Wednesday, 31-Dec-03 01:24
Grr, part II

Ha! Two more victories today! Five wins out of six games... One more win and I might get a prize!

And by the way - if it's dangerous to go into a DVD sale in Anttila, it is twice as much dangerous to go to a DVD sale in Tower Records in London... I was seriously tempted to buy the entire Fawlty Towers, but managed to resist the tempation after picking up some interesting bargain stuff like both Tetsuos and Holy Grail (and what do you mean by "odd combination"?)

Monday, 29-Dec-03 21:59
Food

I have to say that I like the British way of eating more than the traditional Finnish one. Here it's "Breakfast, light lunch, then proper dinner", whereas in Finland it's "Maybe breakfast, big lunch, possibly dinner". The light lunch seems to keep me more properly awake throughout the day.

(Todays results: one win, one loss. I did a horrendous mistake during the final stages of the endgame, and lost 40 points when I was winning by 20. Stupidstupidstupidstupidstupidstupidstupid...)

Sunday, 28-Dec-03 23:17
Grr - Janne kill

Started off the tournament with two victories - both horrible bloodsheds with my enemy's groups dying left and right. Yay! I feel my veins pulsate with adrenaline, my back aches, my eyes are tired, and whenever I close them I see go stones chasing each other around the board.

Feels good to be playing again.

Sunday, 28-Dec-03 15:20
Oh, sweet London

This city is most certainly a place where it's impossible to get bored. Yesterday, after an early arrival, we went to see the Lord of the Rings exhibition at Science Museum, which was very well worth the rather steep 12£ admission: some of the miniatures are simply amazing, Sauron and the ringwraiths can scare you witless even if seen from a distance, but the best part are some of the paintings and sketches: I felt like any weak-minded creature in front of the Ring as I let my eyes rest upon the artwork of Sauron overseeing his troops at the plains of Gorgoroth... This must be mine - my precioussss...

Afterwards, we were - completely accidentally - treated to the artwork of Yann Arthus-Bertrand, who had an outdoor exhibition of 3x2 meter photographs outside the Natural History Museum. Go see the stuff this guy shoots - some of it is quite simply breathtaking. Especially in large size.

Anyhow, the tournament looks like it's going to be a good one: plenty of nice people all around, good location, relaxed schedule... Well, I might still lose all of my games :)

Unfortunately, I am not able to get GPRS roaming work, so it looks like no moblogging. I even forgot all of my USB leads home, so I can't even upload any pictures. Oh well.

Friday, 26-Dec-03 23:58
Forgetfulness

Hum. I wonder, how many other people manage to lose a bottle of soda on the 3 meter journey from the fridge to the sofa? Lose, as in "I don't know where it is - it was just in my hand and now I don't know where it is."

This does not bode well for the trip tomorrow...

Friday, 26-Dec-03 01:10
You know I wasn't serious.

The hamburger thing has been listed by a Japanese website as a weird link.

Oh, the irony.

こん日和、みんあの日本人。

(I got my target of 100,000 page visits for this year all right, but in a way I was not quite anticipating. Oh well. I'll have to think of something new next year. Perhaps I'll heed some wishes and go into full-time social porn and detail some interesting twists of my (highly imaginary, mind you) love life; or perhaps I will start writing bad poetry, or sharing food recipes (the real ones). Perhaps I'll put in a daily quote of Shakespeare to balance the popular music quotes, as I got his collected works as a Christmas present... Who knows. If you have any ideas, let me know. At this time, we are taking requests. I think I'll be changing the byline "Scaring little children since 2003" anyway.)

Wednesday, 24-Dec-03 13:00
Survived!

Someone posted a link to my hamburger experiment onto http://www.collegehumor.com, and suddenly I got over 10,000 pageviews and 100,000 requests during yesterday - and they keep coming. So far this puny 266 MHz P-II has held itself together pretty well - and I am amazed that JSPWiki has not choked up yet. In a way, this stress test is really very good and exciting, but if this server dies under the load, well, there goes my Christmas spirit :-).

(100,000 requests, yes, that's over 1 request/second. My server log files will start to roll over daily at this pace.)

Monday, 22-Dec-03 19:31
Last minute peace

A gingerbread house in a calm, obscure passageway of the busiest department store in Helsinki. Built by children, who can still keep Christmas as an all-joyful experience. I refuse to angst over Christmas - where's the fun in that?!

Monday, 22-Dec-03 12:15
Gender Genie

Interesting... This neat little program claims it can guess the author's sex by the distribution of words in text. At least it guessed my sex correctly, but it did make the grave mistake of thinking that one of the people on my blogroll (right) is a male, even though I'm pretty sure she's a lady :).

Hooray for stereotypes.

(Via Boing Boing.)

Sunday, 21-Dec-03 18:36
Christmas@home

Sometimes you just need a bit of unspoiled snow to realize how beautiful your neighborhood really is.

(Update: OK, so the picture didn't really turn out to be as good as I thought it would be. Trust me, the atmosphere was nothing short of magical :-)

Saturday, 20-Dec-03 21:36
Wrestling

La Parka!
You know, I hate wrestling. It personifies everything I hate about the American culture: admiration of abundant violence, conflict, strength - the "bigger is better" -syndrome, the fact that it is scripted but still some people believe it's all true... It reminds me so much of the ideas of the Roman gladiators - and the analogue to ancient Rome is also evident in some other ways that I do not go here. I've tried to watch WWE, and I've tried to understand it (and big thanks to those who helped me on this task), but no: that is something that I do not see worth understanding.

But today, I was introduced to Lucha Libre, the Mexican version of wrestling, where putting up a good show is far more important than winning. It has much more joy of pure movement and acrobatics, and in ways it reminded me of kung fu movies or a circus act. I'm sure that if I understood any Spanish, the dialogue would be as burlesque as in its American counterpart, but there frankly isn't too far of it. There was humour, wit, even affection in the show. The outrageous uniforms and masks (which have a lot of importance: once you lose your mask, you can never wear it again), and even the entrances are far more important than the action. This is not to say that there's no action; in fact, there's a lot more action than you might think: most matches are three-on-three, which guarantees a constant, breathtaking pace of mayhem. Action does not stop, even when the round is over - in fact, the beginning and the end of a round seem to be superfluous concepts, only there for some obscure purpose of scorekeeping.

It was fun. Certainly a fresh, refreshing, and new acquaintance. :-)

Friday, 19-Dec-03 17:56
Merry Christmas

Click on the image to see a larger version.
Well, everybody's off to celebrate whatever holidays people like to celebrate, and so will I. Updates may be scarcer, and I might completely become a moblogger for a while. Peace unto all you, who read my blog.

And don't forget to order you Father Christmases early next year. Don't settle for copies, get your authentical Finnish Father Christmas now.

(Via Merten.)

Friday, 19-Dec-03 13:49
BANG!

Now here's a scientific experiment that excites me: The Case of the Exploding CD-ROM Record, i.e. why you shouldn't build 64x CD-ROM drives.

(Via What about the Finns)

Friday, 19-Dec-03 11:50
The Final test of the Year

Well, this is a result that surprises no-one. What a good mood to end the year with... *evil grin*

I am 72% Evil Genius

Evil courses through my blood. Lies and deceit motivate my evil deeds. Crushing the weaklings and idiots that do nothing but interfere in my doings.

(Link via SchizoBlog.)

Thursday, 18-Dec-03 23:44
Social Suicide

Why, thank you Mira (Finnish only). It's good to know that my nightmare now has a name.

And to everyone who clicked on her link and arrived to this site: Go away, if you value your sexual orientation.

No, seriously.

I just got a letter from an ex-potential ladyfriend, who proclaimed that "you are a crazy man - in fact, all men are crazy and I think I'll try women from now on." This happened about two hours after I had revealed the URL to this weblog in an otherwise innocuous email, in response to her claim that she had a worse sense of humor than me. Of course, the "stupid me" had to prove her wrong.

So welcome all - This is the blog that will make you a lesbian. (Catchy, ain't it?)

(And you still wonder why I'm feeling down? Man, I need a better impression management strategy.)

Actually, now that I'm on the subject... The cool thing about blogs and dating is that your blog will make you a better writer, and thus you will be able to write coherent, intelligent, witty text to your charmees. Well. Most of you will, anyway. But the uncool thing about blogs is that once your potential life-mate actually finds it - your relationship may suffer a mighty chink.

A blog can be a good filter, though, for weeding out those who wouldn't be able to cope with your sense of humour or view of life anyway - but that just means that if you are blogging under your own name, you'd darned be better to write what you really feel and think, and be prepared to stand up for it. Because sooner or later, someone will read it. I've had my share of old internet writings coming back to haunt me...

Anyway, I thank Mindy for putting this whole idea in my head in the first place, but perhaps I should stop referring people to this page as the "this is really me" page :)

Wednesday, 17-Dec-03 17:47
Social Exhaustion

It's bloody hard to try and be intelligent, witty, charming, friendly, thoughtful, responsive, sagely, quick, fun, alert, and a number of other adjectives for a few days in a row.

Enough.

I'm "too pooped to pip", as one wise man once said.

Tuesday, 16-Dec-03 16:24
Da Rule Rant

Yeah. You know a meeting is not going to end well when someone asks "shouldn't we first come up with a good definition of X?", where X is a random technology. After this, there will be long discussions where everyone will pitch in completely unnecessarily griping about their pet peeve or pet words, and in the end you will have a definition that's so politically correct that it is useful only for putting on Powerpoint slides you can fold into paper airplanes and throw out of the office window.

Geeks don't waste their time definining words. They look at things, grab an intuitive understanding of them, hack away as fast as they can, then run away before anyone realizes what happened.

Definitions are mostly a burden: Once you have defined a technology in certain terms, you will have trouble thinking outside the box - the words tie down your thinking to that particular box... Definitions are not good for creativity or understanding. They are not even good for explaining things to newbies, because they do not comprehend the things the same way you do, or the people who defined them do.

The only good definition is in an RFC or mathematical formula: expressed in a mathematical or semi-logical language to mean one and one thing only, so that you can use a single word later on without having to write the entire explanation each time.

Grr.

Monday, 15-Dec-03 16:15
Hey Googlers!

You know, sometimes I am tempted to start publishing the IP addresses and access times of those people who are surfing for porn from their work computers during office hours. I keep an eye on my server log files throughout the day, so I get to follow the online behaviour of some people pretty accurately =).

(And to those who actually use MSN Search - please, please do switch to a better search engine. I am most definitely a "shakira lookalike", or some other wild things that search engine seems to be mistaking me for.)

Monday, 15-Dec-03 00:03
Cooking Friends

I'm rather proud of myself: a six-course Japanese dinner for four persons for 8.50€/person. :)

But the point ain't the cheapness, it's the fact that we made it together. It seems that cooking and eating together has gained a lot of popularity in the past few years - and this is wonderful thing. When food became something that you consume instead of enjoy, and all your friends are instantly accessible through the wonders of the internet and cell phones, physical presence and the pure hedonistic pleasure you get from good food suddenly became a lot more rare than before. And what is rare, is always precious.

It could be that this is what thirtysomethings have been doing for ages anyway (and nobody just told me), but as I browse through online dating ads, it seems to me that surprisingly many people list "cooking with friends" as their hobby or favourite pastime. And this is not limited to women - men also list it more and more often.

My sources in Japan tell me that cooking is the #1 hobby among guys these days. It is not rare to hear two guys exchanging recipes the same way they used to talk about sports, and there seem to be many lifestyle magazines directed towards men who are interested in looking good, and making good food. This is perhaps unfathomable over here, but... perhaps in a couple of years not so.

I think this is a good trend (he said, trying to silence the small and insistent cynic who lives in his left ear canal, complaining how the whole thing is just a plot by media corporations to introduce a new "thing"). Cooking together is fun - provided that you all can fit in the kitchen at the same time ;-).

Saturday, 13-Dec-03 18:56
Run away, run awayyyy...

You know a meme has run amok too long, when a random sampling of people enter your tram, and for no visible reason whatsoever start jumping up and down and going "Badger badger badger MUSHROOM". Unfortunately, I did not snap a picture, as I was too flabbergasted.

Friday, 12-Dec-03 11:48
Which historical lunatic are you?

You are Charles VI of France, also known as Charles the Mad or Charles the Well-Beloved!

A fine, amiable and dreamy young man, skilled in horsemanship and archery, you were also from a long line of dribbling madmen. King at 12 and quickly married to your sweetheart, Bavarian Princess Isabeau, you enjoyed many happy months together before either of you could speak anything of the other's language. However, after illness you became a tad unstable. When a raving lunatic ran up to your entourage spouting an incoherent prophecy of doom, you were unsettled enough to slaughter four of your best men when a page dropped a lance. Your hair and nails fell out. At a royal masquerade, you and your courtiers dressed as wild men, ending in tragedy when four of them accidentally caught fire and burned to death. You were saved by the timely intervention of the Duchess of Berry's underskirts.

This brought on another bout of sickness, which surgeons countered by drilling holes in your skull. The following months saw you suffer an exorcism, beg your friends to kill you, go into hyperactive fits of gaiety, run through your rooms to the point of exhaustion, hide from imaginary assassins, claim your name was Georges, deny that you were King and fail to recognise your family. You smashed furniture and wet yourself at regular intervals. Passing briefly into erratic genius, you believed yourself to be made of glass and demanded iron rods in your attire to prevent you breaking.

In 1405 you stopped bathing, shaving or changing your clothes. This went on until several men were hired to blacken their faces, hide, jump out and shout "boo!", upon which you resumed basic hygiene. Despite this, your wife continued sleeping with you until 1407, when she hired a young beauty, Odette de Champdivers, to take her place. Isabeau then consoled herself, as it were, with your brother. Her lovers followed thick and fast while you became a pawn of your court, until you had her latest beau strangled and drowned.

A severe fever was fended off with oranges and pomegranates in vast quantities, but you succumbed again in 1422 and died. Your disease was most likely hereditary. Unfortunately, you had anywhere up to eleven children, who variously went on to develop capriciousness, great cruelty, insecurity, paranoia, revulsion towards food and, in one case, a phobia of bridges.

Yeah, that's me. Ehhheheheheheheh... *ping* "I am the eggman, you are the eggmen, I am the walrus, koo-koo-ka-choo."

(Via Merten, the man who is proud of being the mental cousin of Caligula.)

Friday, 12-Dec-03 11:32
Commercial Christmas

Janka speaks well on the subject of "Objection to the objections to Christmas".

Ain't got nothing to add. She's one smart lady.

Friday, 12-Dec-03 00:20
New glasses help see stuff

Got myself new eyeglasses, and the world suddenly just turned very strange. The model is different enough from my previous model, that all angles suddenly are no longer quite what I am used to... For example, walking stairs up or down is a very, very dangerous affair right now. On a more positive note, my sight has not grown any worse during the last 8 years.

Well - of course Helsinki might've turned into R'lyeh overnight, too.

Actually, what I really wanted to wonder about is the depth of knowledge that LinkedIn is currently gathering. I wonder how many business analysts or data miners will become interested in the depth of the corporate networks that are currently being woven into visible light? You see - a lot of the people you know, you know through work, and it might be possible to mine ~LinkedIn data to see who is currently really dealing with whom, what kinds of relationships different companies do really have, and at the very least track the movements of people as they gravitate towards the more interesting companies.

I know what ~LinkedIn privacy policy says, but as we've seen before, they are very fluid creatures: a sudden acquisition by some company, with perhaps a bit of a lesser moral backbone, who are capable of combining the information with their own databases... You know, it might all get very messy. While it is an useful tool for networking, I am not quite sure whether I really want my professional relationships to be ready for data mining.

Thursday, 11-Dec-03 11:34
A very short roller coaster

Whee! They read my weblog! Happy! Joy! Except that... Neither of them have asked me out in all this time! Graah! I'm crushed!

...

...

OK. I'm fine now. Just a short hormonal balance thingy, caused by the utter darkness, cold, and general miserability. No worries.

As a small and interesting tidbit (which is likely to erase any chances with any woman ever), I noticed that I am the Google #6 authority on "Tira Misu Porno". The scary thing is that people actually arrive on my web site looking for it. People, what the *hell* is going through your minds?

Wednesday, 10-Dec-03 17:37
Test of the day

Artistic
You are naturally born with a gift, whether it be poetry, writing or song. You love beauty and creativity, and usually are highly intelligent. Others view you as mysterious and dreamy, yet also bold since you hold firm in your beliefs.

(What Type of Soul Do You Have, via Tiramisu.)

Normally, I wouldn't have bothered to link to this test, since it is somewhat inane, but... the pictures are just so beautiful. It's worth answering the quiz a few times to see the different possibilities.

Wednesday, 10-Dec-03 13:56
Portuguese referrals?

Um. It's rather interesting to find a Portuguese (I think) weblog pointing to you, and the only words you can really figure out are "idiotos", "Big Mac", and "blog". Babelfish tells me that "He will be that he has dreams to drink the menu for one palhinha beaten which of strawberry?"

Yay. Clarity.

Wednesday, 10-Dec-03 02:35
Extreme maintenance

No, I am not referring to Extreme Programming, but more to the practice of reconfiguring the entire structure of your server's hard drives (reformatting, etc) remotely over WLAN, while someone else is updating the firmware on the WLAN access point, and continuously rebooting it. And all this while both you and the other person are seriously drunk on free booze in a corporate Christmas Party.

There are just so many things that may go wrong. (Not to mention that the whole affair is really very sad.)

(Note to self: always check the number of inodes before assigning a disk to some other task. Always.)

Monday, 08-Dec-03 21:33
A slight intermission

It's not exactly a scientific experiment, but it shows what a disgruntled juggler is capable of...

Monday, 08-Dec-03 13:37
Be eaten first

You remember Jack Chick, the guy who does the anti-roleplaying tracts?

Here's a good spoof.

Via Boing Boing. Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl ftagn. Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl ftagn. Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl ftagn.

Sunday, 07-Dec-03 21:12
<expletive deleted>

Sometimes the weekends are good, sometimes they are bad.

This one was very bad.

Saturday, 06-Dec-03 09:37
Sunrise over Helsinki at 9.20 am

It is 8 degrees below zero, and the wind is so cold you can feel your bone marrow freeze.

Happy 86th birthday, Finland!

Friday, 05-Dec-03 15:52
"OSS - what is it good for? Absolutely..."

I was going to have long rantish thing here, but all of my justified righteousness fizzled away like a romantic mood after a very loud fart.

It all started with this piece from Lessig where he tears a new asshole to SCO. After this, a bunch of people on IRC started to criticize the fact that Kiseido Go Server developer is keeping the protocols secret... It seems that people have the darnedest notions of what Open Source actually is, and what the benefits really are. Here are some of my observations - from my personal, own perspective as an open source developer.

Advantages

  • You get to meet interesting, wonderful, intelligent people, and talk geek talk
  • Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow. Some guy in Germany can solve the problem that has been plaguing you for weeks, and never be heard from again.
  • It feels good to give back to the OSS and Free Software communities, considering that most of my tools that I use are open.
  • Freedom - if I suddenly stop development (get bored, win a life in a lottery, die, etc), I can leave the system as-is and someone can pick it up and continue.
  • The ability to say to unreasonable/impossible requests: "Well, it's open source, you can go and fix it yourself." :-)
  • The freedom to ignore any Curly Brace Wars, since I own the code and can use whatever style I like best - and others have to comply :-).

Disadvantages

  • The amount of sheer communication. I sometimes use more time per week answering email queries than actually writing code. It's not that I don't like it; it just takes a lot of time.
  • Combination of sayings "any user can see source code and contribute" and "users are morons". The quality of some of the things that gets my way is astoundingly bad - and some people don't seem to understand that once I accept something into the core of JSPWiki, I'll be the one who has to support it.
  • Getting into the inevitable Curly Brace Wars
  • The morons who think they can do better than you, and are not afraid of saying it to you - but somehow they never manage to produce a line of functional code.
  • The morons who think they know how it should be done, but don't have the experience to back it up. Good advice is a dime a dozen.

Actually, looking back at those lists, it suddenly seems obvious to me that the real value (and problems) of Open Source lies with the people. Open Source is good because it encourages active communication between people, not only in code form, but also in personal and professional relationships. It is far more taxing to the developer, but it also gives more.

Open Source is to closed source much like blogs are to personal diaries: The power of blogs lies in the fact that they allow people to communicate, and OSS does the same thing, albeit in a form that is more rigid: the compiler does not forgive spelling errors. Networking is, after all, the key to innovation - very few people have been able to be geniuses without the support from any other people. And even now, we are all relying on the open work done by scientists, men and women of the past, as we travel in our cars on the freeway or talk in our cell phones. We all stand on the shoulders of the giants.

It is not a question whether OSS is superior to proprietary systems or not. OSS allows whole new kinds of innovation methods that allow things that cannot be done in a closed framework, and that I believe to be its strength. Proprietary systems are very good at providing specialized solutions (just look at all the research the military does to become better at killing people - they're very good these days), but I think the real innovation comes from large networks of people. Perhaps creativeness is an emergent property of groups?

Thursday, 04-Dec-03 13:56
Laugh of the day

CNN reports that IDE hard drives could be offensive to the people of Los Angeles

Los Angeles officials have asked that manufacturers, suppliers and contractors stop using the terms "master" and "slave" on computer equipment, saying such terms are unacceptable and offensive.

ROTFLMAO!

Thursday, 04-Dec-03 01:21
The really cool thing about Bluetooth

Whatever you may have heard of Bluetooth, forget it. The really, really cool thing about it is that I can lie here, in my bed, typing on my Powerbook, and just start iSync. Click on a button, and it will go and find my 3650, nicely synchronize my address book and calendar. And I don't know where my phone is. It's somewhere in this room, I'm sure, but I don't have to go and find it if I wanted to sync. I can just go and leave it on a table, or on a shelf, or keep it in the pocket of my pants, or in a bag, and I can just use it as if it were here, right next to me. If I didn't have a WLAN connection at home, I could just use the dialup service - over Bluetooth. Again, and I don't have to worry about docking, or finding the USB cable, or doing anything more complicated than just clicking on a button or two on my desktop.

Of course, some of the credit for this ease of use goes to the Apple engineers, as I can sort of do all the same stuff on PC, but that takes a whole lot more than two buttons. But the idea is still the same.

With a cell phone, you don't have to know where the nearest phone is. With Bluetooth, you don't have to even know where your cell phone is. Assuming your house walls aren't too thick and don't block the signal, of course. :-)

Tuesday, 02-Dec-03 16:09
The downside of being connected

It has been a very odd day today... I have been receiving almost no mail (not even spam), to the point that I had to send myself a test message to see if my mail is still working. All my JSPWiki sites are calm (I'm not even getting the crawler-induced error mails), IRC is quiet, nobody has called me, nobody has sent me even a text message...

Suddenly, I feel terribly alone. It's as if a part of my world has disappeared into a deep void, and I see only darkness. Literally - when I glance out of the office window now, at 4pm, I see only impenetrable darkness, dotted with random lights of the traffic. Which probably contributes to this weird state.

It feels as if a big fish had suddenly just snapped the hook from my rod, and the line is hanging limp in the water.

Connectedness does not mean much if the information flow is missing. :-)

Tuesday, 02-Dec-03 15:19
Blogshares is dead

Well, it was good fun while it lasted. It was certainly a better egoboost than technorati or the Pinseri top list. :-)

(Via Norman Richards.)

Monday, 01-Dec-03 18:48
Blogthought of the day

Weblogs are odd: They start off as a monologue, but they end up being a dialogue, and some of the really, really good ones become broadcast media.

I guess that's why they are not exactly diaries.


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



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