Monday, 14-Jun-10 10:48
MoonTV gone from Facebook

MoonTV, a Finnish independent web TV channel, got axed from Facebook last Saturday. No explanation given.

In addition, everyone who was an admin in the FB fan group, got their accounts disabled as well.

Will write more on this topic soon; at the moment my head is full of snot, I'm feeling feverish, the kid is tired and screaming, and a neighbour has decided to drill a gigantic hole in their apartment (the relationship between the last two is left as an exercise to the reader). My life these days is all about distractions.

Wednesday, 02-Jun-10 21:07
Facebook Like-buttons removed

Decided to remove the Like-buttons from my blog. They were giving me nothing, yet giving something to Facebook. Not a particularly good deal, and they *do* cause privacy issues (=Facebook gets to see where you surf, even when you don't press the Like-button, if you're logged into Facebook at the same time).

Sunday, 16-May-10 16:41
Amiga nostalgia ftw

This Slashdot discussion made me go back to see and nostalgize my pinnacle of Amiga programming - PPT, an Image Processing Program. Taught me everything that I know about multithreaded programming - and I did it without protected memory or any resource tracking :-). Those were the days... Unlike many others, I tried to stick within the RKMs and refused to hit the hardware directly (though an occasional assembly routine here and there never hurt anyone).

One thing I'm fairly proud of still in that code are the RGB -> HAM/HAM8 conversion routines. HAM was this curious Hold-and-Modify mode in which you got to change only one of the RGB components, all the other ones were picked from the left neighbour pixel. Since that meant that in HAM you could only have 16 base colors (4 bit plans) and in HAM8 64, choosing the right palette was really hard. Many people just stuck to a preset palette, and tried to match it, but my routine built a histogram of the image and tried to choose the best possible palette. I still occasionally receive comments about how great the images look - though it's now been a couple of years since the last one - but for a program which hasn't seen active development since ~1995 that's pretty good.

Anyhoo, enough nostalgia. The code is GPL and available in this SVN repo if you want to see how badly I used to program. Lots of C code there... The HAM conversion routines are here and here.

Sunday, 09-May-10 13:35
Who really is iPad's competition?

IPads and other web tablets (which will surely arrive, now that the tech is at a level where they have become feasible and everybody loves to copy Apple anyway) will have an interesting competitive situation. On the surface, it does not appear that they have competition. Some people are pitching them against subnotebooks; some are saying that they are iPhone competition (which I think BTW is insane). Some people say that they will kill the personal computer as we know it.

Well, I've been thinking (which became my favourite phrase after @MikaelJungner said that every time he utters it in the Finnish Broadcasting Corporation's management team meetings, everybody starts screaming). Perhaps the real competition is the television.

I have a few arguments. First, the situation is analoguous to the early days of the mobile phone: everybody had a fixed landline, which was shared. It was in one place, and everybody had to take turns. Much like the current television set: it's in one place, we usually have one room which enshrines it in some way, and you only watch one channel at a time. Yes, now, if you find this a problem, quite a few households especially in the Western countries own more than one television these days, which makes them personal televisions. But they're still largely immobile and tied to one place.

The second argument is that media industry loves the iPad. Here they have an opportunity to keep going what they already have, outside of regulation, and have total control of who watches and what. No more worrying about the analog hole, because Apple doesn't care about interop. They will control, together with Apple, the entire production chain from source to screen. No need to change business models or worry about privacy.

Now, if pad computers become personal television sets, that means that the advertisers will get extremely accurate data on who saw what and who bought what. The knowledge that is accumulated in the Apple App Store and iTunes Music Store about consumer behaviour is simply the best data available anywhere on the planet, except perhaps for the data collected by Google. And people give this willingly and even pay for the privilege.

The fourth argument is the fact that internet distribution is way superior to broadcast. Get what you want, when you want.

The fifth argument is that people are getting very much used to now living in a virtual world. Smartphones and computers have given people the opportunity of changing few but intensive connections to a large number of less intensive connections - and people have chosen those en masse. Just look at how there is always someone who fiddles with their Apple/Blackberry/Nokia/Samsung wherever you are. So losing one of the bastions of togetherness in the living room doesn't sound that bad anymore. (Though this is a fairly controversial argument - I think that it might actually be good that living rooms become living rooms again as opposed to consumption rooms.)

The sixth argument is that TV set makers know this already. The new high-end TV sets have integration to Youtube and social media services - but I think it's not going to work. TV sets aren't personal to the degree that social media would work on them.

The iPad form factor is excellent (though the bloody thing is still way too heavy, but that'll be corrected in a year or two) for snuggling in bed and watching telly. It doesn't heat up the same way a laptop does; it doesn't keep noise like a laptop does; and it doesn't bring in the cognitive complexity as a laptop does.

So I'm going to hazard a guess here: pads will be the personal media centres for home, killing off television sets the same way mobile phones killed landlines. They won't kill television as such, because moving to the iPad is the path of least resistance for the media companies, but it will punish them because now there will be a new distributor in the chain who will grab a bite out of every sale.

Saturday, 08-May-10 12:18
Inner Circle

After many years of claims that it exists, the übersecret Finnish Bloggers Inner Circle was finally formed now that nobody really cares. I'm trying to let the world know before the "Swords of Jesus" come and take me away. Run, before it's too la

Friday, 23-Apr-10 12:19
Atheist propaganda

This NASA image of the Sun was just too gorgeous to ignore, so I put in a small reminder about one of the fundamental facts that we often forget.

It's alien, it's frightening, it's beautiful, it's dangerous and we're completely and utterly dependent on it. If it burps in the wrong way, we're all dead.

(For larger images, click on the link.)

Thursday, 22-Apr-10 16:44
Vihreämpi Suomi

Suomen hallitus siis päätti esittää, että tuulivoimalle tulee syöttötariffit ja että muitakin uusiutuvia energianlähteitä aletaan suosia melko aktiivisesti. Tämä on ihan loistavaa!

Sääli vain, että keskustelu on jäänyt jumiin ydinvoiman ympärille. Ymmärrän toki ydinvoiman riskit ja haitat (luultavasti jopa melko hyvin - olen kuitenkin koulutukseltani fyysikko), mutta yksi seikka jää näissä keskusteluissa usein huomiotta: pahimmatkin ydinvoimaan liittyvät katastrofiskenaariot ovat lokaaleja. Kyllä, ne voivat olla järkyttävän pahoja, mutta koko ihmiskunnan kannalta isonkin alueen saastuminen on loppujen lopuksi vain haitta. Sen sijaan jatkuva hiilidioksidin dumppaaminen ilmakehään ja hiilen ja öljyn aiheuttama saastuminen on globaali ongelma, josta kärsivät kaikki ja jota ei voi paeta. Ja sikälimikäli IPCC:n ennusteet ovat oikeassa (ja tämä peli kannattaa pelata varman päälle, ja olettaa, että ovat), niin ilmaston lämpenemisen aiheuttamat katastrofit ovat kertaluokkaa pahemmat.

Joten vaikka äänestänkin Vihreitä, niin en ole kovin myrtynyt ydinvoimaluvista. Ydinvoima on kuitenkin riittävän saasteeton (poislukien ydinjäte, joka jälleen on vain lokaali ongelma) ja antaa meille tarpeeksi energiaa, jotta voidaan siirtyä pidemmällä tähtäimellä tyystin pois saastuttavista energiamuodoista. Ja kuvittelen, että uusiutuvien energiamuotojen tuki oli Vihreiltä työvoitto ja riittävä hinta periaatteista lipsumiselle.

Monday, 19-Apr-10 23:00
No boom today, boom tomorrow

There's a lot of talk about how we could save the Earth if a stray asteroid was going our way. Wikipedia - who else - has a long page on different asteroid mitigation strategies.

But, as a software engineer, I cringe at techniques which haven't actually been tried out. It is scary to think that we wouldn't try any of those things before we really NEED it to work, or else all humanity dies.

So here's a question: why don't we test out one or two of those deflection techniques and bombard Venus? Take an engine and put something on collision course with an actual planet. We could also blow up one or two stray asteroids to see if theories about rock and nukes really hold up... Venus is quite similar to Earth in size, so we might get useful info on what to actually expect from a really large explosion. Or a bunch of small ones if we blow up an asteroid just close by.

Just saying... ;-)

Monday, 19-Apr-10 09:40
Scary computers 101

My serious laptop.
When my Macbook Air[1] decided to implode (well, just the hard drive really) I reverted back to my old trusty Thinkpad X40. It's actually a pretty nice small laptop, though now it's rather underpowered. I've got it decorated with Hello Kitty -stickers, which always gets a chuckle and a curious look in meetings[2], and extra attention at airport security control. However, it does have one pretty major design oddity.

Whenever it runs out of battery, it wails like a banshee. "EEEE-OOOO". "EEEE-OOOO". A horrible, piercing noise which cuts through silence like a high-powered laser through dissidents. Last night, it woke us both up, and we just laid there, panting, all ready to fight or flee, until I remembered that little feature and was able to calm my panicking wife.

Once, it went off in the overhead compartment during plane takeoff. I tried to look as nonchalant as possible as everyone else in the plane was gripping their armrests and peeing their pants. It's NOT the sound you want to hear at the possibly most dangerous phase of flying.

Luckily, the screeching doesn't last too long. It just rings a couple of times, before the machine runs out of battery and shuts down. And that's what's really curious - what on Earth did go through the designer's mind? I mean, I could understand it if it screamed five minutes before battery runs out, so that you could actually have time to find a charger and plug it in? But no, this really just informs about the "well, I'm out of battery and you can't do anything about it anymore" -condition. Why would I ever want to be signaled about something I can't really do nothing about, and what I will notice the next time I try to start the laptop anyway?

And why, in <deity>'s name, did it have to be designed to be so loud?

[#1] Which is, IMHO, pretty much a toy. You might be happy with it if you just need a typewriter replacement which can do email, but it is the lousiest and most underpowered tool ever. Not recommended for serious geeky work. Especially since it appears that it overheats easily and kills the hard drive if you do some heavy-duty work on it.

[#2] Yeah, always had trouble with serious meetings. Hm... As long as I had that one, I was never promoted. Since I got myself a Mac for work, I got promoted twice. Coincidence?

Monday, 12-Apr-10 09:02
Packing the bags

So… After eight very interesting years, I'm leaving the Mothership and taking a plunge into the great unknown. But the fact is - I have been with Nokia for eight years, and while the relationship has been mutually quite beneficial, fun and rewarding, I feel like I have seen now enough of this particular valley for a while, and I'm yearning to see what is on the other side of the mountains.

I am very grateful to all the people I have met during this journey, and who have taught me, both in good and bad. And it's been a long journey. Remember, I joined Nokia in 2002 when 7650, the first S60 phone, was still under wraps and was the thing which pretty much started all this smartphone brouhaha. Now, smartphones are everywhere, and there's a good, fresh and exciting competition on that promises to be every bit as interesting as the introduction of the internet to the whole world. Good luck to everyone, since no matter what happens, it's the people who win.

What's next then? Well, I'm taking up something more ambitious and challenging: I've accepted the offer to join Thinglink as their CTO. Yes, it's a startup. Yes, it's going to mean plenty of work. And yes, if stuff breaks down, it will be all my fault.

But Thinglink will also be a fertile ground to grow some seeds of fresh thought and opportunity. We'll be doing some really exciting stuff, and hopefully knock over a few established thoughts while doing so. As the "Godfather of NFC" (as I am sometimes jokingly referred as) at Nokia I've had my hand in making a part of the Internet of Things to go live, and I ain't done yet.

(Oh, and BTW, we'll be hiring. Watch this space.)

Saturday, 27-Mar-10 12:34
Recycling parties

I've heard lately people complaining how much stuff they have. It might be a common problem in my age group - you just accumulate things over time, but you never really need to throw them away because you keep moving to a bigger apartment, where the stuff can always be hidden. Looking at the amount of things we have (fairly regular amount of stuff for any six-person family - except, of course, there are only three of us) it really makes me wonder whether I need all of that.

Now, clothes are fairly easy to keep from multiplicating - at least for me - but I've got a ton of stuff which just simply isn't really necessary, yet too useful to throw away. But it seems that there never is time nor the will to start triaging things.

So here's an idea - and I'd like to hear if anyone has experiences with something like this before: a recycling party. You gather a lot of friends (preferably with some inkling of good taste) and let them do the sorting. All things go to four big boxes: "Keep & display", "Keep & hide", "Recycle" and "Throw away". Keep&Display are things which look nice and are worth keeping, Keep&Hide are things which have particular value but aren't used often (or are hideous but precious), the Recycle bin is for those things which are good but not necessary, and the last one is obviously for things which just deserve death.

The party host offers food & drinks, while everyone has fun rummaging through the host's closets and arguing about the things. Finally, the Recycle-bin is taken to a recycling center whereas the garbage is ceremoniously thrown away; and kept items are placed in their proper places.

Might work well as a part of move. Don't know. Let me know if anyone has tried something like this.

Friday, 26-Mar-10 21:34
Testing != reality

I've seen software fail. And inevitably, someone asks the question "why don't they test these things?"

But of course they are tested. Many companies spend incredible amounts of time and effort to test their wares before they ship.

The interesting truth is that testing is not real life. The old war truth says "no plan survives contact with the enemy", and role-players might say "no scenario survives contact with the players". Real life is just so full of variety, inventive people, even physical limits like dirt and grit that no amount of testing can truly represent real life.

Martial artists know that practice will help. But a real situation is always different. Practice too little and you're overconfident. Practice the wrong things and you're too rigid to adapt. Same with software testing.

When software ships, it goes to a battlefield. Many times it survives. But many times it does not.

Thursday, 25-Mar-10 00:29
The Avatar

Well, I finally was able to see the much-talked-about movie, Avatar. Those who follow my Twitter stream know that I've had some challenges with it.

Anyhow - and I fully realize I'm very badly late talking about it - I have to admit I was impressed. They're not paying Richard Taylor enough money, no matter how much they're paying. Such level of detail in the design is just insane and gorgeous at the same time (like good design often is).

I'm not going to talk about the plot - it's fairly straightforward and if you've seen fantasy flicks before, you can pretty much guess what happens. But the feeling of being there is tangible. It crosses the thin line between unbelievable and possible, and doesn't require a lot of suspension of disbelief to work. And that's so incredibly important, both in fiction and real life.

(The only thing that bothers me is the thought that the Na'vi all look like blue Gollums. And once that thought enters your head, it's difficult to dislodge.)

(And I loved the alien vs forklift -reference.)

Sunday, 07-Mar-10 15:01
Internet of what?

Here's something else I've been ranting about for a while now: A lot of about Internet of Things is fundamentally flawed, because it assumes that things have something interesting to say to each other. But I still can't figure out what my toaster would like to tell my oven that would be so important that I would pay for it. The internet works because there are people in it; I'm not sure it becomes at all better if there are things in it too.

Perhaps it's because we geeks like to anthropomorphise our precious things - yes, sometimes it feels like the computer has its own will. So we think that wouldn't it be wonderful if all the stuff we owned could talk to each other. It's as if we had a family. :-P

Of course communication is the alpha and omega of all intelligence, so perhaps it's just us trying to build our replacements. But knowing the difficulties we have finding meaningful things to tell one another, do we really believe that quantity wins over quality by enabling everything to be connected to everything else?

Wouldn't it make sense to figure out first what our things might want to say?

Saturday, 06-Mar-10 14:18
APIs and Architecture

Many geeks love boxes. And once you got that magic title, "Architect", in your job description you start loving them even more, 'cos that's what you get to do all day. It's really nice to design scalable architectures and think about how data flows between modules and how to tweak the system and argue and finally commandeer a large army of coders who build your dream. It's fun!

But there's a small problem. Quite often you also need to design an API - an interface through which other people can use the wonderful framework you designed. And here lies a danger: if you design your API after the architecture design is done, your API will reflect the internal design of the system. And that, in turn, means that if you change your architecture, you will have to change your API as well. Which breaks the promise you've given to the people who are accessing your system through the API. Unlike humans, who can figure out if a button has changed place on an HTML page, computers get really iffy when it comes to argument ordering and types. In a word, the API becomes brittle.

So the right thing to do is to design the API first, and then match the architecture accordingly. This way the API is not dependent on changes you do under the hood. This is much harder to do, and much less fun, but it will create you a better system in the end - because no matter how beautiful a thing you've designed, if it's a pain to use, it won't get used.

Love the boxes. But not too much.

Saturday, 06-Feb-10 19:48
Mathematical PC

Our kid got a Fisher-Price school bus as a birthday present. Of course, it is very healthy and politically correct: it has a black person and a hispanic person and a girl and a boy and a plump one and one with eye glasses and a disabled one and a responsible adult as a driver and whatnot.

The fun thing is the amount of optimization which has been put in the system to minimize the number of figurines they ship with the bus. There are only three figurines (and a wheelchair, so anyone of them can be disabled): Carlos, Maggie and Michael.

Somewhere in the world, there's a person who's thought all this through. And an engineer who designed the production line.

Amazes me always to think about it.

Monday, 18-Jan-10 01:15
JSPWiki on a cell phone

Click for bigger image.
I got encouraged by someone's tweet and decided to try this on my N900. And turns out it wasn't that difficult even, just did the following things:

  • Download Sun's preview of Java 6 on ARM and transfer to N900
  • On N900 mkdir /opt/java, untar the downloaded JRE there
  • Copied existing Tomcat installation with JSPWiki 2.8 to /opt/tomcat/ (could've also done an installation from scratch, should've worked)
  • Used QEmacs to tweak a couple of config files (server.xml needed the default Tomcat control port changed away from 8009, and needed to point at the right directory)
  • set up JAVA_HOME to point at the /opt/java/ejrexxx dir.
  • run /opt/tomcat/apache-tomcat-5.5.16/bin/
  • point browser at http://localhost:8080/JSPWiki/

And voila - we have a full Java JSP webapp (the same one that is currently serving you these pages) running on a cell phone. Since my setup stores all wikipages as flat text files, I can use it as a local text editor with hypertext editing capabilities. Or comes else comes to mind.


(Tried shooting video too, but it was too blurry on my backup camera.)

Monday, 18-Jan-10 00:20
Twenty years

It's been twenty years now that the first set of massive changes in my life started: that is, graduation from high school, moving from home to a whole new place to study in the university. So the past few months have been punctuated by a number of parties - the 20 year anniversary class reunion from high school; and the reunion from the class which started at the same time at the university.

It is interesting to see familiar faces and see how vastly different the life has become for them. But it's also interesting to see how more narrow the funnel becomes: the folks in my high school class ended up living all over the country and have all sorts of varying jobs from a farmer to nurse to doctor to engineer.

Then again, almost all the people from my university class work in middle management or R&D, live near Helsinki, and have two kids. The life story from almost everyone was eerily similar: studies, a bit of work abroad, back to Finland, get a couple of kids, get a stable job, and just do it. No artists, no farmers. Only a few had left Finland for good.

So we weren't really that different from each other. The passions that drove us to the same place in the beginning stayed with us and made us remarkably similar. It's as if we became who we were in the first 20 years, and after that we were unable or unwilling to change. Perhaps it just means that we figured out who we truly were and what we wanted to do.

But a part of me still feels as lost as on those early days as we walked through the corridors of the university, bright-eyed and full of ourselves. I didn't really know then what I wanted to be when I grew up. I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.

I just have a lot less time to worry about it these days.

Sunday, 27-Dec-09 00:10
Priha alpha releases available

I'm happy to announce the availability of Priha 0.7.0 alpha release from!

Priha is an implementation of the JSR-170 Java Content Repository Standard. Essentially it means that if you design your Java app around JSR-170, you have a nice, structured key-value store with queries and you don't have to care about database schemas and other low-level stuff. Priha currently has full Level 1 and Level 2 support, and out of the optional features it supports locking.

Priha was designed to be extremely embeddable, and you can run it with no extra dependencies whatsoever, aside from the regular JRE. A single JAR file is all you need (and of course the jsr-170-api JAR)!

And yes, Priha does now pass the TCK test suite, in case you were wondering. I haven't yet bothered to go through the hoops of officially certifying it, though it might be cool at some point.

Friday, 25-Dec-09 15:37
Built-in epicfail

I like to juggle. I'm not particularly good at it, but it soothes my nerves and I can use it to focus my concentration if it starts wandering.

What's quite interesting that whenever someone sees me juggle with three balls, they invariably ask whether I can juggle four balls. If I juggle with two balls, they ask about three. If I happen to be juggling four, they ask about five. It never fails. I'm pretty sure that if I were to juggle something insane like twelve balls, I would be asked about thirteen.

I've come to the conclusion that it must be because people like to see others fail. It does not matter how much you can do, but it's what you can't do that interests people.

There's something utterly fascinating about that.

Wednesday, 23-Dec-09 13:49
Why suing TV-kaista is a really bad idea

Unsurprisingly, the media corporations have hit one of the most awesome services in Finland, TV-kaista with a lawsuit. They are using copyright law as their strawman argument ("you can't make money on the stuff that we produce"), but it's a bad argument because you can use the exact same argument against the guy who sold you a television or the digibox or the PVR.

Now, TV-kaista is essentially a PVR on the web, which is what makes it so awesome. They store all the TV programs for the past two weeks, meaning that if you miss something, you can always go back and watch it. I can even do that from my cell phone. This is perfect for consumers, and really changes the way you watch TV. They are lighting the way to media consumption for the future, and steer us away from using dodgy Bittorrent services. The use of my own PVR has been reduced to pretty much recording content from pay channels, which aren't yet on the service.

Interestingly, because of the way our ancient copyright legislation works, TV-kaista has no choice but to give everyone a personal PVR in their datacentre. So all the data and processing power is duplicated for every single user, leading an enormous waste and strain on the environment in duplicated electricity and electronics cost. If they were allowed to store the TV streams just once, they could essentially allow us to get rid of our digiboxes who sit idly most of the day and night and leech electricity.

Not only that, who would ever bother to innovate around content in Finland anymore, now that they know they will always be subject to short-sighted lawsuits?

Short-sighted? Yes, you see - TV-kaista is essentially an aggregator of multiple video streams. The media houses don't like that - they want you to go to their own websites for the online content. And because they cannot aggregate their competitor's streams, their service can never be as good as an aggregator's one could be. So their only recourse is to sue the superior competition out of existence. And in doing so, they're essentially condemning consumers to crappy services forever. "Only we can decree how you can best consumer our content." Where's the competition and consumer choice in that?

Moore's law says that we will get more. I can already access my PVR from the internet, if I want to. If services like are not allowed to prosper, the void will be filled by PVRs which actually can store eight or sixteen channels ALL THE TIME. And then we get those aggregation services anyway, but again to more cost to the environment, with the media companies having far less control over what can happen then. Or someone establishes a similar service in Estonia, or somewhere else. It is impossible to control a public access signal anyway.

You see, they could instead agree with how to best share advertising revenue. They could even start selling it through their own agencies, who are really good at it. TV-kaista isn't. It would be a very good match.

In this particular case, enforcing strict copyright legislation is directly reducing consumer choice, damaging the environment, damaging Finland's ability to innovate, driving people to piracy, and preventing new online services to emerge. I mean, come on: Did anybody learn anything from the Napster lawsuit and success of the iTunes Music Store? Music companies had their own ideas about music consumption, and they were all wrong, and it was left for innovative companies outside of their business to build the future models. This is no different.

So fuck off, will you MTV Media, Sanoma Television, Yleisradio, Kopiosto, Teosto, Tuotos and ÄKT, and let innovative companies make the world a better place? You'll get your money anyway, 'cos you control the source.

Thursday, 10-Dec-09 00:01
Työsuhdeolettamasta lyhyesti

Lehdistöstä on saatu lukea viime aikoina melkoista porua tekijänoikeuslain uudistuksesta, jossa työsuhteessa syntyisi automaattinen tekijänoikeus työntekijän tekemisiin, eli ns. työsuhdeolettama. Useampikin nimekäs taiteilija on kirjoittanut, kuinka uusi laki tulisi sortamaan heitä, ja vaarantamaan elannon.

Totta ja ei - sortamisesta toki on kysymys, mutta elanto tuskin vaarantuisi, koska toki työsuhteesta maksetaan korvaus, ja työsuhteen ulkopuolella luodut teokset olisivat edelleenkin ihan omissa nimissä.

Työsuhdeolettama on arkipäivää meidän tietotyöläisten piirissä. Kaikki pienetkin tietokoneohjelmat, joita teen työaikana tai työvälineillä, ovat automaattisesti (C) Työnantaja. Tästä saan korvauksena palkkaa, jonka summasta väännetään sitten aina kättä säännöllisin väliajoin, ja jolla voin mitata työpanokseni arvostusta tai firman taloudellista tilaa tai mitä nyt milloinkin. Samalla lailla se toimisi myös muidenkin luovien työntekijöiden kohdalta, eikä se tule olemaan maailmanloppu.

Muttamutta, kenenkään ei pitäisi oikeasti olla yllättynyt työsuhdeolettaman laajennuksesta. Joka kerta kun tekijänoikeuslakeja on maailmalla rukattu, niitä on aina rukattu isoja yrityksiä suosiviksi. Kun nyt kuluttajia on vaikea laittaa enää yhtään ahtaammalle rikkomatta erinäisiä perustuslakeja, niin seuraava looginen askel on alkaa kaventaa tekijöiden oikeuksia. Työsuhdeolettama on vain yksi näistä - luultavasti jatkoa seuraa, sillä toisin kuten Raimo Vikström ylläolevassa linkissä kirjoittaa, arvopohjaa ei ole käännetty tekijöiden vastaiseksi. Se vain on aina ollut omistajia ja levittäjiä suosiva. Tähän asti vain heidän etunsa on ollut myös tekijöiden etu, joten asiaa ei ole huomattu.

Ei sinällään ihme, että tietokoneohjelmistoja on kohdeltu näinkin pitkään eri lailla - vuonna 2008 hitec-vienti oli noin 11 miljardia euroa (ja likipitäen jokaisessa elektronisessa laitteessa on jonkinasteinen ohjelmisto, joskin nykyään on hirveän vaikea sanoa missä ko. ohjelmisto on tehty), kun taas musiikkivienti oli arvoltaan 2007 n. 20 miljoonaa euroa - eli siis 500 kertaa pienempi. Vaikka tässä vertailussa onkin oiottu kulmia (on muitakin luovan työn tekijöitä kuin muusikoita, ja numerotkin on eri vuosilta), niin suuruusluokka osoittaa, että tähän mennessä muiden luovien työntekijöiden panos on numeroissa yhtä tärkeä kuin rekan alle jääneellä siilillä, minkä takia he ovatkin näin pitkään selvinneet ilman huomiota. Tämä työsuhdeolettaman korjaus on "vain" toimenpide, jolla yksinkertaistetaan tekijänoikeuslakia ja korjataan kauneusvirhettä.

Tekijänoikeudet ovat tärkeämpiä kuin tekijöiden ja kuluttajien oikeudet. Se on maailman tapa. Ja tämä tapa on huono ja tuhoava.

Se, mistä olen pettynyt, on se, että Suomen Piraattipuolue, joka yrittää profiloitua järkevien tekijänoikeuksien puolustajaksi, ei ole pihahtanut sanaakaan koko jupakasta. Nyt jätkät jäälle sieltä, täällä on peli.

(Ha, unohdin, että Effi on jo kentällä. Kiitokset Suvikolle muistutuksesta.)

(Pari päivää myöhemmin myös Piraattipuolue on herännyt. Höpisee unissaan hieman sekavia, mutta päätyy kuitenkin oikealle puolelle.)

Thursday, 26-Nov-09 22:59
Just sayin'

Just out of curiosity, I went through Helsingin Sanomat discussion board and picked a news item about how much the fight against the climate change is expected to cost per person. Of course, the discussion board was flooded with discussion on whether climate change is real, and how it's actually a green conspiracy rivaling nazism, aiming to create a new world order.

So I spent an hour and I went through each comment, and noted how many typos or grammatical errors they had, and put them in three bins: Sceptics, Defenders and Others. Factual errors or hard-to-understand sentences were not counted - only real grammar errors. Quotations were also not examined, because the errors in them would be the fault of someone else.

"Sceptics" are the people who don't believe there is anthropogenic climate change. "Defenders" were people who believed it is true. "Others" were people who were mostly just complaining about the price, saying things like "we should really make sure our war veterans are taken care of first" (neither confirming nor denying), or just so unclear it was impossible to say whether they were for or against.

As you can see, the sceptics had over 3 grammar errors/typos per comment, whereas the defenders only had an average of 1.13. Others were in the middle with 1.71 errors/comment.

While the sampling is a bit small to draw any real conclusions, the result does not exactly weaken the image of climate sceptics as uneducated people who spew thousands of comments online with their mouths foaming.

(However, it was interesting to note that the same error patterns seemed to occur even in posts by different aliases. So I suspect that some people are using multiple aliases to create the appearance that there is bigger consensus. Which would be quite normal online, and is one of the reasons why feedback should be always taken with a grain of salt. Also, thanks to Muprhy's law, it's almost certain this particular blog entry is teeming with grammar errors. Then again, English is not my native language. So there. Besides, I think my brain is bleeding internally after reading through all those comments.)

Friday, 20-Nov-09 23:44

I've been doing triage on stuff found from my cupboards. Here's the stuff which I think might still be usable to people, so let me know if you need any of this stuff before I drag it to recycling.

I've got the following stuff to share for the price of postage (or you can pick it up or suggest a meeting in Helsinki area):
  • Apple iPod/iPhone Firewire wall charger (needs Firewire cable)
  • Apple laptop US adapter cord (from transformer to wall) [reserved]
  • Apple EU adapter plug for laptop
  • Bluegiga WRAP Multiradio Access Server
  • 2x256 MB DDR2 SO-DIMM 667 MHz
  • 2xNokia ACP-12E charger
  • 2xNokia ACP-8E charger
  • Nokia ACP-9E charger
  • Composite video and stereo audio to EuroAV/SCART converter
  • ADSL adapter for phone line
  • Amiga A520 TV adapter
  • Apple iBook/Powerbook 45W power adapter (not magsafe)
  • Retractable phone cable (e.g. for travel modems)
  • DLink AirPlus DWL-650+ WLAN adapter for PCMCIA slots [reserved]
  • TRENDnet TEW-429UB USB Hotspot Finder/WLAN card (802.11b/g)
  • Cables. All kinds of cables. Ask.

Following stuff is also available, but you need to make me an offer

  • Canon Wordtank Intelligent Dictionary IDX-9500 (Japanese/English) [reserved]
  • Psion Siena 512 MB personal organizer (good condition) [reserved]
  • Psion 3MX (display broken) + 2MB SSD + Scrabble. Usable as spare parts.

Friday, 13-Nov-09 00:25
class Son<?> extends Father<?>

My parents got us a present for the naming day of our son. It was a photoframe, engraved with his birthdate - the exact same kind of a photoframe that they had for me. They also gave me that photoframe, so we could put them side by side and display them proudly in our livingroom.

The thing is, the photoframe had a stock image of a generic baby, not a picture of our son, 'cos we hadn't found a good picture yet. The frame looked nice, so we put it next to the telly, and kind of forgot about it.

What was fun that every single person who saw that frame afterwards commented on how much the boy looks like me. Nobody stopped to consider that the boy in the picture looked nothing like the entity crawling on the floor. So we had to take the picture out so as not to confuse people.

Our expectations colour our perception.

(That, or I look like a generic baby.)

Friday, 30-Oct-09 00:16
Last Men?

I had a discussion with a friend about the climate change (which I think should really be named as The Global Climate Catastrophe, just to point out the urgency). For some reason, the possibility of the death of the entire human race came up, and the non-zero possibility that my child might be there to witness it.

The thought is so painful that I have no words. So instead I must borrow the words from Olaf Stapledon's Last and First Men - the epic story of humanity through the aeons, and the final thoughts of the last men:

But one thing is certain. Man himself, at the very least, is music, a brave theme that makes music also of its vast accompaniment, its matrix of storms and stars. Man himself in his degree is eternally a beauty in the eternal form of things. It is very good to have been man. And so we may go forward together with laughter in our hearts, and peace, thankful for the past, and for our own courage. For we shall make after all a fair conclusion to this brief music that is man.
Sunday, 18-Oct-09 17:09
Mopo, käsi, karata

Jälleen uusi tapaus, joka osoittaa, että joillain firmoilla olisi syytä hieman harjoitella tätä sosiaalisen median käyttöä.

Lyhyesti: Helmetti -keskustelupalstalla nostettiin esille Helmikeskus -nimisen yrityksen hieman erikoiset palautusehdot, joissa mm. vaaditaan kiitoslahjojen palauttamista, ja erikseen ilmoitetaan, että asiattomista palautuksista poistetaan rekisteristä (siis ilmeisesti joutuu yrityksen mustalle listalle).

No, kullekin tavallaan, ja yrityshän saa toki valikoida asiakkaansa, mutta keskustelu eskaloitui melko vikkelästi tasolle, jossa nimimerkki "Helmikeskus" poisti omat viestinsä ketjusta ja laittoi tilalle merkinnän "rl 24.10.2" - ilmeisesti viite Rikoslain 24 luvun 10 pykälän 2 momenttiin, joka määrittelee "törkeän kunnianloukkauksen". Lisäksi myös ketjuun linkittänyttä, erittäin asiallisesti kirjoittanutta bloggaajaa on uhkailtu jo oikeusjutulla.

En nyt tietenkään ole mikään markkinointiekspertti, mutta eritoten Suomen kokoisessa maassa, jossa sana kiertää nopeasti ja merkittävä osa harrastajista pyörii samalla foorumilla, luultavasti eräs huonoimmista markkinointitekniikoista on vetää herne nenään arvostelusta ja uhkailla mahdollista asiakaskuntaansa oikeusjutuilla. Kannattaako tilata, jos on syytä epäillä, että mahdollisen ongelmatilanteen tullessa raastupa saattaa olla ensimmäinen askel? Se olisi melko kova hinta muutaman euron koruista.

Yritystä ja sen tuotteita ja toimintaa saa - ja pitää - arvostella. Jos yrityksen edustaja lähtee julkiseen keskusteluun yrityksestään, on syytä olla varovainen sanoissaan ja kasvattaa melko paksu nahka. Hyödyt ovat melko selkeät: parantunut kommunikaatio tekee asiakassuhteesta henkilökohtaisemman, mutta vaarana on toki se, että tunteiden leimahtaessa asiakassuhdekin palaa mukana. Fiksumpi yritys olisi tässäkin tapauksessa voinut kääntää tilaisuuden voitoksi havaitsemalla, että asiakkaat eivät pidä tilanteesta ja muuttamalla ehtoja. Siitä olisi saanut hieman näkyvyyttä ja asiakkaille hyvän mielen; mutta yrityksen edustaja päätti kuitenkin syyttää foorumin keskustelijoita "vapaamatkustelijoiksi" ja keskustelua "ala-arvoiseksi". Ei ihan se paras valinta. Jännityksellä odotamme aikooko ko. yritys ajaa itseään pidemmälle suohon.

(Disclaimer: yksi Helmetti-foorumin ylläpitäjistä on vaimoni.)

Päivitys: Yritys muutti ensin toimitusehtojaan järkevämpään suuntaan, mutta on nyt ainakin toistaiseksi laittanut lapun luukulle. Toivottavasti kuitenkin vain hengähtääkseen ja palatakseen sitten, no, yrittämään. Hieman asennetta asiakaslähtöisemmäksi muuttamalla varmasti pärjäisi, sillä laatu ja hintahan olivat käsittääkseni ihan kohdallaan.

Päivitys 2: Korucorneriakaan ei enää uhkailla. Pientä toivoa siis tilanteen korjaantumisesta siis on!

Sunday, 04-Oct-09 12:41
Scrobbling FTW!

Even though I use Spotify a lot, still is my favourite music service. Whenever I just need music to listen to, is way better in figuring out what I like, and is much better at discovering new music (or old music from artists I didn't know). And lately, it's become better and better at it.

Took me a while, but I just realized what's going on: Since I've enabled scrobbling on Spotify, every single song I play goes to the database. And since I use Spotify only when I want to listen to a certain band or song, has been collecting a fairly accurate representation of my music taste.

So the more I use Spotify; the more accurate becomes. This is a wonderful business model - the more you use a competing service, the better your own service becomes! And, the end result is more value for everyone, since Spotify is now even more useful to me as an interface to!


Thursday, 24-Sep-09 16:26
HTML5/CSS3/Javascript is the new x86

Web apps. Widgets. Websites. All dispersed along a line, where at the other end you have static HTML and at the other end you have fully self-contained Javascript applications (widgets), that only perhaps contain a single <script> statement in their HTML. These are the building blocks of Web 2.0; stuff that was growing in the background while everyone else ogled over Google Docs and Wikipedia and oh-my-god-but-what-does-this-all-mean.

Without much ado, the browser has become the operating system. But at least my personal problem has been for a while that Javascript is a really lousy environment to work in: tools pale in comparison to commercial grade Java tools (try to profile your Javascript app - you've only got bad and worse solutions) and the language is, well, gnarly.

But if we treat the browser as the operating system, then is it not logical to treat the Javascript/HTML/CSS environment like a binary interface instead of a programming environment? You can see already how inadequate the environment is by looking at the dozens of libraries that have spawned, such as JQuery, Dojo, Mootools, etc. This all reminds me of my early programming days, when I sweated with the 68000 assembly language on the good ol' Amiga. Everybody wrote their own support libraries at the time, and the most popular became essentially the basis of later operating systems.

So would it be too far-fetched to call the HTML5/CSS/Javascript combo (call it JCH, pronounce like you're coughing) the new x86 assembly language? They're both fairly sucky environments but if that suckiness is hidden by more rich environments and languages on top of them, they can simply become the workhorse on which all major development will occur in the future. And much like most current programmers don't understand about x86 assembly language, perhaps future programmers won't know diddly about Javascript closures?

The logical next step would therefore be to port well-known languages to create JCH instead of their own bytecode or assembly. Not surprisingly, these tools already exist: Google Web Toolkit creates JCH from Java; ScriptSharp from C# and Pyjamas from Python. And who web developer hasn't used an HTML editor ever to design their HTML/CSS page? Also, look at how Java Virtual Machines turned from the sloths they were into the performance monsters they are today - and then consider that all those lessons are almost directly applicable to Javascript engines. The development of JS engines in Chrome and Safari has been mindboggling over the past couple of years, just the same way JVM performance and x86 performance has beaten all expectations.

Perhaps the secret to the next web (and if you call it Web 3.0, I will break your legs) is the realization that there's now, finally, a unified binary interface for all developers which is already deployed on every desktop. It's, again, going to be the developer playground just like the original web was.

We ain't seen nothing yet.

Saturday, 19-Sep-09 14:10
The iMac moment

I bought yesterday a used iMac (the Aluminum kind, if you're interested). I figured that since the technology in iMacs hasn't changed in the past year-two significantly, a used iMac is better value than buying a new one. Recycling is good.

Anyway, I bring it home and start playing with it. Wife comes in, looks at the iMac standing on the desktop.

"What? A new monitor? I thought you were supposed to be buying a new computer?"

"That is the computer. See, DVD drive slot, USB..."

Stunned silence. Jaw dropping.

Such are the moments that every engineer and designer should live and strive for.

Tuesday, 15-Sep-09 17:09
NFC ピタゴラスイッチ

Pythagoras Switches (aka Rube Goldberg machines) are wonderful contraptions in which one small thing leads to another which leads to another, etc. One of the most cool examples is this Honda commercial a few years back.

Now, some old friends from Berg and The Oslo School of Architecture and Design put together this really awesome "Nearness" video demonstration, in which nothing actually touches each other. Everything is done with the power of Near Field Communications (NFC), magnetism, radio waves, and other unseen phenomenon. It demonstrates the point that I've been saying for quite a while: The power of NFC is its inherent hackability. Be happy it's not secure, because secure often means "locked down unless you agree to play by the rules". Security happens at application level, and it's the worry of the big boys.

If only we could see better, so we might better appreciate the unseen.

Just go have fun with the technology. That's how all the cool stuff always gets born.

Monday, 14-Sep-09 01:19
Things I've learned about food recently

Ever since the kid started on non-breastmilk, life has become rather fascinating. It's one of the major steps out of babydom, and the journey of discovery is fascinating for, well, the whole family.

Here are some of the things I've learned recently:

  • Porridge is as much as a paint as it is food.
  • Everything tastes better when eaten directly off the table
  • Any food can be bounced off the floor. Even oatmeal.
  • Blackberries turn the poo, well, black. No need to call 911.
  • Any food tastes better with a song.
  • Best songs consist of a single syllable and no melody, repeated ad infinitum. E.g. "LOL"
  • Though Imperial March and Star Wars main theme work fairly well too to open "the docking ports".
  • Rotating the spoon while humming Blue Danube might not work, but at least it amuses the father. Requires viscosity and adhesion of the food to the spoon to be above a certain level.
  • My accuracy at hitting randomly moving objects has improved radically over the past few months. Even though the mouth of a child can seemingly rotate to the opposing direction of the head, I can still hit it. Most of the time.
  • Feeding behind the corner is surprisingly easy, after you have had a bit of practice.
  • All foods are suspicious at first. Especially the ones you've had before.
  • Eating is an equipment sport. The sheer amount of anatomically formulated baby spoons outnumbers the amount of possible body configurations by at least a factor of four. Makes you wonder.
  • A hand can be faster than the eye. No magician required.
  • Shoes are a food group. As are soft puppet animals.

(Updated on 15th - forgot about shoes.)

Monday, 31-Aug-09 10:21
First Entry

Kasa is collecting the first entries of Finnish blogs. Quite a few of them are either "test message" or "Let me explain about this blog..."

I can still remember how my first message came along... I had been tweaking the system here and there (yes, I write my own blog platform, thankyouverymuch) for a few days, but I didn't want to start with a "Hello world" -post. I wanted to say something minimalistic yet profound, as significant as the first word of a child, but in the end all I could think about was the fact that a) I was frigging lonely but I couldn't say anything about it without appearing whiny, and b) it was REALLY cold outside. Something in the order of -30°C with a wind chill factor taking it down to -50 or so. I remember some friends in Oulu telling me on IRC that we had it warm in the South - it was even colder up there.

So there you go - that's the story of the first words of this blog.

Sunday, 30-Aug-09 23:20
Kiddie pictures on the evil internet

Father and Son
The Finnish "Oh My God We Must Protect The Children At Any Cost" - organization (aka "Pelastakaa Lapset") is again Very Concerned about people putting their kid's pictures online - "because they might end up with people who might do Evil Stuff with them". The implication is that the internet is filled with people who have nothing better to do than to spank the monkey at the sight of a funny picture of a kid in bath, and that hordes of perverts will descend from the sky and tear each other apart for the privilege of seeing a bit of naked child body.

Well, maybe I'm overexaggerating slightly, but these are folks who welcome almost any lengths of online censorship in the name of child protection. So the obvious reaction of any freedom-loving person is to laugh at the idea.

But hold on - I actually believe they are right in this case. Not because I would imagine that the online world is filled with perverts (which obviously do exist, but as usual, censorship is the wrong solution) - but because of a far larger concern: everyone's right to privacy.

A child is not able make an informed decision about choosing what to share or not, and therefore it is the job of the parent (or custodian) to make this determination for him. And, in this case, I think it makes sense to err on the side of caution. We know that pictures are difficult to remove from the internet, so once you choose to be open in this regard, the child cannot undo your decision once he gets old enough. It's a one-way street, and you must be careful when you go that way.

You don't know what your child will want when he's older. Until then, you need to choose wisely.

Friday, 21-Aug-09 23:34
Jackrabbit performance from 1.5.6 to 1.6.0

Jackrabbit, one of my favourite Apache projects, has reached version 1.6. Here's my entirely unscientific performance comparison between 1.5.6 and 1.6, using the default configuration:

Test results.  The number is operations/seconds - larger means faster.
Blob size 100 kB

                    FirstSess   LargeRead LargeRemove   LargeSave  NewSession    RandRead      
Jackrabbit 1.6.0         0.22    62328.60       82.13       29.58     2046.58    52643.22      
Jackrabbit 1.5.6         0.27    45740.63       98.99       30.63     1761.96    36375.67     

                    Remove        Save     SeqRead        UUID      Update     getItem getProperty    propUUID
Jackrabbit 1.6.0    428.69      141.12    12242.90    97184.56      189.64   239975.04  1184413.12   468099.05
Jackrabbit 1.5.6    449.58      155.56    11318.62    65905.68      229.21   139922.76   902527.08   470654.68

The tests are explained here. It seems that especially when it comes to the tree traversal, there have been quite a few improvements all around. However, the store/remove performance seems to have gone down a bit. All in all, seems like a good release.
Thursday, 06-Aug-09 12:43
The Field Dynamic Theory of Conversation

As a geek, I thrive on the exchange of ideas. I've always maintained that ideas are cheap, plentiful and should be shared; not hoarded "in case someone else steals them." I don't call it brainstorming, because that has a very specific connotation, but it's closer to a free flow of ideas.

A good discussion is more like a flow than you might just imagine. I've found that you need a suitable potential energy difference between conversants to keep it interesting - if the participants are too much alike, there is no flow from one person to another. You don't have ideas that the other person wouldn't have either. If the difference is too great, the potential difference and amount of flow can kill - just like sticking your fingers to a power outlet could.

But having people just far enough apart from each other, who share just enough of a common language, it can become a thing of beauty. A revitalizing force that'll charge your batteries for a long time, getting you all anxious at all the potential in the world. It might not end up in anything concrete, but it will make you feel good - one of the prerequisites of liking the life.

(I was considering Tweeting this, but I realized I don't have the time to make a shorter version of this lousy analogy... I'm off to explore some places in London I've never been to before ;-)

Tuesday, 28-Jul-09 11:33
Crowd-sourced image recognition project makes science

I've written before about Galaxy Zoo, a site where anyone gets to make cutting-edge science by helping scientists classify galaxies. After a short tutorial, you can just keep clicking through images to see if you can find something really interesting. I've spent several... ehm, slow mornings looking at those images, since at least it's something useful you can do while your brain is starting.

And they did make science - turns out there's a whole new class of galaxies which are green, just like small peas in the sky. And it was all thanks to this massive parallel processing: “No one person could have done this on their own,” Cardamone said. “Even if we had managed to look through 10,000 of these images, we would have only come across a few Green Peas and wouldn’t have recognized them as a unique class of galaxies.”

Of course, all sci-fi geeks are immediately reminded by David Brin's Heaven's Reach, and its green galaxies (he said, not daring to say any more lest I spoil something). Unfortunately, these are all way, way in the past of the universe, so no proof of intelligent life it is. But they are pretty.

Friday, 24-Jul-09 00:47
There's just something special about having someone else's poop under your fingernails

So the little one turned six months old. No, we did not have fancy celebrations - I've always found these "Oh look, we've dated for 100 hours" -things kinda contrived. But we've progressed pretty far: from being a stimulus-response package to a solid-eating poop machine with a charming personality and a will, though not yet the means, to be self-motile.

While it's really amazing to see the changes in the kid, I've also been quite fascinated by the changes we, the parents, are going through. People did warn me in advance that "everything changes". I disagreed then, and I still do: I still put on my pants one leg at a time, just like before. Then again, I am a trained physicist, so my definitions of "everything" and "change" are probably not the same as everybody else's. But I have to admit I have a far better understanding of what they meant now.

You see, the stuff they don't mention is that your brain changes. It's not the lack of sleep, nor the responsibility, nor the lack of free time, nor the rearrangement of the priorities, nor the endless discussion about poop - but the fact that hormones jump into your brain and play a little whack-a-mole with your personality. The mothers notice this more clearly (or not, but usually everybody around them does), since the changes are more radical, but yeah, it works the same way for the non-pregnant adults in the family too, even men.

And because all of this, you actually start to enjoy playing endless, mindless games like Peekaboo. You don't really mind poking into the diaper with a finger to check whether the smell has attained a solid form. You cherish waking up two hours earlier than usual just because the kid looks so insanely happy to see you and flashes his big, toothless grin just at the sight of your face when he manages to wake you up. You start finding Peter Pan anxiety-inducing because the children are left to survive on their own. Dead Baby -jokes stop being funny. And a dark corner of your mind knows that if this was because of anyone else, you would've already brought out the shotgun. It's love, Jim, but not as we know it.

Yeah, my brain is totally bonkers. And that changes the way you experience things, and, in some definitions, changes everything - and that is why it is so difficult to be prepared for parenthood. Even if you have read every single Dr Spock equivalent there is, and have spent tons of time babysitting other kids, you will still get mindfucked by the experience. You'll have a million generations of primordial survival/breeding instinct kicking in, and it gets really hard to keep the education in mind in all that turmoil.

But it's okay. It's what all animals are supposed to do, and these instincts and changes are there for a good reason. And who are we to argue with ourselves anyway?

Monday, 20-Jul-09 19:01
Why I don't like Web 2.0 anymore

Lately I've had this strange feeling that perhaps web tools are reaching their limits. Yes, I know, people are building really cool-looking tools like Google Wave, using a gazillion different toolkits like JQuery, and that everybody believes that in the future all the apps and the data live in the cloud and are accessible by browsers on any device whatsoever.

But I've got a few arguments why I think the tide may change.

First of all - Javascript and the browser are a lousy, lousy environment for development. Your layout engines have wildly differing notions as to how stuff should be rendered. You spend a LOT of time figuring out what works on which browser. You have to choose among a dozen of incompatible frameworks (JQuery, Dojo, Prototype, Mootools, etc) to build your app - and you need to do that in at least two languages, since you don't develop the server side on Javascript. The tools you write your code with have so far been really crappy (but tools like Firebug and Aptana Studio are helping).

Most importantly, you can only choose Javascript and HTML as your development environment. There is no other practical choice (Silverlight, Flash and JavaFX are not real contenders here). In fact, they have to invent new standards to go around all the crappiness that is HTML, CSS and JS, and it's going to take a long time before all reasonable environments support them. For chrissakes, people still use IE6!

I was also reminded by the harsh realities of web-based life when the cell connectivity went down (Joikuspot FTW, usually). No more doing anything with the apps that I needed. Luckily I'm pretty paranoid and keep a local copy of everything important. If I spend money on my laptop in order to be mobile, and able to work without wires or power, then why would I tie my productivity to the whims of the cell operator?

Anyhoo, I'm just so frustrated at the generic unusability of web-based apps compared to local apps running on my mobile or my laptop. However, there are some incredible benefits to keeping your data in the cloud, too.

My guess is that now that we're pretty much down to three operating systems on the personal computer area, and three operating systems on the mobile phone area, it again becomes cost-efficient to provide thick clients that have a copy of the data locally and the master copy in the cloud. That makes the benefits of working with cloud-based apps tangible, yet invisible. Version control systems like Git are very good at keeping track and sync of local and remote copies; storage systems like Amazon S3 are readily available; and most of the modern computers have way more horsepower than what is required to run a browser, since they have to deal with gaming requirements. There will be less need to target multiple browser environments simply because there just won't be that many operating systems anymore.

Google Earth is a good example of this new breed of applications: it keeps a local copy of the map data so that it's actually useful even if you're not online. With Ovi Maps you can keep a local copy of the map data, yet benefit from upgrades on the server side. Ovi Files stores a copy of your local files in the cloud, so that they're accessible from anywhere. (Yes, I had to work in a few references to my company products, didn't I? ;-)

Anyhoo. I might be wrong. Time will tell. Perhaps it's just my personal dislike for Javascript...

Saturday, 11-Jul-09 10:11
Nice surprise

I opened my mailbox on Thursday evening, and I heard that I had been invited to be a Member at the Apache Software Foundation. It's an honour to be invited to be in such an organization, and it's made even more important by the fact that it's bestowed upon me by my peers, which means that there are people out there who don't think I'm completely nuts.

And, to boot, this happened on a day before I leave for vacation - so it was like the perfect news to start my holidays with. Yay!

(BTW, we (Nokia) are looking for a good person to fulfil a Lead Architect role for a service line. The position is in US, but if you're interested, ping me.)

Monday, 15-Jun-09 02:24
If you don't share, nobody cares

Tweeted this today, not really thinking too much about it. That's how I express myself often, hiding truth behind a joke. (And no, I wasn't naked all day. But I didn't wear "proper" clothes either. So was the tweet true or not?) But I did get a couple of comments that got me thinking.

Recently, I've been growing to another role - that of the boss. It already creates some interesting communication when your colleagues read your blogs and tweets, and there's some nice tension when you know that your boss subscribes to your RSS streams. That's fine though - it creates a certain peer pressure model which keeps stuff like corporate secrets out of the internet, and may also lead to friendships beyond the corporate life.

However, I think the online life gets really interesting when you have people who report to you. Me, being part of the internet unit of the corporate behemoth these days, I get the ones who even better at living online than me. And, it's the same people you want to be doing things you tell them to, but at the same time they will be privy to parts of your life in which you're not the boss, but just a normal human being with average and not-so-average tastes. So it's kinda scary.

Now, I live on the borderline: I am not young enough to know of no other world than one with sharing online everything you have; but I am not old enough to believe in the necessity of keeping my different lives separate. Gen X, all the way :-).

Risto Linturi writes wonderfully (albeit in Finnish) on the generational differences of the necessity of keeping "roles": The elderly caution the kids that "you can't remove anything from the internet", and "be careful or all the stupid things you do will come back to haunt you later" - but the kids do it anyway, because sharing so much more efficient than the old way. It's an incredibly powerful way to create trust between people, and the young view the "must hide everything lest people figure out that I am not as smart as I try to look like" -attitude of their elders with suspicion. Which is obvious, considering that the mechanisms of trust are different, and as much as the older generations don't understand the young, neither do the young understand the older generations.

The fun thing is that the Internet amplifies this kind of mechanisms. Of how many private photo-sharing sites have you heard of recently? There are zillions of them, but none of them can match the popularity of Flickr, where everything, by default, is public (and the privacy controls are really coarse). The popularity of Flickr feeds the popularity of Flickr - because you can talk about it. You can show your pictures easily. There's a strong incentive towards sharing, and sharing begets sharing. Image searches find Flickr pictures, but they don't find your hidden pictures - so the Flickr pictures get shared even more. Putting stuff online openly is a much faster breeder, so to say, than private image sharing (which obviously has its uses as well - I keep most of the kids pictures hidden simply because it should be his decision to choose whether to share or not, so I'm deferring that decision until he can make it himself).

People, especially those who vote Pirate Party, say "sharing is caring", but I think it's more correct to say that "if you don't share, nobody cares." We live in an information age, and whoever moves information fastest or best, wins the race. In a few measly years, who is going to care about an artist whose works you can't download for free from the internet? You used to hear it for free from the radio; now you use Spotify or Pirate Bay.

I have been on the internet since 1989, and yeah, I've done stuff which can't be erased from the net and I feel now rather ashamed about. But never ever has this come back to haunt me. It may be that I've managed to keep the account on the positive side - that is, I do more of the stuff that makes me appear sane and fit to serve humanity than I do of the insane/oh-my-god -variety. Or it may be just the fact that there is always someone weirder on the internet.

OK, so here's the catch for me: In order to be able to actually function as a leader in an internet company, I simply have to choose the younger generation way, or there would be no credibility. But all (well, most) my superiors over time have been of the older generation, which means that all the role-models I have are inherently faulty. Which in turn means that I feel, on occasion, rather lost.

So here I go again, twaddling along with leaking boots, inventing stuff as I go along... Comfort zone is what happens to other people. *sigh*

Guys, I know you are reading this, so sod off and get back to work ;-)
Monday, 08-Jun-09 18:59
Dem Pirates

Sweden, as expected, voted one Piratpartiet member (Pirate Party) to the EU Parliament, with a possibility for a second one, if their delegation size increases by two.

Now, obviously, a single guy can't do much, and the elected representative, Christian Engström, just moves from the lobby wing of EU to the actual parliament, so I don't think there will be much impact on that side.

But what is really significant is the fact that Piratpartiet got 7.1% of votes. That 7% is huge amount of voters that any party would love to sign up, especially considering Piratpartiet's popularity in the 18-30 demographic (20% votes), who by the time of the next election, are going to be the 18-35 demographic, and therefore likely to grow from that 7%. So, it is very likely that some parties will start changing their rhetoric towards PP's lines in order to cannibalize their support; especially parties which are already pretty close in some ideals (like the Greens). The Pirate Party is seen as a single-agenda movement, and many people who in principle agree with the sentiment don't necessarily want to support a party whose other views are unknown, or just think that PP is too extremist in their views towards copyright.

So, there's at least 7% of voters to be grabbed by choosing to openly defend consumers and driving towards a more modern copyright and internet legislation. I say modern, because I feel that there is a good, solid middle path which actually takes into account the extremely rapid change that media creation and distribution and communication is currently ongoing, without sacrificing people's right for privacy and freedom of speech, but still fulfilling the original purpose of copyright, which was to give financial incentives for people to create. Unfortunately, the quest for this middle path is completely hidden by irrelevant discussions, bad metaphors, falsified or misinterpreted data, deeply entrenched opinions with no actual facts to back them up, and the simple inability to communicate across the board.

Perhaps it'll take a few years of fighting between the extremists on either side, and we may have to wait until that 20% becomes the 18-50 demographic. But time is on the side of the Pirate Party: If the idiotic "copyright enforcement over all civil liberties, damn you evil pirates" -trend continues for a few more years, will the "starving artists" have any friends left by the time the current teenagers actually have power? And how will they use the vast powers created by the current administrations? For good, or for revenge?

Sunday, 07-Jun-09 00:38

The EU parliamental election is tomorrow. Even if you might feel that it's not affecting you, it is. The parliament has grown a collective spine over the past few years, and, as Jyrki Kasvi pointed out in his tweet, a lot of the issues are being decided already on an EU level.

So, no matter who you vote, vote.

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

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

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