Collision Detection (great name!) writes about a device that can record smells, currently being developed at the Tokyo Institute of Technology.
I can't even begin to imagine the copyright problems with that one... Will there be armed guards frisking you at the door when entering ~McDonalds so that you can't steal their signature smell and use it in your own burger joint?
(Yeah, it's Friday.)
My first name sounds feminine in many languages, so on occasion people get confused as to my sexuality. Which sometimes leads to fun situations with hotel clerks scrambling to change my reservation when I introduce myself. (I wonder whether they remove or add something in the room.)
You might know that I am an open source developer. I get a lot of emails from users. Most of them are nice, some of them are incomprehensible, and a few of them have really made me scratch my head. Like the one I received a few days ago: Someone felt obliged to tell me that they stopped using JSPWiki, because they found out that I am a man. Apparently woman-made wikis are better in some respect which I cannot fathom.
Oh well. "Nice" to be on this end of the stick for a change.
Now this is rather interesting... Google launches Google Account Authentication, which allows you to use Google's user database for authentication in your own web apps. I.e. if an user has a Google account, like GMail, they can use that password to access your web app.
This is exactly what Microsoft did with their ill-fated Passport, which seems to have fallen into disuse except in Hotmail... It will be interesting to see whether Google will be treated in the same way as Microsoft was.
I see immediately some uses for this e.g. with spam protection on blogs and wikis. However, in a way that eerily reminds me of the fight against terrorism and civil liberties being sacrificed in that arena, wouldn't giving identity federation to a single company just to combat spam - the terrorism of the blogosphere - be a tad over the top?
A Karaoke version + subtitles in multiple languages are available as well. And it's very, very catchy. In fact, it's one of those things that will simply run around in your head like a lost bird in a sports hall...
(How geeky can you get? "Hon kan banna dig so hårt...")
(Sorry for Finnish content; local copyright issues yet again.)
Lyhyessä ajassa suosikikseni noussut Viides rooli kertoilee yrityksistään selvittää Aamulehden tapaa lainailla blogeja viikkoliitteeseensä, sitaattioikeuden rajoja hivotellen. Kannattaa vilkuilla ja käydä kommentoimassa siellä.
Onko blogi kokonaisuus, ja merkinnän lainaaminen vain sitaatti; vai onko yhdenkin merkinnän kopiointi jo ongelma? Monellehan tällä ei ole väliä, koska bloggaus on vain harrastus, mutta bloggaavia ammattilaisia tämä voi hyvinkin siepata sydämenpohjasta. Suomessa on nykyään erinomaisia käsityöblogeja, joiden omistajia voisi korventaa melkoisesti, jos joku alkaisi lainata esimerkiksi vaivalla väsättyjä käsityöohjeita ja kuvia sanasta sanaan omaan kaupalliseen lehteensä "sitaatin" hengessä. (En nyt ota kantaa siihen, ovatko esim. koruohjeet tekijänoikeuslain tarkoittamia teoksia. Tietty tapa kertoa ohje kyllä todennäköisesti on...)
Lainaamisen selkeyttämiseksi suunnitellut CreativeCommons-lisenssit voivat ehkä jopa vaikeuttaa tilannetta, koska ne voivat antaa kuvan siitä, että sisältö olisi vapaasti käytettävissä kaikkiin tarkoituksiin. Näinhän ei useimmiten ole, ellei sitten kyseessä ole PD-lisenssi. Creative Commonsin idea on luoda helppo tapa antaa hieman enemmän oikeuksia kuin mitä kovin tiukaksi suunniteltu tekijänoikeuslaki muutoin antaisi - esimerkiksi vaikka oikeuden tehdä kopioita vapaasti, kunhan ei muuta tai käytä kaupallisesti (ns. Non-Commercial, Non-Derivative -lisenssi). Joka tapauksessa isoilla päivälehdillä on oma maineensa varjeltavana, joten en usko, että kovin kauheita ylilyöntejä tässä tapahtuu. Parempi vain, että hyvät kirjoittajat pääsevät esille ja kasvattavat omaa mainettaan... ja että hyvät mielipiteet pääsevät esille. Tässäkin on mielestäni parempi suojella yhteiskunnallista keskustelua ja yleistä sananvapautta kuin yksittäisen kirjoittajan hypoteettista tulonmenetystä.
Minua jutussa lähinnä korpeaa se, että Aamulehden verkkopainoksen ilmaispuolella noita "Blogosfääri" ja "Verkossa" -palstoja ei ole. Jos siellä olisi lainaus ja linkkaus alkuperäiseen, niin sillä saattaisi bloggaaja saada edes lisää lukijoita... Symbioosi on parempi kuin loiselämä, nääs.
From the Nokia press release:
Um. Maybe that's a bit of a mouthful. Simply put, it means that Nokia and G&D form a company which will develop solutions which allow you to put your credit card in your cell phone and use it for payment by simply waving it at the cash register, and invite others to join the party, too. Good things ensue: you can turn your credit card off, you can see directly from your cell phone what you have bought, and you don't need to carry that much stuff with you. The difficulty is getting the credit card into the phone, as there are quite a few players in the game who have their own view of how things should work: the credit card company, the bank, the operator, the mobile phone manufacturer, the user himself... You need someone to make it all click.
The downside of all this integration being, of course, that once you put everything in your cell phone (or shoe for that matter, though Nokia gave up shoe business a long time ago), losing it will cause you a bit more trouble than today.
But the thing is, some people like to cram everything into one device so that they don't need to carry everything they own, whereas others are happy with a bunch of different things - one thing should perform one function: a phone is a phone, a music player is a music player, a credit card is a credit card, and a shoe is a shoe. The problem is that at the moment the latter people are well catered for, the former ones not at all...
And yes, it's more complicated than that. And no, these guys are not alone at it. But I wish them good luck anyways.
I'm excited. Are you excited? Well, I am excited.
Here's an interesting tidbit - Tuomas Rinta was trying to cash in a Google ~AdSense check, and it turns out his bank takes 85 € to turn it into hard currency. With today's exchange rate, that's about USD 107. Therefore, since Google sends your check at every $100, you'll end up with pieces of worthless paper in your hands...
I haven't hit that problem yet - I've had ads on this site for almost a year now, and so far haven't yet hit the first $100. (So as a method to get rich quick, ads on a website are not terribly good.)
Why checks are so expensive then? My guess is that it's because they're not used in this part of the world at all, and therefore handling them is a pain in the butt that the banks just don't want to deal with. No matter what the reason, I would recommend everyone with a Nordea account to put a tick in their "hold the payment" box until Google can do Electronic Fund Transfer to Finland. Unless, of course, you're making significant amounts of money from ~AdSense.
(That, or switch banks. But that's a huge hassle for mere 85€.)
Forget Agile! Forget XP! The Waterfall Model is making the rounds again, and this time in the Waterfall 2006 conference, with such exciting topics as:
- Pair Managing: Two Managers per Programmer
- User Interaction: It Was Hard to Build, It Should Be Hard to Use
- Ruby On Snails: Slow Down Development With This New Framework
- Development Driven Development and Test Driven Testing
This is a must for every self-respecting programmer!
"Waterfall - put testing where it belongs: in the end."
(Via Tuomas. Thanks for the laugh!)
((If you're not a software engineer, this all is very funny.))
OK, so maybe it's an old trick to put a Mentos in a Diet Coke bottle and watch the foam burst out, but some people still make art out of it.
I know I have sometimes trouble waking up in the morning. Something like this would make me homicidal instead of just grumpy.
(via Boing Boing.)
I've been quiet all week because I've been away doing my semi-obligatory military training. Oh well, another country saved.
Maybe I'm getting old, but a lot of the way the military works is starting to make sense to me. When you first go there at the tender age of 19 or so, you don't really know shit about how the world works, but the older you get, the more you realize it's not just random bullshit, but there is really a reason behind it all. You might disagree with the reasoning, but there is logic. Serious logic, which comes from the fact that military is very, very serious business.
I was a bit too hasty on congratulating the Forum Nokia folks on starting blogs - it turns out that the platform they're using is some totally awful crap. So says Anina, and she certainly knows what she is talking about. In addition, it appears that the first time she posted about it on her Forum Nokia Champion blog, the admins asked her to remove the post.
This is a good example of how a part of a company can get it, whereas another part of the company just has no clue whatsoever (Yes, I recall talking to these people. No, apparently I was not vocal enough). Let me give you a couple of whacks with the clue stick:
- Don't develop your own blog platform! You don't have to reinvent the wheel. You can do it, but then you have to be prepared of the criticism, because your system will take years to be as good as everyone else's. This is okay for individual hackers, but for corporations where blogging is not the core activity - it's simply not a good idea. Use something that is out there on the market.
- If you get criticism, you listen to it. You don't try to hide it.
- If you ask for someone to blog on your site, be prepared for the time he will say something you don't like
- When someone says something you do not like, you don't make them remove it.
- Especially if that person is an A-list blogger, and her real blog is far more famous than your own crappy blog.
- If you're going to have a sucky blog platform, don't ask well-established bloggers to use it. They know what blogging is far better than you do.
- And for chrissakes, if you want to be hip and follow the new trends in blogging - don't develop your own blog platform! (I have done it, and this is why my blog sucks. But at least I'm pretty much the only one using it...)
There ain't nothing complicated about blogging. But it's not "just like" PR. It's not "just like" marketing. It's blogging. And you're gonna have to treat it differently. Or not do it at all.
As you can see, my visitor count went up by a factor of 11 on last Tuesday. During the highest load, JSPWiki and Tomcat were serving up to five requests per second... Talk about stress testing. Click on the image to get a better view.
(And it only crashed once.)
Again, thanks heaps everyone. It's been great seeing old friends pop up to say their congratulations - you should comment here more often! :-)
Widsets beta allows you to have similar functionality to Yahoo Widgets or Apple Dashboard on your Java-enabled mobile phone. It should be compatible with quite a few phones, not just Nokia ones, even though it's a Nokia project. I've been playing with it for some time, and it's a pretty cool concept.
The idea is that you use a very AJAXy web interface to manage the configuration of your widgets, and then they get automatically synced to your mobile phone. Yes, this means that there typically is a server side component which preprocesses the information, so that the mobile phone does not have to do everything. Some templates are provided so that you can make your own, basic Widsets easily, but the SDK is also available from the web site.
And, in the true Web 2.0 style, they've got a blog and it's in beta :-).
(Yes, this was one of the big news I was referring to earlier this week. This, the NFC Forum thing, the Forum Nokia blogs and the proposal, obviously. I've been sitting on all of those for quite a while, so it feels great to let it all out :-D. Truly an unforgettable week has this been. Did I have any other big news? Can't remember anymore...)
Liki kaksi vuotta sitten toimitin postittamatta jääneen Kultaisen Kuukkelin Ouluun, ja olen kiittänyt laiskuuttani siitä asti. Muistan kirkkaasti ensimmäisen IRC-viestini ("Perse-Janne tässä moi"), ensimmäisen tekstarisi ("You're doomed :-D") ja ensimmäisen yhteisen tapaamisen Elektroniikkatien insinööriluolaston synkässä katveessa.
After our first meeting I managed to ignore my work and keep chatting and talking with you with such a fervor, that I knew something special was on. Then, the next Friday afternoon, without any planning, I just bought a flight ticket and... the rest is history. I fell deeply and madly in love in just a few measly hours.
Kosit minua ensimmäisen kerran tekstareitse Islannissa - olin juuri istahtanut rentoutumaan pitkän ratsastuksen jälkeen ja avattuani puhelimen, siihen tipahti viesti sinulta: "Moi kulta! Eropaperit tuli, mennäänkö naimisiin?" Ja minä nauroin, heleästi ja syvältä, onnellisempana kuin koskaan aikaisemmin. Se oli puhdasta ilon naurua - joskin Islannissa on nykyään jokunen ihminen (ja useampi pahasti säikähtänyt lammas), jotka pitävät minua aivan kahjona.
One of my happiest days was the day you moved in with me. My fault: I said that we should probably live a bit together first. These past 16 months have truly been the happy days, and not for a moment have I regretted the decision. You light up my day, even when you're down.
En enää osaa kuvitella elämää ilman sinua. Haluan nukahtaa viereesi ja herätä vierestäsi nyt ja aina. Haluan vanhentua ja nähdä maailman ihmeet kanssasi. Sydämeni pakahtuu, kun yritän kuvata, kuinka paljon rakastan sinua. En tiedä, mihin tämä johtaa, mutta siitä olen varma, että tämä on oikein ja parhautta:
Outi, rakkaani ja oma pörröpääni: tuletko vaimokseni ja elät kanssani hamaan loppuun asti?
Outi, my dearest, will you marry me until death do us part?
11:18 - YES, YES, YES!!! I can finally ease off on the "reload" button :-D
14:52 - Oho.
Yup, Nokia's developer guys have also started a blog, aimed squarely at other developers who are interested in Symbian, S60, S40, Mobile Java, Python and other thingamalingies you can use to torture your poor cell phone with.
I think it's about time - my feeling has always been that Nokia's developer programs have been lacking a lot of the enthusiasm of other platforms. Partly, this is due to Symbian and S60 being so... difficult to work with; partly because cell phones are not seen as mobile computers (Witness the Geek Haven Slashdot, where every new Nokia press release is treated with "but I just want a phone". Bah, near-sighted luddites.); and partly because getting your program on someone's cell phone and getting money wrenched out of the user is just not very easy.
The Forum Nokia blogs won't solve everything, of course, but I like their approach: they're also allowing quite a few other guys, not just Nokia employees, to write those blogs. Makes sense; there's more knowledge outside the company than inside, and this is really about members of a community blogging to other members of the same community, under a corporate umbrella - not a corporate bullhorn feeding pre-chewed items for the press to digest. Now, if I could just figure out which Enterprise blogger category those external guys belong to...
More interesting stuff still to come along - this is beginning to look like a very busy week.
In addition to the press release above, NFC Forum also released a FAQ. Though, I have to say, I would far prefer a HTML-formatted FAQ than crappy PDF. But hey, this is good old-school engineering and not that Web 2.0 hippie crap ;-). Unfortunately, the real technical specs aren't quite out there yet. But one thing at a time...
Simply put, under all the marketing lingo the aim of Near Field Communication is rather simple: to mobile devices easier to use. Want to use a new Bluetooth headset with your phone, but can't figure out the pairing? Just turn on the headset, and touch the two together. Let the device worry about all the details. Want to send a picture to your TV set? Just touch your digital camera to the TV set, and watch the blinkenlichts go and your picture appear. See an interesting thingy advertised on the street? Just touch the logo, and your device will figure out how to get connected to their web site. Want to pay with a credit card? Wave your phone at the reader, and type in the PIN code.
I know some of the examples quoted in the FAQ sound cheesy, but that's what always happens with new technology. The geeks who dream up this sort of stuff usually have little idea as to where their invention ends up - it might be in a forgotten dumpster in a lost city, or it might be in the Hall of Fame. Who's to know?
In fact, NFC is not really new either. It's built on existing technologies (ISO 14443A,B and ~FeliCa, each of which has an install base counted in tens of millions), and all sorts of interesting things have been out there for a while. The cool thing is that now there is at least one standard, and people don't have to make their own, proprietary solutions anymore.
For me personally, the single greatest thing about Near Field Communication is its inherent hackability. The technology is pretty versatile, open and cheap - perfect for lone guys in their garages to do interesting stuff with. While there is a big payment industry out there that screams "waaaa" and waves their tiny hands up in the air whenever anyone mentions hacking, there is lots of room for the little guys as well. Just not in the payment stuff.
I have great hopes. There are people already looking into this stuff, such as Timo Arnall and his Touch project at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design (note: it's not a technology school. NFC is far too interesting to be owned by technologists, in my humble opinion.)
(Disclaimer: I'm deeply involved in NFC Forum's work. In fact, I am the editor of several of the specifications... So blame me.)
Update 19-Jun-06: there's now a HTML version of the FAQ online.
Good news (in Finnish)! The Finnish Parliament voted to remove the controversial article from the next revision of the copyright law, which would've made it possible to publish a defendant's name along with his crime at the defendant's cost, should he be found guilty of violating the copyright legislation. The law was heavily criticized on being medieval in allowing public humiliation of people.
(By the way, there should be some interesting announcements in the next 24 hours. Stay tuned...)
Edit: It was too good to be true. Digitoday covers the story far better - the articles are still there, just subdued and hidden.
Just look at this list of civil rights violations performed in the raid on Pirate Bay's ISP a few days ago. Confiscating and searching through random servers who just happened to be in the same room? It also seems that the server hosting KavkazCenter.com was among those confiscated - how convinient is that? (The site is up again, I see.) It seems that it's not the King that's leading the country, but US copyright organizations...
I understand there's a big commotion about this over the pond. Good thing, too.
This kind of bullying tactics is only going to cost the anti-piracy organizations lots and lots of good will, which they might have had before. You can't shut down pirates this way - Pirate Bay is up and running again, this time in the Netherlands.
Anything which can be digitalized loses its uniqueness. Whether we're talking about text, music, movies, or even whole web sites - anything can be copied, transported, cloned and distributed. It's like fighting the Hydra; when you remove one of its heads, two grow back. If it's important, it won't die.
I really see only two ways out of this situation:
- Turn the Internet into a closed system: anything that is put online must be reviewed first for copyright infringement. This is nearly impossible, for rather obvious reasons.
- Embrace and Extend: A media consumption tax on broadband, collected by Teosto and Gramex. 5€ on every broadband system/month. Make trackers legal and P2P networks legal, and ask the guys nicely to put in tracking code so that they get accurate info on whose songs and media gets downloaded, then distribute the 5€ accordingly.
I like #2 for quite a few reasons: Finland has 1.1 million broadband connections. Five euros on each would generate 66 Million € / year of copyright revenue, which is about double the amount of money that Teosto currently collects from public performances. This would mean an increase of about 200% to any musician's copyright-levy based income.
Of course, getting music for free off the internet would probably diminish CD sales. However, it's my understanding that they're not that significant income, unless you're really famous - making CDs costs money, and the artist gets about 4% of the retail price anyway, roughly 1€/sold CD. My totally back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that the increase in the income should more than compensate for the CD sales loss for most artists.
However, the people who would lose would be the record companies, who make most of their money from CD sales. So, it's very unlikely that #2 would ever be accomplished, even if it was better for the artists, simply because the people with the money do not want to see their profits fluster away to the artists. Bah.
Frankly, I would be happy to pay a 5€ "media consumption tax" on my broadband, if it gave me free access to any and all music in the world. I would not need to worry about backing up DRM'd files, because anything and everything could be trivially re-downloaded in the event of a catastrophe. New innovations on finding new music and rediscovering old would flourish. And perhaps we would be freed from the tyranny of the hits - being forced to listen to the same songs in the same radio stations all over again. Perhaps even it would be a true rebirth of radio on the internet?
What if you're not downloading music? Heck, you're paying for music already in the form of CD levies and MP3 players. Why not broadband?
Parkour, aka freerunning, still keeps amazing me. It's incredible what humans can do when they really put their mind to it (and supress any self-preservation instincts they might have). These guys from Russia have made it to look like a music video...
It is no wonder that myths about people running up and down the walls, flying, going through walls, and disappearing without a sound still persist. In a world where magic was commonly the explanation for anything that was out of the ordinary, a band of highly trained warriors would create more legends than your average fiction writer during his career.
This is an old reference, but it didn't really hit me until during lunch today. As Tommi points out, blogs drive traffic to your site. Why? Because they are constantly refreshed with new material and it is very easy to find the new material - it's on the top of the page. This means that people return frequently to your site because they like it, not because they have to.
That point alone should get any marketer's toes tingle with excitement.
From the Philips Bodygroom web site, the "why men should shave their groin area" -section:
In exactly which way does "optical inch" help - whatever it is that you're doing? The ad agency must've had a blast with this one...
Yeah, it's Wednesday. Obviously.
The question of blogging and how corporations should handle it seems to pop up every now and then. The conversation runs around in circles on whether a company should blog, what are the concrete benefits, and so on. However, little attention is given to bloggers themselves. In my discussions, I've found it useful to categorize corporate blogs and bloggers into four categories (sorry for the lack of funny names, couldn't think of any that weren't derogatory):
- This class consists of people who don't affiliate themselves in the company in any way. They might be anonymous, pseudonymous, or blogging under their own name, but they don't talk about their job, or even mention they work for the company. Most of the blogs belong to this category, and are interesting from the enterprise point of view as customer blogs; the place where a bad review spreads like wildfire.
- Bloggers, who have their own personal website, but still do associate themselves with a company, comprise Category II. Their blogs are strongly identified to a person, are rarely pseudonymous, and may or may not have anything to do with the work. Quite a few of "known" bloggers are in this category, such as Robert Scoble, who sometimes is called "THE Microsoft blogger." If a Cat II blogger were to switch jobs, the blog would still continue; he'd just identify himself with another company.
- Some corporations run big blog networks under their own domain. These blogs, which I call Category III, are typically centered on a subject or a particular aspect of the company (such as Tommi's S60 Applications). While the authors appear as real persons, and in some cases, get very strongly identified as the company blogger, they are still a company thing, and should the blogger leave; someone else would probably pick it up and continue writing.
- In the most extreme case of corporate blogging, the author goes completely anonymous (somewhat like in Cat I), and the blog becomes a true "corporate voice", often repeating the same things as the official press releases. (The Official Google blog looked like this some time ago; now it's become a group blog where people write under their own names.)
This categorization raises some questions: how should enterprises approach the different blogs and bloggers? How to handle Cat II bloggers, who sometimes mention their work (like me)? Should they be banned, ignored, rewarded, or maybe killed? How do you build a successfull Category III blog and maximize the brand value? Do Category IV blogs have any intrinsic value over press releases, since they're not personal? How do you watch the hordes of Category I bloggers, who might be slipping out all sorts of secret stuff ("my boss is an idiot and he gave me this stupid cell phone to design in five weeks because we're launching in two months")? Can you hire Cat II people and make them your Cat III people? Does having a great and successfull Cat II blog mean that you have what it takes to author a great and successfull Cat III blog?
I don't know yet, but I'm certainly searching for answers. Enterprise blogging seems to be hitting a sweet spot by giving more to the class of users who actually do care about the products. Previously, no matter what your interest level was, there were very few ways of influencing or communicating directly with the company, except by writing personal letters and getting back form replies. Now, it's possible for the more involved customer to have this direct conversation, which connects the people who make their living out of making something, and those who spend their money on that something. And I think it's a good thing which is not likely to go away soon, because once you get used to it, it's very hard to give up.
[#2] Which is, of course, a very engineer-like approach, but sometimes that is useful, especially in an engineering company. Remember, engineers designed the computer you're reading this on, so we can't be completely useless or wrong, no matter how much you pooh-pooh at us. So nyah.
The new Eurovision hero, Lordi, has triggered another case of mob justice: A Finnish trash/celeb magazine "7 päivää" has published the picture of Mr. Lordi, Tomi Putaansuu, without his mask, against his explicit wishes.
Within a few hours, the discussion forum was filled with angry messages, to the point of nearly crashing the server (seems to be working now). A petition condemning the actions is filling rapidly, with 13676 names within six hours (and it's growing fast). The editor of the magazine says: "well, it was published before, so there is no harm."
Apparently, people think differently. Even the petition page is creaking under the load, and Seiska has removed the names and email addresses of their staff from their web pages (hey, you should be willing to stand behind your words, you creepy cowards. Well, I'm sure the Google cache and Archive.org copies have alread been posted everywhere.)
In addition, Hämeen Sanomat also published the unmasked image of Lordi, and their discussion forums are also being bombarded with angry messages from people saying they are going to cancel their subscription. The editor says (scroll down in the thread): "Hey, it's just entertainment."
Maybe it is. But still, people are feeling pretty strongly about it. So strongly that they're demanding that the names and addresses and faces of the journalists be brought forward, too.
The internet crowd is capable of reacting extremely fast, far faster than before, because they don't need to move physically to one place to demonstrate. This makes them very dangerous, too, because an angry crowd becomes a lynching mob pretty easily, if someone knows how to play them right (proven most recently by the Muhammad pictures affair).
What's the difference between a guy who does not want his face to be shown in public, and a dead prophet? At least the Finnish fans aren't storming the UK embassy, killing everyone with an UK passport, and demanding an apology from Tony Blair, just because The Sun published the same pictures on their front page.
After all, it's just entertainment.
"Seiska's IP address is 126.96.36.199. It is in Espoo. Attach lightly first, let's co-ordinate some further actions."
So, you wonderful misfits figured out where seiska.fi is (which is trivial, even for a rhesus monkey), and now you want to talk about attacking it on a public forum hosted on the same frigging server you're going to attack? Good luck there. And remember, your own IP addresses are stored by seiska now :-D
Update: The petition mentioned above has gathered 124929 names now. This is an insane amount of people, and should worry any editor.
Update, Friday 26th: Seiska apologizes publicly, after they have started to lose advertisers. Pirkka writes really well on the subject: "Seiska showed what they think of their readers: they're rumour-hungry vultures, who take any scandal they can get. And a surprisingly large amount of people told them that they do not want to belong to that group." (translation mine). There is also a nonviolent campaign of "turn the mag upside down".
According to the metadata from the MP3s, at least one file comes from a Spanish website called GrupoeMusica, an illegal source of music files if I ever saw one. So, while technically Sony BMG owns the copyright, they're downloading the content from an illegal source, therefore committing copyright infringement and should sue themselves...
The fun part is that it was probably the easiest way to get the music for the guys who put together the website... But frankly, this kind of behaviour does not exactly solidify the image of white knights championing for artists, but more the image of a corporation trying to make all the money they can, no matter how.
(Via Marginaali. Or to be specific, comments.)
...and I've drunk 1/3 bottle of perfectly fine Fettercairn single malt whiskey, before it's too late. I feel my toes freezing already.
For the first time ever, Finland has won the Eurovision song contest.
Anyone who promised to move to Sweden if Lordi wins: Don't worry. You can still stay here. That is, if you can stand the rest of us being really, really, really smug about it. It turns out that we won the semi-finals, too!
(Congrats also to Carola, who's managed to score a respectable 3rd place, 1st place and 5th place for Sweden throughout the history of the Eurovision song contest. Just lay off with the fans next time, okay?)
My flight landed so late that we actually watched the whole show from tape. We refused to answer any calls, read any SMS's or blogs because of the fear of being spoiled of the result. What a perfect way to return home, dwarfed only by the hug I received when I walked through the door...
But the most stopping thing was descending 72 meters underground, and travel the 500m of tunnel dug by North Koreans in an attempt to create a passage through which up to 30,000 soldiers could travel in an hour, unnoticed, to about 52 km of Seoul. At the end of it stands a concrete block, with a well-locked door.
Behind it... who knows? Endless dark tunnels, forever sealed, leading into the most mysterious nation in the world.
Home tomorrow. I could spend more time here.
The flushing handle (marked) is put so close to the ground, that you have to lean forward to reach it. Now, this takes your face rather close to the surface of the water in the bowl, which makes it very easy (and mandatory) for you to do a thorough survey of your ... produce.
I suppose this is one way to teach humility.
(Yes, I could close the lid. But what's the fun in that?)
As mentioned below, one of the great perversions pleasures of traveling abroad is watching the very late night programming on foreign TV stations. And the early morning professional go games on Japanese TV, but that’s borderlining on weird.
In Korea, you really realize that there’s a large military presence here. I’ve been called a "fucking Texan" on a couple of occasions already, though not by Koreans. What really fascinates me is the U.S. Armed Forces Network, a large military channel which plays on channel 2 of my hotel TV, and it has been teaching me things.
Now I know that sexual assault is bad and should be reported (no shit), and that military research saves lives, and that 2% of Americans are assuring freedom of speech for the rest, that May is the “military appreciation month”, though that should not stop you from appreciating the military on other months, too, that there are very cute bartenders who can spin a hula hoop while balancing a Corona bottle on their head, that railway cars docking can be very erotic, and that one should think before dressing in disco clothes or imitating Don Johnson in public, because not all countries are as forgiving as USA. (Very sage advice, I might add.)
It’s interesting to note that they seem to be actively encouraging interaction with the local communities. The programming they play is “safe” home entertainment, with familiar shows such as the Jay Leno Show, Lost, The Family Guy and all sorts of dramas. At least they’ve got David Letterman, with an occasional Bush joke and pretty blatant ad placement. There are none of your standard ads, but either very high-brow, patriotic, tens-of-millions-of-dollars advertisements; or really cheap ones built on an old Amiga or something. Nice contrast there. Gives this sort of a hobby-like image.
When you can't sleep on a business trip, you watch TV. Channelsurfing, I ended up watching the ABC Lateline program. And now I most certainly can't sleep.
It appears that for a long time, there have been constant sexual abuses of children, down to the age of seven months in Australian aboriginal communities, where violence is common, there is no police, and a strong culture of silence which is very punitive: If you go to court and tell your story, the accused person's family will exert physical violence on you, for getting that person into trouble.
These are not isolated and anecdotal cases. Crown prosecutor Dr. Nanette Rogers in Alice Springs has released a paper detailing these atrocities, and was interviewed for TV.
NANETTE ROGERS: That was in a remote community. The child or the baby was asleep with other adults in a room in the house. The offender came along and removed the sleeping baby and was in the process of taking it outside the house. One of the adult women woke up and took the baby back and put it back into bed with her and they went back to sleep. Unbeknownst to the sleeping adults, he came back again and removed the child. A man in the house was - saw someone on the verandah at some point, he went out, and he found the offender with this baby and the baby was naked from the waist down. He didn't know anything untoward had happened. He persuaded the man to relinquish the baby because it was cold and all the rest of it. So the offender relinquished the baby after some talking and the man then put it back inside and they went to sleep. In the morning, the mother of the baby - she'd been drinking, she was still drunk - she came back to the house. She changed the clothes of the baby. There was blood on the clothing. The mother then went - left the house.
TONY JONES: She didn't notice? Is the evidence, in fact, that she was too drunk to realise what had happened to her own baby?
NANETTE ROGERS: That's one way of looking at it. The...when the mother left the house, one of the other adult women went and got the child, changed the baby's nappy, noticed the blood and so on and that baby, the seven-month-old baby and the two-year-old both required surgery for external and internal injuries under general anaesthetic.
TONY JONES: There are other cases. One of them is almost too depraved to talk about, but one feels you have to, in a way, get these things out in the open. But this is of an 18-year-old petrol sniffer who actually drowns a young girl while he's raping her?
and later on, about the aboriginal culture:
What a great word!
(From Koranteng's Toli.)
Verydrunk right now. Ended up in Seoul, South korea. Nice people. Like very loud htings. Lots of noice about. My ears are ringing.
UMTS networks are available, but their coverage is not very goofd, not even in Seoul.
In futher niews, I would like to point out that haengul is pretty easy to learn, but it is nigh imposslbe to learn Korean after five beers an dlots of oicse in an all-you_can-eat-and-drink bar.
Local clubbing scene very loud. Mjust go to bed now. Local taxis not very good in english. Lucky I ended up in my hotel.
Sleep sounds like a very good idea right abot noow. Lot sof jegltag about.
The new Google Trends is an interesting tool which allows you to view different keywords and how popular they've been over time.
Looking at this curve for wikis, it certainly seems that interest in wikis is growing rapidly. Much more than in blogs, for example (which have been growing, too).
I have certainly noticed the same trend with JSPWiki. We've had a steady, growing flow of new people on the mailing list, and download rates are growing nicely. We're also getting new developers to help with the work, so much that it's being less and less "my project" and becoming a real community-based open source thingy. Which is very, very nice.
Timo Arnall has kindly published an interview on his "Touch" -project, detailing how he sees the everyday world, augmentable through metadata on objects themselves.
The difference between touch-based augmented reality and traditional augmented reality is the same as with object-oriented programming and procedural programming: in the former you associate data with objects; with the latter you have a single control point through which all information flows. Adding objects that can describe themselves is a far more scalable model. (Yes, I know I am slightly misusing the term "augmented reality" here, which usually requires 3D registration, but I have no better term yet.)
That's also the cool thing about NFC-based systems compared to RFID: you can embed way more data on an object than just a simple identifier. This allows objects to become independent of some huge database out there on the web, while at the same time taking advantage of it, if necessary.
For example, you could embed short descriptions, and then add Google queries on the same tag to get access to a live document, if necessary.
"Tangibility." I like that word. Rolls of the tongue in a vague, yet nonthreating way :-)
Sounds great, doesn't it? Well, it's just more or less codifying the existing behaviour: in the UK, it's currently illegal to rip your own CD onto your iPod, so the music industry now asked the government to make it legal.
"This is about the UK music industry responding effectively to the changing way music is consumed," said a senior industry figure yesterday.
Of course, with the EUCD directive, you are still a criminal if you break a DRM system to rip your "copy protected" CD, but it's a good thing that someone out there still has some grasp of reality. It's not exactly much, though: I doubt anyone was sitting home waiting for permission to transfer music from their CDs to their iPods.
I've said it before and I've said it now: copying bits cannot be prevented, and therefore there is no point to try and restrict it (except by hiding them in places where they cannot be found). It's how you use those bits that determines who should get paid and whom you should ask permission from... And legislation should reflect that - it's a reality of the digital age.
Please vote for Lordi, the Finnish representative in the Eurovision song contest on the 18th and 20th of May. Unfortunately, I'll be in Seoul for the whole week, so I'll miss the whole debacle, and probably won't even be able to vote.
The thing is - Finland has never won the Eurovision song contest. It's become almost a national shame, and countless are the hordes of elderly people who write to newspapers every day, debating why Finns never win (ok, slight exaggeration there, but I'm taking some artistic liberties here).
But should Finland win this time with something that looks and sounds like something left on the cutting room floor of a bad horror movie, it would probably make us tumble into a national crisis of unprecedented proportions. Which, I think, would be good. Shaking things up every now and then is a great idea.
So, any Europeans out there, give us a bit of push, willya? We're standing on the ledge, just waiting for you...
Watched the pilot episode of 4400 today (yeah, so we're a couple of years behind. No worries.)
While I really liked the show, the physicist in me screamed at the crappy physics. If a thing is approaching Earth 3000 km/s, and it takes about a half an hour to impact, it's about 5.4 million kilometers away. Now, a Titan II missile may have the capability to reach space (and even achieve escape velocity, 11.2 km/s), but a it most certainly does not travel 5.4 million klicks in 30 seconds. That would make it go at about half the speed of light. They could've rigged a VW Beetle to drive down the freeway at Mach 3, and it would've been more believable.
Of course, all nuclear weapon carrying Titan II:s were dismantled in 1984, 20 years before the show timeline, but...
It's just that if a show is scifi, the writers could at least try to stay true to some reality. Remember the math problems at school? The "If Jill starts from New York on the 10:02 train, and Jack starts from Cleveland on the 9:30 train, at what point do they meet?" This is just the same:
"If a comet is hurtling towards Earth at 3000 km/s, and is 28 minutes away; and we launch 15 missiles towards it with the top speed of 12 km/s, how far away from Earth will the nuclear explosions be, and would it do any good to you to put a paperbag over your head?"
(Having said that, yes, I liked the pilot episode, but I sincerely do hope the writers stick to the human element of the story, and steer away from any scientific explanations of anything. Calculating such basic things as speeds can be so difficult.)
So, if you ever fancied running Apache 2 on your cell phone, now is your chance. Should run on any S60 2nd edition Feature Pack 2 phone (like 6630).
(There's also mod_dav, so you should be able to remotely mount your phone's memory card so that you can access it on the web from your home PC. I think.)
(Thanks to Johan for the info!)
...so says Sifry's state of the blogosphere. Japanese has overtaken English as the most common language in the blogosphere, with 37 % of all posts being in Japanese.
Finnish, of course, being nowhere in sight.
At least, so says the Performing Rights Society in the UK.
And that, he says, is a fiddle.
The Performing Rights Society claims he needs a licence if he, or any of his punters, want to "have a go" on anything from a harmonica to a harpsichord or castanets to clarinets.
Again, is this what the artists and performers want? Isn't this a case of dogs biting their own?
It's very instructive to read the comments for this article, as every single one of them - coming from both artists and non-artists alike - condemns this to pretty much the lowest Hell. People are not taking this too well, and any business model that is based on annoying customers is not very likely to succeed... Jonathan Schwartz (CTO of Sun Microsystems) says very succintly in this podcast: The whole issue boils down simply to "What is fair use?". He's not against DRM as such, but reminds that any attempt to alienate people by limiting their right to fair use - and what they consider to be fair use, not what corporations consider fair use - is going to succeed, and that company will lose in the marketplace.
A number of Canadian artists, including names such as Avril Lavigne and Sarah ~McLachlan, have established a new organization to voice the musicians, songwriters and producers opinions to Canadian copyright and cultural policy.
They state their intentions in a white paper, which is quite worth reading.
- Suing Our Fans is Destructive and Hypocritical. Artists do not want to sue music fans. The labels have been suing our fans against artists’ will, and laws enabling these suits cannot be justified in artists’ names.
- Digital Locks are Risky and Counterproductive. Artists do not support using digital locks to increase the labels’ control over the distribution, use and enjoyment of music or laws that prohibit circumvention of such technological measures. Consumers should be able to transfer the music they buy to other formats under a right of fair use, without having to pay twice.
- Cultural Policy Should Support Actual Canadian Artists. The vast majority of new Canadian music is not promoted by major labels, which focus mostly on foreign artists. The government should use other policy tools to support actual Canadian artists and a thriving musical and cultural scene.
Minttu Hapuli's "Selibaattipäiväkirjat" ("Celibacy diaries") will be published as a book in the fall.
Well done and congratulations!
Not that getting your blog published would be a major goal to many bloggers, but it's still good to see someone working hard and succeeding.
Since I advertised CCC shamelessly a couple of days ago, I might as well mention this new offer they have: If you join now, type "VAPPURIEHA" on the promotion code (suosittelutunnus) field, and my name in the "recommender" (suosittelija) -field, and you get to join for free, and also get one free rental. And you get to be in a raffle, too. The offer is valid until 21.5.
For the purposes of this one offer, you're all my friends, yes? Even the ones who hate me and are reading this blog just to see one slip-up which they could use to tarnish my reputation forever. If you've thought about car sharing, here's a chance to try it out.
(Disclosure: I'm a happy CCC member, and if you join, I get an opportunity to win something (as do you). Also, car sharing works better if there are more people joining in, so I'll be happier too. And it's better for the environment than everyone owning their own cars. So you see, it's all about ME and my own nefarious purposes... Hehe.)
In USA, the Sex Offender Registry is a public resource, so that people can look up other people and see if anyone on their street happens to be a sex offender (i.e. convicted of sexual assault, rape, paedophilia, etc). This is done in the interest of public safety and general good. A common reason is that looking up people may save your kids from a pretty bad fate. It's an example of the transparent society, where all you have done is public.
It also has a downside. A serious downside. A 20-year old man looked up several people from the registry, and proceeded to kill them using high-tech tools such as GPS. He killed two, and visited the homes of four, before he shot himself.
It is said that "you gotta take the bad with the good". But is the good worth the bad?
Why are most of the people in the corporate HQ both better-looking and better-dressed than in the random engineering pits that dot the landscape around it? And which way does the cause and effect flow - you either end up in the HQ because you look better, or that once you are in the HQ, you start looking after yourself more?
Or maybe it's the better lighting.
(Not that I'm complaining. "Idle wondering" might be more accurate.)
Welho-magazine 2/2006 (translation mine):
Um. If this means that I can get non-DRM music, even at a higher price, for my own flexible uses, then I agree. But if it means "we can give you the option to make one or two or three copies of this music, and for an extra fee you can listen it between 22-07", then no, then it's not good for the consumer. Stateth Cory Doctorow: "Nobody woke up in the morning and hoped they could do less with their music."
However, he does have a good point:
"You don't have to own all the music."
Yup. And this is what digitalization gives us - because duplication and storage is (for all practical purposes) free, ownership becomes meaningless. You start to pay for services instead of owning a copy of something.
If hard drive space continues to grow at the current rate, by 2025 the entire music ever recorded in the entire world will fit on your iPod. For $500. Bend your brain around that.
I'll highlight this interesting point from a recent Flickr uploader review article by Chris Heathcote.
To put it in another way: if you have your Bluetooth on, and someone snaps a picture with a camera phone near by, you might get "caught on the image", even if you don't appear in the picture at all. This is because every Bluetooth device has an unique identifier, and it announces it to about a 10-20 m radius, and this ID can be captured in the image, thus giving the viewer of the image information about who was present at the time.
A Bluetooth ID consists of 12 digits (like 01:02:03:04:05:06), so it's difficult to say who it is. But you can also ask for the Bluetooth friendly name (like "Janne's phone"), and one does need to be a datamining guru to figure out your BT address, if there is enough data available. To paint a nasty scenario: your jealous boyfriend checks out your BT address, and then goes online to find out where you have been moving lately to check up on you. This may become even more problematic, if any of the pictures is tagged with GPS data.
Now, here's the interesting question: does collecting the Bluetooth IDs which are present constitute collecting an person registry - and do you commit a violation of the Finnish law by posting an image with Bluetooth IDs onto a public website?
And regardless of whether it is illegal or not, should it be controlled, and how on Earth could you possibly control it, even if you wanted to? Perhaps the transparent society will happen completely accidentally and spontaneously, brought on us by teenagers who just want to have a bit of fun?
And, if private citizens are allowed to breach everyone's privacy and in the process collect huge databases on foreign soil, then would it not be hypocritical to say that governments and corporations can't do it too? What is the real difference between surveillance and sousveillance, in the end?
Anyway, if you're worried about your privacy, you might want to consider turning your Bluetooth to "non-discoverable mode", i.e. turn off the visibility to all devices... (Finnish Nokia S60 phones: Bluetooth->"Puhelimen näkyvyys" -> "Piilotettu").
Blimey! Big boys bullying poor people, this is what it is, I'll say!
And then KAM Industries, maker of commercial software that serves a similar role, tried asserting their 'patent rights' over doing just that.
When the author of the open source railroad controller asked for additional information about what claims were being infringed, KAM sent him an invoice for $203,000, claiming that the 7000 or so users of his software resulted in damages of at least $29/each.
It turns out that the patent in question was applied for after Ben Jacobsen published the source code of his program on the internet, and therefore his program qualifies as prior art. Unfortunately, because of the way these patent disputes work, it may be very costly for Ben Jacobsen to defend his right to keep working on his own software.
To me this smells like an old grudge - there are some papers referring to a domain name dispute on the web site. Maybe KAM is just trying to own the market by any means necessary?
Anyway, the whole story is like from the nightmares of any open source developer - you write your software for years, get a bit of fame, get loads of happy users, a bit of money, and WHAM! Some big company tries to squash you like a bug because you are too good at what you do.
Niko Nyman says he'd love to take part in reasonably-priced car sharing in Finland.
I've been a happy member of the City Car Club in Helsinki from the beginning of the year. I find the prices reasonable, and the availability of the cars excellent, even though Saturdays can be busy enough to warrant a reservation the previous day. Reservations are done using an on-line system, which is quite okay and easy to use, though it won't win any design awards. You can also call the reservation centre.
The cars I've used had 40-90 thousand kilometers behind them, so they're not the shiny new ones you get from your friendly neighbourhood rental agency. Most of the cars are station wagons, and the age does show on some particular cars. However, they've always been clean and good to drive, and some of them have been really nice (the Honda Stream in particular).
They have parking areas all around the capital area, mostly concentrated on areas with high population density. The keys are left in the car, and you can open the car with your cell phone, no problem there.
I'm still trying to go without owning a car, as the costs are pretty steep. However, the older you get the more difficult it seems to be without one, and you no longer have the time to travel by bus to everywhere. I used to rent a lot, but for now, car sharing seems to be a satisfying solution.
(Though, I wouldn't mind more entrepreneurs in this area, either. As far as I know, City Car Club is the only one right now. Competition is good.)
((By the way, they also rent Segways.))
If you want to see what kind of tactics the recording industry is using in the USA to "protect the artists", you should check out a blog called The Recording Industry vs. The People. Scary stuff. Is this really what the artists really want?
So far they have deposed all 5 of my children, and my wife, and myself. I also had to fill out admissions and interrogatory answers twice so far and they are still not satisfied with my answers. Most of them I answered that I did not know. I did not know, and was completely unaware of whatever the RIAA is claiming happened. My responses were honest, but that was not good enough for them.
I am defending myself in this case because I can't afford a lawyer, and it's hard for me to understand all of the paperwork and the rules of the court. The RIAA is on its 6th different group of lawyers. It seems like they are bottom feeders.
The real shame is that I had no knowledge of any of this until I was served in the mail. Apparently my daughter who was 12 years old at the time had been listening to music on Kazaa
I do not even know how it got on the computer.
I know that I didn't do anything wrong and I am going to defend myself, but I'm scared to death of the outcome.
And some tactics RIAA uses:
The only "notice" the "John Does" get is a vague letter from their ISP, along with copies of an ex parte discovery order and a subpoena.
They are not given copies of (i) the summons and complaint, (ii) the papers upon which the Court granted the ex parte discovery order, or (iii) the court rules needed to defend themselves. Most recipients of this "notice" do not even realize that it means that there is a lawsuit against them. None of the recipients of the "notice" have any idea what they are being sued for, or what basis the Court had for granting the ex parte discovery order and for allowing the RIAA to obtain a subpoena.
If the guys kid was caught shoplifting bread, this would've been dealt with by the local police, and the whole thing would've been gone and forgotten by now. Why is then copyright infringement constantly compared to stealing bread?
Anyway, Jyri is one of those people who'll work quietly on a revolution, and leave everyone better off after he launches it to an unsuspecting world. Watch that space.
Paul Jardine writes in the comments of an earlier entry:
Yes! At the moment our calendars are by default empty, and by empty we signify availability, as in "he has nothing better to do except attend meetings". This somehow makes meetings the higher order of life, separate from the drudgery of actual work. However, if our calendars treated work time in the same way as we treat it, the default state would be full, as in "I am not available, since I am working", and you would mark time down that is available for things like meetings.
You may remember the Iteration List I presented a few months ago. One of its strengths is that you can give preference to time: "e" meaning "not really, but can be arranged under social pressure", and "?" meaning "I have no clue yet". This gives far more information than a simple available/not available system, because it allows people to have a simple ranking of their free time. It approximates (though very, very roughly) the real-world conversation where people go "hmmm" and "well" and "that's a bit inconvinient" a lot, and thus inform the others how much they prefer a given time.
One thing that would make my life a lot happier would be to have this sort of opt-in calendaring in Outlook, and just the simple ability to signal preference in my calendar, even if only at two or three levels.
I like the IT Conversations podcast: it makes up well missing all those conferences now that I switched to another unit within the corporation. Now that my commute is 45 minutes one way (ugh), at least I have the time to listen to podcasts. And I got my own room. Which is nice - I've spent all my life in open offices. Though if there wasn't a public walkway right outside my window, and people walking on it didn't frighten me, and I could actually see outside, it would be a lot nicer.
In the Business Blogging, Doing it Right -episode Scott Anderson of HP talks about how HP does both internal and external blogging, and presents a convincing (if slightly boring) case study on enterprise blogging from what almost could be called a megacorporation. And guess what? It boils down to one thing: blogging allows you to be closer to your customers and colleagues. Which is good for business. (Unless you are a crook, in which case you probably want to be as far away of them as possible.)
I feel feverish.
For some reason, I get a very, very strong reaction whenever I taste the nasty spice called "cilantro", also known as "coriander", or "korianteri" in Finnish. Almost any food can be spoiled by adding tiny amounts of cilantro. It's strange: it's not that I have an allergy as in I-get-warts-and-sneezes-oh-god-can't-breathe-help-me-aargh kind of allergy, but I seem to be particularly susceptible to it. Most people say it's just spicy, but for me it's a completely overwhelming experience that overshadows any other taste that might have been in the food - even in small amounts. It's strange, as I don't consider myself particularly sensitive usually, and I do enjoy spicy food of the "the person who said that only lazy people get sweaty while eating had obviously never had any habaneros" -kind.
On the internet, there's a community for everyone. IHateCilantro.com could be the place for me.
Not that I would join any club that would have me as a member, mind you.
(Thanks to ebu for finding this.)
There are versions for Mac, Windows, ~BeOS, Linux, ~FreeBSD, and even the good ol' Amiga. You can also download the source code under the GNU Public License - so it's free in every sense of the word.
(I don't remember anymore where I got this one from: I have spent the last three hours playing it... Oops.)
Remember Digimon? Well, who cares about the series, but watching the near-legendary original Finnish dub from a bunch of guys called the "Agapio Racing Team" is still slightly - but only slightly - more tolerable than dying in a mad dentist's chair a day before retirement.
And before you ask, no, this is not for me. A friend (no, really, honest!) is looking for a nice place where she could have the reception for about 200 guests - but so that she could bring in her own catering. The place needs to be within 200 km of Helsinki (the closer the better). Apparently the catering prices for most places are through the roof these days.
Recommendations in comments or directly by email.
Let's see if LazyWeb works ;-)
(In Real Life, world is still revolving and I am somewhat miffed at work: our office is moving to Pitäjänmäki and my commute is going to triple to about 45 minutes one-way. Ouch! Though I'm going to get my own room, which I get to decorate with empty paper cups, yellow stickers and lots of white paper with incoherent scribblings. It's the second time in my professional life, and I am not quite sure how to handle it.)
By the way, in case you didn't know: N91, the Nokia music phone with a 4 Gigabyte hard drive also has a Mac plugin for iTunes synchronization...
Of course, music bought from the iTunes Music Store is not compatible with it, but then again, they're not compatible with anyone. Or, to be exact, the file format is, as N91 plays AAC, but Apple is using "Digital Rights Management" to make sure nobody else than Apple devices can play the music.
Anyhoo. I've come to realize why DRM bugs me so much: it's because it removes choice. Once you pay money for something, you would expect to be able to treat it as something you've just bought. Like sell it onwards, or put it on multiple computers. The idea of "leasing music" is alien to most of us.
However, a Korean company may have just found the answer: They charge two different prices - a cheap price for "limited" songs with DRM on them, and a more expensive price for the open format file, with no use restrictions (aside from the normal ones imposed by copyright law). To me this makes a lot of sense: it's like the difference between buying a normal version or a professional version of software - the other one just has functionalities disabled.
You see, in a lot of use cases it really does not matter whether the file is DRM'd or not: I'd happily buy DRM'd video files, say, on a subscription basis, to see new TV series. And then, if I really liked it, I would buy the open versions (like DVDs, which for all intents and purposes are open these days) so that they would be mine without the additional burden of whether the company who issued them is going to go bust and all my media would suddenly become unusable overnight.
The big rub is that all I ever hear from the big money-making organizations is that "DRM is a must, and everybody who says otherwise is a pirate". This is not so, as many people keep pointing out. The content is going to get on the internet anyway, regardless of the restrictions and protections based on the files, and the real pirates, the ones who make money, just simply don't care about this stuff. To them, it's a non-issue - they just duplicate the copy protections, too.
I like what last.fm is doing. I pay a certain amount of money to them, and it's just like having my own music on the web. They play stuff that I actually do like, and they do it well. But for all intents and purposes, the music from last.fm is copy-protected. I'd have to run through a bunch of hoops to get it somehow archived on my hard drive - but I don't simply care. I can't "order" a certain piece of music to be played either, probably because of legal reasons. However, I'm paying a monthly fee to get access to my music library (or something similar anyway) to get good music - but the music that I really do care about, the one I want to pay for, that I want in a format which is unencumbered by artificial usage restrictions. Like CD, but I'm not picky.
There are more choices than slamming heavy DRM on top of everything that moves. The Korean example is a good one, and one that I have no problem with: I have the freedom to get the unencumbered version if I want - I may have to pay a bit more, but that's just normal business. My problem is with the idea that somehow this freedom to choose would be bad, and that everything must have mandatory copy protection and rights management. This is the view of the companies who own the patents on DRM systems, not companies who wish to serve consumers better. As Cory Doctorow says, "nobody woke up in the morning wishing they could do less with their music."
To me, that's just load of bull. DRM does not work for the purpose it is advertised, i.e. to stop people from copying copyrighted information. The only real use for DRM is market lockdown - which is what Apple is doing. You can't switch away from an iPod once you start buying music from the iTMS (unless you're smart enough to burn and rip all the music you bought, but even then you take a big hit in the quality). This has nothing to do with piracy. The internet is already full of songs that should not be there, and the laws are already telling you not to upload and download. Why would you need DRM then for?
And, while I defend the right of people to be stupid about this matter, I will also exercise my right to call them stupid. This dichotomy is something that seems to unnerve lots of people. It tends to bake my noodle at night, too. But maybe if I keep talking about this, it'll some day become clear to me and others...
To continue my series on the mobile apps I hate the most, I'm going to introduce the app I call the MBA Killer Application.
It's not been once or twice that a young guy in a new suit approaches me and, with eyes lit with excitement, exclaims: "We should have an application which would automatically compare calendars and schedule meetings more efficiently so that we can have more meetings!"
After which I usually grab my most wretched look and sob.
You see, I firmly believe that if we should have any mobile meeting applications, they should be mostly concerned about arranging our schedule so that we could have less meetings. The world does not become a better place if you have more meetings, and while certain amount of meetings is unavoidable (and even great!), trying to schedule your life around them, well, kills you. (Hence the "killer app".)
We at work use Outlook as the calendaring system. Outlook has this wonderful feature which allows you to check if someone is "free" at any given time, so you can schedule a meeting with them. While basically this is a nice idea, it results in odd things like people purposefully marking blocks of time for "work on XXX" or for "free time" or "time to spend with the kids", simply because otherwise they would be all scheduled out. It's a sad thing when you cease being in control of your own time. And I know a lot of people who do that (I do it, too, on occasion).
The thing is that the freedom to lie is a fundamental freedom for us. An automatic system which schedules meetings based squarely on cold facts does not allow us to lie, or even state our preferences: we lose the freedom to think "It's Jim's birthday so I was planning to leave work a bit early to get stone drunk" but say "no, I need to take the car to the shop". Meetings are held only because sometimes getting face-to-face is the best way to accomplish agreement - and it's not going to help that half of the participants would rather be someplace else.
Meetings are a great tool at establishing the common hallucination that we're actually getting things done. A certain number of them are necessary to keep the wheels turning, but anyone who wishes that they could have more meetings should probably be slam-dunk into a large barrel of waste paper and ball-point pens, and rolled down the hill to the recycling plant - in the ever-so-popular Brothers Grimm style. (Or was it snakes and a river? Can't remember.)
We should have calendaring applications that make arranging meetings more difficult, so that you would only schedule those meetings that are genuinely useful.
OK, so everybody's going nuts over the Apple Bootcamp, which essentially allows you to install Windows XP on your shiny new Apple.
Considering that Apple makes money by selling hardware (and practically only by selling HW; iTMS does not count here), it makes sense for them to do this: better to have an officially supported version for those who like shiny stuff and get their money instead of letting geeks hack everything (because they eventually would).
OSX does not any money make: it's just a vehicle to sell more shiny boxes. iTMS does not make much money for Apple: again, it's just a vehicle to sell even more shiny boxes.
Addressing scarcity, i.e. shipping shiny boxes is where the money is. Trying to sell something that is ephemeral, cannot be touched, and is easily duplicated in someone's garage is a lot more difficult to do well... You might even have to pressure people.
The following estimate comes from Pirate Times:
This is about one quarter of all the money they make from ringtone downloads for 2005, and also a pretty hefty chunk of money. Especially considering that P2P users are in fact, quite likely to buy music after they've downloaded it.
Update: oops, I said 100M/year; I meant 100M total until now.
(Thanks to Murali for the tip.)
If you're a serious HW geek, this new gadget from Techsol should probably make you drool. Very interesting, if you're one of those guys who know the hot end of a soldering iron from the cold end.
Schizo-Janne points to Don't Date Him Girl, a web site which allows you to post a guy's picture, complete with personal information, and tell everyone how bad that guy is and why nobody should ever date him.
- We take appropriate security measures to protect against unauthorized access to or unauthorized alteration, disclosure or destruction of data.
- We restrict access to your personally identifying information to employees who need to know that information in order to operate, develop or improve our services.
..but anybody who has NOT agreed to the terms of service and just happens to have his face plastered on your web site is free meat and everybody on the frigging internet can access their personally identifying information and what kind of crapheads someone thinks they are? Ri-ight...
Hehe. This is pretty cool - an iPod advertisement that's visible from space?
It would be a bit more believable, if there weren't other, very similar looking constructs just around. Just scroll around in the Google Maps image.
But if it's real, it's pretty cool. And if it's not, with the diggs and links coming their way, they're bound to use it as an advert at some point anyway. The resemblance is just too uncanny. (Of course, this could be a HUGE April Fool's joke by some mapping company, too...)
By the way, the equivalent of RIAA in Australia seems to have come at grips with the reality. Stephen Peach, the chief executive of Australian Recording Industry Association says:
Yup. That's what everyone outside of the recording industry (and probably the more enlightened ones inside it too) have been saying all along. Glad you finally got it. Funny that it's the Aussies though - it's still illegal to put music on your iPod over there, as far as I know, since there is no permission to do private copying in the Australian copyright law whatsoever. In fact, all VCRs are stricly speaking illegal too, as time-shifting is not allowed either. Of course, everybody ignores these laws for the common good.
(iPod link via Überkuul.)
Update: The Google Earth April Fools Joke was to add some extra flying things to Area 51...
Update: This iPod thingy is also listed on the Wikipedia list of April Fool's Jokes for 2006...
Air is warming over Antarctica, warns CNN.
Green TV is the world’s first broadband TV channel dedicated to environmental issues, and they're working together with UNEP (United Nations Environmental Programme). Content is available on all of the current popular formats, including Flash video.
(Via tav @ freenode.)
To continue my mobile pet peeves series: One of the advantages and disadvantages of working for Nokia is that people have Ideas. And they want to share them.
While many of these ideas are cool, there's one recurring thing that rings my bozo meter: The Key That Solves Everything, aka The Silver Bullet Of Mobile User Interfaces. You see, a lot of people think that phones are difficult to use. And I can't blame them - they can be a real pain in the ass sometimes; even the simple ones. The great idea is that all of their problems could be solved by adding just one extra physical button to the phone! You know, you just press it and it solves problem X!
Unfortunately, problem X is different for each person. Some people just want to have easy access to email, some people want to have the clock jump up, some people want it to collect your shopping list from your wife, some people want it to paint your house blue, call the police and call your dog by dirty names, and... well, you get the drift.
Now, what do you get if you build a mobile phone which has a dedicated button for each functionality? Yup, you get something that looks vaguely like a VCR remote control designed by Philip K. Dick from HELL! And still people would moan "but you got a button for Y, why not X, it's as important as Y!"
There are a lot of ways to make mobile phones easier to use. Hardly any of them involve adding more buttons. Buttons tend to scare people. Loads and loads of buttons make some people curl away in a corner and whimper, and that's not a pretty sight. Look at the Apple remote control - they got rid of almost all the buttons, and have now only six to control a vast array of functionality. And people think that is good.
(Oh, by the way, I fear we caved in under the pressure: The new Nokia N-series phones have a multimedia button, which you can theoretically make do whatever you want... So please stop about this already. Pretty please?)
I've had a very bad day today, and I probably managed to piss off quite a lot of people. So I figured I might as well get this one (and the few next ones) off my chest as well.
Over the years, I've seen all sorts of wearable/ubiquitous/mobile applications, that just get me easily in the state of mild enragement. Let me list my top peeves in this blog, and be warned that there will be plenty'o'ranting. Not all of the following text is to be taken completely seriously.
This will be a series to which I'll be posting daily until I run out of holy steam.
Have you ever had the urge to find a good restaurant in a strange city, but just don't know what to do, and wish there was a way you could open your mobile phone and it could tell you? No? It turns out that there's a large number of socially inept people, who apparently don't want to talk to any of the locals and simply ask, but they would rather live in their own small little world and have carefully managed and computer-recommended "foreign" experiences when going abroad. Well, maybe not so large. Maybe it's just a tiny number of people. But way too many of these people seem to be building mobile applications, and I just can't count the use cases I've been presented which start with "You're in a foreign city, and you would like to have dinner, and don't know where to go to..."
For chrissakes - ASK a local person. You'll have fun trying to cross the language barrier - and if you don't pass, just be adventurous and pick a place, any place. There's nothing wrong with some human contact. Not everything has to be mediated through the computer and social algorithms.
Besides, while traveling is cheap, it's not something that most people do very often. And not very many people are willing to pay the sky-high mobile data roaming fees either (I've managed to rack up a 1200€ phone bill once while traveling, just by checking my email and a bit of googling). And there's a difference between whipping out your 3G phone or a battered copy of Lonely Planet in the middle of Miami...
We don't need a Yet Another Tourist Guide. We need more stuff that's useful in the daily life of a normal person!
This is not the only application that attempts to overlay relatively useless data on top of the real world. While some of the apps I've seen are genuinely useful, many of these so-called Augmented Reality applications seem to be more concerned in diminishing the nasty bits of reality out of the equation: things like language barriers and getting lost and talking to people. Building a social recommendation engine for restaurants so that you could find "the perfect place" in a faraway city sounds decidedly antisocial to me: what's so social about NOT talking to people and letting some algorithm decide your preferences for you? While you may have never seen your best friend except through a webcam, there's still life outside the internet, hell-o?!?
Perhaps this is because the guys who write this stuff are antisocial geeks. Or perhaps it's just that it would suit their particular lifestyle as well; a lifestyle I would call as "The Comfort Optimizing Frequent Traveller With Only Three Hours Of Free Time After The Meeting". While there's obviously some money in it (the kind of people that need this stuff usually don't have any life outside of work and therefore have lots of money because they have no way to spend it), I still wouldn't call it anything really useful to the average mobile phone user - which would be these days anyone who can talk and can scrounge the money for the phone bill.
Oh well. Check out the Ultimate Tour Guide at Tinmith. That's what everyone should be wearing in all foreign cities all the time. At least the locals would have fun.
Whoa! Captain Pirk of CPP Potkustart (of the Star Wreck fame) has been chosen as one of the finalists for the The Fictional Finnish Person (Satusuomalainen) contest, sharing the top eight with such illustrious persons as Uuno Turhapuro, Väinämöinen and Moomintroll.
That should teach them to run internet votes. I can already hear the rattle of complaints flowing to Yle... "Wrong person!" "But that's a nerd!" "He's not famous because I've never heard of him!" "Geeks used modems to hack the system!" (This was, BTW, a real comment from someone who got annoyed at Finland sending a monster rock man to the Eurovision Song Contest.) ;-)
Here's an interesting experiment on the boundaries of digital copyright: Monolith is a program that will take a file (say, MP3) and mix it with a known file so that no information from the original file is left. However, if the other file is known to the recipient as well, they can easily derive the original file from it.
For example, suppose that fileA is an MP3 of a Beatles song, and the Element file is an MP3 of a Britney Spears song copyrighted by Jive Records. It is possible to find a Basis file that, when munged with the Spears song, will produce the Beatles song as the Mono file. Jive Records certainly cannot claim copyright over the Beatles song (which is copyrighted by Apple Records), nor can they claim copyright over any other Mono files munged from MP3s of their songs.
While it's clear that this is essentially just simple encryption (an encrypted file never has any bits of the original one), and that distributing a monolith'd version of a copyrighted file is as bad as sending it in the original format, it does suggest that the concepts of "copying", "replication", and "distribution" probably need a bit more thinking in the digital age. After all, this is not about distributing a copy of the original file, but something that has the potential of becoming the original file, after a suitable transformation is found. And, since any file can be transformed to any other file, once a suitable key is constructed, you could claim that every file is copyrighted by everyone...
Read the whole discussion in the Monolith pages for a deeper understanding. Here's another interesting quote, which plays nicely on the fact that the record companies are claiming that you are only buying the CD, not the content on it:
This is probably not lawyer-proof, but it does illustrate a point, which I am sure, will be tested in court in the near future.
Yeah. One would think that they would learn. But no, one must try until one succeeds. At what, that I have no idea of...
From Boing Boing:
I'm all for paying artists. But I am all against installing dangerous software on unsuspecting victims' computers. Unfortunately, many people seem to think that ends justify the means, and that unless you are willing to give up total control of your computer and life to the rights owners, you are a communist who wants to have everything for free.
I read a good quote today, but I can't remember it where I read it from: "Fascism happens when people who believe they are right start removing rights from those, who they believe to be wrong."
There's a difference between agreeing together what is fair and what is right (like most laws and commerce); and then there's the case where one side unanimously says what you can do (like DRM). We need more the "agreeing together" -part and less "I can do whatever I want" -part.
What I did is that I took iTunes, and told it to get 15 random songs. I then hunted down an image of each artist, and mashed them together.
Your job, should you choose to accept it, is to recognize the artists.
Some of these are really easy, and some of them are very hard.
You know, I was at the funeral of a Sunni and asked his brother, you know, he'd been murdered - probably by Shi'ites, I think - I asked his brother if there was going to be a civil war and he said look, I'm married to a Shi'ite. You want me to kill my wife? Why do you westerners always want civil war?
I gotta get this guy's books.
(Via Mette, whose blog you should absolutely be reading if you can read Finnish.)
Sami Suomalainen writes in the comments of a previous entry: "Most executives don't even know what a blog is. In Finland, which is seemingly technology oriented and modern, this is simply shocking."
I am not surprised or shocked. I don't see blogs as technology. Blogs are a medium. At some very deep level, books are a technology, too, but you don't really perceive them as such. You buy books because the content interests you, not because they happen to be using the latest in printing technology. You watch television because the program draws your attention; not because it happens to have a HDTV screen (after the first few minutes of technolust, anyway).
I've been saying this for a long time, but the Finnish blogosphere is mostly not very interesting. There are good writers, but quite few of them have really anything to say. Even fewer say things that are original, and not just translations of things from the English blogosphere. Most of them write in English, even. Personally, I think the craft bloggers and taxi driver blogs are the most interesting and important thing in the Finnish blogosphere right now...
Yes, I agree with Sami that we're pretty badly behind of USA in business blogging. Partly because of the media infatuation with the word "verkkopäiväkirja", partly because Finland is missing the same kind of "hey, I'm here, listen to my ideas, I want to make a million with them" -culture that is so pervasive in the USA (which is probably good), and partly because things are already pretty well. Blogs for businesses are networking, self-promotion, public relations and discussion all rolled in one, topped with a personal touch. That requires pretty special people to handle; versatile people who actually like to speak and be heard by completely unknown people. (Which, traditionally, in Finland is considered to be a bad thing - just watch the reaction if you go an talk to anyone you don't know in a tram in Helsinki.)
I completely agree that companies are missing out on something big if they don't participate in the blogosphere. But on the other hand, I'm confident that evolution will weed out the weak. The companies that pick up on blogging (both as followers and authors) will have a competitive edge over those who don't. And some people will make money teaching them how to blog. Some people will attempt to create a hype and a bubble so that they can cash in quickly (lots of signs for a new bubble are already in the air). Some people will do the same, but fail to cash in...
But shocked? No... Disillusioned, if anything.
Finland is a small country with a big internal resistance to change. Our celebrities are minor, our worries minuscule, and you can get on the front page of all newspapers by shooting someone. It's a safe country to be, but let's not kid ourselves into thinking that we are the most agile and forward-thinking nation in the world. Buying lots of cell phones does not a trend make.
With stability comes resistance.
I have no idea whatsoever who I have this influence over, but apparently I have some.
(Oh yeah, and don't for a moment think that I would've posted this if I didn't have a relatively high score. Selfish, sad geek bastard desperate for attention - that's me ;-)
(Update: it seems that the value changes pretty rapidly; I get anything between 7500 and 8300. So I'm keeping the highest one I got.)
Steve Litchfield asks over at Tommi's S60 blog:
To me SMSs carry both emotional and informational content. I hated, hated, hated it when I lost my first SMS messages from Outi due to the fact that I was not able to backup the SMSs from my Nokia 3650 when I needed to empty the entire memory to run some work-related stuff on it. I've received (and sent) many emotion-packed text messages over the year. Some of them were worth storing; some of them were definitely not; and some of them... well, it probably would've have been better never to send them in the first place.
The nature of the text message is - as Steve points out - time specific. I would even characterize it as being mood-, situation-, location-, and context-specific, too. I guess the argument is that when those things cease to exist or be valid, the SMS loses its meaning, too. But you can reverse the argument as well - the SMS can be the thing that still ties you to that specific mood, situation, location or time. It can be a memory, as much as anything.
Then again, I store all my email, too.
How do you store your text messages? Do you write the most important down in a booklet (I know some people do)? Do you use folders (most Nokia phonse allow that these days)? Do you perhaps not care at all?
Maybe 2006 will be the year of business blogging in Finland - and I don't mean in advertising. There's a new portal called yritysblogit.fi, which at the moment seems pretty scarce. I am not quite sure what they're after - and certainly they're trying to leverage this "buy 100 pixels from us" meme - but the fact is that different kinds of aggregation/portal services will be in the future more and more necessary. We have great tools for authoring blogs, but frankly, many of the tools used for reading blogs are not as good as they could be. For example, blogilista.fi does not really support reading of blogs, and instead serves as a better bookmarking service that can tell you if something has happened.
However, portals are a fidgety thing. It's kinda like building a phone book: easy to collect initially, but a pain to maintain, and probably not a great business. Good business perhaps, but not great. I'm not expecting much from this one.
The bigger question is: when will the first professional blogging network in Finland start? By that I mean people who actually get paid to blog, and someone is then assuming editorial responsibility over the network - yes, a sort of an online magazine of blogs. Someone would take care of sales of advertisements, promotion and paying the bloggers, and the bloggers would write. I could immediately think of several bloggers whose blogs could be transferred under an blogging network umbrella...
Businesses blogging is good. But where's the business in blogging?
Ford spokeswoman Kathleen Vokes said in response to the boycott announcement, "Ford is proud of its tradition of treating all with respect and we remain focused on that we do best, building and selling innovative cars and trucks worldwide."
Australian government has ordered a takedown of a web site which contained a satirical spoof of the Aussie PM John 'liberties are bad, mmmkay?' Howard's speech.
Well... No. What you do is that you issue a Cease and Desist order to the guy who has that web site, and order him to take the offending material down, or to modify it so that it no longer infringes a copyright. You see, otherwise people will accuse you of being a spineless government puppet that advocates censorship on people who speak against the government. And it looks really, really, really bad FOR THE WHOLE COUNTRY.
It's a different thing to take down an illegal copy of the latest Britney Spears album, and a totally different thing to take down something which a) does not necessarily even infringe copyright (it may look the same, but it does not necessarily use the same code, and it certainly has completely different content), and b) contains criticism against the leaders of the country. Most importantly, you don't say "to us, it looks like a phishing site" when you have obviously no clue whatsoever what phishing is, and what a phishing site really does. Especially if you're the Chief Technical Officer of an internet company.
Since nothing important disappears in the internet, a PDF copy of the web site is of course available. Look for yourselves. It's not even offending: it's just a satirical apology speech that he thinks the PM should've issued when talking about Iraq and the war there. This way it surely gets more publicity than it would've otherwise.
(Oh yeah, a stunt like that might also look like serious copyright abuse, and really fuel the whole copyright debate again, raising questions like "now, is that really the way that copyright is supposed to be used" and "has copyright become an effective tool for shutting down competition and criticism"? But that would be quite far-fetched, now wouldn't it?)
Finnish Red Cross is low on blood. Go and give some, if you are eligible. This is smart.
The headline? Yeah, it just somehow came up in the casual conversation while the nurse was drawing my blood to check if it was still okay. You see, I have been having the worst flatulence evah for the past two days - you know, the kind which sounds like someone drove a car into a swamp, and it's slowly sinking and the driver is struggling to escape, but he can't get his safety belt unlocked; the kind which actually make the legs of your pants shuffle; the kind which make you really ponder about the fundamental difference of a liquid and a gas; the kind... Ugh. Anyhow. Well, it turns out some people light their farts for fun. That is stupid.
But I just had to use the headline for something.
For a moment, I thought that MPAA is storming theatres with armed and masked NATO forces, ordering air raids on pirates and sending ten-year old kids with iPods to Guantanamo.
Then I realized that NATO stands here for National Association of Theatre Owners... Too bad, the image was kinda powerful.
Do you know what a "straw man argument" is? It's when you carefully construct your opponent's arguments so that they have a hole - e.g. "well, this straw man here represents you. I can easily push you over with my hand, so therefore I can push over you with my hand, too." It's a pretty standard technique in heated arguments over empty pints of beer. But you should not use it in scientific debate.
Recently, Melanie Rieback et al published a paper detailing RFID viruses and worms, where they show that particular RFID system backends are vulnerable to SQL injection attacks, built an entire web site about it, and are - in a pretty alarmistic tone, I might add - shouting how RFID is dangerous, and RFID worms and viruses are just around the corner.
Unfortunately, if you read the paper through carefully, you see that they have constructer their own backend, which just happens to be vulnerable to SQL injection attacks. So, they carefully built a system which is vulnerable to these attacks, and wrote a big article about how RFID systems in general are vulnerable. It has no analysis of any of existing middleware products, nor does it attempt to analyze whether they are susceptible to this kind of a problem. It might well be that none of the existing products in the world are vulnerable to these attacks. This is bad, bad, bad science. All the article does is that it sets up a big straw man, and shoots it down; essential proving the existence of SQL injection attacks against any system that uses them. There are plenty of OSS products that have had the same bug; this is well known science, and has nothing to do with RFID systems.
The beginning of the article makes a bunch of good points on how the RFID world should pay more attention to security and how, once the RFID systems become more commonplace, you can no longer get away with thinking that nobody else is ever going to read and write your tags. Very good, and lots to think about to those who are building RFID middleware, especially chapter 7, which provides practical instructions on writing good middleware.
But... I wouldn't mind the paper so much if it wasn't touted as the Most Important Thing Since Pamela Anderson Got Fake Boobs. Come on - getting your own "rfidvirus.org" web site (with headlines like "How to write a RFID virus") for a single paper, which just says that any badly designed computer system has security holes? That's just alarmist and scaremongering, and riding on the general "RFID is evil" -wave.
(Disclaimer: I work for Nokia, which produces RFID products; and I also am involved with the NFC Forum work (so I claim some expertise on the matter), but everything I say is, of course, my personal views and not corporate opinions.)
(Link via Digitoday.)
Update: Some commentary from Ed Felten.
Update2: Slashdot commentators, for once, get it right. This is a backend issue, nothing to do with RFID.
Update3: BoingBoing has good commentary. "this is all a bunch of hooey"
Yes, we have small plastic bags everywhere. Boys, if you ever plan to get together with a woman doing beadcraft, prepare yourselves.
One of the things that computer programmers often ignore is the power of numbers. You see, often a computer programmer just needs to pick a number, any number, to mean something-or-the-other. For example, they could say that "9" means "rotate the disk to the left" and "8" would mean "rotate the disk to the right", and "0" for "stop the disk". The computer does not care what these numbers are; it just compares them to the instructions it was given, and then executes the instructions as it was programmed.
Sometimes programmers get creative, and think of meanings for the numbers, if they're read in a certain way. For example, the Java binary code uses the number "3405691582" so that Java programs know that the file is meant for them. Exciting? Well, if you convert this number to the so-called hexadecimal notation, i.e. base 16 instead of the usual base 10, it becomes "CAFEBABE" - a suitable name for something that derives its name from a kind of coffee.
These funny magic number references are everywhere. I can't count the number of times I've smuggled hexadecimal numbers like DEADBEEF, DECAFBAD, BADCAFE, B5 (for Babylon 5) to different programs. There are probably only a handful of people in the world who will ever see them, but at least they'll get a chuckle (or a groan). As I said, the numbers don't matter, so you might as make them interesting.
Sometimes magic numbers happen by accident, or people think they see them even when they aren't there. A good example is the story that the bar codes you see on products actually contain the number "666", i.e. the Devil's number. (Snopes, of course, has something to say as well.)
I've recently been involved in some standardization work, and during some high-caffeine moment I got a brilliant idea: companies should hire "summer kabbalists" to put some real meaning into the numbers. Think about it: ten years from now (ten internet years is the equivalent of thousand years in real life, yes?) a danbrownesque chase through RFCs and W3C Notes, countless hours of debugging of esoteric line protocols, billions of microcontrollers in the world using the same magical numbers that point to hidden treasures of unimaginable wealth and documents that would prove once and for all that Steve Jobs is the bastar brother of Bill Gates.
It would make standards work so much more interesting.
Hookay... Google does Mars, just like they do Earth. My dad bought a new laptop (his 166 MHz PII with Win98 was no longer very good at browsing the web, so I got him a new Apple iBook), so I sneaked Google Earth onto it when I had the machine for a few days to install things. He was quite impressed to see a satellite picture of his summer cottage, the Colosseum, the Big Ben...
Well, the Conan O'Brien special has finally aired in the US. It quite accurately points out the weirdosity inherent in Finnish TV talk shows. I wish we had some decent ones... The rest of it is actually quite standard "let's show this odd shit to tourists" -stuff. Which I guess is fine - it's probably better to be known as a nation of harmless idiots that like to run to frozen sea naked and don't see anything odd in having sausages after sauna, than a nation of high unemployment, record suicide rates and lonely people. Denial - it's not only a river in Egypt!
Anyhoo: Conan apparently tried to visit some Finnish apartments, but nobody was home. I can only imagine the frustration of those people next week, when the show officially airs here... Probably every single friend and relative will call them to let them know that Conan O'Brien was knocking on their door, but they weren't there. Salt, wounds, rubbing - what great fun for the whole family!
Drunken bloggin is fun. I think. Outi tells me that I am going to be very sorry in the joringn. It's okay. Dreunken coding is what reall makes me embrarrased. Not really bloging.l
Had a long discussion today / tonight about intersting things. Not a lot of information there. But maybe cool things happenigs soon. Sorry to be vague. ;-)
...because of the Night Elves, of course!
(No, my dearest, that is not the reason I play. Really.)
There is a something deeply satisfying in changing the status of a specification from "Draft" to "Final", and clicking on "Submit changes".
Blackberry settled with NTP for 600 Million USD. Blackberry has a subscriber base of about 600,000 people, so that makes one thousand USD per subscriber.
Think about it. If you have a great idea, you must be able to make over a thousand $ per user of profit in order to recoup potential IPR costs. This is not promoting innovation, it's squashing innovation.
The problem is that many companies that stand up and say that patents encourage innovation are companies which concentrate on gathering a massive patent portfolio, then licensing it to others. Not all of these companies even sell any products - for them, innovation, licensing and patents are one and the same thing. However, to them selling things and services to consumers is not innovation. It's a bother, though sometimes a necessity.
"Intellectual Property" (IPR) ignores consumers. IPR is an abstract thing, stuff that is written on papers and fought over in courts. Even bits are like concrete compared to the aetherness of IPR. No consumer ever bought intellectual property for the sake of it being intellectual property: they (we?) buy stuff because it gives us some concrete benefit, be it emotional, physical, spiritual, social or monetary.
But that's why consumers are called consumers. They consume, they don't create. And IPR is intertwined strongly with "creation". Is it then no wonder that normal, everyday people, who're stepping out of the obedient consumer role and creating and sharing things on their own, are hitting the rules of IPR designed for corporations. You only need to take a long look at a discussion board to see e.g. middle-aged housewives wondering about whether they have a permission to sell a piece of jewelry based on a design bought from a website in the US. This is a hairy subject even for experts, and certainly something that the average person should not need to wrestle with.
As they are, the rules of Intellectual Property are more of a burden than they are a benefit. They benefit only smart people who've managed to twist them into their benefit: creation is encouraged, but not sharing and dissemination. For example, copyright runs from the date of creation, not from date of publishing. (Though, I have to agree that it would be too difficult to start it from the date of publishing, as the concept of "publishing" is far more vague than the concept of "creation". Minority-language newspapers have many articles publishing things for the sake of publishing things for IPR purposes.)
The RIM case is nasty. If you switch viewpoints, you could well argue that "well, NTP had their IPR broken for years, and therefore they can ask as much money as they want from RIM." This would be the greedy way of thinking. Unfortunately, IPR is not a clearcut thing. If someone steals bread from you, and he is caught on CCTV, he's busted. End of story. However, by making bread in a certain way you might be infringing on someone else's IPR. And they will wait until you're making loads of money on it, and then they will move in, and demand as much money as you can possibly pay, and ruin you financially for a long time. Even if you pay loads of lawyers loads of money, you could still be infringing without knowing about it for years.
The crappy thing is that even if you invented this new way yourself, it's enough that someone else, somewhere in the world, figured out the same way a few days earlier, you might still be infringing. Again, there's no way to know about this.
I know I'm slamming patents and copyright together in a large mishmash here. Normal people usually never have to deal with patent infringements, except through secondary effects such as the RIM case, or drug prices, or Linux media players, but copyright is increasingly more present in our lives. They're overlapping at an alarming rate, too, with DMCA being used to stop competition.
I think the IPR legislation should be redesigned into something that really fosters innovation, creation, sharing and dissemination for the greater good. Not abolished, but redesigned. As it currently stands, it's as if to protect a dragon's lair: hoarding is good, sharing is bad. And you need to be really big to take advantage of it.
(Gng. Coherence is overrated.)
Busy. Personal inbox: 1766 emails. About a hundred of them need my personal attention. People are getting annoyed. JSPWiki needs bug fixes, so we can go beta. Watched Top Gun and Coctail in a desperate attempt to reset brain. Brain was reset. Think it's refusing to boot back up properly again. Lost some grammar. The thingy that goes between sentences. I think. Whatchamacallit. Anyway.
I have too many ideas to do. Too little time. Need to shop some new furniture tomorrow. Having pile of clothes by front door not good.
Need to think something more important to say.
Jesus singing 'I will survive'. I laughed, though I would assume many people won't. Especially some of the people who have been commenting on this video at Youtube... You can't miss them - they're the ones who write in all caps.
...saying that mitvit is again extremely right (well, not politically). I agree with everything he says, including the part in which he scorns me and others (and I'm taking this personally) for not saying anything about the Muhammed-cartoon-thingy. I agree, having spoken openly against the new copyright legislation and defending (or at least blabbing incoherently about) the freedom of speech, I should've said something strong and to the point about the matter.
But what to say? I feel like everything has already been said. All I can do is give my own, personal, little support by saying that mitvit is right, and that violence is simply stupid, and in reality the whole shebang has very little to do with the pictures and a lot about a camel which has been burdened by stupid, arrogant and greedy westerners for a long time, and whose back is close to a snapping point.
This is an issue which is too big, too deep, and too complicated to approach lightly. Defending online freedom and deconstructing stupid laws is easy. Trying to say something right about a conflict that spans hundreds of years is a heck of a lot more difficult.
Throughout this crisis I have been reading The Bookseller of Kabul by Åsne Seierstad, which is a story of a family living in Kabul, Afghanistan. It would probably be one of the best fantasy books ever written, if it wasn't about real people. Most science fiction novels I've read don't create such a feeling of alienness - things that you just simply cannot wrap your brain around - but I guess that just tells how reality is sometimes stranger than fantasy.
I cannot shake this feeling that this is just the tip of the iceberg. I understand that people are afraid, and would like to silence those who might call harm upon this country. But all my instincts are saying that this is the wrong solution. It won't go away if we pretend that it's not there. There are billions of people who think in a way that our specialized western brain, living in the specialized western world does not understand. This is a wake-up call, and it's up to us to answer it and start talking. Or the next thing we see is that the billions are knocking on our doorstep.
We don't need to sacrifice liberties or traditions or religions to talk. Nor do we need to sacrifice lives. We may have to sacrifice our pride, though.
Caving in and acting like a bunch of scared bunnies (yes, that's you, mr. Prime Minister) won't help in the long run. To make a geeky and bad software analogy: this is a deep design fault which cannot be simply patched or ignored. We need to redesign the architecture from scratch and see what can be reused.
Pizza is good, ice cream is fabulous, tourists are everywhere, as are shoe stores, the night is warm, my hotel room has more decoration than actual wall area, and for some reason, Italian men look - on the average - better to me than Italian women. Great.
The following hit me yesterday evening... This will sound strange, but hear me out.
Almost everyone I know (including myself) thinks that the modern software is too complex. Most people think that cell phones are too complex, too, with bells and widgets they never use. People feel at loss in the face of all this complexity, and wonder, why they need to pay for the 80% of the features that they just don't need. Companies use massive amounts of money to usability design, and still fail to produce things that everyone could immediately use without leafing through manuals. This disease of adding more and more functionality is called "featuritis", and Microsoft Word is often the most touted example of it: why does a word processor have so many features nobody ever uses?
I think - and this is admittedly a slightly absurd leap - the fundamental reason lies with the Long Tail (i.e. the concept of "something for everyone").
The Long Tail is based on the idea that there is a lot of value in addressing the niches. Traditionally, business revolves around "hits" - the top 500 companies, or the most-selling books, or the most common demographics of the viewers, or the most common sports, or the most common brands of dishwashers, or the most common operating system. You want to address the majority of the market, because trying to address everyone is more trouble than it's worth.
However, with the internet, when you don't have to consider limited storage space that much anymore, you can start to address even the smallest niches. You can go to CafePress and sell T-shirts with your own face. Google is very good at finding niche stuff, and less good at finding just generic fluff. Amazon has over ten times the catalog size of your average book shop. Even the most obscure song in iTunes still sells a copy or two each month, making money. On IMDB, it does not really matter whether a movie is popular or not: everything gets treated the same. These companies are taking advantage in the value of serving the niches - and for them, it's not any more expensive as doing anything else.
Now, if you head over to the standard application space, and imagine that you would like to sell a word processor for the niches - a word processor to address the Long Tail, if you please - I think the end result would be something like Word. Each feature of Word is important to some minority somewhere, be it even as small as a single person. And this is what makes it so successful, yet so universally disliked. Maybe how the Word presents all these features is not optimal, but it's doing that well enough to be extremely successful (document format lock-in and deals with the OEMs do not hurt either).
So, to me, it seems that featuritis (and the apparent complexity) is an unmanaged attempt to address the Long Tail. I am sure Google's and Amazon's servers (with personal recommendations) are incredibly complex, but this is not something that is apparent to the user. Their featuritis is managed, and could be simply labelled as "good service".
I think that the most important lesson of the Long Tail is not that it's there - because we all know that it exists; people just choose to disregard it when making business decisions - but that if you want to address it, you must think about it in advance in order to not get flooded by featuritis. Think about how you will scale, and how you will offer new features to users in such a way that does not overwhelm them.
It's not inherently evil to make something that is complex and has a lot of features. You just need to plan for it.
I'm listing a few oddities I've encountered lately on the wonderful world of Intellectual Property (garnered from BoingBoing and elsewhere:
- Mozilla foundation "makes it impossible to enforce UK anti-copying legislation". Every week I meet people who just don't get the difference between "free" and "free" - but it's that disrupting...?
- WIPO just does not get the idea of Public Domain. Poor countries: shut up, go create your own stuff and stop whining about public domain. We'll keep our toys, and you can have your toys, that's fair, isn't it?
- Japan bans resales of electronics that are over five years old and don't have a permission. Some alarmist reactions here and less alarmist here. However, no matter what the reason, it will make it quite difficult for small second-hand shops to circulate old stuff. This will give an advantage to big companies selling new stuff (who are probably happy as Larry - however happy he is - about this). Expect a flood of old, but good, Japanese stuff flowing abroad (exports are not forbidden).
- The head of US Copyright Office says: "We've certainly lengthened the term [of copyright] perhaps -- I won't even say perhaps -- too long a term. I think it is too long. I think that was probably a big mistake, but one that Congress can make." Yeah, and when you sneeze, the rest of the world gets sick, too.
- Microsoft says that the purpose of DRM is to lock out small players: "The intention is to reduce the number of licensors to a manageable level, to lock out "hobbyists" and other entities that Microsoft doesn't want to have to trouble itself with." So what happened to the idea that DRM was supposed to protect the small guys from starving? Oh, I see, it's only when the small guy signs up his soul with the largest corporations in the world. Well, that's fair.
- And, finally Helsinki catches up with the rest of the world when some rich guy gets pissed off at corporations and decides to open his own free WiFi network in downtown Helsinki. The rest of the world yawns, and keeps sipping the latte and reading blogs. No, seriously, I'm happy about this.
I seem to have gone all linky in the past few days. No worries, it's bound to end once I get back into mine "oh, the internet is full of shit and nothing of it is worth seeing" -phase. But until then, geeky links for all to enjoy.
Ever wondered why clocks sometimes have IV and sometimes IIII to represent number four? Well, really, me neither. But in case you would like to know, here is an extensive discussion on the subject. Grrreat!
(Via This is broken, a blog that lists things which are broken, except in this case, since it turns out that using "IIII" is not broken, but standard convention.)
Yes, we have. Maybe it's time we started to think about what we want to change it to. I don't know the people behind this, but at least the video is pretty cool.
We have a choice to make. We can build a future of green products and industry, renewable energy and leapfrogging technologies, clean water and fresh air, livable cities and healthy children. Or we can have the kind of world Ed Burtynsky shows us.
That is, a quantum computer does actually produce results even if it does not run. The headaches and illogicalities of quantum mechanics is probably why I quit university physics after delving head-first into the wonderful world that is, may be, or might not be, depending on where you are looking, who you are, and what you had for breakfast.
Read the article at The New Scientist.
During our move, I realized how many T-shirts I actually have. I have both staff and regular T-shirts from Ropecon from every year (bar one or two), and I have been buying T-shirts as mementos from all over the world. So, I have about three shelves full of T-shirts these days, most of which I don't use, but which I don't really want to throw away either. They have meaning to me. That's giving up to you...
That's because Edoc Laundry's first line, expected to launch March 1, literally weaves an episodic, multimedia game into the fabric of the garments. The Seattle-based company is believed to be the first to attempt such a fashion feat. Edoc line
The idea is an extension of so-called alternate-reality games, or ARGs, in which people try to solve puzzles that are propagated online but require players to team up to find clues in the real world. Usually, the games are promotional vehicles for other products, including video games and movies.
Exploration of T-shirtiness is good. A T-shirt is not just something you wear.
IPSwap is an interesting place. If you have a small programming/hacking job, you can list it there, along with a fee you are willing to pay, and hopefully someone will take the job. The stuff ranges from "10 bucks for a small game" to "2000 USD for making a phone exchange".
One of the most difficult things a programmer has to wrestle with is the specification phase: Mostly, the client has no clue whatsoever on what he really needs, some clue to what he really wants, no intention on sticking with it, and they are quite incapable of writing it down. Looking at some of the projects at IPSwap, I feel that in this case, the people are not quite aware of what they're really asking for... Thirty dollars for an Open Source library in PHP to interface with the infamously closed-source Skype? Ugh.
But still - it makes for slightly amusing browsing. If you're a hardcore geek, that is.
(Been feeling quite under the weather today. I feel feverish, yet I have no major fever. My stomach is on the verge of doing something unpleasant, but hasn't quite erupted in any spectacular ways. I feel very tired, but not sleepy. Strange. Hope it goes away.)
Today, a Canadian friend emailed me congratulating on Finland winning Canada in the Olympic games. I guess it says something about by involvement in sports that it was news to me... Anyway, for a long time I've maintained that there are only two winter sports worth following: curling and ice dancing. The latter, because it's just so beautiful; and the former because the slow pace of the game hides the incredibly hard battle masked below the surface. Curling is probably the closest sport to board games, which, I guess, explains a lot of my interest.
Since I haven't seen these anywhere else, here are some collected anecdotes of Markku Uusipaavalniemi, the head of the Finnish Curling team (sorry, these are in Finnish, but you can go to chucknorrisfacts.com to get the idea... Uusis rules.
(Kiitos Terolle ja Pialle.)
Only one song (and animation) so far, but I like his music. Check it out, and spread the word, if you dig it.
There's a nice article over at New York Metro on the so-called A-list of bloggers, people who make millions blogging, how the whole popularity seems "fixed" and the difficulty of the C-listers to get to the A-list. You know, the usual stuff.
The article also discusses on why advertisers love blogs, because they can reach to smaller, more focused niches through them - and this is what creates the value, and in my opinion also explains why AOL paid 25 million USD on Weblogs.inc. It's premiere web estate for advertising.
But having a popular blog seems to be really hard work. Here's a quote from John Battelle:
Which brings me to the subject of newspapers and mainstream media: one thing that they have going for them is that they can rely on brand and their editorial machinery to keep running. A blogger needs to be able to produce good quality content on his own constantly to keep up in the race - a newspaper can draw on the collective of its staff to produce their content - if an individual screws up, then that's not too bad. If he screws up several times in a row, you can fire him - but a blogger's blog would just die.
The other thing that the article points out is that many of the top blogs are these days backed by corporations, and written for by professional writers. The same is visible here: Blogs from Helsingin Sanomat, the largest newspaper in Finland, are quite popular. I don't find it particularly surprising: well-connected, professional writers backed by a corporation, screened by an editor... Why wouldn't they be popular?
The power law says that being social means being inequal. Maybe the way to full equality is to become totally antisocial?
Well, that's an easy one. But in the 1990s, the internet was new and wonderful, and a lot of people didn't quite know what to make of it. The Imagining the Internet project by Elon University and Pew Internet has been collecting quotes from the early 90s about what this shiny new Internet might become. Some of these predictions are off the mark, some of them are wildly off the mark, and some of them are spot-on. But they're certainly interesting to read now, 15 years later.
The site is chock full of information, including predictions for the next 150 years, a searchable database, a kids section and videos; check it out.
This video of a working, walking, driving transformer robot is the coolest thing I've seen all day.
Well, for the past ten minutes anyway.
(Via... I can't remember anymore.)
From MSN Money:
WASHINGTON (AP) - The government concluded its "Cyber Storm" wargame Friday, its biggest-ever exercise to test how it would respond to devastating attacks over the Internet from anti-globalization activists, underground hackers and bloggers.
Nice to be in such a good crowd.
(Via Blog Herald.)
All is packed, and of course, the Internet is the last thing to go. The moving men are supposed to arrive right now, so I'm pulling the plug and timing how fast I can get back online after things are settled at the other end. Geeky? Perhaps a bit... Addicted? No, surely not!
23:08. Finally I had a bit of time to log on. The actual internet connection was down for perhaps three hours, but I didn't have time to open a computer until now. The apartment is now filled with boxes that need unpacking, a bunch of black plastic bags with all our clothes, and all our furniture in a million pieces waiting to be put together again. It's a daunting task.
We started off by filling the fridge, putting the bed back together, and turning on our wireless internet. One must have priorities.
- Copyright now belongs to the realm of industrial politics rather than cultural politics
- The current copyright legislation is outdated, and needs to be redesigned as soon as possible
- Digital distribution over multiple channels to a single person is not supported by current copyright legislation
- Copyright system is not flexible and is too complex for creation of commercial services
- Copyright ownership is too concentrated to big, multinational corporations
- Finland should start to push for copyright renewal in the EU
- Government organizations should adopt Creative Commons -licenses as much as possible to speed up innovation. Things created using public funds should be available for as free dissemination as possible.
More discussion at Digitoday.
I think this shows how small streams create big effects: the discussion last year showed that there is more and more dissatisfaction at how copyright issues are currently being handled, and therefore it's easier to voice your opinions now. The different campaigns are having impact. Saying that the current copyright system does not work is no longer the sign of the lunatic - and people are starting to realize that you can speak against copyright monopolies and current practices, without opposing copyright in general. The climate may be shifting, though it will take a few years before the EU moves.
Now is the right time to start adding more steam to the discussion. Now would be a good time to start offering good, constructive ideas to MPs, now that they are beginning to be aware of what is really wrong. Now is the time to start to collect experiences, suggestions, ideas, and to be constructive instead of bitching and moaning how the copyright mafia and megacorporations trample over the little guys, using the artists as human shields to protect their enormous profits.
This report seems to be a good start.
[#2]: Though, since this report was commissioned to Koulutuskeskus Dipoli, it should be noted that everyone involved was working for the government in one way or the other, with strong ties to the Helsinki University of Technology. This, of course, will be used against them - I'm pretty sure someone will shout that no copyright organizations were consulted in making of the whitepaper.
The problem with media representation of such issues tends to be that the media only picks up the loudest voices, ignoring the rational ones that do not generate as much noise. Voices that seek tolerance, dialogue and understanding are always drowned out by the more sensationalist loud calls, giving viewers the impression that these views are representative of all the Arab public’s view. This website is a modest attempt at redressing this wrong. We would appreciate it if you could forward the word to as many of your friends as possible.
(In case you're living under the proverbial rock, Wikipedia has a good article, as usual.)
Update: Oops. This link came via Jani. I don't know where my brain was.
There's a series of Finnish commercials from the 80's about a master painter and his apprentice. At the end of each ad, the master would say to the apprentice, in a vaguely surprised, yet proud tone: "Son... You're beginning to learn" ("Poika, sä alat oppia").
Every night this week, I've gone to our new apartment, cranked up the radio, changed my clothes, rolled up my sleeves, and started to paint the walls, and other things that happened to need painting. After having painted my new apartment entirely now twice (I'm slow), I can say that I feel that I'm beginning to learn.
I think I almost know by heart the playlists of most commercial radio stations in the capital area.
They all suck.
Yup. It's official, and you can download the source code now. I understand it wasn't an easy process, but it's good that it's finally done. The licenses seem to be Apache License v2 and the Python License.
Ugh. I don't like Sourceforge at all. I've always found its interface to be repulsing, and I can never find what I am looking for.
Now, if only there were more open source hackers on S60... Symbian is difficult, and not very endearing to a casual programmer (though you could arguably say the same thing about MIDP Java). But I hope the source code will allow others to also work on their alternative programming environments (OPL, anyone?) for S60 as well. These new platforms do make smartphone programming a lot easier.
So, Anina, the resident supermodel of the blogosphere got an ultimatum from her agency: stop doing the tech stuff, because "fashion and technology do not go together".
Eh? Excuse me? But... that's what she's famous for!
Maybe they're scared that one of "their girls" is not conforming to be just a beauty, but also shows to have brains. Maybe they're annoyed that she's getting more attention that the agency. Maybe they're scared that if she keeps doing this tech stuff, she's going to go away to better-paying jobs. High technology is probably the area (sports and motor sports perhaps excluded) where the demographics couldn't be more suited for beautiful women who know what they're talking about (and can crank their own PHP).
Maybe they're just scared at change, like everyone else.
I was just listening to a podcast with an interview from Kim Stanley Robinson, and he mentioned something pretty alarming which I hadn't really realized before... The carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (which is a strong contributor to global warming) is also affecting the balance in the oceans - and when it's mixed with water, it becomes carbon acid. This acid is pretty mild, but still, in sufficient quantities, enough to prevent things like shells forming on tiny little marine organisms.
The problem is, these little tiny things form the bottom of the food pyramid. Fish eat them, bigger fish eat those fish, and after a few layers, we humans are at the top of the chain.
What happens to a pyramid, if the base suddenly crumbles?
From The Guardian:
They found that by 2100, the amount of carbonate available for marine organisms would drop by 60%. By 2050, there could be too little carbonate in surface waters for organisms to form shells.
(More in the New Scientist.)
Hilarious spoof of an "antipiracy" comic book. In Finnish.
The fun thing is that the author lives in the US, and the work is protected under USC 107§, the parody act. It may well be that distributing this is illegal in Finland, as it's a derivative work... But I seriously doubt anyone is going to give a shit.
Whoo! Now here's a cool AJAX app: Meebo allows you to access MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, AIM and Google Talk from within your browser - and it works through corporate firewalls, too! Now you can access your IM from anywhere...
It looks very good, too: You get cool stuff like scalable and movable windows in your browser, emoticons, a buddylist, etc.
(Thanks to Heikki T for the tip.)
Interesting... Both GVU - the German "antipiracy" -team, run by the media and entertainment industry - and MPAA - the US movie producer's association - have been caught redhanded doing things they want to stop others from doing. GVU is spreading files in p2p networks (in Finnish) to try to catch others doing the same thing, whereas MPAA has been copying and distributing DVDs without the rightsholder's permission.
There is, of course, some more justification for both. But copyright organizations are not the police, and they cannot and must not assume the same rights as the police has. The idea that law enforcement is done by private, unaccountable entities is not a good idea; not in practice nor morally.
For the latter it might appear that MPAAs copying is governed by Fair Use. And I actually agree; that's something that could well be covered by fair use. But considering that MPAA has been shouting for years that there is no fair use, and considering that someone in the entertainment industry wants to eradicate these old-style "rights", this seems very... what's that word? Hypocrite?
One of the things about working for a large organization is the incredible amount of Powerpoint that will amass throughout the company. I have gigabytes of .ppt:s in my hard drives; some of them still useful, some of them not. There are lots of search tools which peek into these and allow me to find decks that I remember seeing, but what I would really, really like to have is some sort of a way to collect all the corporate powerpoints lying around in the intranet under something else than a search engine. After all, copy-paste of useful slides is a common practice in the corporate world: you don't have to worry about copyright, since by default all slides you and everyone else did belong to the corporation. (Attribution is of course good to do; else you might piss off people.)
Finding information from an company intranet is usually quite a problem. The search engine trickery learned with Google does not necessarily work, since intranets tend to be strongly hierarchical and managed, and you can't rely on the usual "if it's linked to often, it's more important" -thang as much as you can in the internet. The content also tends to be a mix of HTML, Powerpoint and Word, which do not lend easily to free-form hyperlinking. Powerpoints can be notoriously difficult to find any context in, especially if you prefer the Steve Jobs one-word-per-slide-but-plenty-of-pictures -method, so the search engines cannot index them properly.
One such other media which is difficult to index are pictures. However, Flickr shows that even from this chaos you can get some sort of order. JC Hertz has found use for Flickr to store US Army satellite images.
Why wouldn't it work for Powerpoint and associated Office files as well? Having a central repository that you can just dump your powerpoints for someone else to find some use in, or at least keep your own slides organized through tags and sets, might be a nice little productivity increaser. Or just result in more powerpoint, who knows... I've personally started to prefer Word documents these days; the clipped, terse bullets of PPT tend to simplify and trivialise things too much.
(Free idea, now go and make something. And come back to me whenever you have it running. If you do good, I'll buy it... :)
(Credits to Stephen and Charlie and ~ChrisH for the idea.)
*choke* The perpetual beta is over! Google Blog reports that Google News is no longer beta - the first time since it was launched in 2002.
That's one long beta testing period.
Maybe the web application space is maturing? Nah...
Since Kolibri asks, I think I feel obliged to answer...
- I grunt while I am coding. I hold my breath and release it such that it sounds like I'm having a fit. This tends to annoy everyone around.
- I start sentences and never finish them, when my attention wanders off somewhere else.
- I like to pile up sandwiches. Anything goes - I pile butter, sausage, liver paté, cheese, egg, cucumber... As long as the cheese is on top, it works well. The cheese always goes on top, because otherwise my fingers get greasy or otherwise dirty when eating the sandwich. I do this also on Carelian pastries, which scares people.
- If I make a full turn to the left, I need to make a full turn to the right "to unwind". This was far stronger impulse when I was young (like seven or so), but I still feel it. By the way, I've never, ever, mentioned this to anyone before. Probably because I thought I was weird, and everyone was normal. How completely mistaken I was...
- I throw away chocolate. I buy a lot of it, but I forget to eat it, and I end up throwing it away two years after its best-before date. This tends to scare women, for some reason.
I have plenty of other weird habits, but these seemed to be 'work-safe' to list. And yeah, this was after my fourth beer.
Having a industrial-grade web server on your cell phone is a pretty good sign that the thing in your pocket is a full microcomputer with full computing and connectivity capabilities. However, quite a few people still see the cell phone as exactly that - something that you call with, and nothing more.
I usually get two kinds of reactions from people whenever I mention that I work for Nokia. The first group starts complaining that the current cell phones are too complicated, and that they really need just a cell phone. And SMS. And clock. And the ability to change the ring tone. And bigger keys and display, but a smaller form factor.
The other kind of a reaction I get from people who tell me - in no uncertain terms - that Nokia should do X, where X ranges from an extra button to do whatever people happen to think is important for them, to some really wild stuff.
(Then there's the third group that tells me why Nokia platforms suck, but let's not get there right now. Maybe later.)
Anyhow, (I'm up to my third beer tonight), and I'm setting up my aunt's new printer, and I've almost completely forgotten what I was going to talk about....
Yeah, the perception of mobile phones. It's odd: mobile phones are such intensely personal devices, that people really see them completely differently. Some people can't simply comprehend why manufacturers roll out devices with all sorts of capabilities that most people will never use, but on the other hand, there's a number of people that want to have PC-quality graphics, sound and bandwidth in the cell phone, too. And it's really, really hard to cater for both extremes. At some level, cell phones are always about compromises, far more than PCs ever are.
However, I think it's still exciting that people are constantly pushing the boundaries on what cell phones can be. Having a web server in your cell phone might not feel such a grand thing (I'm sure a lot of you are asking "why" at this moment), but I think it's important in the exploratory sense. The reason why you now have SMS is that someone once thought that it might be cool to be able to send short text messages around, though he couldn't exactly figure out why you might want to do that on a crappy keypad. Who knows what a web server in your cell phone might turn out to be in a few years?
...we accepted an offer to buy our apartment. It happened right in the wood section of Bauhaus, with everyone wearing jeans and a lot of randomly arranged dots of paint. Not very ceremonious, but odd enough for my taste.
A big load off my shoulders, I can tell you that. Having two apartments and two house loans at the same time is... frigging scary, even though it's apparently one of the things that adults do for fun every few years.
Our place was sold in four days, so I now owe Outi a dinner - I claimed it would take at least four to six weeks to sell it; but she was confident that we would get it sold sooner.
Always bet on the worse option. I lost, but for the price of one dinner I get to sleep a lot better. Had I won - well, at least I would've gotten the dinner.
Yup, it's available.
Having said that, I'm happy with the new MacBook Pro announcement. It looks pretty damned cool - though I worry a bit about the fact that they do not announce the battery life anywhere. So I'm assuming it sucks. Anyhoo, I'll be waiting for the 12" version of the same - I don't have enough space in my backpack to lug around a 15"...
New York Times reports that USPTO has teamed up with IBM, Red Hat, Novell and some universities to provide better visibility to open source for their patent examiners.
The patent office has come under increasing pressure in recent years from critics who contend that it issues patents without adequate investigation of earlier inventions. As a result, conflicts over published patents have loosed an avalanche of intellectual property litigation.
This is good news. Even if it's just a small step - they still have to train their examiners to use whatever new system they come up with, and making overworked people to adopt new ways of working can be pretty... straining.
For the IPR-discussion challenged among you: Patents good. Janne like. Janne think USPTO is overworked. Janne think they not have capacity to examine patents well enough. Janne thinks many crap patents issued because of that. Janne thinks many companies taking advantage of this. Janne thinks it is good to help USPTO to work better. Janne thinks more work needs to be done, though. Janne wonders, maybe copyright should be more like patents.
Janne thinks imbecile people will now think Janne said "copyright must be exactly like patents."
This little gem comes from Unacosa. Riikka writes:
There's even a Flickr pool of images from the video.
(Sorry for continued Finnish content. I'll resume my normal habits, once I get some things off my chest about the copyright legislation...)
Näin uuden vuoden (ja Lex Karpelan) kunniaksi pitää nyt selvittää yksi asia.
On väärin puhua kopiosuojauksista. Oikea termi on "käyttörajoite".
Jaa mitä välii vai? Antakaas kun setä selittää:
Tietokoneet osaavat tehdä hyvin kahta asiaa: yhteenlasku ja kopiointi. Kaikki tietokoneet (ja sitä kautta koko kulutuselektroniikka) rakentuu näiden kahden yksinkertaisen toiminnon varaan. (Nykyään tietokoneet osaavat tosin tehdä hyvin myös kertolaskuja, mutta aritmetiikkaa yhtä kaikki.)
Pelkästään yhteenlaskusta ei ole iloa - mies, joka osaa laskea yhteen päässään, mutta ei osaa kirjoittaa sitä paperille tahi lausua ääneen, on yhtä tyhjän kanssa. Samaten tietokone, joka ei pystyisi kopioimaan, olisi tarpeeton.
Tietokoneelle se, että estää kopioinnin, on noin sama kuin estäisi ihmistä hengittämästä. Ei hyvä idea pidemmän päälle. Tuppaa tulemaan rumihia.
Kun nyt puhutaan kopiosuojauksista, ei suinkaan tarkoiteta sitä, että kopiot olisi jotenkin suojattu, esimerkiksi sadetta vastaan. Oikeampi olisi puhua kopioinnin estosta, sillä sitähän sillä pyritään tekemään. Samanlainen uussana on "murtosuojaus", joka kuulostaa paljon paremmalta kuin "murron esto". Estäminenhän on aina negatiivista, suojaaminen positiivista, vaikka kyse olisikin samasta asiasta. Kun siis puhutaan "kopiosuojasta", tarkoitetaan että kyseessä on "kopioinnin esto", mutta se halutaan saada kuulostamaan kivalta ja positiiviselta asialta. Vähän niinkuin kuvailisi hirttoköyttä "hengityssuojaukseksi" eikä "hengittämisen estoksi".
Tietokoneet (ja CD-soittimetkin; se sinun "jog-proof" -mallisi toimii kopioimalla musiikkia CD:ltä väliaikaisesti muistiin) eivät voi olla sen enempää kopioimatta musiikkia kuin sinä voit olla kuuntelematta sitä.
Noin esimerkiksi, teen tässä alla kaksi kopiota ns. "kopiosuojatusta" tiedostosta (jonka ostin iTunes Music Storesta tätä tarkoitusta varten). Molemmat kopiot toimivat oikein mainiosti. Se, mitä en voi tehdä, on siirtää tuota tiedostoa toiselle tietokoneelle niin että se toimisi, koska iTunes-ohjelma vahtii, että kyseistä musiikkikappaletta soitetaan vain yhdellä tietokoneella. Kyseessä ei siis ole kopioiden tekemisen rajoittaminen, vaan käytön rajoittaminen.
[DralaFi:tmp] jalkanen% ls -la total 7488 drwxr-xr-x 3 jalkanen staff 102 Jan 7 18:44 . drwxr-xr-x 3 jalkanen staff 102 Jan 7 18:44 .. -rw-r--r-- 1 jalkanen staff 3831978 Dec 6 00:07 15 Feliz Navidad.m4p [DralaFi:tmp] jalkanen% cp 15\ Feliz\ Navidad.m4p feliz.m4p [DralaFi:tmp] jalkanen% ls -la total 14976 drwxr-xr-x 4 jalkanen staff 136 Jan 9 20:58 . drwxr-xr-x 3 jalkanen staff 102 Jan 7 18:44 .. -rw-r--r-- 1 jalkanen staff 3831978 Dec 6 00:07 15 Feliz Navidad.m4p -rw-r--r-- 1 jalkanen staff 3831978 Jan 9 20:58 feliz.m4p [DralaFi:tmp] jalkanen% cp 15\ Feliz\ Navidad.m4p feliz2.m4p [DralaFi:tmp] jalkanen% ls -la total 22464 drwxr-xr-x 5 jalkanen staff 170 Jan 9 20:59 . drwxr-xr-x 3 jalkanen staff 102 Jan 7 18:44 .. -rw-r--r-- 1 jalkanen staff 3831978 Dec 6 00:07 15 Feliz Navidad.m4p -rw-r--r-- 1 jalkanen staff 3831978 Jan 9 20:58 feliz.m4p -rw-r--r-- 1 jalkanen staff 3831978 Jan 9 20:59 feliz2.m4p
(Juh. Se on Celine Dionia. Ajattelin, että tämän kopiointi ainakaan ei vie minua helvettiin.)
Tekijänoikeuskeskustelussa erityisesti mediateollisuus on keskittynyt kopioiden tekemisen pahuuteen. Tämä osoittaa hyvin vanhakantaisen ajatusmallin, joka tosin on helppo myydä asiasta mitään ymmärtämättömille. Digitaalisessa maailmassa kopiointi on luonnollista, ja tyystin normaali toimenpide, jota tapahtuu triljoonia kertoja koko ajan. Sitä ei voi estää.
Se, mitä näillä rajoitustekniikoilla halutaan tehdä, on estää luvaton käyttö. Voit toki kopioida DRM-suojatun tiedoston kaverillesi vaikka miljoona kertaa, mutta hän ei voi käyttää (kuunnella, katsoa) sitä, ellei ole erikseen hakenut lupaa.
Luvattoman käytön määrittelee sitten oikeuksien omistaja. Hän voi esimerkiksi antaa oikeuden kuunnella musiikkikappale vain kolme kertaa. Hän voi sanoa, että saat kuunnella kuukauden ajan kappaletta, mutta sen jälkeen joudut maksamaan lisää. Hän voi jopa muuttaa oikeuksiasi kesken kaiken, jos epäilee sinun syyllistyneen johonkin epäilyttävään - lakimiehet pitävät huolta siitä, että he varaavat itselleen tämän oikeuden. Euroopassa kuluttajansuoja on sen verran voimakas, että täällä tuskin nähdään pahimpia ylilyöntejä, mutta monessa muussa maassa käyttörajoituksilla voidaan tehdä kuluttajasta mediateollisuuden orja kuin huomaamatta. Miltä kuulostaisi käyttörajoite, jonka mukaan sinun on katsottava televisiota vähintään kolme tuntia päivässä, jotta saat pitää oikeuden katsoa sitä jatkossakin maksamatta? Mahdollista, joskin melko epätodennäköistä.
Käyttörajoitteet muuttavat sen, miten käytämme esimerkiksi musiikkia. Et enää "osta" itsellesi rajoittamatonta oikeutta kuunnella musiikkia missä ja milloin haluat ja millä tahansa välineellä ostamalla CD:n, vaan lunastat itsellesi rajoitetun, yksipuolisesti muutettavan ja koska tahansa peruutettavan lisenssin kuunnella musiikkia hyvin rajatussa ympäristössä. Päätös siitä, miten ja missä musiikkia saa kuunnella, siirtyy kuluttajalta tekijänoikeuksien omistajalle. Tämä kuluttajien oikeuksien radikaali muutos on juuri se, mihin uuden tekijänoikeuslain 50a-c pykälät tähtäävät, ja tämä on se, mihin kritiikki kohdistuu. Se vain on valitettavasti onnistuttu huutamaan piiloon kummankin tahon toimesta: toiset ovat keskittyneet meluamaan MP3-soittimien laillisuudesta, ja toiset taas syyttävät kaikkia lain kritisoijia piraateiksi.
Nämä digitaaliset käyttörajoitteet ovat mediateollisuuden märkä unelma. CD:t ja DVD:t ovat tällä hetkellä hyvin heikosti suojattuja, eikä niihin tulla saamaan toimivia kopiointiestoja mitenkään - markkinamiesten puheista huolimatta. Sen sijaan uudet tarkkapiirtotelevisiot ja uudet audiolevyformaatit tulevat tukemaan niin tiukkoja kopiointiestoja kuin markkinat vetävät. Ja koska uudet tekijänoikeuslait tekevät näiden murtamisesta hyvin rajusti laitonta (noin tappoon verrattavaa rikollisuutta), mediateollisuus tulee voimakkaasti markkinoimaan ja työntämään näitä uusia järjestelmiä markkinoille. Esimerkiksi vaikkapa teräväpiirtojärjestelmissä käytetty HDMI-standardi, jonka yli kuvatieto siirtyy salattuna - ennen saatoit ottaa SCART-liittimestä kuvan ja digitoida sen; uusissa järjestelmissä tämä ei enää onnistukaan.
Tämän takia ei itse asiassa ole kovin järkevää boikotoida DVD:itä. Kaikki uudet järjestelmät ovat merkittävästi enemmän kuluttajan oikeuksia rajoittavia - jos luulit, että aluekoodit ja Linuxin toimimattomuus olivat hankalia, niin et ole nähnyt vielä mitään. Miten olisi videonauhuri, joka poistaa ohjelmia vaikket ole ehtinyt katsella niitä? Tai järjestelmä, joka murtautuu koneeseesi vahtiakseen, ettet huijaa nettipeleissä? Tai jo monta kertaa mainittu "Ei käyttäjät tiedä, mikä on rootkit, joten miksi niistä pitäisi välittää" -Sonyn haittaohjelma.
On helppo keskittyä keskustelemaan CD-levyistä, koska ne ovat tällä hetkellä tärkein ja konkreettisin median muoto, joita myös levitetään laittomasti eniten. Mutta todellisuudessa käyttörajoitteisiin liittyy paljon pahempia uhkia, jotka realisoituvat vasta muutaman vuoden päästä. Lex Karpela on laadittu "tulevaisuutta silmälläpitäen", sanovat lain laatijat, ja ovat harvinaisen oikeassa. Tulevaisuuden media tulee olemaan rajoitettu tavoilla, joita me emme voi edes kuvitella - ja mediateollisuus haalii itselleen vain entistä enemmän valtaa. Kyse ei ole enää vain rahan tekemisestä; tässä on jo kyse puhtaan vallan kahmimisesta. Keksikää tähän jokin sopiva lainaus rahan ja vallan korruptoivasta vaikutuksesta, minä en jaksa kaivaa sopivaa niiden miljoonien joukosta.
Tärkein ase tässä taistelussa on se, että ihmiset ymmärtävät, mihin ovat päänsä pistämässä kun he ostavat jotain käyttörajoitteista. Yhtenä tärkeänä tekijänä on se, että asioista puhutaan niiden oikeilla nimillä.
Puhutaan siis rehellisesti "käyttörajoitteista" eikä "kopiosuojauksista". Puhutaan "musiikin vuokraamisesta", ei "musiikin ostamisesta". Ja puhutaan myös siitä, miten uudet, hienot teknologiat merkitsevät muutakin kuin enemmän pikseleitä.
If you get this, you're a Finnish-speaking nerd. If you laugh at it, you're a sad, Finnish-speaking nerd.
On a completely unrelated issue: it's a good thing I have a tea mug which has a lid. Otherwise I might have spilled it on my keyboard, because I was laughing so hard.
(Via Irre on IRC.)
Niin, jotkut ovat jo odotelleet tämän vuoden Kultaisia Kuukkeleita, mutta valitettavasti tosiseikka on se, että muuton, remontin, töiden ja JSPWikin puristuksessa minulla ei ole kerta kaikkiaan aikaa tänä keväänä järjestää ko. pippaloita. Sitäpaitsi, olen muuttamassa pois Kalliosta ja Helsingistä, olen jo lähtenyt top-listalta, en lue suurinta osaa top-listan blogeista, enkä ole ehtinyt käydä sisäpiirin pippaloissakaan, niin ei minulla oikeastaan ole enää kvalifikaatioitakaan... Antaisin kuitenkin sitäpaitsi omavaltaisesti kaikki palkinnot Vahtikoiralle, jota ylläpitävät kaverit ja tutut. ;-)
Anyhoo, tämä tarkoittaa sitä, että Kuukkelikisan järjestäjän paikka blogimaailman kuumimmassa huumassa on tarjolla. Vaatimuksena ehdoton, vahva oma näkemys, bileidenorganisoimiskyky ja kyky hermostuttaa tosikoita. Palkkioksi saa oikeudet kultainenkuukkeli.net -domainiin, ja... no, joitain mustelmia egoon. Hyvällä lykyllä kisan järjestämällä saattaa löytää itselleen myös bloggaavan kaunottaren (tai komistuksen. Toimi ainakin minun kohdallani. Siis se kaunotar, ei se komistus.)
Yhteydenotot pers. koht..
(English Summary: No time to arrange Finnish blog awards this year; too much real work to do. Searching for hardboiled volunteers.)
(Apologies to Monty Python.)
Last Wednesday, Darla Mack complained about poor Nokia warranty support in the US.
Yesterday, it was already #5 in google.com, and #6 in google.fi, when you search for nokia warranty. All other pages are brochures or ebay announcements. It's therefore quite likely that if you are looking for Nokia warranty information (e.g. if you're planning to purchase a Nokia phone), you'll end up reading this rant. And since people probably keep linking to it, it'll float on the top for months, maybe years.
There's no way to tell what it leads to. It cost Kryptonite 10M USD in replacements after someone showed how to pick their locks with a ball point pen, and who knows how much in lost sales. On the other hand, no matter how negatively people write about Microsoft, they still make tons of money.
There has been negative and positive criticism throughout all of the internet. Mostly it's been limited to closed or semiopen groups of likeminded people (discussion boards, USENET, mailing lists, IRC). It's just that now single blog posts - single opinions - can become global influencers through the power of the search engines. These engines don't have any preprogrammed idea about corporate blurbs and corporate PR-folks being more reliable than anyone else. They play by new rules, born out of chaos and grey, devised by pale geeks in their dark chambers.
A lot of companies don't know how to play by these rules. The rules are not clear to begin with, and especially with the big behemoths it takes time for them to understand the game, and they refuse to enter the arena before they know what the rules are. The game scares them, because they are afraid to make mistakes. Some companies just go in, and play by the ear until they learn the rules. Others sit on the edge of the field, and try to figure out the rules by watching the players. Some companies get dragged into the game, kicking and screaming. Some can afford to ignore the game altogether, and keep going just like they have been doing for the past 200 years.
This "Web 2.0" -thing is like playing Calvinball on a global scale: nobody quite knows what the rules are, a lot of them are made on the spot, and winners can become losers overnight. (Calvinball is better, though, because you get to wear a cool mask. In Web 2.0 you have AJAX, but it's not that cool.)
The question is - what are the rules of the game? What do I tell people who ask why we should care about some blogger somewhere? Do they really matter, or is everyone just having self-delusional feelings of self-importance? How much would it cost to just ignore the internet? Can it be influenced, and how? How to win the game? Or should you just aim at surviving it?
(Disclaimer: I work for Nokia, but I am a private person and my opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the company, even if I am trying my best to make my opinions to be the company opinions as well, which is very unlikely to succeed, but I like to bang my head against walls anyway, just ask my colleagues, and thank you, I will go and make tea now.)
Some people change the entire looks of their blog when the new year comes. Some even change the entire blog engine, or at least update to a new version. Me, I'm just lazy, so I change the subtitle.
The Finnish Ministry of Education has released a FAQ on the new copyright legislation.
It's the worst FAQ ever. It's full of legalese, has few examples, no discussion, is ambiguous, hardly answers any questions, and looks like a troglodyte cut-n-pasted sections directly from the law onto a web site.
There are answers there, but they're vague and difficult to understand, or apply to real life. These folks clearly have no idea what kind of questions are the frequently asked ones... (Hint: go to Ihan itse, the handicraft discussion board, and look around.)
Then again, I don't think they had a very clear idea about the law in the first place.
...I had no idea I had a nest of butterflies in the pit of my stomach. Today, I'm signing the papers for the new apartment. It shouldn't be this difficult - after all, I've done this twice before - but for some reason this one is different. Is it because this might be an important rite in becoming middle-aged? Or maybe that it's the biggest amount of money I've ever handled? Or that me and the bank are now getting tightly married for 25 years?
Maybe it's that I am about to sign away a big portion of my freedom to choose. The older you get, the more your choices become about choosing your own limits: the things you can or cannot do. Some of these choices are mental, as we choose certain principles to follow; some of them are habitual; some of them are spiritual; and some of them are contractual.
Perhaps that's why I feel so strongly about online freedom: I see my own liberties circling and disappearing into the vortex of organized society (out of my free will, even). Even if I'm an engineer, I don't particularly like order and processes. I prefer chaos, invention, innovation, and the quantum fluff of reality to endless powerpoint slideshows about how things should be. Choosing to be a part of the system is the sensible and secure thing to do, but still... something in me keeps fighting the idea.
Well, at least on the internet, nobody knows that you're a middle-aged engineer with lots of loan (+ 2.5 dogs, a Volvo, a wife, 3.14159265 kids, and whatever else middle-aged people tend to have).
Merry Christmas to everyone!
And especially to all geeks, who can now view the Star Wreck movie on their mobile phones and iPods, thanks to Tommi and Samuli. I can hardly think a geekier pastime for the holidays ;-)
As the Christmas Chaos is coming towards us like a train in the same tunnel you're in (and I am, again, hopelessly late with all the things that I Need To Do), some may feel the need to enjoy a bit of laughter. I especially enjoyed The Pi Code, which shows well that you can imagine finding any sort of order from any sort of a chaos, if you really, really, really look for it.
I like chaos. Chaos is fun. Particularly, I like organized chaos. Just come over and see my desk.
Hello, everyone in Riyadh, Anchorage, São Paulo, Christchurch, Kuala Lumpur, Beijing, Bangalore, Porto, Istanbul, Malta and all the other cool places I've never been to but would like to go... Sorry for how the blog looks, but the name requires me to keep up appearances. If you were a random googler, then good luck in finding what you were looking for (this isn't it); and if you're a regular reader, then more power to you! Drop me a comment below to make me happier in this dark, cold and miserable country...
(Image through Google Analytics. Click on it to get a bigger one.)
To continue with the tune of liberties being squashed all over the Internet, here's what's newest new in copy protection and digital restrictions management (DRM):
So the idea is to embed an additional copy control signal in the analog picture itself. The law would require equipment to work with a watermarking technology called Video Encoded Invisible Light, which inserts a signal that is part of every frame, but invisible to the naked eye.
According to the bill, any device capable of converting an analogue signal to a digital signal would have to have a control chip that made it obey the copy restrictions embedded in the analogue signal.
So writes New Scientist.
The idea here is that every single device recording of video (including your cell phone camera, and digital tv recorder, and DVD recorder, and VCR recorder, and... well, you get the picture) must have a small chip that will prevent you from photographing anything you don't have rights over.
So, if you're taping your baby's first steps, make sure you turn off any TV screens nearby, or your camera might turn itself off "just in case". Watch out for buildings or statues that will have systems that will send the "copy protected signal" and prevent you from photographing (unless you pay a fee, of course). Watch out for people, who steal these devices, and enter buildings undetected - because security cameras are turned off.
If you read the law proposal carefully, you will also see that it limits time-shifting (i.e. recording a program off the TV to be watched later) to 90 minutes. After this period, the device must delete any program so recorded. So, want to watch that game a bit later tonight? No can do, it's probably been deleted already. You only paid to view it live, you need to pay separate to watch it later. It's as if a baker came to your house and threw away your bread, if you didn't eat it by the best-by date.
Watch for this law to be brought into the EU in 2006, and to Finland in 2008. And start screaming really loud, if you see it approaching.
Oh man... Well, bloggers: Now you know that calling someone a shithead (especially someone with a bit of power) in your blog can get you punished.
It's just too bad that it happened to be this particular case. It cannot be said that Pöyry was completely without fault here, and Jani (or at least his blog personality) is a good person who calls things as he sees them. Same cannot be said for all persons on the internet...
Sorry for the silence; many things started to move at the same time, and unfortunately World of Warcraft is also taking up a big chunk of my time. I can't recommend it, if you want to retain even an inkling of control of your life.
In the mean time, feast your eyes on this...
Ehm. I can't remember what I was going to write about. They accepted our offer! We're gonna be living in Espoo next year! Whee! Extra exclamation mark! ;-)
Update: you know, I just realized that getting paid more just means that you can afford to take more debt. There's something deeply wrong in all this. It's a vicious cycle.
It's Christmas time, and everybody's busy sending greeting cards. I'm in a bit of trouble... I realized I have nobody's physical address these days. Really. I remember where people live (I have a pretty good memory for maps), but I have no idea how to describe them to the postal system.
I don't even have a database of addresses - I used to have one on paper (but it's probably been recycled now), and I used to have an electronic one on my Palm (but that's probably lost all its memory by now). I might have backups somewhere, but they are well hidden, and it's quite a lot of trouble to start looking for them.
You see, this is really the only time that I need the addresses. If I need to send something to someone, I'll just scribble it on a nearby piece of paper that exists only as a scratchpad. Then it's gone, and I'll need to ask for it again. But it's not that often, really.
What does it all mean? That I am too far removed from the real world? Or that the world just does not matter to me the way that it used to because I now have better access schemes to it?
Who knows. We just returned from Andrea Bocelli's fine concert. Too tired to think anything complicated right now.
Here's a cool Christmas Gift: Alex Halderman shows how to make your own "strong" copy protection for CDs using regular household items and software. Send it to a friend as a Christmas gift, sue them in January for ripping the music!
(In the same spirit (and same blog), read Ed Felten's story about why spyware and copy protection are inevitably linked together.)
Everybody suspected it was happening, but now they're out of the closet...
Run by psychological warfare experts at the U.S. Special Operations Command, the media campaign is being designed to counter terrorist ideology and sway foreign audiences to support American policies.
This wasn't certainly a very pro-american-sentiment-generating start...
(Via Dan Gillmor, who's got a lot of good stuff to say about this.)
The European Parliament has been debating on whether weblogs are good or bad:
This is so classic rhetorics... Equating child pornography and weblogs? Saying that bloggers don't have to worry about libel laws? (Then why has Jani of Mummila a court date set for his libel suit? The libel and criminal laws work on the internet as well as on paper.) Stating that bloggers throw out democratic norms and standards? Hell-o? What could be more democratic than the fact that all people can finally have an equal voice on the internet?
What freedom is it when people are allowed to say whatever they want, as long as it conforms to standards?
What is it about freedom that scares the high officials?
Have they done something wrong - something they do not wish to be uncovered?
Or is it just that the cheerful anarchy of the blogosphere hurts their aesthetic eye for law and order?
"People have little time and want to be reasonably confident that the sites they visit are reliable, whereas a lot of weblogs are tripe", said White. Considering that 90% of weblogs are about the daily life of the common person, does that mean that Mr. General Secretary of the International Federation of Journalists thinks that the life of a common person is tripe? Perhaps people should not be allowed to write about their own life, because they are not experts and trained journalists? I mean, someone might actually mistake that for a real life?
What a dumb and horribly condescending thought.
(Thanks to Janne for the link.)
Keskisuomalainen writes that there is a new draft of the copyright legislation coming up, which gives the winner of any copyright dispute the right to publish the details of the crime in a newspaper advertisement at the expense of the loser. This, as correctly pointed out by EFF Finland, is tantamount to public humiliation.
The scary thing is that the officials planning this say that there's nothing wrong here. To quote Sami Sunila and Jorma Waldén from the Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Education, respectively: "This is not meant for humiliation. It's normal newspaper activity to publish names."
True. But it's always the newspapers' decision to do it. And they - with few exceptions - are guided by principles and morals, things that the copyright industry seems to have no respect of. If a company has no qualms whatsoever about installing invasive spyware on your computer, then why would they not use the opportunity to publically humiliate you? After all, it wouldn't even be out of their pocket...
We don't publish the names of the people who drink and drive, even though they endanger the lives of everyone around them. Why would we publish the names of copyright infringers? Are they worse people than rapists and people who run over little girls with expensive cars?
I'm all for transparency, but this is nuts. The internet no longer forgets, and once your name is public, it's always out there, at the reach of The Almighty Google. Public humiliation is a worse punishment now than in the sixties. Look at the Korean shit girl for an example...
During the infamous Finnish Copyright debacle some of the media, MPs and copyright organizations claimed that the entire movement against the new copyright law "was machinated" (what a horrible newspeak word) by some unknown entities. They did not understand that the internet and cell phones allow spontaneous formation of community movements, which have no leaders or originators as such.
Outi just blogged about the current Finnish Idols contest, how one very cute guy has gathered support of thousands of teenage girls - so much in fact, that the current list of IRC gallery communities lists tens of fan clubs, the biggest one being 2000+ members... And the fun thing is, they're determined to vote for this guy. So much in fact, that some of them claim to have voted over 130 times and have cell phone bills of over 100€. They support each other, and fan the voting flames. The guy is by far not the best singer, but the girls with the pink cell phones have chosen him to be The Idol. Which, I guess, is kinda the point.
I think this is fundamentally the same phenomenon: the internet and cell phones are allowing spontaneous mobs in an unprecedented scale. In the old days, you were bound by location, and then you would gather together somewhere to demonstrate. Much like shopping, voting is now virtual. No more cards to be sent, no more queuing. No need to grab torches and go hang the horsethief. Everybody with a cell phone is equal and has power.
So, whatever you do, do not underestimate the power of pink cell phones (with sticker photographs and trinket straps). Their vote is as good as yours - and they live and breathe this world. They know how to communicate efficiently - you don't. You are outdated - they are determined. You talk of "machination" - they shrug and don't understand. For them, anyone with enough brain to create an account on a free web site could be the "machinator".
They just don't realize the power they have yet. ;-)
Levyvirasto is a new Finnish music store that will deliver music to you in MP3 format. Yes, no "copy protection" nor DRM. They have a slick web interface, with the first popup preview listening thingy that worked out-of-the-box on a desktop Linux computer.
They even have a blog, which mostly seems to make sense.
The Record Office is available also in English, so any non-Finns reading this can now also glance at the state of modern Finnish independent music. They also deliver CDs, if that's the format you prefer.
I'm so going to support this. Exactly what I wanted. And as a bonus, the artist gets most of the money (70%). It's a very logical extension to Mikseri.net, a place for new artists to show off and let everyone listen. The pieces are slowly getting there to topple over the music hegemony... Maybe this store will fail - but others will follow. And one of them is going to be really, really good.
(Thanks to Digitoday for the tip.)
What makes Nokia, BSA, Microsoft, medical companies and FFII band together? Suggestion by the EU commission that patent infringements would become criminal offenses, and punishable by jail. Not even the MPAA is too excited about this proposed law: "This proposed law doesn't add anything for us."
However, the jerkheads at the European Commission seem to be intent on pushing it forward. I can't really see anyone from lobbying something stupid like this: For any corporation, patent lawyers are already an expensive resource. In the IT world, everyone knows that everyone is infringing on everyone's patents already (because they are too many and too vague), and at the moment patents are pretty much a risk management exercise: is it worth it for the corporation?
Should employees suddenly become personally liable for patent infringements, I would find it very difficult to continue to be an engineer and innovate. If employees suddenly start to quit because they fear possible legal problems for doing their regular, everyday job, any product-making corporation in the world is in deep trouble. I could go to jail for something I believe in - but to go to jail for your employer? No thanks. I'd rather start a pizza joint in Philadelphia. The effects might even be worse for universities and smaller companies, which concentrate solely on research.
We Finns have a saying: "mopo pääsi käsistä", which can roughly be translated as "while doing a wheelie, my sub-50 cc engine motorcycle escaped from my direct control." I think this is what is happening here: the goonies at the EC seem to have bought the intellectual property thing with the line, hook and sinker, and are now rampaging through the IPR scenery like horny bulls: screwing everything, thinking that IPR needs to be protected at all costs.
Someone, stop them, before it gets too late. I don't particularly want to move to Philadelphia...
I am weak. I bought World of Warcraft. No blog. No speak.
Need more money.
I still don't comprehend exactly how, but I managed to destroy my entire phonebook from my cell phone and TWO backups. I assure you it wasn't easy; it really needs dedication, stubborn ignorance of warnings, complete lapse of common sense, and access to a flashing station. So before you blame the cell phone, I assure you this was entirely my mistake.
So, if I'm not calling you it's not because I'm impolite.
It's because I'm a moron.
Subscribing to an RSS feed on a mobile device is hard: the browser is not connected to an RSS reader, so you need to type the entire URL into your feed reader (and they typically contain all sorts of nasty characters that require 11 fingers, your nose and a dead chicken to type). The other possibility is to use some sort of a preloaded directory, but with 70 million blogs and feeds out there, it's not likely that your favourites are going to be on that list.
Well, I've been talking about NFC before - you just touch a small tag with your mobile phone, and things happen. It seems that two companies in Japan are now using tags so that users can just touch them to subscribe to an RSS feed. No need for anything else - just grab your phone, touch a tag, and you will start getting news. Of course, it actually requires you to first find the tag you want to subscribe to... But if it's embedded in an object ("touch here to start receiving news and updates about your new car"), or available on location ("touch here to get the latest lunch menus to your mobile phone") then it should not be a problem.
It's strange: after all this time of trying to "virtualize" the life: making it more and more location and time independent, giving us the freedom to be anywhere with anyone at anytime, a technology comes along that works from the fact that you are there, physically present, thinking about things that are right in front of you. And I don't think that's a very far-fetched assumption.
Most people live a very location-bound life: many of us travel between home, work, and grocery store, with only occasional trips to other places. Finding the right tags might not be such a problem after all.
BTW, there's a nice article about the promise of NFC in this weeks Economy Technology Quarterly (€). I say promise, because it's still quite a lot about marketing fluff. But what I like about the article is that it's very feet-on-the-ground: "it's too early to tell whether it will fly, it certainly looks good, important companies are backing it up, market is growing, we'll see". Maybe the Great Bubbles taught us something?
Leena Ryynänen, the chairman of The Association of Finnish Broadcasters says, that "radio is not media, it's entertainment. For listeners, the most important criteria is music." (To be precise, she's using the word "tiedotusväline", which literally means media, but in Finnish the word is more limited than in English - I guess the closest translation is "journalistic media".)
Well, if that's your attitude, then personal music players and podcasting are so going to kick your ass. Why would I possibly want to listen to the dumbed down playlists of a two-hit radio station, when I can carry my entire music library with me - with far, far better selection than a single-channel radio could ever have?
It's true. Weird, but true. See for yourself.
(In the mean time [pun intended], record industry attacks people who make specialized browsers for viewing song lyrics.)
Update: And now they're going after the lyrics sites, by planning to throw the maintainers to jail. What do they think this is, Wild West? They'd love to have public hangings, I'm sure...
MPA president Lauren Keiser said he wanted site owners to be jailed.
Guitar licks and song scores are widely available on the internet but are "completely illegal", he told the BBC.
Mr Keiser said he did not just want to shut websites and impose fines, saying if authorities can "throw in some jail time I think we'll be a little more effective".
13% of Europeans write or contribute to a blog regularly, and 12% of Europeans have also listened to a podcast, says Blog Herald.
I've been banging code like a madman to get this thing done by last Sunday. Well, the Finnish Independence Day gave me just enough time to wrap everything up, and post the following onto the JSPWiki blog:
(Of course, we already have our first bug fix release out, too... Within two hours someone already found a bug. Download the nightly (2.3.51) for it. It's not fatal...)
...but the Atom feed format is now an official IETF Standards Track RFC. Congrats to everyone!
What does it mean? It means that now there is an properly specified, standardized way of doing feeds for news, podcasts, blogs, and a whole lot of other content. It does roughly the same things as RSS, but it's a bit more well-rounded for a lot of stuff. Since the same extensions work for them both, I don't feel there's going to be a lot of competition between these two, except for artificial competition created by people who have a dependencies on either format. Atom is relatively easy to generate, and most user's couldn't care less - they just subscribe to whatever feed they might find.
Atom is one of those things that will now just slowly grow in the woodworks, and only geeks will care, while everyone else will label it as "who cares". But it will be an integral part of the future infrastructure of the internet. It's much like say, TCP/IP, which grew quietly, and is now inside almost every sufficiently complex device.
What was this thing about liberty, egality and brotherhood? Maybe I misread. Maybe it was something like: "Thou shalt not aid a fellow man without compensation."
Submission, restriction and consumption. Those are the ideals of the Republic these days.
(Via Boing Boing, which details also some other insane copyright stuff that is going on in France these days.)
Update: Reading through different interpretations of this text it seems that the free software banning thing is just incidental: they want to impose mandatory DRM on every software that can handle multimedia (including streaming). Of course, this does automatically exclude any open source program from the game. It also includes P2P software, IRC and instant messaging, too, since they can be used to transmit copyrighted material in a peer-to-peer fashion.
Update2: The French FSF has opened an English section of their site. Apparently the law is being pushed through on a fast track (so that the public has no time to react), and it forbids everyday uses such as: "Creating your own compilations from a CD, extracting your favourite piece of music to listen to it on your computer, transfering it on a MP3 player, lending a CD to a friend, reading a DVD with free software or duplicating it to be able to enjoy it at home and in your country house."
Got this off from Bruce Schneier's blog:
No, really. In an obscure "policy" document released around 9 p.m. ET last Friday, the FCC announced this remarkable decision.
According to the three-page document, to preserve the openness that characterizes today's Internet, "consumers are entitled to run applications and use services of their choice, subject to the needs of law enforcement." Read the last seven words again.
The FCC didn't offer much in the way of clarification. But the clearest reading of the pronouncement is that some unelected bureaucrats at the commission have decreeed that Americans don't have the right to use software such as Skype or PGPfone if it doesn't support mandatory backdoors for wiretapping. (That interpretation was confirmed by an FCC spokesman on Monday, who asked not to be identified by name. Also, the announcement came at the same time as the FCC posted its wiretapping rules for Internet telephony.)
Considering that the Finnish minister of traffic and communications wants to enable massive-scale censorship of the internet... It won't take long before other Finns start talking about more regulation of the internet.
I agree with Kari Haakana: The Internet is not really a medium, and we don't need regulation of it any more than we need regulation of "paper", "radio frequencies" or "discussions in a bar". The internet is like being able to tune in into any discussion anywhere on any bar, street, museum, cafe, or any other public place. There is nothing in our history that has prepared us for this, and a lot of people are now running around a lot, doing lots of handwaving and hoping it will all go away and be controlled. Attempting to filter the internet by force is like trying to tell people to stop talking about certain things whenever they are in a public place. What happens? People move to private homes - on the internet, they move to encrypted, invitation only -channels, which are way more secure than a private home.
Once you start "filtering" the really bad things out of the internet, you have entered a slippery slope, where you start to "filter" other, pettier criminal things too - such as potential copyright infringements. Then you start to filter "wrong opinions". Then you're China. And this is fine as long as you're doing it to yourself. But if ISPs or the government starts regulating what kind of content you can view on the internet - that's bad. Every single limitation to a person's freedom to read, see and hear things must be taken with utmost care and deliberation. In public. With common understanding, that it does not make the thing go away - we just agree it to be a taboo.
Internet filtering will distort our sense of reality, much in the same way as if we moved all hobos outside of the city limits and pretended that they didn't exist. Wouldn't it be much better to go after the source of the problem, and not blame the mouth for cursing, or the paper for blasphemy?
Some of you may remember an old Dutch TV series, from 198..2 or 3, where a crossing by seven roads and a guy with green hair played a big role. Well, it turns out that even the obscure TV series like that have their own web site. Listen to the title tune - it is eerily familiar...
Another good oldie were the Norwegian Brødrene Dal who traveled through time and space to hunt for professor Drøvels secrets, and later on, crystal stones. I loved this series, though the clips on the site referenced make me cringe.
It's funny how the net contains so much stuff that can ruin all your old fond memories of things.
(Big thanks to Biena!)
Today I had an interesting meeting, which highlighted something that I call the "Slide Three Problem":
- In any given technical presentation to management, you can't get past Slide Three.
The reason is simple: after Slide 1 (title and your name), you get into Slide 2, which usually generates so much freeform discussion, which concentrates on a single problem only, so you get to show a third slide - which probably generates more than enough discussion to last for the entire rest of the time.
You get to choose Slide 1, and Slide 2, but the choice of Slide Three is really up to the people in the room. They'll pick up on something on Slide 2 that they disagree with or want to challenge, and then you'd better have a Good Slide Three among the rest of your slides, which will be the focus of the debate. The others just became... garbage.
It does not really matter, whether the material has been read in advance or not (most often not, or perhaps only cursorily). You still have no power over which one is going to be the Slide Three.
I know that challenging each other is the way of working at large corporations (I know MS is very good at this). There are extremely bright people around, and they grasp ideas extremely rapidly. Sometimes they can pinpoint the problems fast, sometimes they don't. Sometimes you spend an hour explaining matters all over, because of a communication problem - you try and try to understand what the other guy really wants (or needs) to hear, and what his real problem is. Sometimes it can be just a simple misunderstanding; sometimes it can be a political issue; sometimes it can be a financial issue masquerading as a technical issue; sometimes it's a personal issue masquerading as a political issue masquerading as a technical issue; and sometimes it can be a serious technical issue that the person just cannot communicate efficiently. And sometimes you're just too stupid or inexperienced to get what the other guy is saying. It takes a long time to be able to do "efficient challenges"; problems that are not the result of poor preparation or inadequate communication skills.
I know, I do it myself, too, so I am no better than anyone else. Perhaps this is the reason why slides from the management are always so vague - they move at such a high level, and have so little real content, that there really is nothing you even could disagree with? I would really like to know if there's any way to mitigate this without resorting to drawing pretty, but empty pictures, and talking more vaguely than politician who knows he's done bad things.
(Or is it just that I make for a really lousy presenter, who can't keep his audience in check for two slides? Might be. Should I be more assertive? I know I can already be extremely assertive (to the point of a serious fault), but it's hard to judge by yourself.)
In November, this server (i.e. all my domains) served 35160 unique visitors, who came by 90979 times, and loaded 676568 pages causing 1333493 hits, moving a total of 15.73 GB. Almost all content was served by the open source JSPWiki software, running on (equally open source) Tomcat and Apache. Thank you.
Here's a bit of something I stole off David Weinberger after hearing his presentation this morning:
The traditional media often claims that bloggers are self-absorbed, self-obsessed egomaniacs raving about themselves. Well, count all the outbound links - links that point to someone else than the blogger - on typical blogs such as mine, or say, Doc Searls, and compare that to the average number of outbound links on a typical news paper internet page, say Helsingin Sanomat - and then ask which one of them is self-absorbed.
Didn't notice this until now... The Nokia N90 blog. Seems to be a bit on the "whoo, our product is so cool" -side, but they actually link to reviews, comments, etc. Which is nice, because it's really about participating in the conversation. When compared to the more generic Nokia S60 blogs, they have at least one advantage: a readable color scheme... (Guys! Fix it! It's horrible! Grey on white is NOT readable, no matter what a stylist told you!)
The N90 blog is not going to get too much comments though - they require registration to comment. I can't be bothered to register to sites anymore - I have about a thousand throwaway registered accounts on different services, which I almost never use anyway. If you're worried about spam, do comment moderation (pre- or post-).
The new version of the Sony PSP firmware adds RSS support, suggesting that feeds and RSS are hitting mainstream. The fun thing is - they're not doing it for news, blogs and other kinds of feeds, but... podcasts!
Reminds me - I really need to update my own podcast. I've just been pretty busy with JSPWiki and apartment hunting...
Nice opinion piece on the BBC by Bill Thompson about the music industry, copy protection, using terrorism laws to attack file sharers, and privacy:
I've been playing around with the enhanced web browser based on WebCore on a Nokia E61, trying it out in real-life situations (such as finding apartments we're considering buying and figuring out routes). Today I got seriously pissed off - not because of the phone or the browser, but because of some web sites.
Some smart web sites, such as Google, can figure out that you are using a mobile browser, and can serve you a "mobile-optimized" -version. Unfortunately, I happen to have a perfectly capable web browser with a large screen with roughy the same aspect ratio as a normal monitor. These web sites just stupidly assume that I have a crappy browser, and they serve me something that looks positively tiny and constipated with no option of using the full version.
(As an aside: I seem to have problems with sound in iTunes breaking in my ~PowerMac. It seems to happen only when Eclipse is running and I use something graphics intensive (like Exposé). It's as if iTunes is not getting enough CPU... Has anyone seen anything like this?)
From The Long Tail:
"David Blackburn, a Harvard PhD student, on the economics of P2P file-sharing concludes that it does indeed depress music sales overall. But the effect is not felt evenly. The hits at the top of the charts lose sales, but the niche artists further down the popularity curve actually benefit from file-trading."
Makes sense. File sharing is just like radio play: you get more exposure.
You know, quite few people have been going nuts over their government spying on you. But the sad truth is that very few governments have any real reason to spy on all of their citizens anymore. They just don't have the money to do it, either. It also turns out that NOT spying on your citizens makes them a wee bit happier, and they don't think about revolution that often anymore. So you don't need to spy on them.
However, there are institutions out there that have the motivation and the money to spy on everyone. They think everyone is a criminal (which is probably true - when was the last time YOU forwarded an email that contained a funny animation, and you weren't quite sure about its legal status?), and because getting a search warrant on a single person is too much hassle and too expensive, they just want to have a blanket permission to spy on everyone.
I'm talking about the new Data Retention Directive of Europe, which has been designed to combat some really serious issues such as terrorism and serious crime. The media industry believes that intellectual property violation is as serious a crime as terrorism, and that the restrictions in the Directive should be loosened so that they can go to ISP's files and scan them automatically for any potential infringers, so that they can then sue everyone. All your emails, all your data traffic, all the web sites you go to. Downloading something by accident might make you liable for damages - in the U.S, RIAA wants 150,000 USD per copyright violation (in Finland, this seems to be settled around 22 €.)
This is roughly the same thing as if the government wanted every single car to be equipped with a GPS device, and all your speed information would be transferred to the police, and they would just email you a ticket whenever you exceeded the speed limit. Convenient? Yes. Oppressing? Hell yeah. Imagine what kind of a noise would that create even among the honest car-driving population - everyone speeds sometimes.
The media industry gave us a fictional Big Brother, where we could watch bored kids getting drunk 24 hours a day. Now they're trying to give us the Real Thing, as laid down by Orwell and all the other dystopians.
Don't let it happen. Write to your MEP now (Finnish MEPs), and let them know that you oppose the Data Retention, and especially the way it's being rushed. And, even if you think that such a law might be necessary at some point, at the very least mention that you oppose any attempt to make it less strict - it should be meant for very, very serious offenses only. Because the fact that such detailed data about your surfing habits exist, means that it might well be misused.
Update: Got a response from Alex Stubb:
Parlamentissa hiotaan nyt kovasti vesitettyä versiota tästä aloitteesta. Katsotaan, mitä vastaava valiokunta saa aikaan. Alunperin esitetyssä muodossa en voi tallennusvelvollisuutta tosiaankaan kannattaa.
Marjut links to this Cross-platform calendar that really works. I'd like to present you a similar calendar we (as in me and a bunch of friends) have been using successfully for years (10-or-so?) to decide the days we can all get together and have a game. All it requires is that everyone is reachable through email. I can't take credit for inventing this, but I am pretty sure we were among the first in my peer group to adopt it.
First, you need an email client that supports monospaced fonts (like Courier). Otherwise this'll look horrible. HTML tables should work, too, though. Otherwise, this is perfectly cross-platform. It also works great when pasted into a Wiki page.
On the horizontal lines, you write names. On the verticals, you write days. Like this:
December 0 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 t f S S m t w t f S S m t w t f S S m t w t f S S m t w t f Janne Ville Kalle Sanna
(This is the übercomplicated version; it fits an entire month on a single line, including weekdays. It looks complex, but it's actually quite easy to construct, you just smash through the entire number key pad in order, and repeat twice. I'll leave it as an exercise for you to figure out how to do the weekdays. :)
Then, you fill it up for yourself and send it to your friends.
December 0 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 t f S S m t w t f S S m t w t f S S m t w t f S S m t w t f Janne + + - - + + + + + ? ? + + + + - - - ? ? - - - - - - - - - + Ville Kalle Sanna
Note the clever uses of different symbols: "+" means "yeah, I'm okay"; "-" means "no way"; "?" means "I don't know yet; it depends on other people's plans or something".
Two minutes later, the compulsive email reader Kalle responds, and he has copied your table, and added his own information on it:
December 0 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 t f S S m t w t f S S m t w t f S S m t w t f S S m t w t f Janne + + - - + + + + + ? ? + + + + - - - ? ? - - - - - - - - - + Ville Kalle - - - - + + + + e e e - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - + Sanna
Note a new character: "e". Using "e" here means many things, but mostly it means "I already have some other plans, but I can cancel them, if this is the only day that suits everyone else." I.e. it's a "+", but not a very strong one, and it would be greatly appreciated, if whoever makes the decision would not choose this date.
After a while, also Ville and Sanna respond, resulting in a table which looks like this:
December 0 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 t f S S m t w t f S S m t w t f S S m t w t f S S m t w t f Janne + + - - + + + + + ? ? + + + + - - - ? ? - - - - - - - - - + Ville + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + - Kalle - - - - + + + + e e e - - - + - - - - - - - - - - - - - - + Sanna - - e e - - - + ? ? ? + + + + + - - + + - - - - - - + + + + * * *
From this table, it's easy to see what would be suitable dates for everyone (marked with "*"). The initiator of the sequence suggets Thursday 8th, and everyone agrees. And while they were at it, they agreed on holding the 15th as "tentative", so that they get to continue the game if it's not finished in time. One of the advantages of this calendar is of course that you can immediately see who might not make it - and while everyone is equal, missing someone might not be.
As you can see, this is quite simple. In extensive testing, we've noticed that the range of "yes", "no", "dunno", "not really, but can be arranged" is quite sufficient for even complex calendar iterations of tens of people. At some point someone will probably need to converge two threads of calendars together, but it's usually just an easy cut-n-paste job. You are, of course, free to invent your own characters... or just use "+" and "-", if you think it gets a bit too complicated.
Update: Markus points out that there's a script on the web that creates the matrix for you automatically! Wonderful (though in Finnish)!
Rosa Meriläinen, a Finnish MP writes in her blog (translation mine):
At first, I figured this is a joke. But then I realized it probably is not.
I have a feeling she just managed to make a bunch of fierce enemies, who don't forget easily. Irina, too.
Update: She has confirmed this to the Digitoday copyright blog. So no joke. Oh well, at least she's refreshingly honest about being on the leash of the lobbying organizations.
I wrote back in June:
Well, we'll soon find out: Kaleva tells us (in Finnish) that the IRC gallery is starting to offer a blogging service to all of its users.
"Within a few weeks of testing, the testers alone wrote over 60,000 entries", they say.
Heh. This should be cool.
Just started to think... Reading blogs is more common than writing them. Are the IRC-gallery folks going to:
- Build their own reading system (i.e. a competitor to blogilista.fi)?
- License or partner with blogilista.fi? (Which should be interesting.)
- Leave everyone to their own devices (bookmarks, RSS readers, blogilista.fi)?
People keep asking me if I've already started to play World of Warcraft (there is a Mac version, I hear). I'm tempted, but I don't dare to. I know I can be addicted to gameplay, and open-ended games are the worst.
Anyhoo, since I don't have anything real-ish to write about, I thought I'd give a nudge to some of my recent favourites from the blog/podcast world, in case some of you might like them too. Some of these are certainly worth finding:
- Escape pod: My #1 podcast right now. Get yourself a new science fiction/fantasy story every week. They range from five-minute snippets to 30-minute short stories, and the reading isn't half bad either. It would be great if someone started this in Finnish, too. (I'll read your short story in my own podcast if you send it to me. I promise to treat it gently, though I am not a great reader.)
- Flickr blog: Get the best of Flickr, daily. Flickr is like a diminutive blogosphere; loads and loads of average photographers, but it also is a place where pros and semipros post their stuff.
- Digikko: (in Finnish) Digitaalimediaa mainosmiehen silmin; miten markkinointi ja rahanteko toimii uudessa mediassa ja uudessa nettikulttuurissa, blogien ja avoimen lähdekoodin pyörityksessä. Täältä löydän kiinnostavia linkkejä ja pohdintaa. Hyvä blogi, kaiken kaikkiaan.
- Tekijänoikeusblogi: (in Finnish) Jaakko Kuivalainen jatkaa ansiokkaasti vain tähdenlennoksi luulemaani blogia ja kattaa tekijänoikeusasioiden uutisointia. Blogin kommenttipalsta on tosin sen tärkeintä antia, sillä se tuntuu toimivan parhaimpana tiedonlähteenä. Erinomainen esimerkki siitä, miten perinteisempi media voi vuorovaikuttaa lukijoittensa kanssa.
- Tomorrow Elephant: Mostly English, some Finnish included. Writes a bit too rarely, but when it does, it does the "daily geek thing" in a bit more interesting fashion than everyone else. Maybe it's because the guy is trying his wings in writing scifi, too...
- Touch by Timo Arnall. Exploring tangible computing - e.g. using your cell phone as an interaction device for objects within your reach. Just touch, and magic happens. Fascinating, though he should blog more. Dang, I should blog more about it...
- Mette miettii: (in Finnish) Mette miettii edelleenkin fiksuja. Hyvää kommentaaria asioista, joita ei ehkä muissa blogeissa puida jatkuvasti.
As you can see, no personal blogs made that list. In fact, while I was going through my blogroll, I realized that few of them tend to survive for more than two months on it. I go to blogilista.fi maybe twice a month, and subscribe to a random blogs that seem good, but few of them manage to keep my interest up for long. Probably because I don't know these people, and I've already found "my" number of people that are interesting and write well enough. Maybe this is what prompted some people about a year ago to tell that "blogs are a 'fad' and they shall soon pass." True; there is only so much you can read about someone's life - unless they lead extraordinarily interesting lives, the entries start repeating after a while. No matter how good a writer you are. I mean - would you like to read Bridget Jones' diary, part XVII? The original is a good book. Even the sequel was fun. But after a while you just start to look for something else, you know?
The world keeps turning and there are new news every day. I know of people who don't bother to read news anymore, saying that they repeat themselves, and there is little that is actually new in news these days. I sort of agree with them. It's the same thing as getting bored with diaries - the "new" factor disappears quickly. Hey, people get killed every day. It's life.
In scifi, I think, the same idea is called "sense of wonder". You need to have some, in order to be able to "suspend your disbelief", and really immerse yourself in the fictional world the author has created. I guess it also works for computer games (Homeworld saga certainly does it for me) and other entertainment in general - it just goes by different names.
But this "sense of wonder" is what creates the image of "new and interesting". Blogs - as a concept - had it for a while. Now people are getting more jaded: since everyone can now blog, the medium loses its particular attraction; the differing factor from what-was-before. Podcasting is now at this "sense of wonder" -stage; we don't quite know what they're good for, but gosh gee darn golly, doesn't it give you kicks to see that people are subscribing to your podcast?
The way I think it is that blogs are somewhere between the noisy chaos of the masses screaming about their individuality, and the cold, objective reality of idealistic journalism. It's the stuff that could be news, but it just cannot pass through the filters and bottlenecks. Good blogs are written by people who could do it for a living, but they choose not to. Good blogs are written by people who have a passion for something, and they're far more interested in sharing that passion with a very limited number of other people, than they are in making a deadline, getting paid by word every day, or just abiding their time before they get to go home and do what they really want to do.
I'm not saying that these people are better writers than professionals. But passion shows, you know? That's what creates the sense of wonder; that's what creates "new" news. That's what makes a really good professional author really good.
That's what we really care about.
Passion and sense of wonder.
Got today a photograph of my godson. It's wonderful, and it makes me happy. He looks adorable.
But what makes me very angry is the backside of the picture. It says (rough translation):
"According to the copyright law, a photographer has a copyright also on any commissioned work. Due to this, digitization or other copying is prohibited without the explicit permission of the photographer."
This is utter copyright bullshit. Not only it would mean that I couldn't legally scan the picture and store it in that format, which definitely would count as deep infringement of my consumer rights, it is also blatantly wrong. The Finnish copyright law, § 49a does say that a photographer has copyright on pictures, but it also says that "private copying is allowed under paragraphs 1 and 2 of § 12." And actually, in a whole lot of other exceptions. Even under the new law.
I find it very dangerous that people use copyright law as a general club to claim all rights, including those that they are not entitled to. Copyright law exists to prevent other people from gaining from your work, which is why publishing and selling copies is regulated. But consumers have rights, too - and one of them is the right not to ask for permission every single time you need to breathe, move, talk to other people, or scan a photo you have purchased.
Hey, you spineless security corporations and governments! Your wishy-washy "well, we'd tell you what we really think but the media industry would sue the heck out of us" -tactics are making life on the internet dangerous. We already have hackers and malicious people to deal with - if we need to fear corporations which believe they own our life, too, life becomes really, really hard.
You must stop this here.
This is the kind of tactics media corporations will employ in the future, if you don't slap them now. They have already lured you into giving them unprecendented power with your copyright laws, but you don't have to give them any more power.
We people are not just passive consumers of entertainment. We are living, thinking beings that value our freedom - freedom from being told what we may read or listen or watch. Sony BMG Finland says that no CD's with copy protection have been imported to Finland, yet there are hundreds of them in public libraries and private homes. They also remind, in a gleeful tone, that starting next year, directly importing CDs not published in EU will be illegal. I read it as "well, it's your own fault from buying the CDs from somebody else than us."
The media corporations - and Sony BMG in particular - are like bullies on a school yard. They have the power, they know it, and they want to threaten and blackmail people to do their bidding. They think they own the yard (in this case, "culture"), but they simply don't realize the fact that culture belongs to the people who create it, and those people who enjoy it. They are just middlemen in transferring that culture from the creators to the people.
The internet is eliminating the need for those middlemen, as they currently stand. This scares them, as they see their power slipping away.
Both the creators of culture and the people who enjoy this culture need to grow up, get out to the world, and leave the bullies on the school yard.
(The only corporations that have taken a proper stand against this are F-Secure and - surprise, surprise - Microsoft. The other is not spineless, and the other is big enough to ignore stupid companies. Amazon is also doing the right thing and offering free refunds on all Sony XCP-protected disks.)
From Joi's blog:
For a daily newspaper printed in 31 print sites around the world and distributed in more than 150 countries, 30 letters per day struck me as very low, but several colleagues thought it was "a lot".
I sometimes get more than 20 responses - many publishable - for a single posting on this blog."
What's the situation in Finland? How many responses does an average column in a newspaper get - with their vastly superior circulation over blogs? Or is there something in having your responses published instantly for everyone to see? Or maybe the intimacy of the blog format makes it automatically more interactive?
One thing I've wondered about is that the discussion on the blogs @ Helsingin Sanomat (Finland's biggest newspaper) seems to be constantly of high quality - and far more useful than the discussion on the Helsingin Sanomat discussion boards. Maybe it's because the trolls haven't found blogs yet. Maybe it's because the trolls get filtered. Or maybe it's because long, thoughtful posts elicit long, thoughtful answers. Or maybe bloggers are smarter? Or maybe blogs are just a superior conversation systems ;-)
Well, this was a first. Somebody has been posting comments that link to Finnish spam sites...
Obligatory content: take a look at this wonderful flash drawing.
Upgraded this weblog to the latest version of JSPWiki. I also added comments directly on the individual entry pages; though I can't figure out why I didn't do that before.
Let me know if something broke. I know of at least one thing...
Jani, of the Pöyry fame, did finally receive an order to appear before court. This will be interesting to follow - and I of course hope for all the good things for him! Nothing he said was anything you couldn't read in a normal newspaper; and way, way nicer than what you normally can find in a typical USENET flame war...
A couple of weeks ago, while trodding through wind and water to a Secret Blogger Inner Circle Meeting bar, I realized that I have been (sorta) wrong. I have been arguing that the Blogosphere is not a community - but in fact, there is a community called Blogosphere. It just might be that nobody belongs to it. But it seems that you can treat it as a community, since there is always someone that reacts to things in the same way the entire Blogosphere would. It probably is not the same person each and every time, but the net effect is that it appears as if the Blogosphere does something or has an opinion.
It works the same way on Slashdot, where one can predict certain comments like clockwork.
A cheekier analogy would be to to equal blogs with genes (he said, hearing the horde of doctors and scientists baring their fangs and preparing to shred this analogy to pieces): A gene has no intelligence, has no concerns, no aims, but yet innumerable counts of them are able to produce something that is coherent and intelligent, in a process that is called evolution. In the same way an unintelligent collection of blogs produce something that can be treated as an entity, no matter whether anyone agrees to be a part of it, or even agrees to what it has to say.
Blogs are individualistic, beautiful voices of the world. The blogosphere is a statistical, chaotic monster of the internet.
From beauty to beast.
Ain't that grand?
Yup, the corporate blogs are also now happening in Finland (well, technically anyway). Take a look at Nokia's official Series 60 blogs, launched today. There are three of them at the moment - and if they turn out useful, there will probably be more. I have to plug Tommi's S60 applications - because otherwise he might reach over the cubicle wall and throw things at me.
Welcome to the Blogosphere - the community that's not a community, but still kinda is. There's all the room you want for ya :)
(And whoever thought of using BLINK in the blog - it's not a good idea. It is, in fact, a very, very bad idea. I shall hit you with a wet trout if we ever meet.)
I'm now in the heartland of Bushislavia. Lots of flags around, not so many bumper stickers as I feared. Steaks are juicy and big, and the TV is filled with news of terror here and killings there. Beautiful news anchors look serious and tell stories of horror and fear in urgent, but controlled voices. The only non-US news I've so far have been about the riots in France, and how they've spread to other countries as well; and also some 15 terrorists hatching an evil plot in Australia.
It is contagious. Someone knocked on my hotel room door yesterday evening and said there's a pizza delivery for my room.
I didn't open the door.
Here's a bunch of interesting links and some other things I've been meaning to write deep and meaningful posts about, but can't be bothered right now.
- "A new group calling itself Mothers Opposed to Blogging (MOB) has called on the United States Government to impose an immediate ban on blogs and blogging due to the damage it is causing to American teens, including a massive rise in literacy, communication skills, and understanding that the world doesn’t stop at the Canadian and Mexican borders."
- A book plot patent has been published in USA. So, you not only have to worry about plagiarism, your great idea for your new book might be patented, too! Whatever you do, don't write a story about "an ambitious high school senior, consumed by anticipation of college admission, who prays one night to remain unconscious until receiving his MIT admissions letter." (Any book writers want to comment on this?)
- MPAA wants to plug the analog hole: "The bill would essentially require all analog devices, such as televisions, to either re-encode a signal into a digital form, complete with rights restrictions, or to encode the rights restrictions into the analog stream itself. Manufacturers would also be forbidden to develop a product that would remove those restrictions. Exectives at Veil Interactive, the developer of the VRAM technology at the heart of the legislation, described the technology as one that would not be noticeable by consumers." The idea, of course, being that if you happen to make a phone call in a place which has copyrighted music playing in the background, the phone would not work (because the recipient of the call is not authorized to hear the music). Knowing the track record of "copy protections that the consumer does not notice", it sounds like a very stupid idea to try.
- Paul Graham talks about what businesses can learn about open source. It's one of the most insightful talks I've heard in a while, and you probably should listen to it, if you are following this blog because you think about the same things as I do, but not if you just want to hear what color my hair is today or how much I love Outi. There's also a text version.
- Oh yeah, and the Matti Nykänen movie trailer.
I don't know what changed, but my iTunes now finds - depending on the time of the day - five to eight other iTunes in my network neighbourhood. I can see music from a bunch of complete strangers, listen to it - and interestingly, I can also see folders like "XXX's ~LimeWire Tunes": a clear indication (though no proof) that someone is downloading music illegally. I'm currently listening someone's Tori Amos MP3s, and they probably have no clue whatsoever that I am doing it.
Apple's Bonjour technology is quite efficient: I can see a bunch of network shares, iTunes Shared Music folders and Airport access points. There's nobody in iChat though; or I would've asked where they are. I just hope every single one of them is well-protected. It's not fun if someone reconfigures your access point. A bug in the Bonjour stack might also cause quite some mighty havoc...
So folks, please check your firewall settings - prevent packets from the outside. Or at least turn on your personal computer firewall - with OSX it's in the Sharing preference pane. Remember, that unless you have a firewall between you and your ISP, every single other person in your entire area can see all the services you are running in your computer. Maybe even the entire world. And they don't need to be hackers - they need to just start iTunes or Airport Admin Utility.
Ewan Spence, the all-around cool guy and a fabulous podcaster says that his Edinburgh Fringe Podcast has been nominated for the Scottish BAFTA awards in the Best Interactive Media Award category! Congratulations, man. You so deserve it.
You can still listen to the episodes; highly recommended, if you're interested in the quirky, strange and fun places of this Earth.
I don't usually comment on company launches (because it is wise), but I have to say that opensource.nokia.com certainly tingles my nerve-of-goodness. Way to go, guys :-)
In other news, the new Web Browser for S60 supports cool things like thumbnail views of the pages, AJAX and DHTML for Web 2.0 hype compliancy, and built-in RSS support for following blogs and news. The best part though: it's got a plugin API, so people can develop new browser plugins for S60, too. It's cool enough to make a geek drool.
However, while this is very nice, someone might mistake to think that this means that there no longer is a need to create mobile-specific versions of the web. In fact, it becomes more important than ever: while 3G and high-end smartphones will have a browsing experience similar to the laptop, the most phones sold in the world are simple devices with GPRS (roughly the equivalent of a 56k modem) and tiny displays with a very simple browser. Most people in most countries cannot afford high-end phones (or maybe they cannot: getting a high-end Nokia in the US is an ordeal). In fact, according to this BusinessWeek article, sales of sub-$50 handsets might increase by 100% annually for the next five years. For many, the mobile phone will be the first touch of the internet.
Browsing is also a very engaging experience. It's a foreground task, which tends to consume most of your attention. (And my feeling is that since you don't need that much brain power to browse, the brain tends to turn itself into mush whenever you surf the web.) The apperance of the Web on the mobile will result in more people walking absent-mindedly on the streets, looking at their phones, bumping into other people, and getting hit by cars. Of course, SMS is already causing serious amounts of this "vicinity detachment", but SMSs tend to be short, whereas a browsing session may take hours.
The way that people work with their phones is different from the way they work with their computers. A good browser will make it easier for the developers to make mobile stuff, but you still need to think of the person that is using the software. Previously, your user had needs or wants, but you could always safely assume that he was sitting somewhere, with time to spare, two hands free, big keyboard and a screen. Now, your user could be someone who is running through the aisles of a Walmart, with two kids trying to see who can topple more bean cans, one toddler screaming "HUNGRY" in the cart, trying to steer with one hand, and fiercely tapping a small keypad with another.
The physical context of use becomes more important than before. A lot of the research on the context-sensitive applications so far has been about trying to figure out user's mental context: i.e. what does he really want. But that's very, very hard, and prone to many misinterpretations (Think of how well men in general are able to figure out what women really want. Trying to teach that to a computer is like trying to teach a hedgehog the difference between waltz and tango.) But the physical context is a lot easier to adapt to - you can rely on the user to recognize his own mental context, and figure out which app he wants to use.
When sitting in front of a computer, most of us enter a virtual world. But when dealing with a cell phone, we are dealing with the real world. There's a difference.
Sony BMG seems to be adding rootkits to their CDs. Rootkits are nasty little programs that hackers use to break into your computer and turn it into a mindless zombie, ready to do whatever the hacker wants. They are very similar to worms and viruses, except that they don't spread autonomically. In this case, it seems that Sony breaks into your computer to make sure you don't make any illegal copies.
Of course, hacking is illegal. Except that with the new Finnish copyright legislation, it suddenly becomes fine (because apparently, there was a tiny piece of text in a license agreement that said they might install some small bit of software). So, if you buy a CD from Sony, they have the right to do whatever they want with your computer. And you can't do anything about it, because it's illegal to remove copy protection. Sony offers no uninstaller, so the program is with you forever (unless you reinstall Windows).
These are exactly the kind of situations the protesters warned about during the discussion on the new copyright legislation.
Update: Wouldn't F-Secure break the Finnish Copyright law by publishing a detailed analysis of how the DRM system works after January? Probably, though it is unlikely that anyone will sue them because of it. This just demonstrates again how the copyright law influences areas that it is not really supposed to.
Update2: Oops, the new law comes into effect in January. I changed the above sentence to be conditional. Thanks to the anon commenter. Sometimes you just blog faster than you think :)
Went to see the Japan Pop exhibition in Tennispalatsi. Somewhere along the way I realized that I had four MP3-players with me: my iPod Nano; an iRiver 795 (which I use because of its recording ability only); a Nokia N90 phone; and a loaner Nokia 770 Internet Tablet from work (with the newest software it's quite snappy). Every single piece of electronics I was carrying is able to play MP3s.
There's an old saying of software development which says "Every program attempts to expand until it can read mail. Those programs which cannot so expand are replaced by ones which can."
I wonder if it could be rephrased these days? "All hardware attempts to expand until it can play MP3s. Hardware which cannot so expand will be replaced by something which can."
(After a long hiatus, I made a new podcast. Enjoy.)
Had a lazy moment, so I decided to do something that has been bouncing in my head for a while: could the Power Law of weblogs be simulated? The basic idea of the Power Law is that in any blogosphere, certain blogs become more popular than others (and this without the help of any top-lists or anything). So I made a bunch of rules, hooked them to a graphing library, and lo! The Power Law formed in front of my eyes. In fact, it formed with almost any assumptions.
This very simple applet I wrote creates a blogosphere of 1000 bloggers. Each blogger follows the following rules:
- Initially, all bloggers have 20 subscriptions to random blogs.
- Every day, every blogger makes a post.
- There is a 10% chance for him to post a link to an another blog.
- Every day, the blogger updates his subscription list as follows:
- There is a <2% chance that a blogger drops a subscription (the probability is decreased if the blogger has fewer blogs in his subscription list.
- There is a 5% chance that the blogger subscribes to a blog if someone on his subscription list has linked to it.
- There is a 1% chance that a blogger subscribes to a blog that posts a link to his blog.
- There is a maximum of 40 blogs any blogger will subscribe to.
It turns out that very quickly, even after a few iterations, some bloggers become more popular than others (because it's more probable that people link to them), and therefore get more links. Which makes them, in the next turn, more popular. Very quickly, some bloggers gain a very large audience, whereas most of the bloggers will plateau to an average level.
So don't complain about something as trivial as the top-list making some Finnish bloggers more popular than others. This is something that is built-in the linking structure of the Blogosphere. It might be interesting to add some sort of an "interestingness" -feature on the blogs and see if these blogs bubble up to the top, but... There's only so much time :-)
Update: The following quote from Shirky's article, is the key thing (emphasis mine): "In systems where many people are free to choose between many options, a small subset of the whole will get a disproportionate amount of traffic (or attention, or income), even if no members of the system actively work towards such an outcome. This has nothing to do with moral weakness, selling out, or any other psychological explanation. The very act of choosing, spread widely enough and freely enough, creates a power law distribution."
(Standard disclaimer: this is not a scientific proof. It's in fact a very silly and simple proof, with perhaps bad assumptions. But it should validate the basic idea. Any statisticians in the audience are free to comment, and I shall attempt to make the code more robust.)
Ulla-Maaria Mutanen seems to be onto something here:
So, for all these small scale products that fall through the cracks of organized capitalism, they created ThingLinks: essentially free URIs you can just allocate for free.
I see immediately one problem here: at the lowest end of the long tail, the quantity of objects just explodes. Real mass production: there are just so many people making small things. (A free sneaky ad: check out Outi's jewellery; that's the kind of thing that's targeted by the ~ThingLink.)
Anyhow, in my understanding the product codes exist in order to make inventories easier; not to make it easier for consumers to find out more. This is handled by putting the phone number of the manufacturer or importer on the label, and mandatory lists of ingredients, etc. Few people actually take a barcode reader (readily available) and go to the web to search for more information on common objects. And the ones that you would go to find information about, have names (and trademarks, and brans). Is there a really a need or a want among people to find out more about a sweater they bought from a shop somewhere in Siberia, and what kind of information could you even find out about a sweater?
The thing becomes more interesting when applied to bigger pieces of art; say paintings or songs. With more work, and more emotional involvement, a story is born. And it might be interesting to find out about this story. Perhaps.
But I certainly see a point for something like this for small manufacturers in third world countries. In order to enhance their infrastructure and logistics, it would make sense to start working on things like barcodes (2D and regular) for ~ThingLinks, RFID/NFC tag formats, etc. Note that ~ThingLinks are not compatible with currently existing infrastructure, so it would be difficult to impose them in countries where such an infrastructure already exists. But then again, using ~ThingLinks in third world countries would require infrastructure, which they might not be able to afford...
Somehow, I'm not excited. Then again, I am a grumpy, old bastard these days. And often wrong.
In case you want to see what a ~PowerMac G5 looks like, I just uploaded a bunch of pictures to Flickr. Unless you are into serious technopornography, don't bother to look.
Me? I'm just drooling on the computer and realizing that JSPWiki could be far more optimized for multiple CPUs than what it currently is. Hmm...
Anyhoo... One thing that I've been baking my noodle with lately is the concept of attention - particularly Continuous Partial Attention (CPA) from Linda Stone. I've certainly noticed that I am capable of multitasking until it becomes a real problem. I also know the concept of Flow (or "Zone"). It makes me wonder, purely from a hacker's viewpoint, is it just a coincidence that so many programmers I know also manifest these two capabilities, which appear diametrically opposed.
The programmer's life is to live in a state of CPA, but to seek the Flow. Strange paradox.
But anyhoo; I was listening to this ITConversations podcast from Supernova 2005, and the statistics presented by Linda Stone were somewhat worrying: the average office worker manages, on the average, to work 11 minutes on a single task - and is interrupted (again, on the average) three times during this 11-minute period. And every time the worker gets interrupted, it's about 25 minutes to get back to the task. And yet, some people (yes, including myself) willfully call for these interruptions by keeping tabs on blogs, email, SMSs, etc. Sometimes it seems that the only way to get anything done is to spend a few extra hours at work, but even then you can interrupt yourself when you let your mind wander. Even worse, if you get into the Zone, and you get interrupted, you end up in a quasi-state: not quite capable of handling the interruption ("you're again million miles away, darling"), but unable to get back into the Zone. This is bad, and it's getting worse, as I get older. And all, as Linda Stone puts it, "because we are so afraid of missing something important, we divide our attention everywhere and do not concentrate on the task at hand."
One thing that I learned during by years of practicing martial arts was controlling your attention: not letting it wander and making it concentrated on the situation around you. I seem to have forgotten most of it, so maybe I should restart practicing it somehow. But how, that is the question? It's so much easier to concentrate with someone trying to punch you in the face than it is to do when staring at a Powerpoint slide.
There is a concept of awareness, called Zanshin, which is traditionally difficult to explain. On the surface the concept of being aware of everything smells like CPA. But I think that this CPA thing may be just a bastardized, wrong interpretation of Zanshin. It's not about dividing your attention; it's really just that, being aware of things. Maybe the fact that the online world is not real contributes to this? Do we have the capacity to divide our attention into two realms at once? Perhaps we don't, and that explains the incredible popularity of blogs, online gaming, and other forms of this... pseudo-reality.
Maybe I'm just rambling, because I am in a form of a Zone. I'm writing this pretty much on one sitting; and thoughts flow through my head, but unlike when I am programming, I lack the language to dump this all in a form that would be unambiguous to the recipient. Which is annoying. I can sort of feel things happening around me, but I cannot really respond. I'm not really thinking; things just flow through from my brain onto the screen.
I need more of this, and less of CPA.
Tell me, how do you manage? How do you fight CPA? How do you keep the balance? Or do you?
I'll need to think more about what this means with respect to the mobile vs. portable computing and the foreground-background thing.
(Or maybe I am just rambling.)
(I have to admit that the ability to embed CSS directly into Wiki markup is pretty cool. All the stuff on the left is done with CSS positioning and styles.)
You might remember an illegal copyright violation called All Your Base Are Belong To Us, a hilarious spoof of an 80s video game with... interesting English. Well, someone has illegally mixed this with Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody, and produced yet another hilarious illegal copyright violation called The Zero Wing Rhapsody. Warning: you may need to be very geek in order to appreciate this.
(Via Boing Boing. Am I a criminal because I link to funny animations on the internet that mix copyrighted stuff together without asking permission?)
As astute readers may know, I've had problems with both hardware and software for quite some time now. My Ubuntu Linux workstation has grown very flaky, and I am just too tired to try and figure out what is going on. (I cannot run Eclipse nor any Java GUI program for long; aRTs has never been stable for me, to the extent that I haven't been able to watch any multimedia on my desktop for years now; and KDE's DCOPServer keeps hanging, so I need to login/logout every few days - it's apparently something that happens to very, very few people in the world, so nobody is able to fix it. And I spent 30 minutes on the floor pressing the reset button - the computer wouldn't boot.) I'm through trying to figure out the innards of Linux for now. I just can't be bothered anymore. I've been doing it since Linux kernel 0.99pl17 or something, and it's just become too tiring. I just want my computer to work, so I can concentrate on the productive stuff, and not spend my time on trying to get the computer to work. I want to figure out solutions to new problems, not to keep rehashing the same old problems that someone else should've already solved for me.
So I caved in and ordered a shiny new dual-core PowerMac G5. It's way too expensive, but if it keeps me from gnawing my fingers off due to frustration that could turn galaxies into pudding, then it's quite an acceptable price.
I'll get back to home desktop Linux in a year or two to check what is going on. But for now, I'm just going to surrender, throw myself on my back, and let Uncle Steve lick my balls.
(English summary: Finnish blog politics. I quit blogilista.fi top list. Boring.)
Peesaan nyt kolleegakaimaa ja poistun blogilista.fi:n top- ja hot-listoilta (näköjään sijalta 31). Pääsevätpähän muut ihmiset nyt siihen parkumaansa sisäpiiriin. (Ei, minä en tiedä kuulunko minä siihen. Kukaan ei ole kertonut mikä tämä sisäpiiri oikeasti on ja keitä siihen kuuluu. Jos joku sen voisi määritellä, niin se (ja foto) olis kiva.)
Oikeasti olen kyllä harkinnut tuota jo pitkään, sillä jos näin saisi nostettua uusia, mielenkiintoisia blogeja muiden luettavaksi, niin hyvä. Henkilökohtaisesti epäilen asiaa. Tosiseikkahan on se, että listoilla noustaan ylöspäin siksi, että kirjoitukset vetoavat useampiin ihmisiin kuin jollain toisella. Ja kuten David Foster Wallace sanoo:
Kun tarpeeksi ihmisiä kertyy yhteen, heidän keskuudestaan automaattisesti nousevat ne yksilöt, jotka vetoavat suurimpaan osaan ihmisistä. He eivät ole parhaita, älykkäimpiä, nopeimpia, vahvimpia, eivätkä ketterimpiä. Sen sijaan he vain kiinnostavat tarpeeksi montaa muuta ihmistä - ei tietenkään kaikkia, mutta tarpeeksi montaa. He vetoavat siihen yhteiseen, alimpaan tasoon meidän mielissämme, ja siksi meille jää käsitys siitä, että he ovat "hyviä". Eivät "parhaita" tai "suosikkeja", mutta "ihan ok". Minä en ainakaan ole erityisen hyvä kirjoittaja, ja tiedän, että iso osa lukijoistani on ihmisiä, jotka tuntevat minut henkilökohtaisesti yksityiselämän (hei sisko!), työn (hi WM Team & NSS!) tai Open Source -ohjelmistojeni kautta. Kuten Blogistanian omasta mielestäni terävimpiin kirjoittajiin kuuluva Turisti sanoo:
Niin varmaan keräänkin.
Niitä piiriläisiä kutsutaan ystäviksi.
Kävijöistäni näyttäisi tällä hetkellä vain noin 7% tulevan blogilistan kautta. Katsotaan, miten tämä muuttuu listoilta poistumisen myötä. Luultavasti ei mihinkään.
Reetta Meriläinen, the chief editor of Helsingin Sanomat has started her own blog. Helsingin Sanomat is the largest newspaper in Finland. This is roughly the same if the chief editor of New York Times started to blog...
It will be quite interesting to see whether the blog will be used to participate in discussion, or whether it will be just a broadcasting channel for the stuff that didn't fit in the editorials. I just hope it won't just be a "day in the editor's life" -type blog. Helsingin Sanomat gets often criticized for one-sided coverage - maybe this means they are prepared for a change.
One thing that Mediaviikko didn't quite get, but Helsingin Sanomat seems to, is the fact that while blogs are hype, one should not treat them as hype: do not think that you should start to blog just because everyone else does it, too. Blog, if you feel like you have something to say. And be prepared for the fact that a billion people can see your blog, and might just respond.
At it's best, blogging is a way to conduct dialogue with people who care; at its worst, it can be a huge mob of uninformed people lynching others. In any case, it's just text.
They say that a "pen is mightier than the sword." It's quite true, you know.
The Mediaviikko magazine published an editorial praising the new copyright law . Promptly, and not altogether unsurprisingly, it gained over forty comments many of them pointing out several mistakes in the original article. There were also some abusive comments - though nothing very out-of-the-ordinary for the Internet. (I followed the conversation, and even posted one of the first, initial comments.)
What does Mediaviikko do? They remove all comments - because "most of them were sent from anonymous email addresses". Well, duh. If you allow anonymous commenting on your web site, you do get anonymous comments. You don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure that one out.
But it's incomprehensible why they had to remove all comments and revised their article without saying what they did - does the truth hurt that much?
For the record: here are the mistakes I found from the current version of the article (in Finnish):
- "Olisikin ollut täysin käsittämätöntä, jos oikeusvaltio olisi hyväksynyt toisen omaisuuden varastamisen, kuten eräät tahot koettivat vaatia." - Ei, kukaan ei vaatinut lupaa varastaa toisten omaisuutta. Varastaminen on ollut laitonta tähänkin mennessä. Uusi laki vain on suunniteltu niin huonosti, että se määrittelee esimerkiksi ohjelmien nauhoittamisen televisiosta ilman lupaa tai laillisesti ostetun DVD:n katsomisen Linux-tietokoneella "varastamiseksi" - ja tämä sotii ihan yleistä oikeustajua vastaan.
- "CD-levyjen luvaton maahantuonti ja musiikin luvaton lataaminen netistä kielletään" - Laki ei kiellä CD-levyjen maahantuontia, mutta vaikeuttaa merkittävästi esimerkiksi sellaisten ihmisten musiikinkuuntelua, jotka sattuvat pitämään jostain harvinaisemmasta, mutta jotka eivät kykene ostamaan musiikkia verkkokaupoista vaikkapa luottokortin tai kielitaidon puutteen takia. Outoa on myös se, että laillisesti ostetun ohjelman kopiosuojauksen kiertäminen hyväänkin tarkoitukseen on paha rikkomus, josta voi jopa heilahtaa häkki, mutta musiikin luvaton lataaminen netistä (eli ns. piratismi) ei ole edes rangaistavaa. Muutenkaan teksti ei ehkä menisi äidinkielenopettajan syynistä läpi: "luvaton kielletään" - eihän asia voi olla luvatonta ennen kuin se kielletään? Vai onko periaate päätoimittajan maailmassa "kaikki on luvatonta paitsi se, mikä on erikseen sallittua?"
- "Nyt cd-levyjen piraattikopiot ja netin kautta luvattomasti ladattavat musiikkikappaleet vievät leivän tekijöiden suusta." RIAA:n mukaan maailmassa myytiin 808 miljoonaa CD:tä vuonna 2002, n. 10% lasku edellisvuodesta. Samaan aikaan verkoissa siirrettiin noin 2.1 miljardia levyä. Vaikka levymyynnin lasku kokonaisuudessaan laitettaisiin pelkän nettipiratismin syyksi (eikä esimerkiksi yleisen laman, CD:iden hintojen nousun tai musiikin huonouden), maailmassa on silti tehty n. 2.0 miljardia laitonta levylatausta, jotka eivät voi siis olla pois kenenkään suusta. Referenssi.
- "Yleisön saataviin asetetuista laillisista teoksista voidaan jatkossakin tehdä kopioita yksityiseen käyttöön, kun kopioija pyytää luvan tekijältä." Kopiointi yksityiskäyttöön on edelleenkin sallittua, eikä lupaa tarvitse erikseen kysyä. Sen sijaan se, mikä on kiellettyä, on teknisen suojauksen kiertäminen - esimerkiksi kopiosuojatun CD:n siirto PC-koneelle. Tälläisiä virheellisiä tietoja ei tulisi levittää lehden pääkirjoituksessa. Ihmisille voi jäädä väärä kuva.
- "Uusi laki näet vaikuttaa suotuisasti yleisön asenteisiin." No ei todellakaan vaikuta. Jos uuden lain mukaan on kerran vähemmän rangaistavaa olla maksamatta ja hakea jotain verkosta ilmaiseksi, kuin ostaa kopiosuojattu CD kaupasta ja tehdä siitä kopio, jotta se toimisi iPodissa tai autostereoissa, niin tämä on kovasti väärä viesti. Lisäksi laki on niin epäselvä, että sitä ei esimerkiksi oikeustieteen professori Jukka Kemppisen mukaan ymmärrä edes normaalin juristin koulutuksella. Tämän osoittavat hyvin opetusministeriön sekavat ja ristiriitaiset lausunnot.
- "Rahat kerätäänkin mainostuloilla ja kuluttajien selektiivisellä tavoittamisella tietokantojen avulla." Tämä, hämmentävää kyllä, ei ole virhe, vaan ihan järkevä lause. Hyvä kysymys tosin on sitten se, että mihin sitä kopiosuojausta sitten tarvitaan, jos tärkeät ja rahanarvoiset asiat ovat mainokset ja kuluttajien profilointi?
- "Mediaviikko on poistanut pääkirjoitukseen liittyvät aiemmat viestit uudesta käytännöstä johtuen, ja toivottaa uudet tekstit tervetulleiksi reilun pelin hengessä." Just. Myös kaikki asialliset kommentit on poistettu - ja juttua on muutettu julkaisemisen jälkeen kertomatta mitä on muutettu. Todella reilua peliä - esimerkiksi nyt jos he muuttavat tekstiään, niin tämä minun kommenttini alkaakin näyttää yhtäkkiä liioittelulta. Reilu peli on tästä hommasta kaukana. Venäläinen revisionismi ei sovi länsimaiseen julkaisutoimintaan.
Kaiken kaikkiaan: hyvin, hyvin, hyvin huono suoritus Mediaviikolta. Jos kirjoittaa provokatiivisia, täynnä virheitä olevia juttuja ja sallii anonyymit kommentit, niin ei ehkä pitäisi olla kovin yllättynyt siitä, että saa anonyymejä kommentteja, jotka voivat olla kärkeviäkin. Tyhmä saa olla ja tietämätönkin, mutta asiallisten kommenttien ja kritiikin poistaminen on paha, paha, paha asia, joka haiskahtaa kauas ja korkealle. Minulta ainakin meni luottamus kyseiseen julkaisuun.
Update2: Jani of Marginaali seems to be running a contest on "who writes the best humorous summary of the original article".
Become your own ~WiFi (aka WLAN, aka IEEE 802.11) hotspot provider! PublicIP needs you just to pop in a CD and connect a couple of wires... And even the computer you need needs to have a Pentium CPU and a whopping 128 MB of memory, so any old hog will do. You can, if you want, have user registration, firewall filtering, and content filtering. It also firewalls people out of your private network, so you can just use your regular connection. And it's all open source...
Seriously: projects like these make it a lot easier for public places (cafes, libraries, museums, hotels) to set up a secure and safe wireless internet connection. Little money is needed for the setup, and it provides quite a lot of value to the customers. Quite a lot of people are buying laptops these days, so it's no longer a geek-only exclusive domain.
(Thanks to Anne S for the tip.)
I just upgraded this particular server to JSPWiki 2.3.31-CVS. It's my first live installation of this new software - and I have no idea how it's going to work. So please excuse me, if things suddenly break or my content becomes garbled and it looks like the typings of a monkey on acid.
(On a more personal note: My Finnish podcast has finally been accepted into the iTunes podcast directory. And for some strange reason it was even number one for a while (now it's around #3...). Panic. Must. Try. To. Speak. Something. Sensible.
I've spent the last two nights configuring PCs. Yes, Outi got herself a brand new display card, and I got the honor of installing it.
The following text may contain words that are inappropriate for the younger people in the audience.
I haven't slept well for two nights now. I have been crawling on the floor, scraping my knuckles on sharp metal parts, resetting CMOS, twiddling with BIOS settings (yes, I checked AGP Voltage, tried them all out), staring Yahoo search results with bleary eyes, upgrading BIOS, drivers - even reinstalling Windows XP - and that crappy pile of shit not worth a fart from Stalin's embalmed ass still crashes randomly. Sometimes it runs, sometimes it does not. The best combo I've so far found is to lower the bus speed to 133 MHz and manually make sure the AGP speed is half that - it works with the 100MHz/50MHz combo, and 133 MHz/67 MHz, but not any faster that that. Which sucks because the machine used to have FSB @ 166 MHz...
Why the blazing fucks do I have to do this!?! Why can't I just plug it in and It Would Work? Who was the mind-maggot who designed something which makes you wish you were a Teletubby on a barbeque stick over fire, because then you would at least be having fun?
I hate, hate, hate, HATE PC hardware. People tend to think that geeks like to tinker with PC hardware, but let me tell you once and for all: We positively HATE it. We'd rather make cool things and not spend precious hours crawling under the desk, and trying to live with the mistakes made by shitty-brained morons from outer space.
If anyone has any ideas on how to make a ATI Radeon 9600 card (which has already been exchanged once, so the card is unlikely to be faulty) to work on an EPOX 8RDA+ motherboard, I sorely need your advice about now. Otherwise I will shoot the bunny.
(And "buy a Mac" is not good advice in this case: if it were an option, I would've already done it.)
(While I am complaining, I would also really like to know what the guy who decided that the default state of KMix in KDE is to have all the channels MUTED, was thinking. It's completely non-obvious, and makes configuring sound a royal PITA, unless you happen to know what you are doing. And you need to log out if you want to save the settings; otherwise it mutes all the channels at the next log-in again. Hel-lo? Do you guys have any brain cells left from all the C++?)
Update: temporary solution was to rip my nVidia Geforce 3 from my Linux box to Outi's computer, and install the Radeon 9600 to my Linux machine. Outi's computer works now fine, but I still spent several hours trying to make Linux understand about 3D acceleration and failed. If the suckage in our apartment was gravity, the Sun would revolve around Earth, not vice versa.
This is sort of obvious data for anyone who has been paying any attention, but it's certainly refreshing to hear the things from the horse's mouth. This hilarious panel took place in Web 2.0 conference, with a bunch of innovators, creators, visionaries and hackers talking to five teenagers. Some choice quotes from the bunch, none of whom recognized the word Skype :-D
3 of 5 have ipods.
Sean: I thought it would be nice to pay the artists initially, but then my computer crashed, so I used Podutil to bypass Apple's DRM and get music from a friend.
Sasha: I have 10 paid songs out of 1500 on my iPod.
Steph: I never pay for downloading a song, I go to a friend's house to get their music.
Q: Let's say you want to buy a CD player, where would you go?
Sean: ummm, a CD player...? (laugher)
Q: Where do you guys go for news?
Sean: reuters, NPR podcast, "I'll go to multiple news sites because i don't trust any one site."
In five-ten years, these will be the guys thinking about the future. And they're used to having free music that is not tied to owning a physical copy or a single computer. In the developing countries such as China and India this will be even more so.
The discussion about whether one can copy a copy-protected CD or not is not really about CDs. It's about freedom to control your own environment and your own life. The copyright industry wants to turn the world into a police state, where they have the power - because they think they own music, and they should also decide how others must consume it, simply because being a monopoly is a good profit opportunity. The new legislation contains the first steps towards this.
Professor Matti Pohjola points out one key difference between patents and copyright: Patents don't stop you from innovating on an old idea (you are free to improve on an existing design and patent it yourself), but copyright does. You cannot make derivative works of a copyrighted song, for example, without explicit permission. Copyright always requires you to make a new work, which means that from a cultural perspective, any work of art protected by copyright is a dead end.
I strongly feel that copyright and patent legislation should be converged. After all, they're currently used for similar purposes: controlling and monetizing "intellectual property". We Finns should start by moving the copyright issues from our Ministry of Education to our Ministry of Trade and Industry, where patent, trademark, and consumer issues are currently already being handled.
The late debate around the Finnish Copyright law has resulted in a dysfunctional law. Which is sort of fine, as long as nobody takes undue advantage of it.
Unfortunately, most laws will be taken advantage of. Here are a couple of chilling examples:
Walter Wolfgang, an 82-year-old political veteran, was forcefully removed from the UK Labour party conference for calling a speaker, Jack Straw, a liar. (Opinions on whether Jack Straw is or is not a liar are irrelevant here.) He was later denied access to the conference on basis of anti-terror laws. Keep in mind that as recently as the 1980s, Labour Party conferences were heated affairs compared with today's media shows.
So, speaking against the government is terrorism? The letter of the law certainly allows this - but I doubt it's in the spirit of the law.
Read more from Bruce Schneier.
Also, the new US legislation that allows FBI to attack "obscene" websites, seems to be working "well". Many a porn site dealing with more niche issues has been shut down - and the government gets to decide what exactly is offending and what is not. Considering that certain politicians (who were mostly also behind the new Copywrong Law) are also driving similar legislation to Finland, we can expect similar "community values" to be controlling the Internet and free speech over here in the future, too.
Don't get me wrong: I am sure that this site was pretty awful. It might even have been illegal (breaking privacy legislation, etc). It may have been the right decision to shut it down. But what I don't like is some sheriff saying that the "content shocks the community" - whatever that is, and the fact that people are likely take this at a face value. I mean - if the police says it is awful, then it must've been awful, yes? (Hint: the right answer is not "yes".)
You can follow this to the logical conclusion on your own. There is certainly enough historical precedence...
He made an offer on the Web site that if they posted pictures proving they were military serving in Iraq or Afghanistan, he would give them free access to the paid sections of the Web site.
For about six or seven months, people claiming to be members of the military have been sending in pictures of life overseas, ranging from picturesque scenery to hideous pictures of people burned black and unrecognizable, or with body parts mangled or blown apart.
According to Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, the area that includes pornographic pictures was equally distasteful. "Normal people don't have the ability to imagine how perverse and horrific these images were," he said. "It certainly is content that shocks the community."
(Via Boing Boing.)
It's not really the melting of the Arctic ice, but the completely unknown effects it will have on the Golf stream and the glaciers in Greenland (which, if melted completely, might rise sea levels up to 6 meters).
(Via Boing Boing.)
So yeah, the vote is over (the results are available here, if you want to see how your favourite MP voted). The end result is that the copyright law is accepted and becomes a law after the president has stamped it. An addendum was created, which says that the government should follow the law and possibly change it if it seems to be bad - but this is what the government is supposed to be doing anyway, so the end result is just glorified rhetorics designed to lure in voters.
The good thing is that because of all the publicity, both consumers and MPs will have a heightened awareness towards possible misuse. And should be start having similar problems as with the Americans are having with DMCA, it's likely that the government might actually do something about it. So, the probability for abuse of the copyright law did lessen somewhat. Which is good.
But the fact still remains, that after the President stamps the law, I will be a criminal. And so will be a significant chunk of the Finnish population. I'll just ignore it, and keep doing what I have done before - moving DVDs to my laptop for in-flight viewing, telling people on how to circumvent pesky copy protection if all they want to do is just to play a CD in their car player, and speak aloud against the copyright madness.
Quite a few people haven't yet realized that content industry is a hidden monopoly of commons: You can't buy a Britney Spears album from anyone but Britney's record company. And if you like Britney, that's a monopoly. Try telling an eight-year-old that "Well, you can't have Britney, but how about this other artist X? It's almost as good, and not copy-protected." The apparent consumer choice to choose between different shops is just an illusion - if the record company says the record should be copy-protected, then ALL of the disks will be copy-protected. THEY get to decide who listens it, where, and when. And you don't have a choice or a say in the matter - except NOT to buy it at all. You can't go to a different shop to buy it without copy protection. You can't download it from the net without copy protection (legally anyway). The talk about markets solving these issues is bullshit - for a market to function it needs to be free, not a monopoly. You could as well be saying that "competition will drive Alko [The Finnish alcohol monopoly chain] away from the business" - that ain't gonna happen, because you will get fined for trying to open up a competing shop next to it.
Update: Incidentally, Professor Matti Pohjola talks about the same thing in today's DigiToday. In Finnish, tho'.
Thanks to Timo and del.icio.us, I found this presentation from Fabio Sergio from MEX 2005. He talks about the future of mobile user interfaces, and how they will change when everything is connected. Good stuff.
In the brave new world mobile connected devices will be at the center of the convergence of wide-band wireless connectivity, RFID and (A)GPS-enabled applications. They will stop being purely at the receiving end of data streams and become conduits, mustering bits from objects and infusing them into other objects.
How will all of this impact the design of mobile-mediated experiences? Are we moving towards a world of seamless socio-economical transactions or rather towards a permission-based reality, plagued by constant confirm/cancel requests? What new scenarios will be driven by these innovations?
So, within five days of its release, it is already a Finnish superhit. In fact, the 10th most watched film ever in Finland had only 750 965 viewers. Though of course, we're talking about apples and oranges here: SES only measures box office, and the movies have been screened in TV countless times.
But still, it cannot be refuted that Star Wreck is one of the most popular Finnish movies of all time. Using practically nothing but internet distribution, in five days. If this is not a clear signal on how the Internet is really changing the traditional entertainment industry, I don't know what is...
Update: Thu Oct 06, 2005 09:31 the count is at 596165 downloads. Wow.
Digitoday is blogging the discussion on the law in real time from the Parliament house. RSS is available.
Edit: I created a Flickr photoset of my pics from the event. They're pretty crappy, though.
...is that in the copyright discussion, one side (e.g. EFFI, and all sorts of worried organizations) can tell you at length what is wrong with the copyright law as proposed, cite what has happened elsewhere in the world, tell horror stories, quote analyses of the law, and in general be very educated about it; whereas the organizations representing the artists usually just say "well, it's just better, and it must be accepted as soon as possible", but they never itemize the reasons exactly why it is better for the artists?
Could it be that all those reasons could be shot down analytically? Could it be that they don't dare to say that they don't really understand the law as proposed? Could it be that someone else is speaking on their behalf?
There will be a demonstration against the new copyright legislation in Finland. The date is Tuesday, 4.10, and the time is at 1 pm (13:00). The place is where demonstrations usually are, i.e. in front of the Eduskuntatalo (House of Parliament, Mannerheimintie, Helsinki).
More information in Finnish is available from the blog of the event.
Wall Street Journal writes (reg. reqd):
Just in case you didn't know about this... You can do this with MMS right now. Whip out your phone, go to the "record" application (on Nokia 3220 this is at Menu->Media->Voice Recorder), and record your message. When you're finished, choose "Send last recorded", choose a telephone number or an email address, and send it away! The recipient should receive it as if it were just a regular message. What Ericsson seems to have done is to lift it up in the UI at such a level that sending voice messages is as trivial as sending text messages, which is probably a very smart thing to do.
Using MMS a bit more complicated than sending an SMS, though; and in different phones it is likely to work in slightly different ways, and you need to have your MMS settings set up... But other than that, it's not very difficult - the difficult part for me is finding something to say ;-).
(Thanks to Andrew O. for the link. Standard disclaimer about me working for Nokia, and not representing company views, goes here.)
Harvey Danger's new album "Little by Little" is available as a DRM-free Bittorrent and direct download from the band's web site. You can then pay some money to the band via Paypal or buy the real record from a web store. The MP3s (and OGGs) are of high quality, and with Bitttorrent they download very fast.
I wouldn't pay $20 for their CD (which would probably be the average price in Finland after the transport costs), but I happily paid $8 - knowing that this way the artist gets most of the money, and probably way more than what they would've received from a CD sale. And $8 is not that much for a brand new album of good quality music.
The band writes on their press release:
Meanwhile, please enjoy the record. Everything else is secondary.
I find this a very sane and sensible approach, and I wish them good luck on this experiment. Direct internet distribution has great potential for musicians, and without all the overhead of CD presses, record companies, distribution, and a bunch of other people, the audience you need to reach to get the same number of income is significantly less. However, it also makes it a bit more risky, because you will need to do quite a lot of work yourself, and reaching the audience becomes more difficult. You also need to get the money to bootstrap your business, which I would imagine is a problem for many bands.
But in fact, this is the case with every software program or a new venture or a new company. There are "business angels" which, for a fee or for a promise of upcoming income (=stock), will help you out. There are venture capitalists, who invest in new companies so that the can get their product out. And unlike record companies, these will not sign you in for X number of years, but they expect to exit at some point with some profit. I don't know enough of the music world to say that this is how it should be done, but looking from the outside I have to wonder if there is some special reason why such a model would not work?
I have a - perhaps naïve - belief, that it's just a question of finding the correct business model for music, and DRM systems and content protection will not matter in the long run. But at least Jim Griffin agrees with me:
I remember a time when DVD was new, and 80% of all titles were pornographic. The reason was simple: the adult entertainment industry targets the first adopters: young males with money - the same bunch that were likely to be the first to own a DVD player.
Now, Digitoday writes that DVD sales of porn are going down, because of the internet distribution of porn. Not piracy, but legal porn; sold by thousands and thousands of web sites. This internet distribution is growing tens of percents every year, and is impacting heavily on the market of physical storage media, i.e. DVD and VHS.
It is, of course, just matter of time when this occurs also in normal movie and music business. It has been talked about a lot, but now the real impact is showing. Of course, the CD and DVD business will not die, not for many years, but they're becoming less important.
The people who make MP3s of their files are doing it because in almost every significant way, MP3s [of sufficient quality] are better than CDs. You can put 1,000 songs in your pocket in a package that's bigger than your comb. If it gets stolen, you just buy a new one and don't have to find your music again. You can burn the music on CDs, and just discard them as they become worn. Et cetera, et cetera. [There's of course the satisfaction of owning something physical, which must not be ignored, but it might as well be a scarf or a sock or a book or something else that connects to the music; the music could still be digital.]
What this means in practice is that the new copyright legislation - which seems to give you a permission to copy on even days, and makes it a crime on odd days - is even more dangerous than what people may realize. It contains far stricter rules for media which is digitally downloadable than the kind of media you can buy in the shop. It remains to be seen what their effect is, but it may be that no matter how hard one fights for right to rip MP3s, it will be a temporary victory only. The law is clear on DRM'd music you download from iTunes Music Store: whatever you agree with Apple, that holds. It's completely up to them to decide where, how, with whom, how many times, and on what equipment you listen to their music.
In a couple of years, there will be "superhits" that are only downloadable from the Internet. You won't be able to buy the CDs, no matter how much you want. And then the full force of the new copyright law will hit you.
Via Copyfraud: What do you get when you combine misled politicians, evil copyright organizations, bad law and a bunch of dissatisfied citizens that know how to use Photoshop?
(Mirror it now: knowing the political climate in Finland it is likely that this will be shut down faster than you can say "court order". Of course, making a mirror of the site would be illegal, but...)
(English readers, sorry, check this link to see what is coming next, and if you live in the US... worry more than you do now.)
Niin, ei tämä tekijänoikeusjupakka tähän lopu. WIPO:n (eli maailman tekijänoikeusjärjestön) edustajat lobbaavat ahkerasti jo seuraavaa tekijänoikeuslakia USA:ssa. Tämän lain tarkoituksena on ottaa väkipakolla artisteilta tekijänoikeudet pois, jos he haluavat levittää musiikkiaan, kuviaan, elokuviaan tai mitä tahansa sähköisesti joko television tai internetin välityksellä.
Esimerkiksi, mikäli haluat antaa vaikkapa vapaakappaleen musiikistasi mainostarkoituksessa internetissä levitettäväksi, välissä oleva verkko-operaattori (vaikkapa nyt Elisa tai Saunalahti tai kuka tahansa muu jolle maksat saadaksesi bittivirtaa kotiisi) saa käsitellä sitä kuin se olisi heidän omaansa - he voivat kieltää sinua katsomasta sitä, he voivat lisätä siihen kopiontisuojauksen, he voivat estää sinua kelaamasta mainoksia yli, he voivat pakottaa sinut katsomaan yhtä ohjelmaa voidaksesi katsoa toista, he voivat lisätä popup-mainoksia tai sensuroida verkkosivuja ja mikä parasta, haastaa sinut oikeuteen, mikäli esimerkiksi laitat heidän kauttaan ladattua Creative Commons-lisensoitua, vapaata musiikkia uudelleen levitykseen.
Seuraavaksi, kunhan laki on runnottu USA:ssa läpi, se yritetään saada EU-direktiiviksi, perusteena "koska USA:ssa tämä jo on". Kolmen, neljän vuoden päästä tämä lienee myös Suomessa.
Had a I-thought-this-was-quick-but-it-turned-out-to-be-four-hours -visit in the blogger meeting yesterday. Had fun, though I apologize to all I didn't have time to meet. It's just too easy to sit asocially in a corner and chat with just the people who happen to be around you...
(Our two new mice are really cute. Kawaiii..., as some might be prone to utter.)
Dear representatives of the music industry. I assure that I am a real, voting citizen and not a spam bot. It's laughable to even suggest that the entire email flood to our legally elected members of parliament would be something else than real people, or orchestrated by a couple of web sites.
I mean... You're either malicious, or just stupid. Probably both. You're about to make a million Finns criminals, and you say that a few hundred emails must be nothing, and therefore it must be an organized campaign? I have some news for you: This is how the internet works: it is a network of loosely connected pieces, and when they spontaneously self-organize, they become a force to reckon with.
Dear readers: this is how lobbying works. You try to discredit the opponent, try to hint that they might be lying, and attempt to gain as much press as possible. The media loves simplifications, like saying that "the email campaign must have been 'machinated' by someone." Try to make the opponent a faceless and an anonymous threat. Or try to make things simple: on the other side, a starving artist; and on the other, a rich and evil computer company that is trying to just get the content free. In the other case, you talk about the lone consumer and the evil media corporation that is strangling the artists. Same shit, different names.
Laugh at them. They are a part of the old world order. In a few measly years, you will be in control. You, people who have grown with MP3 players and the freedom of internet. You understand. You know how things should be done. They will lose, and in doing so the artists will gain more than what they can imagine. Over hundred years ago people claimed that recordings will kill the music industry, because nobody would anymore order a musician to their house. The cassette player was also said to kill the music industry, because people were able to make copies. The VHS video cassette was to be the end of all movie industry, because it allowed unparalleled breaches of copyright.
Guess what? None of these things happened, and the industry (though not the artists) makes more money on recordings than they could ever hope to make from live performances. This is because things like CDs allow the artist to reach more people than they ever could before. The internet offers a similar change in technology: you just need to know how to embrace it. It's not going to go away, no matter how much you want it to. Those, who adapt to it the fastest, will be the biggest winners, and the rest will be dragged kicking and screaming to the modern age. It's not because technology companies want to get content free, but because they see a shared profit opportunity in helping more people get more entertainment.
Just remember, that in twenty years, you will be in places of power in the media companies and in the electronics industry, and I hope - I really, really hope - that you would remember these discussions then.
Because in twenty years, there will be another disruption, and you will be the people who want to stop the change, and protect the artists.
The new copyright law is supposed to discourage piracy and support artists. However, according to this Digitoday article, there is no actual punishment for copying an illegal MP3 file from the internet (you just need to delete the file), but if you take your copy-protected CD that you have paid good money for to compensate to the artist, and rip it into MP3s to carry on your iPod, you can be fined and possibly even lose your computer.
Now, in exactly which way is this good for the artists?
The law and the directive on which it is based have been badly written, and they need revisions. Quickly.
Edit: Turun Sanomat grows a spine, and comments the law harshly in their editorial: "Without thorough corrections the copyright law is going to become yet another one among the multiple laws that cannot be enforced." (Translation mine, thanks to Samuli for the tip.)
Edit2: Even the artists are getting pissed off - apparently ÄKT (our version of RIAA) has been listing artist names on their "we support the new copyright bill" without telling the artists themselves...
Ewan links to this chilling story from the UK - apparently just wearing the wrong clothes can cause you to be arrested, handcuffed, your house searched, and your property confiscated and not returned.
The Police eventually decided to take No Further Action (NFA): ‘a decision not to proceed with a prosecution’. In a democratic country such as the UK, one would be forgiven for naively thinking that this is the end of the matter. Under the current laws the Police are not only entitled to keep my fingerprints and DNA samples, but apparently, according to my solicitor, they are also entitled to hold on to what they gathered during their investigation: notepads of the arresting officers, photographs, interviewing tapes and any other documents they collected and entered in the Police National Computer (PNC). (Also, at the time of this writing, I still have no letter stating that I'm effectively off the hook and I still haven't been given any of my possessions back.)
Scary shit. Read the whole story.
(I am returning to English now. We lost the fight on copyright, and the right to copy. People have already called for boycotts on copy-protected Finnish music, and I will join them. Even if I pay money to Apple for hardware, I have not bought a single song from iTunes Music Store, just because of the copy protection. I will, however, continue to give money to companies such as Magnatunes which treat music lovers as customers, not as the enemy.)
Noin päällimmäiseksi minulle jäi tuosta keskustelutilaisuudesta kuva, että Suomi on jäänyt pahasti EU-direktiivien ja pohjoismaisen hyvinvointi-ideaalin puristukseen. Liedeksen puheista minulle jäi sellainen käsitys, että lakia on väännetty hyvin hartaasti ja direktiiviviidakossa luovien, ja mikäli jotain lakia ei saada nytheti aikaiseksi, Suomi luultavasti päätyy maksamaan sanktioita direktiivien toteuttamatta jättämisestä. Tässä on siis pitkälti kyse siitä, ettei haluta tai uskalleta sanoa EU:lle vastaan - koska siinä todennäköisesti hävittäisiin kuitenkin.
Vaihdoin pari sanaa Liedeksen kanssa jälkikäteen ja hän oli varsin epäuskoinen sen suhteen, että EU:ssa pystytään säätämään enää mitään järkevää tekijänoikeuslain tiimoilta (esimerkiksi kirjastojen vapauspykälät saivat voimakasta vastustusta Etelä-Euroopasta), joten vaikuttaa siltä, että tämän direktiivin kanssa meidän on elettävä. Kun kysyin, voimmeko tehdä asialle mitään, hän sanoi vain että "on tehtävä niska limassa töitä" (tai jotain sinne päin, tarkka sanamuoto unohtui).
EU-direktiiviä pyritään muuttamaan virheellisiltä osiltaan, mutta siinä menee aikaa, ja uusi laki tulee olemaan voimassa vähintään kaksi seuraava vuotta. Sen aikaa elämme yhteiskunnassa, jossa on miljoona rikollista. Surullista. Toivottavasti kukaan ei ala käyttää tilaisuutta hyväkseen. Onneksi tekijänoikeuslain puutteet ovat nyt ainakin poliitikkojen tiedossa, ja mikäli levy-yhtiöt alkavat riehua jenkkien tyyliin, niin toivottavasti hallitus puuttuu asiaan.
Harvoin olen kuullut poliitikon puhuvan niin suorasanaisesti kuin edustaja Krohn, joka sanoi, että osa EU-poliitikoista olisi lahjottu tekijänoikeusdirektiivin tiimoilta. Tai siis näin Krohnin sanoman tulkitsin, poliitikkona hän tietysti osasi pukea sen vähemmän töksähtäväksi. Jos joku journalistinalku tuon selvittäisi, se olisi mainiota. Krohnista oli muutenkin vaikea saada selvää: hän toisaalta esitti uskomatonta naiviutta esittäessään, että teokset joskus muuttuisivat julkiseksi omaisuudeksi suoja-ajan kuluttua loppuun (suoja-aikojahan on järjestään aina pidennetty kun Mikki Hiiren tekijänoikeus on uhannut loppua); mutta toisaalta hän taasen osoitti monesta asiasta syvää ymmärrystä (joka tosin oli usein kätketty hankalien lauseenparsien taakse) ja terävää kieltä.
Harmittaa, etten muistanut kysyä Liedeksen alustuksessa tekemästä kommentista, jossa hän sanoi jättäneensä Gramexit ja muut tekijänoikeusjärjestöt taakseen siirryttyään opetusministeriöön. Hänhän on Gramexin alaisen ESEKin hallituksessa... Mutta monella oli hyviä kysymyksiä, enkä saanut itse väliin tungettua kuin yhden pienen kysymyksen - tämä kirjaaminen kun vei aikaa ja huomiota.
Mitä siis voimme tehdä? Emme osta kopiosuojattua musiikkia. Mikäli mahdollista, kuuntelemme Teostovapaata musiikkia. Yritämme valistaa ihmisiä lisää asiasta, ja lobata, lobata, lobata, ja lobata. Jos asioiden haluaa muuttuvan, sen eteen on tehtävä töitä, mutta onneksi näyttää siltä, että tästä jutusta opittiin ainakin se, että kansanedustajat ainakin kuuntelevat kansalaisia ja että media on suhteellisen kykenemätön selittämään, mistä on oikeasti kysymys.
Ja kiitokset Mikko Välimäelle Applen laturin lainaamisesta ;-)
(Niin, ja lukekaa Mertenin kannanotto, jonka pitäisi kyllä olla kolumni jossain lehdessä. Loppui minultakin noiden suomalaisten muusikoiden tukeminen.)
Täällä olisi tarjolla myös live-tulkkaukset puolaksi ja ranskaksi. Seuraavat ovat minun pikaisia muistiinpanojani, niissä voi olla virheitä...
Jukka Liedes (OPM, ESKE): Viime päivät olleet melko kiireisiä. Jorma Walden, Anu Huopala, Marko Rajaniemi ovat kirjoittaneet suurimman osan laista, Liedes on pääasiassa johtanut työtä. Ollut mukana tekemässä vuodesta 1976, sitä ennen Teosto, Kopiosto, Gramex. Ei ole koskaan palannut tekijänoikeusjärjestöjen leipiin (WTF?) Tämä on hyvin yksipuolista lainsäädäntöä: jos joku puhuu balanssista, se puhuu puppua. Jos tätä lakia ei ole, tekijöillä ei ole oikeuksia. Jos on, niillä on oikeuksia. Kultaista keskitietä tässä ei ole. Luova työ muodostuu taloudelliseksi objektiiviksi. Jos työstä saa rahaa, se stimuloi tekemään lisää töitä. Ministeriössä me tiedetään kyllä, että me ei tiedetä kaikkea ja että ulkopuolella on paljon ihmisiä, jotka tietävät paremmin. Varmoja käsityksiä tulevaisuudesta ei ole. Ministeriöiden toiminta-aika on lyhentynyt - enää ei katsota asiaa 5-10 vuoden tähtäimellä.
Lakia piti muuttaa, koska tekniikka on muuttunut. Gutenbergin keksinnön dimensiot muuttuvat, ja lainsäädäntöä pitää sovittaa. EU-viitekehys tullut mukaan 1991. Jäsenmaiden ja komission valtataistelu. Direktiivejä ei kuitenkaan tarvitse noudattaa pilkulleen. Pohjoismaissa tätä ei useinkaan tehdä, esmes Italiassa kopioidaan direktiivin pykäliä suoraan. Suomi on jo saanut kerran sakot siitä hyvästä, että tätä ei ole noudatettu. 13 lokakuuta pitäisi kertoa komissiolle, onko direktiivi implementoitu, muuten tulee lisää sakkoja.
Mikko Välimäki (TKK:n tutkija, FT, EFFin perustajajäsen): "Erään vapauden menetys". Powerpoint, yäh. Korjaus: Keynote. Yäh silti :) Nykylaissa on teknologianeutraali "jokainen saa valmistaa muutaman kappaleen omaa käyttöä varten". Nykyinen laki poistaa tämän. Perusteluna "direktiivejä on noudatettava." Direktiivi sallii kopiosuojauksen murtamisen (esimerkkinä iTunes music store). Komission kommentin mukaan tämä on puppua. Direktiivi kieltää mm. yksityisen maahantuonnin, mutta uusi tekijänoikeuslaki sallii. Yksityiset kansanedustajat eivät tehneet valistunutta päätöstä tässä asiassa. Lainaa Jukka Kemppistä: "maassa on kolme tai neljä juristia, jotka ymmärtävät sisällön." Kyseessä ei ole mikään lukko: tämä on julkisen omaisuuden aitaamista. Sama kuin Gramex ottaisi Itäväylän, Teosto Länsiväylän ja Kopiosto Mannerheimintien ja ylinopeuden ajamisesta menettää auton valtiolle. Lakiin lisätään nyt jokin jeesustelulausuma.
Irina Krohn (kansanedustaja, perustajalakivaliokunnan jäsen): Jukka Liedes "on minun lempivirkamieheni". Liedes vastusti tekijänoikeuden jatkamista 50 vuodesta 70 vuoteen? Voi tsiisös, tällä on ihan oikeita kalvoja, ei powerpointtia... :-D Välimäen puheenvuorossa unohdettiin luovan työn tekijöiden korvaus työstään. Välikysymys: eikö nykyisen systeemin mukaan saa korvausta? Vastaus: no kun ei tässä ole kyse kuluttajista. Tämä on yksi EU:n lobatuimpia lakeja. Oikeudet ovat yleensä muiden hallussa, ei tekijöiden. Jakeluvallankumous, jännite on siinä kun MP3-soittimien valmistajat haluavat sisällön ilmaiseksi. MP3-soittimien valmistajat ovat puhuvinaan kuluttajien suulla, vaikkeivät oikeasti puhukaan. Tässä on nyt semmoinen asetelma, että on hyvä kuluttaja ja paha musiikkiteollisuus. [Note: tämä on ihan yhtä vitun kukkua.] Välikysymys: MP3-soitin on komplementaarinen tuote. Miksi mp3-soittimen tekemän lisäarvon pitäisi mennä musiikkiteollisuudelle? Vastaus: MP3-soitin mahdollistaa yhtä lailla varastamisen kuin kuuntelemisenkin. Levy-yhtiöt on tehneet overkilliä. Luotan kapitalismiin, kuluttajat eivät osta overkill-kopiosuojauksia ("tapahtuu markkinamekanismin mukaista muutosta"). Jos varastaminen on halvempaa ja helpompaa kuin oikea kuluttaminen, niin tilanne on kestämätön nopeasti. Hallituksen pitää päättää kuunteleeko se komissiota vai ottaako riskin, että tulee sanktioita. K: Voiko digitaalisen asian varastaa? A: Tekijänoikeus turvaa nimenomaan tämän, se määrittelee tämän varastamiseksi. Tekijänoikeus on ihmisoikeus, perusoikeus. K: Ihmisoikeutta ei voi myydä. A: No siis on ihmisoikeus päättää oman luovan työnsä sisällöstä. [Note: parantui loppua kohden, Krohn puhuu hyvin, jos sen ei anna puhua pitkään.]
Jyrki Kasvi (kansanedustaja): Haluan viedä asian vähän laajempiin yhteyksiin tieteiskirjallisuuden kautta: Scifi on erittäin poliittista kirjallisuutta. Uusi laki antaa tekijänoikeuksien haltijoille oikeus päättää onko jokin rikos vai ei. Samaten teleoperaattoreista on tulossa uusi "poliisi". Tämä on vaarallinen tie. Olemme menossa maailmaan, jossa ihmisten spontaanit verkostot alkavat olla vahvoilla. Yllättynyt siitä, että sähköpostia tuli niin vähän. Parhaimpina päivinä eduskunnan ja EFFin webbisivut olivat nurin kun tietoa haettiin. Kasvin omat verkkosivut 3300 hittiä päivässä. [Kasvi vaikuttaa jo pyyhkeen kehään heittäneeltä.] Tarvittaisiin laki, joka suojaisi kuluttajia mediateollisuudelta ja sen voimankäytöltä. Mediateollisuus saa päättää minkäkielistä kirjallisuutta sinä saat lukea. Direktiivi sanoo, että kirjoja ei saisi tuoda lainkaan ulkomailta. Mediayhtiöt saa päättää mikä meitä saa kiinnostaa. Jos valtio saisi päättää, me valittaisimme sensuurista; nyt me annamme saman oikeuden mediayhtiöille.
K: Uuttakin tekijänoikeuslakia olisi tulossa putkeen. Onko nekin tehty yhtä yksipuolisesti? V: Liedes: Esimerkki on kuvataiteen jälleenmyyntitilanteet, eli taiteliijoilla on oikeus saada siivu uudelleenmyynnistä. Tekijänoikeuden siirtyminen on kans hieman epäselvä. Krohn: tekijänoikeuskorvaukset ovat merkittävä osa palkasta. Saksassa arvon noustessa artistilla on oikeus siivuun. EFFin pitäisi myös nostaa meteli työsuhteessa tehtyjen töiden korvauksista.
K: Mikä on nyt totuus? Kai nyt joku tietää, että onko CD:n rippaaminen MP3-soittimeen laillista vai ei? Mikä on vahva suojaus? V: Liedes: Ensimmäisessä esityksessä puolustettiin tätä oikeutta. Pitkällisen lukemisen ja EU-komission kanssa jutustelun jälkeen tulos on se, että me uskomme, että ei. Olemme lyöneet itseämme lekalla päähän. Emme tiedä, miten laki tulee toimimaan. Hallitus tulee seuraamaan asiaa ponnen nojalla. Krohn (joka ryöväsi mikrofonin Kasvilta): Tekijänoikeus on omistusoikeus. Mutta tekijänoikeuksissa on rajoituksia, kuten ylioppilaskirjoituksien yhteydessä. Tekijänoikeudet raukeavat kuitenkin 70 vuotta kuoleman jälkeen. Kasvi: kuluttajan oikeustaju ei taivu siihen, että hän ei saa tehdä mitä haluaa CD:lle. Rip-n-mix -kulttuuri on mielenkiintoinen ongelma: tätä voi tehdä muuten, mutta ei musiikin suhteen.
K: Miten niin "me uskomme, että ei?" V: Liedes: tehokas tekninen suojaus tarkoittaa sitä, että kuluttaja näkee siinä olevan teknisen suojauksen. [Eli Rot-13 on tekninen suojaus]. Hallituksella on tulkintavaltaa.
K: Miksi komission kanta muuttui vuoden 2002 ja 2005 välillä? Millainen Irlannin lainsäädäntö tässä asiassa on, koska se on hyvin edistyksellinen? V: Liedes: Ei ole katsonut Irlantia, Ranskassa on samanlainen väittely kuin meillä. Uudelleenarviointi tehtiin perusteellisesti ja uudet poliitikot päättivät. "Nykyinen kulttuuriministeri ei laita mitään eteenpäin, mitä ei ymmärrä." [Yleisössä naurunpyrskähdyksiä.] Nyt se taatusti on direktiivin mukainen.
K: Kun digitaalimaailmassa kaikki on kopiointia, miksi sitä pitää säädellä tarkemmin? Miksei säädellä kopion siirtymistä paikasta toiseen tai sen myymistä? Suojakeinot eivät voi koskaan estää kopiointia (analog hole). Miksi tehdään oheisvauriota niille, jotka oli maksamassa jo artisteille? Miksi on järkevää tehdä laki lain päälle? V: Liedes: loistopuheenvuoro, tämä on ihan oikea tulkinta: tässä ei olekaan mitään järkeä. Tämä tekijänoikeuslaki on yritys antaa mediateollisuudelle mahdollisuus edes yrittää. Krohn: Tervetuloa säätämään lakeja. Lait ovat toisaalta huonoja, mutta myös hyviä. Se on sitten vähemmän tärkeää, että onko lait oikein. Pääasia on se, että ihmisille tulee tunne siitä, että luovan työn tuottaminen on suojeltua. Kasvi: Lain kunnioitus vaatii sitä, että laki vastaa enemmistön oikeustajua. Pulmana on se, että tekijänoikeusjärjestöjen tapana on tehdä ennakkotapauksia. Krohn: mutta tämä ei kuulu länsimaiseen oikeustajuun. Välimäki: ei tule rajoittamaan uusien teosten tekemistä. Tehkää uutta tavaraa, laittakaa ilmaiseksi nettiin.
K: Tekijänoikeus on sananvapauden rajoittamista. V: Krohn: Tekijänoikeuden pitää palata yhteisomaisuudeksi, 70 vuotta kuolemasta on liikaa. Käyttää esimerkkinä sitä, että voi tehdä Jeesuspornoa, mutta ei Akuankkapornoa [Häh?].
K: Voidaanko jokin päivä jakaa tekijänoikeuden ydin ja jakelukanava erikseen laissa? Tekijänoikeuslain rinnalle mahtuisi hyvin "kuluttajien oikeuslaki". V: ---
K: Miksei vanha laki riitä?
K: On aivan silkkaa potaskaa, että palkan saaminen lisäisi luovuutta (100,000 hittiä omalle sarjakuvalle). Lisäys: palkan saaminen ei yleensä ole pääasiallinen syy luovan työn tekemiseen, vaan halu luoda.
K: Miksi tietokoneohjelmien siirtäminen laitonta? V: Liedes: Tämä on vain siksi, että komissio ei haastaisi Suomea oikeuteen. Pyrimme poistattamaan sen mahdollisumman nopeasti direktiivistä. Unohtakaa kyseisen lainkohdan olemassaolo.
K: Miksi keskustelu kielletään?
K: Lauri Kilpi, säveltäjä (varmaan ainoa, joka on Teoston jäsen). Rahaa tarvitsee kuitenkin taiteellisen työn tekemiseen. Tekijänoikeuskorvaukset ovat pieni, mutta välttämätön osa tuloja.
Liedes: teknisiä suojauksia ei tule käyttää, suojattujen teosten kopiointi on tietysti laitonta. Tekijänoikeudelle on muitakin perusteita kuin rahanteko. Pohjoismaat yrittää pitää suoja-aikoja lyhyempinä. Yhteisöraukeaminen on huono juttu, opm vastustaa, mutta direktiivia ei vastaan pullikoida.
Krohn lopettaa paukulla: Tarkistakaa EU-edustajien vaalirahoitus - tämä on ollut niin lobattu laki, että on mahdollista, että joidenkin äänestyskäyttäytymiseen on vaikutettu vaalirahoituksen keinoin.
Lähetin seuraavan Helsingin Sanomien yleisönosastolle. Ehkä julkaisevat, ehkä eivät. Täällä se on kuitenkin kokonaisena, kirjoitusvirheineen kaikkineen (d'oh!).
Amidst the discussions in Finland whether the entrance of Helsingin Sanomat into the blogging arena "spells the doom of independent bloggers, as the big media will crush the competition and redefine the blogosphere", new professional blogging networks are being launched in the Big World. b5media comes from Australia and Canada, and they offer some snazzy new weblogs like the Play Girlz for female gamers, Cooking Gadgets for people who just can't live without twenty different cheese graters, and Unplugged Living for those who are trying to produce their own power and "live off the grid."
Guys... Don't worry about the big media. Blogosphere is really about niches and finding your own audiences - this is something that the big media simply cannot cover due to cost efficiency reasons. They're big, because the produce news and entertainment for the masses. Blogs are small, because they produce news and entertainment for smaller audiences - maybe even as small as you and your mother. Blogs are really about the long tail, the things that make individuals different from the masses. We're all a part of the mass (no matter how different you are trying to be), and as such we're served well by the mass media. But for the things that we really love and care about, specialized media, such as blogs, are far better.
Just keep writing.
And with a free laser engraving as well.
Technolust has claimed a new victim.
Kielletäänkö mp3-soittimiin kopiointi? Turvataanko taiteilijoiden oikeudet? Kuka laista hyötyy ja kuka ei? Onko EU kaiken takana?
Tule keskustelemaan näistä ja muista kysymyksistä ke 21.9. klo 18-20 Helsingin yliopiston Metsätalon suureen luentosaliin, sisäänkäynti osoitteesta Unioninkatu 40 tai Fabianinkatu 39, 1. kerros.
kansanedustaja Jyrki Kasvi (www.kasvi.org)
kansanedustaja Irina Krohn (www.eduskunta.fi/Krohn_Irina)
opetusministeriön viestintäkulttuuriyksikön johtaja Jukka Liedes (www.minedu.fi/opm/tekijanoikeus/index.html)
tutkija Mikko Välimäki (www.valimaki.org)
Järjestää Vihreä Sivistys- ja Opintokeskus ViSiO.
Menkää paikalle sankoin joukoin ja tehkää tiukkoja kysymyksiä. Toivottavasti paikalle saapuu myös mediaa.
(For my English readers, please read the English overview of the current copyright law mess in Finland and understand why I have switched temporarily to Finnish.)
Avoin elämä kertoo:
Just. Tuo lehtijuttu on suhteellisen mielenkiintoinen (joskin epäilen tekstin faktoja: Liedeshän on WIPOn Suomen edustaja, ja jos jonkinlaisen komitean vetäjä, muttei varsinaisesti sen johtaja), suosittelen lukemaan. Siinä väitetään kaikenlaisia mielenkiintoisia kytköksiä, kuten se, että vaikka ESEK (jossa istuu siis tekijänoikeuslakia valmistellut opetusministeriön Liedes hallituksessa) saa liki kaikki kasettimaksut, mitä Gramex kerää, niin siitä huolimatta se saa opetusministeriöltä tukea 146.000 euroa vuodessa. ESEKin puheenjohtajana toimi vuoteen 2004 kutsusta ex-kulttuuriministeri Kalevi Kivistö. Hän oli samaan aikaan opetusministeriön ylijohtaja (eli Liedeksen esimies) sen seitsemän vuotta, kunnes jäi eläkkeelle 1.12.2004.
Nämä opetusministeriön ja mediateollisuuden ennemmin tai vähemmin pysyvät kytkennät ovat kyllä... huolestuttavia. Suomen kokoisessa maassahan tietysti päteviä ihmisiä on varsin vähän, ja pakostakin aina syntyy välillä eturistiriitoja, mutta silti - näin kansalaisena alkaa oikeasti huolestuttaa, jotta ollaanko sitä tekijänoikeuslakia laadittaessa oltu nyt varmasti aivan tasapuolisia? Kytkökset kun ovat kuitenkin pitkäaikaisia.
Henrik kirjoittaa myös:
Tässä tosin taitaa mennä vähän puurot ja vellit sekaisin: Viralg on firma, joka on yrittänyt myrkyttää P2P-verkkoja epämääräisin ja epäilyttävin keinoin; Karpelan mainostama firma on Hitback. Tosin tuonkin firman TJ, Kimmo Junttila lienee sama Kimmo Junttila, joka on Magnum Music -nimisen musiikkiyhtiön perustajaosakas...
Helsingin Sanomat has now a blog, which is about a journalist writing a story about blogs. And people go wild. I have some news for you: it's pretty much irrelevant. It does not matter at all what the traditional media thinks about blogs anymore - you, the bloggers, have the power here. It's your blog, and your own playground, and you get to do whatever you want. Though, this whole thing being public, you get to have the responsibility as well: behave like a moron, and you get scolded by other bloggers.
But I like memes, so I'm going to join this one from Katri. Translation mine, feel free to join in.
YOUR OWN BLOG
0. How would you explain blogging/blogs to a friend who knows what Internet is, but not about blogs?
Blogs are personal publishing. They are a very simple way to publish your own thoughts, feelings, opinions, facts, comments out to the world to see, or maybe to just some of your close friends. They are a way to take the internet back from the geeks (thanks, mitvit!) to the everyperson.
1. When did you start blogging?
2. Why do you blog?
To gain whuffie and to be able to participate in a world-spanning, loose conversation. I have already gained much through blogging, including friends and love.
3. How often do you blog?
Roughly daily. It varies.
4. Do you feel guilty, etc. if you don't have the time to blog? Why?
Only when I know I have something I want to get off my chest. I don't really care too much if I don't blog for days.
5. Bloggaatko vai blogaatko, miksi?
(This one makes sense only in Finnish. Kaksi g:tä. Yksi kuulostaisi liikaa "mokaamiselta".)
6. Which counter do you use? How many daily visitors (not page views) do you get on the average?
I have my own server, where the visits are counted by AWstats. This month: 977.80 unique visitors/day (excluding bots, but including RSS readers). That makes a total of 2157.87 page views/day and about 242.43 MB of traffic/day.
7. How many readers do you have according to blogilista.fi?
138. (Sheesh. I don't even know that many people in real life.) I have also 101 readers from bloglines, the rest seem to be using personal aggregators or are just random net surfers.
1. Do you read other blogs? If yes, why?
Yes. I choose to read a blog if a) I know the person, or b) the blog interests me otherwise in some fashion (good insights, beautiful pictures, up-to-date news, good writer).
2. When did you start reading blogs?
Mmm.... It was around the Sydney olympic games: late 2000.
3. How many blogs do you have on your blogroll?
4. What kind of blogs do you most like to read?
Insightful. People who are better than me in some respect, and choose to share their knowledge or skills.
5. What kind of blogs do you read the least?
6. Do you read blogs that you know to be irritating?
Sometimes. There are some blogs I read because the writer is insightful, though we might disagree on many things; and then there are blogs that I go to read probably for the same reason why people like to hurt themselves: to remind myself of certain truths about life.
7. Do you read mostly Finnish or foreign blogs?
At the moment out of my 220 blogs 95 seem to be Finnish. However, when you include blogs run by Finns but in English, I think it comes to about half-and-half.
8. Are the foreign blogs you follow similar to the Finnish ones?
No. My Finnish blogs I read more because of personal relationships with people, and because I try to keep up with the buzz. I also enjoy some Finnish bloggers because I admire their way to use the language. Most of the foreign blogs I follow are mostly "business".
9. How often do you read new blogs to find new favourites?
Very rarely these days. I almost completely rely on other people to recommend new blogs in their blogs. Sometimes I also end up on a blog through Yahoo search (yes, I've switched from Google), or when someone adds a link to my blog in their own.
1. Are you on the Finnish bloglist?
Four of my blogs are, with a new one probably appearing soon. One public blog is not on the list. My Nokia-internal blog is not on the list either, for obvious reasons. There are also some dead blogs to which I don't write to anymore.
2. If it's not, then why? Did you ask it not to be added?
The one that is not on the list is intended for a purpose that makes it sort of unsuitable for the blog list.
3. If it is, why is it there?
Blogilista.fi is a good way for people to follow blogs, without needing to know anything particularly technical. I don't want to exclude non-technical readers, so therefore it only makes sense to be on the list.
4. How often do you follow your blog's ranking on top- or hot-lists?
These days... practically never. Maybe, if I am really bored. I like the hotlist though, because it shows what is being talked about in the Finnish blogosphere.
5. What do you think / how do you feel, if your blog has gone up on top- or hotlists?
"Ha, suckers!". No. I don't actually care too much. Frankly, I would be worried if I was any higher, as there are better and more interesting writers in the world.
6. What do you think / how do you feel, if your blog has gone down on top- or hotlists?
"Yawn. What's for dinner?"
7. Do you ever comment other blogs in their comment sections?
Yes. Quite a lot, in fact.
8. Which blog do you comment the most in?
Probably Kari Haakana.
9. What kind of entries/matters do you comment the most?
Uuh... Difficult to say. Must eat more carrots.
10. Do you comment other blogs in your own blog? In which situations?
When the commentary becomes too long, or I need to go on a tangent.
11. Do you feel that there's an "inner circle" in the Finnish "blogoslavia?"
12. Do you feel like a part of an inner circle? Why / why not?
No, not particularly. If there is one, they're not inviting me.
13. Do you go to blog meets? Why?
Yes, I do. For two reasons: one, they tend to be near by to where I live, and b: most bloggers are also thoughtful and interesting persons also in real life.
Digitodayn uutisessa opetusministeriön tekijänoikeustoimikunnan päätoiminen sihteeri Marko Rajaniemi kertoo muun muassa seuraavaa:
- Suojausta ei tee tehottomaksi se, että markkinoilta löytyy laitteita, joilla suojattua sisältöä pystyy kiertämään. Se, että suojaus voidaan vahingossa kiertää jollain laitteistolla, ei tarkoita, että tämän jälkeen kaikki voivat sitä kiertää.
- Jos joku kiertää suojauksen vahingossa, on suojakeino hänen laitteistoonsa nähden tehoton, sanoo Rajaniemi, joka vastaa ministeriössä lain tiedotuksesta, jos se laki menee läpi.
Hän huomauttaa, ettei kopiosuojauksen kiertäminen kopiontekoa varten ole rangaistavaa, ellei kopiota jakele. Rajaniemi myöntää myös, että yksityisen piirissä tapahtuvien tekojen valvonta jäisi vähälle.
- Näissä täytyy huomioida se, että tämä kiertäminen yksityistä käyttöä varten ei ole rangaistavaa. Lain viesti on se, että tämä on kiellettyä.
Siis anteeksi mitä? Jos ihminen, jonka tehtävänä on tiedottaa ihmisille lain sisällöstä ei osaa itse edes selittää asiaa, niin eikö se jo osoita, että laissa on jotain mätää? Siis ei ole rangaistavaa, mutta onpahan vain kiellettyä? Ihanko vain ihmisten kiusaksi? Jos minun CD-asemani lukee CD:n ongelmitta (toistaiseksi yksikään kopiointisuojaus ei ole aiheuttanut mitään köhinää vanhassa koneessani), mutta jonkun toisen ei, niin minä en ole rikollinen? Vai olenko? Tuleeko CD-asemastani "kopiointisuojaukseen rikkomiseen soveltuva laite" ja se on takavarikoitavissa? Tekeekö ÄKT tästä eteenpäin pistotarkastuksia tietokonevalmistajien luokse ja tarkistaa, että heillä on sopivan huonot CD-asemat? Entä, jos äänitänkin sen suoraan kuulokejohdosta? Enhän minä siinä mitään teknistä suojausta murra...
Millä ihmeen kivikaudella ihmiset oikein asuvat? EUCD-direktiivi on suunniteltu 1996 - ja se oli jo syntyessään vanhentunut. Suomessa tulisi mukautua ajan vaatimuksiin, ei noudattaa orjallisesti sisältöteollisuuden lobbausta.
Suvi-Anne Siimes kysyy - ja mielestäni hyvin aiheellisesti - että miksi tekijänoikeuteen herättiin vasta nyt, eikä aiemmin.
Hyvä edustaja! Minä, ja oletettavasti muutama muukin, kuvitteli ilmeisen erheellisesti, että kun tekijänoikeuslaki palautettiin viime huhtikuussa takaisin valmisteluun aivan samojen syiden takia kuin mistä nyt valitetaan, että sitä jopa ehkä muutettaisiin. Lakien valmistelu on valitettavan epäselvää tavallisille kansalaisille ja oli suorastaan järkytys nähdä, että uusi esitys on liki tyystin sama kuin keväinen versio.
Kyse on todellakin tasapainosta. Kyse on tasapainosta yksityisen kansalaisen ja suurten mediayhtiöiden välillä. Kenen suomalaisen graafikon etua palvelee se, että kirjojen yhteistilaaminen ulkomailta tehdään laittomaksi? Kenen elokuvaohjaajan etua palvelee se, että tietokoneohjelmien levitys internetissä tehdään luvanvaraiseksi? Kenen säveltäjän etua palvelee se, että Linuxin käyttäjiltä käytännössä kielletään musiikin kuuntelu omalla tietokoneellaan? Kenen kuluttajan etua palvelee se, että kolmensadan euron musiikkisoittimen laillinen täyttäminen musiikilla - josta ei välttämättä saa edes ottaa varmuuskopiota - maksaa 10,000 euroa? Minkä musiikinystävän etu on se, että uudet, netissä myytävät tiedostoformaatit muodostavat meille digitaalisen musiikin arkiston, jota muutaman vuoden päästä ei ehkä voi enää kuunnella? Kenen yksittäisen kansalaisen etu on se, että jopa keskustelu tietyistä asioista kielletään?
Vaikka uudessa laissa on paljon hyvää, siinä on myös paljon pahaa. Sanotte, että "laki ei ole tällaisenaan maailman paras laki". Näin tosiaan on, ja saamanne sähköpostivyöry (johon tämä tulee osaltaan liittymään) osoittaa sen, että sillä on suuri vastustus kansassa.
Piratismi on paha asia. Mutta uusi laki antaa liikaa valtaa niille, joiden mielestä piratismi on "kaikki ne asiat, joista me emme saa rahaa." Kuluttajillekin kuuluu tiettyjä oikeuksia - ja yksi niistä on lupa kuunnella laillisesti ostettua musiikkia missä muodossa itse haluaa.
(For English readers: we're fighting to keep DMCA++ away from Finland. Please excuse us, we need to fight for the right to keep our MP3 players.)
Helsingin Sanomat kertoo:
Tiistai-illan neuvotteluissa pohdittiin kahta vaihtoehtoa: lain sisällön muuttamista tai sitten tiukkasävyistä lausumaa, jolla hallitus velvoitetaan valvomaan, ettei lain soveltaminen johda kohtuuttomuuksiin.
Jatkakaa mielipiteidenne kirjoittamista suuren valiokunnan jäsenille. Kertokaa lyhyesti ja yksinkertaisesti ja perustellen, mikä tekijänoikeuslaissa on pielessä. Muistakaa, että kansanedustajat ovat todennäköisesti keskimäärin noin vanhempienne ikäisiä - ja miettikää, miten selittäisitte asiat heille...
Tietokone -lehden uutisesta poimittua:
"Internetissä on palveluita, joista voit ostaa musiikkia digitaalisessa muodossa. Markkinoille voi myös tulla tuotteita, joissa musiikin saa kopioida eteenpäin esimerkiksi kannettavaan soittimeen. Tämä on uudentyyppinen tapa hankkia musiikkia", hän arvioi.
Siinä taas nähdään, miten mediayhtiöiden lobbaus on toiminut tehokkaasti: Kyseessähän ei vain ole muuta kuin menetelmä, jossa ihmiset halutaan ostamaan sama musiikki uudestaan ja uudestaan ja uudestaan - parhaimmassa tapauksessa vielä sellaisina versioina, jotka lakkaavat toimimasta viiden vuoden jälkeen.
Musiikin - kuten muunkin luovan materiaalin - suhteenhan vallitsee käytännön monopoli. Jos haluat kuunnella Britney Spearsin uusinta kappaletta, voit hankkia sen vain yhdeltä ainoalta toimittajalta: Britney Spearsin levy-yhtiöltä. Sen sijaan jos olet ostamassa autoa, voit ostaa noin suurin piirtein vastaavan useammalta valmistajalta. Britneytä on kuitenkin vain yksi (ja eipä tulla näsäviisastelemaan sieltä, että kaikkihan ne kuulostavat samoilta - ymmärrätte kyllä mitä ajan takaa).
Jos kuluttaja haluaa esimerkiksi täyttää 40G:n iPodinsa iTunesista ostetulla musiikilla, tämä maksaa kymppitonnin. Jep, 10.000 euroa. Mikäli olisi jokin keino pakottaa ihmiset tähän, niin sehän olisi loistava bisnes musiikkiyhtiöille. Mikäköhän tämmöinen mahtaisi olla?
Jep. Kerrotaan valtioille, että artistit kuolevat nälkään, jos kotikopioinnista ei tehdä laitonta. Koska kotikopiointikieltoa ei kuitenkaan käytännössä voida valvoa, niin laitetaan markkinoille kopiointisuojaus, jota ei voi kiertää ilman tietokoneohjelmaa, ja näin ollen saadaan joka jannu joko rikolliseksi tai sitten maksamaan järjettömiä hintoja uusista kappaleista. Monopoli on kiva asia, jos lainsäätäjän saa vielä takataskuun samaan hintaan. Ihmiset eivät nimittäin hevillä lopeta musiikin kuuntelemista.
Suomessa ollaan ylpeitä Linuxista, ja syystä: suomalainen tuote alunperin ja hyvä sellainen. Mutta tämä levy-yhtiöiden skeema sulkee Linuxin käyttäjät tyystin pelin ulkopuolelle: ilman kräkkäystä ei iTunesista ostettua musiikkia kuunnella koti-Linuxissa. Ja on täysin varmaa, että näiden kräkkien käyttöä tullaan jatkamaan: jos opiskelija haluaa kuunnella musiikkia, hän joko kopioi itselleen laittoman Windowsin tai sitten hän kräkkää musiikkitiedostot ja CD:t. Ja taas on kansaa sakotettavana.
Tietokone-lehden uutisen mukaan tekijänoikeuslaki on hylätty monissa EU-maissa. Jopa niissä, joissa se on mennyt läpi, sitä on karsittu. Ja hyvistä syistä. Miksi suomalainen lainsääntäjä ei näe tätä? Koska häntä on hämätty tekemällä laista monimutkainen ja vaikeasti ymmärrettävä, jolloin on helppo kääntää ihmisten huomio epäoleelliseen - tässä tapauksessa jumalanpalvelusten tekijänoikeuskorvauksiin.
Waldenille vielä lisäksi: Kopiosuojaamattomia CD:itä on nähty markkinoilla tähän mennessä vain siksi, että niillä ei ole ollut merkitystä: jotta sen saisi kuulumaan tavallisessa CD-soittimessa, kopiosuojaus ei voi olla kovin vahva, mikä taas tarkoittaa sitä, että siitä on helppo tehdä MP3:sia omaan käyttöön. Lähitulevaisuudessa näemme varmasti vahvempia kopiosuojauksia, puhumattakaan jostain uudesta CD-tyypistä - kutsutaan sitä nyt vaikka "CD plussaksi" - jossa tulee olemaan pakollinen vahva suojaus, ja joka vaatii kuluttajat myös ostamaan uuden CD-soittimen. Tai sitten kaikki siirtyy digitaaliseksi, ja CD:t painuvat unholaan. Levy-yhtiöille CD:n painatus on kuitenkin kustannus, ja jos kaikki saadaan kuuntelemaan nettimusiikkia, niin sen enemmän rahaa heille.
Ei. Ei näin. Jos olette ihmetelleet, miksi EFFin tekijänoikeus-FAQ on niin sekava, niin se johtuu vain siitä, että tässä uudessa tekijänoikeuslaissa niin moni asia on pielessä, että asiaa on vaikea kertoa selkeästi ja yksinkertaisesti. On vain pakko yrittää keskittyä yhteen epäkohtaan ja kirjoittaa siitä - muista epäkohdista syntyisi helposti samanlainen tarina.
Holy. Shit. I was expecting a bad but enjoyable parody of Star Trek, but this is good. This is very good. Of course there are things that show that this is not professionally produced, but they are not as common as you would believe. This movie is simply excellent - not just as a fan-made production, but as something I would watch in a movie theatre as well. I laughed out loud during this movie more than I laughed during Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and I am pretty sure it was not just me and my quirky taste.
There are even a couple of delightful character performances: Jari Ahola who plays Mihail Karigrandi, the Baabel 13 security chief, and Hannu T. Tiberius Pajunen (?) who plays the Chief Engineer from Turku. There ain't much of a complex plot, but it all stays together remarkably well. The effects are stunning, scoring is totally professional, and the ladies uniforms are... interesting. They have even included everyone from the dropped scenes in the credit list - something that would not happen in a Hollywood movie. It was fun to see some familiar names on that list.
Star Wreck - in the Pirkinning is an unqualified success for Mssrs Torssonen, Vuorensola and Airisto, and to fan-produced material in general. The internet release date is October 1st. If you can't wait that long, just shell out the 22€ for the DVD. It's worth it.
(This is probably one of the most complex creative productions ever released under a Creative Commons license. It will be interesting to see if that affects anything, but CC organization would be dumb not to use this movie as marketing material.)
(PS: Ari Jaaksi, who heads Nokia's Open Source activities, including development of the Nokia 770 internet tablet, has started his own blog.)
Let me continue a bit on this subject once more... Well, quite a few people have come out saying that they want to have "good bandwidth, better screens and proper keyboards" on their mobile phones. What they don't really want is not a better cell phone, they want a better laptop that is smaller than what they already are carrying.
I think this is just because that's something they are used to. When you grow with laptops and computers and the internet, you start to think of everything in those terms. You could jokingly say that once you learn how to use a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail.
There are nearly two billion cell phone users out there. And a huge number of people in Japan (well, maybe not Japan), China, Korea, India, Brazil, Indonesia and Africa are growing with cell phones. Once they get their bearings together, they will be viewing the internet as a nail to bang with the mobile hammer. They'll be wanting things on their computers that work like their mobile phones...
If you're now thinking about your cell phone as an inferior laptop - try looking it another way: maybe your laptop is an inferior, bulky version of your cell phone. It might be interesting for a while, especially if you're planning to develop for the fabled Web 2.0 ;-)
Just superglue your iPod Nano on any suitable smart phone, and you'll get a better, shinier and thinner thing than the Motorola ROKR. It's got a thousand songs, and has better battery life... Looks better, too.
(Standard disclaimer about working for competition but not representing company views goes here. Yadda, yadda.)
This simply has to be a joke. No fucking company is stupid enough to send live animals as business gifts.
Or if it ain't a joke, they're gonna suffer the worst public relations catastrophe in history. I mean, this is the same company that censored the advertisements of a local animal activist group.
Update: It's true. They did send carrier pigeons to people as "innovative direct marketing". However, they did have a trained person with the pigeons at all time, so no law was broken, and all the pigeons were let loose and returned to home unharmed. However, I can't just fathom who in their right mind okayed this idea: using live animals as gifts is a very, very bad idea. Animals are not gifts. Period.
An ad agency should be aware that marketing is about images, not facts. If your image suddenly becomes "those are the guys who send animals by mail", there is no amount of explaining that's going to turn it good.
Update2: The ad agency has been calling Pirkka, who's written a good summary of all the things he learned out of it. A very good read. And props to the ad agency as well for managing the thing properly.
(It could also be a ruse to direct everyone's attention away from the fact that we're getting a "stealth copyright law" next week - a law that declares making your own MP3s illegal (unless allowed by the copyright holder), takes away first sale rights, makes owning software or hardware meant for cracking illegal [so no more ebooks for you, blind people!], forbids organized discussion on hacking of copy protection, and forbids companies from importing manga from Japan without explicit permission. I call it a "stealth law" partly because there has been no public discussion about it, and partly because very few people really understand what it means.
Unfortunately the culture in Finland - and well, everywhere - is in a stage where if you criticize anything about copyright, you get a bunch of people screaming at you that "you just want to make everything free". Not so. But I just want that big corporations would stop telling me when and how I can listen to music, or read a book, or watch a movie. I don't want to copy all my music free off the internet: I want to give money to an artist I like. I want him to produce more music. What I don't want is him bursting into my apartment and say "Ahha! You have illegally ripped the CD I sold you to your MP3 player! You are taking money from my pockets, you thief!"
No sane artist would behave this way. They don't give a flying rat's ass as to where people listen to their music. They want everybody to listen to their music, so they become famous and can make more songs and more money, and get free beer from fans.
It's the big corporations that own the music that want to come into your apartment and micromanage your music habits. They want us to pay more money from the music we listen to, and they believe they should own the whole experience. They take music as "notes coming one note after another" when it should be "something to be loved, and cherished, and shared". And they lie to everyone, including the artists: "This will help you protect your copyright", they say and smile. But that's crap. Making it more difficult to find music, listen to music, and give music to your friends will only increase the bitterness of the music lovers. It makes "copyright" a dirty word, and it makes everybody a criminal, eventually. The big corporations will just use lots of money to sue small girls, and teenage boys, and grandmothers - money, which they could and should be giving directly to the artists.
And I also ask: if all private copying is now illegal, then why do we need the CD levies anymore? Some money from blank tape/CD/DVD sales already goes to the artists to compensate for this private copying - surely this will then be dropped? [Of course not. Ha.]
There are so many things wrong in this whole law. Read them all.)
Anyway, I was listening to the ITConversations podcast from MySQL user conference by Tim O'Reilly, and he said something that struck a chord: "Web 2.0 is about participation."
Weblogs, wikis, eBay, Amazon.com recommendations, Google pagerank, Flickr, del.icio.us - these are all Web 2.0 services that are built on the infrastructure of participation: anyone can start a weblog. Anyone can contribute to Wikipedia. Anyone can write an Amazon.com recommendation. Anyone can put a web page on the internet, and link to sites they think are good, and increase the Google ranking of those sites. Not everyone needs to be a blogger, but there might be a discussion board somewhere, or a guest book, or even just email, with which you can forward funny links you found on the net. On Web 2.0, people can participate on the services themselves - it's about people sharing and working with others, not corporations or governments or entertainment companies providing content for consumers. They have their place, but streaming multimedia Hollywood H.264 content via hyper-fast 4.5G high-QoS hybrid UMA networks is not what the future is going to look like.
Which brings me to my previous post and mobile phones. Quite a lot of the success of the mobile phones could maybe be attributed also to a culture of participation: anyone can buy a phone. Anyone can make a phone call to anyone. Anyone can send an SMS to anyone else with a mobile phone. Would WAP had been a success, if anyone could've been able to provide content for it - and there had been an easy way to share that content between your friends? (As an aside: have you tried forwarding a link to a web site with a comment to your friend on a mobile phone? It can be done. It might take longer than it takes to read the EU constitution, but it can be done.)
So... How to design mobile applications for Web 2.0? Design for participation. Make sure everyone can contribute. Trust your users. Let them contribute, because they do have something to say. You might not like it, but it is important to them. And try to understand what mobility, the background quality, the connectedness, and the fact that you don't have to consciously use a service for it to be useful, might mean. Make services that make the mobile phone users first-class citizens, and not just guys with crummy browsers and bad connectivity.
I mean... The Web 2.0 is here. We've had it for years, ever since the first email list was created, or the USENET saw the light. It was here before it was even called Web 1.0. It's not really that new, you know. It's just that people have sort of woken up to it now.
I was going to blog about this, but Charlie got there first, so here's a short recap as to what started the discussion:
I was listening to the Supernova 2005 panel on mobility as a podcast, and got progressively angrier at the complete lack of vision from their part: everybody was treating mobile phones as just lighter versions of laptops. Then I also read Charlie's commentary on the same subject, and got rather ranty on another blog.
Mobile phones are not just bad browsers on resource-constrained devices with crappy connectivity and non-free voice.
This is something we Nokians keep iterating over and over. But as I uttered those words, enraged at nobody in particular, I realized that I lack the proper explanation on what really makes a phone different from a laptop with Skype. And if I can't figure it out, then maybe these people are right. Maybe mobile phones should just be treated like computers with tiny screens?
I have a few explanations, though not many: Charlie explains my thoughts well in his article, so let me just reiterate quickly: mobile phones are mostly background devices, whereas a laptop has a tendency of consuming all your attention, becoming a foreground device. The usage patterns are fundamentally different: A mobile phone is always on, always connected, always with you. It's not a Big Brother, but more like a Little Brother, if you excuse the pun.
Another difference I can think of is that a mobile phone is more of a physical object than a laptop is: The mobile phone gets decorated with covers and straps and things; the laptop stays the same - though you might reconfigure Windows backdrop and rearrange your Dock. But these are just representations - abstract metaphors, if you will.
I also believe why this is the reason why podcasting has an upper hand over mobile TV: it designs for the background experience instead of the foreground experience: you can still drive while listening on the radio, but you need your eyes and ears on the telly.
Somewhat related, Marko has an excellent essay detailing the future challenges that people writing applications for mobile devices have to face, such as "how to design for something that is sometimes off, in a world that is normally always on?" Worth reading, really.
This area is wrought with uncertainty and general vagueness - it's just the kind of an in-between that consultants thrive in and produce Powerpoint after Powerpoint. I don't even know whether it's useful to care about this, but then again... It's nice once in a while to try to understand what industry you are working in...
Opinions welcome. You might not even see a problem here ;-)
BoingBoing is doing a good job following the devastation left by Katrina. I've been following also this blog by someone who seems to have been in New Orleans all the time. The Irish Trojan also has good blog coverage. Google has added post-Katrina satellite imagery of New Orleans.
Boston Globe writes:
The reason is simple: To allow the climate to stabilize requires humanity to cut its use of coal and oil by 70 percent. That, of course, threatens the survival of one of the largest commercial enterprises in history.
In 1995, public utility hearings in Minnesota found that the coal industry had paid more than $1 million to four scientists who were public dissenters on global warming. And ExxonMobil has spent more than $13 million since 1998 on an anti-global warming public relations and lobbying campaign.
No big surprise there. And people are glad to turn a blind eye, because very few people want to cut down their consumption. It's easier to blame the oil industry or George W. Bush, who are, of course, also guilty for the whole mess, but no more than consumers who keep on insisting cheaper gasoline, or keep burning bright lamps, or cities who waste energy and light the skies instead of the roads.
Partly, I think it's that people sort of already know that they should conserve energy, but there's not enough information about the small and big things one could do. It turns out that there are a number of web sites that scream "PANIC - we HAVE to change our way of living", but I could not find any web sites that would spell with clear, friendly letters: "Don't Panic. Here's what you should do..." I think there is a big need for sites like that now. Where are they?
(Via Boing Boing.)
You know you have been coding too much, when you see an email with the heading "The Penis Patch is Amazing", and you open it up, actually expecting to find a patch to JSPWiki from some friendly developer...
http://www.yle.fi/podcast. Whee! Random thoughts on the subject.
Unfortunately, the programs available don't seem that interesting to me. However, since it's so darned easy to listen to without having to arrange my physical presence next to a radio at a certain time, I'm going to subscribe to some, just for the heck of it. I mean, I get to preview at will, and subscribe at will, and the whole stuff just automagically ends up on my iPod. So far, the programs seem to be manageable in length; something that you can easily listen to while commuting.
I think the great promise of podcasting lies somewhere between the professionals and amateurs: semi-professionals targeting extreme niches (100 people) which is something that big media companies just are not interested in or capable of producing to; but yet at the same time it also allows better distribution channels for the traditional radio programming. For example: weekly podcasts of the YLE radio theatre... Yeah, I would *so* subscribe to them. Right now.
Since podcasting allows you to target niche audiences, would that also mean that there would be more freedom for the radio professionals doing them? Let your hair down? Be different? No need to "waste" air time, as there is no need to make programs certain length; nor is there a strong need to cut things just to fit in the slot.
Of course, getting the podcast feeds into your iTunes is a bit of a hassle right now. So maybe they should be submitted to the iTunes Music Store and other podcast directories? To make discovery of them easier?
P.S. I seem to be unable to blog on Wednesdays. I have no idea why.
Charlie asks: Where are all the open source marketers? Good question. My own marketing efforts for JSPWiki have more been in the line of "if it's good, the users will find it" -line, and it seems to work. I don't have the time and effort to start promoting JSPWiki as such, partly because I just don't have any inclination towards marketing, and partly because the more popular it is, the more I need to work on it. JSPWiki is not big enough so that I could quit my day job and work on it full-time (and still pay the bills), but it's no longer small enough to be managed a couple hours a week.
Maybe the reason for the lack of OSS marketing is that many OSS projects don't have the capacity to handle the additional workload? The big ones get their own marketing by simply being part of a bigger collective, e.g. the Jakarta Project. The smaller, independent ones use only word-of-mouth.
Then what could an OSS community do with marketing? Of course, the traditional channels are available: Firefox users bought a full-page ad in NYT. Buying an ad campaign in Google Adwords might be expensive, but someone could contribute by buying a search keyword for a few days. User groups and other peer support work usually well in a OSS environment.
In an OSS environment, your users are really your marketers: A happy user will install the software everywhere, a disgruntled user will search a new alternative. In a vast majority of OSS projects, nobody gets paid to be an evangelist. Therefore the enthusiastic promotion you get comes directly from people involved at some level - not from someone who is just renting his mouth to pay the bills. While OSS marketing may be less professional, it's certainly more honest than with commercial software.
(There may be something interesting brewing with respect to JSPWiki marketing. Stay tuned.)
Good bye Vancouver, good bye Seattle. 24 hours of travel, and I am back home. Whee!
(I like the idea of a blog concentrating on proper Finnish language in blogs. However, could the author please be a bit more friendly and constructing instead of giving snide remarks about style issues? I would love to read a properly written blog where a professional would highlight typical mistakes bloggers do, give some advice on style, talk about language issues in general, and in general help others to become better writers. At the moment the site seems only go half-way: the advice may be true, but it is delivered in a tone that is more likely to create an anti-proper-language movement than to encourage people to pay any attention to what they're writing. Finland needs more good blogs about real issues, not another blog that just talks about blogs with an annoyed tone.
And yes, I am aware of the irony of me criticizing the style of a blog complaining about the style of other blogs. No need to point it out, thankyouverymuch.)
Here's another caveat for RSS and spiders, that Wiki authors probably should be aware of:
Figured out why Grey (the machine that's hosting jspwiki.org, this blog, and suomigo.net has not been doing very well lately: The loads go up to 12, and I am getting lots of errors, as if the machine was under enormous load. However, when looking at the list of top processes, even if the load is up to 12, the CPU usage is about 20%.
I was looking through the load/IP activity logs and realized that there is a four-hour cyclic, massive increase in both the number of simultaneous connections and CPU load. I already had a nagging suspicion that the RCS back end we're using might be the cause of the load-that-does-not-show-up-in-CPU-usage, because it tends to spawn many quick processes very rapidly, so they never show up in top. I went through the Apache log files and realized that MSN bot was hitting all these sites at a very rapid rate.
Then I realized what was going on: since JSPWiki offers an RSS feed for every single page (so that you can follow the changes to any page with your aggregator), the MSN bot wants to download them all, every four hours. So, for jspwiki.org, I get 2000 hits every four hours, at very rapid intervals. Because the MSN bot does not seem to support If-Modified-Since header, I end up sending a HUGE amount of data every day, just to satisfy one bot. Our backend is simply not designed to work well under such conditions: we do cache (because it makes sense for the browser-based interface), but we're not doing memory (or disk) caching of old versions or diffs, so all requests for these go to a back end. That means roughly 50,000 processes created every four hours within about fifteen minutes. And that's just killing the server - amazing it has been up even this much.
So, as a temporary solution I'm going to put RSS feeds of my server to /robots.txt, so that these guys stop indexing them. As a long-term solution I'm going to start to cache the RSS feeds as well.
Update: It's not quite 50,000 processes in 15 minutes, but 200,000 processes/day. Made a script mistake, oops. Still, MSNBot's RSS scanner can cause quite a lot of heavy traffic, if you're not prepared, or you have not designed your back end for such access patterns.
A late-night discussion with Dragon made me realize that at about this point JSPWiki source code base is approaching the point where it no longer cannot be understood by a single person. The auth code additions are on the verge of being "code I don't need to grok in order for it to work".
So the line seems to go at 60,000 lines of code, with the time I can currently devote to the project.
(Oh yeah, almost forgot: There are only few moments of perfect beauty in the world. I experienced one today, tasting food somewhere deep in Vancouverian suburbia. Thank you, Sanjay.)
Here's the Top-16 of the Finnish "Hot"-list. Note that out of these, five are metabloggers that talk mostly about other bloggers, one is essentially a sex blog, and the rest are knitting or other craft blogs.
It strongly suggests that people are interested in the three basic things in life: a) themselves, b) sex, and c) crafts. In the future, few will care about the good writers, the ones with something to say, the budding journalists, the politicians. It's gonna be just people gossiping about other people - and porn. And probably, in the future, gossiping about porn. I guess that's because our vulgar interests are the same, but our finer interests are different. It's easy to get on the top of any lists by throwing controversial subjects on the table, because there is a small narcist and a tiny voyeurist in everyone.
But at least y'all will be warm.
+171.3° Sun äitis +151.6° Blogikriitikko X +130.0° No Sex In The City +126.4° Puikkotaisteluni +119.6° Kielipoliisi +119.6° Blortti +108.4° blogisweetikko +108.4° MadeByMyself +107.0° Marjan käsityöt +105.4° Lankakomero +105.2° Vikatikkejä +104.7° Distant Knitter - Etäistä neulomista +101.6° Neulova lehmä +92.8° Tiny Winy Knitting Blog +91.6° Annin sekametelisoppa +88.8° Viiniä ja villasukkia
(And a smiley for the humour-impaired ;-)
I know I'm getting hell for this, but I did actually buy stuff from the Microsoft Company Store. Got myself Office for Mac with Virtual PC for... pretty much pennies. It was odd to see people, normally a bit... apprehensive of Microsoft go on a shopping spree. People looked a bit of ashamed of themselves, as they carried loads and loads of Microsoft software to the cashier with glee.
But I wasn't any better. As my defense, I can say that I was probably the only one buying Mac software.
(As for that Windows XP... Outi specifically asked for it. And it was cheap. Really.)
I'm spending the whole week in Redmond, WA, in Microsoft country. Someone in the office asked if I remembered to bring my allergy medicine... Harhar.
To me, one of the biggest differences between the US and Finland is noise. Here, I find it difficult to find quietness: either the radio is blaring, or the traffic is hard - there's always something. I needed to turn down the air conditioning in my hotel room simply because it was too loud for me. Heat is better than noise.
Of course, once you go out of the urban area, it changes. But cities are very grey, very... regular in their randomness, and very noisy. The whole place feels as if it was designed to turn you inward, find a retreat, a place where you can just be with the people with as little contact to the outside world as possible. Or maybe it's vice versa. I don't know.
(Incidentally, I made a new podcast from here. In Finnish, of course.)
You know... This wireless connection costs me 30 USD for about ten hours or so. Expensive? I don't think so. It allows me to fire up Messenger and talk to Outi whenever I want. I could even run Skype, and hear her voice. So here I am, somewhere above Greenland, and I can be with her. I am here, huddled in my own small part of the world, limited by elbows and benches, listen to old Finnish pop songs on my headphones, eat ice cream, and she is here with me.
It's totally priceless.
What makes a geek happy? Transatlantic flight with ~WiFi on board! :-D
(I'm coming to Seattle for about a week and very probably going to visit Vancouver as well - I say very probably because I haven't yet figured out how to get from Seattle to Vancouver. If you're around, drop me some email.)
Karri Kokko collected words, sentences, and thoughts from a number of Finnish blogs between April and June, 2005. The end result is Varjo-Finlandia (free PDF), a book that perhaps adds nothing new, yet is a new literary work of art: it's remix culture at it's strongest. The author has selected, anonymized, and organized sentences, thus giving the readers a glimpse of the Finnish blogosphere through someone else's eyes.
And boy, is it depressing or what. Reading through it feels like a hangover that never ends, a pain that does not go away, or a distant relative that keeps calling to demand the inheritance even though your granddad ain't dead yet. There are infinite ways to tell that things are not okay; and this book feels like it has most of them. It's like someone took all the bad feelings a person can have, slap the whole pile in front of you and say: "ok, here it is. LOOK, GODDAMMIT!" And all that from three months in the Finnish Blogosphere...
You can at least buy the book online from Kirja kerrallaan; don't know whether it's available elsewhere.
(A partial English translation is available.)
This site contains useful instructions on "how to make hooves" and less useful sentences such like "Lets assume for a moment that Matter Transporters are a reality".
Saw Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Boring.
This was a bit funny, though: "In one shot, the Apple Mac logo is visible on the side of Deep Thought, the giant computer."
(Because people invariably misunderstand me, let me just say that I'm a huge fan of both the Finnish radio series and the original books in both English and Finnish. The movie didn't just do it for me.)
Something sorta clicked today after reading going through my email and reading some blogs. One worrying trend I've noticed recently is, well, for the lack of a better word, "human optimization". I keep getting these meeting requests, where the agenda looks somewhat like follows:
|Networking break||10.30 - 10.45|
|Topic B||10.45 - 12.00|
|Working lunch||12.00 - 12.30|
Note the use of the words "networking break" and "working lunch". So, instead of "relaxing break during which you can go to the toilet and whip out your willy and play with it all you want" and "a lunch during which you can eat, laugh, talk unimportant things, or just watch out of the window while munching", you are expected to network (what a dreadful word) during breaks and talk business during lunch.
The Skylab-4 astronauts had their not-so-famous "24 hour mutiny" when the flight controllers started to schedule experiments during their meal times as well. Instead of complying, they just spent 24 hours relaxing and resting, looking out of the window.
I'm not saying this is a problem with corporations being evil. It's more like a question of attitude - people are proud to optimize their time to accomplish as much as possible in any given time. I can't count the times someone has suggested that we should have a system that would allow us to schedule meetings more efficiently. I usually scream loudly at that point, and explain - with a foaming mouth - that we need a system that is less efficient in scheduling meetings. Because the easier it is to do something, the more you tend to do it.
The whole thing reminds me of Dragon's Bigger Pizza Theory (via Katri). If you get into the loop of trying to optimize more and more, so that you can get more done, you fill up all the freed time with more things you can optimize instead of actually having the free time to punch your baboon. I mean... Everyone always gives the answer that they are efficient because that allows them to spend more free time with their family/friends/whatever, but somehow I doubt that. I know I am dreadful at it, so I'm arrogantly assuming everyone else is, too. There are two programmer sayings that are very apt in this situation as well: "Premature optimization is the root of all evil", and "hard drive space is always 90% full". Or at least I think they are apt; YMMV.
People aren't resources. An employee can treat you as one, because you have a contract which gives you money in exchange for your time and skills. But treating yourself as a resource to be optimized... I am not so sure anymore whether that actually makes any kind of sense.
(Incidentally, the Skylab-4 astronauts never flew again in space.)
I've spent most of the weekend in a coding frenzy, the result of which is now in JSPWiki CVS. The all-new rendering engine is now included (though not enabled). I know I probably should've spent time in fixing ~WebDAV bugs, as well as all of the open bugs, but... hey, I do this for fun, so I get to use my time in the parts of the code I enjoy ;-)
(Hmm... Saying coding is fun does not exactly improve the sad geek image I have. Oh well. BTW, for those who care, I am probably going to WikiSym in San Diego. Drop me a note, if you are also a sad geek in San Diego and want to drown sorrows together in a few pints of local brew.)
Hihi, hoho, hehe... Just committed the new JSPWiki rendering engine to CVS. The following test measures how much faster it is to cache the intermediate results of WikiMarkup translation than it is to render the page each time anew:
DOM cache speed test: Nocache took 0:00:10.562 Cache took 0:00:00.359 Approx speedup: 29x
100 page renderings in 359 ms on a 1GHz PPC. Not bad. Not bad at all. I should've done this sooner.
Now, if only I could get all the tests to run...
As an experiment, I'm adding Google's AdSense advertisements on this blog. I figured that this is something I have no experience on, so what would be the best way than to plunge head-in...
Don't need the money, but I need to know how well the advertisement business actually works with respect to personal publishing... Not that I am expecting any big wads of cash.
(I'm a bit hesitant to add advertisements to jspwiki.org main site. However, I was thinking about opening a ~CafePress shop so you could buy JSPWiki apparel. You know, for the truly desperate geeks. I'm just wondering about slogans...
"JSPWiki - for the truly desperate geek in you"
"- I have JSPWiki. - I'm so sorry! Is it serious?")
Discussion on advertising in general, how well it goes together with personal publishing and blogging, and stupid ideas for JSPWiki slogans welcome in comments.
You thought the weather was odd? Well, here you go... it's gonna get a lot odder and more dangerous. Fuck Bush and other politicians who would rather protect jobs than lives.
Climate scientists yesterday reacted with alarm to the finding, and warned that predictions of future global temperatures would have to be revised upwards.
You know that you have been traveling and vacationing just enough, when you come to the office in the morning and realize you don't remember which floor you work on.
For all people interested in wikis, here's a pic of Outi's parents' dog, who is called 'Viki' :) [Close enough to be funny. At least in a very geeky sort of way. Very. Geeky. In a sort-offish kinda way.]
Morning - what a hangover. Also reminder to self: Start bringing your own extension cord to these conventions. There are power-hungry geeks here and the fight over every single power outlet is a fierce battle where prisoners are not taken.
The lead developers of ~MoinMoin, ~TWiki, ~PurpleWiki, ~EmacsWiki, JSPWiki and ~MediaWiki got together today and we had a brief discussion on a common approach towards ~WikiSpam. We agreed to work on a common blacklist format, with further extensions to follow. This will be hashed out somewhere on some wiki, but I think it was a good conversation.
I could also like to plug !Cellphedia, a mobile service where you can make questions and people answer them. Of course, it only really works in the US, as Cellphedia does not have to spend money on fanning out the SMSs as they come in: the recipient pays the SMS. In Europe, the business model of this system might be a bit more complicated.
Off to hear Ward Cunningham to speak. Ta ta for now...
Er. Now, if I read this right - if you make software that is used illegally for filesharing, you go to jail. So, if someone installs JSPWiki and starts using it to share mp3 files with friends, I'm responsible? Wikis are meant for sharing things, after all.
The thing is, on this blog I've said on several occasions that I don't think file sharing as such is bad, and I think that if used the right way, it could change the entire business model of the music industry. Or something to that effect. This may be enough for someone to consider it "inciting to commit copyright violation" (which it isn't). Since I also make software that *could* be used to do such a thing (but it's not really intended for that), I'm getting into an area that is legally more gray than I would really like. If I speak favourably on say Grokster or other P2P companies, is that "inciting" for copyright infringement?
So, do I shut up and stop talking about copyright; or do I stop making software?
Anteeksi kiroilu. Hiljaista Huutelua (loistava blogi, muuten, lukekaa) on löytänyt varsinaisen helmen.
(Sorry. Someone found a real gem - the ultimate conspiracy. But it's in Finnish so... I just finished my presentation, and I'm trying to hold my laughter and tears. What an article.)
Reminder to self: always, always get a single room, or reserve the room for myself completely. My room mate snores in that earth-moving, death-inducing, keep-awake, oh-my-god-is-he-going-to-die -way. Even while he is on his stomach. I know. I watched him for hours. I catalogued twenty different basic types of snoring.
Anyway, in the morning a bunch of German guys ran a series of presentations on Wikipedia, Semantic Web, metadata and RDF. I'm still a bit sceptical on that, as the failing of the Semantic Web is in the fact that nobody usually bothers to add semantic information - or if they do, they don't bother to update it. This is because there is little immediate benefit from the metadata, so most people don't bother. But the German wikipedians managed to get a party together and convert 30,000 pages in three days to use biographical metadata.
Jimmy Wales is talking about things that will be free: Well, the encyclopedia and dictionary of course, but he also adds things like classic music recordings: there is a lot of music already in public domain, but there are few free recordings of this music. And it makes sense - there are quite a few student and volunteer orchestras that could contribute.
There are some practical problems with old paintings (which should be free) as well: galleries seem to think that if they own a 400 year old painting, they can control any reproductions as well. Wikipedia has received several takedown notices... But they ignore them. So, if you happen to be in a gallery, with a tripod, and happen to take a high-quality picture - donate it to Wikipedia...
Other things that should go free are the file formats (absolutely) and maps. I agree on the maps; in Finland it's too expensive to get hold of digital map data. Most people just use US services to find routes in Finland... just because there is not other choice.
Jimmy mentions also the craft culture that is going on in the internet, such as the Finnish knit blogs, and how that sub-culture is growing. They have issues on product identifiers: it's difficult to talk about something because there are no proper, unique names on things. You can link to Amazon products, but that namespace is owned by Amazon, so it may be difficult to find a competing seller (because they might call it by a different name). Maybe. But isn't this an engineering approach to crafts? Would it work?
Free TV listings? *bore* For some reason I don't really care. Amazon.com is my TV listing these days, and the European digital EPG is essentially a free TV listing. telkku.com is a great service for all Finns anyway...
Free communities - demand a free license from web forums, discussion boards, wiki pages, etc. Otherwise the company controls the community. I agree, but aren't there some liability issues here? Also, if you are buying access to a community (say, a MMORPG), who should really own that data? This is maybe one of the reasons why Flickr works - they use a CC license by default, so if Yahoo! went crazy, the communities in it could just take all the data and re-establish elsewhere. WikiCities is a free community site service.
Someone asks about free search engines - and Jimmy agrees; says it should be number four on the list. Oops :)
A question about free wireless. Jimmy answers that he personally thinks that free, municipal wireless is a bad idea, because it kills innovation on the wireless area. I slightly disagree, as it opens up innovation on a lot of things that are dependent on the access to the wireless.
Jimmy also continues that he thinks that governments should release any data they collect on tax money to the public. E.g. NASA is very good at this, ESA is not. People should demand that data paid for by tax-payers money is freely available.
On the subject of free news and citizenship journalism: "Well, everybody tells jokes. But we still have professional comedians."
Some commenter notes that the Austrian Ministry of Health has opened a web service where physicians can anonymously contribute false diagnoses, so that others can learn from their mistakes. Interesting. You wouldn't normally publish something like that under your own name - we like our successes to be public and failures to be private.
Update: Ross Mayfield has far better notes.
Yes! It's! Wiki! Mania! With! Exclamation! Marks!
I'm sitting in the open-air garden, working feverishly on my presentation. Jimmy Wales is right in front of me, doing endless interviews. There are at least three TV film crews here, and my face (and my Powerbook and my hat) are probably now filler in some late-night German news show, with the dubbed voice of Jimmy droning in the background.
I just heard that the presentations will be audiocast and recorded - probably even videotaped.
Update: I was just interviewed by a German newspaper. I had no idea this Wiki thing interested the media so much.
Three hours of sleep, and a four-hour transfer at Copenhagen. Hooray for Wifi and the Powerbook battery that just keeps going...
I'm too tired to do anything useful (other than read blogs and chat) and I have this sense of impeding doom over me - I have another conference coming up real fast, and I haven't prepared.
One of the best things about role playing games is that you learn to improvise. That skill has saved my butt on several occasions, but it's a constant struggle: when you realize you can wing things with reasonable ease, there's a huge temptation to just keep winging things and not prepare properly. I sort of hate myself for doing that too often, but I keep dividing my attention to so many places, that I almost invariably end up doing improvisation in some degree. On the other hand, it's useful to divide your attention, because it allows you to make connections between things you normally wouldn't do. On the other hand... it also means that you rarely get anything proper done.
SaunanTakaa has a new episode. This time some of my English-language readers might also want to take tighter look (ear?) at it, as it contains a 16-minute interview of Ewan Spence, an all around cool guy, and the author of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival podcast. If you can't be bothered to fast-forward all the dumb Finnish bits, at least check Ewan's podcast of this world's largest festival (25,326 performances of 1695 shows by 735 companies in 236 venues in 2004.)
I'm in Edinburgh, Scotland, at the MRC 2005 conference. The Scots make the best chips in the world, I am now convinced. I also reaffirmed my belief that I really do like haggis. And whisky. Of course. Mmm...
I also bought the new Harry Potter (link is safe from spoilers, contains flash animation) from the airport. Not, because I thought I have the time to read it, but because some bloggers I know are discussing blatant spoilers about the content of the book - with little or no spoiler warning. So I had to buy the book and join the herds, because I prefer that the plot and the content of the book is told by the author, not all the random people I meet... I'm funny that way.
(I also saw Rupert Grint on the street in Edinburgh's Old Town. Which was sort of strangely fittingly out-of-place.)
Just a quick note: I switched this site into using mod_gzip all along. In practice this means that my little server will compress the page content before sending it to you, so you'll get it faster. This should create significant bandwidth savings on weblog content, and overall give better response times. It is likely to kill Netscape 4 rendering totally, though - but then again, I have more Konqueror users on this website than Netscape 4...
Let me know if any major browser has any issues.
NY Times describes how the recording industry gives gifts, "contest prizes", free trips, and other bribes to radio stations so that they would play particular songs or rewrite their top-lists so that certain songs would "appear as if they were taking off".
Record companies are not against the internet and peer-to-peer because they want to fight piracy. They are just afraid of losing their monopoly over distribution of music. If Internet radios, podcasting, internet stores (such as Amazon), second-hand-shops, and small, independent record companies that can give more money to the artists (like Magnatune - it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that 50% of 1000 records sold is more than 4% of 10,000 records sold) get to compete on an even playground with them, they might lose. Or at least they would have to reinvent their own business, which would mean innovation.
So they fight. They use their income to make the playground less even: Own the radio stations, kill internet radio (it's practically impossible to start an internet radio in Finland due to large fees - only the big media companies can afford it), kill peer-to-peer - the most efficient method of distribution so far invented by mankind. Bribe, cajole and threaten, if necessary. Anything goes, as long as you don't get caught.
Big business. Gotta love it. Better than movies.
(Via Dan Gillmor.)
(Apologizes, this one is better written in Finnish).
Vietin, kuten aina, viikonlopun töissä Ropeconissa. Päätin kirjata joitain pieniä tuokiokuvia sieltä: en oikein osannut enää valokuvata, koska kaikki conikuvat näyttävät kuitenkin pitkälti samoilta vuodesta toiseen.
Tässä siis pieniä hetkiä.
- Keltsussa radion mitäänsanomaton poppi vaihtuu Nightwishin hitiksi. Syvennyksessä istuvat kolme tyttöä, jokainen mustissa, alkavat asiantuntevasti keskustella laulun navajonkielisestä sanoituksesta.
- Vähäpukeinen nainen vetää perässään hirttoköydessä pelkkiin stringeihin väärin puettua miestä. Convieras huokaisee kuullessaan, että se onkin vain teekkarien polttariporukka, ja jatkaa matkaa, vetäen perässään ketjulla PVC:hen puettua toista vierasta.
- Pomppulinnassa miehet suutelevat. Tuntia aiemmin infotiskillä olin kuullut jonkun julistavan, miten homoparaatiin pitäisi saada mielenosoittajien sijasta mellakkajoukkoja.
- Tapaan ihmisiä, joita näen vain kerran vuodessa. Silti he eivät tunnu vierailta. Ihmiset puhuvat conista ja conin tapahtumista kuin parhaat ystävät, mutta eivät tiedä toistensa oikeita nimiä. Kukaan ei kysy, mitä teet conien välisen ajan - sillä ei ole väliä.
- Aamun rannekkeidentarkistuksessa erottaa heti kokeneet ja kokemattomat kävijät: kokenut nukkuu jo valmiiksi ranneke näkyvillä. Hypimme nukkuvien yli, herätämme kätensä piilottaneet. Jostain syystä ilahduttaa nähdä vain kolme liputonta; eikä heitäkään oikeastaan haluaisi heittää ulos.
- Öisin asiakkaat kokoontuvat kuuntelemaan työntekijöiden väsyneitä juttuja toisilleen, jotka leviävät halki Dipolin radiopuhelimitse. Aamukahdeksalta jaksetaan enää vain lukea Tommy Tabermanin runoja ja halata kaikkia.
- Takahuoneen vauvat: toinen sukupolvi ropeconin tekijöitä on jo kasvamassa. Nekin käyttäytyvät hyvin.
- Keltsun darts-automaatti vilkkuu yksinäisenä nurkassa. Samaan aikaan viereisessä pöydässä suunnitellaan maailmaa; toisessa pöydässä suunnitellaan maailman valtausta. Kolmannessa vanhat ystävykset muistelevat sitä, miten ennen oli kaikki aina paremmin.
- Punaisen Ristin ensiapuhenkilöt pitkästyvät tietokoneluokassa: heillä ei ole mitään tekemistä. Kukaan ei örvellä kännissä, ja vaikka joka toisella on mukanaan jotain kättä pidempää, ketään ei tarvitse pahemmin paikkailla. Eräs tosin onnistuu murtamaan varpaansa kivi-paperi-sakset -kisassa.
- Tuuli yltyy aamuyöstä: narikkateltan betoniset ankkurit siirtyilevät, ja hetken näyttää siltä, että koko teltta karkaa. Mietimme hetken, pitäisikö paikalle kutsua varatyövoimaa: kerrankin kun voisi pyytää jotakuta pitämään seinää pystyssä.
Erilaisuus on aina jotenkin niin samanlaista: samanlaisuus tavallista. Täällä friikki saa hetken tuntea olonsa tavalliseksi: tavis itsensä friikiksi. Mutta jostain syystä täällä vallitsee edelleen Ropeconin henki: väsynyt, riehakas, värikäs, täynnä huonoa huumoria, mutta pohjimmiltaan äärimmäisen kiltti ja ystävällinen.
Ei täältä haluaisi pois. Vaikka kuitenkin tekisi mieli mennä kotiin.
Tonight we lost our second pet mouse in three days. The first one I could weather with some stoicism, but two... No. I've grown attracted to those small critters. They're dumb as a glove, sleep all day, and make a huge rattle at night ("Quiet as a mouse", they say? Not true.), but shit... They grow on you. She loves them, and so do I, I now realize.
I really liked those brown small sisters. I really did. I like the rest of them, too. Just... no more deaths for a while. Okay?
Ropecon is here again! Thousands of teenage larpers, goth lolitas (I wish), PVC, leather, fake furry ears, real elven ears, bad pizza, hectic heckling, and old farts complaining how Ropecon has too many teenage larpers and furry ears and too few goth lolitas.
I'll try to post some pictures to my Flickr account... Too bad I don't have an MP3 player that could record - otherwise I would be doing a podcast :)
Xanga, a blogging service, has reached 40 million users, says WPXI, 91% of them between 13 and 29. The article also talks about how kids don't realize that they are writing on the public internet, and how well parents in general understand these issues (here's a hint: they don't).
(Via Blog Herald.)
Update: Yahoo Search finds about 11 million xanga.com pages, so the figures - as usual - are a bit suspect. But 11 million is quite a lot, too.
Here goes again: a blogger has published a photograph of two people who allegedly assaulted her and her husband (in Finnish). The police are looking into this, but she has taken matters in her own hands and is asking if anyone knows these guys.
This is an example of the Transparent Society in action: normal people, armed with cell phone cameras, recording MP3 players, and low-cost publishing tools are getting an unprecedented amount of power. The signs are everywhere, and stuff like this seems to be more often recently. And this worries quite a lot of people, including me.
I have a certain belief in the general goodness of people (perhaps naïve, perhaps not), which is why I am willing to link to pages such as that "wanted" -page. But this general goodness can turn into something that becomes quite evil, even if nobody really meant it - the story of the Korean shit-girl as an example. I guess the original purpose of the people who snapped the photo was just to give a snap on the wrist to the girl, but the whole thing went quickly overboard.
The internet (and blogs in particular) allow huge, uneducated masses to move extremely rapidly from one extreme to the other, without any filtering at all. This is neither good nor bad; it just the truth. This, I believe, is the key difference between personal publishing and journalism: the training to tell a good story from a bad one, and the knowhow to treat one properly. A proper journalist would approach a flammable story with proper respect and asbestos gloves, whereas the angry internet mob will just embrace it and lift it to a pedestal.
It's difficult to write about this: on the other hand, I like privacy. My privacy and the privacy of others. I even understand the need for NDAs and corporate secrets. I agonized over whether I should link to the article or not, and risk possible angry internet mob against two guys who might be guilty; we have only one person's account for it. (And I feel like a hypocrite for linking to to it. I would also feel like a hypocrite if I didn't link to it. I feel even like a hypocrite for even talking about my thoughts about linking. How's that for a crisis?) But on the other hand, I do see the push towards a more transparent society, where everybody becomes the police's little helper. The proliferation of digital, always-on cameras and other recording devices will allow everyone to become watchmen of the society. And seeing how an angry mob can destroy a person's life does not exactly make me feel warm fuzzies over the thought.
The idea of an angry mob defining the culture is almost as scary as the idea of a corporate-owned culture. But portable recording devices have great benefits as well: Flickr is full of wonderful pictures that enrich our culture, and will continue to do so for many years to come: Imagine, if you could delve into a similar archive from the 1890's! Or 1700's! The people of the future (or at least anyone doing their thesis) will thank us for storing our daily life. (Many people doing Powerpoint presentations these days thank Flickr already.)
For many years, many people have told us that we need to know how to read the media right: how to do proper source criticism, how to "read between the lines", how not to be lead like blind sheep. But I think that with this new, personal, writable media we need to learn also how to write the media right. Everyone should know what is legal and what is not - but even more importantly, understand what could be the consequences of writing. I don't think we should get into a discussion of what is morally right or not, as that will lead only into a conflict of different world-views, but I think there should be a document somewhere in the internet, that would spell out in clear, friendly letters the practical, everyday things a blogger should consider - and the probable repercussions of those. Let people then adapt those to their own morale and code of ethics, but people need to understand that they are writing in public and what that means.
I'm almost half-tempted to start working on something like that myself, but if anyone has any good tips on such sites, please drop a comment below. Don't want to do duplicate work... (I've already suggested to samik that the Pinseri Wiki could be re-adapted to such a purpose for Finnish users.)
I'm still alive, no worries. I'm spending most of my time north of the Artic Circle, on cell phone connectivity only, and doing other things so much that I just don't have time for blogging right now. I need to make two presentations for the conferences (the first of which is next week), rewrite the paper for Wikimania, and actually write the code for the Wikimania paper.
How did my summer vacation come down to work? I guess that's the punishment for mixing work with hobby...
Anyhoo, my second podcast (crappier than the first) is now available, in Finnish again. Yes, I'm riding the hype here: the whole thing has become such a talking point recently that I decided that the best way to understand it is to get down and dirty and start doing it myself too. I have a bunch of things I want to try out with this new medium, but so far it's mostly at the level of a kid poking at a new toy and trying to figure out what all the hubbub is about. It's play, as much as a heartless techocrat can manage. Comments (technology-, content-, methodology-, and otherwise) are welcome.
I'm in Prague with Outi. This is a beautiful city, well worth visiting. We're currently sitting in a small internet cafe in the New City (called thus only because it was built in the 15th century - the other part was older).
You kinda know that you can get cheap flights here when you see a bunch of young British blokes walking by, all wearing a blue t-shirt with the text "XXX's stag tour 2005". One of them is wearing reindeer horns.
The local touts are pretty good at guessing the nationality of people. They shout "halpa olut" ("cheap beer") at me all the time. Even when they have not heard me and Outi talking.
(Ai niin, ja suomalaisille: pikaisena virityksenä laitoin pystyyn oman äänitallenneradion, eli podcastin, eli mikä se sitten onkin. Testilähetys löytyypi täältä. Pahoittelemme ulkomuotoa, kyllä se siitä kunhan tästä pääsee takaisin Suomeen.)
One year ago I was having an Important Meeting. Things were said, Powerpoints presented, future was designed. But my mind was elsewhere. I secretly kept an IRC window open on my laptop. I'm sure the others noticed I was doing something, but didn't say anything - in case anyone of them is reading this, I'm sorry for my lack of attention...
In IRC, she she asked me, jokingly: "Why don't you come over here for the weekend?" I smiled (didn't laugh - the other people might've found it somewhat distracting). But the more we talked about it, the more serious the discussion became. And before I had really understood what I was doing, I had blown a bunch of mileage points, and got myself a plane ticket from Finnair Online. I had just enough time to just get home, grab a change of clothes (And a sleeping bag. I actually like sleeping in sleeping bags. I'm weird that way.), and head off to the airport. (So this is the reason why I didn't come to drinks with the rest of you hypothetical readers-from-the-same-meeting. I do believe I did get a better deal, though.)
The airport bus took me to Oulu University, and I jumped off. Nobody was in sight, so I sat on top of my backpack, and waited. The evening was beautiful, as the sun does not really sleep up north: it just dozes off for a while. She had been waiting for me, too.
I saw her approach from the end of the road. It took her a minute to walk to me - and it felt like an hour. My heart jumped up and down: "What if she doesn't like me?" "What if we have horrible time together?" "Can I be all the things she thinks I am?" All the usual shit that goes through your head when you go on a date - except that in this case the date had a serious nature already: I had flown 900 km and was in a strange city very late on a Friday evening at the beckoning of a woman I had known for less than five days.
She let me use the sauna to clean myself (I tend to smell bad after a long meeting. Sorry again, guys.) We talked. Of what, that I cannot remember. But I do remember her eyes, and how hauntingly beautiful they were that night.
Later that evening (or night to be exact), we went for a walk. Found a playground, played a bit on the swings (how stereotypical). Got attacked by mosquitoes by a tiny bridge that was supposed to be the place of our first kiss (it turned out that both of us had planned it), and returned back to the apartment, where we shared the first kiss, which got quite a few people guessing.
The rest of the summer and the fall was pretty much about traveling, but now we live together. And that is good and happy.
She passed by as I was writing this, and complained about her stomach being upset, in the kind of colorful language she sometimes uses. I laughed, as I was just reading this old blog entry of mine. She still arranges her characters in just the right way that touches my heart.
Her first SMS to me still rings true.
So you think linking to Lehtovaara is a mob in action?
No. This is a mob in action. (Read the comments as well.)
Within hours, she was labeled gae-ttong-nyue (dog-shit-girl) and her pictures and parodies were everywhere. Within days, her identity and her past were revealed. Request for information about her parents and relatives started popping up and people started to recognize her by the dog and the bag she was carrying as well as her watch, clearly visible in the original picture. All mentions of privacy invasion were shouted down with accusations of being related to the girl. The common excuse for their behavior was that the girl doesn't deserve privacy.
Scary shit. It's a different thing to attack a public establishment (who did a really stupid thing), which is supposed to be able to handle public critique, than it is to attack a single person that happens to have a bad day (and bad manners). She'll be scarred for life.
And the law does not help here - once the story is out, what can you do? Sue the people who posted the story? Well, assuming that you can figure out who they were, that might get you some money (or not - I mean, if the report is factually accurate, it's not even technically slander, though it might be constituted as an invasion of privacy), but you will still be laughed at years from now. The average person is unlikely to do anything so drastically good that it would offset the googlebalance to his favour, but a company can gain enough good reviews to offset even a nasty googlebombing. So she will be known as "dog shit girl" for the rest of his life.
Think about it: maybe the next time you do something very stupid, and there happens to be a budding net journalist wannabe around with a cell phone camera, you might become the Most Hated Person in the entire country within a week. People will stop you on the street and tell you how stupid you are, send you hate mail, and deface your house. Herkko has received some pretty abusive comments on his blog (and other fora) already how he is such a snotty asscracker who should stay in his home and that the bad treatment at the restaurant was their fault! He is getting the spillovers of hate that come from this internet phenomenon - I'm sure the original posters of the girl's image have received plenty of shit over doing it (deservedly so).
The internet is uncontrollable. This is something that many activists say when they talk about the freedom of speech to old media companies, but they don't really get it. It will eventually hit them back in the face.
From Don's comments: "Thanks to technology, we are able to build a better society in which citizens are the police, prosecutors, and judges."
(Via Boing Boing.)
Oh yeah, I did actually think whether I should post about this and add to the mass hysteria or not, but I figured that this is certainly relevant news due to the Lehtovaara case currently in orbit around the Finnish blogosphere. I think it is important to understand events like these, and be aware that in the near future such things might well be more common - also in Finland. And perhaps it will make someone think about his responsibility as a publisher.
Update: ...and I need to start learning to use preview when blogging...
Did you know that if you use the wireless browser in your mobile handset, your operator might be leaking your identity to every single web site you are visiting? I didn't, until today...
I whipped up a short jsp page to show the headers that my phone browser is sending, and lo and behold! there is my mobile phone number in plain text, sent to every web site. Check below for the log file, look for the x-msisdn and x-network-info -fields.
27/06/05 21:00:52 (188.8.131.52): user-agent: Nokia3220/2.0 (03.60) Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1
27/06/05 21:00:52 (184.108.40.206): via: HTTP/1.1 wgw3.radiolinja.fi (XMG 724Solutions HTG BA_PC5_M1_B012 20041105.230426)
27/06/05 21:00:52 (220.127.116.11): x-msisdn: 358505476XXX
27/06/05 21:00:52 (18.104.22.168): x-network-info: GPRS,22.214.171.124,358505476XXX,unsecured
27/06/05 21:00:52 (126.96.36.199): x-wap-profile: "http://nds1.nds.nokia.com/uaprof/N3220r100.xml"
(The XXX is my own doing; the phone number is really fully visible.)
I would tell you if this is true also if you are using your phone as a modem, but as my luck has it, my Mac died this morning (I tried to install Windows 98 under QEmu: it did the Microsoft thing and forced me to reinstall OSX after playing havoc with it, and now the entire computer is dead), and none of my cell phones work with my work laptop (after an upgrade to XP). Or actually, one of them would, if it hadn't just died last week thanks to a flashing mishap. I have now four dysfunctional phones and two dysfunctional laptops. As a personal note, I'm having a really lousy week already. Update. Chris says it's only when you're using the WAP gateway. So modem users are fine.
So, if anyone is using Elisa GPRS or 3G on their laptop, I would appreciate it if you could test it here, drop me a comment here and I'll publish the findings (without your phone number). Other operators are welcome, too. It should work with non-Finnish operators, too.
While sending the mobile phone number is probably not illegal, I still feel a bit iffy thinking that anyone can trivially figure out who I am when I browse their web site. There is no option to turn this off, and Elisa is not publicizing this fact either - in fact, a google for x-msisdn yields 23 results. So this thing is not even very well known. It would also be interesting to know if this still happens if you have an unlisted phone number.
I sent an email to Elisa's customer service and asked about their policy towards publishing subscriber information. I'll let you know if I get any answers. Until then, I would recommend that you are careful as to which web/wap sites you go to with your cell phone. Unless, of course, you don't mind them getting your phone number.
(Thanks to Jaakko Rajaniemi for the tip.)
Update: Saunalahti seems to also leak the phone number.
Herkko Hietanen criticized the Lehtovaara restaurant on-line, ended up in top Google search results, and got a letter threatening to sue him for damages. They want 80.000 € (plus interest) for criticizing a restaurant in public! Herkko, being one of the more known online free speech activists in Finland, is probably going to give them hell for that.
Lehtovaara has been on my no-go list ever since they refused to serve a male friend who just happened to have long hair, and no tie. They did serve the other people in the party (none of whom had ties), but ignored any requests from this guy. That happened years ago, but I'm very saddened to see that they still have the same crappy service. Lehtovaara will continue to be on my no-go list, and I cannot recommend that place to anyone else either.
Update: Taloussanomat picked this one up as well.
Update2: It's now on one of the top Yahoo hits as well: the City magazine review. This thing is spreading fast - so fast it reminds me of this old entry of the Ilkka Pöyry case... It shows how easy it is to lose trust: make one single mistake and you'll pay for it for a long time. But this is no different from how we live our lives anyway: you build a friendship for a long time, and if your friend screws you over once, you lose the trust.
I just hope that when the first "oops, that story wasn't true, we just killed someone's reputation" -thing comes along, the bloggers who wrote about it have enough spine to go back and revise their stories to admit their mistake. After all, that's the advantage that the bloggers have over rumors whispered to someone's ear... After all, usually people don't approach you and say: "You know, the gossip I told you last week... It's not true, and I made a mistake. Sorry. Could you please tell everyone else the right thing as well?"
Update3: Herkko posted the nastygram as well.
So, Microsoft told everyone that IE7 is going to include built-in RSS recognition and that mythical beast, Longhorn, is going to have RSS support built-in. That is good, and it's about time.
But get this: I'm looking at their RSS extensions and realize that they are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike license! That is a viral copyleft license, i.e. if you make any modifications to it, you must share it also under a Attribution-Sharealike -license.
Microsoft is a huge company, and the actions of a small part of it of course don't change the direction the entire company is taking, but at least someone inside there is trying. It's a small step, but it's a good step. Companies such as IBM have already realized that the "commons" field (including open source software) is a field that they can play in, and gain something from it - it's nice to see that even the slower corporate behemoths are opening up a bit. Including Nokia.
(Note: Looking for references, I also realized that Larry Lessig has also written about this.)
These two pictures are of a dead man right outside the Helsinki Central Railway Station. Snapped with a cameraphone, and uploaded to Flickr with GPRS, the pictures spread with RSS and tags to people who sit comatosely with their aggregators and browsers, and feed on the information stream.
This is what street journalism is. Whether it is a good thing, or a bad thing, I cannot say. That is up to everyone to decide for themselves.
But you saw it first in the blogosphere.
Update: I blogged this in a bit of a hurry, so I didn't get to say everything that I wanted. You see, photo publishing has become as simple as clicking a button on a phone and sending it as MMS or email to Flickr (you can even ask it to directly post it to your blog, which makes you a moblogger. Or you could any of the dozen other services). This is not journalism as such (it's photo publishing, duh), but there is not a very big step to be made from publishing pictures on-site to publishing small stories, answering the who,why,what,when, etc. And that's borderlining on journalism already.
Now, because unlike big media, these people who publish directly from the street (or in this case, someone takes the photo and someone else writes a story about it - or in this case the emotions evoked by the photograph) have really nothing to lose. They can't lose readership, but yet they have the potential to reach far larger audiences than the traditional media (just snap a good one and have your server destroyed by Slashdot...); they might even make a few bucks if they happen to have ads on their web page. And there will always be some people who couldn't give a shit about journalistic integrity, simply because they don't see themselves as journalists in the traditional sense. They just publish scoops: the same kind of scoops they see on the pages of tabloids. It'll just be about the stuff that they are interested about (as opposed to the latest celebrity gossip).
The reason why blogs have potential also as a citizen journalism platform is their incredible heterogeneity: as publishing becomes cheaper and easier (did you know that you can now upload pics easily to Blogger?), people are able to match the presentation quality of traditional media sites with little effort, therefore moving the competition to content side. In the old days, it was quite a lot of effort to start publishing something like a magazine. Then came desktop publishing, but there was still the problem of getting your publication to the news stands (i.e. distribution). Blogs (and other tools, but blogs seem to be in focus right now) removes even that. The only real problem left is finding content, i.e. advertising. Maybe some tools are already on their way to solve that problem.
Personal publishing will always display both the "light" and "dark" sides of people. I find it very disturbing that people write about how they plan to kill themselves on the internet. I don't find pictures of dead people really that disturbing - I find dead people often less disturbing than live ones. But you can find both pros and cons for either case: and you can easily find an audience for both. And it's really hard to say that one should not write about something, just because it's "not decent" or it's "disrespectful". Sometimes it's news, sometimes it's voyeurism, sometimes it's just something you shrug off as irrelevant. It depends much on the context: the same picture, once you know the background, can cause uproar in the entire world - or it can get you shot and buried in silence.
With something like street journalism, the decision to publish will always be in the hands of a single person - not an editor, or a code of conduct. And with the variety of people out there, there will be things that get a lot of people balking.
There's always someone who ignores every ethical guideline. And it's up to each person to think for themselves, where they want to draw the line.
...which is the hype way of saying that JSPWiki supports RSS 2.0 and the enclosure-tag in 2.2.27, released about 30 seconds ago.
Essentially, all attachments on a page entries are added as enclosures, if you request a page in blog mode (and add "type=rss20" to the rss.jsp request URL to enable RSS 2.0).
Why podcasting support? Well... Let's leave it a mystery for now, shall we?
KatjaW pointed out that my blog looks like crap on IE these days (both side bars are missing). Well, it does work pretty well on every other browser I've tried (don't use Windows at all at home, so I can't be bothered to check on IE whenever I change the template, and Mac IE is braindead when it comes to CSS most of the time anyway), so frankly, I'm tempted to leave it as-is for IE users. Or maybe just disable the difficult bits, and leave a very plain experience for IE users. According to my statistics, less than half (41% to be exact) of my readers use IE anyway...
Maybe I can be bothered to do something about it someday. Tips appreciated.
Update 24.06: Tweaked the CSS a bit and added some explicit "display:block;" -commands to some places, which seemed to required on IE (boo hiss). It still looks a bit crappy (and the window is too wide), but now at least you can see all the content.
Finnish Red Cross has made a Java cell phone program ("midlet" for the technically inclined) which contains the most basic first aid instructions in an easy-to-follow format with pictures. The instructions are in Finnish only, but you can get yours by texting "LATAA7 SPR ENSIAPU7" to number 17116. You need to have WAP settings in place to make the download. I took a quick look at it and it certainly seems like something I'm going to keep on my phone for a long time.
(Though, be warned, the midlet costs 7€! Something that which Helsingin Sanomat completely forgets to mention (boo hiss, this is stupid), but that is declared on Red Cross's page...)
Just in time for the holidays, I would say.
A workgroup set by the Finnish ministry of Social Affairs and Health has issued a recommendation that all bars and restaurants are to be made completely non-smoking (unless you can provide a glass box in your restaurant for that purpose), possibly even next year.
Some people see this as health fascism, some people see this as necessary, some people are saying that this will kill the restaurant industry, and some point out that that has not happened in other countries who have issued similar legislation. In thinking my own position I've found it useful to imagine if the situation was reversed: if smoking was a new fad, all the bars were by default non-smoking (and nobody has ever smoked in them), and we knew all the dangers involved - would we allow smoking in the bars in the first place? And with what kind of arguments would we speak for and against?
I think we're having this discussion only because people are afraid of change, no matter whether it's for the better or for the worse. It's much the same (though obviously not all) as the opposition of downloadable music by record companies, or open source software by established software houses, or DRM and SW patents by the open source people. It's all changing the status quo, and that is what scares people. Which is also why the opposition likes to think of the worst possible scenario and present it as the inevitable truth: open source will die; millions will lose their jobs as proprietary software houses die; artists starve to death; half of the restaurants will go out of business; and countries will slide to fascism if people are not allowed to kill themselves in boring, smelly and slow ways.
The old serenity prayer says:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
The entire media is filled with stories of people "who just wouldn't accept the inevitable", or "went against impossible odds", or "didn't conform". They are all praises of individualism and freedom, and we like to call those people "heroes". But we only talk about the ones that succeed - the ones that go against the tide and fail we call "stupid".
I wish I had the wisdom to know the difference.
Daisy will be a winner.
Update and a bit of soul-searching:
Heh. Thanks for your kind words, Steven. FWIW, I'm not quitting JSPWiki development, but frankly, I was in awe while looking at what Daisy has accomplished. It really fills a gap that has been in the software space, and it has learned quite a few lessons from Wikis.
The thing is, Daisy being Java makes it far more interesting to corporations. Individuals prefer to deploy PHP or other light-weight apps that can be easily installed on web hotels, and so far the JSPWiki niche has been in corporate intranet deployments. Something like Daisy will surely eat into that niche, and it makes me think if I should refocus my attentions elsewhere. Find perhaps a new focus for JSPWiki, or something.
The other thing is that I have quite a lot of ideas I would like to put into reality. JSPWiki's code base is (still) pretty healthy, and there's much life still in it - in fact it seems that jspwiki.org is finally running on its own without my constant watch. There are some professional developers contributing very good quality code, and many people seem to like the whole project. But since nobody is paying me to work on it (any volunteers? :), I am using something like two hours a day on it. Which amounts to quite a lot of work over the years, but I still know that I can't match the power of professionally employed developers working 8/5 on an OSS project. And that sort of makes me sad, because I would like to match the quality - to have an even race, so to speak.
It's kinda like seeing your neighbour buy a new, powerful Ferrari, while you still drive an old, crumbling Fiesta because you don't have any money. You kinda feel happy for him, but you also feel jealous. You kinda want to deride him for it, and want to say mean things, but at your heart you still know that you would do the exact same thing if you could.
Daisy's really good. I'm just a bit jealous at the people who get to work on something like that full-time. In my current dayjob I get to do little hands-on stuff. I mean, it's interesting in every possible way, and I like many things about it, and the people I work with are some of the smartest people I've ever met, and I would have the opportunity to drive many things, but still I find that my heart is not completely into it.
After all, I'm a tinkerer at heart. I get delight on the beauty of code; I enjoy the feeling of making things 'click'. I like to simplify things so that other people find use in them - maybe because that solicits feedback. The beauty of open source for me is that you can't hide anything: when you put it out there, people will see it for what it is really worth. It's like a painting, or sculpture: it's naked and visible for anyone to see and judge - you don't hide parts of it under a blanket and just show the good bits. And getting positive feedback on something like that is one of the few things that can really make my heart tick.
Your submission to the first Wikimedia international conference, Wikimania 2005 has been accepted with identification code JJ1.
See you in Frankfurt in August!
I'm just going to drum this one up so that as many people as possible get a chance to read it, as the coverage around the US media is pretty thin.
The Downing Street Memo was leaked from the British officials, and it seems to confirm what quite a few people already suspected: USA had no plan for cleanup after Iraq, and the people were misled to believe that Iraq was a threat:
"It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran."
"Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action."
Loïc le Meur needed to put together a presentation about the European blogosphere for his talk at Reboot. He put up a wiki page so that European bloggers might help him out, and within 24 hours, over 40 people contributed data from their specific countries.
Not feeling too good. So the best way to combat it is to try and make a three-pane layout for the blog on the couch while waiting for Survivors to begin. Hope it works; it ain't too complicated. Notice also the new link icon on the right, if you want to link to my blog.
I also included a list of my latest pictures from Flickr. Today, I've mostly been in the Helsinki Samba Carneval...
Bit the bullet. Released JSPWiki 2.2 stable. Was planning to write a long press release. Don't feel like it. Enjoy.
I have to say that I was both thrown off and relieved to read this article (in Finnish), which says that there are now a hundred thousand blogs in Finland, with MSN Spaces hosting a half of these. (Though I think that the estimate of 10k blogs not on any of the major blog hosts may be a bit overstated.)
I, and I believe many others, have been looking too much into blogilista.fi, which has about 2000 blogs listed, and has served as a focal point of discussion (in its previous incarnation) for the Finnish blogosphere for many years. Well, if it lists 2000 blogs, which is about 2% of the Finnish bloggers, then what's the point? Most of the Finnish bloggers don't even know of its existence - or if they do, they don't care. But all of these new blogs support RSS...
A hundred thousand blogs. That means probably at least 50,000 bloggers, all writing their own thoughts and experiences to the internet. That would be one percent of the population, making blogging an equally popular pastime to acting, though not as popular as role playing games (3%, according to this study).
The Finnish blogosphere is doing nicely, thankyouverymuch. It's growing in the underground, not caring about anything, thinking its own thoughts, ignoring us "established Finnish bloggers" and will probably crush us while we're not watching, as an accident. I welcome that day. It will be interesting ;-)
(Actually, now that I think about it more instead of the knee-jerk -reaction, the 75k MSN Spaces users + 17k Livejournalists seems awfully high. I mean, each year about 60,000 people are born. That means that if you assume that MSN Spaces and Livejournal users are say, 12-17 year olds, you get about 360,000 people in that age range. That would mean that 25% of teenagers would be bloggers (assuming one blog per person)... Any teachers out there willing to ask around in their class and confirm this?)
(More thinking: Not all of the blogs are active; this is just the number of created blogs. A Pew study says that only 10% update regularly, so you can still estimate at least 10,000 regularly updated blogs. Which is still a lot.)
The Enter magazine blog says that over 30% of Finnish 15-17 -year old teenagers have an account with the IRC gallery. I wonder what would happen if IRC-gallery started to offer blogs to their members?
...so says this unscientific, but probably not-completely-inaccurate analysis.
MSN Spaces is growing at 100,000 blogs/day. Wow.
Whatever you think of the blogosphere, it probably is not true three months from now. Loïc mentioned yesterday that roughly 20% of French teenagers have blogs. Twenty percent. Think about it.
Well, maybe those teenagers get bored with it. Maybe nobody speaks of blogs in five years, and blogging has become a passé, done only by old farts still clinging to their ancient Wordpress installations. But blogs are significant because they are the first real global way for these young people to express themselves in an easy way. I still hail Mitvit's wisdom on this: "One of the prime functions of blogs is to steal the internet back from the geeks." No matter what the platform is, these people will change the world simply by being themselves and creating. Now they write blogs - in six months everybody may be podcasting. Next year you might start to see vidcasting and personal TV stations.
Most of the created stuff will, of course, be crap. At least when viewed by a member of the general public. But that crap will be good and meaningful to a few people, and those people will gravitate to this stuff. It's one-to-few -publishing; not one-to-many.
Whatever happens, I just can't see that people would suddenly stop innovating and creating new stuff. The channels may change, but what is really behind the "blog revolution" has nothing to do with blogs as such, but the need of people to write, and draw, and compose, and sing, and to create, and also to get feedback for it. To find the few souls in this world that like what you are and what you do, no matter how odd it may seem to others.
To complement my previous post: The problem with 3G is that it assumes that corporations do the innovation. The internet allows people to do the innovation. It has nothing to do with how many bits per second a geek can get traveling on a bus from Helsinki to Ypäjä!
How many successfull cellular services have you seen which have been run by a single person? Conversely, on the Internet, how many discussion boards or fan sites which are the product of a single person in their spare time? There are more cell phone users in the world than there are Internet users (1.6 Billion vs 900 million)! Where are the great fan-run mobile sites? Where are the wonderful SMS services that everybody uses?
There are none. Or if there are, they are very local: specific to a single country, or perhaps an operator. No matter how good an Italian SMS service might be, you can't use it from Finland. That's because there's a walled garden out there: mobile phone services are about value chains and money and corporations making deals with each other about offering value-added services to customers. And operators want control over what happens in their network. And writing software for mobile phones is difficult, and users don't know how to use the services, and optimizing for a small platform is difficult, and... there are many reasons, but the end result is the same: the mobile phone area is really a very hard place to innovate and create new stuff, unless you have the training, the means, and an insane amount of patience. (Look at Russell Beattie's story on how difficult it was to squeeze a movie to a phone - and that guy is an übergeek!)
Anyway... I'm rambling. My point is that the Internet is a place where you can, on your own, create something like Blogger.com, get ten million users in a couple of years, from all over the globe, and get bought by Google for an insane amount of money. In the walled garden of mobile networks - well, you need to be a really serious geek.
Fine. So the internet has been stolen back from us geeks. Now, please steal our cell phones, too!
Update: By sheer coincidence, I listened to the podcast of Clay Shirky's speech at ETech. He speaks of the same thing, but he's far more eloquent than I am.
Schizo-Janne asks why Finland is lagging behind in WLAN deployments. There are roughly three free ~WiFi hotspots in Helsinki, a major difference to our neighbour Tallinn, which has open ~WiFi almost everywhere in the city center. Well, the Finnish cities of Oulu, Turku, and Lahti have already started lacing themselves with WLAN networks, and the Lappeenranta University of Technology WLAN network is to my understanding also spreading into the city, so the situation is not really that bad.
But Janne is right to ask this. Finland is not really very innovative in this area at the moment, partly because it's not seen as very important. A lot of Finland's technological and financial innovation is currently poured towards the 3G (aka WCDMA, aka UMTS) development and deployment. While technologically it offers a similar solution to WLAN, and Finns are doing pretty well in mobile phone usage (though nowhere near the top), there is one key difference that people tend to ignore when talking about these things.
Freedom to innovate.
In order for you to develop a fancy new 3G app, you need to talk to and appease operators, cell phone manufacturers, and all sorts of different companies that are in the so-called "value chain". Everybody wants their small piece of it, and you end up thinking about things like "brand dilution" and "quality of service" and "code signing". All this creates quite a lot of energy, and it does not guarantee that you will create a good app - it just means that you are really good at presenting your case, and it does make sense to a lot of people. Even if you wanted to just build a simple SMS-based service, you would need quite a lot of investment of at least time, if not capital, to interface with the network: you need the PC with a bunch of cell phones attached. Or buy a platform from an operator.
Open WLAN, however, means that you can start to innovate at very, very low costs. Web space is cheap, PHP can be done by anyone, and startup costs are minimal. All you need is the idea, and the tools and the knowledge are mostly there already. Granted, you can also run a browser-based application on a 3G phone, no problem, but this always is at cost to the user: the browser-based UI is not optimal for a small device. And developing an optimized GUI for a mobile device is difficult and sometimes nerve-wrecking.
You can split the space in two ways: you can concentrate on innovating vertically : building entire solutions from the low bits to the end application. Or you can innovate horizontally - build platforms which allow other people to innovate and build upon.
3G or WLAN.
It's just like "Nokia or Linux".
I'm not saying Nokia wasn't a success, obviously it was (and is). But I do believe that in the future, it's more probable to see a new Linux-like success story than a Nokia-like success story coming from Finland. Which is why supporting platforms for free innovation would be so important.
Of course, being CC -licensed, Elisa does not have to pay any license fees to Kopiosto (the Finnish copyright organization) or anyone else, which probably is the real reason behind this move. There is already quite a lot of decent quality CC-material out there that's not getting the publicity it deserves, so this kind of a move is likely to bolster goodwill on Elisa, and more public recognition to Creative Commons.
(Though, my guess is that someone is going to inhale a stack of peas on this one and start screaming that corporations supporting free content means that artists will starve to death [starvation in general is a very big problem in Finland] and demand banning of anything that's freely available, and that corporations should "observe their responsibilities towards Finnish artists" and support them instead of some "crap, second-rate free content just because they're being greedy." The concept of sharing seems to go above some people's heads... There is nothing wrong in sharing your work for free, as much as there is nothing wrong in asking for money from what you do. Both ways have their advantages and disadvantages, and in the end, the customer should be allowed to decide.)
Update: Elisa spokesperson says "users can freely download and share the content without fear." That is also a reason why looking into CC-licensed content is a good idea: if you use only that, you don't need to implement costly and complicated Digital Rights Management solutions which usually kill all usability. You can even play up the fact that "it's okay to share this" to gain extra publicity. Especially for a pilot, it makes little sense to spend all that money.
Update2: Nope says in the comment section: "Just in case somebody was wondering, the project website is at http://www.indica.tv/ where anyone can also submit their own video clips at http://www.indica.tv/cc/." Thanks!
Ever since I implemented the ~SpamFilter module for JSPWiki, the WikiSpam situation has improved dramatically. It works in two ways: first, it checks the submitted text against a list of regular expressions (typically domain names, but this is user-editable). This is what most blacklists do. In addition, it also has a limit how many pages the user can edit in one minute. If the user submits more than X number of edits, their IP address gets automatically blacklisted for a limited period of time.
In case the user is blacklisted or submits a blacklisted URL, he gets redirected to a page called "RejectedMessage", which describes the reason for the rejection of the edit. Most bots (and clueless spammer slaves, working in Brazil or China or wherever, and submitting spam manually) will continue to attempt editing this page, but since they are already blacklisted, they'll keep failing.
In addition, all the non-current revisions of pages at jspwiki.org have the Google rel=nofollow attribute set, so any WikiSpam that goes to the repository has no impact on search engine rankings. The spam is relatively trivial to remove as well, as one single spammer usually makes only about four-five changes to the site before getting blacklisted. They want to work fast to spam as much as possible, and this system forces them to work slow...
Of course, all this means that RejectedMessage has become the most accessed page in the history of JSPWiki. That's fun.
Today's copyright insanity comes from Bruce Schneier's blog:
But management nixed the idea, on advice from lawyers, because of concerns about copyright infringement. The problem was that players might use their virtual instruments to play copyrighted songs, and the game company might be sued for contributory or vicarious copyright infringement, for failing to prevent this.
A pen (and a flute) is truly mightier (and scarier) than a sword... I have an idea (for free use, just remember to pay me): Why don't we just license musicians the same way we license driving? I mean, obviously the music arts are very dangerous, as one could inadvertently play music that someone else has already invented, so we should slap obligatory training and yearly license fee for anyone who practices or performs music. This money could be used to pay starving artists (the mythical creatures that inhabit the caves in Kansas). In addition, we could also license listening to the music: make everyone pay every time they hear a tune that has been copyrighted. (No wait, I think that's already being done.)
For the humour impaired, the above paragraph is sarcasm. S-A-R-C-A-S-M. Or irony. I always get them mixed up. But I reserve the right to have been right if someone seriously suggests in the future that music performances in private establishments (like homes or offices) should be stopped because someone might play copyrighted songs.
Is copyright still enabling innovation and creativity? Maybe a hundred years ago - but today... I don't know. It certainly doesn't look like it anymore.
Private comments? Drop me an email. Or complain in a nearby pub - that'll help.
|"Main" last changed on 10-Aug-2015 21:44:03 EEST by JanneJalkanen.|