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.


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



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