Sunday, 28-Jan-07 22:14
Laita lapsi asialle...

...mene itse perässä, on vanha suomalainen sananlasku. Pidän kyllä Travianista pelinä, mutta suomenkielinen käännös aiheuttaa kyllä spontaania repeilyä. Mikki riepoo käännöstä tutulla tyylillään.

Tosin, "pari minuuttia päivässä" on kyllä hieman aliarvio. Olen nykyään erään Server 7:n top-20 -allianssin diplomaatti, ja Travianiin kuluu helposti parikin tuntia päivässä. Eräänä yönä piti herätä neljältä, että olisi saanut joukot oikeaan aikaan paikalle, ja allianssin foorumeilla kuluu yhtä kauan kuin itse pelissä.

Travian on outo peli, koska tietyssä vaiheessa se muuttuu melkeinpä sosiaaliseksi toiminnaksi Simcityn sijasta. Yksinkertaista, mutta ah, niin hauskaa!

Sunday, 28-Jan-07 22:09
Plagiarism in the age of the internet...

...is not smart. One of the Finnish Eurovision candidates apparently sounds just like some other song...

(Thanks to Jyri for the link.)

Sunday, 28-Jan-07 12:09
Tea drinkers unite!

Henri complains loudly and justly (and in Finnish) how difficult it is to be a tea drinker in Finland. I wholesomely agree - even Finnair, who otherwise is capable of serving perfectly decent wine, thinks that Lipton's Yellow Label is tea, where as in reality it is an abomination from the lowest pits of Hell.

I shall toast you, Henri, with my excellent cup of Genmaicha.

Thursday, 25-Jan-07 21:19
Wii and mice!

About a week ago, we got both four new mice, as well as a Nintendo Wii. Not entirely surprisingly, I've been playing with mice and Wii for the past week.

Wii is wonderful (as are the mice, mind you, and not saying this, I hear, would be, eh, unfortunate). Despite sore muscles in places I didn't know I had places, it's simply fun. Nintendo has hit a bullseye here: the console is small, cute, easy to set up, and it comes with Wii Sports, a mindblowingly simple game package which just feels so... right. The Miis are a brilliant idea as well - no more common high score lists: even if you're competing against your friends, the game remembers your own personal results, so it doesn't really feel like competing. (I'm one of those people who simply hate when a friend comes over and with ease knocks you off the top list in the game you've spent hours and hours of churning. Here's a secret: I'm not a very good gamer. Most of my friends are better than I am.)

But, something does bug me about the Wii. And, to be in sync with the rest of the content-creating world out there, I shot a video and put it on Youtube. It's pretty self-explanatory, so go and take a look. It's only a minute of your life, anyway.

Monday, 22-Jan-07 13:46
First Near Field Communication Competition!

The First European NFC Competition starts! If you are a developer or a designer or otherwise would like to make the world a generally nicer place to live in, check out the competition at http://www.nfc-competition.com (which, for some strange reason, is a redirect to a wordpress.com blog.)

The competition is looking for prototypes, proposals and ideas - so get your brains ticking! For a primer in NFC, check out the NFC Forum web site or the Touch blog. If you submit your pre-proposal by the 5th of February, and it's good enough, you'll receive an NFC development kit (the contents of which I don't know at the moment, I'm sorry) to help build your idea.

The goal of the competition is to promote the development of innovative and exemplary NFC services. Based on the paradigm of “the simplicity of a touch”, the focus of this challenge is on the innovation, commercial potential and usability of the services as well as the quality of the design and implementation using NFC technology. Interacting with services, people and object using mobile device, this event is looking for innovation and creativity.

(Disclaimer: I am a member of the competition committee, and work for a sponsor company. So the more eagerly you participate, the more likely I am to get paid in the future...)

Sunday, 21-Jan-07 02:53
Video of 6131NFC

It bugs the hell out of me I forgot to grab a video of the 6131 NFC in action and post it to Youtube, because the demos we were showing at CES were pretty nifty. But luckily someone was smarter than me :-)

Video ain't best quality, but it's good enough to get the idea. It's missing the "starting a movie clip directly from a poster" -demo, unfortunately.

(Via Touch.)

Friday, 19-Jan-07 11:32
Den glider in!

There is something very satisfying in this video, in which we see how drivers in Portland, Oregon deal with snow and ice, which, when combined with regular tyres, create almost frictionless conditions.

(Via BB.)

Wednesday, 17-Jan-07 00:50
Fun with spam

Here's something fun which is happening right now: Someone went and uploaded a bunch of porn HTML attachments to jspwiki.org. We, of course, removed them (and blocked HTML attachments right away), but in the mean time, Google had managed to index those.

Now, Google search is driving about 5 hits/second to JSPWiki.org from people who are looking for "shemale bras", "grandma porn", "porn with cheerleaders in it", "asian anal sluts", "naked latinas in bikinis", "girls ejaculating", "interracial gay sex", "teen strippers", and "SEX GIRLS", among other fun and uplifting things.

So, I guess this is one way to get high traffic - just let a spammer upload something to a high-profile website, delete the files right after Google has indexed it, and just wait for the starved, lustful people to pour in. Of course, that would impact the Google ranking in the long term, so I wouldn't exactly recommend it ;-)

The evil person in me is having so much fun with this, that it almost scares me. There is something very satisfying watching logs roll by of people, keywords, IP addresses (not that I would reveal them - that I would consider if not illegal, but it would be at least rather suspicious), and the resulting "404 - not found here" -responses. Ha!

My traffic has literally gone up by a factor of ten. I guess this is one way to stresstest your applications ;-)

Tuesday, 16-Jan-07 15:03
Onko lainaaminen laitonta?

Niinpä. Tästähän on keskusteltu jo pitkään, ja viimeksi aamun Helsingin Sanomissa (€) Jussi Ahlroth kertoo, miten uusi tekijänoikeuslaki ei ole vaikuttanut lainkaan villinä rehoittavaan nettikopiointiin.

Uuden naulan arkkuun lyö päivän Ars Technica-artikkeli, jonka mukaan todellinen syy käyttörajoitteiden (DRM) käytölle on se, että niillä halutaan poistaa ns. fair use-oikeudet, kuten esimerkiksi kaverille lainaaminen, tai niinkin vaarallinen toiminta kuin yhdessä katselu/kuuntelu. Tämä ajattelutapa on toki nähtävissä myös Suomen uusitussa tekijänoikeuslaissa, ns. Lex Karpelassa. Voitaneen kysyä, moniko artisti oikeasti haluaa pystyä määräämään, että hänen teoksestaan saa nauttia vain täydenkuun aikaan yksin, ja kuinka paljon näistä käyttörajoite-ideoista on peräisin levittäjiltä, jotka korporaatioina haluavat toki myydä sen sinulle moneen kertaan. Yritys kun ei käperry tyttöystävän kanssa sohvan nurkkaan katselemaan elokuvaa, vaan on tunnetusti psykopaatti.

He [Valenti], and many in the industry, believed that it was fundamentally wrong to allow the public to make decisions for themselves about how to use a VCR. They even expressed worry that multiple people could watch the same movie on a VCR, but not all of them would have to pay. The idea of Joe User buying a movie for a fixed price and then inviting friends over to see it was anathema to the industry.

...

I can walk in to Best Buy right now, buy a DVD, and lend it to every person I know. Who hasn't lent a DVD to a friend or colleague? This is perfectly legal behavior, but you can see that Hollywood hopes to stop this kind of thing via DRM. Thanks to the DMCA, once copyrighted contents have been encrypted, your rights fly right out the window.

Päivän Digitoday uutisoi, että CD kuolee pois 20 vuoden sisään formaattina. Valitettavasti se tarkoittaa sitä, että silloin käteen jäävät vain formaatit, joissa käyttörajoitteet on otettu huomioon alusta alkaen, ja "lainaaminen kaverille" alkaa olla tyystin luvanvaraista touhua.

Kannattaa muuten lukea Ovi-lehden ensimmäinen numero, jossa Jone Nikula kommentoi varsin selväpäisesti levy- ja elokuvateollisuuden suhdetta nettikopiointiin. Muuten ok lehti, mutta arvostelut ovat ala-arvoisen mitäänsanomattomia ja artikkeleihin ei voi viitata, kun edes sisällysluetteloa ei löydy verkosta.

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Sunday, 14-Jan-07 19:00
Baggage lost, again...

Well, I got rerouted via Manchester, and finally to Helsinki, and after sauna I feel almost like a human being again. Would you guess, my bags are gone again, and nobody seems to have no idea where they are? Apparently SAS forgot to forward them to the British Midland flight from Chicago - or if they did, they told nobody. SAS also downgraded me to Economy on a whim, but BMI bumped me back to Premium Economy after I whined enough. Whoo, legspace.

To top it all off, SAS also forgot to issue me a ticket for the Manchester-Helsinki flight (I thought it was an e-ticket, but it was not). However, thanks to some really, really nice BA personnel at the Manchester airport who spent about half an hour to help me (and annoy anyone behind me in the queue) things got figured out, and I even managed to grab a proper British breakfast before boarding.

Overall, SAS lost a lot of points in my eyes over this episode, while BA and BMI went up a notch. I'll certainly rather support them in the future...

Okay, enough whining. I'll get to back a bit more serious later on. Just wanted to share this...

Sunday, 14-Jan-07 01:07
Go to jail, go directly to jail

This shows well how kiddie porn hysteria can go over the top.

A 40-year-old substitute teacher faces up to 40 years in prison after being convicted of exposing children to pornography on a computer at the Connecticut middle school where she taught.

I suppose it's remotely possible the charges are valid. But the story doesn't add up. It seems far more plausible from the accounts I'm reading that this woman, who had no prior criminal record and a clean teaching history, was using an insecure edition of Internet Explorer and was hit with an adware infestation she didn't know how to deal with.

Imagine, if someone wrote malware targeting specific people, and used that to unleash kiddie porn onto their computers. Say, a political opponent, or just someone they did not like. In a child-porn hysteric environment, that could easily become something close to witch-burning mobs of the 1500's...

Saturday, 13-Jan-07 19:27
Someone shoot the security people

OK. So my flight was two hours late leaving Las Vegas. Since I had a two-hour stopover at Chicago O'Hare, I figured that I'm going to miss my connection to Copenhagen. However, at the arrivals desk they told us to hurry to the gate, since the plane was waiting for us. We ran, and ran, and ran some more (maybe about 30 people in total, all returning from the CES), only to be stopped by a TSA security idiot, who took a look at our tickets, and flatly told us that he can't let us through, because the departure time had already passed. He did not have a phone, and was not allowed to leave his post either. No amount of reasoning would deter his resolve, so we had to go back and find someone to help us out. Except that all the positions were closed (aside the transfer desks beyond the security checkpoints), and the SAS desk would not open until 13:00 the next day. Meanwhile, the SAS flight got bored of waiting for us, and left.

Finally we found someone at the baggage handling area, and she gave us a number. After a few phone calls, I got through to the SAS 24 hour number, which was of course not answering until 9 am. Disgusted, I called my travel agent, managed to get onto a waiting list for another flight today, and booked a hotel. By 1 am, I finally got to rest a bit.

At the moment I am in an airport hotel, waiting for a shuttle to get back to the airport, where I would expect more delays, trouble and general mayhem. A storm front is moving in, and if I don't get to an airplane soon, my departure will probably be delayed again, as Chicago is going to get lots of snow.

Note to self: Add O'Hare to my list of airports to never, ever, travel via again.

Saturday, 13-Jan-07 19:16
Ecstaticness

I'm an old Star Trek fan. I used to be the secretary for the biggest Scifi-club in Finland. So as I walked on the bridge of the Enterprise-D at the Star Trek Experience in Hilton, Las Vegas, I nearly pissed my pants. To top it all off, I sat down and had a Romulan Ale and a "Hamborger" (which wasn't too bad) at a faithful replica of Quark's bar of Deep Space Nine.

Then I ran to see "Hypnosis gone Wild", a hilarious hypnosis show at a small theatre near the Aladdin. After you've seen a grown man help a teddy bear to masturbate, you just don't think of him the same way ever again.

Happy and relaxed, I was ready to fly back home the next day, but more on that in the next post...

Tuesday, 09-Jan-07 17:14
Early morning woes

Woke up with a terrible headache at 4 am. Yes, I had one beer. But just one. We were warned in advance that Las Vegas has a tendency to make people think they can drink all night, gamble all their money, sleep 15 minutes per night (or even pick up smoking), and still be fresh and excited at the booth at 8 am.

Well, I am excited, due to the new Nokia 6131NFC. This is the first integrated NFC solution, and it's a nifty phone, too. The Nokia booth is very busy - at least it was on the both times I was there. At the NFC Forum booth in the Sands Center (where I am, come and say hi!) things are more quiet, but that's to be expected: everyone goes to see the big shows first, and when the Adult Entertainment Expo starts in the Sands tomorrow, things should get busy with people who want to see two expos with the same trouble.

Speaking of travels, the traffic is simply murder here. At least with 150,000 geeks trying to get around...

By the way, now I know what people with too much money do: they come to Las Vegas. The amount of consumption that this city was designed to handle is simply awesome.

Monday, 08-Jan-07 02:32
Technology wonderland

I would be Flickring lots of pictures, but unfortunately neither Cingular nor Cingular (yes, there are two networks by the exact same name - how smart is that?) let me upload anything. Could be that ten thousand geeks in a single place is overheating their GPRS network; could be some strange roaming thing.

Also, Wifi only works very intermittently, and when it does, it's slow.

I'm not very impressed. Las Vegas is optimized for spending money, not communication.

(Nearly lost my laptop in Seattle: the security guy ran the line so fast that all the boxes collided and my laptop flew. In an amazing and unlikely feat of dexterity, I managed to grab it by the corner just a few inches above the ground. Then I went in, congratulating myself on the great save, only to find out that I had to go back out because there was no transfer desk. That was fun.)

Saturday, 06-Jan-07 14:27
Travel notes

I had enough electronics in my bag to cause some serious eyebrow-lifting at airport security. I guess I finally crossed some limit of geekiness :-).

On the way out, I saw to my delight that a security guard was being patted down by other security guards. Good to see that the same rules apply to them as well - that at least keeps them in touch with the reality all the travelers have to face.

Friday, 05-Jan-07 14:39
A New Finnish Indie Record Company Promises Good Things

Interesting. "Dreams Unlimited" is a new record company which says that they are concentrated on helping artists, letting them keep all the rights to their music, and provide practical help in distribution deals, marketing and production. I certainly see more companies like this appearing in the near future. Most of them will probably die, but some of them will surely establish themselves in the marketplace.

They have no web pages yet, but more information can be found through email dumusiikki@gmail.com.

DUM:n suurin valtti on sen perinteisestä poikkeava toimintatapa. DUM on ennemminkin useista ug-skenen vaikuttajista koostuva keskittymä, joka tarjoaa bändeille tietotaitoaan, suhteitaan ja neuvottelukykyään. Muusikkokeskeisyys on Dreams Untouchedin perusarvo. Tämä tarkoittaa, että artisti saa pitää materiaaliinsa kaikki oikeudet, eikä yhtiö puutu mitenkään musiikin sisältöön. DUMin tärkein tehtävä on auttaa artistia käytännön asioissa, kuten jakelusopimusten solmimisessa, promootiokanpanjan suunnittelussa ja toteuttamisessa, markkinoinnin hallinnoimisessa sekä tarvittaessa myös tarjota tuotantoapua.

(Via mikseri.net.)

Thursday, 04-Jan-07 19:22
Next week, CES

I'll be attending CES in Las Vegas next week. I'll try to blog my impressions as much as I can, as it's my first time in such a big trade show. I have been to SigGRAPH, but that's mostly a scientific event, and the trade show is an add-on. If any of my readers people are around, drop me a note and let's have a beer at some point :)

In other news, I've just spent grueling four hours fighting with my phone - flashing and reflashing and reinstalling everything. In the process I even noticed that my Kingston SD card refused to accept any files larger than 256 kB, which, of course, made installing practically anything fail. And, of course, Windows refuses to co-operate as well, insisting on reinstalling drivers every single time I connect my phone. Sometimes I wonder if I should just move to some warm country where computers are just things that happen to other people.

Wednesday, 03-Jan-07 10:11
Paramilitaries

This is rather scary. Read Chris Hedge's America's Holy Warriors, an article about US paramilitary religious troops:

Erik Prince, the secretive, mega-millionaire, right-wing Christian founder of Blackwater, the private security firm that has built a formidable mercenary force in Iraq, champions his company as a patriotic extension of the U.S. military. His employees, in an act as cynical as it is deceitful, take an oath of loyalty to the Constitution. These mercenary units in Iraq, including Blackwater, contain some 20,000 fighters. They unleash indiscriminate and wanton violence against unarmed Iraqis, have no accountability and are beyond the reach of legitimate authority. The appearance of these paramilitary fighters, heavily armed and wearing their trademark black uniforms, patrolling the streets of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, gave us a grim taste of the future.

(Via Boingboing.)

Monday, 01-Jan-07 11:15
New island born, caught in a blog post

Some sailors saw a new island being born, and posted about it to their blog. Another blog first :-). But the pictures are amazing - have you ever seen floating sand dunes of rock?

But... Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn?

(Via Slashdot.)


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