Tuesday, 29-Nov-05 17:07
N90 blog

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-).

Tuesday, 29-Nov-05 15:27
PSP adds RSS support

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...

Sunday, 27-Nov-05 20:57
I'm your client, not a terrorist

Nice opinion piece on the BBC by Bill Thompson about the music industry, copy protection, using terrorism laws to attack file sharers, and privacy:

If they cannot come up with a business model which allows them to make profits without criminalising their customers, trampling over our civil liberties or installing malware on our computers then they do not deserve to stay in business, and new ways for artists to reach the public will have to emerge.
Sunday, 27-Nov-05 19:17
Mobile internet experiences

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?)

Friday, 25-Nov-05 11:11
File sharing helps not-so-well known artists

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.

Friday, 25-Nov-05 10:42
Welcome, Orwell

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.
Friday, 25-Nov-05 09:40
Batman coolness

I'll certainly vote for this Batman meets Joker meets Alien meets Predator short film as being the coolest thing since Star Wreck. Eight minutes with Quicktime. You have that much time.

(Via Jani.)

Wednesday, 23-Nov-05 19:08
The Iteration List

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:

       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 

(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.

       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  + + - - + + + + + ? ? + + + + - - - ? ? - - - - - - - - - + 

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:

       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  + + - - + + + + + ? ? + + + + - - - ? ? - - - - - - - - - + 
Kalle  - - - - + + + + e e e - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - +

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:

       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)!

Tuesday, 22-Nov-05 01:00
Finnish MP's bask in thanks over copyright law

Rosa Meriläinen, a Finnish MP writes in her blog (translation mine):

On Thursday I was already awake, but it didn't turn out to be useful. During the question hour, I tried to get a turn three times, but I failed. I didn't feel too sorry about it, because we left with Irina [Krohn, I would presume; a fellow MP] to the winter season opening of Gramex [one of the lobbying organizations for stricter copyright laws, sort of like the RIAA, but for performing artists] to receive compliments over the copyright law. It was very therapeutic, because we got so much negative feedback on it originally. Now I got to bask in the copious compliments of wonderful men. I have to confess that some of them didn't understand to compliment us, so we needed to guide and urge them a bit.

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.

Monday, 21-Nov-05 18:19
Be careful what you wish for...

I wrote back in June:

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?

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:

  1. Build their own reading system (i.e. a competitor to blogilista.fi)?
  2. License or partner with blogilista.fi? (Which should be interesting.)
  3. Leave everyone to their own devices (bookmarks, RSS readers, blogilista.fi)?

(Via Jyri.)

Sunday, 20-Nov-05 23:46
Sense of wonder
An American engineer told me last week that there are two rules in introducing new technology into the USA:
  1. Don't inconvenience me.
  2. Don't bore me.

Wise words. Made me think.

I have been rather busy this weekend, and also mostly been sleeping off the remnants of my jet lag. I also finished Homeworld 2, one of the few games I've found immersive enough so that I could care more than a few hours of. It turned out to be rather easy, though, which was a bit of a disappointment... But it was good fun while it lasted.

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[1]. 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.

[#1] Boy, did I spend time deciding which one of those words requires quotes. Quoting all of them looked pretty stupid, so I leave it to the reader's imagination.
Friday, 18-Nov-05 16:14
Copyright anger

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.

Friday, 18-Nov-05 12:04
Spineless bastards

I so agree with Matti Nikki and Bruce Schneier on this recent Sony DRM thing:

The real issue with liability, however, is that Sony BMG is actually taking over computer systems that don't belong to them. They did this deliberately and knew very well what they were doing. Unfortunately, security companies seem to be afraid of tackling this issue, it's not good for business to make enemies of large corporations. Doing this, the security companies are only working for their own security, rather than that of their users. The big problem is laws like DMCA and in Europe, the EUCD, which make it illegal to circumvent these copy protection systems, no matter how malicious they are. The laws don't tend to define what these copy protection systems are allowed to do, but since nobody wants to touch the issue probably under fear of having to fight DMCA related lawsuits, the creators of these "protection" systems are getting away with what they're doing.

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.)

Thursday, 17-Nov-05 17:01
Is 30 responses a lot or just a few?

From Joi's blog:

"We receive at the IHT [International Herald Tribune] roughly 30 letters per day, of which 10-15 are usable, the letters editor said. We end up publishing roughly six.

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?[1] Or maybe blogs are just a superior conversation systems ;-)

[#1] If this was a role-playing game, I would shout "I disbelieve".
Wednesday, 16-Nov-05 16:33
Finnish spam attack

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.

Tuesday, 15-Nov-05 22:33

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...

Tuesday, 15-Nov-05 22:21
The libel saga unfolds...

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...

Sunday, 13-Nov-05 20:53
Blogosphere as a community

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?

Wednesday, 09-Nov-05 22:11
Series 60 blogs launched

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.)

Tuesday, 08-Nov-05 19:08
Dallas, TX

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.

Friday, 04-Nov-05 15:57
Digging through the scrap heap

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.
Thursday, 03-Nov-05 12:37
Check your firewall settings

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.

Wednesday, 02-Nov-05 19:17
Podcast gets BAFTA nomination

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.

Wednesday, 02-Nov-05 14:25
Open Browsing and Context for everyone

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.

Tuesday, 01-Nov-05 11:41
Here's your second generation copy protection

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.

(Via everywhere.)

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 :)

Monday, 31-Oct-05 00:57
MP3s galore

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.)

Sunday, 30-Oct-05 01:36
Blogosphere simulation

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:
    1. 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.
    2. There is a 5% chance that the blogger subscribes to a blog if someone on his subscription list has linked to it.
    3. There is a 1% chance that a blogger subscribes to a blog that posts a link to his blog.
    4. 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.)

Thursday, 27-Oct-05 17:56
Thinglinks link the things that bind the world together

Ulla-Maaria Mutanen seems to be onto something here:

Most products of the pro-am revolution are, however, not part of the long tail. Neither are most works of art, design objects, handcrafts, or the products of small manufacturers in developing countries. The reason why they are not part of the long tail is that recommendations are based on unique product identifiers. Without an identifier, the product does not exist on the market. Where product codes end, so does the long tail.

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.

Thursday, 27-Oct-05 15:26
Make your own Mac Mini robot

Well, these guys did it: a fully functional robot based on a Mac Mini and an iSight video camera. Wonderful :)

(Via ~PetrosB)

Thursday, 27-Oct-05 00:09
A very boring update

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?

Read plenty more about this concept, called Life Hacking, from New York Times. Matt Jones also speaks wise words, though he did all this two years ago already.

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.)

Monday, 24-Oct-05 12:47
How much is your blog worth?

My blog is worth $70,002.96.
How much is your blog worth?

Well, here's a new competition for everyone who measures their self-worth as a blogger with respect to how others are doing.

(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.)

(Via Peikko.)

Sunday, 23-Oct-05 15:42
Todays illegal link

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?)

Friday, 21-Oct-05 17:21
Off with the head! Er. Linux, I mean.

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.

Thursday, 20-Oct-05 12:36
Blog.jspwiki.org goes online

After many years of supporting weblogs in JSPWiki, I finally got off my ass and made the official JSPWiki development weblog. Welcome!

Wednesday, 19-Oct-05 13:48
Poistuin top-listoilta

(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:

TV is not vulgar and prurient and dumb because the people who compose the audience are vulgar and dumb. Television is the way it is simply because people tend to be extremely similar in their vulgar and prurient and dumb interests and wildly different in their refined and aesthetic and noble interests.

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:

Joku älypää tietenkin keksii seuraavaksi ryhtyä nillittämään siitä, että kerään ympärilleni jonkin sortin sisäpiiriä.

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.

Tuesday, 18-Oct-05 17:11
Chief editor of the largest Finnish newspaper starts blog

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.

Monday, 17-Oct-05 20:52
Mediaviikko censors critique

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.

Update: Jussi Og had cached the entire CC-licensed, original document, including most of the comments (which are quite civil, actually), and other media have already started to pound on Mediaviikko.

Update2: Jani of Marginaali seems to be running a contest on "who writes the best humorous summary of the original article".

Monday, 17-Oct-05 14:53
Set up your own ~WiFi hotspot

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.)

Monday, 17-Oct-05 00:19
Daring steps into depths of the abyss

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.

Thursday, 13-Oct-05 16:12

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.

Wednesday, 12-Oct-05 15:01
Teenagers: "I don't pay for music anymore"

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

Q: Who has an iPod?

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.

Wednesday, 12-Oct-05 10:08
Planet Broadband project

Om Malik is collecting a broadband profile of the planet on a wiki. It needs people who can write about the broadband situation in their home country - could someone drop a word there about Finland?

(Via Many-to-many.)

Tuesday, 11-Oct-05 10:39
Why doing dumb laws is a bad idea

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:

Terrorism Laws Used to Stifle Political Speech

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...

The owner of "war porn" site ~NowThatsFuckedUp.com (not worksafe) has been charged with 300 misdemeanors and one felony. He's in jail on more than $150K bail.

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.)

Monday, 10-Oct-05 10:06
Can't do nothing no more

EOS magazine has an article on the receding ice in the Arctic. Mike Davis comments:

For almost 30 years, Arctic sea ice has been thinning and shrinking so dramatically that "a summer ice-free Arctic Ocean within a century is a real possibility." The scientists, however, add a new observation -- that this process is probably irreversible.

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.)

Wednesday, 05-Oct-05 16:22
Finnish copyright legislation tightens

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'.

Wednesday, 05-Oct-05 15:40
Mobile user experience in the age of Ubiquitous connectivity

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.

As we look around us inanimate things are slowly coming to life, veneered with layers of digital information. From payments made by touching things to street signs that broadcast messages our belongings are moving from supporting our behaviors to developing their own.

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?

Wednesday, 05-Oct-05 14:39
Star Wreck downloaded 500,000 times

...so says Taneli Tikka, the CEO of Magenta, who's hosting the downloads of Star Wreck.

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.

Tuesday, 04-Oct-05 15:20

The demonstration is over, "at least 300 people" were present according to the police (I'd estimate it slightly higher, maybe 400), and we heard speeches. I wasn't particularly impressed though, but now I at least understand why some people are MPs... They are excellent speakers (esp. Soini and Kankaanniemi), and are able to take the crowd with their presentation alone, even if their normal politic views would be completely against the beliefs of the listeners. But in war, the enemy of your enemy is your friend...

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.

Monday, 03-Oct-05 17:24
The thing that really strikes me strange...

...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?

Saturday, 01-Oct-05 20:13

FYI: Ben & Jerry's Ice cream is now available from Stockmann's. Maybe this is old news, but I didn't know about it before...

A bucket didn't last long.

Saturday, 01-Oct-05 12:13
Star Wreck now available for download

Go. Download a fine movie for free. Available in Bittorrent or direct download (Bittorrent recommended).

And feel free to share; it's a part of the Creative Commons.


Update: I am now seeding the Bittorrent from my laptop and blogging about it while sitting on the toilet. How Web 2.0!

Friday, 30-Sep-05 14:33
Demonstration against the new copyright legislation

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.

Friday, 30-Sep-05 11:47
Send sound SMSs

Wall Street Journal writes (reg. reqd):

A Singapore technology company, Bubble Motion, has teamed up with Swedish telecommunications giant *Telefon AB L.M. Ericsson *to market a messaging service that eliminates the need to tap out a text message and replaces it with voice. It is a potentially hot product for wireless-service providers in developing countries and could make inroads in places where people haven't quite gotten the hang of tapping out text messages with their thumbs on a cellphone keypad.

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.)

Thursday, 29-Sep-05 17:59
I've got it all

The Human Virus Scanner via Janka:

The virus that have infected you will be show here along with thier cures, if known.

Viruses you suffer from:

Install the latest version of Microsoft Windows. Learn to love it.
Stop wearing the stick-on ears.
Free BSD
The GPL isn't that bad really. Adopt a penguin at the zoo.
Eat some real food. Something which you can identify the source of every ingredient, not the point of manufacture.
Gnome is better than workbench. BEOS is better than Amiga OS. The TV Modulator was a pain in the arse and an EXTERNAL power pack? I ask you. And it didn't have a built in MIDI port like some of its rivals.
CTRL-Break, and get a real computer. Repeat: "Mode 7 was not a good thing."
Polygons, all the polygons you can get are not enough.
Anything this old must be obselete. Go and install a nice modern operating system. I hear MSDOS has come a long way lately.
Buy a suit. Invest your money. Eat hotdog buns on a friday.
Try MacOS X. It's based on UNIX, it has a smoother UI than Windows and it doesn't suck. As an extra feature the boxes look nice.
Escape Meta Alt Control Shift.
Stop caring!
Computer Games
Stop staring at the screen and get some fresh air. You should see a doctor about the RSI in your thumbs.
Conspiracy Theory
Face it, the elected government is in control. Actually that's quite scary.
Consume more stuff! It's easier to buy new stuff than to recycle.
Use a mouse with more than one button.

Viruses you might suffer from:

Pokemon (60%)
Pikachu! Use your hyper-electric-get-a-life move now!
USA (80%)
Rule, Britannia! Britannia rule the waves! [repeat]
Gaming (70%)
Life is not a game. Roll 3D6. On a 4 or more go out and do something with your life.
British (60%)
No need for cure. Benign virus.
Japan (60%)
Big is good. Small is bad. Giant robots would not make a good last line of defence for Earth.
Religion (90%)
Read "God's Debris" by Scott Adams (yes, the Dilbert guy)
Brand Names (85%)
Having a well-known name doesn't make it good.
X11 (60%)
I hear Mac OS 10 Aqua is nice at this time of year.
Hippyism (65%)
Free love is passe and potentially dangerous, and patchouli smells like cat piss.
Thursday, 29-Sep-05 15:14
How music might be distributed in the future

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:

This is by no means a manifesto. We don’t pretend to be the first band to spin a variation of the shareware distribution model. We love record labels and record stores. We buy lots of CDs and are committed to supporting independent music. We’re not a bunch of fake Marxists. We’re just trying to be smart capitalists so we can sustain our lives as musicians. This is an experiment. We’ll let you know how it goes.

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:

By promising to play nice, and building DRM and TCPA technologies, the computer industry is simply making come-hither noises that the rights holders want to hear. "When I was 14, I told girls I loved them to sleep with them too. It was a fiction. Steve Jobs just leaves a little money on the table," he says. "These theoretical notions of control run headlong into the real historical experience."

(Via BoingBoing.)

Wednesday, 28-Sep-05 19:20
The leading edge of porn

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.

Sunday, 25-Sep-05 00:44
Annoyed people get back

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?

Lots of pictures.

(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...)

Saturday, 24-Sep-05 21:33
So, you think it's over...?

(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.


Saturday, 24-Sep-05 12:50
Nice meeting, thanks

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.)

Saturday, 24-Sep-05 01:19
Concerned people are called fake

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.

Thursday, 22-Sep-05 17:25
In Finland, paying money to the artists to be discouraged under new law

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...

Thursday, 22-Sep-05 13:03
Chilling weather in UK

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.

So, basically the Police have decided that wearing a rain jacket, carrying a rucksack with a laptop inside, looking down at the steps while going in a tube station and checking your phone for messages just tick too many checkmarks on their checklist and make you a terrorist suspect. How many other people are not only wrongly detained but wrongly arrested every week in similar circumstances as myself? And how many of them are also computer and telecoms enthusiasts that fit the Police's terrorist behavioural profile so well? I accept and understand spot checks can be useful, but profiling... this would be a joke if it didn't affect many ‘innocent bystanders’.

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.)

Wednesday, 21-Sep-05 23:52
Omia mietteitä keskustelutilaisuudesta

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.)

Wednesday, 21-Sep-05 18:05
Keskustelutilaisuus tekijänoikeudesta

Olen nyt täällä paikan päällä ja yritän blogata tilaisuuden livenä. Kuten kuvasta näkyy, paikalla on valitettavan vähän ihmisiä. Tänne ja heti, jos olette Helsingin Kaisaniemen lähistöllä juuri nyt.

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.

Omat jälkikäteishuomioni eri merkinnässä.

Wednesday, 21-Sep-05 16:08
Lisäkommenttia tekijänoikeuskeskusteluun

Lähetin seuraavan Helsingin Sanomien yleisönosastolle. Ehkä julkaisevat, ehkä eivät. Täällä se on kuitenkin kokonaisena, kirjoitusvirheineen kaikkineen (d'oh!).

Debatti tekijänoikeuslain ympärillä on keskittynyt pitkälti yhden asian ympärille: kuluttajan oikeuteen kuunnella musiikkia missä ja miten haluaa, vai saako tekijänoikeuksien omistaja sanella ehdot? Todellisuudessa laissa on myös muita, yhtä perustavanlaatuisia ongelmia.

Hakukoneiden asema jää epämääräiseksi: Googlen on otettava jokaisesta internetin sivusta itselleen kopio kaupallisiin tarkoituksiin, jotta haku yleensä ottaen voisi toimia. Tämä mitä suurimmassa määrin laiton, mutta internetin tietotulvan kannalta tarpeellinen toimenpide on esimerkki niin kutsutusta yhteishyvästä, johon tekijänoikeuslaki ei kuitenkaan ota kantaa.

Tietokoneohjelmien levittäminen: uuden tekijänoikeuslain mukaan jokainen internet-palveluntarjoaja tarvitsee erillisen luvan siirtää tietokoneohjelmia verkossaan. Käytännössä siis tilanne on sama kuin jos viinan myynti ja osto netissä olisi laillista, mutta pullojen kuljetus postitse olisi laitonta. Tämä on naurettava virhe, joka ei palvele kenenkään etuja - ei tekijöiden (jotka haluavat myydä ohjelmiaan kuluttajille) eikä kuluttajien (jotka haluavat ostaa ohjelmia netistä) eikä erityisesti nettioperaattorien, jotka rikkovat lakia joka kerta kun joku ostaa verkkokaupasta laillisen tietokoneohjelman.

Yhteisöraukeaminen: Uuden lain mukaan Euroopan ulkopuolelta tuotuja teoksia ei saa enää myydä edelleen Euroopan sisällä. Suomeksi tämä tarkoittaa sitä, että monen pienen kaupan on luovuttava asiakkaiden palvelemisesta ja tavaroiden tilaamisesta ulkomailta asiakkaiden puolesta vain siksi, että joku iso yritys haluaa suojella alueellista monopoliaan. Tällä ei ole enää mitään tekemistä tekijänoikeuksien kanssa, vaan ennemminkin vapaan kaupan ja yrittäjyyden tukahduttamisen.

Vapaan keskustelun kieltäminen: Uusi tekijänoikeuslaki kieltää "teknisistä suojauksista organisoidusti keskustelemisen." On suorastaan epäilyttävää, että kansalaisia kielletään edes keskustelemasta siitä, miten heidän toimintaansa rajoitetaan, rangaistuksen uhalla.

Uusi tekijänoikeuslaki nojaa vanhoihin käsityksiin internetistä. Internetin ehkä tunnetuin palvelu, Google, perustettiin vasta kaksi vuotta EUCD-direktiivin laatimisen jälkeen, ja koko nettimaailma muuttunut kahdesti. Uusi lakiehdotus palvelee vain osaa luovan työn tekijöistä, ja se on viipymättä palautettava takaisin valmisteluun, jotta se saataisiin ajantasaiseksi. Nykyinen laki riittää hyvin siksi aikaa: todisteena siitä viimeaikaiset piraattiverkkojen sulkemiset.

Jotkut kansanedustajat ovat epäilleet, että heidän saamansa sähköpostivyöryn takana olisi jokin "masinointi", mitä se sitten tarkoittaakaan. Ei, hyvät edustajat. Olette pitkään miettineet, miten nuoret saisi innostumaan poliitiikasta, ja nyt te olette tehneet sen. Sähköpostit, internet, blogit ja keskustelupalstat ovat vain heidän keinonsa osallistua yhteiseen asioista päättämiseen. Maailma muuttuu ja menetelmät sen mukana.

Janne Jalkanen

Wednesday, 21-Sep-05 11:54
New professional blogging network launched

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.

Tuesday, 20-Sep-05 22:42
Oh, bugger

Yeah. Damn you, Steve.

And with a free laser engraving as well.

Technolust has claimed a new victim.

Monday, 19-Sep-05 15:12
Keskustelutilaisuus tekijänoikeuslaista



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.

Mukana keskustelemassa 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.)

Saturday, 17-Sep-05 01:48
Lisää hämmennystä opetusministeriön toimintaa katsellessa

Avoin elämä kertoo:

Nyt on viimeinkin herätty kysymään, onko kaikki sujunut ihan korrektisti, kun kaikki lakia valmistelleet opetusministeriön virkamiehet istuvat myös tekijänoikeusjärjestöissä korkeilla palleilla? Ehkäpä muutkin vähitellen alkavat päästä jyvälle, mistä tässä vedätyksessä todella on ollut kysymys. Opetusministeriön ja tekijänoikeusjärjestöjen sisäsiittoisuutta on muuten ruotinut hyvin Suurtalous-lehti vuosi sitten, vinkkinä vaan jos Suomesta vielä löytyisi joku tutkiva journalisti, joka innostuisi penkomaan taustoja vielä syvemmälle.

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:

Heitetään toisena linkkivinkkinä samalle lehtimiehelle vielä Viralg Oy:n tapaus. Koko alkuvuoden Karpela on ponnekkaasti markkinoinut kyseisen yhtiön tuotetta, joka kuulemma pitäisi ostaa valtakunnan kaikkiin kirjastoihin ja kouluihin, vaikka se kaikkien testien mukaan on täysi susi ja sanavapauden kannalta kovin kyseenalainen. Paljastuukin, että yhtiön johdon jäsenet ovat musiikkialan miehiä myös, ja siksi Ääni ja kuvatallennetuottajat ry:n (ÄKT) jäseniä. Kuuluvat samaan sisäpiiriin siis.

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...

Thursday, 15-Sep-05 15:20
The why-do-i-blog-and-who-cares meme

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.


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?

I do not use blogilista.fi, but I follow approximately 220 blogs at the moment (the left side bar only lists my public subscriptions) using a combination of Bloglines and Sage.

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?

Bitch-moan-complain -blogs.

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?"

Sometimes I think there's an inner circle that has its meetings in some blogs and in their comment areas. But other than that, hardly. Unless you count me and Outi as one, very small circle ;-)

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.

Wednesday, 14-Sep-05 11:04
Opetusministeriö sekoilee, osa 2

Digitodayn uutisessa opetusministeriön tekijänoikeustoimikunnan päätoiminen sihteeri Marko Rajaniemi kertoo muun muassa seuraavaa:

Olennaista on suojauksen asettaneen tahon suojaustarkoitus, jos se on sellainen suoja, jolla on tarkoitettu suojata teosta ja se on kerrottu, niin silloin se on todennäköisesti tehokas. Jos suojaustarkoitus ei käy ilmi, on kyse todennäköisesti ei-tehokkaasta suojauksesta, Rajaniemi muotoilee.

- 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.

Wednesday, 14-Sep-05 09:32
Miksei tekijänoikeuteen herätty aiemmin?

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.

Tuesday, 13-Sep-05 23:16
Eduskunta avaamassa uudelleen tekijänoikeuslain

(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:

Suuren valiokunnan puheenjohtaja Jari Vilén (kok) päätti tiistaina avata poliittiset neuvottelut siitä, pitäisikö kopiointisuojaa vielä harkita. Tarkoitus on, että lain käsittely valiokunnassa lykätään ensi perjantaihin asian selvittämiseksi.

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...

Tuesday, 13-Sep-05 08:37
Opetusministeriö sekoilee taas

Tietokone -lehden uutisesta poimittua:

Jorma Walden ihmettelee teknisten suojausten saamaa laajaa huomiota. Hänen arvionsa mukaan suojattuja levyjä ei hirveästi ole ollut markkinoilla. Jos levyä ei ole kopiosuojattu, musiikkia saa jatkossakin laillisesti kopioida vaikka autossa tai kannettavassa soittimessa kuunneltavaksi.

"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.

Monday, 12-Sep-05 13:08
Star Wreck DVD came by mail, and...

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.)

Friday, 09-Sep-05 13:39
Mobility vs. laptops, once again

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 ;-)

Thursday, 08-Sep-05 23:26
Think Motorola's iTunes phone is bad?

No worries, Chris and Matt have an answer!

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.)

Thursday, 08-Sep-05 17:14
JCDecaux sending live pigeons by mail as business gifts?

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.)

Wednesday, 07-Sep-05 15:11
More on mobility and Web 2.0

There has been quite a lot of hype on the Web 2.0, mostly by O'Reilly, who also run a conference on Web 2.0. Fancy that :-)

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[1]. 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.

[#1] Well, anyone with money, that is. But it's not that expensive, as is evidenced by 2 billion people with mobile phones. Hey, I'm having a vision here! In visions you're supposed to draw fluffy clouds and ignore the harder edges of reality, so bear with me.
Wednesday, 07-Sep-05 00:36
What is mobility, really?

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 ;-)

Monday, 05-Sep-05 12:59
Name of Katrina

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:

Unfortunately, very few people in America know the real name of Hurricane Katrina because the coal and oil industries have spent millions of dollars to keep the public in doubt about the issue.

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.)

Sunday, 04-Sep-05 12:28

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...

Thursday, 01-Sep-05 18:36
Finnish Broadcasting Company goes podcasting

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?

(Thanks, Tuija!)

P.S. I seem to be unable to blog on Wednesdays. I have no idea why.

Tuesday, 30-Aug-05 16:39
Open Source Marketing

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.)

Monday, 29-Aug-05 04:49
Off we go again

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.)

Sunday, 28-Aug-05 02:38
Oh you bloody RSS bugger

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.

Saturday, 27-Aug-05 11:53
Code complexity at night

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.)

Friday, 26-Aug-05 02:55

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 ;-)

Thursday, 25-Aug-05 01:50
MS Store Visit

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.)

Tuesday, 23-Aug-05 01:21
So yeah...

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.)

Friday, 19-Aug-05 22:21
The real worth of money

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.

Friday, 19-Aug-05 19:31
Cheap joy

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.)

Thursday, 18-Aug-05 19:21
The Shadow Finlandia is out

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.)

Thursday, 18-Aug-05 12:14
Whatever makes you happy

If Wishers Were Horses - The site dedicated to Human-Equine Transformation. (Via Boing Boing.)

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".

Thursday, 18-Aug-05 11:24

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.)

Tuesday, 16-Aug-05 14:43
Scheduling a meeting with myself

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:

Topic Time
Topic A 09.00-10.30
Networking break 10.30 - 10.45
Topic B 10.45 - 12.00
Working lunch 12.00 - 12.30
Topic C ...

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.)

Monday, 15-Aug-05 01:11
Coding frenzy

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.)

Sunday, 14-Aug-05 02:15
How to make a sad geek happy?

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...

Friday, 12-Aug-05 13:02
...and now for a word from our sponsor

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"

"<%="Hello, JSPWiki"%>"

"- 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.

Friday, 12-Aug-05 12:01
Here it goes...

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.

Dr Kirpotin told the magazine the situation was an "ecological landslide that is probably irreversible and is undoubtedly connected to climatic warming". He added that the thaw had probably begun in the past three or four years.

Climate scientists yesterday reacted with alarm to the finding, and warned that predictions of future global temperatures would have to be revised upwards.

Global warming tipping point reached.

(Via Matt.)

Tuesday, 09-Aug-05 17:56

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.]

Saturday, 06-Aug-05 17:26
Wikimania, day 2

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...

Saturday, 06-Aug-05 13:26
Make software, go to jail

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?

Friday, 05-Aug-05 17:00
Ei jumankekula

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.)

Friday, 05-Aug-05 12:31
Wikimania, day 1

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.

Thursday, 04-Aug-05 12:48

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.

Panic mounts.

Update: I was just interviewed by a German newspaper. I had no idea this Wiki thing interested the media so much.

Tuesday, 02-Aug-05 13:52

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.

ADD and ADHD. At least it's an interesting combination.

Tuesday, 02-Aug-05 04:03
New podcast

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.)

Monday, 01-Aug-05 11:39

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.)

Friday, 29-Jul-05 16:54
Zipping along

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.

Friday, 29-Jul-05 12:58
Music industry corrupt - nobody looks surprised

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".

As a result, Mr. Spitzer said in the settlement documents, "Sony BMG and the other record labels present the public with a skewed picture of the country's 'best' and 'most popular' recorded music."

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.)

Sunday, 24-Jul-05 13:46
Joitain tuokiopaloja Ropeconista

(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.

Päivitys: Jos haluat nähdä, mitä muut bloggaajat kirjoittavat Ropeconista, tässä on Icerocketin lista, ja tässä Technoratin. Listat tuntuvat poikkeavan toisistaan melkoisesti.

Sunday, 24-Jul-05 00:14
No sorrow is small

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?

Saturday, 23-Jul-05 11:43

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 :)

Friday, 22-Jul-05 10:11
Xanga at 40 million

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.

Thursday, 21-Jul-05 12:17
Transparent society and how to write for it

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.)

Tuesday, 19-Jul-05 13:00
Being quiet

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.

Thursday, 07-Jul-05 15:59
Prague and podcasting

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.)

Saturday, 02-Jul-05 23:50
Still mushy

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.

I'm doomed.

Thursday, 30-Jun-05 15:22
Social Slashdot Effect

So you think linking to Lehtovaara is a mob in action?

No. This is a mob in action. (Read the comments as well.)

It began in a subway train with a girl whose dog made a mess on the train floor. When nearby elders told her to clean up the mess, she basically told them to fuck off. A nearby enraged netizen then took pictures of her and posted it, without any masking, on a popular website which started a nationwide witchhunt.

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...

Monday, 27-Jun-05 22:48
Elisa sends your phone number to every web site

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 ( user-agent: Nokia3220/2.0 (03.60) Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1
27/06/05 21:00:52 ( via: HTTP/1.1 wgw3.radiolinja.fi (XMG 724Solutions HTG BA_PC5_M1_B012 20041105.230426)
27/06/05 21:00:52 ( x-msisdn: 358505476XXX
27/06/05 21:00:52 ( x-network-info: GPRS,,358505476XXX,unsecured
27/06/05 21:00:52 ( 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.

Monday, 27-Jun-05 02:38
Restaurant Lehtovaara threatens people who don't like them

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.

(Via Visa, who points out that if you comment about this, you should link to Herkko's letter so that it will get a higher Google ranking.)

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.

Sunday, 26-Jun-05 11:52
Microsoft does copyleft?
"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”


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.

And this from the company which has consistently attacked the GNU GPL, the most known viral copyleft 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.)

Friday, 24-Jun-05 01:59
Flickr sees dead people

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[1]. 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.

[#1] Note that I didn't say 'citizenship journalism'.
Friday, 24-Jun-05 01:41
JSPWiki gains podcasting support

...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?

Thursday, 23-Jun-05 15:16
IE is crap

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.

Wednesday, 22-Jun-05 11:28
Get first aid instructions in your cell phone

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.

(Via Helsingin Sanomat. Lisää tietoa Punaisen ristin sivuilta.)

Wednesday, 22-Jun-05 11:20
No smoking in bars next summer?

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.

Saturday, 18-Jun-05 16:15
Depressed over Daisy

You know, seeing open source projects like Daisy make me just want to stop JSPWiki development altogether. It's simply just too good, and I feel like there's no way I can compete.

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.

Monday, 13-Jun-05 15:18
Wikimania, here we come


Dear Janne Jalkanen,

Your submission to the first Wikimedia international conference, Wikimania 2005 has been accepted with identification code JJ1.

I'll be talking about the synthesis of WebDAV and JSPWiki, and the Wiki RPC API mess... If you're coming, ping me. We can have a JSPWiki users meeting over a few beers :-)

See you in Frankfurt in August!

Monday, 13-Jun-05 08:40
The Downing Street Memo

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."

(Via everyone.)

Sunday, 12-Jun-05 11:43
European blogosphere tagged

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.

It's fast becoming a good overall resource on the paneuropean blogosphere. You can also follow the discussion on the Technorati "european blogosphere" -tag.

Saturday, 11-Jun-05 21:10
Tired and bored

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...

Thursday, 09-Jun-05 20:25
JSPWiki 2.2 stable released

Bit the bullet. Released JSPWiki 2.2 stable. Was planning to write a long press release. Don't feel like it. Enjoy.

Thursday, 09-Jun-05 09:52
Creativecommons.fi event

Creativecommons.fi will be launched on next Monday, says Henrik Ingo. The launch event will be held in Mediacenter Lume of the Helsinki University of Arts and Design. Event starts at 1700, and there will be a DJ playing CC-licensed music, and also a live band. More info here.

Tuesday, 07-Jun-05 14:10
Lifeblog on Mac?

Charlie, who used to be in Nokia's Lifeblog team is looking for good people to make a Mac version. If you can code on Mac, go help him out. And if you can't, just spread the message in your blog; I'm sure at least one extraordinarily talented Mac hacker reads this blog (Hi ado! :-)

Tuesday, 07-Jun-05 13:25
A slight error in numbers

Someone mentioned in the comments of the previous entry that there would be a blog explosion in Finland, if the IRC gallery started to offer blogs. Maybe not.

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.)

Friday, 03-Jun-05 13:38
IRC-gallery steams on

Enter-blogi kertoo, että yli 30% suomalaisista 15-17 -vuotiaista on rekisteröitynyt IRC-galleriaan. Mitähän tapahtuisi, jos IRC-galleria alkaisi tarjota blogeja jäsenilleen?

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?

Thursday, 02-Jun-05 13:24
Anakin was a Switcher

Well, this explains why Anakin went to the dark side: PixelRed has the answer... Look for "Darkside Switch", as there are no permalinks.

(Via Forever Geek.)

Thursday, 02-Jun-05 01:10
World wide blog count 60+ million and rambling on a tangent

...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.

Tuesday, 31-May-05 13:39
Finland no comprende computers

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.

Monday, 30-May-05 17:27
Creative Commons -licensed mobile videos

Digitoday reports (in Finnish) that Elisa [a Finnish operator] has started to distribute Creative Commons -licensed material on a mobile TV channel for test users.

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!

Friday, 27-May-05 12:41
Wiki Spam, saga continues

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.

Friday, 27-May-05 10:49
Music is too dangerous

Today's copyright insanity comes from Bruce Schneier's blog:

A well-known company, running a massive multi-player virtual world, was considering adding a new space to their world. Due to the nature of the space, characters there would probably want to make music. So the programmers created a set of virtual musical instruments, and tools for players to create their own instruments. The plan was that players would get virtual instruments and make music, for all of the reasons people make music in the real world.

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.

Wednesday, 25-May-05 11:23
Rhetorics of scraping

Michael Fry does not like people syndicating his comic strip, Over the Hedge:

You are stealing. You are taking money out of my pocket just as surely as if you held a gun to my head and demanded my wallet. By making Hedge so easily and freely available you are undermining the economics that make the comics you so obviously love possible.

United Media does not offer RSS feeds of their strips, with or without advertisements, so therefore these scraped feeds are the only way to follow such comics. Fine, they don't want this scraping to happen, that is their right, but I do find the rhetoric that is used here, completely and utterly stupid.

Why the fuck would removing advertisements be the same as holding a gun against someone's head!?! That is blatantly absurd - the former is the same as going to the toilet during commercial breaks, the latter is a threat to take a life of a person! There is nothing similar in these two cases. There's also the delusion of "lost sale" here... If the Hedge is not available to me via RSS, I'll just simply stop reading it. There is no "lost sale" in advertisements in this case - and even if I went to that site, I would have ad blockers in my browser.

The other side of me just wonders, why is "making Hedge so easily and freely available" undermining economics? If your economics consists of making life difficult and expensive for the users, then perhaps yes, but if your point is to sell books - aren't you better off telling everyone about your great thing? You know, advertising?

Anyway. There are many services that still do this scraping thing, all over the world. All it requires is a few lines of Perl or Python for anyone with an inch of coding ability. If you can read the HTML, you can scrape it. My fear is that once content producers realize this, they will start to offer their products embedded inside Flash files, or custom image plugins, or perhaps in DRM-protected videos (containing nothing but the image). Perhaps all text will be sent as images to stop scraping, or all sites will be turned to Flash. This will kill usability on so many fronts it's not funny anymore, and drive away users instead of getting more of them.

But what should be understood that scraping as such is not legal. You can, by sending a simple email, to shut down an offending site. You can stop it, once it starts to happen, using normal legal recourses. You just can't prevent it without losing your customers. Please don't even try...

Tuesday, 24-May-05 21:49
Revenge of the S..t

Saw Star Wars III. I think that if you spliced episodes I, II and III together, you might get a pretty decent movie. Just take the last half an hour from this one - because no other bit in it deserves saving. The first third of the movie is mostly boring - I yawned at the attempts to create sense-of-wonder (you know guys, there's a thing called "too much").

The middle part of the movie I mostly giggled through, much to the annoyance of my fellow moviegoers, I'm sure.

The final third had a bit of the same feeling as the old saga, and I had nearly a tear in my eye at one point. But still.

Star Wars III is kinda like going to a bad hamburger place: It's crap food, and then you laugh at a poor waiter who drops a tray and makes a mess, but their ice cream leaves a decent aftertaste.

Next time, I'll just have the ice cream, thanks.

Monday, 23-May-05 20:29
Star Wreck, the final date?

From the Star Wreck web site:

We are proud and happy to inform you, that the wait is over. Star Wreck: In The Pirkinning has reached the point, when we finally are ready to set the release & premiere date:

The historical date is: 20.8.2005.

I'll believe it when I see it - I think the original premiere was supposed to be three years ago or something... ;-)

(But the trailers look very good. Darn, I think I'm gonna be in Seattle on the night of the premiere...)

Saturday, 21-May-05 15:22
A sweet diversion

Yesterday I just stopped, in the shop, right next to the sausage section. I saw a beautiful woman, packing Carelian pastries in a paper bag, oblivious to my staring. I just couldn't help looking at her, and smile like an idiot.

She turned and came to me. Asked: "What are you laughing at?"

And I replied: "I was just looking at you. I think I'm still terribly in love with you."

I'm so happy I found her.

Thursday, 19-May-05 23:02

Whee! Got this happy surprise in my mailbox. Back in business :-)

Dear author(s),

thank you for submitting your paper entitled

"User-initiated context switching using NFC"

to the IJCAI-Workshop Modeling and Retrieval of Context (MRC2005).

We are pleased to inform you that your paper has been accepted as FULL PAPER for publication and presentation.

Thursday, 19-May-05 17:52
Almost a Finnish knit blog

Blogitutkimus has something that looks like an beginner knitter could come up with: an incomprehensible mess of strings.

However, since this is a blog dedicated to blog research, it's actually a map of the Finnish blogrolls - i.e. who endorses whom in their sidebars. The reason why I'm in the middle with the most links is not because I'm part of a mythical Bloggers Inner Circle [BTW, meeting at eleven at the Usual Place. Bring your capes. And a frog.], but likely because I happen to have my entire up-to-date subscription list available automatically, whereas most others seem to maintain their "recommended reading list" manually. Or that's my guess.

It's a fun pic. You can find all sorts of interesting data in it, and support almost any opinion you can think of. It'll be interesting to see what Jere can dig out of it :)

(I'm reading too many blogs anyway. I should probably start dropping the ones I don't read so regularly anymore...)

Thursday, 19-May-05 11:00

Tuhat sanaa reports that The Dawn and Drew Show has agreed to do product placement with Durex. No spots, but deep product placement.

Here's one reason why the new media will triumph over the old one: it has little integrity. Traditional media is bound by certain rules: some legislated, some self-imposed. But in the new media, there's always someone willing to skirt the bounds of good taste, morale, or legality to make a few bucks. People place far fewer restrictions on themselves than media corporations do - witness the FCC Decency Rules, for example. Advertisers will love it. A lot of people will probably suffer for it.

It places a heavy burden on the reader. And an even heavier one on the old media, who'll either have to play up their strengths or succumb to the flow. After all, a lot of the media (especially TV) is mostly about catering for advertisers, not viewers.

Ironically, this may mean good times for the really old, established media (such as YLE, the Finnish Broadcasting Corporation, or BBC) that have been rummaging through the times in a juggernaut-like fashion, protected by the TV license fees: they can embrace the benefits of the new media, without the commercial pressures; neither will they have to face the competition for advertising money, which is always affecting the advertising-run businesses. They have far more freedom than anyone else in the game. And when things are changing rapidly, freedom is good.

Wednesday, 18-May-05 12:17
Just a couple of blog recommendations

Nyt kannattaa lukea (lukijoiden puutteessa kuihtuvaa) Hiljaista huutelua. Hyvä blogi, minä pidän.

Myös Karri Kokon Muistikirja, Meten mietinnät ja Tuhat sanaa ovat viime aikoina olleet lukulistani kärkipäässä uudemmista blogeista. Suosittelen.

Monday, 16-May-05 10:32
Them pesky designers

A Finnish proponent of "intelligent design" speaks his mind in this morning's Helsingin Sanomat link here, subscription required. Orkut Media happens to have an article on the very same subject (though it also has plenty of say about the recent attempt by Alabama to ban any book authored by a gay person):

Kansas is also challenging evolution in the classroom, and Intelligent Design Theory is making a splashy debut. Intelligent Design Theory, otherwise known as Creationism Lite (Now with half the God!™) points out the fuzzy areas of evolution, and reasons that if we don't know exactly how it happened, then God did it, which is the same rock-solid process by which the Greeks scientifically discovered that Zeus made lightning.

(Link via Red State Rabble, which follows the ongoing Kansas fight to teach intelligent design along with [or preferably in place of] evolution.)

Friday, 13-May-05 16:08
Traveling ain't the best job in the world

I've spent most of the day (my only free day in Tokyo!) indoors, thanks to a flu I caught. I went to bed yesterday around eight o'clock, feeling pretty tired. Of course, about five people called or SMSd me, either to try and drag me to have a beer, or asking, if I could bring them a PSP, or a Sony Librié or both. And games. And food. And DVD's.

My plan was to wake up at 4.45 to go to the Tsukiji Fish Market to get a fresh sushi breakfast and then get to Yodobashi Kamera for shopping, but after tossing and turning most of the night, not getting any sleep as I shivered and sweated alternatively, I simply had to give up. As I finally woke up, it was about 2 pm, and I was feeling like shit. The bed is not the most comfortable in the world, so my back ached. Along with a splitting headache that pretty much made me unable to do anything but soak in a bath for a while and go back to bed.

It wasn't until eight pm, that I managed to get myself out of the door to get some soba and to buy some candy from a neighbourhood shop, feeling generally woozy. So, I ain't gonna be bringing twenty kilos of electronics from this trip; sorry everyone.

Traveling induces stress. A four-day stretch of business meetings requires you to be mentally alert, and the evening programs tend to be taxing to your physique. When you add jet lag (which is worse flying east, at least for me), and three-to-four hours of sleep every night, you're pretty much a sitting duck for any sort of bugs, of which there are plenty in a city of 20+ milllion people, and many of which your immune system has never seen. On many occasions, you don't even have extra days; you just go from airport to hotel, hotel to meeting place, meeting place to hotel, hotel to airport... And after a while, you start to hope you were home more often, and then you start optimizing your flight schedules even more to minimize the amount of time you spend away from your loved ones.

Traveling is great, I love it. But it comes with a price.

Next to the Shinagawa station, a small band had set up their wares. I stopped by to listen, and gently swayed in the music (or maybe it was the fever) and for a moment, was transported elsewhere. The girl had a hauntingly beautiful voice, and she sang words that I could not understand, yet touched me. I got her CD, an autograph, and a smile.

Five am. wakeup tomorrow to get to the plane. Yay.

Then maybe New York again in two weeks.

Update: It hasn't gone exactly as planned. First of all, I have 38.4 degrees temperature and I am in Bangkok.

You see, the Finnair MD-11 tried takeoff from Osaka Kansai twice, and had an engine problem both times. So we ended up leisurely strolling back and forth the tarmac, from the gate to the takeoff area, and back to the gate for two-and-a-half hours, until the captain gave up and laconically told us that "this bird ain't flying nowhere today". After some slight abuse from business class passengers, I ended up on this slight detour from Osaka to Bangkok to Helsinki; to arrive on Sunday morning at 6 am, only 15 hours late of original schedule, with about a total of 30 hours travel.

Yay x 2.

(Though in all honesty I have to say that flying with Thai Airways is always nice; they seem to have more leg room than anyone else, the service seems a bit faster and the food is pretty decent for airplane food as well.)

Wednesday, 11-May-05 20:33

Many people have had less-than-pleasant stories with dealing with Apple Finland, but I have to say that so far the service has been top notch. I took my laptop to be serviced last week, and they gave me a replacement laptop (a nice, brand new 15" Powerbook with backlit keyboard) as a loan and put my hard drive into it. So I can still keep doing all the stuff I'm used to while my own computer is being diagnosed and refitted...

I mean, I've had to call Apple support hotline twice, and actually had friendly, fast and knowledgeable service on both times. I've even had a knowledgeable and enthusiastic salesman demonstrate Tiger (OSX 10.4) to me - in a department store! It does not happen often with computers.

Whatever you may think of Apple hardware or policies, they really have the user experience nailed down. There are some advantages in paying a bit more than the cheapest price for the highest bang.

Monday, 09-May-05 17:51
Finnish Open Source book is, well, open source

Henrik Ingo has written a book about Open Source and what it means. The book could've used an editor's gentle touch, and as many open source projects, it looks a bit shabby - but as with many open source projects, the contents are of reasonably high quality. And befittingly, the book is also licensed under the Creative Commons public domain -license, so you can do whatever you want with it.

It's a comfortable and easy read, and not only for geeks. Henrik writes with humor and a knowing touch. If you've ever wondered what this Open Source -thingy is and what is it exactly that makes Linux as good as it is, check it out. You can read the book for free on the web site, or you can order a copy, if you prefer solid formats.

(And why did I write a review of a Finnish book in English? Who cares... I'm in Tokyo, a city which I seem to be returning to no matter what I do, and I've been drinking a reasonable amount of reasonably good sake at a reasonable price.)

Monday, 09-May-05 16:45
Show yourself

At the risk of sounding like a Nokia commercial (I know, I've blogged about work stuff before), I would like to direct your attention to Nokia Sensor, a cool (and free) app that gives you the ability to make and display a local home page on your (relatively recent) Series 60 cell phone; a home page which other people in your vicinity can browse over Bluetooth.

A friend of mine said once that he dreads the day when you can go to the toilet, and without taking a peek, figure out who is in the next booth. Well, I happened to have a prototype version of Sensor on my phone at that exact moment, so I had to bite my lip and deftly direct the discussion elsewhere, but... that day has arrived.

It remains to be seen how popular this thing becomes, but it does demonstrate how cell phones are slowly becoming extensions of your persona instead of just a way to throw your voice to a remote location. Mobile phones have been the Great Equalizers of Distance - one can call anyone anywhere, but what Sensor (and a few apps before it; it's not an unique idea, though it's certainly one of the first apps of its kind) does is that it assigns more meaning to your proximity, your immediate surroundings. Which usually is more interesting to you personally than what is happening across the street or in Bolivia. It's different to show an aspect of your personality to people who are within 10 meters of you than to a random Googler searching for "dock woman porno" (a recent favourite in this blog).

(Disclaimer: I work for the company, and was involved at a very minor level in the early development of Sensor. Plus that I also am a geek, who gets very excited at new mobile technology, and actually likes the idea of having a computer-assisted social life (CASL)).

Saturday, 07-May-05 13:09

Can anyone think of a cuter game than this?

I hear it's one of the more popular games in Japan now...

(Via Matt.)

Friday, 06-May-05 10:21
Amnesty and metablogging

Amnesty International has issued a statement on Human rights in the Blogosphere. Nothing new, but it just underlines the fact that blogs are being taken seriously all over the world.

The initial grace period in which bloggers enjoyed complete freedom while the authorities caught up with the technology has ended, but it is still the easiest and fastest way for activists to spread information and many continue to use them, despite the personal risk involved.

This is one downside; another is the amount of information presented as fact. Blogs are individual expressions of opinion. Where "facts" are cited, they should be treated with healthy scepticism. As long as the reader makes his or her own judgments about the information, the fact that blogs do not purport to provide a balanced view can be refreshing, as there is little risk of a hidden agenda or bias. They also offer an immediate right of reply and the opportunity for others to correct information or to put across an alternative viewpoint immediately.

The Blogosphere provides anyone with access to a computer the opportunity to meet like-minded people and organise activities anywhere in the world. For activists and journalists alike, it is a powerful tool.

I completely agree with the last sentence. Blogs are tools. Tools for distributing ideas more efficiently. Whether those ideas are about your personal life, the current political situation, the weather, or whether they are completely fictitious, it does not matter. As Ugus has found out, people don't seem to grasp the idea that you cannot treat blogs in the same way. Equally, yes, but not in the same way. All blogs - perhaps even all entries - have to be judged on their own merits.

You can't say all newspapers are the same, any more you can say all the television is the same, except if you're willing to make extremely broad and dumb generalizations that are of no use. The same goes with blogs: Some blogs are journalism, some aren't. Some blogs are diaries, some aren't. Some blogs are news, some aren't. Some blogs are popular, some aren't. Some are fictitious, some aren't. It's very dangerous to attach any sort of labels to anything, simply because labeling things will cause your view to be distorted, and you may no longer see anything outside the label. However, since the labels are pretty much a necessity, these things happen. You just need to be very careful when labeling things, and keep in mind that you have to take them seriously, but you really can't - if you get my meaning.

Anyway. Blogs are tools for publishing words. Nothing more, nothing less. The exact form is not that important, whether it be defined in a mechanistical fashion or as personal online publishing or perhaps something else. Once you have a grasp of blogging is, forget about it, and start thinking what blogging could be. That's where innovation lies - not at defining boxes around boxes until everything falls neatly into place, but at thinking outside the box; ripping the label off it, turning it upside down and shaking it until it breaks.

The word "blog" is broken. Let scholars worry about how to fix it.

You just write.

Friday, 06-May-05 09:46
We all like Ubuntu

Sam Ruby likes Ubuntu. I like Ubuntu too: it's been my primary server and desktop OS now for a couple of months. It's one of the easiest distros to install and is (apart from Red Hat's commercial offerings) the least user-hostile Linux to date that I've encountered. If you are considering Linux, or want to upgrade your existing system, you could do a lot worse than picking Ubuntu.

It also delights me to see the internal IBM URL he gives: it points to a JSPWiki instance! Woo-hoo! You so rarely hear from people using your software (mostly only when they have trouble) that sometimes you wonder if anyone is using your thing... So the lone developer has to extract joy from things like seeing a familiar URL on someone else's blog.

Friday, 06-May-05 09:29
JSPWiki goes ~WebDAV and URI woes

I'm leaving for Japan tomorrow for about a week, so I'll post this here for the Great Internet Brain to munch on; it's not likely that I get much development done on the trip - heck, it's not even likely that I get my Powerbook back from repair shop before I leave...

I just yesterday committed an interesting patch to the JSPWiki CVS HEAD: it makes JSPWiki appear as a WebDAV repository. Once complete, this allows things like direct opening of attachments and saving them transparently into the Wiki, without the usual "click on link - edit - save locally - upload new revision back to wiki" -cycle, which can be very frustrating.

This is still an experimental feature (and will be disabled by default in the upcoming stable release), but it seems to work relatively well for browsing. It does not yet allow saving of documents, but that should be relatively simple to implement now that things are in place.

My big problem however, is not technical, it's more of an aesthetical nature (people who don't get how a technology problem can be aesthetical can go to the next blog now): what would be the correct URI space for the DAV support? The problem with DAV is the rendered content - all wikipages are dynamically generated, so the HTML is not a document that is editable.

At the moment, I have everything mounted under /dav (resulting in $blogurl/dav/raw/About.txt, $blogurl/dav/html/About.html for the raw wikimarkup and html rendered versions respectively), but for attachments the source and rendered versions are the same, so you could conceivably just inherit the ~AttachmentServlet from ~WebDavServlet and implement PUT, DELETE, MKCOL, PROPFIND and the rest of the bunch - GET is already done there! But that would result in a somewhat fragmented URI space: you could not just cut-n-paste an URL into a DAV client, since wikipages would need mapping, whereas attachments wouldn't...

Anyway, what is better?

Option 1)

Keep DAV URI space completely separate. The attachment handling is a bit complicated here; and the URIs have nothing to do with the usual browsing URIs.

$baseurl/dav/html/Foobar.html       = rendered page
$baseurl/dav/raw/Foobar.txt         = raw page in wikimarkup
$baseurl/dav/raw/Foobar-att/foo.png     = Foo/foo.png attachment

Option 2)

Use as much as possible the existing URI space (may result in confusion; very easy to do with attachments; has really no common "root" element).

$baseurl/wiki/Foobar.html           = rendered page
$baseurl/wiki/Foobar.txt            = raw page
$baseurl/attach/Foobar/foo.png      = attachments

Option 3)

Sorta like Option 2, but with differences (needs three servlets, perhaps the most configurable of all, but brings hassles, may not be intuitive to user).

$baseurl/html/Foobar.html           = rendered page
$baseurl/raw/Foobar.txt             = raw page
$baseurl/attach/Foobar/foo.png      = attachments

Option 4)

Something else - what? The comment area is open for suggestions...

(And yes, I wrote my own ~WebDAV library - I looked at Slide, as well as RFC 2518 and realized that I can probably write my own Class 1 DAV server in the same time that it takes for me to understand the Slide documentation. Boo hiss. And Slide is HUGE! It certainly suffers from a bad case of JAR-bloat'o'itis...)

Wednesday, 04-May-05 12:51

...by a coding bug, it seems. I've managed to roll out a WYSIWYG editor to JSPWiki (what, Wiki with actual WYSIWYG editing) and now I'm working something pretty cool as well. Let me just say it involves things like XPath, DOM and a few other nice acronyms... ;-)

Friday, 29-Apr-05 13:24
Police admits, we were wrong

Jani of Mummila got a response to his complaint relating to police ordering the censorship of his blog: "...internal correcting measures have taken place, no sanction will be enforced by the State Provincial Offices on this matter."

And I guess that's fine: one mistake should be forgiven. It's good that there's now an official statement about this issue, so the legal status of blogs is now a bit more firm.

(Can you see I'm on holiday? I blog more and my English goes really bad. :)

Friday, 29-Apr-05 13:02
French exception

Ross Mayfield: The French Exception:

French is the second largest language and half of students in France blog. This is due, in no small part, to Skyradio telling their listeners to Skyblog what they think at most commercial breaks -- a multi-million dollar advertising investment from an MSM to make blogging cool. Effective, considering they have 1.5 million bloggers according to Pierre Bellanger's presentation.


Basically, nobody blogs in Germany despite their population and broadband penetration

My real reason though to quote this article is the following paragraph:

While lots of blog pundits are quick to agree that the real action isn't blogs as publishing (aside: Doc's presentation put the nail in content instead of conversation) -- but chatter with friends that happens to be in the open. We have explored this as part of the network structure, demographics, interests, everything. Barak from 6A noted that focus groups show people consistently think of bloggers are people who are self-important and have too much time on their hands. My wife, who was outed as part of the community this week, and is my favorite focus group, agrees violently. And nobody gives a damn who has more traffic than who.

David Foster Wallace writes:

TV is not vulgar and prurient and dumb because the people who compose the audience are vulgar and dumb. Television is the way it is simply because people tend to be extremely similar in their vulgar and prurient and dumb interests and wildly different in their refined and aesthetic and noble interests.

I would like to point out the similarities here: the reason bloggers who blog about blogs get a high ranking is simply because interest in blogging is the lowest common denominator among all bloggers. Power Law takes care of the rest. This is also the same reason why people who blog about sex, politics, or stir strong emotions (e.g. hatebloggers or people who keep strong, personal diaries) tend to also float to the top.

We all know that the good stuff happens at the long tail. But the lowest common denominators still are the most popular ones. That's just how the world is, and that's just how the free market works. I mean, what else would the blogosphere be except that the world's largest free market - anyone is free to join for free, and anyone can link to anyone else with no limitations, with links as a currency and popularity as wealth? (He said, with a glimmer of humour in the corner of his eye, but still gazing at this adversary with level, serious eyes.)

Think about it.

Thursday, 28-Apr-05 22:48
Some blogger awards statistics (in boring Finnish)

Blogger and www.kultainenkuukkeli.net seem to have a strong disagreement about publishing, so I have to do this here. Try and bear with me...

Ehdokkaista (paras merkintä poislukien) helsinkiläisiä oli 30 kpl, tamperelaisia 7 kpl, pohjois-karjalalaisia 1 kpl, oululaisia 1 kpl, tukholmalaisia 1 kpl, newyorkilaisia 1 kpl, tuntemattomia 5 kpl. Yleisö oli siis sitä mieltä, että 68% hyvistä blogeista tulee noin kehä kolmosen sisäpuolelta, sekä noin 16% Tampereelta. (Tuntemattomat voivat tietysti kasvattaa jompaa kumpaa lukua.)

Raati palkitsi kuusi helsinkiläistä, kolme tamperelaista, ja yhden oululaisen (paras merkintä meni helsingin ulkopuolelle, mutta koska en laskenut sitä äskenkään mukaan, en laske sitä tähänkään). Helsinkiläisiä palkituista oli siis 60% (tai 55%, jos parhaan merkinnän laskee, mutta minähän en laskenut), eli siis hieman vähemmän kuin ehdokkaista. Tamperelaisille meni 30% palkinnoista (27%, parhaan merkinnän kera).

Sen sijaan, että kyseltäisiin miksi raati suosii helsinkiläisiä kavereitaan, voidaan ehkä ennemmin kysyä, miksi suuri bloggaajayleisö oli alun perinkin sitä mieltä, että kaikki mainitsemisen arvoiset blogit ovat pääkaupunkiseudulta, sekä miksi raati palkitsi liki puolet ehdolla olleista tamperelaisista ja kaikki oululaiset?

Jos Kehä kolmosen ja Tampereen ulkopuolella on hyviä blogeja, miksi niitä ei äänestetty? Olisiko raadin pitänyt mennä radikaalimmin listan ulkopuolelle, jotta myös ei-kaupunkieläjiä olisi saatu palkittua? Pitäisikö palkinnoissa olla kiintiöt?

(Luvut laskettu pikaisesti, pahoittelen jos siellä on off-by-one -virheitä. Suuruusluvut ovat kuitenkin oikein.)

Päivitys: koska joku kuitenkin lukee tämän väärin (ja näin uudelleen luettuna tämän voi todellakin lukea väärin - story of my life), niin huomautettakoon, tässä kirjoituksessa on kieli hieman poskella, mutta ei kuitenkaan ihan kokonaan. Minusta tämä oli mielenkiintoinen ilmiö, jota en itse huomannut ihmetellä ennen kuin tänään saunassa. Raadin keskusteluissa ei missään nimessä käytetty paikkakuntaa minkäänlaisena kriteerinä - sitä ei varmaan edes mainittu kertaakaan. Minusta on kerrassaan mälsää se, että pääkaupunkiseudulla on näin hallitseva asema, ja haluaisin ehdottomasti nähdä enemmän bloggaajia muualta Suomesta. Mutta ehkäpä (toivottavasti) tämäkin korjaantuu ajan myötä: kaupunkilaissinkut ovat nopeimpia kokeilemaan uusia asioita; muut tulevat sitten perässä kun ovat nähneet niiden arvon.

Päivitys2: Jos kuukkelit olisi tänä vuonna jaettu pelkästään yleisöäänien mukaan, kaikki palkinnot paitsi yksi olisivat menneet Helsinkiin, ja mitvit olisi voittanut niistä neljä.

Thursday, 28-Apr-05 13:56

It's over for another year. Now it's time for the inevitable discussion on the awards, the gala, the judges and their mental capacity. I have to say that one of the more memorable moments of the evening was the round-table discussion on how many death threats each of the bloggers have received, and how many of them were anonymous... There are downsides to saying things in public: no matter how you say it, someone is going to dislike it.

Anyway, I would like to thank many people for making the evening a success:

  • Outi for being our official IRC transcriber, and putting up with the morons. Next year, we'll certainly do the IRC show on another channel.
  • KatjaW for being our gracious and voluptuous door hostess.
  • Kari for pressing the button
  • Hakkis for being the DJ (I have a feeling there's a blog post coming about a certain particular event relating to this...)
  • Mindy and Jaakko for making the whole evening work
  • Earl Grey and Misu for making the completely amazing and cute award statues. You rock!
  • Mike for the review that was complete even before the gala was finished
  • Kolibri for taking part in the jury sessions from 7500 km and ten time zones away.
  • Charlie Schick of Nokia Lifeblog (who has pictures, BTW, on his blog) for sponsoring the gala event
  • Ramin Miraftabi for the voting system
  • Janne Jääskeläinen for the incredible logo

And finally, all the winners for writing such darned good blogs.

Tuesday, 26-Apr-05 12:41
Hack away

Maybe the story of this 1337 hacker is old, but I hadn't seen it before. It's a good laugh.

(From Tero, via email.)

Monday, 25-Apr-05 10:43
An actual discussion this morning
"Ostit sitten minigrip-pusseja postimyynnistä."

"Joo, 30 euroa."

"...melko kallista."

"Nii... elämä on."

Or the same in English:

"So, you bought some small plastic bags from the internet."

"Yeah, 30 euros."

"...pretty expensive."

"Well... life is."

Sometimes I think my life resembles a giant sitcom.

Friday, 22-Apr-05 17:48



Thursday, 21-Apr-05 16:14
A small digression into Finnish metablogging

Outin keskustelupalstalla alkoi sinällään ihan mielenkiintoinen keskustelu, johon tuli kirjoitettua pitkähkö vastine. Heivaan sen nyt samantien tänne, sillä röyhkeällä oletuksella, että meillä on eri lukijoita :-).

Kristiina kirjoittaa:

Ja kymmeneen laskettuani: on naurettavaa yrittää esittää (mm. kuukkelikategorioiden ja -palkintojen kautta), että bloggaaminen olisi ja sen pitäisi olla keskeisimmältä olemukseltaan jotain muuta kuin päiväkirjaa, _kun kerran itsekin myönnät_, että sitä se valtaosin on. Toki blogata voi muutenkin, mutta kaikki se on kuitenkin marginaalista."

Tämä on totta, mutta ei kuitenkaan koko totuus. Kun otetaan huomioon blogien *lukijamäärät*, niin huomataan, että lukijoita löytyy suhteessa enemmän ei-päiväkirjoille kuin päiväkirjoille. Ja tämä tekee niistä merkittäviä.

Esimerkiksi Pinserin top-listaa vilkaistessa top-10:stä puolet ei ole suoranaisia päiväkirjoja. Päiväkirjojen osuus lisääntyy voimakkaasti listalla alaspäin mentäessä. Tosin top-lista vääristää päiväkirjojen suuntaan, mutta minkäs teet. Tämä on tietenkin varsin maa- ja kulttuurikohtaista: englanninkielisen maailman luetuimmat blogit eivät todellakaan ole päiväkirjoja; kun taas esimerkiksi Iranin top-10:stä kuusi on kirjoittajan seksielämästä kertovia (Ref: Blogtalk).

Kukaan ei ole sanomassa, että päiväkirjatyylillä ei ole arvoa ja että se ei kiinnosta ketään. Blogit *ovat kuitenkin jo myös* kansalaisvaikuttamisen väline (Ref: Rathergate ja Kryptonite-sotku). Tämän kieltäminen olisi myös silmien sulkemista todellisuudelta ja seinien rakentamista. Jos blogiasi seuraa tarpeeksi moni ihminen, olet automaattisesti mielipidevaikuttaja, halusit eli et. Ja massalla on voimaa, kuten monesti on todettu.

Merkittävistä, seuratuista ja hyvistä (noin keskiarvokriteereillä) blogeista suurin osa ei ole puhtaita päiväkirjoja, mutta se ei tarkoita sitä, etteikö olisi olemassa hyviä päiväkirjoja. (Ref: Shirky's Power Law.)

Jokainen lukee sitä, mistä pitää, ja jokaiselle se oma blogilista on se paras. Mutta kun kyse on massoista, osoittautuu, että samaa päiväkirjaa loppujen lopuksi haluaa kovin harva lukea - vaikka se olisi oikeasti aivan älyttömän hyvä päiväkirja! Ihmisillä kun on taipumus saada ne valaistuksen siemenet ihan erilaisista asioista...

Minä en halua kehittää mitään yhtenäistä blogikulttuuria. Minä haluan vain nähdä hyviä, mielenkiintoisia blogeja, joita itse haluaisin lukea. En todellakaan halua muuttaa kenenkään tapaa kirjoittaa, mutta haluan nähdä uusia kirjoittajia ja löytää uutta vanhoista. Haluan ymmärtää maailmaa ja toisia ihmisiä paremmin. Haluan välittää asioista ja etsiä ihmisiä, joiden joukkoon tunnen kuuluvani. Haluan palkita ja rohkaista niitä, joiden koen antaneen minulle tai muille jotain erityistä.

Onko se nyt sitten jotenkin niin kovin kauheaa?

(Kopioin vielä tuosta alhaalta mielestäni tärkeän asian: Tämä on vain tekstiä. Blogit ovat vain yksinkertainen tapa saada kaikki mukaan samalle lähtöviivalle, teknisestä tai taiteellisesta kyvystä riippumatta.)

Päivitys: muistihäiriö, vain kuusi kymmenestä iranilaisesta blogista on seksiblogeja. Lisäsin myös linkkejä.

Wednesday, 20-Apr-05 22:20
One week to go...

Don't forget: Finnish blog awards gala is one week from now: 27.4. at 19:00 in Bar Dubrovnik, Eerikinkatu 11, Helsinki. Watch Kuukkeliblog for more information...

(Virallisen irkkaajan paikka on vielä auki. Vapaaehtoiset ilmoittautukaa...)

Tuesday, 19-Apr-05 09:43
Finnish chainsaw politics

I have to say that any sort of compassion I felt towards the Metsähallitus folks is rapidly waning after seeing the infantile scare tactics they've been using with Greenpeace. Look at these videos and pictures (in English)! Revving chainsaws in the middle of the night, keeping people awake with sirens, hanging nooses from the trees, burning crosses... Sheesh!

The issue is complicated, as always, but Metsähallitus is really trying to make it simple: you can either scorn or hate them for being such jerks and allowing such idiotic things to happen - in their name, by their employees, nonetheless. One would imagine that grown people would have enough sense to sit down and negotiate, but this? It also casts a bad light on the Center Party, currently holding the seat of the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry.

Things like these tend to develop into a public relations fight. Greenpeace has been talking to buyers of Finnish paper, and quite a few authors and paper companies have already started to question the ethics of logging.

Metsähallitus is definitely not doing a good job on the PR front.

(Disclaimer: I support Greenpeace financially, though I am not a member. I also own some forest, so I support forestry. I don't think these are irreconcilably at odds, though...)

Update. I'm not too sure if Greenpeace's tactic of dumping logging waste on the stairs of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is any more mature, though it is a time-honoured Finnish tradition.

Update2: There's now an English-language blog covering the opposite side of the debate. Unfortunately it mostly consists of anecdotes: "Most locals say that...", "...use of international pressure, blackmailing and even lies by Greenpeace to harass the local people..." It's not very good journalism, but it's a start.

Saturday, 16-Apr-05 14:53
Snap judgements

I've found a good use for my iPod - I listen to podcasts on the way to work. Yesterday, I found this gem: The keynote of SXSW conference by Malcolm Gladwell. (MP3 download and stream available.)

He talks about snap judgements, and how good we are convincing ourselves that we are making a rational decision, even when we're not. I've always believed that intuition is a skill that can be trained - but I didn't know humans were that dependent on it...

Highly, highly recommended.

Saturday, 16-Apr-05 14:37

You know you've achieved something, when your work ends up in Wikipedia.

(And no, I didn't add it myself... ;-)

Friday, 15-Apr-05 10:24

My letter to the editor (in Finnish, duh) of Suomen Kuvalehti was published!

(Oh yeah, and the new widget in the right sidebar? I'll write about it soon, I promise. It's a new NFC hack...)

Pam's dad asked me to link to this, so here goes: Support Pam. I hope this turns out well for all parties.

Today's recommended Finnish Blog: Uusista blogeista Hiljaista huutelua on vakuuttanut minut asiallisilla kirjoituksillaan vähän puhutusta aiheesta jos toisestakin. Pidän paljon.

Friday, 15-Apr-05 09:30
When you least expect it...

And I thought I was kidding when I made this, but Kolibri found a way to use it for real.

Of course, it didn't work. Didn't work for me either.

(How about adding an electric motor inside it?)

Thursday, 14-Apr-05 14:05
Finnish mobile operator offering free blogs to all subscriber

Saunalahti is offering a free weblog to all its GSM subscribers. You can update your weblog using MMS messages, Nokia Lifeblog or internet.

~SaunaBlog. I like that name.

However, they seem to have lifted the entire description of what a blog is directly from Wikipedia without attribution, which, as far as I can tell, is a GNU FDL violation. Wikipedia.fi has more.

Also, looking at a sample blog, it seems that they are claiming copyright on anything that anyone writes on their own blog, and apparently they're not making you even agree on a license before you use the service. This is simply wrong - you simply cannot assert copyright on something that you don't own. If you write a blog, you own its content - regardless of who hosts it.

Saunalahti seems to be pretty lax about copyright issues. This will bite them in the ankle, I'm sure.

Thursday, 14-Apr-05 13:37
Look ma, I'm blind

So, this one country invades this other country saying that now its inhabitants can be free and the women are no longer oppressed, killing many people in the process of distributing freedom. However, at the same time they pretend that their own women have no nipples and punish those women who dare to have them. Even with clothes on.

They are more alike than they want to admit.

(Via Dan Gillmor.)

Sunday, 10-Apr-05 23:04
Lessons of Life

Learned an important lesson yesterday, after a movie evening with friends:

You can't strut, if you need to really, really, really pee.

Saturday, 09-Apr-05 00:08
Commercial blogs entering Finland

My my, what an interesting week this has been: First, Blogilista goes commercial, and now Pirkka-magazine has launched a number of commercial blogs. The Finnish blogosphere reacts with violent distrust and confusion.

I see no problem. These are clearly blogs, simply because the only meaningful definition for the world blog is based on form, not content. They're not lying about their affiliation. They publish polished content. In fact, I find it wonderful that a media publisher dares to go and try and embrace the new media. They even publish Atom feeds for all blogs! Way!

However, entering the blogosphere may be more difficult than just dumping Movabletype on your magazine web site: people will look at these blogs. They will discuss. They will find crap on them (if there's any). They will write about it. And it's difficult to ignore them, if you want to keep your credibility. Other bloggers will call your bullshit - and very likely, someone in that bunch is at least equal in writing skills and more knowledgeable on the subject than you. And they know it.

Now the question is how much integrity Pirkka wants to have: do they just want to publish news articles in a blog format - or do they really want to go full out and really try to embrace the dialogue that comes with the format?

You see, whatever else blogs may be, they work best as a personal media. You need to let people write with their own voice, not just copying material from others - even if you have all the rights to do so. It's the power and bane of the format; a personal touch creates reader loyalty, but it also means that you have to get involved in your writing - "laittaa itsensä likoon", as the Finns say. And that is not easy.

Welcome to the crowd! I'm happy you're here, anyway. People will grumble, but there's always room for one more in the jacuzzi.

(A quick hint to Pirkka writers: Read http://www.corporateblogging.info/, and Scoble's Corporate Blogging Manifesto. Understand. Internalize. And stop posting articles from one person under the name of another... That simply takes away credibility from the author.)

(And a quick other hint to people who complain about these being on blogilista.fi: get a clue. Really. Would you stop using a phone book simply because it contains company phone numbers, or stop using Google because it's *gasp* a profit-making company? That's exactly what Blogilista.fi is - an index of blogs, nothing more. It ain't your personal blogospheric community where people live happily and go to the woods to get undressed and hug each other in a blogoslavic überbliss. If you don't like the direction they're taking, learn to use RSS and site feeds, and make your own personal bloglist.

Blogging in Finland is finally growing up. The hype around blogging will cease in a year or two, and hopefully we then can better understand what the media is and what one can do with it. And then we can get back to the really important thing: writing. Writing about your dog, or your political views, or celebrity divorces, or company products, or food, or your sex life, or whatever pleases you. Some bloggers will gain prestige; some bloggers will become influential; some bloggers will make many people laugh; some bloggers will make many people weep. Some will be completely ignored. Most will just form their own community of their twenty close friends or family or whoever, and just happily live in their own microcosmos.

It's just text. In the end, it's all in the way you arrange the letters of the alphabet - blogs, through their simplicity, are just a way of letting everyone play in the game.)

Thursday, 07-Apr-05 10:22
Finnish blog list bought

Well, well, well... The Finnish blog world just got a tad more interesting: A Finnish VC company just bought blogilista.fi, the master list of Finnish blogs (which also functions as a simple web-based aggregator as well). Congrats to all involved! I hope this means that their RSS parser would finally start working properly, instead of just doing really dumb byte comparisons. ;-)

However, what I find to be far more interesting is that Typepad (from Six Apart, the worlds largest blogging company) is reaching its tendrils into Finland now: first with Typepad Finland and now with partnership to blogilista.fi. Through the latter they get much needed publicity and visibility in Finland - after all, most Finnish bloggers seem to use Blogger these days. Typepad will have to compete against Vuodatus.net, though. Having tried both, I have to say that I prefer Vuodatus for their ease of use while still doing everything that's necessary.

I do find it interesting though that Typepad would partner with an aggregation service...

Monday, 04-Apr-05 12:57
Don't ask, don't tell

Excuse me?

North Carolina cities and other government agencies are pursuing the authority to sue citizens who ask to see public records.

(Via Vera, over IRC.)

Monday, 04-Apr-05 01:57
Lisää Karpelan sensuurista

Enter-lehden 3/2005 pääkirjoituksessa päätoimittaja Tuomas Kilpi suomii ankarasti ministeri Karpelan sensuurihanketta (linkittäisin suoraan pääkirjoitukseen, mutta sitä ei löydy verkosta. Mikä on jotakuinkin tyhmää - tokko kukaan lehteä ostaa lukeakseen pääkirjoituksen, mutta verkossa pääkirjoituksille löytyisi luultavasti enemmän vastakaikua.)

Karpela perustelee pyrkimystään sillä, että netissä esiintyy laitonta sisältöä. Väite on sinänsä tosi, mutta oikeusvaltiossa asia kuuluu poliisille, syyttäjälle ja tuomioistuimille. Nyt ministeri tahtoo luovuttaa sananvapauden avaimet kiihkokristittyjen ja äärikonservatiivisten amerikkalaisten tarpeita palvelevien yksityisyritysten haltuun.

Juuri näin. Kun yritin ottaa selvää, millä perusteella blogiani sensuroidaan, vastauksena oli "se on ehkä tekninen vika". Todellinen vastaus on, ettei kukaan todella tiennyt, eikä ketään oikeasti kiinnostanut. Ja se on pelottavaa.

Lähetin tämän kirjeen Suomen Kuvalehden lukijapalstalle. Ehkä sillä on jotain vaikutusta. Luultavasti ei, mutta köyhän pitää yrittää.

Kulttuuriministeri Karpela on ilmoittanut haluavansa esto-ohjelmistot koulujen ja kirjastojen käyttöön. Tämä ei ole oikein.

Yritin äskettäin ottaa selvää, miksi eräästä helsinkiläisestä nettikahvilasta estettiin pääsy verkkosivuilleni. Suodatinohjelma ilmoitti sivuilla olevan "kyseenalaista materiaalia", mutta kukaan ei suostunut kertomaan kuka, missä ja miksi oli tehnyt päätöksen verkkosivujeni sensuroinnista.

Oli suodattimen toiminnan takana hieno algoritmi tai nörtti, joka lisää hikisin käsin pornosivustoja estolistaan, jonkun on päätettävä, mikä on moraalisesti oikein ja mikä väärin. Kaupalliset yritykset tottelevat kaupallisia realiteetteja. Mikäli jollain kolmannella osapuolella - vaikkapa aggressiivisella uskonlahkolla - on tarpeeksi ns. pätäkkää tai lakimiesarmeija, ohjelmistovalmistaja voi taipua lisäämään yllättäviäkin sivustoja salaisille estolistoilleen.

Kuka sanoo, mikä on sopivaa?

Kuka valvoo niitä, jotka sanovat, mikä on sopivaa?

Eduskunta on säätänyt rikoslain, jossa rikosten lista ja rangaistukset ovat kaikkien kansalaisten nähtävillä. Karpelan tulevaisuudessa minä en voi tietää, mitä olen tehnyt väärin.

Janne Jalkanen

(Ensin sensuroidaan raaka porno, sitten pehmeä porno, sitten laittomasti levitetyt elokuvat, sitten MP3:t, sitten väärät uskonnot, sitten eriävät mielipiteet, sitten Linux... Kaikelle löytyy aina hyvä perustelu.)

Päivitys: Myös Tietokone-lehden 3/2005 pääkirjoitus käsittelee samaa asiaa. Hämmentävää, miten hitaasti asiat tuntuvat tapahtuvan printtimaailmassa. Tiedän, että se on vain harha, mutta silti...

Friday, 01-Apr-05 18:36
NFC Presence

I don't blog about what I really work on, for obvious reasons, but I just got two very nice 3220 phones with the Nokia NFC Shell, wrote a small web app, and got clearance from my boss to blog about it, as this stuff is gonna be in the shops, well, if not today, but very soon. NFC is geek for "Near Field Communication", which in turn is geek for "doing really close range communication between two really simple radios." If you're using any sort of a contactless travel pass, credit card, or access key, you're using NFC.

This particular app was pretty trivial to do (and required about five lines of code on the server side): I took two NFC tags (essentially very small memory cards with a radio that can be read/written from up to a few centimetres), wrote the URL of my web service on both of them (using the ~ServiceDiscovery app included), and wrote a little JSP page that handles the interfacing with my blog.

Then I stuck one tag on my work monitor, and another one at home. Now I can just touch one of these tags with my phone, and a few seconds later (some delays are involved with starting the Java midlet and connecting to GPRS) the little box on the right changes to show my location. Voila: NFC-powered presence.

This is in essence no different from doing a Trackback ping; I'm just doing it by touching something with my phone. Not traversing menus, not using the keyboard, not even glancing the screen.

Just touching. It couldn't be simpler.

Took me more time to take the pictures and blog about it than to actually write the app...

(Disclaimer: I work for the company, and I've been somewhat involved in giving birth to these babies. But I wouldn't write about it if it didn't give me the warm fuzzies.)

Thursday, 31-Mar-05 22:53
Dan misses, Aditya saves!

Aditya Dev Sood will be speaking at an Aula klubi event in Helsinki entitled 'Used in India' on April 12th, 2005 at 6.00 pm at Korjaamo. Aditya is director of the Center for Knowledge Societies, a research and design practice based in Bangalore and New Delhi. The event is free and open to the public.

Aditya replaces the original appearance by Dan Gillmor. He may not be as famous, but he certainly knows a lot about mobile technology, culture, and people in an environment you have not probably previously experienced. Plus that he's a really cool guy.

(Via Marko. Read his entry for a more thorough explanation.)

Thursday, 31-Mar-05 14:12
Use your Mac as a game controller

New Powerbooks have an acceleration sensor to park the hard drive in case you drop the laptop. Amit Singh has figured out a way to use this as an interface device. Check out the cool videos of him playing games with it!

I would love to be able to switch a song in iTunes just by tapping my laptop...

Thursday, 31-Mar-05 13:50
Finnish bloggers awarded

From Yle 24:

Prestigious state awards for disseminating information went this year to eight persons or groups. Among the recipients was an diving instructors' Internet site. After the tsunami hit in December, they published badly-needed information about Finns caught up in the disaster.

The award went to sukellus.fi, with Alex Nieminen, Petri Ahoniemi, Janne Miikkulainen, Matti Anttila, Sami Köykkä, Mimmu Pekkanen, and Kalle Valkama for "fast and professional internet information dissemination during a crisis".

(A timeline of the events in English can be found here.)

Congrats to all! Good work, and rightfully awarded!

Tuesday, 29-Mar-05 09:50
Well, if you don't like my beliefs, I can sue you

Florida is set out to squash "leftist totalitarianism" by introducing a bill that allows students to sue professors in universities for "not respecting the beliefs of the students".

To quote:

According to a legislative staff analysis of the bill, the law would give students who think their beliefs are not being respected legal standing to sue professors and universities.

Students who believe their professor is singling them out for “public ridicule” – for instance, when professors use the Socratic method to force students to explain their theories in class – would also be given the right to sue.

"Some professors say, 'Evolution is a fact. I don’t want to hear about Intelligent Design (a creationist theory), and if you don’t like it, there's the door,'" Baxley said, citing one example when he thought a student should sue.

Rep. Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach, warned of lawsuits from students enrolled in Holocaust history courses who believe the Holocaust never happened.

Similar suits could be filed by students who don’t believe astronauts landed on the moon, who believe teaching birth control is a sin or even by Shands medical students who refuse to perform blood transfusions and believe prayer is the only way to heal the body, Gelber added.

Hooray. We know all what happened in Russia when ideology became more important than facts... And what will happen when lawyers start running the universities? Not that they do already, but at the moment they've not been messing with curriculums.

Here's a direct link to the bill text. The bill is quite interesting, as it really does not sound very bad. In fact, principles and ideas embodied in it do sound very grand and liberal! However, what it really says is that students have a right to hear what they want, and should someone infringe on that, they could be sued. Since the bill does not define what is "controversial material", or "serious scholarly viewpoints", it becomes very difficult to determine what has to be included in the curriculum and what not - simply because seriousness and controversy are based on personal opinions.

Monday, 28-Mar-05 22:13
Finnish blog awards nominees published

Blogger is throwing a tantrum, so I'll have to announce this here: The nominees for the Finnish weblog awards for 2004 are up. Congrats to everyone, the jury will now commence work. The date and location for the gala will be announced once I have recovered from my two weeks of incessant traveling...

(224 voters, 2301 votes cast.)

Friday, 25-Mar-05 23:47
foreach $i in $swearwords; do echo $i; done

I wrote a lengthy entry about India and how some things are more uncomfortable than others, but this stinking camel turd of a computer that I wouldn't give to a donkey to masturbate on, decided to fall asleep on its own, crash, and take my entire composition to bit heaven. Yeah, it's running Windows. No, I don't maintain it myself. Yes, it's corporate stuff. No, I didn't bring my Mac.


What I was about to say, was that the strangest things about India are not the beggars, nor the poverty, nor the cows standing in the middle of expressways, nor the camel turds, nor rickshaw-racing (which is cool but scary), nor the touts, nor the constant bargaining, but the simple questions like "When you would like to have tea in the bed tomorrow?"

I am not used to being served. I find it really strange, if someone else carries my bag; I find it difficult not to help clean the table after a meal, and I find it almost offensive when someone exists for the purpose of pushing the elevator button for me. (Then again, living in Finland, I'm used to waiters being smug, if not downright insulting.)

We managed to spend a night at a British villa outside Delhi (Flash & giggling Finns warning). You know the drill: come in, someone brings you soda and lime, you kick off your shoes, go for a swim, a stroll in the countryside, someone brings you five o'clock tea, you chat nonchalantly over deep issues over a gin&tonic, then the supper is served, you retire and someone asks you the question: "Would you like to have tea in the bed in the morning, sir?"

You know. Everyday stuff.

The really, really scary thing is that how easy it is to get used to this colonial era high-class/low-class attitude. I feel... Ashamed? Guilty? Dirty? It's as if I was enjoying a forbidden fruit; that I was not allowed to be in this superior position. People were giving me attention that was completely unwarranted, not on the account of who I was, but what I was perceived to be representing.

But it felt damned good. Very, very easy to slip into. Probably very, very hard to get out of.

Like a mousetrap.

Holi festival tomorrow. Will be interesting.

Monday, 21-Mar-05 22:46
Want an air-powered bicycle?

Matt mentioned this to me, and I thought he was kidding, but yes, iFabricate does exist.


I see at least one lawsuit coming up, with people who injured themselves with the instructions. But still, this has potential to become a good resource. As long as it sticks to even remotely useful stuff...

Peer-based creation cool.

Sunday, 20-Mar-05 20:58

Returned home, spent the evening putting together a sofa and a small shelf, and woke up at 5.30 am to catch the early flight to Delhi, India to attend the Doors 8 conference.


India is... overwhelming. And I haven't been to anywhere yet. From the touts at the airport who say anything ("no sir, only one person is allowed in a taxi!") to the rickshaws to the girl that tried to run under a taxi to the empt vastness that is New Delhi to the overkill service at the hotel... Well, ever heard of a Finn say "service was too good"? Now you have. It just passes my comfortness level - the amount attention feels like someone knocked you out with a soft pillow and did a manicure to you while you were still dazed.

Obviously, I'm just seeing one part of Delhi, the one that's from the time of the British colonialism. The rest is out there, just beyond the horizon. I'll get there, eventually.

The conference is pretty interesting. The people here seem to be a relaxed, interesting mix of individuals with life experiences from almost all corners of life. For example: I talked to someone who actually used to be in the "selling women's used knickers to men" -business. (A rather profitable, yet dull industry. No growth opportunities.) I also see now why India is a good place for holding a conference such as this: the problems that people of a country this size and wealth face are quite different from the Western lifestyle, but yet there is infrastructure and stability and will to make things better. There's a whole range of problems, ranging from education of basic hygiene to revving up an entire IT industry - and they're trying to do it all at the same time.

(Heard an interesting statistic: local women don't live to be much older than men on the average. That's because they are allowed to starve. Even when breastfeeding.

Ya. Sense kicked into me. Probably good.)

Saturday, 19-Mar-05 01:05

Niin, siis jos joku ei vielä jo huomannut, Kultainen Kuukkeli -kisa on jälleen täällä. Kultaiset kuukkelit jaetaan joka vuosi monelle suomalaisille ansioituneille bloggaajille ja/tai blogeille. Kuten viimekin vuonna, suuri yleisö äänestää viisi ehdokasta jokaiseen kategoriaan, joista raati sitten valitsee kermat päältä. Äänestysaikaa on vielä reilu viikko, joten kilvan ehdottamaan omia ehdokkaita!

Kuukkeleilla on tänä vuonna myös ihan oikea kuukkeliblogi, jota voi seurata blogilista.fi:n kautta tai vaikkapa suoraan viimeistä teknologiaa käyttäen bloglines.com:in kautta.

(In English: The Finnish blog awards are on again.)

Wednesday, 16-Mar-05 14:41
Up and "running"

New York is one of the few places of the world, where you can glance out of your 17th floor window, and see, well, pretty much nothing. People say Tokyo is crowded, but due to earthquakes they don't build the high-rise towers as close to each other as over here, and therefore it feels more spacious. "Urban canyon", indeed.

Had a massive cramp during the night in my right thigh (made me wake up and scream) and now I hobble around like I had a wooden leg. It tends to happen when I get dehydrated or cold (or both), and is one of the reasons I don't dare to dive, even if I really wanted to: using flippers for more than a minute is a sure way to get the cramp going.

Wednesday, 16-Mar-05 05:58
New York, New York

Jetlag, jetlag.

Taxis, taxis.

Free Wifi, free Wifi.

Here until Thursday, then back, and then to India, where, to quote Matt, "I hopefully get some sense kicked back into me".

Monday, 14-Mar-05 20:31
Forensic analysis

Well, most of the stuff is up and running (apart from all mailing lists). The Finnish blog awards are now back up and running, and even my normal email works now!

Here's a quick rundown on what happened:

  • On Saturday, at about 23:25 person A using a machine from Brazil executed a series of commands using an awstats vulnerability (yes, we had it patched to the latest stable; no, apparently it was not enough).
  • He was quiet for about 20 minutes, but at about 23:35 two other attackers B and C (or the same) from Italy and UK almost simultaneously launched a similar attack on the server.
  • Person B was able to run "adduser" at 23:45 and add himself an account, logging in and promply downloading a rootkit which allowed him to have root privileges
  • Person B then attempted to deface the site, but failed (thanks to the pretty hairy configuration we have over here)
  • Person A returned at this point, and tried to execute a new attack, suggesting that he was not able to gain access before
  • Person B ran "rm -rf /" on the server, starting to delete everything at about 23:55, presumably to cover his traces. Our logs end at 0:06, when the final daemons failed.
  • I received first warning at 0:15. Luckily memory-resident processes kept running for some time, so I was able to inspect the situation and the machine was physically disconnected at about 1 am.

Sunday was mostly used to reinstall a completely new system and do a forensics analysis on the deleted partitions. Sleuthkit turned to be invaluable in reconstructing the deleted local log files (so yes, we have the exact times, methods, and IP addresses). Yes, it works on ext3 as well.

I have backed up most of the necessary stuff daily, so there is little that was lost permanently. Unfortunately I had not stored all the necessary config files, which is why system recovery took longer than expected. Also, due to an oversight none of the mailing lists were backed up, so once we have them established again, ya'll have to resubscribe. Very sorry about that :-/

Sunday, 13-Mar-05 23:40

Last night, right before midnight some smartass broke into my computer and decided to remove all traces of his visit by deleting everything. And I mean everything.

We decided to upgrade the hardware from a 266 MHz PII to a dual-Athlon-1.3 GHz while we were at it, changed the server operating system and are trying to restore the data. Unfortunately, some key config files seem to be missing, so it'll take a while. Apache+Tomcat is a very nasty combination at times.

It's not yet known how the guy got into the system.

If you need to email me, please use my GMail address jalkanen@gmail.com, as I cannot yet rely on my regular email system. Thank you.

(Kuukkelikisa on toistaiseksi jäissä. Tämänvuotiset kategoriat ovat alla, jotta voitte miettiä omia ehdokkaitanne:

  • Paras blogi
  • Paras uusi blogi
  • Paras päiväkirja
  • Paras erikoisalablogi
  • Paras kolumni
  • Paras viilaus
  • Paras vähän tunnettu blogi
  • Paras tagline
  • Paras merkintä
  • Humoristisin blogi)

Thursday, 10-Mar-05 15:49
Global Voices Infrastructure of Democracy

I've written about these guys before, but I haven't made my mind up yet: are these people just self-absorbed do-gooders who speak beautiful words and nod their heads in unison, or are they actually going to make a serious impact. At least they have a bunch of good people there. I just hope governments are listening.

Anyway, there's now a conference going on (with David Weinberger providing blog coverage) in Madrid (titled "Madrid conference on democracy, security and terrorism"), and they are drafting the first "Infrastructures of Democracy" -paper on the Global Voices Wiki.

Thursday, 10-Mar-05 09:26
Dan Gillmor in Finland

For anyone who's been following the late journalism-debate, the Man Himself, i.e. Dan Gillmor is coming to Finland. Please join him in an open session at Korjaamo, Helsinki, Tuesday, 12 April at 18:00. I'll certainly try to be there.

Ja sama suomeksi: Dan Gillmor, toimittaja-bloggaaja, joka on puhunut pitkään kansalaisjournalismin puolesta, on tulossa puhumaan avoimeen keskustelutilaisuuteen Helsingissä, Korjaamolla, tiistaina 12. huhtikuuta kello 18.00. Tervetuloa!

(Via Jyri.)

[Dan Gillmor on peruttu, mutta hänen paikallaan esiintyy Aditya dev Sood. Kannattaa kuunnella myös tätä miestä...]

Wednesday, 09-Mar-05 14:21
EU Software Patent Bribe Pledge Drive
Why are software patents a bad thing? Imagine if you were a musician, composing a symphony. If there were "music patents" in the same way there are software patents, you might get sued for using a trombone to play a solo in the middle of your symphony, because some corporation has patented the method of using trombones in solos. This is, of course, absurd.

Implementations (i.e. a particular arrangement of notes or a piece of software code) are already protected by copyright. Software patents have the same impact on software as the ability to patent using a trombone to play a solo would have on music.

The particular problem with software patents as opposed to patents on machines is that computer software is always an abstract notion, an idea, if you will. While the patent law states that ideas as such are unpatentable, the SW patent law in practice allows this.

After last week's events, where the European Council caused a major blow to the democracy in the EU, and just walked over the European Parliament and its own judicial processes by accepting the Directive for Software patents, some enterprising individuals have set up an European Anti-Software Patent Bribe Pledge Drive. It consists of a group of individuals who are tired at the lobbying of the big corporations, and attempts to collect money to simply bribe the European Council Presidency (held by Luxembourg) to rejecting the Directive Proposal.

I guess the idea is fair - after all, the big companies are pouring money into the lobbying as well - but bribing a politician is not exactly legal, nor is encouraging someone to bribe one. Blatantly stating that one is collecting money to bribe a country is a good example of "attention journalism", but I doubt that it is really going to change anything. The proper use of that money would be to hire lawyers and individuals with a slick tongue and a soft touch to go into the halls of the EU to lobby really hard. Which can be achieved by supporting organizations such as FFII and EFFi.

However, should the directive pass, not all is lost for Open Source. While big corporations will hastily go and patent everything under the Sun to protect themselves, small companies that do not have the money or the skills to patent their innovation will have to turn elsewhere for protection: A patent needs to be, above all, three things: it has to be 1) non-obvious (though the USPTO has pretty much thrown this one away), 2) innovative, 3) and new (i.e. non-published). Publishing your innovation as Open Source essentially makes it impossible for anyone else to patent the same invention - therefore protecting your corporation.

Unfortunately, this does not prevent anyone from suing your company. However, participating in an Open Source project means that other corporations are likely to be using that innovation as well, therefore increasing the number of people who have a vested interest in participating in the battle - on your side.

It has to be understood that most of the SW patents in the USA are defensive in nature, much like nuclear weapons during the Cold War. There would be little incentive to attack an Open Source Project, as OSS in general is very benign and not likely to attack anyone. In fact, the corporations who should fear the impact of SW patents on OSS are the same big corporations that are using or planning to use OSS components: they are regularly subjected to big law suits where no ammunition is spared - including SW patent breaches.

This Directive seems very much like a Microsoft-directive: after all, it is one of the few companies in the world that are not using OSS components anywhere, but building everything in-house or subcontracting. Even Nokia has some Linux-based systems on the market. Should Microsoft (or someone else, much like the ill-fated SCO) attempt to attack Linux on the IPR front, many, many corporations would be unhappy.

Regardless of the potential good effects, the EU Software Patents directive will undermine European competitiveness in the software market, by simply increasing the required spending on IPR. This is detrimental to smaller companies, but naturally it's something that suits the bigger players - which are mostly American - just fine.

(Tämä keskustelu net.nytin keskustelupalstalla antaa ymmärtää, että suomalaiset eurokansanedustajat Seppänen ja Stubb ovat sitä mieltä, että asia ei mene läpi parlamentissa.)

Update: "The European Parliament (EP) and the Danish parliament are investigating whether the EU Council broke procedural rules by adopting the draft directive on software patents in the face of opposition from ministers." Good.

Tuesday, 08-Mar-05 11:23
Finnish police admits mistake

Jani of Marginaali has received a response from the Finnish Deputy National Police Commissioner (i.e. the Chief of Police Force) via Enterblogi. The police admits that a single officer had no right to order a web page to be censored, even if a possible crime had occurred, and that "the law regarding the freedom of speech and mass media is not known well enough among the police."

While it is worrying that the police do not seem to know the law, it's very positive that mistakes are acknowledged and hopefully learned from. A memo has been sent to the Oulu Provincial Police Command, and it's likely that the state provincial office will also need to address the issue due to an official complaint from Jani.

This is not the first case, nor will it be the last. In fact, my guess is that we'll see at least another attack like this against online personal publishing. Granted, there are some blogs which probably deserve it, but as this is arguably a new domain of publishing, the legislation will have to be tested in the blogosphere as well. And as such, I welcome it, as it clears the rules and the playing field. I just hope nobody would need to suffer for it...

Jani has been called in for questioning by the local police on the matter for next Friday. This will be interesting...

(Read the previous part of the story.)

Monday, 07-Mar-05 13:50
Only professionals can speak?

In a series of bizarre events, Apple has sued a bunch of bloggers for releasing information about their upcoming products. The thing is, a journalist is protected by the law, so that they don't have to reveal their sources, but Apple has managed to convince a judge that a blogger is not a journalist, and therefore must reveal their sources.

Dan Gillmor writes about this in depth, being a blogger and a professional journalist. He has some quite excellent points, I recommend that you read it. An interesting piece of information is also this article from CNET that suggests that in the future, blogging and other form of citizenship journalism might be subject to FCE regulation in the U.S., due to the fact that linking to a political campaign might be considered official support, and therefore subject to the same regulations as all monetary support.

I think this discussion will happen also in Finland in the near future. An unregulated internet where anyone can say anything they like is a horror to anyone in power. It's quite likely that also over here there will eventually be attempts to limit freedom of speech online - our very own Minister of Culture, Ms. Karpela, is already trying to circumvent the relevant laws to make sure that "filth" (as defined by your average geek writing a crappy program, owned by a corporation with commercial interests, and supervised by your average alarmist Christian) would be censored from the Internet.

All this talk about censorship and regulation makes my head ache. It won't work - get over it already. Embrace the change: the winners will be found in the crowd that accepts this first.

The alternate is that only professional, accredited writers have a freedom to speak.

Update: The FEC article has been shot down by representatives of FEC. And a good thing, too. I guess it shows that politicians will have to be even more careful about what they say, lest the blogger horde misinterpret them. However, I think in general it's good to have public review of important decisions - blogs have a way of turning legalese into something human-readable. Perhaps it is not always right yet, but it's getting more so.

Update2: Blogger Garrett M. Graff has been admitted into a White House news briefing, says CNN. Just as an interesting data point...

Update3: Kari Haakana has asked the Finnish Journalist Union, and got a response confirming that in Finland the right not to reveal your sources extends to any kind of online publishing, including bloggers.

Thursday, 03-Mar-05 00:54
The Ten Year Meme

Ten years ago I was mostly not studying very hard at the Helsinki University of Technology. On a whim I decided to apply for a scholarship to CERN, and got granted one! So I spent a warm summer in Geneva, learning once and for all that education does not a smart person make, nor do brains make them nice. My mother turned 50, and I spent the party glued to a coin telephone in the empty main hall of CERN.

Five years ago I snuffed my academic career, having gotten tired of the university world, and switched my career plans from PhD to Java Consultant. This job took me later that year to Melbourne, Australia - a place which I still remember fondly as one of the great times of my life. The industry was in a slump, so I didn't have that many paying jobs, and ended up hanging around in the office most of the time. But it still was great.

Three years ago I had returned from Australia, switched jobs again (to my present position), separated from my girlfriend, and bought a new apartment. My career seemed to be going up, and I was really developing at go. But I had heard of this cool stuff called Wikis and weblogs, and I had started publishing with my own wiki engine...

One year ago I was busily arranging the Finnish Blog Awards, bringing me questionable fame, and dating someone who taught me a lot. I've not regretted it since, and I'm still proud to call her a friend. Also I had not released JSPWiki 2.2, despite many promises. My go career also went to a slump I haven't been able to recover from.

This year I have been working hard, as usual. I've lost a friend, but gained a room mate (and about ten cubic metres of stuff).

Yesterday I got commended for my work. It was satisfying to see others liking our work so much, they wanted to present it onwards. In the evening, I fully demonstrated that I don't know Jack Schitt in a pub quiz.

Today I stroke gently the forehead of the cooling body of my grandmother, as she passed away literally five minutes before I got to the hospital.

Tomorrow I will wake up tired, and spend the day in meetings, traveling back and forth, and feeling even more tired.

(From D/k.)

Tuesday, 01-Mar-05 01:02
I speek gud Engleesh -test

English Genius

You scored 93% Beginner, 86% Intermediate, 93% Advanced, and 83% Expert!

You did so extremely well, even I can't find a word to describe your excellence! You have the uncommon intelligence necessary to understand things that most people don't. You have an extensive vocabulary, and you're not afraid to use it properly! Way to go!

The Commonly Confused Words Test.

Not bad, considering I only did four years of English in school... Must be all the sci-fi literature consumed at an early age. Yeah, that's gotta be it. Um. Pancakes, anyone? Gonna have a bunch of shots the first thing tomorrow morning (at least tetanus&polio), then have five meetings in eight-and-a-half hours, including one in which I'm supposed to present something I completely forgot until today. All I now need is a good hangover, and the day would be pretty much perfect.

(Via Jani.)

Friday, 25-Feb-05 00:00
Google backlash

This was to be expected. The poor Ilkka Pöyry who has filed a defamation suit against Jani of Mummila.net has been Googlebombed. So, if you now search Google for Ilkka Pöyry you will end up in the Finnish blogs and can now read the whole story.

The name "Ilkka Pöyry" is now permanently (well, nearly anyway) linked to this incident, and because of the fact that bloggers have started to chew on it, it will only gain more Googlejuice as time goes on. And that will be very, very, very hard to remove from the Internet. Especially now that US and Swedish websites have latched onto the story, the word is out.

As I said, suing highly interconnected bloggers in world where search engines are the kings, is not a very smart tactic, if you want to keep your name clean. Even if, as in this case, the outrage is mostly around the police overstepping their boundaries, and not on the defamation suit itself.

I don't want to say that bloggers are a community, but bloggers in general should be aware of their power and the responsibility that comes with it: an angry mob can cause hard damage to people (as witnessed in the USA with bloggers "hunting for scalps"). One blog may be insignificant, but in mass blogs can be a force to be reckoned with. Which can be dangerous.

Thursday, 24-Feb-05 01:22
Blogger sued for libel

(Following links are all in Finnish. Sorry.)

Ilkka Pöyry, the headmaster of the Muhos Korivaara school, who has been using (and approving) questionable methods to give fundamentalist religious schooling to kids in the elementary grades (3-4), has sued Jani of Marginaali for libel. (Well, not really sued, it's more like asking the police to look into the matter by claiming that a crime has occurred. I don't know the English words for that.)

While Jani's tone in expressing his opinion is, in my opinion, overly harsh, his feelings are understandable. Knowing Finnish mentality the situation has had to have been really bad, if multiple families have gone against the popular opinion in a small, Finnish rural town. The person who was supposed to investigate the matter within the town reported multiple attempts to prevent his work or to arrive at a certain conclusion, including a lawsuit by the same Ilkka Pöyry (which the police found unfounded). Even an expert group investigation was declared secret by the town council, though the conclusion was made public, and resulted in the Oulu regional government issuing a warning to the headmaster.

Now Mr. Pöyry seems to go around on a rampage, trying to fix his tarnished reputation by suing people who were angered by the news articles (not a smart tactic). It will be an interesting landmark case for Finnish bloggers, because if Jani is convicted, a great many people will have to start and bite their tongues. While Jani's language is harsh, it is not unheard of, and I've read far worse comments about other people in both blogs and the USENET newsgroups. Besides, Jani has written about it only once - some others have been doing it for years.

Update: The Enter-magazine wants to know why the Oulu police is telling Jani to remove the pages, as this is clearly unconstitutional? Only a court can order web pages to be shut down...

Update2: The story of askola.org is also worth reading. A local elected representative of Askola has been holding a column on the Internet, criticizing the Central party -lead town council, and was sued for slander. He was found guilty and was sentenced to 200,000 € worth of damages (which is very high in Finland), but has since appealed to the EU human rights court. The case seems otherwise pretty usual, petty Finnish local politics, but what is really odd is that apparently two separate courts refused to say exactly what he had done wrong and point out the parts of his writings that are libelous. That worries me a lot. Anyway, he has now decided to carry a video camera with him to the council sessions and tape everything, which seems to have a very calming effect on the sessions. I think this is a good example of the transparent society in action, and how it would benefit even on a local level.

Update3: The police has now instructed Jani to remove the offending material from the website according to the ".fi top level domain rules", which state that the police can ask for a suspension of a domain, if it's suspected to be used in crime. However, Jani's web site is under the ".net" -TLD, so to me this sounds awfully like an unlawful threat... What kind of police behaviour is this!?! "Remove the stuff or we'll shut you down completely!" What happened to "innocent until proven guilty"?

Update4: The media got interested as well. Tuomas Kilpi of Enter-magazine has asked the Finnish high-ranking police officials and the Ministry of Communication whether the Oulu police is within their jurisdiction to order arbitrary web sites to be closed down. Keep following the story.

Update5: Hello people from Boing Boing! Welcome to Finland :-). Jani has now an English version of the story for you.

Tuesday, 22-Feb-05 18:15
I'm an ordinary person

It's always difficult to determine whether I should write in Finnish or English, when commenting Finnish blog posts. I think I'll keep writing in English though, because I know there are a bunch of expats reading this, who otherwise would get no exposure to the Finnish blogosphere.

Saara writes an ironic response to a recent Finnish article in Aamulehti by Juha Seppälä. This journalist had went through some of the blogs from the Pinseri list, and wrote a dismissive article on why "bloggers are just ordinary people who say boring things." (Some more commentary in Finnish at Anita Konkka's blog.)

Chris Anderson (the Editor of Wired-magazine) said that (and I'm paraphrasing from memory here) "as an editor my responsibility is to reach to as many people as possible, but as a blogger I just want to reach the 20 people in the world I can exchange thoughts with."

That's exactly what matters. Most blogs (WAY most) in the world have less than 20 readers. They are the "long tail" of blogging. They are the ones where people post pictures of their kittens and talk about their ordinary life using ordinary words. And other ordinary people read their blogs - but those are the people that matter to the blogger himself.

Blogging is about people. Everyone of us tries to be with people that we like and can share things (ideas, thoughts, feelings, stuff) with. We call them friends. Exposing a carefully selected part of yourself to the public is just that; sharing with people that feel the same way as you. Even the people who passionately hate something and gather a large group of enemies, tend also to gain some supporters. You write in public - people react. Who cares if it's ordinary? Ordinary matters to a large number of people. It's their life and their interests.

I don't really know most of the people reading this blog. I seem to get about 600-800 unique readers/day (2000 page views), most of which seem to be from random googlers, so perhaps I have about 200 regular readers. I know some of you, but I can only imagine what kicks the rest of you get from reading my ramblings. Granted, I also get a bit of kick out of thinking that so many people find me interesting. But truthfully, I really care only about a few of you. No offense.

I love an ordinary person. But she's also a blogger. I like to read what she writes, even though we share the same bed, because when things are written they take on a form that is different from your day-to-day life. The words on the screen have been carefully thought out, their order not as random as when we talk. Paradoxically I think it makes me understand her better, as sometimes it's easier to write your thoughts than it is to speak them.

But that's just me. Your mileage may - and should - vary.

Tuesday, 22-Feb-05 13:10
Teacher speaks

Teacher Kari Tuurna says that filtering software is not needed in schools, as teachers can perfectly well control what the kids are doing.

Mielestäni tällaisten ohjelmien näennäinen tarve johtuu siitä, että lapsia ei ehditä/viitsitä valvoa niin, että luvattomilla sivuilla surffailua ei tapahdu. Sama koskee kouluja ja koteja. Itse opetan atk:ta useita tunteja viikossa ala-asteen oppilaille, ja uskallan väittää, että on täysin mahdollista valvoa lasten netin käyttöä ilman tällaisia esto-ohjelmiakin. Se vain vaatii aikuisen läsnäolon kun konetta käytetään.

Jos lapset saavat tehdä tehdä mitä tahansa, ne myös tekevät. Varsinkin sellaista mikä on nimenomaan kielletty. Asia on yksinkertaista hoitaa niin, että koneeseen ei kosketa, ellei vanhempi henkilö ole valvomassa.


Erinomainen artikkeli, suosittelen lukemaan.

Tuesday, 22-Feb-05 01:56
Speechless in Helsinki

I heard some hours ago that a friend had died in a traffic accident far away. I... I don't quite know what to write. It's a shock you can't quite comprehend. A numbness. A strangely odd sensation, when you don't quite know what to do and how you should feel.

She saw things most people just dream about. She survived things most people only see nightmares about. She did things most people would not dare, or if they did, they would be enough for a lifetime, yet still kept her smile and kept going. She lived fiercely, more fiercely than anyone else I know, even if she didn't always know where to belong. And I and many others loved her for the spark of life which she always brought with her.

I was always looking forward to meeting her, to hear her stories. And I hoped that some day I could take my children to her and hear her recount her tales of wonder and see the things she brought and made (for she had the knack of creativity within her). I was so envious for her courage that I could only admire from a distance.

Good night, and good bye. You won't be forgotten.

(A traffic accident? Sheesh. How not like her.)

Monday, 21-Feb-05 12:37

It's true. I'm being censored in Stockmann.

Päivitys: Soitin Stockmannin IT-palveluun, ja kysyin suoraan miksi ja kuka he kertoivat minulle seuraavaa. Kirjoitan tämän suomeksi, ettei tule tahattomia käännösvirheitä.

  • En ollut ensimmäinen valittaja, Robert's Coffeen (joka siis pyörittää ~NetCuppia) henkilökunta on kertonut asiakkaiden valittaneen aiemminkin
  • "Ongelmat" ovat ilmeisesti alkaneet viime viikolla. Olettivat, että ongelma voisi olla Soneran palvelimissa ja siinä, että sisältösuodatus on mennyt yhtäkkiä tiukemmaksi kuin on tarkoitus.
  • He eivät ole vastuussa ~NetCupin koneista, vaan tavaratalon PC-tiimi on. (Tähän nähden puhelimeen vastannut ihminen oli harvinaisen tietoinen siitä mistä oli kysymys.)
  • Kun kysyin kuka on tehnyt päätöksen siitä, että verkkosivuillani on "sopimatonta materiaalia" (näin selain minulle kertoi), vastaus oli, että verkkosivujeni (siis tämän blogin) suodattaminen ei kuulemma ole poliittinen rajanveto vaan puhtaasti tekninen ongelma. Ei kuulemma liity verkkosivujeni sisältöön millään lailla (nimim. no millä ihmeellä ne sitten suodattavat niitä sivuja, jos eivät sisällön perusteella?)
  • Suodatus on kuulemma yleinen käytäntö, koska "ihmisiä ei voi päästää minne vain". Kun kysyin, kuka päättää ja millä perusteella minne saa mennä, vastaus oli että on olemassa jonkinlainen "Content Manager" -tietokoneohjelma, joka päättää.
  • Keskustelun lopuksi henkilö oli jo varma siitä, että vika on Soneran päässä, mutta kieltäytyi antamasta tarkempia tietoja siitä, keneltä voisi kysellä lisää, koska en ollut Stockmannin henkilökuntaa. No, hänen kunniakseen on sanottava, että hän jaksoi sitkeästi ja ystävällisesti vastailla tekemiini kysymyksiin...
  • (Myöhemmin tullut sähköposti kertoo: "Content Management-palvelimeen on jouduttu laiteongemista johtuen tekemään konfigurointia, jotka ovat saattaneet vaikuttaa sivujesi näkyvyyteen." Mitvit?)

Summa summarum: Se, että minun verkkosivujani sensuroidaan, on "tekninen ongelma", ja päätöksen tehnyt tietokoneohjelma "on jotenkin rikki".

Kysymys kuuluukin miksi jokin tietokoneohjelma osaisi erottaa hyvän ja pahan, kun eivät ihmisetkään tunnetusti osaa tehdä sitä eroa? Kuitenkin ministeri Karpela olisi valmis antamaan moraaliset päätökset tietokoneen tehtäväksi... Tosin, kuten hän itse toteaa: "Tässäkin tapauksessa täydellisyyden vaatiminen johtaa huonoon tulokseen. Usein täydellisyys on hyvän vaihtoehdon pahin vihollinen."

Niinpä. Ja jos nyt valtionvarainministeri toteaisi budjetin olevan silleen ihan riittävällä kymmenen miljoonan tarkkuudella oikein, ja oikeusministeri kannattaisi ihmisten vangitsemista "ihan varmuuden vuoksi, että varmasti saadaan ainakin kaikki konnat kiinni", niin päästäisiin samaan mukavaan keskustalaiseen rempseään meininkiin, jossa laki ja moraali ovat vain pelkkiä likiarvoja. (Kiitos Henrille tuosta analogiasta.)

Ehdotan muuten, että te, rakkaat lukijani, törmätessänne syyttä suodatetuihin verkkosivuihin, kävisitte paikallisessa IT-tuessa vaatimassa tietoa siitä, miksi kyseinen verkkosivu on sensuroitu, ja kuka kyseisen päätöksen on tehnyt. Antakaa äänenne kuulua.

Sunday, 20-Feb-05 00:58
Paha maa
Syyttömänä syntymään sattui hän
tähän maahan pohjoiseen ja kylmään.
Innocent was he born
in this country north and cold

A Finnish-English dictionary defines the word "ahdistus" as "agony, anguish, anxiety, difficulty in breathing, oppression, torment, tribulation, vexation". I don't think if any of these describe accurately the feelings I got after seeing Paha maa (lit. "Evil land"). I don't even know if the English language has proper words for the desperate anguish that is so ingrained in the Finnish culture.

It's kinda the Finnish version of "Paying it Forward", except this time it's the evil deeds that travel. And boy, does it hurt.

Good film. But don't expect to be in a good mood afterwards. There were some laughs at first, and especially someone who laughed really loud and lot, obviously mistaking the movie for a comedy, but even he shut up really fast after one particular scene. For the rest of the movie, the entire theatre was completely quiet, grabbed and shaken by the desperation oozing from the screen.

It's... I find it hard to think of the film.

But it still had a message of hope. I don't know what to think of it either.

Sunday, 20-Feb-05 00:09

I just got a report that this blog is censored in public net cafes in Helsinki Stockmann stores. True or not? I have to check... Let me know if you have any info. I'd love to know which places think the contents of this blog are unsuitable to the general public.

Saturday, 19-Feb-05 00:58
Friday, 18-Feb-05 20:27
More desperation

Zds writes:

Minulle selvisi äskettäin käydyn keskustelun perusteella että Lipposen leirillä on tukevat yhteydet Microsoftiin Lipposen entisen erityisavustajan Mikael Jungnerin kautta ja ko. herra on siten myös ollut muodostamassa valtioneuvoston kantaa mm. ohjelmistopatenteista. Siis niinku häh?

Finnish local politics: Microsoft Finland's "information society manager" used to be our former PM's assistant, and thus involved in drafting the official Finnish stance to software patents. He is also to be the new head of the Finnish Broadcasting company, starting 1.5.2005. Fishy? Highly. Typical? Of course. The sandbox over here is so small, that anyone with any power is bound to have political connections. However, no matter how well motivated, how skillful, or how honest a person is, it still looks pretty bad to be involved in politics while having such a high position in one of the few companies in the world that regularly gets screamed at having "evil" business practices.

Friday, 18-Feb-05 12:18
Wikipedia in your mobile phone

Okay, this is useful: http://maxpedia.org. WAP-formatted site for accessing all Wikipedia content. Works fast and looks good on my 6630.

(Via Janne H.)

Thursday, 17-Feb-05 18:13
JSPWiki auth suspended

The current AAA system in the CVS version has been suspended. There will be no more development on it. (And I feel a big relief saying this, as if a weight had left my shoulders.)

This is due to several reasons:

  • I have been unable to do any other work on any other part than the AAA system, as I always get the nagging feeling that I should really work on the whole AAA thing.
  • I really don't like writing AAA. It's a damned complicated system which has dependencies and it touches areas that I don't just understand enough about. I also have a personal feeling that per-page permissions are NOT very useful - at least they are useful to me. They run against the Wiki philosophy, and while I understand that a bunch of people do find them useful, it's really hard to be motivated to do something you don't believe in.
  • The design of the AAA system was faulty from the get-go. This unfortunately meant that it became a bug-infested beast even before it was properly born. I screwed up, and I just don't have the skills to fix it properly: I would just screw it up again.
  • I have little time these days, and it is frankly, better used on things that I find interesting and useful.

With all this, the development of JSPWiki has been slowed down too much. I was hoping to release 2.2 about a year ago, and I haven't been able to release even a single beta. This simply sucks. You may have noticed a flurry of updates in the recent few weeks in the CVS, and this is all due to the fact that I decided to give up on the AAA system and concentrate on the rest of the code base. I have so many ideas and things that I personally need and want that it simply does not make sense for me to keep developing a feature that is simply not interesting. (I'm planning things such as making JSPWiki Lifeblog compatible, providing proper diff and ~AtomAPI support, easier installation, speed optimizations, etc.)

However, all is not lost. Andrew Jaquith has promised to take over the AAA system development, and rewrite the whole thing from scratch. He is progressing nicely, but it is likely not to make in the 2.2 release. If you want to help, please join the mailing list and engage in the discussion there.

Until then, the current AAA system in the CVS will exist, but bugs are not fixed, and no further development is done. It won't be removed, but it'll not be enabled by default.

Monday, 14-Feb-05 16:59
Tits, porn, and censorship

I've been not updating a lot recently, the reason is here - click on the first links...

The most popular Finnish blog apparently is Marika Fingerroos' net diary at http://www.marikafingerroos.fi/. According to today's DigiToday it ran over its 5 GB monthly transfer limit in 24 hours, proving once and for all that a young beautiful lady who's dating a local celebrity and talks about sex on the internet always draws a crowd. Even if her Caps Lock is permanently stuck, and compound words are difficult at times, fluid, funny, insightful, and intelligent writers are no match to a woman who's proudly showing her D-cups and whether she shaves her pussy or not.

Bitter? Me? Hell yeah.

Today is one of the days that I feel like I should give up on the internet and the general population, and simply stop caring. You see, Norway is planning to make ripping MP3s illegal (which is pretty obviously an idea from internet music stores so that they can sell you another copy of your music), and our own Ministry of Culture wants all public libraries and schools to install Internet filters to "stop the filth" (damn, I must start to use more fucking dirty words to get this blog censored).

Especially the internet filtering thing is so lame it defies any sense: I mean - who do you believe: the filter company which is selling you the filtering software and says "yes, it's possible to filter the internet so that only the bad sites go away", or every independent study that says "no, they Simply Don't Work, they miss a lot of the bad stuff and they censor a lot of good stuff as well". Internet should be treated in the same way as TV currently is - make it the parents' responsibility to watch what their kids are doing. We should have programs that make the browsing habits of the kids clearly laid out for the parents or teachers instead of developing anonymous computer software that decides whether something is good or bad for you. Think about what would happen if a corporation would enforce all filter software makers to filter out all negative feedback about them via some legal loophole? Or worse yet - an aggressive religion or an advertiser? Internet advertising for porn is already all-out to everyone; shouldn't that be filtered out first?

I think the decision to put a major part of childrens' education to the hands of a greedy, faceless corporation that can have strange notions of what is good and proper is a fucking dumb idea.

(And before someone cries foul play - I do believe there is a problem with kids being exposed to material they are perhaps not ready to cope with [or their parents are not ready to cope with]. I'm just saying that this is a decision that should be done by parents and teachers themselves, and that people should develop tools that make it easier to follow what the kids are doing. For example, you could project EtherPEG on the living room wall - knowing that your parents might be watching would probably be a bigger deterrent than the challenge of figuring out how to go around the filtering software... The librarians in Tampere say that internet filth is not an issue with them, as the terminals are in a public space, and there's good adult supervision. Which makes sense.

After all, the kids understand far more about technology, but far less about the content than most adults do. Technology should be developed by the geeks, but the morals should be installed by the parents.

"What about privacy," you may ask? Well... As much as I like privacy, I think it's kinda like a driving license - you have to learn and earn it. And once you are mature enough to know what to do with it, you can go and have your own life. It's an odd construction between a right and a privilege - a bit of both, but not quite neither. And much like you can't drive everywhere you like, you can't expect to have much privacy on a public PC anyway...)

Update: Fabula's call to arms and Kari Haakana's commentary, both in Finnish. READ THEM!

Saturday, 12-Feb-05 13:58
Blogger meeting aftermath

I am - against all expectations - not entirely dead.

In fact, I feel rather energetic, which is odd considering the amount of alcohol consumed during last night's Kallio blogger meeting. It was a blast, as usual: thanks to all the wonderful people who I dimly recall talking to: Veera, Leena and others from MyTypo, Skrubu, Schizo, Earl Grey and Misu, Mila, Jarkko, Comradlog, Mitvit, KatjaW, Kari Haakana, and a bunch of others who probably disappeared from my hazy memory.

However, this surprised me like an elk in the fridge and got me completely speechless: As me and Outi walked into the already full bar Toveri, the rest of the bloggers recognized us and bursted into spontaneous applause. I was... flabbergasted, for a lack of a better word. I couldn't say anything then, as my brain was (especially after a few beers in the previous bar) was completely unable to handle the situation at that point, but I would now like to thank each and all of you. Thank you for giving me, an ordinary guy, a small moment of feeling special. Thank you for making Outi feel welcome to Helsinki.

Thanks again for the evening.

(And sorry for not taking my laptop: no traditional guest blogging this time.)

Tuesday, 08-Feb-05 18:03
The Wonders of Science

I'm sure this has some other uses as well - but using it for chickens (however maltreated) would not have been my first idea: http://www.primezone.com/newsroom/?d=71853

Now researchers are perfecting technology which will bring back those good memories. They have built a system which lets people interact with chickens remotely through the Internet.
"This is the first human-poultry interaction system ever developed," said Dr. Cheok. Poultry.Internet consists of a Backyard System and an Office System. In the Backyard System, the chicken is kept in an area with a few web-cams around it. The chicken wears a special electronic jacket, which, when activated, will create vibration and bring the sense of being touched and massaged.

(via B.)

Monday, 07-Feb-05 20:23
Is this the Monty Python box sketch?

I must love her very much... Very much.

Friday, 04-Feb-05 20:51
No more (and podcasting)

Last night was the last night alone. After this weekend, she'll now sleep beside me - for a long time, I hope. After a flight back from Germany I clambered to my apartment, stood outside in the snowfall and tried to fish my keys from my pocket. A strange thought hit me: "Whee! Outi must be home!" and an unvoluntary, unstoppable, wide grin spread onto my face. Of course, she wasn't - that was the last night - but I realized the simple idea of her being there made me deliriously happy.

I guess I'm still in love.

(Kuka suomalainen aloittaa muuten ensimmäisenä säännöllisen podcastingin ja mikä se olisi suomeksi? "Podikastaus?" "Tiedostojen jakaminen kannettaviin MP3-soittimiin RSS-syötteitä käyttäen?" "Podaus?" "Taskuradio?" "Ämpärilähetys?" "Ämpäriradio?")

Wednesday, 02-Feb-05 17:27
Weird-o SMS behaviour

Outi sent me yesterday a sweet text message about mice. True to the nature of these beasts, that SMS started multiplying: for some reason, T-Mobile (yes, I'm in Germany) has decided to deliver that message to me eleven times within the past 24 hours. Even though it has been sent only once.

It seems that every SMS sent from Finland is replaced by this same SMS message - so if you've tried to contact me, I have only seen a message about a mouse from Outi. Sorry. You gotta try and resend, if you had anything to say (or just email me).


Monday, 31-Jan-05 19:42
See, if you can guess what this is?

Yes, it looks just like... Eww... Could it be?
Yes, it's the Hello Kitty Artificial Vagina!

Well, not quite. In fact, it's a Hello Kitty tissue holder. You put a box of Kleenex inside it and pull them through the small opening that looks like, well, err.

This message has been brought to you by WTF Finland.

Saturday, 29-Jan-05 12:36
Blog spam (not the usual kind)

I got a mail advertising a new Finnish movie blog hosted on blogspot.com. I was going to let it pass quietly and ignore it, but apparently the same person has been mailing other bloggers, as they seem to have received the same spam as well. Because spam it is - unsolicited mass advertising, quite illegal in Finland.

Jussi whoever you are: that was really dumb. This is not the right way to gain good publicity. In fact, it's not even a good way to gain any publicity, as I will never link to your blog now because of your spam (and will remember this for a long, long time, too). Stop doing that.

Friday, 28-Jan-05 23:04
The Long Tail

I had the privilege to listen to Chris Anderson's (Editor of Wired and the author of The Long Tail) talk earlier this week, and took two things with me, neither directly related to the Long Tail (which is a highly interesting read in case you have not yet seen it. It describes the tail economy of the few as opposed to the hit economy of the masses.)

On the scarcity of attention: "Everyone's got a blog. I try to reach a different audience with my blog than as the editor of Wired: If I can reach the 20 people in the world who are interested in the same things as me, it's more valuable to me than having millions of readers."


On the tyranny of the hits: "TV is not vulgar and prurient and dumb because the people who compose the audience are vulgar and dumb. Television is the way it is simply because people tend to be extremely similar in their vulgar and prurient and dumb interests and wildly different in their refined and aesthetic and noble interests." (David Foster Wallace)
Tuesday, 25-Jan-05 18:18
Is "art" art if it's personal?

A must-read article from The New Atlantis: The Age of Egocasting

But scientific study and cultural criticism have never succeeded in persuading Americans to give up their televisions. “Throughout our history with The Box,” argues Bruce Gronbeck, “we have believed fervently that it brings good, not bad; that even when it’s bad it can be controlled; and that when we cannot control ourselves a technology will arise to help us do it.” ~TiVo is precisely this kind of technology. By helping us control what we watch and when we watch it, we mistakenly believe that we are also exercising a broader self-control over our television viewing habits; by only watching what we want to watch, we reason, we will watch less. But early evidence suggests that this is not the case. ~TiVo users actually end up watching more hours of television every week, including shows they might have skipped without regret if they were not available “on demand.” By emphasizing the efficiency of the technology—rather than what the technology is making more efficient—we avoid having to ask whether we really should be watching so much television in the first place, or reflect upon what television does to our intellect and character.
~TiVo is God’s machine, the iPod plays our own personal symphonies, and each device brings with it its own series of individualized rituals. What we don’t seem to realize is that ritual thoroughly personalized is no longer religion or art. It is fetish. And unlike religion and art, which encourage us to transcend our own experience, fetish urges us to return obsessively to the sounds and images of an arrested stage of development.

This is a dichotomy (n-tomy?) that is tearing me internally: The egomaniac in me wants more and more control of my own free time, it wants to say "nobody can say what I can and can't do". The geek in me just marvels at the coolness of all the things technology can do. The marketing manager in me drools at the possibility of providing and receiving completely personalized content. The industry analyst in me nods and says "this is the way people and corporations will want it to go".

The (too-often-neglected) budoka in me just smiles and reminds me that this is still a real world, no matter how much the egomaniac wants to embed itself in its simple and comfortable "me" -world. It tells me to just be at ease with the world, and take a deep breath. There is choice also in listening to the sounds of the streets. There is also choice in turning the television off. There is choice in not saying instantly "X sucks, because it's not perfect" - something I've seen a lot lately. You don't need to become a broadly but shallowly informed, instant critic of everything. You don't need to force everything to like you - because in a world of complete choice, you will be cast adrift by your own whims.

In a world, where every choice is correct, you cannot - would not - take responsibility for your actions. Even if all the technology in the world would do your bidding, other people would not. But no matter, you could escape into your own, private comfortable world where there would be no harm. Or try and force the other people to do what you want. After all, you would be the center of the universe.

There is value in struggle.

(This thing made me think. It would explain a great many matters I've been pondering lately. Must re-evaluate some things yet again. I have much I could write on this, but perhaps I should just shut up for a while.)

(Via Smart Mobs, which also contains a summary critique of this piece with some references.)

Tuesday, 25-Jan-05 17:22
Why Technorati tags don't

Tagging has become the latest hype word-du-jour, mostly due to services such as del.icio.us, Flickr, and now, Technorati. Clay Shirky and others have written strong statements for this folksonomy phenomenon.

I personally love tags. They are a very cool way of attaching meaning to information - essentially put the semantics in the web in the "Semantic Web" sense, even if the metadata is dissociated from the pages themselves. But as a non-English speaker I see a potentially fatal flaw here: Most Internet users don't speak English as their first language. Even if I speak decent English and use a lot of English services, I still tag things in both English and my native language.

And that means that tags will become "language polluted." Take a look at the Technorati tag for "Macintosh", for example. Many of the blog entries are in Japanese.

If you look at Orkut, many of the parts of it suddenly became "owned" by Brasilians, which essentially drove away English speakers (I haven't checked how they have handled this). USENET coped with this by having separate hierarchies for each country (so sfnet is all Finnish) and "accepted" languages on each newsgroup. But tags don't have any way to determine the language.

The situation is worse than it should be, because entries on RSS feeds and blogs almost never state what their language is. In fact, I would guess that most RSS feeds claim that the language is "en-US" regardless of their actual content. People like me write in two languages on the same blog. Atom has the possibility of setting the language-per-entry, but I sincerely doubt that anyone will bother to set the language, unless they are relatively passionate about the subject.

There are three cases of "language collision" on tags (I'm using English and Finnish as an example only here).

  1. The tag is different in English and in Finnish. For example "fishing" and "kalastus". This should pose no problem, as the folksonomies grow on each of the tags independently.
  2. The tag is the same in English and in language Finnish, but the meaning of the tag is different. In this case, the dominant mass of the users will "hijack" the tag.
  3. The tag is the same in both languages, but the web pages will be in different languages. This is the case with things like trade marks (Apple, Macintosh, Nokia), or when people like to tag Finnish pages with English tags (like me: I use the word "blog" to mark any significant articles about blogs, regardless of the language). This reduces the usefulness of tags for people who do not understand Finnish.

There is also an additional tagging problem with languages such as Finnish: the same word can be conjugated and written in multiple ways, depending on the context. It is somewhat the same as the problem of using different words for the same concept, but it does make the number of potential strings increase three-fourfold.

There are few solutions to this problem: and probably all of them involve some sort of heuristic to determine the language of the tag and the web page. Tagging is still a relatively new technique to be adopted in mass classification of things, but in order for it to become truly successful, one must still remember localization. Otherwise, it will be the dominance of the masses that drive the use - and it ain't gonna be English.

Monday, 24-Jan-05 15:19
Quick apology

If you're reading this site through an RSS reader (or some other aggregation service), you will notice some spurious updates every now and then - with no apparent change. This is because I am experimenting with the RSS feed and Atom feeds of this Wiki, which will cause some occasional ghost updates with feed readers that do not respect the Last-Modified -header (like Bloglines and Pinseri).

Sunday, 23-Jan-05 21:06
Finnish blogging service open

Vuodatus.net now offers a pretty comprehensive blogging service in Finnish. It's roughly as easy as Blogger, but offers some additional things like RSS feed integration (you can have your side bar to include headlines from other blogs), quite comprehensive templating, categories (and searching of blogs based on categories), built-in statistics, built-in help on all pages, and naturally it's all Finnish.

Looks very comprehensive, yet easy for a new blogger. And has enough power to work for a bit more experienced bloggers as well. Very good and all the best to them!

(Very few of the blogs on vuodatus.net seem to be in the Pinseri blog-list. Why?)

Saturday, 22-Jan-05 15:04
Blogs for scientific publishing

Like It or Not, Blogs Have Legs, says an article in the Wired magazine and talks about how blogs can be used in scientific publishing:

In a sense, blogs function like peer-review journals do in the academic world, but there's a key difference. The distribution of articles in academic journals is largely controlled by a publishing cartel that charges exorbitant amounts for subscriptions, which are subsidized by the institutions and universities that can afford them. Think of it as the socialist model for informational exchange. This dampens participation (read: supply of ideas and input) and, I would argue, deleteriously affects the level and quality of discussion.

Heh. And the guy hatest the word "blog" for the same reason as I hate the Finnish word "verkkopäiväkirja" :-)

(Via biomi.org.)

Saturday, 22-Jan-05 01:12
JSPWiki supports now the rel="nofollow" attribute

JSPWiki hates spam too. Starting from the current CVS version (2.1.140) JSPWiki supports the Google initiative for reducing comment and wiki spam. Administrators may set the "jspwiki.translatorReader.useRelNofollow" parameter to force the rel="nofollow" attribute to be added to any external links.

(Other than that, we're - or to be more precise, Andrew Jaquith is - doing a complete rework of the authentication system. This means that it will not be available in 2.2, but will be postponed to 2.4. Personally, I find this a great relief - adding the auth system to the wiki nearly killed my interest to JSPWiki development. Wikis and strong permission control just don't go well together. There has been now a lot of new development in the CVS, as I don't have to worry about the auth system anymore.)

Friday, 21-Jan-05 19:50
Obscure Finnish joke

Siinä tulevaisuus. :D

Friday, 21-Jan-05 17:21
Pinserin top-lista on kuollut, eläköön top-lista

Again, a longish rant about Finnish blogosphere. Nothing for you, my dear English readers to see, move along...

Pinserin top-lista on kuollut, eläköön top-lista

Minun on pitänyt kirjoittaa tästä jo pitkään, ja tilanne ajankohtaistuu koko ajan Pinserin uuden blogilistan tullessa yhä lähemmäs ja lähemmäs julkaisua. Nyt kun Mikko Saari teki viittauksiin perustuvan, uuden top-listan, niin kirjoituksen voinee kaivaa arkiston kätköistä ja julkaista. Tiedän, että bloggaamisesta bloggaaminen ja ilmiön analysointi tympii toisia (saa linkittää, jos on asiaa, en minä kaikkia maailman blogeja ehdi lukea), mutta... en minä näitä ole kenellekään tyrkyttämässä - kunhan vain kirjoitan ja itsepä valitsette, luetteko vai ette. Jos se vuoristoradan pultti heilahti jo kyytiin noustessa, niin ihan oma vika jos silti istuu vielä kyydissä...

Pekka kysyy:

Oliko sukellus.fi poikkeus säännöstä vai löytyykö muitakin perinteisen tiedonvälityksen murtajia?
Täytyykö julkisuuteen päästäkseen tehdä Kutri.netit?
Missä ovat kriittisesti uutistapahtumia tarkastelevat tai valtamedian hyljeksimiä aiheita nostavat kotimaiset blogit?
Missä ovat suomalaiset bloggaajat, jotka hankkivat itse ensikäden tietoa euro- tai kunnallisvaalien aikana (USAn pressanvaalien tapaan) ja loivat uudenlaista julkaisutoimintaa?
Vai ovatko kaikki kotimaiset blogit vain minäminä-maan tuotoksia?

Suomesta alka ...


Friday, 21-Jan-05 14:36
Man builds machine gun out of a power drill

Ten points for ingenuity - zero points for common sense:

Hämeen Sanomat (Finnish, translation mine): "An 80-year old man built a machine gun out of a power drill. As he went to the police to get a license for it, to his great surprise he was charged with a breach of the firearms law. The court decided that he was acting in good faith, so he was found not guilty, but the gun was confiscated, and is likely to end up in a gun museum.

"The weapon uses .22 caliber ammunition and can fire up to 420 rounds/minute."

(Click here to see the gun in action - 4.3 MBytes MPEG-PS. Quicktime does not seem to understand it, but VLC and MPlayer seem to work well. I have no idea who owns the copyright on this (a good reason to embed, say, a CC license to your files), but I'll take it off if someone asks.)

Thursday, 20-Jan-05 15:57
Bloggers vs. Journalism

Mieto Marinadi talks about how a column by Matti Wuori in Iltalehti is asking if blogs could be journalism and whether they will overrun the traditional media. I think the fact that the question is being asked now shows clearly how much Finland is not a front-runner in the information society game. In fact, this question is not even asked yet by journalists, but a lawyer.

You see, ~PressThink says the conversation on this subject is already over.

But in order to overrun media, there has to be first a Finnish blog that has something to say in a way that is interesting and new. I much enjoy the writings of Sedis, for example, and I am expecting much from Haltia (and some other political bloggers), now that the Helsinki City Council is starting its work. The new Finland for Thought (in English) keeps also asking important questions, and Kari Haakana is probably the foremost journalistic blogger in Finland. At the moment, Sami Köykkä of Pinseri and Alex Nieminen of sukellus.fi are arguably the most influential bloggers in Finland[1].

But this is not enough. I don't know whether it's even a good start. Most of the "internet discussion" in Finland is done in the scary, yet boring discussion boards of magazines, such as Iltalehti, Iltasanomat, Vauva-lehti, etc, and it is pretty much failing to impact anything. There is little danger to any sort of professional journalism from these discussion boards, who mostly just consist of rehashing the same arguments all over again. The USENET has been in existence for twenty years, and every time I go there, I see the same discussions but with different people. Or sometimes with the same people. It makes you wonder whether these discussion boards ever contributed something to anything, other than in the sense of community creation.

To me, blogs are different from the discussion boards because they are individualistic. A news group is usually referred to by its name, say "the people in sfnet.keskustelu.ihmissuhteet say that...". Similarly in a bulletin board: "Hey, I found this from Vauva-lehti..." On the discussion board, you lose yourself and become a part of a bigger crowd, all shouting at the same time. But a blog is attached to a real person (except for some weirdos who can't seem to be able to decide whether they exist or not). Therefore, whatever a blog says carries more gravity than a random rambling on a news board. It is essentially your own personal publication, and the comments are only a side story - much like "from the readers" -sections on newspapers. Therefore, bloggers are not a community, any more than newspapers are. Some bloggers form communities, yes, but blogs are far too good a ground for egocentrism for communities to become prevalent.

The reason that I find blogs interesting is that they might be the avenue to a real way for individuals (particularly non-journalists and non-politicians) to influence local and national decision-making; the real "information society" that the Finnish media and technology visionaries have been talking about for quite some time now. (I think we can count discussion boards out of this already.) Blogs can keep talking about forgotten facts that the main media is too busy or disinterested to cover, and blogs can also become "flash crowds", a huge number of unsatisfied people who run after a singular cause. This is a powerful thing, if used right - dangerous, if used wrong.

This is, BTW, one of the reasons I oppose the word "verkkopäiväkirja" (literally "net diary") as the Finnish translation of "blog": Creating a believable weblog about current matters is somewhat more difficult, when people automatically assume it is a personal cat-sniffing, oh-i-am-so-alone -angsty kinda thing due to the use of the word "diary". (So yeah, it's a pet peeve. I'm entitled to four, and this is one of them.)

[#1]: This is mild trolling, yes, for a reason: There are some, lesser known excellent bloggers who do actually have something to say, but due to the way the Pinseri top-list works, I fear they may be ignored. If there are any, let me know. Or vote them for the "best column" -category in the upcoming Finnish blog awards.
Thursday, 20-Jan-05 00:17
Deep night weird-o commenters

Odd. Outi seems to have again attracted some weird-o commenters, who seem to be interested mostly in just mocking her. It makes me wonder why there are no weird-o commenters attracted on this blog, even though this is relatively popular for a Finnish blog (something like 800-1000 page views a day, not including RSS aggregators). Four possible reasons come to mind:

  1. I am male (most weird-o commenters seem to haunt young women)
  2. I am boring (technobabble, not too radical opinions, and little personal life; not much to mock me about)
  3. I publish the internet address of every single commenter, so you can't be anonymous to the general public (go to RecentChanges, then click on the "Main_comments_XXX" entry, then "More Info..." to find this information). Transparency rules.
  4. Writing in English raises the barrier of commenting somewhat

I don't know. Perhaps I should just go more for the social porn aspect of blogging... *grin*

(In order for this blog entry to be not completely void of any actual content, take a look at the Committee to Protect Bloggers, a web site which lists and informs about bloggers that have been jailed or harassed for blogging.)

Tuesday, 18-Jan-05 14:47
Squinted.net opened

A new Finnish service called squinted.net has just been opened for any and all Creative Commons or Public Domain -licensed music and media. Very good, and all the best to them! There's not much content, but they have teamed up with Loca Records, so something might be happening there...

However, in order for something like that to be useful (because whatever you may think of the record companies, they do weed out a lot of crap), some sort of preferences/recommendation system might be needed. For example, personal, public, top-10 lists, which one could subscribe to using RSS or browse on the web... People get a lot of music based on recommendations from a trusted friend (or other source), simply because searching through all the available music is impossible. You could spend all your life browsing through the iTunes music library, and not find your favourite music...

(From a thread from net.nyt which contained a bunch of interesting links, though the discussion is pretty much hashing the same old issues that have been heard many times.)

Update: There's a wonderful article on How Copyright Could Be Killing the Culture in the Globe and the Mail

It's enough of a legal rigmarole to make underfunded filmmakers simply avoid using archival clips altogether or to remove footage that they shot themselves that might include someone singing a popular hit or even Happy Birthday to You (a copyrighted song).

It also means that films like Eyes on the Prize, made in a less restrictive era of copyright rules, can simply fade away if the task of renewing copyrights becomes too difficult or costly.

These are exactly the reasons why things like Creative Commons are so important, and why the copyright terms should be shortened to something sane, say 50 years.

Monday, 17-Jan-05 14:26
Henry Jenkins in Helsinki
Professor Henry Jenkins, the Director of the Comparative Media Studies Program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is visiting Helsinki and has agreed to give a talk on “Serious Play” as part of the Aula klubi series.

Right now, video and computer games are understood by most people purely as a mode of recreation and entertainment. Yet, around the edges, we are starting to see signs that they can be much more than this. Professor Jenkins will offer some snapshots of the “serious game” movement, pointing to key exemplars and what they suggest about the future of gaming.

Professor Jenkins will speak on Wednesday 19 January at 6:00 PM at Korjaamo, Töölönkatu 51 b in Helsinki. The event will be held in English and is free and open to the public, so once again, please spread the word!

(Via Matt and Jyri.)

Monday, 17-Jan-05 14:16
One of them nerd tests

I am nerdier than 98% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!


(Via Marginaali.)

Monday, 17-Jan-05 01:09
Mediamaster woes, Part X

So, I come home, and my (non-)wonderful Nokia Mediamaster 260C has decided to reset itself completely, and remove all the channels from its memory. However, all the timers and recordings are intact, thank goodness, though obviously there have been no recordings done over the weekend. As I am now rerunning the setup, I would like to teach you some useful words in Finnish:

  • "perkele" - devil
  • "vittu" - vagina (a highly versatile word which essentially fills the same role in Finnish as "fuck" does in English.)
  • "saatana" - devil (same beast, different word. We're very inventive. We have many more words for the devil, much like for snow.)
  • "paska" - crap

(I have to say that I am taking some masochistic pleasure in watching this thing break in new, innovative ways every time I leave the house...)

Update: Jani of SKM is providing a lesson in advanced swearing in Finnish. It's very useful. Especially since my digibox crashed twice while trying to watch the final episode of Angels in America...

Sunday, 16-Jan-05 15:31
Just a small rumor...

Mikael Storsjö, the guy who got in trouble with the Finnish Security Police for hosting the web site of the Chechen (all in the interest for supporting free speech), says in the latest Image magazine (translation and any errors are mine):

I know my emails are being read. I did an experiment, in which I sent a fake message to the Chechens stating that a particular web-address had new page content, and turned on detailed logging. Within the hour the pages had five visitors, two from Russia and three from Finland.

We of course have only his words about this breach of privacy. It's still somewhat worrying, though nothing that wouldn't be obvious.

However, whether this story is true or not, it does however highlight one fact: there are ways of figuring out whether your email is being read or not. Techniques such as web bugs (or just giving out links like this) can be used to determine when and how someone reads an email and acts on it. This is one way how the modern information technology can be used to improve the transparency of governments and secret organizations. Think if everyone would check all their email for any breaches of privacy like this, and then posted everything on the internet? Could secret organizations function in an environment like that?

(Via iMitvit (Finnish), where the comment section always gives me an out-of-body experience *grin*.)

Saturday, 15-Jan-05 00:05
Global warming underestimated

BBC reports that the greenhouse effect may have been underestimated: the amount of particle pollutants we've been releasing is apparently counteracting the greenhouse gases, and as the emissions of these tiny particles is going down, and the CO2 levels going up - the situation may suddenly tip over.

That means a temperature rise of 10 degrees Celsius by 2100 could be on the cards, giving the UK a climate like that of North Africa, and rendering many parts of the world uninhabitable.

That is unless we act urgently to curb our emissions of greenhouse gases.

Considering that there is no snow in Helsinki and the sea hasn't frozen (and it's the middle of January - highly unusual), it may be that we don't have the time to wait for a statistical analysis. It may well be that by the time everyone agrees that there is enough statistical evidence that humans are doing the global warming, we've already created the biggest catastrophy on this planet since dinosaurs were wiped out.

Considering that most of the world's population lives closer to the equator than the UK, the suffering of the past few weeks is nothing compared to what awaits us, as the fields dry out and large masses of people start dying - or migrating to north.

I've many times been angry beyond words at some of the discussion around global warming in Finland. The biggest question is "how is this going to affect us?" and the answer is "well, it's not gonna be so much snow anymore, but on the other hand, our tree industry will work a lot better, and we'll get better crops as well". What kind of inane dribble is that!?! Haven't people yet learned that global warming is a global thing - and the recent events should show that natural disasters touch everyone! What are the Finns going to do, when we see news images of more and more natural disasters, dead people, destroyed homes and famine in unthinkable degree? Are we going to just put our fingers in our ears and hum real loud, pretend it doesn't affect us?

What are the Americans (the most polluting nation in the world, and who have not ratified the Kyoto treaty) going to do? Bomb China for polluting the world?

It's a matter of fear. US government is afraid they'll lose public and corporate support, if they do the right thing and enforce tighter environment laws, which will make lives more difficult to people. The Chinese government, because they are afraid of a revolution, so it's better to try and keep the people under control. The Finnish people are afraid because the "world is bad, and Finland is not", and if we listen too much we might go bad as well. I am afraid because I might have to give up things I really, really like.

Cowards. Every single one.

We have to change. There is no other way. Some have already started.

Friday, 14-Jan-05 12:14
Bloglines 0wnz

From SiliconBeat:

And by our math, that gives Bloglines, based here in Woodside, nearly two million users.

That would seem to put CEO Mark Fletcher in a pretty enviable position once he finally starts "integrating highly targeted contextual advertising" into the service later this year.

These numbers have a high margin of error, but still... Two million users? In about what, a year?

But the thing is - there is no other way for me to manage my subscriptions, as I use different computers at work and at home. There is no proper way to sync the feed lists between two computers (not to mention a computer and a mobile phone), especially through corporate firewalls. And it's even more difficult to determine which articles you have already seen and which you haven't across multiple devices. A web service is the only way to do this.

Also, installing new software on a computer is always a mental cost: how to get it, how to download, how to maintain the newest version. In a corporate setting, it's usually even a big no-no to go and install non-standard software.

In this light, Bloglines' success is not that surprising. But where is their competition?

(Via Jeremy Z.)

Friday, 14-Jan-05 11:22
A Finnish dumb test for a while...

Kun nyt muutkin, niin sitten minäkin:

"Henkinen ikäsi on 16 vuotta."

Taitaapa olla sama tulos kuin viimeksi kokeillessani... Ei siis mitään parantumista havaittavissa.

(English summary: According to a highly reliable Internet quiz, my mental age is 16. My real age is 34. No improvement there...)

Friday, 14-Jan-05 00:23
MMS woes

ObIzzard: Look what I found rummaging through old dusty piles of CD's!

What I really started to wonder was that I took this picture and immediately sent it as MMS to Outi, as I wanted to share it, and that was the easiest route. A moment later, we got bored of waiting and I did the next easiest thing and I sent it over Bluetooth to my Mac, and dropped the image into my IM window - at full resolution, I might add (MMS typically reduces the image size significantly). We laughed at the image, and then I wrote this blog entry on my frigging mobile phone keypad and emailed it into my blog - and the Multimediamessage has yet to arrive!

If I can blog to everyone in the world on a mobile faster and easier (and remarkably cheaper) than share images with my loved one in the "official way", something has gone badly wrong with the design of the whole thing...

Tuesday, 11-Jan-05 02:14
PNG vs GIF debate

Remember a few years back when Unisys was holding the LZW patent, and we wanted to burn all gifs? And people said PNG does not stand a chance, nobody would ever use it, and it will die away so we should just use GIFs?

Well, Google Images now lists 6.010.000 GIF images and 3.120.000 PNG images. So GIF is still leading 2:1, but PNG has clearly found its audience. So hooray for Open Source! And this with Internet Explorer's crappy PNG support as well...

(JPG seems to be leading heavily in the image land at 10 million hits - but then again, it's Open Source as well :-) Or to be specific: an open standard with an open source reference implementation. And 23% of the people coming to this weblog are using Firefox. And the trend is up.

It's just damned hard to compete with free. Especially if the free is better or equal to the commercial alternative. It all leads to software commoditization...)

Monday, 10-Jan-05 23:52
RSS spreading

So, you can now even read CNN using RSS. This is very nice, but my favourite RSS feed is the scraped feed from the Astronomy Picture of the Day.

(Confused? Don't worry, WhatisRSS explains.

Menikö ohi? Ei se mitään, Jyväskylän kaupunki selittää)

Saturday, 08-Jan-05 14:59
Happy birthday, dad!

This is särä, the traditional food of Lemi, and the oldest traditional food in Finland. It's really simple: just well-salted, extremely tender lamb and potatoes, and nothing else. No vegetables, no spices. It takes about 4-5 days to prepare, and for the last six hours it is kept in a low-temperature oven to become something that almost melts on the tongue.

Eating särä is an ordeal of its own: men always start (an old saying says that "men, come to the table so that the women get to eat"), and eating less than three helpings is considered impolite. Today, about 750g of meat has been reserved for each and everyone... They will keep on carrying food until you say no more.

It's pretty good, actually.

Thursday, 06-Jan-05 22:43
Citizens, beware of communists!

Bill Gates calls free culture advocates as 'modern-day communists'.

So, gosh, darned golly, so if I want to give the things I create to people for free, and I'd like others to be able to do the same, I'm a communist?

Now see what happens when kids stop believing in Santa Claus! They become cynical and jaded...

I mean - of course there's some value in defining intellectual property (what a dreadful word), but the current restrictions are becoming just silly, and the reasons why they should be enforced and extended even more are becoming thinner by the day. Look - everybody knows that copyright term is being extended because some corporations (like Disney) don't want to release their money-making pig (or a mouse) to the public domain just yet. It has nothing to do with protecting some lone artist somewhere, and we're essentially throwing the baby out with the bathwater (like the recent decision of Teosto to rip money from kids because they might be singing copyrighted tunes in the day care). At least the corporations should confess and come out and say that yeah, that's what they'd like - and let the techies and the lawyers and the artists and everybody actually work on a smart solution, instead of just trying to blindly kill everything that comes on their path.

I love Lessig's proposal of making copyright an issue of money: You get a certain flat time for free (like 50 years) and once your copyright nears expiration, you can renew it for a very small sum (like 1 dollar). This would release a lot of stuff in the public domain, while allowing the artists and the corporations to keep on things that are still making money (and to get rid of the things that don't). This is one solution. There are more. It's just a question of finding them.

(I just love the flag. Gotta have the flag. Via Boing Boing.)

Update: Ewan says: "Mr Gates, it's the EFF and the Copyleft Brigade. They're Here." "What do they want?"'"I don't know, but they've got a flag..." ROFLMAO.

Thursday, 06-Jan-05 14:30
Six Apart buys Livejournal - confirmed

The rumours have been flying around for a while, but Joi confirms them now: Six Apart (makers of Movable Type and Typepad) has acquired Danga, the company that runs Livejournal. This means that over 6.5 million bloggers will be under the Six Apart umbrella.

This is pretty big. This essentially creates a tripod structure in the blog world - the Six Apart users, the Blogger users, and the non-affiliated rest (essentially Wordpress, Nucleus, the smaller blog hosts like qlogger, etc). So far MSN Spaces and AOL Journals don't seem to be playing.

Blogging is no longer a small game: There are now more Six Apart users now than there are people in Finland. And frankly, it seems that on the average the bloggers are a smarter bunch than the general population over here. *grin*

So, if a population of five million people brought you Linux and Nokia and Esa-Pekka Salonen (and plenty of others), what could do the Six Apart crowd do?

Tuesday, 04-Jan-05 22:10
Blogien lukijamäärä kasvaa nopeammin kuin kirjoittajien

(Since this story has been everywhere in the blogosphere already in English, I'll just provide the Finnish translation here).

Pew -organisaation tutkimuksessa todettiin, että 27% amerikkalaisista internetin käyttäjistä on joskus lukenut blogeja, kun taas 7% on joskus kokeillut bloggaamista. 5% käyttää RSS:ää, ja 12% on joskus kirjoittanut kommentteja blogeihin.

Vuonna 2004 blogien lukijoiden määrä on kasvanut 58% vuoteen 2003 verrattuna. Dokumentin käppyröiden mukaan olemme vasta S-kurvin alussa.

Lisäksi ABC News valitsi bloggaajat vuoden henkilöiksi ja Dan Gillmor (jonka We the Media on jokaisen bloggauksesta ilmiönä kiinnostuneen pakkolukulistalla) avasi oman, ruohonjuuritason journalismiin keskittyvän bloginsa.

Saas nähdä, mitä tämän vuoden Kultaisten Kuukkelien jaon tiimoilta tulee tapahtumaan... Sanomattakin on selvää, että parhaan blogin palkinnosta tulee olemaan verinen kamppailu.

(Apropos, halukkaat kuukkelintekijät (tarvitaan: graafikko ja HTML:n vääntäjä nyt ainakin, myös arvonta -er- äänestysjärjestelmän toteuttaja saa paikan) saavat alkaa ilmoittautua allekirjoittaneelle... Spekulaatio alkakoon.)

Tuesday, 04-Jan-05 16:13
Confessions of an iPod owner

So, I've been an iPodder for two weeks now. I have never before owned a portable music player - not a Walkman, not a CD player, nothing. The closest thing so far has been my laptop, to which I attach myself using an umbilical^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Haudio cable. And it's been fun. But with the iPod Mini, I can take my music now everywhere!

Or so one would think.

I have noticed some interesting... issues in this while iPod thing. Let me recount a few of them:

  • First of all - this thing is damned inconvenient: The headphone wires get trapped in a multitude of latches and notches and creases and folds I didn't even know that my jacket has. In the end, I am crouching down to avoid the headphones from being ripped off my head while furiously trying to reel the wire out of my jacket. Perhaps I should live in California - portable players are definitely not designed for winter clothing.
  • The volume is too loud or too soft. This is entirely a matter of ambient noise: when I'm walking on the street, the car noise drowns out any music - in the office the music is too loud for my ears. And yeah, I've heard of volume control. The thing just is that if I were to drown the street noises (75+ dB), with noise that's 20 dB more, I would almost certainly get permanent hearing loss. I'm sure Spinsteri can fill you in on the interesting details.
    • (And I do have a pair of noise-canceling headphones. Unfortunately, they're so big that they really make problem 1 and 3 stand out - not to mention problem 4.)
  • People look at me strangely when I'm jamming to a particularly good tune. I seem to be completely unable to listen to music as just "background noise". I'm currently typing this text to the exact rhythm of Schiller's Glück und Erfüllung...
  • Loss of awareness. I've noticed I'm far less aware of my surroundings - and in the urban jungle, this is dangerous, potentially even fatal. For many years, I trained myself to notice everything - and now I'm deliberately muting down my only omnidirectional sense.
  • Overall strangeness of standing in the slushy Helsinki, waiting for a tram, and having the image of Kylie Minogue's butt bouncing before my (mental) eyes as she sings inside my head the song Can't get you out of my head NO! I CAN'T GET YOU OUT OF MY HEAD! GO AWAY!
  • The fact that even with automatic intelligence, song scoring, hand-crafted playlists - the damned thing still does not play exactly the music I want at that instant! Why is it playing Kate Bush if I want to listen to CMX?
  • In my daily schedule, there are very few instances that I am not with my laptop or a TV or a CD player or any other source of music. In fact, the only times are while I'm on the street or shopping - and on those occasions it's too noisy to use it. So the only reason to have it is to listen to music while jogging (or going to the gym, which I have simply not managed to do ever since an unpleasant experience 14 years ago).
  • 4GB is surprisingly plenty to keep all my music - and therefore I come to realize how single-sided and boring my music tastes really are...

I guess all this comes from the jarring realization (spawned by this brilliant Slashdot comment[1]) that I don't need a portable music player - never have, never will. Nobody needs a portable music player. Apple has understood this, and is extraordinarily expertly creating a cult of "want" around a small silvery box. The iPod is well-engineered, I grant you that, but so are many other MP3 players. It integrates really nicely into iTunes, and is very usable.

But an iPod is still a complete and utter vanity item. Apple has managed to do what every single brand maker in the world sees wet dreams about (aside from Kylie Minogue, of course): turning something that nobody needs into something that everybody wants. Few people would turn it down, if given one (and I'm sure at least one of them will want to comment on this blogentry). As the commenter on Slashdot says - everybody else is creating products based on what they think people need - whereas Apple is building products based on what they think that people want. This is completely the opposite of common usability and software thinking, where you observe the user meticulously, and then design a product that he really needs, not what he says he wants.

I've been lured to buy one, and I swallowed the bait with line and sinker, and now I'm flailing about without a clue as to why I did it.

In fact, I swallowed the bait so well, that I'm keeping it, even after this story.


Because it's just so damned cool.

If you excuse me, I now have to go and dance in the office to the tune of A Little Bit of Love by RuPaul.

[1] Yeah, there actually are pretty bright people on Slashdot sometimes...
Monday, 03-Jan-05 02:58
Six months

It has now been exactly six months. And I still love her, more than ever. I feel the pressure of the everyday life coming in, and life is no longer the rose petals and bird song it used to be - but I still want her, need her, and long for her when she is away.

Six months.

When we started, we said that okay - let this be a summer romance, if nothing else.

The nights turned dark, and we were together.

The leaves turned red and yellow, and I still spent my money on flight tickets.

The trees became barren and lifeless, and she still sat on the train for hours to come to me.

The snow has fallen, and I look in her eyes and still see that same twinkle that seduced me on that night.

Six months is not really that long for a relationship. But it's a good start. A very good start.

Friday, 31-Dec-04 16:55

It's the magical season known as "End Of Year", during which people like to look back and think what they have done, and what they should be ashamed of.

In a sense, I'm in the same situation I was in when I started this blog exactly two years ago: my nose is running, and JSPWiki is still a mess. But the weather (and neither is the snot) is no longer freezing, and in fact, it is unseasonably warm.

I'm writing this on the train, somewhere between Helsinki and Oulu. I'm again traveling to my love. This has truly been a traveling year: I've been to Japan, USA, Germany, Sweden, Iceland, and Canada - even ventured to the Arctic Circle to see a day which does not know sunlight. Yet I haven't managed to get a single Gold card on any airline - mostly due to bad timing, route choices and bad luck. Oh well.

If I had to pick a singular episode which meant something to me, it has to be the Finnish Blog Awards. Not only did I get to meet a bunch of really wonderful people, some of whom I'm proud to call friends now, it inevitably led me to a particular blogger in Oulu. The event did transform my life, though I had no idea on that particular Saturday morning, as I left a comment on Fabula.

I also realized that I've written a lot, more than ever before:

% wc *blogentry*.txt
   9086  129462  836643 total

129000 words - that is something like two novels in two years. Of course, most of it is crap, but I hope at least something has given someone a bit of amusement or new thoughts. Or resurrected old thoughts, that you believed to be gone forever.

I would've never written all these words, if blogging didn't make writing so easy. If I had tried to write a novel, I would've just written a bit of a beginning, and then forgotten about it (you have no idea how many of these I have). But to write small things in public is far easier than devoting two years to write something massive that you just then slam out and hope it survives.

Writing has been compared to pregnancy and childbirth. If so, then blogging is the Frankenstein method of giving birth: just one limb/organ at a time. It's painless because all the bits are so small, but you end up with a monster that has a few extra limbs where they shouldn't be. But it still lives.

With this thought, I wish to thank all of my readers, other bloggers, and wish you all a Very Good New Year 2005. (And don't injure yourself with fireworks. There has been enough grief already for one EOY.)

Friday, 31-Dec-04 02:28
Debugging conversations

Wrote a lengthy piece, so I dropped it on a separate page:

Debugging conversations

There's one particular method of conversation that can be annoying as hell, if you do not understand it. I call it "debugging", as I seem to most hit it in the technology-savvy crowd. It also seems to be the weapon of choice in many net conversations, especially in the USENET.

The typical debugger views a stated argument as a true/false statement - either it's completely true, or completely false. It is only true if all of the sentences in that statement are verifiably true, and therefore it is okay to attack the weakest link of the sentence, because if that can be proven false - or even uncertain - the entire argument collapses like a flan in a cupboard.

It's just like software: a single flaw in an otherwise perfect algorithm will render it useless - or even dangerous. That is why it is important to find the flaw, and not concentrate on the bits that already work. This is the strange dualism of computer programming - in order to make the whole fun ...


Tuesday, 28-Dec-04 20:23

Not the previous kind of shit.

I have a dear friend in Chalong Bay in Phuket, working as a diving instructor. So far I haven't heard anything - but I guess that's to be expected, as that area was hit pretty bad.

This... this disaster just transcends all imagination. I have no words.

I just hope she's all right.

Please donate as much as you can to help.

Update: she seems to be fine (thanks, Orava and others). As complete as possible list of the Finnish survivors is on Mininet. It's weird: it's actually illegal to publish this kind of a list in Finland, as it goes against the privacy laws. Thus, neither the Foreign Ministry nor the travel agencies may publish (and they have not published) the names of those who survived without the permission of the people or their relatives, and thus they are overwhelmed by people who call to query for each individual person - many calling in multiple times.

Private persons are forbidden from listing the survivors as well, but in a situation such as this the free flow of information is more important than the privacy issues. It's better to break the law for a good cause and face the consequences (of which I doubt there will be any - the public outcry would be horrific) than to let people linger in despair. A catastrophy this big touches a lot of people, and broadcasting is simply the best way to transmit this information to people.

Update2: The Finnish Data Protection Ombudsman, Reijo Aarnio is saying that he will not contact and try to stop private people who have been publishing the names of the survivors, even if that gets him fired for not doing his duties. Good man.

Sunday, 26-Dec-04 17:53
A picture-perfect Christmas

Picture yesterday evening: It's dark, all the noisy kids have gone to bed. We are lying on the bed, close to each other, and share the iPod. We play disgustingly romantic music, kiss, and just sense the warmth of each other in the quiet house.

Then she suddenly perks up: "Darling! I forgot to tell you! My poo was this long and completely solid!" she says, and shows with her fingers.

How I love that woman...

(As a side note, today I completely understand her happiness: I have the same stomach flu now (except a bit worse), and I have trouble going to the toilet because I don't know which end is going to discharge first - and which way I should sit on the john. Yay. I long for the days of solid poo.)

Saturday, 25-Dec-04 21:54
Global Voices Manifesto

Like Joi, I also feel pretty strongly about the freedom to say what you want. So I contributed a quick-and-rough Finnish translation to the Global Voices Wiki.

(In other news: it feels pretty strange (and one would think that I'm used to darkness) that the sun does not come up at all during the day. Oh well. Luckily I have a beautiful, caring, wonderful and diarrhetic lady here to keep me company. And a bunch of kids. :)

Friday, 24-Dec-04 18:14

He's here to the joy of a six year old - and the great lie continues ;)

Friday, 24-Dec-04 09:43
Almost there

Only a few more minutes to go. Kent is playing on the iPod, and I feel strangely sad. I've so far spent every Christmas (bar one) with my parents. But I feel joy too, for we will spend the holidays together.

Thursday, 23-Dec-04 21:20
Early presents

Caved under pressure and got myself some Christmas presents :)

(I know, Apple is supposed to introduce a new iPod pretty soon, but I figured that since this thing already does nearly all I want it to do, I can just get it...)

Now I'm listening to music on express train, at the beginning of my 14-hour trip to Pello, way north of the Arctic Circle. It's odd realize that it's faster to get to Japan or SFO than to Outi's parents... If we ever get kids, we can't rely on gran to do babysitting ;)

But this world is still oddly screwed, as some distances shrink faster than others: city-to-foreign city can be faster than to city-to-countryside. No wonder people are losing touch with nature...

Anyway, happy holidays and whatnot to all my readers. Relax and be groovy.

Wednesday, 22-Dec-04 13:00

Sorry, I'm too busy and tired to blog, but I was asked to advertise the following, so I'll happily oblige:

Helsingin Eläinsuojeluyhdistys (HESY, Helsinki Humane Society) is having their 130-year anniversary (fi, english is here) exhibition in Jugendsali, Pohjoisesplanadi 19. The theme of the exhibition is "Animals and my life", and there is related program every day. The exhibition is open mo-fr 09-17, su 11-17, and is open until 9th of January. The funding of the society comes 97% from the public.

Good cause, with a friend's fine photographs. Go, if you have the time. Help, if you have the means.

Friday, 17-Dec-04 11:01
Shady Temptations

CutBoy nails it with his description to our trip to this particularly special place in Tokyo...

Thursday, 16-Dec-04 22:32
Back home

Thirteen hours of flight with one stopover, and I'm home. Though not home, but in a Christmas party. And there's a SingStar here... *shudder* But I'll be my usual grumpy self and just say I can't sing.

Wednesday, 15-Dec-04 12:15
Overboard with Christmas lighting

Tree optional!

Wednesday, 15-Dec-04 06:27
Still in heaven

Cheese tonkatsu! How... odd, yet incredibly tasty.

Wednesday, 15-Dec-04 02:11

I had no idea you could orgasm while eating. This eel is simply so good, that it literally melts on your tongue and causes shivers down your spine. The fish is incredibly fresh and rich in taste, and it's even relatively cheap.

It's the Tokyo Fish Market, the largest fish market in the world, and it has to be seen and felt to be believed. Calling it "busy" would be a gross understatement.

Wednesday, 15-Dec-04 00:05

Now exactly how much is "enough" Christmas decoration?

Green optional.

Tuesday, 14-Dec-04 15:45

"This, my friend, is called an Ultimate Landslide."

Perhaps I should start asking what something is before ordering.

Tuesday, 14-Dec-04 15:36
Taiko drumming game!

Waa! Why is my PS2 region-coded?! I want this game, seriously! I wanna bang till I keel over from exhaustion. And I wanna invite friends over so we can gang... Nevermind.

Oh, and foie gras sushi is really quite exquisite.

...he said, and ran away from the approaching angry mob.

Tuesday, 14-Dec-04 08:56
One way to manage your email overload...

...is to simply make it someone else's problem. Here's the Out Of Office -message from a colleague:

Thank-you for your recent email.

Your message has been deleted from ~CutBoy's inbox, and all trace of it removed from our server. He has no way of knowing the message even existed.

So, if you still think that he will find the contents of your mail important you are welcome to re-mail at a future date at your convienience.


Mail assistant to CB

I love it - resending the email when you even don't know when the person is back causes a significant cognitive load to the person sending it. Therefore, only the really important messages will be resent, and thus, the problem of filtering out the good email from the bad is distributed to the senders. Whee, practical applications of distributed computing using human brains :-)

Sunday, 12-Dec-04 14:50

Tim-Tams! My second favourite Australian candy!

(#1 being the ANZAC bisquits, of course :-)

Saturday, 11-Dec-04 17:04
Off to Tokyo

Moblogging from the plane with 3G!

(Though, they haven't told me to turn off the phone yet ;) Still safely on the ground...)

Friday, 10-Dec-04 23:03
Blog ethics

Check out the Blog ethics questionnaire. A ~PhD student is asking for opinions on a couple of interesting questions, and is asking for feedback from active bloggers. (Via somewhere I already forgot...)

(I'm sure someone who is fluent in the language of philosophy can translate this into Finnish - I couldn't.)

Update: Sedis translated it into Finnish and there's already some discussion there - brilliant!

Friday, 10-Dec-04 14:25

Three meetings and a presentation. Eurgh. Just a few quickies again (because I don't have the time to give these the full treatment):

3G is cool. Seriously. It's almost like broadband in your pocket. Using a 6630 in the Elisa 3G network makes my geek heart tremble with warm fuzzies: I can now read blogs anywhere :-). Now if only it was a bit cheaper, I could actually see this transforming the way cell phones are being used.

Look at the new Google Suggest! That is simply *impressive*. Write a start of a word, and Google suggests immediately a search word (with the number of matches) - without you pressing the search button. (Via Myrsky.net.) What do you mean web applications can only have bad interfaces?

A spurious radical thought: Part of the reason many have a work email overload problem is that emails are like prayers, just a lot more reliable. You type in a wish, and you put it in this black box, and out comes (perhaps) a reply. You don't really think that there's a person out there that has to use his precious time to answer to your email - your interface is with Outlook, not with A Person. Both prayers and emails assume that there's a being with an infinite processing capability at the other end.

Outlook (and other email programs) are really good at depersonalizing your communication - they speak of Contacts and Tasks, not of Friends and Fun - which is what IM and blogs are much better at. And, as with religion, most of the time you get spam instead of anything useful. ;-)

Wednesday, 08-Dec-04 00:33
Power law rulez

Not at all unsurprisingly, the Finnish blog world also adheres to Shirky's Power Law. Most blogs have less than ten readers, as measured by the Pinseri aggregator.

The image to the right was made by Peter of Nätkreatur and included here without permission (because he does not have any contact information on his blog; let me know if it's okay to keep it here). I found it from the Pinseri discussion on the new bloglist.

Everyone interested in the recent discussion of "blogging inner circles" and "the undemocratic nature of blogs" should read Shirky's article. The fact that some people get naturally selected as the "top" bloggers comes from the freedom to choose whom to read.

To quote Shirky: Inequality occurs in large and unconstrained social systems for the same reasons stop-and-go traffic occurs on busy roads, not because it is anyone's goal, but because it is a reliable property that emerges from the normal functioning of the system. The relatively egalitarian distribution of readers in the early years had nothing to do with the nature of weblogs or webloggers. There just weren't enough blogs to have really unequal distributions. Now there are.

Wednesday, 08-Dec-04 00:08
Total Music Honesty

This meme from Erik:

The Playlist Meme

  1. Open up the music player on your computer.
  2. Set it to play your entire music collection.
  3. Hit the "shuffle" command.
  4. Tell us the title of the next ten songs that show up (with their musicians), no matter how embarrassing. That's right, no skipping that Carpenters tune that will totally destroy your hip credibility. It's time for total musical honesty. Write it up in your blog or journal and link back to at least a couple of the other sites where you saw this.
  5. If you get the same artist twice, you may skip the second (or third, or etc.) occurances. You don't have to, but since randomness could mean you end up with a list of ten song with five artists, you can if you'd like.

Here's my list:

  • CMX: Ruoste
  • Irwin Goodman: Haistakaa paska koko valtiovalta
  • U2: The Star Spangled Banner
  • Schiller: Glück und Erfüllung
  • Maria Kalaniemi & Algardaz: Huuma (Los Mareados)
  • Edu Kettunen: Polkan transsi
  • Fairground Attraction: Perfect
  • Frankie Valli: Grease
  • Nylon Beat: Love and Hate
  • Leevi and the Leavings: Vasara ja nauloja
Monday, 06-Dec-04 20:01
Linking, linking, linking

I'm too tired to really write about anything. There are too many things I should do and too little time. So I'll just throw a couple of links I wanted to write longer stories about for you to digest.

Urgh. I'm exhausted. Not even three days of rest can remove this weariness anymore...

Thursday, 02-Dec-04 23:46
After a long day

This one was in the fridge
At home, I found seven of these small stickers hidden around the apartment.

Tears of happiness wrenched my heart.

(English readers: paint with your mouse cursor below to see the translated text. If you are using a RSS browser, well, good for you :)

I miss you
my love
Wednesday, 01-Dec-04 17:46
Word of the year

From Merriam-Webster dictionary:

Based on your online lookups, the #1 Word of the Year for 2004 was

Blog noun [short for Weblog] (1999) : a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer...

(Via Joi. I'm with him - stop complaining how stupid the word sounds already :)

Tuesday, 30-Nov-04 00:07
Power weekend

Sorry for this silence: most of my blogging time seems to into commenting into Sinisen kirjan marginaali (Finnish) these days. Lots of good reading in that blog; highly recommended, even if ... controversial on occasion. (And I just spent two minutes trying to figure out how to say this in an appreciative manner, yet give a bit of highlight to our differing opinions, without resorting to the use of smileys.)

Anyway. I've been meaning to blog about a number of things, but the latest... blog crisis has thrown me off the track and I've mostly been commenting on other blogs and writing lengthy emails back and forth. I'm not in much of a blogging mood right now.

So, I'll go the easy route and just settle for social porn: On Saturday, after the food fair, we picked up my parents from the airport. This also happened to be the dreaded First Meeting Of The ~GirlFriend And The Parents. In the airport arrival hall. In a way, it was very symbolic to meet under the shadow of the great wooden statue that greets all European travelers arriving to Finland. I just have no idea what that symbol means.

Then we went to the always so delightful MisuEG party (Finnish), in which we managed to talk perhaps 15 minutes of other things before the subject turned into blogging. I don't think I ever get used to hearing "oh yeah, you're that guy - I read your blog". It always makes me feel that the person in question should next sprout cucumbers out of his head or something equally weird.

And - against my better judgement, but strangely enough, at my insistence - we crashed Visukinttu's fun house warming party (Finnish), even though on Sunday morning we had to leave really early to go to my nephew's christening 250 km away, and introduce Outi to the rest of the family. (Note to self: If Jarkko offers you a vodka shot, decline. Politely. I've seen smaller beers offered in a bar than his vodka shots.)

Sunday was the big day. After a comfortable three hours of sleep (and two more in the train), my little nephew got his name (which confused him so much he stopped crying), and we all could breathe a sigh of relief. My relatives did not eat Outi - in fact, they seemed quite to like her. After a very relaxing moment in the sauna we returned back home to Helsinki, and spent a total of six hours in the train.

Oh yeah, and I'm technically a godfather now (can't be for real). I did my duties, and started his religious upbringing: as he was resting in my arms, wondering at the people all around him with wide eyes, I whispered softly in his ear:

"You know, all this commotion is just hogwash. God does not really exist."

And I intend to continue. Let him decide what to believe when he gets old enough. Until then, I'll to tell him the other side of the story. And bribe him with presents. Isn't that what godfathers are supposed to do?

Saturday, 27-Nov-04 17:51
Mmmm... food

A good man with the same name has the same problem as me - for some reason, everything seems to happen on this weekend. There are at least four fairs in Helsinki this weekend, one Eddie Izzard -marathon, two parties and tomorrow, the christening of my sister's new kid. Which takes place 250 km away. So no heavy partying tonight - just a bit.

The Helsinki Food Fair was certainly a good experience, as always. Didn't have much time, so we had to rush through the big halls filled with food. Still, we came back with at least five plastic bags full of different items: some sweet pineapple, lemon honey, Carelian pastries, and other things, half of which will probably find their way into Christmas presents (of people who do not read this blog ;).

If you have nothing to do tomorrow, the Food Fair is certainly one of the best ways of spending it.

Thursday, 25-Nov-04 17:12
The New Top-list

Way! After some discussion about the Finnish blog top-100 list, and why it is so difficult to be a top-100 blogger, Just Sopivasti (in Finnish) went and created his own top-list. It's a good (though used) idea - I recommend everyone to publish ten of the blogs they think are the best.

Though in all honesty, I don't think these have any impact on the significance of the Pinseri list, as that is generated automatically from reader list most people tend to use. If you dislike the whole thing, you can remove yourself off the top-list (Finnish), but remain on the list of all blogs.

(I'm going slightly overboard - you can see my own top-100 on the right, as usual. At least those that have RSS feeds; there are only two that I follow which don't. I don't read bad blogs, therefore the one on the right is my personal top-100-or-so. ;) The list does change according to my whims - of course. You wanna be on it? Be interesting, or be a friend. Preferably both. And have an RSS feed.

... he said, fully well knowing that nobody really cares :)

Thursday, 25-Nov-04 14:57
What is the sound of a person tearing his hair?

To complement my previous rant on the problem that is email: During the past 12 hours, I have received 37 Megabytes worth of email - not including spam. Spam is peanuts, during the same period I only got about 200 kBytes worth of it.

That is all.

Wednesday, 24-Nov-04 16:05
Spam, spam, spam, china, and spam

Got tired of the Chinese Wikispam and put the entire .cn -domain under a moratorium: you can no longer post links on JSPWiki to China. If the situation persists, I will add the entire .cn -domain to an edit blacklist as well.

If *all* spam comes from China, and *very few* positive contributions, I think it's time to throw the very little baby out with a lot bathwater. I (and the people who donate their time to do WikiGardening) have better things to do than to clean a dozen pages every single morning.


Wednesday, 24-Nov-04 01:21

...for my love to arrive; the train has broken and she will be here perhaps in two hours. *sigh* I'll just go and sleep for a while.

(Ja siihen aiempaan kiusaamiskeskusteluun viitaten: Minttu Hapuli on sanonut oman painavan sanansa ja avannut keskustelun Pinserin Koirapuistoon asiasta. Jos teillä on jotain ehdotuksia tai mielipiteitä siitä, miten blogistaniassa pitäisi ja/tai voisi kohdella trolleja, vittuilua ja "kiusaamista" (ei ehkä aivan oikea termi, mutta käytetään sitä nyt kuitenkin), niin kommentoikaa tänne tai sitten Koirapuistoon.)

Tuesday, 23-Nov-04 12:46
You're being watched

Apparently, every single laser colour printer since 1995 has embedded the serial number of the printer in every printout, says Yahoo news. Officially, this is to track money, but I'm pretty sure it's being used to track things like letters as well. Some for benign purpose, some for not so benign. Of course, corporations such as Xerox keep tabs on who owns which printer, so law enforcement can simply go and ask "who wrote this letter?"

You know - sometimes it's really hard not to be paranoid. What other small tracking methods are there in our surroundings that we are not aware of?

Monday, 22-Nov-04 23:34
Your mission, Jim...

...should you choose to accept it, is to find the car.

I was so proud to park the car in this tight space on Friday morning. Little did I know there would be Snow. And Snowplows.

You see, I don't own a car. I just got one on loan for a week. I think I won't get a car for a while. At least I won't consider it for a while. Until next summer, anyway.

Monday, 22-Nov-04 19:10
The shooting of Fallujah and the fall of the press

It's pretty much everywhere now, so I'll just link these together to those who haven't seen it yet: If you have seen or heard of the video of an US Marine shooting a wounded, unarmed Iraqi, you might also know that the man who shot the footage is a blogger. He has now published a first-hand report of the incident, perhaps one of the most important blog entries of all time - in fact, it was so important, North County Times wrote an article from it.

The latter article is not only a must-read, but also chilling to the bone. Patriots calling "Kill all reporters" (which would suit an oppressive government really well), or that "Sites should be tried for treason" (for showing the truth). And the Marines will only be good to you, if you report good things about them. Say something that's against the party line, or make them look even the slightest bit non-heroic, you're out.

Where are the calls "the public has a right to know now?" Those people who demand that the tiniest mistake of every celebrity be reported - where are they? Shouldn't they be asking "what happens in Fallujah?" Shouldn't they be writing angry letters to the networks and the military so that news reports are not repressed and the gory details edited?

Yeah. They should. But they're not.

Because they have chosen to believe, against all evidence, on a truth given from above. They attack anyone who dares to blemish that image with the same fervor as a fundamentalist christian attacks an atheist. Or a muslim. Facts be damned, they BELIEVE.

Bush is their new God, and thou shalt not incur His wrath or judge Him. Or else the hordes of His believers will destroy you.

(P.S. One of the wisest things ever said, known by all, ignored by most: Matthew 7:12. Look it up. Reading the Bible is a good idea, even if you're an atheist like me. Actually, Matthew 7:21-23 is also relevant here. Heck, the entire chapter is chock full of good stuff. Read it, if you have forgotten.)

(P.P.S. Later that day: On second thoughts, don't.)

Monday, 22-Nov-04 13:08
Rammstein and beer

If you're going to the Rammstein gig when they play in Finland (and are not afraid of some spoilers), then you might want to read this report from the Denmark concert.

Let me iterate the important thing: WEAR EARPLUGS. Spinsteri is doing a ~PhD on noise and music, she knows what she's talking about.

Saturday, 20-Nov-04 22:09
A small digression

Pardon my Finnish, but... tästä syystä minä rakastan tätä naista.

On the internet, ignoring trolls is usually the best way of handling them. However, when someone is being fuelled by their internal hatred towards someone, they will keep going and going and going until they have either driven that person into insanity, or stopped by someone. Personal attacks are a part of the job if you write publically, but a deliberate plan to drive someone else out of the blogosphere with hate blogging, hate comments, and hate email is very... sad.

I mean - what can possibly be gained from it? Squashing a voice simply because it speaks true to itself? The loss of a voice diminishes the blogosphere, and that person becomes disillusioned, bitter, and sad. The abuser only becomes more bitter, as any victory in a fight like this is hollow and void of meaning. Most people listening on this start hating the abuser - perhaps they are not saying anything, but they hate him more. Anything else he might say will be viewed with suspicion and distrust - no matter how intelligent or sane. Even the people who agree only on some points get their share of the dislike. The only people who gain something are the voyeurs, who get a brief moment of satisfaction watching the flames before they get back to watching car crashes. Those people, who believe that people on the internet are not real and can thus be treated like computer characters.

That kind of hate towards a single person is not constructive. It is completely and utterly destructive. Nothing good will come out of it - and nobody will gain anything from it, except for a brief feeling of hollow satisfaction (and I know this from personal, painful experience that I have regretted ever since). If you want to feel good in front of a computer abusing "virtual" people, buy Sims. Or jerk off. Hell, that's far more constructive than attacking someone...

Hate begets only more hate. Love begets more love.

You get out of the world what you put in it. It's as simple as that.

Update: No, I am not mentioning any names here. Those partial to this thing may feel a sting, and if they feel threatened by this, I'm sure they'll voice their opinion. Those who know what I'm talking about - good, and those who don't - even better. Blaming people and pointing fingers is exactly what has been done, so I'm trying not to do it. But I was compelled to say something, so I wouldn't appear as being in agreement. And there's a really difficult balancing point here - I've been debating for weeks whether I should open my mouth on the matter, and how. The whole thing just depresses the hell out of me.

Update (22.11.): Russell Beattie has his own personal troll called "Jacek Rutkowski" (aka jpzr) as well. Russ has another way of handling the whole thing, naming the guy, and asking him to stop. As he points out, there is little he can do because the guy is not in the US. Internet trolls are not usually a real problem, but a particularly twisted and determined troll *can* make your life difficult. And if you can handle it - can your loved ones? Your kids? Anyway, good luck to Russ - if words can hurt, words can also heal. We're here for you.

One more update: Russ asks that all posts link back to him using the above keywords. Soon, anyone searching Google for the name will find Russell's page first, and see that the man is a troll. It's quite an unusual punishment, but it's the only one the blogosphere has got.

Saturday, 20-Nov-04 15:31
Halo, too

Not the game, you dolts. :) I mean this beautiful stuff you can catch in Finland during wintertime. In fact, on the average you can see a halo in Finland every three days (i.e. roughly every time you see the sun). If you keep your eyes open, that is.

Saturday, 20-Nov-04 12:20
World Broadcast Treaty

Here's something that the traditional media have been rather quiet about: The proposed World Broadcast Treaty, which would essentially circumvent the entire pesky copyright-thing. To quote Cory Doctorow of Boing Boing, who's on-site and covering this on the blog:

One of the least-supported provisions in the treaty is the "Webcaster's provision" which would allow people who transmit information on the Internet to control how anyone who receives it uses it -- even if it's Creative Commons licensed, or in the public domain, or not copyrightable. Microsoft and Yahoo's representatives have backed the US's call for this (America is the only country that wants this), essentially saying that they represent the whole tech industry on this.

In short, this means that someone wants to turn the Internet into a completely regulated system: you have to ask someone a permission before you can put even your own content online. Or - which is more likely - would allow any ISP to decide what their users may get. This is, of course, good for people who want to control anything "improper", the US government (or any oppressive third world government), as well as for big corporations with large pockets who can "buy" an ISP not to transfer any content from a competitor. And if you think that no corporation could be bothered to go after the little guy - then how about only three people getting a TV show cancelled?

Of course, one of the real incentives is to regulate ~VoIP applications such as Skype, because they are competing with telecom companies and distrupting their business models. Think about it: if your phone company is your ISP (like Elisa in Helsinki), why would they allow you to talk to your friend in Japan for free over the internet? (And that's not all, says the Observer. The Internet is to become a new TV network where only few can decide what is to be broadcasted and the rest must just consume. It also increases the control over electronics industry - like giving the media companies power to forbid devices that allow you to fast-forward over commercial breaks.)

Read Cory's article and more coverage. There's also an analysis of the treaty.

How come we only seem to get really bad news these days? And the situation keeps getting worse - where is the tipping point and what will happen then?

Friday, 19-Nov-04 21:35
Eerie ghost sighting aftereffects

Dropped a bottle of red wine (or to be exact, Glühwein) on the floor. Muchos glass and wine everywhere. Not a good idea, I assure you. Most of the stains are gone, but my carpet may be a goner.

I was a bit distraught by this unaired German car commercial:

"When they finished filming the ad, the people who made it noticed something moving along the side of the car, like a ghostly white mist.

If you turn up the sound, you can also hear whispering. The ad was never put on TV because the unexplained ghostly phenomenon frightened the production team out of their wits. Watch it and about halfway through (after the car comes from behind the trees) look closely and you will see the white mist coming up from behind the car and then following it along the road!"

It might be a fake (and probably is, I know very well CGI is that good these days). But it did arouse deep fears from ten thousand years ago, the same fears we all harbour and they come out at night...

It's not a good Friday night. I don't know why, but I'm being rather jumpy right now. Better to sit down and not do anything. (Inexplicably, the DVD drive on my laptop started working again...)

Friday, 19-Nov-04 11:06
Useless integration

Mobitopia recently integrated an IRC bot to a weblog, so people can directly post URLs from IRC to the web log.

Unfortunately, this has made that weblog essentially useless. One of my biggest pet peeves is people who just paste links to IRC without bothering to explain what they are. If a link is not worth three words of introduction, why would it be worth my time to go and check it?

On weblogs, I expect more than a link and three words. The mode of communication is different with these two: IRC is extremely transient, and once a discussion flows off the screen, people don't return to it. But while weblogs are transient as well, for them the expected life time of a link is a lot more - several days in fact. So what was current then might not be current two days later.

The second problem is that it lowers the posting threshold too much, and you end up with links you might not usually bother to be posted to a weblog. An URL can circulate around IRC in a few minutes, because it's really easy to just paste the link (because of the transience factor: a mistake is forgotten two minutes later as it scrolls off the screen).

The third problem is that IRC makes text resemble speech instead of literature. So, you get explanations that are misspelled, abbreviated or else very condensed and uncomprehensible (if you get any explanations at all).

And the worst problem is that there are just too many of these links. They should make a separate link blog for those who want to follow those; I've been reading Mobitopia for their articles and their opinions (however annoying they might be) - but now it all resembles just a stupid chat room. I get ten useless links on my RSS reader which I'll never follow because of the crappy explanations, so I might as well drop the whole thing.

While putting technologies together is cool for just simply coolness' sake, you still have to think about the user experience.

I'm unsubscribing.

(And now for something completely different: Here's a wonderful article from truthout: The New Cold War - and Europe is winning. Thanks to Zds for pointing it out.)

Thursday, 18-Nov-04 19:55
I have a problem worse than spam...

I don't really mind spam that much anymore. I've got a nice spamassassin and Apple Mail combination which catches 99.9% of all spam coming in.

My problem is with real email.

Yesterday, I got pissed off at people sending me 5 MB ~PowerPoint files marked as FYI. You see, it's not fun trying to download them over a GPRS connection, since it takes ages. Then your inbox gets full, and you can't even send email before you remove some of the big mails. Yay. But even that's not the real problem. It's just an annoyance; after all, I'm not paying my own phone bill.

The problem is that I cannot ignore them easily: they all are somehow relevant to my tasks. So here I am at work, it's nearly eight p.m., and I'm done for my email for the day. I still have about 150 messages waiting, but those are the ones I just skim through quickly, conveniently sorted into their own folders automatically by some magic. So they can wait until tomorrow. I have a few messages marked as "answer later", but knowing that I get a hundred emails tomorrow, it's quite likely that I'll never answer those. When a message scrolls off the main list view, it's as good as forgotten, because tomorrow a hundred new voices come and demand your attention immediately.

I can do email, or I can sit in meetings, or I can do actual work. Choose two. Any two. But no more than two. (I suspect this is why so many people seem to do email in meetings...)

I'm beginning to like spam. Spam I can deal with. I can unequivocably hate it and kill it with a grin on my face, and tune my spamassassin's config ad infinitum. It's much more difficult to ignore an email when the guy on the other end is innocently asking for your advice or comments for real.

Thursday, 18-Nov-04 11:05
Memetic Thursday

Originally this comes from Sweden. but I got it via Marjut:

1. Which artist/group is the most common in your record collection?

That would be either Kylie Minogue or the J-Pop band MAX. So there's a theme - sue me.

2. Which writer's books are the most common on your book shelf?

That would be either David Brin, or Ralf König. And yes, I do count certain comics as literature.

3. What kind of movies are the most common in your video collection?

Animated movies. Easily. Unless you count Eddie Izzard, in which case it would be comedy.

4. What kind of pictures are the most common in your photo album?

Scenic photos. I don't like people in my beautiful photographs; I much prefer the beauty of the nature to people.

5. What kind of printed products are the most common in your recycling bin?

Helsingin sanomat. After that, ads for local pizza joints. :)

Hmm... This does give a rather childish picture of me. Oh well. It's not like I care :-D

Thursday, 18-Nov-04 00:37
Through beauty and darkness

When you travel a lot, the simple magic that is flight is easily forgotten. Tonight, as I was returning from Hamburg (where a ~WiFi connection costs 24.95€/24h, and taxis don't take credit cards, urgh), the sight was awesome: at first we flew over Helsinki with clear skies. We went very low, so I could see the city clearer than ever before; saw the parks and lights and streets of this town I call home. We flew directly over the place where I work, and continued over my home, doing the trip in less than a minute. The same trip I usually travel for 30 minutes...

Then, fog rolled in all of a sudden as we were turning over Itäkeskus. I started to wonder why the lights of the Vuosaari harbour and the oil refinery further east looked so large, as if the whole place was on fire. Then we turned some more, and I saw the whisps of the fog embracing the airport. As we descended, the whole landscape changed: now the lights of Helsinki looked like some strange sunset, as if dreamed by a poet on acid. The ground below was dark, but orange, yellow and white patterns of light showed the approximate positions of buildings and roads, making the scenery appear like tentative strokes from an artists brush.

Finally, we dived into the fog and the airfield appeared out of the nothingness. The wheels screamed as they touched the ground, and the magic was gone. I was home.

Some celestial event. No-- no words. No words to describe it. Poetry! They should've sent a poet. So beautiful. So beautiful... I had no idea. --Dr. Arroway, "Contact"
(Sorry, Henning's Wife: No reports of boozing this time (no time for that). But you can ask him about the restaurant called "Mess" and how much of a mess we made there...)
Monday, 15-Nov-04 19:59
Late for work

She made me woollen socks!
I missed the alarm clock, and was just about to get up, as she stirred and turned in her sleep. She grabbed a tight hold of me, arm over my chest and her leg over mine. "...I already missed you so much..." she murmured sleepily, and fell back to sleep.

I just couldn't move.

I did not have the heart to move away from her embrace, should she awaken. So we both lay there, happily in each others arms, just resting the world away. It took an hour and a half for me to be able to move her arm gently away, and slip into the shower. When I came back, she had moved to the exact spot where I had been; clutching the pillow I had rested my head upon.

My heart aches with love.

So I was late for work, even convoluted by the bus strike and some computer problems. But that single, long embrace somehow made it all okay.

Monday, 15-Nov-04 11:00
Model blogging

Okay, a chef has gone into Lifeblogging, and now a professional model has done it, too (though she was already a blogger). This is getting seriously interesting: not only because easy blogging tools allow people to write without much prior technical knowledge, but also because it allows professionals from different areas to use it as means of self-expression. They don't have the time to start learning complex publishing systems, yet they might have the need, will, and aptitude to publish about their chosen field.

I'm not really that interested in every new relationship/moping/haircut -blog. Only if you happen to know the person, their relationships become a lot more interesting. Or, if they happen to be very good writers, and make you feel as if you know them through their writing, you will also get interested in their relationships, mood swings and hair length. However, the really interesting bit is when we get to peek in the lives of the professionals (or really good amateurs) in some area or the other: People who have achieved a lot in life, talking about their passions, and showing us what they think is important have far more potential to be interesting, educational, and entertaining than the musings of a 17-year old high-school kid.

LIfeblog is getting cool because it allows you to publish from both your mobile phone and your PC - it does not matter whether you like images annotated with text (moblogging) or text annotated with images (traditional blogging). Both can be done as easily - it's just that some tools work better in some tasks than others. (Disclaimer: I am not completely unbiased here, working for the company and all... But I genuinely do like Lifeblog. And those who read this blog regularly know that I have not been kind to other company products.)

Power to the people. In blogging, too.

(Via Cognections. Isn't it interesting how many new Finnish blogs are coming outside of the Pinseri list?)

(Ai niin, Kalamuki säätää Soneran kanssa. Nerokas kertomus asiakaspalvelusta tai sen puutteesta. Repesin.)

Sunday, 14-Nov-04 22:36
Small tip to moviegoers

Went to see Incredibles, which turned out to be a lot more fun than I was anticipating. Well worth watching - and again, Pixar's small animation before the actual feature was pretty cool.

However, I do have a small idea to people: when you buy candy, you can actually remove the top half of the bag (because if you've bought a full bag of candy and can finish it during one movie, you have a lot more problems than annoyed people listening you rattle) and make the noise you do during the movie a lot more pleasurable to people around you. You see (in case you haven't noticed), forcing a large hand into a small paper bag makes a lot of noise. But if you remove most of that rattling paper, you get two benefits:

a) it's easier to find the candy you're looking for, and
b) it makes a lot less noise.

(Yeah, and I know some people are now thinking: "stay home you loser, if you can't take a bit of noise, don't go to the movies, where there actually might be other people." But I'm not talking about some noise: I'm talking about the big-honking-kind-of-noise, which comes from a person that obsessively-compulsively opens his bag, takes one candy out with a hand that is obviously larger than the bag, and then carefully folds the paper bag shut again, that makes you wonder if the other person is deaf or purposefully mean.

And, if you're worried that how to get the candy back home if you can't finish it, then the answer is simple: don't remove so much you can't close the bag anymore. Even a few centimeters off the top makes it a lot easier to eat.)

Saturday, 13-Nov-04 22:07

Found-this-lovely-Shoggoth-from-Fantasiapelit. Now-must-carry-it-with-me.

(This adorable little amorphous, tentacled and multi-eyed mindless Elder Thingy reminds me of a small thought that has been nibbling at the back corner of my mind... In the past few weeks, I have seen a few comments that could only be called creepy on various blogs. And invariably, these blogs are written by women.

Perhaps I'm just imagining things. But I wonder - if the creeps that harass women in bars get behind the anonymity and untouchability that the Internet provides, things might get ugly.)

Friday, 12-Nov-04 23:52
Cuisine blogging

Hans Välimäki, the head chef of Chez Dominique has started his own blog using Lifeblog. (Lifeblog 1.5 also functions as a blogging tool - I really gotta write JSPWiki support for that baby. Shouldn't be that hard, if I only had the time...)

I think this is seriously interesting. Putting easy blogging tools in the hands of non-technical people has incredible power. This also means interesting times for Finnish bloggers, as more and more prominent bloggers start coming from outside the Pinseri list, and not taking part of the so-called Finnish blogosphere.

(Via Christian Lindholm)

Friday, 12-Nov-04 21:41
Why many geeks tend to ignore IE

Ainailona points out (in Finnish, though) that blogs are becoming a commodity, much like internet banking, news sites and what-have-you. And in order to be a commodity, one has to be prepared to serve the bulk of the users (the Common Man) - and that means supporting Internet Explorer.



The thing is - this is true only for commercial services. A geek sits 8-12 hours at work, bangs at the keyboard, and gets incredibly frustrated at the fact that whenever he does something, he has to bend a shitload of rules to support IE. All other browsers work fine (or at least acceptably), and you have to then do vile things up to and including sacrificing small animals to get the thing to work in IE. It's true that those that are really professional have libraries and experience to do this relatively efficiently - and the lesser mortals just support IE only and assume other browsers will cope with that.

However, when the geek gets home, he wants to do things right. Because that is the innate geek desire - to do things The Right Way. And if an IE user sees a crappy version of his blog because of it, then fine.

It's kinda like having a really annoying boss at work: someone's who's a real mean, old bitch (can be male or female, but I couldn't think of a proper word for man - and sorry in advance in the somewhat gender-biased text - I just find it a lot easier to think like a man :). Whenever you suggest something, she screams at you. You have to sweet-talk her into doing anything, and you hate yourself for doing it. She always wants more attention than others, and what's worse - she's got everyone else on her side. Talking to others won't help, because they always say that "you gotta ask the boss". She is sick most of the time, because she insists on running outside in a miniskirt regardless of the weather. She always wears the same clothes, too. She's so embedded in the company, that it's almost impossible to dislodge her. And she's got many older sisters, that sometimes wander in and demand even more attention than her.

When the guy gets finally home, he just really wants to be at peace. He can finally ignore the quirky, ugly, old boss and flirt with the new, foxy girl in town. She's really very nice, intelligent, independent, petite, dresses to please you, learns new tricks, is responsive to feedback, and tries to work with you, not ignore you.

So it is no wonder that some geeks don't care about IE when they're at home - they can spend their time doing new things instead of fixing code for an outdated browser. Work? Yes, because you get paid for suffering. Home? Can't be bothered.

Friday, 12-Nov-04 17:48
Oh bugger

Forgot the business date this morning. Oh fuck. It would've been quite interesting, I'm sure - and I doubt nobody blogged it either.

Shit. I completely forgot to put it in the calendar. My life is so calendar-centric these days, that if I don't mark something, I'll forget it in a day. I have 12 items (meetings, events, etc) marked for this week alone, and it has actually been quite an average week. And I'm sure the pace just quickens as Christmas arrives.

Ngh. I feel just now like someone had taken my guts and stuffed them in my head - too full in the head, empty in the chest.

Thursday, 11-Nov-04 18:59
More Engrish

Instructions from a jellyfish packet:

1) on bale puts the index numbers of quantum, imports or exports bat batch amid the jellyfish.
2) Join the jellyfish the condiment amid the agitate
3) The even post - of jellyfish agitate is then edible

Jellyfish is not that good. Neither are the instructions.

Wednesday, 10-Nov-04 17:36

(Sorry guys, I need to get this out of my chest in Finnish).

Ajattelin kirjoittaa tämän kommentiksi Khiloun blogiin, mutta arvelin, että kuitenkin luo keskustelua, joten ehkä on parempi tehdä siitä oma merkintänsä.

Marjut kyselee, pitäisikö joulua rakastavien olla hiljaa, jottei sattuisi leukaan. Höps (kaikella kunnioituksella, Marjut on groovy grrll :). Bloggauksen hyvä puoli on se - kuten Tommikin kommentoi (ja aion olla nyt hänen tarkoittamansa neuvostoliittoaivo ja antaa kommentointiohjeita) - että "huonoja" mielipiteitä ei tarvitse kuunnella. Tosin olen ennemminkin sitä mieltä, että kyseessä ei ole välinpitämättömyys, vaan ihan normaali suodatus: Me emme voi lukea kaikkea. Ja luonnollisesti, samaten kuten valitsemme ystävämme, valitsemme myös ne blogit ja uutiset, joita seuraamme. Tämä on ihan luonnollista.

Tarkoitan nyt tässä tapauksessa "huonolla" mielipiteellä mitä tahansa mielipidettä, jota et halua kuunnella, en sinällään jollain mystisellä mittarilla huonoa mielipidettä. Tämä on huomattavan eri lähtökohta kuin esimerkiksi nyyssi-, sähköposti- tai webifoorumikeskusteluissa, jossa kaikkien mielipiteet ovat yhtä arvokkaita. Blogeissa sinä valitset ne henkilöt, joita seuraat. Foorumeilla valitset asian, jota seuraat. Bloggaus on henkilökohtaista julkaisemista. Jos ajattelet valitsevasi blogin siksi, että se käsittelee mielenkiintoista asiaa, valitset sen kuitenkin siksi, että kirjoittaja (tai kirjoittajat) osaavat kirjoittaa juuri siitä aihealueesta sinua kiinnostavasti.

Ihmisten välinen keskustelu siirtyy blogimaailmaan luontevasti: henkilökohtaiset blogit viittaavat toisiinsa, ja ihmiset julkaisevat omat puheenvuoronsa omissa blogeissaan, omina merkintöinä. Linkkien löytämiseen on useampiakin keinoja - jätetyt kommentit, ns. Trackback, Technorati (ja kiljoonat muut palvelut), vähänkin kehittyneemmän kävijälaskurin tuijotus ja Google (kokeile "link:omablogi"). Jos jonkun tyypin kirjoittelu käy hermoille, lakkaat lukemasta. Ei sen kummempaa. Jos hän sanoo jotain tärkeää, luultavasti kuulet siitä jotain toistakin kautta (esimerkiksi joku muu viittaa ko. blogiin).

Kommentit ovatkin sitten kinkkisempi pulma. Mielestäni blogia tulee myös tässä käsitellä henkilökohtaisena tilana: jos joku avaa bloginsa kommenttitoiminnon, se ei ole suinkaan lupa tulla huutelemaan sen enempää kuin kutsu illalliselle on lupa tulla kotiisi syömään jääkaappi tyhjäksi. Minulle blogi on olohuoneen jatke - paikka, jossa käsittelen omia ajatuksiani, mutta tarkoituksenmukaisesti julkisesti. Jos joku tulee olohuoneeseni vittuilemaan minulle, heitän ulos.

Ja samalla periaatteella asiattomuudet kommenttiosastossa saavat lähteä ja lähtevät bittien taivaaseen. Sen sijaan pahemmatkin asiattomuudet jossain omassa blogissa ovat tiettyyn rajaan asti ok - koska minun ei tarvitse välittää niistä. Tietysti, mikäli tilanne äityy pahaksi, niin yleensä palveluntarjoajat suhtautuvat kohtuullisen myötämielisesti pyyntöihin poistaa loukkaava materiaali, jo ennen kuin Rikoslain sisältämä herjauspykälä lähestyy edes horisontissa. Esimerkiksi vaikkapa Bloggerin käyttösopimus, jossa kielletään mm. kaikenlainen loukkaava materiaali ("...any unlawful, harassing, libelous, abusive, threatening, or harmful material of any kind or nature. Member further agrees not to transmit any material that encourages conduct that could constitute a criminal offense, give rise to civil liability or otherwise violate any applicable local, state, national or international law or regulation...")

Jokaisen tulee kuitenkin itse valita, millaista keskustelua on valmis sietämään. Toiset tuhoavat kaikki eri mieltä olevat kommentit. Toiset tuhoavat anonyymit kommentit. Toiset sallivat ihan mitä tahansa keskustelua. Mutta tämä on jokaisen bloginpitäjän oikeus (ja tiettyjä lakipykäliä siristellessä ehkä jopa velvollisuus). Saathan valita itse, keitä haluat kestää omassa olohuoneessasikin, mikset sitten blogisi kommenttiosastossa? Totta kai julkisuus tuo hieman lisää painetta toleranssiin (kommenttiosastoissa näkee välillä käytöstä, jota henkilö ei tosiaan sietäisi kotonaan), mutta valitettavasti internetin anonyymiys tuo mukanaan myös tiettyä sosiaalivammaisuutta (kommenttiosastoissa näkee kommentteja, joita kukaan ei tosiaan esittäisi päin naamaa). Internet mediana vaatii jo suurempaa toleranssia, mutta ei se tarkoita sitä, että pitäisi kaikkea sietää.

Minusta ajatus siitä, että koko blogistan on yhtä onnellista perhettä ja kaikkien pitäisi sietää toisiaan on väärin. Myönnän, että haluan kuitenkin luoda niille, jotka sitä haluavat, tiettyä yhteisöllisyyttä, mutta sitä ei tule kehittää ihmisten tahdon vastaisesti. Niiden, jotka haluavat olla ulkona tästä "blogistanista", tulee ehdottomasti saada olla. Pinserin lista on tehnyt hyvän työn tähän asti, mutta epäilen, että se tulee aikaa myöten repeytymään kappaleiksi; jo nyt on vaikeaa käydä läpi kaikki uudet blogit, ja jos bloggauksen suosio kasvaa samaan tahtiin täällä kuin muualla, puolen vuoden päästä uusia blogeja tulee kerralla satakunta kappaletta. Ja vuoden päästä parisataa. Voi jopa olla, että Suomen luetuin blogi ei ole edes Pinserin listalla vuoden päästä, who knows.

Me olemme ihmisiä omine mielipiteinemme, ja me olemme tarpeeksi fiksuja valitsemaan sen porukan, jonka kanssa vietämme aikaamme. Konflikti luo kiinnostavuutta - oli kyseessä sitten omien sisäisten konfliktien käsittely tai blogien välinen keskustelu. Tämä ei ole perhe. Me vain olemme kaikki valinneet tuoda oman henkilökohtaisen äänemme julkisesti saataville. Sen pitäisi lisätä keskustelua, ei muuttaa sitä yhteishymistelyksi.

Tuesday, 09-Nov-04 23:59
Nokia Mediamaster woes continue

...but I have some positive news. I was planning to take the infernal machine (aka Nokia Mediamaster 260 C) to someone who could fix it, when I accidentally hit this information from the Kuopio cable company, which contained an actual document from Nokia detailing the problem, and how to solve it.

It seems that the versions 1.0.8 and 1.1.1 of the Mediamaster software may crash, if they detect a new version available in the network. The solution is simple - unplug the antenna lead and reboot the machine. When it comes up (you detect this by the blinkenlichts in the front panel), you connect the antenna lead, which should allow you to get into the Navi menu and go an upgrade the software manually.

So, problem solved. Temporarily. But why did I have to go to the Kuopio cable company to figure this out? Why is there no notification on either on nokia.com nor on HTV's page? In fact, HTV only tells me that the 1.1.1 SW update has been removed, but has no mention of the problems nor the 1.1.1b update which is available in their network. An update, whose availability seems to be the reason for the crash...

*sigh* So it's not only the people who made the box, it's the whole chain from that point onwards.

Update: changed link, since the original seems to be gone.

Tuesday, 09-Nov-04 14:15
"I was so happy to see Firefox 1.0 released, that I nearly shat my pants"

As everyone, their cousins, and their dogs have noticed, Firefox 1.0 has been released. Nothing much new has happened since PR1, but it turns out that the wonderful ~SingleWindow extension has essentially been built in Firefox! Straight from the Release Notes:

New experimental options for controlling where links in web pages open. To make these experimental options appear, set browser.tabs.showSingleWindowModePrefs to true in about:config.

I.e. Type "about:config" on the address line, then type "singlewindow" in the "Filter" -field. You should see a single option line (unless you have some extensions I don't know about). Right-click (or Control-Click, if you're on a Mac and have a single-button mouse only) on it, and choose "Toggle". The "Value" -column turns to "true".

Now, you can find new controls in your "Edit/Preferences/Advanced" settings, under "Tabbed browsing". Turn on "Force links that open new windows to open in: a new tab", "OK", and you should be set. Whenever a new windows pops up, it automatically opens to a new tab. Whee! :)

There's little reason for anyone to use Explorer anymore... And if you hit a site that only works in IE, just install the "IE View" extension, and you can launch IE from within Firefox. (Yeah, I know, some people are forced to use IE, but that's not exactly reason, now is it ;)

Monday, 08-Nov-04 18:59

Thanks, Marjut! I registered and am going to the "Businesstreffit" ("business date") on weblogs. And I'm taking my laptop with me - so expect live blogging and commentary on-site.

Saturday, 06-Nov-04 23:29

My misfortunes with electronics continue. The DVD-drive of my Powerbook seems to be dying rapidly: it makes a really odd sound at every boot, and it refuses most of the time any discs I try to put into it. Oh well, the warranty expired just a couple of months ago, so no wonder.

I'm back in Oulu, which makes my life bearable though. We're now digesting the dinner, geeking off in our own ways. I blog, she blogs. Err. Not that different, really. :)

I was very tired yesterday: I had a hard day (which the lingering jet lag makes worse); many hours of talking in the phone, making a data dump to someone (i.e. talking his ears off on a subject I happened to know about), writing a longish spec - and then I ended up at my aunt's place, fixing her poor laptop, "which had become slow". I ended up removing all the spyware on her computer, installing Firefox, recommending that she buys a bit more memory (running Windows XP in 128M of memory), and letting the Disk Defragmenter running. Then, a flight to Oulu, and by the time I approached the University I was in the strange in-between state of "kill anyone that says anything" and "I'll just sleep here for a while".

And then I saw the lights of her house. My pace quickened, and a huge grin spread across my face, even though something in me tried to fight it. My heart became lighter, and dark thoughts ebbed away. By the time I was ringing her doorbell, there was no work left in me. No stress. No specs. No politics. No marketing. No user interfaces. No Windows. No RSS. No Atom. No bad English.

No thoughts.

Just a deep, powerful desire to feel her in my arms again.

Saturday, 06-Nov-04 23:11
On wikis and weblogs

I wrote the following short piece in response to Tim and Dave. Click on "More" to see, duh, more.

Theory of Social Software

Tim Bray is wondering how blogs and wikis can be lumped together, because they are different. Dave Johnson counters, saying that there is already integration to be seen, pointing out that his Roller software indeed does support wiki-like markup.

Having written JSPWiki, which is the wiki engine running this weblog, I see little difference in the technologies. You can get an RSS/Atom feed out of my weblog, and the wiki (where the wiki feed consists of diffs). They both work similarly - they are both a collection of pages (or entries, if you will), which are then rendered through a rendering engine (or a templating engine). On a Wiki, you get a single "entry" per page, a web log just aggregates the latest few changes on the front page. There's an awful lot of stuff in common under the hood. (There's more informat ...


Friday, 05-Nov-04 00:33
A highly efficient password-cracker

Played some role-playing games (finally!), talked plenty of crap, and drank some strong Icelandic beer. The discussion on why Windows requires you to press Ctrl-Alt-Del before you log in, whereas OSX (and Linux) just go to the password prompt directly, enlightened me.

If a cat walks across your keyboard, it might accidentally type in your username/password combination. Granted, it's rather unlikely, but it's still possible. Now, if you apply the principles of quantum computing, and assume that you have a cat that can be in all the states simultaneously - and therefore press all the buttons simultaneously - it can crack your password in no time!

So, if we can just find a Schrödinger's Cat (preferably one that is alive), we can crack any computer and any security that relies on passwords typed through a keyboard!

Now, excuse me while I go patent this idea.


Thursday, 04-Nov-04 00:07
Barney knows the solution

Mac-heads probably want to check this out (4MB Quicktime). Barney very wise. Barney knows how to get rid of computing problems.

(Via Kalamuki.)

Wednesday, 03-Nov-04 19:37
You morons...

So, the people of USA have voted to choose an another term with the president, who is bringing what used to be the greatest country in the world onto its knees (but backed by an excellent propaganda machinery, which is very adept at hiding this). Fine. As Joi says, it's a democracy and you get the leaders you deserve.

Well, at least 54 million Americans voted for Kerry. That's what, about 25% of all voters? Good for you! At least some people in the USA still can think. And a slightly bigger crowd voted for Bush. Okay, so I think you are idiots for doing that, but at least you had the decency and balls to go out and admit it. (And I'm not touching the senate and congressional elections here.)

The question to the ~47% who didn't vote: Why the fuck didn't you vote? Don't you just care what happens in that great country of yours? I mean - if you had a legit reason, then that's fine, but I can't believe in excess of 100 million Americans were "sick at home in a terrible flu", "just relocated", "abroad", or "forcibly held down by an army of yetis, thus preventing me to vote". You were just lazy bastards who don't care. You deserve all the shit that's gonna be raining on you from the government in the near future.

As the saying goes: "If you don't vote, you don't get to complain either." Voting every four years is not that big of a challenge, and it's pretty much the only way you can influence the system these days - unless you really want to get into politics. You don't even have a multi-party system: all you need to do is to pick from TWO choices. Count them! TWO! Going to a booth every four years to state your opinion is the least you can do.

So Joi is wrong. There are, in fact, three Americas: One Democrat, one Republican, and one that Simply Does Not Care. And the last party is the biggest by far. The turnout is lower than in most (all?) other civilized countries. And that is what you should be worried of.

Good luck, America. You're gonna need it.

Monday, 01-Nov-04 22:33
I'm home, said he, and they all died

I get home. I shower. I rest for a while, and check my (snail) mail. I then boot my desktop x86 computer. Nothing. I try all sorts of different things, still nothing. I don't even get the BIOS to boot properly.

After two hours of fighting (and a Knoppix install later), I finally manage to get my computer to boot.

Exhausted, I return to the sofa, and decide to check the TV. The piece of turd, also known as the Nokia Mediamaster 260 C, has crashed during the weekend. This is not surprising, as it does not apparently stay up for more than four days if nobody touches it. But what came next really surprised me:

I turned the machine off and on (by disconnecting the power lead - this thing does not have a power button). It wakes up, and says "Fetching new software".


I didn't tell it to fetch new software! Well, perhaps it's some sort of a cool auto-update feature, so I let it be. Half an hour later, it's still in the same screen. Then I realize that the progress icon is not moving. I push the "Back" button - which is supposed to stop the upgrade - and nothing happens. The machine seems to have crashed. I disconnect the whole thing again, and yes! It immediately gets to the "let's pretend we're fetching new software and crash!" -mode.

So this expensive piece of crap is no longer not only annoying, but also useless.

Here's a clue: Consumer electronics are not supposed to crash. And if it is possible to crash, you should always make it sure that disconnecting the power resets the machine. But no, a stupid engineer not worth the paper he wipes his ass with decided that reboot before the upgrade is a really good idea, thus creating the possibility for a situation where the normal operation after the reboot is NOT to get a coherent, functional system. Now I have to take this clap-ridden, loud, unusable, stupid, incredibly crappy piece of shit that's not good even for target practice, to maintenance so that someone else can reset it (which probably involves pushing a button somewhere and taking whole five minutes).

Always, ALWAYS, design for failures as well.

What kind of mushrooms the designers ate, I have no idea. But apparently nobody had any brains left after eating them. What a disappointment.

Update on 09-Nov-04: There's a simple fix to this crash.

Monday, 01-Nov-04 15:46
Long, hard nights (or days?)

So, the smart thing to do is to end up in a party somewhere in Vancouverian suburbs and hang about until 3 am (and that's including the DST changeover!), especially if you wake up at 8.30 to get some breakfast before you go. But the discussions were worth it - now only if I could remember all the wonderful ideas I had!

Tried to blog yesterday before the flight, but the internet was completely screwed in the hotel - half of the sites I tried refused to open. Bugger. So now I am home after a pair of an extremely exhausting flights. I wish DK the best in their new home. It was great to see you.

And now for something completely different: I was again reminded on the downside of openness: the fact that some people will try and take advantage of you. An open, wonderful person from our group picked up someone he thought was from the party and offered him a ride home. But after a while, the guy started acting strange, and by the time they got to the hotel, the guy grabbed the keys of the car and threatened to run away. They settled it with some money in the end.

It's weird. I'm still in favour of openness and friendliness, though. It just makes life so much more bearable to yourself and others, even though you risk being abused every now and then. Life is more difficult though, because you have to know where the line is - when to stop being friendly. Many people opt on the easy way out: being suspicious towards everyone. I don't think that's worth the damage it causes.

Saturday, 30-Oct-04 12:58

It's 2:43 in the morning in Vancouver, i.e. nearly one in the afternoon Finnish time. I'm scared how easy the acclimatization to this time zone has been. We just played a couple of games of werewolf (Finns might know this game as "vampire" - you know, two players are werewolves/vampires, one is a seer/slayer and there's an optional healer), which turn out to be pretty fun with a really large crowd. For some reason, nobody seems to believe my happy face and always assumes I'm the werewolf. I wonder why...

Anyway, it would've been fun to join the Helsinki blogger christmas party as well, but alas, the life of a busy worker bee means sometimes you gotta sacrifice yourself to the big N. Thanks to everyone who sent me SMS messages from the party, though. :)

I like Vancouver. It's compact, wealthy, clean, and friendly. Even the beggars are rather polite. If I had to choose now where in North America to live, Vancouver would be it.

Friday, 29-Oct-04 18:36
Hello Kitty, and good night

The famous Hello Kitty has joined the blogosphere. Unfortunately the blog is in Japanese, but it contains moblog shots of Hello Kitty and her friends. Apparently it's even written by Hello Kitty herself!

(Via Joi Ito, who has a bit more information in English.)

And as a side note... I'm scared how easily I'm adjusted to the West Coast time: I slept until 5 am, woke up, and fell asleep again to wake up at 7.30. Like a normal day. It's gonna be hell when I get back. Also, we had plenty of fun yesterday, exploring the city with Dragon. The local Chinatown has some really, really wonderful stuff. I'd lose a fortune if I lived here...

Being 7000 km away from Outi is also... not so fun. It's not so much the distance (there's not much difference between 600 km and 7000 km - away is away is away if you can't just walk out of the door and find her anytime you want), but the time difference. You want to talk, but half of the time one of you is asleep. And out of the common time we have, I'm mostly engaged in meetings. You can't even really say properly good night to each other. Snif.

Thursday, 28-Oct-04 23:32
O Canada

I'm now in Vancouver. The weather simply sucks (but it ain't no different from Helsinki), but the Rocky Mountains are every time awesome when you fly over them. We Finns are proud of our unspoilt nature, but some other places around the world are pretty nifty, too.

Now, if I only understood why there is a wall-sized window in the toilet. It does create some fun moments though when you are sitting on the john and watching the traffic (yeah, third floor - people from the opposite building see quite clearly what I'm doing, where and with whom).

Wednesday, 27-Oct-04 15:22
To be silenced, or not to be silenced

There's a scary editorial piece at Truthout.org. What the fuck is going on over the pond?

It didn't get me the tickets. "Are you a Bush supporter?" I was asked. I explained that I was a registered Independent and not necessarily a Bush supporter. "Are you going to vote for Bush?" I was asked. "No," I honestly, and out of curiosity to see what would happen, replied. I was summarily told that if I wasn't planning on voting for Bush, I wasn't welcome. "John" came over to make sure I got the message. I told him I'd taken my kids to similar events (we saw Clinton and Gore in 1996) and didn't he think it was good to get my kids involved in the democratic process early? To take them to events such as these and let them make up their own minds? I guess not. He just kept repeating, in a rather intimidating way, that if I wasn't a supporter, I wasn't welcome.

And another one

After about 10 minutes of Internet research, I observed a picture beginning to develop. And, my friends, the picture isn't pretty. Yes, the silencing is happening all across America. At Presidential visits, during peace rallies, non-violent demonstrations, in high schools where kids draw anti-war pictures in art class, in small towns where people put dissenting comics on their car. All these events have resulted in visits, interrogation, and intimidation by the Secret Service. When you begin to notice the larger pattern of thought control, intimidation, and downright attack upon the very bedrock of our nation's guiding principles by the people who are sworn to uphold it, a sick feeling begins building in your gut.

And regardless of whether this particular story is an exaggeration or not, there has been a bit too much smoke lately coming from the good ol' US of A. My friends over there - do something! You're frightening the rest of the world out of their wits right now... We've seen these signs before. We know where they lead to.

(And please do read the article before you comment. Thanks to Carmen for the pointer.)

Wednesday, 27-Oct-04 12:34
Loyalty cards and what they really know of you

Viimeisellä rannalla (in Finnish) acquired the list of information that is collected from you when you use the Plussa card. It's quite impressive, including things like whether you own a cat or a dog, how old your children are, where your summer cottage is, and how you live - all connected to your social security number.

I don't have any loyalty cards (except for frequent flyer cards). I always feel uncomfortable with people prying my personal details - I like to be in control of the things that are known about me. Blogging allows me to lie as much as I want (not that I do it that often, but it's good to know the option is there) - but lying on your shop receipt is a lot more difficult (and expensive).

Luckily, in Europe we have pretty good personal information protection laws. I'd hate to think what happens if these databases that are collected about us were combined and misused. You see, corporations tend to think like psychopaths, and almost anything can be sacrificed to increase profits. (Only the well-to-do corporations can afford to be benevolent.) Including your right to privacy.

Update: Dan Gillmor touches this (and my next entry) in his new column: "Insidiously, the Bush administration has turned the corporate data mongers into partners in the dawning surveillance state. Evading even the most trivial safeguards, including federal laws protecting privacy, it buys or uses data collected by private companies that are under no such restrictions." It's a good read.

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

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