Monday, 28-Apr-08 00:20
O, Monaco

This city-state is mindboggling. Where else can you see a supercar (a Ferrari F60 aka Enzo Ferrari in this case) parked outside a hotel - and then walk in the hotel, turn on the TV, and see the exact same car on Top Gear?

Part of me feels like I'm in a fairy tale, whisked away in some other reality. But unlike other unreal places, such as Las Vegas, this place oozes power. Las Vegas looks rich, but since most people in there are just passing through, it's all surface. Here, the roots go deep and drink well.

Friday, 25-Apr-08 17:27
Next week, Monaco

Just a quick note: if you happen to be in the WIMA conference next week, drop me a line or come to have a chat at the Nokia stand. We'll have lots of live demos of NFC and I'll be giving a talk as well.

(Dopplr says that I have no travel planned after this. That's a relief, though likely to be a brief one.)

Thursday, 24-Apr-08 15:16
Need a job?

We're looking for a seriously good web developer. The mission of our new team is to develop, prototype and verify new software concepts aiming at later productization. It's a cool job, but someone's gotta do it.

By "we" I mean my new team at Nokia Software & Services. Many of you already know this, but I'm switching to some new challenges inside the company. We now need some strong, all-around, experienced coders to complement the team - people who are proud to be a part of the Creative Class.

We want to create the future, but we're not afraid of falling flat on our faces a few times when doing it. We are on a serious mission, but we are going to make it a fun one.

(Don't send applications or requests of more info to me; click on the link above. Ability to comprehend written text is a crucial quality in any applicant... Also, be aware that you might end up working with me. If this thought fills you with unspeakable horror, then this might not be for you ;-)

Wednesday, 23-Apr-08 05:27
MSN Music servers going dark - so does your music

If you bought any DRM-encumbered music from MSN, you may be out of luck starting September. MSN is planning to turn off their DRM servers, which means that whichever five computers you were using to play the music with, and which they graciously allowed you to do so, will be the five computers that you will be using forever to listen to that music.

The problem (well, one of the problems) with these kinds of DRM systems is that they're bad business: normally, when you press and sell a CD, you don't have to care about it anymore. It's zero cost. But when you have to run a computer system which needs to check every time someone wants to play some music that you sold them - well, that's an extra cost throughout the lifetime of the record. What you save in duplication costs, you pay for bandwidth and electricity and maintenance later on. And none of that is bringing you any extra money. You're stuck with a legacy that you will need to support perhaps for tens - even hundreds of years after the sale; something which you don't need to do with an LP, CD, or even a DVD. And if you're successfull, and you sell a lot, then you will need to be upgrading and upgrading all the time, since you need to support all of your customers ever.

I understand why it sounds like a good deal to turn off the support for your DRM servers after a while. You probably made your customers sign a contract where you say that "we'll run this service as long as we like", but still, it sounds like screwing the customer to me. "We'll give you this media, but you know, we could turn it off next year, and because of the legislation, there is no way legally you can watch the movies or listen to the music you bought."

Is it no wonder that people resort to piracy when the legal options are this bad?

Tuesday, 22-Apr-08 10:42
Arthur C Clarke's goodbyes

Found this one accidentally. It's a good nine minutes: Arthur C Clarke's 90th birthday thoughts, three months prior to his death.

Tuesday, 22-Apr-08 08:29
The Fifth Cylon - revealed

Warning: Behind this link there be spoilers.

(Hehe. Thanks, Matt, for the chuckle.)

Monday, 21-Apr-08 17:26
Is Sharing Too Easy?

I use different sharing sites (like Flickr or Youtube) quite a lot. I don't have that much to share myself, but I follow quite a few people and do post my own share (heh). To make it easier for me I'm using different kinds of software to make it as effortless as possible: for example, I can use Shozu to share the cell phone pictures I take almost immediately, with a single click. It's become so effortless, it's almost a second nature.

But, since my cell phone is equally my personal and my corporate identity, this sometimes creates problems. A couple of days ago, I nearly (but not quite), without much thinking, shared some work plans to Flickr. We had a workshop, someone had to document the results, I got the job, and I used my cell phone to take notes. Oops.

Even a bigger oops was some time ago when I sent accidentally a picture of my one-time password list of my bank account to Flickr (yes, I've changed them since). That I didn't even realize at first (took me like 30 minutes), so there was a window of opportunity for some major damage. I've learned since to keep the list well hidden always.

We all laugh at the guys who send personal emails to the company's "everyone" mail alias. But with all this effortless sharing, these mistakes are very easy to make, even if you are a professional.

Often, security and usability are opposing forces. This is true especially in computing, which has both the potential of being the greatest boon ever created, and also the most efficient way of self-embarrasment. There is, after all, such a thing as making things too easy to use.

Tuesday, 15-Apr-08 13:03
Nokia 6212

Pim! Nokia 6212 Classic NFC phone has just been launched, along with the BH-210 NFC -enabled headset.

It's an awesome little thing. You can share your contacts or media from one phone to another just by tapping the phones together. No more Bluetooth searches - you don't even have to know you have Bluetooth or how to turn it on. Same thing with the headset; turn it on, tap it to the phone, and it works.

(Disclaimer: I work for Nokia in the NFC business area. So obviously I'm excited enough to become a corporate advertising channel for this!)

Tuesday, 15-Apr-08 10:02
Court: using open WiFi is illegal

A court in Salo, Finland has decreed that using a private, open WiFi network is illegal (Finnish). The accused had used his neighbours internet connection without permission through an open WiFi connection, and was fined.

This is a pretty interesting case - what about those who keep their WiFi open on purpose (like me)? Are we guilty of inciting a crime? Also, you don't necessarily know if a WiFi is open on purpose until you actually join it and see if you can access anything. Some operating systems also connect automatically to open networks (e.g. my WinXP is set up so that it joins whatever open network it sees), so you might be guilty of a crime made by a computer. I suppose this is the first case in the world where a piece of technology owned by you can commit a crime on its own, a crime for which you, the owner are responsible.

Of course, robots committing crimes are a regular in science fiction stories, but in a way it's cool to think that we're finally entering that age. On the other hand, this particular case is kind of dumb - you cannot apply the simplistic logic of WiFi network being private property any more than you can consider the light coming out of my windows private property. I know some people like to say that using an open WiFi is just like walking into someone's kitchen and eating all food "just because the front door was open", but this is not a valid analogy. A WiFi signal can be heard for hundreds of meters around - I could equally well argue that your WiFi signal is trespassing in the privacy of my living room.

So, this case cannot be solved through simple, false analogies (much like many things in the digital world - downloading music is not the same thing as stealing bread, thankyouverymuchforplaying), but it needs deeper understanding of the technologies and social issues involved.

The case is apparently going to a higher court, so I hope we'll see some informed discussion on this subject.

Sunday, 13-Apr-08 11:33
The Next Billion

Here's an awesome article at NY Times on Nokia's Jan Chipchase and the others who go around the world on a mission to understand people. I can't even begin to wrap my brain around the stuff that they do.

(Via Matt's del.icio.us stream.)

Saturday, 12-Apr-08 09:39
Janne's Law of Engineering

I've come to the hypothesis that "all engineering problems can be solved through the methodical appliance of yellow stickers."

It's amazing how much you can talk and talk, but when you finally draw it all up and put it on the wall, and rearrange a bit, suddenly things just become clear.

Monday, 07-Apr-08 21:42
Oomph.

You know things are going to be very difficult when you receive an error report written entirely in Comic Sans.

Friday, 04-Apr-08 11:10
Spam Competition

The JSPWiki sandbox is a wiki where you can try JSPWiki to your heart's content. All modifications are wiped out in 24 hours, and we've got all filters or restrictions turned off for the site.

Not entirely surprisingly, this has turned out to be a heaven for spammers. The site is of course not indexed by any search engines, and we have also the so-called "nofollow" turned on for every link, but this is not discouraging spammers from literally competing with each other in deleting the pages and replacing other people's spam with their own spam. A typical spam message lasts for about 30 minutes before it is replaced by someone else advertising something else.

So, spammers are effectively negating each other, since there is only one spam message in effect at any given time. So the "click window" through which your spam could possibly be located by someone is reduced to almost nothing - which means that you have to add more spam and faster. Which, in turn, reduces everyone's click window.

I never really thought that the wiki way would also work here - with spammers making each other less effective :-)

Friday, 04-Apr-08 09:18
Party Fun

Yesterday, I was just leaving work and going to the shop for some orange juice for the morning, as I was met with some old colleagues who were going to go to a send-off party of another old colleague. So I figured, what the hey, I'll join them and switched my orange juice to a couple of bottles of beer.

So, of course, the sendoff party was in a sauna (all parties in Finland are held in saunas), which was on the top floor (all corporate saunas are in top floors, naturally. The CEOs office does not rank as high as the sauna, and thus typically is only on the next floor). To get there, you use the elevator.

Which got stuck between floors, with a loud beep and a bang.

So, we stood there, nine of us in a very small, cramped space, with pizza and beer, everybody shedding clothes (it was getting somewhat warm) and traded stories of people stuck in an elevator over the weekend, drinking their own urine or whatnot. The alarm system just kept telling us that "yes, you are stuck in an elevator, please wait for someone to contact you."

Luckily, the building was filled with engineers, who were working late. And engineers have a tool for everything - in this case, one of those keys that open elevator doors from the outside.

So, no worries, a few minutes later we were climbing out of the elevator and greeted the rather amused crowd outside.

I don't know if this story has any morale, but lately my life has been somewhat busy (this morning is the first one in about two weeks when I haven't been speaking on the phone at 9 am already. I run the phone battery down before noon these days.) So in a way, getting this forced break in busyness, thanks to broken technology, was kind of welcome. It's good to be thrown off of the track every now and then.


Private comments? Drop me an email. Or complain in a nearby pub - that'll help.



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