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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Warning: Behind this link there be spoilers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, 29-Mar-08 09:45
You can't negotiate with protocols

Ed Felten raises a wonderful point:

This property of protocols — that you can’t get a meeting with them, convince them to change their behavior, or make a deal with them — seems especially challenging to some Washington policymakers. If, as they do, you live in a world driven by meetings and deal-making, a world where problem-solving means convincing someone to change something, then it’s natural to think that every protocol, and every piece of technology, must be owned and managed by some entity.

Engineers sometimes make a similar mistake in thinking about technology markets. We like to think that technologies are designed by engineers, but often it’s more accurate to say that some technology was designed by a market. And where the market is in charge, there is nobody to call when the technology needs to be changed.

This is something which really needs to be hammered down into policymakers and engineers head. This is how many companies think - big companies which are used to driving technology forward. But many innovations do not work that way - on the internet, companies form around these inventions, and the technology drives the companies.

There's something pretty deep here, and I can't articulate my thoughts really well on this subject. Maybe later. Now I'm off to my first go tournament in what, three years?

Wednesday, 26-Mar-08 08:44
Two wrongs...

Here's an interesting article - some scientists speculate that, because of Peak Oil (i.e. the fact that there are limited carbon-based burnable things buried in the ground), global warming might not be a complete disaster. It'll still be one big whopping major problem, but oil and coal will simply run out before the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere get to runaway levels.

So, in a way, one disaster might save us from another. That's comedy.

(Via Matt.)

Tuesday, 25-Mar-08 20:51
They lie to you

Of course, nobody is surprised to hear this, but it was still wonderful to see this project of photographing 100 product packagings and their contents.

(Via BB.)

Wednesday, 19-Mar-08 16:57
The Burning Question

Polttava kysymys is a campaign to demand a law which forces the country to reduce its carbon emissions yearly. If you would like to support this, please go to http://www.polttavakysymys.fi/ and send a card to your MP. If you don't know what to do in the face of the looming environmental catastrophy, do at least this simple act.

If you're not Finnish, but still live in Europe - go to http://www.thebigask.eu/ for further info to see if concerned people in your country are running a similar program. UK is already getting there, I see.

(Via Jyrki J.J. Kasvi)

Wednesday, 19-Mar-08 08:34
Arthur C Clarke is gone

RIP.

Man, he had such an impact on my life. I probably wouldn't be who I am now without his books.

A true visionary.

Tuesday, 18-Mar-08 21:13
L18N, the :-) way

(Sorry, only really obscure, narcissistic Finnish jokes here today.)

Jostain syystä tämä jaksaa naurattaa minua aina. Oma vitsi, paras vitsi.

JSPWikin kielitiedostot, englanti:

edit.locked=User "{0}" has started to edit this page, but has not yet \
    saved.  I won't stop you from editing this page anyway, BUT be aware that \
    the other person might be quite annoyed.  It would be courteous to wait for the lock \
    to expire or until the person stops editing the page.  The lock expires in \
    {1} minutes.

Suomi:

edit.locked=Huppistakeikkaa! Käättäjä "{0}" on mennynnä muokkaamaan tätä sivua \
    mutta ei oo vielä kehanna tallettaa.  Minen sinnuu estä, jos nyt väen vängällä tahonnii \
    sivua mennä mulkkamahan, mutta suattaapi tuo toinen vähän hermostua. \
    Jos nyt vielä viittisit vuottaa {1} minnuuttii, niin eiköpähän tuo ruojake sitten ole \
    lopettanna.

Vapaassa softankehityksessä on se hyvä puoli, ettei tätä tarvitse aina ottaa niin vakavasti.

(Jos keksitte, mitä murretta tuo on, niin hyvä. Minä en nimittäin tiedä. Minä en edes muista kirjoittaneeni tuota; se vain pullahti joskus hyvin myöhään yöllä versionhallintaan ja siellä se on tyytyväisenä asustanut jo monta kuukautta.)

Tuesday, 18-Mar-08 13:59
Measures of Success

You know that your managerial day has been successful, when both your phone and your Bluetooth headset run out of juice at 2 pm.

Gng.

Monday, 17-Mar-08 00:38
Blogs just entertainment, says the newspapers

The Finnish blogosphere is buzzing about an article in Helsingin Sanomat, which is deriding the blogs having become mostly entertainment, and not citizen journalism, as was touted a few years ago.

You know what? They're right.

And it does not matter. At all.

I am reminded of the early days of Linux. People said it would kill Windows and all other operating systems. But, if you look around today - Windows is still here, and going strong.

But the other operating systems are pretty much gone. The dozens of operating systems from the time - Xenix, SCO, IRIX, HP/UX, BeOS, Amiga - they're no longer contenders. Linux killed all other mid- and low-range operating systems. (The different BSD variants survive because they are works of love, not money. I would argue the same for OSX as well.)

Linus Torvalds has repeatedly said that he does not care too much about his competition - that he did what he did just for fun, not to kill other operating systems and assure dominance of the world. And this passion about doing the right thing is what made Linux what it is now - a very serious contender. It's not killing Windows - but it's certainly making a splash.

And to me blogs are much the same thing: they're about passion. In the long run, things that people care about tend to survive.

If blogs crush the mainstream journalism in the next few years, it's by accident, not on purpose. I doubt that they will (getting crushed by blogs would require some massively dumb sticking to 19th century practices), but if I were the editor of a small science journal or a handicraft magazine, I would worry. The readership of those is moving to the web - because it's cheaper, it's better, and there's more selection.

Stephen Eley pointed out in one of his podcasts that the listenership of his science fiction audio podcast, "Escape Pod", is already exceeding the subscriber amounts to almost all other science fiction periodicals. And why shouldn't it? It's of excellent quality, free (both as in speech and beer), and it even pays the authors. And clearly, it is a work of passion.

Just give it time, and passion. And ignore whatever other people are saying.

Build whatever matters to you.

Monday, 10-Mar-08 10:38
Censorship isn't really about freedom of speech

(Short recap: Finland is using secret, police-made lists to block foreign child pornography web sites. Unfortunately, the list has been proven to be wildly inaccurate, and its legality and efficiency have been heavily questioned.)

A lot of people (me included) have been talking about the internet block-lists as a freedom of speech-issue. To be precise, this is not exactly true. Because the sites are blocked at the ISP level, this means that they will still be there. People are totally free to write whatever they want - it's just that someone will choose what other people can read. A subtle distinction, but important nevertheless.

You see, I think it sends out a dangerous message. These block lists are saying that "yes, it's okay to rape and pillage and do whatever you want to minors, as long as nobody else knows about it." And this is exactly the wrong thing to say. We should expose these atrocities, and make sure that the web sites themselves are permanently shut down, and the people responsible taken to justice, not try to hide the fact that this sort of stuff is happening in the first place.

The unfortunate thing is that block lists are cheap for the government. They require half a person to maintain, and the actual cost of filtering is born by the operators - but even that is mostly a one-time cost, which can be amortized over a longer time. Finnish police is facing losses of 600-700 jobs until 2015, because their work needs to be more "efficient". Efficient in government lingo meaning doing the same job for less money, not better results.

This is the result of this "efficiency" demand. With respect to the internet, we will get the cheap and "efficient" alternative. It looks like something is being done, so that the people can feel all warm and fuzzy inside when they are told that the kiddie porn is gone from the internets, and the police is protecting you. But in reality, the illegal activity keeps going on and growing.

When you can't hear the cries of the children, you can't help them. When you don't know someone is in peril, you can't care about them. This is why blocking is bad, and being pro-blocking is actually damaging the children. If anything, people should be demanding more money to the police to help fight international crime instead of just nodding blithely at the eradication of our constitution at the interests of "efficiency".

(France is now, by the way, extending their child pornography blocks to information on making explosives or chemical weapons, terrorist propaganda and racial hate speech. It is only a matter of time before Finland follows. We wouldn't want to be pro-hate speech, now would we?)

Thursday, 06-Mar-08 18:07
Standing on two stools

Let me just state first of all that I like meat. And fish. And plenty of other things which go about their daily life until it ends with a hatchet buried in their necks. I don't see anything morally wrong in eating other creatures - in fact, that's pretty much what those other creatures do to survive. So why not me?

However, I do hear the arguments that vegans and vegetarians make. From economical and energy-efficiency point of view, it does not make much sense to use grain to feed a beast, when you could use the grain directly to feed people.

So, from the beginning of this year, I've sort of switched to being a half-vegetarian. I try to keep two-three days a week when I don't eat meat or fish products - or at least I don't have them as a main meal. I wanted to blog about this earlier, but I wanted to check that I could actually keep this promise to myself for a while before I went all public with it. I don't know about you, but at least for me it's always been too easy to just pick whatever meat or fish the corporate cafeteria is offering. This decision is making me actively choose other things now, and it's kind of working.

I'm not seeing any health benefits though, nor any other effects, except that I've started to be a bit picky about the beef I eat - it needs to be cooked just right; be the juicy, succulent, tender variety that you can slobber at by just thinking about putting it in your mouth... Not the "generic meat" that is so often served in places calling themselves restaurants. Makes you appreciate the good stuff more, when you don't ruin your taste with crap.

Actually, now that I think about it, the cause-effect relationship might go the other way, too - maybe I've just become too picky first?

Update: corrected terminology.

Wednesday, 05-Mar-08 12:03
Using less to sell more

Nine Inch Nails released its new album for free - there is even an official, fully legal download at Pirate Bay. High-quality MP3, Creative Commons licensed, completely free.

They way this record is supposed to make money is to give nine first songs for free, and then ask people to pay for the 25 other tracks. It's not much, just $5 for a direct download, but there are multiple other download options, the most expensive of which is $300.

Why would you pay $300 for something which is free?

Turns out that many people do just that, and within about two days, the entire set of these exclusive $300 packages is sold out, which turns out to about $750,000. Minus packaging, postage, etc, I would still imagine that everyone should be pretty happy.

It's encouraging to see people trying out these new internet business models - and that they are working!

Sunday, 24-Feb-08 13:12
Random encounters

After a meeting ended up earlier than I was expecting, I managed to slip to town and see the Lord of the Rings musical. Being a sucker for all things Tolkien, it was a bit of a must-see.

But... as with so many things that get lost in their own excellence, something was missing. It's certainly a wonderful show, and the set decoration and lighting and props are without fail and bloody impressive, but I think the simplifications necessary for it to be squashed in three hours just took its toll. People have criticized Jackson's movies for running breathlessly from one place to another, and the musical only has a third of the time. I don't care too much about the stuff which was dropped out, what was important what they kept in. The producers had chosen to play up the general feeling of loss in the book - everyone loses something, and the world is transformed - but that just makes it a very sad road movie with no real sense of doom.

Anyhoo, today was some nice high tea in V&A, and a visit to Picocon. After the disappointment of the London Comic Con, this was a totally refreshing small convention with the right amount of extremely geeky and silly stuff (like the Fish Fight). The ICSF library is also rather impressive: 9000 volumes in total. It's probably one of the largest Scifi libraries in the world, and made my geek heart weep with envy. Big thanks to Cory and Shuri for getting me there!

Friday, 22-Feb-08 09:28
You know you're staying in a hotel outside your budget, when...

...you get a personally handwritten note from the General Manager thanking you for your stay - addressed to "Ms Jalkanen".

In other words: "We're trying really hard to appear awesome, but..."

London. I just love this city!

Thursday, 14-Feb-08 00:18
Hello Kitty MMORPG

Mind boggles.

Hong Kong – February 12, 2008: Sanrio Digital (www.sanriodigital.com) today announced the closed beta launch of “Hello Kitty Online”, a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) based on the famous Sanrio characters. Hello Kitty Online allows players to explore and adventure in Sanrio’s fantasy world, a magical land that has recently fallen under the influence of a mysterious and malevolent power.

(Via Joi Ito.)

Wednesday, 13-Feb-08 10:17
Finnish police arbitrarily censors pages which criticize censorship

Finland has implemented a "voluntary" censorship list (based on DNS) to block kiddie porn images. It also seems to block the occasional gay porn and whatever else the police happens to think is filthy. The list is secret, so you're not supposed to know what's on it. Of course, an entrepreneurial hacker pretty easily figured out by spidering different porn site addresses which sites are blocked, and published the list, among with a number of censorship-critical writings on his web pages.

Apparently, as of yesterday, the site is blocked (Finnish) by the censorship list. So, according to the police, while the law explicitly says that "any site containing pornography involving minors" may be blocked, they're now saying that any site "which links to a site containing pornography involving minors" is illegal too.

This is a big distinction, and shows that censorship is a slippery slope. Now, if I link to a site containing the link list, does that make me liable too? What about all the newspapers? What about the search engines? Why would you treat them any differently?

And most of all, what about freedom of speech? The law only speaks of images - not links. The links are supposed to be blocked anyway, so it's not like you can follow them (unless, you know how to use opendns or one of the thousand other services). So, by extending the block list, the Finnish Police are effectively saying they feel empowered to control what we are allowed to say or hear, without any regard to the legislative process.

Any censorship attempts on the internet lead to this point. And this is not the end - oh no! The next things will probably be terrorism sites - sites that tell you how to build bombs. Then we'll get pressurized by foreign governments to expand our definition of "terrorism". And then the large companies will start to complain about piracy sites - both material and intellectual. And about that point, the system will grow beyong the management capacity of a single team, and will be fully automated, and then it'll be easy for people to "game" the system, blocking competition. Because censorship is, at its core, not about moral or immoral, but about opportunity, power and money. The people in control will use it to further their control, not protect the citizens from harm. It's simply too alluring a tool to be wasted on principles and ethics - which is why all modern countries have freedom of speech in their constitutions.

Update: There are at least 20 mirrors of the censored site already, with instructions on how to make your own mirror.

Update2: The easiest way to access the site is to add ".nyud.net" to the web address. So, use http://lapsiporno.info.nyud.net, if you wish to access it. Works for any blocked address.

Saturday, 09-Feb-08 14:12
Sähköisen äänestyksen ongelmat

Antti selittää erinomaisesti, mikä vika on sähköisessä äänestyksessä, kuten se tällä hetkellä on suunniteltu tehtäväksi:

Mitä täyssähköinen äänestäminen vastaisi, jos se olisi lihaa ja verta?

Äänestystapahtuma muuttuisi niin, että sen sijaan, että äänestäjä tiputtaa lappunsa itse uurnaan, hän antaisikin sen kaupallisen yrityksen virkailijalle, joka veisi lapun takahuoneeseen ja tiputtaisi sen siellä uurnaan.

Äänten laskenta muuttuisi niin, että sen sijaan, että kilpailevien puolueiden edustajat laskevat äänet, kaikki uurnat vietäisiin kaupallisen yrityksen tiloihin ja hetken kuluttua yrityksen tiedottaja ilmoittaisi, kuka voitti.

Uudelleenlaskenta tapahtuisi niin, että tältä yrityksen tiedottajalta kysyttäisiin tulosta uudelleen ja hän vastaisi samoin kuin viimeksikin.

Minusta on melko huolestuttavaa, että niin moni tietotekniikan asiantuntija on sitä mieltä, että sähköinen äänestys sellaisena kuin sitä tällä hetkellä ajetaan, on epäluotettavaa. Normaalistihan nörtit ovat juuri niitä, jotka riemumielin digitoisivat vaikka isoäitinsä, jos vain pystyisivät.

Demokratialla ei kannattaisi leikkiä.

Saturday, 09-Feb-08 00:46
Facebook oddities

You find interesting things about yourself in Facebook. Apparently everyone wants to get stuck with me in handcuffs, but almost nobody wants to get stuck with me on a desert island.

What, ya think I can lockpick a pair of handcuffs but not figure out how to build a yacht out of three matchsticks and a handkerchief? Mind boggles.

Monday, 04-Feb-08 12:43
Cthulhu meets Bevery Hills, 90210

There can be only one way this should end.

Please?

(Via Ewan.)

Friday, 01-Feb-08 00:15
Really big falling dominos in my neighbourhood supermarket

Pretty awesome: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HfMaJJlxTE

Ha! This is my neighbourhood supermarket! Looks like using bricks of juice is not a good idea, but chocolate boxes work really well! I just wonder if these guys have still a job, or was this a planned publicity stunt...

(Thanks to Suviko for the tip!)

Update: The video has been "removed by the user". If you know of a copy, let me know...

Update2: Found the new one. Updated the URL!

Thursday, 31-Jan-08 20:24
Speed on!

There is something inherently beautiful in the Dopplr Raumzeitgeist. Funny to see Finland as one of the top-10 destination countries, but since this is mostly for business travellers, it is not exactly a big surprise, considering a particular former rubber boot factory.

Dopplr is a great little web application. I like the no-fuss design and the general simplicity (though the "Add new trip" -button could be in a more prominent location. I keep losing it.)

There is also a Dopplr Offsetr for those who wish to calculate how much CO2 you are chugging into the atmosphere. You know, offsetting your carbon isn't really that expensive, and it's pretty easy to do - just check how many miles you have and offset them all in one big lump every year. (I use Climatecare.org). Of course, it won't help in reducing the use of carbon-based fuels, but at least it's something.

Thursday, 31-Jan-08 00:09
War on!

I've destroyed the last couple of nights by engaging in playing Battle for Wesnoth, a free (as in "under GPL") role-playing game. While it's no World of Warcraft, it's still pretty awesome. If you get easily hooked on turn-based strategy games like Civilization or the infamous Nethack, you could spend many long hours with Wesnoth...

It's a wonderful little game, and it's all free. Available on Linux, Mac OSX and Windows. It's even available for the good, ol' Amiga and a lot of operating systems you might have never heard about).

It also serves as a great trip down the memory lane to those long nights that you spent playing games instead of studying for the exams at the university... Erm. Not that I ever did that. Really.

Stop laughing. I have to get this music out of my head.

Wednesday, 30-Jan-08 10:39
Ignite! Helsinki

I don't know much about this, but it sounds interesting.

http://ignite.oreilly.com/2008/01/first-ignite-event-in-helsinki.html

Saturday, 26-Jan-08 13:33
Lazy designers

Saw the following on http://www.kuvalehdet.fi/lahjalehti:

Kirjoita 8-numeroinen asiakasnumerosi ilman kirjaintunnusta. Jos asiakasnumerossasi on yhdeksän merkkiä, jätä ensimmäinen nolla pois. Jos asiakasnumerosi on lyhyempi kuin 8-numeroa., lisää tarvittava määrä nollia numeron eteen.

Roughly translated as: "Type in your 8-digit customer code. If your customer code has nine digits, leave the first zero out. If it has less than 8 digits, add a suitable number of zeros in front of it."

Excuse me? Writing a piece of code which does that automatically - even in Javascript, in the browser - is the kind of an exercise you give to a first-year programming student right after the first "Hello World" -program.

Why burden the user with the complexities and rules of the underlying database?

Saturday, 26-Jan-08 00:19
Takeshi's Castle

I've been watching Takeshi's Castle on JIM (in Finnish: "Hullut japanilaiset", a really dumb and somewhat derogatory translation, if you ask me. "Crazy Japanese people". Sheesh.)

It's just... insane ...ly fun to watch.

While some of the challenges make you cringe with pain, some of them are a laughing riot - like the game where people dress up like giant hands and fall flat on their faces in a desperate attempt to find the right answer to a mathematical task.

Still, makes you wonder how many people get seriously injured in the shootings.

Monday, 21-Jan-08 09:04
Message from God

"Bob, what do you mean 'someone copyrighted Mercury'?"

"Look for yourself! http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/messenger/multimedia/phone_crater.html"

"Oh crap. So now the whole NASA is a pirate organization... I wonder if Pirate Bay would agree to co-host us?"

Monday, 21-Jan-08 00:05
EU pushing forward for ISPs filtering traffic?

Hum... I'm rather worried right now. It appears that the European Commission is leaning towards EU-wide data traffic monitoring. euparl.blogspot.com writes:

To recap, the Commission saw great merit in an anti-piracy system where Internet Service Providers ("ISPs") would voluntarily agree to monitor their users and report the infringers to the industry reps or to the authorities, as well as possibly cut off their internet connection. From what we have heard from our sources at the Commission, a lot of the feedback they have currently received has been very supportive of the idea of filtering and monitoring.

This is not at all good. Since it is impossible to stop copyright infringement except by very deeply invading the privacy of personal communication (just imagine what would happen if people would start sending MP3s to each other via email - no wait, people are doing that already), legislation like that means that we will very quickly have a monitoring system in our hands which surpasses pretty much everything ever seen. The numbers about piracy are already totally made up, so they can also make up numbers that show that it is essential that they get to read your email. And don't forget, since some people might be sending child porn over email, everybody's email must be read.

The child porn monitoring system in Finland is already voluntary, and it's already listing sites which don't have much to do with child porn. It has also been already suggested that "since the system is already in place, it could be used to weed out internet gambling. And yeah, terrorist websites."

Slippery slope, anyone?

Saturday, 19-Jan-08 14:42
Broken windows applied to software

I was reading Malcolm Gladwell's Tipping Point (I know, as a resident geek I should've read it a long time ago), and he was explaining the theory of broken windows, which Wikipedia defines as:

"Consider a building with a few broken windows. If the windows are not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may even break into the building, and if it's unoccupied, perhaps become squatters or light fires inside."

There has been a lot of criticism towards this idea, and it's not been conclusively proven. But it is intriguing - because what it does is that it suggests that it's not always best to solve the biggest problem first. So I started to think about software and bugs.

In a complex project, you always get bugs. You get simple errors (like typos in the user interface), and large and complicated errors (like concurrency issues). Sometimes they are trivial (do not affect the program execution or purpose in any way); and sometimes they are critical (they make the software useless for the intended purpose).

In your average corporate project, you typically fix bugs by starting from showstoppers and you go down in criticality. This often means that you are left with a number of simple and trivial bugs, that you just don't have time to fix before shipping. Since these simple bugs tend to be also the most common, your error counts don't necessarily even go down, but increase slowly over time.

With open source projects, people often like to "get the low hanging fruits", that is, fix the simple issues. It makes them feel useful, and it gives them bits of fame. For JSPWiki, we get a lot of fixes for the really simple things from the same people who found the issue in the first place - they're not complicated patches, but they scratch their particular itch.

So, I'm wondering, could it be that even in software, the fact that the software has lots of bugs, breeds more bugs? If the codebase is already buggy, developers become more relaxed about maintaining quality, and think they can get away with something that just sorta works. And, if the project management adopted a zero-tolerance policy towards ANY kind of bugs, it might actually increase incoming code quality. This means that instead of allocating people to work on the top-level issues, everybody would be encouraged to squash the simple bugs first to keep the total error counts as low as possible, because in the time it takes you fix a really complicated thing, you can fix ten small ones. It would make people care more about quality, and hopefully, over time, make the project better. Some of this thinking is visible in Test Driven Development, as well as most of the other Agile methods, but I don't know if someone has really done any studies on this.

Apparently there's a book called The Pragmatic Programmer which touches the same subjects. Anybody know if this is any good?

Saturday, 19-Jan-08 11:49
"I'm feeling lucky"

This hilarious video has all Web 2.0 services in a party when Google's parents leave town... I was pretty much LMAO the way through. Thanks to Outi :)

Wednesday, 16-Jan-08 23:24
Library of Congress to tackle crowdsourcing

This is an awesome idea:

Out of some 14 million prints, photographs and other visual materials at the Library of Congress, more than 3,000 photos from two of our most popular collections are being made available on our new Flickr page, to include only images for which no copyright restrictions are known to exist.

The real magic comes when the power of the Flickr community takes over. We want people to tag, comment and make notes on the images, just like any other Flickr photo, which will benefit not only the community but also the collections themselves.

(Via BB.)

Friday, 11-Jan-08 11:17
Today's quote

A co-worker, when talking about wikis and access control: "You don't lock the Moomin House for the night."

Wednesday, 09-Jan-08 18:35
"I am right and the entire industry is wrong"

Daily WTF sometimes manages to dig up the most absurd cases from the madhouse which is the IT world. This example had me laughing out loud:

Therefore, the solution to this specific technical problem, and every technical problem that you will have in the future with multimedia, is framing.

...

In short, the entire industry is wrong on the framing issue and Gary is right. This happens a lot to me. Framing solves this problem and every other multi-page, multi-page source, and multi-media WWW development job. That is why frames are your friend.

(Daily WTF: I am right and the entire industry is wrong. Warning: strong geeky content. Requires basic HTML skills and having lived in the 21st century.)

Tuesday, 08-Jan-08 22:07
Finnish Internet Censorship goes on

It is not mandated by law. Nobody needs to censorship anything. It's just something that the government and the police inofficially decided to do, and the ISPs have joined in - because no ISP wants to be known as the "kiddie porn ISP". There was just a brief discussion on whether it is legal for an ISP to block pages, but that was quickly circumvented by making a law which says it's okay to block kiddie porn (but nothing else).

But it's not just kiddie porn. All of the top-3 google hits for gay porn are also blocked (your google results may vary - some people have apparently found up to three pages worth of hits being blocked). It's probably an accident, but how do you know? Maybe there's someone who thinks homosexuality is evil in the force? Probably not, but it cannot be discounted. Many of the pages blocked allegedly contain only regular porn. (Don't know, I'm not that much into research.)

You see, the blocklist content is extremely super-secret, and its contents cannot be revealed. There is no way to know how exactly this list is compiled, who compiles it, and how you get off it. The thing is, it's pretty easy to build a bot, which automatically scans porn sites and finds out which pages are blocked. Which is exactly what Matti Nikki did, and published the list (785 domains and counting). I ran a quick check of the sites on the list against my spam folder, but couldn't find matches. The question is, if I did, would having those links (or maybe pics) on my hard drive be a crime? Technically, it would be possession. In practice, however, I never do check the contents of my spambox, I just skim it in case of false positives every few weeks, then delete the contents. But in the meanwhile, it could be filled with all kinds of crap. You could probably even make a Denial-of-Service attack on a person by spamming them with kiddie porn emails, then ratting on them.

The fun thing is that the only thing this is probably going to do is to create noise. The child pornography industry will not be touched by this (since there are trivial ways to go around this block). The people who browse for kiddie porn won't be caught. More and more pages will be added - on taxpayer money - and the porn sites keep changing faster. Hey, think about this: if the DNS blocks used by the police blocklist really worked, we would never see spam.

But it is really difficult to talk about this. Any word against this blocking will be read as waving the flag for child molestation. "Why are you so interested in this - are we bothering your hobbies?" they may ask. But that's how it starts. The copyright industry has already suggested that the blocklists should be used to block sites which contain illegally distributed material. Sounds fair, doesn't it? It's illegal, so what's the harm? Then come questions about borderline cases - and it's always easier to be quiet. Soon, you realize you can't access this blog, because I used to have the word "masturbation" in my tagline - it's already happened.

Things change. Moral codes are different - many people across the globe would consider normal Finnish sauna pictures child pornography. You take pics of your kids bathing, store them on your laptop, and go to jail if someone decides to go through your laptop at the border crossing.

These things need to be discussed out in the open. My hat's off to Matti Nikki for taking this as public as he has. We can't just cower below our tables and trust that the police protects us from the evil internets. They can't. Nobody can.

Tuesday, 08-Jan-08 19:31
Continuous Mobile Attention

You might already know about Continuous Partial Attention, coined by Nat Torkington ten years ago. That's how we deal with life - we try to dip into multiple streams of information at once: watch tv and eat; read emails while listening to a presentation; doodle while on the phone. Some people have made it a real art, to the point that you wonder if they're never wholly anywhere.

These days you see people wandering on the streets, talking to ethereal voices (which would've been the sign of a loony only ten measly years ago), or texting away furiously. Online, many people have a chat window or IRC open, so that they can always be reached, and they are always partly present in the online community. A colleague of mine used to keep Skype open all the time when he was at home, because his wife and kids were living in a foreign country. So he was constantly present at their life. It's free, so why call them when he wanted to talk - he could just holler.

You might see where I'm going here.

Soon, people will have flat-rate data plans. Not just the iPhone users, but everyone. Maybe this will even start with the iPhone crowd, dunno. But then someone will install Skype on it. Or something like TeamTalk. And suddenly, with the ability to be continuously (and for free) half-present among your friends, family, or some other peer group, we'll see a lot more people wandering on the streets, never really quite there, listening and talking to voices in their heads.

All you really need is a Bluetooth headset, a multi-user Skype (or Gizmo) and a free 3G data plan, and you can be present in multiple locations at the same time. Be (partly) with your family, no matter where you are. Shift attention to whatever needs it. No switching, no choosing, no dialing. Just presence. And probably, a horribly mangled death under a bus.

(Yeah, and you can extend this to video as well, but that's going to need a bit more hardware innovation. That doesn't some people from trying, though.)

Saturday, 05-Jan-08 12:19
DRM is dead?

Not quite. But if someone tells you that DRM is necessary for online music stores, you can now point out to them that the last bastion of DRM, Sony BMG, has now decided to sell DRM-free music. Nobody is of course very surprised by this - the problems associated with DRM make it difficult for even computer-savvy people to cope with.

However, the DRM-free music is available through Amazon, and they sell it only to the US. Thanks to the system where you have to license music separately for each country, the rest of the world is pretty much still screwed.

It is an interesting question how much of the Apple's DRM strategy was actually behind this: the only way to sell music to iPods (which are the most common form of MP3 players out there) is to either sell music via iTunes (because the iPod DRM is proprietary to Apple), or to sell it DRM-free. This means that if some other form of media players gains dominance (say, cell phones), DRM might just make a comeback. EU has been asking for an open DRM standard for years now, and Microsoft is pretty liberal about their licensing of the Windows Media DRM.

On the other hand, once you start selling unencumbered music to consumers, it may be rather difficult to start selling them DRM-encumbered music later on again...

Saturday, 05-Jan-08 00:15
Unfortunate product placements

Sometimes, you should really think which program you sponsor.

It's funnier if you're a Finn, tho'.

(Thanks to medice on IRC.)

Thursday, 03-Jan-08 19:19
Station identification

I'm stealing this meme shamelessly from Charlie. Sometimes it really is good to stop for a station identification.

The Butt Ugly Weblog

Hi ho folks! This is the personal weblog of Janne Jalkanen. By day, I am a Program Manager at Nokia, and I work in the Near Field Communications (NFC) area. I do sometimes write about NFC in this blog, so you should know that my viewpoint is tainted by what I do and know about the matter. Don't expect any confidential or super-ziikrit stuff here, though - I've been around the block enough. Besides, many of my colleagues are also reading this, and would probably - no, hopefully - notify me if I screw up. Please do not send me any ideas about what Nokia should or should not do - this is my personal blog after all.

By night, I am an open source programmer, leading the JSPWiki effort. The project is one of the oldest wiki engines around (about 7 years now), and existed well before the Wikipedia hype curve. It's got about 130,000 lines of code, and a core developer team of around three-to-five people. We've been currently adopted into the Apache Incubation process, and hopefully can graduate during sometime this year. I also have some other things brewing up, and maybe you will hear about them later on. Even this blog runs on JSPWiki (but as you can see, I am no graphic designer).

At home, I live with a wonderful wife, and five mice. Of which you won't see much in this blog, though. I did propose to my wife on my blog, though. Which was interesting - especially since we ended up as front page news in the Finnish IT press for one morning.

As a geek, I write a lot to this blog about computers, and life in the digital void. Or, maybe not so much about computers - I'm not that interested in them as things - but really about how they are changing what we are and can do. I do often rant about copyright and DRM, but I am fairly midstream and try to be realistic. However, you can expect rants on quite a few different subjects on this blog, or if I'm really busy/tired, then just links to interesting articles. I do also use this as an external memory for my brain.

If you see articles written in Finnish, they are typically just commentary on the Finnish blogosphere, or some other deeply Finnish thing, where it's more important to reach a different kind of audience than what normally hangs here. I don't write often enough to warrant a real Finnish -language blog, and, well, frankly, a lot about this blog is also about online presence management and personal brand. I know it sounds really bad, but... there you go. I've said it. I can't claim that this is a very well -managed brand, but at least it's something. Maybe it will get me a great job one day, maybe it won't. At least it got me married, so it can't be that bad. (And by the way, when I was trying online dating, pointing them to this page was a really great way to check if our sense of humour matched. You wouldn't believe how weirded out some people get over it.)

Obviously, nothing I say here should be constituted as the official opinion of Nokia on anything - all opinions expressed here are mine and mine only. Any comments on the entries to this blog belong to their writers, in both good and bad (that is, if you write something stupid, you are responsible for your words). I do not edit nor moderate comments, except to correct obvious wikimarkup typos; or to remove spam. This is an extension of my living room, and over these few years I've been blocking, I'm glad to say I haven't had to throw anyone out yet (I've had to ask people to leave though, once or twice). You, my dear readers, are a smart and friendly bunch. Thank you.

Well, this is me (or a part of me anyway), and you're reading the Butt Ugly Weblog. It's off to 2008!

By the way, I changed by TagLine just today, and I hope to remember to update it more often than once a year. If you can figure out what it means, please let me know. I invented it very early Wednesday morning listening to a pipe or something go "ping" every Random(2,5) seconds.

(Note to self: isn't it kinda loser-ish or worrying to put your "work self" as the first, most definining thing about yourself? Or am I just being overly analytical?)

Thursday, 03-Jan-08 14:23
DRM is about sales, not piracy

Here's an interesting problem: A person buys a new monitor, with the end result that Microsoft wants full access to all of his files on his computer, and Netflix wants to delete all media files bought from competitors, e.g. Amazon.

Well, technically they're not deleting the files, but they're revoking access rights. But to most consumers, the end result is the same: it won't play.

And why? Because of DRM - Digital Restrictions Management. You could circument it by buying a separate "DRM-approved" -monitor (and, I'm sure, a part of the money goes into the coffins of the media industry).

Cases like these show well that DRM is not, and really never has been about fighting piracy or preventing copying. It's just a ruse to force you to buy things that are "approved" or "officially licensed", and to make sure you keep buying the same stuff all over again.

Why? Because it's cheaper to sell you the same record several times over, than it is to create new content. There's an overhead in creating new content (remember, the artists need to be paid, and not all of them succeed), so it's more economical to take the same content you already have and re-sell it all over again. Witness the gazillion different Collectors Editions and Director's Cuts out there on the DVD market...

Funnily enough, the unprotected (e.g. pirated) files on the hard drive of course have no such problems. They cannot be revoked or resold to you - you essentially own them and it's up to you to take care of them. It's really difficult to comprehend why you would use anything which has DRM on it, if you plan to keep it. If you just watch/listen it and throw it away, then it does not really matter. A lot of media is like that. But a lot of it isn't. I couldn't really give a hoot whether my last.fm stream is encrypted or not (it isn't), but the stuff I buy - well, I think it's only fair that I don't have to go and beg for permission to listen to it if I buy new loudspeakers.

(And, before I have my comment section filled with people who say that I just want everything for free, let me point out that I'm entirely happy to pay for the things I like. I just find it evil that when you buy something, you are treated as a potential criminal, for example, get threatened every time you start watching a DVD. Also, since DRM is not proven to be effective in curbing piracy, only creates problems for the consumer [imagine, if you had to talk your grandparents through the situation described in the article], and is mostly used just to achieve after-sales consumer control, I find it rather offensive.)

(Via BB)

Monday, 31-Dec-07 19:38
Blogispottikokeilua

Huomasinpa, että suomalainen blogipalvelu, Blogispotti on uusiutunut. Valitettavasti palvelu on vielä melko sekava ja kaipaisi käyttöliittymäasiantuntijan hellää ja rakastavaa lekaa (miksi esimerkiksi leiska vaihtelee kun menee osiosta toiseen ja miksi minulla meni muutama minuutti löytää se kaikkein tärkein, eli oma suosikkilista?), mutta toiminnoiltaan se alkaa olla melko kattava. Pidän erityisesti Blogispotin kyvystä nostaa kiinnostavia merkintöjä etusivulleen (ei vain kiinnostavia blogeja).

Lisäksi Blogispotissa tapahtuu jatkuvaa kehitystyötä, ja tekijätkin ilmeisesti kuuntelevat kommentteja, joten jos kurja käyttöliittymä ei pelota, niin siitä vain kokeilemaan ja kommentoimaan.

Ainoa asia minulle on hieman epäselvä on se, kuka tai mikä on Blogispotin takana. FAQ-automaagi ei toimi, joten voi olla, että myytte sielunne jollekin hirveälle ylikansalliselle mediakonglomeraatille, jos käytätte sitä. Ha.

(Minulla ei ole mitään tekemistä palvelun kanssa. Eikä tämä juttu ole sen seurausta, että olivat nostaneet aiemman juttuni etusivulleen.)

Monday, 31-Dec-07 16:08
Next generation of botnets

Bruce Schneier (the Chuck Norris-lookalike security researcher) points to this very interesting article on the next generation of botnets. They're not out to get the internet, but use all sorts of stealth, P2P technologies, and adaptation to evade detection so that they can continue to do their maldeeds. They are highly sophisticated, and use all the latest innovations.

Makes you wonder: if there's ever going to be a singularity event, my guess is there's a pretty good chance it's going to be a piece of malware rather than an algorithm from a friendly research lab. Evolutionary pressure, you see.

Sunday, 30-Dec-07 21:45
Storing your digital self

Christian Lindholm had an accident with his digital media archives and now he's asking how other people deal with it.

My answer is simple: never rely on proprietary software. I don't use Lifeblog, or any other "digital life management" solutions. While I do use iPhoto, and iTunes, I only use them as a viewer. I don't add any metadata - if I do add something, I just usually just name the picture. Other than that, it's plain, basic JPEG or PNG, AAC or MP3 with metadata in the file or the filename itself.

The problem with proprietary software is that they always try to keep you as a user - and therefore they mostly never provide export functionality. Switching away is a problem, and it is also a problem if you ever lose that software, it is broken or you cannot use it for some other reason. I use Windows, Mac and Linux and keep switching between them all the time. Therefore there's no way you could use the same software on each. So you quickly learn not to rely on a particular piece of software, but try to keep yourself as agnostic as possible.

Same thing, obviously, goes for text documents (UTF-8 or Latin1 plain text, thankyouverymuch; or Word97 [it is really rather universal these days]). Incidentally, that's also one of the reasons JSPWiki ships with a plain file text repository as the default - it's really easy to move away from it, if you really need to. No weird-shit database schemas; just plain, unambiguously named files.

As a backup solution, I use a three-way synchronization solution with Unison - one replica on my laptop, one on my desktop and one in a remote server. Since hard drive space is so cheap, it's far easier to manage these automatically than it is to keep making physical DVD backups or drag around USB hard drives. Replicating is the best backup solution I've so far figured out. If I really needed to, I guess I could buy some HD space from a hosting company as well to store an additional replica.

I've had a couple of crashes, and so far I've been able to restore everything that I care about. My replication needs are not as difficult as Christian's (I only got about 30 GB of data I don't want to lose), but this works well for me.

Thursday, 27-Dec-07 17:05
Streamin'

Charlie gives a tip on Socialstream, a social web service project which really seems to get it (and, they also know that you DoNotHaveToWriteAllWordsMashedUpTogetherOrEndItWithR to make a Web 2.0 application!)

Unfortunately it seems to be a research project so far; but on the other hand, it's funded by Google. So we'll probably see something like that coming up.

It's just that I've lately become very hesitant on giving Google any more information about myself, especially knowing the lousy privacy legislation USA has. Unfortunately they are producing pretty good stuff (e.g. Google Analytics), so it's hard not to use a lot of it. But a company which wants to own and organize all the knowledge in the world - well, it's kinda like having a psychopatic superhero in your neighbourhood. All is well, when he's got a good day. But come the government, and use a mind-altering ray on the guy, and suddenly you're screwed with no option to fight back. So I'd rather not put all of my eggs in one basket.

(That's why I dropped out of Jaiku when it was sold to Google, in case anyone is wondering. Then again, most of my friends were on Facebook anyway.)

Tuesday, 25-Dec-07 19:22
Pullaa kupeet täynnä ja sanoja suu tulvillaan

Mikä ihmeen tauti tuntuu leviävän suomalaisessa blogosfäärissä? Yhdet ja toiset ovat aivan varmoja siitä, että HS-konserni aikoo parhaiden salaliittoteorioiden mukaan alkaa valvoa, mitä blogeissa kirjoitellaan, ja jopa toiset bloggaajat yrittävät komennella, mitä muiden pitäisi kirjoittaa. Jotkut tuntuvat saavan orgasmeja siitä, että Hesari - suuri ja kaunis ja ällistyttävän hyvännäköinen Hesari - on alkanut antaa automaatin linkitellä blogeihin, jossa puhutaan tästä ihmeeeeeeellisestä Hesarista, ja toiset siitä, että he ovat päässeet Salaiselle Sulkulistalle.

Voi jösses ja hellan lettas sentään.

Onhan toki ihan kiva, että Erkon lippulaiva on päättänyt siirtyä tälle vuosituhannelle, ja alkaa miettiä, notta miten noita blogeja ja bloggaajia voisi mahdollisesti jotenkin hyödyntää, ettei niitä vastaan tarvitsisi tapella. Ja on tietenkin ihan kiva, että siinä käytetään jopa automatiikkaa, niin ettei olla ihan tyystin toimittajien omien lukulistojen varassa. Ei automatiikka tietenkään kaikkia viittauksia poimi, ja käsittääkseni nekin linkit tarkistetaan, mutta onhan tuo nyt sentään säälittävää räpellystä parempaa.

Mutta hei oikeesti - ihan epämuodikkaan aikuisten oikeesti - eivät bloggaajat tarvitse isoa mediaa hyväksymään tai virallistamaan bloggaustaan. Jos HS ei linkkaa sun blogiin, niin ei siinä sun sananvapautta tallota. Se, että HS omistaa blogilistan on ihan sama kuin että Eniro julkaisee puhelinluetteloa. Voi aarg, ruotsalaiset kontrolloivat puheluitamme valitsemalla mitä numeroita julkaistaan!

Sanoma-konserni voi olla suuri ja paha totuustalo, jonka ilkeät kätyrit lienevät polttaneet joululomansakin vain miettiäkseen, miten bloggaajat saadaan julkaisemaan Erkkomyönteisiä lastuja. Tai sitten voi olla, että he nyt vain yrittävät vain tehdä jotain, minkä oikeaksi kokevat - vanhalle medialle internetin hyväksyminen ja hyväksikäyttö ei ole osoittautunut kovin helpoksi. Minusta ihan se ja sama. Jos tämä uusi media on nyt kerran niin paljon parempi ja nätimpi ja demokraattisempi ja lupsakampi kuin se vanha, niin totta ihmeessä sieltä vanhan puolelta tulee ihmisiä blogoslaviaan ja yrittää tehdä fyffeä. Money makes the world go round, ja silleen. Tulevaisuudessa, tätä tulee tapahtumaan paljon, paljon enemmän. Ylikansalliset bloggauspiirit alkavat tunkeutua Suomeenkin ja heti kun joku keksii, miten blogeilla oikeasti tehdään rahaa (siis muut kuin salakuunneltua.fi), niitä alkaa olla kaikenkarvaiset top-listat täynnä - ja tietenkin niitä top-listojakin aletaan tehdä rahasta, aivan samalla lailla kuin Iltasanomien "paras urheilija" -listoja.

Lainatakseni vanhan median fiksuinta uutta pomoa pitkään aikaan: "So fucking what?"

Kirjoittakaa. Keskustelkaa. Linkatkaa. Tehkää sitä, missä blogit ovat hyviä. Älkää rajoittuko kuvittelemaan, että blogilista == blogosfääri. Älkää erehtykö ajattelemaan, että on olemassa jokin mediasfääri, johon bloggaajat saatetaan ehkä hyväksyä, jos he käyttäytyvät kiltisti. Tilanne on aivan päinvastoin: teillä, hyvät bloggaajat, on hallussanne internet, ehkä maailman mahtavin ja tehokkain sananvapauden työkalu. Te hallitsette sitä, eivät mediatalot. Jos mediatalot haluavat pelata bloggaajien kanssa, he saavat luvan opetella pelaamaan bloggaajien pelisäännöillä. Ei päinvastoin. Jos bloglista alkaa imeä, tehkää uusi. Ei ole kovin vaikeaa, se vie vain jonkin verran aikaa. Perustakaa omat blogipalkinnot - Kultaisen Kuukkelinkin brändinkin saa lainaan, jos vain vakuuttaa minut - tai siirtykää edes käyttämään Bloglinesia tai Google Readeria tai vaikka Feeddaemonia tai mitä tahansa muuta blogipalvelua. Blogispottikin on olemassa.

Selkärankaa, tyypit!

Blogosfääri on teidän. Ei Hesarin. Käyttäytykää sen mukaisesti.

Monday, 24-Dec-07 22:52
I know it's Christmas...

...because we're all resting next to our stomachs

...because we went to sauna at two o'clock already

...because the Santa came by earlier and brought gifts

...because I've got a shiny new DVD package of 3rd season of Battlestar Galactica

...because my ears are still ringing from the laughter of kids

...because there is wrapping paper everywhere

...because Pavarotti is singing Christmas carols in radio

...because Finns aren't updating their blogs

...because the only people visiting this blog are robots

...because there's a really large open box of really good chocolate nearby, and nobody can lift a finger to take one

...because the tree's got lights on it

...because there's snow on the ground

...because there ain't nothing better than spending time with your family

Merry Holidays to all my readers!

Wednesday, 19-Dec-07 23:42
Selfness

Late night discussions yesterday made me ponder: what does it really mean to be online? We say someone is "online" when their chat icon changes to green, or you update things on Facebook, but is that really true?

I have an online persona. Part of it is stored here, on this server, and it's available to everyone in the world, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So, you could argue, that I am online, 24/7, just because my blog is here. It's not the whole me, but... online, it never is.

Someone said that they get an sms every time someone comments on their blog - and, due to most of his readers being on a different timezone, his cell mostly beeps at 2 am. So, in that very concrete sense, they really are online all the time.

It isn't really about being "online" or "offline". It's all a different shade of response latency, so to say. It just takes a different time to respond - sometimes it takes days or hours, sometimes you can respond instantly. But is there a time period after which you are considered to be "offline?" I don't know. But it's clear that the definitions of "online" and "offline" have blurred to the point where they are becoming meaningless. Like "blog".

Are you online? Right now? Five minutes ago? In two hours? What parts of you are you keeping offline?

Tuesday, 18-Dec-07 13:25
Facebook users attention, you are pwned!

LOL. You may have seen the message passed around in Facebook, saying that "unless you forward this to all your friends, your Facebook account will be deleted, regards, Mark Zuckerberg?" -hoax?

Well, Digitoday, a Finnish IT web magazine, published it as a real story.

You know, I've often wondered who the people are who fall for this kind of trap... Now I know.

To be a bit more serious: it's okay to think. The Facebook team created the entire web site. Do you honestly think they would be unable to send a direct message to everyone in Facebook, and have to rely on people to forward a message to their friends? It's kinda like a phone company representative asking you to call your friend to check if their phone works, because they can't reach them... You wouldn't believe that, would you?

Or maybe you would.

Sunday, 16-Dec-07 12:37
Blogipikkujoulutunnelmia

Jäipä jotenkin kauhean hyvä mieli. Kiitoksia kaikille, paikalla olivat ainakin Marinadi (jonka vilkkuvat rinnat saivat kaikkien nörttipoikien polvet tutisemaan), Sedis (joka lirkutteli naisille kahdensadan sanan minuuttivauhtia), Pörrö (joka joutui Sediksen lirkuttelun kohteeksi), Lord Boredom (joka osoittautui kuuluvan ekslusiivisimpaan suomalaiseen bloggaajasisäpiiriin), Schizo-Janne (joka, jos kuka, on Suomen sisäpiirimestari), Tira (jonka uutta hannukarponruskeaa blogia odotamme innolla), Visukinttu-Jarkko (jonka kiinnostus natsipornoon herätti yleistä huolestusta), Kari Haakana (joka maanitteluista huolimatta ei suostunut paljastamaan takapuolessaan huhujen mukaan olevaa HS-tatuointia), Mika K (joka jotenkin onnistui aina istumaan kolmen ihmisen päässä, eli liian kaukana keskustelulle), Sun Äitis (jolla oli illan parhaat korvakorut - sori Mari!), Turisti (joka sai minut houkuteltua pöydän alle), PA (joka on edelleenkin komea), Junakohtaus (joka loppuillasta yritti pitää puheita, mutta vasta sen jälkeen kun ajatus alkoi pätkiä), Jyrki Kasvi (jolla oli illan paras T-paita), Visa Kopu (hieman elähtänyt versio tosin), Mitvit (jota on aina mukava nähdä, ja joka valitti, etteivät ihmiset löydä hänen uuteen blogiinsa), Veera (beautiful as ever!), Herra Purjehduskenkä, Skrubu, Luksuksen Sarno, Saara (jolle ehdin sanoa käsipäivää ennen kuin hän pakeni paikalta), ja wanha melkein-tuttuni Durianisti (jonka blogi ansaitsisi ehdottomasti enemmän kuin seitsemän lukijaa). Lisäksi paikalla oli varmaan muitakin (ainakin muistan nähneeni Elina- ja Kriisi- nimillä kulkeneet ihmiset), mutta ei voi muistaa.

Update: Ai niin, olihan toki mukava tavata myös Lostis ja Minh. Ja noin kahdenkymmenen sekunnin ajan, Tuija.

Oli hauskaa, uudestaan ensi kerralla!

Saturday, 15-Dec-07 13:56
Scariest toy ever

I may have been watching too much Terminator, but this toy is creepy.

[If anyone in Japan is reading this, feel free to send me a couple ;-)]

(Via BB.)

Tuesday, 11-Dec-07 14:24
Dopplr launches

I have to admit that I'm a really bad Web 2.0 application user. I don't even use GMail regularly, and I actually prefer MS Office to Google Documents.

But a few of them have stuck - wikis and blogs, obviously; Google Maps (though I use Google Earth far more); Linkedin still does its job; and somewhat reluctantly, Facebook; but also Dopplr, who just got out of beta! (Remember the time where everything was in perpetual beta? These new kids, they actually launch!)

Dopplr is wonderful in its simplicity. It does really only one thing - records your travels and allows you to meet up with others on your trips, but it does it well - and I happen to be in the smack middle of the target group. So yeah, it stuck.

You see, business travel is bloody lonely, most of the time. You sleep alone, you eat alone, you explore the city alone (if you have the time). Sometimes not, but often yes. So it's great to even know that there are others traveling about, other people in the same situation. And sometimes, you manage to say hi to someone you know that you haven't seen in a while. It's great :)

Tuesday, 11-Dec-07 00:36
The most useless USB thing ever.

I actually have one of these.

No, it's not even a memory stick. If it were, I would gladly take it to meetings and offer to share my documents, just to annoy my coworkers.

Or, I might put pr0n on it.

Saturday, 08-Dec-07 14:25
Ei-kaupallinen tiedotus

Tämä tipahti postilaatikkooni ja lupasin edistää hyvää asiaa (vaikken ko. järjestön ihan kaikkia mielipiteitä purematta niele noin muuten):

Tule toteuttamaan kuluttamisen uutta vaihetta!

Tuotewiki eli "kuluttamisen tietosanakirja ja keskusteluareena": kaikki, mitä olet halunnut tietää tuotteista ja kertoa muille - tai jos ei vielä tänään, niin varmasti jo parin vuoden kuluttua. Tule mukaan tekemään jotain suurta! Hyvät ja monipuoliset tiedot tuotteista helpottavat jokaisen valintoja, haluatpa sitten tietää onko espanjalaisen tomaatin hiilijalanjälki pienempi kuin suomalaisen kasvihuonetomaatin, tai mikä on öljyssä uiskentelevan tonnikalan ravintosisältö.

Tuotewikin kehittämiseen ovat tervetulleita kaikki, eli jos haluat jakaa tuotetietoutta ja kertoa kokemuksia, niin mukaan vaan. Hyvät ja monipuoliset tiedot tuotteista helpottavat jokaisen valintoja - eikä Tuotewiki rajoitu vain ekologiseen kuluttamiseen.

Maanantaina 10.12. klo 18 alkaen Dodon Tuotewiki-projektin avoin tutustumistilaisuus Dodon toimistolla Kruununhaassa Helsingissä (Vironkatu 5), lisätietoja osoitteesta www.tuotewiki.fi .

Lisätietoja: topias.siren@dodo.org

Hyvä idea, mutta vaatii paljon työtä ja ihmisiä onnistuakseen. Wikien ylläpito ei ole maailman helpointa työtä...

Saturday, 01-Dec-07 12:58
Two Girls, One Cup, A Thousand Videos

I've spent most of my morning watching videos of people who see the "2 Girls 1 Cup" video for the first time. I'm finding that oddly pleasing, maybe because it reminds me that in this age of "we've seen it all", there still are boundaries to our boxes.

Or maybe it's just that I love to see people dropped outside their comfort zone, even if just for a minute.

(If you have no idea what I am talking about, turn on your webcam, click "record", and then click this link. Then, post the video to Youtube. Be warned though - and I am being completely and utterly serious here - do not watch it if you do not like to go outside your comfort zone. Miles and miles outside of your comfort zone. Isn't the Internet wonderful?)

Saturday, 17-Nov-07 13:24
A sick graph

According to these people, the cost of the Iraq war would've bought enough solar power plants to cover 2/3 of the US energy demands.

Even if that graph were off by an order of ten, it would still mindboggling.

Saturday, 17-Nov-07 10:12
Warner: oops

Edgar Bronfman from Warner Music finally says it: "By standing still or moving at a glacial pace, we inadvertently went to war with consumers by denying them what they wanted and could otherwise find and as a result of course, consumers won."

Then he continues to warn the operators about doing the same mistake.

Yes, Edgar, you got it. That's what the consumers have been telling you for the past five years. I applaud the fact that you finally get it, and even more that you're telling the operators this. But still, the damage you've caused with your cheap rhetorics will take years to repair.

(Via Slashdot.)

Tuesday, 13-Nov-07 13:12
Management vocabulary for newbies

Being a manager often means sitting in long meetings. This meeting culture obviously gives birth to new language. Here are some words I've heard being tossed around recently:

  • biobreak, n - A ten-minute break at two hour intervals to attend to the necessary biological functions that resources inconveniently have.
  • do email, v - Browse the web.
  • facebooks, n - A general word for any social networking website where you waste time.
  • lunch, n - A 45 minute period during which you consume food while continuing the meeting. Usually followed by a biobreak.
  • business casual, a - When a geek tries to appear business-like
  • "I have a slide!", i - Short for "I have been quiet very long in this meeting but I want to make sure you don't forget me, so therefore I have these slides from 1999 that I wish to make a lasting impression to you with."
  • meeting, n - a derogatory word used by software engineers to indicate a waste of time.
  • face-to-face, n - A meeting where more than half of the invited people are present physically.
  • telco, n - A meeting where less than half of the invited people are present physically.
  • information sharing, n - A meeting where less than half of the people are present mentally.
  • lids down, a - A meeting where using laptops is not allowed. Tends to be short, and seems, on the surface, highly efficient. However, it also disappears from people's memory once it is finished.
  • chairman, n - A mythical creature rumoured to be living in the Canadian forests. Believed to be extinct since 1971. Is attributed with the amazing power to keep discussion on topic.

Have you heard of any other ones?

Sunday, 11-Nov-07 20:27
Bouncy bouncy

HEL->HAM->BRU->BIO->LHR->HEL. In three days.

I feel like a rubber ball.

(But on a more positive note, the flu seems to be gone. Just had a nice 8 km walk in a park, hunting for geocaches, finding none.)

Thursday, 08-Nov-07 14:45
Question...

...how long do you think it's going to take the news media to find the people who've joined the Jokela highschool shooting sympathizers group on Facebook, and crucify their asses in public? Assuming they are real people, of course.

Because, you see, there are assholes in this world who think that this shooting was a good thing. Like these morons. Yeah, I know, they can say whatever they want - freedom of speech and all that. But then again, I get to call their opinions utterly shitheaded. So we're even.

It's also amazing how people have managed to already find their soapboxes and tell everyone that this was the fault of the government, the Democratic party, the National Coalition party, the Green party, heavy metal music, tv, videogames, USA, the Nazis, the parents, the school system, the internet, the media, bullies at school, lack of funding to public healthcare, too much public healthcare, and whatever happens to be your pet peeve.

This is the time to grieve and comfort and ground yourselves. It is not the time to scream vengeance, find a scapegoat, or give into mob justice. And most of all, it's not the time to try to advance fuck-faced agendas with scare tactics. We know all the end result when that happens.

Sunday, 04-Nov-07 23:06
Free cars?

Makes sense to me. Why couldn't you sell cars just like you sell cell phones - item is free but you pay premium for the use.

Sunday, 04-Nov-07 15:39
Piracy, yet again

The past couple of days have seen some interesting discussion on the ever-popular subject of piracy (no, not the kind where armed men kill civilians on boats and rob all their money and sail to sunset shouting "Yarr!", but the other kind, where nobody dies and even the money robbing is under debate, so I don't think it's quite correct to use this vile word to portray the downloaders). See these at Uusi Suomi, Tietoja koneesta and Piraattiliitto, though unfortunately they are in Finnish only. Especially the last article is very useful to show that the current copyright does not always help the artists in the way it is supposed to help.

By one count, there are 120,000 of these "pirates" in Finland alone - i.e. about 2.5% of the nation's population. (My guess is that this number is too low, anyway.) My educated guess is that these are the smart and the bright of the population. Much is said about the relative simplicity of downloading stuff from the Internet, but it's not really that easy - unless you already know what you are doing. It's still a lot simpler to go to your neighbourhood supermarket and buy the DVD box than it is to play around with codecs and subtitle files, and whatnot.

So, these "pirates" are the people who will in ten-twenty years be in the positions of wealth and power.

Considering that the police in this country has at most maybe a few dozen people who are trained for this kind of job, how exactly could this thing be stopped? To me it sounds like a 1000:1 advantage in numbers to the media sharers - where the among the crooks are the brightest and smartest people, who live and breathe the Internet, and can do international collaboration much better and faster than any official. Where a thousand bright people create a DRM solution, a million equally bright people will crack it.

Just by looking at this thing by numbers and not thinking at all about what is legal and what is morally right, it's really hard to see how the end result could be anything else but the complete transformation of how we think about intellectual property rights. It'll take twenty years or so, but it will happen once the bright minds of today will have their first sips of real power in the society. It will be too hard to outlaw stuff they have lived for the past thirty years with.

Update: Larry Lessig's speech at TED. Good talk - he's right that there must be a middle ground. Extermism gets extremism.

Sunday, 04-Nov-07 11:08
Narbeleth

I've lately started to think that Finland really has five seasons instead of the usual four: The light green and energy of spring; the bright green, strong, vibrant and short summer; the autumn, full of gold and red; the dark, black wetness of marras, or what the Tolkien elves called quellë, or "fading"; and the pale blue and white cold of winter.

This "dead" season really is what I hate the most about Finland. It's a miserable period of time - and especially in Southern Finland it seems to go on for ages, maybe ending just right before Christmas.

That's why it was wonderful to see the first snow yesterday. It brings in the promise of winter, a season when you can feel alive then. And now the sun is shining, so things aren't all that bad.

Saturday, 27-Oct-07 12:28
H3...

...and it's my first experience with "we block everything because we don't trust you" -corporate networks. Annoying. Facebook is blocked, Jaiku is blocked, Myspace is blocked, Travian is blocked (but not travian.fi, ha!), ssh is blocked... Even the corporate VPN is blocked (probably so that they can monitor my highly suspicious activities.)

Heck, I'm just a guest here.

(Other than that, I'm pretty jazzed to be here. Looks like a good crowd. :-)

Tuesday, 23-Oct-07 16:57
English-Finnish poetry

One of my favourite pages on the internet is the word plays page of #go.fi, a Finnish page which documents quite a few word plays in the Finnish language, ranging from completely moronic to simply brilliant. Not all the material is original, but a lot of it has been born in the dark corners of that IRC channel. Here's one that someone managed to dig up somewhere from teh intehweb - a poem which is both valid English and Finnish (with some liberties taken in joining words, and a lot of liberties in logic):

Sun on helmet,
Sun on villas.
Talon join.
Ah, sure Hamlet!
Miss lie into sun?
Miss on ties?
Maiden pimentotie.
Valehelmet vain
Sullen vein. 

(Did you know that the Finnish word "kaakatattajatartaankaanhan" contains 12 a:s? I wouldn't use it in a sentence, though... My personal favourite is "Io-aie ei ui: EU ei aio, Ii Oy ei oio", a (fictional) news headline consisting completely of vowels.)

Wednesday, 17-Oct-07 16:26
H3: RFID workshop

I'll be giving a talk on NFC at H3: RFID workshop, London, 27th October – 28th October, 2007.

See you there!

Tuesday, 16-Oct-07 18:17
Youtube's filtering system

Heh, so YouTube launches its new filtering system aimed at filtering out illegally uploaded content. It works by comparing the uploaded file to a vast library of known copyrighted works.

So, this means that anyone who wants to prevent people from uploading stuff to Youtube must give a copy to Youtube. Which means Google.

This is a brilliant move by Google: now everyone and their cousins will be rushing to give copies of everything they have ever made to Google, essentially creating the largest library in the world. Granted, it won't be public, but that's just a matter of negotiation, once the content is in the system. And at any rate, Google can index all the content, which already brings more value to their search engine.

Smart guys.

Tuesday, 16-Oct-07 15:46
Artist Trading Cards

Outi has recently started to make so-called ATCs, or Artist Trading Cards, just as a hobby. ATCs are a relatively recent invention, popularized by the internet, where people present and trade the cards they've done. The form of the cards is fixed (2.5 x 3.5 inches), but the content and presentation are free. For some reason this reminds me so much of blogs and blogging, where the form is fixed, but content and presentation are free.

Typically also the price is free - you don't pay for this stuff, but you trade with someone else. Almost like link trading that bloggers do so often...

For some reason it seems to be a lot more easier to innovate once you put one leg in the ground and start really looking what you can do within the box. It's very, very hard to be creative outside the box if you don't know what the box is.

Here are some interesting Flickr images, and Outi's cards.

Sunday, 14-Oct-07 11:26
WikiWednesdays?

Anybody in Finland interested in a WikiWednesday? Might be fun to try...

Friday, 12-Oct-07 00:08
Why I hate geek parties

You know, sometimes I really hate working for Nokia. Not because of the company, but because of the fact that most Finns have an Opinion on Nokia. Let me summarize a discussion I had earlier today. And last week. And last month. And about two dozen times in the past five years.

"Well, Nokia is the biggest cell phone manufacturer today."

"Yes, but they are doing it all wrong."

I guess this is what all Microsoft people must be feeling too.

Thursday, 11-Oct-07 18:13
Doris Lessing gets Nobel

Wow! The Nobel Prize for Literature goes to Doris Lessing - one of my all-time favourite authors.

Wonderful!

Thursday, 04-Oct-07 17:16
Right- or left-brained?

Me, I'm hare-brained, but that's beside the point. Here's a cool test, with which you can check whether you are dominated by left half of the brain or the right half.

I was surprised to see my right half is the stronger one. Not such a geek after all, eh?

(And yeah, you can make it turn the other way if you want to.)

(Via IRC.)

Update: I'm not sure whether this really has anything to do with brain halves, but unlike some people are claiming, it's most certainly a real optical illusion and not a hoax. I opened it in an animation editor and checked how it works. It's brilliant.

Wednesday, 03-Oct-07 20:36
This trip's Lost In Translation -moment

Last night, to my utter dismay, I realized that one of the lights the hotel room would not go out, no matter how hard I pushed the buttons. I had an internal committee meeting about smashing the lamp or calling the reception, but in the end decided to just sleep and complain about the whole thing in the morning.

Today, after a long stretch of meetings I walked to my room, preparing to change clothes for an evening out. I enter my dark room in the 28th floor, illuminated only by the bright lights of the Tokyo skyline, and then I see the hotel phone flashing a red light, like an evil eye.

It says "Messages."

I lift the receiver, and press the messages button. It rings for a long time, and then a Japanese voice answers. She says something rapidly, and I apologize and continue in English: "I have messages?"

She tells me to wait a moment, disappears, and then returns.

"The right is prepared" she says, pronouncing carefully.

I stop. Have my left-wing connections been discovered? Is voting Green illegal in this country? Is my secret identity revealed and are my contacts in danger? Shall I eat immediately the picture of Che I carry everywhere, before cops bust in through the windows?

I must know. I carefully produce the secret code, known to all my co-conspirators to check if she is one of us.

"Err, what?" I say.

She takes a deep breath, and tries to be as clear as possible.

"The right is prepared" she says, stressing the words.

Ah. A small lightbulb lights inside my head, and I thank her, hang up and breathe a sigh of relief.

Yes, it's a dark room. I flick the switch, and lights go on and off at will. The light really seems to be repaired.

Sunday, 30-Sep-07 20:24
The weird food...

Full chicken; some assembly required.
...of this trip is now officially chicken ovaries. The Japanese really know how to cook all the even remotely edible parts of a chicken.

(They have a certain egg-like texture and taste, if you absolutely want to know. Quite logical, really.)

Reminds me of the time I was served chicken sushi, i.e. raw chicken. One of the scariest things I've ever eaten. It was pretty good, actually.

Sunday, 30-Sep-07 13:21
Guilty pleasures and good service

Pocky Marble
The way that flights to Japan go (and jet lag) I usually end up spending the Sunday morning and early afternoon in my hotel room, indulging in two guilty pleasures: trying out the new flavors of Pocky, the ubiquitous Japanese candy, and watching the Sunday morning professional go game on television, trying to guess the next move.

This time, I ended up trying Pocky Marble, which despite it's name is actually green and tastes vaguely like green tea. But it does not have the strong, bitter taste of 抹茶, so it's pretty good. The exchange rate is very good for us Europeans right now, but so far I haven't seen too much "must-have" items. I did buy a new Yukata, though...

I'm trying to post as much as I can to my Jaiku stream, and the more I use it the more I like it. Much like with blogs, restricting the format allows you to innovate. SMS is one of the most popular communication forms on this planet, and still it's extremely restricted. Plain text was perfectly good for Shakespeare, and I'm not sure if Hamlet would be any better with hyperlinks.

I know a lot of people value user freedom, and building a playground where anything is possible, but I would argue that in many cases, it's a lot better to put people in a box. Because boxes are good for imagination. I think that's why Second Life is so boring for me - it's too open. In order to really get the value out of it, you have to invest a lot of time upfront. With something simple like SMS the value is almost immediate, and easily reachable.

Power inside the box!
Some people scoff World of Warcraft because you can't do as many things in it as you would in a role playing game. Some people are trying to build games where the GM cannot restrict the players from doing what they want. But to me, these arguments sound like the geek approach to building software: try to make it as generic as possible so that anything could conceivably be accomplished. It's true these are restricted - and because of that they are so interesting to me. If you have complete freedom to do anything you want, then it quickly becomes boring. I need something to kick my imagination with, so to say. Maybe that's why I'm an engineer instead of an artist :-)

By the way, my hotel has an innovation I would really hope other hotels would copy: the room safe has a power-strip inside, so you can charge your laptop while you're walking out in town. I would like to call that inside-the-box -thinking. Brilliant!

Thursday, 27-Sep-07 16:50
Nokia NFC Developers Event

Time for some free corporate promotion again ;-). Seriously, if you're an NFC hacker (and I know there are a few of you who read this!), designer, or are just starving for good ideas, you might want to try and pop into either of these events. Feel free to spread the word...

Be warned though, it'll probably be a pretty geeky show, but I think that if you like the idea of re-programming the world through stuff like RFID and barcodes, you're probably fine ;-)

Welcome to the Nokia NFC developer event - Join to connect

Are you interested in hearing the latest updates on Nokia’s engagement in Near Field Communication (NFC) and NFC application development for Nokia 6131 NFC? How about learning more about the vivid Nokia NFC Developer Community and meeting face-to-face the other NFC developers?

If your answer is ‘Yes’, we would like to meet you at the Join to connect - a Nokia NFC developer event!

Two similar events will be organized at the following venues:

  • October 29th 2007, Monday, Espoo Finland more info & register
  • December 3rd 2007, Monday, Amsterdam the Netherlands (registration link to be provided later)

Show what you've got!

This event is also your chance to showcase your applications and services you have developed to the community. We have reserved an open space display, a demo area for you to present your NFC application during the event. Talk with the Nokia NFC experts, exchange ideas, ask questions and interact.

For more information about Near Field Communication, check the Forum Nokia web site We hope to see you there!

Best Regards,

Nina Tammelin
On behalf of the Nokia NFC team (NEBU)

Wednesday, 26-Sep-07 22:27
Ouch

Someone has apparently written a bot which does nothing but adds random words to wiki pages. This is hard to catch using regular spam catching techniques as it posts from different IP addresses and does not contain URLs (or anything recognizable). As far as I can tell, it's either purely malicious, a test, or an attempt to poison bayesian filters.

Nevertheless, it's causing major PITA to admins who need to roll back changes. Might be a good reason to make a really fast rollback mechanism for admins...

Sunday, 23-Sep-07 14:32
Finnish rocket engineers go!

Just got an email: Haisunäätä, a Finnish amateur rocketry project has performed its first successful engine test. Go guys!

The estimated performance figures are pretty cool (for an amateur rocket): maximum altitude 2 km, max speed 241 m/s. So it's not yet competing for the Google X prize, but nonetheless it's showing that space is a bit closer to our everyday life.

Not only that, there's a competing project in Tampere, called Supikoira! Good luck to both teams :-)

Saturday, 22-Sep-07 12:46
Janne's theory of MS Office progression

You see, I have this theory. It's my theory, and it is as follows.

A-hem.

Your progression in a large IT corporation can be largely measured by the Microsoft Office programs you use. When you start at a new workplace, your most important tool is likely to be Outlook. You do whatever you were hired to do, and you send a lot of email.

Once you get a bit more responsibility, you get to use Word - that is, you will write pre-studies, documentation, analysises (analysii?) and all that sort of stuff. You use templates and embed pictures and write lots of stuff nobody is probably ever going to read (unless you are a technical writer, in which case everyone is a critic.)

Then you get tagged by someone, and suddenly you find yourself working on a Powerpoint slideset "for tomorrow". Pretty soon, this becomes your most important tool, as you will need to start presenting your work to other people in bullet-point -sized bites. Powerpoint will teach you to abstract and "top-levelize" things until they become meaningless. If you are unlucky, it also becomes your main documentation tool. But sooner or later you realize that you are in a group that only understands Powerpoint as a communication method.

The pinnacle of the corporate evolution is Excel. Once Excel becomes your main tool, you are responsible for money, personnel, and allocation thereof. Therefore you have power. Or at least the appearance of power - you may still have to make a Powerpoint to make the persons with Real Ultimate Power to agree with your Excel.

Finally, the circle is closed when all the Excel spreadsheets and Powerpoint decks are delegated to someone else, and you find yourself alone in your office, accompanied only by Outlook again. And then, my son, you have mastered the True Way of the Office, and you can use the same Outlook you started with, for all your business needs.

Saturday, 22-Sep-07 00:45
Electronic Bubblewrap

Only the Japanese engineer... Electronic bubble wrap.

(Sorry for being a bit terse lately. Plenty of work makes Jack a dull boy.)

Tuesday, 18-Sep-07 09:37
JSPWiki accepted to Apache Incubation

Woo-hoo! JSPWiki is now accepted into Apache Incubator. Also, the final beta of 2.6 was just released, and I hope we can make that one a stable.

Sunday, 16-Sep-07 14:21
Need an address in the US?

Many times, companies only ship in the US. Access USA offers you an US mailing address and a forwarding service. I wonder if this is any good? At least this guy seems to like it (he bought an iPhone with it).

Saturday, 15-Sep-07 10:35
Droste effect

Here's a cool gallery of twisted images.

Friday, 14-Sep-07 01:10
+5 Insightful on Wii

Slashdot can be a real PITA when it comes to commenters, but every now and then you can find gems in there. Wii has now outsold all other game consoles, and people are still wondering why. This guy puts the whole thing into proper perspective:

I would say that right now, Nintendo is #1 over all, but only #2 with respect to hard core gamers. ... If the Wii is ever going to get a grip on the core segment of the console market, they have to do it within the next year.

I've said this before. I'll say it again. Fuck the 'hardcore' gamers. Let them have their 'superior' games on other platforms. I've been playing video games since Pong, I've finished more games than most of these 'hardcore' gamers have played. I've beaten the original Super Mario Brothers on a single life without warping. I've finished Battletoads. I've finished Einhander. I've finished Perfect Dark on Perfect Agent difficulty. I'm as experienced as they come in terms of video games.

You know what? Increasingly, I think that 'hardcore' gamer just means "a gamer who wants better graphics, more channels of audio, and the same old gameplay." What games are so damn hardcore on the XBox 360? Halo 3? Gears of War? What makes them so damn hardcore? I've played first person shooters, I've played 3rd person shooters. I want something *new*. I'm perfectly happy with my Wii Sports and Wii Play as far as providing something new to try. I've enjoyed Metroid Prime 3, but that's primarily because Super Metroid is my all-time favorite game -- it doesn't bring anything *that* new to the table over MP or Echoes, just some extra polish and enhanced controls.

You know what the nicest thing about the Wii is? I can actually play games like Wii Sports or Raving Rabbids with non-gamer friends when they come over, and they can do well at them. In FPS, RTS, or fighting games, it's not even entertaining to play against my friends, because I just wipe the floor with them. While that might appeal to some people, I'm not in it for bragging rights, I'm in it for a challenge. It's also not entertaining to play against asshat 14-year-olds online.

So fuck the hardcore demographic. They're going to have to accept the fact that they have become a niche audience, and accept what games come their way. Who knows? Maybe hardcore gamers will one day be like movie buffs, known for being familiar with lots of obscure but great games. As it is now, a movie fan analogous to what we think of as a hardcore gamer would watch nothing but Michael Bay films and gush about how awesome they are, and how everyone else sucks for enjoying The Life Aquatic.

(Yes, I know, very boring to not add new stuff, just quote someone else. I'm too tired to think, just barely have enough energy to nod.)

Thursday, 13-Sep-07 19:27
Jaiku followers

Jaiku just added a service where you can see who's following your jaiku stream - aptly named "Your Followers". Aside from some fun connotations about robed priests declaring the end of the world, it immediately popped up a question:

In the Web 2.0 world, is your social success measured by the ratio of the number of people you follow to the number of people who follow you? In other words:

S = F / N,

where S = your success, F = your followers and N = the people you follow. Anybody with a score over 1.0 is for some reason gathering followers he does not know (suggesting that he or she is interesting in some sense), and anybody with a score of less than 1.0 is not. People with a score around 1.0 are probably healthy individuals with a balanced personal life. I would assume celebrities (and Jyri) have a score of 100+, but I wonder what the average is? And, are services like Facebook inherently broken because they force everyone to have an S-score of 1.0?

And, for the humour-impaired, here's a smiley ;-)

/Janne, S = 2.36

Thursday, 13-Sep-07 10:55
Fair use bigger than copyright

Interesting calculations from an industry body (composed of beneficiaries of fair use, so approach with caution):

By one measure -- "value added," which the report defines as "an industry's gross output minus its purchased intermediate inputs" -- the fair use economy is greater than the copyright economy.

Recent studies indicate that the value added to the U.S. economy by copyright industries amounts to $1.3 trillion, said Black. The value added to the U.S. economy by the fair use amounts to $2.2 trillion.

The fair use economy's "value added" is thus almost 70% larger than that of the copyright industries.

(Via /.)

Thursday, 13-Sep-07 01:06
Sorry for the shutdown

My blog server (and jspwiki.org) were physically moved today. That's why everything has been down. Turns out that move broke something, and while machine was humming along nicely, it just couldn't find any network cards. Even when added separately. So I had to rip the hard drives off the computer and put them in another computer (which was hosting bugs.jspwiki.org) to get even the basics working. But of course, doing so meant that we lost the other server.

So, until things get better, we will be running on one server instead of two, and that will make this blog and many other services slower. Sorry about that.

Wednesday, 12-Sep-07 01:31
What stays in Facebook stays in Facebook?

Nice video about certain non-obvious aspects of Facebook, via Niko.

Sunday, 09-Sep-07 10:48
The new anti-piracy warning

Being in the UK means that I could watch the latest episode of the IT Crowd live. Woo-hoo! It started off with this WTF-quality parody of the piracy warning, which you all should watch and learn from :-)

Sunday, 09-Sep-07 00:40
Helsinki metro to get free WiFi

I have been traveling all this week in the London Underground, which is an amazing piece of engineering (and a surprise it runs at all, considering the complexity). However, once you go underground, there is no phone connectivity: no voice, no SMS, no data. Nothing.

Even if the Helsinki metro has only one line and pales to near-transparency when compared with the London Underground, at least it has cell phone connectivity in all stations and even in the tunnels. And now, they're gonna open a free WiFi (Finnish) connectivity in the metro - including the tunnels. According to the article, this is even really cheap to build: just a few hundred euro per station.

Makes me wonder - what are the kind of services you would offer to a metro traveler?

Thursday, 06-Sep-07 01:23
Social Enlightenment

Had a nice chat with Alex today, wandering through the streets of Soho, and I got hit by a tiny bit of bird poo enlightenment:

What has been bugging me all along with this social software crap (Facebook, Friendster (RIP), Jaiku, etc) is the way how they shove a person at you, and smash you in the face with the hard question "ARE YOU FRIENDS WITH THIS PERSON? YES/NO". How do you answer that? "Yes, I think this person is likeable, but really, I have met him twice, and we never really talked, so I couldn't really call him a friend, but then again, he is okay and he knows some of my friends, so I wouldn't like to upset him either..."

But oh no, it's just "I DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU MEAN. PLEASE RESPOND EITHER YES OR NO."

Almost like playing a text adventure from the early 80s with a twenty-word vocabulary. There's just no room to express the finer points of friendship: it's either on or off.

But what hit me today was that it is really a vocabulary issue. What is really being asked is "Do you think it is okay for this person to participate in this portion of your life?" Accepting a "friendship" on Facebook is just like having a reader sign up for your blog feed, except that you have to manually approve these people, they are not anonymous, and it's reciprocal instead of one-way communication.

So, what Facebook calls "a friend" is what a blog calls "a reader". And once I wrapped my brain around that, I suddenly saw there was no problem whatsoever. I have my friends (and most of them are NOT on Facebook, Jaiku, Twitter, or any other service). And I have these "Facebook friends", for which there should be a better word. Reader? Nah, not interactive enough. Contact? Nah, sounds like work. But logically, these two are different concepts. People who read my blogs are not necessarily my friends, nor do my friends necessarily read this blog.

Participant? Yeah, I like that, though it's a bit too general. Because that's what online presence really is: it's a participatory hallucination, which at best, can give a very good impression of reality. But as so many bloggers are wont to say: "this is not my real life." True. We all have sides which we expose through different channels, and usually choose what we wish to show to different people, all of whom participate in aspects of what we call "our life". So social software is just another channel, althought with a badly chosen vocabulary.

(However, I would still like to see another word for these "Facebook friends".)

Wednesday, 05-Sep-07 02:06
Koiratappeluita Suomessa?

Mikki tutkii ja hutkii. Kannattaa vilkaista; kaikenlaista sitä voikin kaivaa, jos osaa käyttää internettiä edes auttavasti.

Monday, 03-Sep-07 00:20
London Comic and Film Con

You know, as an old Star Trek fan, it was fun to see both Nana Visitor and Patrick Stewart on the same day. And, as a recent Heroes-convert, seeing Hayden Panettiere (the cheerleader) and half of Jack Coleman's head (her dad) was also fun. And Kenny Baker was there, too. And a bunch of people who had one line in the "Star Wars". However, what wasn't fun was that you had to stand tens of meters away while being harassed by overzealous staff members, and the only way to get close would be to pay an extra 15£ for an autograph.

These big cons (I've only been to two so far, so it's not exactly a large sample) seem to me mostly concentrated around memorabilia - autographs, pictures, action figures, toys, coins, plaques, replicas, scale models, comics, film cells, and well, anything that you can put a price tag on. And while there were a couple of people who tried to bring some atmosphere into the halls (I loved the guy in the Alien suit hugging the Predator) it was mostly an underlit, overpriced, gigantically nerdy mall. I felt like a moneybag on legs, and ended up buying nothing. Fandom is big money these days.

And to speak about stereotypes: For some reason I kept bumping at people's bellies all the time.

I don't know. I just... made me kinda sad, that's all. A bit of a letdown.

Sunday, 02-Sep-07 00:17
Spamalot

Went to see the Monty Python musical "Spamalot". It's got great gay musical numbers, and a strong (in fact, very strong) leading lady role (which you surely remember from the movie). Yeah. I have to admit that a couple of times half of my brain was laughing my ass off at the same time as the other half of my brain was going "WTF?" Very pythonesque feeling.

It didn't hold together as well as it could have, but nevertheless, it was a very successful stage transition of the Monty Python and the Holy Grail. With updates. And a very surprised audience member who was dragged on-stage in the middle of it all. And, of course, singalongs. And John Cleese as God's feet. And the Finnish programme leaflet, detailing the transformation of an agrarian society to a high-technology country. And some new taunts. And the 80s style gay disco. And the song that goes like that. And jews. Yeah. Jews.

All in all, I liked it, and I liked it a lot. And again, I realized why theatre has always had such a strong power over people's mind.

Sunday, 02-Sep-07 00:01
Five non-Finnish blogs

Ewan tagged me, and said so nice things about me that I just can't ignore that. So from the depths of London, here are my five blogs that I read (and tap them in turn to participate in this meme). About half of my blogs are non-Finnish, but I think it would be unfair to list blogs like Boing Boing, even though they are abroad. So I'm limiting this to more personal blogs.

  1. Jan Chipchase's Future Perfect. I actually met Jan on the Stockholm airport passport queue coming in yesterday. This man is from all over the place.
  2. Chaotic Intransient Prose Bursts "A maverick, freelance cognitive science researcher/rogue hacker/programmer/aristocratic poet visits previously colonial countries trying to repent for his nation's past crimes." Adriaan is Dutch living in Tokyo.
  3. ThreeDimensionalPeople Musings on Business 2.0. Stephen lives in the UK.
  4. Touch. Bringing tangibility back into our lives. Timo lives in Oslo, Norway.
  5. Dragon/kolibri. Old friends from ten timezones away.
Monday, 27-Aug-07 21:31
Rough Science

If you want to feel really inadequate, watch Rough Science, where a team of five McGyvers scientists build all sorts of cool stuff from things they find from the surroundings. For example, a light-communication device out of some mirrors, rubber, cans and an old radio.

Makes you think twice about manned space exploration and how useful a team of professionals can really be.

Monday, 27-Aug-07 17:03
Compete on energy savings

Yes, I totally agree with Clive Thompson about his new Wired column. Regulating your use of physical goods (e.g. gas) is easy, because you always see how much you're using, and how much you have left. With electricity, this is completely invisible - do you know how much your TV really takes electricity? You get a bill every month (or in case of my electricity company, they just make a guesstimate, and read the meter once a year, then charge you the difference). That's not very good feedback.

There was a column in the Helsingin Energia -magazine by Risto Harjanne which said that by 2010, they are hoping to enable most electricity meters in the Helsinki area for remote reading. This would allow you to monitor your own electricity consumption, over the web, instantly. Already about 10% of their customers is already enabled, though there hasn't been that much noise about it.

Clive Thompson also has another good point: the energy consumption figures should be made public. I'd very much like to connect my Facebook account to my electricity bill and compete against others (I would probably lose though; electric saunas are awful energy consumers). But that would be the way to bring it out in the open, and really make people see the difference. Seeing your own figures still tells you nothing. Comparing it to others would give you a baseline level.

Where are the open APIs to remote-readable electricity meters? How about open APIs to car on-board computers which calculate your gas consumption? Anybody need a capable designer for that kind of stuff? ;-)

Monday, 27-Aug-07 12:31
Extraordinary circumstances means extraordinary failures

Here's a story of DRM and copy protection which shows clearly that they are not very error-tolerant technologies.

As you may recall, I lost my SIM card a while back. While I was waiting for a new one, I temporarily switched to using a 6131nfc as my daily phone. Then, I got a new SIM card, and also a new, shiny E61i. I installed all my old software and files back, and thought "phew."

Well, that was just a beginning.

I have exactly one software which I have actually bought (for the rest I'm pretty happy with whatever the company is offering), and that's Navicore. Their "theft prevention" system didn't like both SIM card and phone changing, not one bit. So I had to call their service line to reset the license code.

Having to call someone to enable your legally purchased software is already annoying, and sort of adds insult to injury: having to reinstall everything is a frigging pain, and it's not made easier by having to grovel in front of someone and try to convince them you're not a thief. Well, luckily the Navicore lady at the other end of the line was very nice and helpful, and reset my code.

Except that this didn't help one bit. Turns out that the software locks itself down once you try to register it with a locked license code. So they told me I should install a bit of software to remove the lock - but not that it does not work on the phone I own. So, the only way to proceed is to reformat the entire frigging memory card and reinstall everything! When did you last see a computer that requires that you format the entire hard drive in order to reinstall a bit of software? (On second thought, don't answer that. This is one of the reasons why I refuse to call these cell phones multimedia computers.)

Anyway, so I go and copy all the data to safety, reformat the drive, and reinstall. Of course, I have to reinstall all of the software because none of them survive the copy cycle. Which is totally bogus - Mac OSX doesn't need any stinking software installers, thankyouverymuch. Why the hell would a cell phone?

Everything fine and dandy? No way. Reinstallation of the software tells me again: "Invalid license key." I call Navicore again, and they tell me happily that I can't install a 2007 upgrade without installing the original first ('cos it's an upgrade, even though it's a complete program). So they reset the license key of the original software that I have, and then I go on and reinstall the original version - which of course refuses to install because there is a newer version already installed. After some creative file deletion later, it nearly works - except that I have to call Navicore support again when nothing works, and they tell me that I need to run the installer manually (because it does not run automatically, just like all other software. Because it would otherwise be too easy.)

After about ten minutes of watching the progress bar (why does it take so long?) I actually had a functional, old version. (By the way, all this installation requires Windows. You can't perform the installation on anything else, so you get all the Windows quirks on top of everything.)

Then, reinstallation of the new version (manually, of course, though this time I didn't have to call the help desk. I already knew what to expect.) Again, it takes about five-ten minutes for the installation to complete. But then I finally had functional software!

All in all, I am not at all happy about this experience. While they are of course trying to protect their own assets, this kind of "theft protection" system falls down horribly when you try to do something that the system designers didn't expect to be a common occurrence. Obviously it's a good idea to design for the most common usecase (changing phones), but the system should fail gracefully when confronted with a catastrophic event (e.g. theft) instead of adding to the catastrophe.

In trying to protect their own asset against theft, the software vendor made it very difficult for their own customers to recover from e.g. theft, and cause their own asset, time, being wasted. Not to mention all the money used for support calls and activation SMSs. I have now used maybe four hours or so to try and get one piece of software back to the state it was before. After this experience, I probably won't buy any other software that uses a similar protection system, knowing that if I ever lose my phone, I will have to do this entire round of shit again for every single piece of software that I have purchased.


Later: Wasn't that easy. Oh no... Navicore released an upgrade this month, and trying to install that on top of my now-functional-software broke the License Manager tool, which meant that I have to - wait for it - FORMAT THE ENTIRE FUCKING MEMORY CARD AND REINSTALL ALL MY APPLICATIONS! YES! THAT IS WHAT THE NICE LADY SAID!

You know... it's rapidly becoming easier to steal this software than to try to use the legitimate version. At least then I wouldn't have to put up with this License Management crap. I used to recommend this software to people but now I just can't do that anymore. Stay away from Navicore, 'cos if you lose your phone, I certainly won't be helping you to reinstall.

Later2: And their EULA sucks, too. They for example forbid you to use the software if you are a competitor, back it up remotely over the Internet, or use it in any way "not explicitly allowed by this contract". You also agree in the EULA that they will install spyware on your phone, and you agree to pay all the costs involved. Also, your right to use the software expires if you make a traffic violation while using Navicore (isn't that a bit... preachy?)

Friday, 24-Aug-07 09:22
WTO between rock and a hard place

Something in me finds this very funny: The small island state of Antigua has managed to escalate the crisis with USA to such a point, that WTO either has to allow them to freely breach US copyrights or force the US to allow gambling. Or risk losing all credibility. (Via Slashdot.)

Thursday, 23-Aug-07 22:31
So you call yourself a roleplayer?

All roleplayers have some basic dice skills. This guy is definitely advanced. Very advanced.

(Thanks to Darchik on IRC.)

Wednesday, 22-Aug-07 23:19
Google Sky!

As an old astronomy geek, the new Google Sky is impressing the heck out of me. It's a part of the new Google Earth, and it allows you to pan and zoom to the sky - courtesy of NASA, the Hubble telescope and a bunch of other observatories.

Highly recommended :-D

Wednesday, 22-Aug-07 16:48
I ave a small issueh

My trusty work laptop (decorated with Hello Kitty badges, much to he amusemen of airpot securty peope all over the world) has developed a strange and annoyig poblem: It accidentally transposes letters- r to be pecie, it acts as if a cat was pressing the left rrow key ranomly. This means that I skip a letter, and te extra letter is added to th ight of the cursor, and it then moes forward as Ityp.

Now, I don't mind that it makes me look either retarded or drunk I'mpetty ure that the pople at work are already used t it), but what onearth I a upposed to d with all these extra ltters that are left ovr?

eeosm oesr (e vrehdasro rnlirtt

Wednesday, 22-Aug-07 12:08
What do you mean - "APAC market size?"

I was just interviewed for a Forrester Research on Web 2.0 markets. It was interesting to see how these reports are actually collected, knowing that a lot of companies are trusting them and making market decisions based on them. Heck, I used to read them a couple of years back, trying to figure out strategies.

But boy, do they ask hard questions. I kinda like to think that I know a bit about the Web 2.0 world, leading a wiki development effort, but this interview showed some major gaps in my knowledge. Of course, a lot of it was about market shares, sizes, and segmentation, and we haven't really been tracking our users (I don't know of many OSS projects who do) so I just had to give a lot of educated guesses and some "you know, I haven't really looked into that" -answers.

Altogether an interesting and somewhat humbling experience...

Monday, 20-Aug-07 19:28
Turkey blocks internet left and right

Wow, someone has managed to block the entire wordpress.com because of a couple of blogs which allegedly contain slander. That someone turns out to be Harun Yahya alias "Adnan Oktar", a person mostly known for his strong anti-evolution, pro-religion sentiments, and a criminal case against his cult.

It's entirely possible that the blogs do contain slander. But that is something which should be taken to the judicial process, where a (hopefully competent) judge decides whether slander occurred, and punishes the author, not the hosting service. Looks like his strategy is to block all the services in Turkey which don't like him. Looks like the Turkish law is still somewhere in the 20th century on all this internet stuff to allow for something like this to happen...

Well... block this, you overzealous shithead. Hope someone teaches you the term "tolerance" before your sphincter strangles your brain.

Sunday, 12-Aug-07 19:17
Ropecon is over

Ropecon is totally over again. I spent most of the time in Kaubamaja, helping Outi sell her jewelry, and still managed to clock 8 hours of volunteer work and slightly less sleep.

I guess the whole experience can be summed up with a sign that was posted by an anonymous person in ladies room, over the sanitary pad disposal bin:

"Vampire snacks. 50 cents."

Thursday, 09-Aug-07 22:09
Geek event

"At 20070809T102250 UTC, do you, node 209c57fe78605e99641d9fca4e7bc232, and you, node 4d930c40123760f0c67f67ec4e9ce0d0, wish to connect permanently to each other and promise to route all packets faithfully until powerloss?"

"This unit wishes to state a positive intent, as witnessed by this packet signed by my private key."

"This unit also wishes to transmit a true, and sign the packet with the private key."

"Now, exchange public keys and sign them with each other's private keys. ... Thank you. You may now plug in the cable."

"Dear networked nodes that have gathered here at this timestamp: I now pronounce your networks connected. MAY your BER approach zero, and your routers have no congestion. You SHALL adhere to the following protocol rules, to be interpreted according to RFC 2119:

  • You SHALL NOT route any other packets through eth0 unless addressed to the other unit
  • You SHALL NOT turn on promiscuous mode, or else risk a denial-of-service
  • You MAY spawn plenty of subnodes to maintain the network
  • You SHALL cherish and maintain the link you have by sending keepalive messages with tokens (of love) at regular intervals.
  • You SHALL be peers and equal in all traffic, and trust the data routed from the other (if properly signed with the public key)"

(Earlier parts of this story available here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and most especially here. (And, of course, here.))

Wednesday, 08-Aug-07 00:27
Ouchiwawa

At the Blackhat 2007 conference they ran the "Iron Chef Blackhat" competition. The aim was to find as many security vulnerabilities from a piece of software in 45 minutes as possible. And the software was... JSPWiki 2.4.

While I'm sort of honored to see this little program attracting attention, I'm kinda cringing, too. At the results. The winner found 17 bugs (including 13 XSS vulnerabilities) in 45 minutes. Not a very good track record (For us. Pretty good for him.) But on the other hand, this really is the first time we've had any sort of a security audit from someone who is not a member of the team. So what can I say? The only thing I can: Keep them coming - that's the only way we can build better software.

Now, however, just a minor request: kindly disclose all the issues you find... ;-)

(Nope. But we're getting closer...)

Tuesday, 07-Aug-07 22:06
JSPWiki goes Apache

Well, Dave spilled the beans faster than I did, but yeah - the JSPWiki committers decided that we shall submit JSPWiki to the Apache Foundation. First, as an Incubator project, but with the aim of becoming a full top-level project.

There is a manifesto, and a concrete work-in-progress proposal, to which anyone is welcome to contribute to.

I'm pretty excited about this. While it means that I'll lose control, this will (assuming Apache accepts us) represent a significant step in "maturing" JSPWiki as a serious open source project. Which is good, really really good. I think MediaWiki has been dominating the world long enough ;-). With some nudging, JSPWiki should be up to par with the best of them, as we're already powering some pretty hefty websites.

(And no, this wasn't it either. Although it could've been.)

Tuesday, 07-Aug-07 21:57
ZOMG

Dubya is worried about a new threat to US security - ZOMBIES!

(Thanks to Outi for the link.)

(No, this wasn't it either.)

Monday, 06-Aug-07 13:05
Fringe is back on again!

Every year I swear that next year, I'm going to go to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the biggest arts festival in the world, and every year I forget. But no matter, the rather excellent The Edinburgh Fringe Show -podcast with Ewan Spence is back on again! It's almost like being there in person...

Friday, 03-Aug-07 17:53
No connectivity

Oh crap. Lost my SIM card (don't ask me how). Therefore, I cannot be reached at my usual GSM number for the next few days.

Yeah, it's Friday evening. How convenient.

Update: If you need to call, email/IM me for my temporary number.

Update2: Situation over; old number is functional again.

Wednesday, 01-Aug-07 11:20
Anonymous attacks, beware!

Gang called "Anonymous" terrorizes the internet, says FOX in this incredibly stupid piece which includes e.g. stock footage of a van exploding.

Even though this is completely and utterly idiotic and really serves only to scare people, it makes me wonder whether this is just another step on a co-ordinated attack on anonymity on the internet. After all, if you can equate anonymity with terrorism, wouldn't people be more amenable to having to prove their identity whenever they are logging online? And that would mean turning the internet essentially into a controlled substance - a walled garden where you can play, but only if the owner lets you.

Tuesday, 31-Jul-07 09:33
IQ

Muistinpa minäkin vihdoin ja viimein käydä tekemässä Tieteen Kuvalehden älykkyystestin, kun Outikin teki. Hassu testi. Ilmeisesti tässä testissä käytetään keskihajontaa 15, eli se ei ole suoraan vertailukelpoinen esim. Suomen Mensan käyttämien lukujen kanssa. Tämän konversiotaulukon mukaan 141 Wechsler-skaalalla vastaa noin 165:ttä Cattell-skaalalla. Joka tapauksessa melko korkea.

Jos ihan rehellisiä ollaan, niin en kyllä olisi laittanut tulosta tähän, jos se olisi ollut alhainen. Tunnustan, etten ole koskaan uskaltanut käydä Mensan testeissä, koska olen hieman irrationaalisesti pelännyt, että saisin huonon tuloksen ja muut olisivatkin oikeasti fiksumpia kuin minä (sen siitä saa kun ainoa asia mitä on jaettu on vähän älliä). Mikä kyllä saa ajattelemaan mitä väliä tämmöisellä oikeasti on? Hassunhassuja testejä täällä on ennenkin tehty, joista on saatu kaikenlaista tosi epäilyttävää tulokseksi ("Olet luonteeltasi kiduttaja"), mutta ei niitä kukaan tietenkään ota mitenkään vakavasti. Sen sijaan jotakin tämmöistä testitulosta saatetaan hyvinkin arastella, vaikka sen merkitys käytännön elämään lienee samaa luokkaa. Korkeintaan sitä voi käyttää elvistelyyn, ja silloinkin lähinnä se herättää katkeruutta, kateutta ja selkäänpuukotushalua kanssaihmisissä. Vähän niinkuin palkka, paitsi että sillä tietenkin on jotain merkitystä käytännön elämään, koska sillä voi ostaa esimerkiksi television, josta voi katsoa tymentäviä ohelmia.

On se ihminen hassu ja heikko otus, jos yksi melko merkityksetön numero huolettaa näin paljon. *huokaus*

Nimi: JJ
Kokonaispistemäärä: 141
Tuloksen luokitustaso: Huipputasoa
Onneksi olkoon! Olet suorittanut Tieteen Kuvalehden älykkyystestin.

Pistemääräsi oli korkeampi kuin 99 %:lla väestöstä keskimäärin.
Kielellisten osioiden pistemäärä: 144
Suoritusosioiden pistemäärä: 137.5

Osioiden pistemäärät

Jokaisen osion korkein mahdollinen pistemäärä on 20. Keskimääräinen pistemäärä on 10.

Kuviopäättelytehtävät
Mitattavat ominaisuudet: ei-sanallinen päättelykyky, usean tekijän samanaikainen käsittely, avaruudellinen hahmottaminen, visuaalinen hahmottaminen
Tuloksesi 18

Sanastotehtävät
Mitattavat ominaisuudet: kielellinen käsitteenmuodostus, merkitysten tunnistaminen, pitkäkestoinen muisti, kasvuympäristön virikkeisyys, älyllinen uteliaisuus
Tuloksesi 20

Muistitehtävät
Mitattavat ominaisuudet: muisti, jaksotuskyky, vertauskuvallisen sisällön ymmärtäminen, keskittymiskyky
Tuloksesi 18

Sanojen keskinäisiä suhteita koskevat tehtävät
Mitattavat ominaisuudet: kielellinen päättelykyky, käsitteenmuodostus, merkityssisällön ymmärtäminen
Tuloksesi 19

Matemaattiset tehtävät
Mitattavat ominaisuudet: muisti, vertauskuvallisen sisällön ymmärtäminen, päättelykyky
Tuloksesi 19

Monday, 30-Jul-07 15:02
No, not the car

I managed to avoid this game for the longest time, but on Saturday morning I played my first round of golf. As you can see from the result (41 on an course with 18 par) I might still need to train a bit more.

But I have to admit that I did feel the tender touch of the feet of the golf bug, walking on my skin. I can easily see why this is so popular that thousands and thousands acres of perfectly good forests have been turned into playgrounds for the rich people. Even a beginner can - by accident - make a good swing, and experience the joy of hitting from the tee to the green. Golf may be a difficult sport, but it's not too difficult so that you would be discouraged by your first few efforts. And, there are enough moving parts in the process to make it sure that you can keep learning throughout your entire life.

(Of course, I can't actually start playing. It would be too expensive, as I would need to buy a car to drag my butt to the golf courts...)

Thursday, 26-Jul-07 23:01
Awesomest kitchen appliance ever

I don't see these too often, but in our family this has been the secret to cooking for tens of years. It's the hand-cranked potato peeler. Works like a charm, needs no electricity, needs no dishwasher. Just put potatoes and water in, and it'll peel them for you with a few turns of the handle.

Any Finn can find these in your neighbourhood Anttila. Others - I'm not sure.

For some reason, I didn't have my own for a while, but now I bought a new one before the potato season started. Been cranking happily ever since...

Thursday, 26-Jul-07 12:29
Flash-art

Oh, the things you can do with a few flashlights and a camera. Check out also this Sprint commercial.

(Via BB.)

Tuesday, 24-Jul-07 09:28
It's psychographic, not geographic

Matt noticed, after turning off his Twitter stream from people outside London, that:

I thought what was near me was signal, as often you could act on it. Y’know: “I’m in town and wondering if anyone wants coffee”

It turns out that nearly no-one I know is in town or wants coffee. It turns out - as so often through the twelve or so years of having a digitally-mediated social life - the noise is the signal.

Maybe it's just that Twitter is not interesting for those people who are in town and would have time for coffee. Twitter and Jaiku have been adopted by busy people, the makers of the world. But perhaps it's not been that much used by the laid-back people, the thinkers, who'll happily suspend the afternoon for a stroll in the park with a friend. Twitter is the noise which busy people make to tell everyone that they're still alive, so that they are not forgotten.

Monday, 23-Jul-07 22:06
Potterpotterpotter

Now that I've finished the Potter saga, let me link once more to this flash animation. No spoilers.

I was kinda disappointed. I was hoping a bit more... well-roundedness to the book. Not to the plot itself, but maybe I was just expecting that Rowlings would've developed as a writer the same way as the first few books lead me to believe. Still, a good read for a solid 8 hours, all of which shows that Rowlings had actually planned a big part in advance, and wasn't just building on top of hype. I always like that.

Good to be (still) on vacation :)

Thursday, 19-Jul-07 15:35
Harry Potter is on Bittorrent, OMG.

Much to nobody's surprise, the new Harry Potter book is already available for download from a multitude of Bittorrent trackers. It's in the form of badly scanned pages, but still, it's available.

In a move which equally fails to surprise anyone, the publishers are demanding that any page which talks about the fact that its available on Bittorrent is infringing their copyrights. The fun thing is that the story in question does not even link to the torrent, it just mentions the name of the site from which you can find a torrent link to the actual download.

So, theoretically, me linking to the story of the takedown notice - which links to the original story, which mentions the name of the site from which you can find a torrent link to the actual download - could be considered, in some twisted universe, a copyright infringement.

Just don't mention in a pub that you saw this entry in an RSS feed on some other site talking about a takedown notice linking to a story which mentions the name of the site from which you can find a torrent link to the actual download. You never know who is listening.

Wednesday, 18-Jul-07 18:09
The iPhone is shit and so is your face

ROFL.

(Via Digg.)

Monday, 16-Jul-07 12:20
<deleted>

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!!!!!

I'll let you know later.

Sunday, 15-Jul-07 11:17
Help science, just click a few buttons

Galaxy Zoo is a project in which you - the human - helps the computer to classify galaxies. They've got a simple tutorial, after which you will know quite a lot about galaxies, and then you can just go and start your work. Even if you spend just 15 minutes on the page and never return, that's already very helpful, they say.

(Via Tähdet+Avaruus -lehden blogi. Hyvä blogi, muuten.)

Saturday, 14-Jul-07 11:39
A word of warning...

Microsoft Office for Mac updater 11.3.6 completely corrupted my Office installation. Nothing works, and I have to reinstall everything. Once I find the CDs, that is. So you might want to be careful about upgrading.

Oh well, time to update ~NeoOffice and ~OpenOffice... Shame, Office for Mac is actually a decent piece of software. It's just that the guys who wrote the updater should be taken into the woods and shot for being incompetent. After the updater "updated" things, even downloading the direct update installer from Microsoft refuses to run.

Friday, 13-Jul-07 11:42
Optimal copyright length is 14 years?

An economist has calculate the optimal length of the copyright period, and it appears to be 14 years - the same what it was originally when it was first invented.

I'm not sure whether it's really true for the general case - but I can almost certainly say it's not authors death + 70 years. I'm a big fan of "renewable copyright": the idea that you first get X years automatically (e.g. 14 years, or 28 years, or something fixed), and after that you can register your copyright in the copyright office, for a fee, for another fixed period of time. This allows works that nobody cares about to fall back into public domain after a sane period of time, and it also allows the corporations to renew the stuff they find valuable (solving the Micky Mouse problem). In addition, it would make it always clear who owns the copyright of a particular piece, solving the issues that documentary makers are having.

(Via BB.)

Monday, 02-Jul-07 19:25
Holiday and the dreaded i-word

Wa-hey! Vacation starts today! I really, really needed this...

Anyway, everybody and their cousin seems to be excited over the iPhone. Reading through a lot of the stuff made me think that maybe the iPhone is a revolution. But the revolution comes with the Web, not the phone. Many companies are making sure their web sites now work with the iPhone, and quite a few of the movers and shakers of the Web 2.0 world are getting one. This probably means that for the first time, the Web crowd will start to seriously think about mobility. So far the attempts have just been mostly about really crappy downconverters that make me cringe every time I try to use the fully capable web browser I have in my phone.

Even though Nokia S60 phones use the same browser as the iPhone (and have been for a year now), the phones are not carried by the operators in the US in any significant numbers. Therefore the Silicon Valley-centric crowd has not really seen what mobility could really be about. In many ways, the mobility has so far been stuck an pre-Web text era: news, chat, email. If you needed the web, you could always use your Macbook with the nearest Wifi hotspot. Now, you gotta start thinking about accessing the web service while you are truly mobile, which means doing things like turning it into a background thing, something which does not grab your entire attention when you're using it; and really thinking about usability.

I really hope I'm right, because that would mean web services which are actually usable on a small screen and a tiny device. No matter how good Apple's engineering is, those two things they won't be able to bypass. But if it is enough to nudge the web developers into thinking about mobility, then in my book Apple has scored a success, no matter how many (or few) devices they sell.

Thursday, 28-Jun-07 16:40
The Star Trek moment

Today, a - a real, honest-to-god - technical discussion revolved around polarity reversals. No, seriously. There are some cases in which polarity reversal is a bad thing, and it needs to be solved.

My comments to the discussion were mostly in the form of uncontrollable giggles.

Damn you, Doctor and Scotty.

Wednesday, 27-Jun-07 22:54
Urgh

One of the lesser enjoyable things in life is catching something which makes you wake up in the middle of the night, running a fever, stomach cramping and your bowels generating more liquid than solid waste.

And all this while you could be outside enjoying the summer of Prague.

Tuesday, 19-Jun-07 16:55
You know the feeling...

...when you're standing on one leg, and then you realize that your foot is in a fire, and you'd like to pull it out, but you're not quite sure whether your other leg holds, because you've never really used it 'cos it's your left one, so maybe you should wait and see if the fire goes out on its own, and there are some guys around you who are pissing on your leg, and it's nice because the leg's on fucking fire, but on the other hand - the guys are pissing on your leg...?

Thought so.

Monday, 18-Jun-07 18:51
New occupations arise

How about being a gold farmer? I find it really interesting how business, just like life, tends to finds ecological (economical?) niches and roots itself firmly there. Greed is as powerful as sunlight.

(Via Freedom to Tinker.)

Friday, 15-Jun-07 10:49
Ain't that different

My music taste is 14.78% mainstream!

(Via Marjut.)

Saturday, 09-Jun-07 18:47
How do you know there are roleplayers with kids in your building?

...when there's an adorably cute drawing of the Great Cthulhu on the pavement under your balcony one morning.

That, or we have a bad case of loony cultists nearby.

Thursday, 07-Jun-07 17:44
Helmettikauppa avattu

Häpeämätön mainos: Outi avasi korukauppansa. Nyt jos tarvitset itsellesi, puolisolle, kaverille tai vanhemmalle näppärän lahjan, niin rohkeasti tilaamaan!

(PHP on muuten nykyajan BASIC, olen vakuuttunut siitä. Sillä saa aikaan helposti tosi hirveää jälkeä.)

Edit: korukauppa, ei helmikauppa. D'oh!

Tuesday, 05-Jun-07 08:52
Internet celebrity (and the pointlessness thereof)

Heh. Stumbled upon Niilo Paasivirta's The most famous Finns page, which lists 221 Finns and counts how many hits they get on Google at regular intervals. The last update seems to be from about a month ago. Somewhat surprisingly, the most famous Finn according to Google is Darude, though Linus Torvalds is a good second, and Kimi Räikkönen a strong third. And then you get the bunch of people you would normally expect on the list - you know, the kind of people that deserve to be there for being famous.

I was floored when I saw my name on the list at place 145.

I got more hits than Esa Saarinen, Mikko Franck, or Jari Tervo. Or even Jari Sarasvuo... And apparently, my position's been going down, with the average rating being 117. Though that could be due to influx of some actually famous people.

Heck. What to do with this newfound fame? Should I try using the "don't you know who I am" -line to get into night clubs? (Not that I ever go.) Or maybe stand in the middle of Narinkkatori and scream: "I am famous, worship me?" Or try to get in Seiska for doing something inane?

Nah. I'll diminish, go to work, and remain just Janne. And looks like I'm late already.

Update: Noticed that my online nick-name ecyrd is even more popular: 65,400 hits, which earns a place on the list at number 113. No wonder some people call me that IRL as well, even though I prefer my real name in real life.

Friday, 01-Jun-07 14:07
There is no podcasting community

Ewan: Get Over It… Podcasting Is No Different To Any Other Media.

Fun to see the podcasting community going through the same motions as the blogosphere did three years ago. Part of the growing pains, I suppose...

Thursday, 31-May-07 14:58
Following comments

I've been using co.mments.com to follow discussions I find interesting, as they've had a nice, clean interface and a cool Javascript scriptlet allowing one-click subscription. However, lately they are suffering from constant slowdowns and errors, which is making the service essentially useless.

What other comment following services would you recommend?

Thursday, 31-May-07 11:07
More Mari-Leen

Thanks to the tip from Merten, I bought Mari-Leen's "Rahutu Tuhkatriinu" from http://www.cdmarket.eu/. Good prices, slow-ish delivery.

Have to admit that I like this a lot. The title song is of course a cover, but the rest of the album works really well, too. "Suure linna inglid" is very catchy, yet varies nicely between slow and fast parts, and Mari-Leen's voice suits perfectly to this music style.

There are a couple of weak songs, too (as always), but the only real complaint I have is with the CD cover design... It makes a perfectly pretty young woman look like a crossbreed between Ronald ~McDonald and a Realdoll.

Definitely worth the money. I could easily see this become mainstream in Finland.

Wednesday, 30-May-07 19:03
CBS snags last.fm

Last.fm, my favourite online music service, has been snatched by CBS for a nice, lump sum of $280 million USD. Congratulations to everyone involved!

Now, the question is, will CBS "get it", or will they kill Last.fm by "innovating" on new business models. Flickr has survived relatively unscathed as a part of a larger entity, but CBS is old money, and they've got lots of old farts making decisions. It remains to be seen whether the DNAs of these two companies are compatible.

My guess is that they aren't, and we'll see a slow decline of Last.fm from a hassle-free, personal radio station into a product-placement and advertisement -ridden, badly encoded stream that chooses songs based on who pays the most money instead of what the user actually might prefer.

For some reason, I am feeling fairly cynical this week. Nothing ever works quite the way you would hope it to, and at some point it just gets to you, you know?

Wednesday, 30-May-07 17:41
CSS story not yet over

The DVD Content Scrambling System, which was found to be "ineffective" in the Helsinki District Court, won't die so easily. Tietokone.fi reports that the prosecutor has decided to take the case to a higher court. So the district court decision will be challenged, and it'll take a few months before we get a new result.

In my opinion, this is a good thing. Hopefully, the court of appeals will take a stand on the "organized discussion" -part as well.

Wednesday, 30-May-07 14:36
Feature Frenzy in Japan

This interesting article lists the top features that the Japanese cell phone users want then they're upgrading. Highly interesting:

Q2: When upgrading your mobile phone, the existence of which features are important? (Sample size=1,000, multiple answer)

1. Memory card             29.4%
2. One Seg television      23.2%
3. Music playback          20.0%
4. Infra-red transmission  16.6%
5. FeLiCa, Osaifu Keitai, 
   electronic cash         14.0%

Notice how infrared beats Bluetooth hands down, and WLAN is not popular at all. GPS is bubbling strongly under at number seven, but what I find interesting is the popularity of smart card services and electronic cash. The Japanese market has been enjoying cell phones with embedded smart cards for a couple of years now, and you can already do a lot of things from paying a subway trip or at the local grocery store to reserving seats in a train... It's great to see that they've gained consumer acceptance so fast.

It's also interesting to see that mobile TV is a big hit. No wonder really, you need to keep yourself entertained on those long subway trips... Which also explains the memory card and the music playback. In fact, it's not a big surprise that the most wanted features are the ones which relate to the daily life, which, for many people, consists of work, home, and the trips between. Which, in Japan, can be very long and boring. Now if I could figure out why infrared is so popular... Synchronization? Backups?

Tuesday, 29-May-07 21:57
Follow that bus!

Niko tips off http://transport.wspgroup.fi/hklkartta/ - a mashup service which allows you to follow, in real time, certain buses in Helsinki transport. Not only that, it'll show you the routes and nearest bus stops using the latest in Google Maps technology.

Awesome, though the service still looks like a demo more than anything else. But yeah, I would use this. There's something hypnotic and organic about watching buses move...

Tuesday, 29-May-07 16:07
OH NOES

lolcode.com - where teh w4nn4b3 1337 program!

The following code prints a file to the screen.

HAI
CAN HAS STDIO?
PLZ OPEN FILE "LOLCATS.TXT"?
	AWSUM THX
		VISIBLE FILE
	O NOES
		INVISIBLE "ERROR!"
KTHXBYE

(OK, this is really bad. But I felt like it, since my brain is slowly turning to mush. It's only Tuesday and I'm in my eight teleconference or something...)

(Via BB.)

Saturday, 26-May-07 10:59
Treating a reporter right

Heh. If you're an IT entrepreneur, you'll meet six reporter types. Valleyvag tells you how to deal with them. My favourite is the blogger:

Oh god, everything could go wrong. The blogger probably has less experience, more unearned arrogance ("I have pageviews in the triple digits!"), and half the resources to properly research your story. They're more likely to have an agenda, and it's more likely to be wrong.
Friday, 25-May-07 16:20
DVD copy protection "ineffective", rules Finnish court

Just released, Turre Legal says that CSS has been found officially ineffective:

In an unanimous decision released today, Helsinki District Court ruled that Content Scrambling System (CSS) used in DVD movies is “ineffective”. The decision is the first in Europe to interpret new copyright law amendments that ban the circumvention of “effective technological measures”.

The way I interpret this is that it is therefore legal to crack the DVD content protection for your own purposes, e.g. watching it on Linux computers, or converting it to something which can be played back on a cell phone. Obviously, it is still not legal to distribute the content without permission... But that wasn't the point. The point was to find out exactly what does "organized discussion" mean in the context of cryptanalysis/DRM. Unfortunately, I don't think this was achieved, as the CSS restrictions management system was deemed outright ineffective without actual decision on what constitutes "organized discussion". But it's still a reasonable result.

Thanks to the people who went through the trouble of organizing this. Much like a lot of the copyright discussion in Finland, this was a grassroots effort by a number of people, who decided to give themselves in to the police as criminals for discussing DVD encryption.

Friday, 25-May-07 13:00
A regular Super Trouper

Yes, I like ABBA. I've seen Bjorn Again live. Twice. I'll wait a moment for you to stop snickering.

...

...

Anyway, I've wanted to see the "Mamma Mia" musical for quite some time now, and now that the tour has arrived in Helsinki, took advantage of it. And I wasn't disappointed. While the story was paper-thin, and the characters were about as complicated as a two-by-four, it didn't really matter. It was just a good excuse to hear all the hits, put in new contexts, a lot of it well-timed. "Winner takes it all" got the audience roaring after the first bar - and I guess that was really the point: nothing too complicated, just a load of feelgood for two hours. And I have to admit that I woke up refreshed and relaxed and inexplicably happy this morning.

One thing that struck me was really how incredibly sad the hit songs actually were, now that they were actually subtitled (for some reason, I don't usually check the lyrics), and you saw them in a (sort of) context. Lots of happy faces, but pain and sorrow beneath the masks. But I guess that is a part of the fascination.

(No, no lycra for me. The world just wouldn't be ready.)

Thursday, 24-May-07 12:56
Lazyweb request: bug tracking database?

Ok, now having tried to install JIRA, Codebeamer and Bugzilla, I've come to conclusion that Janne and Mysql do not mix. I've spent several hours of my life reading documentation, tracking unknown files (Jira is so wonderful: they tell you you MUST install certain files, except that the link to those files is broken, and they don't even tell you what the files are, so you can't track them down on your own. Codebeamer documentation is worse than most open source projects, and it assumes that you're installing on a clean server. Which I am not. And Bugzilla - well, something has broken my ubuntu mysql installation, so apt-get is of no help.)

The question is: is there a free bug tracking database which does not use a SQL database, and which would be, like, actually easy to install?

(And please do not try to help me to install any of the above-mentioned things. I am so frustrated with them right now I will probably track you down by your IP address, and whip you senseless with a piece of Cat5 cabling.)

Monday, 21-May-07 13:44
Cybertrash

Check out Remy Tassou, a man who builds art out of abandoned electronics. Awesome, though some rudimentary French skills might be required :-)

Monday, 21-May-07 01:00
Clearing Eclipse validation markers

Note to self: the only clean way to remove Eclipse validation markers (if you ran a validator to a wrong file) is to remove the file manually from outside Eclipse, then run "Replace With -> Latest from HEAD". I couldn't find any proper documentation on this via Google-fu, so let it be here in case someone else needs this.

Anyhoo, lots of computer nastiness today. Tried to install some common web software on my Mac, only to find out that the program I was installing required a previous version of the said programming language, but the guy who maintains the port refuses to even distribute the earlier version of the said programming language, and that the other stuff I was installing needed the new version of that programming language, which did install, but then it refused to communicate with a well known database system I had just installed, claiming I need a newer version, even though I already had a latest version installed, and then it was already down to compiling from source and after a few hours it all essentially came down to a lot of handwaving, cursing, and repetitive and liberal application of "rm -rf".

People often tell me how JSPWiki is nice because it's so easy to install. I often wondered about this - JSPWiki in my opinion is not particularly easy to install: there are lots of hidden traps you can fall into, if you're not careful.

Today I realized what a pain it can be to install certain open source software if you're not running on a machine which happens to get readily packaged versions. On a decent Ubuntu machine I would've been able to install everything with just a few commands, but having to install open source from the source drove my nerves up the wall at record speed. I had forgotten what a colossal pain in the ass it can be... While having source is nice, needing it is often a sign of Awful Code Whose Author Should Be Whacked On The Head.

At least the pain of installing JSPWiki tends to be relatively constant across platforms.

Wednesday, 16-May-07 18:27
Troll whisperers and bulletin boards

A wonderful article by Cory Doctorow in Information Week about how exactly do you calm down trolls and keep the discussion civil on message boards. It fits the current Lex Kuronen -discussion like a glove.

Hint: the right answer is NOT more moderation, just like the answer to crime is not to locking everyone up (just in case).

(Sorry, I'll switch to Finnish from this point on.)

Eräs idea, jolla olen leikitellyt, olisi se, että voisi itse asiassa olla hyvä, että jokaisella julkisella, pysyväisluonteisella keskustelupalstalla olisi "velvollinen henkilö". Tämä ei siis tarkoita vastuullista päätoimittajaa, vaan enemmänkin luonnollista henkilöä, jolla on ylläpitovastuu järjestelmästä. De facto tällainenhän joka järjestelmässä jo on, mutta monesti heidän tavoittamisensa voi olla hankalaa. Velvollinen henkilö toimisi niin keskustelijoiden kuin mahdollisesti viranomaisten ensimmäisenä kontaktina, mikäli jotain inhaa tapahtuu. Tuomioistuin ja/tai poliisi sitten tarpeen vaatiessa antaa päätöksen - kuten nykyäänkin - ja velvoittaa tämän velvollisen henkilön sitten toimimaan asianmukaisesti. Tai sitten käyttäjä voi pyytää velvolliselta henkilöltä poistoa, ja tämä sitten joko tekee niin tai sitten ei (jonka jälkeen voi ottaa yhteyttä poliisiin).

Lähinnä ajan sitä takaa, että ylläpitäjien tulisi olla selkeästi merkittyjä, jotta heihin voi ottaa tarpeen vaatiessa yhteyttä. Samanlainen ilmoitusvelvollisuushan on jo käytössä esimerkiksi henkilörekisterien suhteen. Sen sijaan se, että heitä pidettäisiin vastuullisina kaikesta kirjoittelusta olisi - kuten moni on jo ehtinyt huomauttaa - käytännössä mahdotonta, ja ajaisi monta keskustelupalstaa joko pois Suomesta, piilottaisi ne darknetteihin tai sitten lopettaisi ne kokonaan - ja parhaimmassakin tapauksessa saisi aikaan epämääräisen paranoian ilmapiirin. Minä nimittäin ainakin tasan tarkkaan sulkisin suoraan sellaiset sivustot, joita ylläpidän kavereideni iloksi, mutta joita en itse ehdi hirveästi seurata.

En toki usko, että tällä erityisesti saataisiin kuriin ulkomaisten palstojen huutelua, mutta tämä sopisi melko hyvin myös hajautettuihin uutisjärjestelmiin, kuten USENET. USENETin ylläpitäjillä kun on jo mahdollisuus poistaa viestejä (spämmille tehdään tätä jatkuvasti, joskin jokainen uutispalvelin tietenkin päättää itse, totteleeko se poistokomentoa), mutta valvontaan eivät kenenkään rahkeet tietenkään riitä; ja ylläpitäjien laittaminen vastuuseen siitä, että Australiasta on postitettu viesti yhdysvaltalaiselle palvelimelle, joka nyt sattuu automaattisesti leviämään Suomeen, on lievästikin sanottuna täysin älytön ajatus.

Tuesday, 15-May-07 13:56
Local minima theory

The great thing about travel is that it takes you out of your comfort zone.

A friend of mine had a theory once: she used to talk about how people "get stuck in local minima". This is a loan from physics and mathematics, where a local minimum means a place where you need to use extra effort to get away from. For example, rainwater collects itself as ponds in local minimums: you need to actively send it to the global minimum: the storm drain. This is the same reason why proper design is important in a bathroom!

Anyway, people tend to get stuck in a local minimum: they find their comfort zone, and stay there. Many people never bother to take the extra effort needed to climb out of the hole they've dug, and see if there would be a better "local minimum". It's uncertain effort, because you could be in a global minimum, and every other option would be worse...

I'm not saying that people are bad because they do not seek life outside the comfort zone. But I am saying that it's important to realize when you are in a comfort zone, that there could be other options as well - but that it will require conscious effort to get out of them. And if you're happy with the decision to be wherever you are, all power to you. But, in my opinion, you need to make the conscious decision. Maybe you are already where you want, or maybe the walls are just too steep to climb out. But sometimes you see people stuck on what is essentially a flat area, and they just keep complaining, but they don't seem to have the ability to start finding something better, just because it will make your life slightly worse for a while.

I guess there's a law in there somewhre: "In the absence of external forces, people get stuck in their comfort zone."

That's why I love traveling: it provides constant nudges which keep putting you to situations you're not comfortable in. If you choose to look, you will see.

Tuesday, 15-May-07 10:15
"Oh, the hair thieves! The hair thieves, they come in the night… Steal your hair, they do! Sell us into slavery!"

Any Eddie Izzard fan should get a chuckle out of this one: Apparently, hair thieves are prowling in Myanmar.

(Via Boing Boing.)

Monday, 14-May-07 10:02
Off again

This weekend, I've mostly been traveling... Arrived to Helsinki from London on Saturday morning, and left yesterday evening for Düsseldorf. The more mathematically inclined can see that it's just one night at home, before going again.

I'm pretty glad the current stretch is almost over. No big trips coming up before Midsummer (that I know of), and I could possibly concentrate on getting some work done. Not that I mind travel, but things tend to pick up in May (because everyone seems to want to have a clean desk before summer holidays).

Anyhoo, time for a presentation. Let's hope I don't make too much of an ass of myself; I didn't have as much time as I would've liked to prepare for this (he said, knowing that at least part of the audience reads this blog...)

Sunday, 13-May-07 13:17
Finland wants mandatory moderation on all discussion boards

This is laughable: The national prosecutor wants mandatory moderators on all discussion boards. Why? Because currently there's a loophole in the legislation: if nobody moderates the messages, every person is responsible for what they write. However, if there is moderation, the moderators have responsibility for the messages.

So, if you have e.g. a blog, you suddenly become liable for everything that everyone else says on the comment section. Meaning that you must, in practice, read everything that everyone writes. For a blog this is probably still doable, but for a moderately active discussion board or a wiki... no chance.

Here's again an idea which, from a very narrow point of view, makes sense - but fails when thinking of the grander scheme of things:

  • You cannot control foreign sites. Meaning that USENET, blogspot.com and, well, close to 90% of everything is outside the reach of the law. And, obviously, people who habitually send in "bad" messages, will just shift to those places. There are some scary possibilities here if Finland starts thinking - just like the US - that Finnish law is also applicable on foreign soil.
  • What if someone buys something from a spam link and sues you for false advertising? Just asking...
  • We already have legislation which allows the police to get the IP address of the suspect, and figure out who he is. So, instead of making *everyone* the police, the police should be doing their job.
  • Because most people haven't got the slightest idea what is legal and what is not, it's probable that the moderators will start deleting messages "just in case". I know some sites which already do this - and I would hate to see every single discussion board to become like them.
  • What about copyright violations? Will the moderators will be responsible for those as well? Probably yes - so you must become a real police trying to figure out if e.g. an avatar image is stolen from somewhere. The easy solution: ban all images and links.
  • Large sites become near-impossible - or at least very expensive - to govern and control.
  • Mandatory moderation just stinks of censorship - or at least the first step towards it. You see, once such a large-scale system is in place, you can start enforcing things like "no discussion on topic X", and the scared little moderators will comply, because they don't want to go to jail.
  • What about other legal issues, like falsifying information? Stock-pump schemes? Are you responsible also if someone says that "he has good knowledge of stock XXX going up in the next few days?"
  • What about sites where everyone is a moderator, like a wiki?

All in all, this idea seems to be born straight out of an ass of some control freak. I wouldn't be surprised if the media industry was behind this: it would give them the ability to close whole websites or go after the moderators, if there's any "organized discussion" on copyright legislation. It would be easier and cheaper than trying to figure out IP addresses of the actual problem people, and just as effective. Not that they didn't actually do anything, but hey, a prosecutor's job is to find a scape goat!

Update: Apologies to Jari Lindholm for poor choice of words - when I sent "media industry", I really meant "entertainment industry" as a sub-species. I agree with your viewpoint that unmoderated discussion boards are probably a good thing to media houses. I was more concerned about this becoming yet another way with which e.g. discussion on piracy, crime, cryptography, and other grey areas could be stifled.

Sunday, 13-May-07 00:17
Sorry

I would like to apologize to the rest of Europe for Krisse Salminen (the lady in pink). It's a joke, and a very bad joke indeed.

Wednesday, 09-May-07 14:58
Open source as a religion?

Well, I've heard comments to that effect. Believe in it, and you shall be saved. Disbelieve in the goodness of Open Source, and thou shalt be damned. While open source has obviously some good things going for it, many people also agree that it's not a solution for everything.

I have a theory: there is no such thing as open source as an entity which could be understood. It's as elusive as, say, a "mobile phone user." Which we often refer to, but at least there we do understand that there are many different reasons for a person to use a mobile phone. Companies put in a lot of money trying to understand and "segment consumers" to figure out what kind of products sell.

Open Source is really a tool for accomplishing something. The aims can then wildly differ. If you asked all hammer owners, whether hammers in general are good, you would probably get overwhelmingly positive answers - because they bought the hammer because they needed it. The same way, if you talk to people who have already made the choice of open sourcing something, you'll get positive feedback.

It's not that important whether open source is good, but it would be far more important to understand the motivations of the people who have chosen open source. I think we have different kinds of open source: "no care ware" from people who just don't want to maintain small pieces of code; "debtware" from people who think paying back to the OSS community is okay; "communityware" from people who enjoy the feeling of being community leaders; "cheapware" from companies who realize trying to keep up with a custom fork of an OSS project is way too expensive; etc. Different motivations, different kinds of open source.

Just a few disassembled thoughts. But I'm really beginning to think that we should break open "open source" as a box and then try to put it back together to see if it still fits. If open source is becoming a commodity, then perhaps it should be treated like a commodity instead of a big, large, idealistic expression of Freedom of Speech and Basic Human Rights?

(LazyWeb request: anyone studied this yet? I'm sure, but I'm too lazy to Google, especially since I have a telco starting in five... Fifth one today. Yay. And tomorrow, UK. When I get old and start to wonder where did all the time go, I'll just look at this blog and my Flickr stream and go "oh, right".)

Wednesday, 09-May-07 00:38
We shall return to the Moon using cheesy effects!

NASA's "Returning to the Moon" video, containing the cheesiest special effects ever. I mean - how could anyone claim that moon landings were faked, if NASA can't produce better stuff than this with all the special effects technology of today? *grin*

(Via Collision Detection.)

Tuesday, 08-May-07 20:42
Second-hand CD ban

Yup. It had to happen: selling of used CD's is getting slowly banned. Why, you may ask? Perhaps because the music industry does not get a cut in these sales, so they consider it a theft pretty much like downloading music off the internet. Ars Technica reports:

On Florida, Utah, and soon in Rhode Island and Wisconsin, selling your used CDs to the local record joint will be more scrutinized than then getting a driver's license in those states. For retailers in Florida, for instance, there's a "waiting period" statue that prohibits them from selling used CDs that they've acquired until 30 days have passed. Furthermore, the Florida law disallows stores from providing anything but store credit for used CDs.

Why this trend, and why now? It's difficult to say, but to be sure, there is no love lost between retailers who sell used CDs and the music industry. The Federal Trade Commission has scrutinized the music industry for putting unfair pressures on retailers who sell used CDs, following a long battle between the music industry and retailers in the mid 90s. The music industry dislikes used CD sales because they don't get a cut of subsequent sales after the first. Now, via the specter of piracy, new legislation is cropping up that will make it even less desirable to sell second-hand goods. Can laws targeting used DVDs be far behind?

I was under the impression that most musicians love music, and they have extensive collections of new and old stuff. I was also under the impression that they were pretty poor, and therefore like to buy used CDs. And, I have also been told that there are companies which specialize in second-hand music, and that they are the favourite spots for many a beginning artist.

But of course, to protect the profits, er, musicians, these evil shops must die.

Consider this: when music becomes all digital, and if DRM becomes prevalent, there will be no such thing as "used" music anymore. You have to always buy from the source - at the price set by the source. No more CD swaps, no more 2nd hand stores, no more rummaging through super-sale boxes filled with dusty vintage music. Maybe not today, and maybe not in twenty years, but eventually there will be a large amount of music only available as digital bits without any physical manifestation which you could trade. And if this trend continues, this may become sooner than expected.

(Via pretty much everywhere.)

Sunday, 06-May-07 13:57
Spam in Jaiku

There's an old saying from a smart man (and I seem to recall it was Matt Jones): "Social Software is the kind of software which can be spammed."

So, I wasn't exactly surprised to start finding spam comments on my Jaiku account. "Buy Phentermine", it says, and it's from a Jaiku account named "buyphentermine". And I'm pretty sure it's not the only one.

I suppose this is a good indication that Jaiku is growing: it's important enough to get spammers joining. Let's see how they do in this inevitable onslaught of vermins.

The good thing is that I can delete the comment myself. However, if this becomes common, I - and others - probably won't bother...

Friday, 04-May-07 18:15
Rahutu Tuhkatriinu

OK, gotta admit it: I love this. A young Estonian singer remakes a Finnish dance hit from 1980s - and ends up with something way better than the original. Well, you can compare them yourself. If the languages sounds similar, that's just because Finnish and Estonian are related, but I have to admit I understand only a few words here and there. I actually like the way Estonian sounds: It's kinda like Finnish with a soft slavic touch, spoken by a Finn who's forgotten the words and is making most of them up as he goes along.

Gah. I feel a trip to Estonia approaching... (Unless I can find a web store that sells this, or they release this before I manage to hop to a ferry.)

(Via darling.)

Wednesday, 02-May-07 22:56
Talk tour...

I'll be talking in the Intland Expertenforum on wikis and social software in enterprise use:

Düsseldorf: 14.5
München: 15.5
Hamburg: 16.5

The seminars are free, and arranged in co-operation of Sun Microsystems. Feel free to drop by, if you want to hear me rambling incoherently on things I claim some vague knowledge on... Be warned that parts of the seminars are likely to be in German. Not my part, though - I'm not trusting my rusty German that much.

Wednesday, 02-May-07 11:27
Loyalty day?

WTF? Loyalty day?

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 1, 2007, as Loyalty Day. I call upon the people of the United States to participate in this national observance and to display the flag of the United States on Loyalty Day as a symbol of pride in our Nation.

Loyalty day? Loyalty day?

When exactly did the world become a bad comic book?

(Via Boing boing.)

Wednesday, 02-May-07 00:38
Another illegal number

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

It might not look like it, but the string of characters above is one of the Big Secrets of Mankind. It is the so-called AACS processing key, which allows you to decrypt every single HD-DVD movie released until a few days ago. Now, AACS is sending threatening letters to anyone who dares to utter those magical incantations, because they are EVIL! So, of course, everyone and their cousin are posting them on the web.

Actually, knowing those numbers is not enough to crack AACS. You still need to know how it works (and of course, a proof of concept already exists.) So it's not like we're talking about a cracking service.

The point being: any DRM-enabled system needs to give both the encrypted data and the decryption mechanism to the hands of the user. A smart user will figure out the decryption mechanism. And once one smart user figures it out, the whole world will know. So I just don't really understand why people bother. It's just so futile, and the money used in all this crap would probably be better used in doing other things - like given to the artists, or to hunt the real pirates - the guys who copy the disk 1:1, copy protection and all, and sell them for a cheap price on the markets and the internet. Those are the ones who're damaging the industry, not the people who are trying to play their legally purchased movies on their own hardware.

We all know a lot of things, which are dangerous and illegal. I know how to kill people with my bare hands and a bunch of different weapons - I trained it for years (though I probably would lose in any real fight; haven't been training in ages). I'm even a pretty decent shot, if you give me a gun. Knowing how to do that is not illegal - but using that knowledge for the wrong purpose is, and absolutely should be. The same thing should apply here: knowing a number should not be illegal. Using it to distribute a movie is, and it should be. And in my book, knowing how to kill people is a lot more dangerous than knowing how to decrypt a movie.

(Here's the number in decimal, so knowing and copying the following number into your blog could be illegal, depending on your legislation: 13,256,278,887,989,457,651,018,865,901,401,704,640.)

Friday, 27-Apr-07 18:26
Internet radio in the US is dead

Thanks to some new legislation, the internet radios in the US are getting their rates tripled, so that they'll end up paying something like 70-80% of their revenue as copyright fees. Ok, you say, but the artists must get money for their hard work! I agree. But this is not about paying the artists. Check out this interview with Pandora.fm's founder, Tim Westergren:

Westergren: They’re definitely misinformed. But there’s another piece of the story. Half of the money we pay to ~SoundExchange each month goes to the labels, and half goes directly to the artists. If these new rates do stick, then the only way webcasters will stay alive is to start striking direct licensing deals, at lower rates, with the major record labels. If those deals are struck, then all of that money goes directly to the label, and goes under the umbrella of traditional record deals, where only a very small percent ends up going to artists.

Sinnreich: So you believe that one of the strategic reasons the RIAA has for supporting these higher rates is so labels can offer a competitive lower rate directly to webcasters, which would mean more income overall for labels and less income for artists?

Westergren: That’s exactly right.

Sinnreich: That sounds pretty nefarious.

Westergren: It’s business. These are businesses that are struggling, and they’re trying to maximize revenue.

(Via Boing Boing.)

Friday, 27-Apr-07 17:52
Not only in movies...

Gave a presentation today. Nothing in particular, lots of handwaving around a subject too broad to be fully covered in 30 minutes, so all I could do was to drive a couple of points home, and fill the rest with something mildly entertaining. I hadn't really prepared that well for the presentation, so I was just trying to look and sound convincing and hoped that nobody would see the gaping flaws, and that audience wouldn't fall asleep or escape screaming (I have a theory that if you can keep your presentation somewhere in the middle, you're probably doing okay).

Well, the presentation was over, and I gave a sigh of relief. I returned to my seat, and leaned to a colleague next to me, and whispered: "That was a bit fluffy, wasn't it?"

With the microphone still on my lapel.

Wednesday, 25-Apr-07 22:42
Connectivity with Mac

One of the best, yet relatively unknown features, of Mac OSX is the ease with which you can share a connection. I tried with my work computer - the Thinkpad on the right - to get to the internet, but alas, no such luck. The WLAN connection does not work (signal is too weak) and for some reason, it also refuses to discover my cell phone over Bluetooth (it does, however, discover my previous phone, which is 2900 km away - some radio, huh?) However, my Mac does work (the Macbook antennas are apparently very good), so for once I'm grateful that I happened to lug two laptops with me.

So, I connect the Mac to the internet (and pay something horrendous), and then go to System Preferences -> Sharing Preferences -> Internet Sharing. Turn "Internet sharing on" from "Airport" to "Ethernet", put an Ethernet cable between Thinkpad and Mac, and hey! The Thinkpad is on the internet! VPN works and everything - the only downside being that the umbilical cord connecting the two modern wonders is about one meter, so I can't go too far. Internet sharing is by the way also a great way for not paying for two computers ;-)

I could, of course, share the 3G connection from the phone via the Mac's built-in WLAN, to get the truly wireless solution, but I think that's doing it over the top already. Besides, that would be even more expensive...

Sunday, 22-Apr-07 12:59
The prime of my life

I'm in a prime age - today, I'm 37! (Hardy har.)

But, talking about primes... There's a fascinating series of articles in Wikipedia, titled List of prime numbers, which contains more interesting numbers you can shake a digit at (ha!). How about delving into the mysteries of prime numbers which may be illegal to possess? Or, marveling at the calculator-defying Strobogrammatic primes? Or do you know how to calculate in base 2i or in phinary? Did you know that primes can be sexy or happy? Or that some of them are palindromic?

However, my personal favourite is the only "Even prime", the number 2. Which, of course, means that it's often referred to as the "oddest prime".

Sunday, 22-Apr-07 11:51
In Soviet Russia...

New York Times says: 50% Good News Is the Bad News in Russian Radio:

MOSCOW, April 21 — At their first meeting with journalists since taking over Russia’s largest independent radio news network, the managers had startling news of their own: from now on, they said, at least 50 percent of the reports about Russia must be “positive.”

In addition, opposition leaders could not be mentioned on the air and the United States was to be portrayed as an enemy, journalists employed by the network, Russian News Service, say they were told by the new managers, who are allies of the Kremlin.

Oh crap... Here we go again.

The good thing in the cold war was that when there was one clearly "evil" country, you could distinguish yourself from it by touting your own positive sides: freedom of information, travel, etc. In the past few years, when the "evility" has washed away from many countries, and the enemy has become something abstract, the waters became muddled and it became hard to see what is freedom and what is not. Nationalism is replaced with corporatism, and even in the western world, citizens rights are infringed more and more in the interest of safety against an unseen enemy. Maybe that's why it's been possible to do, because there is no clear "opposite" side, and you cannot take pride in being different, and better.

Well, to conclude this broadcast with positive news, here's a picture of Prince Albert of Monaco, whose security guards I managed to startle. Greetings to people I met at the WIMA conference, including Daniel. It was good to meet you guys, and to see the energy with which people are embracing the NFC technology!

Image courtesy of Mikko Saarisalo

Monday, 16-Apr-07 17:06
A day in the life...

So, five minutes before a telco, I grab my trusty tea mug, and head over to the coffee corner to get some caffeine brewing. On the way in, I realize I also have to go to the toilet. So I pop in for a quick whiz.

I place the mug on a side table, whip out my willy, and suddenly the left half of my brain goes: "INEFFICIENT!" (Yes, the word was in my mind with all caps and a robotic tone). "You should've put the tea to brew while taking a leak, now you're wasting time", my mind continues.

The next thought comes from the right side of the brain: "You stupid twat! It's just a minute! If you have to try to optimize your peeing, you're a fucking sad loser."

I nearly laugh, the discussion in my head is so odd. Odd, but eerie. Am I going nuts?

But hey, yeah, I'm back at work after a week's vacation. A week of rest does strange things to your mind - and so does wading through 200 unread emails.

I'll be a good corporate drone soon. Promise.

(This week, I'll be in Monaco. Say hi, if you're coming... Next week, I'll be in Madrid, and in May, on a frigging speaker tour as an invited speaker. I'll have more info on that later - at the moment I'm just a bit dazed at even the idea.)

Monday, 16-Apr-07 14:51
Nokia Beta Labs

Wa-hey, it's out: Nokia Beta Labs. The cool thing is that you get a direct channel to the people who're developing the software - and if this works out well, who knows what the next apps in the Beta Labs might be ;-)

(The crummy thing being that it's still not a proper two-way discussion. But at least it's a start.)

Friday, 13-Apr-07 23:50
My three problems with Jaiku

Been using Jaiku for some time. However, I still feel pretty uncomfortable with it.

  • The mobile client is a nice idea, but... There simply is not enough memory to run Jaiku and e.g. Navicore at the same time. So I need to quit Jaiku every time I'm on the move - which sort of kills a lot of the use cases.
  • The mobile client is very limited, because you can't read or add comments on it. So all this community creation shit is completely out of reach when you're on the move. In fact, the mobile client is so limited that if it wasn't for the nifty cell location thingy, it would be better that there was no mobile client.
  • Worse yet, there's no history on the mobile client. So what you see on the web site is really the history, the time dimension of what your friends have been doing - and on the mobile, you just see what is happening *now*. If you look at the mobile the wrong moment, it's all off. Just a snapshot of the richness, and therefore you feel that you're missing out.
  • The web site has some usability problems (with respect to comments), but my main gripe with it that it's so... Web 2.0. There's a certain part in me which is tired of seeing mashed-together sites that look nice, but have no proper documentation nor usability design.
  • I never know whether I should Jaiku in English or Finnish. I have no idea who's listening to my Jaikus, so I don't really know what I should say. And frankly, Jaikus are pretty intimate, so I'd be more comfortable in sending them in Finnish. But the problem is that I don't know if anyone cares - much like in blogs, when you lose your readers, you don't really know.

Minor problems, those above. The big, big, big problem is that I don't really care. I know I'm supposed to be the connected übergeek, but frankly, all of the people who I actually care about enough to know where they are, don't use Jaiku. Or could care less about such things. So the only people I can connect to on Jaiku are, well, pretty much the same people I connect through my blog, or through work, and - no offense guys - but I really don't care about you enough to constantly know where you are and what you are thinking and whether or not you are drinking a latte or a macchiato. I'm happy with the occasional processed thought on your blog, or a random picture of something on your Flickr every couple of days. That's fine, and great, and that's the kind of level I am comfortable with. But to get constant thought streams of people I normally see only a few times a year - well, that's just way too much useless information.

Maybe I'm a psychopath or something, but somehow I just don't feel the need to be constantly connected with everyone. I'm spending way too little time being connected with the people who actually matter to me, so why should I try to forge artificial connections to people that I barely know, who just happen to be using the same kind of technology than me? Doesn't quite compute.

There must be a better use for these tools than what they are currently being used for. Blogs became popular when enough people learned how to write a good blog. Maybe Twitters and Jaikus will achieve the same kind of status in the future, but at the moment they feel more like toys. I'm reminded of a fridge door with a notice board: at first people write things like "buy milk" and "went to the dentist". They end up decorating it with flowers and post cards and erotic poetry formed with a 70 word dictionary.

Gah. It probably shows that I'm pretty disillusioned with Web 2.0 and all this mobility stuff. IMO, the only value of Jaiku and Twitter is that they provide a new cradle for human creativity, which is really all that matters in the end. That's the reason why wikis and blogs and flickr and myspace and empty canvases and HB pencils and summer breaks and styrofoam and hammers and long, meaningless walks are important and interesting: they allow thoughts to grow. "Web 2.0" is becoming now a constraint, a convenient catchphrase, the box in which people think.

And I'm not interested in boxes.

Friday, 13-Apr-07 12:34
How do you know Web 2.0 is passé?

When the Finnish media starts covering a Web 2.0 conference.

Wednesday, 11-Apr-07 23:41
Running around with a GPS

Near a cache in Oslo, Norway
I'm getting into this geocaching thing. This week, we managed to score our first Mystery Cache, the MK, an 8-cache series with a prize at the end for the ten lucky (or skilled) first ones. We were number 3 to figure out the mystery and complete the whole course. Still haven't been able to be a first to find anything, but my hands are itching to start laying my own first cache...

Anyhoo, it's a fun hobby. You get to see loads of places you would normally never bother to go; and I get to spend quality time with the person I love, without the temptations of broadband internet access and Eclipse... Many caches have been located near places which are worth visiting some way or another, and usually you just buzz through on a highway without bothering to stop. I've found some caches near places I used to live, and seen things I didn't even know existed. You often also get a piece of the local history, though sometimes the caches are rather uninspiring, such as hidden between lanes of a busy motorway.

Many of the caches, especially in capital areas, are accessible with public transport or bicycles, so you don't even need a car. I don't own a car, I just rent one when I need to (it's way cheaper when you don't drive much, though sometimes you end up with things like a Citroen C1, a tuned-up Pepsi can which accelerates like an asthmatic beaver), so we can then spend some time also doing caching trips a bit farther away.

(Finns should head to geocaching.fi, a pretty neat resource for all things geocaching.)

Monday, 09-Apr-07 09:43
And I thought I was joking...

...when I commented on this blog on how there's soon going to be a "blogger code" and a badge people can show on their blogs so that they can feel superior.

Turns out O'Reilly and folks are making one.

I predict the next thing we're going to see is a "Censorship enforced" -badge, and a counter-movement to the freedom of expression. Not to mention about two dozen, short-lived, anonymous blogs which will proudly scream their heads off on how dumb an idea the "blogger code" is.

And, of course, none of this is going to amount to a gnat's shit in clearing up the blogosphere from morons.

Update: Michael Arrington says: "The code of conduct and the mass of bloggers lining up behind it scares me a lot more than the hate comments and death threats I’ve received in the past."

Update: Jeff Jarvis tears the whole thing apart. Quoting: "These pledges are all the more dangerous because big-media people think they are ethical and we’re not because they have pledges and we don’t."

Tuesday, 03-Apr-07 22:14
If you have a soft spot for cute rodents...

...this video will melt your heart.

<3 Mocha

Monday, 02-Apr-07 17:21
EMI to release DRM-free tracks in iTunes

Woo-hoo! Check out the EMI press release!

London, 2 April 2007 -- EMI Music today announced that it is launching new premium downloads for retail on a global basis, making all of its digital repertoire available at a much higher sound quality than existing downloads and free of digital rights management (DRM) restrictions. The new higher quality DRM-free music will complement EMI's existing range of standard DRM-protected downloads already available. From today, EMI's retailers will be offered downloads of tracks and albums in the DRM-free audio format of their choice in a variety of bit rates up to CD quality. EMI is releasing the premium downloads in response to consumer demand for high fidelity digital music for use on home music systems, mobile phones and digital music players. EMI's new DRM-free products will enable full interoperability of digital music across all devices and platforms.

In iTunes Music Store, you pay 30c more to get the tracks without DRM - and you can upgrade DRM'd songs to be DRM-free by just paying the difference. And get this: it's gonna be 256kbps AAC - not the regular 128 kbps! That's good enough for archiving and format conversion for a long, long time in the future. I'm happy with that. This is what was asked for, this is what they are doing, and now it's up to the market forces to take this thing forward.

So, this means that the price of online music should settle at $1.29€/song, with cheaper versions available at different levels of cripplitude. I'm pretty sure that the $1.29€/song figure won't change for a long time (because traditionally, the price of music has not exactly gone down with new technologies), but it's still fine compared to new CD prices.

(Via, well, everywhere.)

Update: A surprisingly insightful comment from Slashdot, where someone wonders if this is going to kill Microsoft's music strategy, Windows Media, and Zune:

If all the labels offer their music DRM free by the end of the year, then what incentive is there for any online music store, except for the Zune store, to offer music in Windows Media format, given that the iPod is incompatible with WMA and represents about 80% of the target market.

Well, twenty percent of the player market is still quite a lot, and considering that many cell phones play happily both WMA and AAC, I don't know if it really matters. But this surely is going to change the dynamics of the marketplace.

Update2: Just realized that increased quality probably means watermarking. Oh well, as long as it's not audible and that they are open about it.

Sunday, 01-Apr-07 13:49
Wasn't at ETech, don't care

I've been to O'Reilly's Emerging Technology conference a few times. This year, it didn't even occur to me to beg my boss to go there. In fact, I wasn't really aware of it happening, because there just wasn't excited buzz about the speakers. It even seems that the biggest cahoot was about someone not speaking there. And judging from Ewan's comments, nobody really missed anything by not going.

Maybe it's a sign of maturity that the "exciting new things" -conference has become a "old friends meeting each other" -conference. Maybe it means that we can finally move beyond blogging and wikis and all that social technology shit, and start inventing new, cool stuff again with a set of fresh, new faces.

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...


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



More info...  
"Main" last changed on 10-Aug-2015 21:44:03 EEST by JanneJalkanen.

My latest photos

www.flickr.com