Friday, 29-Apr-05 13:24
Police admits, we were wrong

Jani of Mummila got a response to his complaint relating to police ordering the censorship of his blog: "...internal correcting measures have taken place, no sanction will be enforced by the State Provincial Offices on this matter."

And I guess that's fine: one mistake should be forgiven. It's good that there's now an official statement about this issue, so the legal status of blogs is now a bit more firm.

(Can you see I'm on holiday? I blog more and my English goes really bad. :)

Friday, 29-Apr-05 13:02
French exception

Ross Mayfield: The French Exception:

French is the second largest language and half of students in France blog. This is due, in no small part, to Skyradio telling their listeners to Skyblog what they think at most commercial breaks -- a multi-million dollar advertising investment from an MSM to make blogging cool. Effective, considering they have 1.5 million bloggers according to Pierre Bellanger's presentation.

but

Basically, nobody blogs in Germany despite their population and broadband penetration

My real reason though to quote this article is the following paragraph:

While lots of blog pundits are quick to agree that the real action isn't blogs as publishing (aside: Doc's presentation put the nail in content instead of conversation) -- but chatter with friends that happens to be in the open. We have explored this as part of the network structure, demographics, interests, everything. Barak from 6A noted that focus groups show people consistently think of bloggers are people who are self-important and have too much time on their hands. My wife, who was outed as part of the community this week, and is my favorite focus group, agrees violently. And nobody gives a damn who has more traffic than who.

David Foster Wallace writes:

TV is not vulgar and prurient and dumb because the people who compose the audience are vulgar and dumb. Television is the way it is simply because people tend to be extremely similar in their vulgar and prurient and dumb interests and wildly different in their refined and aesthetic and noble interests.

I would like to point out the similarities here: the reason bloggers who blog about blogs get a high ranking is simply because interest in blogging is the lowest common denominator among all bloggers. Power Law takes care of the rest. This is also the same reason why people who blog about sex, politics, or stir strong emotions (e.g. hatebloggers or people who keep strong, personal diaries) tend to also float to the top.

We all know that the good stuff happens at the long tail. But the lowest common denominators still are the most popular ones. That's just how the world is, and that's just how the free market works. I mean, what else would the blogosphere be except that the world's largest free market - anyone is free to join for free, and anyone can link to anyone else with no limitations, with links as a currency and popularity as wealth? (He said, with a glimmer of humour in the corner of his eye, but still gazing at this adversary with level, serious eyes.)

Think about it.

Thursday, 28-Apr-05 22:48
Some blogger awards statistics (in boring Finnish)

Blogger and www.kultainenkuukkeli.net seem to have a strong disagreement about publishing, so I have to do this here. Try and bear with me...

Ehdokkaista (paras merkintä poislukien) helsinkiläisiä oli 30 kpl, tamperelaisia 7 kpl, pohjois-karjalalaisia 1 kpl, oululaisia 1 kpl, tukholmalaisia 1 kpl, newyorkilaisia 1 kpl, tuntemattomia 5 kpl. Yleisö oli siis sitä mieltä, että 68% hyvistä blogeista tulee noin kehä kolmosen sisäpuolelta, sekä noin 16% Tampereelta. (Tuntemattomat voivat tietysti kasvattaa jompaa kumpaa lukua.)

Raati palkitsi kuusi helsinkiläistä, kolme tamperelaista, ja yhden oululaisen (paras merkintä meni helsingin ulkopuolelle, mutta koska en laskenut sitä äskenkään mukaan, en laske sitä tähänkään). Helsinkiläisiä palkituista oli siis 60% (tai 55%, jos parhaan merkinnän laskee, mutta minähän en laskenut), eli siis hieman vähemmän kuin ehdokkaista. Tamperelaisille meni 30% palkinnoista (27%, parhaan merkinnän kera).

Sen sijaan, että kyseltäisiin miksi raati suosii helsinkiläisiä kavereitaan, voidaan ehkä ennemmin kysyä, miksi suuri bloggaajayleisö oli alun perinkin sitä mieltä, että kaikki mainitsemisen arvoiset blogit ovat pääkaupunkiseudulta, sekä miksi raati palkitsi liki puolet ehdolla olleista tamperelaisista ja kaikki oululaiset?

<provokaatio>
Jos Kehä kolmosen ja Tampereen ulkopuolella on hyviä blogeja, miksi niitä ei äänestetty? Olisiko raadin pitänyt mennä radikaalimmin listan ulkopuolelle, jotta myös ei-kaupunkieläjiä olisi saatu palkittua? Pitäisikö palkinnoissa olla kiintiöt?
</provokaatio>

(Luvut laskettu pikaisesti, pahoittelen jos siellä on off-by-one -virheitä. Suuruusluvut ovat kuitenkin oikein.)

Päivitys: koska joku kuitenkin lukee tämän väärin (ja näin uudelleen luettuna tämän voi todellakin lukea väärin - story of my life), niin huomautettakoon, tässä kirjoituksessa on kieli hieman poskella, mutta ei kuitenkaan ihan kokonaan. Minusta tämä oli mielenkiintoinen ilmiö, jota en itse huomannut ihmetellä ennen kuin tänään saunassa. Raadin keskusteluissa ei missään nimessä käytetty paikkakuntaa minkäänlaisena kriteerinä - sitä ei varmaan edes mainittu kertaakaan. Minusta on kerrassaan mälsää se, että pääkaupunkiseudulla on näin hallitseva asema, ja haluaisin ehdottomasti nähdä enemmän bloggaajia muualta Suomesta. Mutta ehkäpä (toivottavasti) tämäkin korjaantuu ajan myötä: kaupunkilaissinkut ovat nopeimpia kokeilemaan uusia asioita; muut tulevat sitten perässä kun ovat nähneet niiden arvon.

Päivitys2: Jos kuukkelit olisi tänä vuonna jaettu pelkästään yleisöäänien mukaan, kaikki palkinnot paitsi yksi olisivat menneet Helsinkiin, ja mitvit olisi voittanut niistä neljä.

Thursday, 28-Apr-05 13:56
Over

It's over for another year. Now it's time for the inevitable discussion on the awards, the gala, the judges and their mental capacity. I have to say that one of the more memorable moments of the evening was the round-table discussion on how many death threats each of the bloggers have received, and how many of them were anonymous... There are downsides to saying things in public: no matter how you say it, someone is going to dislike it.

Anyway, I would like to thank many people for making the evening a success:

  • Outi for being our official IRC transcriber, and putting up with the morons. Next year, we'll certainly do the IRC show on another channel.
  • KatjaW for being our gracious and voluptuous door hostess.
  • Kari for pressing the button
  • Hakkis for being the DJ (I have a feeling there's a blog post coming about a certain particular event relating to this...)
  • Mindy and Jaakko for making the whole evening work
  • Earl Grey and Misu for making the completely amazing and cute award statues. You rock!
  • Mike for the review that was complete even before the gala was finished
  • Kolibri for taking part in the jury sessions from 7500 km and ten time zones away.
  • Charlie Schick of Nokia Lifeblog (who has pictures, BTW, on his blog) for sponsoring the gala event
  • Ramin Miraftabi for the voting system
  • Janne Jääskeläinen for the incredible logo

And finally, all the winners for writing such darned good blogs.

Tuesday, 26-Apr-05 12:41
Hack away

Maybe the story of this 1337 hacker is old, but I hadn't seen it before. It's a good laugh.

(From Tero, via email.)

Monday, 25-Apr-05 10:43
An actual discussion this morning
"Ostit sitten minigrip-pusseja postimyynnistä."

"Joo, 30 euroa."

"...melko kallista."

"Nii... elämä on."

Or the same in English:

"So, you bought some small plastic bags from the internet."

"Yeah, 30 euros."

"...pretty expensive."

"Well... life is."

Sometimes I think my life resembles a giant sitcom.

Friday, 22-Apr-05 17:48
Thirty-five

Today.

Yay.

Thursday, 21-Apr-05 16:14
A small digression into Finnish metablogging

Outin keskustelupalstalla alkoi sinällään ihan mielenkiintoinen keskustelu, johon tuli kirjoitettua pitkähkö vastine. Heivaan sen nyt samantien tänne, sillä röyhkeällä oletuksella, että meillä on eri lukijoita :-).

Kristiina kirjoittaa:

Ja kymmeneen laskettuani: on naurettavaa yrittää esittää (mm. kuukkelikategorioiden ja -palkintojen kautta), että bloggaaminen olisi ja sen pitäisi olla keskeisimmältä olemukseltaan jotain muuta kuin päiväkirjaa, _kun kerran itsekin myönnät_, että sitä se valtaosin on. Toki blogata voi muutenkin, mutta kaikki se on kuitenkin marginaalista."

Tämä on totta, mutta ei kuitenkaan koko totuus. Kun otetaan huomioon blogien *lukijamäärät*, niin huomataan, että lukijoita löytyy suhteessa enemmän ei-päiväkirjoille kuin päiväkirjoille. Ja tämä tekee niistä merkittäviä.

Esimerkiksi Pinserin top-listaa vilkaistessa top-10:stä puolet ei ole suoranaisia päiväkirjoja. Päiväkirjojen osuus lisääntyy voimakkaasti listalla alaspäin mentäessä. Tosin top-lista vääristää päiväkirjojen suuntaan, mutta minkäs teet. Tämä on tietenkin varsin maa- ja kulttuurikohtaista: englanninkielisen maailman luetuimmat blogit eivät todellakaan ole päiväkirjoja; kun taas esimerkiksi Iranin top-10:stä kuusi on kirjoittajan seksielämästä kertovia (Ref: Blogtalk).

Kukaan ei ole sanomassa, että päiväkirjatyylillä ei ole arvoa ja että se ei kiinnosta ketään. Blogit *ovat kuitenkin jo myös* kansalaisvaikuttamisen väline (Ref: Rathergate ja Kryptonite-sotku). Tämän kieltäminen olisi myös silmien sulkemista todellisuudelta ja seinien rakentamista. Jos blogiasi seuraa tarpeeksi moni ihminen, olet automaattisesti mielipidevaikuttaja, halusit eli et. Ja massalla on voimaa, kuten monesti on todettu.

Merkittävistä, seuratuista ja hyvistä (noin keskiarvokriteereillä) blogeista suurin osa ei ole puhtaita päiväkirjoja, mutta se ei tarkoita sitä, etteikö olisi olemassa hyviä päiväkirjoja. (Ref: Shirky's Power Law.)

Jokainen lukee sitä, mistä pitää, ja jokaiselle se oma blogilista on se paras. Mutta kun kyse on massoista, osoittautuu, että samaa päiväkirjaa loppujen lopuksi haluaa kovin harva lukea - vaikka se olisi oikeasti aivan älyttömän hyvä päiväkirja! Ihmisillä kun on taipumus saada ne valaistuksen siemenet ihan erilaisista asioista...

Minä en halua kehittää mitään yhtenäistä blogikulttuuria. Minä haluan vain nähdä hyviä, mielenkiintoisia blogeja, joita itse haluaisin lukea. En todellakaan halua muuttaa kenenkään tapaa kirjoittaa, mutta haluan nähdä uusia kirjoittajia ja löytää uutta vanhoista. Haluan ymmärtää maailmaa ja toisia ihmisiä paremmin. Haluan välittää asioista ja etsiä ihmisiä, joiden joukkoon tunnen kuuluvani. Haluan palkita ja rohkaista niitä, joiden koen antaneen minulle tai muille jotain erityistä.

Onko se nyt sitten jotenkin niin kovin kauheaa?

(Kopioin vielä tuosta alhaalta mielestäni tärkeän asian: Tämä on vain tekstiä. Blogit ovat vain yksinkertainen tapa saada kaikki mukaan samalle lähtöviivalle, teknisestä tai taiteellisesta kyvystä riippumatta.)

Päivitys: muistihäiriö, vain kuusi kymmenestä iranilaisesta blogista on seksiblogeja. Lisäsin myös linkkejä.

Wednesday, 20-Apr-05 22:20
One week to go...

Don't forget: Finnish blog awards gala is one week from now: 27.4. at 19:00 in Bar Dubrovnik, Eerikinkatu 11, Helsinki. Watch Kuukkeliblog for more information...

(Virallisen irkkaajan paikka on vielä auki. Vapaaehtoiset ilmoittautukaa...)

Tuesday, 19-Apr-05 09:43
Finnish chainsaw politics

I have to say that any sort of compassion I felt towards the Metsähallitus folks is rapidly waning after seeing the infantile scare tactics they've been using with Greenpeace. Look at these videos and pictures (in English)! Revving chainsaws in the middle of the night, keeping people awake with sirens, hanging nooses from the trees, burning crosses... Sheesh!

The issue is complicated, as always, but Metsähallitus is really trying to make it simple: you can either scorn or hate them for being such jerks and allowing such idiotic things to happen - in their name, by their employees, nonetheless. One would imagine that grown people would have enough sense to sit down and negotiate, but this? It also casts a bad light on the Center Party, currently holding the seat of the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry.

Things like these tend to develop into a public relations fight. Greenpeace has been talking to buyers of Finnish paper, and quite a few authors and paper companies have already started to question the ethics of logging.

Metsähallitus is definitely not doing a good job on the PR front.

(Disclaimer: I support Greenpeace financially, though I am not a member. I also own some forest, so I support forestry. I don't think these are irreconcilably at odds, though...)

Update. I'm not too sure if Greenpeace's tactic of dumping logging waste on the stairs of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is any more mature, though it is a time-honoured Finnish tradition.

Update2: There's now an English-language blog covering the opposite side of the debate. Unfortunately it mostly consists of anecdotes: "Most locals say that...", "...use of international pressure, blackmailing and even lies by Greenpeace to harass the local people..." It's not very good journalism, but it's a start.

Saturday, 16-Apr-05 14:53
Snap judgements

I've found a good use for my iPod - I listen to podcasts on the way to work. Yesterday, I found this gem: The keynote of SXSW conference by Malcolm Gladwell. (MP3 download and stream available.)

He talks about snap judgements, and how good we are convincing ourselves that we are making a rational decision, even when we're not. I've always believed that intuition is a skill that can be trained - but I didn't know humans were that dependent on it...

Highly, highly recommended.

Saturday, 16-Apr-05 14:37
Bingobangobongo

You know you've achieved something, when your work ends up in Wikipedia.

(And no, I didn't add it myself... ;-)

Friday, 15-Apr-05 10:24
Published!

My letter to the editor (in Finnish, duh) of Suomen Kuvalehti was published!

(Oh yeah, and the new widget in the right sidebar? I'll write about it soon, I promise. It's a new NFC hack...)

Pam's dad asked me to link to this, so here goes: Support Pam. I hope this turns out well for all parties.

Today's recommended Finnish Blog: Uusista blogeista Hiljaista huutelua on vakuuttanut minut asiallisilla kirjoituksillaan vähän puhutusta aiheesta jos toisestakin. Pidän paljon.

Friday, 15-Apr-05 09:30
When you least expect it...

And I thought I was kidding when I made this, but Kolibri found a way to use it for real.

Of course, it didn't work. Didn't work for me either.

(How about adding an electric motor inside it?)

Thursday, 14-Apr-05 14:05
Finnish mobile operator offering free blogs to all subscriber

Saunalahti is offering a free weblog to all its GSM subscribers. You can update your weblog using MMS messages, Nokia Lifeblog or internet.

~SaunaBlog. I like that name.

However, they seem to have lifted the entire description of what a blog is directly from Wikipedia without attribution, which, as far as I can tell, is a GNU FDL violation. Wikipedia.fi has more.

Also, looking at a sample blog, it seems that they are claiming copyright on anything that anyone writes on their own blog, and apparently they're not making you even agree on a license before you use the service. This is simply wrong - you simply cannot assert copyright on something that you don't own. If you write a blog, you own its content - regardless of who hosts it.

Saunalahti seems to be pretty lax about copyright issues. This will bite them in the ankle, I'm sure.

Thursday, 14-Apr-05 13:37
Look ma, I'm blind

So, this one country invades this other country saying that now its inhabitants can be free and the women are no longer oppressed, killing many people in the process of distributing freedom. However, at the same time they pretend that their own women have no nipples and punish those women who dare to have them. Even with clothes on.

They are more alike than they want to admit.

(Via Dan Gillmor.)

Sunday, 10-Apr-05 23:04
Lessons of Life

Learned an important lesson yesterday, after a movie evening with friends:

You can't strut, if you need to really, really, really pee.

Saturday, 09-Apr-05 00:08
Commercial blogs entering Finland

My my, what an interesting week this has been: First, Blogilista goes commercial, and now Pirkka-magazine has launched a number of commercial blogs. The Finnish blogosphere reacts with violent distrust and confusion.

I see no problem. These are clearly blogs, simply because the only meaningful definition for the world blog is based on form, not content. They're not lying about their affiliation. They publish polished content. In fact, I find it wonderful that a media publisher dares to go and try and embrace the new media. They even publish Atom feeds for all blogs! Way!

However, entering the blogosphere may be more difficult than just dumping Movabletype on your magazine web site: people will look at these blogs. They will discuss. They will find crap on them (if there's any). They will write about it. And it's difficult to ignore them, if you want to keep your credibility. Other bloggers will call your bullshit - and very likely, someone in that bunch is at least equal in writing skills and more knowledgeable on the subject than you. And they know it.

Now the question is how much integrity Pirkka wants to have: do they just want to publish news articles in a blog format - or do they really want to go full out and really try to embrace the dialogue that comes with the format?

You see, whatever else blogs may be, they work best as a personal media. You need to let people write with their own voice, not just copying material from others - even if you have all the rights to do so. It's the power and bane of the format; a personal touch creates reader loyalty, but it also means that you have to get involved in your writing - "laittaa itsensä likoon", as the Finns say. And that is not easy.

Welcome to the crowd! I'm happy you're here, anyway. People will grumble, but there's always room for one more in the jacuzzi.

(A quick hint to Pirkka writers: Read http://www.corporateblogging.info/, and Scoble's Corporate Blogging Manifesto. Understand. Internalize. And stop posting articles from one person under the name of another... That simply takes away credibility from the author.)

(And a quick other hint to people who complain about these being on blogilista.fi: get a clue. Really. Would you stop using a phone book simply because it contains company phone numbers, or stop using Google because it's *gasp* a profit-making company? That's exactly what Blogilista.fi is - an index of blogs, nothing more. It ain't your personal blogospheric community where people live happily and go to the woods to get undressed and hug each other in a blogoslavic überbliss. If you don't like the direction they're taking, learn to use RSS and site feeds, and make your own personal bloglist.

Blogging in Finland is finally growing up. The hype around blogging will cease in a year or two, and hopefully we then can better understand what the media is and what one can do with it. And then we can get back to the really important thing: writing. Writing about your dog, or your political views, or celebrity divorces, or company products, or food, or your sex life, or whatever pleases you. Some bloggers will gain prestige; some bloggers will become influential; some bloggers will make many people laugh; some bloggers will make many people weep. Some will be completely ignored. Most will just form their own community of their twenty close friends or family or whoever, and just happily live in their own microcosmos.

It's just text. In the end, it's all in the way you arrange the letters of the alphabet - blogs, through their simplicity, are just a way of letting everyone play in the game.)

Thursday, 07-Apr-05 10:22
Finnish blog list bought

Well, well, well... The Finnish blog world just got a tad more interesting: A Finnish VC company just bought blogilista.fi, the master list of Finnish blogs (which also functions as a simple web-based aggregator as well). Congrats to all involved! I hope this means that their RSS parser would finally start working properly, instead of just doing really dumb byte comparisons. ;-)

However, what I find to be far more interesting is that Typepad (from Six Apart, the worlds largest blogging company) is reaching its tendrils into Finland now: first with Typepad Finland and now with partnership to blogilista.fi. Through the latter they get much needed publicity and visibility in Finland - after all, most Finnish bloggers seem to use Blogger these days. Typepad will have to compete against Vuodatus.net, though. Having tried both, I have to say that I prefer Vuodatus for their ease of use while still doing everything that's necessary.

I do find it interesting though that Typepad would partner with an aggregation service...

Monday, 04-Apr-05 12:57
Don't ask, don't tell

Excuse me?

North Carolina cities and other government agencies are pursuing the authority to sue citizens who ask to see public records.

(Via Vera, over IRC.)

Monday, 04-Apr-05 01:57
Lisää Karpelan sensuurista

Enter-lehden 3/2005 pääkirjoituksessa päätoimittaja Tuomas Kilpi suomii ankarasti ministeri Karpelan sensuurihanketta (linkittäisin suoraan pääkirjoitukseen, mutta sitä ei löydy verkosta. Mikä on jotakuinkin tyhmää - tokko kukaan lehteä ostaa lukeakseen pääkirjoituksen, mutta verkossa pääkirjoituksille löytyisi luultavasti enemmän vastakaikua.)

Karpela perustelee pyrkimystään sillä, että netissä esiintyy laitonta sisältöä. Väite on sinänsä tosi, mutta oikeusvaltiossa asia kuuluu poliisille, syyttäjälle ja tuomioistuimille. Nyt ministeri tahtoo luovuttaa sananvapauden avaimet kiihkokristittyjen ja äärikonservatiivisten amerikkalaisten tarpeita palvelevien yksityisyritysten haltuun.

Juuri näin. Kun yritin ottaa selvää, millä perusteella blogiani sensuroidaan, vastauksena oli "se on ehkä tekninen vika". Todellinen vastaus on, ettei kukaan todella tiennyt, eikä ketään oikeasti kiinnostanut. Ja se on pelottavaa.

Lähetin tämän kirjeen Suomen Kuvalehden lukijapalstalle. Ehkä sillä on jotain vaikutusta. Luultavasti ei, mutta köyhän pitää yrittää.

Kulttuuriministeri Karpela on ilmoittanut haluavansa esto-ohjelmistot koulujen ja kirjastojen käyttöön. Tämä ei ole oikein.

Yritin äskettäin ottaa selvää, miksi eräästä helsinkiläisestä nettikahvilasta estettiin pääsy verkkosivuilleni. Suodatinohjelma ilmoitti sivuilla olevan "kyseenalaista materiaalia", mutta kukaan ei suostunut kertomaan kuka, missä ja miksi oli tehnyt päätöksen verkkosivujeni sensuroinnista.

Oli suodattimen toiminnan takana hieno algoritmi tai nörtti, joka lisää hikisin käsin pornosivustoja estolistaan, jonkun on päätettävä, mikä on moraalisesti oikein ja mikä väärin. Kaupalliset yritykset tottelevat kaupallisia realiteetteja. Mikäli jollain kolmannella osapuolella - vaikkapa aggressiivisella uskonlahkolla - on tarpeeksi ns. pätäkkää tai lakimiesarmeija, ohjelmistovalmistaja voi taipua lisäämään yllättäviäkin sivustoja salaisille estolistoilleen.

Kuka sanoo, mikä on sopivaa?

Kuka valvoo niitä, jotka sanovat, mikä on sopivaa?

Eduskunta on säätänyt rikoslain, jossa rikosten lista ja rangaistukset ovat kaikkien kansalaisten nähtävillä. Karpelan tulevaisuudessa minä en voi tietää, mitä olen tehnyt väärin.

Janne Jalkanen
www.ecyrd.com
Helsinki

(Ensin sensuroidaan raaka porno, sitten pehmeä porno, sitten laittomasti levitetyt elokuvat, sitten MP3:t, sitten väärät uskonnot, sitten eriävät mielipiteet, sitten Linux... Kaikelle löytyy aina hyvä perustelu.)

Päivitys: Myös Tietokone-lehden 3/2005 pääkirjoitus käsittelee samaa asiaa. Hämmentävää, miten hitaasti asiat tuntuvat tapahtuvan printtimaailmassa. Tiedän, että se on vain harha, mutta silti...

Friday, 01-Apr-05 18:36
NFC Presence

I don't blog about what I really work on, for obvious reasons, but I just got two very nice 3220 phones with the Nokia NFC Shell, wrote a small web app, and got clearance from my boss to blog about it, as this stuff is gonna be in the shops, well, if not today, but very soon. NFC is geek for "Near Field Communication", which in turn is geek for "doing really close range communication between two really simple radios." If you're using any sort of a contactless travel pass, credit card, or access key, you're using NFC.

This particular app was pretty trivial to do (and required about five lines of code on the server side): I took two NFC tags (essentially very small memory cards with a radio that can be read/written from up to a few centimetres), wrote the URL of my web service on both of them (using the ~ServiceDiscovery app included), and wrote a little JSP page that handles the interfacing with my blog.

Then I stuck one tag on my work monitor, and another one at home. Now I can just touch one of these tags with my phone, and a few seconds later (some delays are involved with starting the Java midlet and connecting to GPRS) the little box on the right changes to show my location. Voila: NFC-powered presence.

This is in essence no different from doing a Trackback ping; I'm just doing it by touching something with my phone. Not traversing menus, not using the keyboard, not even glancing the screen.

Just touching. It couldn't be simpler.

Took me more time to take the pictures and blog about it than to actually write the app...

(Disclaimer: I work for the company, and I've been somewhat involved in giving birth to these babies. But I wouldn't write about it if it didn't give me the warm fuzzies.)

Thursday, 31-Mar-05 22:53
Dan misses, Aditya saves!

Aditya Dev Sood will be speaking at an Aula klubi event in Helsinki entitled 'Used in India' on April 12th, 2005 at 6.00 pm at Korjaamo. Aditya is director of the Center for Knowledge Societies, a research and design practice based in Bangalore and New Delhi. The event is free and open to the public.

Aditya replaces the original appearance by Dan Gillmor. He may not be as famous, but he certainly knows a lot about mobile technology, culture, and people in an environment you have not probably previously experienced. Plus that he's a really cool guy.

(Via Marko. Read his entry for a more thorough explanation.)

Thursday, 31-Mar-05 14:12
Use your Mac as a game controller

New Powerbooks have an acceleration sensor to park the hard drive in case you drop the laptop. Amit Singh has figured out a way to use this as an interface device. Check out the cool videos of him playing games with it!

I would love to be able to switch a song in iTunes just by tapping my laptop...

Thursday, 31-Mar-05 13:50
Finnish bloggers awarded

From Yle 24:

Prestigious state awards for disseminating information went this year to eight persons or groups. Among the recipients was an diving instructors' Internet site. After the tsunami hit in December, they published badly-needed information about Finns caught up in the disaster.

The award went to sukellus.fi, with Alex Nieminen, Petri Ahoniemi, Janne Miikkulainen, Matti Anttila, Sami Köykkä, Mimmu Pekkanen, and Kalle Valkama for "fast and professional internet information dissemination during a crisis".

(A timeline of the events in English can be found here.)

Congrats to all! Good work, and rightfully awarded!

Tuesday, 29-Mar-05 09:50
Well, if you don't like my beliefs, I can sue you

Florida is set out to squash "leftist totalitarianism" by introducing a bill that allows students to sue professors in universities for "not respecting the beliefs of the students".

To quote:

According to a legislative staff analysis of the bill, the law would give students who think their beliefs are not being respected legal standing to sue professors and universities.

Students who believe their professor is singling them out for “public ridicule” – for instance, when professors use the Socratic method to force students to explain their theories in class – would also be given the right to sue.

"Some professors say, 'Evolution is a fact. I don’t want to hear about Intelligent Design (a creationist theory), and if you don’t like it, there's the door,'" Baxley said, citing one example when he thought a student should sue.

Rep. Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach, warned of lawsuits from students enrolled in Holocaust history courses who believe the Holocaust never happened.

Similar suits could be filed by students who don’t believe astronauts landed on the moon, who believe teaching birth control is a sin or even by Shands medical students who refuse to perform blood transfusions and believe prayer is the only way to heal the body, Gelber added.

Hooray. We know all what happened in Russia when ideology became more important than facts... And what will happen when lawyers start running the universities? Not that they do already, but at the moment they've not been messing with curriculums.

Here's a direct link to the bill text. The bill is quite interesting, as it really does not sound very bad. In fact, principles and ideas embodied in it do sound very grand and liberal! However, what it really says is that students have a right to hear what they want, and should someone infringe on that, they could be sued. Since the bill does not define what is "controversial material", or "serious scholarly viewpoints", it becomes very difficult to determine what has to be included in the curriculum and what not - simply because seriousness and controversy are based on personal opinions.

Monday, 28-Mar-05 22:13
Finnish blog awards nominees published

Blogger is throwing a tantrum, so I'll have to announce this here: The nominees for the Finnish weblog awards for 2004 are up. Congrats to everyone, the jury will now commence work. The date and location for the gala will be announced once I have recovered from my two weeks of incessant traveling...

(224 voters, 2301 votes cast.)

Friday, 25-Mar-05 23:47
foreach $i in $swearwords; do echo $i; done

I wrote a lengthy entry about India and how some things are more uncomfortable than others, but this stinking camel turd of a computer that I wouldn't give to a donkey to masturbate on, decided to fall asleep on its own, crash, and take my entire composition to bit heaven. Yeah, it's running Windows. No, I don't maintain it myself. Yes, it's corporate stuff. No, I didn't bring my Mac.

*sigh*

What I was about to say, was that the strangest things about India are not the beggars, nor the poverty, nor the cows standing in the middle of expressways, nor the camel turds, nor rickshaw-racing (which is cool but scary), nor the touts, nor the constant bargaining, but the simple questions like "When you would like to have tea in the bed tomorrow?"

I am not used to being served. I find it really strange, if someone else carries my bag; I find it difficult not to help clean the table after a meal, and I find it almost offensive when someone exists for the purpose of pushing the elevator button for me. (Then again, living in Finland, I'm used to waiters being smug, if not downright insulting.)

We managed to spend a night at a British villa outside Delhi (Flash & giggling Finns warning). You know the drill: come in, someone brings you soda and lime, you kick off your shoes, go for a swim, a stroll in the countryside, someone brings you five o'clock tea, you chat nonchalantly over deep issues over a gin&tonic, then the supper is served, you retire and someone asks you the question: "Would you like to have tea in the bed in the morning, sir?"

You know. Everyday stuff.

The really, really scary thing is that how easy it is to get used to this colonial era high-class/low-class attitude. I feel... Ashamed? Guilty? Dirty? It's as if I was enjoying a forbidden fruit; that I was not allowed to be in this superior position. People were giving me attention that was completely unwarranted, not on the account of who I was, but what I was perceived to be representing.

But it felt damned good. Very, very easy to slip into. Probably very, very hard to get out of.

Like a mousetrap.

Holi festival tomorrow. Will be interesting.

Monday, 21-Mar-05 22:46
Want an air-powered bicycle?

Matt mentioned this to me, and I thought he was kidding, but yes, iFabricate does exist.

Heh.

I see at least one lawsuit coming up, with people who injured themselves with the instructions. But still, this has potential to become a good resource. As long as it sticks to even remotely useful stuff...

Peer-based creation cool.

Sunday, 20-Mar-05 20:58
Delhi

Returned home, spent the evening putting together a sofa and a small shelf, and woke up at 5.30 am to catch the early flight to Delhi, India to attend the Doors 8 conference.

Egh.

India is... overwhelming. And I haven't been to anywhere yet. From the touts at the airport who say anything ("no sir, only one person is allowed in a taxi!") to the rickshaws to the girl that tried to run under a taxi to the empt vastness that is New Delhi to the overkill service at the hotel... Well, ever heard of a Finn say "service was too good"? Now you have. It just passes my comfortness level - the amount attention feels like someone knocked you out with a soft pillow and did a manicure to you while you were still dazed.

Obviously, I'm just seeing one part of Delhi, the one that's from the time of the British colonialism. The rest is out there, just beyond the horizon. I'll get there, eventually.

The conference is pretty interesting. The people here seem to be a relaxed, interesting mix of individuals with life experiences from almost all corners of life. For example: I talked to someone who actually used to be in the "selling women's used knickers to men" -business. (A rather profitable, yet dull industry. No growth opportunities.) I also see now why India is a good place for holding a conference such as this: the problems that people of a country this size and wealth face are quite different from the Western lifestyle, but yet there is infrastructure and stability and will to make things better. There's a whole range of problems, ranging from education of basic hygiene to revving up an entire IT industry - and they're trying to do it all at the same time.

(Heard an interesting statistic: local women don't live to be much older than men on the average. That's because they are allowed to starve. Even when breastfeeding.

Ya. Sense kicked into me. Probably good.)

Saturday, 19-Mar-05 01:05
Kuukkelikisaa...

Niin, siis jos joku ei vielä jo huomannut, Kultainen Kuukkeli -kisa on jälleen täällä. Kultaiset kuukkelit jaetaan joka vuosi monelle suomalaisille ansioituneille bloggaajille ja/tai blogeille. Kuten viimekin vuonna, suuri yleisö äänestää viisi ehdokasta jokaiseen kategoriaan, joista raati sitten valitsee kermat päältä. Äänestysaikaa on vielä reilu viikko, joten kilvan ehdottamaan omia ehdokkaita!

Kuukkeleilla on tänä vuonna myös ihan oikea kuukkeliblogi, jota voi seurata blogilista.fi:n kautta tai vaikkapa suoraan viimeistä teknologiaa käyttäen bloglines.com:in kautta.

(In English: The Finnish blog awards are on again.)

Wednesday, 16-Mar-05 14:41
Up and "running"

New York is one of the few places of the world, where you can glance out of your 17th floor window, and see, well, pretty much nothing. People say Tokyo is crowded, but due to earthquakes they don't build the high-rise towers as close to each other as over here, and therefore it feels more spacious. "Urban canyon", indeed.

Had a massive cramp during the night in my right thigh (made me wake up and scream) and now I hobble around like I had a wooden leg. It tends to happen when I get dehydrated or cold (or both), and is one of the reasons I don't dare to dive, even if I really wanted to: using flippers for more than a minute is a sure way to get the cramp going.

Wednesday, 16-Mar-05 05:58
New York, New York

Jetlag, jetlag.

Taxis, taxis.

Free Wifi, free Wifi.

Here until Thursday, then back, and then to India, where, to quote Matt, "I hopefully get some sense kicked back into me".

Monday, 14-Mar-05 20:31
Forensic analysis

Well, most of the stuff is up and running (apart from all mailing lists). The Finnish blog awards are now back up and running, and even my normal email works now!

Here's a quick rundown on what happened:

  • On Saturday, at about 23:25 person A using a machine from Brazil executed a series of commands using an awstats vulnerability (yes, we had it patched to the latest stable; no, apparently it was not enough).
  • He was quiet for about 20 minutes, but at about 23:35 two other attackers B and C (or the same) from Italy and UK almost simultaneously launched a similar attack on the server.
  • Person B was able to run "adduser" at 23:45 and add himself an account, logging in and promply downloading a rootkit which allowed him to have root privileges
  • Person B then attempted to deface the site, but failed (thanks to the pretty hairy configuration we have over here)
  • Person A returned at this point, and tried to execute a new attack, suggesting that he was not able to gain access before
  • Person B ran "rm -rf /" on the server, starting to delete everything at about 23:55, presumably to cover his traces. Our logs end at 0:06, when the final daemons failed.
  • I received first warning at 0:15. Luckily memory-resident processes kept running for some time, so I was able to inspect the situation and the machine was physically disconnected at about 1 am.

Sunday was mostly used to reinstall a completely new system and do a forensics analysis on the deleted partitions. Sleuthkit turned to be invaluable in reconstructing the deleted local log files (so yes, we have the exact times, methods, and IP addresses). Yes, it works on ext3 as well.

I have backed up most of the necessary stuff daily, so there is little that was lost permanently. Unfortunately I had not stored all the necessary config files, which is why system recovery took longer than expected. Also, due to an oversight none of the mailing lists were backed up, so once we have them established again, ya'll have to resubscribe. Very sorry about that :-/

Sunday, 13-Mar-05 23:40
Nightmare

Last night, right before midnight some smartass broke into my computer and decided to remove all traces of his visit by deleting everything. And I mean everything.

We decided to upgrade the hardware from a 266 MHz PII to a dual-Athlon-1.3 GHz while we were at it, changed the server operating system and are trying to restore the data. Unfortunately, some key config files seem to be missing, so it'll take a while. Apache+Tomcat is a very nasty combination at times.

It's not yet known how the guy got into the system.

If you need to email me, please use my GMail address jalkanen@gmail.com, as I cannot yet rely on my regular email system. Thank you.

(Kuukkelikisa on toistaiseksi jäissä. Tämänvuotiset kategoriat ovat alla, jotta voitte miettiä omia ehdokkaitanne:

  • Paras blogi
  • Paras uusi blogi
  • Paras päiväkirja
  • Paras erikoisalablogi
  • Paras kolumni
  • Paras viilaus
  • Paras vähän tunnettu blogi
  • Paras tagline
  • Paras merkintä
  • Humoristisin blogi)

Thursday, 10-Mar-05 15:49
Global Voices Infrastructure of Democracy

I've written about these guys before, but I haven't made my mind up yet: are these people just self-absorbed do-gooders who speak beautiful words and nod their heads in unison, or are they actually going to make a serious impact. At least they have a bunch of good people there. I just hope governments are listening.

Anyway, there's now a conference going on (with David Weinberger providing blog coverage) in Madrid (titled "Madrid conference on democracy, security and terrorism"), and they are drafting the first "Infrastructures of Democracy" -paper on the Global Voices Wiki.

Thursday, 10-Mar-05 09:26
Dan Gillmor in Finland

For anyone who's been following the late journalism-debate, the Man Himself, i.e. Dan Gillmor is coming to Finland. Please join him in an open session at Korjaamo, Helsinki, Tuesday, 12 April at 18:00. I'll certainly try to be there.

Ja sama suomeksi: Dan Gillmor, toimittaja-bloggaaja, joka on puhunut pitkään kansalaisjournalismin puolesta, on tulossa puhumaan avoimeen keskustelutilaisuuteen Helsingissä, Korjaamolla, tiistaina 12. huhtikuuta kello 18.00. Tervetuloa!

(Via Jyri.)

[Dan Gillmor on peruttu, mutta hänen paikallaan esiintyy Aditya dev Sood. Kannattaa kuunnella myös tätä miestä...]

Wednesday, 09-Mar-05 14:21
EU Software Patent Bribe Pledge Drive
Why are software patents a bad thing? Imagine if you were a musician, composing a symphony. If there were "music patents" in the same way there are software patents, you might get sued for using a trombone to play a solo in the middle of your symphony, because some corporation has patented the method of using trombones in solos. This is, of course, absurd.

Implementations (i.e. a particular arrangement of notes or a piece of software code) are already protected by copyright. Software patents have the same impact on software as the ability to patent using a trombone to play a solo would have on music.

The particular problem with software patents as opposed to patents on machines is that computer software is always an abstract notion, an idea, if you will. While the patent law states that ideas as such are unpatentable, the SW patent law in practice allows this.

After last week's events, where the European Council caused a major blow to the democracy in the EU, and just walked over the European Parliament and its own judicial processes by accepting the Directive for Software patents, some enterprising individuals have set up an European Anti-Software Patent Bribe Pledge Drive. It consists of a group of individuals who are tired at the lobbying of the big corporations, and attempts to collect money to simply bribe the European Council Presidency (held by Luxembourg) to rejecting the Directive Proposal.

I guess the idea is fair - after all, the big companies are pouring money into the lobbying as well - but bribing a politician is not exactly legal, nor is encouraging someone to bribe one. Blatantly stating that one is collecting money to bribe a country is a good example of "attention journalism", but I doubt that it is really going to change anything. The proper use of that money would be to hire lawyers and individuals with a slick tongue and a soft touch to go into the halls of the EU to lobby really hard. Which can be achieved by supporting organizations such as FFII and EFFi.

However, should the directive pass, not all is lost for Open Source. While big corporations will hastily go and patent everything under the Sun to protect themselves, small companies that do not have the money or the skills to patent their innovation will have to turn elsewhere for protection: A patent needs to be, above all, three things: it has to be 1) non-obvious (though the USPTO has pretty much thrown this one away), 2) innovative, 3) and new (i.e. non-published). Publishing your innovation as Open Source essentially makes it impossible for anyone else to patent the same invention - therefore protecting your corporation.

Unfortunately, this does not prevent anyone from suing your company. However, participating in an Open Source project means that other corporations are likely to be using that innovation as well, therefore increasing the number of people who have a vested interest in participating in the battle - on your side.

It has to be understood that most of the SW patents in the USA are defensive in nature, much like nuclear weapons during the Cold War. There would be little incentive to attack an Open Source Project, as OSS in general is very benign and not likely to attack anyone. In fact, the corporations who should fear the impact of SW patents on OSS are the same big corporations that are using or planning to use OSS components: they are regularly subjected to big law suits where no ammunition is spared - including SW patent breaches.

This Directive seems very much like a Microsoft-directive: after all, it is one of the few companies in the world that are not using OSS components anywhere, but building everything in-house or subcontracting. Even Nokia has some Linux-based systems on the market. Should Microsoft (or someone else, much like the ill-fated SCO) attempt to attack Linux on the IPR front, many, many corporations would be unhappy.

Regardless of the potential good effects, the EU Software Patents directive will undermine European competitiveness in the software market, by simply increasing the required spending on IPR. This is detrimental to smaller companies, but naturally it's something that suits the bigger players - which are mostly American - just fine.

(Tämä keskustelu net.nytin keskustelupalstalla antaa ymmärtää, että suomalaiset eurokansanedustajat Seppänen ja Stubb ovat sitä mieltä, että asia ei mene läpi parlamentissa.)

Update: "The European Parliament (EP) and the Danish parliament are investigating whether the EU Council broke procedural rules by adopting the draft directive on software patents in the face of opposition from ministers." Good.

Tuesday, 08-Mar-05 11:23
Finnish police admits mistake

Jani of Marginaali has received a response from the Finnish Deputy National Police Commissioner (i.e. the Chief of Police Force) via Enterblogi. The police admits that a single officer had no right to order a web page to be censored, even if a possible crime had occurred, and that "the law regarding the freedom of speech and mass media is not known well enough among the police."

While it is worrying that the police do not seem to know the law, it's very positive that mistakes are acknowledged and hopefully learned from. A memo has been sent to the Oulu Provincial Police Command, and it's likely that the state provincial office will also need to address the issue due to an official complaint from Jani.

This is not the first case, nor will it be the last. In fact, my guess is that we'll see at least another attack like this against online personal publishing. Granted, there are some blogs which probably deserve it, but as this is arguably a new domain of publishing, the legislation will have to be tested in the blogosphere as well. And as such, I welcome it, as it clears the rules and the playing field. I just hope nobody would need to suffer for it...

Jani has been called in for questioning by the local police on the matter for next Friday. This will be interesting...

(Read the previous part of the story.)

Monday, 07-Mar-05 13:50
Only professionals can speak?

In a series of bizarre events, Apple has sued a bunch of bloggers for releasing information about their upcoming products. The thing is, a journalist is protected by the law, so that they don't have to reveal their sources, but Apple has managed to convince a judge that a blogger is not a journalist, and therefore must reveal their sources.

Dan Gillmor writes about this in depth, being a blogger and a professional journalist. He has some quite excellent points, I recommend that you read it. An interesting piece of information is also this article from CNET that suggests that in the future, blogging and other form of citizenship journalism might be subject to FCE regulation in the U.S., due to the fact that linking to a political campaign might be considered official support, and therefore subject to the same regulations as all monetary support.

I think this discussion will happen also in Finland in the near future. An unregulated internet where anyone can say anything they like is a horror to anyone in power. It's quite likely that also over here there will eventually be attempts to limit freedom of speech online - our very own Minister of Culture, Ms. Karpela, is already trying to circumvent the relevant laws to make sure that "filth" (as defined by your average geek writing a crappy program, owned by a corporation with commercial interests, and supervised by your average alarmist Christian) would be censored from the Internet.

All this talk about censorship and regulation makes my head ache. It won't work - get over it already. Embrace the change: the winners will be found in the crowd that accepts this first.

The alternate is that only professional, accredited writers have a freedom to speak.

Update: The FEC article has been shot down by representatives of FEC. And a good thing, too. I guess it shows that politicians will have to be even more careful about what they say, lest the blogger horde misinterpret them. However, I think in general it's good to have public review of important decisions - blogs have a way of turning legalese into something human-readable. Perhaps it is not always right yet, but it's getting more so.

Update2: Blogger Garrett M. Graff has been admitted into a White House news briefing, says CNN. Just as an interesting data point...

Update3: Kari Haakana has asked the Finnish Journalist Union, and got a response confirming that in Finland the right not to reveal your sources extends to any kind of online publishing, including bloggers.

Thursday, 03-Mar-05 00:54
The Ten Year Meme

Ten years ago I was mostly not studying very hard at the Helsinki University of Technology. On a whim I decided to apply for a scholarship to CERN, and got granted one! So I spent a warm summer in Geneva, learning once and for all that education does not a smart person make, nor do brains make them nice. My mother turned 50, and I spent the party glued to a coin telephone in the empty main hall of CERN.

Five years ago I snuffed my academic career, having gotten tired of the university world, and switched my career plans from PhD to Java Consultant. This job took me later that year to Melbourne, Australia - a place which I still remember fondly as one of the great times of my life. The industry was in a slump, so I didn't have that many paying jobs, and ended up hanging around in the office most of the time. But it still was great.

Three years ago I had returned from Australia, switched jobs again (to my present position), separated from my girlfriend, and bought a new apartment. My career seemed to be going up, and I was really developing at go. But I had heard of this cool stuff called Wikis and weblogs, and I had started publishing with my own wiki engine...

One year ago I was busily arranging the Finnish Blog Awards, bringing me questionable fame, and dating someone who taught me a lot. I've not regretted it since, and I'm still proud to call her a friend. Also I had not released JSPWiki 2.2, despite many promises. My go career also went to a slump I haven't been able to recover from.

This year I have been working hard, as usual. I've lost a friend, but gained a room mate (and about ten cubic metres of stuff).

Yesterday I got commended for my work. It was satisfying to see others liking our work so much, they wanted to present it onwards. In the evening, I fully demonstrated that I don't know Jack Schitt in a pub quiz.

Today I stroke gently the forehead of the cooling body of my grandmother, as she passed away literally five minutes before I got to the hospital.

Tomorrow I will wake up tired, and spend the day in meetings, traveling back and forth, and feeling even more tired.

(From D/k.)

Tuesday, 01-Mar-05 01:02
I speek gud Engleesh -test

English Genius

You scored 93% Beginner, 86% Intermediate, 93% Advanced, and 83% Expert!

You did so extremely well, even I can't find a word to describe your excellence! You have the uncommon intelligence necessary to understand things that most people don't. You have an extensive vocabulary, and you're not afraid to use it properly! Way to go!

The Commonly Confused Words Test.

Not bad, considering I only did four years of English in school... Must be all the sci-fi literature consumed at an early age. Yeah, that's gotta be it. Um. Pancakes, anyone? Gonna have a bunch of shots the first thing tomorrow morning (at least tetanus&polio), then have five meetings in eight-and-a-half hours, including one in which I'm supposed to present something I completely forgot until today. All I now need is a good hangover, and the day would be pretty much perfect.

(Via Jani.)

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++.

Monday, 31-Jan-05 19:42
See, if you can guess what this is?

Yes, it looks just like... Eww... Could it be?
Yes, it's the Hello Kitty Artificial Vagina!

Well, not quite. In fact, it's a Hello Kitty tissue holder. You put a box of Kleenex inside it and pull them through the small opening that looks like, well, err.

This message has been brought to you by WTF Finland.

Saturday, 29-Jan-05 12:36
Blog spam (not the usual kind)

I got a mail advertising a new Finnish movie blog hosted on blogspot.com. I was going to let it pass quietly and ignore it, but apparently the same person has been mailing other bloggers, as they seem to have received the same spam as well. Because spam it is - unsolicited mass advertising, quite illegal in Finland.

Jussi whoever you are: that was really dumb. This is not the right way to gain good publicity. In fact, it's not even a good way to gain any publicity, as I will never link to your blog now because of your spam (and will remember this for a long, long time, too). Stop doing that.

Friday, 28-Jan-05 23:04
The Long Tail

I had the privilege to listen to Chris Anderson's (Editor of Wired and the author of The Long Tail) talk earlier this week, and took two things with me, neither directly related to the Long Tail (which is a highly interesting read in case you have not yet seen it. It describes the tail economy of the few as opposed to the hit economy of the masses.)

On the scarcity of attention: "Everyone's got a blog. I try to reach a different audience with my blog than as the editor of Wired: If I can reach the 20 people in the world who are interested in the same things as me, it's more valuable to me than having millions of readers."

and

On the tyranny of the hits: "TV is not vulgar and prurient and dumb because the people who compose the audience are vulgar and dumb. Television is the way it is simply because people tend to be extremely similar in their vulgar and prurient and dumb interests and wildly different in their refined and aesthetic and noble interests." (David Foster Wallace)
Tuesday, 25-Jan-05 18:18
Is "art" art if it's personal?

A must-read article from The New Atlantis: The Age of Egocasting

But scientific study and cultural criticism have never succeeded in persuading Americans to give up their televisions. “Throughout our history with The Box,” argues Bruce Gronbeck, “we have believed fervently that it brings good, not bad; that even when it’s bad it can be controlled; and that when we cannot control ourselves a technology will arise to help us do it.” ~TiVo is precisely this kind of technology. By helping us control what we watch and when we watch it, we mistakenly believe that we are also exercising a broader self-control over our television viewing habits; by only watching what we want to watch, we reason, we will watch less. But early evidence suggests that this is not the case. ~TiVo users actually end up watching more hours of television every week, including shows they might have skipped without regret if they were not available “on demand.” By emphasizing the efficiency of the technology—rather than what the technology is making more efficient—we avoid having to ask whether we really should be watching so much television in the first place, or reflect upon what television does to our intellect and character.
~TiVo is God’s machine, the iPod plays our own personal symphonies, and each device brings with it its own series of individualized rituals. What we don’t seem to realize is that ritual thoroughly personalized is no longer religion or art. It is fetish. And unlike religion and art, which encourage us to transcend our own experience, fetish urges us to return obsessively to the sounds and images of an arrested stage of development.

This is a dichotomy (n-tomy?) that is tearing me internally: The egomaniac in me wants more and more control of my own free time, it wants to say "nobody can say what I can and can't do". The geek in me just marvels at the coolness of all the things technology can do. The marketing manager in me drools at the possibility of providing and receiving completely personalized content. The industry analyst in me nods and says "this is the way people and corporations will want it to go".

The (too-often-neglected) budoka in me just smiles and reminds me that this is still a real world, no matter how much the egomaniac wants to embed itself in its simple and comfortable "me" -world. It tells me to just be at ease with the world, and take a deep breath. There is choice also in listening to the sounds of the streets. There is also choice in turning the television off. There is choice in not saying instantly "X sucks, because it's not perfect" - something I've seen a lot lately. You don't need to become a broadly but shallowly informed, instant critic of everything. You don't need to force everything to like you - because in a world of complete choice, you will be cast adrift by your own whims.

In a world, where every choice is correct, you cannot - would not - take responsibility for your actions. Even if all the technology in the world would do your bidding, other people would not. But no matter, you could escape into your own, private comfortable world where there would be no harm. Or try and force the other people to do what you want. After all, you would be the center of the universe.

There is value in struggle.

(This thing made me think. It would explain a great many matters I've been pondering lately. Must re-evaluate some things yet again. I have much I could write on this, but perhaps I should just shut up for a while.)

(Via Smart Mobs, which also contains a summary critique of this piece with some references.)

Tuesday, 25-Jan-05 17:22
Why Technorati tags don't

Tagging has become the latest hype word-du-jour, mostly due to services such as del.icio.us, Flickr, and now, Technorati. Clay Shirky and others have written strong statements for this folksonomy phenomenon.

I personally love tags. They are a very cool way of attaching meaning to information - essentially put the semantics in the web in the "Semantic Web" sense, even if the metadata is dissociated from the pages themselves. But as a non-English speaker I see a potentially fatal flaw here: Most Internet users don't speak English as their first language. Even if I speak decent English and use a lot of English services, I still tag things in both English and my native language.

And that means that tags will become "language polluted." Take a look at the Technorati tag for "Macintosh", for example. Many of the blog entries are in Japanese.

If you look at Orkut, many of the parts of it suddenly became "owned" by Brasilians, which essentially drove away English speakers (I haven't checked how they have handled this). USENET coped with this by having separate hierarchies for each country (so sfnet is all Finnish) and "accepted" languages on each newsgroup. But tags don't have any way to determine the language.

The situation is worse than it should be, because entries on RSS feeds and blogs almost never state what their language is. In fact, I would guess that most RSS feeds claim that the language is "en-US" regardless of their actual content. People like me write in two languages on the same blog. Atom has the possibility of setting the language-per-entry, but I sincerely doubt that anyone will bother to set the language, unless they are relatively passionate about the subject.

There are three cases of "language collision" on tags (I'm using English and Finnish as an example only here).

  1. The tag is different in English and in Finnish. For example "fishing" and "kalastus". This should pose no problem, as the folksonomies grow on each of the tags independently.
  2. The tag is the same in English and in language Finnish, but the meaning of the tag is different. In this case, the dominant mass of the users will "hijack" the tag.
  3. The tag is the same in both languages, but the web pages will be in different languages. This is the case with things like trade marks (Apple, Macintosh, Nokia), or when people like to tag Finnish pages with English tags (like me: I use the word "blog" to mark any significant articles about blogs, regardless of the language). This reduces the usefulness of tags for people who do not understand Finnish.

There is also an additional tagging problem with languages such as Finnish: the same word can be conjugated and written in multiple ways, depending on the context. It is somewhat the same as the problem of using different words for the same concept, but it does make the number of potential strings increase three-fourfold.

There are few solutions to this problem: and probably all of them involve some sort of heuristic to determine the language of the tag and the web page. Tagging is still a relatively new technique to be adopted in mass classification of things, but in order for it to become truly successful, one must still remember localization. Otherwise, it will be the dominance of the masses that drive the use - and it ain't gonna be English.

Monday, 24-Jan-05 15:19
Quick apology

If you're reading this site through an RSS reader (or some other aggregation service), you will notice some spurious updates every now and then - with no apparent change. This is because I am experimenting with the RSS feed and Atom feeds of this Wiki, which will cause some occasional ghost updates with feed readers that do not respect the Last-Modified -header (like Bloglines and Pinseri).

Sunday, 23-Jan-05 21:06
Finnish blogging service open

Vuodatus.net now offers a pretty comprehensive blogging service in Finnish. It's roughly as easy as Blogger, but offers some additional things like RSS feed integration (you can have your side bar to include headlines from other blogs), quite comprehensive templating, categories (and searching of blogs based on categories), built-in statistics, built-in help on all pages, and naturally it's all Finnish.

Looks very comprehensive, yet easy for a new blogger. And has enough power to work for a bit more experienced bloggers as well. Very good and all the best to them!

(Very few of the blogs on vuodatus.net seem to be in the Pinseri blog-list. Why?)

Saturday, 22-Jan-05 15:04
Blogs for scientific publishing

Like It or Not, Blogs Have Legs, says an article in the Wired magazine and talks about how blogs can be used in scientific publishing:

In a sense, blogs function like peer-review journals do in the academic world, but there's a key difference. The distribution of articles in academic journals is largely controlled by a publishing cartel that charges exorbitant amounts for subscriptions, which are subsidized by the institutions and universities that can afford them. Think of it as the socialist model for informational exchange. This dampens participation (read: supply of ideas and input) and, I would argue, deleteriously affects the level and quality of discussion.

Heh. And the guy hatest the word "blog" for the same reason as I hate the Finnish word "verkkopäiväkirja" :-)

(Via biomi.org.)

Saturday, 22-Jan-05 01:12
JSPWiki supports now the rel="nofollow" attribute

JSPWiki hates spam too. Starting from the current CVS version (2.1.140) JSPWiki supports the Google initiative for reducing comment and wiki spam. Administrators may set the "jspwiki.translatorReader.useRelNofollow" parameter to force the rel="nofollow" attribute to be added to any external links.

(Other than that, we're - or to be more precise, Andrew Jaquith is - doing a complete rework of the authentication system. This means that it will not be available in 2.2, but will be postponed to 2.4. Personally, I find this a great relief - adding the auth system to the wiki nearly killed my interest to JSPWiki development. Wikis and strong permission control just don't go well together. There has been now a lot of new development in the CVS, as I don't have to worry about the auth system anymore.)

Friday, 21-Jan-05 19:50
Obscure Finnish joke

Siinä tulevaisuus. :D

Friday, 21-Jan-05 17:21
Pinserin top-lista on kuollut, eläköön top-lista

Again, a longish rant about Finnish blogosphere. Nothing for you, my dear English readers to see, move along...

Pinserin top-lista on kuollut, eläköön top-lista

Minun on pitänyt kirjoittaa tästä jo pitkään, ja tilanne ajankohtaistuu koko ajan Pinserin uuden blogilistan tullessa yhä lähemmäs ja lähemmäs julkaisua. Nyt kun Mikko Saari teki viittauksiin perustuvan, uuden top-listan, niin kirjoituksen voinee kaivaa arkiston kätköistä ja julkaista. Tiedän, että bloggaamisesta bloggaaminen ja ilmiön analysointi tympii toisia (saa linkittää, jos on asiaa, en minä kaikkia maailman blogeja ehdi lukea), mutta... en minä näitä ole kenellekään tyrkyttämässä - kunhan vain kirjoitan ja itsepä valitsette, luetteko vai ette. Jos se vuoristoradan pultti heilahti jo kyytiin noustessa, niin ihan oma vika jos silti istuu vielä kyydissä...

Pekka kysyy:

Oliko sukellus.fi poikkeus säännöstä vai löytyykö muitakin perinteisen tiedonvälityksen murtajia?
Täytyykö julkisuuteen päästäkseen tehdä Kutri.netit?
Missä ovat kriittisesti uutistapahtumia tarkastelevat tai valtamedian hyljeksimiä aiheita nostavat kotimaiset blogit?
Missä ovat suomalaiset bloggaajat, jotka hankkivat itse ensikäden tietoa euro- tai kunnallisvaalien aikana (USAn pressanvaalien tapaan) ja loivat uudenlaista julkaisutoimintaa?
Vai ovatko kaikki kotimaiset blogit vain minäminä-maan tuotoksia?

Suomesta alka ...

More...

Friday, 21-Jan-05 14:36
Man builds machine gun out of a power drill

Ten points for ingenuity - zero points for common sense:

Hämeen Sanomat (Finnish, translation mine): "An 80-year old man built a machine gun out of a power drill. As he went to the police to get a license for it, to his great surprise he was charged with a breach of the firearms law. The court decided that he was acting in good faith, so he was found not guilty, but the gun was confiscated, and is likely to end up in a gun museum.

"The weapon uses .22 caliber ammunition and can fire up to 420 rounds/minute."

(Click here to see the gun in action - 4.3 MBytes MPEG-PS. Quicktime does not seem to understand it, but VLC and MPlayer seem to work well. I have no idea who owns the copyright on this (a good reason to embed, say, a CC license to your files), but I'll take it off if someone asks.)

Thursday, 20-Jan-05 15:57
Bloggers vs. Journalism

Mieto Marinadi talks about how a column by Matti Wuori in Iltalehti is asking if blogs could be journalism and whether they will overrun the traditional media. I think the fact that the question is being asked now shows clearly how much Finland is not a front-runner in the information society game. In fact, this question is not even asked yet by journalists, but a lawyer.

You see, ~PressThink says the conversation on this subject is already over.

But in order to overrun media, there has to be first a Finnish blog that has something to say in a way that is interesting and new. I much enjoy the writings of Sedis, for example, and I am expecting much from Haltia (and some other political bloggers), now that the Helsinki City Council is starting its work. The new Finland for Thought (in English) keeps also asking important questions, and Kari Haakana is probably the foremost journalistic blogger in Finland. At the moment, Sami Köykkä of Pinseri and Alex Nieminen of sukellus.fi are arguably the most influential bloggers in Finland[1].

But this is not enough. I don't know whether it's even a good start. Most of the "internet discussion" in Finland is done in the scary, yet boring discussion boards of magazines, such as Iltalehti, Iltasanomat, Vauva-lehti, etc, and it is pretty much failing to impact anything. There is little danger to any sort of professional journalism from these discussion boards, who mostly just consist of rehashing the same arguments all over again. The USENET has been in existence for twenty years, and every time I go there, I see the same discussions but with different people. Or sometimes with the same people. It makes you wonder whether these discussion boards ever contributed something to anything, other than in the sense of community creation.

To me, blogs are different from the discussion boards because they are individualistic. A news group is usually referred to by its name, say "the people in sfnet.keskustelu.ihmissuhteet say that...". Similarly in a bulletin board: "Hey, I found this from Vauva-lehti..." On the discussion board, you lose yourself and become a part of a bigger crowd, all shouting at the same time. But a blog is attached to a real person (except for some weirdos who can't seem to be able to decide whether they exist or not). Therefore, whatever a blog says carries more gravity than a random rambling on a news board. It is essentially your own personal publication, and the comments are only a side story - much like "from the readers" -sections on newspapers. Therefore, bloggers are not a community, any more than newspapers are. Some bloggers form communities, yes, but blogs are far too good a ground for egocentrism for communities to become prevalent.

The reason that I find blogs interesting is that they might be the avenue to a real way for individuals (particularly non-journalists and non-politicians) to influence local and national decision-making; the real "information society" that the Finnish media and technology visionaries have been talking about for quite some time now. (I think we can count discussion boards out of this already.) Blogs can keep talking about forgotten facts that the main media is too busy or disinterested to cover, and blogs can also become "flash crowds", a huge number of unsatisfied people who run after a singular cause. This is a powerful thing, if used right - dangerous, if used wrong.

This is, BTW, one of the reasons I oppose the word "verkkopäiväkirja" (literally "net diary") as the Finnish translation of "blog": Creating a believable weblog about current matters is somewhat more difficult, when people automatically assume it is a personal cat-sniffing, oh-i-am-so-alone -angsty kinda thing due to the use of the word "diary". (So yeah, it's a pet peeve. I'm entitled to four, and this is one of them.)

[#1]: This is mild trolling, yes, for a reason: There are some, lesser known excellent bloggers who do actually have something to say, but due to the way the Pinseri top-list works, I fear they may be ignored. If there are any, let me know. Or vote them for the "best column" -category in the upcoming Finnish blog awards.
Thursday, 20-Jan-05 00:17
Deep night weird-o commenters

Odd. Outi seems to have again attracted some weird-o commenters, who seem to be interested mostly in just mocking her. It makes me wonder why there are no weird-o commenters attracted on this blog, even though this is relatively popular for a Finnish blog (something like 800-1000 page views a day, not including RSS aggregators). Four possible reasons come to mind:

  1. I am male (most weird-o commenters seem to haunt young women)
  2. I am boring (technobabble, not too radical opinions, and little personal life; not much to mock me about)
  3. I publish the internet address of every single commenter, so you can't be anonymous to the general public (go to RecentChanges, then click on the "Main_comments_XXX" entry, then "More Info..." to find this information). Transparency rules.
  4. Writing in English raises the barrier of commenting somewhat

I don't know. Perhaps I should just go more for the social porn aspect of blogging... *grin*

(In order for this blog entry to be not completely void of any actual content, take a look at the Committee to Protect Bloggers, a web site which lists and informs about bloggers that have been jailed or harassed for blogging.)

Tuesday, 18-Jan-05 14:47
Squinted.net opened

A new Finnish service called squinted.net has just been opened for any and all Creative Commons or Public Domain -licensed music and media. Very good, and all the best to them! There's not much content, but they have teamed up with Loca Records, so something might be happening there...

However, in order for something like that to be useful (because whatever you may think of the record companies, they do weed out a lot of crap), some sort of preferences/recommendation system might be needed. For example, personal, public, top-10 lists, which one could subscribe to using RSS or browse on the web... People get a lot of music based on recommendations from a trusted friend (or other source), simply because searching through all the available music is impossible. You could spend all your life browsing through the iTunes music library, and not find your favourite music...

(From a thread from net.nyt which contained a bunch of interesting links, though the discussion is pretty much hashing the same old issues that have been heard many times.)

Update: There's a wonderful article on How Copyright Could Be Killing the Culture in the Globe and the Mail

It's enough of a legal rigmarole to make underfunded filmmakers simply avoid using archival clips altogether or to remove footage that they shot themselves that might include someone singing a popular hit or even Happy Birthday to You (a copyrighted song).

It also means that films like Eyes on the Prize, made in a less restrictive era of copyright rules, can simply fade away if the task of renewing copyrights becomes too difficult or costly.

These are exactly the reasons why things like Creative Commons are so important, and why the copyright terms should be shortened to something sane, say 50 years.

Monday, 17-Jan-05 14:26
Henry Jenkins in Helsinki
Professor Henry Jenkins, the Director of the Comparative Media Studies Program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is visiting Helsinki and has agreed to give a talk on “Serious Play” as part of the Aula klubi series.

Right now, video and computer games are understood by most people purely as a mode of recreation and entertainment. Yet, around the edges, we are starting to see signs that they can be much more than this. Professor Jenkins will offer some snapshots of the “serious game” movement, pointing to key exemplars and what they suggest about the future of gaming.

Professor Jenkins will speak on Wednesday 19 January at 6:00 PM at Korjaamo, Töölönkatu 51 b in Helsinki. The event will be held in English and is free and open to the public, so once again, please spread the word!

(Via Matt and Jyri.)

Monday, 17-Jan-05 14:16
One of them nerd tests

I am nerdier than 98% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

Sigh...

(Via Marginaali.)

Monday, 17-Jan-05 01:09
Mediamaster woes, Part X

So, I come home, and my (non-)wonderful Nokia Mediamaster 260C has decided to reset itself completely, and remove all the channels from its memory. However, all the timers and recordings are intact, thank goodness, though obviously there have been no recordings done over the weekend. As I am now rerunning the setup, I would like to teach you some useful words in Finnish:

  • "perkele" - devil
  • "vittu" - vagina (a highly versatile word which essentially fills the same role in Finnish as "fuck" does in English.)
  • "saatana" - devil (same beast, different word. We're very inventive. We have many more words for the devil, much like for snow.)
  • "paska" - crap

(I have to say that I am taking some masochistic pleasure in watching this thing break in new, innovative ways every time I leave the house...)

Update: Jani of SKM is providing a lesson in advanced swearing in Finnish. It's very useful. Especially since my digibox crashed twice while trying to watch the final episode of Angels in America...

Sunday, 16-Jan-05 15:31
Just a small rumor...

Mikael Storsjö, the guy who got in trouble with the Finnish Security Police for hosting the web site of the Chechen (all in the interest for supporting free speech), says in the latest Image magazine (translation and any errors are mine):

I know my emails are being read. I did an experiment, in which I sent a fake message to the Chechens stating that a particular web-address had new page content, and turned on detailed logging. Within the hour the pages had five visitors, two from Russia and three from Finland.

We of course have only his words about this breach of privacy. It's still somewhat worrying, though nothing that wouldn't be obvious.

However, whether this story is true or not, it does however highlight one fact: there are ways of figuring out whether your email is being read or not. Techniques such as web bugs (or just giving out links like this) can be used to determine when and how someone reads an email and acts on it. This is one way how the modern information technology can be used to improve the transparency of governments and secret organizations. Think if everyone would check all their email for any breaches of privacy like this, and then posted everything on the internet? Could secret organizations function in an environment like that?

(Via iMitvit (Finnish), where the comment section always gives me an out-of-body experience *grin*.)

Saturday, 15-Jan-05 00:05
Global warming underestimated

BBC reports that the greenhouse effect may have been underestimated: the amount of particle pollutants we've been releasing is apparently counteracting the greenhouse gases, and as the emissions of these tiny particles is going down, and the CO2 levels going up - the situation may suddenly tip over.

That means a temperature rise of 10 degrees Celsius by 2100 could be on the cards, giving the UK a climate like that of North Africa, and rendering many parts of the world uninhabitable.

That is unless we act urgently to curb our emissions of greenhouse gases.

Considering that there is no snow in Helsinki and the sea hasn't frozen (and it's the middle of January - highly unusual), it may be that we don't have the time to wait for a statistical analysis. It may well be that by the time everyone agrees that there is enough statistical evidence that humans are doing the global warming, we've already created the biggest catastrophy on this planet since dinosaurs were wiped out.

Considering that most of the world's population lives closer to the equator than the UK, the suffering of the past few weeks is nothing compared to what awaits us, as the fields dry out and large masses of people start dying - or migrating to north.

I've many times been angry beyond words at some of the discussion around global warming in Finland. The biggest question is "how is this going to affect us?" and the answer is "well, it's not gonna be so much snow anymore, but on the other hand, our tree industry will work a lot better, and we'll get better crops as well". What kind of inane dribble is that!?! Haven't people yet learned that global warming is a global thing - and the recent events should show that natural disasters touch everyone! What are the Finns going to do, when we see news images of more and more natural disasters, dead people, destroyed homes and famine in unthinkable degree? Are we going to just put our fingers in our ears and hum real loud, pretend it doesn't affect us?

What are the Americans (the most polluting nation in the world, and who have not ratified the Kyoto treaty) going to do? Bomb China for polluting the world?

It's a matter of fear. US government is afraid they'll lose public and corporate support, if they do the right thing and enforce tighter environment laws, which will make lives more difficult to people. The Chinese government, because they are afraid of a revolution, so it's better to try and keep the people under control. The Finnish people are afraid because the "world is bad, and Finland is not", and if we listen too much we might go bad as well. I am afraid because I might have to give up things I really, really like.

Cowards. Every single one.

We have to change. There is no other way. Some have already started.

Friday, 14-Jan-05 12:14
Bloglines 0wnz

From SiliconBeat:

And by our math, that gives Bloglines, based here in Woodside, nearly two million users.

That would seem to put CEO Mark Fletcher in a pretty enviable position once he finally starts "integrating highly targeted contextual advertising" into the service later this year.

These numbers have a high margin of error, but still... Two million users? In about what, a year?

But the thing is - there is no other way for me to manage my subscriptions, as I use different computers at work and at home. There is no proper way to sync the feed lists between two computers (not to mention a computer and a mobile phone), especially through corporate firewalls. And it's even more difficult to determine which articles you have already seen and which you haven't across multiple devices. A web service is the only way to do this.

Also, installing new software on a computer is always a mental cost: how to get it, how to download, how to maintain the newest version. In a corporate setting, it's usually even a big no-no to go and install non-standard software.

In this light, Bloglines' success is not that surprising. But where is their competition?

(Via Jeremy Z.)

Friday, 14-Jan-05 11:22
A Finnish dumb test for a while...

Kun nyt muutkin, niin sitten minäkin:

"Henkinen ikäsi on 16 vuotta."

Taitaapa olla sama tulos kuin viimeksi kokeillessani... Ei siis mitään parantumista havaittavissa.

(English summary: According to a highly reliable Internet quiz, my mental age is 16. My real age is 34. No improvement there...)

Friday, 14-Jan-05 00:23
MMS woes

ObIzzard: Look what I found rummaging through old dusty piles of CD's!

What I really started to wonder was that I took this picture and immediately sent it as MMS to Outi, as I wanted to share it, and that was the easiest route. A moment later, we got bored of waiting and I did the next easiest thing and I sent it over Bluetooth to my Mac, and dropped the image into my IM window - at full resolution, I might add (MMS typically reduces the image size significantly). We laughed at the image, and then I wrote this blog entry on my frigging mobile phone keypad and emailed it into my blog - and the Multimediamessage has yet to arrive!

If I can blog to everyone in the world on a mobile faster and easier (and remarkably cheaper) than share images with my loved one in the "official way", something has gone badly wrong with the design of the whole thing...

Tuesday, 11-Jan-05 02:14
PNG vs GIF debate

Remember a few years back when Unisys was holding the LZW patent, and we wanted to burn all gifs? And people said PNG does not stand a chance, nobody would ever use it, and it will die away so we should just use GIFs?

Well, Google Images now lists 6.010.000 GIF images and 3.120.000 PNG images. So GIF is still leading 2:1, but PNG has clearly found its audience. So hooray for Open Source! And this with Internet Explorer's crappy PNG support as well...

(JPG seems to be leading heavily in the image land at 10 million hits - but then again, it's Open Source as well :-) Or to be specific: an open standard with an open source reference implementation. And 23% of the people coming to this weblog are using Firefox. And the trend is up.

It's just damned hard to compete with free. Especially if the free is better or equal to the commercial alternative. It all leads to software commoditization...)

Monday, 10-Jan-05 23:52
RSS spreading

So, you can now even read CNN using RSS. This is very nice, but my favourite RSS feed is the scraped feed from the Astronomy Picture of the Day.

(Confused? Don't worry, WhatisRSS explains.

Menikö ohi? Ei se mitään, Jyväskylän kaupunki selittää)

Saturday, 08-Jan-05 14:59
Happy birthday, dad!

This is särä, the traditional food of Lemi, and the oldest traditional food in Finland. It's really simple: just well-salted, extremely tender lamb and potatoes, and nothing else. No vegetables, no spices. It takes about 4-5 days to prepare, and for the last six hours it is kept in a low-temperature oven to become something that almost melts on the tongue.

Eating särä is an ordeal of its own: men always start (an old saying says that "men, come to the table so that the women get to eat"), and eating less than three helpings is considered impolite. Today, about 750g of meat has been reserved for each and everyone... They will keep on carrying food until you say no more.

It's pretty good, actually.

Thursday, 06-Jan-05 22:43
Citizens, beware of communists!

Bill Gates calls free culture advocates as 'modern-day communists'.

So, gosh, darned golly, so if I want to give the things I create to people for free, and I'd like others to be able to do the same, I'm a communist?

Now see what happens when kids stop believing in Santa Claus! They become cynical and jaded...

I mean - of course there's some value in defining intellectual property (what a dreadful word), but the current restrictions are becoming just silly, and the reasons why they should be enforced and extended even more are becoming thinner by the day. Look - everybody knows that copyright term is being extended because some corporations (like Disney) don't want to release their money-making pig (or a mouse) to the public domain just yet. It has nothing to do with protecting some lone artist somewhere, and we're essentially throwing the baby out with the bathwater (like the recent decision of Teosto to rip money from kids because they might be singing copyrighted tunes in the day care). At least the corporations should confess and come out and say that yeah, that's what they'd like - and let the techies and the lawyers and the artists and everybody actually work on a smart solution, instead of just trying to blindly kill everything that comes on their path.

I love Lessig's proposal of making copyright an issue of money: You get a certain flat time for free (like 50 years) and once your copyright nears expiration, you can renew it for a very small sum (like 1 dollar). This would release a lot of stuff in the public domain, while allowing the artists and the corporations to keep on things that are still making money (and to get rid of the things that don't). This is one solution. There are more. It's just a question of finding them.

(I just love the flag. Gotta have the flag. Via Boing Boing.)

Update: Ewan says: "Mr Gates, it's the EFF and the Copyleft Brigade. They're Here." "What do they want?"'"I don't know, but they've got a flag..." ROFLMAO.

Thursday, 06-Jan-05 14:30
Six Apart buys Livejournal - confirmed

The rumours have been flying around for a while, but Joi confirms them now: Six Apart (makers of Movable Type and Typepad) has acquired Danga, the company that runs Livejournal. This means that over 6.5 million bloggers will be under the Six Apart umbrella.

This is pretty big. This essentially creates a tripod structure in the blog world - the Six Apart users, the Blogger users, and the non-affiliated rest (essentially Wordpress, Nucleus, the smaller blog hosts like qlogger, etc). So far MSN Spaces and AOL Journals don't seem to be playing.

Blogging is no longer a small game: There are now more Six Apart users now than there are people in Finland. And frankly, it seems that on the average the bloggers are a smarter bunch than the general population over here. *grin*

So, if a population of five million people brought you Linux and Nokia and Esa-Pekka Salonen (and plenty of others), what could do the Six Apart crowd do?

Tuesday, 04-Jan-05 22:10
Blogien lukijamäärä kasvaa nopeammin kuin kirjoittajien

(Since this story has been everywhere in the blogosphere already in English, I'll just provide the Finnish translation here).

Pew -organisaation tutkimuksessa todettiin, että 27% amerikkalaisista internetin käyttäjistä on joskus lukenut blogeja, kun taas 7% on joskus kokeillut bloggaamista. 5% käyttää RSS:ää, ja 12% on joskus kirjoittanut kommentteja blogeihin.

Vuonna 2004 blogien lukijoiden määrä on kasvanut 58% vuoteen 2003 verrattuna. Dokumentin käppyröiden mukaan olemme vasta S-kurvin alussa.

Lisäksi ABC News valitsi bloggaajat vuoden henkilöiksi ja Dan Gillmor (jonka We the Media on jokaisen bloggauksesta ilmiönä kiinnostuneen pakkolukulistalla) avasi oman, ruohonjuuritason journalismiin keskittyvän bloginsa.

Saas nähdä, mitä tämän vuoden Kultaisten Kuukkelien jaon tiimoilta tulee tapahtumaan... Sanomattakin on selvää, että parhaan blogin palkinnosta tulee olemaan verinen kamppailu.

(Apropos, halukkaat kuukkelintekijät (tarvitaan: graafikko ja HTML:n vääntäjä nyt ainakin, myös arvonta -er- äänestysjärjestelmän toteuttaja saa paikan) saavat alkaa ilmoittautua allekirjoittaneelle... Spekulaatio alkakoon.)

Tuesday, 04-Jan-05 16:13
Confessions of an iPod owner

So, I've been an iPodder for two weeks now. I have never before owned a portable music player - not a Walkman, not a CD player, nothing. The closest thing so far has been my laptop, to which I attach myself using an umbilical^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Haudio cable. And it's been fun. But with the iPod Mini, I can take my music now everywhere!

Or so one would think.

I have noticed some interesting... issues in this while iPod thing. Let me recount a few of them:

  • First of all - this thing is damned inconvenient: The headphone wires get trapped in a multitude of latches and notches and creases and folds I didn't even know that my jacket has. In the end, I am crouching down to avoid the headphones from being ripped off my head while furiously trying to reel the wire out of my jacket. Perhaps I should live in California - portable players are definitely not designed for winter clothing.
  • The volume is too loud or too soft. This is entirely a matter of ambient noise: when I'm walking on the street, the car noise drowns out any music - in the office the music is too loud for my ears. And yeah, I've heard of volume control. The thing just is that if I were to drown the street noises (75+ dB), with noise that's 20 dB more, I would almost certainly get permanent hearing loss. I'm sure Spinsteri can fill you in on the interesting details.
    • (And I do have a pair of noise-canceling headphones. Unfortunately, they're so big that they really make problem 1 and 3 stand out - not to mention problem 4.)
  • People look at me strangely when I'm jamming to a particularly good tune. I seem to be completely unable to listen to music as just "background noise". I'm currently typing this text to the exact rhythm of Schiller's Glück und Erfüllung...
  • Loss of awareness. I've noticed I'm far less aware of my surroundings - and in the urban jungle, this is dangerous, potentially even fatal. For many years, I trained myself to notice everything - and now I'm deliberately muting down my only omnidirectional sense.
  • Overall strangeness of standing in the slushy Helsinki, waiting for a tram, and having the image of Kylie Minogue's butt bouncing before my (mental) eyes as she sings inside my head the song Can't get you out of my head NO! I CAN'T GET YOU OUT OF MY HEAD! GO AWAY!
  • The fact that even with automatic intelligence, song scoring, hand-crafted playlists - the damned thing still does not play exactly the music I want at that instant! Why is it playing Kate Bush if I want to listen to CMX?
  • In my daily schedule, there are very few instances that I am not with my laptop or a TV or a CD player or any other source of music. In fact, the only times are while I'm on the street or shopping - and on those occasions it's too noisy to use it. So the only reason to have it is to listen to music while jogging (or going to the gym, which I have simply not managed to do ever since an unpleasant experience 14 years ago).
  • 4GB is surprisingly plenty to keep all my music - and therefore I come to realize how single-sided and boring my music tastes really are...

I guess all this comes from the jarring realization (spawned by this brilliant Slashdot comment[1]) that I don't need a portable music player - never have, never will. Nobody needs a portable music player. Apple has understood this, and is extraordinarily expertly creating a cult of "want" around a small silvery box. The iPod is well-engineered, I grant you that, but so are many other MP3 players. It integrates really nicely into iTunes, and is very usable.

But an iPod is still a complete and utter vanity item. Apple has managed to do what every single brand maker in the world sees wet dreams about (aside from Kylie Minogue, of course): turning something that nobody needs into something that everybody wants. Few people would turn it down, if given one (and I'm sure at least one of them will want to comment on this blogentry). As the commenter on Slashdot says - everybody else is creating products based on what they think people need - whereas Apple is building products based on what they think that people want. This is completely the opposite of common usability and software thinking, where you observe the user meticulously, and then design a product that he really needs, not what he says he wants.

I've been lured to buy one, and I swallowed the bait with line and sinker, and now I'm flailing about without a clue as to why I did it.

In fact, I swallowed the bait so well, that I'm keeping it, even after this story.

Why?

Because it's just so damned cool.

If you excuse me, I now have to go and dance in the office to the tune of A Little Bit of Love by RuPaul.

[1] Yeah, there actually are pretty bright people on Slashdot sometimes...
Monday, 03-Jan-05 02:58
Six months

It has now been exactly six months. And I still love her, more than ever. I feel the pressure of the everyday life coming in, and life is no longer the rose petals and bird song it used to be - but I still want her, need her, and long for her when she is away.

Six months.

When we started, we said that okay - let this be a summer romance, if nothing else.

The nights turned dark, and we were together.

The leaves turned red and yellow, and I still spent my money on flight tickets.

The trees became barren and lifeless, and she still sat on the train for hours to come to me.

The snow has fallen, and I look in her eyes and still see that same twinkle that seduced me on that night.

Six months is not really that long for a relationship. But it's a good start. A very good start.

Friday, 31-Dec-04 16:55
EOY

It's the magical season known as "End Of Year", during which people like to look back and think what they have done, and what they should be ashamed of.

In a sense, I'm in the same situation I was in when I started this blog exactly two years ago: my nose is running, and JSPWiki is still a mess. But the weather (and neither is the snot) is no longer freezing, and in fact, it is unseasonably warm.

I'm writing this on the train, somewhere between Helsinki and Oulu. I'm again traveling to my love. This has truly been a traveling year: I've been to Japan, USA, Germany, Sweden, Iceland, and Canada - even ventured to the Arctic Circle to see a day which does not know sunlight. Yet I haven't managed to get a single Gold card on any airline - mostly due to bad timing, route choices and bad luck. Oh well.

If I had to pick a singular episode which meant something to me, it has to be the Finnish Blog Awards. Not only did I get to meet a bunch of really wonderful people, some of whom I'm proud to call friends now, it inevitably led me to a particular blogger in Oulu. The event did transform my life, though I had no idea on that particular Saturday morning, as I left a comment on Fabula.

I also realized that I've written a lot, more than ever before:

% wc *blogentry*.txt
   9086  129462  836643 total

129000 words - that is something like two novels in two years. Of course, most of it is crap, but I hope at least something has given someone a bit of amusement or new thoughts. Or resurrected old thoughts, that you believed to be gone forever.

I would've never written all these words, if blogging didn't make writing so easy. If I had tried to write a novel, I would've just written a bit of a beginning, and then forgotten about it (you have no idea how many of these I have). But to write small things in public is far easier than devoting two years to write something massive that you just then slam out and hope it survives.

Writing has been compared to pregnancy and childbirth. If so, then blogging is the Frankenstein method of giving birth: just one limb/organ at a time. It's painless because all the bits are so small, but you end up with a monster that has a few extra limbs where they shouldn't be. But it still lives.

With this thought, I wish to thank all of my readers, other bloggers, and wish you all a Very Good New Year 2005. (And don't injure yourself with fireworks. There has been enough grief already for one EOY.)

Friday, 31-Dec-04 02:28
Debugging conversations

Wrote a lengthy piece, so I dropped it on a separate page:

Debugging conversations

There's one particular method of conversation that can be annoying as hell, if you do not understand it. I call it "debugging", as I seem to most hit it in the technology-savvy crowd. It also seems to be the weapon of choice in many net conversations, especially in the USENET.

The typical debugger views a stated argument as a true/false statement - either it's completely true, or completely false. It is only true if all of the sentences in that statement are verifiably true, and therefore it is okay to attack the weakest link of the sentence, because if that can be proven false - or even uncertain - the entire argument collapses like a flan in a cupboard.

It's just like software: a single flaw in an otherwise perfect algorithm will render it useless - or even dangerous. That is why it is important to find the flaw, and not concentrate on the bits that already work. This is the strange dualism of computer programming - in order to make the whole fun ...

More...

Tuesday, 28-Dec-04 20:23
Shit

Not the previous kind of shit.

I have a dear friend in Chalong Bay in Phuket, working as a diving instructor. So far I haven't heard anything - but I guess that's to be expected, as that area was hit pretty bad.

This... this disaster just transcends all imagination. I have no words.

I just hope she's all right.

Please donate as much as you can to help.

Update: she seems to be fine (thanks, Orava and others). As complete as possible list of the Finnish survivors is on Mininet. It's weird: it's actually illegal to publish this kind of a list in Finland, as it goes against the privacy laws. Thus, neither the Foreign Ministry nor the travel agencies may publish (and they have not published) the names of those who survived without the permission of the people or their relatives, and thus they are overwhelmed by people who call to query for each individual person - many calling in multiple times.

Private persons are forbidden from listing the survivors as well, but in a situation such as this the free flow of information is more important than the privacy issues. It's better to break the law for a good cause and face the consequences (of which I doubt there will be any - the public outcry would be horrific) than to let people linger in despair. A catastrophy this big touches a lot of people, and broadcasting is simply the best way to transmit this information to people.

Update2: The Finnish Data Protection Ombudsman, Reijo Aarnio is saying that he will not contact and try to stop private people who have been publishing the names of the survivors, even if that gets him fired for not doing his duties. Good man.

Sunday, 26-Dec-04 17:53
A picture-perfect Christmas

Picture yesterday evening: It's dark, all the noisy kids have gone to bed. We are lying on the bed, close to each other, and share the iPod. We play disgustingly romantic music, kiss, and just sense the warmth of each other in the quiet house.

Then she suddenly perks up: "Darling! I forgot to tell you! My poo was this long and completely solid!" she says, and shows with her fingers.

How I love that woman...

(As a side note, today I completely understand her happiness: I have the same stomach flu now (except a bit worse), and I have trouble going to the toilet because I don't know which end is going to discharge first - and which way I should sit on the john. Yay. I long for the days of solid poo.)

Saturday, 25-Dec-04 21:54
Global Voices Manifesto

Like Joi, I also feel pretty strongly about the freedom to say what you want. So I contributed a quick-and-rough Finnish translation to the Global Voices Wiki.

(In other news: it feels pretty strange (and one would think that I'm used to darkness) that the sun does not come up at all during the day. Oh well. Luckily I have a beautiful, caring, wonderful and diarrhetic lady here to keep me company. And a bunch of kids. :)

Friday, 24-Dec-04 18:14
Santa!

He's here to the joy of a six year old - and the great lie continues ;)

Friday, 24-Dec-04 09:43
Almost there

Only a few more minutes to go. Kent is playing on the iPod, and I feel strangely sad. I've so far spent every Christmas (bar one) with my parents. But I feel joy too, for we will spend the holidays together.

Thursday, 23-Dec-04 21:20
Early presents

Caved under pressure and got myself some Christmas presents :)

(I know, Apple is supposed to introduce a new iPod pretty soon, but I figured that since this thing already does nearly all I want it to do, I can just get it...)

Now I'm listening to music on express train, at the beginning of my 14-hour trip to Pello, way north of the Arctic Circle. It's odd realize that it's faster to get to Japan or SFO than to Outi's parents... If we ever get kids, we can't rely on gran to do babysitting ;)

But this world is still oddly screwed, as some distances shrink faster than others: city-to-foreign city can be faster than to city-to-countryside. No wonder people are losing touch with nature...

Anyway, happy holidays and whatnot to all my readers. Relax and be groovy.

Wednesday, 22-Dec-04 13:00
Advertisement

Sorry, I'm too busy and tired to blog, but I was asked to advertise the following, so I'll happily oblige:

Helsingin Eläinsuojeluyhdistys (HESY, Helsinki Humane Society) is having their 130-year anniversary (fi, english is here) exhibition in Jugendsali, Pohjoisesplanadi 19. The theme of the exhibition is "Animals and my life", and there is related program every day. The exhibition is open mo-fr 09-17, su 11-17, and is open until 9th of January. The funding of the society comes 97% from the public.

Good cause, with a friend's fine photographs. Go, if you have the time. Help, if you have the means.

Friday, 17-Dec-04 11:01
Shady Temptations

CutBoy nails it with his description to our trip to this particularly special place in Tokyo...

Thursday, 16-Dec-04 22:32
Back home

Thirteen hours of flight with one stopover, and I'm home. Though not home, but in a Christmas party. And there's a SingStar here... *shudder* But I'll be my usual grumpy self and just say I can't sing.

Wednesday, 15-Dec-04 12:15
Overboard with Christmas lighting

Tree optional!

Wednesday, 15-Dec-04 06:27
Still in heaven

Cheese tonkatsu! How... odd, yet incredibly tasty.

Wednesday, 15-Dec-04 02:11
Mmmm...

I had no idea you could orgasm while eating. This eel is simply so good, that it literally melts on your tongue and causes shivers down your spine. The fish is incredibly fresh and rich in taste, and it's even relatively cheap.

It's the Tokyo Fish Market, the largest fish market in the world, and it has to be seen and felt to be believed. Calling it "busy" would be a gross understatement.

Wednesday, 15-Dec-04 00:05
Enough!

Now exactly how much is "enough" Christmas decoration?

Green optional.

Tuesday, 14-Dec-04 15:45
Ooomph

"This, my friend, is called an Ultimate Landslide."

Perhaps I should start asking what something is before ordering.

Tuesday, 14-Dec-04 15:36
Taiko drumming game!

Waa! Why is my PS2 region-coded?! I want this game, seriously! I wanna bang till I keel over from exhaustion. And I wanna invite friends over so we can gang... Nevermind.

Oh, and foie gras sushi is really quite exquisite.

...he said, and ran away from the approaching angry mob.

Tuesday, 14-Dec-04 08:56
One way to manage your email overload...

...is to simply make it someone else's problem. Here's the Out Of Office -message from a colleague:

Thank-you for your recent email.

Your message has been deleted from ~CutBoy's inbox, and all trace of it removed from our server. He has no way of knowing the message even existed.

So, if you still think that he will find the contents of your mail important you are welcome to re-mail at a future date at your convienience.

Sincerely,

Mail assistant to CB

I love it - resending the email when you even don't know when the person is back causes a significant cognitive load to the person sending it. Therefore, only the really important messages will be resent, and thus, the problem of filtering out the good email from the bad is distributed to the senders. Whee, practical applications of distributed computing using human brains :-)

Sunday, 12-Dec-04 14:50
Way!

Tim-Tams! My second favourite Australian candy!

(#1 being the ANZAC bisquits, of course :-)

Saturday, 11-Dec-04 17:04
Off to Tokyo

Moblogging from the plane with 3G!

(Though, they haven't told me to turn off the phone yet ;) Still safely on the ground...)

Friday, 10-Dec-04 23:03
Blog ethics

Check out the Blog ethics questionnaire. A ~PhD student is asking for opinions on a couple of interesting questions, and is asking for feedback from active bloggers. (Via somewhere I already forgot...)

(I'm sure someone who is fluent in the language of philosophy can translate this into Finnish - I couldn't.)

Update: Sedis translated it into Finnish and there's already some discussion there - brilliant!

Friday, 10-Dec-04 14:25
Quickies

Three meetings and a presentation. Eurgh. Just a few quickies again (because I don't have the time to give these the full treatment):

3G is cool. Seriously. It's almost like broadband in your pocket. Using a 6630 in the Elisa 3G network makes my geek heart tremble with warm fuzzies: I can now read blogs anywhere :-). Now if only it was a bit cheaper, I could actually see this transforming the way cell phones are being used.

Look at the new Google Suggest! That is simply *impressive*. Write a start of a word, and Google suggests immediately a search word (with the number of matches) - without you pressing the search button. (Via Myrsky.net.) What do you mean web applications can only have bad interfaces?

A spurious radical thought: Part of the reason many have a work email overload problem is that emails are like prayers, just a lot more reliable. You type in a wish, and you put it in this black box, and out comes (perhaps) a reply. You don't really think that there's a person out there that has to use his precious time to answer to your email - your interface is with Outlook, not with A Person. Both prayers and emails assume that there's a being with an infinite processing capability at the other end.

Outlook (and other email programs) are really good at depersonalizing your communication - they speak of Contacts and Tasks, not of Friends and Fun - which is what IM and blogs are much better at. And, as with religion, most of the time you get spam instead of anything useful. ;-)

Wednesday, 08-Dec-04 00:33
Power law rulez

Not at all unsurprisingly, the Finnish blog world also adheres to Shirky's Power Law. Most blogs have less than ten readers, as measured by the Pinseri aggregator.

The image to the right was made by Peter of Nätkreatur and included here without permission (because he does not have any contact information on his blog; let me know if it's okay to keep it here). I found it from the Pinseri discussion on the new bloglist.

Everyone interested in the recent discussion of "blogging inner circles" and "the undemocratic nature of blogs" should read Shirky's article. The fact that some people get naturally selected as the "top" bloggers comes from the freedom to choose whom to read.

To quote Shirky: Inequality occurs in large and unconstrained social systems for the same reasons stop-and-go traffic occurs on busy roads, not because it is anyone's goal, but because it is a reliable property that emerges from the normal functioning of the system. The relatively egalitarian distribution of readers in the early years had nothing to do with the nature of weblogs or webloggers. There just weren't enough blogs to have really unequal distributions. Now there are.

Wednesday, 08-Dec-04 00:08
Total Music Honesty

This meme from Erik:

The Playlist Meme

  1. Open up the music player on your computer.
  2. Set it to play your entire music collection.
  3. Hit the "shuffle" command.
  4. Tell us the title of the next ten songs that show up (with their musicians), no matter how embarrassing. That's right, no skipping that Carpenters tune that will totally destroy your hip credibility. It's time for total musical honesty. Write it up in your blog or journal and link back to at least a couple of the other sites where you saw this.
  5. If you get the same artist twice, you may skip the second (or third, or etc.) occurances. You don't have to, but since randomness could mean you end up with a list of ten song with five artists, you can if you'd like.

Here's my list:

  • CMX: Ruoste
  • Irwin Goodman: Haistakaa paska koko valtiovalta
  • U2: The Star Spangled Banner
  • Schiller: Glück und Erfüllung
  • Maria Kalaniemi & Algardaz: Huuma (Los Mareados)
  • Edu Kettunen: Polkan transsi
  • Fairground Attraction: Perfect
  • Frankie Valli: Grease
  • Nylon Beat: Love and Hate
  • Leevi and the Leavings: Vasara ja nauloja
Monday, 06-Dec-04 20:01
Linking, linking, linking

I'm too tired to really write about anything. There are too many things I should do and too little time. So I'll just throw a couple of links I wanted to write longer stories about for you to digest.

Urgh. I'm exhausted. Not even three days of rest can remove this weariness anymore...

Thursday, 02-Dec-04 23:46
After a long day

This one was in the fridge
At home, I found seven of these small stickers hidden around the apartment.

Tears of happiness wrenched my heart.

(English readers: paint with your mouse cursor below to see the translated text. If you are using a RSS browser, well, good for you :)

*kiss*
I miss you
my love
Wednesday, 01-Dec-04 17:46
Word of the year

From Merriam-Webster dictionary:

Based on your online lookups, the #1 Word of the Year for 2004 was

Blog noun [short for Weblog] (1999) : a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer...

(Via Joi. I'm with him - stop complaining how stupid the word sounds already :)

Tuesday, 30-Nov-04 00:07
Power weekend

Sorry for this silence: most of my blogging time seems to into commenting into Sinisen kirjan marginaali (Finnish) these days. Lots of good reading in that blog; highly recommended, even if ... controversial on occasion. (And I just spent two minutes trying to figure out how to say this in an appreciative manner, yet give a bit of highlight to our differing opinions, without resorting to the use of smileys.)

Anyway. I've been meaning to blog about a number of things, but the latest... blog crisis has thrown me off the track and I've mostly been commenting on other blogs and writing lengthy emails back and forth. I'm not in much of a blogging mood right now.

So, I'll go the easy route and just settle for social porn: On Saturday, after the food fair, we picked up my parents from the airport. This also happened to be the dreaded First Meeting Of The ~GirlFriend And The Parents. In the airport arrival hall. In a way, it was very symbolic to meet under the shadow of the great wooden statue that greets all European travelers arriving to Finland. I just have no idea what that symbol means.

Then we went to the always so delightful MisuEG party (Finnish), in which we managed to talk perhaps 15 minutes of other things before the subject turned into blogging. I don't think I ever get used to hearing "oh yeah, you're that guy - I read your blog". It always makes me feel that the person in question should next sprout cucumbers out of his head or something equally weird.

And - against my better judgement, but strangely enough, at my insistence - we crashed Visukinttu's fun house warming party (Finnish), even though on Sunday morning we had to leave really early to go to my nephew's christening 250 km away, and introduce Outi to the rest of the family. (Note to self: If Jarkko offers you a vodka shot, decline. Politely. I've seen smaller beers offered in a bar than his vodka shots.)

Sunday was the big day. After a comfortable three hours of sleep (and two more in the train), my little nephew got his name (which confused him so much he stopped crying), and we all could breathe a sigh of relief. My relatives did not eat Outi - in fact, they seemed quite to like her. After a very relaxing moment in the sauna we returned back home to Helsinki, and spent a total of six hours in the train.

Oh yeah, and I'm technically a godfather now (can't be for real). I did my duties, and started his religious upbringing: as he was resting in my arms, wondering at the people all around him with wide eyes, I whispered softly in his ear:

"You know, all this commotion is just hogwash. God does not really exist."

And I intend to continue. Let him decide what to believe when he gets old enough. Until then, I'll to tell him the other side of the story. And bribe him with presents. Isn't that what godfathers are supposed to do?

Saturday, 27-Nov-04 17:51
Mmmm... food

A good man with the same name has the same problem as me - for some reason, everything seems to happen on this weekend. There are at least four fairs in Helsinki this weekend, one Eddie Izzard -marathon, two parties and tomorrow, the christening of my sister's new kid. Which takes place 250 km away. So no heavy partying tonight - just a bit.

The Helsinki Food Fair was certainly a good experience, as always. Didn't have much time, so we had to rush through the big halls filled with food. Still, we came back with at least five plastic bags full of different items: some sweet pineapple, lemon honey, Carelian pastries, and other things, half of which will probably find their way into Christmas presents (of people who do not read this blog ;).

If you have nothing to do tomorrow, the Food Fair is certainly one of the best ways of spending it.

Thursday, 25-Nov-04 17:12
The New Top-list

Way! After some discussion about the Finnish blog top-100 list, and why it is so difficult to be a top-100 blogger, Just Sopivasti (in Finnish) went and created his own top-list. It's a good (though used) idea - I recommend everyone to publish ten of the blogs they think are the best.

Though in all honesty, I don't think these have any impact on the significance of the Pinseri list, as that is generated automatically from reader list most people tend to use. If you dislike the whole thing, you can remove yourself off the top-list (Finnish), but remain on the list of all blogs.

(I'm going slightly overboard - you can see my own top-100 on the right, as usual. At least those that have RSS feeds; there are only two that I follow which don't. I don't read bad blogs, therefore the one on the right is my personal top-100-or-so. ;) The list does change according to my whims - of course. You wanna be on it? Be interesting, or be a friend. Preferably both. And have an RSS feed.

... he said, fully well knowing that nobody really cares :)

Thursday, 25-Nov-04 14:57
What is the sound of a person tearing his hair?

To complement my previous rant on the problem that is email: During the past 12 hours, I have received 37 Megabytes worth of email - not including spam. Spam is peanuts, during the same period I only got about 200 kBytes worth of it.

That is all.

Wednesday, 24-Nov-04 16:05
Spam, spam, spam, china, and spam

Got tired of the Chinese Wikispam and put the entire .cn -domain under a moratorium: you can no longer post links on JSPWiki to China. If the situation persists, I will add the entire .cn -domain to an edit blacklist as well.

If *all* spam comes from China, and *very few* positive contributions, I think it's time to throw the very little baby out with a lot bathwater. I (and the people who donate their time to do WikiGardening) have better things to do than to clean a dozen pages every single morning.

*plop*

Wednesday, 24-Nov-04 01:21
Waiting...

...for my love to arrive; the train has broken and she will be here perhaps in two hours. *sigh* I'll just go and sleep for a while.

(Ja siihen aiempaan kiusaamiskeskusteluun viitaten: Minttu Hapuli on sanonut oman painavan sanansa ja avannut keskustelun Pinserin Koirapuistoon asiasta. Jos teillä on jotain ehdotuksia tai mielipiteitä siitä, miten blogistaniassa pitäisi ja/tai voisi kohdella trolleja, vittuilua ja "kiusaamista" (ei ehkä aivan oikea termi, mutta käytetään sitä nyt kuitenkin), niin kommentoikaa tänne tai sitten Koirapuistoon.)

Tuesday, 23-Nov-04 12:46
You're being watched

Apparently, every single laser colour printer since 1995 has embedded the serial number of the printer in every printout, says Yahoo news. Officially, this is to track money, but I'm pretty sure it's being used to track things like letters as well. Some for benign purpose, some for not so benign. Of course, corporations such as Xerox keep tabs on who owns which printer, so law enforcement can simply go and ask "who wrote this letter?"

You know - sometimes it's really hard not to be paranoid. What other small tracking methods are there in our surroundings that we are not aware of?

Monday, 22-Nov-04 23:34
Your mission, Jim...

...should you choose to accept it, is to find the car.

I was so proud to park the car in this tight space on Friday morning. Little did I know there would be Snow. And Snowplows.

You see, I don't own a car. I just got one on loan for a week. I think I won't get a car for a while. At least I won't consider it for a while. Until next summer, anyway.

Monday, 22-Nov-04 19:10
The shooting of Fallujah and the fall of the press

It's pretty much everywhere now, so I'll just link these together to those who haven't seen it yet: If you have seen or heard of the video of an US Marine shooting a wounded, unarmed Iraqi, you might also know that the man who shot the footage is a blogger. He has now published a first-hand report of the incident, perhaps one of the most important blog entries of all time - in fact, it was so important, North County Times wrote an article from it.

The latter article is not only a must-read, but also chilling to the bone. Patriots calling "Kill all reporters" (which would suit an oppressive government really well), or that "Sites should be tried for treason" (for showing the truth). And the Marines will only be good to you, if you report good things about them. Say something that's against the party line, or make them look even the slightest bit non-heroic, you're out.

Where are the calls "the public has a right to know now?" Those people who demand that the tiniest mistake of every celebrity be reported - where are they? Shouldn't they be asking "what happens in Fallujah?" Shouldn't they be writing angry letters to the networks and the military so that news reports are not repressed and the gory details edited?

Yeah. They should. But they're not.

Because they have chosen to believe, against all evidence, on a truth given from above. They attack anyone who dares to blemish that image with the same fervor as a fundamentalist christian attacks an atheist. Or a muslim. Facts be damned, they BELIEVE.

Bush is their new God, and thou shalt not incur His wrath or judge Him. Or else the hordes of His believers will destroy you.

(P.S. One of the wisest things ever said, known by all, ignored by most: Matthew 7:12. Look it up. Reading the Bible is a good idea, even if you're an atheist like me. Actually, Matthew 7:21-23 is also relevant here. Heck, the entire chapter is chock full of good stuff. Read it, if you have forgotten.)

(P.P.S. Later that day: On second thoughts, don't.)

Monday, 22-Nov-04 13:08
Rammstein and beer

If you're going to the Rammstein gig when they play in Finland (and are not afraid of some spoilers), then you might want to read this report from the Denmark concert.

Let me iterate the important thing: WEAR EARPLUGS. Spinsteri is doing a ~PhD on noise and music, she knows what she's talking about.

Saturday, 20-Nov-04 22:09
A small digression

Pardon my Finnish, but... tästä syystä minä rakastan tätä naista.

On the internet, ignoring trolls is usually the best way of handling them. However, when someone is being fuelled by their internal hatred towards someone, they will keep going and going and going until they have either driven that person into insanity, or stopped by someone. Personal attacks are a part of the job if you write publically, but a deliberate plan to drive someone else out of the blogosphere with hate blogging, hate comments, and hate email is very... sad.

I mean - what can possibly be gained from it? Squashing a voice simply because it speaks true to itself? The loss of a voice diminishes the blogosphere, and that person becomes disillusioned, bitter, and sad. The abuser only becomes more bitter, as any victory in a fight like this is hollow and void of meaning. Most people listening on this start hating the abuser - perhaps they are not saying anything, but they hate him more. Anything else he might say will be viewed with suspicion and distrust - no matter how intelligent or sane. Even the people who agree only on some points get their share of the dislike. The only people who gain something are the voyeurs, who get a brief moment of satisfaction watching the flames before they get back to watching car crashes. Those people, who believe that people on the internet are not real and can thus be treated like computer characters.

That kind of hate towards a single person is not constructive. It is completely and utterly destructive. Nothing good will come out of it - and nobody will gain anything from it, except for a brief feeling of hollow satisfaction (and I know this from personal, painful experience that I have regretted ever since). If you want to feel good in front of a computer abusing "virtual" people, buy Sims. Or jerk off. Hell, that's far more constructive than attacking someone...

Hate begets only more hate. Love begets more love.

You get out of the world what you put in it. It's as simple as that.

Update: No, I am not mentioning any names here. Those partial to this thing may feel a sting, and if they feel threatened by this, I'm sure they'll voice their opinion. Those who know what I'm talking about - good, and those who don't - even better. Blaming people and pointing fingers is exactly what has been done, so I'm trying not to do it. But I was compelled to say something, so I wouldn't appear as being in agreement. And there's a really difficult balancing point here - I've been debating for weeks whether I should open my mouth on the matter, and how. The whole thing just depresses the hell out of me.

Update (22.11.): Russell Beattie has his own personal troll called "Jacek Rutkowski" (aka jpzr) as well. Russ has another way of handling the whole thing, naming the guy, and asking him to stop. As he points out, there is little he can do because the guy is not in the US. Internet trolls are not usually a real problem, but a particularly twisted and determined troll *can* make your life difficult. And if you can handle it - can your loved ones? Your kids? Anyway, good luck to Russ - if words can hurt, words can also heal. We're here for you.

One more update: Russ asks that all posts link back to him using the above keywords. Soon, anyone searching Google for the name will find Russell's page first, and see that the man is a troll. It's quite an unusual punishment, but it's the only one the blogosphere has got.

Saturday, 20-Nov-04 15:31
Halo, too

Not the game, you dolts. :) I mean this beautiful stuff you can catch in Finland during wintertime. In fact, on the average you can see a halo in Finland every three days (i.e. roughly every time you see the sun). If you keep your eyes open, that is.

Saturday, 20-Nov-04 12:20
World Broadcast Treaty

Here's something that the traditional media have been rather quiet about: The proposed World Broadcast Treaty, which would essentially circumvent the entire pesky copyright-thing. To quote Cory Doctorow of Boing Boing, who's on-site and covering this on the blog:

One of the least-supported provisions in the treaty is the "Webcaster's provision" which would allow people who transmit information on the Internet to control how anyone who receives it uses it -- even if it's Creative Commons licensed, or in the public domain, or not copyrightable. Microsoft and Yahoo's representatives have backed the US's call for this (America is the only country that wants this), essentially saying that they represent the whole tech industry on this.

In short, this means that someone wants to turn the Internet into a completely regulated system: you have to ask someone a permission before you can put even your own content online. Or - which is more likely - would allow any ISP to decide what their users may get. This is, of course, good for people who want to control anything "improper", the US government (or any oppressive third world government), as well as for big corporations with large pockets who can "buy" an ISP not to transfer any content from a competitor. And if you think that no corporation could be bothered to go after the little guy - then how about only three people getting a TV show cancelled?

Of course, one of the real incentives is to regulate ~VoIP applications such as Skype, because they are competing with telecom companies and distrupting their business models. Think about it: if your phone company is your ISP (like Elisa in Helsinki), why would they allow you to talk to your friend in Japan for free over the internet? (And that's not all, says the Observer. The Internet is to become a new TV network where only few can decide what is to be broadcasted and the rest must just consume. It also increases the control over electronics industry - like giving the media companies power to forbid devices that allow you to fast-forward over commercial breaks.)

Read Cory's article and more coverage. There's also an analysis of the treaty.

How come we only seem to get really bad news these days? And the situation keeps getting worse - where is the tipping point and what will happen then?

Friday, 19-Nov-04 21:35
Eerie ghost sighting aftereffects

Dropped a bottle of red wine (or to be exact, Glühwein) on the floor. Muchos glass and wine everywhere. Not a good idea, I assure you. Most of the stains are gone, but my carpet may be a goner.

I was a bit distraught by this unaired German car commercial:

"When they finished filming the ad, the people who made it noticed something moving along the side of the car, like a ghostly white mist.

If you turn up the sound, you can also hear whispering. The ad was never put on TV because the unexplained ghostly phenomenon frightened the production team out of their wits. Watch it and about halfway through (after the car comes from behind the trees) look closely and you will see the white mist coming up from behind the car and then following it along the road!"

It might be a fake (and probably is, I know very well CGI is that good these days). But it did arouse deep fears from ten thousand years ago, the same fears we all harbour and they come out at night...

It's not a good Friday night. I don't know why, but I'm being rather jumpy right now. Better to sit down and not do anything. (Inexplicably, the DVD drive on my laptop started working again...)

Friday, 19-Nov-04 11:06
Useless integration

Mobitopia recently integrated an IRC bot to a weblog, so people can directly post URLs from IRC to the web log.

Unfortunately, this has made that weblog essentially useless. One of my biggest pet peeves is people who just paste links to IRC without bothering to explain what they are. If a link is not worth three words of introduction, why would it be worth my time to go and check it?

On weblogs, I expect more than a link and three words. The mode of communication is different with these two: IRC is extremely transient, and once a discussion flows off the screen, people don't return to it. But while weblogs are transient as well, for them the expected life time of a link is a lot more - several days in fact. So what was current then might not be current two days later.

The second problem is that it lowers the posting threshold too much, and you end up with links you might not usually bother to be posted to a weblog. An URL can circulate around IRC in a few minutes, because it's really easy to just paste the link (because of the transience factor: a mistake is forgotten two minutes later as it scrolls off the screen).

The third problem is that IRC makes text resemble speech instead of literature. So, you get explanations that are misspelled, abbreviated or else very condensed and uncomprehensible (if you get any explanations at all).

And the worst problem is that there are just too many of these links. They should make a separate link blog for those who want to follow those; I've been reading Mobitopia for their articles and their opinions (however annoying they might be) - but now it all resembles just a stupid chat room. I get ten useless links on my RSS reader which I'll never follow because of the crappy explanations, so I might as well drop the whole thing.

While putting technologies together is cool for just simply coolness' sake, you still have to think about the user experience.

I'm unsubscribing.

(And now for something completely different: Here's a wonderful article from truthout: The New Cold War - and Europe is winning. Thanks to Zds for pointing it out.)

Thursday, 18-Nov-04 19:55
I have a problem worse than spam...

I don't really mind spam that much anymore. I've got a nice spamassassin and Apple Mail combination which catches 99.9% of all spam coming in.

My problem is with real email.

Yesterday, I got pissed off at people sending me 5 MB ~PowerPoint files marked as FYI. You see, it's not fun trying to download them over a GPRS connection, since it takes ages. Then your inbox gets full, and you can't even send email before you remove some of the big mails. Yay. But even that's not the real problem. It's just an annoyance; after all, I'm not paying my own phone bill.

The problem is that I cannot ignore them easily: they all are somehow relevant to my tasks. So here I am at work, it's nearly eight p.m., and I'm done for my email for the day. I still have about 150 messages waiting, but those are the ones I just skim through quickly, conveniently sorted into their own folders automatically by some magic. So they can wait until tomorrow. I have a few messages marked as "answer later", but knowing that I get a hundred emails tomorrow, it's quite likely that I'll never answer those. When a message scrolls off the main list view, it's as good as forgotten, because tomorrow a hundred new voices come and demand your attention immediately.

I can do email, or I can sit in meetings, or I can do actual work. Choose two. Any two. But no more than two. (I suspect this is why so many people seem to do email in meetings...)

I'm beginning to like spam. Spam I can deal with. I can unequivocably hate it and kill it with a grin on my face, and tune my spamassassin's config ad infinitum. It's much more difficult to ignore an email when the guy on the other end is innocently asking for your advice or comments for real.

Thursday, 18-Nov-04 11:05
Memetic Thursday

Originally this comes from Sweden. but I got it via Marjut:

1. Which artist/group is the most common in your record collection?

That would be either Kylie Minogue or the J-Pop band MAX. So there's a theme - sue me.

2. Which writer's books are the most common on your book shelf?

That would be either David Brin, or Ralf König. And yes, I do count certain comics as literature.

3. What kind of movies are the most common in your video collection?

Animated movies. Easily. Unless you count Eddie Izzard, in which case it would be comedy.

4. What kind of pictures are the most common in your photo album?

Scenic photos. I don't like people in my beautiful photographs; I much prefer the beauty of the nature to people.

5. What kind of printed products are the most common in your recycling bin?

Helsingin sanomat. After that, ads for local pizza joints. :)

Hmm... This does give a rather childish picture of me. Oh well. It's not like I care :-D

Thursday, 18-Nov-04 00:37
Through beauty and darkness

When you travel a lot, the simple magic that is flight is easily forgotten. Tonight, as I was returning from Hamburg (where a ~WiFi connection costs 24.95€/24h, and taxis don't take credit cards, urgh), the sight was awesome: at first we flew over Helsinki with clear skies. We went very low, so I could see the city clearer than ever before; saw the parks and lights and streets of this town I call home. We flew directly over the place where I work, and continued over my home, doing the trip in less than a minute. The same trip I usually travel for 30 minutes...

Then, fog rolled in all of a sudden as we were turning over Itäkeskus. I started to wonder why the lights of the Vuosaari harbour and the oil refinery further east looked so large, as if the whole place was on fire. Then we turned some more, and I saw the whisps of the fog embracing the airport. As we descended, the whole landscape changed: now the lights of Helsinki looked like some strange sunset, as if dreamed by a poet on acid. The ground below was dark, but orange, yellow and white patterns of light showed the approximate positions of buildings and roads, making the scenery appear like tentative strokes from an artists brush.

Finally, we dived into the fog and the airfield appeared out of the nothingness. The wheels screamed as they touched the ground, and the magic was gone. I was home.

Some celestial event. No-- no words. No words to describe it. Poetry! They should've sent a poet. So beautiful. So beautiful... I had no idea. --Dr. Arroway, "Contact"
(Sorry, Henning's Wife: No reports of boozing this time (no time for that). But you can ask him about the restaurant called "Mess" and how much of a mess we made there...)
Monday, 15-Nov-04 19:59
Late for work

She made me woollen socks!
I missed the alarm clock, and was just about to get up, as she stirred and turned in her sleep. She grabbed a tight hold of me, arm over my chest and her leg over mine. "...I already missed you so much..." she murmured sleepily, and fell back to sleep.

I just couldn't move.

I did not have the heart to move away from her embrace, should she awaken. So we both lay there, happily in each others arms, just resting the world away. It took an hour and a half for me to be able to move her arm gently away, and slip into the shower. When I came back, she had moved to the exact spot where I had been; clutching the pillow I had rested my head upon.

My heart aches with love.

So I was late for work, even convoluted by the bus strike and some computer problems. But that single, long embrace somehow made it all okay.

Monday, 15-Nov-04 11:00
Model blogging

Okay, a chef has gone into Lifeblogging, and now a professional model has done it, too (though she was already a blogger). This is getting seriously interesting: not only because easy blogging tools allow people to write without much prior technical knowledge, but also because it allows professionals from different areas to use it as means of self-expression. They don't have the time to start learning complex publishing systems, yet they might have the need, will, and aptitude to publish about their chosen field.

I'm not really that interested in every new relationship/moping/haircut -blog. Only if you happen to know the person, their relationships become a lot more interesting. Or, if they happen to be very good writers, and make you feel as if you know them through their writing, you will also get interested in their relationships, mood swings and hair length. However, the really interesting bit is when we get to peek in the lives of the professionals (or really good amateurs) in some area or the other: People who have achieved a lot in life, talking about their passions, and showing us what they think is important have far more potential to be interesting, educational, and entertaining than the musings of a 17-year old high-school kid.

LIfeblog is getting cool because it allows you to publish from both your mobile phone and your PC - it does not matter whether you like images annotated with text (moblogging) or text annotated with images (traditional blogging). Both can be done as easily - it's just that some tools work better in some tasks than others. (Disclaimer: I am not completely unbiased here, working for the company and all... But I genuinely do like Lifeblog. And those who read this blog regularly know that I have not been kind to other company products.)

Power to the people. In blogging, too.

(Via Cognections. Isn't it interesting how many new Finnish blogs are coming outside of the Pinseri list?)

(Ai niin, Kalamuki säätää Soneran kanssa. Nerokas kertomus asiakaspalvelusta tai sen puutteesta. Repesin.)

Sunday, 14-Nov-04 22:36
Small tip to moviegoers

Right!
Wrong
Went to see Incredibles, which turned out to be a lot more fun than I was anticipating. Well worth watching - and again, Pixar's small animation before the actual feature was pretty cool.

However, I do have a small idea to people: when you buy candy, you can actually remove the top half of the bag (because if you've bought a full bag of candy and can finish it during one movie, you have a lot more problems than annoyed people listening you rattle) and make the noise you do during the movie a lot more pleasurable to people around you. You see (in case you haven't noticed), forcing a large hand into a small paper bag makes a lot of noise. But if you remove most of that rattling paper, you get two benefits:

a) it's easier to find the candy you're looking for, and
b) it makes a lot less noise.

(Yeah, and I know some people are now thinking: "stay home you loser, if you can't take a bit of noise, don't go to the movies, where there actually might be other people." But I'm not talking about some noise: I'm talking about the big-honking-kind-of-noise, which comes from a person that obsessively-compulsively opens his bag, takes one candy out with a hand that is obviously larger than the bag, and then carefully folds the paper bag shut again, that makes you wonder if the other person is deaf or purposefully mean.

And, if you're worried that how to get the candy back home if you can't finish it, then the answer is simple: don't remove so much you can't close the bag anymore. Even a few centimeters off the top makes it a lot easier to eat.)

Saturday, 13-Nov-04 22:07
Shoggoth

Found-this-lovely-Shoggoth-from-Fantasiapelit. Now-must-carry-it-with-me.

(This adorable little amorphous, tentacled and multi-eyed mindless Elder Thingy reminds me of a small thought that has been nibbling at the back corner of my mind... In the past few weeks, I have seen a few comments that could only be called creepy on various blogs. And invariably, these blogs are written by women.

Perhaps I'm just imagining things. But I wonder - if the creeps that harass women in bars get behind the anonymity and untouchability that the Internet provides, things might get ugly.)

Friday, 12-Nov-04 23:52
Cuisine blogging

Hans Välimäki, the head chef of Chez Dominique has started his own blog using Lifeblog. (Lifeblog 1.5 also functions as a blogging tool - I really gotta write JSPWiki support for that baby. Shouldn't be that hard, if I only had the time...)

I think this is seriously interesting. Putting easy blogging tools in the hands of non-technical people has incredible power. This also means interesting times for Finnish bloggers, as more and more prominent bloggers start coming from outside the Pinseri list, and not taking part of the so-called Finnish blogosphere.

(Via Christian Lindholm)

Friday, 12-Nov-04 21:41
Why many geeks tend to ignore IE

Ainailona points out (in Finnish, though) that blogs are becoming a commodity, much like internet banking, news sites and what-have-you. And in order to be a commodity, one has to be prepared to serve the bulk of the users (the Common Man) - and that means supporting Internet Explorer.

True.

But.

The thing is - this is true only for commercial services. A geek sits 8-12 hours at work, bangs at the keyboard, and gets incredibly frustrated at the fact that whenever he does something, he has to bend a shitload of rules to support IE. All other browsers work fine (or at least acceptably), and you have to then do vile things up to and including sacrificing small animals to get the thing to work in IE. It's true that those that are really professional have libraries and experience to do this relatively efficiently - and the lesser mortals just support IE only and assume other browsers will cope with that.

However, when the geek gets home, he wants to do things right. Because that is the innate geek desire - to do things The Right Way. And if an IE user sees a crappy version of his blog because of it, then fine.

It's kinda like having a really annoying boss at work: someone's who's a real mean, old bitch (can be male or female, but I couldn't think of a proper word for man - and sorry in advance in the somewhat gender-biased text - I just find it a lot easier to think like a man :). Whenever you suggest something, she screams at you. You have to sweet-talk her into doing anything, and you hate yourself for doing it. She always wants more attention than others, and what's worse - she's got everyone else on her side. Talking to others won't help, because they always say that "you gotta ask the boss". She is sick most of the time, because she insists on running outside in a miniskirt regardless of the weather. She always wears the same clothes, too. She's so embedded in the company, that it's almost impossible to dislodge her. And she's got many older sisters, that sometimes wander in and demand even more attention than her.

When the guy gets finally home, he just really wants to be at peace. He can finally ignore the quirky, ugly, old boss and flirt with the new, foxy girl in town. She's really very nice, intelligent, independent, petite, dresses to please you, learns new tricks, is responsive to feedback, and tries to work with you, not ignore you.

So it is no wonder that some geeks don't care about IE when they're at home - they can spend their time doing new things instead of fixing code for an outdated browser. Work? Yes, because you get paid for suffering. Home? Can't be bothered.

Friday, 12-Nov-04 17:48
Oh bugger

Forgot the business date this morning. Oh fuck. It would've been quite interesting, I'm sure - and I doubt nobody blogged it either.

Shit. I completely forgot to put it in the calendar. My life is so calendar-centric these days, that if I don't mark something, I'll forget it in a day. I have 12 items (meetings, events, etc) marked for this week alone, and it has actually been quite an average week. And I'm sure the pace just quickens as Christmas arrives.

Ngh. I feel just now like someone had taken my guts and stuffed them in my head - too full in the head, empty in the chest.

Thursday, 11-Nov-04 18:59
More Engrish

Instructions from a jellyfish packet:

1) on bale puts the index numbers of quantum, imports or exports bat batch amid the jellyfish.
2) Join the jellyfish the condiment amid the agitate
3) The even post - of jellyfish agitate is then edible

Jellyfish is not that good. Neither are the instructions.

Wednesday, 10-Nov-04 17:36
Joulutematiikkaa

(Sorry guys, I need to get this out of my chest in Finnish).

Ajattelin kirjoittaa tämän kommentiksi Khiloun blogiin, mutta arvelin, että kuitenkin luo keskustelua, joten ehkä on parempi tehdä siitä oma merkintänsä.

Marjut kyselee, pitäisikö joulua rakastavien olla hiljaa, jottei sattuisi leukaan. Höps (kaikella kunnioituksella, Marjut on groovy grrll :). Bloggauksen hyvä puoli on se - kuten Tommikin kommentoi (ja aion olla nyt hänen tarkoittamansa neuvostoliittoaivo ja antaa kommentointiohjeita) - että "huonoja" mielipiteitä ei tarvitse kuunnella. Tosin olen ennemminkin sitä mieltä, että kyseessä ei ole välinpitämättömyys, vaan ihan normaali suodatus: Me emme voi lukea kaikkea. Ja luonnollisesti, samaten kuten valitsemme ystävämme, valitsemme myös ne blogit ja uutiset, joita seuraamme. Tämä on ihan luonnollista.

Tarkoitan nyt tässä tapauksessa "huonolla" mielipiteellä mitä tahansa mielipidettä, jota et halua kuunnella, en sinällään jollain mystisellä mittarilla huonoa mielipidettä. Tämä on huomattavan eri lähtökohta kuin esimerkiksi nyyssi-, sähköposti- tai webifoorumikeskusteluissa, jossa kaikkien mielipiteet ovat yhtä arvokkaita. Blogeissa sinä valitset ne henkilöt, joita seuraat. Foorumeilla valitset asian, jota seuraat. Bloggaus on henkilökohtaista julkaisemista. Jos ajattelet valitsevasi blogin siksi, että se käsittelee mielenkiintoista asiaa, valitset sen kuitenkin siksi, että kirjoittaja (tai kirjoittajat) osaavat kirjoittaa juuri siitä aihealueesta sinua kiinnostavasti.

Ihmisten välinen keskustelu siirtyy blogimaailmaan luontevasti: henkilökohtaiset blogit viittaavat toisiinsa, ja ihmiset julkaisevat omat puheenvuoronsa omissa blogeissaan, omina merkintöinä. Linkkien löytämiseen on useampiakin keinoja - jätetyt kommentit, ns. Trackback, Technorati (ja kiljoonat muut palvelut), vähänkin kehittyneemmän kävijälaskurin tuijotus ja Google (kokeile "link:omablogi"). Jos jonkun tyypin kirjoittelu käy hermoille, lakkaat lukemasta. Ei sen kummempaa. Jos hän sanoo jotain tärkeää, luultavasti kuulet siitä jotain toistakin kautta (esimerkiksi joku muu viittaa ko. blogiin).

Kommentit ovatkin sitten kinkkisempi pulma. Mielestäni blogia tulee myös tässä käsitellä henkilökohtaisena tilana: jos joku avaa bloginsa kommenttitoiminnon, se ei ole suinkaan lupa tulla huutelemaan sen enempää kuin kutsu illalliselle on lupa tulla kotiisi syömään jääkaappi tyhjäksi. Minulle blogi on olohuoneen jatke - paikka, jossa käsittelen omia ajatuksiani, mutta tarkoituksenmukaisesti julkisesti. Jos joku tulee olohuoneeseni vittuilemaan minulle, heitän ulos.

Ja samalla periaatteella asiattomuudet kommenttiosastossa saavat lähteä ja lähtevät bittien taivaaseen. Sen sijaan pahemmatkin asiattomuudet jossain omassa blogissa ovat tiettyyn rajaan asti ok - koska minun ei tarvitse välittää niistä. Tietysti, mikäli tilanne äityy pahaksi, niin yleensä palveluntarjoajat suhtautuvat kohtuullisen myötämielisesti pyyntöihin poistaa loukkaava materiaali, jo ennen kuin Rikoslain sisältämä herjauspykälä lähestyy edes horisontissa. Esimerkiksi vaikkapa Bloggerin käyttösopimus, jossa kielletään mm. kaikenlainen loukkaava materiaali ("...any unlawful, harassing, libelous, abusive, threatening, or harmful material of any kind or nature. Member further agrees not to transmit any material that encourages conduct that could constitute a criminal offense, give rise to civil liability or otherwise violate any applicable local, state, national or international law or regulation...")

Jokaisen tulee kuitenkin itse valita, millaista keskustelua on valmis sietämään. Toiset tuhoavat kaikki eri mieltä olevat kommentit. Toiset tuhoavat anonyymit kommentit. Toiset sallivat ihan mitä tahansa keskustelua. Mutta tämä on jokaisen bloginpitäjän oikeus (ja tiettyjä lakipykäliä siristellessä ehkä jopa velvollisuus). Saathan valita itse, keitä haluat kestää omassa olohuoneessasikin, mikset sitten blogisi kommenttiosastossa? Totta kai julkisuus tuo hieman lisää painetta toleranssiin (kommenttiosastoissa näkee välillä käytöstä, jota henkilö ei tosiaan sietäisi kotonaan), mutta valitettavasti internetin anonyymiys tuo mukanaan myös tiettyä sosiaalivammaisuutta (kommenttiosastoissa näkee kommentteja, joita kukaan ei tosiaan esittäisi päin naamaa). Internet mediana vaatii jo suurempaa toleranssia, mutta ei se tarkoita sitä, että pitäisi kaikkea sietää.

Minusta ajatus siitä, että koko blogistan on yhtä onnellista perhettä ja kaikkien pitäisi sietää toisiaan on väärin. Myönnän, että haluan kuitenkin luoda niille, jotka sitä haluavat, tiettyä yhteisöllisyyttä, mutta sitä ei tule kehittää ihmisten tahdon vastaisesti. Niiden, jotka haluavat olla ulkona tästä "blogistanista", tulee ehdottomasti saada olla. Pinserin lista on tehnyt hyvän työn tähän asti, mutta epäilen, että se tulee aikaa myöten repeytymään kappaleiksi; jo nyt on vaikeaa käydä läpi kaikki uudet blogit, ja jos bloggauksen suosio kasvaa samaan tahtiin täällä kuin muualla, puolen vuoden päästä uusia blogeja tulee kerralla satakunta kappaletta. Ja vuoden päästä parisataa. Voi jopa olla, että Suomen luetuin blogi ei ole edes Pinserin listalla vuoden päästä, who knows.

Me olemme ihmisiä omine mielipiteinemme, ja me olemme tarpeeksi fiksuja valitsemaan sen porukan, jonka kanssa vietämme aikaamme. Konflikti luo kiinnostavuutta - oli kyseessä sitten omien sisäisten konfliktien käsittely tai blogien välinen keskustelu. Tämä ei ole perhe. Me vain olemme kaikki valinneet tuoda oman henkilökohtaisen äänemme julkisesti saataville. Sen pitäisi lisätä keskustelua, ei muuttaa sitä yhteishymistelyksi.

Tuesday, 09-Nov-04 23:59
Nokia Mediamaster woes continue

...but I have some positive news. I was planning to take the infernal machine (aka Nokia Mediamaster 260 C) to someone who could fix it, when I accidentally hit this information from the Kuopio cable company, which contained an actual document from Nokia detailing the problem, and how to solve it.

It seems that the versions 1.0.8 and 1.1.1 of the Mediamaster software may crash, if they detect a new version available in the network. The solution is simple - unplug the antenna lead and reboot the machine. When it comes up (you detect this by the blinkenlichts in the front panel), you connect the antenna lead, which should allow you to get into the Navi menu and go an upgrade the software manually.

So, problem solved. Temporarily. But why did I have to go to the Kuopio cable company to figure this out? Why is there no notification on either on nokia.com nor on HTV's page? In fact, HTV only tells me that the 1.1.1 SW update has been removed, but has no mention of the problems nor the 1.1.1b update which is available in their network. An update, whose availability seems to be the reason for the crash...

*sigh* So it's not only the people who made the box, it's the whole chain from that point onwards.

Update: changed link, since the original seems to be gone.

Tuesday, 09-Nov-04 14:15
"I was so happy to see Firefox 1.0 released, that I nearly shat my pants"

As everyone, their cousins, and their dogs have noticed, Firefox 1.0 has been released. Nothing much new has happened since PR1, but it turns out that the wonderful ~SingleWindow extension has essentially been built in Firefox! Straight from the Release Notes:

New experimental options for controlling where links in web pages open. To make these experimental options appear, set browser.tabs.showSingleWindowModePrefs to true in about:config.

I.e. Type "about:config" on the address line, then type "singlewindow" in the "Filter" -field. You should see a single option line (unless you have some extensions I don't know about). Right-click (or Control-Click, if you're on a Mac and have a single-button mouse only) on it, and choose "Toggle". The "Value" -column turns to "true".

Now, you can find new controls in your "Edit/Preferences/Advanced" settings, under "Tabbed browsing". Turn on "Force links that open new windows to open in: a new tab", "OK", and you should be set. Whenever a new windows pops up, it automatically opens to a new tab. Whee! :)

There's little reason for anyone to use Explorer anymore... And if you hit a site that only works in IE, just install the "IE View" extension, and you can launch IE from within Firefox. (Yeah, I know, some people are forced to use IE, but that's not exactly reason, now is it ;)

Monday, 08-Nov-04 18:59
Weblog-breakfast

Thanks, Marjut! I registered and am going to the "Businesstreffit" ("business date") on weblogs. And I'm taking my laptop with me - so expect live blogging and commentary on-site.

Saturday, 06-Nov-04 23:29
Auuugh

My misfortunes with electronics continue. The DVD-drive of my Powerbook seems to be dying rapidly: it makes a really odd sound at every boot, and it refuses most of the time any discs I try to put into it. Oh well, the warranty expired just a couple of months ago, so no wonder.

I'm back in Oulu, which makes my life bearable though. We're now digesting the dinner, geeking off in our own ways. I blog, she blogs. Err. Not that different, really. :)

I was very tired yesterday: I had a hard day (which the lingering jet lag makes worse); many hours of talking in the phone, making a data dump to someone (i.e. talking his ears off on a subject I happened to know about), writing a longish spec - and then I ended up at my aunt's place, fixing her poor laptop, "which had become slow". I ended up removing all the spyware on her computer, installing Firefox, recommending that she buys a bit more memory (running Windows XP in 128M of memory), and letting the Disk Defragmenter running. Then, a flight to Oulu, and by the time I approached the University I was in the strange in-between state of "kill anyone that says anything" and "I'll just sleep here for a while".

And then I saw the lights of her house. My pace quickened, and a huge grin spread across my face, even though something in me tried to fight it. My heart became lighter, and dark thoughts ebbed away. By the time I was ringing her doorbell, there was no work left in me. No stress. No specs. No politics. No marketing. No user interfaces. No Windows. No RSS. No Atom. No bad English.

No thoughts.

Just a deep, powerful desire to feel her in my arms again.

Saturday, 06-Nov-04 23:11
On wikis and weblogs

I wrote the following short piece in response to Tim and Dave. Click on "More" to see, duh, more.

Theory of Social Software

Tim Bray is wondering how blogs and wikis can be lumped together, because they are different. Dave Johnson counters, saying that there is already integration to be seen, pointing out that his Roller software indeed does support wiki-like markup.

Having written JSPWiki, which is the wiki engine running this weblog, I see little difference in the technologies. You can get an RSS/Atom feed out of my weblog, and the wiki (where the wiki feed consists of diffs). They both work similarly - they are both a collection of pages (or entries, if you will), which are then rendered through a rendering engine (or a templating engine). On a Wiki, you get a single "entry" per page, a web log just aggregates the latest few changes on the front page. There's an awful lot of stuff in common under the hood. (There's more informat ...

More...

Friday, 05-Nov-04 00:33
A highly efficient password-cracker

Played some role-playing games (finally!), talked plenty of crap, and drank some strong Icelandic beer. The discussion on why Windows requires you to press Ctrl-Alt-Del before you log in, whereas OSX (and Linux) just go to the password prompt directly, enlightened me.

If a cat walks across your keyboard, it might accidentally type in your username/password combination. Granted, it's rather unlikely, but it's still possible. Now, if you apply the principles of quantum computing, and assume that you have a cat that can be in all the states simultaneously - and therefore press all the buttons simultaneously - it can crack your password in no time!

So, if we can just find a Schrödinger's Cat (preferably one that is alive), we can crack any computer and any security that relies on passwords typed through a keyboard!

Now, excuse me while I go patent this idea.

*burp*

Thursday, 04-Nov-04 00:07
Barney knows the solution

Mac-heads probably want to check this out (4MB Quicktime). Barney very wise. Barney knows how to get rid of computing problems.

(Via Kalamuki.)

Wednesday, 03-Nov-04 19:37
You morons...

So, the people of USA have voted to choose an another term with the president, who is bringing what used to be the greatest country in the world onto its knees (but backed by an excellent propaganda machinery, which is very adept at hiding this). Fine. As Joi says, it's a democracy and you get the leaders you deserve.

Well, at least 54 million Americans voted for Kerry. That's what, about 25% of all voters? Good for you! At least some people in the USA still can think. And a slightly bigger crowd voted for Bush. Okay, so I think you are idiots for doing that, but at least you had the decency and balls to go out and admit it. (And I'm not touching the senate and congressional elections here.)

The question to the ~47% who didn't vote: Why the fuck didn't you vote? Don't you just care what happens in that great country of yours? I mean - if you had a legit reason, then that's fine, but I can't believe in excess of 100 million Americans were "sick at home in a terrible flu", "just relocated", "abroad", or "forcibly held down by an army of yetis, thus preventing me to vote". You were just lazy bastards who don't care. You deserve all the shit that's gonna be raining on you from the government in the near future.

As the saying goes: "If you don't vote, you don't get to complain either." Voting every four years is not that big of a challenge, and it's pretty much the only way you can influence the system these days - unless you really want to get into politics. You don't even have a multi-party system: all you need to do is to pick from TWO choices. Count them! TWO! Going to a booth every four years to state your opinion is the least you can do.

So Joi is wrong. There are, in fact, three Americas: One Democrat, one Republican, and one that Simply Does Not Care. And the last party is the biggest by far. The turnout is lower than in most (all?) other civilized countries. And that is what you should be worried of.

Good luck, America. You're gonna need it.

Monday, 01-Nov-04 22:33
I'm home, said he, and they all died

I get home. I shower. I rest for a while, and check my (snail) mail. I then boot my desktop x86 computer. Nothing. I try all sorts of different things, still nothing. I don't even get the BIOS to boot properly.

After two hours of fighting (and a Knoppix install later), I finally manage to get my computer to boot.

Exhausted, I return to the sofa, and decide to check the TV. The piece of turd, also known as the Nokia Mediamaster 260 C, has crashed during the weekend. This is not surprising, as it does not apparently stay up for more than four days if nobody touches it. But what came next really surprised me:

I turned the machine off and on (by disconnecting the power lead - this thing does not have a power button). It wakes up, and says "Fetching new software".

WHAT!?!

I didn't tell it to fetch new software! Well, perhaps it's some sort of a cool auto-update feature, so I let it be. Half an hour later, it's still in the same screen. Then I realize that the progress icon is not moving. I push the "Back" button - which is supposed to stop the upgrade - and nothing happens. The machine seems to have crashed. I disconnect the whole thing again, and yes! It immediately gets to the "let's pretend we're fetching new software and crash!" -mode.

So this expensive piece of crap is no longer not only annoying, but also useless.

Here's a clue: Consumer electronics are not supposed to crash. And if it is possible to crash, you should always make it sure that disconnecting the power resets the machine. But no, a stupid engineer not worth the paper he wipes his ass with decided that reboot before the upgrade is a really good idea, thus creating the possibility for a situation where the normal operation after the reboot is NOT to get a coherent, functional system. Now I have to take this clap-ridden, loud, unusable, stupid, incredibly crappy piece of shit that's not good even for target practice, to maintenance so that someone else can reset it (which probably involves pushing a button somewhere and taking whole five minutes).

Always, ALWAYS, design for failures as well.

What kind of mushrooms the designers ate, I have no idea. But apparently nobody had any brains left after eating them. What a disappointment.

Update on 09-Nov-04: There's a simple fix to this crash.

Monday, 01-Nov-04 15:46
Long, hard nights (or days?)

So, the smart thing to do is to end up in a party somewhere in Vancouverian suburbs and hang about until 3 am (and that's including the DST changeover!), especially if you wake up at 8.30 to get some breakfast before you go. But the discussions were worth it - now only if I could remember all the wonderful ideas I had!

Tried to blog yesterday before the flight, but the internet was completely screwed in the hotel - half of the sites I tried refused to open. Bugger. So now I am home after a pair of an extremely exhausting flights. I wish DK the best in their new home. It was great to see you.

And now for something completely different: I was again reminded on the downside of openness: the fact that some people will try and take advantage of you. An open, wonderful person from our group picked up someone he thought was from the party and offered him a ride home. But after a while, the guy started acting strange, and by the time they got to the hotel, the guy grabbed the keys of the car and threatened to run away. They settled it with some money in the end.

It's weird. I'm still in favour of openness and friendliness, though. It just makes life so much more bearable to yourself and others, even though you risk being abused every now and then. Life is more difficult though, because you have to know where the line is - when to stop being friendly. Many people opt on the easy way out: being suspicious towards everyone. I don't think that's worth the damage it causes.

Saturday, 30-Oct-04 12:58
Nghbltf

It's 2:43 in the morning in Vancouver, i.e. nearly one in the afternoon Finnish time. I'm scared how easy the acclimatization to this time zone has been. We just played a couple of games of werewolf (Finns might know this game as "vampire" - you know, two players are werewolves/vampires, one is a seer/slayer and there's an optional healer), which turn out to be pretty fun with a really large crowd. For some reason, nobody seems to believe my happy face and always assumes I'm the werewolf. I wonder why...

Anyway, it would've been fun to join the Helsinki blogger christmas party as well, but alas, the life of a busy worker bee means sometimes you gotta sacrifice yourself to the big N. Thanks to everyone who sent me SMS messages from the party, though. :)

I like Vancouver. It's compact, wealthy, clean, and friendly. Even the beggars are rather polite. If I had to choose now where in North America to live, Vancouver would be it.

Friday, 29-Oct-04 18:36
Hello Kitty, and good night

The famous Hello Kitty has joined the blogosphere. Unfortunately the blog is in Japanese, but it contains moblog shots of Hello Kitty and her friends. Apparently it's even written by Hello Kitty herself!

(Via Joi Ito, who has a bit more information in English.)

And as a side note... I'm scared how easily I'm adjusted to the West Coast time: I slept until 5 am, woke up, and fell asleep again to wake up at 7.30. Like a normal day. It's gonna be hell when I get back. Also, we had plenty of fun yesterday, exploring the city with Dragon. The local Chinatown has some really, really wonderful stuff. I'd lose a fortune if I lived here...

Being 7000 km away from Outi is also... not so fun. It's not so much the distance (there's not much difference between 600 km and 7000 km - away is away is away if you can't just walk out of the door and find her anytime you want), but the time difference. You want to talk, but half of the time one of you is asleep. And out of the common time we have, I'm mostly engaged in meetings. You can't even really say properly good night to each other. Snif.

Thursday, 28-Oct-04 23:32
O Canada

I'm now in Vancouver. The weather simply sucks (but it ain't no different from Helsinki), but the Rocky Mountains are every time awesome when you fly over them. We Finns are proud of our unspoilt nature, but some other places around the world are pretty nifty, too.

Now, if I only understood why there is a wall-sized window in the toilet. It does create some fun moments though when you are sitting on the john and watching the traffic (yeah, third floor - people from the opposite building see quite clearly what I'm doing, where and with whom).

Wednesday, 27-Oct-04 15:22
To be silenced, or not to be silenced

There's a scary editorial piece at Truthout.org. What the fuck is going on over the pond?

It didn't get me the tickets. "Are you a Bush supporter?" I was asked. I explained that I was a registered Independent and not necessarily a Bush supporter. "Are you going to vote for Bush?" I was asked. "No," I honestly, and out of curiosity to see what would happen, replied. I was summarily told that if I wasn't planning on voting for Bush, I wasn't welcome. "John" came over to make sure I got the message. I told him I'd taken my kids to similar events (we saw Clinton and Gore in 1996) and didn't he think it was good to get my kids involved in the democratic process early? To take them to events such as these and let them make up their own minds? I guess not. He just kept repeating, in a rather intimidating way, that if I wasn't a supporter, I wasn't welcome.

And another one

After about 10 minutes of Internet research, I observed a picture beginning to develop. And, my friends, the picture isn't pretty. Yes, the silencing is happening all across America. At Presidential visits, during peace rallies, non-violent demonstrations, in high schools where kids draw anti-war pictures in art class, in small towns where people put dissenting comics on their car. All these events have resulted in visits, interrogation, and intimidation by the Secret Service. When you begin to notice the larger pattern of thought control, intimidation, and downright attack upon the very bedrock of our nation's guiding principles by the people who are sworn to uphold it, a sick feeling begins building in your gut.

And regardless of whether this particular story is an exaggeration or not, there has been a bit too much smoke lately coming from the good ol' US of A. My friends over there - do something! You're frightening the rest of the world out of their wits right now... We've seen these signs before. We know where they lead to.

(And please do read the article before you comment. Thanks to Carmen for the pointer.)

Wednesday, 27-Oct-04 12:34
Loyalty cards and what they really know of you

Viimeisellä rannalla (in Finnish) acquired the list of information that is collected from you when you use the Plussa card. It's quite impressive, including things like whether you own a cat or a dog, how old your children are, where your summer cottage is, and how you live - all connected to your social security number.

I don't have any loyalty cards (except for frequent flyer cards). I always feel uncomfortable with people prying my personal details - I like to be in control of the things that are known about me. Blogging allows me to lie as much as I want (not that I do it that often, but it's good to know the option is there) - but lying on your shop receipt is a lot more difficult (and expensive).

Luckily, in Europe we have pretty good personal information protection laws. I'd hate to think what happens if these databases that are collected about us were combined and misused. You see, corporations tend to think like psychopaths, and almost anything can be sacrificed to increase profits. (Only the well-to-do corporations can afford to be benevolent.) Including your right to privacy.

Update: Dan Gillmor touches this (and my next entry) in his new column: "Insidiously, the Bush administration has turned the corporate data mongers into partners in the dawning surveillance state. Evading even the most trivial safeguards, including federal laws protecting privacy, it buys or uses data collected by private companies that are under no such restrictions." It's a good read.

Tuesday, 26-Oct-04 18:36
Blogging to go

I've been meaning to do this a long time... Listing my favourite blogs. However, for brevity's sake, I'm just going to list some lesser known ones (to Finnish readers). You all read the popular ones anyway... Heh. You can check the other blogs I read on my bloglines.com blogroll.

First, congrats to Haltia (Finnish), who got 475 votes in the Helsinki communal elections and thus was elected as a vice delegate. It's not that I agree with her (on some things definitely not :), but most political blogs are about Big and Important Things That We Must Do To Change The World. Mirva talks about the small things, things that directly affect me and the city I live in. She's a blogger who got into politics, and not a politician who started blogging to get votes (and abandons the blog afterwards).

Myrskymurmeli (Finnish) I mentioned before. This angry and very intelligent young man bites you, if you get close. He's a new blogger, but I'm expecting a lot - it's always a pleasure to read well-written text. With pointy teeth.

Katselija (Finnish) writes intelligently on the Big Things I mentioned above. He does not write that often, but his viewpoints are well thought -out.

TumpeLo made me laugh out loud with her story on what a man can eat (Finnish). Good luck there - you will need it :)

Kallioblogi (Finnish) gives even more meaning to the place where I live in. It's a blog that feels warm and cozy, though I doubt others would feel so. But I live in Kallio (or in the near vicinity anyway). And I like toilets. We need more toilet reviews!

If you left out the Formula 1 -news, I would be proud to write Viimeisellä Rannalla (Finnish). But then again, I'm a geek, and I am interested in geeky things. :)

If the blog's tagline is "Fashion, design, science and all that stuff", how could it not be interesting? Unacosa (English) is rarely updated, but always with interesting content about things that are sort of in the peripheral view of my interest eye, but I never get to actually doing.

Forever Geek (English) is one of those geeky-nerdy type blogs that there are a million out there. But I get usually a few chuckles from the links - this is the stuff you don't see in Slashdot. Or you do see, but four days later.

And, to finish off with a really popular blog that is virtually unknown in Finland: If weird-yet-slightly-nerdy-kinda-type links are just your thing, J-Walk tends to be a good source for them. Many times a day. Many, many times. Many, many, many times.

Addendum: I nearly forgot to list Freedom to Tinker (English), Edward Felten's (yes, that Ed Felten) insightful blog into our rights to modify and tinker with the things we own. You see, a lot of people don't like you to think and create on your own, except in the sandboxes they are willing to give you. Freedom to tinker is about your rights to do whatever you like with the things that you own.

Monday, 25-Oct-04 15:19
Practical uses of smoking

I don't in general approve or understand smoking - but there's actually a very good benefit to working for a smoker: you get to have proper pauses in meetings. Every hour, or every 1.5 hours, he's "gotta go". And that gives everyone a five minute break to check on their email, walk about, stretch, talk some off-topic crap and in general be groovy (we all need to be groovy at least 15 minutes a day).

However - if everyone in your group is an epitome of healthy living habits and breathe and live on work, it's entirely possible that nobody simply remembers to schedule a break - and for some reason nobody dares to suggest a break either. And if the boss happens to have a so-called "party bladder", things get really bad.

Not that I am complaining right now. No sirree. I just had a five-minute break to spend having a meaningful conversation in the porcelain temple. All is well now. I just have these emails gathering in my Inbox, and I suspect they are planning a revolt whenever it flows over. I can see them building ladders and forging swords already...

No, I'm okay.

Really.

Sunday, 24-Oct-04 20:49
Parting is such sweet sorrow

I hate Sundays. I used to hate Mondays, but I hate Sundays now even more. Before July, Sundays were the day were you would sleep late, read the Sunday edition of the newspaper, eat something unhealthy, and in general be at ease, groovy and relaxed.

But now, Sunday is the day when we have to part again. Every Sunday, I feel my heart being wrenched out, as I realize that the moment of leaving is getting closer. In the end, you don't want to even view the clock, but still, the growing darkness outside reminds you that the absolutely final moment you have to go - or else miss the plane - is approaching unwaveringly. I start to long for her even if she's here, on the sofa, resting her head against my shoulder. I feel her warmth, and feel the empty spot in my chest. The same empty spot that used to have my heart before she took it. And it hurts. It hurts so bad.

I know this is nothing new to people reading this. I know I am whining. I know me and Outi have to come to a solution soon. But dammit - it's my blog, and my life. I get to whine here as much as I want. So there.

She made me apple pie. With vanilla sauce. I think I'll go have some.

Sunday, 24-Oct-04 02:43
Drunkn blogging

Urr. Spent a nice evening with Myrskymurmeli, one of me favorite blogs. Now feeling slightly drunken. And flatulent. Which was probably more than you really wanted to know.

And there's also a lot more happening that you really, really don't want to know... Trust me on this. Really. Gotta go now. CU around.

Friday, 22-Oct-04 16:36
Eddie!

Fantabulous! I have an odd feeling that instead of deep eye-gazing, wine, and severe hand-holding, we're going to sit on the couch and watch some stand-up comedy until our fillings fall off from all the laughing.

That is, if I had any fillings.

Friday, 22-Oct-04 11:45
Today's corporate gibberish

Early morning meeting, five persons sitting around the table. Somehow the sentence "Capturing the horizontal and vertical value models" is formed out of the creative void. "Should we include this?" someone asks.

We look at each other for a heartbeat. Then everybody erupts in laughter. "Hell no", we all say together.

There may yet be hope.

(Incidentally, today's Dilbert nails it. And in case you didn't know, you can also get it - and other comics as well - as an RSS feed.)

Thursday, 21-Oct-04 15:52
Fun test of the day...

alex
I am Alex, from "A Clockwork Orange."
Real Horrorshow.

Which Random Cult Movie Character are you?

*shrug* Makes sense. I've never been able to listen to "I'm singing in the rain" after this movie without cringing.

(Via Sinisen Kirjan Marginaali.)

Wednesday, 20-Oct-04 22:15
Idle wonderings

You know... Sometimes I wonder: do men choose the same or a different urinal every time they need to go? I mean, during a typical night out, a man has usually to go several times, and peeing in the same urinal every time has gotta become boring. I know I try to vary it every time...

Or it could be that I'm just slightly drunk. :)

Monday, 18-Oct-04 22:25
And that's when I knew I was a geek

I'm watching through the extras of the new Star Wars DVD boxed set. While most of them are, well, a bit worshipping, I've found two things of interest:

First, the old TV spots and movie trailers from 1970's... Wow. And I thought they give away the plot these days!

Second, this small quote from Peter Jackson, hidden in the end credits of a featurette:

Star Wars was the first time really that I'd had a concept that film-makers, i.e. George Lucas were shy, retiring types of people. Um, the types of kids that didn't have girlfriends and weren't picked for the sports team. And this was like me. You know, I was living thousands of miles away but I could recognize so much of myself in what I was reading about this guy who made Star Wars, George Lucas. I mean, the media were full of how shy and quiet he was. And yet, it gave all of us who felt we were very similar - it gave us a lot of hope that we could persevere and achieve the sort of things he had achieved.

Yup. I felt the same way when I saw the trilogy for the first time: The realization that you don't have to be like everyone else, that you can do what pleases you, even if that means being different. (Later on, I learned about the responsibilities and problems that come if you do follow your own path, but that's another story.)

Here's my own Star Wars secret, and my first geek experience: Kids tend to hide porn under their mattresses. I hid Star Wars magazines. I remember one article in a Finnish glossy magazine (Seura, I think?), which had an abbreviated version of the entire story, with glorious pictures. I couldn't see the film, because my parents wouldn't let me (I was too young), but I remember fantasizing about it at night. The colourful pictures swept my imagination away, and I was completely immersed in this fantasy world. I think I even invented a game about it on the second grade, and managed to talk my classmates into playing it (how, I still have no idea).

What's your first geek experience?

Sunday, 17-Oct-04 14:38
Cold?

Heh. Someone has dressed up this guy outside the Helsinki main railway station. Nice woollen sweater is a good thing, since it's getting a bit nippy out here ;)

Saturday, 16-Oct-04 14:39
General anger and an offer

Finally I managed to drag myself to see Fahrenheit 9/11. While Moore's style is preaching, and he chooses pretty liberally the facts he shows to support his agenda, and sometimes his all-american "look at this woman crying, ain't that sad" -emotionalism gets on my nerves - I can't but think that the man is right.

I am so angry now. And I also feel so powerless, looking at how the good US citizens are being led like cattle.

I know Kerry isn't much of a better choice, but that's what you get with two parties - you always get to choose between two evils, and hope you chose the lesser one.

Can I start buying votes in the US now? If you can prove to me that you vote for Kerry, and were planning to a) not to vote, or b) vote for Bush, get in contact with me, and let me hear how much money it would take to make you vote for Kerry. Only residents of republican-controlled states need to apply, of course. (I know, problem of proving your part of the transaction may be a bit of a problem, though. But if you want to me to vote someone on your behalf on the upcoming Finnish communal elections, I'd be happy to make a trade ;)

Update: I was angry when I wrote the last paragraph. To clarify my position: I really, really would like to urge every U.S. citizen to take a look at the damage the Bush administration has done to their foreign relationships - to the point that entirely rational foreign people from countries that are on very friendly terms with USA start to have dumb ideas like to offer money to get rid of the man - and consider their vote accordingly.

Wednesday, 13-Oct-04 11:01
Ewww...

Started the morning by putting deodorant on my toothbrush. Still not well, I see.

Tuesday, 12-Oct-04 19:45
Still alive - for now.

You know you haven't blogged when people start emailing you and asking if you're still alive... But yeah, the fever is slowly residing, I have sick leave until Thursday, and a hefty bunch of antibiotics. I feel nearly alive now. And my love has been here for a week - the longest we've ever spent together. And while we've both been sick, and we actually have had to live with each other for a while, with all the small things that come with that, I think I love her even more for it. We sit in the same room, less than a meter apart, and exchange instant messages over MSN and laugh. So geeky, yet fun.

Though I do have one big worry - and it's this article from The Guardian. It simply makes all the bickering, semantics, and normal blogosphere worries look paler than a frozen sick goth nerd. The world is dying, and there ain't no definitions of blogging that can change it. We bloggers bring out worries and joys for people to read, have heated arguments over words, complain, have brilliant insights, write wonderful descriptions about our lunches, ogle over naked women/men and new motherboards, discuss politics, rant over stupid things, love and hate with passion, and do all the things that humans are really, really good at doing when they want to figure themselves out - but we should never lose sight of the Really Important Matters. Navel-gazing is a healthy part of the life, but as much as some don't like it, we still are a part of the world.

So think. Really hard.

Saturday, 09-Oct-04 20:30
Spam spam spam spam no more

After the spam incident, I wrote today a keyword/pattern-based spam filter for JSPWiki. Grab it from the CVS, while it's still hot... I'm seeing some oddities with it, but that's probably because I still have 37.8°C fever. So the code quality might be a bit shaky.

I'm deploying it now on one site to see how it works, and perhaps drop it on jspwiki.org once it seems to work.

Enough twiddlitization with the computer today. Must rest now.

Friday, 08-Oct-04 22:19
Giving up on Vorbis

I got myself a nice Apple Airport Express, so now I can stream audio into my stereo (I know other possibilities exist, but I like the fact that this one also works as a portable base station). It was really easy to set up, but whenever I tried to play a song, it would play on the loudspeakers of the laptop, not the stereo set.

I tried to figure out what was wrong with it - and then I realized that ~AirTunes transmits only MP3 or AAC, not OGG. And there's no fix in sight, neither by the Ogg QT plugin or Apple.

Okay, I've had it. I have been an advocate of the Open Source Ogg Vorbis, a very high quality audio codec with big promises. But unfortunately it has just remained just that - a promise. It's virtually unsupported in portable players (Rio Karma and iRiver players excluded - which essentially makes them mail-order only). Some music software supports it, most do not. The development is slow. It's just making life a bit too difficult for someone, who just wants things to work. There's a certain limit on the time one can spend tinkering - and I want to use my tinkering time on other things.

So I'm giving up on Ogg, and re-encoding the 2GB of Ogg music back to MP3 (from the originals, of course). To get a similar quality, I'll use about 1.5x the disk space, but my life will be easier. Hard drives are cheap.

BTW, I'm also ready give up on Debian - Debian unstable still has Firefox 0.9.3, and tends to break on every other apt-get upgrade. Especially X causes premature gray hair. But that's a subject for an another time, though I'd love to hear ideas. I want to have the ease-of-use of APT (no RPM hell for me, please), and I want a distro that keeps its software more up-to-date.

Friday, 08-Oct-04 01:41
Here goes nothing...

So, okay, here's the article I promised some time ago on weblogs, and the state of Finnish blogs. In Finnish. Sorry guys.

Mikä on blogi?

Kuten jo lupasin, tässä oma, henkilökohtainen mielipiteeni siitä, mikä se blogi sitten oikeastaan on.

Blogi eli verkkoloki (engl. blog, weblog) on julkinen, säännöllisesti päivitetty, verkkosivusto, jossa uusin lisäys on nähtävissä etusivulla ylimpänä, seuraavaksi uusin toiseksi ylimpänä ja niin edelleen. Lisäksi jokaiseen yksittäiseen lisäykseen ("merkintään", engl. entry) voidaan viitata yksikäsitteisellä hyperlinkillä ("kestolinkki", engl. permalink).

Siinäpä se oikeastaan onkin.

Kyllä, tämä määritelmä tarkoittaa sitä, että esimerkiksi Agrippa, Siiveniskuja tai Hupaisaa ajankulua tyhmille lapsille eivät ole blogeja, koska ne eivät käytä blogin ulkoisia tuntomerkkejä, vaan lähinnä kolumneja tai (todellakin) päiväkirjoja. (Mikki jopa mainitseekin, ettei koe olevansa bloggaaja, vaan nimenomaan kirjoittaa päiväkirjaa). Ja kyllä, täl ...

More...

(On a personal note, I got a pretty sudden flu attack. I had the most extraordinarily boring meeting today - a meeting that in theory was interesting, but the combination of English spoken over a bad phone line, and 8pt fonts on a Powerpoint slideshow together with a flu meant that I actually had to read (very) technical documentation to stay awake. So now I'm home, sipping a nice cup of cocoa with a bit of Jameson in it. I'm in the state where I'm exhausted, but still unable to sleep. Highly annoying. But Outi is here, so I'm happy, even though thinking over three-syllable words makes my brain twitch in pain.)

Wednesday, 06-Oct-04 12:49
Pissed off at Chinese wikispam now

On suomigo.net, a wiki resource for Finnish go players, somebody had modified about ten pages by putting a lot of links to Chinese web resources and advertisements, with the following comment:

Please do not delete,I send this message only one time,in order to introduce some china website.IF you delete,I will publish every day.***************

I am from china,I want to introduce some very good chinese sites to you ,so you can find something about china cluture,people.

So that fucking moron comes to a Finnish web site, and THREATENS us that unless we keep his links (which are solely for getting a higher rating on search engines, as far as I can see) on a Finnish language web site, he'll start harassing us in the future. This is of course not an isolated case, both jspwiki.org and suomigo.net have Chinese spammers come in almost daily.

I am this >< close to banning the entire .cn domain from accessing anything on any wiki I administer. China does not need government censorship - with this kind of conduct, people will start blocking them on their own. I really have nothing against the Chinese, but if these problems become too frequent, I'm willing to throw some babies out with the bathwater.

(And no, I cannot block just the IP - all spam comes from different addresses every time.)

Please convince me of an alternate solution, or not to do it. I simply hate to do something like this, but at the moment I can't think of an alternate solution.

Monday, 04-Oct-04 10:28
An unlikely meeting

Met my neighbour this morning. Those who live in Helsinki know how unlikely it actually is. Even more unlikely, we actually started a conversation in the elevator. She asked me if I still hang in IRC, and that she had seen me on the #jspwiki channel.

"Oh? What were you doing there?"

"I was going to ask some things, as JSPWiki sucks ass."

"Really? How's that?"

So she goes on ranting how JSPWiki is inflexible: how you can't do this, and how you can't do that, and how the whole thing is so broken. I listen and patiently explain the ins and outs of wiki technology, tell her that you can do whatever layout you want by embedding HTML directly on the JSPWiki pages, you just need to turn that feature on, because it's off by default for security purposes.

Finally, just before we arrive at the metro station, she asks me: "How do you know so much about this shit?"

"I'm the lead developer of JSPWiki. About 95% of the code is written by me."

"... Oh." she says, as comprehension sinks in.

(What are the odds that your neighbour uses your software? If you aren't Linus Torvalds, that is... :-D)

Saturday, 02-Oct-04 23:55
The distance sucks

I'm lying on her bed, trying to compose a (very) lengthy blog post, she's touching up some photos we took today. It's so wonderful to be with someone so... compatible that it's almost scary. Everything just feels so natural, and you keep thinking: "this is too easy, where's the catch?"

And then I remember that I have to go away tomorrow, and remember the catch.

Friday, 01-Oct-04 13:11
Man faces 20 years of jail for saying what he thinks

From Salon Magazine:

Sept. 29, 2004 | An Army Reserve staff sergeant who last week wrote a critical analysis of the United States' prospects in Iraq now faces possible disciplinary action for disloyalty and insubordination. If charges are bought and the officer is found guilty, he could face 20 years in prison. It would be the first such disloyalty prosecution since the Vietnam War.

Land of the free, indeed. Or perhaps this is considered as revealing state secrets?

(Via Joi Ito.)

(Ja omana välikommenttinani suureen lusikkakeskusteluun tämä pikku-uutinen Japanista. Jos ei oo miestä, niin aina voi lusikoida nukella. Err. Ja Nti Ilona on koska vain tervetullut kahville seuraamaan tilannetta ihan paikan päälle. :)

Friday, 01-Oct-04 12:33
Move

Our office moved while I was away (kinda like your parents move while you're at school, but nothing like it).

Heh. After 22 years of tinkering with computers, I can still wonder why my computer does not start, only to realize I have forgotten to plug it in.

I guess that should be a lesson in something. But really, the only thing I can claim to have learned over the years is that if something does not work, check the cables first. :)

Wednesday, 29-Sep-04 15:00
urgghhh...

Feeling bad. Very bad. I finished yesterday by throwing up three times, and I am having trouble keeping my lunch down right now. My stomach seems to have an autumn cleanup going on.

It feels more like a flu than a hangover to me. One of the signs is that a hangover would be going away about now, and I'm actually getting worse. Perhaps it was the food (which was suspicious, at best).

Update: It's evening and my stomach is still giving me the busy-tone. Eurgh.

Update2: Thursday evening, I'm back, and my stomach is feeling a bit better. I still have to watch what I eat. Must've been a food poisoning of sorts.

Tuesday, 28-Sep-04 20:20
Arg!

More beer. Getting worried now... I see a very drunken blog entry coming up... Thank god T9 corrects most typos :)

Tuesday, 28-Sep-04 19:20
More German beer!?!

Okay. This explains why they insisted that this meeting is here in Stuttgart at this time: it's the time for the Wangen beer festival. So I am listening to German drinking songs while gulping down beer in amounts that makes my bladder cry out in pain just by thinking by it (much like other men, I often think with my digestive/reproduction system).

Oh well. :)

Monday, 27-Sep-04 20:45
Oof...

What did I tell you... Look at the size of that thing!

Monday, 27-Sep-04 20:24
Stuttgart!

German beer, mmm...

It really bugs me that the only food name we were taught in the German class at school was "Würstchen und Kartoffelsalat". As I like neither, I am always completely at loss in German restaurants. It must be a similar feeling to what a technology illiterate person feels when trying to buy a computer. I just nod and follow the recommendations.

What the hell are "Zwiebeln" anyway?

Sunday, 26-Sep-04 13:47
Sweet misery

Just this morning, we were in the shower together, quoting Eddie Izzard to each other and laughing.

Now, a few measly hours later, my love is gone again, going back North, and the house seems so awfully empty. The sun is shining, it is warm outside, like a summer's day, and a lost fly flies frantically about in my apartment, desperately seeking something but only finding a place to die.

I still have packing to do, as I am leaving for Stuttgart in a couple of hours.

I wrote some code yesterday morning, as she was still sleeping, as I did not have the heart to wake her up.

I just miss her so terribly already.

Saturday, 25-Sep-04 10:27
Dumb test, part Billion

Well, of course I am 80% blogaholic: 80 points is in the 51 through 80 precent You are a dedicated weblogger. You post frequently because you enjoy weblogging a lot, yet you still manage to have a social life. You're the best kind of weblogger. Way to go!

(Via Marjut.)

Wednesday, 22-Sep-04 18:48
Oh my

My last tongue-in-cheek rant has gotten a lot of feedback, from the clueless "You just want to have everything for free, think of us starving artists, you filth-eating Kazaa-lover"-crowd to the equally clueless "Go, man!"-people.

Is the art of irony really so lost these days? Or am I just having gland problems again?

Guys and gals - putting serious things in humorous clothes is a time-honored tradition. Everybody likes a good self-ironic pun at the gallows.

But some people have actually taken the time to point out some fallacies in that rant - fine. Fair enough. But... so fucking what? The key point still stands: we actually lied to the content industry, and that is a part of the reason why we are in this mess. We offered solutions to them that would allow the big media companies to get more money by offering less ("you can listen to this song only twice, and then you have to pay more!" "Right..."), and that just does not work. Think about it. The only place where such a draconian control is possible, is a a society which puts 1984 to shame in its all-encompassing iron control over everything you do. And we don't want that, now do we?

DRM does not work, unless we are going to accept someone watching over us every moment of our lives. And I think that's a bit too big a price to pay to the starving artists (who, by the way, would be a lot less starving if the producers and distributors screwed them less).

What we need are sensible solutions which take account the realities of digital life (including the fact that bits can be copied. Period.), and use them to give everyone a better experience. Especially to the creative people, who should be able to make a decent living out of entertaining the rest of us. Is that really so much to ask?

Tuesday, 21-Sep-04 15:46
We lied to you

(Inspired by Cory Doctorow's DRM speech.)

Dear Media Industry:

We lied to you. In the golden 80s and 90s we told you micropayments and content protection would work; that you would be able to charge minuscule amounts of money whenever someone listened to your music or watched your movie. We told you untruths which we well knew would never work - after all, we would've never used them ourselves. Instead, we wrote things like Kazaa and Gnutella, and all other evil P2P applications to get the stuff free.

We told you these things so that you would finance the things we really wanted to build, not the things that you wanted to be built. We knew all along that DRM schemes do not work, and we knew that whatever we create can be broken by us. We don't care anymore, because your money made us bigger than you.

Look at us: every year, we churn out more computer games than your entire industry is worth. You know how we do it? We like our customers. We don't treat them like potential criminals, and try to make our products do less. We invent new things like online role-playing -games, where the money does not come from duplication of bits (which cannot be stopped, regardless of your DRM scheme) but from providing experiences that the people want.

We saw that you were old and weak. So we took advantage of it: told you things that you wanted to hear so we could kick you in the head in twenty years. Some of us told you that the future is going to be interactive - what did you do? You started to think how to make interactive movies (CD-I, anyone?), which is not what it really means, while we wrote games and tried to understand the new mediums, not how to bolt it on onto old things.

We lied to you. And we apologize for that, but it was for the greater good. So we're not the least bit sorry.

Signed: The Computer Industry

Updated: Changed the title - it was pointed out to me that it unfairly pokes at the creative people themselves, and not enough at the large multinational companies.

Update 2: This entry has now been translated into French. Whoa.

Monday, 20-Sep-04 17:14
Happened last night

I remember dreaming that something was lost. I woke in the middle of the night, not knowing what or why I was seeking so desperately. Something was missing, and I could not say what.

Then I found it on the floor, where it had apparently fallen off the bed during the night.

I lifted it and put it back next to my pillow where it belongs, and fell back to a dreamless sleep. With a smile on my face.

I wonder... How long can one shirt keep her scent?

Monday, 20-Sep-04 09:31
A Telegram to USA

Axis of Ævil - an US Citizen living abroad - wants to send a telegram back home:

I dream sometimes about a big, thick, juicy porterhouse steak and cornbread. I crave food, folks and fun but, in spite of whatever the US media crackheads have been smoking to report 'the world being safer' thanks to the US military, out here in reality I'm just not sure that my desire to visit home exceeds my desire to not get in the way of some wackos when tensions are clearly on the rise.

...PLEASE START ASKING QUESTIONS ABOUT SHIT THAT MATTERS LIKE EDUCATION, ECONOMICS AND MAKING NICE WITH THE REST OF THE WORLD NOW THAT EVERYONE HATES US AND MOST OF US LIVING OUTSIDE THE US PRETEND TO BE CANADIANS WHEN ASKED...

Saturday, 18-Sep-04 14:06
Nokia Mediamaster review

I've been an owner of a digital television (DVB-C) box for a while now. My chosen model was the Nokia Mediamaster 260C, which I bought as soon as it got out.

While the idea of a 80 GB hard drive recorder is good, the Navibar UI looks cool, and the box looks nice, that's pretty much the extent of the good things about it. Let me explain:

First of all, this is an expensive box, considering that it only has a single tuner (making it impossible to tape one channel, and watch another). And the fact that it is cable only tends to hamper its moveability (you have to buy a new one if you move to a place with only terrestrial or satellite digital tv). It's really only for first adopters. Also, for an expensive box the construction is rather shabby - the power button on the device itself feels as if it was breaking off. And the remote feels wrong - some of the buttons (like the "opt", which is used for getting a pop-up menu) are located in inconvenient positions for frequent usage. The navigation key doesn't really work, either (my words are failing: what's "tunnoton" in English?) And the fan is LOUD.

A far bigger problem is the unstability. If I leave the box on for a weekend, it has almost certainly crashed when I get back. And you can't download firmware updates, because my cable company does not officially support this box. And the Nokia support site is not helpful either, because you are supposed to download the updates over the digital tv network.

Those I could still live with, being an early adopter and all - you know, first generation problems and so forth.

But what really kills the whole thing for me is the usability. You know, sometimes you just notice that usability studies were done with engineers, and "regular people" have problems with the UI. But this one - I am an engineer, and I have *serious* problems with it. So it makes me wonder, was this thing tested at all before market?

First of all - you cannot go through the program guide and say "record this program". Nope. You just have to scribble the date, time and channel down, and then return back to the top level and go to the programming menu. This box does not support the "SI" data (which allows the program to be recorded even if it was late or changed slots), but then again, neither do the cable channels in Finland (I think). So the UI resembles an old VCR in that sense. You even have to add an extra ten minutes or so, so that you get the whole program.

This, of course, makes the entire "record this program weekly" -feature near-useless. At least in Finland, programs keep shifting schedules weekly (by five-ten minutes), so it is almost impossible to record a particular program correctly for more than a month. And in most cases, the programs I want to record are in the middle of the night, which slot is particularly subject to programming changes. This is, of course, mostly a problem with the networks. But hey, they don't want me to watch the programs, fine.

I have so many usability gripes with this machine (like the fact that the EPG is damn unusable, or that the menus - aside from the Navibar - look so horribly, horribly crappy, as if the designer had only a Commodore-64 - or that the playback stops if you use the menus, and you have to go back to the taped program listing and select the program again if you want to resume watching, so I will concentrate on the two major fuck-ups.

The Timer menu does not show the week day. It does not show it while you're programming, or while you're viewing. This makes it a hard cognitive task to figure out which program is which. Let's say that you want to tape a program next Wednesday (because programs tend to repeat on a weekly basis): You actually have to find out today's date, and then figure out which day is next Wednesday before you can enter it into the timer menu. This is NOT easy to do every single time you record something (I'm an engineer - I'm supposed to be good with numbers. I find this difficult. YMMV.) Especially since the machine is unable to tell you the current date (or time) in any useful manner.

But the super-major-cluster-fuck-up is the "Back" key. One would imagine that when you have a "back" key, and an "ok" key, they would be roughly equivalent of "cancel" and "ok". Five minutes ago, I was going to remove a timer setting from the timer menu. I press "opt", and I get two options "remove", and "remove all". First of all - I don't get why the "remove all" is on that menu - it's too easy to select by accident due to the fact that the "ok" key is right next to the cursor keys. Which I did.

Oops, the TV now shows a "Information - all scheduled recordings will be removed (Ok, Opt, Back)". So, I hit "back", and the machine dutifully removes all of my 8 scheduled recordings.

WHAT THE MOTHER OF ALL IDIOTS?!?

Why is there not a "are you sure you want to remove every single thing you just used an hour of your life to hunt down from the newspaper and painstakingly type it in this dumb box" -confirmation dialog? Especially since you just cannot go through the EPG and say "record this". Especially since it is so easy to accidentally delete all recordings. This is one of those mistakes you easily catch if you do proper usability studies. This is one of those mistakes any designer with half a brain could've told you about in a heuristic evaluation. This is one of those mistakes that makes the box an object of hate more than an object you can't live without and recommend to your friends. This is a classical example why usability matters.

I just simply cannot recommend the Nokia Mediamaster 260 C to anyone. Don't buy it. I'll be getting rid of it myself. If I can still sell it after this rant.

Update: The story does not end here. Check out The Crash.

Saturday, 18-Sep-04 12:22
Why I'd like to understand blogging

People ask me often what is a "blog". It annoys me to no end that I cannot give a simple answer, because it tells me how little I understand of the phenomenon.

A big discussion point in Finland at the moment is that "blogs" have been translated as "internet diaries". There is an danger of confusion here: If I tell you that I play go, and that it is an "old chinese boardgame", you will immediately understand its nature. But if I say that "I blog, and it's like writing a diary on the web", your next question will be "do you really write about your sex life in public?" And that is because the word "diary" has a private connotation. Reading someone else's diary is peeping and wrong. Reading things that someone else published in the hopes that someone would read them and give feedback, is not. Diary = private, blog = public.

Most of the significant weblogs in the world are not diaries. But that's another subject for a later day.

Perhaps I am an elitist, purist and academic. But I would still really, really like to be explain to my grandmother what it is that I care so much about.

Saturday, 18-Sep-04 12:21
Miksi mietin mitä eroa on blogilla ja nettipäiväkirjalla

English summary follows in the next entry.

Toisten mielestä blogit ja verkkopäiväkirjat ovat eri asia. Toisten mielestä taasen erolla ei ole merkitystä, ja on täysin hupsua ja jaarittelua edes puhua koko asiasta. Parempi on vain kirjoittaa.

On totta, että loppujen lopuksi vain sillä, mitä kirjoittaa, on merkitystä. Se, millä nimellä sitä kutsuu on oikeastaan vain pieni merkityksetön sivuseikka, joka sopii vain puristeille ja akateemikoille.

Mutta.

Kun kerron bloggaavani, minulta kysytään liki poikkeuksetta, mikä on blogi. Ja minusta "no se on semmoinen, kun vaan kirjoittaa nettiin jostain, ei sillä ole nyt oikeastaan väliä" ei ole vastaus. Se kertoo, että vastaaja ei oikeastaan välitä aiheesta, ja koska hänkään ei välitä, niin miksi kenenkään muunkaan pitäisi siis välittää, kun "ei sillä ole mitään merkitystä muille kuin puristeille ja akateemikoille."

Jos kertoisin pelaavani jalkapalloa, kukaan ei kysele. Jos kerron pelaavani go:ta, vastaus on "vanha kiinalainen lautapeli, luultavasti maailman vanhimpia ja vaikeimpia" - eikä siitä yleensä herää sen enempää kysymyksiä. Ihmisillä on olemassa jo ennestään käsitys termeistä "jalkapallo" ja "lautapeli".

Mutta jos sanoisin, että blogi on sama asia kuin nettipäiväkirja, ihmisille jäisi väärä kuva siitä, mitä teen, ja mikä blogi voi olla. On totta, että kirjoitan paljon myös omasta elämästäni (ja viimeaikainen romanssihan on ollut sosiaalipornoa parhaimmillaan), mutta en missään nimessä pidä itseäni päiväkirjan kirjoittajana. Blogini on yhtäaikaa päiväkirja, kolumni, suttupaperi, uutispalsta, arvostelupalsta ja huumoripläjäys. Se on paikka, jossa jaan ystävieni (ja ilmeisesti muutaman tuntemattomankin, päätellen 30.000 kuukausittaisesta visiitistä) minua kiinnostavia asioita. Bloggaus on jakamista.

On toki olemassa oikeita nettipäiväkirjojakin, mutta siinäkin termi "päiväkirja" aiheuttaa herkästi tulkintaongelmia. Useimpien ihmisten mielestä päiväkirjaa ei ole tarkoitettu jaettavaksi. Tyttöystäväsi päiväkirjan lukeminen on tirkistelyä ja väärin. Blogiin kirjoitetaan asioita, jotka nimenomaan on tarkoitettu luettavaksi, joten blogin lukeminen ei voi olla tirkistelyä. Jos kuuntelet kaverisi kertomusta päivästään kahvin ääressä, et tirkistele hänen elämäänsä - vaan jaat sitä. Tässä on tavallisen päiväkirjan ja nettipäiväkirjan ero: Nettipäiväkirja on tarkoitettu luettavaksi - päiväkirja ei.

Joten kun hypoteettinen keskustelukumppanini kysyy silmät ymmyrkäisinä, kirjoitanko tosiaan seksielämästäni internettiin (ja tämä kysymys ei valitettavasti ole niin hypoteettinen kuin haluaisin), niin huokaisen syvään ja kiroan sitä päivää, jolloin termi "nettipäiväkirja" tuli yleiseen tietoisuuteen. Seuraavaksi alan selittää, miten bloggaus on "henkilökohtaisen julkaisemisen uusi muoto" ja miten suurin osa maailman merkittävistä blogeista ei itse asiassa ole päiväkirjaa nähnytkään.

Minä haluan vain tietää, mitä on tämä juttu mitä teen. Jalkapalloilijoilla ja go:n pelaajilla juttu on jo hanskassa, koska ihmiset tietävät noin suurinpiirtein mitä termit "nurmikenttä" ja "lautapeli" pitävät sisällään. Termi "nettipäiväkirja" sisältää jo väärinkäsityksen siemenen itsessään.

Ehkä minä sitten olen elitisti, puristi ja akateemikko. Mutta minua häiritsee se, etten osaa selittää isoäidilleni yksinkertaisesti, mitä tarkoittaa että olen bloggaaja. Ja onhan se nyt hemmetin outoa, ettei osaa selittää harrastusta josta sentään oikeasti välittää.

Seuraavassa osassa: mikä se blogi sitten minun mielestäni on. Sitä seuraavassa osassa analyysi Suomen blogitilanteesta. Pysykää kanavalla (ja kiillottakaa kepit ja peskää ruoskat jo valmiiksi.)

Wednesday, 15-Sep-04 22:21
Witchcraft repackaged

Here's a review of Harry Potter... Witchcraft Repackaged: Making Evil Look Innocent in the Wave Magazine. Some choice quotes:

If Harry Potter was fake, witches all over the world would be complaining about how fake it was. And since they’re not, the spells in Harry Potter are all real.
Of course, as the video warns, if you say witchcraft has no power, you have two problems in your line of reasoning. One: you’re ignoring all the people that do have magic powers, and two: you’re saying that God’s warning in the Bible against sorcery is actually worthless.

Oh, the inescapable logic...

(Thanks to Syksy for the link.)

Wednesday, 15-Sep-04 12:12
Oooooooops

Apparently, you can open a supposedly unbreakable Kryptonite bike lock in two seconds using a ball-point pen. How's that for a security fuck-up?

(The original thread is at bikeforums.net, which has more info about which lock models are vulnerable. Via J-Walk.)

Tuesday, 14-Sep-04 14:25
RSS - slowly, surely, everywhere

RSS - Really Simple Syndication (or Rich Site Summary, depending on who you talk to) seems to be making new interesting conquests: First, Apple tells that the next version of Safari has a built-in RSS reader. Today, Mozilla Foundation releases Mozilla Firebird 1.0PR, which also includes a built-in RSS and Atom reader.

And through Kauppalehti, we learn that Ortikon Interactive has developed an RSS browser for digital TV. Now you can read many news sources and almost all weblogs in the world from the comfort of your own couch... Isn't the next logical application of this to combine this kind of a service with BitTorrent, and get something like Torrentocracy - and abolish TV channels completely?

This is by the way the reason why I think that Atom should be considered primarily as a content-delivery channel, and not a "standard for publishing weblogs". People know how bad I am at predicting, but my guess is that measured by volume, in two years most content transported through syndication standards (like RSS and Atom) will be non-weblog. While blogging is important, it cannot match the sheer volume of corporate-created content services. There's money to be made in syndication - go get it, folks!

Tuesday, 14-Sep-04 01:37
Dressmann -people

This older story (in Finnish) reminds me of discussion (and - in retrospect - an identity crisis of sorts) I had with a friend some time ago. The following may sound slightly elitist and derogatory. Boo-hoo.

(For the Finnish-impaired, that story is about how people from different countries gathered together, and all the men happened to be wearing the same outfit. Simply because they all had been shopping at Dressmann's. Yes, that multi-national clothes chain.)

Especially in the IT industry you see a lot of these people, which have been dubbed "Dressmann -people". They all wear the same type of attractively priced, yet good-looking clothes: shirt, straight pants; sometimes a jacket. They look clean, efficient, good, businesslike, no-nonsense, though youthful and relaxed. Some of them can even do the walk, or the cool swirl. They all look similar.

Yet... few of them are interesting. Even fewer are truly creative. They are more interested in getting to work early, then working eight hours, then going home to their families. And this is fine and great, because that work has to be done. And I'm all for family and breeding and that sort of stuff.

But it is not really interesting.

Interesting in the sense that changes the world. Creates new, wonderful things. Makes us laugh, or weep, or feel a sense of wonder. Convince us of a cause, or make us hate passionately something. These people... they're ... sensible.

Many people don't have that world-changing ability. Which is probably a good thing; a world where everybody would be strongly a creative individual could not, and would not work.

Monday, 13-Sep-04 00:08
Songs of love

Most couples I know have a song they can call "our song". It's the romantic song from that movie on the first date, or the one you played throughout the first night you spent together, or it can be somewhat really beautiful you both just happened to like. Or it can be something wholesomely silly, which makes everybody look at you like you just sprouted an extra pair of legs and move backwards slightly.

Our song is O-Zone's Dragostea din Tei. You know, the one that starts "Mai-a hii, Mai-a huu, Mai-a hoo, Mai-a ha-haa".

(Don't step back too much, you might fall off the cliff. Thank you. No, I just borrowed these legs from a transvestite. An action transvestite, mind you, not one of those weird ones.[1])

But anyway.

It just happened. We have no explanation. Perhaps it's because we're both fans of the 80s pop music. Perhaps it's because that's what we played and laughed at on our first night together. But it happened, and so we're stuck now with a song that is not destined to be an evergreen. So we'll never hear it accidentally in a bar twenty years from now, and think back to the halcyon days of fresh love. Unless, of course, it is a Romanian turn-of-the-century retro bar. I wonder if it's still too late to return it back to the shop and ask for a new one?

After this long-winded introduction, I come to the real reason behind this blog entry: The Lego version, presented by LegO-Zone. I just love Lego, and the way they titillate the imagination of creative people. Which makes the rest of us laugh.

(Makes me wonder, though, what kinds of songs other people have chosen - or what songs chose them. If you feel up to revealing it, drop a comment here.)

[#1] I know at least four of my readers know exactly what I'm talking about, and the rest of you are missing out on so much... Do you like bread? *poof*
Friday, 10-Sep-04 18:30
Why I haven't blogged about by trip to Iceland

Simple. No connection. I tried keeping a paper blog on my trip to Iceland. But it didn't really work out. Frankly, it was mostly crap.

Then again, when I read my older entries, 90% of them are crap, too. (Which is normal, according to Sturgeon's Law).

When you write a blog entry, you just write it and fire. You don't go back and re-edit. Once you publish it, there's no taking it back. It's there in the Google cache, and in the Internet Archive forever. And if it was important to someone, it will be dug up. There's surprisingly little entropy in the Internet.

But that's actually cool. You see, this kind of a writing style forces you to write better the next time. You just can't go back and tinker with your text until you're happy with it. You have to learn to let go of your creation, so that you don't just keep doing the same old stuff all over again. So you learn.

The internet allows us to produce more crap than ever before. But at least we'll be better at doing it. :)

Thursday, 09-Sep-04 23:15
It wasn't funny

Saw Shrek 2. Disappointed.

I think it wasn't as funny as the first one, because it laughed at Hollywood. And you just can't laugh at Hollywood, because that place is so crazy already. Poking the fairy tales and Disneyland in the first part worked, because it was new, and they take themselves so seriously. Populating Hollywood with magical creatures is so unsuprising, you almost go "where are all the pixie versions of the crack whores?" And everybody laughs at the movie industry every day for being what they are - they're better parodies of themselves than what anyone can do.

Shrek 2 felt just like a big US movie industry injoke, something you could sort of see was meant to be funny, but couldn't quite work out because of lacking background knowledge.

Okay, I laughed a few times. But I was hoping for better.

Thursday, 09-Sep-04 11:49
Diaries are bad for you, mmmkay?

New Scientist says that diaries are bad for you:

Keeping a diary is bad for your health, say UK psychologists. They found that regular diarists were more likely than non-diarists to suffer from headaches, sleeplessness, digestive problems and social awkwardness.

The UK researchers speculate that this is due to the fact that diarists are likely to mull over trauma more than those who do not keep a record of their failings. Sort of makes sense, even though I'm sure there is some relief in penning down your feelings.

But this is actually one of the reasons blogs are not just net diaries. Unlike diaries, which are usually protected by locks and cupboards, and guarded with fierce flames of privacy, blogs are for sharing things. Blogs thrive with readership, which makes them somewhat akin to peer support groups. Blogs encourage discussion and hopefully, responses from people. And even if nobody replied or commented, there is some relief that somewhere, someone reads your blog. Somebody finds it interesting enough to keep subscribing, regardless of the angst you pour out.

And that is a comforting thought.

(Via synapsi.net)

Wednesday, 08-Sep-04 13:29
Internet TV - but only if you risk it

A major Finnish TV channel: MTV3 has launched a new "Netti-TV" service, which "allows you to watch the programs whenever you want".

Nope. Apparently, I'm not a part of the "you". (And neither are others)

You see, they require Windows Media Player 9+, Internet Explorer, and Windows. I can understand the requirement for WMP (you gotta choose a codec), but IE? The buggiest and shittiest of all the current browsers? The official answer is "everybody uses Windows and IE, therefore we only support Windows and IE". Hell, I have IE and WMP 9 installed on my Mac. I have WMV codecs on my Linux box. Why am I excluded?

This is just so completely stupid. In this day and age, there is NO reason whatsoever to make a web site that is IE only. There are three possible explanations to this, none of them actually too flattering to MTV3:

  1. There is a secret deal between MS and MTV3 that alternative operating systems may not be supported (unlikely, but fun theory)
  2. A bunch of sorry, no-good, lazy, crappy coders working for a shady garage firm somewhere have managed to convince a completely clueless management that this is the only way. Any coder worth his paycheck should be able to produce standards-compliant web pages and streamed video. (likely)
  3. A designer created something that the coders found impossible to implement in a given schedule, except via resorting to hacks. They were too spineless to suggest another alternative, or were overruled by a clueless management. (happens all the time)

Come on - it's just a simple web site that contains program listings and then you click on them to get streamed video. IT'S NOT REALLY THAT HARD TO DO RIGHT!

OK, so the majority uses still Windows and IE. Fine. But does it not mean a shit to anyone that the most prominent and technically savvy people who actually do know what they're doing are switching en masse? And it's not only a geek thing: twenty per cent (20%) of the people reading this weblog are already using Firefox. And there are people switching who actually do matter. Even some people within Microsoft don't use IE. The geeks are not using IE because they know better. Others are using it because Firefox is just so nice. Nobody wants their machines to be infested with spyware and other crap.

And frankly, no web site I've ever seen that required the use of IE and Windows was really any good. Cluelessness shows.

*sigh*

Tuesday, 07-Sep-04 19:20
Out of the box

A young girl enters the tram, hugging a large pile of books, obviously borrowed from the library. A familiar title catches my eye, and I try to see the rest without appearing to be staring at her breasts.

It's the [Advanced Dungeons & Dragons] Dragonlance saga by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, which I remember eagerly reading about 20 years ago for the first time. And the only time, I think, because its literary values were somewhat doubtful. But it was good food for the developing imagination.

Now I make a living thinking of problems and solutions to them, before most people are even aware of the issues. I have been accused of thinking "out-of-the-box" many times (which I guess is a good thing). In retrospect, nothing else in my studies gave me as much preparation to this job than training my imagination via books and incessant role playing.

Role playing gave me my grasp of English, the ability to imagine myself in other people's place, my ability to explain things fast in a concise manner, and the craft of thinking outside the box -solutions to obscure problems. All of which are necessary, even vital now.

So, young girl: read the books and make your mind fly! No matter what anyone else says, at least for me the time wasted killing monsters was not really wasted at all. :-D

Monday, 06-Sep-04 01:59
Weekend fun

This weekend, I've mostly been driving. With a rental car, I bravely ventured to the mysterious East. It's not the reason, but the trip that I wish to tell you about.

I have never, ever seen so reckless driving. People would overtake others, even though there was someone on the opposite lane, overtaking someone else at that very moment, coming towards at a relative 200 km/h. And that was not the only incidence, I saw several. At one point, I was overtaken within a roadwork area, that actually had a "no passing" -sign and a speed limit of 30 km/h, and I would estimate the overtaker's speed being at about 80 km/h.

What happened while I was not looking? I mean - it was night, so visibility was crap, and also now is pretty much the time the moose[1] are on the move. What is this, the suicide weeks? The "crush your car into a raisin and see if you can survive the implosion" -theme days? Grand Theft Auto Live Role Playing Game?

*sigh*

Oh well. I returned home, eyes tired, bum asleep, and feeling generally down. I fire up IM and talk to my love for a few minutes - and she mentions a shirt she left here. I gallop around the house, find it on my pillow, and sniff her perfume on it.

And everything is suddenly all right again.

[#1] Moose? I mean "one goose" -> "many geese" - why not "one moose" -> "many meese"? Or at least "mooses"! What a dumb language... :)

Friday, 03-Sep-04 12:47
The internet is strange

This guy complains that his dog's blog gets more hits than his own blog.

Well, the dog blog is written in dog. And on the internet, nobody knows you're a dog... So obviously, there must be a lot of dogs about. More than you might think.

Ruff, ruff ruff ruff ruff. Ruff ruff ruff ruff, ruff ruff ruff ruff ruff.

Ja sama suomeksi: hau, vuh vuh vuh vuh. Vuh hau, grrr vuh vuh.

Thursday, 02-Sep-04 13:45
Why blogs are better (funnier) than email

I know, I know... There are hundreds of reasons why, and a lot of people would completely disagree with that statement.

But today I realized one big reason: choice.

Many people send funny jokes and pictures around the office and friends. You know - a long joke, or a funny picture, or in the extreme cases, a 3.5 Megabyte Powerpoint (with pictures) or a Quicktime movie file.

I hate it. On some of my email accounts, I have a mail quota - and I hit it really fast if I'm away a week. If I printed and burned all the Powerpoint slideshows I get, I could comfortably warm my house through the winter. I also read my mail quite often through GPRS (40 kbps or less), and I really, really don't like it when a "fun" movie clogs the connection for several minutes.

On the other hand, I have no problems whatsoever with people who post fun things on their blogs. The difference? Choice.

I get to choose whether I want to see that "fun" thing or not. Sometimes I don't have the time, or I don't have the equipment, or I just can't be bothered. With email it just comes to your inbox, and you cannot do a damned thing about it. Anyone can send me email, even the people with a bad sense of humour. (Not that I know any) You have to react to email, even if it's just deleting the message without reading. If someone, however, posts a link to their blog, I can read the description, bookmark it and come back to the message later on. Bloglines allows me to save blog entries easily for later viewing - which is highly useful and does not clutter my Bookmarks bar.

Blogs are a far better way of spreading memes than email, because they reach fertile ground quicker. Email depends too much on people forwarding your "funny" thing to others - blogs are visible to all people (and Google). Therefore, blogs will eventually surpass email as the preferred communication medium for non-personal items. I think :)

Wednesday, 01-Sep-04 22:59
In Finnish, for a change.

Sain tänään ihanan sähköpostin, joka sanoi kaiken oleellisen:

Sinä puuhaat keittiössä. Laitat paikkoja kuntoon.
Minä kuuntelen sitä, rakastan sinua
ja kaikki on sitä myöten selvää.

- Pentti Saarikoski -

(<idlewonder>Lieneekö yhden runon lainaaminen tekijänoikeusrikkomus? Sehän on itsenäinen teos, ja pikkaisesta runosta on aika vaikea lainata pelkkää osaa tekijänoikeuslain 22§:n tarkoittamalla tavalla. Hum.</idlewonder>)

Tuesday, 31-Aug-04 17:39
Slightly worried now

OK... So I managed today to fix all the things that cropped up today, and I have a huge backlog of things that occurred over the weekend, or during my trip to Oulu, or during my vacation. I got to the point where I was receiving more email than I could handle - the inbox was growing faster than I was emptying it - and I was doing nothing but reading email. I even had to tell people off because I was so busy doing things that I apparently should've done during my vacation (yeah, right) - and I try and never do that.

Not good. I see exhaustion ahead, approaching rapidly. I'm feeling good and energetic after the holidays, but at this rate I'll be dead by November.

(There's a big downside to working within the office hours: people see you and wander over to talk to you about pressing matters. And your work flow is interrupted. If you work outside the office hours, or from home - not that many interruptions. Perhaps I should just stay home for a couple of days, just to get some work done. *grin*)

Sunday, 29-Aug-04 13:12
Apple Airport Express cracked - surprising?

The guy who broke DVD encryption and iTunes Music Store has now cracked the encryption used in Apple's Airport Express, reports Edward Felten and asks what will be Apple's reaction.

My guess is that they will grumble and issue warnings, but essentially do nothing.

I have a theory that many of today's content protection systems have been designed to be crackable. You see, the technology companies are fully well aware that a) any DRM/encryption system is vulnerable, b) it is very expensive to design a good cryptographic system, c) having DRM on their systems means that their products are not as good or consumer-friendly as they could be, and d) if they don't put in protection, then content producers will sue their asses off.

So what is the logical conclusion? Put in a half-assed and cheap cryptographic system, that offers perhaps a few weeks or months protection, just enough to keep the content providers happy. And when it gets cracked, point at the evil hackers and say "their fault, we tried to protect this stuff, but the hackers are just too brilliant", and so they cannot be held responsible. And they will continue to sell their devices happily, because the market is now bigger. And I am sure that the content producers know this fully well, too (unless they have their heads up their asses, which is of course entirely possible).

I am also convinced that this is the reason why DMCA is not thought to be that bad by the consumer electronics companies: it just means that you can keep making really cheap, not-good-for-anything protection systems, because if a blind monkey happens to crack one, RIAA and others can just sue those monkeys and anyone using that cracking scheme - and the tech companies are again safe. It's like the proverbial bowl of water Pilatus used to wash his hands.

Eurgh.

Now what is interesting is what will happen to the companies that are now producing both content and devices (like Apple and Sony)? Can they survive this inherent rip in their business models - where the other half wants (and needs) to be open to survive in the marketplace, and the other half wants to close things down? My guess is that in the end, technology will win. After all, they are the ones making more money. And also because technology is controlled by a younger generation than content, and is willing to adapt much more quickly.

Sunday, 29-Aug-04 12:42
The saga continues (and hopefully ends here)

I wrote recently on a company which sends advertisements disguised as bills. I sent an email to the Finnish Consumer Ombudsman, and finally received a reply.

The official response says that the company "has agreed to stop such advertising, and is also closing down their web page. Closing of the web page has been influenced by a disagreement between the company and their ISP". So, perhaps the ISP should've sent their bill disguised as an advertisement *grin*.

I have to say that I found it quite pleasurable to talk to the Consumer Agency. If only they would respond faster to the initial email: "Yeah, we have received your mail, and are processing it." Now there was no indication that they actually had received the mail, which was kinda annoying. But all in all, I like the fact that we are moving towards a state where we can talk to the government agencies and bureucracies using email and other electronic ways of communication.

But is it always good? Before, you needed to talk to a faceless bureucrat in some gray building deep in the city center, but at least it was personal. These days, you send an email, and you have no idea who responded, as personalities are hidden behind catch-all email addresses or switchboard numbers.

However, it's not an "or" question. We can still choose to go and meet the bureucrats in person, if we choose to. And probably get a better service than before, because they now have less people coming to meet them. That's what the Internet gives us - more choices to pick from. That's why it's good, I think.

Sunday, 29-Aug-04 12:17
The Day

Yesterday was the day.

I met her parents for the first time. I had to convince them in the few precious minutes and hours we had together, so that they would not hate me passionately and throw pointy objects at me every time I crossed the Arctic Circle.

How did I prepare for this task? I first went to a farewell party (and drank some punch), and then to the blogger meeting (and drank some beer), slept for two hours, and then attempted to simulate rest in the uncomfortable seats of the train - ending up with my neck sore, eyes bloodshot and my hair standing up on the left side of the head only.

Yup. No selfrespect, no worries. That's what living free is all about. *grin*

(And apparently I was accepted: "If he's really like that, then he's okay" is a positive comment. Right?)

Saturday, 28-Aug-04 17:28
Quickie

This cracked me up: Someone has patented two new punctuation marks.

I can understand that one can trademark new punctuation marks (if they really, really like), but in my bestest ability cannot I fathom how these could be considered patentable. It is starting to look like even art could be considered patentable. I should probably make a painting of a tree and a building and a person, and write a patent on "an invention where one embodiment depicts a tree, a building, and a person", and then sue anyone who publishes a similar picture.

Bashing the patent office (and WIPO) is tantamount to hitting a retarded person: far too easy.

(Via Joi Ito.)

Update: Phosita sets us straight - apparently the patent was only applied, but the patent was not received. Well, that's good at least. But people seem to try to patent the oddest things, like love. (But it's God's love, not people's, so it's okay.)

Saturday, 28-Aug-04 00:06
Blogger meeting

Yet again, a horde of drunken Finnish bloggers are gathered together, and they want to greet the world in their own words. So who am I to stop them? Here goes: Finnish bloggers say hi:

Hmmm... Taidan taas ensimmäisenä poistua. Pitää lähteä kuuntelemaan musaa muualle. Uusia kasvoja, uusia blogeja. Ei täältä voi olla poissakaan.... Seuraavalla kerralla lisää. --KatjaW

Iltaan kuului ennenaikaisia siideripullollisia, paikallisen baariolohuoneen pehmeitä sohvia, paljon kasvoiltaan tuntemattomia tuttuja ja tietenkin myös nopeahko Trivial Pruisuit, joka taas osoitti ylivertaisuuteni kyseisessä pelissä. Epäilen myös Kysyn Vaanin saapuneen paikalle oluttuopiksi naamioituneena. Taas. Cheers! -- http://www.visukinttu.com

sedis tervehtii maailman hienoimman vehkeen välityksellä. one linerit ovat vähissä, sillä retromaailman vahvin sissiliike on valtaamassa blogiuniversumin. monikulttuurinen sanomamme on: kaikkien maailmojen blogistit, yhtykää. tässä suuruudenhullussa imaginaarisyydessä muistakaa pientä ihmistä, joka on nähnyt kaiken, eikä silti mitään sillä hän on jäänyt internetin ulkopuolelle. poliittinen blogihuumorini on kuollut, joten luovutan koneen matkatoimiston väelle. turisti, ole hyvä:

Turisti toteaa: Äiti, lähetä tyttärellesi rahaa tai laita mummi lihoiksi. Perintöä odotellessa.... Ei mut kivaa on, eikä selkäänkään satu kun juo tarpeeksi korpikuusen kyyneliä... lähetä edes ruisleipää... niisk... Niin ja Savo-Pohjanmaa maaottelu on käynnissä. Minä ja Aika jatkaa...

Tsalo jatkaa sisäistä kamppailuaan: kognitiivisilla valituilla on kaikki argumentit puolellaan; täällä on vain tupakka, viina ja villit naiset...

pni från skrubu.net (ja och lokala MMS blog också), hej. Tog mig till Berghäll för en kväll i stil med blind date, för att se vad hur människorna som skriver bloggar ser ut som. Hmm... ja. Det är ju helt vanliga typer faktsikt. Nu skall jag ta mig en öl till.

Julius, kobaia.net: Ensimmäistä kertaa Kallion blogimiitissä, edellinen meni sairastaessa kotona. Olen jo nyt juonut yli rajojeni, onneksi palkankorotus on luvassa mahdollisimman pian. Paljon uusia ihmisiä, muutamia vanhempia tuttavuuksia. Eikä Kysyn vaan uskaltanut tulla paikalle. TIEDÄN KYLLÄ KUKA OLET!

Vähänks meil on ihkui kaveriqvii Minyan kaa!!1 Nii ja minä Kobaïan Neahan olen vanha konkari täällä blogimiitissä. Jos tisseistä tai kalukukkaroista on keskusteltu, olen missannut. Pitääkin tästä mennä Skitso-Jannen kanssa aloittamaan keskustelu edes jostain sukupuolielimiin liittyvästä.

Saavuin sittenkin paikalle uuden ystäväni Rajatapauksen ja ja punaviinilasillesen rohkaisemana. Oikeasti en juonut punaviinilasillista rohkaisuksi, vaan terveydeksi ja järkytyksen poistamiseksi. Jatkan edelleen punaisella juomalla.. päänsärky johtuu savusta. Silti on kivaa nähdä uusia ja vanhoja naamoja. Kuvamateriaali löytyy osoitteesta http://www.minyaweb.net. Terkuin, Minya

Tapasin tänään uuden tuttavuuden, Minyan. Minut saatiin houkuteltua parin tunnin keskustelun jälkeen, tähän mielenkiintoiseen tapaamiseen. Jonkinlaista nettipäiväkirjaa olen pitänyt aikaisemminkin, tosin hieman suppeasta aiheesta...Nyt uskon jo jääneeni koukkuun tähän uuteen yhteisöön ;) (ennen edes nimimerkin rekisteröimistä). Nimimerkiksi taidan valita Rajatapauksen, jonkun paidasta innostuneena. Koen olevani jonkin sortin rajatapaus, selitys löytyy tulevasta päiväkirjastani. Oli tosi kivaa tavatata teidät kaikki, vaikutitte oikein värikkäältä ja mukavalta porukalta. Terveisin, Rajatapaus.

Hang-around-bloggaajien tapaaminen äityi sittenkin suureksi bloggaajamiitiksi, jossa jälleen virtasi vesi ja terveelliset elämän tavat olivat kunniassa. Vatsalihasliikkeitä tehtiin, venyteltiin äänijänteitä ja harjoitimme itseruoskintaa. Aah.

Osanottajien lukumäärä ällistyttää: seuraava blogimiitti pidetään jossakin laajemmassa paikassa. Uudet tuttavuudet ovat aina kiinnostavia, eniten huvituimme kuitenkin Soopan vakaasta käsityksestä, että Pala maailmaani käsittää yhden kappaleen nuoria brunetteja.

Kysyn vaan olisi englanniksi joko "I only ask you" tai Mitin ehdottama "I barely ask". Olisikohan jo aika lähteä lepäämään? RaparperiBlog kiittää.

SchizoBlog bloggaa kerrankin ilmaiseksi jossain muualla kuin ~SchizoBlogissa. Olut "halpaa" (lue: luottokolrtti toimii). Nännän Nää kaikki, jotka ette päässeet paikalle. Menetitte elämänne bileet. Paikalle ilmestyi enemmän kuin viime kerralla ja keskustelu on enemmän kuin erittäin vilkasta ja antoisaa. Varsinkin Sediksen missaaminen on elämän suuria menetyksiä. Miettikää sitä.

Ööö.. Koska on mun vuoro? Mä aion vetää Elviksen koko tuotannon. Mitä? Eiks tää olekaan Idols-karsinta? -m-

Rökitys. Nöyryytys. Luovutusvoitto. Hyvä ilta siis :) -Haltia

Wednesday, 25-Aug-04 23:54
No sir, I am not that much in touch with my feminine side

I was going to blog from Reeperbahn (I find it slightly worrying that T9 actually recognizes that word) but instead exhaustion got the better of me, so I'm in the hotel, ready for bed.

But idly I wonder about why my name seems so feminine to many non-Finns. The hotel tv greets me as "Mrs Jalkanen", and someone has placed a women's magazine on the table for my convenient perusal.

Well, no big harm done :). If some computer out there thinks I'm a woman, let it be. Computers need their fun, too.

Update: I need to check my handwriting. The hotel bill this morning was addressed to

Mrs. Janne Jalkanen
Algrsis Rivon Katu
00510 Mozinski
Finland

NOT quite where I imagine living. And the poor clerk looked very confused as she looked me in the eye and went: "M...errr Jalkanen?", as she was trying to decide which one was correct: the computer or her eyes. :-D

Tuesday, 24-Aug-04 14:49
Caged

Back at work, already swept by schedules and plans and meetings and travel. Today, Tampere; tomorrow, Germany.

Outside, the sun mocks me with its gentle rays, and the trees laugh and rustle their leaves.

I want to be back out there with them and feel the wind.

Monday, 23-Aug-04 03:07
The importance of dreams

I'm back home again; a day later than I was supposed to. With some very interesting tan lines, I might add.

My Thursday night was one of the strangest ever. Suffice to say that I ended up alone, in an Irish pub in Reykjavik, listening to melancholic guitar music and downing a horribly expensive beer. I also had a fever (of which I was not aware of the time), which produced some of the most vivid and strangest dreams I've seen in a long while, when I finally clambered to the youth hostel.

So I dreamed. In one dream, I was crossing a street, and as the traffic lights went green, all of the cars turned to horses and had to be herded away so I could cross the street. In a second dream, I saw myself find an internet terminal, and buying tickets to Oulu for the day that I arrive in Helsinki.

I wake up - still feverish - and recount some of the dreams to my travel companion. She looks at me, with a slightly worrying look, as I start to ponder that the idea from the last dream is not really that bad.

In our hotel, on the last night, I find a free Internet terminal that looks just like the one in my dream. So I buy tickets to Oulu, wondering who the heck gave my subconscious a free reign over my credit card.

For the rest of the trip, I worry about whether I'm going to make the connection, or the inevitable gaping hole that will be left on my bank account, or whether this was such a good idea at all, since I have been doing nothing but travel, and I shall be doing some heavy travel in the near future as well. (Bleargh.)

But Outi meets me on the airport, and one hug removes all doubt and weariness.

Later in the evening, the air is charged with a magical feeling that cannot be described in my crude words. It's as if one touch could set the world on fire; as if the thunder outside came from your mind; as if one look made your heart explode; as if tears and laughter and pain and pleasure were all the same thing. No masks, no hiding behind them. No buts, no ifs. Just... love.

*sighs deeply* This belongs to poets and songwriters and philosophers; not simple engineers like me. Shutting up now.

Wednesday, 18-Aug-04 01:31
Loneliness

Upstairs, they are laughing and singing. Five days of riding have gone by, and two days remain, and this is a good place for a bit of a good time: a mountain hut in the middle of the wilderness.

I'm tired, but that is not the reason why I'm not joining the fun. I'm here because many of those songs remind me of the fact that my love really is far away. And - being the sentimental fool - I just don't want to take it.

So I crouch on the bed and send my twentieth SMS to her. Missing every bit of her terribly.

Monday, 16-Aug-04 02:12
Gullfoss

(Ugh, these Icelandic place names.)

Third day of riding over. We're staying at Geysir, about 300 m of a pond that blows boiling water 20 m in the air every ten minutes or so. Nice.

I'm growing an affinity on these horses. They're surefooted (except for one that stumbled and fell on level ground and I flew very nicely, thank you very much), patient, forward-going, calm... And very bull-headed when they want to be. But tolt is nice; you can do it for hours.

Tomorrow, we head into the wilderness. That'll be interesting.

Thursday, 12-Aug-04 16:35
Suprising Reykjavik

One of the things I didn't expect to be doing in Iceland was to bathe in the scorching sun... It's somewhere around 27-28 degrees, and no clouds in sight. Very nice, and apparently rather exotic for the locals as well.

We're off tonight for the riding tour, somewhere beyond GSM coverage. Very exciting :)

Tuesday, 10-Aug-04 00:58
Reykjavik

This is the Reykjavik harbour. The evening is nice, though a bit chilly. Everything is expensive, and coming from a Finn, that's a lot.

But it seems to be a pleasant enough place. I think I like it here.

(Expect only sporadic updates from now on: I'm mostly blogging with pen and paper for now. No laptop, very little internet. Ugh.)

Monday, 09-Aug-04 11:55
WTF?

Got a letter from "Suomen Aikakausjulkaisut Oy". It had only just a bill, nothing else. "By paying this bill, your subscription for Uutislehti Suomi will be registered for 6 months." It all looks very official, and I am sure it is a real bill.

But I haven't subscribed to it. I have never said "yes" to any shady telemarketers.

It's a scam, as far as I can see. Sent in the vague hope that dumb people would pay the bill, thinking "oh, did my husband order this?". Even the due date is conviniently set for today, so people would think "oh, I gotta pay this now".

I doubt I would ever see more than one issue of the paper, if I subscribed - it does not actually say how many issues there should be... It also turns out that they have been already told by the Finnish Consumer Office to stop this advertising campaign, as it is confusing to the people. So I'll be taking this up to them, then. The other thing is that they are apparently including the RSS feed of a prominent Finnish IT magazine on their front page in an attempt to appear legit. Which, while not exactly forbidden by the EULA, is suspicious at least.

I'm not linking to the site, so that they don't get extra Googlejuice. But I'm sure you can find them pretty easily, if you want.

But the moral of the story being: check your bills before you pay them.

Update: Apparently, someone else (Finnish only) has also been having plenty of trouble with these folks: threats to sue, ISPs being harassed, all sorts of covert action... Cool!

Sunday, 08-Aug-04 15:53
Is that fog or are my eyes just misty?

A couple of nights the city of Oulu was covered in a foggy blanket. Me and Outi went out with our cameras, and grabbed some pictures; my shots are now available at my gallery. I also wanted to test my new Canon Ixus 500. Expect a sort-of-a-review when I get back home.

I know, they are crappy shots (photography is not one of my skills), and normally I wouldn't burden you with them, but I think those pictures tell well my current mood.

You see, tonight is the night we have to say goodbye. I'll be off soon to Iceland for two weeks of pony trekking (and with my luck, Helsinki is now bathing in heat, and Reykjavik isn't), and after that I have the busiest week I could imagine at work. And then two weddings might mix our schedule so that we might not be able to see each other for a month. That's nearly the amount of time we've known each other so far - it's an eternity.

*deep sigh*

Saturday, 07-Aug-04 15:07
This time, I'm pissed off

Ok, answer me this: What kind of a dim-witted fuck one has to be to rewrite the soundtrack of "Animal House"? Get rid of all the cool 60's music and replace them with completely meaningless, forgettable, and BAD 80s rock music? Who could forget the "Wonderful World" playing in the background of the cafeteria scene? Apparently the mush-for-brains who thought it would be cool to create some "new music" for it, so that "it becomes better".

Let me give you a free hint (if you're reading this, you smelly rodent): Old movies don't become better if you change them. Movies are not about the mechanic combination of moving pictures, dialogue and soundtrack; their meaning is created within the people, as an aggregate of memories, moods, people you were with, feelings that you felt, and other soft things like those. You don't retroactively mess with them.

Also, the people who think that E.T. becomes better by replacing the guns with walkie-talkies, or the word "terrorist" with the word "hippie", please do shove your head up your neighbour's ass and suffocate painfully. Your neighbour might even like it.

Angry now. Bloody fucking angry.

(For Finns: Don't buy the DVD that's currently on sale in many places (at least Stockmann's). Unless you wanna ruin your memories.)

Friday, 06-Aug-04 17:58
It keeps haunting me

Found the rest of the guy in Oulu...

Thursday, 05-Aug-04 23:33
Thing you don't want to see in the morning

Click to view the complete scene.
Very early in the morning, I walk out with the firm purpose of taking the garbage out. I walk in, turn on the lights by waving my arms frantically (the motion detector apparently works only if your body mass exceeds 120 kg - the local cats apparently can grow very big) and something is not quite right. I see shoes from the corner of my eye.

"Shoes?", I think to myself. "Shoes, dangling from the ceiling?"

I look left and yeah, a pair of mens' shoes is hanging a meter and a half off the ground. With pants and all.

My stomach curls up in panic.

Half a second later, my brain catches up and I laugh.

Definitely another one in the category of things you can do with your laundry but probably should not.

Wednesday, 04-Aug-04 13:01
A Reversal

In Särkänniemi:

She: "Let's go to Tornado!"

Me: "Are you mad? It is a horrible, horrible device! I'll never go there!"

She: "No, let's go there! I survived the Space Shot in Linnanmäki - this can't be worse!"

One minute of sheer terror later:

She: "That was a horrible, horrible device! I'll never go there again in my life!"

Me: "Well, it was a rather exciting ride, actually! Wanna go a second time?"

Oh, how we delude ourselves into believing things based on beliefs and prejudices...

Sunday, 01-Aug-04 02:50
Weekend fun

Been having a stag party. Not mine, though, contrary to some rumors. Pretty much traditional stuff, except that a) I have not slept since Friday (39 hours up straight I think - I opted for quality time with Outi over sleep, I think I'm going for my record here), and 2) the weather has been tossing some surprises our way. Suffice to say that we have been very wet.

Sleep now.

Friday, 30-Jul-04 02:06
Notes to self

Note to self: I now know an excellent recipe for chocolate cake (thanks to Varo Vaan), but it is very sweet and heavy. Very.

Note to self 2: Bubble Bobble is still a bloody addictive game.

Note to self 3: The hand is a very effective thing to grab in Super Bomberman II.

Note to self 4: Blogging before you drink yourself silly is smart.

Note to self 5: Be careful in what you say, because it might end up being blogged. Especially if you manage to lure a blogger between your bedsheets.

Note to self 6: Wallets don't go into the fridge.

Thursday, 29-Jul-04 00:16
Oulu meeting

Yup. The Oulu meeting is over, and - if you do some creative maths, and have a very strong sense of denial - it was an enormous success. We had 67% more people coming than we were aiming for!

Well, okay, there were five in total, out of which only three actually lived in Oulu. But the original target was just to meet pnuk, so we were positively surprised to see Aaltoneito arrive with a very large backpack and a short-haired companion, which had apparently tagged along from Turku. But he was a blogger, so it was okay :-).

The discussion ranged from blogs to movies, from certain bloggers to some other bloggers (wouldn't you all like to know who they were...), from food to beer, and a few mentions of the upcoming Finnish Blog Awards... The evil scheming and plotting is afoot.

All in all, good fun. There are still so few bloggers over here (and the Pinseri Top-list being the combining factor) that we can still - to some degree - speak about a Finnish blog community. This will obviously wane away as more and more bloggers join in (and I am sure some would already argue against it), but so far, from my personal experience, it seems that there is a connection between bloggers. It may be because many of the bloggers share things like common interests, similar education, or just the fact that if you're a blogger, your friends stand a better chance of catching the illness as well.

However, my hope is that in the future we get far more varied blogs - senior blogs, junior blogs, activity blogs, journalistic blogs, publicist blogs, celebrity blogs... And this will eventually mean the disappearance of that feeling. Oh well. I think I'll still have variety over a blogistanic feel-good hug-o-sphere anyway ;-).

Wednesday, 28-Jul-04 15:42
Lucky me

You know the gap there's always between the tunnel and the airplane? The one you can see the airstrip from, five meters below you? And the small gangway that you step on?

I've always had a slight fear of dropping something and it would go into the gap and shatter to a thousand pieces after a long drop.

Yesterday it happened.

I dropped my phone, just as I was entering the plane and BANG! It hit the gangway, and broke into three pieces: The innards flew right into the aircraft; the cover flew backwards into the tunnel, and the keyboard strip was left on the gangway. Nothing fell through the gap. I gathered the pieces and managed to get the phone whole and running again, but for a moment I felt a primitive terror grasp my heart.

Losing one's phone is tantamount to losing one's connection to the world. It would be awful. It would be so hard to live without one right now, that it's scary.

When did we suddenly become so reliant and dependent on these small gadgets? Or is it not the gadgets, but the connectivity to other people that is the dependency-inducing factor?

Tuesday, 27-Jul-04 22:52
Sigh

Eating at restaurant Mecca. Friendly staff, excellent lamb.

Three hours to go.

Tuesday, 27-Jul-04 04:05
A running man

Yeah, it's nearly four o'clock, and I'm writing this entry. It's been the first day of my four weeks of vacation, and I spent much of it carrying things from one place to another place, and in general putting things on top of other things. The members of the Society would've been proud. But it was good fun; plenty of exercise and fresh air.

The reason I am not yet asleep is that I've spent the past eight hours in the Ropecon after-party, which - all as con workers know - is the true reason why anyone works for free for three days: the chance to eat food, drink beer, talk, go to sauna, play games and really have a few hours to feel good about what they have just accomplished. No pressure, no shifts, no deadlines.

I did miss the annual nude wrestling competition this year (again), but for good reason: Erick Wujick gamemastered an impromptu game, with a few really nasty twists. My character ended up as a hermit somewhere in Colorado, hiding in the forest, shooting at people, and being very, very afraid of the moment when he eventually dies. Not bad for an hours game. Plenty of fun.

Tomorrow it will be even busier. I gotta apologize to some people who I know read the blog: I haven't had time to answer any emails, and I probably will not have the time tomorrow either, but I have read them, and answering your emails with oneliners would be a tad impolite.

Monday, 26-Jul-04 02:08
John Kovalic

Brief notes from John Kovalic's (the creator of Dork Tower) speech:

  • My first game was edited by Steve Jackson. Little did I know he would become such a horrible, horrible figure in my life.
  • Physics classes would go much faster, if you sat in the back drawing cartoons.
  • My influences are my mom (a columnist) and Charles Schulz
  • Roleplaying games in high-school (loved creating my own worlds)
  • Liking "Traveller" is not a good reason to go study astrophysics
  • "I'm very bad at the games I drew. I've never won a game of Munchkin - even when they let me draw my own cards at a con in Cork, Ireland."
  • "I'm a complete mercenary - I work for anyone who is not a babykiller"
  • "I got a call from someone in Hollywood making the Dork Tower movie." *The audience erupts in laughter*
  • Chez Geek characters were taken from actual University of Wisconsin students - John spent a lot of time drawing them :)
  • "Are you here, honey? [Referring to wife] Good - then I can tell this. I introduced her to gaming via MtG. I used Call of Cthulhu to introduce her to role playing games. Big mistake! Don't do it!"
  • "People ask me to draw Ginny naked. People, I draw them with three fingers - what do you think I would do with the rest of their anatomy?"
Sunday, 25-Jul-04 17:18
Finish

The con is slowly rolling towards the final line, and all that remains is garbage.

Sunday, 25-Jul-04 13:48
Turning thirty

Kolibri has had a sudden anxiety attack over turning thirty. I, having passed that mark long ago, realized that there is very little I can say.

At some point you start to think of your life, and generally feel bad or good about it.

Thirty is as good as age as any.

Our society attaches certain labels to certain ages, and thirty is one of the ones where you are supposed to finally turn into a responsible adult (in case you hadn't done it before). I don't believe the exact age matters, but I think it is necessary for people to pause at some point and reflect. It's even inevitable. It's a part of growing up. So one should not feel too bad about it; in fact, one should welcome these moments of self-reflection. They are good.

My life changed at 27, and realized I am not who I thought I was. It took me a few years to get to grips with the fact that I am still, even at 34, at a complete loss as how to I should lead my life. It's like the more I learn, the less I know. And I guess that's how it should be. People who are older than me, feel free to correct me.

All I can do is to rely on some things that I think I know now. But I'm still "waddling through the swamp with leaking boots, in the dark with no light, and having no clue where to go; just trying to find firm ground; and not to drown."

Sunday, 25-Jul-04 00:51
Alone among many

It's late evening, and I'm ready to go home. I say good night to people, and step outside into the cool summer air.

There are many people enjoying the night outside. I buy a lörtsy (a sort of an apple pie; Karelian delicacy) and sit on a rock, next to a group of three. The man is half-naked, and he plays the guitar, with a soft touch. A girl wearing feathered wings comforts the other girl who is dressed in dark, weeping.

I hear the sounds of the con around me. People chattering away, meeting people, talking to friends. Everyone is nice to each other; very few people are drunk; nobody is angry.

I swat at a mosquito, and munch my lörtsy. And I suddenly feel alone, very alone.

Good people are around me; and friends are just a short walk away. But I would still rather have A Certain Someone sit here next to me on this warm and light Finnish summer night.

I miss her.

Saturday, 24-Jul-04 21:49
Finally...

...a bit of rest and a beer. And of course, a meal.

Saturday, 24-Jul-04 19:57
Erick Wujcik - the history of role playing games

Here are some quick and unstructured notes from Erick Wujick's talk (the designer of Amber).

  • First, individuals characters were introduced to strategy games to provide things like "what if Gandalf had been fighting with the Allies"
  • Magic was originally a form of artillery
  • "People tried to kill me because I was trying to take their dice away from role playing when I was talking at Gencon about Amber"
  • "Zen and the art of roleplaying"
    • Removing everything that is not absolutely necessary - turns out that almost everything can be removed (dice, combat system, game master, players) => a role playing game has no essential components
    • "I have no idea what a role playing is, even though I do it 30 hours a week for 20+ years for a career"
    • "Every hour you are playing a role playing game YOU're paying for it - thus it's stupid to fall asleep (as in not being aware)"
  • You can only create an experience if you try something new; not repeat what you have already done
  • We have to break the rules - do things we've never done before

Random change of subject: Computer games

  • 2003 US game market worth about $20 billion USD - more than Hollywood + all TV
  • 2008 global gaming market worth about $46 billion (est)
  • Games not that different from 10 years ago - technology is only better
    • Moore's Law
    • Every second of a movie takes about two hours to fix by one person
  • In a few years, the game industry is movie quality. Where do they go next? So far the designers have not been an important part of the team - graphics people and programmers dominate the field.
  • To which designers should the game industry go to?
  • Example: Starcraft sold 3 million copies - 500,000 of them to South Korea
    • One person installed them in all Internet cafe's - all computers could play Starcraft
    • All copies were legitimate, hence plenty of money generated
    • Own level generation and creativity became a huge thing among kids
    • Government support for game industry starting at 1999: $500 Million USD support
    • 1$ Billion revenue in 2003, 80% of it from South Korea
    • Major game studios opening in China in the next couple of years
    • Not a lot of creativity in Asia, though, due to education system (no mistakes, too much time used for learning to read/write. They are afraid to do stupid and bad things. Correctible through training.)
    • At the age of 18, most Western kids know 500 games. In Asia, they know 40.
  • In role playing games, you are not following anyone else's script
    • Until you put your own toys together, you don't really understand toys (if you've never played with Lego...)
  • Small countries lose their own culture under the pressure of the big ones
    • What happens to the culture within games?
  • In Gencon, 20 new game companies every year => always new stuff being produced. US gaming culture is thus protected because of the inability to understand that most companies fail ;-)
  • Small countries should dip into their own strong culture and mythology and history for creativity
  • Computer games are only narrow slices of the RPGs
  • GTA III is actually closer to roleplaying than FPS-games - it allows you to "go anywhere"
  • Computer game designers do not understand games - they understand technical issues, but they do not understand the fundamental differences between multi-player and single-player games. Most MMORPGs are FPS -games, expanded to just multiple players.
  • How do we create games that allow for complete immersion
  • Last 10 years of published RPGs have been going to the wrong direction
    • Game designers are too good in creating rules that are perfect (too well balanced, "something for everyone")
    • It's a dead end
  • Difficult part in gamemastering is challenging players until they want to "get out of the box"
  • "I once ran a really horrible game. Then I saw Alien 4, and was glad - because my game was better, and I didn't spend 100 million dollars in doing it."
  • "I know how to run a perfect game. I've done it a hundred times. But it's not transcendent. Many of my ad-hoc games are better. Because I take risks and confront the possibility of failing. When I don't know what is happening."
  • Part of the problem of computer games is that they are making other people rich - licensing only makes the IP owner richer. The future of RPGs is about creating IPR.
  • "Most people who say they did roleplaying and are now in the games industry only played mechanical combat simulations. Very little character gaming." They replicate their own good moments in game industry(?)
Saturday, 24-Jul-04 17:30
Cthulhu-in-a-box

What the hell is a "medium Cthulhu"?

RUN!

Saturday, 24-Jul-04 17:16
Notes from Mike Pohjola's talk

"If Clint Eastwood played Aragorn, that would be the ultimate in fantasy coolness."

"My role playing game is challenging. It does not have an index."

"My next game might be a bit like Sopranos meets West Wing."

"Finns are no longer afraid of confessing to being role players - people even put them in their CV's. It's become acceptable, even a positive thing in art and culture circles. It's considered as a performance art."

"The threshold for publishing role playing games is lower than novels in Finland."

"My game helps teenage boys. You no longer have to explain dice rolls to girls when they ask 'what is role playing?'"

Saturday, 24-Jul-04 08:38
Good morning!

It's 8.30, and I'm heading home to catch a few precious hours of sleep.

Tonights worst and the most untranslatable (and incomprehensible) joke:

Miksi Otto pitää japanilaisista teinitytöistä? Koska Otto on lonkero...

(If you got that one, you should worry. Seriously. Your geekiness would be at an alarming level. Not to mention your morale.)

Saturday, 24-Jul-04 04:57
Badgerbadgerbadger

At 5 am, the whole info desk sings and dances BadgerBadgerBadger. We get only one funny look, from a guy who has fake vampire teeth.

Three hours to go.

*grin*

Saturday, 24-Jul-04 02:50
We fix everything

So far the Info desk has been fixing everything from soft swords to broken hearts.

Nothing alarming is happening; the mandatory ambulance has already visited the con. The police have not yet, and neither has the fire brigade. But the night is young...

Friday, 23-Jul-04 22:42
Go players...

...they cannot be avoided. :)

Friday, 23-Jul-04 20:39
Food

Of course, one must eat. We're celebrating Kolibri's birthday, and this fine fish comes from the kitchen in restaurant Vespa.

Friday, 23-Jul-04 17:38
Ropecon!

It's on!

Three days of constant chatter and weirdosity...

Friday, 23-Jul-04 15:52
Blogger meeting in Oulu

Encouraged by the recent successes of the Kallio and Tampere meetings, we figured it would be fun to have an Oulu blogger gettogether as well. I'll be in Oulu for the most of the next week, and at least Naamioiden takana and pnuk will be present.

The place: Cafe Milou (Asemakatu 21)
The time: 18.00, Wednesday, 28.7.2004.

And then the Finnish version (ja sama suomeksi, kiitos):

Kun nyt Kalliossa ja Tampereellakin tapaillaan, niin miksei Oulussakin. Päätimme siis järjestää Pnukin ja Outin kanssa ystävällishenkisen tapaamisen. Tsingis-kaanilta perityllä organisaatiokyvyllä päätimme despoottisesti ajaksi ensi keskiviikon kello 18, paikkana Cafe Milou (Asemakatu 21). Trio Erektuksen perintöä kunnioittaen paikalla lienee myös lievästi humaltuneita go:n pelaajia jokunen, mikä ihan varoituksen sanana lausuttakoon.

Tervetuloa kääntymään ja katsomaan millaisia naamoja siellä blogien takana vaikuttaakaan. :)

Friday, 23-Jul-04 11:23
Who says blogging is not useful?

Ropecon is upon us again. So I dig my old notes from last year's con and realize I nearly forgot my camera. Yah! Blogging is so useful as a notepad to yourself :-)

Thursday, 22-Jul-04 19:23
Complainmoanwhimperwhine

Why is it that always just before the holidays begin you are suddenly overloaded with work? There are many things I should do right before I go, and I have three emails labeled "URGENT" in my inbox.

On the other hand it's great to be still working in July, simply because there are not too many people around. No meetings that you have to grind your teeth through, no "I just popped by to see what you were doing and interrupted your complete train of thought" -events, and only about a hundred emails a day. One can really work without being interrupted every ten minutes.

Yeah. But I'm still at work. Over an hour late from the Ropecon info meeting, which is near-mandatory, and completely over. Bugger. My info shift is from midnight till 8 am on Saturday, so I'll be completely tired and completely clueless. Yet again.

Tomorrow is the last day of work. I'll survive. And be throw into the abyss that is known as "vacation": My holidays are so fully booked I have to use a calendar to manage all the events - it's even worse than during the busiest time during September. For example, I have three meetings, a plane trip and a hangover scheduled for next Tuesday...

(But at least I get to see Outi. Mmmm...)

Thursday, 22-Jul-04 11:44
Peer-to-peer actually increasing record sales?

A new study suggests that Peer-to-peer music sharing has zero impact in record sales, and in some cases it may even be positive, says The Guardian. Not completely unsurprisingly, the music industry is now really pissed off at even the mere suggestion.

To me it makes sense: I have bought several CDs just simply because a friend recommended something to me, and then sent me the MP3. Then I just rip the CD to Ogg Vorbis and dump it in iTunes... I actually never listen to the physical CD these days anymore; most of the CDs are used just once to get the data onto a hard drive. But I still keep the CDs as backups.

My digital music collection is my music collection. My CDs are my backups. I don't even have to burn them.

(And BTW: My CD player refuses to play about 10% of all the CDs I've tried on it lately. But my PC can rip 100% of them. So it's easier for me to actually rip the music than it's to play them on my ancient DVD player. So much for "copy" protection.)

(Via #joiito)

Wednesday, 21-Jul-04 00:11
Ph34R MY N3W 3l173 R1D1NG B0075

A couple of friends took me to a local riding shop, and I just couldn't help myself. Well, if I find that riding is not my thing after all, I can always play Herr Otto Flick of the Gestapo. *grin*

Oh, BTW - if you ever wondered what Google would look like if it had been invented in the 1960s, take a look. (Via J-Walk)

Monday, 19-Jul-04 23:45
Moments of transition

Had my last riding lesson today. I'm going to Iceland in three weeks, so I'm taking a short break before that. Darn, one gets really attached to those horses. Even though I only was there for six weeks, I strangely enough already miss them. Especially these two. *sigh*

The syrupy moment of the day: When Outi was here last week, a friend of mine brought us lollipops - heart-shaped, of course - but they were forgotten in the bags. So, today, we chatted on IRC and enjoyed those lollipops, knowing that the other person was doing the same thing far away.

I'm degenerating rapidly, and decomposing into sugar and honey. Whee :)

Sunday, 18-Jul-04 10:58
Breakfast at Tiffany's

Sunshine + nature + freshly picked strawberries + champagne + friends = A pretty good breakfast moment.

Ain't summers brilliant? They're just like winters, except a lot warmer... ;-)

Friday, 16-Jul-04 21:50
Geeking out

This weekend is dedicated to role playing games. We are in a summer cottage, far, far away from civilization, and are doing some serious role playing, barbeque, and sunbathing.

The world is good.

There is only one thing that I miss right now. And she's 800 kilometers away. *sigh*

(Geek note: For those who are following JSPWiki development, check out the latest CVS version - it fixes a problem with the ~DefaultPermissions thingy; the permissions of the page and the actual default permissions of the wiki are different now. I think I should start a separate JSPWiki development blog.)

Thursday, 15-Jul-04 13:42
A-choo!

Bless you. The Finnish summer combined with an air-conditioned office is not really good for wearing just shorts and a t-shirt.

Yesterday, we went to the Linnanmäki amusement park, and had an impromptu blogger meeting (with Naamioiden takana, Dragon & Kolibri, and Elokuvia ja Valokuvia -Blocks. Even KatjaW made a surprise visit). I hadn't been there in ages, so it was fun to rummage around some of the old goodies, as well as some new ones.

We joked about having a roller coaster relationship, as we went to the roller coaster for the third time (essentially quadrupling my visits to that machine ever - and it really seems to be true that you get a rougher experience if you sit at the back of the cart). We even dared to go to the Space Shot ("Raketti" - a thing that shoots you up in the air and drops you down in free fall), but even there the waiting is worse than the actual experience.

Oh well. I guess that's true in many things: Expecting something to happen is usually more intensive than the real experience. The same with movies: Saw Spider-Man 2 with Mikki, and while watching a man being grabbed from a subway train by a metallic tentacle to be saved just in time by Spidey's web is very entertaining, I doubt I would enjoy it in real life.

Our world is now so filled with wondrous inventions and creativity, that it sometimes becomes hard to separate reality and fiction. Someone once told me that they did not fall in love with a person, but the idea of being in love with that particular person. I don't blame her - one of the most difficult things in this world is to know what's true and what's false - what's real and what's not. What is, and what is not.

Our imagination and intuition are powerful tools when applied correctly. The thing I've learned is that even they can be trained. To have a good imagination or intuition is a skill, not something that people either do or don't have. Some people have a knack for it, but still - it's something that you can learn.

There's a relationship between Truth, Reality and Knowledge (in Finnish: Totuus, Todellisuus and Tieto - the three T:s), which I haven't quite yet figured out. I guess Intuition plays a part in there somewhere. :)

Tuesday, 13-Jul-04 11:40
Hooked on blogosphere

She's here. We eat breakfast. We talk. We gaze deeply into each other's eyes. We hold hands. We do all the things that people infatuated with each other do, things that make most people nearby go "ewwww", and "get a room!"

And we read blogs on the laptop, while munching on the cereals, trying not to drench the keyboard completely in milk.

Are we geeks or what? :-D

Monday, 12-Jul-04 17:31
Plunging headfirst

You know, when you start getting random scared looks from the people you meet on the corridors, you know that your new haircut might not be entirely successfull.

Unless, of course, that was the impression you were aiming for.

Monday, 12-Jul-04 16:57
A surprise move

It's as if I'm living two lives now. One is here, where I do the same things that I've done before. I go to work, I ride, I code, I read, I meet friends, I watch TV. I sleep alone.

The other life happens online or over the weekends. I - no: "we" - do completely different things than in my other life. It's as if I'm a part of her life; but she's not of mine. We meet her friends, live in her place, take care of her mice, sit on her toilet seat. It's fun, and wonderful, and exciting - don't get me wrong - but still. Our lives are still separate, yet already intertwined in some complex and fragile web of coincidence, passion, caring, and laughter.

Tonight, she's coming over for a few days, and my two lives will finally meet. I hope they both survive. I really, really do. Because I no longer know which one I would choose, if I had to.

Make a wish - make a move
Make up your mind - you can choose
When you're up - when you're down
When you need a laugh come around

--Shania Twain: Come On Over
Monday, 12-Jul-04 06:34
Six euro breakfast

Note to self: don't eat at Oulu airport.

There's a flying machine waiting to take me back to Helsinki. *sigh* Weekends like these just don't happen, you know... ;-}

Sunday, 11-Jul-04 17:27
Hello neighbours!

Her first SMS message to me was "You're doomed." I laughed at it.

I don't really read my email, I don't read the blogs, I don't surf, I don't code, I don't chat, I don't SMS... (well, once a day, perhaps). I'm not connected. We just sit on the couch, listen to music, talk about our exes. Cook together. Meet her friends. Shower a lot.

Not being connected is not normal to me. And you know what? It's not really that bad. In a way, I am connected. Connected to a wonderful person, sitting here in the same room now, pulling socks on (we're going foraging for food, ugh). Looking absolutely adorable :)

I am no longer laughing at that message. I have it well hidden in the "Saved" -folder of my cell phone.

Saturday, 10-Jul-04 04:41
"Hey, this is not my sock!"

I slept for three hours. I had a riding lesson, and all my muscles were sore. I got the tickets to the last flight to Oulu. And even then, the flight was late.

But I don't remember any of it when the door opens, and she's there, smiling. There's tea, and fresh pulla, and we eat and laugh and drink; and snuggle to watch stupid late night programs on the TV.

It feels so good, so natural. It's as if we had been married for years already. It's almost frightening.

Except for one thing.

Friday, 09-Jul-04 19:15
Jittery longing

Six more hours to go.

It seems unreal. The third actual, physical meeting. Our second date. It's as if the countless kilobytes of text, the many hours of phone calls amount to nothing, when it again comes to being there.

I feel like a teenager.

Friday, 09-Jul-04 04:59
A fun (yet testosterone filled) evening

I like cooking for friends. Even if the friends drag me out to the Finnish summer night to celebrate afterwards. But there was still something that nearly (but only nearly) made me sad this evening.

I don't really go out much these days. It never was really my thing, you know. But for the past week or so, I've felt rather happy and willing to party, so I was easy prey for beautiful ladies, who wanted to dance and party with me. So we danced, and talked, and drank, and had fun. When the inevitable and dreaded no-more drinks sign arrived, we stood next to the dance floor, feeling generally good. Then a man, taller and more handsome than me, approached us.

"You know", he says to me, "you are far too fat."

For a second, I am speechless. Then I just squeeze the two lovely ladies next to me closer and say firmly: "Yeah, I know. But it works for me." And grin heavily.

"You should really lose some weight", the man continues and turns away.

I let the smile of victory to spread on my face. The short manly fight for power has ended in me (us) winning - something that rarely happens. It feels good, in some primitive sort of way. His words cannot really hurt me: I know what I am and who I am, and that cannot be taken away from me with mere words. Especially with the words of a drunken nobody. From his simplistic (and probably very drunken) point of view I had two women, and he had none. So the only thing he could do was to try and hurt me somehow.

So bloody sad.

Thursday, 08-Jul-04 11:10
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZÅÄÖ
A farmer had one old horse that he used for tilling his fields. One day the horse escaped into the hills and when all the farmer's neighbors heard about it, they sympathized with the old man over his bad luck. "Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?" said the farmer.

A week later, the horse returned with a herd of wild horses from the hills and this time the neighbors congratulated the farmer on his good luck. "Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?" said the farmer.

Then, when the farmer's son was attempting to tame one of the wild horses, he fell off its back and broke his leg. Everyone agreed that this was very bad luck. Not the farmer, who replied, "Bad Luck? Good luck? Who knows?"

Some weeks later, the army marched into the village and forced every able-bodied young man to go fight in a bloody war. When they saw that the farmer's son had a broken leg, they let him stay. Everyone was very happy at the farmer's good luck.

"Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?"

-- An ancient Chinese story

The above letters constituting the Finnish alphabet can be repeated and arranged in an near-infinite number of ways. Only a very, very, very small percentage of these ways make any sense.

Yet, someone far away can do it right every time. Each word she writes makes me grow more fond of her, makes me long for her even more. I stay up each night until 3 am, devouring each and every one of them, not willing to let go. Then I finally crash and sleep a few hours and wonder at myself every morning.

This is slightly scary. How can someone walk right through my carefully constructed defenses - as if they did not exist - and touch me like this? Did I do something wrong? Did I make a mistake somewhere along the road? What am I doing?

How will all this end?

Thursday, 08-Jul-04 01:01
Japanese Ice Cream

OK, here's one of the reasons I love Japan: The way they have no inhibitions about what might go together with something else. How about Spinach Ice Cream? Or Seaweed Ice Cream? Or how about the Raw Horse Meat Ice Cream ("with chunks!")?

The Wackier World of Japanese Ice Cream

(Via Boing Boing. Of course, it's incredibly lame to refer to Boing Boing, because everybody reads it already, but... well. I just find this one interesting. :-)

Wednesday, 07-Jul-04 02:04
Two things

I got really pissed at myself and released JSPWiki v2.1.103-alpha, even though it's not yet complete. But there are some significant changes to the APIs, so you might want to check it out.

And for the second thing: I'm flying to Oulu again next weekend. It don't think that my brain has caught up with my heart yet. It's as if it is being dragged screaming and kicking into something it has not quite comprehended yet. Dragged by a stubborn heart, holding an image of a particular pair of eyes.

Poor thing.

Wednesday, 07-Jul-04 01:22
The Search for Validation

Smart Mobs links to an interesting article on how the teenagers are using blogs. The following two paragraphs make me raise my eyebrows in not completely unlike Spock -manner:

What's consistent throughout is the search for validation. Though most say they write entries for themselves, it's a disappointment if no one responds. One Evergreen student recently posted a message pleading for feedback. "it makes me sad that no one leaves me comments. . . . i write like these huge entries . . . about so much stuff . . . and no one even says anything in return. and i go to all of your xangas or whatevers and ALWAYS leave a comment.

...

Most teens abide by an unwritten code of the blogosphere: What happens online stays online. Many have digital friendships with classmates but never socialize in real life "because we don't hang with the same crowd, as one Evergreen student explained.

The first one I've heard from many people also in the Finnish blogosphere. Feedback is what keeps many people writing, though some are still happy just to organize their own thoughts, and don't really care if someone reads them or not.

But combined with the second one... It's amazing how naturally the teenagers consider online life a completely separate arena, one that has nothing to do with the real life. It makes me actually wonder about things like the Finnish blog awards, or the blogger meetings that are occurring everywhere. It is strange to meet fellow bloggers, indeed: many people write only of a single aspect of their life online, be it their angst at being alone or their hobbies, or their day-to-day life. Very few people pour all aspects of their life into the internet, and even then the "compression" of the bandwidth is very lossy: you only see some things, with the less interesting bits removed.

Many people have told me that they like to read their own blogs. I like to do it myself, sometimes (then again, I'm not very critical at myself :). This is not really very surprising, as it most probably is the kind of text you like to read - and also because it makes your own life to look more interesting. It's kinda like doing social pornography on yourself - something that all of us do anyway. It's no more different than looking through old photographs, or resting your eyes on your own furniture (you chose it, so it must be pleasing).

Who are you blogging really for?

Why do I write online?

I guess there is no simple answer to that. Part of me yearns for validation: the "Hey, I read your entry the other day and I liked it" -moments. Part of me is narcistic: I want to be known, scream out that my life has not been in vain. Part of it is simply about the engineers built-in desire to change things, to have impact on the world - nibble away at the corner of a huge statue so that it becomes more beautiful. Part of me wants a place to store my thoughts in some coherent order, and an important part of me just needs to write.

But I guess the most important thing are the people. Weblogs allow me to share things with the people I love, allow other people to discover me and perhaps - if I'm lucky - they become friends. What I write is only a small part of me, but it is the part I want you to see. They are things I consider important, or things that move me. Or things that are just silly and make me laugh.

I like bloggers. Blogging is not yet tainted by rampant commercialism, nor big corporations saying "we want this", or "we monetize that". Blogging is about creating something new, be it in the form of your life, or just repeating old things but in a new order. Bloggers have their own voice, some of them beautiful, and some of them not so beautiful. Still, everyone should be entitled to their voice. To (mis)quote Voltaire: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

Fah. What a complicated rant with no point.

Monday, 05-Jul-04 19:24
Limits of technology

Even with our seemingly limitless ingenuity, technology can only go so far. We can be disembodied voices across half of the world with just a few buttons; we can send letters to faraway lands in less time than it took for the Victorian mailman to mount his horse; we can even see what is happening in distant places; huge machines can fling us across the sky. "Connecting people" says one company.

But seeing someone on your screen is not the same as touching her hair.

Hearing someone's voice is not the same as a gentle kiss.

Laughing with her in chat is not the same as a tight embrace.

Even with all our advances, there are still things to be said about physical presence. Many beautiful things.

Sunday, 04-Jul-04 16:49
An absurd problem

The first kiss. When you see it coming, you sort of want to make it memorable. (Yeah, I'm a romantic. Sue me.) It's even worse, when the other person is equally romantic: you both want it to be just right.

So we circle around each other for hours, probing, thinking, wondering about the perfect moment, and how to realize it without breaking the fragile feelings you think you are sharing. Then, with common, wordless agreement, we take a long, romantic walk in the middle of the nightless night, go to this beautiful spot by the lake, laugh and take over a play field, play in the swings for the first time in ten years. Then, on a beautiful bridge we stop - and get immediately attacked by a huge swarm of mosquitos. So we swat them in vain and run away to stop in another beautiful place.

And again, the angry insects force us to leave an unvoluntary donation to the Breed More Mosquitos -fund and we escape barely with our lives.

Frustrated, we return indoors. The perfect moment seems to be gone forever.

We gaze at each other, uncertainly and apprehensively. I can feel her thoughts: she's thinking the same thing as me, but neither knows how (dares?) to go on. Then a spark of something flies across the room.

"Oh bugger, let's just do it", we say in unison and laugh out our surprise.

And then the moment is just perfect.

Saturday, 03-Jul-04 02:58
Speechless

Beautiful night. Beautiful company.

Beautiful life.

Friday, 02-Jul-04 16:59
Sudden burst of insanity
                                                                  MATKA-
 MISTA/MIHIN      LENTO  LK PVM   LAH   HINTATYYPPI  VOIMASSA     TAV ST
 
 HELSINKI         AY0355 X  02JUL 1855  XFPAY1M       02JUL 02JUL PC  OK
 TERMINAALI:1
 OULU                SAAPUMISAIKA 2000
 TERMINAALI:-
 
 
 OULU             AY0368 X  04JUL 1735  XFPAY1M       04JUL 04JUL PC  OK
 TERMINAALI:-
 HELSINKI            SAAPUMISAIKA 1835
 TERMINAALI:1

I have no idea what's going on... No idea.

Friday, 02-Jul-04 10:27
Oooooops

How probable it is that batteries die on both your alarm clock and your cell phone during the same night?

An hour late. Not good.

Friday, 02-Jul-04 02:11
Being nondescriptive

I'm so drunk it's hard to say anything useful. Luckily T9 corrects must your typos :)

Friday, 02-Jul-04 00:36
Is sometimes good...

...to work for a big company. The company premises work so well ;)

Sauna in the middle of Helsinki is a strange but weird feeling... But at the moment, I'm too happy to care. It might not last, but... to quote a friend: "How can you miss a touch you've never felt? How can you miss a kiss you've never experienced?"

How?

Wednesday, 30-Jun-04 18:04
The strangest of days

Met someone yesterday, a new acquaintance. Someone who had touched my life only in passing previously, like a falling autumn leaf. In less than 24 hours we clocked over eight hours of talk. It's really amazing how some people are just so much in tune with your thoughts, that discussion ceases to be a struggle for supremacy, and it just flows. It's like dance. Or riding (on a good day), for that matter.

This proves to me, more than anything else, that it is important never to stop searching, never to stop learning, never to stop trying.

And I fully realize how much this contradicts my previous story about letting go. They do contradict, and yet they don't. :-). Perhaps I'll write about it some day.

Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Alfred Tennyson: Ulysses

Tuesday, 29-Jun-04 11:01
Bad luck

I seem to be plagued by bad luck now. I'm sitting on the Helsinki Airport (the flights to Oulu have been cancelled due to a combination of fog and broken landing system), waiting for the next available flight. I also got a traffic ticket (from the stolen car that was really moved -episode), which I intend to complain about. I've also slept a total of seven hours during the past two nights, which is making me feel like a drunken koala with a techno fetish, hunkering over a laptop.

But it's funny how sometimes unexpected luck throws interesting and wonderful people your way. So it is difficult to say that something is really bad luck until you really know, and even then you don't quite know until you know, you know? :)

Anyway, I'm off to have a free lunch, courtesy of SAS/Blue1.

Monday, 28-Jun-04 14:24
Bloggers Solve Crimes, News At 10

This one made my day: Haltia (Finnish only, sorry) is following two guys stealing parts off a car, in real time, from her office window. Of course, the police has already been informed, and the pictures go to the blog. It should not take a long time for them to be identified, as they seem to be driving around in their employer's car with clear signs... Besides, apparently the guys keep coming back to steal more stuff!

Of course, this is just the first step on the massive peer control network currently being born around cell phone cameras, mobile weblogging, and "always on, always with, always connected". I am not, however, convinced that it's a bad thing altogether - it is pretty much the same old shit we've always had to put up with from our nosy neighbours and relatives - this time just non-repudiation is a bigger issue than before: "photographs don't lie." At least they don't lie in a massive scale yet.

"Who watches the watchers" is a old, but good question. In a way the recent Iraqi torture scandal is a perfect example of it, and of course the older Rodney King case. I believe that there are also significant positive things to be achieved in giving the people a power to document and publish things. Of course, not all of it will be used for good purposes, but perhaps a significant amount of it will be. We don't know yet.

We will learn to adapt, I am sure. I just don't know how much will be lost, how much will be gained, and eventually, who will win.

In case you have not yet read David Brin's Transparent Society, I heartily recommend it.

Anyway, score +1 for the bloggers, zero to the bad guys. It'll be interesting to see what the final score will be.

Sunday, 27-Jun-04 21:55
Past Midsummer

Ate too much meat, drank too much alcohol, and met an surprisingly large number of interesting people. (Thanks to everyone - especially all the beautiful maidens on Friday - and apologies for being so subdued most of the time. I really did enjoy myself, even if I didn't always look the part. :)

I have the most distressing possible week coming up I can think of (barring accidents). Why is work always so hectic around this time of the year?

Perhaps I need a walkabout. Something in me wants to just go.

I've flown too high on borrowed wings
Beyond the clouds and where the angels sings
In a sky containing no one but me
Up there's all empty and down there's the sea
No one here but me
There's nothing but light
That comes into sight

There's something up here that makes me wince
And I still got the feelings that I've felt ever since
I got to this place arrived at last
In front there's the future right back there's the past
Everything's moving so fast

There's nothing but light that comes into sight
The present like I've never seen it before
Is this the right place to stay
Please my wings fly me away.

-- Lene Marlin: Flown Away

Saturday, 26-Jun-04 22:56
Saying fuck off

OK, so I wait for a taxi on the Tampere railway station for about 20 minutes today - and I am soaking wet, tired, hangoverish, and in general pissed off at a multitude of things. The last thing I want to hear is some misogynous, racist taxi driver start giving me shit how the women drivers are evil, and why all gypsies are all fucked.

The last time I was so offended in a short period of time was a taxi driver in Melbourne, who started our conversation with "You know evolution is wrong, don't you? It just can't work! God must be behind all this!" (Hint: it's not a good line to try on an atheist engineer.)

Sometimes, it's good to talk to people. But I'm starting to think that the generic Finnish habit of not talking to people is actually a really good idea. Saves a lot of grief.

Friday, 25-Jun-04 13:37
Style One

More self-improvement mumbo-jumbo. Whether this is accurate or not... Well. I'll let you be the judges of that :-)

Style One has a chief characteristic of trying to make everything better. When they are healthy, they are morally heroic, making sacrifices for the greater good, balanced in their judgments, uncompromising in their principles. They are concerned about what is right in morals, sometimes in esthetics, and sometimes in other things like literary or movie criticism or even manners. They are objective in their judgments and utterly clear about what is right and wrong. They are prophets and reformers.

If they become unhealthy, the vision narrows and their concerns diminish. They begin to moralize, they can get picky about little rules and they always go by the book regardless of consequence or circumstance. They develop either/or thinking and pay little attention to anyone's emotions.

Ones you may know: Judge Judy on TV, Laura Schlesinger (Dr. Laura on talk radio), Hilary Clinton, Ross Perot, Ralph Nadar, St Paul, Martin Luther, Harrison Ford, Tom Brokaw, Pope John Paul II, The Lone Ranger, Martha Stewart and Miss Manners.

What is your enneagram?

(Via Marjut.)

Friday, 25-Jun-04 12:13
Never again

What a cosmic hangover.

Friday, 25-Jun-04 03:15
Midsummer

Today, I've met some new people. Including myself.

Oddly enough, it hasn't been all bad.

Perhaps I've learned to let go. Perhaps someone else taught me to do it. Nevertheless, I feel strangely at peace with myself. It's as if something had changed, in a profound manner.

In a sense, I'm free now.

Just the way we are
I guess you've seen it now
A mirror of ourselves sure makes us weird
Falling down
From a mountain of frights
What's there to hold on to?

--Lene Marlin: The Way We are

Thursday, 24-Jun-04 13:37
Hacking matter

I've been reading Wil ~McCarthy's book Hacking Matter, which is a popularized version of the serious study of quantum dots and the ability to build pseudomatter using artificial atoms. How can one not like a book, which contains wonderful sentences such as this one:

Now we can create not only a thin film of goldlike pseudomatter, but a three-dimensional solid with pseudogold dopant atoms on the inside as well. Thus, we can generate a bulk material with the mass of wickered silicon, but the physical, chemical, and electrical properties of an otherwise-impossible gold/silicon alloy.

I mean - even the minuscule thought of it is breathtaking! The wonders of the universe! How could one not love this world, when so many incredible things are about? This could, and would change the face of the world as we know it. You just flick a switch, and you can make a part of the wall transparent - or a light source - or a TV screen - or gold. Whatever pleases you.

As an aside, I also found another very interesting paragraph (among thousands, but this one has an ominous look):

At his insistence, we filed an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and within a few weeks we'd been contacted by the U.S. Air Force about the possibility of maybe licensing it.

Note that even in the US, patents are generally considered secret and proprietary, until a year of the filing date has passed. This is so that the application can be amended, fixed, and just being kept secret from the competitors, who might find a way to redesign around the actual implementation (ideas are not patentable as such). Obviously, the military is ignoring all that and have their own informants within the US patent process... Somehow, that does not surprise me at all.

Thursday, 24-Jun-04 09:39
Linkfarming annoyance

Hum. For the past few weeks jspwiki.org has been constantly (well, every night essentially) been a target for systematic linkfarming. In case you do not know, that is a technique where you place innocent-looking links that really refer to other sites, in order to artificially increase their search engine rating. One other technique is to change single characters like full stops to outside links. These are not visible to people, but are visible to robots. (At least I think it's called linkfarming).

Anyhow, the open nature of Wikis makes them especially vulnerable to this. This is known to happen in weblogs and bulletin boards as well, where you can also write text openly. Some have even been attacked by bots.

This is not good. It is the problem of having an "user writable" internet... This is not the crap I was talking about previously, either; this is pure shit.

I've been thinking of some solutions:

  • Forbid search engines from indexing jspwiki.org (probably does not help, since the linkfarmers wouldn't notice it)
  • Forcibly delete all other linkfarm attempts, except in the JSPWiki:SandBox, then forbid bots from indexing the SandBox This is what we've been doing lately, but deleting everything is very annoying, as there are far more Chinese people than there are us (yes, most of linkfarming comes from China).
  • Add an "external link redirect thingy", i.e. redirect all external link requests through a servlet (this screws up referrers, but it also stops googlejuice from flowing to those people - but it also stops it from good and valid sites)
  • Make jspwiki.org writable only to known people (i.e. enforce a login/password policy, but this may be too damaging to the wiki culture).
  • At least the Main page will be closed down only to known people. There have been too many people who think they are wonderful hackers by writing their own document on the Main page. It takes a certain type of clueless indetermination and stupidity to not realize that hacking a Wiki by replacing the front page is not particularly impressive...

Any more ideas?

Thursday, 24-Jun-04 00:02
More pointless drivel about horses

Today, canter! No falling off. Wonderful feeling. Then trip to forest. Understand now why horses used as form of therapy. Start thinking if getting hooked.

Forgotten all definite and indefinite articles. Cannot formulate full sentences. Being very tired. Had two beers with friend. Feels good. Even if missed corporate summer party. But it would've been boring anyway. Always is...

Thinking of starting new blog to supplement this. Memory prosthesis -type. Need better place to keep notes, but must first solve searching problems with JSPWiki.

Tuesday, 22-Jun-04 21:25
Whoops

Fell of the horse. Hurt like hell.

Except that that is not really the order - I fell off the horse because it got scared of some ghost, jumped, and that suddenly gave me a horrible cramp in my left calf. It is very difficult to stay up there with only one functioning leg, you know - especially since we were doing (or supposed to be doing) a rising trot with no stirrups (which did give me a small moment of satori, but that's a different story and is to be told later). Falling was actually a very pleasant experience compared to the cramp. At least I got on the ground and could stretch myself.

My leg still feels like someone exchanged all muscles in it to a clump of concrete and didn't give me any change.

*sigh* Stretching, stretching, stretching. I don't do enough of it these days.

Tuesday, 22-Jun-04 15:30
Homeward exploration

Today, I've mostly been telecommuting. Sometimes it's good to stay at home, listen to good music, and just write. Especially after Powerpoint repeatedly destroys your presentation, you really don't want to be around people.

The good thing about eating home was that I spent half an hour rummaging through my kitchen cupboards, hunting for "food that is just about to expire", which also has the side effect of cleaning the said cupboards half-magically.

There is certain magic in finding a bag of something, which you cannot quite understand what it is, or how to prepare it, as all the texts are in Japanese (except for "The MCC Series will brighten up you dinner table. Each product has been elaborately planned to give you an even more pleasant flavor than before. Please enjoy these refined flavors and colorful variations." and all you remember is that you got it from a Japanese businessman, who shoved it into your hand and said "this is good, I kinda like it".

Turned out that it was pretty ordinary mushroom-and-beef curry. Refined? Well, it was not bad. Colorful? Only, if you count three different shades of brown colorful...

(To tie this to the title - I've been listening to the haunting theme to Homeworld, one of the best games I ever played. Not because it was particularly groundbreaking - but it had an incredibly captivating atmosphere. I remember caring for my little blobs of pixels so much, I tried to save as many as I could. In the end, I was no longer playing to win the game; I was really trying to help the Kiith find their home. It is a rare game that has the ability to suspend your disbelief so completely. Crazy? Perhaps. But the Kiith eventually found their way home.)

Monday, 21-Jun-04 18:27
First private spaceflight

A few minutes ago, SpaceShipOne touched ground, after successfully flying a single test pilot, Mike Melvill to an altitude of 100+ km for a few minutes.

This is a significant moment. I think.

Monday, 21-Jun-04 12:26
Bare feet?

Mindy wonders if anybody would notice if she took her shoes off at work (in Finnish). In the spirit of scientific exploration, I took my shoes and socks off to check what would happen.

So far it's been 15 minutes, and at least one person went by without saying anything (though she did wonder why I did not want to go to lunch yet.) I will keep you updated.

(Oh yeah, and my coworkers reading this weblog: it does not count if you read it from here first. So nyah.)

30 minutes: I'm feeling a slight chill. I'm trying to wiggle my toes to keep them warm.

60 minutes: Close to an hour. My feet are definitely getting cold. I wonder if there's "email yoga"? (By the way - I have about four Gmail invitations left, so if you want to test drive it, drop me some email.)

100 minutes: I'll now attempt to go to the toilet. Wish me luck.'

102 minutes: back. Nothing.

Two hours: No comments yet. But I've found a completely new place to rest my feet underneath the table! There's a small crossbar with a nicely textured surface, that feels just perfect...

2.5 hours: Still nothing, even though I've talked with people. Perhaps they cannot see my feet from under the table? You know, I'm starting to wonder that perhaps nobody else here actually has X-ray vision. That would explain all of the funny underwear people have.

Three hours: Ok, still no comments, though I am sure I'm hearing snickering from the floor above. I think it's time for lunch - but... to wear shoes, or not to wear shoes when going out - that is the question!

Final entry: Stopped. My feet were getting far too cold - I have bad circulation. No comments whatsoever. Disappointed.

So Mindy: They might notice, but in all likelihood - they would not care. So feel free to walk around with bare feet. :-)

Sunday, 20-Jun-04 23:17
The Universe

Axis of Ævil saw my old moblog post of Saturn and produced an English version of the walkabout of the actual scale model of the Solar System that was built 12 years ago in Helsinki. Wonderful! (Did you know that they used to steal Earth every few weeks until they replaced it with something more durable? Or that Pluto had to be relocated due to road construction work? How douglasadamsian can you get with that? :-D )

I can recommend it - I've done the full tour of the Solar System once, and it's a nice bike trip: you get to see some beautiful scenery. Especially finding Uranus among all the bushes is a wonderful experience. And it really does illustrate the scale of the things, when you're traveling at (relatively) 5 times the speed of light and it still takes a bloody hour to get to Pluto :), but just a minute to get to Mars...

(But hfb: why didn't you ask me? I could've told you what it is and where to find it, so you wouldn't have had to harass the ignorant natives ;-).

Update: Just a couple of links added.

Sunday, 20-Jun-04 16:33
Transience

This is Jyväskylä, one of the larger cities of Finland.

It's not very big.

But it is a favourite city of mine.

Note to self: drinking champagne for breakfast is a very good idea, if practiced in moderation.

Saturday, 19-Jun-04 23:13
Which American City Are You?

New York

You're competitive, you like to take it straight to the fight. You gotta have it all or die trying.

Take the quiz: Which American City Are You

(Via Marjut).

Saturday, 19-Jun-04 22:16
Waiting...

Sorry for having been so quiet, but I've been too busy. And now I am too relaxed.

Together, we wait.

Wednesday, 16-Jun-04 23:00
Quickiethought for the next day

I have never, ever seen so many little, hand-drawn hearts concentrated in one place as in the stables. I think they breed there, and then fly off to the world to dot the i's of love letters, once they mature.

Even the horses have their own diaries (dotted with little hears everywhere) - if they were published them on the internet, they'd probably qualify as blogs.

Dave, my mind is going... I can feel it... must... resist... giggling...

Tuesday, 15-Jun-04 17:29
Quickiethought of the day

You know, if I had a big amnesia, and I forgot everything, then this blog and my emails (I store them all) would be the most important way to familiarize me with myself again.

That's scary.

Monday, 14-Jun-04 17:16
Your regularly scheduled social porn

I have no idea why I've been on this "ranting on technology, usability, and social issues" mode for the past few weeks. Perhaps it signifies that I'm getting back up to speed on actually doing something. I've probably churned out more code on JSPWiki in the past few weeks than the first quarter of the year. You might actually see a release some day :)

I also had the privilege of meeting some very charming and beautiful ladies during the weekend, some of them being new and the others old acquaintances, so perhaps that also lifts my spirits. Or vice versa.

It also happened that I managed to break my personal ban on buying new CDs, and I got the new CD from Nightwish, along with a bunch of good, old Finnish pop music.

Oh how I wish for soothing rain
All I wish is to dream again
My loving heart lost in the dark
For hope I´d give my everything

-- Nightwish: Nemo

Etsin ymmärrystä ja kaipaan ystävää, olen tehnyt sitä monta päivää
Mun tapani liikkua kai johtaa harhaan, enkä käsitä alkuunkaan
Nukkuu tai juttelee tai suutelee, se on vain hetken hurmaa
Eikä kukaan voi käsittää kuinka vaikeaa voi olla ymmärtää.

-- Neljä Ruusua: Sun täytyy mennä

(Ok. So perhaps not so positive. But that's Finnish pop music for you :-)

Monday, 14-Jun-04 16:40
Why encrypted emails don't work

Today, I got an encrypted email. Which is fine, as I use PGP and all - but it was sent to my work address using my private key. (Yes, they are separate - they have to be separate.)

After much hassling and back-and-forthing of the email messages and keys, I managed to open the original mail. In which, it said:

"If you can't open this email, it's because I've used your PGP key from the jspwiki.org -site. Do you have a corporate one?"

Well, DUH.

Sending encrypted mail means that the mail cannot be read unless you have the proper key. And it does not help much to ask for the key in the encrypted mail itself - because if I could read it, you wouldn't need to ask, now would you? My public PGP key very clearly also does not include my work address, so one would think I don't want work-related email using it...

Oh well.

Even if simple usability issues such as key management seem to be difficult to fathom, then how on earth are people supposed to understand basic concepts of security - signing, encryption, choosing wise passwords, keeping your PGP secret keys really secret, key revokation, etc.

It's not gonna work. Unless someone figures out a far, far more comprehensible manner of explaining security than currently is used. Security is too abstract. People can't comprehend it. We need a way to make security more concrete, much like having an actual physical lock.

Update: *laugh* The person in question apparently reads this blog. Oops. :-D

Monday, 14-Jun-04 01:03
Modern supermen

See, what the modern supermen of Parkour can do. Try the first video, it impressed the hell out of me at least.

In ancient Japan, ninjas were often described as supermen, able to fly, leap onto the roofs of tall buildings, climb anything... Some colour was of course added by their enemies (who wrote the history) to make them appear more fearsome - and of course, the ninjas did not mind: it made their life a lot easier. Seeing those videos makes me wonder the effect a trained ninja must've had on his enemies, trained to combat on level ground and horseback.

Terror.

(Via Ebu.)

Sunday, 13-Jun-04 15:20
My blogging tools

There are a lot of different blogging tools, but these are mine. We often concentrate too much on technology: debate the merits of publishing platforms, argue on licenses, et cetera. Lately, there has been a lot of debate in the Finnish blogosphere whether the term "blog" somehow implies the use of a particular tool.

No.

These are all the blogging tools you need. These are the hands I use to write; this is the eye I use to filter the world. I tried to get a picture of my brain, but you'll have to settle with my eye, and what is visible beyond.

Everything else is extra - "syntactic sugar", as some people used to describe Object Oriented programming languages. Blogging is confused easily with the underlying technology, but this is not so. Because blogging originated with the technically savvy people, yes, a great many of the more important bloggers in this world these days are technologists, and like to write about technology.

But as with much of the internet (which was the ultimate geek domain for many years until AOL), the geeks are just the frontrunners. They go and build the roads for the others to come, the ones who do not care or understand the technology; people who just want to have their voice heard.

That's how the world is. We build, others follow. You will hear us talk about technology, but do not confuse the basic human need to speak, to be heard, with something as simple as a blogging platform. This is the reason why I care so much about bloggers: blogging gives You and Your voice (and I mean YOU, my dear reader) a possibility to be heard in a far more better and efficient manner than ever before in human history.

Free speech. Ain't enough of that in the world yet.

(Thanks to Nea Gustafsson for the image of my hands. Used with permission.)

Saturday, 12-Jun-04 12:30
Creative Commons

Sparked by the copyright discussion raging elsewhere in this blog, I decided to license the content of this weblog under a Creative Commons Attribution - Share Alike license. In essence, what this means:

You are free:

  • to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work
  • to make derivative works
  • to make commercial use of the work

Under the following conditions:

  • Attribution. You must give the original author credit.
  • Share Alike. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one.
  • For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work.

For the full text of the license, click here for the English version, or in Finnish - the Finnish version being the legally valid one, since this blog is physically located in Finland and written by a Finnish citizen.

Note that this license does not affect whatever rights you have under the law - it's still completely okay to quote this blog without relicensing under CC, for example.

Friday, 11-Jun-04 23:05
Blogger meeting blogging

OK, so I am at this blogger meeting. So far the discussion has ranged from sex to tool purses (?). And especially tits. To be specific, the left boob of a particular blogger (who shall remain anonymous until she confesses.) I guess this is fairly typical then :). Well, as long as the beer keeps flowing, and the discussion keeps become more interesting - what do I care?

The turnaround is about 10 bloggers, which is about expected. At least the following blogs are represented: SchizoBlog, Pala maailmaani, MitVit, Shrike's Time Tomblog, Kari Haakana, KatjaW, Nea, Haltia, Luksus, and ButtUgly.

(Well, to be truthful, we've also talked politics, some US politics (a favourite among bloggers all around the world, I'm sure, but mostly about the topical European parliament election and about the forthcoming city council election), some local blog politics, literature... I have to say that I love this crowd: they are as twisted as me.)

Butt Ugly weblog now gives you something new (well, over here anyway): Guestblogging! Over to you!

Ich bin ein hund! Eiku.. Kobaïa's Nea says hi. Suomeksi: Olen koira, Kobaïan Nea sanoo hei. Veikkaisin, että herra bloginpitäjä on humalassa kun antaa vierasblogittaa, mutta ei se minua haittaa. Julius ja Santeri missaavat paljon. MWAHAHAHA.

Well hell. Number one google seach for the beastie boys new song... go to left... doof message there :) With the best and most drunk greetings, the Elf, eli Haltia, future city council candidate... fool... all must pity ;)

Hello Nasty. It's just as good as I thought...

RRRRööööö nothing have I taken. Suck my socks. Also BlueTooth technology is now... resistance is futile! We are assimilated!

Alppimaa ei ole entisensä, tai siis ei ollenkaan. Haluan kiittää Jukka Lehtistä siitä, että ylipäätään muistin tulla tänne. Ja äitiä. Ja manageria. Ja editoria. Ai kiss yyyy oooll! Ai laaav jyyy!

*käkättää kippurassa* (KatjaW)

Terveisiä Trondheimista!! Suoraan kentältä taksilla Toveriin ja eka ykköstuopillinen nyt taulussa. Raisa

Friday, 11-Jun-04 09:01
Which Monty Python character are you?

Time for a dumb test. Yup. That's me :-D



Mean lil fellow, arn't you?

Which Monty Python Character are you?

brought to you by Quizilla

(Via Marjut.)

Thursday, 10-Jun-04 09:49
No voe perhana

(Sorry for the Finnish content; a this is a rant about a very clueless Finnish tabloid magazine article on blogs and how they all are about "revealing intimate details about your life on the internet in a very narcissistic way"):

Jaahas, Se-lehti kertoilee blogeista. Ei saatana. Mä en enää käsitä miten kukaan oikea journalisti voi enää katsoa ketään silmiin tälläisten juttujen jälkeen. Voisi ehkä vähän vaikka haastatella jotakuta, joka asiasta jotain tietäisi. Vaikkapa Schizo-Jannea, jolla sentään on tunnustetusti Suomen paras blogi 2003.

Mutta nykykyttääjien ja -tirkistelijöiden onneksi on olemassa kasvoton joukko narsistisia ihmisiä, jotka levittävät mielellään oman elämänsä muiden eteen kaikkine iloineen ja suruineen, seksiä ja vessakäyntejä myöten. Nämä netissä toimivat bloggaajat kertovat rohkeasti elämästään omilla sivuillaan, omissa weblogeissaan.
Weblog, loki tai blogi on netissä ilmestyvä "päiväkirja", jossa kirjoittaja kertoo avoimesti omasta elämästään, ajatuksistaan tai muista itselleen läheisistä asioista. Blogi poikkeaa kotisivusta siten, että se päivittyy kokoajan, mahdollisimman usein, vähintään päivittäin.

Olen vakaasti sitä mieltä, että termi "verkkopäiväkirja" pitäisi tappaa nyt ja heti, niin ihmiset lakkaisivat yhdistämästä blogia automaattisesti perinteiseen päiväkirjaan. Kysyn vaan, miten jokin Kysyn Vaan kertoo kirjoittajansa elämästä? Tai vaikkapa Avokatsomo? Tai Linko? Tai net.nyt? Tai Fabula? Tai Siiveniskuja? Hemmetin hyviä blogeja kaikki tyynni. Useimmat nettipäiväkirjatkaan eivät ole sen enempää todellinen versio kirjoittajansa elämästä, kuin kenellä tahansa keskivertokirjailijalla, joka ammentaa inspiraatiota omasta elämästään. Esimerkiksi vaikkapa Poikamies, jonka kirjoitukset voisivat mainiosti olla täysin fiktiota.

Jotkut käyttävät blogiaan siihen, että kertovat kavereilleen missä mennään. Toiset purkavat sinne pahaa oloaan. Toisille se vain on kanava ilmaista itseään. Toisille se on jokin IRCin ja sähköpostin välimuoto, jonne pannaan hassuja linkkejä. Toiset järjestävät sillä omaa elämäänsä. Monelle se on tätä kaikkea. Kovin montaa täysin puhdasta "päiväkirjaa" ei tässä maassa top-listoilla näy, loppujen lopuksi: laskin hyvin nopealla arviolla niitä kahdeksan kappaletta Pinserin tämän hetken top-50 -listasta. Se on noin kuudesosa.

Käytetään sitä termiä "verkkoloki" tai ihan vaan reilusti "blogi", eikä sanota sanaakaan päiväkirjasta. Paitsi ehkä jos haluaa kertoa, että "verkkopäiväkirjat ovat pieni osa blogi-ilmiötä". Ok? Bloggaaminen on isompi ilmiö - paljon isompi - kuin pelkkä narsistinen itsensäpaljastelu: bloggaaminen on henkilökohtaista julkaisemista. Bloggaaminen on keino tuoda oma ääni julkisuuteen, teoriassa samanarvoisena (käytännössä ei, mutta ei aleta nyt puhua siitä) kuin kaikilla muillakin. Ja on ihan sen ihmisen oma asia, mitä se haluaa sanoa. Moni meistä puhuu kavereilleenkin omasta elämästään, mutta suurimman osan ajasta kuitenkin jostain muusta. Ihan samasta asiasta on kysymys myös bloggaamisessa: jokainen puhuu kasvottomalle internetille eri lailla. Luonnollisesti omasta elämästä on helppo ammentaa, ja myönnetään - on niitä narsistis-ekshibitionistejakin eksynyt joukoon (vähänkö teki mieli laittaa linkki tuohon, mutta olkoot). Mutta jälleen kerran: katsokaa vaikka Technoratin suosittujen blogien listaa, joka on laskettu noin 2.4 miljoonasta blogista, ja laskekaa sieltä "päiväkirjat".

Bloggaamisen käsittäminen pelkäksi päiväkirjapaljasteluksi on niin käsittämättömän rajoittavaa, että suorastaan raivostuttaa.

(Kiitos Katjalle, jota myös artikkelissa lainataan.)

Thursday, 10-Jun-04 01:36
Geeking out

Just added an Lucene-enabled search to JSPWiki. Speeds things up by what, 40 times? (Kudos to Mahlen Morris for the implementation). It's in the CVS, but I think I broke something - some tests are no longer running. Also, I had to break API compatibility to the page provider interface. Sorry. (And I know only about 20% of people reading this understood anything. For the rest of you: yeah, I talk like this usually all day. I'm very boring in real life.)

Spent also some time laughing at new entries at http://www.engrish.com/.

My thighs hurt.

And I am up far too late, but as the old saying goes: "Sleep, when tired. Eat, when hungry. Write code, when the time is right."

G'nite and toodle-loo to everyone.

Tuesday, 08-Jun-04 17:56
NOT COOL!!!

Some fucking misbrain of a spammer, not worthy to rot on a skewer in the deepest pits of Hell has faked my email address as the return address, and now I'm getting about a billion of "We cannot deliver your mail" -messages from mailer daemons. Problem being, ~SpamAssassin does not pick them up since they appear as legit bounce messages. So my inbox is full of spam. This ain't the crap I was speaking of!

Wonderful double effect: if the spam goes through, then the recipient sees it; if it is bounced, then I see it.

You know, I have this wonderful blunt katana I could use to slowly rip the guts off every spammer, then whirl them around my head before tossing them over the fence for the pigs to eat. Then I would watch these gutless (literally!) illegitimate sons of bastards fall over, and kick them in the head just before they hit the ground, so their brains would burst out of their ears, and they would bounce back up before the final collapse to a mindless heap of goo.

ANGER! RAGE! KILL! MAIM! INJURE!

(Quiet: I'm okay now.)

Tuesday, 08-Jun-04 15:31
On Software Commoditization

Here are some of my thoughts on the subject of Software Commoditization. It's somewhat long, so it's on a separate Wiki page. I know some of you don't really care, but the more geekishly inclined might find this interesting. Click on the "More" below to find, well, more.

Software commoditization

Sun to Open Source Solaris? There are not that many UNIXes out there any more. All of the low-and mid-end operating systems (except for Windows) have been killed by Linux (and to some extent, BSD variants - and yes, I'm counting Mac OS X as one of these). Only in high end, some UNIX variants still exist for specialized purposes (like IRIX or AIX), but for the most part, even they are dying away.

You see, I believe in software commoditization. Much like electricity, or cell phones, you can buy electronic parts from different suppliers, and different manufacturers, have them all co-operate with one another, and build a fully functional computer from them. For some parts, you have a lot of choice (like motherboards); for some, you have less (CPU). But this all is good for the consumer, because he does not have to rely on a single supplier, or a single product. If it's faulty, he can reclaim his money and take his money elsewhere.

This is not true for operating systems. You run Windows, or you don't run anything at all.

If Windows was a standard, this would be okay. ...

More...

Monday, 07-Jun-04 12:53
Why IRC is crap, yet useless

After several (well, since 1989 anyway) years of experience on IRC, I still probably can count the useful hours I've spent there using one hand only. (Then again, I can count in binary.)

But the reason why IRC is interesting is that it functions as a collective subconscious. On some channels certain things pop up constantly, even though nobody really cares about them. For example, on #go.fi people talk about EGF rating points. These have no significance for any player whatsoever, unless you are a very strong. But they are a slightly-better-than-randomized way of evaluating performance. So everybody has some interest. On #joiito, most of the discussion is completely incomprehensible, yet those people feel a strange connection, and gather together at conventions.

IRC is like a common subconscious, where thoughts come and go, tucking in different directions, yet never converging. Most of the discussion on any channel is bullshit. Pure and honest crap. Nothing but the equivalent of waving your lips in the wind in the faint hope a meaningful sentence will appear, if you keep producing syllables just long enough.

But it's common crap. That crap which binds us together, and builds communities. Some people have this odd notion that "social activity" is the same as sitting in a pub, drinking beer and talking horseshit. Fine. The important thing is "crap".

All of social software is mostly about crap. This is what the CSCW folks never realized - they thought it was important to increase productivity and get more achieved through computer-assisted work. The social software phenomenon (weblogs, Orkut, LinkedIn, IRC, chats, bulletin boards, ...) is built on the notion that people wish to talk crap. They enable you to use your time idly, do nothing, because conscious thoughts (and the inevitable good ideas) rise from the subconscious soup of crap. I think that's why Wikis haven't really flown is that they are not that good places for crap: the community deletes anything that is not considered to be in line of the other contents of the wiki. They don't allow the subconscious simmer of thought in the same way as IRC. It remains to be seen how much crap will surface on Orkut or Friendster, and whether that amount is enough to allow them to survive. (I've noticed I don't use Orkut anymore, even though I am listed. There's just so little point.)

The Finnish IRC service IRC-galleria, is really a place for IRC regulars to post their picture and have comments appended to it. However, there are now many young people, who put their pictures on the IRC gallery, and then "go ircing" on it - meaning posting comments on other peoples pages on the IRC gallery, creating large amounts of anger among those who know what IRC really is. I think this is a wonderful example of "crap in action" - if you build a way for people to discuss, they will come.

The societies are built on crap. The internet is built on crap.

Crap is good. Keep talking bullshit, and while the world may not be better, at least it will be a far more interesting place. :-D

Monday, 07-Jun-04 09:44
Technical difficulties

Lately, Blogspot has been highly unstable. I tend to get random 404:s when trying to access blogs hosted on the site, random redirections, etc. Even the Pinseri list got confused, showing ghost updates even though the blogs had not been updated. Samik changed the bot to read the Atom feeds of the blogspot blogs, which was an excellent idea. That was the final straw for many to turn on their Atom feeds, which makes life so much easier for me: I can now read most of my favourite blogs through Bloglines. Yay! You can see my current subscription list on the right-hand menu (if you have Javascript enabled, that is) - it grew significantly this morning.

A few still remain, though... ;-)

In other news - what on Earth is wrong with Technorati? They seem to be down more than up these days... Which is sad, because the service is really nice and useful.

Saturday, 05-Jun-04 15:12
Love songs

This is an odd meme, which I discarded immediately as I came upon it. But it stayed somewhere in the back of my mind; nibbling at my conscious bits. Later, it came back to haunt me, and I could not shake it off a second time. So here goes, a list of Five Top Love Songs. With a small twist.

If you find the list a bit strange, it's probably for three reasons:
1) It has seven songs.
2) Love is a relative concept.
3) Some of these are not really my favourite songs at all. But all of them have some connection to my life, either directly, or through friends trying to cope. I also had to leave out a bunch of really good ones, for unexplicable reasons.

There's a story here. It's not my story, but you are free to interpret it in any way you want. Some persons might find more truth here than others; some might even know the reason why a particular song was picked. But they are all connected to love - love expected, love experienced, love lost.

Kent: Kärleken väntar

 Brinn pengar brinn 
 Jag vet att du är värd någonting 
 Du är hoppet i ett IQ-fritt land 
 Du är drömmarna jag drömmer ibland 

 Visst känns det som att kärleken väntar 
 Visst känns det som att kärleken väntar 

Bonnie Tyler: Total Eclipse of the Heart

 And I need you now tonight 
 And I need you more than ever 
 And if you'll only hold me tight 
 We'll be holding on forever 
 And we'll only be making it right 
 Cause we'll never be wrong together 
 We can take it to the end of the line 

U2: With or without you

 My hands are tied
 My body bruised, she’s got me with
 Nothing to win and
 Nothing left to lose

 And you give yourself away
 And you give yourself away
 And you give
 And you give
 And you give yourself away

 With or without you
 With or without you
 I can’t live
 With or without you

Olavi Virta: Hopeinen Kuu

 Kaipaus vastaa sydämen ääneen
 Onneni tiedän mä nyt taas niin yksin jääneen
 Toinen nyt kuuta kanssais katsoo
 Toinen vienyt sinut lie nyt
 Hopeinen kuu luo merelle siltaa

Roxette: Listen to your Heart

 Listen to your heart when he's calling for you.
 Listen to your heart there's nothing else you can do.
 I don't know where you're going and I don't know why,
 but listen to your heart before you tell him goodbye.

Lene Marlin: One year ago

 She’s walking there alone, 
 No one by her side
 She manages to fight the tears, but
 The pain inside
 She can’t hide 
 And all the tears she’s cried
 The moment she closes her eyes, she starts
 Thinking of you
 The dreams that she had one time
 Have gone away
 Will they ever come true? 
 All she needs is - all she needs is you

Junnu Vainio: Vanhoja poikia viiksekkäitä

 Saimaan saaressa pikkuinen torppa,
 istuu portailla Nestori Miikkulainen.
 Lepokivellään iäkäs norppa,
 katsoo ystävää ymmärtäen.
 Suuri Saimaa, mut' naista sen rannoilta vaan
 ei näin tuuliseen saareen saa asettumaan.
 Kuten norpan, on määrä myös Miikkulaisen,
 olla sukunsa viimeinen.
Friday, 04-Jun-04 17:05
Ganbatte, ne?

This small little article details in a very painful manner why it is difficult to be a Westerner in Japan. Many people have asked me: "If you do like Japan so much, why don't you move there?"

That's why.

The above story is not criticism. It's simply a statement of fact. It is difficult to know which battles to fight, and I completely agree with the author here. I've had too much gaman in my life as well. Some of it good, some of it bad. Most of it unnecessary.

(Via Heli.)

Thursday, 03-Jun-04 23:32
Tiredness.

Physical exhaustion. Riding is hard. My hands are actually shaking.

And not only that, I've been driving to work every day on bike. Perhaps I should tomorrow have a rest day from biking; just do the riding part. Too much exercise on one week, I think. To quote Sledge Hammer: "I have pains in places I didn't know I had places." Except that it's not quite true - I am in fact very well versed in the different places where a human body can feel pain. Don't ask.

Thank goodness there's sauna, one of the best inventions ever. It has a wonderfully relaxing effect on the beaten body.

G'nite.

Thursday, 03-Jun-04 00:14
Miscallaneous out-of-context quotes of the day

"I didn't want to pass the child making time. It was kinda fun - in a necrophile sort of way". -- Mr. Tactful after telling his wife he raped her while she was passed out to cover for the fact that in fact, it was really Satan who raped her.

"What does that mean?" -- A coworker after seeing my new hair.

"I do the same kind of work as him - except that I'm worse." -- During an introductory round in a meeting.

"NO!" -- Several times today.

"Lower your arms!" -- Also, several times today. (I seem to have a problem with that one.)

"You must drink Olvi! Fucking shithead! Perkele!" -- When I reached for a Pepsi bottle in a store. Huh?

"My boyfriend came yesterday in secret, hid in the bushes and took pictures of me!" -- A worryingly happy girl.

"Are you feeling pain, too?" -- Two minutes earlier. Different girl.

"Your personality comes through well." -- A colleague after reading my travel log. (See, Matt, not all of my traumas come from you!)

Tuesday, 01-Jun-04 23:41
More horse talk

Well, well. It seems that we are joining the bunch of girly horse blogs :). Second lesson today. Went "Around the world" - essentially turning 360 degrees in the saddle, did trot without stirrups (scary at first), and nearly fell off a couple of times, while trying to grab by left foot with my right hand. Heh. Fun exercises, even though I think I sprained something.

It feels good to be learning something new again (plenty of new words at least :). And the horses are actually quite cute - though I'm pretty sure I'd be scared shitless if they were angry at me. 500 kilos of angry meat is dangerous - herbivore or no herbivore. But perhaps I'll learn to "talk horse" some day.

Tuesday, 01-Jun-04 00:16
Experiences of the day

Bugger. Missed Misu. But, on the other hand, I had my first official riding lesson today, and got even a couple of compliments during the day. One from the riding instructor ("You sit really well"), and one from a colleague at work:

"Everything is always complex with you."

That kinda surprised me. I don't know. Is it?

Today, I came home, completely drenched (it rained throughout the entire lesson). I hung my wet clothes to dry, slipped into some comfortable clothes, pulled on some thick woollen socks, and made myself a couple of sandwiches (from wonderful, fresh rye bread) and a large cup of cocoa. Then I curled on the sofa and watched two episodes from the fourth season of Babylon 5 from a freshly opened package.

I'm not that complex. Really.

Monday, 31-May-04 11:24
Multiplicity

Scary. This morning, it took me an hour to decide what to wear.

Metanote: This entry is funny. Depending on how well you know me and my life, there are at least three different ways of reading it. And essentially, every single one of them is correct, yet they are woefully incomplete on their own. I guess that's one of the lures of blogging: you get to choose what to reveal of yourself. You are in complete control of your own public image, as opposed to traditional journalism where someone else writes about the misconceptions they had, while listening you talk.

I'm also sure there are a billion incorrect ways of reading this entry. But to the reader, it does not matter. They form their own opinion anyway, and as such, it is correct for them until proven otherwise. And to most people, it does not really matter anyway.

Sunday, 30-May-04 14:43
GNG!

Arg! Another annoying day when all shops are closed. They must be haunting me. I seem to have time to do grocery shopping only on Sundays these days. But that does not help much, because yet again I bang at the closed doors, 'cos it is Yet Another Annoying Christian Holiday (YAACH).

OK, I don't mind holidays, not at all, but I do mind the backward Finnish law which says that even though the majority of the people are so spineless that they belong to the church even though they don't really believe in the Christian God, nor do they actually go to the church, everybody must not go shopping on Sundays.

Many young people (esp. women) tell me they belong to the church because they want to have a "princess wedding". I think there's market now for private companies that arrange civil marriages as if they were Christian weddings, with proper locations, carefully constructed phrases and everything. Currently, the power to wed people is only with the city officials (and clergy), but perhaps that should be licensed out.

Hell, I'm a priest. I could wed you people ;-).

Update: As EG pointed out, it is even more odd that you can legally buy beer and hard liquor from bars on Sundays. Surely there must be something inherently evil in buying milk for little Charlie, but it's okay for mum and dad to get wasted. I just don't get it.

Friday, 28-May-04 17:45
Oh, you touch my tralala!
oh, you touch my tralala,
mm my ding ding dong.
la lalala lalala....
Oh, you touch my tralala
la lalala lalala....
mm, my ding ding dong.
la lalala lalala....
This is something. Else. I don't think I'll need any other music for the entire summer. It has been playing on repeat for about an hour now, and "I'm looking for some fun/deep in the night"...

It makes me wonder though whether I should grow a moustache and a mullet? I'll need to do some barberblogging next week anyway ;-)

(Via SchizoBlog, the guaranteed source for good music.)

Friday, 28-May-04 11:26
No weekend

You know... I have nothing planned for the weekend (except for the optional regular events). It feels so strange - I don't think I've had a zero weekend for months. Rest will do some good, I'm sure.

Though, knowing myself, I'll probably end up coding some sorely missed JSPWiki stuff regardless of the weather; sitting in a dark room and becoming generally obsessed with finally releasing 2.2 :-)

Thursday, 27-May-04 04:24
On connectivity

A few years ago I got really tired of not being able to read or send email on the go, wherever I was. So I bought my own server, and have configured it so that I can read email with IMAP, or via logging in using SSH, or - if everything else fails - using the ever-so-clunky webmail. I also have my own private SMTP server, so I don't have to care what the local mail settings are - I just authenticate to my own server and send email through there. Everything is, of course, fully encrypted. I also keep all my email on the IMAP boxes, which reside in my $HOME/Mail, so I can easily go through them with a shell script, if necessary. It's good to have access through multiple means.

My preferred method of reading email these days is the Apple Mail.app. It's a very intuitive mail client, and does essentially everything a good mail client must do. And it has also the Apple Search - just type in stuff into a small box and it will look it up for you. No "Find" -buttons. Very convenient.

(Now I'm happy that I had the webmail backup, because here on the Kansai airport it seems that only HTTP and HTTPS traffic is allowed through the WLAN network. Oh well... Good things rarely come free. :)

Saw Mount Fuji. Impressed.

Wednesday, 26-May-04 16:33
Innocence

Didn't feel like going out tonight, so I went to the Shinagawa IMAX theatre to watch Innocence, the new film from Mamoru Oshii.

It's... Well, it has the most beautiful, painstakingly detailed matte paintings, very complex 3D imagery, a deep, yet completely incomprehensible script (Japanese only, no subtitles :), one of the more disturbing dream sequences I've ever seen, classical Japanese animation, a mind-blowing musical score, naked female sex robots with guns and kung-fu skills, a magical atmosphere to boot, and the heartbreakingly cute dog.

It's beautiful. I pity the fool who downloads and watches this on a laptop. See it in a theatre.

Update: Check out the trailer.

Wednesday, 26-May-04 03:50
The morning after

Ow.

(By the way: perhaps confessing to all your colleagues that you have a weblog is not such a smart idea.)

Tuesday, 25-May-04 22:20
Phew

I do feel thqat I'm rater drnk. Then again, I hacve been drinkin g with someboday else's corprate account for the entire eving in Tokyo. And it's 4:10 in the morning AS I a wrting thisl with no sort of spelll cheking wiatsoever,.'

THSI ENTRY hgas been designe for you to feelk xtremely envious., Hehe. Shops that sell alcohol 24 hurs a day can be somewhat damaging to your coherence, btw. I love this city. And some people I know. You know who yuou are.

I thinjk sleep would be a agood idea abot hnow,. G'net.

Tuesday, 25-May-04 12:09
Why shouldn't one wear ties?

Ha! I knew that there was a reason why I don't wear ties (well, except on some rare occasions)! It's because

a) they are not a part of the universally known "geek uniform"
b) they harbor diseases.

(Via BoingBoing).

Tuesday, 25-May-04 06:16
On Jet Lag

Flying east is always so much worse. I thought I had conquered the jet lag with little difficulty, but then I stayed awake until four o'clock this morning, and had only about four hours of sleep. Gng. Well, sunrise over Tokyo was interesting at least. I also got myself some nice new biking shorts, that already look like they had made close contact with the ground at high speeds. BTW, one of the things you don't want to do is to reconfigure your email at 2 am, 7000 km away. It leads to frustration, frustration leads to hate, and hate leads to blinding rage.

And I am not nuts (El Finnish Only). I prefer to think of myself more as "refreshingly complex and deep, with a sweet, yet ambiguous nose (and astonishingly brown eyes!), and a long, fruity aftertaste that has a hint of nut." Thanks for the heads-up, though. I seem to be in good company. :-)

Sunday, 23-May-04 13:50
Battlestar Japan

You just gotta love a country where they show live, professional go games on TV... With commentary! :-)
Well, another three hour ordeal, and this wasn't actually such a bad experience (as the aforementioned Troy).

I'm talking about the pilot of the new edition of Battlestar Galactica, which I had the opportunity of catching on the flight. I remember watching the original series when I was really young - we had to get a new TV to watch it. Our old Philips did not have an UHF receiver, and BG was on TV2 - so we got a new Goldstar black-and-white set. Oh, the memories.

But this new version is actually not half bad. OK, so Starbuck and Boomer are women (and there's some electricity between Starback and Apollo already), though I liked the character of Cassiopeia from the original series more. But it's perhaps the sign of the times. No real complaints. The effects were wonderful, and having actually silent space travel and semi-newtonian physics felt good for a change. The space combats were staged well, though I still long for the old-style Cylon fighters. They were the scariest things still seen on TV, these new ones just look like something stolen out of a computer game. I especially loved the "debris rain", and the fact that most of the characters were really rather intelligent. No glaring plot holes or gaping amounts of stupidity yet...

But yeah, I could see myself growing to like this. It's miles better than Galactica 1980, anyway... (Sheesh, flying motorcycles?)

(Yah, I'm in Tokyo now, and managed to catch a flu as well. Bugger.)

Saturday, 22-May-04 01:26
The Drop

Well, first I was enjoying myself a lot, and then I went to see Troy. Here's my review of the movie:

Bollocks.

Lemme put it this way: The only thing I found slightly interesting was Sean Bean as Odysseus, who delivers a very nice performance. If he hadn't been there, I would've walked out of the theatre. Seriously. Ever since Deep Impact have I never wanted to leave the theatre, but this was really, really close. I had to amuse myself during the movie trying to calculate how many modern soldiers would've turned the battle, or what would a Battlemech look like when standing next to the walls of Troy at dawn.

Even the soundtrack - consisting mostly of a woman wailing - was boring. The only interesting thing was the play on the theme from Stargate during Achilles' death. Nice touch.

I really, really, really would not like to see this movie ever again. Hell, if the highlight of the movie is the sight of Brad Pitt without clothes - then something is deeply wrong. And yes, I'm straight. Straight, but in-fucking-credibly bored.

Friday, 21-May-04 14:43
Larry Lessig to speak in Finland

(Via Jyri). Toimitus suosittelee, ja kiroilee kun ei itse pääse paikalle.

KUTSU

Avoin luento ja keskustelutilaisuus
Professor Lawrence Lessig Helsingissä
"The Future of Copyright, Culture and Creativity"
Maanantaina 24.5. klo 17.30
Kulttuuritehdas Korjaamo, Töölönkatu 51 b

Tervetuloa avoimeen keskustelutilaisuuteen Professori Lawrence Lessigin kanssa Helsingissä maantantaina 24.5. klo 17.30 Korjaamolla, Töölönkatu 51b. Professori Lessig on yksi maailman tunnetuimpia ajattelijoita, kirjoittajia ja luennoitsijoita digitaalisen kulttuurin, median ja tekijänoikeuksien kehityksestä. Nyt suomalaisella yleisöllä on ainutlaatuinen mahdollisuus kuulla ja haastaa kansainvälistä vaikuttajaa. Teemana on "The Future of Copyright, Culture and Creativity."

Tilaisuuden järjestää Aula. Aula on avoin verkosto, joka tukee ajatusten vaihtoa poikki rajojen.

Tätä kutsua voi lähettää sähköisesti eteenpäin kaikille kiinnostuneille.

* * *

INVITATION

You are invited to an open discussion with Professor Lawrence Lessig on Monday 24.5. at 17.30 at Korjaamo, Töölönkatu 51 b in Helsinki. Professor Lessig will speak on "The Future of Copyright, Culture and Creativity" followed by a discussion with the audience. The event will be held in English and is free and open to the public.

The event is organized by Aula. Aula is an open network that promotes the exchange of ideas across boundaries.

Please forward this invitation to anyone you feel would be interested in attending.

About the speaker

Lawrence Lessig (http://www.lessig.org/) is a Professor of Law at Stanford Law School and founder of the school's Center for Internet and Society. Prior to joining the Stanford faculty, he was the Berkman Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. Lessig was also a fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, and a Professor at the University of Chicago Law School. He clerked for Judge Richard Posner on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and Justice Antonin Scalia on the United States Supreme Court.

More recently, Professor Lessig represented web site operator Eric Eldred in the ground-breaking case Eldred v. Ashcroft, a challenge to the 1998 Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act. Lessig was named one of Scientific American's Top 50 Visionaries, for arguing "against interpretations of copyright that could stifle innovation and discourse online."

Lessig teaches and writes in the areas of constitutional law, law and high technology, Internet regulation, comparative constitutional law, and the law of cyberspace. His book, Code, and Other Laws of Cyberspace, was published by Basic Books, and The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World, is available from Random House. His most recent book, Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity, is now available online at http://www.free-culture.cc and from Penguin Press.

Professor Lessig chairs the Creative Commons project (http://creativecommons.org/faq). Professor Lessig is a board member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a board member of the Center for the Public Domain, and a Commission Member of the Penn National Commission on Society, Culture and Community at the University of Pennsylvania. Professor Lessig earned a BA in economics and a BS in management from the University of Pennsylvania, an MA in philosophy from Cambridge, and a JD from Yale.

Friday, 21-May-04 12:43
Pinseri list in changes.xml format...

Warning: highly übergeeky drivel follows.

I wrote a small JSP page which essentially gobbles up the Pinseri RSS feed and transforms it into the changes.xml -format used by weblogs.com. Why is this cool?

Because I was just informed that Technorati has now added all the Finnish blogs on the Pinseri list into their search engine... This means that you can easily check if someone refers to your weblog. Example: try this link to see all references to my blogs from the 2.4 Million weblogs that Technorati is currently following. Or check this link to see all references to Hassuja Heräämisiä.

Technorati is cool. It's the best egoboosting tool since, well, the Pinseri top-list. :-)

Thursday, 20-May-04 20:06
Laziness

I've been essentially doing nothing today.

Well, I did save my flowers by changing new soil for them.

But that's pretty much it.

And yeah, I did write a Pinseri-RSS-to-changes.xml -converter, so we might soon get all Finnish blogs in Technorati.

But nothing else.

Perhaps a couple games of go on KGS.

Otherwise, I've been doing nothing.

Except writing a bunch of emails.

And blogging.

But nothing else. I swear!

Well, I did eat. And vacuum the apartment.

But that doesn't count, does it? I mean, it's cleaning - it's like doing nothing useful. Things get dirty again real soon. Eating is also something you have to do. So that doesn't count either.

Ok... Then answer me this:

If I did nothing, why am I so bloody tired and out of my wits now? It's as if I had just been doing something really exhausting...

Wednesday, 19-May-04 20:45
Finnish Fun

Sorry, Finns only:

Heli kirjoitti pienen mukavan tarinan uljaasta prinssistä, joka uponnee jokaiseen naiseen, joka on ikinä seurustellut nörtin kanssa. On suorastaan pelottavaa tunnistaa itsensä. (Ei se komeuskohta. Mutta se muu...)

Kiitos! :-D

Wednesday, 19-May-04 18:39
WOOF!

The Unspeakable Vault (of Doom).

Iä iä, Cthulhu ftaghn...

(Thanks to Ebu for the link).

Wednesday, 19-May-04 17:07
Hngh, what!?!

"So, what were you planning to do tomorrow, then?"

"Do this X and that Y, because the deadline is on Friday, why?"

"It's Ascension Day! It's holiday!"

"WHAT!?!"

All my schedules were just shot to hell.

Think: I am supposed to "be on the edge", keep track of new developments, surf the information superhighway with a jet engine strapped to my back, be cool and know all the new buzzwords, implement the latest, state-of-the-art technology - and I don't bloody know that I'm not supposed to come to work tomorrow.

*laugh*

The universe has a built-in mechanism of putting you back to your own place and reminding you of yourself. It's called irony. :)

Tuesday, 18-May-04 15:42
Faster, faster, faster...

Changed the layout of the page slightly, resulting in significantly improved rendering speed. It's funny how a small piece of Javascript in a wrong place can suddenly block the entire rendering...

Note to self (which every web-designer knows, but often forgets in a hurry - and that's my story and I'm sticking to it): Always put the important content first, and all your fluff last.

Let me know if this does not work with some browsers. Don't bother with Netscape 4 :)

Tuesday, 18-May-04 12:22
Repetition

You know, I suppose I just _have_ to moblog about a blogger blogging about a blog post of a moblog post made of a moblogger blogging.

My reputation as a sad metaübergeek (thanks, Matt) simply requires it.

Tuesday, 18-May-04 10:12
Amateur rocket reaches space

An amateur rocket carrying a ham radio avionics package reached the edge of space May 17, reports ARRL.

This is a Big Thing. It marks the first time amateurs have been able to reach the 100km altitude, commonly regarded as the lower edge of space. It's still a long way from a manned spaceflight, though there are many people shooting for the X-Prize.

You see, the conquest of the New World did not happen with the government-funded expeditions of Kolumbus, da Gama, Magalhães (Magellan) and others. It really started when your average, hard-working people moved over in search for their own fortune. Because they were working for themselves, not for any ideal, or corporation, or government. They were working just to get their families fed, and have a bit for retirement.

I believe governments still play a large role in space travel, but the real power and the mass will come from amateurs, who will later on create companies around their venture, and sooner or later they will be able to serve launch services for small scale satellites, and later on, even space tourism.

Sunday, 16-May-04 22:44
The state of wiki APIs

Dave Johnson wonders about the Wiki APIs. Being the author of the JSPWiki:WikiRPCInterface, I concur. XML-RPC pretty much is finished for me as an API standard, and I don't think I will be developing the V2 of the standard onwards.

However, I like Atom. I like Atom a lot. Consider this official: JSPWiki will support both the Atom blog and Atom Wiki APIs. I believe that Atom holds the future instead of XML-RPC. It has the advantage of being designed properly (no timezone hassles, no UTF-8 issues, proper built-in authentication), after all.

We should just remember the lessons we learned with that API: the importance of backlinks, the forward link lists, proper search API, authentication (Atom solves all of my issues by using WSSE, yay!), the ability to handle attachments, introspection, versioning support, and metadata. Most of these vary from Wiki to Wiki.

There is also the issue of the varying markup between Wikis, but I don't think that is such a big issue, API-wise. What we should do is to define a generic WikiMarkup, a variant of XHTML preferably, which is never seen by the user. It's just used to transfer data from a WYSIWYG editor to a WikiEngine, which then does the transformation to the local markup. Or something.

Sunday, 16-May-04 21:04
Saturn

The Cassini-Huygens probe is approaching Saturn, and is nearly at the end of its extremely long journey. It is already taking better photographs than anything we've seen before, and much is expected from both the orbiter and the Titan probe.

This picture is a simulation of what we might see, rendered with the latest technology.

Err. Nope?

Would you believe that it's a part of a scale Solar System model here in Helsinki, then? :)

(Ah, biking season. Which T9 (predictive text input) wanted first to call "ailing reason", and then "bikini season" instead... I think it's smarter than people give it credit for. :-D )

Sunday, 16-May-04 00:14
On rock music, eurovision song contest and weddings

You know, there's a serious credibility problem with a beautiful, scantily dressed woman, who sings happily "It hurts, how it hurts" (Sweden). I much prefer Finnish rock music, which mostly consists of serious men singing in a very laconic voice about they have been hurt and left in a thousand different ways. At least they mostly look and sound the part.

Which brings me to the general music selection of Finnish weddings. It is supposed to be a happy occasion, but yet somehow most of the music is always extremely depressing. It just makes you want to scream: the three required waltzes, and then a selection of other classics, and then moving towards traditional Finnish rock music, in which a lone, drunken man sings his lament after killing his family, right before blowing his own brains out.

Hel-lo? Happy, anyone? Remember? The state where you don't really want to kill yourself (or anyone else for that matter)?

*sigh*

I guess you would need to listen to a lot of Finnish rock music to understand this entry. Hell, even writing about the music depresses me to another dimension. Then again, being alone in a small hotel room, watching the Eurovision Song Contest (which is complete crap, as usual), feeling the blissful state of inebriation ebb away into tiredness and depression ("laskuhumala" in Finnish, a highly descriptive word, I might add) after having left the party prematurely because of the compound effect of alcohol, little sleep, the afore mentioned music, relatives ("Now when are you going to get married, mmh?"), and the general happiness of everyone else (happily married or at least engaged)... What do you expect? ;-)

Anyway. Lots of luck and love to the happy couple.

Saturday, 15-May-04 01:11
The intolerable happiness of being

Just had the perfect dinner with a beautiful woman in a fabulous restaurant.

Bliss.

Friday, 14-May-04 18:05
Bananaphone

This flash animation is wrong on so many levels... ARGH!

Well, I guess it just proves that even memes evolve.

(Via Slashdot, of all places.)

Friday, 14-May-04 16:19
Coding Frenzy

Warning: techtalk follows, you may freely skip this if your eyes glaze over at the word "XML".

I've been in a coding frenzy for the past couple of days. JSPWiki has had some considerable additions, here being the relevant part of the ~ChangeLog:

2004-05-14  Janne Jalkanen  <Janne.Jalkanen@nospam.ecyrd.com>

        * v2.1.97.

        * Added preliminary support for the Atom blog API.  It still does
        not yet completely work, however.

I'll be a non-productive member of the society for the next three-four days (another wedding? Don't people get tired of these things already?), so nothing much may happen. But yeah, I nearly got ecto working with JSPWiki.

There is still however a question on how the blog and wiki apis should interact. You see, the page Main on this site is both a weblog and a wiki page. I'm having trouble, you see:

  • GET to /atom/ lists all wiki pages (which means that even on this site, there are a lot of them) - not just the weblogs (since every page can be a weblog, even the weblog entry pages)
  • GET to /atom/Main... Should it list all of the blog entries, or should it GET the Wiki page content? Both are valid interpretations...

I'm confused... Which is the correct way to handle this? Should a WikiWeblog combination have separate URIs for Wiki and Weblog functionality? Isn't that kinda redundant?

Thursday, 13-May-04 15:32
Ok, so I'm lucky
You are 17 years old and play football for your country. You live with your family on a small farm. You have always been fanatical about football and dreamed of playing for a big European club such as Newcastle. When civil war broke out, rebel forces attacked your village. You, like many other Sierra Leoneans, had one of your legs cut off by the soldiers. This practice was widespread. Many victimes died from bloog loss. You are one of just 4,000 people who survived these atrocities.

Find out and be immediately transported to your dream life.

(Via Smart Mobs.)

Thursday, 13-May-04 02:31
Just checking...

Just checking if my moblogging still works, after some tweaks to the JSPWiki code base.

On the right, my living room window before washing. On the left, the part of the window that has been washed. Living in the city centre has its downsides as well, and one of them is getting really dirty windows, really fast.

Thursday, 13-May-04 01:56
JSPWiki goes Atom

Okay, folks! Here's the cool bit of the day: JSPWiki now officially has support for the Atom feed format in the latest CVS version. It only works for the Weblog plugin for the moment, but there's now an atom.jsp, as well as a ~FeedDiscoveryTag so that you can find the Atom feed easily. It'll just need some tweaks to work for regular wiki pages as well.

It's live now, on this site. Check out http://www.ecyrd.com/ButtUgly/atom.jsp! It even validates! :-)

Off to bed now. Must grab some sleep.

Wednesday, 12-May-04 16:33
~WikiSpam by the billions

For the past week, someone has been hitting jspwiki.org, adding advertisements to a couple of addresses I am not going to mention here. I figured they were isolated incidents, but... It seems that Dave Johnson of RollerWeblogger has had the same guys on his wiki. I just hope nobody is trying to build a bot to target a specific WikiEngine. It could be devastating to the open nature of Wikis.

You see, the problem with open systems is that they are easy to abuse. For the most part, manual damage can be controlled thanks to social pressure and sheer volume of good people, but automatical damage, as inflicted by bots may become intolerable. The reason why we have so much email spam these days is because of the wonderful openness of the SMTP, mail transfer protocol. Because it was open, license-free, and easy to implement, it became the killer app of the all-pervasive Internet these days. But openness also has vulnerabilities, and as with anything popular, people are abusing it right now.

I am not worried about people trying to destroy wikis. That would be too easy to protect against. But I am worried about bots that would roam around, and change the text or a link slightly to destroy links to competition, or to add Googlejuice for someone. Would it be possible to notice every single change on your wiki, and check every single outgoing link? Considering that most Wikis don't even provide an RSS or Atom feed it may be difficult to keep track on what is really happening. I have two open Wikis which I administer - and I'm having trouble coping with them already. Especially smaller wikis may be in trouble, as their administration have no tools to combat a dedicated spambot.

It is entirely possible that public Wikis will have to start to protect themselves somehow. I think we should start thinking about technologies that would prevent spambots from destroying an entire subculture, but in a ~WikiFriendly way. Let's not do what everybody else seems to be doing these days, and sacrifice the one thing that we want to protect.

Wednesday, 12-May-04 15:45
ARGH, MY MAC SUCKS!

How do I turn on the screensaver with a key combination!?! I don't want to use the hot corners (I already have them overloaded with Exposé and I want to have the top left corner free so I don't have to worry about counting pixels when I try and access the Apple menu), but so far the best way to lock the Powerbook is to go and turn the lid down and then back up again. which turns on the screen saver (and stops iTunes, BTW, since the computer goes to sleep for a second).

I know there are Mac people reading me, so please: tell me which key combination I have to use, or which freeware application I have to install to just be able to press Apple-F12 to lock the computer! I've been trying to find the info from Google, but apparently I haven't been able to figure out the right keywords.

Frustrated now!

(Sorry for the headline, just wanted to grab your attention there. My Mac Powerbook does NOT suck, it is a wonderful little machine and I grow more attached to it every day. It is by far the best computer I've ever owned. I just need this one thing to make it perfect. Please?)

Tuesday, 11-May-04 17:02
Story of a lone man's fight

The DMCA in the USA allows content owners to shut down almost anything without due process, without the need for a trial or any regard to the First Amendment of the US constitution. Last year, MPAA sent out over 30,000 Cease and Desist -letters. Only one fought back.

These are his words.

(Do not forget that EU has similar legislation: the EUCD. A directive crafted out of fear and greed.)

Tuesday, 11-May-04 15:31
Odds and ends
Vaiyo A-O
A Home Va Ya Ray
Vaiyo A-Rah
Jerhume Brunnen G

-- Lexx: Brunnen-G
battle hymn

I'm extremely tired - I have slept only a couple of hours in the past couple of nights.

Still, I feel as if there was something in the air. A lull before a storm. A pause between moments. There are signs of transition: things you see, things you hear, things you read. Things you feel. Things you have done.

I have a feeling that something will change soon. Hard to say in which direction.

Could be the spring, too.

Monday, 10-May-04 12:21
Moore+Clarke+Fermi=?

It has been suggested that Moore's Law could hold for about 600 years before we hit the maximum amount of computability there is.

Clarke's Third Law says that "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic".

Fermi's Paradox asks "where the hell are all intelligent creatures of the universe?"

You know, 600 years to take on the entire universe is not a long time. In fact, it is a laughably short time. And, if there's any intelligent life anywhere else in the universe, wouldn't they have discovered it already, meaning that we would already be a part of a gigantic supercomputer? And would we even notice, if we were a part of it?

And if we're the first sentient beings to succeed in building a supercomputer the size of the universe, will it all end in a massive Bluescreen of Death in the year 2604?

Now there's something to lose your sleep over...

Sunday, 09-May-04 23:38
よぅかん

Enjoying a bit of green tea and yōkan, one of the odd Japanese things that only I seem to have developed a taste for. Oh well. More for me. :-)

Today, I have mostly been annoyed at the fact that all stores are closed due to Mother's Day. I mean - this is pretty much the only day on the week when I have free time to do any shopping whatsoever, and thanks to our arcane legislation, most shops are closed on most Sundays, and on this particular Sunday everything is closed. Bloody annoying. Makes me want to move abroad again. Grr.

For me, shopping is relax. Well, some shopping is. The kinda shopping I want to do on Sundays anyway.

Saturday, 08-May-04 21:25
Punch at sunset

The wedding traditions are over, and now it is time to sit back and relax. Watch the sun set north-west, and enjoy a bit of punch. It is warm here, and there is no hurry nor worry.

Congratulations, my friends! May your marriage be long and prosperous!

Saturday, 08-May-04 11:48
Things a dog can do in public

Axis of Ævil has a funny story about what your dog can do in public, but she can't (but apparently would like to).

Couple of the bullet points do make me somewhat worried, though: "Shag other dogs?" "Eat garbage off the sidewalk?" "Wear a collar and walk on a leash?" Well, the last one you do see occasionally at least - but the first one? I do believe it's illegal...

I think I should try the "beg food from random passersby" -thing though. Might be fun.

(Aw. What a stupid post from me. Ah well... ohoy mates, off to a wedding I go. Being in a suitable mood is very important on occasions such as those. No worries. Bing.)

Friday, 07-May-04 20:21
Practical tips for boozing

Take a slip of paper, draw circles, put in numbers, and put your whiskey on them. Then, you can easily see how drunk you are as you down the glasses.

Friday, 07-May-04 14:20
The Quickening

As summer comes, Finns open up and actually start talking to each other. I was just having lunch with a colleague, sitting next to the Ruoholahti channel, chatting mindlessly as usual, as a girl - probably around ten years of age - comes to us and strikes conversation.

"Hello"

"Well, hi", I say.

"Isn't the weather wonderful?" she asks.

"Yea! It's fantastic" I say, desperately trying to remember how I should communicate with someone so young, that I could be her father.

"Do you have a boat here?" she continues. We shake our heads, looking regretful.

"Well, goodbye" she chimes and marches on with her friends.

I start to explain to my British friend the conversation that just took place, as I overhear a young girl's voice, bragging to her friends:

"See, I was brave enough to talk to them!"

I nearly fell to the channel: I was laughing so hard. Us, a dare?

Thursday, 06-May-04 23:19
The summer has begun

Spent a few good hours chatting, drinking cider, and enjoying the sun.

And now my right arm has a suntan, but my left arm does not. I don't dare to look into the mirror to see if my face is one-sidedly brown, too.

Thursday, 06-May-04 15:47
Why Mac Rules, Pt X

Today, at the office: a guy stands up, and bellows at me in a very astonished voice: "You have the Dr. Snuggles theme song in your playlist!?"

You know, you learn interesting things from people if you peek at their music collection. And iTunes music sharing over the LAN is one of those things that boggles your mind.

I was in a hotel the other day, connected to the local network. I started iTunes and found like six people sharing their music over Rendezvous. So I got to peek inside the heads of complete strangers, sitting somewhere in the building, happily doing their own stuff, while I see and find interesting new music completely effortlessly. It's like listening to everybody else's personal radio stations, except that you get to mix and match and shuffle to your heart's content.

Wednesday, 05-May-04 22:59
Thought for the night

Hmm... Is it possible to distinguish between a man whistling and a woman whistling from the sound alone?

Sleep has been lost over smaller things, you know...

Monday, 03-May-04 13:14
Lunchblogging a.k.a why Finglish cracks me up sometimes

Today, I've eaten three units of meat loaf.

Units!?! What is this - an engineering company?

Saturday, 01-May-04 19:08
Things never done before

There's a Finnish blogmeme spreading now: list the things that you've done for the first time this year. Here's one of mine:

Drinking all these behind the sauna, direct from the bottle.

They're all a part of Finnish national romantic scenery, immortalized by hordes of people, who are very good at optimizing the price/inebriation ratio.

Saturday, 01-May-04 08:27
A different kind of May day

First of May is always a big celebration in Finland, especially among students. Traditions go rampant, all who are able to get out to party (except for the most hardened cynics), alcohol is consumed in alarmingly large quantities, and the entire city of Helsinki becomes one giant outdoor toilet. It is the celebration of life and the end of winter.

This morning, 50,000 people gather in the Helsinki Kaivopuisto park to eat breakfast, drink champagne, and enjoy the sun.

Me?

I'm watching Teletubbies with my niece. And chatting with one-syllable words.

And can't really say that it's a bad thing either.

Friday, 30-Apr-04 16:10
It's not May yet?

What kind of a moron would buy a train ticket for 30th May instead of 30th April, if he intends to travel today?

You're looking at one. It really is a fine weekend to screw up your seat reservation - all the trains are packed.

I have a bad feeling about this.

Thursday, 29-Apr-04 17:20
A wish
精一杯 背伸びして 平然を装っていたけど 余裕などないくせに また 笑顔つくってしまった

会えない夜はきまって 淋しさ おそう 好きだから不安になる こんな想い 悲しくて

-- Every little thing: fragile
No, you are not supposed to understand that. But since others like to quote song lyrics, I figured I might as well. Consider it a challenge. It's one of my favourite songs (and I just hope I quoted the right part).

Had the most distressing conversation at work yet. You know how sometimes things and projects you thought you had buried and were long gone, can suddenly come back from your five o'clock and knock you with a two-by-four?

C-l-o-s-u-r-e.

It's an important word. And the older you get, the more you realize you have to learn it, and apply it properly. And if it cannot be done as it should be done, sometimes the best solution is to drop everything and just walk away.

I have to meditate upon this.

Wednesday, 28-Apr-04 13:01
Googlers, ahoy!

I don't usually comment on the Google keywords people use to arrive on this site, but about these two (from a single IP within five minutes from each other) I gotta say something:

"unable to form relationships", and "dealing with being ugly".

Hell, what can I say?

You should start blogging. It is sometimes easier to write to an invisible audience (even though consciously, you know people out there read your blog) than taking up personal issues with friends, relatives or casual acquaintance. It's like a free, bad shrink that just listens and provides no answers.

But it does help.

The value of the blogs is that it allows different voices to bloom, and find their audience. This article about dating and blogging says it in the simplest possible terms:

If you blog about what you love, you're bound to attract a reader who loves the same thing, and perhaps with a little coercion, he or she could come to love you as well.

Update: Well, I seem to be #15 on a search for Jean Paul Gaultier male miniskirts as well. No comments.

Tuesday, 27-Apr-04 23:07
Dancing performance

I got a dance mat for my PS2 as a birthday present. So far, I've nearly twisted my ankle, and banged my head against the lamp.

But it's actually loads of fun: you get to feel again like a complete klutz when you can't do even simple transfers of your bodily weight. Kinda like when I first started martial arts. You also feel completely stupid because you can't recover from a simple mistake after missing rhythm. And also, you sweat like a pig after 30 minutes on it. Though frankly, I don't know whether pigs really sweat that much.

And in fact, the whole thing has rather little to do with dancing. Perhaps, with more practice, it might be possible to develop a knack for "improvisation in a confined space", but so far it feels more like an exercise routine. A pre-programmed performance, so to say.

But I ain't complaining. I can't dance (any teachers around?), but this sure is quite fun ;)

Monday, 26-Apr-04 08:52
New words

Here's a new addition to the IT dictionary:

laptop ballet: the movements made by a person hurrying to a meeting, when he realizes he does not know where this meeting takes place, and that information is only in the email, but he is too busy or lacking a suitable place to sit down, so he ends up running down the hallway, balancing the laptop with one hand, and using the computer with the other.

Sometimes you also see this being performed with PDAs and cell phones, but these are nowhere as spectacular as the full 3 kg IBM Thinkpad version, performed in a narrow corridor in sync with 20 other people.

Sunday, 25-Apr-04 11:16
The morning after

You know the party has been good if you still have people sleeping in your apartment at 11 o'clock. ;-)

Thank you, everyone! :)

Saturday, 24-Apr-04 13:42
Muzukashii, ne?

I got challenged by Benrope (Finnish) to share this picture with you all. See, if you can guess which part of my luscious body it is?

I'll rethrow the challenge to Earl Grey, whose eloquent commentary to a certain... person got me smiling for hours. It's amazing how unbalanced the world is: one person can create negativity very easily by insulting others with few simple words, whereas trying to make someone feel good will take hours and hours. And bad feelings take a lot longer to dissipate than a good mood.

Sometimes I wonder why this is so - why is the world such that destruction is easier than construction?

Thursday, 22-Apr-04 20:58
Engrish of the day

Bought a new jacket in Harajuku. Here are the complete washing instructions:

When washing

It is likely to drop, and wash the color separately somewhat with other things, please when washing.

After it washes

It dehydrates promptly, and please straighten and dry shape after it washes.

The detergent

Please use no fluorescent detergent.

Dryer

Please avoid the tumbler dryness.

The fastener

Please shut and wash the fastener when washing.

At the washingroom

Please push by lukewarm water (30C) by using the soapless soap without fail and wash when the washroom is done. Moreover, please take the moisture enough after it washes, straighten shape, and dry the shadow.

At wearing

Please note friction and caught when the one with a rough surface when wearing it.

Please see the washing picture display in detail.

P.S. If it on this clothes, it is likely to become happy!!

Help... Where do I find fluorescent detergent? And how do I wash my jacket separately with other things? What is soapless soap? And what exactly is the stuff on the clothes that is so darned happy?

Thursday, 22-Apr-04 16:41
WCDMA frenzy

Whee! I'm in Roppongi, in bar Geronimo, celebrating my birthday. Again, Harajuku turned out to be a deathtrap to my wallet...

Anyway, I'm using a friend's borrowed 3G-phone to blog. :-) *warm technofuzzies*

Thursday, 22-Apr-04 11:46
Media World

Went to see the Sony Media World. Met QRIO. Saw PSX. Saw an 800g laptop. Was also treated to some new, astounding laser display technology. Turned 34 years old. Drunk beer. Drunk, period.

Very impressed now.
Can't talk in complete sentences.
The geek purrs in me.

(Found orange Pockys. Yay!)

Tuesday, 20-Apr-04 18:19
Summer is here

Well, today it has been 27 degrees warm, and I have been bitten by the first mosquito of the summer. Yay. *scratch*

Actually, to continue the theme of relaxation: the Japanese have this wonderful invention called furoo, the hot bath. It feels scalding at first, but slowly you are overcome by this blissful drowsiness; much like in a sauna. They are in many ways similar in culture and purpose, and mostly they both just feel incredibly good in a country where it's actually bloody cold most of the time.

(Sorry, brain calls timeout. I was supposed to write more, but it refuses to work anymore, citing overtime legislation. Sorry.)

Monday, 19-Apr-04 15:14
Design fault

How come the Copenhagen airport has wireless internet access, but no powerstrips? Heh. You can't even pay for more than four hours of internet access, but I guess that's okay since your laptop battery will die in four hours anyway...

It's very sad, you know. Weep with me.

(On the other hand, while traveling is stressful, in an odd way it's also very comforting. A whole blissful 15 hours during which you are not expected to make any decisions, just follow the signs, sit in a cramped space, stretch and eat whatever is given to you, taken care of by professionals. It's really a very zen-like experience in all its calmness. Much like going to a spa or something.

I'm not so certain whether it is a bad thing to be docile and subservient every now and then. At least you are paying a lot of money for the privilege.)

Monday, 19-Apr-04 10:43
Silence aboot

Off to travel again. This time to Japan.

I think I need more destinations.

Sunday, 18-Apr-04 13:38
Crime wave

Somebody stole my rubber boots! I've been meaning to buy a new pair for ages now, and once I finally manage to drag my ass to the store and get them, some lard-ass, no-good, glue-sniffing punkboy steals them.

Why? I have no idea. They were in the trunk of the car, and what do I notice this morning? The bloody thieves did not stop at the boots, no! They had to take the sixpack of beer from the trunk as well AND the entire car.

*sigh*

Update: found the car. It had been moved by the city, due to some sudden maintenance work. Phew.

Sunday, 18-Apr-04 12:03
Open Source Patents

You know... I just realized another reason why the idea of software patents annoys me to no end.

When you are applying for a normal patent (say, a new way of manufacturing springs), you have to provide enough information on how "someone skilled in art" could build a duplicate. The dual idea being that if you know how a patented invention works, you can avoid it - and also once the patent expires, it is then readily available for the common good.

However, most of the software patents I've read only contain very vague descriptions about how the system really works. I do consider myself being "skilled in art", but it would still take me effort do duplicate the ideas presented in those. And that's what they are: ideas. They are not implementations, nor algorithms, not even flow charts. They are just that, general ideas on how a problem could approximately be solved. Which means they are pretty easy to infringe - drafting such a patent does not even require a functional implementation to prove it works.

I would really like to see the actual source code (or UML charts, or whatever) be added to the patent applications, as mandatory components. This would greatly add to the visibility and clarity of the patent applications, probably making them easier to understand to the patent office engineers as well - it's much harder to obfuscate code than it is to write vague descriptions on how things are supposed to work. Currently patents pretty much describe software as a machine, but you can examine a machine - build it and let it work to understand the process how it works. But with software, the process flow is integral to the invention, and thus should be described as well.

Of course, I don't mean patenting the actual implementations: software lives and evolves (and it should be allowed to do that), but there should be enough code so that it works, and the idea becomes clear.

Saturday, 17-Apr-04 16:01
The wonderful world of internet and mini-media

One of the sad, geeky things I do for fun is to follow my referrer log, i.e. checking out the sites that people come to this weblog from. Sometimes, your site gets listed in the oddest of places, and with luck, you may find other interesting links from those sites. You can think of it as some sort of a website Friendster: different web sites get listed together if they have something in common. Though often, the common factor tends to be something you don't expect.

For example, I saw a bunch of people coming to Things You Can Do With Your Laundry But Probably Should Not from an Italian discussion board, which in turn leads me to... Happy Tree Friends, a wacky and violent cartoon with episodes that last only a couple of minutes. You know, the kinda stuff that would be perfect to forward to your friends if your mobile phone could play them.

I can't stop marveling the amount of talent and creativity that people keep pouring onto the Internet.

Saturday, 17-Apr-04 14:38
Note to self

Remember: Never send email at 4:30 in the morning. Especially, if you are still drunk.

Sometimes I wish there was also an intelligent filtering system on my outbox as well as inbox. I wonder if I could rig SpamAssassin to delay outbound messages if they seem particularly stupid? Hey, it works for spam :)

Afterthought: Things could be worse - I could've blogged my thoughts. So perhaps I'll just breathe a sigh of relief.

Friday, 16-Apr-04 12:14
More shit

Mindy (in Finnish) has gender issues.

So do I, apparently, in this gender role test:

Sukupuolirooliltasi olet ensisijaisesti feminiininen.
(Feminiinisyys: 55 / Neutraalius: 40 / Maskuliinisuus: 50).

Moi? Feminine? Waht?

Anyway. I returned home yesterday at around 21.30, and was faced with three tasks:

  • Cook food, since I had forgotten to eat during the day
  • Install new digital cable box with a hard-drive recorder
  • Wash an ungodly pile of dirty clothes

See if you can try to guess in which order I performed these?

Yup. Guessed right. Congrats.

Sad, innit?

Friday, 16-Apr-04 00:13
Shopping

Today, I bought rubber boots, and some mämmi, the curious Finnish delicacy that looks like it has already been digested once.

What more could a single man hope for the weekend?

Wednesday, 14-Apr-04 14:53
Soap

Spent most of yesterday evening wandering aimlessly in the local IKEA, having a Tyler Durden moment. It all looked so ugly, and... empty. Void of all emotions. Like a cage, built of warm colors and gentle wood.

My hair is now orange-ish. The hairdresser next to the office said that it was good to do something else than always the plain, average cut to the plain, average engineers.

Perhaps this all is fighting, refusal to become average.

Maybe it is futile, and I am just lying to myself.

Monday, 12-Apr-04 21:08
Infinite sadness, little wisdom

Via Visa. But I will shorten it, and only answer a single question. The only question I care for anymore.

If you could change one thing about the world, regardless of guilt or politics, what would you do?
I would take one certain person, and give her the love she seeks, because it is what she deserves. But which was not mine to give.

I don't want to hurt anyone else ever again.

Please excuse my low bitrate for now. Too much to think.

Friday, 09-Apr-04 12:46
Pause

There's little I can or want to say right now.

Saturday, 03-Apr-04 19:06
Why blogging is like karaoke

Spent the afternoon and evening doing hanami at Ueno park (with approximately 200,000 very drunken Japanese people) and watching the moon. Then we ended up singing karaoke at a 8-story Karaoke building in Shibuya with beautiful Russo-Finnish ladies. Yes, even I sang. There was little reason not to.

Japanese way of doing karaoke is actually not that bad: you go to a small room (alone or with a bunch of good friends), fire up a TV, choose a song from 50,000 alternatives, sing to your heart's content, drink beer, repeat. It's a way of self-expression and relaxation, not a method for nursing your inner diva.

It's kinda like blogging is for most people. You just write to yourself or a bunch of close friends, and don't worry it about any more than that. Only the most curious, the most vocal - and unfortunately, the most read - persons worry about how and why they write, what is "right" blogging, why people don't like their writing, why people do like their writing, and other issues of insignificance.

It's just a song.

It's just text.

Don't worry about it too much.

Saturday, 03-Apr-04 10:01
In Tokyo

How can you NOT like a country where even toilet seats come with remote controls?

Anyhow... This is my first trip in Tokyo where I'm staying in a hotel. Always before have I done the backpacking thing, staying in friends' homes or renting an apartment. But... The amount of politeness that the Japanese are pouring over you when you stay in a hotel is overwhelming. TWO beautiful girls escorted me to my room, and even the desk clerk was bowing over backwards at the inconvinience I had to endure when there were no non-smoking rooms available. It was funny, though, to hear a Japanese person say "impossible". I would've expected "difficult" (which usually means the same thing), but telling someone outright that something cannot be done? Amazing.

Oh well. A shower, shave and Pocari Sweat make me a man again. Woohoo! Tokyo! :-D

(Interesting tidbits learned from fast-food friends in the airplane: Apparently, in Malmö (Southern Sweden), 67% of women giving birth come from the Arabic countries. The implications are left to the reader as an exercise; I'm going out :)

Friday, 02-Apr-04 17:57
Bumped!

Please excuse my childish joy over being bumped to business class onto the flight to Beijing. ;-)

The Chardonnay in the lounge was rather nice, though perhaps a bit woody. The cork may have been faulty, but otherwise quite acceptable with Carelian pastries.

</posh> :-D

(This entry was moblogged from the airplane. ;)

Friday, 02-Apr-04 14:36
The Church of Jobs

So, I write deep and thoughtful pieces on human life, or useful technical analyses, and what do I get? A couple of comments, and no links. OK, fair enough. Nobody really cares - I can live with that.

But then I post a biased, opinionated rant about how good Mac OS X is (of which most was copied from Jeremy Zawodny), and I get on the front page of TWO major Mac newssites, and MANY comments, completely agreeing with everything I said. Not a single whiff of disagreement.

It's kinda like going into a full church and shouting "God is Great!" from the top of your lungs - and the whole congregation goes off with an ear-deafening "Hallelujah!"

Scary.

Wednesday, 31-Mar-04 17:35
Some advice to anonymous bloggers

Don Park has a good warning post on potential XSS hacks. A typical example of these is Haloscan, who does provide commenting and trackback capabilities also to a number of Finnish bloggers.

However, sometimes no clever hacking is required. Haloscan actually provides RSS feeds of all the comments, making it really easy to subscribe to the comments of a blog. This is cool and clever, and I wholly applaud this. The Feed can be found at:

http://haloscan.com/members/rss.php?user=<username>

You can figure out the username by looking at the HTML source, or just by guessing (most people use their blog names).

Up until last weekend, Haloscan also provided IP addresses in the feeds. This meant that IF an anonymous blogger was commenting in his own blog, it was possible to find his IP address. If the said person would then comment on other blogs under his real name (or visit your own blog, where you have some sort of site tracking), it was possible to either figure out his real identity, or at least the Pinseri account name (a known Finnish aggregator). Haloscan has now removed this feature, so it's safe again to use it. I have not checked other comment services whether they also have this issue.

Note that figuring out the IP address does not reveal your identity. But if combined with other information, it may be possible to figure out who you are. Or at least make a very educated guess.

Another issue you have to be careful with if you are an anonymous blogger is that if someone sends you email with a link, don't click it. If you do, something like this might appear on the recipient's log files (let's assume the anonymous blogger has an yahoo.com mail account, and I've sent him an email to ask to come to my weblog.)

cs65129.pp.htv.fi - - [31/Mar/2004:16:52:08 +0300] 
"GET /ButtUgly/ HTTP/1.1"
 200 35547 
"http://us.f413.mail.yahoo.com/ym/ShowLetter?MsgId=4207_260177_12756_
  1095_187_0_87_-1_0&YY=51786&inc=25&order=down&sort=date&
  pos=0&view=a&head=b&box=Inbox" 
"Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; PPC Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/124 
(KHTML, like Gecko) Safari/125.1"

Due to the referrer (mail.yahoo.com) it's rather easy to figure out which of the hits came from your mysterious web friend. Now we know that he lives in Helsinki and has a cable modem, and that he uses a Mac OS X 10.3 computer. If you embed suitable Javascript on your weblog, it is possible to figure out even some more things. If he, however, had cut and paste the address from the mail to the address, you get something like this:

cs65129.pp.htv.fi - - [31/Mar/2004:16:59:34 +0300] 
"GET /ButtUgly/ HTTP/1.1" 
200 35558 
"-" 
"Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; PPC Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/124 
(KHTML, like Gecko) Safari/125.1"

There's now a lot less evidence to tie the mysterious Yahoo user to a specific IP address because of the missing referrer field. Yet, it is still possible, but it will require a bit more data and logic. Of course, if he'd wanted to be absolutely safe, he would've used a service like Anonymizer, in which case the line would look like this:

outgoing.anonymizer.com - - [31/Mar/2004:17:02:12 +0300] 
"GET /ButtUgly/ HTTP/1.1" 
200 34933 "-" "Mozilla/4.78 (TuringOS; Turing Machine; 0.0)"

Not a lot to pinpoint you, yes?

So, a couple of practical tips, if you want to protect your online anonymity:

  • Don't click on links from web mail, cut-n-paste them to your address bar.
  • Check out all the services that you are using that none of them is leaking information about you
  • If possible, use a web proxy (like anonymizer), or only assume your anonymous identity from a location which you do not usually use, like a web cafe
  • Try to vary your habits: if your normal email is from hotmail.com, use yahoo.com for your anonymous email. If you have a known blog at blogspot.com, use blogdrive.com for your anonymous one. Use different layouts, styles, etc. If you normally use IE to browse, use Mozilla to post your anonymous comments. The easy and predictable way is always the unsafe way.
  • Be prepared that you WILL be revealed sooner or later - your entire reputation could be ruined. Online anonymity is weak, unless you really know what you are doing.
  • Turn off Java and Javascript from your browser (both can be used to figure out detailed information about the computer you are using and your browsing habits.)

(I'm not touching the issue of embedded images in HTML mail, the so-called "web bugs", which can be used to track your whereabouts even when you do not click on any links, but perhaps I'll talk about them later, and also mention cookies and how they can be used to track you.)

Update: made the log entries a bit narrower so that people who are not using a standards-compliant browser don't get the layout screwed.

Wednesday, 31-Mar-04 16:26
No, OS X is like an Outlook virus for geeks

Jeremy Zawodny is now also doing the switch. I completely echo is feelings:

Yeah, I'm giving up a lot of control but ditching FVWM2 on Linux, but that's okay. I really don't have time to tweak that crap anymore.

I've owned four Thinkpads and ran Linux on all but one of them (the fourth is my Windows box, used mainly for GPS and flight/navigation software nowadays). I've been at this a long, long time. But, you know what? Stuff just works on this Mac. And since all the cool kids are doing it, I have few if any fears that my favorite Open Source tools are already debugged and working there smoothly.

There really are no good reasons left for not switching. I haven't thought of anything I can do on the Linux Thinkpad that I can't do on a Powerbook running Mac OS X. Well, there are some things, but none of them matter to me. That was the important realization here.

I've now had my Powerbook for about five months. During this time, I've had ZERO problems with it. Nada. Zip. I once thought I had a problem with it, but it turned out to be a faulty IMAP server which got a bit confused. My biggest issue with it has been that I could not find the serial number for my cheap-o Panther upgrade. I called the Apple support line, and a very nice guy answered immediately and helped me through it. I don't think I've even read the manuals of this laptop.

The thing is - for an old UNIX geek this Mac is just so bloody intuitive. And since it's UNIX all the way, you can, if you want to, drop down to the lowest level. But you don't have to. That's the beauty of it. I have done twenty years of tweaking of computers. It's enough. I just want things to work - I don't have the time to tweak that crap anymore. And I'm willing to pay a bit more for that privilege. Don't get me wrong - I still think Linux is great and wonderful, and I love to install it everywhere where I can to replace Windows. Hell, if you want to have cheap hardware, you might as well save on the software as well...

But, I find myself using my Powerbook more and more... The only thing I use my Linux box anymore is for file storage (for which it is mightily good, I might add), and coding (big screen, better keyboard). But when I was upgrading the kernel to 2.6 (to get rid of the annoying X scheduling issues and hangups) and rebooted the machine for the 3rd time, I was nearly ready to call Apple Store and order myself a G5...

(Oh yeah, unlike some other Finnish bloggers, I haven't quit blogging. I'm at home, with fever and really almost nothing to blog about. I'm getting ready for a big thingy in Japan next week... In case anyone cares, I'll be in Tokyo from Saturday to Wednesday. Gah. Bad timing for a flu.)

Sunday, 28-Mar-04 16:09
The Sunday List

To honor the best Finnish blog of 2003, here's my Sunday List:

  • Nights slept at home : 0 (coming home at 7 am does not count as night)
  • Hours slept in a bus: 3
  • Movies: 1 (Kopps)
  • Sauna: 1 (But twice, mmm...)
  • Weird "slap together whatever we can find in the cupboard and wok them" -dinners: 1
  • Eaten hamburgers: 1 (Sorry everyone, I still do eat them on occasion. Sorry to burst your bubble.)
  • Things never done before : 4 (Good weekend)
  • Things never done in public before : 1 (Good, but strange weekend)
  • New whiskies tasted: 1. (A simply gorgeous and rich Glenfiddich 21 years old Havana Reserve. One of the best I've ever tasted.)
  • New people met: countless
  • Number of hours spent reading the Pinseri Top-200: 7
  • Anonymous comments posted on blogs to feed the general discussion on the awards: 27 (Ha, you can't check, now can you? ;-)
  • Non-anonymous comments posted: 3
  • Number of meters: 47

And the best - hands down - Kuukkeli discussion thread is running on Kalamuki (Finnish only). *grin*

Saturday, 27-Mar-04 14:41
Hunh, what?

I've had an incoming link from the most surprising direction: The Ihanainen blog, who calls me a "Dunno" -type of personality. You know, the kinda guy who always shrugs and says "well, I dunno" if you ask something, but if you keep real quiet, you might get a lot of good commentary and opinions out of him.

Well... I don't know.

Perhaps, I am sometimes. Some of the time I have to keep my mouth shut in order not to hurt anyone. Or if the discussion is going to the direction where I want it to go, I don't bother to say anything. Or that I know that I can remedy all the damage afterwards, and commenting on anything will just make things go slower.

It's the principle of least energy expenditure. Unless I get this weird urge to blab whatever my brain is not thinking. Then all bets are off.

Hum. Well, at least she liked the party.

Anyway. I'm off to a yet another party. And as per Mindy's recommendation, I shall publish a Sunday list tomorrow to honor Schizo-Janne, the Best Finnish Weblog of 2003.


Private comments? Drop me an email. Or complain in a nearby pub - that'll help.



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