Wednesday, 28-Mar-07 10:19
Nokia Sports Tracker and Jitter

Jitter? Sounds like a new cool Web 2.0 app? Actually, it's a killer for a lot of the location applications... I've been lately trying out the Nokia Sports Tracker, a smart phone tool which tracks your exercise with GPS. It tells you how fast you run, how far you run, tracks your altitude and even plots it all on a map and exports it to Google Earth for you. It also has a cool scroll effect when switching screens. It's a really nice, small application which is just perfect for the person who worships Excel as the greatest tool ever invented by mankind.

That is, if the underlying technology worked properly.

On the picture you can see a short trip I did yesterday evening. In real life it's about 3 - 3.5 km in a pretty suburbian area. The GPS weather was bad, so the GPS location kept jumping back and forth all trip, and those jumps were calculated in my overall travel. The somewhat funny end result of all this was that my average speed over this trip was 66.9 km/h, with a maximum speed of 150 km/h, as the total distance - according to GPS - was 34.38 km (that's a tad over 21 miles to all you metric-challenged people). My phone probably now thinks I'm an athletic junkhead giant robot on a particularly bad dose of speed.

Anyway, my point being: GPS, even if you have good equipment (I have a Sirf-III), is not always to be trusted. It works correctly so often, that when it fails, it can spell a catastrophy when you don't pay attention. The human factor cannot be removed either: a colleague recounted a story where he and three friends were trying to find an unfamiliar place, and they all had GPS units. Unfortunately, they all also managed to input the same, wrong, address in the device, and ended up miles away where they were planning to go...

Tuesday, 27-Mar-07 23:26
The internet fuckwads

Just in case you have not yet heard about this, check out Kathy Sierra's post.

The Greater internet fuckwad theory is again getting confirmed. For all its greatness, the Internet can sometimes be a fucking scary place. But luckily, only sometimes.

(I know this isn't unique. I know a few other bloggers who've had half-serious to serious brushes with dedicated harrassers, and it's never fun. Except to other fuckwads.)

Tuesday, 27-Mar-07 12:00
Free NFC development kit now available!

I was just informed that the Nokia 6131 NFC development kit is available from Forum Nokia. It looks really nice, so kudos to all the people who worked hard to get it done! Unfortunately it's XP only, but it does come with an Eclipse plugin. I haven't dug in too deeply in it yet, but I would assume you should be able to get parts of it running in other OS's as well.

(NFC is Near Field Communications, a really short range radio with close relations to smart cards.)

Saturday, 24-Mar-07 19:11
What do to with the (drunken) address book, etc?

Stephen asks:

One of our recent Nokia speaker series guests (Stephen Messer, who had just sold his company for several hundred million dollars, so I listen when he speaks) put it like this - the telco industry has lost the opportunity to innovate in the contacts book, whereas the internet industry has come along and invented an entire new industry - social networking - to fill this innovation void. Hmmm, food for thought? This got me thinking anyway. Even though people do like their contacts book, are we missing out on realizing the full potential of the Internet to make an even better experience? Isn't ~MySpace just your contacts book with Internet-innovation added? Several ideas jump out at me: automatic backups is one clear missing feature that really should be widestream (...) How about integrating other features into the phonebook - or perhaps taking some away. What would you like to see?

This is a good question. At least for me the address book of my mobile phone is the single most valuable thing in it. Everything else I can replace - software, photos (they're going to Flickr anyway), etc. But it has essentially stayed the same for years. You can just put more stuff in it these days. However, I don't think it is this simplistic - there is something intensely personal about your mobile phone address book, and I am not sure whether your ~MySpace friends list is quite so... delicate. I have plenty of people on my ~MySpace, ~LinkedIn, Flickr and ~WorldOfWarcraft friends lists that I hardly in real life ever talk to. They're not friends - they're just people I knew at some point. The relationship is not... personal or utilitarian like the relationship I have to people in my phonebook (family, friends, work). And because the detachment to these internet services is greater, so is the freedom to explore and experiment - new services come and go, and you gather loose circles of "people you knew at some point" on those. Flickr is the way the internet people do social mingling and smalltalk; but with pictures instead of words.

So I don't know whether you can draw a direct analogy between these new internet services and mobile address books. Or maybe it's just the way I use these services.

If you want to pitch some thoughts to Nokia, head over to Stephen's blog and leave some insightful commentary. Or just gripe about your pet peeves - that'll work too!

(I had a 6310 too. It was truly a wonderful phone; I still have it lying in my desk drawer at the office. Sometimes, late in the evening, I take it out and cradle it in my lap, and sing sweet songs... err, um. Forget that. Just go talk to Stephen, okay?)

Friday, 23-Mar-07 13:24
If I were a Finnish celebrity...

...I would be Simo Frangén. That sounds about right...

Thursday, 22-Mar-07 23:46
I, for one, welcome our new dancing robotic overlords...
Tuesday, 20-Mar-07 17:31
Man Sues For Copyright Infringement On Behalf Of Others?

This is pretty bizarre: Phil tells us that Alexis Kouros is threatening to sue him over breach of copyright... over other people's content, and apparently without their authorization!?!

Now, I don't particularly agree to Phil's viewpoints on, well, pretty much anything, but he's one of the guys I would not dare to threaten to sue without grounds. He's already gained high-profile legal representation, and will surely bite back. It looks like poor ol' Alexis is heading down the Googledrain...

(Of course, he's already down the drain; it turns out that Phil's blog is the high mark in Google if you search for Alexis Kouros - and it's not particularly flattering. Maybe this has something to do with the threats, hmmm?)

Tuesday, 20-Mar-07 16:16
Patent Office: Record Industry suing kids makes them look bad, therefore peer-to-peer is a threat to national security

Err... What?

The United States Patent and Trademark Office claims that file-sharing sites could be setting up children for copyright infringement lawsuits and compromising national security.

"A decade ago, the idea that copyright infringement could become a threat to national security would have seemed implausible," Patent and Trademark Director Jon Dudas said in a report released this week. "Now, it's a sad reality."

The report, which the patent office recently forwarded to the U.S. Department of Justice, states that peer-to-peer networks could manipulate sites so children violate copyright laws more frequently than adults. That could make children the target in most copyright lawsuits and, in turn, make those protecting their material appear antagonistic, according to the report.

(In all fairness I think they are making two separate points, the latter of which makes a lot of sense (Stop using P2P in your corporate computer, you dumbasses! You don't know what that thing has eaten!), but the way the article is written certainly makes it look like kids are a national security threat!)

(Via Bruce Schneier, who asks whether USPTO was bribed by the entertainment industry to write this report. I would also like to suggest that Informationweek hires a better editor.)

Monday, 19-Mar-07 22:17
Dear Twitter users...

Dave would like to tell you something. And I'll second that.

Monday, 19-Mar-07 21:04
Monday

Wake up. Shower. Eating breakfast. Someone calls. "Hi, could you participate in this teleconference?" I agree, and spend the next 90 minutes in the telco, still at home (traveling in public transport while talking confidential things on the cell phone is not only annoying, it's dangerous).

The conf call ends, and I sigh. I pack up my laptop, and start searching for my sweater, and suddenly the phone rings. I answer, and spend the next 30 minutes discussing some minute detail. I end the call, and make a quick call to someone else, and it turns rather long. By this time, it's almost lunch time. I try to hurry, but a phone call cuts my dash to the front door. It's okay, it's just one phone call. Almost an hour later, I realize that I won't be able to make it on time to actually eat lunch at the office (it's a long bus ride). So, I grab some eggs from the fridge and break them to make an omelette - and a guy I had asked to call urgently calls. So, with my right arm I absentmindedly whisk eggs while I explain something for the umpteenth time to someone who had first heard about it five minutes ago. The eggs nearly turn rancid, but in the end I triumph and I have a pretty decent omelette (turkey, cheese and random herbs, if you insist on knowing such things).

I manage to just finish my lunch before the next call comes in. After that, I look at my watch and realize that if I left now, I would just make it to the office to hear the latest on the collaboration negotiations (a wonderful term for playing musical chairs with your job). I give up the idea of getting to the office, as I'll hear all the news through the grapevine anyway. And I need desperately to take care of some email, and I no longer can afford to spend the 1.5 hours of back-and-forth traveling.

The phone rings again. And again.

When the final phone call of the day is over, it's almost 7 pm. And I realize that for what it's worth, I could've just sat around with in my underwear all day and I would've been exactly as productive than I was now. Technically I guess I did something wrong by not going to the office all day, but since I would've spent all day talking on the telephone (I needed to charge my phone twice!), I guess it did not really matter.

It must be a Monday. Hope there won't be another day like this soon.

Monday, 19-Mar-07 09:49
DRM accounts for 75% of support calls

Deutsche Telekom's Musicload, one of the largest online music stores in Europe, is saying that 75% of all calls to their support line are due to DRM issues. This is costing them a lot of money, because the costs are entirely borne by the retailer, not the record company.

In addition they point out that non-DRM music sells better than DRM music:

Championing the "Comeback of MP3," Musicload said that artists choosing to drop DRM saw a 40 percent increase in sales since December, and that more artists and labels are showing interest.

Here's what rubs me: because of the way that piracy is counted as a "lost sale", the math goes all wrong. Even if you sell more without DRM, and end up with more money, the fear of increased "lost sales" is going to prevent the move to non-DRM music. And the fact is that most "lost sales" are completely made up. Of course, the numbers are made really big so that it looks like piracy is an important issue, but at the same time it causes this "lost sale" -fear, simly because the numbers are just so big. So everyone is trapped in the same mess.

(Via BoingBoing.)

Sunday, 18-Mar-07 23:09
Siinähän se

Paremminkin olisi voinut mennä, mutta pääasia, että Jyrki Kasvi pääsee jatkamaan eduskunnassa. Positiivista havaita, että viime kerran äänikuningatar, Tanja "Lex Karpela" Saarela, menetti melkoisen määrän äänisaaliistaan (2003:19169, 2007:5757). Lieneekö ollut osasyy Keskustan vaalitappioon?

Saturday, 17-Mar-07 14:03
Shutdown day coming up

Next Saturday is Shutdown Day - the day when everyone should try to keep their computers closed.

It is obvious that people would find life extremely difficult without computers, maybe even impossible. If they disappeared for just one day, would we be able to cope?

Be a part of one of the biggest global experiments ever to take place on the internet. The idea behind the experiment is to find out how many people can go without a computer for one whole day, and what will happen if we all participate!

Shutdown your computer on this day and find out! Can you survive for 24 hours without your computer?

(Via #joiito)

Friday, 16-Mar-07 00:02
Random Youtube videos
Thursday, 15-Mar-07 16:58
Universe is a string-net liquid?

The physicist/sci-fi buff in me purrs to read stuff like this:

From this, the researchers made another leap. Could the entire universe be modelled in a similar way? "Suddenly we realised, maybe the vacuum of our whole universe is a string-net liquid," says Wen. "It would provide a unified explanation of how both light and matter arise." So in their theory elementary particles are not the fundamental building blocks of matter. Instead, they emerge from the deeper structure of the non-empty vacuum of space-time.

There's even a hunt for an exotic matter green crystal in South America! And people say that physics is boring... ;-)

Thursday, 15-Mar-07 16:50
Wiki stuff for a change

Stephen Johnston is in Business Week, talking about wikis in Nokia. Woo-hoo!

Yup, they're awesome tools. I simply could not do my daily work without them anymore. They cuts down on your email overload (mostly because it becomes easier to choose what you want to ignore), and they're far more up to date than anything else. It's almost like having everyone from a project team in a single room with a giant noticeboard in the middle.

This sharing thing, so integral to Web 2.0, is really catching on. On the internet, you would think it's a lot about pushing your own ego to the front, but really, in this mass of voices individuality is lost. Sharing means "not keeping things to yourself". Sharing means making yourself less important, and helping the community keep going even without you. A wiki can be edited by anyone, so nobody really "owns" the content anymore.

I am actually glad about this, since it is showing that people might be becoming less self-centric. Realizing that aiming for common good is a better survival strategy is probably an important milestone in any civilization. It seems that there's a chunk of population more willing to give of themselves and share the experiences. Maybe that is also at the core of the "copyright reform movement" and why it is happening now.

(I'm also mighty tired, so excuse me if this is a bit disassociated and incoherent.)

Wednesday, 14-Mar-07 20:48
Bluetooth goes NFC

Heh. This video is demonstrating the all-new Bluetooth 2.1 specification. Well, since the new things in the 2.1 spec are not very "wow" (5x better battery life in some configurations and better security don't exactly make for a wonderful display), they opted to show off Near Field Communications as a major new feature of the Bluetooth 2.1 spec. The idea is that you can just touch two devices together, and they will locate each other and can perform e.g. printing or image transfer automatically, without the user having to worry about any setup. The act of touching the other device declares the intent, and the phone just picks it up from there.

Well, NFC really is not a part of the Bluetooth 2.1, so the video is a bit misleading. But the specification does enable something called out-of-band configuration (or "simple pairing"), where NFC is one of the possible methods. I also happen to think it's the simplest and easiest, but then again, I am somewhat biased.

Anyway. The "wow" effect is certainly there for those who have had problems or delays with setting up Bluetooth devices. It's just nice to see other people than the NFC folks promoting this stuff. It's certainly a big milestone for any technology! ;-)

(WIMA tv also has some interviews on NFC, but you need to be actually interested in NFC to watch them. It's not that they're boring - they're just... marketing videos. I'll certainly try to get to WIMA this year to participate in the NFC Developers Summit and see the results of the 1st ever NFC developer's competition. And because it's in Monaco.)

(Disclaimer: I work for Nokia, and I also work on NFC-related issues.)

Tuesday, 13-Mar-07 19:42
Viacom sues Google, Digital TV in Europe to gain content control

The copyright lobby is at it again: Viacom sues Google for 1 billion USD (which is less than what Google paid for Youtube). Can you spell "negotiation tactic"? Of course, Google knew this was going to happen when they bought Youtube, so my guess is that they were expecting this and are prepared. (Via Slashdot, and in about two hours, everywhere else.)

In a bit more worrying news, the new DVB-standard looks like it's going to obsolete existing digital TV in Europe - and for what? So that the content owner could say what can be recorded and what cannot. Let me put it this way: trying to sell Finns another set of digiboxes so that they could do less with them than previously is probably only a good tactic if you're trying to incite a revolt.

Monday, 12-Mar-07 10:14
Parhaat verkkosivut-saaga jatkuu

Mjaha, jotakuta taisi sattua aiempi kritiikkini. Sain hetki sitten sähköpostia:

Kenelle: Janne Jalkanen
 
Ehdotan  blogisi otsikon muuttamista tai poistamista siten kuin se löytyy 
googlesta seuraavasti:
 
ButtUgly: Main_blogentry_010307_3
Suomen parhaat verkkosivut my ass. Sain hetki sitten sähköpostin, ... 
Kutsunkin yrityksesi www-sivuston mukaan Suomen Parhaat Verkkosivut-kilpailuun, ...
www.ecyrd.com/ButtUgly/wiki/Main_blogentry_010307_3 - 22k - Välimuistissa - 
Samankaltaisia sivuja
 
 
Kun menet sivulle: www.alansaykkoset.net ( pääsee myös www.alansaykkoset.fi ) 
ja luet koko jutun huomaat, että Suomen parhaat verkkosivut-kilpailu on täysin 
todellinen ja mainostetaan myös kymmenissä printtimedioissa.
 
Kaikki epäilyt k.o blogissa perustuvat täysin olettamuksiin. Valitettavasti 
me emme  pystyneet toimimaan siten että tälläinen käsitys olisi täysin ehkäisty.
 
Jos asiassa on jotain kysyttävää, voitte kääntyä minun puoleeni.

Kiitos ei, ei ole mitään kysyttävää.

Kilpailu on varmasti todellinen (olemattoman kilpailun mainostaminenhan olisi huijaamista), mutta itsekin verkkosivukilpailun täysin tyhjästä polkaisseena tiedän tasan tarkkaan miten helppoa sellaisen järjestäminen on.

(Ja mitä ihmeen olettamuksia? Sekö, että osallistuminen maksaa rahaa? Tai että kilpailussa etsitään "Suomen parhaimpia verkkosivuja"? Onko jompikumpi, sivuilta suoraan poimittu, tosiasia kenties jotenkin virheellinen?)

Sunday, 11-Mar-07 18:49
Scent of a blogger

This is not a joke, apparently: Calvin Klein is launching a new scent for bloggers, myspaceweirdos, wikimaniacs, instant messengers, etc. New York Times writes:

“We have envisioned this as the first fragrance for the technosexual generation,” said Mr. Murry, using a term the company made up to describe its intended audience of thumb-texting young people whose romantic lives are defined in part by the casual hookup.

Last year, the company went so far as to trademark “technosexual,” anticipating it could become a buzzword for marketing to millennials, the roughly 80 million Americans born from 1982 to 1995. A typical line from the press materials for CK in2u goes like this: “She likes how he blogs, her texts turn him on. It’s intense. For right now.”

Which may turn off its intended audience by the tens of thousands.

"Her texts turn him on?" Yeah, wankers are always a good target audience for a new perfume. Gotta cover that smell somehow...

(Via Valleyvag.)

Friday, 09-Mar-07 16:48
Noise and stress

Yesterday evening, a bunch of us went to the Maison Hantee - the Haunted Hause. What a mistake that was: the food in there is alone to turn people undead. But that I can take (I've had Aussie meat pies). But after four days of non-stop meetings, jet lag and stress, the last place you want to go to is a place which will try to add to your stress via loud noises, jarring music and actors who try to harass people while you eat. It's impossible to chat casually, and I had to spend half of the time with my fingers in my ears. I ended up leaving in the middle of the main course...

Gah. Avoid this place.

Thursday, 08-Mar-07 05:38
'havin' fyn

I'm a bit of a chameleon. After a while, the way I speak starts to mirror the person I talk to. This is something inherited: We used to joke that you can tell where my dad was calling, simply by listening his accent change.

Anyway. You can imagine what my English sounds now, being in a French Canadian area, listening to French people speaking English for hours and hours on end... Even my thoughts have a strange accent now.

Other than that, I'm not seeing much Montreal. It's early up, email, meetings, meetings, meetings, lunch, meetings, meetings, meetings, quick shower... It's all very busy and sometimes I wonder to what end? The trap of being a technical expert is realizing that you can influence things you care about. It's all so easy if you can't or don't want to. It's when opportunity coincides with desire, you slip deep into the flow where work consumes all. And for those, who have never been able to do so previously, it is difficult to get out.

Dancing on the edge of the burnout; running in the dark barely missing the trees; rolling the cylinder for one more time. It's all the same.

Sunday, 04-Mar-07 04:16
Montreal

So, after a few measly hours of uneventful flight - uneventful in this case meaning having the row behind you full of drunken Finns going to a holiday in Spain to celebrate the 40th birthday of one of them - I arrived in Montreal, Canada.

It's a strange feeling to be walking in a city, seeing things for the first time, yet realizing that this is also likely the last time. I won't probably ever return to this city again, or even if I do, I am unlikely to travel the same paths. So in a way it's all unique; the city just scrolls by as you walk and winks out of existence once it passes you.

Thursday, 01-Mar-07 13:27
Suomen parhaat verkkosivut my ass.

Sain hetki sitten sähköpostin, joka alkaa:

Kuulun komiteaan joka järjestää ensimmäiset laatuaan olevat www-sivujen ”SM-kilpailut.” Tutustuimme yrityksesi kotisivuihin, ja ne olivat persoonalliset, visuaalisesti kauniit ja hyvin tehdyt, eli osallistuja-ainesta. Kutsunkin yrityksesi www-sivuston mukaan Suomen Parhaat Verkkosivut-kilpailuun, toivottavasti otat kutsun vastaan.

No. Minullahan ei ole ensinnäkään yritystä. Toisekseen, kaikki verkkosivuni ovat kaikkea muuta kuin kauniita (tämän blogin nimi ei ole harhaanjohtava). Kolmanneksikin, tähän kilpailuun osallistumisesta pitäisi maksaa 60 euroa (120 euroa myöhemmin), ja sillä saa "medianäkyvyyttä verkkosivuilla." (WTF?) Puhumattakaan siitä, että kaikki muu tieto sivuille "tulee 31.3 mennessä", mutta ennakkoilmoittautua (ja oletettavasti maksaa) voi jo nyt.

Tämä kuulostaa hyvin epäilyttävältä. Laitoin jo meiliä Kuluttaja-asiamiehelle.

Päivitys: jatkoa täällä.

Thursday, 01-Mar-07 10:58
Masinoi vaalimainos

Mikko Rauhala haluaa julkaista NYT-liitteessä kokosivun mainoksen, jossa luetellaan tekijänoikeuslain puolesta äänestäneet ja sitä vastustaneet. Rahaa puuttuu tällä hetkellä enää 2407€, joten luulisi sillä saavan puolen sivun mainoksen jo ainakin aikaiseksi. Ja varmaan ei-ehdolla olevatkin voisi tipauttaa listasta pois.

Noin periaatteessa minua kuitenkin pännii mainoksen tekstiksi suunniteltu "he haluavat lähettää lapsesi kahdeksi vuodeksi vankilaan". Tekijänoikeudet ovat kuitenkin oikeasti melko monimutkainen juttu, ja tämänkaltainen yksinkertaistaminen voi aiheuttaa enemmän huonoa kuin hyvää.

No, osallistuin kuitenkin parilla kympillä. Saahan siitä vähän toimitettumedianäkyvyyttä - internetnäkyvyyttähän tekijänoikeuspupalla on jo. (Tuijalle: eikös asia ole niin, että jos haluaa saada asiansa kattavasti kuulumaan alueella, jossa sitä ei käsitellä tarpeeksi, niin kannattaa käyttää kaikkia keinoja? Ei tässä maata olla myymässä ;-)

Päivitys: Hesarin mielestä mainos on "hyvän maun vastainen". Sanoisin jotain nasevaa, mutta naurattaa liikaa.

Thursday, 01-Mar-07 10:34
Experimenting with leftovers

I call this 'White sausage number 1'
A lot of people have been asking me why I don't do any scientific experiments anymore? Well, frankly, it's something that I did when I was single and really bored and needed to impress girls. (Basing it all on a half-baked theory that if a girl laughs at those, she and I might actually have something in common. Surprisingly, it works. Just don't overdo it.)

However, yesterday I found a half-eaten packet of "HK Sininen" sausage, and the leftovers of a particularly good piece of Brie I bought from France. My natural curiosity got over me, and I decided to make myself a "sandwich".

It was surprisingly good, though even this morning my palate still had a thick, greasy coating that does not go away no matter how much tea I drink. Maybe I should use a scraper?


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



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