implemented a "voluntary" censorship list (based on DNS) to block kiddie porn images. It also seems to block the occasional gay porn and whatever else the police happens to think is filthy. The list is secret, so you're not supposed to know what's on it. Of course, an entrepreneurial hacker pretty easily figured out by spidering different porn site addresses which sites are blocked, and published the list, among with a number of censorship-critical writings on his web pages.

Apparently, as of yesterday, the site is blocked (Finnish) by the censorship list. So, according to the police, while the law explicitly says that "any site containing pornography involving minors" may be blocked, they're now saying that any site "which links to a site containing pornography involving minors" is illegal too.

This is a big distinction, and shows that censorship is a slippery slope. Now, if I link to a site containing the link list, does that make me liable too? What about all the newspapers? What about the search engines? Why would you treat them any differently?

And most of all, what about freedom of speech? The law only speaks of images - not links. The links are supposed to be blocked anyway, so it's not like you can follow them (unless, you know how to use opendns or one of the thousand other services). So, by extending the block list, the Finnish Police are effectively saying they feel empowered to control what we are allowed to say or hear, without any regard to the legislative process.

Any censorship attempts on the internet lead to this point. And this is not the end - oh no! The next things will probably be terrorism sites - sites that tell you how to build bombs. Then we'll get pressurized by foreign governments to expand our definition of "terrorism". And then the large companies will start to complain about piracy sites - both material and intellectual. And about that point, the system will grow beyong the management capacity of a single team, and will be fully automated, and then it'll be easy for people to "game" the system, blocking competition. Because censorship is, at its core, not about moral or immoral, but about opportunity, power and money. The people in control will use it to further their control, not protect the citizens from harm. It's simply too alluring a tool to be wasted on principles and ethics - which is why all modern countries have freedom of speech in their constitutions.

Update: There are at least 20 mirrors of the censored site already, with instructions on how to make your own mirror.

Update2: The easiest way to access the site is to add ".nyud.net" to the web address. So, use http://lapsiporno.info.nyud.net, if you wish to access it. Works for any blocked address.

Saturday, 09-Feb-08 14:12
Sähköisen äänestyksen ongelmat

Antti selittää erinomaisesti, mikä vika on sähköisessä äänestyksessä, kuten se tällä hetkellä on suunniteltu tehtäväksi:

Mitä täyssähköinen äänestäminen vastaisi, jos se olisi lihaa ja verta?

Äänestystapahtuma muuttuisi niin, että sen sijaan, että äänestäjä tiputtaa lappunsa itse uurnaan, hän antaisikin sen kaupallisen yrityksen virkailijalle, joka veisi lapun takahuoneeseen ja tiputtaisi sen siellä uurnaan.

Äänten laskenta muuttuisi niin, että sen sijaan, että kilpailevien puolueiden edustajat laskevat äänet, kaikki uurnat vietäisiin kaupallisen yrityksen tiloihin ja hetken kuluttua yrityksen tiedottaja ilmoittaisi, kuka voitti.

Uudelleenlaskenta tapahtuisi niin, että tältä yrityksen tiedottajalta kysyttäisiin tulosta uudelleen ja hän vastaisi samoin kuin viimeksikin.

Minusta on melko huolestuttavaa, että niin moni tietotekniikan asiantuntija on sitä mieltä, että sähköinen äänestys sellaisena kuin sitä tällä hetkellä ajetaan, on epäluotettavaa. Normaalistihan nörtit ovat juuri niitä, jotka riemumielin digitoisivat vaikka isoäitinsä, jos vain pystyisivät.

Demokratialla ei kannattaisi leikkiä.

Saturday, 09-Feb-08 00:46
Facebook oddities

You find interesting things about yourself in Facebook. Apparently everyone wants to get stuck with me in handcuffs, but almost nobody wants to get stuck with me on a desert island.

What, ya think I can lockpick a pair of handcuffs but not figure out how to build a yacht out of three matchsticks and a handkerchief? Mind boggles.

Monday, 04-Feb-08 12:43
Cthulhu meets Bevery Hills, 90210

There can be only one way this should end.

Please?

(Via Ewan.)

Friday, 01-Feb-08 00:15
Really big falling dominos in my neighbourhood supermarket

Pretty awesome: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HfMaJJlxTE

Ha! This is my neighbourhood supermarket! Looks like using bricks of juice is not a good idea, but chocolate boxes work really well! I just wonder if these guys have still a job, or was this a planned publicity stunt...

(Thanks to Suviko for the tip!)

Update: The video has been "removed by the user". If you know of a copy, let me know...

Update2: Found the new one. Updated the URL!


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"Main" last changed on 10-Aug-2015 21:44:03 EEST by JanneJalkanen.

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