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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Welcome to the Nokia NFC developer event - Join to connect

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

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

Two similar events will be organized at the following venues:

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

Show what you've got!

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

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

Best Regards,

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

Wednesday, 26-Sep-07 22:27

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Only the Japanese engineer... Electronic bubble wrap.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here's a cool gallery of twisted images.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

S = F / N,

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

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

/Janne, S = 2.36

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

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

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

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

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

(Via /.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, 02-Sep-07 00:17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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