Friday, 30-Jul-04 02:06
Notes to self

Note to self: I now know an excellent recipe for chocolate cake (thanks to Varo Vaan), but it is very sweet and heavy. Very.

Note to self 2: Bubble Bobble is still a bloody addictive game.

Note to self 3: The hand is a very effective thing to grab in Super Bomberman II.

Note to self 4: Blogging before you drink yourself silly is smart.

Note to self 5: Be careful in what you say, because it might end up being blogged. Especially if you manage to lure a blogger between your bedsheets.

Note to self 6: Wallets don't go into the fridge.

Thursday, 29-Jul-04 00:16
Oulu meeting

Yup. The Oulu meeting is over, and - if you do some creative maths, and have a very strong sense of denial - it was an enormous success. We had 67% more people coming than we were aiming for!

Well, okay, there were five in total, out of which only three actually lived in Oulu. But the original target was just to meet pnuk, so we were positively surprised to see Aaltoneito arrive with a very large backpack and a short-haired companion, which had apparently tagged along from Turku. But he was a blogger, so it was okay :-).

The discussion ranged from blogs to movies, from certain bloggers to some other bloggers (wouldn't you all like to know who they were...), from food to beer, and a few mentions of the upcoming Finnish Blog Awards... The evil scheming and plotting is afoot.

All in all, good fun. There are still so few bloggers over here (and the Pinseri Top-list being the combining factor) that we can still - to some degree - speak about a Finnish blog community. This will obviously wane away as more and more bloggers join in (and I am sure some would already argue against it), but so far, from my personal experience, it seems that there is a connection between bloggers. It may be because many of the bloggers share things like common interests, similar education, or just the fact that if you're a blogger, your friends stand a better chance of catching the illness as well.

However, my hope is that in the future we get far more varied blogs - senior blogs, junior blogs, activity blogs, journalistic blogs, publicist blogs, celebrity blogs... And this will eventually mean the disappearance of that feeling. Oh well. I think I'll still have variety over a blogistanic feel-good hug-o-sphere anyway ;-).

Wednesday, 28-Jul-04 15:42
Lucky me

You know the gap there's always between the tunnel and the airplane? The one you can see the airstrip from, five meters below you? And the small gangway that you step on?

I've always had a slight fear of dropping something and it would go into the gap and shatter to a thousand pieces after a long drop.

Yesterday it happened.

I dropped my phone, just as I was entering the plane and BANG! It hit the gangway, and broke into three pieces: The innards flew right into the aircraft; the cover flew backwards into the tunnel, and the keyboard strip was left on the gangway. Nothing fell through the gap. I gathered the pieces and managed to get the phone whole and running again, but for a moment I felt a primitive terror grasp my heart.

Losing one's phone is tantamount to losing one's connection to the world. It would be awful. It would be so hard to live without one right now, that it's scary.

When did we suddenly become so reliant and dependent on these small gadgets? Or is it not the gadgets, but the connectivity to other people that is the dependency-inducing factor?

Tuesday, 27-Jul-04 22:52

Eating at restaurant Mecca. Friendly staff, excellent lamb.

Three hours to go.

Tuesday, 27-Jul-04 04:05
A running man

Yeah, it's nearly four o'clock, and I'm writing this entry. It's been the first day of my four weeks of vacation, and I spent much of it carrying things from one place to another place, and in general putting things on top of other things. The members of the Society would've been proud. But it was good fun; plenty of exercise and fresh air.

The reason I am not yet asleep is that I've spent the past eight hours in the Ropecon after-party, which - all as con workers know - is the true reason why anyone works for free for three days: the chance to eat food, drink beer, talk, go to sauna, play games and really have a few hours to feel good about what they have just accomplished. No pressure, no shifts, no deadlines.

I did miss the annual nude wrestling competition this year (again), but for good reason: Erick Wujick gamemastered an impromptu game, with a few really nasty twists. My character ended up as a hermit somewhere in Colorado, hiding in the forest, shooting at people, and being very, very afraid of the moment when he eventually dies. Not bad for an hours game. Plenty of fun.

Tomorrow it will be even busier. I gotta apologize to some people who I know read the blog: I haven't had time to answer any emails, and I probably will not have the time tomorrow either, but I have read them, and answering your emails with oneliners would be a tad impolite.

Monday, 26-Jul-04 02:08
John Kovalic

Brief notes from John Kovalic's (the creator of Dork Tower) speech:

  • My first game was edited by Steve Jackson. Little did I know he would become such a horrible, horrible figure in my life.
  • Physics classes would go much faster, if you sat in the back drawing cartoons.
  • My influences are my mom (a columnist) and Charles Schulz
  • Roleplaying games in high-school (loved creating my own worlds)
  • Liking "Traveller" is not a good reason to go study astrophysics
  • "I'm very bad at the games I drew. I've never won a game of Munchkin - even when they let me draw my own cards at a con in Cork, Ireland."
  • "I'm a complete mercenary - I work for anyone who is not a babykiller"
  • "I got a call from someone in Hollywood making the Dork Tower movie." *The audience erupts in laughter*
  • Chez Geek characters were taken from actual University of Wisconsin students - John spent a lot of time drawing them :)
  • "Are you here, honey? [Referring to wife] Good - then I can tell this. I introduced her to gaming via MtG. I used Call of Cthulhu to introduce her to role playing games. Big mistake! Don't do it!"
  • "People ask me to draw Ginny naked. People, I draw them with three fingers - what do you think I would do with the rest of their anatomy?"
Sunday, 25-Jul-04 17:18

The con is slowly rolling towards the final line, and all that remains is garbage.

Sunday, 25-Jul-04 13:48
Turning thirty

Kolibri has had a sudden anxiety attack over turning thirty. I, having passed that mark long ago, realized that there is very little I can say.

At some point you start to think of your life, and generally feel bad or good about it.

Thirty is as good as age as any.

Our society attaches certain labels to certain ages, and thirty is one of the ones where you are supposed to finally turn into a responsible adult (in case you hadn't done it before). I don't believe the exact age matters, but I think it is necessary for people to pause at some point and reflect. It's even inevitable. It's a part of growing up. So one should not feel too bad about it; in fact, one should welcome these moments of self-reflection. They are good.

My life changed at 27, and realized I am not who I thought I was. It took me a few years to get to grips with the fact that I am still, even at 34, at a complete loss as how to I should lead my life. It's like the more I learn, the less I know. And I guess that's how it should be. People who are older than me, feel free to correct me.

All I can do is to rely on some things that I think I know now. But I'm still "waddling through the swamp with leaking boots, in the dark with no light, and having no clue where to go; just trying to find firm ground; and not to drown."

Sunday, 25-Jul-04 00:51
Alone among many

It's late evening, and I'm ready to go home. I say good night to people, and step outside into the cool summer air.

There are many people enjoying the night outside. I buy a lörtsy (a sort of an apple pie; Karelian delicacy) and sit on a rock, next to a group of three. The man is half-naked, and he plays the guitar, with a soft touch. A girl wearing feathered wings comforts the other girl who is dressed in dark, weeping.

I hear the sounds of the con around me. People chattering away, meeting people, talking to friends. Everyone is nice to each other; very few people are drunk; nobody is angry.

I swat at a mosquito, and munch my lörtsy. And I suddenly feel alone, very alone.

Good people are around me; and friends are just a short walk away. But I would still rather have A Certain Someone sit here next to me on this warm and light Finnish summer night.

I miss her.

Saturday, 24-Jul-04 21:49

...a bit of rest and a beer. And of course, a meal.

Saturday, 24-Jul-04 19:57
Erick Wujcik - the history of role playing games

Here are some quick and unstructured notes from Erick Wujick's talk (the designer of Amber).

  • First, individuals characters were introduced to strategy games to provide things like "what if Gandalf had been fighting with the Allies"
  • Magic was originally a form of artillery
  • "People tried to kill me because I was trying to take their dice away from role playing when I was talking at Gencon about Amber"
  • "Zen and the art of roleplaying"
    • Removing everything that is not absolutely necessary - turns out that almost everything can be removed (dice, combat system, game master, players) => a role playing game has no essential components
    • "I have no idea what a role playing is, even though I do it 30 hours a week for 20+ years for a career"
    • "Every hour you are playing a role playing game YOU're paying for it - thus it's stupid to fall asleep (as in not being aware)"
  • You can only create an experience if you try something new; not repeat what you have already done
  • We have to break the rules - do things we've never done before

Random change of subject: Computer games

  • 2003 US game market worth about $20 billion USD - more than Hollywood + all TV
  • 2008 global gaming market worth about $46 billion (est)
  • Games not that different from 10 years ago - technology is only better
    • Moore's Law
    • Every second of a movie takes about two hours to fix by one person
  • In a few years, the game industry is movie quality. Where do they go next? So far the designers have not been an important part of the team - graphics people and programmers dominate the field.
  • To which designers should the game industry go to?
  • Example: Starcraft sold 3 million copies - 500,000 of them to South Korea
    • One person installed them in all Internet cafe's - all computers could play Starcraft
    • All copies were legitimate, hence plenty of money generated
    • Own level generation and creativity became a huge thing among kids
    • Government support for game industry starting at 1999: $500 Million USD support
    • 1$ Billion revenue in 2003, 80% of it from South Korea
    • Major game studios opening in China in the next couple of years
    • Not a lot of creativity in Asia, though, due to education system (no mistakes, too much time used for learning to read/write. They are afraid to do stupid and bad things. Correctible through training.)
    • At the age of 18, most Western kids know 500 games. In Asia, they know 40.
  • In role playing games, you are not following anyone else's script
    • Until you put your own toys together, you don't really understand toys (if you've never played with Lego...)
  • Small countries lose their own culture under the pressure of the big ones
    • What happens to the culture within games?
  • In Gencon, 20 new game companies every year => always new stuff being produced. US gaming culture is thus protected because of the inability to understand that most companies fail ;-)
  • Small countries should dip into their own strong culture and mythology and history for creativity
  • Computer games are only narrow slices of the RPGs
  • GTA III is actually closer to roleplaying than FPS-games - it allows you to "go anywhere"
  • Computer game designers do not understand games - they understand technical issues, but they do not understand the fundamental differences between multi-player and single-player games. Most MMORPGs are FPS -games, expanded to just multiple players.
  • How do we create games that allow for complete immersion
  • Last 10 years of published RPGs have been going to the wrong direction
    • Game designers are too good in creating rules that are perfect (too well balanced, "something for everyone")
    • It's a dead end
  • Difficult part in gamemastering is challenging players until they want to "get out of the box"
  • "I once ran a really horrible game. Then I saw Alien 4, and was glad - because my game was better, and I didn't spend 100 million dollars in doing it."
  • "I know how to run a perfect game. I've done it a hundred times. But it's not transcendent. Many of my ad-hoc games are better. Because I take risks and confront the possibility of failing. When I don't know what is happening."
  • Part of the problem of computer games is that they are making other people rich - licensing only makes the IP owner richer. The future of RPGs is about creating IPR.
  • "Most people who say they did roleplaying and are now in the games industry only played mechanical combat simulations. Very little character gaming." They replicate their own good moments in game industry(?)
Saturday, 24-Jul-04 17:30

What the hell is a "medium Cthulhu"?


Saturday, 24-Jul-04 17:16
Notes from Mike Pohjola's talk

"If Clint Eastwood played Aragorn, that would be the ultimate in fantasy coolness."

"My role playing game is challenging. It does not have an index."

"My next game might be a bit like Sopranos meets West Wing."

"Finns are no longer afraid of confessing to being role players - people even put them in their CV's. It's become acceptable, even a positive thing in art and culture circles. It's considered as a performance art."

"The threshold for publishing role playing games is lower than novels in Finland."

"My game helps teenage boys. You no longer have to explain dice rolls to girls when they ask 'what is role playing?'"

Saturday, 24-Jul-04 08:38
Good morning!

It's 8.30, and I'm heading home to catch a few precious hours of sleep.

Tonights worst and the most untranslatable (and incomprehensible) joke:

Miksi Otto pitää japanilaisista teinitytöistä? Koska Otto on lonkero...

(If you got that one, you should worry. Seriously. Your geekiness would be at an alarming level. Not to mention your morale.)

Saturday, 24-Jul-04 04:57

At 5 am, the whole info desk sings and dances BadgerBadgerBadger. We get only one funny look, from a guy who has fake vampire teeth.

Three hours to go.


Saturday, 24-Jul-04 02:50
We fix everything

So far the Info desk has been fixing everything from soft swords to broken hearts.

Nothing alarming is happening; the mandatory ambulance has already visited the con. The police have not yet, and neither has the fire brigade. But the night is young...

Friday, 23-Jul-04 22:42
Go players...

...they cannot be avoided. :)

Friday, 23-Jul-04 20:39

Of course, one must eat. We're celebrating Kolibri's birthday, and this fine fish comes from the kitchen in restaurant Vespa.

Friday, 23-Jul-04 17:38

It's on!

Three days of constant chatter and weirdosity...

Friday, 23-Jul-04 15:52
Blogger meeting in Oulu

Encouraged by the recent successes of the Kallio and Tampere meetings, we figured it would be fun to have an Oulu blogger gettogether as well. I'll be in Oulu for the most of the next week, and at least Naamioiden takana and pnuk will be present.

The place: Cafe Milou (Asemakatu 21)
The time: 18.00, Wednesday, 28.7.2004.

And then the Finnish version (ja sama suomeksi, kiitos):

Kun nyt Kalliossa ja Tampereellakin tapaillaan, niin miksei Oulussakin. Päätimme siis järjestää Pnukin ja Outin kanssa ystävällishenkisen tapaamisen. Tsingis-kaanilta perityllä organisaatiokyvyllä päätimme despoottisesti ajaksi ensi keskiviikon kello 18, paikkana Cafe Milou (Asemakatu 21). Trio Erektuksen perintöä kunnioittaen paikalla lienee myös lievästi humaltuneita go:n pelaajia jokunen, mikä ihan varoituksen sanana lausuttakoon.

Tervetuloa kääntymään ja katsomaan millaisia naamoja siellä blogien takana vaikuttaakaan. :)

Friday, 23-Jul-04 11:23
Who says blogging is not useful?

Ropecon is upon us again. So I dig my old notes from last year's con and realize I nearly forgot my camera. Yah! Blogging is so useful as a notepad to yourself :-)

Thursday, 22-Jul-04 19:23

Why is it that always just before the holidays begin you are suddenly overloaded with work? There are many things I should do right before I go, and I have three emails labeled "URGENT" in my inbox.

On the other hand it's great to be still working in July, simply because there are not too many people around. No meetings that you have to grind your teeth through, no "I just popped by to see what you were doing and interrupted your complete train of thought" -events, and only about a hundred emails a day. One can really work without being interrupted every ten minutes.

Yeah. But I'm still at work. Over an hour late from the Ropecon info meeting, which is near-mandatory, and completely over. Bugger. My info shift is from midnight till 8 am on Saturday, so I'll be completely tired and completely clueless. Yet again.

Tomorrow is the last day of work. I'll survive. And be throw into the abyss that is known as "vacation": My holidays are so fully booked I have to use a calendar to manage all the events - it's even worse than during the busiest time during September. For example, I have three meetings, a plane trip and a hangover scheduled for next Tuesday...

(But at least I get to see Outi. Mmmm...)

Thursday, 22-Jul-04 11:44
Peer-to-peer actually increasing record sales?

A new study suggests that Peer-to-peer music sharing has zero impact in record sales, and in some cases it may even be positive, says The Guardian. Not completely unsurprisingly, the music industry is now really pissed off at even the mere suggestion.

To me it makes sense: I have bought several CDs just simply because a friend recommended something to me, and then sent me the MP3. Then I just rip the CD to Ogg Vorbis and dump it in iTunes... I actually never listen to the physical CD these days anymore; most of the CDs are used just once to get the data onto a hard drive. But I still keep the CDs as backups.

My digital music collection is my music collection. My CDs are my backups. I don't even have to burn them.

(And BTW: My CD player refuses to play about 10% of all the CDs I've tried on it lately. But my PC can rip 100% of them. So it's easier for me to actually rip the music than it's to play them on my ancient DVD player. So much for "copy" protection.)

(Via #joiito)

Wednesday, 21-Jul-04 00:11
Ph34R MY N3W 3l173 R1D1NG B0075

A couple of friends took me to a local riding shop, and I just couldn't help myself. Well, if I find that riding is not my thing after all, I can always play Herr Otto Flick of the Gestapo. *grin*

Oh, BTW - if you ever wondered what Google would look like if it had been invented in the 1960s, take a look. (Via J-Walk)

Monday, 19-Jul-04 23:45
Moments of transition

Had my last riding lesson today. I'm going to Iceland in three weeks, so I'm taking a short break before that. Darn, one gets really attached to those horses. Even though I only was there for six weeks, I strangely enough already miss them. Especially these two. *sigh*

The syrupy moment of the day: When Outi was here last week, a friend of mine brought us lollipops - heart-shaped, of course - but they were forgotten in the bags. So, today, we chatted on IRC and enjoyed those lollipops, knowing that the other person was doing the same thing far away.

I'm degenerating rapidly, and decomposing into sugar and honey. Whee :)

Sunday, 18-Jul-04 10:58
Breakfast at Tiffany's

Sunshine + nature + freshly picked strawberries + champagne + friends = A pretty good breakfast moment.

Ain't summers brilliant? They're just like winters, except a lot warmer... ;-)

Friday, 16-Jul-04 21:50
Geeking out

This weekend is dedicated to role playing games. We are in a summer cottage, far, far away from civilization, and are doing some serious role playing, barbeque, and sunbathing.

The world is good.

There is only one thing that I miss right now. And she's 800 kilometers away. *sigh*

(Geek note: For those who are following JSPWiki development, check out the latest CVS version - it fixes a problem with the ~DefaultPermissions thingy; the permissions of the page and the actual default permissions of the wiki are different now. I think I should start a separate JSPWiki development blog.)

Thursday, 15-Jul-04 13:42

Bless you. The Finnish summer combined with an air-conditioned office is not really good for wearing just shorts and a t-shirt.

Yesterday, we went to the Linnanmäki amusement park, and had an impromptu blogger meeting (with Naamioiden takana, Dragon & Kolibri, and Elokuvia ja Valokuvia -Blocks. Even KatjaW made a surprise visit). I hadn't been there in ages, so it was fun to rummage around some of the old goodies, as well as some new ones.

We joked about having a roller coaster relationship, as we went to the roller coaster for the third time (essentially quadrupling my visits to that machine ever - and it really seems to be true that you get a rougher experience if you sit at the back of the cart). We even dared to go to the Space Shot ("Raketti" - a thing that shoots you up in the air and drops you down in free fall), but even there the waiting is worse than the actual experience.

Oh well. I guess that's true in many things: Expecting something to happen is usually more intensive than the real experience. The same with movies: Saw Spider-Man 2 with Mikki, and while watching a man being grabbed from a subway train by a metallic tentacle to be saved just in time by Spidey's web is very entertaining, I doubt I would enjoy it in real life.

Our world is now so filled with wondrous inventions and creativity, that it sometimes becomes hard to separate reality and fiction. Someone once told me that they did not fall in love with a person, but the idea of being in love with that particular person. I don't blame her - one of the most difficult things in this world is to know what's true and what's false - what's real and what's not. What is, and what is not.

Our imagination and intuition are powerful tools when applied correctly. The thing I've learned is that even they can be trained. To have a good imagination or intuition is a skill, not something that people either do or don't have. Some people have a knack for it, but still - it's something that you can learn.

There's a relationship between Truth, Reality and Knowledge (in Finnish: Totuus, Todellisuus and Tieto - the three T:s), which I haven't quite yet figured out. I guess Intuition plays a part in there somewhere. :)

Tuesday, 13-Jul-04 11:40
Hooked on blogosphere

She's here. We eat breakfast. We talk. We gaze deeply into each other's eyes. We hold hands. We do all the things that people infatuated with each other do, things that make most people nearby go "ewwww", and "get a room!"

And we read blogs on the laptop, while munching on the cereals, trying not to drench the keyboard completely in milk.

Are we geeks or what? :-D

Monday, 12-Jul-04 17:31
Plunging headfirst

You know, when you start getting random scared looks from the people you meet on the corridors, you know that your new haircut might not be entirely successfull.

Unless, of course, that was the impression you were aiming for.

Monday, 12-Jul-04 16:57
A surprise move

It's as if I'm living two lives now. One is here, where I do the same things that I've done before. I go to work, I ride, I code, I read, I meet friends, I watch TV. I sleep alone.

The other life happens online or over the weekends. I - no: "we" - do completely different things than in my other life. It's as if I'm a part of her life; but she's not of mine. We meet her friends, live in her place, take care of her mice, sit on her toilet seat. It's fun, and wonderful, and exciting - don't get me wrong - but still. Our lives are still separate, yet already intertwined in some complex and fragile web of coincidence, passion, caring, and laughter.

Tonight, she's coming over for a few days, and my two lives will finally meet. I hope they both survive. I really, really do. Because I no longer know which one I would choose, if I had to.

Make a wish - make a move
Make up your mind - you can choose
When you're up - when you're down
When you need a laugh come around

--Shania Twain: Come On Over
Monday, 12-Jul-04 06:34
Six euro breakfast

Note to self: don't eat at Oulu airport.

There's a flying machine waiting to take me back to Helsinki. *sigh* Weekends like these just don't happen, you know... ;-}

Sunday, 11-Jul-04 17:27
Hello neighbours!

Her first SMS message to me was "You're doomed." I laughed at it.

I don't really read my email, I don't read the blogs, I don't surf, I don't code, I don't chat, I don't SMS... (well, once a day, perhaps). I'm not connected. We just sit on the couch, listen to music, talk about our exes. Cook together. Meet her friends. Shower a lot.

Not being connected is not normal to me. And you know what? It's not really that bad. In a way, I am connected. Connected to a wonderful person, sitting here in the same room now, pulling socks on (we're going foraging for food, ugh). Looking absolutely adorable :)

I am no longer laughing at that message. I have it well hidden in the "Saved" -folder of my cell phone.

Saturday, 10-Jul-04 04:41
"Hey, this is not my sock!"

I slept for three hours. I had a riding lesson, and all my muscles were sore. I got the tickets to the last flight to Oulu. And even then, the flight was late.

But I don't remember any of it when the door opens, and she's there, smiling. There's tea, and fresh pulla, and we eat and laugh and drink; and snuggle to watch stupid late night programs on the TV.

It feels so good, so natural. It's as if we had been married for years already. It's almost frightening.

Except for one thing.

Friday, 09-Jul-04 19:15
Jittery longing

Six more hours to go.

It seems unreal. The third actual, physical meeting. Our second date. It's as if the countless kilobytes of text, the many hours of phone calls amount to nothing, when it again comes to being there.

I feel like a teenager.

Friday, 09-Jul-04 04:59
A fun (yet testosterone filled) evening

I like cooking for friends. Even if the friends drag me out to the Finnish summer night to celebrate afterwards. But there was still something that nearly (but only nearly) made me sad this evening.

I don't really go out much these days. It never was really my thing, you know. But for the past week or so, I've felt rather happy and willing to party, so I was easy prey for beautiful ladies, who wanted to dance and party with me. So we danced, and talked, and drank, and had fun. When the inevitable and dreaded no-more drinks sign arrived, we stood next to the dance floor, feeling generally good. Then a man, taller and more handsome than me, approached us.

"You know", he says to me, "you are far too fat."

For a second, I am speechless. Then I just squeeze the two lovely ladies next to me closer and say firmly: "Yeah, I know. But it works for me." And grin heavily.

"You should really lose some weight", the man continues and turns away.

I let the smile of victory to spread on my face. The short manly fight for power has ended in me (us) winning - something that rarely happens. It feels good, in some primitive sort of way. His words cannot really hurt me: I know what I am and who I am, and that cannot be taken away from me with mere words. Especially with the words of a drunken nobody. From his simplistic (and probably very drunken) point of view I had two women, and he had none. So the only thing he could do was to try and hurt me somehow.

So bloody sad.

Thursday, 08-Jul-04 11:10
A farmer had one old horse that he used for tilling his fields. One day the horse escaped into the hills and when all the farmer's neighbors heard about it, they sympathized with the old man over his bad luck. "Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?" said the farmer.

A week later, the horse returned with a herd of wild horses from the hills and this time the neighbors congratulated the farmer on his good luck. "Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?" said the farmer.

Then, when the farmer's son was attempting to tame one of the wild horses, he fell off its back and broke his leg. Everyone agreed that this was very bad luck. Not the farmer, who replied, "Bad Luck? Good luck? Who knows?"

Some weeks later, the army marched into the village and forced every able-bodied young man to go fight in a bloody war. When they saw that the farmer's son had a broken leg, they let him stay. Everyone was very happy at the farmer's good luck.

"Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?"

-- An ancient Chinese story

The above letters constituting the Finnish alphabet can be repeated and arranged in an near-infinite number of ways. Only a very, very, very small percentage of these ways make any sense.

Yet, someone far away can do it right every time. Each word she writes makes me grow more fond of her, makes me long for her even more. I stay up each night until 3 am, devouring each and every one of them, not willing to let go. Then I finally crash and sleep a few hours and wonder at myself every morning.

This is slightly scary. How can someone walk right through my carefully constructed defenses - as if they did not exist - and touch me like this? Did I do something wrong? Did I make a mistake somewhere along the road? What am I doing?

How will all this end?

Thursday, 08-Jul-04 01:01
Japanese Ice Cream

OK, here's one of the reasons I love Japan: The way they have no inhibitions about what might go together with something else. How about Spinach Ice Cream? Or Seaweed Ice Cream? Or how about the Raw Horse Meat Ice Cream ("with chunks!")?

The Wackier World of Japanese Ice Cream

(Via Boing Boing. Of course, it's incredibly lame to refer to Boing Boing, because everybody reads it already, but... well. I just find this one interesting. :-)

Wednesday, 07-Jul-04 02:04
Two things

I got really pissed at myself and released JSPWiki v2.1.103-alpha, even though it's not yet complete. But there are some significant changes to the APIs, so you might want to check it out.

And for the second thing: I'm flying to Oulu again next weekend. It don't think that my brain has caught up with my heart yet. It's as if it is being dragged screaming and kicking into something it has not quite comprehended yet. Dragged by a stubborn heart, holding an image of a particular pair of eyes.

Poor thing.

Wednesday, 07-Jul-04 01:22
The Search for Validation

Smart Mobs links to an interesting article on how the teenagers are using blogs. The following two paragraphs make me raise my eyebrows in not completely unlike Spock -manner:

What's consistent throughout is the search for validation. Though most say they write entries for themselves, it's a disappointment if no one responds. One Evergreen student recently posted a message pleading for feedback. "it makes me sad that no one leaves me comments. . . . i write like these huge entries . . . about so much stuff . . . and no one even says anything in return. and i go to all of your xangas or whatevers and ALWAYS leave a comment.


Most teens abide by an unwritten code of the blogosphere: What happens online stays online. Many have digital friendships with classmates but never socialize in real life "because we don't hang with the same crowd, as one Evergreen student explained.

The first one I've heard from many people also in the Finnish blogosphere. Feedback is what keeps many people writing, though some are still happy just to organize their own thoughts, and don't really care if someone reads them or not.

But combined with the second one... It's amazing how naturally the teenagers consider online life a completely separate arena, one that has nothing to do with the real life. It makes me actually wonder about things like the Finnish blog awards, or the blogger meetings that are occurring everywhere. It is strange to meet fellow bloggers, indeed: many people write only of a single aspect of their life online, be it their angst at being alone or their hobbies, or their day-to-day life. Very few people pour all aspects of their life into the internet, and even then the "compression" of the bandwidth is very lossy: you only see some things, with the less interesting bits removed.

Many people have told me that they like to read their own blogs. I like to do it myself, sometimes (then again, I'm not very critical at myself :). This is not really very surprising, as it most probably is the kind of text you like to read - and also because it makes your own life to look more interesting. It's kinda like doing social pornography on yourself - something that all of us do anyway. It's no more different than looking through old photographs, or resting your eyes on your own furniture (you chose it, so it must be pleasing).

Who are you blogging really for?

Why do I write online?

I guess there is no simple answer to that. Part of me yearns for validation: the "Hey, I read your entry the other day and I liked it" -moments. Part of me is narcistic: I want to be known, scream out that my life has not been in vain. Part of it is simply about the engineers built-in desire to change things, to have impact on the world - nibble away at the corner of a huge statue so that it becomes more beautiful. Part of me wants a place to store my thoughts in some coherent order, and an important part of me just needs to write.

But I guess the most important thing are the people. Weblogs allow me to share things with the people I love, allow other people to discover me and perhaps - if I'm lucky - they become friends. What I write is only a small part of me, but it is the part I want you to see. They are things I consider important, or things that move me. Or things that are just silly and make me laugh.

I like bloggers. Blogging is not yet tainted by rampant commercialism, nor big corporations saying "we want this", or "we monetize that". Blogging is about creating something new, be it in the form of your life, or just repeating old things but in a new order. Bloggers have their own voice, some of them beautiful, and some of them not so beautiful. Still, everyone should be entitled to their voice. To (mis)quote Voltaire: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

Fah. What a complicated rant with no point.

Monday, 05-Jul-04 19:24
Limits of technology

Even with our seemingly limitless ingenuity, technology can only go so far. We can be disembodied voices across half of the world with just a few buttons; we can send letters to faraway lands in less time than it took for the Victorian mailman to mount his horse; we can even see what is happening in distant places; huge machines can fling us across the sky. "Connecting people" says one company.

But seeing someone on your screen is not the same as touching her hair.

Hearing someone's voice is not the same as a gentle kiss.

Laughing with her in chat is not the same as a tight embrace.

Even with all our advances, there are still things to be said about physical presence. Many beautiful things.

Sunday, 04-Jul-04 16:49
An absurd problem

The first kiss. When you see it coming, you sort of want to make it memorable. (Yeah, I'm a romantic. Sue me.) It's even worse, when the other person is equally romantic: you both want it to be just right.

So we circle around each other for hours, probing, thinking, wondering about the perfect moment, and how to realize it without breaking the fragile feelings you think you are sharing. Then, with common, wordless agreement, we take a long, romantic walk in the middle of the nightless night, go to this beautiful spot by the lake, laugh and take over a play field, play in the swings for the first time in ten years. Then, on a beautiful bridge we stop - and get immediately attacked by a huge swarm of mosquitos. So we swat them in vain and run away to stop in another beautiful place.

And again, the angry insects force us to leave an unvoluntary donation to the Breed More Mosquitos -fund and we escape barely with our lives.

Frustrated, we return indoors. The perfect moment seems to be gone forever.

We gaze at each other, uncertainly and apprehensively. I can feel her thoughts: she's thinking the same thing as me, but neither knows how (dares?) to go on. Then a spark of something flies across the room.

"Oh bugger, let's just do it", we say in unison and laugh out our surprise.

And then the moment is just perfect.

Saturday, 03-Jul-04 02:58

Beautiful night. Beautiful company.

Beautiful life.

Friday, 02-Jul-04 16:59
Sudden burst of insanity
 HELSINKI         AY0355 X  02JUL 1855  XFPAY1M       02JUL 02JUL PC  OK
 OULU                SAAPUMISAIKA 2000
 OULU             AY0368 X  04JUL 1735  XFPAY1M       04JUL 04JUL PC  OK

I have no idea what's going on... No idea.

Friday, 02-Jul-04 10:27

How probable it is that batteries die on both your alarm clock and your cell phone during the same night?

An hour late. Not good.

Friday, 02-Jul-04 02:11
Being nondescriptive

I'm so drunk it's hard to say anything useful. Luckily T9 corrects must your typos :)

Friday, 02-Jul-04 00:36
Is sometimes good... work for a big company. The company premises work so well ;)

Sauna in the middle of Helsinki is a strange but weird feeling... But at the moment, I'm too happy to care. It might not last, but... to quote a friend: "How can you miss a touch you've never felt? How can you miss a kiss you've never experienced?"


Wednesday, 30-Jun-04 18:04
The strangest of days

Met someone yesterday, a new acquaintance. Someone who had touched my life only in passing previously, like a falling autumn leaf. In less than 24 hours we clocked over eight hours of talk. It's really amazing how some people are just so much in tune with your thoughts, that discussion ceases to be a struggle for supremacy, and it just flows. It's like dance. Or riding (on a good day), for that matter.

This proves to me, more than anything else, that it is important never to stop searching, never to stop learning, never to stop trying.

And I fully realize how much this contradicts my previous story about letting go. They do contradict, and yet they don't. :-). Perhaps I'll write about it some day.

Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Alfred Tennyson: Ulysses

Tuesday, 29-Jun-04 11:01
Bad luck

I seem to be plagued by bad luck now. I'm sitting on the Helsinki Airport (the flights to Oulu have been cancelled due to a combination of fog and broken landing system), waiting for the next available flight. I also got a traffic ticket (from the stolen car that was really moved -episode), which I intend to complain about. I've also slept a total of seven hours during the past two nights, which is making me feel like a drunken koala with a techno fetish, hunkering over a laptop.

But it's funny how sometimes unexpected luck throws interesting and wonderful people your way. So it is difficult to say that something is really bad luck until you really know, and even then you don't quite know until you know, you know? :)

Anyway, I'm off to have a free lunch, courtesy of SAS/Blue1.

Monday, 28-Jun-04 14:24
Bloggers Solve Crimes, News At 10

This one made my day: Haltia (Finnish only, sorry) is following two guys stealing parts off a car, in real time, from her office window. Of course, the police has already been informed, and the pictures go to the blog. It should not take a long time for them to be identified, as they seem to be driving around in their employer's car with clear signs... Besides, apparently the guys keep coming back to steal more stuff!

Of course, this is just the first step on the massive peer control network currently being born around cell phone cameras, mobile weblogging, and "always on, always with, always connected". I am not, however, convinced that it's a bad thing altogether - it is pretty much the same old shit we've always had to put up with from our nosy neighbours and relatives - this time just non-repudiation is a bigger issue than before: "photographs don't lie." At least they don't lie in a massive scale yet.

"Who watches the watchers" is a old, but good question. In a way the recent Iraqi torture scandal is a perfect example of it, and of course the older Rodney King case. I believe that there are also significant positive things to be achieved in giving the people a power to document and publish things. Of course, not all of it will be used for good purposes, but perhaps a significant amount of it will be. We don't know yet.

We will learn to adapt, I am sure. I just don't know how much will be lost, how much will be gained, and eventually, who will win.

In case you have not yet read David Brin's Transparent Society, I heartily recommend it.

Anyway, score +1 for the bloggers, zero to the bad guys. It'll be interesting to see what the final score will be.

Sunday, 27-Jun-04 21:55
Past Midsummer

Ate too much meat, drank too much alcohol, and met an surprisingly large number of interesting people. (Thanks to everyone - especially all the beautiful maidens on Friday - and apologies for being so subdued most of the time. I really did enjoy myself, even if I didn't always look the part. :)

I have the most distressing possible week coming up I can think of (barring accidents). Why is work always so hectic around this time of the year?

Perhaps I need a walkabout. Something in me wants to just go.

I've flown too high on borrowed wings
Beyond the clouds and where the angels sings
In a sky containing no one but me
Up there's all empty and down there's the sea
No one here but me
There's nothing but light
That comes into sight

There's something up here that makes me wince
And I still got the feelings that I've felt ever since
I got to this place arrived at last
In front there's the future right back there's the past
Everything's moving so fast

There's nothing but light that comes into sight
The present like I've never seen it before
Is this the right place to stay
Please my wings fly me away.

-- Lene Marlin: Flown Away

Saturday, 26-Jun-04 22:56
Saying fuck off

OK, so I wait for a taxi on the Tampere railway station for about 20 minutes today - and I am soaking wet, tired, hangoverish, and in general pissed off at a multitude of things. The last thing I want to hear is some misogynous, racist taxi driver start giving me shit how the women drivers are evil, and why all gypsies are all fucked.

The last time I was so offended in a short period of time was a taxi driver in Melbourne, who started our conversation with "You know evolution is wrong, don't you? It just can't work! God must be behind all this!" (Hint: it's not a good line to try on an atheist engineer.)

Sometimes, it's good to talk to people. But I'm starting to think that the generic Finnish habit of not talking to people is actually a really good idea. Saves a lot of grief.

Friday, 25-Jun-04 13:37
Style One

More self-improvement mumbo-jumbo. Whether this is accurate or not... Well. I'll let you be the judges of that :-)

Style One has a chief characteristic of trying to make everything better. When they are healthy, they are morally heroic, making sacrifices for the greater good, balanced in their judgments, uncompromising in their principles. They are concerned about what is right in morals, sometimes in esthetics, and sometimes in other things like literary or movie criticism or even manners. They are objective in their judgments and utterly clear about what is right and wrong. They are prophets and reformers.

If they become unhealthy, the vision narrows and their concerns diminish. They begin to moralize, they can get picky about little rules and they always go by the book regardless of consequence or circumstance. They develop either/or thinking and pay little attention to anyone's emotions.

Ones you may know: Judge Judy on TV, Laura Schlesinger (Dr. Laura on talk radio), Hilary Clinton, Ross Perot, Ralph Nadar, St Paul, Martin Luther, Harrison Ford, Tom Brokaw, Pope John Paul II, The Lone Ranger, Martha Stewart and Miss Manners.

What is your enneagram?

(Via Marjut.)

Friday, 25-Jun-04 12:13
Never again

What a cosmic hangover.

Friday, 25-Jun-04 03:15

Today, I've met some new people. Including myself.

Oddly enough, it hasn't been all bad.

Perhaps I've learned to let go. Perhaps someone else taught me to do it. Nevertheless, I feel strangely at peace with myself. It's as if something had changed, in a profound manner.

In a sense, I'm free now.

Just the way we are
I guess you've seen it now
A mirror of ourselves sure makes us weird
Falling down
From a mountain of frights
What's there to hold on to?

--Lene Marlin: The Way We are

Thursday, 24-Jun-04 13:37
Hacking matter

I've been reading Wil ~McCarthy's book Hacking Matter, which is a popularized version of the serious study of quantum dots and the ability to build pseudomatter using artificial atoms. How can one not like a book, which contains wonderful sentences such as this one:

Now we can create not only a thin film of goldlike pseudomatter, but a three-dimensional solid with pseudogold dopant atoms on the inside as well. Thus, we can generate a bulk material with the mass of wickered silicon, but the physical, chemical, and electrical properties of an otherwise-impossible gold/silicon alloy.

I mean - even the minuscule thought of it is breathtaking! The wonders of the universe! How could one not love this world, when so many incredible things are about? This could, and would change the face of the world as we know it. You just flick a switch, and you can make a part of the wall transparent - or a light source - or a TV screen - or gold. Whatever pleases you.

As an aside, I also found another very interesting paragraph (among thousands, but this one has an ominous look):

At his insistence, we filed an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and within a few weeks we'd been contacted by the U.S. Air Force about the possibility of maybe licensing it.

Note that even in the US, patents are generally considered secret and proprietary, until a year of the filing date has passed. This is so that the application can be amended, fixed, and just being kept secret from the competitors, who might find a way to redesign around the actual implementation (ideas are not patentable as such). Obviously, the military is ignoring all that and have their own informants within the US patent process... Somehow, that does not surprise me at all.

Thursday, 24-Jun-04 09:39
Linkfarming annoyance

Hum. For the past few weeks has been constantly (well, every night essentially) been a target for systematic linkfarming. In case you do not know, that is a technique where you place innocent-looking links that really refer to other sites, in order to artificially increase their search engine rating. One other technique is to change single characters like full stops to outside links. These are not visible to people, but are visible to robots. (At least I think it's called linkfarming).

Anyhow, the open nature of Wikis makes them especially vulnerable to this. This is known to happen in weblogs and bulletin boards as well, where you can also write text openly. Some have even been attacked by bots.

This is not good. It is the problem of having an "user writable" internet... This is not the crap I was talking about previously, either; this is pure shit.

I've been thinking of some solutions:

  • Forbid search engines from indexing (probably does not help, since the linkfarmers wouldn't notice it)
  • Forcibly delete all other linkfarm attempts, except in the JSPWiki:SandBox, then forbid bots from indexing the SandBox This is what we've been doing lately, but deleting everything is very annoying, as there are far more Chinese people than there are us (yes, most of linkfarming comes from China).
  • Add an "external link redirect thingy", i.e. redirect all external link requests through a servlet (this screws up referrers, but it also stops googlejuice from flowing to those people - but it also stops it from good and valid sites)
  • Make writable only to known people (i.e. enforce a login/password policy, but this may be too damaging to the wiki culture).
  • At least the Main page will be closed down only to known people. There have been too many people who think they are wonderful hackers by writing their own document on the Main page. It takes a certain type of clueless indetermination and stupidity to not realize that hacking a Wiki by replacing the front page is not particularly impressive...

Any more ideas?

Thursday, 24-Jun-04 00:02
More pointless drivel about horses

Today, canter! No falling off. Wonderful feeling. Then trip to forest. Understand now why horses used as form of therapy. Start thinking if getting hooked.

Forgotten all definite and indefinite articles. Cannot formulate full sentences. Being very tired. Had two beers with friend. Feels good. Even if missed corporate summer party. But it would've been boring anyway. Always is...

Thinking of starting new blog to supplement this. Memory prosthesis -type. Need better place to keep notes, but must first solve searching problems with JSPWiki.

Tuesday, 22-Jun-04 21:25

Fell of the horse. Hurt like hell.

Except that that is not really the order - I fell off the horse because it got scared of some ghost, jumped, and that suddenly gave me a horrible cramp in my left calf. It is very difficult to stay up there with only one functioning leg, you know - especially since we were doing (or supposed to be doing) a rising trot with no stirrups (which did give me a small moment of satori, but that's a different story and is to be told later). Falling was actually a very pleasant experience compared to the cramp. At least I got on the ground and could stretch myself.

My leg still feels like someone exchanged all muscles in it to a clump of concrete and didn't give me any change.

*sigh* Stretching, stretching, stretching. I don't do enough of it these days.

Tuesday, 22-Jun-04 15:30
Homeward exploration

Today, I've mostly been telecommuting. Sometimes it's good to stay at home, listen to good music, and just write. Especially after Powerpoint repeatedly destroys your presentation, you really don't want to be around people.

The good thing about eating home was that I spent half an hour rummaging through my kitchen cupboards, hunting for "food that is just about to expire", which also has the side effect of cleaning the said cupboards half-magically.

There is certain magic in finding a bag of something, which you cannot quite understand what it is, or how to prepare it, as all the texts are in Japanese (except for "The MCC Series will brighten up you dinner table. Each product has been elaborately planned to give you an even more pleasant flavor than before. Please enjoy these refined flavors and colorful variations." and all you remember is that you got it from a Japanese businessman, who shoved it into your hand and said "this is good, I kinda like it".

Turned out that it was pretty ordinary mushroom-and-beef curry. Refined? Well, it was not bad. Colorful? Only, if you count three different shades of brown colorful...

(To tie this to the title - I've been listening to the haunting theme to Homeworld, one of the best games I ever played. Not because it was particularly groundbreaking - but it had an incredibly captivating atmosphere. I remember caring for my little blobs of pixels so much, I tried to save as many as I could. In the end, I was no longer playing to win the game; I was really trying to help the Kiith find their home. It is a rare game that has the ability to suspend your disbelief so completely. Crazy? Perhaps. But the Kiith eventually found their way home.)

Monday, 21-Jun-04 18:27
First private spaceflight

A few minutes ago, SpaceShipOne touched ground, after successfully flying a single test pilot, Mike Melvill to an altitude of 100+ km for a few minutes.

This is a significant moment. I think.

Monday, 21-Jun-04 12:26
Bare feet?

Mindy wonders if anybody would notice if she took her shoes off at work (in Finnish). In the spirit of scientific exploration, I took my shoes and socks off to check what would happen.

So far it's been 15 minutes, and at least one person went by without saying anything (though she did wonder why I did not want to go to lunch yet.) I will keep you updated.

(Oh yeah, and my coworkers reading this weblog: it does not count if you read it from here first. So nyah.)

30 minutes: I'm feeling a slight chill. I'm trying to wiggle my toes to keep them warm.

60 minutes: Close to an hour. My feet are definitely getting cold. I wonder if there's "email yoga"? (By the way - I have about four Gmail invitations left, so if you want to test drive it, drop me some email.)

100 minutes: I'll now attempt to go to the toilet. Wish me luck.'

102 minutes: back. Nothing.

Two hours: No comments yet. But I've found a completely new place to rest my feet underneath the table! There's a small crossbar with a nicely textured surface, that feels just perfect...

2.5 hours: Still nothing, even though I've talked with people. Perhaps they cannot see my feet from under the table? You know, I'm starting to wonder that perhaps nobody else here actually has X-ray vision. That would explain all of the funny underwear people have.

Three hours: Ok, still no comments, though I am sure I'm hearing snickering from the floor above. I think it's time for lunch - but... to wear shoes, or not to wear shoes when going out - that is the question!

Final entry: Stopped. My feet were getting far too cold - I have bad circulation. No comments whatsoever. Disappointed.

So Mindy: They might notice, but in all likelihood - they would not care. So feel free to walk around with bare feet. :-)

Sunday, 20-Jun-04 23:17
The Universe

Axis of Ævil saw my old moblog post of Saturn and produced an English version of the walkabout of the actual scale model of the Solar System that was built 12 years ago in Helsinki. Wonderful! (Did you know that they used to steal Earth every few weeks until they replaced it with something more durable? Or that Pluto had to be relocated due to road construction work? How douglasadamsian can you get with that? :-D )

I can recommend it - I've done the full tour of the Solar System once, and it's a nice bike trip: you get to see some beautiful scenery. Especially finding Uranus among all the bushes is a wonderful experience. And it really does illustrate the scale of the things, when you're traveling at (relatively) 5 times the speed of light and it still takes a bloody hour to get to Pluto :), but just a minute to get to Mars...

(But hfb: why didn't you ask me? I could've told you what it is and where to find it, so you wouldn't have had to harass the ignorant natives ;-).

Update: Just a couple of links added.

Sunday, 20-Jun-04 16:33

This is Jyväskylä, one of the larger cities of Finland.

It's not very big.

But it is a favourite city of mine.

Note to self: drinking champagne for breakfast is a very good idea, if practiced in moderation.

Saturday, 19-Jun-04 23:13
Which American City Are You?

New York

You're competitive, you like to take it straight to the fight. You gotta have it all or die trying.

Take the quiz: Which American City Are You

(Via Marjut).

Saturday, 19-Jun-04 22:16

Sorry for having been so quiet, but I've been too busy. And now I am too relaxed.

Together, we wait.

Wednesday, 16-Jun-04 23:00
Quickiethought for the next day

I have never, ever seen so many little, hand-drawn hearts concentrated in one place as in the stables. I think they breed there, and then fly off to the world to dot the i's of love letters, once they mature.

Even the horses have their own diaries (dotted with little hears everywhere) - if they were published them on the internet, they'd probably qualify as blogs.

Dave, my mind is going... I can feel it... must... resist... giggling...

Tuesday, 15-Jun-04 17:29
Quickiethought of the day

You know, if I had a big amnesia, and I forgot everything, then this blog and my emails (I store them all) would be the most important way to familiarize me with myself again.

That's scary.

Monday, 14-Jun-04 17:16
Your regularly scheduled social porn

I have no idea why I've been on this "ranting on technology, usability, and social issues" mode for the past few weeks. Perhaps it signifies that I'm getting back up to speed on actually doing something. I've probably churned out more code on JSPWiki in the past few weeks than the first quarter of the year. You might actually see a release some day :)

I also had the privilege of meeting some very charming and beautiful ladies during the weekend, some of them being new and the others old acquaintances, so perhaps that also lifts my spirits. Or vice versa.

It also happened that I managed to break my personal ban on buying new CDs, and I got the new CD from Nightwish, along with a bunch of good, old Finnish pop music.

Oh how I wish for soothing rain
All I wish is to dream again
My loving heart lost in the dark
For hope I´d give my everything

-- Nightwish: Nemo

Etsin ymmärrystä ja kaipaan ystävää, olen tehnyt sitä monta päivää
Mun tapani liikkua kai johtaa harhaan, enkä käsitä alkuunkaan
Nukkuu tai juttelee tai suutelee, se on vain hetken hurmaa
Eikä kukaan voi käsittää kuinka vaikeaa voi olla ymmärtää.

-- Neljä Ruusua: Sun täytyy mennä

(Ok. So perhaps not so positive. But that's Finnish pop music for you :-)

Monday, 14-Jun-04 16:40
Why encrypted emails don't work

Today, I got an encrypted email. Which is fine, as I use PGP and all - but it was sent to my work address using my private key. (Yes, they are separate - they have to be separate.)

After much hassling and back-and-forthing of the email messages and keys, I managed to open the original mail. In which, it said:

"If you can't open this email, it's because I've used your PGP key from the -site. Do you have a corporate one?"

Well, DUH.

Sending encrypted mail means that the mail cannot be read unless you have the proper key. And it does not help much to ask for the key in the encrypted mail itself - because if I could read it, you wouldn't need to ask, now would you? My public PGP key very clearly also does not include my work address, so one would think I don't want work-related email using it...

Oh well.

Even if simple usability issues such as key management seem to be difficult to fathom, then how on earth are people supposed to understand basic concepts of security - signing, encryption, choosing wise passwords, keeping your PGP secret keys really secret, key revokation, etc.

It's not gonna work. Unless someone figures out a far, far more comprehensible manner of explaining security than currently is used. Security is too abstract. People can't comprehend it. We need a way to make security more concrete, much like having an actual physical lock.

Update: *laugh* The person in question apparently reads this blog. Oops. :-D

Monday, 14-Jun-04 01:03
Modern supermen

See, what the modern supermen of Parkour can do. Try the first video, it impressed the hell out of me at least.

In ancient Japan, ninjas were often described as supermen, able to fly, leap onto the roofs of tall buildings, climb anything... Some colour was of course added by their enemies (who wrote the history) to make them appear more fearsome - and of course, the ninjas did not mind: it made their life a lot easier. Seeing those videos makes me wonder the effect a trained ninja must've had on his enemies, trained to combat on level ground and horseback.


(Via Ebu.)

Sunday, 13-Jun-04 15:20
My blogging tools

There are a lot of different blogging tools, but these are mine. We often concentrate too much on technology: debate the merits of publishing platforms, argue on licenses, et cetera. Lately, there has been a lot of debate in the Finnish blogosphere whether the term "blog" somehow implies the use of a particular tool.


These are all the blogging tools you need. These are the hands I use to write; this is the eye I use to filter the world. I tried to get a picture of my brain, but you'll have to settle with my eye, and what is visible beyond.

Everything else is extra - "syntactic sugar", as some people used to describe Object Oriented programming languages. Blogging is confused easily with the underlying technology, but this is not so. Because blogging originated with the technically savvy people, yes, a great many of the more important bloggers in this world these days are technologists, and like to write about technology.

But as with much of the internet (which was the ultimate geek domain for many years until AOL), the geeks are just the frontrunners. They go and build the roads for the others to come, the ones who do not care or understand the technology; people who just want to have their voice heard.

That's how the world is. We build, others follow. You will hear us talk about technology, but do not confuse the basic human need to speak, to be heard, with something as simple as a blogging platform. This is the reason why I care so much about bloggers: blogging gives You and Your voice (and I mean YOU, my dear reader) a possibility to be heard in a far more better and efficient manner than ever before in human history.

Free speech. Ain't enough of that in the world yet.

(Thanks to Nea Gustafsson for the image of my hands. Used with permission.)

Saturday, 12-Jun-04 12:30
Creative Commons

Sparked by the copyright discussion raging elsewhere in this blog, I decided to license the content of this weblog under a Creative Commons Attribution - Share Alike license. In essence, what this means:

You are free:

  • to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work
  • to make derivative works
  • to make commercial use of the work

Under the following conditions:

  • Attribution. You must give the original author credit.
  • Share Alike. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one.
  • For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work.

For the full text of the license, click here for the English version, or in Finnish - the Finnish version being the legally valid one, since this blog is physically located in Finland and written by a Finnish citizen.

Note that this license does not affect whatever rights you have under the law - it's still completely okay to quote this blog without relicensing under CC, for example.

Friday, 11-Jun-04 23:05
Blogger meeting blogging

OK, so I am at this blogger meeting. So far the discussion has ranged from sex to tool purses (?). And especially tits. To be specific, the left boob of a particular blogger (who shall remain anonymous until she confesses.) I guess this is fairly typical then :). Well, as long as the beer keeps flowing, and the discussion keeps become more interesting - what do I care?

The turnaround is about 10 bloggers, which is about expected. At least the following blogs are represented: SchizoBlog, Pala maailmaani, MitVit, Shrike's Time Tomblog, Kari Haakana, KatjaW, Nea, Haltia, Luksus, and ButtUgly.

(Well, to be truthful, we've also talked politics, some US politics (a favourite among bloggers all around the world, I'm sure, but mostly about the topical European parliament election and about the forthcoming city council election), some local blog politics, literature... I have to say that I love this crowd: they are as twisted as me.)

Butt Ugly weblog now gives you something new (well, over here anyway): Guestblogging! Over to you!

Ich bin ein hund! Eiku.. Kobaïa's Nea says hi. Suomeksi: Olen koira, Kobaïan Nea sanoo hei. Veikkaisin, että herra bloginpitäjä on humalassa kun antaa vierasblogittaa, mutta ei se minua haittaa. Julius ja Santeri missaavat paljon. MWAHAHAHA.

Well hell. Number one google seach for the beastie boys new song... go to left... doof message there :) With the best and most drunk greetings, the Elf, eli Haltia, future city council candidate... fool... all must pity ;)

Hello Nasty. It's just as good as I thought...

RRRRööööö nothing have I taken. Suck my socks. Also BlueTooth technology is now... resistance is futile! We are assimilated!

Alppimaa ei ole entisensä, tai siis ei ollenkaan. Haluan kiittää Jukka Lehtistä siitä, että ylipäätään muistin tulla tänne. Ja äitiä. Ja manageria. Ja editoria. Ai kiss yyyy oooll! Ai laaav jyyy!

*käkättää kippurassa* (KatjaW)

Terveisiä Trondheimista!! Suoraan kentältä taksilla Toveriin ja eka ykköstuopillinen nyt taulussa. Raisa

Friday, 11-Jun-04 09:01
Which Monty Python character are you?

Time for a dumb test. Yup. That's me :-D

Mean lil fellow, arn't you?

Which Monty Python Character are you?

brought to you by Quizilla

(Via Marjut.)

Thursday, 10-Jun-04 09:49
No voe perhana

(Sorry for the Finnish content; a this is a rant about a very clueless Finnish tabloid magazine article on blogs and how they all are about "revealing intimate details about your life on the internet in a very narcissistic way"):

Jaahas, Se-lehti kertoilee blogeista. Ei saatana. Mä en enää käsitä miten kukaan oikea journalisti voi enää katsoa ketään silmiin tälläisten juttujen jälkeen. Voisi ehkä vähän vaikka haastatella jotakuta, joka asiasta jotain tietäisi. Vaikkapa Schizo-Jannea, jolla sentään on tunnustetusti Suomen paras blogi 2003.

Mutta nykykyttääjien ja -tirkistelijöiden onneksi on olemassa kasvoton joukko narsistisia ihmisiä, jotka levittävät mielellään oman elämänsä muiden eteen kaikkine iloineen ja suruineen, seksiä ja vessakäyntejä myöten. Nämä netissä toimivat bloggaajat kertovat rohkeasti elämästään omilla sivuillaan, omissa weblogeissaan.
Weblog, loki tai blogi on netissä ilmestyvä "päiväkirja", jossa kirjoittaja kertoo avoimesti omasta elämästään, ajatuksistaan tai muista itselleen läheisistä asioista. Blogi poikkeaa kotisivusta siten, että se päivittyy kokoajan, mahdollisimman usein, vähintään päivittäin.

Olen vakaasti sitä mieltä, että termi "verkkopäiväkirja" pitäisi tappaa nyt ja heti, niin ihmiset lakkaisivat yhdistämästä blogia automaattisesti perinteiseen päiväkirjaan. Kysyn vaan, miten jokin Kysyn Vaan kertoo kirjoittajansa elämästä? Tai vaikkapa Avokatsomo? Tai Linko? Tai net.nyt? Tai Fabula? Tai Siiveniskuja? Hemmetin hyviä blogeja kaikki tyynni. Useimmat nettipäiväkirjatkaan eivät ole sen enempää todellinen versio kirjoittajansa elämästä, kuin kenellä tahansa keskivertokirjailijalla, joka ammentaa inspiraatiota omasta elämästään. Esimerkiksi vaikkapa Poikamies, jonka kirjoitukset voisivat mainiosti olla täysin fiktiota.

Jotkut käyttävät blogiaan siihen, että kertovat kavereilleen missä mennään. Toiset purkavat sinne pahaa oloaan. Toisille se vain on kanava ilmaista itseään. Toisille se on jokin IRCin ja sähköpostin välimuoto, jonne pannaan hassuja linkkejä. Toiset järjestävät sillä omaa elämäänsä. Monelle se on tätä kaikkea. Kovin montaa täysin puhdasta "päiväkirjaa" ei tässä maassa top-listoilla näy, loppujen lopuksi: laskin hyvin nopealla arviolla niitä kahdeksan kappaletta Pinserin tämän hetken top-50 -listasta. Se on noin kuudesosa.

Käytetään sitä termiä "verkkoloki" tai ihan vaan reilusti "blogi", eikä sanota sanaakaan päiväkirjasta. Paitsi ehkä jos haluaa kertoa, että "verkkopäiväkirjat ovat pieni osa blogi-ilmiötä". Ok? Bloggaaminen on isompi ilmiö - paljon isompi - kuin pelkkä narsistinen itsensäpaljastelu: bloggaaminen on henkilökohtaista julkaisemista. Bloggaaminen on keino tuoda oma ääni julkisuuteen, teoriassa samanarvoisena (käytännössä ei, mutta ei aleta nyt puhua siitä) kuin kaikilla muillakin. Ja on ihan sen ihmisen oma asia, mitä se haluaa sanoa. Moni meistä puhuu kavereilleenkin omasta elämästään, mutta suurimman osan ajasta kuitenkin jostain muusta. Ihan samasta asiasta on kysymys myös bloggaamisessa: jokainen puhuu kasvottomalle internetille eri lailla. Luonnollisesti omasta elämästä on helppo ammentaa, ja myönnetään - on niitä narsistis-ekshibitionistejakin eksynyt joukoon (vähänkö teki mieli laittaa linkki tuohon, mutta olkoot). Mutta jälleen kerran: katsokaa vaikka Technoratin suosittujen blogien listaa, joka on laskettu noin 2.4 miljoonasta blogista, ja laskekaa sieltä "päiväkirjat".

Bloggaamisen käsittäminen pelkäksi päiväkirjapaljasteluksi on niin käsittämättömän rajoittavaa, että suorastaan raivostuttaa.

(Kiitos Katjalle, jota myös artikkelissa lainataan.)

Thursday, 10-Jun-04 01:36
Geeking out

Just added an Lucene-enabled search to JSPWiki. Speeds things up by what, 40 times? (Kudos to Mahlen Morris for the implementation). It's in the CVS, but I think I broke something - some tests are no longer running. Also, I had to break API compatibility to the page provider interface. Sorry. (And I know only about 20% of people reading this understood anything. For the rest of you: yeah, I talk like this usually all day. I'm very boring in real life.)

Spent also some time laughing at new entries at

My thighs hurt.

And I am up far too late, but as the old saying goes: "Sleep, when tired. Eat, when hungry. Write code, when the time is right."

G'nite and toodle-loo to everyone.

Tuesday, 08-Jun-04 17:56

Some fucking misbrain of a spammer, not worthy to rot on a skewer in the deepest pits of Hell has faked my email address as the return address, and now I'm getting about a billion of "We cannot deliver your mail" -messages from mailer daemons. Problem being, ~SpamAssassin does not pick them up since they appear as legit bounce messages. So my inbox is full of spam. This ain't the crap I was speaking of!

Wonderful double effect: if the spam goes through, then the recipient sees it; if it is bounced, then I see it.

You know, I have this wonderful blunt katana I could use to slowly rip the guts off every spammer, then whirl them around my head before tossing them over the fence for the pigs to eat. Then I would watch these gutless (literally!) illegitimate sons of bastards fall over, and kick them in the head just before they hit the ground, so their brains would burst out of their ears, and they would bounce back up before the final collapse to a mindless heap of goo.


(Quiet: I'm okay now.)

Tuesday, 08-Jun-04 15:31
On Software Commoditization

Here are some of my thoughts on the subject of Software Commoditization. It's somewhat long, so it's on a separate Wiki page. I know some of you don't really care, but the more geekishly inclined might find this interesting. Click on the "More" below to find, well, more.

Software commoditization

Sun to Open Source Solaris? There are not that many UNIXes out there any more. All of the low-and mid-end operating systems (except for Windows) have been killed by Linux (and to some extent, BSD variants - and yes, I'm counting Mac OS X as one of these). Only in high end, some UNIX variants still exist for specialized purposes (like IRIX or AIX), but for the most part, even they are dying away.

You see, I believe in software commoditization. Much like electricity, or cell phones, you can buy electronic parts from different suppliers, and different manufacturers, have them all co-operate with one another, and build a fully functional computer from them. For some parts, you have a lot of choice (like motherboards); for some, you have less (CPU). But this all is good for the consumer, because he does not have to rely on a single supplier, or a single product. If it's faulty, he can reclaim his money and take his money elsewhere.

This is not true for operating systems. You run Windows, or you don't run anything at all.

If Windows was a standard, this would be okay. ...


Monday, 07-Jun-04 12:53
Why IRC is crap, yet useless

After several (well, since 1989 anyway) years of experience on IRC, I still probably can count the useful hours I've spent there using one hand only. (Then again, I can count in binary.)

But the reason why IRC is interesting is that it functions as a collective subconscious. On some channels certain things pop up constantly, even though nobody really cares about them. For example, on people talk about EGF rating points. These have no significance for any player whatsoever, unless you are a very strong. But they are a slightly-better-than-randomized way of evaluating performance. So everybody has some interest. On #joiito, most of the discussion is completely incomprehensible, yet those people feel a strange connection, and gather together at conventions.

IRC is like a common subconscious, where thoughts come and go, tucking in different directions, yet never converging. Most of the discussion on any channel is bullshit. Pure and honest crap. Nothing but the equivalent of waving your lips in the wind in the faint hope a meaningful sentence will appear, if you keep producing syllables just long enough.

But it's common crap. That crap which binds us together, and builds communities. Some people have this odd notion that "social activity" is the same as sitting in a pub, drinking beer and talking horseshit. Fine. The important thing is "crap".

All of social software is mostly about crap. This is what the CSCW folks never realized - they thought it was important to increase productivity and get more achieved through computer-assisted work. The social software phenomenon (weblogs, Orkut, LinkedIn, IRC, chats, bulletin boards, ...) is built on the notion that people wish to talk crap. They enable you to use your time idly, do nothing, because conscious thoughts (and the inevitable good ideas) rise from the subconscious soup of crap. I think that's why Wikis haven't really flown is that they are not that good places for crap: the community deletes anything that is not considered to be in line of the other contents of the wiki. They don't allow the subconscious simmer of thought in the same way as IRC. It remains to be seen how much crap will surface on Orkut or Friendster, and whether that amount is enough to allow them to survive. (I've noticed I don't use Orkut anymore, even though I am listed. There's just so little point.)

The Finnish IRC service IRC-galleria, is really a place for IRC regulars to post their picture and have comments appended to it. However, there are now many young people, who put their pictures on the IRC gallery, and then "go ircing" on it - meaning posting comments on other peoples pages on the IRC gallery, creating large amounts of anger among those who know what IRC really is. I think this is a wonderful example of "crap in action" - if you build a way for people to discuss, they will come.

The societies are built on crap. The internet is built on crap.

Crap is good. Keep talking bullshit, and while the world may not be better, at least it will be a far more interesting place. :-D

Monday, 07-Jun-04 09:44
Technical difficulties

Lately, Blogspot has been highly unstable. I tend to get random 404:s when trying to access blogs hosted on the site, random redirections, etc. Even the Pinseri list got confused, showing ghost updates even though the blogs had not been updated. Samik changed the bot to read the Atom feeds of the blogspot blogs, which was an excellent idea. That was the final straw for many to turn on their Atom feeds, which makes life so much easier for me: I can now read most of my favourite blogs through Bloglines. Yay! You can see my current subscription list on the right-hand menu (if you have Javascript enabled, that is) - it grew significantly this morning.

A few still remain, though... ;-)

In other news - what on Earth is wrong with Technorati? They seem to be down more than up these days... Which is sad, because the service is really nice and useful.

Saturday, 05-Jun-04 15:12
Love songs

This is an odd meme, which I discarded immediately as I came upon it. But it stayed somewhere in the back of my mind; nibbling at my conscious bits. Later, it came back to haunt me, and I could not shake it off a second time. So here goes, a list of Five Top Love Songs. With a small twist.

If you find the list a bit strange, it's probably for three reasons:
1) It has seven songs.
2) Love is a relative concept.
3) Some of these are not really my favourite songs at all. But all of them have some connection to my life, either directly, or through friends trying to cope. I also had to leave out a bunch of really good ones, for unexplicable reasons.

There's a story here. It's not my story, but you are free to interpret it in any way you want. Some persons might find more truth here than others; some might even know the reason why a particular song was picked. But they are all connected to love - love expected, love experienced, love lost.

Kent: Kärleken väntar

 Brinn pengar brinn 
 Jag vet att du är värd någonting 
 Du är hoppet i ett IQ-fritt land 
 Du är drömmarna jag drömmer ibland 

 Visst känns det som att kärleken väntar 
 Visst känns det som att kärleken väntar 

Bonnie Tyler: Total Eclipse of the Heart

 And I need you now tonight 
 And I need you more than ever 
 And if you'll only hold me tight 
 We'll be holding on forever 
 And we'll only be making it right 
 Cause we'll never be wrong together 
 We can take it to the end of the line 

U2: With or without you

 My hands are tied
 My body bruised, she’s got me with
 Nothing to win and
 Nothing left to lose

 And you give yourself away
 And you give yourself away
 And you give
 And you give
 And you give yourself away

 With or without you
 With or without you
 I can’t live
 With or without you

Olavi Virta: Hopeinen Kuu

 Kaipaus vastaa sydämen ääneen
 Onneni tiedän mä nyt taas niin yksin jääneen
 Toinen nyt kuuta kanssais katsoo
 Toinen vienyt sinut lie nyt
 Hopeinen kuu luo merelle siltaa

Roxette: Listen to your Heart

 Listen to your heart when he's calling for you.
 Listen to your heart there's nothing else you can do.
 I don't know where you're going and I don't know why,
 but listen to your heart before you tell him goodbye.

Lene Marlin: One year ago

 She’s walking there alone, 
 No one by her side
 She manages to fight the tears, but
 The pain inside
 She can’t hide 
 And all the tears she’s cried
 The moment she closes her eyes, she starts
 Thinking of you
 The dreams that she had one time
 Have gone away
 Will they ever come true? 
 All she needs is - all she needs is you

Junnu Vainio: Vanhoja poikia viiksekkäitä

 Saimaan saaressa pikkuinen torppa,
 istuu portailla Nestori Miikkulainen.
 Lepokivellään iäkäs norppa,
 katsoo ystävää ymmärtäen.
 Suuri Saimaa, mut' naista sen rannoilta vaan
 ei näin tuuliseen saareen saa asettumaan.
 Kuten norpan, on määrä myös Miikkulaisen,
 olla sukunsa viimeinen.
Friday, 04-Jun-04 17:05
Ganbatte, ne?

This small little article details in a very painful manner why it is difficult to be a Westerner in Japan. Many people have asked me: "If you do like Japan so much, why don't you move there?"

That's why.

The above story is not criticism. It's simply a statement of fact. It is difficult to know which battles to fight, and I completely agree with the author here. I've had too much gaman in my life as well. Some of it good, some of it bad. Most of it unnecessary.

(Via Heli.)

Thursday, 03-Jun-04 23:32

Physical exhaustion. Riding is hard. My hands are actually shaking.

And not only that, I've been driving to work every day on bike. Perhaps I should tomorrow have a rest day from biking; just do the riding part. Too much exercise on one week, I think. To quote Sledge Hammer: "I have pains in places I didn't know I had places." Except that it's not quite true - I am in fact very well versed in the different places where a human body can feel pain. Don't ask.

Thank goodness there's sauna, one of the best inventions ever. It has a wonderfully relaxing effect on the beaten body.


Thursday, 03-Jun-04 00:14
Miscallaneous out-of-context quotes of the day

"I didn't want to pass the child making time. It was kinda fun - in a necrophile sort of way". -- Mr. Tactful after telling his wife he raped her while she was passed out to cover for the fact that in fact, it was really Satan who raped her.

"What does that mean?" -- A coworker after seeing my new hair.

"I do the same kind of work as him - except that I'm worse." -- During an introductory round in a meeting.

"NO!" -- Several times today.

"Lower your arms!" -- Also, several times today. (I seem to have a problem with that one.)

"You must drink Olvi! Fucking shithead! Perkele!" -- When I reached for a Pepsi bottle in a store. Huh?

"My boyfriend came yesterday in secret, hid in the bushes and took pictures of me!" -- A worryingly happy girl.

"Are you feeling pain, too?" -- Two minutes earlier. Different girl.

"Your personality comes through well." -- A colleague after reading my travel log. (See, Matt, not all of my traumas come from you!)

Tuesday, 01-Jun-04 23:41
More horse talk

Well, well. It seems that we are joining the bunch of girly horse blogs :). Second lesson today. Went "Around the world" - essentially turning 360 degrees in the saddle, did trot without stirrups (scary at first), and nearly fell off a couple of times, while trying to grab by left foot with my right hand. Heh. Fun exercises, even though I think I sprained something.

It feels good to be learning something new again (plenty of new words at least :). And the horses are actually quite cute - though I'm pretty sure I'd be scared shitless if they were angry at me. 500 kilos of angry meat is dangerous - herbivore or no herbivore. But perhaps I'll learn to "talk horse" some day.

Tuesday, 01-Jun-04 00:16
Experiences of the day

Bugger. Missed Misu. But, on the other hand, I had my first official riding lesson today, and got even a couple of compliments during the day. One from the riding instructor ("You sit really well"), and one from a colleague at work:

"Everything is always complex with you."

That kinda surprised me. I don't know. Is it?

Today, I came home, completely drenched (it rained throughout the entire lesson). I hung my wet clothes to dry, slipped into some comfortable clothes, pulled on some thick woollen socks, and made myself a couple of sandwiches (from wonderful, fresh rye bread) and a large cup of cocoa. Then I curled on the sofa and watched two episodes from the fourth season of Babylon 5 from a freshly opened package.

I'm not that complex. Really.

Monday, 31-May-04 11:24

Scary. This morning, it took me an hour to decide what to wear.

Metanote: This entry is funny. Depending on how well you know me and my life, there are at least three different ways of reading it. And essentially, every single one of them is correct, yet they are woefully incomplete on their own. I guess that's one of the lures of blogging: you get to choose what to reveal of yourself. You are in complete control of your own public image, as opposed to traditional journalism where someone else writes about the misconceptions they had, while listening you talk.

I'm also sure there are a billion incorrect ways of reading this entry. But to the reader, it does not matter. They form their own opinion anyway, and as such, it is correct for them until proven otherwise. And to most people, it does not really matter anyway.

Sunday, 30-May-04 14:43

Arg! Another annoying day when all shops are closed. They must be haunting me. I seem to have time to do grocery shopping only on Sundays these days. But that does not help much, because yet again I bang at the closed doors, 'cos it is Yet Another Annoying Christian Holiday (YAACH).

OK, I don't mind holidays, not at all, but I do mind the backward Finnish law which says that even though the majority of the people are so spineless that they belong to the church even though they don't really believe in the Christian God, nor do they actually go to the church, everybody must not go shopping on Sundays.

Many young people (esp. women) tell me they belong to the church because they want to have a "princess wedding". I think there's market now for private companies that arrange civil marriages as if they were Christian weddings, with proper locations, carefully constructed phrases and everything. Currently, the power to wed people is only with the city officials (and clergy), but perhaps that should be licensed out.

Hell, I'm a priest. I could wed you people ;-).

Update: As EG pointed out, it is even more odd that you can legally buy beer and hard liquor from bars on Sundays. Surely there must be something inherently evil in buying milk for little Charlie, but it's okay for mum and dad to get wasted. I just don't get it.

Friday, 28-May-04 17:45
Oh, you touch my tralala!
oh, you touch my tralala,
mm my ding ding dong.
la lalala lalala....
Oh, you touch my tralala
la lalala lalala....
mm, my ding ding dong.
la lalala lalala....
This is something. Else. I don't think I'll need any other music for the entire summer. It has been playing on repeat for about an hour now, and "I'm looking for some fun/deep in the night"...

It makes me wonder though whether I should grow a moustache and a mullet? I'll need to do some barberblogging next week anyway ;-)

(Via SchizoBlog, the guaranteed source for good music.)

Friday, 28-May-04 11:26
No weekend

You know... I have nothing planned for the weekend (except for the optional regular events). It feels so strange - I don't think I've had a zero weekend for months. Rest will do some good, I'm sure.

Though, knowing myself, I'll probably end up coding some sorely missed JSPWiki stuff regardless of the weather; sitting in a dark room and becoming generally obsessed with finally releasing 2.2 :-)

Thursday, 27-May-04 04:24
On connectivity

A few years ago I got really tired of not being able to read or send email on the go, wherever I was. So I bought my own server, and have configured it so that I can read email with IMAP, or via logging in using SSH, or - if everything else fails - using the ever-so-clunky webmail. I also have my own private SMTP server, so I don't have to care what the local mail settings are - I just authenticate to my own server and send email through there. Everything is, of course, fully encrypted. I also keep all my email on the IMAP boxes, which reside in my $HOME/Mail, so I can easily go through them with a shell script, if necessary. It's good to have access through multiple means.

My preferred method of reading email these days is the Apple It's a very intuitive mail client, and does essentially everything a good mail client must do. And it has also the Apple Search - just type in stuff into a small box and it will look it up for you. No "Find" -buttons. Very convenient.

(Now I'm happy that I had the webmail backup, because here on the Kansai airport it seems that only HTTP and HTTPS traffic is allowed through the WLAN network. Oh well... Good things rarely come free. :)

Saw Mount Fuji. Impressed.

Wednesday, 26-May-04 16:33

Didn't feel like going out tonight, so I went to the Shinagawa IMAX theatre to watch Innocence, the new film from Mamoru Oshii.

It's... Well, it has the most beautiful, painstakingly detailed matte paintings, very complex 3D imagery, a deep, yet completely incomprehensible script (Japanese only, no subtitles :), one of the more disturbing dream sequences I've ever seen, classical Japanese animation, a mind-blowing musical score, naked female sex robots with guns and kung-fu skills, a magical atmosphere to boot, and the heartbreakingly cute dog.

It's beautiful. I pity the fool who downloads and watches this on a laptop. See it in a theatre.

Update: Check out the trailer.

Wednesday, 26-May-04 03:50
The morning after


(By the way: perhaps confessing to all your colleagues that you have a weblog is not such a smart idea.)

Tuesday, 25-May-04 22:20

I do feel thqat I'm rater drnk. Then again, I hacve been drinkin g with someboday else's corprate account for the entire eving in Tokyo. And it's 4:10 in the morning AS I a wrting thisl with no sort of spelll cheking wiatsoever,.'

THSI ENTRY hgas been designe for you to feelk xtremely envious., Hehe. Shops that sell alcohol 24 hurs a day can be somewhat damaging to your coherence, btw. I love this city. And some people I know. You know who yuou are.

I thinjk sleep would be a agood idea abot hnow,. G'net.

Tuesday, 25-May-04 12:09
Why shouldn't one wear ties?

Ha! I knew that there was a reason why I don't wear ties (well, except on some rare occasions)! It's because

a) they are not a part of the universally known "geek uniform"
b) they harbor diseases.

(Via BoingBoing).

Tuesday, 25-May-04 06:16
On Jet Lag

Flying east is always so much worse. I thought I had conquered the jet lag with little difficulty, but then I stayed awake until four o'clock this morning, and had only about four hours of sleep. Gng. Well, sunrise over Tokyo was interesting at least. I also got myself some nice new biking shorts, that already look like they had made close contact with the ground at high speeds. BTW, one of the things you don't want to do is to reconfigure your email at 2 am, 7000 km away. It leads to frustration, frustration leads to hate, and hate leads to blinding rage.

And I am not nuts (El Finnish Only). I prefer to think of myself more as "refreshingly complex and deep, with a sweet, yet ambiguous nose (and astonishingly brown eyes!), and a long, fruity aftertaste that has a hint of nut." Thanks for the heads-up, though. I seem to be in good company. :-)

Sunday, 23-May-04 13:50
Battlestar Japan

You just gotta love a country where they show live, professional go games on TV... With commentary! :-)
Well, another three hour ordeal, and this wasn't actually such a bad experience (as the aforementioned Troy).

I'm talking about the pilot of the new edition of Battlestar Galactica, which I had the opportunity of catching on the flight. I remember watching the original series when I was really young - we had to get a new TV to watch it. Our old Philips did not have an UHF receiver, and BG was on TV2 - so we got a new Goldstar black-and-white set. Oh, the memories.

But this new version is actually not half bad. OK, so Starbuck and Boomer are women (and there's some electricity between Starback and Apollo already), though I liked the character of Cassiopeia from the original series more. But it's perhaps the sign of the times. No real complaints. The effects were wonderful, and having actually silent space travel and semi-newtonian physics felt good for a change. The space combats were staged well, though I still long for the old-style Cylon fighters. They were the scariest things still seen on TV, these new ones just look like something stolen out of a computer game. I especially loved the "debris rain", and the fact that most of the characters were really rather intelligent. No glaring plot holes or gaping amounts of stupidity yet...

But yeah, I could see myself growing to like this. It's miles better than Galactica 1980, anyway... (Sheesh, flying motorcycles?)

(Yah, I'm in Tokyo now, and managed to catch a flu as well. Bugger.)

Saturday, 22-May-04 01:26
The Drop

Well, first I was enjoying myself a lot, and then I went to see Troy. Here's my review of the movie:


Lemme put it this way: The only thing I found slightly interesting was Sean Bean as Odysseus, who delivers a very nice performance. If he hadn't been there, I would've walked out of the theatre. Seriously. Ever since Deep Impact have I never wanted to leave the theatre, but this was really, really close. I had to amuse myself during the movie trying to calculate how many modern soldiers would've turned the battle, or what would a Battlemech look like when standing next to the walls of Troy at dawn.

Even the soundtrack - consisting mostly of a woman wailing - was boring. The only interesting thing was the play on the theme from Stargate during Achilles' death. Nice touch.

I really, really, really would not like to see this movie ever again. Hell, if the highlight of the movie is the sight of Brad Pitt without clothes - then something is deeply wrong. And yes, I'm straight. Straight, but in-fucking-credibly bored.

Friday, 21-May-04 14:43
Larry Lessig to speak in Finland

(Via Jyri). Toimitus suosittelee, ja kiroilee kun ei itse pääse paikalle.


Avoin luento ja keskustelutilaisuus
Professor Lawrence Lessig Helsingissä
"The Future of Copyright, Culture and Creativity"
Maanantaina 24.5. klo 17.30
Kulttuuritehdas Korjaamo, Töölönkatu 51 b

Tervetuloa avoimeen keskustelutilaisuuteen Professori Lawrence Lessigin kanssa Helsingissä maantantaina 24.5. klo 17.30 Korjaamolla, Töölönkatu 51b. Professori Lessig on yksi maailman tunnetuimpia ajattelijoita, kirjoittajia ja luennoitsijoita digitaalisen kulttuurin, median ja tekijänoikeuksien kehityksestä. Nyt suomalaisella yleisöllä on ainutlaatuinen mahdollisuus kuulla ja haastaa kansainvälistä vaikuttajaa. Teemana on "The Future of Copyright, Culture and Creativity."

Tilaisuuden järjestää Aula. Aula on avoin verkosto, joka tukee ajatusten vaihtoa poikki rajojen.

Tätä kutsua voi lähettää sähköisesti eteenpäin kaikille kiinnostuneille.

* * *


You are invited to an open discussion with Professor Lawrence Lessig on Monday 24.5. at 17.30 at Korjaamo, Töölönkatu 51 b in Helsinki. Professor Lessig will speak on "The Future of Copyright, Culture and Creativity" followed by a discussion with the audience. The event will be held in English and is free and open to the public.

The event is organized by Aula. Aula is an open network that promotes the exchange of ideas across boundaries.

Please forward this invitation to anyone you feel would be interested in attending.

About the speaker

Lawrence Lessig ( is a Professor of Law at Stanford Law School and founder of the school's Center for Internet and Society. Prior to joining the Stanford faculty, he was the Berkman Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. Lessig was also a fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, and a Professor at the University of Chicago Law School. He clerked for Judge Richard Posner on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and Justice Antonin Scalia on the United States Supreme Court.

More recently, Professor Lessig represented web site operator Eric Eldred in the ground-breaking case Eldred v. Ashcroft, a challenge to the 1998 Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act. Lessig was named one of Scientific American's Top 50 Visionaries, for arguing "against interpretations of copyright that could stifle innovation and discourse online."

Lessig teaches and writes in the areas of constitutional law, law and high technology, Internet regulation, comparative constitutional law, and the law of cyberspace. His book, Code, and Other Laws of Cyberspace, was published by Basic Books, and The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World, is available from Random House. His most recent book, Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity, is now available online at and from Penguin Press.

Professor Lessig chairs the Creative Commons project ( Professor Lessig is a board member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a board member of the Center for the Public Domain, and a Commission Member of the Penn National Commission on Society, Culture and Community at the University of Pennsylvania. Professor Lessig earned a BA in economics and a BS in management from the University of Pennsylvania, an MA in philosophy from Cambridge, and a JD from Yale.

Friday, 21-May-04 12:43
Pinseri list in changes.xml format...

Warning: highly übergeeky drivel follows.

I wrote a small JSP page which essentially gobbles up the Pinseri RSS feed and transforms it into the changes.xml -format used by Why is this cool?

Because I was just informed that Technorati has now added all the Finnish blogs on the Pinseri list into their search engine... This means that you can easily check if someone refers to your weblog. Example: try this link to see all references to my blogs from the 2.4 Million weblogs that Technorati is currently following. Or check this link to see all references to Hassuja Heräämisiä.

Technorati is cool. It's the best egoboosting tool since, well, the Pinseri top-list. :-)

Thursday, 20-May-04 20:06

I've been essentially doing nothing today.

Well, I did save my flowers by changing new soil for them.

But that's pretty much it.

And yeah, I did write a Pinseri-RSS-to-changes.xml -converter, so we might soon get all Finnish blogs in Technorati.

But nothing else.

Perhaps a couple games of go on KGS.

Otherwise, I've been doing nothing.

Except writing a bunch of emails.

And blogging.

But nothing else. I swear!

Well, I did eat. And vacuum the apartment.

But that doesn't count, does it? I mean, it's cleaning - it's like doing nothing useful. Things get dirty again real soon. Eating is also something you have to do. So that doesn't count either.

Ok... Then answer me this:

If I did nothing, why am I so bloody tired and out of my wits now? It's as if I had just been doing something really exhausting...

Wednesday, 19-May-04 20:45
Finnish Fun

Sorry, Finns only:

Heli kirjoitti pienen mukavan tarinan uljaasta prinssistä, joka uponnee jokaiseen naiseen, joka on ikinä seurustellut nörtin kanssa. On suorastaan pelottavaa tunnistaa itsensä. (Ei se komeuskohta. Mutta se muu...)

Kiitos! :-D

Wednesday, 19-May-04 18:39

The Unspeakable Vault (of Doom).

Iä iä, Cthulhu ftaghn...

(Thanks to Ebu for the link).

Wednesday, 19-May-04 17:07
Hngh, what!?!

"So, what were you planning to do tomorrow, then?"

"Do this X and that Y, because the deadline is on Friday, why?"

"It's Ascension Day! It's holiday!"


All my schedules were just shot to hell.

Think: I am supposed to "be on the edge", keep track of new developments, surf the information superhighway with a jet engine strapped to my back, be cool and know all the new buzzwords, implement the latest, state-of-the-art technology - and I don't bloody know that I'm not supposed to come to work tomorrow.


The universe has a built-in mechanism of putting you back to your own place and reminding you of yourself. It's called irony. :)

Tuesday, 18-May-04 15:42
Faster, faster, faster...

Changed the layout of the page slightly, resulting in significantly improved rendering speed. It's funny how a small piece of Javascript in a wrong place can suddenly block the entire rendering...

Note to self (which every web-designer knows, but often forgets in a hurry - and that's my story and I'm sticking to it): Always put the important content first, and all your fluff last.

Let me know if this does not work with some browsers. Don't bother with Netscape 4 :)

Tuesday, 18-May-04 12:22

You know, I suppose I just _have_ to moblog about a blogger blogging about a blog post of a moblog post made of a moblogger blogging.

My reputation as a sad metaübergeek (thanks, Matt) simply requires it.

Tuesday, 18-May-04 10:12
Amateur rocket reaches space

An amateur rocket carrying a ham radio avionics package reached the edge of space May 17, reports ARRL.

This is a Big Thing. It marks the first time amateurs have been able to reach the 100km altitude, commonly regarded as the lower edge of space. It's still a long way from a manned spaceflight, though there are many people shooting for the X-Prize.

You see, the conquest of the New World did not happen with the government-funded expeditions of Kolumbus, da Gama, Magalhães (Magellan) and others. It really started when your average, hard-working people moved over in search for their own fortune. Because they were working for themselves, not for any ideal, or corporation, or government. They were working just to get their families fed, and have a bit for retirement.

I believe governments still play a large role in space travel, but the real power and the mass will come from amateurs, who will later on create companies around their venture, and sooner or later they will be able to serve launch services for small scale satellites, and later on, even space tourism.

Sunday, 16-May-04 22:44
The state of wiki APIs

Dave Johnson wonders about the Wiki APIs. Being the author of the JSPWiki:WikiRPCInterface, I concur. XML-RPC pretty much is finished for me as an API standard, and I don't think I will be developing the V2 of the standard onwards.

However, I like Atom. I like Atom a lot. Consider this official: JSPWiki will support both the Atom blog and Atom Wiki APIs. I believe that Atom holds the future instead of XML-RPC. It has the advantage of being designed properly (no timezone hassles, no UTF-8 issues, proper built-in authentication), after all.

We should just remember the lessons we learned with that API: the importance of backlinks, the forward link lists, proper search API, authentication (Atom solves all of my issues by using WSSE, yay!), the ability to handle attachments, introspection, versioning support, and metadata. Most of these vary from Wiki to Wiki.

There is also the issue of the varying markup between Wikis, but I don't think that is such a big issue, API-wise. What we should do is to define a generic WikiMarkup, a variant of XHTML preferably, which is never seen by the user. It's just used to transfer data from a WYSIWYG editor to a WikiEngine, which then does the transformation to the local markup. Or something.

Sunday, 16-May-04 21:04

The Cassini-Huygens probe is approaching Saturn, and is nearly at the end of its extremely long journey. It is already taking better photographs than anything we've seen before, and much is expected from both the orbiter and the Titan probe.

This picture is a simulation of what we might see, rendered with the latest technology.

Err. Nope?

Would you believe that it's a part of a scale Solar System model here in Helsinki, then? :)

(Ah, biking season. Which T9 (predictive text input) wanted first to call "ailing reason", and then "bikini season" instead... I think it's smarter than people give it credit for. :-D )

Sunday, 16-May-04 00:14
On rock music, eurovision song contest and weddings

You know, there's a serious credibility problem with a beautiful, scantily dressed woman, who sings happily "It hurts, how it hurts" (Sweden). I much prefer Finnish rock music, which mostly consists of serious men singing in a very laconic voice about they have been hurt and left in a thousand different ways. At least they mostly look and sound the part.

Which brings me to the general music selection of Finnish weddings. It is supposed to be a happy occasion, but yet somehow most of the music is always extremely depressing. It just makes you want to scream: the three required waltzes, and then a selection of other classics, and then moving towards traditional Finnish rock music, in which a lone, drunken man sings his lament after killing his family, right before blowing his own brains out.

Hel-lo? Happy, anyone? Remember? The state where you don't really want to kill yourself (or anyone else for that matter)?


I guess you would need to listen to a lot of Finnish rock music to understand this entry. Hell, even writing about the music depresses me to another dimension. Then again, being alone in a small hotel room, watching the Eurovision Song Contest (which is complete crap, as usual), feeling the blissful state of inebriation ebb away into tiredness and depression ("laskuhumala" in Finnish, a highly descriptive word, I might add) after having left the party prematurely because of the compound effect of alcohol, little sleep, the afore mentioned music, relatives ("Now when are you going to get married, mmh?"), and the general happiness of everyone else (happily married or at least engaged)... What do you expect? ;-)

Anyway. Lots of luck and love to the happy couple.

Saturday, 15-May-04 01:11
The intolerable happiness of being

Just had the perfect dinner with a beautiful woman in a fabulous restaurant.


Friday, 14-May-04 18:05

This flash animation is wrong on so many levels... ARGH!

Well, I guess it just proves that even memes evolve.

(Via Slashdot, of all places.)

Friday, 14-May-04 16:19
Coding Frenzy

Warning: techtalk follows, you may freely skip this if your eyes glaze over at the word "XML".

I've been in a coding frenzy for the past couple of days. JSPWiki has had some considerable additions, here being the relevant part of the ~ChangeLog:

2004-05-14  Janne Jalkanen  <>

        * v2.1.97.

        * Added preliminary support for the Atom blog API.  It still does
        not yet completely work, however.

I'll be a non-productive member of the society for the next three-four days (another wedding? Don't people get tired of these things already?), so nothing much may happen. But yeah, I nearly got ecto working with JSPWiki.

There is still however a question on how the blog and wiki apis should interact. You see, the page Main on this site is both a weblog and a wiki page. I'm having trouble, you see:

  • GET to /atom/ lists all wiki pages (which means that even on this site, there are a lot of them) - not just the weblogs (since every page can be a weblog, even the weblog entry pages)
  • GET to /atom/Main... Should it list all of the blog entries, or should it GET the Wiki page content? Both are valid interpretations...

I'm confused... Which is the correct way to handle this? Should a WikiWeblog combination have separate URIs for Wiki and Weblog functionality? Isn't that kinda redundant?

Thursday, 13-May-04 15:32
Ok, so I'm lucky
You are 17 years old and play football for your country. You live with your family on a small farm. You have always been fanatical about football and dreamed of playing for a big European club such as Newcastle. When civil war broke out, rebel forces attacked your village. You, like many other Sierra Leoneans, had one of your legs cut off by the soldiers. This practice was widespread. Many victimes died from bloog loss. You are one of just 4,000 people who survived these atrocities.

Find out and be immediately transported to your dream life.

(Via Smart Mobs.)

Thursday, 13-May-04 02:31
Just checking...

Just checking if my moblogging still works, after some tweaks to the JSPWiki code base.

On the right, my living room window before washing. On the left, the part of the window that has been washed. Living in the city centre has its downsides as well, and one of them is getting really dirty windows, really fast.

Thursday, 13-May-04 01:56
JSPWiki goes Atom

Okay, folks! Here's the cool bit of the day: JSPWiki now officially has support for the Atom feed format in the latest CVS version. It only works for the Weblog plugin for the moment, but there's now an atom.jsp, as well as a ~FeedDiscoveryTag so that you can find the Atom feed easily. It'll just need some tweaks to work for regular wiki pages as well.

It's live now, on this site. Check out! It even validates! :-)

Off to bed now. Must grab some sleep.

Wednesday, 12-May-04 16:33
~WikiSpam by the billions

For the past week, someone has been hitting, adding advertisements to a couple of addresses I am not going to mention here. I figured they were isolated incidents, but... It seems that Dave Johnson of RollerWeblogger has had the same guys on his wiki. I just hope nobody is trying to build a bot to target a specific WikiEngine. It could be devastating to the open nature of Wikis.

You see, the problem with open systems is that they are easy to abuse. For the most part, manual damage can be controlled thanks to social pressure and sheer volume of good people, but automatical damage, as inflicted by bots may become intolerable. The reason why we have so much email spam these days is because of the wonderful openness of the SMTP, mail transfer protocol. Because it was open, license-free, and easy to implement, it became the killer app of the all-pervasive Internet these days. But openness also has vulnerabilities, and as with anything popular, people are abusing it right now.

I am not worried about people trying to destroy wikis. That would be too easy to protect against. But I am worried about bots that would roam around, and change the text or a link slightly to destroy links to competition, or to add Googlejuice for someone. Would it be possible to notice every single change on your wiki, and check every single outgoing link? Considering that most Wikis don't even provide an RSS or Atom feed it may be difficult to keep track on what is really happening. I have two open Wikis which I administer - and I'm having trouble coping with them already. Especially smaller wikis may be in trouble, as their administration have no tools to combat a dedicated spambot.

It is entirely possible that public Wikis will have to start to protect themselves somehow. I think we should start thinking about technologies that would prevent spambots from destroying an entire subculture, but in a ~WikiFriendly way. Let's not do what everybody else seems to be doing these days, and sacrifice the one thing that we want to protect.

Wednesday, 12-May-04 15:45

How do I turn on the screensaver with a key combination!?! I don't want to use the hot corners (I already have them overloaded with Exposé and I want to have the top left corner free so I don't have to worry about counting pixels when I try and access the Apple menu), but so far the best way to lock the Powerbook is to go and turn the lid down and then back up again. which turns on the screen saver (and stops iTunes, BTW, since the computer goes to sleep for a second).

I know there are Mac people reading me, so please: tell me which key combination I have to use, or which freeware application I have to install to just be able to press Apple-F12 to lock the computer! I've been trying to find the info from Google, but apparently I haven't been able to figure out the right keywords.

Frustrated now!

(Sorry for the headline, just wanted to grab your attention there. My Mac Powerbook does NOT suck, it is a wonderful little machine and I grow more attached to it every day. It is by far the best computer I've ever owned. I just need this one thing to make it perfect. Please?)

Tuesday, 11-May-04 17:02
Story of a lone man's fight

The DMCA in the USA allows content owners to shut down almost anything without due process, without the need for a trial or any regard to the First Amendment of the US constitution. Last year, MPAA sent out over 30,000 Cease and Desist -letters. Only one fought back.

These are his words.

(Do not forget that EU has similar legislation: the EUCD. A directive crafted out of fear and greed.)

Tuesday, 11-May-04 15:31
Odds and ends
Vaiyo A-O
A Home Va Ya Ray
Vaiyo A-Rah
Jerhume Brunnen G

-- Lexx: Brunnen-G
battle hymn

I'm extremely tired - I have slept only a couple of hours in the past couple of nights.

Still, I feel as if there was something in the air. A lull before a storm. A pause between moments. There are signs of transition: things you see, things you hear, things you read. Things you feel. Things you have done.

I have a feeling that something will change soon. Hard to say in which direction.

Could be the spring, too.

Monday, 10-May-04 12:21

It has been suggested that Moore's Law could hold for about 600 years before we hit the maximum amount of computability there is.

Clarke's Third Law says that "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic".

Fermi's Paradox asks "where the hell are all intelligent creatures of the universe?"

You know, 600 years to take on the entire universe is not a long time. In fact, it is a laughably short time. And, if there's any intelligent life anywhere else in the universe, wouldn't they have discovered it already, meaning that we would already be a part of a gigantic supercomputer? And would we even notice, if we were a part of it?

And if we're the first sentient beings to succeed in building a supercomputer the size of the universe, will it all end in a massive Bluescreen of Death in the year 2604?

Now there's something to lose your sleep over...

Sunday, 09-May-04 23:38

Enjoying a bit of green tea and yōkan, one of the odd Japanese things that only I seem to have developed a taste for. Oh well. More for me. :-)

Today, I have mostly been annoyed at the fact that all stores are closed due to Mother's Day. I mean - this is pretty much the only day on the week when I have free time to do any shopping whatsoever, and thanks to our arcane legislation, most shops are closed on most Sundays, and on this particular Sunday everything is closed. Bloody annoying. Makes me want to move abroad again. Grr.

For me, shopping is relax. Well, some shopping is. The kinda shopping I want to do on Sundays anyway.

Saturday, 08-May-04 21:25
Punch at sunset

The wedding traditions are over, and now it is time to sit back and relax. Watch the sun set north-west, and enjoy a bit of punch. It is warm here, and there is no hurry nor worry.

Congratulations, my friends! May your marriage be long and prosperous!

Saturday, 08-May-04 11:48
Things a dog can do in public

Axis of Ævil has a funny story about what your dog can do in public, but she can't (but apparently would like to).

Couple of the bullet points do make me somewhat worried, though: "Shag other dogs?" "Eat garbage off the sidewalk?" "Wear a collar and walk on a leash?" Well, the last one you do see occasionally at least - but the first one? I do believe it's illegal...

I think I should try the "beg food from random passersby" -thing though. Might be fun.

(Aw. What a stupid post from me. Ah well... ohoy mates, off to a wedding I go. Being in a suitable mood is very important on occasions such as those. No worries. Bing.)

Friday, 07-May-04 20:21
Practical tips for boozing

Take a slip of paper, draw circles, put in numbers, and put your whiskey on them. Then, you can easily see how drunk you are as you down the glasses.

Friday, 07-May-04 14:20
The Quickening

As summer comes, Finns open up and actually start talking to each other. I was just having lunch with a colleague, sitting next to the Ruoholahti channel, chatting mindlessly as usual, as a girl - probably around ten years of age - comes to us and strikes conversation.


"Well, hi", I say.

"Isn't the weather wonderful?" she asks.

"Yea! It's fantastic" I say, desperately trying to remember how I should communicate with someone so young, that I could be her father.

"Do you have a boat here?" she continues. We shake our heads, looking regretful.

"Well, goodbye" she chimes and marches on with her friends.

I start to explain to my British friend the conversation that just took place, as I overhear a young girl's voice, bragging to her friends:

"See, I was brave enough to talk to them!"

I nearly fell to the channel: I was laughing so hard. Us, a dare?

Thursday, 06-May-04 23:19
The summer has begun

Spent a few good hours chatting, drinking cider, and enjoying the sun.

And now my right arm has a suntan, but my left arm does not. I don't dare to look into the mirror to see if my face is one-sidedly brown, too.

Thursday, 06-May-04 15:47
Why Mac Rules, Pt X

Today, at the office: a guy stands up, and bellows at me in a very astonished voice: "You have the Dr. Snuggles theme song in your playlist!?"

You know, you learn interesting things from people if you peek at their music collection. And iTunes music sharing over the LAN is one of those things that boggles your mind.

I was in a hotel the other day, connected to the local network. I started iTunes and found like six people sharing their music over Rendezvous. So I got to peek inside the heads of complete strangers, sitting somewhere in the building, happily doing their own stuff, while I see and find interesting new music completely effortlessly. It's like listening to everybody else's personal radio stations, except that you get to mix and match and shuffle to your heart's content.

Wednesday, 05-May-04 22:59
Thought for the night

Hmm... Is it possible to distinguish between a man whistling and a woman whistling from the sound alone?

Sleep has been lost over smaller things, you know...

Monday, 03-May-04 13:14
Lunchblogging a.k.a why Finglish cracks me up sometimes

Today, I've eaten three units of meat loaf.

Units!?! What is this - an engineering company?

Saturday, 01-May-04 19:08
Things never done before

There's a Finnish blogmeme spreading now: list the things that you've done for the first time this year. Here's one of mine:

Drinking all these behind the sauna, direct from the bottle.

They're all a part of Finnish national romantic scenery, immortalized by hordes of people, who are very good at optimizing the price/inebriation ratio.

Saturday, 01-May-04 08:27
A different kind of May day

First of May is always a big celebration in Finland, especially among students. Traditions go rampant, all who are able to get out to party (except for the most hardened cynics), alcohol is consumed in alarmingly large quantities, and the entire city of Helsinki becomes one giant outdoor toilet. It is the celebration of life and the end of winter.

This morning, 50,000 people gather in the Helsinki Kaivopuisto park to eat breakfast, drink champagne, and enjoy the sun.


I'm watching Teletubbies with my niece. And chatting with one-syllable words.

And can't really say that it's a bad thing either.

Friday, 30-Apr-04 16:10
It's not May yet?

What kind of a moron would buy a train ticket for 30th May instead of 30th April, if he intends to travel today?

You're looking at one. It really is a fine weekend to screw up your seat reservation - all the trains are packed.

I have a bad feeling about this.

Thursday, 29-Apr-04 17:20
A wish
精一杯 背伸びして 平然を装っていたけど 余裕などないくせに また 笑顔つくってしまった

会えない夜はきまって 淋しさ おそう 好きだから不安になる こんな想い 悲しくて

-- Every little thing: fragile
No, you are not supposed to understand that. But since others like to quote song lyrics, I figured I might as well. Consider it a challenge. It's one of my favourite songs (and I just hope I quoted the right part).

Had the most distressing conversation at work yet. You know how sometimes things and projects you thought you had buried and were long gone, can suddenly come back from your five o'clock and knock you with a two-by-four?


It's an important word. And the older you get, the more you realize you have to learn it, and apply it properly. And if it cannot be done as it should be done, sometimes the best solution is to drop everything and just walk away.

I have to meditate upon this.

Wednesday, 28-Apr-04 13:01
Googlers, ahoy!

I don't usually comment on the Google keywords people use to arrive on this site, but about these two (from a single IP within five minutes from each other) I gotta say something:

"unable to form relationships", and "dealing with being ugly".

Hell, what can I say?

You should start blogging. It is sometimes easier to write to an invisible audience (even though consciously, you know people out there read your blog) than taking up personal issues with friends, relatives or casual acquaintance. It's like a free, bad shrink that just listens and provides no answers.

But it does help.

The value of the blogs is that it allows different voices to bloom, and find their audience. This article about dating and blogging says it in the simplest possible terms:

If you blog about what you love, you're bound to attract a reader who loves the same thing, and perhaps with a little coercion, he or she could come to love you as well.

Update: Well, I seem to be #15 on a search for Jean Paul Gaultier male miniskirts as well. No comments.

Tuesday, 27-Apr-04 23:07
Dancing performance

I got a dance mat for my PS2 as a birthday present. So far, I've nearly twisted my ankle, and banged my head against the lamp.

But it's actually loads of fun: you get to feel again like a complete klutz when you can't do even simple transfers of your bodily weight. Kinda like when I first started martial arts. You also feel completely stupid because you can't recover from a simple mistake after missing rhythm. And also, you sweat like a pig after 30 minutes on it. Though frankly, I don't know whether pigs really sweat that much.

And in fact, the whole thing has rather little to do with dancing. Perhaps, with more practice, it might be possible to develop a knack for "improvisation in a confined space", but so far it feels more like an exercise routine. A pre-programmed performance, so to say.

But I ain't complaining. I can't dance (any teachers around?), but this sure is quite fun ;)

Monday, 26-Apr-04 08:52
New words

Here's a new addition to the IT dictionary:

laptop ballet: the movements made by a person hurrying to a meeting, when he realizes he does not know where this meeting takes place, and that information is only in the email, but he is too busy or lacking a suitable place to sit down, so he ends up running down the hallway, balancing the laptop with one hand, and using the computer with the other.

Sometimes you also see this being performed with PDAs and cell phones, but these are nowhere as spectacular as the full 3 kg IBM Thinkpad version, performed in a narrow corridor in sync with 20 other people.

Sunday, 25-Apr-04 11:16
The morning after

You know the party has been good if you still have people sleeping in your apartment at 11 o'clock. ;-)

Thank you, everyone! :)

Saturday, 24-Apr-04 13:42
Muzukashii, ne?

I got challenged by Benrope (Finnish) to share this picture with you all. See, if you can guess which part of my luscious body it is?

I'll rethrow the challenge to Earl Grey, whose eloquent commentary to a certain... person got me smiling for hours. It's amazing how unbalanced the world is: one person can create negativity very easily by insulting others with few simple words, whereas trying to make someone feel good will take hours and hours. And bad feelings take a lot longer to dissipate than a good mood.

Sometimes I wonder why this is so - why is the world such that destruction is easier than construction?

Thursday, 22-Apr-04 20:58
Engrish of the day

Bought a new jacket in Harajuku. Here are the complete washing instructions:

When washing

It is likely to drop, and wash the color separately somewhat with other things, please when washing.

After it washes

It dehydrates promptly, and please straighten and dry shape after it washes.

The detergent

Please use no fluorescent detergent.


Please avoid the tumbler dryness.

The fastener

Please shut and wash the fastener when washing.

At the washingroom

Please push by lukewarm water (30C) by using the soapless soap without fail and wash when the washroom is done. Moreover, please take the moisture enough after it washes, straighten shape, and dry the shadow.

At wearing

Please note friction and caught when the one with a rough surface when wearing it.

Please see the washing picture display in detail.

P.S. If it on this clothes, it is likely to become happy!!

Help... Where do I find fluorescent detergent? And how do I wash my jacket separately with other things? What is soapless soap? And what exactly is the stuff on the clothes that is so darned happy?

Thursday, 22-Apr-04 16:41
WCDMA frenzy

Whee! I'm in Roppongi, in bar Geronimo, celebrating my birthday. Again, Harajuku turned out to be a deathtrap to my wallet...

Anyway, I'm using a friend's borrowed 3G-phone to blog. :-) *warm technofuzzies*

Thursday, 22-Apr-04 11:46
Media World

Went to see the Sony Media World. Met QRIO. Saw PSX. Saw an 800g laptop. Was also treated to some new, astounding laser display technology. Turned 34 years old. Drunk beer. Drunk, period.

Very impressed now.
Can't talk in complete sentences.
The geek purrs in me.

(Found orange Pockys. Yay!)

Tuesday, 20-Apr-04 18:19
Summer is here

Well, today it has been 27 degrees warm, and I have been bitten by the first mosquito of the summer. Yay. *scratch*

Actually, to continue the theme of relaxation: the Japanese have this wonderful invention called furoo, the hot bath. It feels scalding at first, but slowly you are overcome by this blissful drowsiness; much like in a sauna. They are in many ways similar in culture and purpose, and mostly they both just feel incredibly good in a country where it's actually bloody cold most of the time.

(Sorry, brain calls timeout. I was supposed to write more, but it refuses to work anymore, citing overtime legislation. Sorry.)

Monday, 19-Apr-04 15:14
Design fault

How come the Copenhagen airport has wireless internet access, but no powerstrips? Heh. You can't even pay for more than four hours of internet access, but I guess that's okay since your laptop battery will die in four hours anyway...

It's very sad, you know. Weep with me.

(On the other hand, while traveling is stressful, in an odd way it's also very comforting. A whole blissful 15 hours during which you are not expected to make any decisions, just follow the signs, sit in a cramped space, stretch and eat whatever is given to you, taken care of by professionals. It's really a very zen-like experience in all its calmness. Much like going to a spa or something.

I'm not so certain whether it is a bad thing to be docile and subservient every now and then. At least you are paying a lot of money for the privilege.)

Monday, 19-Apr-04 10:43
Silence aboot

Off to travel again. This time to Japan.

I think I need more destinations.

Sunday, 18-Apr-04 13:38
Crime wave

Somebody stole my rubber boots! I've been meaning to buy a new pair for ages now, and once I finally manage to drag my ass to the store and get them, some lard-ass, no-good, glue-sniffing punkboy steals them.

Why? I have no idea. They were in the trunk of the car, and what do I notice this morning? The bloody thieves did not stop at the boots, no! They had to take the sixpack of beer from the trunk as well AND the entire car.


Update: found the car. It had been moved by the city, due to some sudden maintenance work. Phew.

Sunday, 18-Apr-04 12:03
Open Source Patents

You know... I just realized another reason why the idea of software patents annoys me to no end.

When you are applying for a normal patent (say, a new way of manufacturing springs), you have to provide enough information on how "someone skilled in art" could build a duplicate. The dual idea being that if you know how a patented invention works, you can avoid it - and also once the patent expires, it is then readily available for the common good.

However, most of the software patents I've read only contain very vague descriptions about how the system really works. I do consider myself being "skilled in art", but it would still take me effort do duplicate the ideas presented in those. And that's what they are: ideas. They are not implementations, nor algorithms, not even flow charts. They are just that, general ideas on how a problem could approximately be solved. Which means they are pretty easy to infringe - drafting such a patent does not even require a functional implementation to prove it works.

I would really like to see the actual source code (or UML charts, or whatever) be added to the patent applications, as mandatory components. This would greatly add to the visibility and clarity of the patent applications, probably making them easier to understand to the patent office engineers as well - it's much harder to obfuscate code than it is to write vague descriptions on how things are supposed to work. Currently patents pretty much describe software as a machine, but you can examine a machine - build it and let it work to understand the process how it works. But with software, the process flow is integral to the invention, and thus should be described as well.

Of course, I don't mean patenting the actual implementations: software lives and evolves (and it should be allowed to do that), but there should be enough code so that it works, and the idea becomes clear.

Saturday, 17-Apr-04 16:01
The wonderful world of internet and mini-media

One of the sad, geeky things I do for fun is to follow my referrer log, i.e. checking out the sites that people come to this weblog from. Sometimes, your site gets listed in the oddest of places, and with luck, you may find other interesting links from those sites. You can think of it as some sort of a website Friendster: different web sites get listed together if they have something in common. Though often, the common factor tends to be something you don't expect.

For example, I saw a bunch of people coming to Things You Can Do With Your Laundry But Probably Should Not from an Italian discussion board, which in turn leads me to... Happy Tree Friends, a wacky and violent cartoon with episodes that last only a couple of minutes. You know, the kinda stuff that would be perfect to forward to your friends if your mobile phone could play them.

I can't stop marveling the amount of talent and creativity that people keep pouring onto the Internet.

Saturday, 17-Apr-04 14:38
Note to self

Remember: Never send email at 4:30 in the morning. Especially, if you are still drunk.

Sometimes I wish there was also an intelligent filtering system on my outbox as well as inbox. I wonder if I could rig SpamAssassin to delay outbound messages if they seem particularly stupid? Hey, it works for spam :)

Afterthought: Things could be worse - I could've blogged my thoughts. So perhaps I'll just breathe a sigh of relief.

Friday, 16-Apr-04 12:14
More shit

Mindy (in Finnish) has gender issues.

So do I, apparently, in this gender role test:

Sukupuolirooliltasi olet ensisijaisesti feminiininen.
(Feminiinisyys: 55 / Neutraalius: 40 / Maskuliinisuus: 50).

Moi? Feminine? Waht?

Anyway. I returned home yesterday at around 21.30, and was faced with three tasks:

  • Cook food, since I had forgotten to eat during the day
  • Install new digital cable box with a hard-drive recorder
  • Wash an ungodly pile of dirty clothes

See if you can try to guess in which order I performed these?

Yup. Guessed right. Congrats.

Sad, innit?

Friday, 16-Apr-04 00:13

Today, I bought rubber boots, and some mämmi, the curious Finnish delicacy that looks like it has already been digested once.

What more could a single man hope for the weekend?

Wednesday, 14-Apr-04 14:53

Spent most of yesterday evening wandering aimlessly in the local IKEA, having a Tyler Durden moment. It all looked so ugly, and... empty. Void of all emotions. Like a cage, built of warm colors and gentle wood.

My hair is now orange-ish. The hairdresser next to the office said that it was good to do something else than always the plain, average cut to the plain, average engineers.

Perhaps this all is fighting, refusal to become average.

Maybe it is futile, and I am just lying to myself.

Monday, 12-Apr-04 21:08
Infinite sadness, little wisdom

Via Visa. But I will shorten it, and only answer a single question. The only question I care for anymore.

If you could change one thing about the world, regardless of guilt or politics, what would you do?
I would take one certain person, and give her the love she seeks, because it is what she deserves. But which was not mine to give.

I don't want to hurt anyone else ever again.

Please excuse my low bitrate for now. Too much to think.

Friday, 09-Apr-04 12:46

There's little I can or want to say right now.

Saturday, 03-Apr-04 19:06
Why blogging is like karaoke

Spent the afternoon and evening doing hanami at Ueno park (with approximately 200,000 very drunken Japanese people) and watching the moon. Then we ended up singing karaoke at a 8-story Karaoke building in Shibuya with beautiful Russo-Finnish ladies. Yes, even I sang. There was little reason not to.

Japanese way of doing karaoke is actually not that bad: you go to a small room (alone or with a bunch of good friends), fire up a TV, choose a song from 50,000 alternatives, sing to your heart's content, drink beer, repeat. It's a way of self-expression and relaxation, not a method for nursing your inner diva.

It's kinda like blogging is for most people. You just write to yourself or a bunch of close friends, and don't worry it about any more than that. Only the most curious, the most vocal - and unfortunately, the most read - persons worry about how and why they write, what is "right" blogging, why people don't like their writing, why people do like their writing, and other issues of insignificance.

It's just a song.

It's just text.

Don't worry about it too much.

Saturday, 03-Apr-04 10:01
In Tokyo

How can you NOT like a country where even toilet seats come with remote controls?

Anyhow... This is my first trip in Tokyo where I'm staying in a hotel. Always before have I done the backpacking thing, staying in friends' homes or renting an apartment. But... The amount of politeness that the Japanese are pouring over you when you stay in a hotel is overwhelming. TWO beautiful girls escorted me to my room, and even the desk clerk was bowing over backwards at the inconvinience I had to endure when there were no non-smoking rooms available. It was funny, though, to hear a Japanese person say "impossible". I would've expected "difficult" (which usually means the same thing), but telling someone outright that something cannot be done? Amazing.

Oh well. A shower, shave and Pocari Sweat make me a man again. Woohoo! Tokyo! :-D

(Interesting tidbits learned from fast-food friends in the airplane: Apparently, in Malmö (Southern Sweden), 67% of women giving birth come from the Arabic countries. The implications are left to the reader as an exercise; I'm going out :)

Friday, 02-Apr-04 17:57

Please excuse my childish joy over being bumped to business class onto the flight to Beijing. ;-)

The Chardonnay in the lounge was rather nice, though perhaps a bit woody. The cork may have been faulty, but otherwise quite acceptable with Carelian pastries.

</posh> :-D

(This entry was moblogged from the airplane. ;)

Friday, 02-Apr-04 14:36
The Church of Jobs

So, I write deep and thoughtful pieces on human life, or useful technical analyses, and what do I get? A couple of comments, and no links. OK, fair enough. Nobody really cares - I can live with that.

But then I post a biased, opinionated rant about how good Mac OS X is (of which most was copied from Jeremy Zawodny), and I get on the front page of TWO major Mac newssites, and MANY comments, completely agreeing with everything I said. Not a single whiff of disagreement.

It's kinda like going into a full church and shouting "God is Great!" from the top of your lungs - and the whole congregation goes off with an ear-deafening "Hallelujah!"


Wednesday, 31-Mar-04 17:35
Some advice to anonymous bloggers

Don Park has a good warning post on potential XSS hacks. A typical example of these is Haloscan, who does provide commenting and trackback capabilities also to a number of Finnish bloggers.

However, sometimes no clever hacking is required. Haloscan actually provides RSS feeds of all the comments, making it really easy to subscribe to the comments of a blog. This is cool and clever, and I wholly applaud this. The Feed can be found at:<username>

You can figure out the username by looking at the HTML source, or just by guessing (most people use their blog names).

Up until last weekend, Haloscan also provided IP addresses in the feeds. This meant that IF an anonymous blogger was commenting in his own blog, it was possible to find his IP address. If the said person would then comment on other blogs under his real name (or visit your own blog, where you have some sort of site tracking), it was possible to either figure out his real identity, or at least the Pinseri account name (a known Finnish aggregator). Haloscan has now removed this feature, so it's safe again to use it. I have not checked other comment services whether they also have this issue.

Note that figuring out the IP address does not reveal your identity. But if combined with other information, it may be possible to figure out who you are. Or at least make a very educated guess.

Another issue you have to be careful with if you are an anonymous blogger is that if someone sends you email with a link, don't click it. If you do, something like this might appear on the recipient's log files (let's assume the anonymous blogger has an mail account, and I've sent him an email to ask to come to my weblog.) - - [31/Mar/2004:16:52:08 +0300] 
"GET /ButtUgly/ HTTP/1.1"
 200 35547 
"Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; PPC Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/124 
(KHTML, like Gecko) Safari/125.1"

Due to the referrer ( it's rather easy to figure out which of the hits came from your mysterious web friend. Now we know that he lives in Helsinki and has a cable modem, and that he uses a Mac OS X 10.3 computer. If you embed suitable Javascript on your weblog, it is possible to figure out even some more things. If he, however, had cut and paste the address from the mail to the address, you get something like this: - - [31/Mar/2004:16:59:34 +0300] 
"GET /ButtUgly/ HTTP/1.1" 
200 35558 
"Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; PPC Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/124 
(KHTML, like Gecko) Safari/125.1"

There's now a lot less evidence to tie the mysterious Yahoo user to a specific IP address because of the missing referrer field. Yet, it is still possible, but it will require a bit more data and logic. Of course, if he'd wanted to be absolutely safe, he would've used a service like Anonymizer, in which case the line would look like this: - - [31/Mar/2004:17:02:12 +0300] 
"GET /ButtUgly/ HTTP/1.1" 
200 34933 "-" "Mozilla/4.78 (TuringOS; Turing Machine; 0.0)"

Not a lot to pinpoint you, yes?

So, a couple of practical tips, if you want to protect your online anonymity:

  • Don't click on links from web mail, cut-n-paste them to your address bar.
  • Check out all the services that you are using that none of them is leaking information about you
  • If possible, use a web proxy (like anonymizer), or only assume your anonymous identity from a location which you do not usually use, like a web cafe
  • Try to vary your habits: if your normal email is from, use for your anonymous email. If you have a known blog at, use for your anonymous one. Use different layouts, styles, etc. If you normally use IE to browse, use Mozilla to post your anonymous comments. The easy and predictable way is always the unsafe way.
  • Be prepared that you WILL be revealed sooner or later - your entire reputation could be ruined. Online anonymity is weak, unless you really know what you are doing.
  • Turn off Java and Javascript from your browser (both can be used to figure out detailed information about the computer you are using and your browsing habits.)

(I'm not touching the issue of embedded images in HTML mail, the so-called "web bugs", which can be used to track your whereabouts even when you do not click on any links, but perhaps I'll talk about them later, and also mention cookies and how they can be used to track you.)

Update: made the log entries a bit narrower so that people who are not using a standards-compliant browser don't get the layout screwed.

Wednesday, 31-Mar-04 16:26
No, OS X is like an Outlook virus for geeks

Jeremy Zawodny is now also doing the switch. I completely echo is feelings:

Yeah, I'm giving up a lot of control but ditching FVWM2 on Linux, but that's okay. I really don't have time to tweak that crap anymore.

I've owned four Thinkpads and ran Linux on all but one of them (the fourth is my Windows box, used mainly for GPS and flight/navigation software nowadays). I've been at this a long, long time. But, you know what? Stuff just works on this Mac. And since all the cool kids are doing it, I have few if any fears that my favorite Open Source tools are already debugged and working there smoothly.

There really are no good reasons left for not switching. I haven't thought of anything I can do on the Linux Thinkpad that I can't do on a Powerbook running Mac OS X. Well, there are some things, but none of them matter to me. That was the important realization here.

I've now had my Powerbook for about five months. During this time, I've had ZERO problems with it. Nada. Zip. I once thought I had a problem with it, but it turned out to be a faulty IMAP server which got a bit confused. My biggest issue with it has been that I could not find the serial number for my cheap-o Panther upgrade. I called the Apple support line, and a very nice guy answered immediately and helped me through it. I don't think I've even read the manuals of this laptop.

The thing is - for an old UNIX geek this Mac is just so bloody intuitive. And since it's UNIX all the way, you can, if you want to, drop down to the lowest level. But you don't have to. That's the beauty of it. I have done twenty years of tweaking of computers. It's enough. I just want things to work - I don't have the time to tweak that crap anymore. And I'm willing to pay a bit more for that privilege. Don't get me wrong - I still think Linux is great and wonderful, and I love to install it everywhere where I can to replace Windows. Hell, if you want to have cheap hardware, you might as well save on the software as well...

But, I find myself using my Powerbook more and more... The only thing I use my Linux box anymore is for file storage (for which it is mightily good, I might add), and coding (big screen, better keyboard). But when I was upgrading the kernel to 2.6 (to get rid of the annoying X scheduling issues and hangups) and rebooted the machine for the 3rd time, I was nearly ready to call Apple Store and order myself a G5...

(Oh yeah, unlike some other Finnish bloggers, I haven't quit blogging. I'm at home, with fever and really almost nothing to blog about. I'm getting ready for a big thingy in Japan next week... In case anyone cares, I'll be in Tokyo from Saturday to Wednesday. Gah. Bad timing for a flu.)

Sunday, 28-Mar-04 16:09
The Sunday List

To honor the best Finnish blog of 2003, here's my Sunday List:

  • Nights slept at home : 0 (coming home at 7 am does not count as night)
  • Hours slept in a bus: 3
  • Movies: 1 (Kopps)
  • Sauna: 1 (But twice, mmm...)
  • Weird "slap together whatever we can find in the cupboard and wok them" -dinners: 1
  • Eaten hamburgers: 1 (Sorry everyone, I still do eat them on occasion. Sorry to burst your bubble.)
  • Things never done before : 4 (Good weekend)
  • Things never done in public before : 1 (Good, but strange weekend)
  • New whiskies tasted: 1. (A simply gorgeous and rich Glenfiddich 21 years old Havana Reserve. One of the best I've ever tasted.)
  • New people met: countless
  • Number of hours spent reading the Pinseri Top-200: 7
  • Anonymous comments posted on blogs to feed the general discussion on the awards: 27 (Ha, you can't check, now can you? ;-)
  • Non-anonymous comments posted: 3
  • Number of meters: 47

And the best - hands down - Kuukkeli discussion thread is running on Kalamuki (Finnish only). *grin*

Saturday, 27-Mar-04 14:41
Hunh, what?

I've had an incoming link from the most surprising direction: The Ihanainen blog, who calls me a "Dunno" -type of personality. You know, the kinda guy who always shrugs and says "well, I dunno" if you ask something, but if you keep real quiet, you might get a lot of good commentary and opinions out of him.

Well... I don't know.

Perhaps, I am sometimes. Some of the time I have to keep my mouth shut in order not to hurt anyone. Or if the discussion is going to the direction where I want it to go, I don't bother to say anything. Or that I know that I can remedy all the damage afterwards, and commenting on anything will just make things go slower.

It's the principle of least energy expenditure. Unless I get this weird urge to blab whatever my brain is not thinking. Then all bets are off.

Hum. Well, at least she liked the party.

Anyway. I'm off to a yet another party. And as per Mindy's recommendation, I shall publish a Sunday list tomorrow to honor Schizo-Janne, the Best Finnish Weblog of 2003.

Friday, 26-Mar-04 17:51
Next year's awards

Be assured, there will be some. So, everybody, you can already start jogging for positions now.

My personal favourite for "The Funniest Conversation of 2004" is currently occurring on the comment section of Ihmissuhteet (Finnish only). It's simply hilarious.

Friday, 26-Mar-04 13:44

Okay. Now that I have actually calmed down a bit, and had a nice steaming mug of tea, I can try and gather my wildly rampaging thoughts of the evening. Here are some moments and flashes from the evening:

  • Being the IRC host. I hope nobody thought I was badly drunk - I just could not see the keyboard because I was in the corner and there was only little light.
  • Windows (the one running the big screen) crashed at the beginning of the show. Yay. Hopefully nobody noticed.
  • (We should've projected the IRC channel on screen in the cases where we knew the winner was on the channel - note to self)
  • Being the IRC host was fun also because I got to be a proxy for people - I delivered a kiss to Shine (though I did not know that she was Shine, bugger), hugged Tira & Mindy, and would have had my face bashed in by Mikki, IF I had delivered the requested kiss.
  • Getting a chance to talk with the beautiful, smart and talented Kanerva, the evening's only double winner. It was a pleasure.
  • The man who walked in, looked at us with some relief on his face and said: "Good. I was almost certain this was a hoax, you know."
  • For once in my life, having an ample amount of drink coupons in my pocket. Drinks that someone else would pay for.
  • Being called "the second best dressed man in the room". By a lady I did not know beforehand, nonetheless. Of course, the best dressed man was Mike P, but I'm used to losing to him. Losing things like my Robin Hood tapes. Grr.
  • Being in the corner for the most of the show, and missing a lot mostly because a tall Greek God blocked my view. But the IRC party was cool, even though the GPRS was patchy at times.
  • My very own award :)
  • Seeing all of the people mingle, talk, get to know each other. So many were present (I counted 50 at one point, probably missed a few). It felt good.
  • Earl Grey's nice hat, which I completely neglected to mention during the evening, so I'll do it here.
  • "Yeah, I read that in your blog. It was funny."
  • The feeling of fulfilment after all of the plotting and scheming.
Friday, 26-Mar-04 01:07

I won the award for the Best Technical Achievement in the Finnish Blog awards!

I wish to thank my fellow jury members, and all of my readers who voted for me. Without you, this blog might not exist. Thank you.

The rest of the results are now up!

Thursday, 25-Mar-04 22:55

Nea of Kobaïa and The Sign.

Thank you to all of you wonderful people who participated. There were more of you than I expected and feared :)

Without you, there would be so much less to write about.

Thursday, 25-Mar-04 16:51

Ooookay. So, I gots this gala coming up in about two hours. Many things are still not done. I hope we can get GPRS connectivity down there, so we can publish the whole thing in IRC (IRCNet, #bloggaajat) as well. Everybody, be welcome.

My hands are shaking. I've been typing non-stop all week.

I can't think straight. I haven't had a good night's sleep in days.

I can feel the adrenaline rush coming on. It's the same rush you get right before you get into a fight, or when you are about to face a formidable opponent on the go board. It's odd: how did being fun become so serious?

I'll be so glad when this is over.

Wednesday, 24-Mar-04 16:13
Let's start the lottery...

So, the Finnish blog awards ceremony is tomorrow evening. The board is set, and the pieces are moving. We are expecting a big crowd and a wonderful, magic-filled night.


I booked myself a teleconference at 8 am on Friday - just because I calculated a timezone difference the WRONG WAY! And now it's too late to change it. ARG! Either timezones, or people who are bad at maths should be declared illegal. I really, really don't like this timezone lottery...

People who are not working for global companies do not know what they are missing.

Update: Luckily other people did also screw up with the calculations (I mean, out of like, five engineers, apparently only TWO can count!?!?), and so the meeting's off. Phew. Saved by a calculator.

Tuesday, 23-Mar-04 22:49
Metrosexuality is SO 5 minutes ago

"In sociological terms, Janne, you're what we call Technosexual Curious. In singles' ads, use TC. Or BL (Big Loser)"

Take the test. I wonder, if it is possible even to receive some other result? :)

(Via Matkalla.)

Update: Of course, see also

Monday, 22-Mar-04 17:34
Why Open Source is going to rule the world

Marc Andreessen (co-founder of Netscape) has this wonderful list of 103 words why Open Source will prevail. I personally couldn't agree more on #6 and #7. What the man said.

  1. "The Internet is powered by open source."
  2. "The Internet is the carrier for open source."
  3. "The Internet is also the platform through which open source is developed."
  4. "It's simply going to be more secure than proprietary software."
  5. "Open source benefits from anti-American sentiments."
  6. "Incentives around open source include the respect of one's peers."
  7. "Open source means standing on the shoulders of giants."
  8. "Servers have always been expensive and proprietary, but Linux runs on Intel."
  9. "Embedded devices are making greater use of open source."
  10. "There are an increasing number of companies developing software that aren't software companies."
  11. "Companies are increasingly supporting Linux."
  12. "It's free."

(Via Slashdot, which is BTW a lot nicer when read through bloglines.)

Sunday, 21-Mar-04 23:11
It has not been a good week

On Friday night, 23 lives suddenly ended, crushed under rolls of paper and flying metal.

In a tragedy this big, and in a country as small as Finland, it is almost inevitable that it touches you or someone you know. Be it a brother of a friend, or someone you once taught, or someone you know used to work with.

It hurts, even when watched from far away.

I cannot imagine the pain that those closer by must be feeling.

Farewell, you beautiful souls. You will be missed.

Saturday, 20-Mar-04 19:30
Technology never ceases to amaze me

On Wednesday, I witnessed an amazing technological feat that we have never been able to do before:

I am sitting in a pub - your average pub - discussing the blog awards. So, my mate writes down notes with his trusty Windows XP laptop. The night draws to a close, and we face the task of moving the text file to my laptop, which is at home.

He beams the file to his PocketPC machine. It opens there - we are amazed.

He then beams the file to my Nokia cell phone. I am now completely flabbergasted, because it actually opens in the Note pad of the cell phone! No character set errors, no broken line breaks!

I walk home, and send the file from my phone to my Powerbook using Bluetooth. And lo and behold! It WORKS! Seamlessly, perfectly! I have never (and I mean never!) in all my computing life seen things like this work on the first try.

Transfer of a plain text file (with Finnish characters, so no pure ASCII!) from Windows XP -> Pocket PC -> Symbian -> Mac OSX. We have truly come far.

I wait the future with breathless anticipation.

Friday, 19-Mar-04 13:53
Wanted: friendly ISP

(Following announcement in Finnish - no worries, just a cry for some help):

Jos jollakulla lukijoistani sattuu olemaan kykyä järjestää kuukkeligaalaan internet-yhteys (siis parempi kuin GPRS) paikkaan, jossa sellaista ei tiettävästi ole, niin ottakaa yhteyttä. Aikaa on noin ensi torstaihin (virallinen ilmoitus tulee illemmalla, mutta pitäkää tätä alustavana vihjeenä) ja paikka on noin Helsingin ydinkeskusta.

Testataanpa, miten tämä sosiaalinen verkotus ja blogosfääri toimii :)

Niin, sanotaan nyt vielä varmuuden vuoksi: gaala torstaina 25.3. Ole paikalla ja tapaa Suomen eturivin bloggaajat elävinä. Tai kuolleina. Kunhan tulevat paikalle.

Friday, 19-Mar-04 08:29
Blog Awards Update

The award winners have been chosen - all is almost set. I assure you there will be surprises. The time and place have been chosen, and the invitations are soon to go out.

There is a hint of a festival in the air.

(The Kuukkeli statuettes courtesy of the beautiful and talented Misu.)

Thursday, 18-Mar-04 09:51
Sand as an art

Parents! Let your kids play with sand. They might be onto something.

It's beautiful. Watch it.

(Via Foster.)

Wednesday, 17-Mar-04 19:31

You know how computers start trashing when they run out of memory? They just keep hitting the hard drive all over again, trying to swap between tasks, but end up using most of their time moving bits in and out of the memory to the hard drive.

I've come to realize that I do sort of the same thing. When I get tired I start flipping between my email, a document, my web mail, check the stats on my weblog, check new weblog posts, another document, iTunes, news sites, IRC channels... You know - essentially all of the windows that I have open on my desktop.

And I get nothing done, because I am slicing myself too thin. Too much time is used to do the swapping. Hence "trashing".

It is a sure sign to go home. Or go to bed. Whichever happens to be more handy.

Tuesday, 16-Mar-04 20:07
Man, I feel like a woman!

Today's menu:

I've actually seen BA before, in Melbourne. Love them!

They're actually playing now, so I am really concertblogging! Woohoo! Rock!

(Should've brought earplugs. Dammit. Too loud.)

Update: Back. All in all, a very enjoyable concert. What really impressed me was the ease with which Shania took the audience. The stage was low, and people were let really close - she signed autographs, shook hands, and took gifts. After all the fright and scares (and security checks at the door - for some reason a security girl took a really long time with me) we have been forced to endure in the past couple of years, it was really refreshing to see someone approach the audience so openly. Good for her!

Oh yeah, and the fireworks were rather impressive.

Tuesday, 16-Mar-04 09:34
Your inner artist is Gustav Klimt!

Whether incurable romantic or caring optimist, your style is undeniably Klimtian. Like all romantics, you tend to think with your heart. And why not? Great things often come with a healthy dose of passion attached. When it comes to matters that matter — whether love, or injustice, or freedom — you’re rarely one to follow the crowd. In fact, you possess the rare gift of courage, along with the self-confidence to stand up for your convictions. We’d guess you’ve swum against the current once or twice before. And where something you care about is concerned, we’ve no doubt you’d do it again.

The Gustav Klimt gallery. And the test, but it's accuracy is of questionable value. *grin*

I do kinda like his work, tho'.

(Via TiraMisu.)

Monday, 15-Mar-04 10:02
Remember this song?

Folks, if you have any specific memories, stories, good comments on your blog, events, interblogistic discussions, or something you wish to share from the Finnish blogging year 2003; either drop me some email or blog them. The best ones will be shared in the Kuukkeli Award Ceremony.

Sunday, 14-Mar-04 13:36
Calm mode

Lappeenranta, my old home town. A calm winter's day. Some old friends.

Feels good.

Saturday, 13-Mar-04 15:52
Modern Paranoia


"Maailma on erilainen roolipelaajan silmin." ;)

Update: For my English readers, the above Finnish sentence means "The world looks different through the eyes of a roleplayer", which is a reference to an ingenious Finnish advertising campaign. The picture is from a supermarket, and the signs say "BUY", "MORE", "SAVE". What a dystopian world we live in... :)

Friday, 12-Mar-04 13:55
Bloglines subscriptions

Just added a bit of Javascript to the right-hand menu which allows you to see my current blogroll - i.e. the blogs that I follow on a regular basis. I also scrapped my previous, hand-maintained list.

If your blog does not support Atom or RSS, you are not on the list. I might still read you through Pinseri, though.

Update: Look right. Scroll down the page. Look for "Blogs I read". My blogroll is now automatically included on this weblog - that's cool, right? And yeah, I know I could include the Pinseri list as well - but it would require a bit more tweaking than I am currently capable of taking on.

Friday, 12-Mar-04 11:28
You are here

Ewan says that the Spirit probe took a picture of Earth from Mars.

This is one of the things that has always me feel comforted. And sad, at the same time. But yet, it fills me with hope. And despair. The realization of our insignificance, and potential. That picture contains everyone you ever knew, and everything that we ever did. But the fact that we could even take such a picture gives us hope.

The Pale Blue Dot by Carl Sagan. Read it.

Update: Nice article on the subject in Astrobiology Magazine.

Friday, 12-Mar-04 10:23
No pain, no gain

...still no pain (thank you Tira and others for encouraging me, though). I can feel some of my muscles I usually don't feel, but mostly they're fine.



Thursday, 11-Mar-04 11:54
Googling for privacy

This nice SecurityFocus article from The Register points out a bunch of things that you should be aware of. Like how Google can be your best pal, or your worst privacy nightmare. Or in many cases, your company's worst nightmare.

The biggest issue about security is not the technology. It's the people - and the lack of understanding. Technology is already pretty incomprehensible to most people, and the dangers are rather unfathomable. It's kinda like giving this very dangerous tool to everyone, and then letting them play with it. It's much like the car industry in the early 20th century. It took a long time for proper rules for road behaviour to emerge - and we're currently reliving that phase with computers.

(Via Dan Gillmor.)

(Spent yesterday evening having my first riding lesson ever. I am feeling much less pain today than I was supposed to - false advertising, waa! :)

Tuesday, 09-Mar-04 14:45
Two million weblogs and counting...

Helsinki University is now offering a blogging environment, with integrated RSS aggregation (Finnish only) to teachers, professors and faculty members. Janka wonders why this thing is driven by the Social Sciences faculty, not the CS faculty. Me, personally - I don't wonder at all. If you look at the whole phenomenon from a CS point of view, it is damn near trivial. The technologies are nothing new, even RSS for all its purported complexity is actually something even a well-educated highschooler can grasp in just a few minutes.

CS-wise, there is nothing really interesting in blogging. You can write your own blogging software relatively easily (I know, I've done it).

But blogs, wikis, Orkut, LinkedIn, email, news - it all ties together in a bigger sphere commonly known as Social Software. Software that's better because of the people who are using it[1]. And that is what makes the whole phenomenon far more interesting - the people in it. Not the technology.

I think this is the main difference between the old-style CSCW and the new, lighter content management systems (weblogs and wikis): the name CSCW already tells you that it is about "Computer Supported Cooperative Work". Work is mostly not about people. Work is about making money, so that you can have a life outside the company - support your kids, have fun, travel, whatever. Social software is about making it easier to do the stuff that you are earning the money for. To do the stuff that you care about.

That's the key reason why the new, "Computer Supported Cooperative Being" (CSCB), is working and spreading rapidly. Technorati is tracking nearly two million weblogs now. This study suggests that 44% of adult internet users in the USA have already contributed something to the vast archive of the Internet. And this in the ten years that the Internet has really been accessible to the general public.

No, with masses like this, I don't wonder at all about why the Social Sciences faculty is interested in blogging.

[#1] Matt Jones.

Monday, 08-Mar-04 16:35
Fame - I'm gonna live forever...

I got introduced to a new person on Saturday. Ok, so he's a cool sci-fi geek, and I'm a...

"This is the guy who does strange things and puts them on the internet."

I was kinda surprised. I knew the introducer from several years back, and we had had a lot more encounters in Ropecon and other completely non-web related thingies. I wasn't quite sure if she read my blog at all until now. So I asked why she would introduce me as a blogger, not as a gamer.

"Because that's what you're famous for", she replied.

Ok. Scared now.

Monday, 08-Mar-04 11:10

Alarm clock ringing. Shut it off three times. Then realized it was somebody calling.

Sheesh. Some people can't take a joke.

Shoot me now, please. Make the evil go away.

Sunday, 07-Mar-04 20:22
Work is murder

The weather was beautiful, so I decided to stay indoors and code all day. Then, in a sudden burst of (in?)sanity (with some prodding from a fellow being) I went to see the Helmut Newton exhibition, open for the last day. I was sort of disappointed, since the exhibition is relatively small, but those photographs that were there, were really rather good.

If the exhibition had been a whiskey, I would describe it as: "strong, provocative, with a surprising mellow nose. Hints of vanilla, which disappear under a complex bouquet of tobacco, nuts, and leather. The aftertaste is long, yet slightly oily and metallic. Good as a pre-dinner dram, to be enjoyed with friends of similar tastes."

And now, back to some complex decisions. And some real whiskey. ;-)

Sunday, 07-Mar-04 02:13
Nothing much...

...has been happening. Had two parties today with good friends, fine wine and excellent whiskey. It was good to see everyone, and be connected again. Even for a little while.

Oh yeah, and the nightmare of every blogger happend: my parents found my blog.

Hi mom! *waves hand*

Friday, 05-Mar-04 00:31
Blog awards jury meeting #1

The first grand meeting of the Kuukkeli jury is now over. After a long debate on the procedures we got down to business - choosing the awards. Utilizing the latest innovations in social software technology and connectivity we embarked on the hard journey, a path on which few bloggers have ever trodden. I shall let my colleagues to speak for themselves, but for me, the process is pretty much summed up in the following quote:

Morale? I think someone blogged about it, but the link didn't work...

Well, we did manage to prune most of the categories down to two or three candidates. And secure at least one well known blog personality to present one of the awards. We shall continue this tiresome, yet extremely rewarding work over the weekend. Stay tuned for more updates.

Thursday, 04-Mar-04 11:48
Mac aesthetics

Ado picked the meme up as well. Interestingly, now when I look at the different pictures, it seems to me that those, who own Macs, tend to put them on the foreground or make them otherwise distinguishable, whereas those who own PCs tend to put them slightly in the background, and stress the environment instead of the computer.

Then again, your average Mac does look better than your average PC. But perhaps it is more of a pride issue - "look at me, I am a part of this small club of people. People who know better. We like things that look good, and we are not afraid to show them."

Interesting. Perhaps I'm just imagining things, but in my few months of being a Mac user, I've certainly felt the "Mac spirit" to touch and embrace myself. The feeling of being an underdog, but still "knowing" you are better than everyone else. The back-patting, the visits to Apple stores, listening on Steve Job's keynotes, the general feeling of belonging...

It's a weird thing when your computer stops being a computer, and becomes closer to a lifestyle.

Wednesday, 03-Mar-04 12:23
My blogging space

Click on the image to see a bigger one
Asmunder's meme is making the rounds in the Finnish blogosphere now, so let's try and bring it to English bloggers as well. This is my "blogging space", the place where I write my blog entries, thinking deep and disturbed thoughts.

Why don't you post yours?

(Via SchizoBlog and Mea)

Update: The most cognitionally astute of you have already probably noticed that I've switched to using Bloglines as my RSS reader. Yeah, it's that good. I read my blogs from my home laptop, home desktop, work laptop, and work desktop, and Bloglines is the first one that works seamlessly across these systems. It has a pretty slick interface for a web app, which has been the main reason why I've so far stayed away from browser-based aggregators. It also allows you to publish your blog roll very easily - you can see my 66 subscriptions here, if you are of the voyeuristic type.

Tuesday, 02-Mar-04 14:19
Life under duress

This highly interesting article suggests that information does not disappear when matter falls into a black hole, but is instead stored in a complex string structure.

Now, does this mean that life could exist also in a black hole? Thoughts traveling in the vibrations of the strings, creatures living under conditions we are not equipped to fathom. Living in an expanding universe of their own, having no notion of the physical world we know...

Tuesday, 02-Mar-04 13:51
Leaving the Earth

Rannva dropped this URL on an older blog entry, so I figured I should pop it up to a larger readership, since it's just too cool:

Orion's Arm Worldbuilding Group.

A huge collection of Creative Commons -licensed alternative world history (and future) that should make the soul of every hardcore sci-fi fan tickle. I only took a quick glance through it, but already I started getting ideas...

I think this is another good example on how uncoordinated efforts of dedicated amateurs can produce things that rival commercial alternatives. I don't think it replaces them, though, but it can be a good choice among many. The Internet has really allowed a whole new kind of collaboration efforts to take place, things that were rather difficult to do before. Essentially the Internet is now doing the job of the scientific journals, and it is not surprising that many of the academic papers are being published on the Internet first these days...

Monday, 01-Mar-04 18:58
All alone in the night

Bad day. Two unscheduled meetings, one scheduled, but failed meeting, far too much email, far too much confusion, lost laptop, and to top it all off, an unnecessary ride back home to check whether I left the iron on.

The trams and stars don't care. They just travel on their paths, unaware of the problems of the insignificant little creatures that happen to be traveling along.

Monday, 01-Mar-04 14:54
March hares

Okay. Why is everyone - and I mean everyone - having a "I am too busy to do anything! Waa!" -day today? The good thing is that I am getting far less personal email today than normally, but then again, I wouldn't have time to reply to it anyway.

Why is the 1st of March such a special day?

(And yes, I am taking this time to blog even though I really don't have the time. Just had a two minute breather to make a cup of tea.)

Sunday, 29-Feb-04 21:16
Blog awards update

The nominees have been announced. May the speculation and backstabbing begin. There can be only one.

(My tournament went badly. Really badly. I couldn't simply be bothered to think properly today, as I was feeling so down. It would've probably been more polite not participate in the tournament, but... Oh well. One conversation led to another, and ended up filling my head with thoughts: none of them very pleasant, but very probably true.)

Saturday, 28-Feb-04 01:13
Still not quite there...

Went to see Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King again. It is still good, and Eowyn's "I am no man" still sends shivers down my spine. The rohirrim rock!

But I have to say that at one point Mr Shore's musical score was in error: Theoden's death scene does not really feel right, if the background music is a modern hip-hop tune played on a cell phone. It kinda kills the mood, don't you think? At least it should be polyfonic, not the piezo-buzzer. But then again, it wasn't that bad, as the giggling of some three teenage girls in the front row was covering most of the soundtrack anyway. It's mostly a quiet scene (as death scenes of the heroes usually are), and I completely do understand the need to fill it with pointless blather. There was also couple of people who thought that they were somehow invisible while they kept traveling and forth to get more soda and popcorn. Apparently their favourite method of becoming invisible is not through pills and potions, but relying on a cloud of tobacco smell that causes your eyes to water immediately and your nose to turn inward in a vain attempt to recycle the air from your lungs. Didn't really work, though. I mean, I could still feel their presence, strangely enough. Hm. Well, they got plenty of practice, coming in late and choosing their seats farthest from the aisle.

Also, taking your 10-year old kid to the movie theatre is a wonderful idea. Especially to see a 3.5 hour movie, with more violence than the two latest James Bond movies combined, and more monsters than all of the Harry Potter movies will ever have. It's all okay, if you give her a balloon, which she can play with and wave furiously in front of the screen whenever she gets scared or bored. Which tends to happen often.

(Note to self: never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever again go to a matinée.)

Thursday, 26-Feb-04 21:02
Stupid Finnish poetry
Teekkarin pääsiäinen:
tuokkonen oikealla
läppäri vasemmalla
Ilo on joskus

Apologies to my foreign readers. It would be worse in English, trust me :-). I just had to put this one in the form of a tanka poem. I have no explanation.

Thursday, 26-Feb-04 11:26
Good things, bad things

Good thing: to have surge protection on your computer array.
Bad thing: kick accidentally the surge protection thingy so that the wall socket becomes loose, and have a big, catastrophic power failure.

Good thing: to be able to read your blogs while eating breakfast
Bad thing: to drop a bun in your cereal, and have milk splashed all across your laptop

Good thing: iTunes for Windows
Bad thing: Windows

Good thing: actually having sunlight in the mornings.
Bad thing: the mornings.

Good thing: upcoming go -tournament ( - feel free to come by and say hi!) next weekend.
Bad thing: not sleeping enough before the weekend.

Wednesday, 25-Feb-04 15:51
Compressed emotions

I need a smiley which says: "I am feeling sad, lonely and tired; yet I smile inexplicably through my tears."

Let me know if you can think of a good one.

Tuesday, 24-Feb-04 01:32
Blog awards update

Just to fuel the rumour mill, after about 60% of the votes have been tallied:

  • A total of 84 people voted (cool!)
  • The last vote was cast on 22.2, 22:21, that is, a full one minute before the deadline. Very nice timing :-)
  • Some clear trends are already emerging: e.g. the top-3 in the category of "the most humorous weblog" would need a miracle to be dislodged. Ditto with "best looking blog". People seem to have very common tastes in those areas where, well, taste is the only deciding factor.
  • However, some rather interesting developments are occurring in the "Best blog" and "Best confessional weblog" -categories... It is very hard to predict the top-5.
  • Certain charming women certainly seem to have a very vocal fan base...
  • Surprisingly, some of the Pinseri top-20 blogs have been getting none or very, very few votes.
  • Certain individuals have been very clearly voting each other - hmmm... interesting.
  • A massive 171 blogs have received votes so far
    • Though, about 1/3 of these are in the "best little-known weblog" category.

Personally, counting the votes has been an enlightening experience: I've added a few blogs to my reading list just because people have sent nice reasons why someone should absolutely win a certain prize. Very horizon-expanding stuff.

Thank you everyone who voted - wait for the final list on March 1st!

Monday, 23-Feb-04 09:56
Why Gnutella is good

I've never really been much of a music fan. I was around 19 and on my own, when I first had even the idea that I could actually buy records - which means that I don't really have big collections of music from my teenage years. I vaguely remember many songs, and they are nostalgic, yes, but there's no way to find them anymore. So I lost a big chunk of the soundscape of my youth.

if it weren't for the file sharing networks, that is.

I can catch a song, playing in the background somewhere, and it reminds me of something. If I can just catch a line or two, I can bang those words into Google (and add "lyrics") and get the title and performer. Then fire up Limewire, and rather probably find what I was looking for. Otherwise, it would be a very, very complicated search through old record stores, or friends' attics.

I also regularly go and find music that my friends tell that they like, because it lets me in their heads for a while. If the music has meaning to someone I care about, I want to hear it. Sharing the same experience helps you to understand each other, and that can never be a bad thing, right? So to hell with the detail that it is illegal - I appreciate my friends more than the pockets of big, greedy music corporations.

The problem with the commercial music stores is that they are interested in making money. And that means that they are not really interested in old, niche music that might have meaning to only some few individuals. In fact, it is possible that they cannot even license that music for online distribution, because nobody can figure out who owns the music, and with the perpetually-expanding copyright it will never fall into public domain.

Long copyrights really mean less music for us, not more. And this is why P2P filesharing is not going to go away.

Sunday, 22-Feb-04 13:20
Why yes!

I was in a book store yesterday (found the 2nd part of Icaro, yay!) and overheard this middle-aged lady telling this age-old joke to her friend:

"You know what? If we can send a man to the Moon - why don't we send all of them there?"

You know what? I would go.


Friday, 20-Feb-04 22:46
My "perfect" woman

The test seems to be making the rounds, so what the heck. Let's do some real social porn for a change!

Here are four portraits of the women the machine thinks I like. It ain't a bad result, especially the hottie on the lower left can knock on my door any time (though she might have to take a queuing ticket). What I found somewhat disappointing is that I seem to be in the majority of the men when it comes to choosing beautiful people. Oh well... Can't always be the odd man out, now can I? :-)

Hm... "They [your favourite looks] have very feminine features like thin noses, big eyes, and full lips, conveying a strong, confident look rather than looking delicate or fragile. Even though they look like the "Girl Next Door," they tend to look mature for their age and lack the "cutesy" appearance of more "girlish" women. Although very popular to look at, most men are sort of intimidated by this type, which is probably why only 1 in 3 (31%) say they specifically seek out these women." Darned right. I tend to be more turned on by character and brains, though. What use is a beautiful container if you put nothing in it?

(And what am I still doing here, I wonder? Well, it comes down to a simple, well-known truth: the word "demo" always implies something that nearly works.)

Friday, 20-Feb-04 21:06
Spam addiction
Content analysis details:   (23.5 points, 5.0 required)

 pts rule name              description
---- ---------------------- --------------------------------------------------
 5.4 BAYES_99               BODY: Bayesian spam probability is 99 to 100%
                            [score: 1.0000]
 1.0 MIME_HTML_ONLY         BODY: Message only has text/html MIME parts
 1.0 HTML_MESSAGE           BODY: HTML included in message
 0.3 HTML_FONT_BIG          BODY: HTML has a big font
 1.2 HTML_90_100            BODY: Message is 90% to 100% HTML
 0.1 BIZ_TLD                URI: Contains a URL in the BIZ top-level domain
 1.2 RCVD_IN_SORBS_MISC     RBL: SORBS: sender is open proxy server
                            [ listed in]
 0.1 RCVD_IN_SORBS          RBL: SORBS: sender is listed in SORBS
                            [ listed in]
 0.1 RCVD_IN_NJABL          RBL: Received via a relay in
                            [ listed in]
 0.7 RCVD_IN_DSBL           RBL: Received via a relay in
 0.5 RCVD_IN_NJABL_PROXY    RBL: NJABL: sender is an open proxy
                            [ listed in]
 1.5 RCVD_IN_BL_SPAMCOP_NET RBL: Received via a relay in
              [Blocked - see <>]
 2.6 FORGED_MUA_OUTLOOK     Forged mail pretending to be from MS Outlook
 4.2 OBFUSCATING_COMMENT    HTML comments which obfuscate text
 1.6 MISSING_MIMEOLE        Message has X-MSMail-Priority, but no X-MimeOLE
 1.0 FORGED_OUTLOOK_HTML    Outlook can't send HTML message only
 1.1 MIME_HTML_ONLY_MULTI   Multipart message only has text/html MIME parts

I have found a new hobby. I read spam.

Well, not actually spam, but I look at the headers that SpamAssassin has added to my emails, spam and normals alike. For some reason, I find it very fascinating how SA filters mail - what it decides to be spam, and what not, and especially why it sometimes (though rarely) mistakes a spam for a real message.

So I read email headers on a late Friday night (even though I should be somewhere else), and wonder what they mean, and marvel this piece of technology with tired eyes.

Friday night at the office
Geek stares at the screen
The magic of technology
Friday, 20-Feb-04 12:43
Filesharing is communism. Traitors will be executed.

Everyone and their mother is already probably blogging this, but I don't care - it's too cool:

One of my favourite table-top RPGs is getting a completely new edition: Paranoia XP. And the game development will be blogged, of course. Gotta love the quotes:

The Computer: Filesharing is Communism! Fortunately, The Computer's loyal Central Processing service firms have devised many innovative digital-rights management methods to shield you from temptation. The most promising methods manage your actual physical digits. Would you care to get your fingerprints remapped?

(Via Merten.)

Friday, 20-Feb-04 10:22
Simple mind, simple pleasures

It's amazing how much fun one can have with static electricity and a tea bag wrapper...


Thursday, 19-Feb-04 16:36
450 grams of XP, please

In case anyone married to, or living with a geek, is reading this entry, I seriously advise you to put a napkin or a towel under your spouse's chin, because there will be drooling once you show them the following link:

Flipstart PC.

I wonder if it runs Linux?

(Link thanks to Matt).

On a slightly separate note: I have been tentatively tallying about half of the votes already cast in the Finnish blog awards, and so far a staggering 130 blogs have been nominated for different prizes. So much for the fear that everybody would just vote for the pinseri top 20... Remember, you have only three days left to vote!

I would like also to say to those who are clearly voting for themselves: you should've at least gotten your mom to send the email for you. It wouldn't look so pathetic.

Tuesday, 17-Feb-04 20:23
Quick note

I'm so thoroughly jet-lagged that I am not finding this funny anymore (though I am pretty sure all my readers are). I woke up at 1 pm today (and I am rather lucky I did not have any meetings in the morning) by not waking up to the alarm clock. Upon closer inspection, it turned out that my alarm clock (and my cell phone) are still living in US time... So they would've woken me up at around 6 pm.

Oh, BTW, Loïc Le Meur really nails it. This is exactly what ETech was like. Smart guy - and no, he is not really stealing that G5, even though we all have photographic evidence of it.

Monday, 16-Feb-04 17:22
Demonstration and news

A kurd demonstration in Helsinki... Notice the speed and inaccuracy of blog reporting :-)

Monday, 16-Feb-04 14:11
No such luck

Finally back, after spending about 40 hours in the same set of clothes. Arriving on the airport, I grabbed my bag and walked on with the enthusiasm of a zombie on Prozac, anxiously waiting for a ride home, and a hot shower. However, customs picked me from the queue and made me account for all the stuff that I had with me (in a rather unfriendly manner, I might add, too). Unfortunately, on closer inspection, it turned out that I had made a slight currency conversion error and had gone a bit too overboard with my purchases, and had to pay 35€ of taxes and fines. Oh well, it was still cheaper than buying that stuff from Finland.

On a separate note, here's a cool use of RSS: Pluck in your birthdate, and it will give you a feed, which consists of all the stars that are within your theoretical sphere of influence, i.e. your "light cone". Thanks to Matt for doing this. It really warms the heart of an old astronomy geek :-).

HR857 is 33.9 light years away and only 5 days from the outer surface of your light cone - your ever-growing sphere of potential causality.
Sunday, 15-Feb-04 15:37
Wi-Fi coolness

You know, there's something appealing about doing remote systems administration in a cafe in New York ;-). I just wonder if it's worth sleeping two nights in a plane.

Thanks to Foster (pictured behind the laptop) for giving me a ride around the city. :-)

Friday, 13-Feb-04 23:57

Tijuana, Mexico! A nice trolley ride from San Diego! Cheap stuff! Lucha Libre! Good margaritas!


Friday, 13-Feb-04 18:56
Where do geeks go to die?

Answer: The Apple Store. A bunch of us decided to do a pilgrimage to the nearest Apple sales point, and unfortunately nobody got out unharmed. I survived with only some scratches (a couple of games and a TV adapter), but one of the guys who came "just to browse" ended up buying a 15" Powerbook, and a French guy could not resist buying a 23" Cinema Display.

The question is not whether we are still sane, but whether the French guy can fit the display in his carry-on baggage...

ETech is NOT a good place to be if you have ever wondered about buying a Mac, because everyone there is such an Mac überuser. You just cannot help but be sucked in after seeing how cool it is to edit documents with SubEthaEdit and chat with everyone in the same Rendezvous circle.

Using a Mac is not about speed or the latest 3D games. It is about the aesthetic experience of completeness and satisfaction.

Update (the next day): Went back. Big mistake. Now own an iSight.

Friday, 13-Feb-04 10:02
1 o'clock poetry

Under the slugging monk
the waiter asks
"Have you lost your little world?"

Friday, 13-Feb-04 01:39
Good stuff and bad stuff

The bad stuff first: The wireless connection here sucks. It sucks less today than previously, but it is still bad. The other thing is that there are far too few power strips available, and I've on several occasions had my laptop die on me.

But the cool stuff just continues: Programmable matter and quantum dots by Wil ~McCarthy just blew me (and probably everyone else) away with the visions of windows that move according to sunlight, wires that grow inside the walls as needed, walls that can produce any sort of light at command, quantum wells and artifical atoms, but especially the palm-sized, paper-thin über-PDA, which does *everything*, including cooling your drinks. And it all works on "ambient energy" - harvesting stray photons, sound and movement. When any physical object can have any functionality you desire, you get into some pretty interesting scenarios...

High sci-fi, mindblowing stuff - but the theory says it should work.

Thursday, 12-Feb-04 22:26

Cory's presentation was fun, as usual, though he didn't really bring on anything really new. But yeah, as he points out: "Ebooks are easy to share, and they are easy to slice and dice."

He also released Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom under a Creative Commons sharealike-license, which essentially allows others to go and create derivative works (like slash furry fiction) of it - getting a spontaneous round of applause for it.

But the really, really cool thing was the Electric Sheep presentation. An incredible, distributed screen saver system that uses other computers to create artificial life: digital "sheep". And yes, it's a reference to Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. A sort of a presentation of the digital subconsciousness of the idle time of the computers.

Sounds good, but what does it mean?

Incredibly beautiful moving pictures, that had the utterly ADD-oriented crowd stop their constant typing and just stare at the screen and drool.

Go. Now. The coolest screen saver you will ever find.

Thursday, 12-Feb-04 01:13
So, no oysters or alcohol

I've missed most of the morning's presentations and spent the time either hugging a pillow or the porcelaine thing in the toilet, you know, the one where you put things and they disappear with a "whoosh". It can't be a hangover - I had two glasses of wine and a beer yesterday - so I'm wagering on some sort of a food poisoning. I almost threw up during Pertti Korhonen's presentation in the morning - that would've certainly created some excitement. :-)


I dared to have a bit of rather excellent tomato-basil soup for lunch, but I feel that we are still negotiating whether the soup should have rights to a bit of fresh air every now and then.

The crappy thing about these conferences is that if you are not in 100%, you suddenly feel like an outsider real fast. Everybody's talking about "the great presentation" from the morning, or talking about the slide... And you are completely out of it. Not to mention the precious moments you could've used to talk to the wonderful minds that have been collected here.

Wednesday, 11-Feb-04 03:53
How to run a wiki

Sam Ruby had a wonderful talk about the lessons learned from the Atom Wiki. He formulated something I would like to nominate as the "Ruby's Law":

In any project, for any given number of opinions of the technical questions, there is a larger number of opinions on how the project should be named – or on the process how name should be chosen.

It's so true.

There was also a highly interesting discussion afterwards about Wiki visualization and navigation, which in my opinion are the questions we should focus on, rather than thinking about issues with WikiMarkup transferability. Wikis would allow wonderful navigational tools - I know JSPWiki instances where the CSS for the site is available as a WikiPage, allowing anyone to change the visual look of the site. But why not also extend the same concept to the physical HTML layout of the site?

Of course, you might want to limit it to only certain people, as recovering from WikiTrolls would be nigh impossible, but still... The power of the Wikis lies in the separation of content and presentation: in fact, the JSPWiki internals are looking more and more like a database engine day by day, and some people are seriously suggesting a SQL-like query language embeddedable in the pages. So, we can do all this wonderful stuff with the content - but we still have to resort to editing HTML if we want to change the presentation. Why?

Tuesday, 10-Feb-04 19:58
I lust for a Roomba

I'm just listening to Helen Greiner's presentation of Roomba. She actually has one that she is running on the table, and the #etech -channel is filled with geeks declaring their instant love at the tiny little home robot.

Can't say I'm much different.

I seriously, seriously want one. Like now.

Update: Joi snapped a photo of me, relaxing outside :-)

Update2: I'm now a bit less enthusiastic. IRobot does in addition build the PackBot, which is a military bot. We were shown a cool video in which the ~PackBot is thrown in through a window to a building, drives off the roof, and drives directly into a river; surviving all this stuff. It was apparently used during the Afghan war as well. It's just a matter of time before they strap it with guns. And yes, she is talking seriously about "autonomous fighting robots" and "unmanned ground vehicles", with the enthusiastic glee of Susan Calvin.

Relevant quote from IRC:
20:31 < Tantek> this is perhaps the scariest presentation i have ever seen

The obvious question from the audience was: "What are the ethical constraints?" - and she really has no answer. She explained in a roundabout way about "this being the answer to the suicide bombers that don't care about being killed", and then skipped the issue with "but the conference must go on, so thank you for the questions."

What utter fucking bollocks.

Tuesday, 10-Feb-04 17:41
Fleeting identities

How do you know you are at a geek conference? People get introduced to you by their IRC nicks, and you don't actually realize until the next morning that you still don't know their real names, despite having met them in real life.

(Oh yeah, and I *do* love bagels. I only wish we could get some decent ones back home. I may have to carry a few back...)

Tuesday, 10-Feb-04 06:57
Kuukkeli on laskeutunut

(Pardon my Finnish): Kuukkeleilla on nyt oikea koti - Kaikki päivitykset tulevat tästä eteenpäin sinne.

Tuesday, 10-Feb-04 00:36

Russ on phone
I attended the 'Reverse engineering' tutorial by Andrew Huang - the guy who cracked the X-Box. He had also cracked his arm, but that didn't seem to slow him down. I have to say that I got a bit bored of all the x86 assembly code flowing with a font that was just barely readable, so I spent some time tweaking the all new Finnish blog awards page, coming soon to a server near you.

For the second tutorial of the day, AT&T kindly gave us Sony Ericsson T616 phones, so that we could try some hands-on hacking. I promptly found that the screen on these babies is abysmally bad at direct, 25 degrees Californian sunlight... *grin* But Russell Beattie's cool to listen to - he's certainly the archetype for us NADD people. At the moment he's hacking at his home server using SSH on a big screen... Then he showed us accidentally his password to a web service :-)

However, I don't believe that these tutorials are really of too much value - for me anyway. Most of the stuff I am already familiar with, or could learn quickly otherwise; or it is too detailed to get me excited. *shrug* Should've gone to the Digital Democracy thing.

Sunday, 08-Feb-04 23:55
”Yes, sir, I am here for immoral activities”

Tell me, has the US Visa Waiver form (the green one, I-94W) changed in the past couple of years? Or perhaps I have changed and seeing things with new eyes. It is as if some of the things weren’t there previously.

One of the questions on the backside says: "...or are you seeking entry to engage in criminal or immoral activities?" Immoral – defined by whom? The Bush government? The Bible? If I were gay who was into BDSM, and had a boyfriend waiting for me in San Diego, should I tick "yes"?

The concept of what is immoral and what is not is an eerily vague one, and it is easy to pass judgement unto others. It is so easy to assume moral superiority – and I know that I am guilty of the same thing, saying this. Intolerance should not be tolerated: it is the dilemma of our world.

The other thing that stopped me is the one that says "You may not represent the foreign information media during your visit".

That not only sounds suspicious, but it also begs the question: what about blogging? If I tell truthfully to the world what I see and hear, am I a part of this "foreign information media" or not?

Sunday, 08-Feb-04 00:29
Blog Awards Update

It is now too late to suggest categories for the Finnish Blog Awards. We will now mull them over, and you will be able to start sending in your votes on Tuesday (evening, Pacific Standard Time - I'll be at O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference, which seriously impacts my ability to do anything.)

In the mean time, I would like to remind you of this geek koan. What is the sound of your head against the keyboard?

Friday, 06-Feb-04 16:17
Life is...

...waddling on a swamp with leaky boots at night, without a map, a compass, or a light, while mosquitoes are trying to grab a piece of you. Since there's no way to know which way you should go, the actual choice of your direction does not matter.

All you can hope for is a bit drier ground or a path.

Thursday, 05-Feb-04 16:48
Stupid language joke

The funniness of an US company called Makkara Sushi combined with this this scientific experiment is left as an exercise to the reader.

Thursday, 05-Feb-04 16:32

Feel like a bee. In more ways than one. Yesterday my flights were late both going and coming, so my bad luck with travel continues. Cannot form complete sentences. Too much information flowing through head.

Kultainen Kuukkeli 2003-päivitys: Raati alkaa olla kasassa ja kategoriat muotoutumassa. Päivät tulevat hieman elämään matkojen takia: odottakaa kategorioita vasta noin maanantaina. Viralliset sivutkin ovat valmistumassa uhkaavasti alle, samaten hienot palkinnot ovat jo uunissa. :-) Itse asiassa voisi järjestää blogimiitin jossa nuo palkinnot voisi jakaa - löytyykö vapaaehtoisia tapaamisen järjestäjiä?

Wednesday, 04-Feb-04 00:39
ETech 2004

By the way - I'm going to the O'Reilly Emerging Technology conference in San Diego, CA next week. If any JSPWiki users are out there, find me on #etech, #jspwiki, send email, or drop a comment here. I would love to have a JSPWiki Users Group meeting - the last one in Tokyo was very fun :-).

Tuesday, 03-Feb-04 13:37

Got my hands on Icaro from Moebius and Jiro Taniguchi. It was just something that I bought off a shop on a whim, but now I am extremely glad that I did. I can't wait to get my hands on the 2nd book...

All I can really say is that I concur with the review above: "Something this beautiful should be seen by all."

Monday, 02-Feb-04 15:46
Patents are obviously patented

In a surprise move, the US Patent Office has granted a patent which patents the patent office itself!

Hehe. Actually, the patent is meant to patent the concept of "digital ownership", i.e. the idea that you can "own" things in online multiplayer games. The patent is just so broad that it covers pretty much any database, including the patent database.

This is another example on how the USPTO has just thrown its hands up in the air and basically says "accept them all and let courts sort them out." This is an example on so many countless things that have gone wrong with the system I can't even be bothered to enumerate them anymore... Let me just begin with the notion that the idea of ownership could be patented at all, and end up with how big companies can use this to trounce upon the smaller ones, and you can imagine the rant between those yourself.

Monday, 02-Feb-04 09:37
Yeah, prudence galore

My life is rated NC-17.

What is your life rated? Via Daquna.

Sunday, 01-Feb-04 22:28
Social pressure is too strong

So, Henri snapped a couple of pictures of me (thanks, mate!), one of which is now available on my page. So if you absolutely, positively have to see what my hair looks like - go forth and be scared. You can't miss it: If you scroll down the page, it's the last thing you see before you're struck blind.

Sunday, 01-Feb-04 16:09
Kultainen Kuukkeli jatkuu...

(Just things about the Golden Siberian Jays - the First Finnish Blog Awards, nothing to worry about, move along... English update coming Real Soon Now.)

Kiitos Myrsky-Jannelle käsittämättömän nerokkaasta logosta! Samaten Kultaisille Kuukkeleille on avattu oma sähköpostiosoite:, jonne sopii lähetellä spämmiä, err... mainoksia, err... kuukkeliasiaa.

Niin, sponsoroituja palkintojakin on jo yksi kirja, jonka Kasablogin Jussi on luvannut Uusi Blogi-kategorian voittajalle. Jos joku muukin haluaa lahjoittaa voimavarojaan yleisen hyvän puolesta, se olisi erinomaisen påp. Esimerkiksi jos osaat rakentaa hienon plakaatin tai kaivertaa puusta kuukkelin, laitapa meiliä :-).

Saturday, 31-Jan-04 14:31
Finnish Blog Awards

Jaakko of Fabula suggests that there should be Finnish blog awards. This is a very, very dumb idea that is certain to cause a lot of grief, tears and hate across the Finnish blogosphere, and whoever does it will completely lose all respect and will be spit upon on the streets.

How could I not do this?

Apologizes to all English readers - here's the official announcement:

Kultainen Kuukkeli 2003 - palkinto tullaan jakamaan useammassa blogikategoriassa, ml. paras suomalainen blogi. Lisäinfoa on sivulla Kultainen Kuukkeli 2003.

Ehdotuksia kategorioista voi joko lähettää meilitse tai jättämällä kommenti tähän merkintään.

Mikäli joku haluaa sponsoroida palkintoja, ole hyvä ja ilmoita itsestäsi ylläolevin keinoin.

Thursday, 29-Jan-04 22:24
What is your score?

My test result in the ultimate personality test is 184. What's yours?

Wednesday, 28-Jan-04 19:24
"Your flight has been cancelled, have a nice day"

Well, anyone who has felt envious about my travels, heads up! Now it's the time for smirking and schadenfreude!

My BA flight back from Boston was cancelled, because something expensive and hard to fix broke in the airplane (I swear I didn't touch anything). But joy! There was another plane leaving three hours later! So I stand on the queue for two hours to get a new boarding pass, in which my nice, quiet 777 window seat next to a beautiful lady is exchanged into a center row, center seat on a noisy and extremely fully packed 747. And no beauty in sight, just teenage geek-wannabes debating whether a 747-400 is faster than a 747-200.

Upon arrival at Heathrow, they look at my boarding card for a moment, and tell me with a hearty smile: "You missed your connecting flight. But it's okay - it was cancelled anyway!"

At this point, I burst out in laughter, which turns into sobbing a few minutes later when I realize that I have to stand in yet another line for half an hour to get a connecting flight to Helsinki.

Which turned out to be late as well. And again, a center seat. Hooray.

But here I am, home, sitting naked after a long, hot shower, with a nice 19 hours of travel behind me. The only positive thing about this ordeal was that my luggage was not lost along the way, even though I was pretty certain it would be.

Tuesday, 27-Jan-04 23:42

Went to MIT. Was seriously, very seriously impressed.

These guys make Star Trek technology look something that would be available tomorrow from the neighbourhood shop, if they really, really wanted to. And their new building is designed by Frank Gehry.

The green stuff oozing from the lower portion of your monitor is liquid envy.

Monday, 26-Jan-04 13:38
Northern exposure

Create your own visited country map or write about it on the open travel guide.

I'm seeing a certain bias towards the northern hemisphere of our globe. And still so many wonderful places to see! The thought is at the same time a bit depressing, yet joyful. I always hate the preparations before travel: packing, ticket hassles, looking for the passport... But once I'm actually in the plane, squashed in a space smaller than a phone booth, squeezed between an 8-year old hyperactive girl and a 200 kg fat man, eating a meal which tastes slightly better than the cardboard box it comes in, all of it becomes worth the while: Because I love traveling, seeing new places, hearing new voices, being dizzy with jet lag, fighting about living space with cockroaches and spiders, tasting local soft drinks and beers, smelling the polluted air in the cities or the clean air in the countryside, squatting in the middle of a herd of kangaroos, sweating like a pig, freezing like a penguin, ... Yah! Life!

(Via Janka.)

Monday, 26-Jan-04 03:54
Great Balls of Fire!

Well, it's kinda obvious if you look at it, isn't it? This particular ball is outside the MIT campus area in Boston, Massachusetts (USA), and for some unfathomable reason it looks like a really, really early version of a steam engine - you know, after they figured out how to make steam, but before they thought of pistons and chambers, and were just experimenting with putting different things on top of the steam.

Boston seems like a reasonably nice city: the centre is small enough to walk around, there is a wealth of restaurants, and while the architecture is sometimes horrendous, there is still enough 19th century stuff lying around to keep a traveler slightly amused.

(Whee, I just noticed that is run by Movable Type. That's a nice use for weblogging software: it does not look like a blog, or feel like a blog, but it has all the power of a good blog engine - like comments and trackbacks.)

Monday, 26-Jan-04 00:21

You know, I like whiskies, but even my passion has its limits. This bottle, found at Heathrow, is for sale at 22,000 pounds.

Friday, 23-Jan-04 17:02
Spirited away

Kolibri nearly goes ranting on the importance of doing software testing, as the Spirit-probe is now having communication troubles. I actually used to work for the space industry, testing software for spacecrafts. Even though the code was written by brilliant software engineers and tested, retested, and reretested by three times as many people as there were coders, there would still be bugs. Some of them were irrelevant, some of them were dangerous, and some simply crashed the software. Some were compiler problems, some were errors caused by cosmic radiation (randomly flipping bits in your return stack is rarely good for the stability), some were just simple "well, that can never happen" -errors, or "well, we never thought that would happen" -errors.

All software we ever make contains errors. And that happens because we are humans, and humans make errors. There's nothing complicated about that, and we just have to accept that.

It's also the reason why we have to keep sending people up to the heavens.

Someone's gotta press the reset button.

Friday, 23-Jan-04 13:20
Well, not *that* kind of a friend

Cheap i18n fun for the morning (emphasises mine):

Orkut is an online trusted community web site designed for friends. The main goal of our service is to make the social life of yourself and your friends more active and stimulating. The community site allows friends to virtually come together, find common interests, share relevant information, and organize social events.

The community will, in essence, create a closer and more intimate network of friends."

I'm absolutely sure this will help people come together... For any non-finnish speakers out there, "orkut" is a common slang term for "orgasm". "Sain orkut" = "I had an orgasm". Well picked site name, indeed. It's even affiliated with Google :-).


Thursday, 22-Jan-04 23:01

So I did finally register for Solmukohta 2004... I am not quite so sure why, because live action roleplaying is not really my thing (I've played in, like, two games total, because I am a lazy bastard who cannot be bothered to dress up for a game), but the participant list seems interesting enough.

Though in all honesty, the only stories I've heard about the previous events mostly tell how everybody was very inebriated, and how people got very stupid ideas at 2 am, that later on turned into marvelous games. While I have nothing against stupid ideas - some of my better plans started with stupid ideas - I do hope and believe that alcohol is not the main point for people to get there :-).

Wednesday, 21-Jan-04 12:46
First net test of the year

You are the pilot

Saint Exupery's 'The Little Prince' Quiz.

I liked this test a lot. I've always liked the "Little Prince", and even now some of the questions felt... just right. And I do feel a kinship with the pilot - always have.

I think I need to reread that book soonish. It has been so many years since our last common moments, and every time you read it, you learn something new. It's funny - it has sort of been an "anchoring" book all my life. I read it every few years, and every time it seems a bit different, yet I know it is the same. It shows clearly how the experiences you have change you invisibly and slightly over the years... Reading this particular book is a powerful experience, so I actually remember the previous times I read it: how I was afraid of the snake, or how I felt sorry for the lamp-lighter, and how I could not understand what the Little Prince was really looking for. It felt so uncomprehensible the first time...

I don't think I'm still going to understand the book, but perhaps it is time again to see what has changed.

(Via Juha)

Tuesday, 20-Jan-04 21:29
Small but important

Had a small revelation today: If you position your hands under a hot air dryer - the kind you find in toilets - in just the right way, you can redirect the airflow into your sleeves, resulting in a wonderfully warm and fuzzy feeling all over your upper body.

It's the kind of stuff you appreciate when it's -9C outside. :-)

Tuesday, 20-Jan-04 09:23
Sauron forever

Joi Ito has snapped photographic evidence that Helsinki is actually Mordor. Y'know, that would explain all of the orcs ;-).

Monday, 19-Jan-04 23:28
In the end, everyone loses

I personally believe that meetings that go on for hours without a single break should be banned. There's no time to do your email (which normally takes an hour or two), nor there's any chance to just... relax. So people drudge along, trying to keep together whatever strings of consciousness they still have after a few hours, and nobody really remembers afterwards what was decided, because everyone was forced to do multiple things at the same time. The world does not stop for the meetings, as much as we would like it to.

On a completely different note... I wrote a short thing about the art of letting go, after many long discussions with friends, who have opened my eyes to see whole new worlds. In a few weeks I'll consider it completely crap, and use printouts for target practice, but for the moment it says - in an awkward, clunky sort of way - some things that I have learned. Hope you like it.

Sunday, 18-Jan-04 22:09
This is how justice works

I've had a wonderful weekend. I've had time to watch four movies from my "DVDs I am going to watch when I retire since I am never going to have the time before that" -collection, I have eaten well, slept - well - sufficiently, and still managed to tick off a few "things to try before you die" -list and move them onto "cool, I'll do that again" -list.

So, however, this evening, at a business dinner (don't ask: I know it's Sunday) I make a complete fool of myself by showing up late (darn). And not only that - my cough which I thought had already vanished, decides to have its encore right at the same moment I have introduced myself and am thirstily sipping from a glass of water. And what an encore it was: in a surprising combination of sight and sound the cough (with a mouthful of water) bursts out, spraying the water across the table, completely surprising everyone. Including me.

The whole table stops, forks suspended midway between plate and mouth, and I feel the cool and curious look of Japanese businessmen fixed on my neck, as I try to hide and escape under the table. "Are you ok?", I hear my boss ask faintly - and I stammer something in reply that nearly, but not quite, sounds like "yes", cheeks burning. Oh well, there goes my professional reputation...

I guess this is how the universe collects its debt on happiness. I recall once, in a shower (I do a lot of my thinking in the shower), I had a wonderful revelation. I don't recall what it was about anymore, but it was a profound thing - enlightenment, you could say - and I was so happy about it that the soap slipped from my hand and fell right into the toilet. So I guess that was the more important lesson to be learned of the two: close the lid before you shower.

Irony. The most common element in the universe. And what a wonderful universe it is! ;-).

Saturday, 17-Jan-04 17:50
A small gem

From today's Ilta-Sanomat, the TV section:

20.15 Usko tai älä
Päähän ammutulta pojalta poistetaan toinen aivolohko. Amer. viihdeohjelma.

In English:

8.15pm Believe it or not
A brain hemisphere is removed from a boy after a shot in the head. American entertainment show.


We live in a sick and twisted world.

Friday, 16-Jan-04 21:35
I can't stop loving you. Well. Erm. Yes. Easily. Just watch me.

I am being forced to watch the Finnish qualification for the Eurovision Song Contest. Dear Lord. This is like watching Idols - the first few rounds. You know, the ones with the acne-faced idiots who actually think they can sing?

Well. The only difference that I can see here is that all of the singers are pretty (and red-haired), and that the songs are new. But why, oh why, do we continue to embarrass ourselves by thinking that someone in Europe would actually be interested in this crap? And why do we keep thinking that we have to do well in this stupid contest to be accepted? Well, now they at least have songs performed by a Norwegian, in English, written by a bunch of people none of have a Finnish name...

Who the fuck thinks of lyrics like "mouse in the misery - cheese in his memory"? WHAAAT!?! And they have one of the people from the Swedish Survivors performing, too! And someone, please kill the bloody hosts! "Du gick en pojkvän där? That was Swedish. Heheheheh." This is would be damn near intolerable, if I wasn't laughing my ass off...

Well, luckily there are few songs 16 year old Lagavulin and good company can't improve. ;-)

(OK, I'll have to give it to one performer: she can actually sing, pronounce English and look pretty at the same time. Something which seems to be very difficult for the rest of the performers.)

Thursday, 15-Jan-04 11:41

The hamburger thing is a surprisingly solid meme, since it has now spread to a few other sites as well. The end result is that this server is currently being bombarded more than ever before (about 5 reqs/second), and the poor old 266 MHz CPU is not quite feeling well. This is why this site is being so incredibly slow these days. Sorry about that.

Have to start to think about either new hardware, or just upgrading to Tomcat 5...

Update - I just dropped in new Tomcat and this thing flies. Loads have dropped from 8 to 3. Very nice!

Thursday, 15-Jan-04 08:22
How Finns work

I guess this tells something about the nature of Finns:

I was up uncharacteristically early this morning, and waiting for a tram with a bunch of other random people. The tram comes, and the driver can be clearly seen waving around, as if she had flies in her driving compartment - or as if she was simply mad. This is slightly worrying.

The tram stops, and the doors take a while to open. The driver looks at us and says "This tram will turn."

People stare at her, uncomprehending.

"This tram will TURN!" she says, sounding a bit angry this time. "There's another tram right behind us", she continues.

Nobody asks the obvious question "where will the tram turn and why there are then people in it and what the fuck do you mean by the whole thing anyway, lady", and everybody steps politely back and lets the tram go. Apparently a tram which turns is a very bad thing, and you are not to board one.

Comes the next tram, and people hop onto it. This tram follows the previous one very carefully for many minutes, until it turns out that the first one does not actually turn anywhere, but it goes straight from a crossing that it was supposed to take a right turn at. Regardless, I could've taken either route - both got me very close to where I was going anyway...

This is so highly confusing at 8 am.

Wednesday, 14-Jan-04 17:02
How come I always get to do the admin stuff?

I just realized I talk to myself only when I have a flu. Or to be exact, I talk to things and objects: I had the most wonderful discussion with a piece of Ethernet cabling yesterday, while I was kneeling under the table, trying to find a socket for it. Of course, it did not reply, but it was good to have someone listening.

Network maintenance is 40% sweat, 40% luck, and 20% magic. Of the sweat part, 50% consists of going all-fours under tables and banging your elbows and head at sharp corners.

Tuesday, 13-Jan-04 16:52
You get all the email you can handle - and all the spam you deserve

Janka speaks of spam, everyones' favourite subject. I got 4700 filtered spam messages in six weeks (and a bunch that got through). On one account. More on others, to a perhaps of 6000-7000 messages total. That's about a thousand a week, or 150/day.

There's a theory that everyone gets the amount of spam they deserve. There's also a theory that suggests that if you stop receiving spam, you don't exist any more. Or that if you read aloud all the spam you receive for a year and a day, you will be granted three wishes by the Xanax fairy. I believe that one of them must have something to do with the size of your penis, though.

Whatever the case, it has been suggested that everyone always gets more email than what they can handle - I've heard people complain that "I got FOUR emails today - I'm swamped". I get perhaps fifty legitimate emails on the average (not counting mailing lists), and I think that's about the limit I can handle. Is there anyone out there who thinks they are getting too few emails?

Tuesday, 13-Jan-04 00:13

I have my head full of snot, and my brain is no longer working the way it should. I'm using handkerchiefs at an accelerated rate - kyllä käytettyyn nestuukiin vielä kerran niistää: vanha viidakon sananlasku. --Wagner (You can always sneeze one more time into a used kleenex: an old wisdom from the jungle)

I have a number of wonderful thoughts in my head, but they flutter around like chickens on a bad acid trip. I was supposed to say something about completeness and human beings, but perhaps I'll save that to a later time. Now sleep.

Sunday, 11-Jan-04 21:31
Nothing to see, move along

My lightning go tournament in Oulu did not really go too well, even with my new shiny hair (thank you, Seppo, for the most interesting semeai/furikawari ever). Probably a combination of too much alcohol, too little rest, a slight touch of flu, and too much rank. Coming back on Saturday evening, I pretty much have have spent the past 24 hours in bed.

And I'm still more tired than what I was starting this weekend.

Still - yet I feel like I wouldn't want to trade my life for anything else right now. I'm a regular glutton for punishment :-).

Friday, 09-Jan-04 16:57

Instead of actually blogging after a visit to the barber's shop - I'm actually doing it live from the barber's chair. Hooray for broadband internet availability :-).

Update: I think I'm getting stripes. :)

Update2: "You still have a naturally dark hair." "What - what do you mean: 'still'?"

Update3: Some of the fumes here are... interesting. Delightful? Hihihihehehehe...

Update4: "Would you like some thinner?" "No thanks, a beer is fine." And I also have tinfoil in my glasses.

Update5: "Oops"

Update6: "What do you get if you combine yellow with blue?" "Green?" "Right."

Update7: Spent 10 minutes head upside down in the shower. Very uncomfortable.

Update8: Well, that was certainly the most fun haircut ever - and it even continued the next day, because there was not enough time to do everything... So, here I am, in the terrible time between inebriation and hangover, getting the final clips in order. :)

Friday, 09-Jan-04 10:34
Showing off

I'm just showing off some blog functionality to people - nothing to see here, move along... :)

Thursday, 08-Jan-04 23:16
Fear, but no loathing

A small revelation hit me today. Relaxing after sauna - the place where probably most Finnish ideas (and children) originate - I was exchanging text messages with some dear friends, and somehow it clicked together.

I no longer fear death.

I mean, I would be incredibly pissed off if I died tomorrow, since there's just so many things I haven't done and seen yet - but no, I cannot say that the actual idea of the black wall at the end of my life feels frightening any more. I don't mean that I want to go tomorrow and climb Mt Everest - I'm still scared shitless at the thought of falling into a crevasse, thankyouverymuch :) - or get into other extreme sports, but more of an acceptance of the simple fact that I will, eventually, in two, twenty, perhaps 200 years, kick the bucket and be no more. Perhaps I'll leave children behind, or perhaps I will not. I hope I do, and if I do, I leave good kids. Who knows. But regardless of what I do - the road will come to an end, and I'm okay with that now.

This thought is really very comforting. It means that my relationship to failure is no longer what that used to be either... I don't really fear it either. It is quite okay to make mistakes, too! A gigantic screwup might cost you your life, but if you fear death, you cannot really go all-out when you shoot for something you want. Fear is what keeps us grounded back in reality, and that is a good thing, but it can also hold you down. One must learn to appreciate fear for what it is (stupid people get shot first), but one should not be frightened - if this makes any sense to you :-).

"Make love, not war", it is said. But in some sense, they are the same thing: You cannot fight well, if you fear the battle. Nor can you really love someone, if you are afraid of what might happen. In both there is no middle ground. It belongs only to the cannon fodder.

Do not fear death. Do not fear mistakes. Do not fear shame. Do not fear love. 'cos in the end, it will all be okay, and death will be the final adventure.

Wednesday, 07-Jan-04 16:51
A quick test

If a lady tells you "man, you are a machine", is she possibly referring to your

a) sexual prowess,
b) emotional capabilities, or
c) go-playing ability.

Mark me down for "C". ;-)

(It should be mentioned that in go, computers play astonishingly bad in general - a mediocre club player can trash any computer program. Just so that you can put my achievements in proper perspective.)

Wednesday, 07-Jan-04 00:33
Inexplicable happiness

Do I exist if I don't blog? I have been quiet for a couple of days, because there frankly has not been much to say. I'm using my final vacation days, and not really much of interest has happened - nothing that I would say out loud in public anyway :).

I did manage to see Helmiä ja Sikoja, a rather hilarious Finnish movie about a bunch of guys who owe someone a whole lot of money, and thus decide to make a singing star out of their 10-year little sister. I wasn't expecting much of it, but somehow the fresh performances of the cast, who obviously do have some comedic talent, made it a rather memorable experience. And the song the little girl sings is absolutely beautiful. Got a tear in my jaded eye :).

Though, I did have these flashbacks to some other movie, where also four handsome brothers land in some financial difficulties and use crime and deception to wiggle their way out of it... Oh well.

Grr. Work tomorrow. A catastrophy is waiting. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air.

Sunday, 04-Jan-04 22:29
Traveling with intrigue

Weird experiences galore: sitting today on an underground carriage (Piccadilly line, if you must know), watching three ladies. Obviously a family, since they all looked alike, but what really captivated me were their completely bland faces and vacant eyes that stared at the opposite wall somewhere around my chest level. The only way I could tell they were alive were the small twitches of their jaws, as they chewed on bubblegum in unison, with the centre lady - well, a girl really - doing a pop every 8 chews or so. It was fascinating. Just like in Stomp.

My eerie feeling of displacement to another plane was suddenly doubled, as a dwarf walked in and started to play a very bad rendering of "Lambada" on a bloody accordion. The dwarf did upon closer examination turn out to be a 12-year old child, but for a moment I thought I had woken up in a David Lynch movie.

Anyway, home sweet home and all that. I'm back in Helsinki. Whee. I'm so happy I don't have to work tomorrow.

Saturday, 03-Jan-04 01:49
"Well, dip me in chocolate and throw me to the lesbians!"

Todays weird experience: The Jerry Springer Opera. It's an actual opera/musical (complete with dance numbers and advertisement breaks) of the Jerry Springer show and how his magic can heal the world. Well, a satire of it anyway.

While the ending was a bit cheesy, and the second half (where Jerry descends to Hell to do a final live show with some ... special guests) noticeably worse than the first half, it still managed to get the crowd laughing out a good many times. Michael Brandon (yes, that's Dempsey of Dempsey and Makepeace) does a nice impression of Jerry, and the rollout of show "guests" was sufficiently weird to cater to even my taste :).

Now I'll just have to figure out a proper place to wear my "Chick with a dick" -badge.

Thursday, 01-Jan-04 23:09

Well, the New Year came nicely and calmly - with a few bumps and bruises along the way. We went to Westminster to see the fireworks (which were an utter disappointment - I think my old hometown with 50,000 inhabitants does better yearly), but apparently around 100,000 other people had had the same idea. Now I know what a veritable sea of people looks like (and feels like) - at one point I thought pickpockets had upgraded into organ theft, as it felt as if someone was trying to steal my kidneys by digging into them with their elbows. At points, it was rather dangerous - if you had fallen over there, not only would you have landed into an inch think layer of broken glass, you would've also been trampled by the hordes of drunken Britons.

It was certainly an experience.

(Update: I was promoted to 2 kyu due to my success in the tournament. Small "yay" - now everybody will be after my skin :)

Thursday, 01-Jan-04 00:31
Grr, part III

Whee! Seven wins out of eight games - I even beat a dan-grade player. I got a certificate and a prize and everything :).

This was a good way to end the year. See you in 2004.

(And yeah, it's really 2003 as I'm writing this. Timezone differences schmisserences)

Wednesday, 31-Dec-03 01:24
Grr, part II

Ha! Two more victories today! Five wins out of six games... One more win and I might get a prize!

And by the way - if it's dangerous to go into a DVD sale in Anttila, it is twice as much dangerous to go to a DVD sale in Tower Records in London... I was seriously tempted to buy the entire Fawlty Towers, but managed to resist the tempation after picking up some interesting bargain stuff like both Tetsuos and Holy Grail (and what do you mean by "odd combination"?)

Monday, 29-Dec-03 21:59

I have to say that I like the British way of eating more than the traditional Finnish one. Here it's "Breakfast, light lunch, then proper dinner", whereas in Finland it's "Maybe breakfast, big lunch, possibly dinner". The light lunch seems to keep me more properly awake throughout the day.

(Todays results: one win, one loss. I did a horrendous mistake during the final stages of the endgame, and lost 40 points when I was winning by 20. Stupidstupidstupidstupidstupidstupidstupid...)

Sunday, 28-Dec-03 23:17
Grr - Janne kill

Started off the tournament with two victories - both horrible bloodsheds with my enemy's groups dying left and right. Yay! I feel my veins pulsate with adrenaline, my back aches, my eyes are tired, and whenever I close them I see go stones chasing each other around the board.

Feels good to be playing again.

Sunday, 28-Dec-03 15:20
Oh, sweet London

This city is most certainly a place where it's impossible to get bored. Yesterday, after an early arrival, we went to see the Lord of the Rings exhibition at Science Museum, which was very well worth the rather steep 12£ admission: some of the miniatures are simply amazing, Sauron and the ringwraiths can scare you witless even if seen from a distance, but the best part are some of the paintings and sketches: I felt like any weak-minded creature in front of the Ring as I let my eyes rest upon the artwork of Sauron overseeing his troops at the plains of Gorgoroth... This must be mine - my precioussss...

Afterwards, we were - completely accidentally - treated to the artwork of Yann Arthus-Bertrand, who had an outdoor exhibition of 3x2 meter photographs outside the Natural History Museum. Go see the stuff this guy shoots - some of it is quite simply breathtaking. Especially in large size.

Anyhow, the tournament looks like it's going to be a good one: plenty of nice people all around, good location, relaxed schedule... Well, I might still lose all of my games :)

Unfortunately, I am not able to get GPRS roaming work, so it looks like no moblogging. I even forgot all of my USB leads home, so I can't even upload any pictures. Oh well.

Friday, 26-Dec-03 23:58

Hum. I wonder, how many other people manage to lose a bottle of soda on the 3 meter journey from the fridge to the sofa? Lose, as in "I don't know where it is - it was just in my hand and now I don't know where it is."

This does not bode well for the trip tomorrow...

Friday, 26-Dec-03 01:10
You know I wasn't serious.

The hamburger thing has been listed by a Japanese website as a weird link.

Oh, the irony.


(I got my target of 100,000 page visits for this year all right, but in a way I was not quite anticipating. Oh well. I'll have to think of something new next year. Perhaps I'll heed some wishes and go into full-time social porn and detail some interesting twists of my (highly imaginary, mind you) love life; or perhaps I will start writing bad poetry, or sharing food recipes (the real ones). Perhaps I'll put in a daily quote of Shakespeare to balance the popular music quotes, as I got his collected works as a Christmas present... Who knows. If you have any ideas, let me know. At this time, we are taking requests. I think I'll be changing the byline "Scaring little children since 2003" anyway.)

Wednesday, 24-Dec-03 13:00

Someone posted a link to my hamburger experiment onto, and suddenly I got over 10,000 pageviews and 100,000 requests during yesterday - and they keep coming. So far this puny 266 MHz P-II has held itself together pretty well - and I am amazed that JSPWiki has not choked up yet. In a way, this stress test is really very good and exciting, but if this server dies under the load, well, there goes my Christmas spirit :-).

(100,000 requests, yes, that's over 1 request/second. My server log files will start to roll over daily at this pace.)

Monday, 22-Dec-03 19:31
Last minute peace

A gingerbread house in a calm, obscure passageway of the busiest department store in Helsinki. Built by children, who can still keep Christmas as an all-joyful experience. I refuse to angst over Christmas - where's the fun in that?!

Monday, 22-Dec-03 12:15
Gender Genie

Interesting... This neat little program claims it can guess the author's sex by the distribution of words in text. At least it guessed my sex correctly, but it did make the grave mistake of thinking that one of the people on my blogroll (right) is a male, even though I'm pretty sure she's a lady :).

Hooray for stereotypes.

(Via Boing Boing.)

Sunday, 21-Dec-03 18:36

Sometimes you just need a bit of unspoiled snow to realize how beautiful your neighborhood really is.

(Update: OK, so the picture didn't really turn out to be as good as I thought it would be. Trust me, the atmosphere was nothing short of magical :-)

Saturday, 20-Dec-03 21:36

La Parka!
You know, I hate wrestling. It personifies everything I hate about the American culture: admiration of abundant violence, conflict, strength - the "bigger is better" -syndrome, the fact that it is scripted but still some people believe it's all true... It reminds me so much of the ideas of the Roman gladiators - and the analogue to ancient Rome is also evident in some other ways that I do not go here. I've tried to watch WWE, and I've tried to understand it (and big thanks to those who helped me on this task), but no: that is something that I do not see worth understanding.

But today, I was introduced to Lucha Libre, the Mexican version of wrestling, where putting up a good show is far more important than winning. It has much more joy of pure movement and acrobatics, and in ways it reminded me of kung fu movies or a circus act. I'm sure that if I understood any Spanish, the dialogue would be as burlesque as in its American counterpart, but there frankly isn't too far of it. There was humour, wit, even affection in the show. The outrageous uniforms and masks (which have a lot of importance: once you lose your mask, you can never wear it again), and even the entrances are far more important than the action. This is not to say that there's no action; in fact, there's a lot more action than you might think: most matches are three-on-three, which guarantees a constant, breathtaking pace of mayhem. Action does not stop, even when the round is over - in fact, the beginning and the end of a round seem to be superfluous concepts, only there for some obscure purpose of scorekeeping.

It was fun. Certainly a fresh, refreshing, and new acquaintance. :-)

Friday, 19-Dec-03 17:56
Merry Christmas

Click on the image to see a larger version.
Well, everybody's off to celebrate whatever holidays people like to celebrate, and so will I. Updates may be scarcer, and I might completely become a moblogger for a while. Peace unto all you, who read my blog.

And don't forget to order you Father Christmases early next year. Don't settle for copies, get your authentical Finnish Father Christmas now.

(Via Merten.)

Friday, 19-Dec-03 13:49

Now here's a scientific experiment that excites me: The Case of the Exploding CD-ROM Record, i.e. why you shouldn't build 64x CD-ROM drives.

(Via What about the Finns)

Friday, 19-Dec-03 11:50
The Final test of the Year

Well, this is a result that surprises no-one. What a good mood to end the year with... *evil grin*

I am 72% Evil Genius

Evil courses through my blood. Lies and deceit motivate my evil deeds. Crushing the weaklings and idiots that do nothing but interfere in my doings.

(Link via SchizoBlog.)

Thursday, 18-Dec-03 23:44
Social Suicide

Why, thank you Mira (Finnish only). It's good to know that my nightmare now has a name.

And to everyone who clicked on her link and arrived to this site: Go away, if you value your sexual orientation.

No, seriously.

I just got a letter from an ex-potential ladyfriend, who proclaimed that "you are a crazy man - in fact, all men are crazy and I think I'll try women from now on." This happened about two hours after I had revealed the URL to this weblog in an otherwise innocuous email, in response to her claim that she had a worse sense of humor than me. Of course, the "stupid me" had to prove her wrong.

So welcome all - This is the blog that will make you a lesbian. (Catchy, ain't it?)

(And you still wonder why I'm feeling down? Man, I need a better impression management strategy.)

Actually, now that I'm on the subject... The cool thing about blogs and dating is that your blog will make you a better writer, and thus you will be able to write coherent, intelligent, witty text to your charmees. Well. Most of you will, anyway. But the uncool thing about blogs is that once your potential life-mate actually finds it - your relationship may suffer a mighty chink.

A blog can be a good filter, though, for weeding out those who wouldn't be able to cope with your sense of humour or view of life anyway - but that just means that if you are blogging under your own name, you'd darned be better to write what you really feel and think, and be prepared to stand up for it. Because sooner or later, someone will read it. I've had my share of old internet writings coming back to haunt me...

Anyway, I thank Mindy for putting this whole idea in my head in the first place, but perhaps I should stop referring people to this page as the "this is really me" page :)

Wednesday, 17-Dec-03 17:47
Social Exhaustion

It's bloody hard to try and be intelligent, witty, charming, friendly, thoughtful, responsive, sagely, quick, fun, alert, and a number of other adjectives for a few days in a row.


I'm "too pooped to pip", as one wise man once said.

Tuesday, 16-Dec-03 16:24
Da Rule Rant

Yeah. You know a meeting is not going to end well when someone asks "shouldn't we first come up with a good definition of X?", where X is a random technology. After this, there will be long discussions where everyone will pitch in completely unnecessarily griping about their pet peeve or pet words, and in the end you will have a definition that's so politically correct that it is useful only for putting on Powerpoint slides you can fold into paper airplanes and throw out of the office window.

Geeks don't waste their time definining words. They look at things, grab an intuitive understanding of them, hack away as fast as they can, then run away before anyone realizes what happened.

Definitions are mostly a burden: Once you have defined a technology in certain terms, you will have trouble thinking outside the box - the words tie down your thinking to that particular box... Definitions are not good for creativity or understanding. They are not even good for explaining things to newbies, because they do not comprehend the things the same way you do, or the people who defined them do.

The only good definition is in an RFC or mathematical formula: expressed in a mathematical or semi-logical language to mean one and one thing only, so that you can use a single word later on without having to write the entire explanation each time.


Monday, 15-Dec-03 16:15
Hey Googlers!

You know, sometimes I am tempted to start publishing the IP addresses and access times of those people who are surfing for porn from their work computers during office hours. I keep an eye on my server log files throughout the day, so I get to follow the online behaviour of some people pretty accurately =).

(And to those who actually use MSN Search - please, please do switch to a better search engine. I am most definitely a "shakira lookalike", or some other wild things that search engine seems to be mistaking me for.)

Monday, 15-Dec-03 00:03
Cooking Friends

I'm rather proud of myself: a six-course Japanese dinner for four persons for 8.50€/person. :)

But the point ain't the cheapness, it's the fact that we made it together. It seems that cooking and eating together has gained a lot of popularity in the past few years - and this is wonderful thing. When food became something that you consume instead of enjoy, and all your friends are instantly accessible through the wonders of the internet and cell phones, physical presence and the pure hedonistic pleasure you get from good food suddenly became a lot more rare than before. And what is rare, is always precious.

It could be that this is what thirtysomethings have been doing for ages anyway (and nobody just told me), but as I browse through online dating ads, it seems to me that surprisingly many people list "cooking with friends" as their hobby or favourite pastime. And this is not limited to women - men also list it more and more often.

My sources in Japan tell me that cooking is the #1 hobby among guys these days. It is not rare to hear two guys exchanging recipes the same way they used to talk about sports, and there seem to be many lifestyle magazines directed towards men who are interested in looking good, and making good food. This is perhaps unfathomable over here, but... perhaps in a couple of years not so.

I think this is a good trend (he said, trying to silence the small and insistent cynic who lives in his left ear canal, complaining how the whole thing is just a plot by media corporations to introduce a new "thing"). Cooking together is fun - provided that you all can fit in the kitchen at the same time ;-).

Saturday, 13-Dec-03 18:56
Run away, run awayyyy...

You know a meme has run amok too long, when a random sampling of people enter your tram, and for no visible reason whatsoever start jumping up and down and going "Badger badger badger MUSHROOM". Unfortunately, I did not snap a picture, as I was too flabbergasted.

Friday, 12-Dec-03 11:48
Which historical lunatic are you?

You are Charles VI of France, also known as Charles the Mad or Charles the Well-Beloved!

A fine, amiable and dreamy young man, skilled in horsemanship and archery, you were also from a long line of dribbling madmen. King at 12 and quickly married to your sweetheart, Bavarian Princess Isabeau, you enjoyed many happy months together before either of you could speak anything of the other's language. However, after illness you became a tad unstable. When a raving lunatic ran up to your entourage spouting an incoherent prophecy of doom, you were unsettled enough to slaughter four of your best men when a page dropped a lance. Your hair and nails fell out. At a royal masquerade, you and your courtiers dressed as wild men, ending in tragedy when four of them accidentally caught fire and burned to death. You were saved by the timely intervention of the Duchess of Berry's underskirts.

This brought on another bout of sickness, which surgeons countered by drilling holes in your skull. The following months saw you suffer an exorcism, beg your friends to kill you, go into hyperactive fits of gaiety, run through your rooms to the point of exhaustion, hide from imaginary assassins, claim your name was Georges, deny that you were King and fail to recognise your family. You smashed furniture and wet yourself at regular intervals. Passing briefly into erratic genius, you believed yourself to be made of glass and demanded iron rods in your attire to prevent you breaking.

In 1405 you stopped bathing, shaving or changing your clothes. This went on until several men were hired to blacken their faces, hide, jump out and shout "boo!", upon which you resumed basic hygiene. Despite this, your wife continued sleeping with you until 1407, when she hired a young beauty, Odette de Champdivers, to take her place. Isabeau then consoled herself, as it were, with your brother. Her lovers followed thick and fast while you became a pawn of your court, until you had her latest beau strangled and drowned.

A severe fever was fended off with oranges and pomegranates in vast quantities, but you succumbed again in 1422 and died. Your disease was most likely hereditary. Unfortunately, you had anywhere up to eleven children, who variously went on to develop capriciousness, great cruelty, insecurity, paranoia, revulsion towards food and, in one case, a phobia of bridges.

Yeah, that's me. Ehhheheheheheheh... *ping* "I am the eggman, you are the eggmen, I am the walrus, koo-koo-ka-choo."

(Via Merten, the man who is proud of being the mental cousin of Caligula.)

Friday, 12-Dec-03 11:32
Commercial Christmas

Janka speaks well on the subject of "Objection to the objections to Christmas".

Ain't got nothing to add. She's one smart lady.

Friday, 12-Dec-03 00:20
New glasses help see stuff

Got myself new eyeglasses, and the world suddenly just turned very strange. The model is different enough from my previous model, that all angles suddenly are no longer quite what I am used to... For example, walking stairs up or down is a very, very dangerous affair right now. On a more positive note, my sight has not grown any worse during the last 8 years.

Well - of course Helsinki might've turned into R'lyeh overnight, too.

Actually, what I really wanted to wonder about is the depth of knowledge that LinkedIn is currently gathering. I wonder how many business analysts or data miners will become interested in the depth of the corporate networks that are currently being woven into visible light? You see - a lot of the people you know, you know through work, and it might be possible to mine ~LinkedIn data to see who is currently really dealing with whom, what kinds of relationships different companies do really have, and at the very least track the movements of people as they gravitate towards the more interesting companies.

I know what ~LinkedIn privacy policy says, but as we've seen before, they are very fluid creatures: a sudden acquisition by some company, with perhaps a bit of a lesser moral backbone, who are capable of combining the information with their own databases... You know, it might all get very messy. While it is an useful tool for networking, I am not quite sure whether I really want my professional relationships to be ready for data mining.

Thursday, 11-Dec-03 11:34
A very short roller coaster

Whee! They read my weblog! Happy! Joy! Except that... Neither of them have asked me out in all this time! Graah! I'm crushed!



OK. I'm fine now. Just a short hormonal balance thingy, caused by the utter darkness, cold, and general miserability. No worries.

As a small and interesting tidbit (which is likely to erase any chances with any woman ever), I noticed that I am the Google #6 authority on "Tira Misu Porno". The scary thing is that people actually arrive on my web site looking for it. People, what the *hell* is going through your minds?

Wednesday, 10-Dec-03 17:37
Test of the day

You are naturally born with a gift, whether it be poetry, writing or song. You love beauty and creativity, and usually are highly intelligent. Others view you as mysterious and dreamy, yet also bold since you hold firm in your beliefs.

(What Type of Soul Do You Have, via Tiramisu.)

Normally, I wouldn't have bothered to link to this test, since it is somewhat inane, but... the pictures are just so beautiful. It's worth answering the quiz a few times to see the different possibilities.

Wednesday, 10-Dec-03 13:56
Portuguese referrals?

Um. It's rather interesting to find a Portuguese (I think) weblog pointing to you, and the only words you can really figure out are "idiotos", "Big Mac", and "blog". Babelfish tells me that "He will be that he has dreams to drink the menu for one palhinha beaten which of strawberry?"

Yay. Clarity.

Wednesday, 10-Dec-03 02:35
Extreme maintenance

No, I am not referring to Extreme Programming, but more to the practice of reconfiguring the entire structure of your server's hard drives (reformatting, etc) remotely over WLAN, while someone else is updating the firmware on the WLAN access point, and continuously rebooting it. And all this while both you and the other person are seriously drunk on free booze in a corporate Christmas Party.

There are just so many things that may go wrong. (Not to mention that the whole affair is really very sad.)

(Note to self: always check the number of inodes before assigning a disk to some other task. Always.)

Monday, 08-Dec-03 21:33
A slight intermission

It's not exactly a scientific experiment, but it shows what a disgruntled juggler is capable of...

Monday, 08-Dec-03 13:37
Be eaten first

You remember Jack Chick, the guy who does the anti-roleplaying tracts?

Here's a good spoof.

Via Boing Boing. Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl ftagn. Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl ftagn. Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl ftagn.

Sunday, 07-Dec-03 21:12
<expletive deleted>

Sometimes the weekends are good, sometimes they are bad.

This one was very bad.

Saturday, 06-Dec-03 09:37
Sunrise over Helsinki at 9.20 am

It is 8 degrees below zero, and the wind is so cold you can feel your bone marrow freeze.

Happy 86th birthday, Finland!

Friday, 05-Dec-03 15:52
"OSS - what is it good for? Absolutely..."

I was going to have long rantish thing here, but all of my justified righteousness fizzled away like a romantic mood after a very loud fart.

It all started with this piece from Lessig where he tears a new asshole to SCO. After this, a bunch of people on IRC started to criticize the fact that Kiseido Go Server developer is keeping the protocols secret... It seems that people have the darnedest notions of what Open Source actually is, and what the benefits really are. Here are some of my observations - from my personal, own perspective as an open source developer.


  • You get to meet interesting, wonderful, intelligent people, and talk geek talk
  • Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow. Some guy in Germany can solve the problem that has been plaguing you for weeks, and never be heard from again.
  • It feels good to give back to the OSS and Free Software communities, considering that most of my tools that I use are open.
  • Freedom - if I suddenly stop development (get bored, win a life in a lottery, die, etc), I can leave the system as-is and someone can pick it up and continue.
  • The ability to say to unreasonable/impossible requests: "Well, it's open source, you can go and fix it yourself." :-)
  • The freedom to ignore any Curly Brace Wars, since I own the code and can use whatever style I like best - and others have to comply :-).


  • The amount of sheer communication. I sometimes use more time per week answering email queries than actually writing code. It's not that I don't like it; it just takes a lot of time.
  • Combination of sayings "any user can see source code and contribute" and "users are morons". The quality of some of the things that gets my way is astoundingly bad - and some people don't seem to understand that once I accept something into the core of JSPWiki, I'll be the one who has to support it.
  • Getting into the inevitable Curly Brace Wars
  • The morons who think they can do better than you, and are not afraid of saying it to you - but somehow they never manage to produce a line of functional code.
  • The morons who think they know how it should be done, but don't have the experience to back it up. Good advice is a dime a dozen.

Actually, looking back at those lists, it suddenly seems obvious to me that the real value (and problems) of Open Source lies with the people. Open Source is good because it encourages active communication between people, not only in code form, but also in personal and professional relationships. It is far more taxing to the developer, but it also gives more.

Open Source is to closed source much like blogs are to personal diaries: The power of blogs lies in the fact that they allow people to communicate, and OSS does the same thing, albeit in a form that is more rigid: the compiler does not forgive spelling errors. Networking is, after all, the key to innovation - very few people have been able to be geniuses without the support from any other people. And even now, we are all relying on the open work done by scientists, men and women of the past, as we travel in our cars on the freeway or talk in our cell phones. We all stand on the shoulders of the giants.

It is not a question whether OSS is superior to proprietary systems or not. OSS allows whole new kinds of innovation methods that allow things that cannot be done in a closed framework, and that I believe to be its strength. Proprietary systems are very good at providing specialized solutions (just look at all the research the military does to become better at killing people - they're very good these days), but I think the real innovation comes from large networks of people. Perhaps creativeness is an emergent property of groups?

Thursday, 04-Dec-03 13:56
Laugh of the day

CNN reports that IDE hard drives could be offensive to the people of Los Angeles

Los Angeles officials have asked that manufacturers, suppliers and contractors stop using the terms "master" and "slave" on computer equipment, saying such terms are unacceptable and offensive.


Thursday, 04-Dec-03 01:21
The really cool thing about Bluetooth

Whatever you may have heard of Bluetooth, forget it. The really, really cool thing about it is that I can lie here, in my bed, typing on my Powerbook, and just start iSync. Click on a button, and it will go and find my 3650, nicely synchronize my address book and calendar. And I don't know where my phone is. It's somewhere in this room, I'm sure, but I don't have to go and find it if I wanted to sync. I can just go and leave it on a table, or on a shelf, or keep it in the pocket of my pants, or in a bag, and I can just use it as if it were here, right next to me. If I didn't have a WLAN connection at home, I could just use the dialup service - over Bluetooth. Again, and I don't have to worry about docking, or finding the USB cable, or doing anything more complicated than just clicking on a button or two on my desktop.

Of course, some of the credit for this ease of use goes to the Apple engineers, as I can sort of do all the same stuff on PC, but that takes a whole lot more than two buttons. But the idea is still the same.

With a cell phone, you don't have to know where the nearest phone is. With Bluetooth, you don't have to even know where your cell phone is. Assuming your house walls aren't too thick and don't block the signal, of course. :-)

Tuesday, 02-Dec-03 16:09
The downside of being connected

It has been a very odd day today... I have been receiving almost no mail (not even spam), to the point that I had to send myself a test message to see if my mail is still working. All my JSPWiki sites are calm (I'm not even getting the crawler-induced error mails), IRC is quiet, nobody has called me, nobody has sent me even a text message...

Suddenly, I feel terribly alone. It's as if a part of my world has disappeared into a deep void, and I see only darkness. Literally - when I glance out of the office window now, at 4pm, I see only impenetrable darkness, dotted with random lights of the traffic. Which probably contributes to this weird state.

It feels as if a big fish had suddenly just snapped the hook from my rod, and the line is hanging limp in the water.

Connectedness does not mean much if the information flow is missing. :-)

Tuesday, 02-Dec-03 15:19
Blogshares is dead

Well, it was good fun while it lasted. It was certainly a better egoboost than technorati or the Pinseri top list. :-)

(Via Norman Richards.)

Monday, 01-Dec-03 18:48
Blogthought of the day

Weblogs are odd: They start off as a monologue, but they end up being a dialogue, and some of the really, really good ones become broadcast media.

I guess that's why they are not exactly diaries.

Sunday, 30-Nov-03 23:36
Horsin' around

Glxblt. Can hardly think straight anymore, and I have to actively try and focus my eyes to the screen, or else I can't make out the characters. I've had the most wonderful weekend, during which I have done things I don't want to even talk about, things that I would like to sing about, things that have made me glad, and things that have made me sad. I have found new things, rediscovered some old things, forgotten about some others, been reminded of some things, and reminded others of some others.

Just a few highlights:

  • Saturday morning breakfast
  • The discovery that yeah, blue can go with red if they are both striking enough and everybody else is wearing a tuxedo =)
  • You can't mix Black Cat with 4 other alcohol drinks and expect it to be good
  • Riding is good fun, but you need to have narrower boots than hiking boots, and tie down your trouser legs somehow
  • You can squeeze four games of Amplitude in the 20 minutes before the bus leaves, if you eat a lighter breakfast =)
  • DVD players are really cheap these days
  • Taxi trip from the west side of Vantaa to the east side costs 30€ (ouch)
    • Corollary, you can actually get a taxi by chasing one down, like a dog.
  • Avoiding branches can sometimes be difficult on horseback
  • Note to self: don't get daughters, only sons. Much, much cheaper.
  • The Two Towers, extended edition is a far better movie than the movie version; the pace is calmer.
  • Ground loops can occur within home environment, too.
  • My sight has not grown any worse during the past 8 years. Yay!
Sunday, 30-Nov-03 00:30
Left, right, right, right, left, right, right, right

Despite of all of the cool and wonderful things that happened today, and all of the cool and wonderful people whom I met today, whenever I close my eyes I see blue octagons containing notes flowing towards me, ready to be shot.

I was introduced yesterday evening to Frequency, so I promptly went out today and bought the sequel: Amplitude. I seem to be unable to stop playing it.

This is so sad. /me shakes head, just before plunging into another tunnel to hunt for that pesky bass track.

Friday, 28-Nov-03 15:52

Hum. Someone emailed me with about me being a portal, and jokingly commented that I should have a "make ~ButtUgly my home page" button.

Got me thinking.

How many people actually *do* use prominent weblogs for their "portal" pages? I could imagine that content-heavy and fast updating sites like boingboing, or might make pretty good portal sites if they allowed for a bit more user configurability (like add my favourite links and so on).

Hm. A new job for a WikiWeblog?

Friday, 28-Nov-03 13:45
Got me pussycat

Yeah, my Panther arrived finally, after two unsuccessful attempts. It took me two tries to convince Apple that "yes, I actually would really, really like to have the International English version of the OSX", as they kept being very helpful and trying to send me the Finnish version.

Not that I really mind, the Apple support people have been very helpful and responsive all through this trial; they just seem to think that it is unfathomable that anyone in their right mind would like to use Mac OSX in some other language than their own. I know Mac users are in general considered to be drooling non-techie morons, who need hand-holding and pats on the back all the time so that they don't panic at the sight of a surprising dialog box, but still... :-)

BTW, I love Expose. It's not yet a replacement for proper virtual desktops, but it does make working on a single desktop a lot more productive and pleasant. Also, the fact that there's now proper app switching with Apple-Tab instead of the Dock thingy is really a boon for a hardcore keyboard user such as myself. So far it has easily been worth the 30€ I paid for it.

Oh yeah, and I still can't connect to my home Samba server. In 10.2, I just got a strange error number; Panther just gives me a "the original item cannot be found" message. WTF?

Thursday, 27-Nov-03 23:42

Watched Dungeons & Dragons today for the third time. It is still a pile of bats droppings.

Well, at least I wasn't alone.

Thursday, 27-Nov-03 09:47
What is your digital IQ?

My Digital IQ is 210. They have some dumb questions: I don't use no stinking portals, I *am* a portal. And I don't use eight-character alphanumeric passwords, I use passwords that look like line noise and are impossible to type without two hands, and I have not installed the Google toolbar because I do not use IE. If I interpret the questions loosely, I score 220. Nyah.

Via Visa Kopu.

Thursday, 27-Nov-03 09:35
Ben Franklin must be rolling in his grave at 12,000 rpm

From Wired Magazine: Congress Expands FBI Spying Power

Under the Patriot Act, the FBI can acquire bank records and Internet or phone logs simply by issuing itself a so-called national security letter saying the records are relevant to an investigation into terrorism. The FBI doesn't need to show probable cause or consult a judge. What's more, the target institution is issued a gag order and kept from revealing the subpoena's existence to anyone, including the subject of the investigation.

Hel-llloo? Anyone intelligent still in home in US? Do you really, really trust your authorities enough to allow them to essentially a free reign without any publically reviewable control whatsoever? Sheesh, and then people are worried about some compulsory ID number...

I don't know about you, but the US Department of Justice website on why Patriot Act really is a good thing does not exactly comfort me either.

Wednesday, 26-Nov-03 17:01
Wiki stuff and integration

SnipSnap people ask:

Someone could write a Blojsom or JSPWiki ~FileStorage.

Wouldn't it be far more interesting to have a WebDAV storage system for Wikis?

(I was BTW also looking at the possibility to make JSPWiki Radeox-compatible. Shouldn't be too hard, actually. You just need one adapter class and that's it.)

Wednesday, 26-Nov-03 12:14
"Would you terribly mind if you bent your knees a bit and groveled, please? Thank you so much, dear."

What kind of porno would you star in?

Bondage movie! You're into BDSM (Bondage, Discipline, Submission & Dominance) and chances are, you're fond of whips, chains, harnesses, and tight leather outfits. You like to mix a little pain with a LOT of pleasure, baby!

Oh, okay then. No worries. What a good coincidence, I was just wondering if and how I should revise the contents of my garderobe. Luckily the internet is full of these tests that will help you to figure out what and who you really are.

How wonderful.

"Now, my dear, could you please extend your tongue towards my shoe? No? That is quite all right, darling. Perhaps I might interest you in some tea and bisquits?"

Tuesday, 25-Nov-03 19:37
Death at 27, kitchen psychology at 11

Masaaki Hatsumi, the head of the Bujinkan tradition says that he died at the age of 27.

Sounds strange, doesn't it? It sounds like something who actually is the head of a long tradition of budo masters might say, in the spirit of the best martial arts movies.

It suddenly dawned on me that I did kinda the same thing at 27, quitting practicing the aforementioned tradition almost overnight. I started to think about it, as a 26-year old friend mentioned that lately, she has started to think that what she used to think she wants are no longer the things that she really thinks that she wants, and she no longer knows what she thinks, or wants. Err. Something like that anyway. But it did strike a chord somewhere in my jaded guts.

Perhaps 27 really is the age where the idealism of the youth dies; the strong opinions, feelings, and habits picked up during your teenage years no longer carry you beyond that point, and the real world hits you. Usually, at the same age, people (academic people anyway) also leave study life and they have to actually, completely to start to take care of themselves. There are no more safety nets, no more teachers and guides, nobody to tell you what to do with your life. So you reinvent yourself.

Or perhaps it is all just a part of a larger conspiracy.

Tuesday, 25-Nov-03 00:12
Cruelty, intolerable

In a desperate attempt to use all of my discount movie tickets I went to see Intolerable Cruelty, which certainly had its moments.

It seems that I do have a weak spot for romantic comedies. Though, I should probably stop inviting my male friends with me, as they don't always react too well :-).

Oh yeah... Random moment of the day: You know you have been living in one place too long when... the local hobos start to greet you.

Sunday, 23-Nov-03 18:39

Went to see Whale Rider. It was not as good as I had been told (and frankly, unless you have a habit of stuffing parsley in your ears regularly during movies, you should be able to guess the plot within ten minutes), but the execution is still rather flawless, and it actually manages to be sentimental and touching without being surypy.

And I finally learned how to make passable gyu-don today! Woo-hoo! My menu for the next week is set!

Saturday, 22-Nov-03 10:54
Surprising day, and it's not even noon

I surprised myself today by colouring my hair. I guess there are worse ways of spending an early Saturday morning than having a woman paint and massage your head; in fact, the experience was rather relaxing.

I was also somewhat - but only somewhat - surprised to find that I am the #1 hit for "masturbation among teenage girls" on MSN Search. While the idea in itself is very commendable, I am afraid I know about the subject about as much as a singing hippopotamus understands about space travel. I would not trust MSN Search as far as I can throw it.

Saturday, 22-Nov-03 01:27
Back to speed

It has been a while since my last scientific experiment, and I am the first to admit that the only reason has been my own laziness. People have started to give me some nice ideas, some of which I might actually implement some day. Especially the one involving whipped cream and naked bodies was rather interesting.

However, in order to help others to have their own social lives, I decided to show just how one can liven up ones life without having to resort to duct tape, just by using ordinary household items - i.e. dirty laundry. The result is not very scientific, though.

Ecyrd Heavy Industries presents: Things you can do with your laundry but probably should not.

Friday, 21-Nov-03 18:38
Holy Schmoly
With Synergy, all the computers on your desktop form a single virtual screen. You use the mouse and keyboard of only one of the computers while you use all of the monitors on all of the computers. You tell synergy how many screens you have and their positions relative to one another. Synergy then detects when the mouse moves off the edge of a screen and jumps it instantly to the neighboring screen. The keyboard works normally on each screen; input goes to whichever screen has the cursor.

Brilliant! Exactly what I have been lusting after.

(Via #joiito.)

Friday, 21-Nov-03 15:37
"What about her poor neglected left nipple?"

Wouldn't you like to have your own Ebichu, the friendly cleaning hamster?

(Now, where did I put my BitTorrent client? This one looks like a must-see :-)

Update: Of course, the Bitter Orange Snail looks rather interesting as well. Via Lorem Ipsum.

Friday, 21-Nov-03 14:30
Wikitized pr0n

We had our first porn ad on today. I feel like a proud dad; my child has finally reached maturity and general acceptance.

(And yes, I do need to get out more often. Thank you for asking.)

Wednesday, 19-Nov-03 23:44

OK, I would now like to state for the record that I do NOT like the following things:

  • stupid games that you play in a group so that you would feel better about being just a dumb part of a group (you know: "hey, let's all pretend to be submarines and do weird stuff.")
  • accordion music
  • waking up very early so that one gets to listen to two hours of interesting presentations and six hours of not-so-interesting presentations ("look, we can make this phone ring." "Whoa.")
  • being so bloody tired during all of this
  • not having GPRS connectivity
  • emotional rollercoasters
  • not being able to read one's mails (I suddenly started receiving many emails that I actually have or want to respond to.)

Glxblt. I'll just crash now, thankyouverymuch.

Wednesday, 19-Nov-03 12:38

Ah, university food. I used to be much skinnier when I was working for the academic world.

Monday, 17-Nov-03 16:32

OK, so I'm in this meeting, and I am looking at a slideshow, and suddenly I get these wonderful ideas, no, THREE wonderful ideas. But I don't want to interrupt the conversation, so I decide to quickly jot them down and comment on them later.

So I start whacking the FN key of my Windows laptop.

And I wait for it to wake up.

And then I hit Ctrl-Alt-Del to log in.

And then I wait. Everybody else continues the conversation, of which I am missing most.

And then I type in my password.

And then I wait. "Chatter chatter", go the others.

And then I get a desktop, and I start Word by hunting a rediculously small icon from my toolbar.

And then I wait. The conversation has already shifted focus twice during this, and I have completely lost track.

And when I finally get an empty document, I stare at it.

And I have no idea whatsoever what my ideas were anymore, because it takes over 30 bloody seconds for the bloody computer to bloody wake up and give me bloody Word.

I guess my ideas weren't that wonderful after all.

(Seriously, a computer should be "instant-on". My Mac wakes up in about two seconds, which is about the absolute maximum I am willing to tolerate. Most PDAs are faster, even.)

Monday, 17-Nov-03 12:58

Wanna send an email after your death? My Last Email is here to serve you.

I have to say that this service fascinates my eclectic sense of humour. I have sort of been planning to build a "if you don't log in at least once a month, I will assume you are dead and fire off a bunch of emails" -kinda system myself, but it does have some obvious drawbacks (like forgetting about its existence, and being woken up at 3 am by a bunch of people who have been scared shitless by a cron job).

(Via Roland.)

Saturday, 15-Nov-03 14:16

OK, so I've been a Mac user for about three weeks now, and here are some more opinions and impressions; mostly collected on my trips.

  • What felt light and small back home, looks so big and clunky in Japan =).
  • I just hate the stupid idea of putting an enter key exactly where the right alt key should be. How can I remap it?
  • Why the hell is the "back" key different in each application? In some, it's Apple+up; in some it's Apple+left, and in Help it's Apple+[. The button looks the same. Why does the shortcut have to be different?
  • Apparently, burning a CD-RW on a shaking Shinkansen train, on battery power while starting and stopping applications is a breeze to OSX. Way :-).
  • Why does Apple say "Suitable for Powerbook G4" when it in fact isn't? I bought a mini-DVI to Composite adapter, and it turns out it only fits the earlier model of Powerbook G4; not my newer model.
  • It really is very easy to accidentally tap the touchpad while typing, especially with the way I use the keyboard.
  • Burned CD-RWs are in HFS+. This is not too good if you want to share your iPhoto albums with others...
  • The battery performance and measurements is really good and accurate. I find it that the 4.5 hours that Apple promises is with display set to minimum brightness, no apps running and Bluetooth and WLAN both off. But hey, I still get easily three hours while doing actually something useful the whole time.
  • There are still some stability issues: this machine has crashed on me three times now; every time while waking from sleep and attempting to do something.
  • I would really, really, really like to have the backlit keyboard on the 12" model.
  • The Apple phone service is really up to date, friendly, fast, and generally a joy to deal with. However, never before have I had the need to talk to any customer service about my computer before =).
Friday, 14-Nov-03 15:28

Cool. Not only I am the #1 Janne on Google (or #2, depending on the sun spots, it seems), I also seem to be the #1 hit for "dumb tests", not to mention "butt-ugly". Hooray. Welcome all googlers, and especially the one who hoped to find "naked pictures of RuPaul". WTF?

My main ambition in life is to become #1 for gxblt, though.

Update: well, that was fast :-). So, can I be #1 for glxblt as well?

Friday, 14-Nov-03 15:05
...and to say nothing of the dog

(Skipping the y-theme for now; I am disappointed that nobody pointed it out.)

Went yesterday (finally) to see Lars von Trier's Dogville. I had heard rave reviews from friends whose taste I usually trust, so I tried to empty my mind of any expectations as I entered the darkened theatre...

For the first fifteen-twenty minutes I did have trouble with the fact that there were no sets, just a big garage with the layout of the city drawn on the floor. I always figured it was a gimmick, something new that Trier is trying, as he usually is. About half-way to the movie I realized that the removal of all sets was an integral part of the movie; and it would not work as well otherwise. The simple lack of everything extraneous, and having only things that are really needed forces the viewer to concentrate on the actors and the story - a terrible burden I am sure. As Mikki pointed out, this is the antithesis of Matrix - all character, no frame.

But they all perform so superbly that it is hard to describe. At one point I was laughing my ass off, the next minute I was ready leap to the screen and start killing people. I ended up with my jaw on the floor, repeating softly "they can't do that, no way can they do that", refusing to believe my eyes and ears. That does not happen often.

Dogville could have gone horribly wrong in so many ways. It didn't. Give this movie a chance, it deserves it.

Thursday, 13-Nov-03 18:17

Joi Ito wants to throw a world-wide New Year's Party. Any geeks in Finland wanna join in?

I'll be in London for the New Year's in another kind of party, but I'll try to join in if possible.

BTW, any JSPWiki users in London? I'll be there from Dec 27th to Jan 4th, and I would love to see some of the better whisky bars :-).

Thursday, 13-Nov-03 18:01

Tom Coates lets us know that Secret Santa 2003 has started!

The idea is simple: you make yourself an Amazon wishlist, submit the URL to the Secret Santa site, and on the 10th of December you'll get someone else's wishlist - pick something and send it to them! Everybody gets a present! And since it's a global thing, you could get gifts from anywhere =).

Sounds cool; sign me up! However, what I really want is a sample of the local food; every country has their own weirdosities, and I like tasting those. Hum. Let's see if I can add a specific wish...

Thursday, 13-Nov-03 16:17

Ah, found this wonderful site that explains what Gloomy bear is.

Gloomy. The name itself is already wonderful: perky, yet filled with doom; cute, but strange, and it fills completely the Japanese fascination with the letter "y".

Gloomy rocks. I want more Gloomy.

Wednesday, 12-Nov-03 16:56

what kind of social software are you?

You remember when alt.lemur.frink.frink.frink and alt.2eggs.sausage.beans.tomatoes.2toast.largetea.cheerslove was distributed on reel-to-reel tape strapped to a carrier pigeon.


So what if I do? But I do sometimes feel like a vast number of voices flaming each other in my head, interleaved with large binary pictures of people's sexual organs at close contact, trolls fishing for attention, endless emacs-vs-vi-vs-pc-vs-mac-vs-amiga-vs-swedish chef-vs-tolkien -debates, and gigantic piles and piles of spam. So yeah, perhaps this test is more accurate than most :-).

(Via Matt Jones).

Wednesday, 12-Nov-03 14:51

Created a specific page for Trip to Japan 2003 for easy access. I have no doubt in mind that nobody else than me is interested in it; but at least it'll be now archived properly by Google and others.

Wednesday, 12-Nov-03 12:13

BBC News reports on plans to force all UK citizens to have ID cards, with biometric (such as iris and fingerprint) information in a national register.

This, while very worrying, is not the main issue. This one is:

Mr Blunkett claimed independent research showed eight out of 10 members of the public backed ID cards.

But his Lib Dem opposite number, Mark Oaten, suggested that 5,000 unfavourable consultation responses had been not been counted as they had been submitted through an anti-ID card website.


"We are not counting negative votes because they come from people who oppose our plan. Besides, they use the pesky internet, which - as we well know - is filled with pirates and child-porn dealers, so their votes cannot be counted."

What kind of a democracy is that? Just ignore the grassroots movements because it's convinient?

Tuesday, 11-Nov-03 16:21

"Terry asks if there are countries that block Google results. Their first answer: the United States. "The United States has the Digital Millenium Copyright Act [...] there are probably a handful of sights -- maybe a hundred web pages are blocked for that reason. [...] In France and Germany there are some rules against Nazi sites [...] a handful of sites are blocked."

Yup. The good thing is that Google is not forbidden to talk about what they block. The bad thing is that the blocks are there. And the scary thing is that they are needed in the first place.

(Also note the interesting rumors that Google has been sending spiders to IRC channels.)

Via the Google Weblog.

Tuesday, 11-Nov-03 12:24

The Smiley Toolkit allows you to configure and generate your own smileys. Via Universal Rule.

Tuesday, 11-Nov-03 10:18

Whee, now even iTunes knows how to ping this weblog with the currently playing song, thanks to a nifty piece of Applescript from Matthew A. Haughey. Now I have full integration from Windows (~WinAMP), Linux (XMMS) and Mac OS X (iTunes)!

MP3 and weblogs bridge the operating system gaps more powerfully than anything else :-).

Monday, 10-Nov-03 21:39
If they told you I'm mad, then they lied.
I'm odd, but it isn't compulsive.
I'm the triolet, bursting with pride;
If they told you I'm mad, then they lied.
No, it isn't obsessive. Now hide
All the spoons or I might get convulsive.
If they told you I'm mad then they lied.
I'm odd, but it isn't compulsive.

(Which poetry form are you? And of course, this all is again due to Merten, the man who tests himself more than your average mad scientist. And this all brought to you with a table-less layout :-).

Monday, 10-Nov-03 20:19

Fun things abound today. Apple very nicely sent me a copy of invoice to my Powerbook, so I can get now get the Panther at a reduced price. Yay!

I had a good, solid, 8-hour day at work, got things done, got home at a decent hour, and while I'm still generating snot and mucus at an accelerated rate, I'm generally feeling better.

Something extraordinarily weird also happened today, and I'm kinda... confused. Blogging about it is probably the dumbest thing I can do... So, what do you say to a wonderful lady you meet online, who suddenly turns out to be someone you once knew - and you fail to remember her?

Sunday, 09-Nov-03 13:11

Today, I threw a banana peel in the dishwasher, and nearly put my breakfast plates in the trashcan. I have no idea why; it just seemed to be the logical thing to do at the time - they both are, after all, things in which one can put other things.

I'm sure everyone else does this, too. I think there's even word for it, but I'll be darned if I remember it.

Todays enlightenment: Lately, many ISPs have been having serious email cloggage, and it's hard to tell when your emails are really working and when they are not. However, spam is the lifeline! As long as you are getting your regular dosage of spam, you know your email works! There are some more ideas on how to use spam positively on Joi Ito's Wiki.

Saturday, 08-Nov-03 12:10

The Hietaniemi Cemetery at an autumn dawn. It kinda looks South-European, doesn't it?. Unfortunately this picture does not do justice to all of the wonderful autumn colors, encircling this old chapel.

These places reminds us of those people who died during the War. While it was a long time ago, there still are old people who remember, and places like these help us to remember it too.

Friday, 07-Nov-03 18:53
Emaily ranty

I've been using '+' -addresses to register to different places. You know, my email address here is "". For random companies I am "". This has a couple of advantages:

  1. I can see if anyone has sold my contact information, even though they told me they wouldn't.
  2. It is rather easy to filter the incoming messages.
  3. It works transparently on most MTAs, no config required.
  4. It confuses most spambots - I can just trash all messages to "", because email harvesters in general do not understand the "+" -notation and just imagine that "" is really "" Yay!

However it does have some negative side effects as well. The most annoying are the moronic web masters and web page coders, who think it's really, really useful to check email addresses for typos. This wouldn't be so bad, except that they think that "+" is not a legal character in an email address. Well, guess what, it is. And now I can't renew my IEEE membership because the incredibly helpful system thinks I am a moron who cannot spell his email address...

Gah. These are exactly the kind of failures you don't want to see... I mean, I can stand my Mac crashing every now and then, I know how to prepare for those incidents. Cars break down sometimes, no worries.

But imagine a car which thinks that you cannot sit on the drivers seat because you are wearing the wrong pants? "Sorry, these pants are not compatible with the color of this car." Or an operating system which says that "your name cannot be Janne, since there is no such name in English language, and you have bought an UK operating system."

Ngh. Being annoyed and having a flu is not good for your health.

Friday, 07-Nov-03 10:06

Since everybody else is linking to the Meatrix, I should too. Good campaign, good thoughts.

On a more positive note, I feel almost like a complete human being this morning. I did have the most disturbing dream though: I kept dreaming that I was awake, and only the slightest oddities kept me wondering whether I am really asleep or not. No major things, just some really, really small things that were quite not there, so to say. For example, my room does not have a blue, glass flowerpot, but I kept trying to remember whether I actually had bought one. As often in dreams, remembering past things is difficult.

Thursday, 06-Nov-03 16:58

Brain still mush.

So, let's recap... I've got a flu, a dead aunt, I was invited yesterday to *four* different places, all of which I would've loved to have gone but couldn't because of the flu, George W. Bush continues to be a moron, I am missing an important and highly interesting seminar at work, I managed to scare off a potential new friend, my place is a complete mess, I managed to botch both of my tapings of Xena (don't ask), I'm likely to miss tomorrow's cooking class which was supposed to be really great, I've managed to misplace all of my thermometers, and I also seem to have thrown away the receipt for my Powerbook while feverish, so I may have to pay the full price for Panther.

Somebody, give me good news, quick. Anything goes.

Update (two minutes later): Well, that didn't take long. Way to go, Suvi!

Wednesday, 05-Nov-03 09:43

I just noticed that I can receive FOUR different WLAN networks in my apartment, including my own.


There really is little justification these days to hard-wire your apartment anyway. WLAN is too cheap and simple to set up...

Tuesday, 04-Nov-03 20:32

This is probably just some statistical fluke, but...

Almost every time I go abroad for at least a week, someone I know dies.

This time, it was my other grand-aunt. May she rest in peace.

(If you know me personally, you should start getting worried around New Year's.)

Tuesday, 04-Nov-03 12:46

Tired. Flu.

My throat feels like someone had been gleefully pumped a bottle brush up and down it during the night. My brain feels like a three pounds of slightly rancid tofu, and my shoulders feel as if I had been arm-wrestling a 300-pound gorilla AND its entire tribe.

What joy it is to be back in the dark and dull Helsinki, where we have now entered the "dead" season; a season between autumn and winter, during which the most interesting thing outside is the howling wind. It's dark (no snow yet, but Sun still sleeps most of the day), cold, wet, and all people look miserable.

Monday, 03-Nov-03 17:48
Some day, somewhere above Siberia

Don't know what time it is, and I only know where I am by the virtue of a smallish white plane on a green map that is shown on the displays. I know I probably should be sleeping, but my internal clock is still probably somewhere on Hawaii on vacation. I hope I get a postcard.

It turned out that Monday was actually a holiday in Japan. This meant that all traffic was on Sunday schedule, and thus we cut it very close getting to the plane... I always do that. Note to self: Always reserve four hours to travel to Narita.

Monday, 03-Nov-03 17:47
Sunday evening, during a lull in packing frenzy

The Faithful.
Whee, I got to watch a go professional match from the TV this morning! O Rissei Judan was taking on Yamashita Keigo in a 30 second/move television cup series. It's amazing how simple moves pros make, and how much they emphasize good shape in fast games.

Anyway, we finally went to an area unknown to me called Odaiba, which has apparently grown to be a big entertainment area in the past few years. You get there on a very sci-fi, driverless train traveling high above the Tokyo Bay, and then you see rows and rows of shopping malls, gaming malls (!) and amusement parks (with a complete WW2 bomber).

Our main target was the "Venus Fort", a shopping mall which has been designed to mimic 17th century Rome, and targeted at young women - including shops like Barbie clothes for adults (yes, really, for wearing). We ended up in a Jean-Paul Gaultier shop, where I saw a wallet which I simply had to get. Heli got a bag, and Erik got nearly a coat, but was saved by the fact that there were no proper sizes available.

The rest of the evening we spent in Hirajuku, which is filled with gorgeous stuff - stuff that would make any goth weep with joy. After the shops closed, we went to Shibuya for a quick bite. I - again - had to pay a visit to the statue of a dog that is right next to the Shibuya station. It is a popular meeting place, and the story is that this dog escorted his master every day to the train station as he left for work, and always came back in the evening to welcome his master back home. Then one day, the master died, but the dog would keep coming every evening to meet the train; every day it would come, until it died, to wait for his master who would never come back.

For some reason, seeing the statue and remembering this beautiful story always brings a tear to my eye. Bah, damned romantic me.

Monday, 03-Nov-03 17:46
Sunday, after the hardest day so far

Hydrogen was the cool thing in this picture. Honest.
Heli arrived early on Saturday morning by bus from Sendai. After we managed to wake Erik up four hours later, we hopped on a bus and left for the two-hour trip to Tokyo International Motor Show near Chiba.

The show is full of concept cars, pretty girls, normal cars, pretty girls, strange cars, pretty girls, cool motorcycles, and pretty girls. There were also some pretty girls displaying the warez, so to speak. I managed to fill two memory cards and use up two batteries of my digital camera...

Not entirely unsurprisingly, the biggest stands and the biggest crowds were drawn by the Japanese manufacturers. Especially Toyota's concept cars with many blinkenlichts were nearly impossible to get near to, but old hats like Ferrari and Lamborghini were doing pretty well, too. My personal favourites were the Jaguar stand (the best looking cars) and the Subaru stand (the best looking... aw, forget it).

Cometh evening, and my feet were hurting so bad, I could sometimes feel flashes of pain starting from the sole and going up to my buttocks.

Monday, 03-Nov-03 17:45
Friday (or to be exact, Saturday)

OK, let me repeat myself here: Imagine a bar. You know, your average theme bar where for example you are handcuffed at the entrance and "guards" serve drinks in miniskirts. Squeeze it down to your kitchen. Stack six of these on top of each other, connect with a stair case.

Put ten in a row.

Put ten rows in ten columns.

Now, imagine 50 blocks of those, packed tightly.

Decorate with blinkenlichts, populate with 200,000 drunken people.


It's Another Place.

Oh, by the way... I thought I was completely immune to shopping sprees, as it is really difficult for me to actually buy stuff. Not so.

In Harajuku (a place where the young people go hang out and do strange stuff) me and Erik walked by a Japanese toy shop. We just dropped in to see if there was anything interesting, and walked out with bags bulging with stuff; including things like extremely cute stuffed animals, "Gloomy" -bear strappu, puzzles and all sorts of other stuff we really don't want you to know about.

Then we hit the shopping streets, filled with so many cool clothes that even I felt my jaded heart to move. It was impossible to really move, since every shop looked interesting and we wanted to buy IT ALL! YES! STUFF! IT MUST BE MINE!

It was not a shopping spree. It was a shopping rampage. The combination of Akihabara and Harajuku is simply something nobody can resist. We stopped the rampage at Lamborghini Roppongi, which ... slightly exceeded our budget.

(I hear you ask: "What is Gloomy bear?" Well, Gloomy is a fluffy bear with big eyes who just simply likes to eat people and rip their guts off. But only in an adorable and cute sort of way, so it's okay. It also has rockets on its feet so it can fly.)

Thursday, 30-Oct-03 13:21
Wednesday evening, all electrified

Evening: So, after a quick stroll around Ginza, we walked through Kanda to Akihabara, and particularly its Electric Town. Later on, we were met by a fellow JSPWiki user, Murray, who was kindly took us to a all-you-can-eat shabu-shabu place - a place we would not have found in a million years. It really makes you wonder how the Tokyo-dwellers actually find these restaurants anyway: the competition must be fierce, and being on the 8th floor of some obscure building with six other restaurants makes standing out... difficult.

By the way: If you don't know what Akihabara is, let me paint a picture for you: Imagine the biggest electronic shop that you know. Now, take away all extra space, and imagine all the stuff in a room that's about the size of an average living room.

Then, put six on these on top of each other, and connect with a stair case.

Put ten of these in a row.

Put ten of those rows in columns.

Now, imagine 50 blocks of those, packed tightly with nary a room for a small cafe or a soba bar between them.

Decorate with the amount of blinkenlichts equivalent of New York during Christmas.

Populate with 200,000 people, coming and going, shouting advertisements, selling and buying.


It's The Place.

Wednesday, 29-Oct-03 07:33
Wednesday, about 1 am

The Japanese TV has not lost any of its allure. We just watched a program where four guys were stopping random pretty girls and giving them a pair of bikinis. In the evening, the girls arrived at the TV studio, and a game ensued, where the guys were trying to guess which bikinis the girls had chosen, while ogling at them unashamedly. Correct guesses were awarded with a view and a short talk with the girl (in the bikini, if course).

Most of the commercials are mind-boggling, too. Of course, drinking half a liter of sake does make the stuff more hilarious than it probably is, but... Japanese TV still beats any mind-expanding drugs.


Later: We are now sitting inside the architectural miracle called the Tokyo International Forum. Free ~WiFi, yay!

Wednesday, 29-Oct-03 07:31
Shinkansen train to Tokyo

We slept rather late this morning, and thus had time to visit only one area. We chose the Kinkaku-ji, aka the Golden Temple, and the nearby Zen Garden of ?. The Golden Temple is quite okay, and luckily we got in during a time when there weren't too many tourists. However, the Zen garden was a bit of a shocker: I recognized the place. It's really a very strange feeling to walk into a place you are certain you have never been to, and realize you have seen it before. And it wasn't just a phantom deja vu; in fact, I actually had seen the garden in a couple of movies. I think the last one was Stupeur et Tremblements the story of Amelie Nothcombe that I saw two months ago.

Nevertheless, the garden is a wonderful place. Even though there's a constant chatter and creak of the floorboards from the flow of tourists, there's something calming and soothing about the atmosphere. I could've spent hours upon hours there, just sitting. Not really even thinking, just letting the mind wander.

I wonder how difficult it would be to construct a rock garden of my own?

Wednesday, 29-Oct-03 07:27
Monday, sitting on the floor

After arrival, we grabbed something quick to eat (and even that quick turned out to be very good and left for an evening stroll to the Kodai-ji temple. It had been lit with amazing colors, and I managed to use almost all of my 128MB memory card, trying to grab fleeting photographs in the diminishing light. I got perhaps three good shots, and as an extra bonus, a nice picture of Mars next to an ancient temple.

Now, off to the city on bikes.


Around midnight: OK, I would claim that my feet are killing me, but apparently putting them in a nice kotatsu and sipping sake makes them forget such morbid thoughts. Now they are soaking in the warmth of the second most important Japanese invention to date.

Kyoto really is a good city for biking. Even though you couldn't travel too fast on them, and they steered like drunken camels, it's really easy to cover a lot of ground. Most of Kyoto's more interesting sights are on the edge of the city, which means that you can lose a lot of time traveling between them. And the city is mostly flat, except for the East side. Of course, we mostly went to there, since there's the Ginkaku-ji, the fabled Silver Temple. We first went to see the Shogun's Palace, built for Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1603.

I have to say that the Ginkaku-ji was a slight disappointment; the Shogun's house (with the nightingale floor!) and yesterday's light display with the garden were far more interesting.

We also accidentally met some other Finns talking loudly outside the Ginkaku-ji: "500 Yen!?! We're not paying that much money!" Someone in the family pointed out - quite correctly - that they had flown in 8000 km, and paid a handsome amount of moolah for the privilege as well, so it would be rather stupid to start skimping now. They finally entered, right after us, and their kid (the one that was not wearing running clothes, the standard Finnish attire for everything) started promptly poking and peeking where one is not really supposed to be poking and peeking.

We spoke mostly English with Erik after that, and tried to avoid our countrymen.

I also learned that my hand-eye-ear co-ordination requires an upgrade, as Erik repeatedly beat me in a "taiko"-game, where the aim is to bang on realistic-looking drums with sticks to the tunes of popular music. It was extraordinarily fun, though... The evening was finished in Ganko, an expensive looking restaurant that we had been tipped on. The bill of the evening was about 90 euros for two persons, but frankly, I have seldom eaten so well. I was already on the brink of becoming full, as the kimono-clad waitresses started carrying in more food. I now know how to eat tohu, bean milk that is sort of cooked at the table, and then eaten with vinegar. Um. The result is something resembling a cross between slightly boiled egg and tofu, and eating it requires some serious chopsticking skills.

Wednesday, 29-Oct-03 07:20
Sunday, after a very, very long flight on which I was convinced on the genius of those nice folks at Pixar.

The living room.
You know, when you get too relaxed you start to make mistakes. I took a bit of a laid back attitude to the whole Japan travel thingy, and it really paid back today...

First of all, we actually are on board a Shinkansen Nozomi train traveling towards Kyoto at 250km/h. However, not a single one of my dozen dictionaries or travel guides is with me; they are sitting nicely on the bookshelf at my living room where I left them. It is not a good idea to travel here without a basic dictionary or at least a kanji-to-any-human-readable-language translator.

It also took us three tries to get aboard the right plane in Helsinki. First, we tried to leave for some unknown destination, but luckily the flight personnel managed to grab and herd us back from the tube. After that, we stood for a long time in the queue to Amsterdam, until we realized that we were supposed to go to gate 26a, not 26.

After we arrived to Tokyo, I also realized I had forgotten at least one somewhat important paper with a relatively important address back home. However, I have utmost trust to the Japanese mentality of getting packages to their correct owners, no matter what. So I improvised on the address.

Oh well. At least "Finding Nemo" is a fully fledged airline movie: doesn't require too much intelligence, is fun to watch, and has some unforgettable characters. Dude.

Feels good to be back here.

Same Sunday, later on: We're now arrived at Hirota Guest House, which (as you can see) is a pretty nifty place for a measly sum of 7000 yen/night. Our walk here was interrupted by a neverending succession of people, holding some sort of a festival, dancing and blocking the traffic on a major street. Which was fun. We still have many hours of Sunday to go; we gotta go exploring!

(I think my internal clock just left me its resignation notice, citing consistent abuse.)

Saturday, 25-Oct-03 13:08
The Hat Is On The Move

Tokyo, here we come...

Friday, 24-Oct-03 19:58
Weekend Conversations

Todays absurd moment: I'm standing, minding my own business, on the tram stop, when an obviously drunken gentleman approaches me and makes this wonderful opening statement:

"<uncomprehensible> Do you wanna have your face bashed in immediately or now?"

Err. My old reflexes kick in and I slide back to a lower, defensive position. A friend of the eloquent speaker drags the man away, putting his arm over his shoulder and murmurs something I can't hear. They move further, surrounded by an invisible ring pushing everyone else at least three meters away.

The guy standing next to me comments:

"I would've protected you."

I stammer something resembling thanks in reply, kinda surprised at this sudden helpfulness.

"Yea, it's easier to block the punches from the side" he continues cheerily. "Just kick them with the knee to the stomach, that's what you gotta do to those types. They won't stop otherwise."

At this point, I'm pretty much speechless. He may have a point, but to sound so happy at the thought of getting involved in a fight and hurting another person; not to mention being so dismissive against those who are not doing so well... I felt angrier at my "helper" than the aggressor.

I was saved by an arriving tram, and all those wonderful personalities disappeared, hopefully never to be seen again.

Perhaps I should've asked him the same question: "<uncomprehensible> Do you wanna have your face bashed in immediately or now?"

Friday, 24-Oct-03 11:27
First snow

Whee! It's the slippery season again...

If only the Helsinki winters were like this all the time, but unfortunately soon it will be dark and grey for months.

Thursday, 23-Oct-03 16:20
Hate Longhorn

OK, Hell is really freezing over (Helsinki most certainly is): Apple does Windows software and Microsoft opens up Longhorn development.

I'm amazed: Microsoft is actually trying to do the right thing for a change. It took them a long time, but yeah, I think their move is probably for the best for all concerned parties. I for one, heartily welcome this idea. Go MS!

But I've lately realized I'm moving into the "unconcerned party" -list. I no longer really need Windows for anything, except occasionally at work, and even then, the good olde Windows 2000 is good enough.

I think that Longhorn's biggest challenge will be to keep up the public interest, and still be really, really good when it comes to the market. Because the sloth is late, and the competition is quickly catching up.

Thursday, 23-Oct-03 12:54
Philosophy test

I have this vague recollection that I've done this test before (in Finnish), but I seem to be unable to find the results. Anyhoo, here are the results of the Helsinkian Jury, translated into the most common language in the world (that is, bad English) by yours truly, ready to be added to the list of other dumb tests I've taken:

Three closest philosophers and match percentage:

  1. Kari Enqvist 79.0%
  2. Tuure Lehén 72.0%
  3. Machiavelli 71.0%

The person most disagreeing with you is Helena Petrovna Blavatsky 46.0%.

The following obscure Finnish opinion leaders agreed with you:

  1. Novelist Matti Mäkelä 78.0%
  2. MEP Esko Seppänen 76.0%
  3. Pop. artist Simo Frangen 74.0%

(Via Tira & Misu & The Third One)

Thursday, 23-Oct-03 00:20
Confessions of a switcher

OK, opinions so far on the Powerbook (after a few hours of tampering with it) from this Linux oldtimer:

  • This machine is simply beautiful. Even the packaging was aesthetically pleasing.
  • Setting up a WLAN connection turned out to be difficult; I simply couldn't make the Mac and my DLink base station to agree on a common WEP password. So I'm running a naked network now.
  • iTunes (and especially the radio feature) is a very well designed piece of software, and I hope the Windows version is equally good.
  • Built-in Bluetooth is a must.
  • The display is unfortunately not a very good one; my Sharp Actius has a far better display.
  • It is incredible how fast this machine wakes up from sleep.
  • I like Debian, and thus Fink is simply the coolest thing since... well. The ability to say "apt-get install cvs" and trivially install software is a geeks daydream.
  • The keyboard has keys in funny positions (where is the tilde?), and the touchpad is a tad too much to the right for my typing position: I tend to move my cursor randomly.
  • Safari 1.0 is a very good web browser. I usually always use Mozilla Firebird, but I think I might just live with Safari for a while.
  • Upgrading to OS 10.2.8 was the simplest OS upgrade ever. Way to go, Apple.

All in all, I'm liking it pretty much so far. I'll post some more impressions later on...

Update: OK, slightly more impressed now: I wanted to move from my WLAN connection to a local 100 Mbps Ethernet to copy all of my music on this computer. I plug the cable in and start to look for any kind of setting that would tell the Mac that it should be using now the Ethernet connection instead of the Airport. Can't find any with a quick look, so I decide to test it: and lo and behold, it automatically picked up the new connection, got a DHCP address and is now happily routing my LAN traffic through the faster wired network - without me ever telling it to!

Wednesday, 22-Oct-03 20:58
Game on, game off

Went to see the GameOn exhibit that's currently in Helsinki. It was good fun for a while to ogle at that old stuff (some of which I remember owning - and Parappa the Rapper is *still* the best game ever developed for PS2), but a sudden headache cut the evening short and forced me to return home.

Well, yesterday's high was properly matched by todays low. I don't recall having this bad a day at work for a long time: I am getting badly behind schedule, I am not even completely certain what I am supposed to be doing, and I have sincerely started to believe that teleconferences at 8 am should be marked with clear signs saying "DANGER. KEEP OFF."

I was somehow too messed up today even to enjoy my Powerbook, which arrived a few days earlier than expected. I was hoping that they would ship it late, and I would get it then with 10.3 (out on Friday), but no can do.

Oh well. Two days to go, everything is still messed up, and I think I'm getting a flu.

Wednesday, 22-Oct-03 09:35
Yle gets it

The Finnish Broadcasting Company has started to offer RSS feeds of their daily programming schedule. You can now choose between todays sports programming, selected picks, or upcoming movies.

Yay! Progress!

All I now need to do is to write a simple filter that reads the streams and picks my interests, and reformats the feed for me... A TV programming aggregator! :-)

Wednesday, 22-Oct-03 00:06
We wish to retract the previous article...

Um. Strike out the "sad" from the geek part and replace with "happy". And thanks to whoever who arranged the clear night and the aurora borealis. I owe you one, mate.

Anyway: I got bitten today by a "misgoogle": Someone approached me asking if this represents in any way my true feelings towards women. Well, duh, no, it's a roleplaying game character. Yes, I did write it, but it is a character, like in a play... I never really realized before how much old stuff there's about me in the web that might be misinterpreted as something that I really am not. And some stuff that's not about me, but that could be seen as being about me. And some stuff that's really about me, but... Well, you get the picture.

Googling your new acquaintances can be a real asset, yes, but when you get hit by a misgoogle... There's no end to potential confusion. Russell tells us how his weblog helped him to get a job, and some people have lost their job due to weblogs. I'm pretty sure some of us have gained friends through weblogs, and some of us have lost them... The internet is a harsh place to be, and impression management strategy is difficult.

And it's not just what you have on the web now: Through Google groups it's possible to find a lot of old articles you wrote in a heat of a moment, and are now saved for all posterity. Also, the Internet archive stores all web pages it can find for as long as there's still an electron flowing through the power lines.

It has become harder and harder to lie, and our society can't really handle lies anymore: everything has become too easy to check. We all do want to lie occasionally, and sometimes consistently, but the local village rumor mills have been replaced by Google and public institutions. Perhaps this is good for your privacy, perhaps it's not, who knows.

But I don't know if that's really a symptom of something deeper, or is it just the process of natural adjustment to new technology until we figure out how to deal with the issues. I hope and believe it's the latter.

Tuesday, 21-Oct-03 17:50

I have been informed that somewhere in this city there's a person whom I do not know, but who wants to know what kind of graphics hardware do I have at home, and for some reason considers this information paramount to my (possible) future social life.

Dear geek, it is very sad to ask that question in that context.

It is even more sad to answer it.

And NOBODY beats me when it comes to being a sad geek.

It is an ELSA Gladiac 920 ~GeForce 3.

Monday, 20-Oct-03 23:21

You know the feeling.

It starts from the pit of your stomach, as a queasy kind of feeling. It slowly, innocuously moves upwards, and wraps its invisible straps around your chest while you're not looking. It sends its tendrils to your fingers, which start trembling ever so slightly. Then it lodges itself firmly in your throat, and tightens the straps.

"Why am I this nervous? Why do I worry?" you ask yourself, trying to rationalize your fear, attempting to sooth your nerves, but still knowing that when tomorrow cometh, you will be even more nervous.

Panic: Because some meetings just are more important than others.

Monday, 20-Oct-03 12:26
Share the guilt gives you the ability to confess anonymously whatever is nagging you. Just in case you want something off your chest.

Sunday, 19-Oct-03 20:24

After a couple of hours of quick coding, there's now a Weblog Archive plugin for JSPWiki, proudly presented on the right-hand menu. Now you can easily read all of my older ramblings as well. If you are really, really bored, that is.

Sunday, 19-Oct-03 03:46

While traveling to have our irregular gaming night (just finished, thankyouverymuch, I am very happy that that part of the campaign is now over), we stopped at a flower shop to get some nice green thingies for the hosts when I saw this utterly cute little Venus Flytrap. Had to buy it, of course. Let's see how my fruit flies like *that*!

(Some people like to blog about their cats - indeed, cat pictures can be called the primus motor of the blogosphere - but I choose plants. Make of it what you will.)

Friday, 17-Oct-03 23:59
Not so extraordinary, and hardly gentlemen either

Went to see LXG, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

Comic good.

Movie bad. Very bad.

Rarely do I get the urge to leave the theatre during the movie. This time, right after about 45 minutes into the film, the small devil started to whisper in my ear: "You know, you are sitting quite close to the aisle. You could leave with little trouble to others. You could still go home and watch Y tu mamá también which you just picked up from a sale..." And if I weren't so darned lazy, I probably would've left.

I'll review the movie and rave lunatically about its thorough lack of personality, coherence, and general goodness, if someone asks for it. I'm too tired now. And I don't know whether the movie is even worth a review. DisapPOINTed, as Kevin Kline says in A Fish Called Wanda.

Friday, 17-Oct-03 11:00
Which greek god are you?

Wwww... what do you mean - Athena? But on Xena, she's always such a bitch!

Though she does have that cool army of female soldiers that never die...

(Via too many blogs.)

Thursday, 16-Oct-03 22:59
And now for a word for the Finnish blogosphere: Puhutaanpa välillä suomeksikin, ettei ihan sentään tarvitse jokaisen lukijan koko ajan päätään raapia: Tira ja Mikki, tulkaa takaisin. Me kaipaamme teitä ja kirjoituksianne! Henri: Niihin kuviin ei kyllä kannattaisi kovin kallista kameraa käyttää: menee kuitenkin linssi rikki. Sitäpaitsi, mistä löytyisi sokea valokuvaaja? Mindy: Jees! Way to go girl! :-)

Joichi Ito introduced the terms m-time and p-time from Edward Hall. "P-time (polychronic) systems are characterized by several things happening at once."

I've recently noticed the same thing, too. I spend far less time on email and other linear, structured things, and suddenly I've become multi-connected, switching tasks at a very fast rate. You know, while the software is compiling, you check IRC, and RecentChanges, and a couple of blogs... But this is something I've been doing a long time anyway, and I've learned to be pretty adept at multitasking. No biggie. I've always done random things as well, with little connection to my actual life.

But oddly enough, lately I've felt like my social relationships are in p-time as well: I know a lot of people, and a lot of those people don't really know each other. So I try to balance between multiple, different social groups (and apologies to everyone whom I have been neglecting)... Someone called my blog "disjointed", that you really can't get a coherent picture of my life or what I do just by looking at it. But then again, I feel disjointed, too. It's like I am this vast hypermedia document that has links everywhere. Some you click more often, some you click less often. But they all lead to different places, and many of those documents don't know of their linkage.

I have a "hyperlife".

Perhaps it's a typical phenomenon[1] for people who lead an active online life. Or perhaps I'm just a freak.

[#1]: "Phenomena - Do do, do-do-do - Phenomena - Do do, do-do-do". Ever since have I been in love with Sandra Bullock. And if you know *this* obscure reference, I congratulate you for being a true geek.
Wednesday, 15-Oct-03 15:58
A pint of <deleted>

"We are sorry that you cannot visit, but the laws of your country do not allow you to view our site."


(via Another blogging Janne.)

Wednesday, 15-Oct-03 12:21

I've been watching Boomtown on and off; it seemed like a decent series with some potential so I wanted to give it a chance. Yesterday's episode, "Insured by Smith & Wesson", blew the bank. It first built up the tension a bit, and just when you thought you got the episode figured out, they spun it in a completely strange direction, and then, just when you got over that shock, they spun it in a different direction. And this all told in a completely disjointed, non-linear fashion, that makes fast-forwarding through an episode impossible.

What? A TV series that actually relies on the intelligence of its viewers, and one that can still catch me completely unawares after watching Babylon 5, the one that introduced the concept of WHAM?

I'm hooked.

Wednesday, 15-Oct-03 11:15
Public, private, secret

No, I am not talking about Java access modifiers, but about this wonderful article from Danny O'Brien, who explains why the notion of privacy is bound to disappear from the online world. He discerns the notion of "public", "private" and "secret", and continues to note that:

On the net, you have public, or you have secrets. The private intermediate sphere, with its careful buffering. is shattered. E-mails are forwarded verbatim. IRC transcripts, with throwaway comments, are preserved forever. You talk to your friends online, you talk to the world.

This is why, incidentally, why people hate blogs so much. My God, people say, how can Livejournallers be so self-obsessed? Oh, Christ, is Xeni talking about LA art again? Why won't they all shut up?

One thing that Danny does not discuss about is that on-line, it is sometimes difficult (especially if you arrive to a site through Google) to discern what discussion is current and what is not. Anyone can come and read about things I've done or thought that I would not share with a new, recently acquired friend. This turns the notion of private space on its head... So permalinks could be considered harmful in that sense as well.

Yes, this weblog is my private space. No, it's not a secret. But it's not really meant to be public either. It just happens to be public. It will be a long, hard ride before we learn what can be considered private in a transparent society.

Very, very good and thought-provoking reading. (And it's all, oddly enough, thanks to Andrew Orlowski, the blog-hating reporter of The Register, who was very miffed about the FOO camp.)

Tuesday, 14-Oct-03 18:37
JSPWiki joins Debian

Yup. Just got the note from Killer, the man who has been valiantly maintaining the .deb packages.


JSPWiki will be available as a part of the Debian GNU/Linux distribution.

Just say "apt-get install jspwiki". The easiest installation in the world... It should be available in the "unstable" section within a week or so. I've been using Debian for years, and now I can install JSPWiki as easily as anything else I use... Err. Except that I have to bitch to myself about all the bugs.

(Can I just state, for the record, how incredibly cool this is? Woo-hoo! /me dances happily.)

Tuesday, 14-Oct-03 17:43
Ego Stroking and Geek Envy

Whee, Michael compares JSPWiki to SnipSnap. SnipSnap is one of my favourite wiki engines, outside of JSPWiki, of course. It's actually being developed by three people who are - or at least were at some point - paid to do it by the German government or something, so to get a (quick) review with so many "yes"-ses is certainly uplifting.

I'm pretty sure we can address some of those concerns quite soon =). At least comments and customizable markup (through WikiFilters) are already in CVS.

The thing that I really like about ~SnipSnap is the fact that their setup time is wonderfully fast, since they include a HTTP server...

(Via Erik, the überlinker)

Tuesday, 14-Oct-03 17:07
"Without the olives"

Today, for the first time in my life I went to a cafe and ordered "the usual, please", and got what I wanted.

I think someone should write a list of these small milestones. That way I could track my progress towards middle-agedness. You know, like a project.

Why? So that I could miss the deadline...

Monday, 13-Oct-03 18:09
Blog Babes

So, you take a bunch of naked or semi-naked, beautiful Italian women, and make them blog? I demand naked pictures of my fellow Finnish bloggers, too.

Somehow I think that meme won't stick.

(Via Don Park.)

Monday, 13-Oct-03 17:37

I've been today called "down-to-earth rational and whacked out at the same time".

Yup. That's me.

(I wonder whether there's a medical name for it?)

Monday, 13-Oct-03 14:44
Back for the future
The past tempts us, the present confuses us, and the future frightens us. And our lives slip away, moment by moment, lost in that vast terrible inbetween.
-- Centauri Emperor and Sheridan in Babylon 5: "The Coming of Shadows"

On Sunday, I woke up at ten at the sound of the door going as the last guest from the evening left. I grabbed a painkiller and crashed back in bed. The rest of the day was spent in a comfortable numbness, watching classic 80s dance movies like Flashdance.

The movies got me into a nostalgic mood, "pining for my lost youth", and I spent a while reminiscing and thinking how my life was 15 years ago. Unfortunately the pile of dishes back home turned the nostalgia into a strange mixture of loathing, nostalgia, and self-pity. (Note to self: don't offer so much booze to your friends that they forget to offer to do the dishes.) I seasoned the pot with radio station "Sputnik" that plays Russian dance-pop to truck drivers traveling in Southern Finland, in order gain that final slice of absurdity. Suddenly, I gained a whole new insight into the wise words above...

Who needs mind-expanding drugs anyway? You can just think yourself into an altered state.

The only problem is that you get a moral hangover instead of a physical one. It's too easy to do stupid things.

Sunday, 12-Oct-03 03:24
Drunken blogging

Yup. Today (or yesterday, to be exact), I've mostly been concerned cooking to a bunch of good friends. Cooking Japanese style is fun, though it tends to take a surprising amount of time. And I am like *so* disappointed at the fact that it was impossible to find good, raw tuna anywhere in Helsinki. Boo hiss.

It is amazing how many times you have to press Backspace when you write a blog entry at this hour.

O piuöld of fource sot press backspace at all, but that text might not be so read bale after all. You know, when your are drunk, yot te d to miss the keusys sometjims.

Friday, 10-Oct-03 17:53
Support Wikipedia

Donate to Wikipedia, says Infoanarchy. Yes, sir! Right away, sir!

Wikipedia is a prime example about what a dedicated community armed with wiki technology can do. Other examples are Sensei's Library, and, which have both grown to be community hubs and key resources for go players.

It seems that wikis have really found their place in three areas, when looking at lists of Wikis, and the JSPWiki:WikiSites:

  1. Community support sites
  2. Project support (such as the CocoonWiki)
  3. Intranets

But from all this it is clear that a wiki needs a clearly defined purpose and a dedicated user community. Otherwise it will wither and die under the pressure from the lack of frequent gardening.

Friday, 10-Oct-03 16:08
FCC Attempts Sanity, Koreans Strike Back
Friday, 10-Oct-03 15:05
A coctail party of traffic signs

I feel like a paparazzi...

Friday, 10-Oct-03 00:11
Wiki and FOAF

This is the kinda stuff I think and do when I am tired:

You know, Wiki pages are kinda like friends to each other, since they, you know, link to each other. And kinda like... FOAF is somehow supposed to link friends together with a machine-readable description, so... why not combine these two? And add a REST-style API to the whole thing should make it very stylish.

After thirty minutes of hacking I am proud to present WikiFOAF that just returns descriptions of WikiPages from as if they were people. Now you can use the FOAF explorer to FOAF JSPWiki! If you want to have the FOAF of a specific page, just add the parameter "page=<name of the page>", like

And no, I have no idea why anyone would want to have a FOAF description of a WikiPage. I just wanted to do it. I guess this just means that there's now a way to ask which pages a WikiPage links to in a completely hype-compliant way without a specific API :-).

/me sits down, waiting for the inevitable cries of horror from FOAF folks. "It's a PERSON description language, not a DOCUMENT description language!"

Thursday, 09-Oct-03 23:05
Switch and techno-lust

A man opens the door and sighs. He grabs the piles and piles of paper lying on the floor: A magazine subscription, a two-day old newspaper he will never read, some junk mail, a letter or two from the bank - and last, a lone, white letter on which it stands with green, innocent letters: "Taxation Office".

That letter is saved last. It lies there, on the table, calling, waiting for an opportune moment. The man checks his email, does his laundry, makes some phone calls, watches a program on the TV. Waiting, considering.

Finally, there is no choice anymore. Reality must be faced eventually, however seductive the dream worlds are. The man reaches for the letter and slowly, methodically rips it open, right on the perforated line. His life in numbers rolls before his eyes.

"Your income... blaablaa"

"Your taxes... blaablaa"

"Tax Return/Supplemental Tax..."

The man stares at the figure for a moment. Then he calmly removes himself from the couch and walks to his computer. He enters the URL, and with trembling hands, orders himself a brand new 12" Apple Powerbook...

I really, really, really don't want to re-install Windows ever again.

Let's see how this union works out.

Thursday, 09-Oct-03 22:14
Spam me harder

OK, so Jeremy wants to do what Visa and other Finns did for free porn, but with penis enlargement.

I'm all for this. Let's all Googlefuck! Join in, link to Jeremy! Show the power of bloggers!

Cheap Viagra, Vicodin, Xanax, Prescription Drugs, and Penis Enlargement Pills!!!

You know you want 'em CHEAP, right?!?!
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(If that ain't butt-ugly, nothing is :-). Wouldn't it be cool if I started advertisements like these running on a regular basis? Can you look at it for more than five seconds without getting a headache?

Thursday, 09-Oct-03 00:00
Books... Gotta love them.

I could spend weeks here.

Today I got to visit to the "Borgå Gymnasium" - the Porvoo High School, where they have one of the oldest libraries in Finland. A wonderful place: I got to handle a 350 year old, 13 kg Bible - that's what I call a book!

A manuscript by some guy called Benjamin Franklin.
There were a couple of interesting rarities, such as original copies of the first ever books published in Finnish from 1548 (The New Testament). And, of course, some lesser known authors... :-)

Wednesday, 08-Oct-03 13:12
Not my kinda place

You know, every time I go to the Haikko mansion the trip is a catastrophy.

Every single fucking time.

The odd thing is that there is no real reason for things to go wrong here: it's in a beautiful spot, the mansion itself is nice, the food is not bad, the rooms are well equipped, and there's a nice spa, but still... The whole place is very lackluster: there's really nothing to see, the food is something you remember afterwards, the air conditioning is just noisy enough to bother me, and the architecture of the spa building reminds me of a wart on a 17-year old beauty queen's face: it kinda sticks out.

Even the internet connection here exemplifies this weird duality: there's a WLAN network (progress!), but it costs 21€/24 hours (OUCH!). They also have free tea... but it's Lipton. They've got free beer... but it's Lapin Kulta (a relatively crappy lager, which just happens to be very popular.)

Yeah. This is not the place for me. I hope todays troubles were the last ones on this trip, but I doubt it. This place and me form some sort of a disaster magnet, and my problems have now a good chance to escalate from a "very irritating, but I can tolerate this" -status to "OMG, I will never work in this country again."

Too bad I don't always get the choice not to go.

Update: I even posted this on the wrong weblog yesterday. Wow. There's just no end to my troubles.

Tuesday, 07-Oct-03 20:21

There's a story behind this, but you wouldn't believe it.

Monday, 06-Oct-03 18:31

I built myself a quick FOAF description. It ain't much yet, but it's here. FOAF looks like a cool idea; let's see if it's going anywhere.

Monday, 06-Oct-03 12:12
Technorati hits 1 million mark tells us dsifry:

Today is an auspicious day, Technorati is now tracking over one million weblogs. We hit 100,000 back on March 5, and 200,000 on April. We hit the 400,000 mark on June 21. Technorati is currently tracking about 7,000 new weblogs per day, which means that a new weblog is being created approximately every 12 seconds. And I know we're not catching them all.

(Via Halley's Comment.)

Of course, just in case webloggers feel too smug about themselves, Andrew Orlowski predicts that soon most of them will be dead:

The "blogosphere" will number ten million souls by the end of 2004, but almost all of them will be dead.
Perseus finds that the fad is most popular amongst teenage girls. More than half of the weblogs surveyed are run by teenagers and 91.1 per cent are under 30. "Blogging is many things, yet the typical blog is written by a teenage girl who uses it twice a month to update her friends and classmates on happenings in her life," the report notes.

Actually, I wouldn't wonder at all if most of the weblogs were dead next year. IMY (In My Experience) most hobbies that require active participation have a 90% loss rate at about one year, so I would give any blog about a 10% chance to survive a year.

But out of 10 million weblogs, having 1 million active weblogs with their own dedicated audiences is a very large amount of people. And that means business and visibility for weblogs. The other thing to remember is that while writing to weblogs may not be everyone's hobby - reading them surely will be. The top list bloggers will continue to gain readership, as they still are the opinion makers, movers, and shakers of their respective areas.

We ain't seen the last of the blogs yet: there are many, many people around the world baking their noodles right now, striving to find new ways to utilize blogs. Some of them are going to hit gold.

Sunday, 05-Oct-03 18:24

Thanks to Merten I now know that my Lipson-Shiu type is ICIE: (Torturer) A sadistic type who, rather than building an evil empire (though that may be a fringe benefit), devotes their time and considerable talents to making the world as unpleasant as possible. Often found in charge of human resources or very very large software companies.

Nice. You know, it kinda fits with my earlier Vlad the Impaler -result...

(Reminder to self: stop making these dumb tests. Now, if I only could find myself...)

Sunday, 05-Oct-03 18:13
Lazy Sunday afternoon

Lazy, indeed. Can't seem to be able to get much done - I am exhausted after last week's dose of workaholicness.

I did manage to actually buy the tickets to Japan yesterday though, so I'm definitely going now. Apparently we'll be spending the two first days in Kyoto, and then the rest in Tokyo. Now we'll just need to figure out a place to stay in Kyoto; Tokyo is already ok. I would really, really like to try a traditional Japanese ryōkan, but the budget might be out of my league (40,000¥/night is a bit too much :-).

Other than dreaming about a hot furō -bathtub (with a view), I've cooked, cleaned and in general done everything except the things that I am supposed to do. Like patching a kiloton of bugs in JSPWiki. I'm a bit too tired to think analytically right now...

You know, being an open source developer is not easy. Once you release your code to the public, it becomes apparent that the better your program is, the more you have to work for it. A good program is needed and used by many, and all those people want to pull you into different directions... If I were a writer, once a book is finished, I could just drop it and move to the next one, but with software there is no closure. There's always a little thing that can be tweaked, or a feature to be added, or a bug to be fixed.

I wonder if I should start having release parties, like the big software houses do?

Friday, 03-Oct-03 19:02
Conspiracy theorists, ahoy

Disquieting experience of the day: Accidentally spotting your own name on a lone A4 printout of a blog post, forgotten in the office printer tray.

Who printed it? Why? Why did he never fetch it? What does he know?

Friday, 03-Oct-03 15:48
Licenses, schmizenses

Today's DigiToday reports (in Finnish, sorry, I'll try to make a recap here) that the Finnish High Court has decreed that the right of first sale applies to mass-market computer software, even though the software license claims otherwise. So yeah, once you buy that copy of Windows, you may legally sell it onwards.

Just as it should be. You buy it from the shop, you don't license it.

KKO katsoi, että laajaan levitykseen tarkoitettujen tietokoneohjelmien kaupassa oli tosiasiallisesti kyse ohjelman lopullisesta luovutuksesta.

Yrittäjä oli hankkinut ohjelmat kertakorvausta vastaan, eikä niiden käyttöoikeutta ollut ajallisesti rajoitettu. Ohjelmistoyhtiöt eivät voineet yksipuolisesti rajoittaa ohjelmien kauppaa ja säilyttää itsellään määräysvaltaa yksittäiseen tietokoneohjelman kappaleeseen ja sen edelleen levittämiseen.

Roughly translated: The High Court decreed that sale of mass market software constitutes a final transfer. The entrepreneur had purchased the software for a set amount of money, and the licenses were not time-limited. Software companies cannot unilaterally limit further sales and maintain control over a single instance of a computer program and its further distribution.

Of course, this means that from now on, the yearly licensing model might just arrive in the consumer market as well... :-/

(The rest of the story? A crook got nailed for selling illegal copies of some unspecified software and was slammed with our equivalent of DMCA, copyright and trademark laws, and was also charged with license breach. The guy was only convicted of copyright violation for falsifying the license documents, fraud, forgery, and a violation of marketing laws and free trade laws. The license breach didn't stick, which spells good news for the rest of us.)

Wednesday, 01-Oct-03 14:47
Traveltraveltravel, nicenicenice

OK, I'm breaking my "if you want something to happen, don't tell about it in advance" -principle and the "if you are going traveling don't announce it on the public internet, you idiot" -principle:

I'll be in Tokyo/Kyoto area, leaving on 25.10 and returning on 3.11. I look forward to some shopping :-).

I'll also take part in the London Open Go tournament in (duh) London, UK, during 27.12.2003 - 4.1.2004. Holiday sales shopping should be in full speed then: can't wait to be elbowed by an overzealous British lady diving for something I don't want, but happen to be in the way of.

If there are any of my readers (fat chance, except for the not-so-mysterious-anymore "Silakka" :-), or JSPWiki users are out there, drop me a note and we'll have a beer or something.

(These are forced vacations: a lot of my hard-earned frequent flyer points are expiring, unless I use them for something. Oh well. I am not really complaining :-)

(And to the ladies at Tiramisu: I listen to almost everything you list. So yeah, I'm one of those people whose existence you doubt :-). Just as well: my English accent has been described as a mix of a drunken Aussie and Santa Claus. So I'm half alcoholic and half fairy tale.)

Wednesday, 01-Oct-03 00:26
The way we're gonna go

Forget terrorists. Forget aliens. Forget nuclear war. Forget big rocks falling from the sky.

We're gonna be killed by high-school students, eager to show off for science fairs:

Then there was the girl who concluded that she could modify the e.coli bacterium to make it more antibiotic-resistant. She had had access to a university biology lab, where the grad students had helped her run the necessary equipment.

I asked this student why she would even want to succeed at this goal, given that we all carry that particular bacterium in our gut. She said she just wanted to know. Okay, fair enough. I asked her if she was aware that the field of biology had refused to do that exact experiment for fear that the modified bacterium would escape into the wild and endanger us all. No, she wasn't aware of that.

When I asked her what she did with the resulting genetically modified e.coli, she replied, "Well, I knew that the e.coli colonies would be kind of dangerous, so I disposed of them by mailing them to another lab." That beats dumping the stuff down the train, but it's also yet another reason not to be a postal worker.

--Bob Colwell, p.15, April 2003 issue of Computer
Tuesday, 30-Sep-03 20:04

Had a very short discussion today with Russell Beattie, which consisted mostly of the words "hello", "woo-hoo", "can you hear me" and "it works". Nothing to write home about (or to blog about, certainly).

Except that we were doing it on 3650s over a GPRS connection, using Buzz2Talk. It's bloody expensive (but at least the cost is the same anywhere in the world :-), a pain in the ass to set up, unreliable, slow, unintuitive, but cool as hell - though in a way only a geek can really appreciate.

Read more from Russ's Notebook, and try it out. My # is 66511, if you want to try and call me.

/me gets warm technogeek-fuzzies :-).

Tuesday, 30-Sep-03 17:13
OK, worried now

(Via: Dan Gillmor, and #joiito.)

Monday, 29-Sep-03 18:45
The IMDB-fight

A quote from a discussion today on IRC:

18:28 <@Ecyrd> But I am no
18:29 <@Ecyrd> Hm. Tostahan voisi keksiä pelin...
18:29 <@Fallafel> Ecyrd,
18:29 <@Ecyrd> I am afraid you are
18:30 <@Fallafel> was that truly ?
18:30 <@kijoe> sieltähän alkaa boonus oujee
18:30 <@Ecyrd>
18:31 <@Fallafel>
18:31 <@Ecyrd>
18:32 <@Fallafel>
18:32 <@Fallafel>
18:32 <@Ecyrd>
18:32 <@kijoe> rauhoittukaapas ny
18:33 <@Ecyrd>
18:33 <@Fallafel> Ecyrd,
18:34 <@Fallafel> no joo, tää ei ole oikein ihmisystävällinen tapa jutella :)
18:34 <@Ecyrd>
18:34 <@Fallafel>
18:34 < Gardan> imdb:n vois melkeen norettaa
18:34 <@Fallafel>
18:35 <@kijoe> fallan ja ecyn vois vaikka potkaista ;)
18:35 <@Ecyrd>
18:35 < Gardan> nii .. 4-5 ekaa oli vielä hauskavitsi
18:35 <@Fallafel>
18:36 <@kijoe> /kick fallafel
18:36 <@Fallafel> hähähä
18:36 <@Fallafel> ok, nyt lopetan
18:36 <@Ecyrd>
18:36 <@Ecyrd> Mäkin lopetan tähän =)

I call this "the IMDB-fight". Rules are simple:

  • Any sentence must contain at least one reference to the IMDB.
  • No sentence may contain over five words that are not references to IMDB.
  • The first person to take over a minute to respond on his turn loses, or responds in a way that is deemed by the other players not to be a sensible answer. (Or the one that is kicked off the channel first.)
Monday, 29-Sep-03 00:14

I accidentally killed my RSS feed during yesterday's software update. Sorry about that.

I used up all of my productivity today by first having a frenzied coding session in the morning, and then going to a cooking class (Japanese, of course. Yum.) By the evening I was in a completely unproductive state (but with a full stomach, mind you), and proved again the old axiom of "GMs being the worst players" during our role-playing session. There was an atmosphere of incoherence rarely seen, even in our games... :-) As an example:

Val (a temperamental lady) has just punched Richie in a surprising move.

Lucas (my character, temporarily turned into a dog and has thus a bit of a difficult expressing himself) asks Ritchie: "Rrough? Bite?"

Poor Ritchie hears this wrong and replies: "Yeah" and nods. The player (and thus, the character) actually thought I said "Alright?"

So, Lucas goes and attempts to take a big bite out of Val's leg (who was actually earlier on responsible for the loss of Lucas's left leg). Much chaos ensues.

Sunday, 28-Sep-03 02:14
Movie culture, Part II

The final movie of the Love and Anarchy 2003: Interstella 5555, which basically consists of four animated music videos of Daft Punk, which have been continued into an hour-long film. There's no dialogue at all in the film: the story is told through images and music - and surprisingly, it works. It's a bit uneven at times, and the music is a bit repetitive at times, but yeah: the story got me captivated and held me in its grip through to the end.

On a separate note, it seems that the 50,000 visit mark on this blog (and Merten's as well) is very near: about 650 to go, and at the current rate of 350 visits/day it should be broken in about two days. This is not counting those who read my blog directly through the RSS feed, which seems to comprise around ~50 people.

Who are you people?

Spambots hunting for addresses? Yuppies trying to find pictures of ugly people to point fingers and laugh at in a house party while drinking imported cider? Gorgeous young women who are desperately in love with me but do not dare to confess it? Geeks who sit at home on Saturday evening, coding open source in a desperate battle to score some more whuffie? Bored office workers clicking furiously with both hands in a vain attempt to find the end of the Internet? Friends? Foes? Friends-who-are-really-foes? Foes who just pretend to be friends-who-are-really-foes to protect me from the truth that everyone else is already possessed by aliens and that I am just a part of a reference group for scientific experiments?

Saturday, 27-Sep-03 22:33
Movie culture?

With my usual impeccable timing, I finally went to see the Future of Cinema-exhibition in Kiasma. Impeccable, because it's only open until tomorrow... Anyway, there were a couple of very nice pieces there (like the Alpha Wolf, where you can interact with beautifully animated wolves using sounds), but mostly I was put down by the lack of invention. You see, I used to dabble in 3D graphics, animation, synthetic characters, display systems, and multimedia while doing my thesis at the university, and frankly, I was amazed to see how ... ordinary the exhibits were.

Hey computer artists, you have these incredibly wonderful and powerful tools: learn to use them, will you? Make us laugh, weep, or ponder on deep things. Make us love you or hate you, I don't care. Just try to find some new ideas, ok? The movie and game industry are producing stuff that uses the media in far more inventive manners, and they are treating the computers as tools; they're constrained by budgets and schedules and are not really willing to do art for arts sake.

Or perhaps I've understood the whole thing wrong and the point of art is not exploration and expression? I'm just an engineer; I might well do just that, you know.

Saturday, 27-Sep-03 12:25
JSPWiki v2.2 goes alpha!

OK, so I've bit the bullet and made a first alpha release of the upcoming JSPWiki v2.2. It is a huge change with a large number of new features. Let's hope that in the future it won't take as long between releases... But it is now out there, ready to be tested by the screaming hordes. Again, don't use it in a production environment, because it will change.

I also release 2.0.52-stable for those who just need something they can actually trust to some degree...

Friday, 26-Sep-03 12:47

No, I am not drunk, but this pic still seriously hurts my eyes.

In the spirit of Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash, and the movies that I've seen this week, I wonder what kind of effects we could really do to people with pictures alone.

(Via Joi Ito)

Thursday, 25-Sep-03 23:47
Single life

I have not yet decided whether it's an advantage or a disadvantage of the single life to be able to come back home freely, at any time you like, to the sweet smell of the garbage bag you forgot to take out as you left for a two-day business trip.

Todays movie: Happiness of the Katakuris from Takashi Miike, which opens with an sequence where a woman finds an alien in her soup bowl, and then the said alien falls in love with her tonsils, ripping them out and flying away through the window only to be found by a crow, which eats the alien, and gets then consumed by a stuffed toy with a zipper for mouth.

And that's just the first 60 seconds. After that, it gets confusing.

This musical even contains a karaoke sequence, where the audience can join in on the song. I spent the last 30 minutes of the movie screaming, hoping it would stop.

However, the next movie, The Coast Guard from Kim Ki-Duk, a Korean director who is rapidly becoming one of my all-time favourites, does not disappoint again. It contains a couple of nice "Kim Ki-Duk moments" - one with barbed wire - and has the beauty of a Lamborghini and a Ferrari colliding in slow motion.

I still wonder what's the deal with the animals though...

Thursday, 25-Sep-03 00:02
It felt like a good idea at the time
  • Slept badly the past couple of nights? Check
  • All-day meeting? Check
  • Feeling tired? Check
  • Feeling relaxed after sauna? Check
  • All drunk after sauna? Check
  • Conference deadline coming up today? Check
  • Had no ideas until now? Check
  • Have a really good idea now? Check
  • Take 20 minutes to write a deep proposal? Check
  • Submit proposal? Check
  • Feel bad in the morning? To be decided
Wednesday, 24-Sep-03 07:33

Ok, so I've been having these really strange flashbacks to Australia for the past couple of days, and who do I run into this morning? My boss from the time I was working there.

Maybe my subconscious is trying to tell me something...

Monday, 22-Sep-03 23:21

My only film today, a most delightful movie, Kukushka tells the story of three stranded people in Lapland during World War II.

What luck! Seeing two good movies in as many days. It really makes you forget all of the bad stuff.

Monday, 22-Sep-03 13:33

I heard a good word: Impression Management Strategy. Yup. It's not only for corporations anymore. What you thought to be your "style", or "thing" is actually just the way you have built your Impression Management Strategy.

My Impression Management Strategy is mostly this weblog. Every single aspect of it has been carefully designed, measured, balanced, and subjected to test groups, starting from the URL of the site. Every day, my underlings watch how a reader comes to the website, how long he spends there, and where he goes after that. All of my readers have been painstakingly profiled, analyzed, and categorized, so that I can offer just the right content for You(tm).



Tools like Technorati, blogstreet, LinkedIn, BlogShares, and even your friendly neighbourhood web server log file analyzer give us a chance to dig deeper into the social networks that our blogs create. They are in the frontline of our Impression Management. And I believe they will have a strong role to play in our future. Not perhaps the current tools: so far they are merely toys, good keeping us amused for a short while, and playing grounds for testing new concepts.

But eventually, our social life will be technology-bound. It has already distanced itself from location (While walking on the street, I talk regularly to people I see rarely in real life: like relatives who live far away) thanks to the Internet and cell phones. There are people whom I have never met, but through my blog know intimate things about my life. Air travel allows you to meet friends that live far across the globe, and bashing bad American TV shows is an universal pastime.

The question is, how far can we go? Can we leave our impression management to computers who through profiling know exactly what the other person wants to see or hear? How about a video phone that changes your appearance and sound level to be more pleasing to the caller? How about a computer that sits on your shoulder, identifies the person who you are talking with and whispers in your ear so that you can say Just The Right Words? Cyrano de Bergerac would be envious...

We already filter out things from our weblogs, modify the truth so that it is more pleasing, or more jarring, but in general tuned more to conform to the view of the reality that we hold ourselves. There's not a big step left to take anymore.

Transparent Society, here we come.

Sunday, 21-Sep-03 20:20

Two more movies today. The Five Seasons from Kim Ki-duk didn't disappoint, as was to be expected: This visual and beautiful tale contains little dialogue, but a whole lot of charisma. I try not to miss any movies from Sabu after the hilarious Postman's Blues, but this year's Drive felt a bit patched-togetherish. Though it made me realize that Buddhism and punk rock have surprisingly lot in common.

I guess I was a bit too conditioned already by Kim Ki-duk's previous films. The opening shot with a beautiful Korean lake and a floating house made me suddenly cringe, and later on a simple shot of a fish swimming happily in a stream got me grinding my teeth in anticipation. Those who have seen The Isle know why. But while it still shows that Mr. Ki-duk has a very... brutal view of human relationships, it is an excellent movie. Yup. /me like.

Sunday, 21-Sep-03 10:10
Three more movies

Saw three more movies yesterday: Cowboy Bebop, a decent Japanese animation detective story, Noí Albinoi, an Icelandic film about a too smart guy in a dumb, remote village in Iceland and Infernal Affairs, a Hong Kong action flick.

One thing that I really, really like about movies in these film festivals is that they treat the viewer as an intelligent being instead of a consumer whose reactions can be calculated (like your typical Hollywood summer movie). And the endings for all of the movies were certainly something you wouldn't expect or foresee. In fact, when asked why the movie ended the way it did, the director of Noí Albinoi answered: "Well, I kinda had to finish it at some point."

The other surprising thing how the gas station bar culture ("huoltoasemaolutbaarikulttuuri" in Finnish) is so much alike in Iceland and Finland :-).

Saturday, 20-Sep-03 13:02
Movies galore

Love and Anarchy 2003 is now at full speed. Yesterday I saw Takeshi Kitano's Dolls (Dooruzu), which I figured must've been the weird movie of the week.

Until I saw Resurrection of the Little Match Girl by Sun-Woo Jang. The movie tells the story of a guy who gets caught up in a game where you have to make sure that the little match girl (by HC Andersen, well, something close to it anyway) dies happily by freezing to death, high on butane.

Suffice to say that any movie in which office workers get slaughered to the tune of "Like a Fool" by Nylon Beat can't be all bad. It's a very defining moment to the Finnish national pride when familiar pop music starts playing in the background while a disgruntled chinese food deliveryman empties clip after clip of 9mm submachinegun ammunition into screaming white-collar workers, and the entire movie theater is roaring with laughter.

Friday, 19-Sep-03 17:43
Wiki-tidbit of the day

In the Finnish language, it is possible to conjugate the word "wiki" as "wikistä", which essentially means "to whine".

It is no surprise that on some Finnish wikis this term has found wide-spread usage, and is sometimes practically synonymous to "writing stuff on the wiki".

Good weekend.

Update: Well, yes, it can also mean "to squeak" (as in what mice do). But I guess it's the same thing in this case :-)

Thursday, 18-Sep-03 23:08
Sorry, guys

No, I ain't taking part in this meme (Finnish only, I'm sorry). Nope. No. No sirree. Ain't gonna happen. Nah. No way. Wild horses couldn't make me do it. Never. Forget it. Not gonna do it. Negative. Not bloody likely. Nope said pope. You're not going to get a name from me. No.


Thursday, 18-Sep-03 17:21
Blog spammer?

Matt may have met a spammer that leaves advertisements on blog comments...

I guess it's just a matter of time before this kind of stuff actually gets automated and systematically abused. Especially big platforms like MovableType may be susceptible, since their platform works the same way everywhere. While blogs are in itself immune to this (just don't leak out your Blogger password) due to the pull model used, their comments most certainly are not.


Thursday, 18-Sep-03 11:03
How to win in on-line role-playing games

Simple. Build a bot:

The Autocamp 2000 plays online RPGs with the following rules:
  1. Join any group that invites you
  2. When in a group, follow behind the leader
  3. Attack any monster you see
  4. Accept all trade requests from other players, then give them a melon

The Autocamp 2000 talks to other players with following rules:

  1. If someone says something ending in a question mark, respond by saying "Dude?"
  2. If someone says something ending in an exclamation point, respond by saying "Dude!"
  3. If someone says something ending with a period, respond by randomly saying one of three things: "Okie," "Sure," or "Right on."
  4. EXCEPTION: If someone says something directly to you by mentioning your name, respond by saying "Lag." The many succinct expressions of the Autocamp 2000.
  5. (And remember to accept all trade requests from other players by giving them a melon.)

(Thanks to Henri for this wonderful story. The transcripts are hilarious!)

Wednesday, 17-Sep-03 19:39
My First Time

Today, for the first time ever, I put someone on my kill/ignore file. I've been on the IRC and Usenet since 1989, and never before have I had to resort to such extreme measures, despite having been through (and probably started) several flame wars.

Not today.

The signs were obvious: latching onto your words, seeking confontration, finding anything derogatory from everything that is known about you (and on IRC, it's not much), dissing, foul words... Yup, it's a genuine, boda-fide troll, a delightful gnome that wants just to annoy people.

This time, I just *plonk*ed him, after only a few minutes of the crap he (it?) was spewing.

I think this is an important feature of all social tools - on USENET you have kill files, on IRC/IM you have ignore lists, with email you have email filters, and with weblogs you just don't subscribe to their feeds. The weblog way is the best methinks, since you choose what you want to see, whereas with the other tools you choose what you don't want to see.

Actually, this raises the question whether attempts such as ThreadsML are really helping, since they will bring the USENET model of communication into weblog world, and it makes a bit harder to ignore the creeps. Hm. Must ponder on this.

Wednesday, 17-Sep-03 12:31
OK, so I ain't that extreme

Merten seems to be a bit more left-wing libertarian than me.

Your political compass: Economic Left/Right: -5.62 Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.92

Where does your political compass point?

Tuesday, 16-Sep-03 21:27
Nutty clock

OK, here's a nutty clock.

Tuesday, 16-Sep-03 19:07
What does a blog that has no readers look like?

Whoo, lot's of stuff happening right now. Everybody is raving over misspellings, Apple's new Powerbooks, or Verisign gone evil. (In fact, I am too, but I'm too late to even simulate saying something that has not already been said.)

Instead, I'll blog about blogging (the safe and sure choice).

There was a party on Saturday, and someone asked me if it's okay to ask about stuff that I blog, and said that reading my blog feels like peeking into my private life, as if doing something dirty or forbidden. I said "no, of course it's okay to ask since I wouldn't write it publically if I didn't want it to be read", but later on that seems like too easy an answer.

A blog isn't exactly a diary, even though the Finnish word we use "verkkopäiväkirja" or "network diary" implies it. A diary is a place where you put your thoughts for yourself; but a blog is really a two-way street. While some blogs are completely diary-like, most do encourage communication with the author in the form of comments or email - and you can always talk about other blogs in your own blog and use permalinks to refer to them. It also seems that most bloggers do like to talk about their blogs, what they have blogged, and other blogs as well. Part of it surely comes from the hype-syndrome, "'cos it's cool to talk about weblogging", but I don't think that's completely it. I never met an artist who didn't like to talk about their work, and most bloggers have a need for self-expression that borderlines on artistic will, if not quality :-).

So, in fact, blogs are really discussions, albeit discussions dominated by one person or group (and thus completely non-democratic). Blogs don't exist in a vacuum; they must have readers: "What does a blog that has no readers look like?", to paraphrase an old Zen koan. And so using the word "diary" to describe them is not quite correct, even though they can be sometimes deceptively diary-like in appearance.

(To Mindy: How about "Hei, oikeesti oon ihan normaali." :-)

Sunday, 14-Sep-03 23:45
Short JSPWiki update

I've managed to fix (hopefully anyway) a couple of age-old problems relating to the "match english plurals" -option. At least all of the tests run.

I also fixed a couple of authentication-related problems; it seems now that everything works except groups. Slowly, slowly...

On a tangent: The development was halted today for a few hours, as I was seriously contemplating throwing my computer out of the window, and just simply give it all up.

The reason was that I tried to upgrade my Debian installation to work natively with UTF-8, which created some really serious and non-obvious issues: for example, the only somewhat functional possible locale is en_US.UTF-8 - NOT fi_FI.UTF-8, or any combination thereof.

Another reason was that this simple JUnit test ceased to work:

        String src = "abcåäö";
        String res = new String( src.getBytes("ISO-8859-1"), "ISO-8859-1" );
        assertEquals( src, res );

You see, according to all possible specifications this should work regardless of the encoding system. But no.

The cure? Load the file in editor, save it. No changes. Just save it.

I have no idea whatsoever what was happening. But it took me hours to figure out, a few reboots (yes, I was that desperate), and at some point I was considering reinstalling Java, or getting rid of Debian altogether. OK, my own fault for running the unstable distribution, but still... My guess is that for some reason, Java started to interpret the file encoding system differently, as it uses the native system encoding. But what I don't understand is that when I reverted to the earlier configuration, it failed again.

Gah. This stuff is getting more and more complicated year-by-year. Or I am getting more stupid. Could be both.

Saturday, 13-Sep-03 15:39
Wanna buy evil?

OK, now I found myself a place to shop. No, it ain't Sharper Image, but - Your Online Source For Everything Evil!

You can go real cheap, and start off with an used Al-Qaeda lair for just $18.50 a month, and the world's deadliest shaving kit and upgrade slowly to lunar mass driver and the newest from World Domination Technologies: The WDT Body Mecha Deluxe.

Being evil has never been this easy!


Saturday, 13-Sep-03 11:49
Family values and names

Merten ponders on family and genealogy (but in Finnish).

In the Jalkanen family - and to make things more confusing, there are in fact three different lineages using the name Jalkanen, all from different parts of Finland - there have been two previous persons named "Janne". The other one is two years older than me, and also an engineer from the Helsinki University of Technology.

The other Janne was last seen in 1913, leaving to sell some horses in Russia.

I'm so glad I chose engineering over economy.

Thursday, 11-Sep-03 17:47

To my utter surprise, there was practically no queue yesterday for the Helsinki International Film Festival tickets! Last year, I remember standing in line for several hours, enduring "witty" comments from drunken fellow Finns who were unable to comprehend that yes, some people really like to see good films.

Of course, I got there a bit late, and one of the movies I was anticipating had already been sold out. The first that's ever happened, too...

Anyway, as an experiment I am going to put them online here, so if you happen to be in the same showing, come and say Hi.

This is my current list of movies I am going to watch at the Helsinki International Film Festival 2003.


  • 21.00 Andorra 1 Takeshi Kitano: Dolls
  • 23.30 Bio Rex Jang Sun-woo: Resurrection of the Little Match Girl


  • 14.00 Bio Rex Watanabe & Okiura:Cowboy Bepop
  • 16.30 Bio Rex Dakur Kari: Noí Albinoi
  • 19.00 Bio Rex Lau & Mak: Infernal Affairs


  • 12.00 Bio Rex Kim Ki-duk: Five Seasons
  • 14.15 Kino Engel 2 Sabu: Drive


  • 18.30 Bio Rex Alexander Rogozhkin: Käki


  • 18.30 Andorra 2 Miike Takashi: The Happiness of Katakuris
  • 21.00 Andorra 1 Kim Ki-duk: The Coast Guard

(BTW, all of the layout above is done with CSS, so if your browser breaks, let me know. I'm slowly getting the hang of it...)

Update: It seems that IE simply refuses to show it as a two-column list (which is fine, at least you can read it), but Konqueror (and thus, presumably, Safari) dies horribly.

Thursday, 11-Sep-03 12:23

let me piss u off I guess this is one way to combine IRC and blogging...

(Through Les.)

Thursday, 11-Sep-03 12:19
Blog portal

The dreaded word "portal" made another appearance yesterday at the meeting. For some really strange reason I promised to contribute regularly to the upcoming Finnish blog service... I must check my medication again.

On a separate note, my condolences to all Swedes reading this blog. The tragedy is felt strongly here, too.

Thursday, 11-Sep-03 12:01
Go, Linus

This is why this guy is a geek hero - not only because of starting off Linux, but also because of his sense of humour: Linus Torvald's response to SCO's open letter.

However, we have to sadly decline taking business model advice from a company that seems to have squandered all its money (that it made off a Linux IPO, I might add, since there's a nice bit of irony there), and now seems to play the U.S. legal system as a lottery.

(Through Erik, the überlinker.)

Update: I just realized: the advertisement on Linus's message advertises Windows Small Business Server 2003. A coincidence? :-)

Tuesday, 09-Sep-03 12:31
RSS weather

Visa points out, which allows you to get weather forecasts as RSS feeds.

Yay! Another good use for RSS!

Tuesday, 09-Sep-03 00:59
Why all APIs are not equal

People ask the question: why is the MetaWeblogAPI (MWA for short) not sufficient for wikis as such?

I guess it's possible up to a certain extent, but there are a few reasons why I think it's still a bad idea:

  • Versioning. Supporting the versioning inherent in many Wikis would need a new field to be added in the MWA getPost().
  • getPost() does not define in which format the page should be returned (WikiMarkup, HTML or something else). Again, a new field is required.
  • A method to get the links from a page is highly useful for things like the JSPWiki:TouchGraphWikiBrowser. Wikis inherently refer to themselves much more than weblogs, so it's only natural to reflect this in the API as well.
  • Forward and backward links are a bit of a problem as well: In order to do other things like basic edit/view, you would need to be pretty good at guessing the format of the URLs as they come in the rendered HTML. This is why there's the href -field in the WikiRPCInterface.listLinks(), btw. For an example of this in action, see
  • There is no way to download attachments. While there's a way of uploading using the MWA newMediaObject(), there's no corresponding getMediaObject().

If the getPost() would have a struct as one of its parameters, then some of the above things would not be a problem, since you can pretty much add arbitrary fields to a struct without breaking existing apps. However, this is not the case, and you would need to embed the version number in the "blogid" parameter. This is clearly a kludge, and very, very fragile.

Don't get me wrong; I'm all for interop and stuff. And frankly, there's no reason why a wiki shouldn't support a MetaWeblogAPI as well (JSPWiki does), but I think that in order to gain the most out of a Wiki, you need an API designed for the strengths of wiki technology and does not treat it as a bastard offshoot of weblogs :-).

Monday, 08-Sep-03 15:45
SCO sales is not authorized to sell Linux license

Well, considering all the armwaving and threats, it seems that SCO sales department simply is unable to sell you a license to use Linux. M. Drew Streib attempted to buy a license, and this is the result:

I called them again today, and a salesperson, beginning with "I don't know quite how to explain this", let me know that there wasn't a product manager for Linux licenses, and that there wasn't currently a way for salespeople to sell these licenses. They were frustrated, too.

Heh. So, apparently nobody has bought a license - for the simple reason that it is impossible to buy them. :-)

Saturday, 06-Sep-03 16:59

Sometimes it's cool to walk in your home town like you were a tourist. I'm eating a late take away lunch on the Senate Square Church steps, enjoying the sun and the lazy Saturday afternoon.

Saturday, 06-Sep-03 12:03
Tech brief

Don picked up my posting on yawning, and also seems to be involved in a discussion about Wiki APIs.

First, a short explanation on the tech behind this weblog: This is an instance of JSPWiki, where each entry is a separate WikiPage. The Main page aggregates then all of the pages which have a certain signature in their name onto the front page, producing the weblog you see right now. This allows cool stuff like doing collection pages, such as Ropecon2003, or EGC2003, where I just insert a string like [{WeblogPlugin startDate='310103' days='31'}] to get all of the entries from January 2003, for example.

JSPWiki (and thus, this weblog) support the XML-RPC Wiki API, as well as the MetaWeblogAPI. The support for the latter is not complete, but it is quite enough so that I can moblog from my cell phone. What happens is that I basically send an email to a predefined address, where a custom script takes the email, parses it and posts it to the weblog using the said MetaWeblog API. The script is smart enough to take the attachments from the email and modify the entry so that they are properly inserted in the text. Of course, I have to write my entry using WikiMarkup, but trust me, it is far easier to do on a cell phone than HTML!

Yes, all Wikis use different markup rules - but actually, that's not really a big problem. So far, the biggest use of the WikiRPCInterface has been adding functionality into JSPWiki itself - a machine halfway across the world uses it to check up what has happened on the JSPWiki main site, and sends email to everyone who has subscribed to it. This is a highly important thing - I did not have to implement that by myself; I just implemented an API and someone else wrote it (thanks Mahlen!). This is really no different from writing a proper, plugin-based architecture for a Wiki, except that the external developer is no longer bound to Java, or Perl, or Python, or PHP, or whatever language the lead developer of the wiki decided to use. In essence, it allows you to write simple plugins and do batch processing on a Wiki without having to understand its internal implementation!

In fact, defining a standard markup language for Wikis (such as WikiML) should work well with this kind of an XML-RPC/SOAP API approach: just add another method that gets the text in WikiML instead of rendered HTML/WikiMarkup. It does not matter what markup the wikis themselves use.

I also believe that Wikis will converge slowly. It seems to me that MoinMoin style markup is winning, and with the stuff like Radeox from the SnipSnap folks, you can separate the rendering of the markup from the WikiEngine itself, making it largely irrelevant what markup people use, since you can just plug in the markup you want to use.

However, there will always be differences in markup. You see, doing stuff like complex TWiki markup just is out of the reach of the smaller players, and since making a basic wiki is really easy, people are not going to bother to use the same markup. They might adopt some common practices, but some wikis need stuff like syntax highlighting, and others will need direct drawing on page, etc... In the end, the one and only solution is to get rid of the markup altogether, and make a WYSIWYG wiki - sort of a distributed version of MS Word.

Phew. There is already a Wiki API standard, but so far not too many seem to have adopted it. I would very much like to see discussion what is needed, what is too much, and how to make it better.

Saturday, 06-Sep-03 11:23
Milk and cookies

Yesterday was a good day; I got a packet from Australia containing (among other things) genuine ANZAC bisquits, stuff that I got seriously addicted on while I was living down under. I plan to spend a night with a good book, a glass of milk and a huge pile of cookies... Woo-hoo!

Also, I managed to beat my teacher at go with five stones handicap, and got a promotion to 4 kyu. Which was kinda surprising because I was very tired yesterday evening, and I haven't really been feeling much up to playing for the last few days. I've barely managed to rack up about as many games since the EGC 2003 than I had in the actual tournament.

I also had a good lunch talk; and got an email of the best kind. By the end of the evening, the cliché "tired but happy" was as good choice of words as any.

Friday, 05-Sep-03 18:20
Logo for JSPWiki
Oo, Ebu drew a nice logo for JSPWiki. Thanks!

We've been looking for one for a while... And this one struck me personally because of the go imagery.

Now we just wait for someone to make us a better-looking default template...

Friday, 05-Sep-03 16:36
What a boring test

Even though I am a trained physicist, this I found just utterly stupid.

What kind of a subatomic particle are you? Neutron -- You don't take sides, you just sort of hang out and blend into the crowd. If someone lets you loose though, you can cause some serious damage. If you are arround too many other neutrons you get bored and start to decay.

(As usual, via Merten)

Friday, 05-Sep-03 15:14
Twenty questions

OK, so the meme sticks. Thanks to Merten and Visa, I feel now strangely compelled to describe myself using inappropriate musical terms.

In this exercise, you are supposed to answer the following questions using song titles from a single artist. I have chosen Kylie Minogue.

1. Are you male or female?

"Cowboy Style"

2. Describe yourself:

"Spinning Around"
"I'm so high"
"Dangerous game"

3. How do some people feel about you?

"Confide In Me"
"In Denial"

4. How do you feel about yourself?

"Je Ne Sais Pas Pourquoi"
"Never Too Late"
"Give Me Just A Little More Time"
"Live And Learn"

5. Describe your boy/girlfriend.

"Bittersweet Goodbye"
"The world still turns"

6. Where would you rather be?

"Right Here, Right Now"
"Step Back In Time"

7. Describe what you want to be.

"Drunk" (Hey, it's Friday afternoon as I'm writing this :-)

8. Describe how you live.

"I Should Be So Lucky"
"Heaven And Earth"

9. Describe how you love.

"The Locomotion"
"Finer Feelings"

10. Share a few words of wisdom.

"Your Disco Needs You"
"Turn It Into Love"

Wednesday, 03-Sep-03 18:41
Films galore

The Helsinki Film Festival has opened its website: movies, timetables, etc - it's all there.

My keen sense of prediction feels two weeks of sleepless nights coming up...

(Has it really been a year since I turned single? Gah. I also predict a wave of self-pity and loathing. Crap.)

Tuesday, 02-Sep-03 22:36
This man is officially cool

I happened to hang in #joiito, and mention that I would need a GNU ~ChangeLog to RSS converter and what happens?

Les Orchard whips up one for me in a couple of hours.

How cool is that?

Tuesday, 02-Sep-03 15:37
"But officer, how did you find me!?!"

The Register: Doh! Man steals GPS tracking device, used to monitor criminals on probation.

Tuesday, 02-Sep-03 15:11
I won!

Click on the image to view evidence.
The Google Dance has started again, notes Russell, AND I'M #1 JANNE! Woo-hoo! Take that, you obscure Japanese band, or the equally obscure Swedish band!

The sounds you are hearing are the shuffle of your hair from your vigorous headshake, a sigh emerging from your mouth, and the click of the mouse as you hit the "Back" -button.

Well. At least I'm #1 on one of the Google servers at some point of the dance =).

Tuesday, 02-Sep-03 11:57
Software patents, tiny delay

The vote has been delayed, reports Slashdot. I think the effort of some very prominent sites such as Apache Software Foundation may have brought the issue to the common public. Let's hope the MEPs see the light. It seems that at least Matti Wuori, a Finnish Green MEP, agrees with EFFI. (Thanks to Ville for letting us know.)

I rewrote the script on to display the notice to everyone not coming from the domain, so each visitor should now see it at least once.

Monday, 01-Sep-03 22:57
Ropecon revisited
If you're an industry pro, there are worse things you could do today than send your CV to the RopeCon folks and beg to be invited as a ~GoH at the next available opportunity.

Our Guest of Honor, Jonathan Tweet, has updated his own diary about his trip to the Ropecon 2003. He seems quite happy :-).

Saturday, 30-Aug-03 23:37
HooKooBlooMaki or why Japanese and Finnish cuisine do not mix

The cautionary tale is now available. Another triumph to science!

(Had a very nice dinner tonight, though we had too much food. Seems to always happen - I really bad at estimating amounts when there are more than two people involved. I like cooking for friends; then I get to try and experiment with different things, and I don't have to do the dishes :-)

Friday, 29-Aug-03 17:14 closed

I've closed as a protest. Full explanation on the site.

Thursday, 28-Aug-03 11:56
11:49  * DonPark YAWNS.
11:48  * Ecyrd haukottelee

OK, here's something cool I just noticed. If someone announces on an IRC channel that they are yawning, it actually spreads to other people on the channel as well. I mean, I understand if you put up a picture of a yawn, the visual cues can get you yawning, but through text? Is the intention truly enough? Do we really want to be so desperately a part of a crowd? (Well, obviously this works only on some people, but that it works at all is amazing :-)

Yawning has amazing power. We truly are social creatures.

(And BTW, if this entry made you yawn, drop a comment =).

Wednesday, 27-Aug-03 22:03
RSS for the masses

(First of all, nntp//rss rules. I've never been so happy with an RSS aggregator. It's a bit geeky, but it really works well for a heavy user such as myself.)

I've been sending some emails to different Finnish news services to request RSSFeeds from them. If you're a Finnish RSS user, send them some mail as well - <dream>perhaps we can in the near future receive news in Finnish using our favourite RSS aggregator... </dream>

Why? After deleting the 1773 spam messages from my spam folder (21 days worth - thank you, SpamAssassin), I'm rather inclined to agree with people who say that email is dying, and we need something better. I also found this excellent RSS primer for publishers and content producers, which does explain rather nicely what RSS is and why we should care.

Wednesday, 27-Aug-03 17:28

As for new internet standards, LOAF is possibly the most promising one. I cannot believe this innovation has not been made earlier, since it just makes the life of all weblog authors and platform builders so much easier! I can't wait - like Britta, and Joi Ito - for the LOAF standard to be finalized. Much like Atom project shows the power of WikiWikis, LOAF shows the power of IRC.

Obviously, JSPWiki will be one of the first to support LOAF, once it hits beta.

Wednesday, 27-Aug-03 13:59
Lenny Bruce
"I took exception. I took offense," [police officer] Solden told Bruce. "We've tried to elevate this street. I'm offended because you broke the law. I mean it sincerely. I mean it. I can't see any right, any way you can break this word down, our society is not geared to it."

Bruce said, "You break it down by talking about it ... How about a word like 'clap'?"

"Well, 'clap' is a better word than 'cocksucker,'" Solden replied.

"Not if you get the clap from a cocksucker," Bruce rejoined.

Salon has this cool story about a comedian who got into trouble for saying obscenities, and how the U.S. Supreme Court rulings are being used to suppress anything someone might find "obscene". Read the story in Salon. (Through Wil Wheaton.)

Tuesday, 26-Aug-03 18:40

OK guys, calm down about the Mars thing already. I know it's close to Earth, but still, it's not like this is the only time you can ever view it. Especially here in Northern Europe, you can see it much better later on when it climbs up in the sky: at the moment it is so low that any bonus given by the distance is compensated for by the low elevation and pollution.

However, it reminds me of one thing: The Czech government has issued a law against light pollution ( story is good, too, the law text is here), which I think is a really good idea.

From June, the authorities will be required to shield lamp-post lights and other public illumination to control the spread of light, and use flat rather than curved-belly glass to prevent light shooting upwards and sideways. Teams of astronomers will work with energy conservationists, lighting engineers and the public to limit the amount of 'wasted' light. Advertising billboards will have to be lit from above, with their lights pointing downwards.

The law is not only a good idea because of the diminished light pollution, but also because it just does not make any sense to light the night sky - nobody save a few astronauts and pilots are enjoying the view anyway. We can save a lot of energy by pointing our lights downwards... Actually, I think that a similar kind of law has been passed around in the Finnish parliament as well, but so far it has not actualized.

But anyway, if gazing at Mars makes you happy now, then don't forget to take a look at the other wonders of the universe from time to time as well.

Monday, 25-Aug-03 08:59
Ropecon revisited

I made a page of all the entries I made during Ropecon 2003 for your easy consumption. I haven't yet sorted through all of the pictures I took, so for them you'll have to wait a bit more.

Sunday, 24-Aug-03 13:53

I'm enjoying -if that is the right word - this plate of vietnamese deep fried pork on the Joensuu market place. It's got far more deep fry than pork, but the rice is okay though.

There's a flea market here, too. Can't say it's terribly exciting - and it pains me to see how some salesman are exposing their books to rain.

Saturday, 23-Aug-03 15:45
The Finnish summer... short but luckily there is usually only little snow.

This particular patch is in Joensuu, where my brother is getting married today.

Friday, 22-Aug-03 22:44

You know, even at my age it still stirs some deep childhood fears when you arrive at your parents' place, the same place you grew up, and nobody is at the station to meet you. Even though they said they would...

Oh well. A walk probably does some good anyway after three hours in the train.

(I seem to be getting rather proficient at the 3650 keyboard these days: now I can actually blog as I walk!)

Thursday, 21-Aug-03 15:41
Connectedness of Finnish blogs

I've mentioned this before, but the subject came up yesterday at the blog meeting.

I'm a Finn but I write this blog in English. That's fine, no worries, but it keeps me quite separate from the Finnish blog community. Obviously, since a big part of my readership seems to come from abroad, I cannot easily comment on the writings that my fellow Finnish bloggers produce - they would not be able to read the original articles! So I would have to recap the discussion in English, and that is just a bit too much to ask.

On the other hand, the Finnish blogosphere is rather small, about 400 blogs, and as such a lot of the discussions (such as the ubiquitous ATM discussion, or the "market value theory" -discussion - trust me, you don't want to know about these) tend to revolve around the same issues and the same people, which pretty easily makes them personal. And such conversations are probably better kept within the Finns anyway, and a lot of us don't read them either. In a way, I am relieved that I have this very good excuse not to take part in them.

However, there are also some very good writers, interesting opinions, and - sometimes - deep insights. Few of the foreign people can read these - but we can read all of the good stuff English-speaking people produce! Nyah, nyah!

I don't know if this is a real problem - it certainly is not a problem to Finnish bloggers; only perhaps to some who hang there, inbetween, like me. But it certainly makes me different; not quite fluent enough in English to write interestingly, but not really willing to write in Finnish either... Then again, it would be really boring if we all blogged in Finnish, because then our part of the blogosphere would be completely shut to the world. Now at least some people can get a bit of insight into what is happening here, even though the English of most writers is not perfect. It's all in the interest of world peace and understanding :-).

Thursday, 21-Aug-03 03:08
Sauna, and more sauna

Today, I've mostly spent my time in saunas. All kinds of saunas, from electric to an authentic smoke sauna, six times over. Which is not really a very bad way of spending your day, you know. It certainly beats making Powerpoint presentations.

Justin came and managed to draw together probably the largest Finnish blogger convention ever. Which was fun. It was interesting to meet the people behind the blogs - some were quiet, some less so. But nevertheless, every blogger there brought an interesting aura of self-confidence: they all had a good grasp on who they are and what they want. I felt that these people had much less to hide or fear than your average gathering of people who have never met; there was little of the usual power-games of the "I know more/can do more/look better than you" -variety. I had all the time a feeling that these are the people who hold power, and know how to use it. I didn't really dare to moblog anything from the meeting, even though Ville did probably snap a picture of me I will regret when I am rich and famous... :-)

(For my non-Finnish readers, the following contains nothing of interest: Niin, Saunabar laskutti meiltä jokaisesta nokkansa pukutiloihin pistäneeltä 5€ + 25€ könttäsumma saunasta, joten jos tunnette omantunnon syvän pistoksen sydämessänne niin ottakaa yhteyttä ja heittäkää geneeriseen suuntaani noin 7.5€, tahi kuvitelkaa tarjoavanne minulle joskus pari olutta, jos jossain hypoteettisessa tulevaisuudessa törmäämme uudestaan. Kiitos. :-)

Wednesday, 20-Aug-03 19:13
The Feature does not have The Feature

So, TheFeature launches their new website with much commotion. They are now very weblog, slashdot, hip and trendy. They bring in Justin Hall and a bunch of other celebrities.

But they forget the key glue that is holding the weblog world together - the single most important thing that has risen from the weblog world, something that is powerful enough to fight about.


There is no RSS feed on the site. And no, you can't really be "hip" and "cool" if you do not offer an RSS feed anymore. Neither can you claim to be "on the edge" either...

Tuesday, 19-Aug-03 18:42

I've got a ~BlogBlock. Can't think of anything to say over here, even though I've been blogging like crazy to my other blogs (and let that be the mystery of the day).

Monday, 18-Aug-03 12:55
Another example of IRC integration (and a thought on immortality)

Joi Ito writes:

Brendyn has created a page that lists the online/offline status from jibot as titles and links to all of the recent blog entries of the regulars on #joiito from their RSS feeds. Very cool!

I think you can view the IM status information, NowPlaying-lists and blogs as the opposite ends of one big axis called "presence". At the other end, you have these automatically updated things that show a small piece of your persona, and at the other end, you have complex, manually updated, annotated, verbose descriptions about your persona. But in a way, they both announce your presence and existence to the world: "I am here! I do this! I like that!"

We all want to live forever, I guess, and bloggers more than others.

Alastair Reynolds writes in his book "Revelation Space" about so-called "beta"-level computer simulations, that grow by watching your reactions and responses over decades, and when you finally die, the computer simulations continue to preserve your persona and knowledge for the posterity.

Most of the stuff we put on-line is being archived by Google and Internet Archive, and probably by hundreds of other sites as well. In theory, armed with sophisticated algorithms, and a life-long archive of blog posts, you might be able to construct an artificial personality of any blogger. Not that it would be close to the real thing, as people tend to write about their idealized self-image, but perhaps it might be convincing enough to be used for things.

It's not really that sci-fi either: I remember seeing an Albert Einstein simulation at CMU, which basically consisted of a natural-language recognition system and a huge archive of answers read by an actor masked as Mr. Einstein. The illusion, while far from perfect, was still jaw-dropping in 1999. (They have 4-5 year old web-demos available; go ahead and try them out.)

Monday, 18-Aug-03 12:24
OK, now this is not funny

Power Rangers Movie!
Which movie do you belong in?

Link through Merten, who at least got a cool movie. Is there a better way to start off a Monday morning than be told that you should really be living in a world where violence is the answer to everything (properly applied and administered, of course), and where you can gain cool powers just by dressing in plastic and striking funny poses? Not to mention being able to combine yourself with similarly dressed weirdos to gain even cooler powers? To be the idol of pre-schoolers?

Unh. Perhaps I am reading far too much into this...

Sunday, 17-Aug-03 12:45

In a bachelor party one gets these stupid ideas. Like blogging live from the sauna. Oops, gotta go before phone dies...

Sunday, 17-Aug-03 10:03
Traveling in Finland

Here's something I didn't know: You can buy cell phones at gas stations these days.

Also, a Finnish hamburger chain is now a cell phone operator, too.

Who needs ubiquitous computing? We got it right here...

(I've driven roughly 1000 km during the past 24 hours in order to attend both a wedding and a bachelor party. Summer weekends are very busy. Blech.)

Friday, 15-Aug-03 13:21
Blackout moblog

OK, so there's a blackout on the East Coast of USA. What happens?

Someone makes a moblog, where people can send their images of the blackout, documenting the whole thing in real time.

I can only expect this kind of stuff to happen more and more in the future. Not blackouts, but people becoming reporters spontaneously. It is a powerful concept... And far more real time and interesting than what the major media can do. Unfortunately, it also means more noise; and thus should be subjected to some editing. But it is a powerful concept nonetheless.

(Via Jeremy Zawodny).

Thursday, 14-Aug-03 14:34
Penthouse Goes Bankrupt, Americans Fleeing To Canada and Europe

Nice ring to a headline, isn't it? If USA were source code, I would certainly qualify the following news items as a bad smell.

  • Penthouse files for Chapter 11 protection: Penthouse's circulation has dropped dramatically - down from a peak of 5 million copies to just 530,000 in December.
  • Lawrence Lessig: So when people occasionally recognize me getting the magic metal detector wanding and dutifully submitting to searches of my person, extending my arms and my legs spread-eagle, I explain with a smile, “I’m running against George Bush.”
  • CNN: Dismayed Americans Contemplate Canada: "For me, it's a no-brainer"
  • Freenet developer Ian Clarke leaving USA: As an Irish citizen living in the US - I have decided that it is time to leave this country - it is starting to look, smell, and act as Germany did during the 1930s.

(Via a multitude of blogs, some of which I already lost.)

Thursday, 14-Aug-03 10:30
Email is broken

Joichi Ito says that email is officially broken, referring to a recent statistics which says that 17% of all legit email is being canned by the spam blockers. It seems though that this is mostly a problem with the major ISPs: My own SpamAssassin seems to work nicely, with a very low rate of false positives.

But still, strong host authentication on SMTP looks like the right way to go. Of course, it will not work properly until every computer in the world gets an update so that we can turn off all the old mail servers and stop accepting non-authenticated hosts. Hm. Unfortunately this means that life will be a bit more difficult for those who actually need anonymous email: while anonymizer services will still continue, having their computers hacked or confiscated should reveal the identity of the sender in a way that is usable as hard evidence in a court of law.

Then again, a newly designed SMTP protocol would probably support encryption as a default option, so we would have better, but more brittle privacy all around. TANSTAAFL.

Wednesday, 13-Aug-03 17:11
An impossible problem

OK, here's to every geek out there (and I know there are many of you):

Two different integers between 1 and 100 are picked out of an opaque green hat. A person (call him P) is given the product of the two numbers. A person (call him S) is given the sum of these two numbers. After this, they have this following, rather stilted conversation:

P: I don't know that those two numbers were.
S: Yeah, I knew you didn't know. I don't know them either.
P: Ah, in that case I know the numbers.
S: Yes, now I know them too.

What were those two numbers?

At first, it seems to be impossible to answer this question, but in fact, it is solvable. Once you've baked your noodle long enough, check out the correct answer, or another explanation here. (Via Tangra on IRC.)

Wednesday, 13-Aug-03 12:51

Marcus Cole
"You are Marcus Cole. An honest and chivalrous adventurer that pursues just causes, you would sacrifice much to help others."

I am a Ranger. We walk in the dark places no others will enter. We stand on the bridge and no-one may pass. We live for the One, we die for the One.

Which sci-fi character are you, stolen from Merten.

Frankly, I always found Marcus rather dumb, and a hopeless romantic - but hey, that's what you get when you answer questions like "would you kill your best friend to gain immortality?" It's really bloody hard to answer anything sensible to a stupid question like that; you really never know until you actually are in that situation, and before that all thoughts and discussion is hypothetical based on an idealized self-image. It does perhaps some good to really think about hypothetical situations, so that you are not completely out of touch with yourself if something unlikely hits you - but still. You ain't what you believe you are.

Well, on the other hand, I guess Marcus is not really such a bad idealized self-image to have :-).

Tuesday, 12-Aug-03 19:11
Wiki gardening and IRC

Project Atom has really taken wikis to a new dimension, I think. For the first time, a wiki is being used as the main collaboration environment for building a project publically. Whether the project fails or succeeeds is actually irrelevant - I think the main contribution from the Atom Project is the way of working - and the realization that it actually is possible to build an open standard in such a way.

Another in the stream of innovations that is flowing from the Atom Wiki is the concept of WikiGardening and how it should be done. I've previously complained how mid-size wikis become eventually unmanageable unless they grow big enough to attract WikiGardeners. In retrospect it is obvious that IRC is the solution - this is one way IRC and Wikis again complement each other; one is a transient information exchange, while the other is a repository of knowledge. You could say that IRC is very useful as the "backchannel" of a Wiki. Wikis are much more about communities than WebLogs, and IRC is a very powerful community creator. For example, most of the heavy users and gardeners on also hang in the channel. So much, in fact, that if I ever take the wiki down for more than a couple of seconds, the channel WILL be filled with "What's wrong? I need my wiki!" messages. Someone even once told me that I have no right to take the wiki away, because "it now belongs to us". Obviously, knowing the r00t passwords to the server I have a slight advantage in this discussion. :-)

It remains to be seen what else can be done by combining wikis and IRC. I think it's a good concept; having done one small project where we used a chat and a wiki simultaneously to make a quick hack, I can say that it was the most comfortable way of working with people that are all across the globe that I have seen yet. There's some discussion already on JSPWiki:IdeasInstantMessagingWiki.

Anyway, we'll be trying this on #jspwiki in the near future. It's a high time that we got the wiki cleaned... I am not expecting a big rush of eager people, but if we could do something with a few individuals, it would be cool. See JSPWiki:WikiGardener.

Tuesday, 12-Aug-03 16:35
You better watch out, Justin Hall is coming to town

Merten says that Justin Hall, the ur-blogger, is coming to Helsinki. I have perhaps complained before about the lack of free weekends during summer, and this is turning out to be a major conflict... I have now four places I have to or would like to be next weekend :-(.

OK, it's good to have social life (and I am happy for all those people whose happiest days I am going to witness), but too much of the good stuff is just too much...

Oh well. By November I am going to be bored out of my skull anyway.

Tuesday, 12-Aug-03 13:54

I will never, ever, ever, ever, ever drink alcohol again.


Tuesday, 12-Aug-03 06:18
Soft golems like water

This particular "soft golem" (his own words) liked water so much we ended up going to sauna with him, swimming with him, and having showers with him. Let this be another example of showerblogging.

The con afterparty was... nice, and we ended up to have a continuation party after a continuation party. I can assure you that every word that I write here is a product of serious contemplation, as I seem to be unable to type the simplest word without errors, Gnröf.

Sunday, 10-Aug-03 23:46
It's over

The con is over and the last final stuff is being stored away for the next year's con. It's amazing what kind of stuff the 'con has stored over the years. You wouldn't believe some of it...

Anyway, this year's con went past flying. I don't know how that's possible, but I didn't get into the "con mood" until somewhere around Saturday evening, and then the con was halfway over anyway. I was also extraordinarily tired, and perhaps a bit feverish too.

I also think I made a major screw-up, but I am not so sure. The story is still a bit hazy, and apparently a catastrophe was avoided barely, no thanks to me... :-/ Oh well. This year we had an unusual number of mishaps, mistakes, and miscommunications; but luckily most of them were invisible to the public. I guess the people who are arranging the con are getting a bit tired, or a bit too sure, so it's possible to be a bit more careless. I know I was guilty of it...

It's hard to understand that it's already over now. It just got started!

Sunday, 10-Aug-03 14:29
More pr0n

Mike was very popular all weekend.

I also apologize for this sudden carnal turn this blog has taken.

Sunday, 10-Aug-03 13:48

The first Finnish Roleplaying Book Author[1] Mike Pohjola signing body parts for enthusiastic young fans.

[#1] Many Finnish role playing games exist, but this is the first book. I don't even pretend to understand the difference.
Sunday, 10-Aug-03 03:53
Con secrets

This is how we keep awake and hyperactive in the night watch... Sugar!

Saturday, 09-Aug-03 21:59
Henri the man

Henri and his new toy.

Saturday, 09-Aug-03 20:22

The gala is happening, and the splendor of clothes and fashion is stunning. Sorry you can't see much, neither can I...

Saturday, 09-Aug-03 18:28

8 hour shift behind the info counter...

Saturday, 09-Aug-03 15:41
Medieval mobility

Yes, it is difficult to use a phone with a gauntlet.

Saturday, 09-Aug-03 13:19
Con talk

Overheard on the info desk:

"Hey, can you give me the key to the storage room?"

"Err... Do you work here?"

"Yeah, I am the head organizer."


Saturday, 09-Aug-03 13:14
Milla, this is for you

As requested.

Saturday, 09-Aug-03 12:16
The best party always in the staff room.

Friday, 08-Aug-03 23:42
Star Wreck

We're waiting to see the new Star Wreck trailer, but unfortunately it is 200 km away, traveling here at 200 km/hour... So we'll be hearing an impromptu "making of".

(Joc insisted that I mention her. She was very touching as Ophelia in the dating game. :-)

Friday, 08-Aug-03 23:20
Fictitious dating game

Take 10 live-roleplayers in their favorite characters, steal the format from the dating game, and add an audience that is fully embracing the idea. Fun!

Friday, 08-Aug-03 19:18

It's me!

Friday, 08-Aug-03 19:09
Con happens

...And card gamers and role players...

Friday, 08-Aug-03 19:05
Board games...

Settlers and robots... They're all here.

Friday, 08-Aug-03 18:33

The craze is here, too.

Friday, 08-Aug-03 16:47
A congregation of nerds

The Shop.

Friday, 08-Aug-03 12:54
Ropecon is here

The annual 3000-person role playing convention "Ropecon" is here, and I am, as usual, working there. I'll be moblogging from there, so watch this space if you can't come...

Stuff to remember when you are attending Ropecon

  • Tape Survivor, since you're not going to get much time to get home anyway.
  • Buy fridge full of food, since you will not have time to go shopping.
    • But buy only food you can eat also later next week, in case you don't come home until Sunday.
  • Pack:
    • Go board
    • A change set of clothes
    • A towel (which is also usable as an impromptu larp outfit, especially if you wish to roleplay yellow mold.)
    • Juggling balls
    • Emergency snack food
  • Take out the trash, because by god it's gonna smell on Sunday evening otherwise
  • Clean the apartment, in case you get ad-hoc sleepover guests
  • Find good shoes, 'cos you're gonna be standing the whole three days
  • Charge all electronic equipment, especially the camera.
    • Don't forget to take the camera charger.
  • Load up on cash, because the local ATMs might run out of it.
  • Be sure you're well rested, since there is no rest in the 'con.
Thursday, 07-Aug-03 17:29

Thought I was over it, but wasn't.

How a simple thing like a piece of music can suddenly bring certain memories back with such extreme vividity, I'll never know.

Hurts like hell.

Thursday, 07-Aug-03 10:00
Why does modern music sound so crap?

Here's an interesting article to explain it: It's the square waves.

(Via roj).

Thursday, 07-Aug-03 09:33
IRC Channel for JSPWiki

Since I seem to be back for good in IRC, I established an IRC channel on freenode for JSPWiki support, called #jspwiki. There are already a couple of people hanging about on it; feel free to join in. :-) There's already a home page for the channel, too. I'll be there as "Ecyrd", except when I am asleep, working, or doing something else remotely useful.

The mailing list never really caught on; perhaps IRC will?

Wednesday, 06-Aug-03 17:57
A new way of moblogging

Don Park moblogs with a pen and a paper.

Of course, how do you search such a blog?

Update: Nice observation in the comments of the above entry: "Semantic web be damned." Yeah. Perhaps we really don't need the search after all; just treat all blogging as transient.

Wednesday, 06-Aug-03 16:03
Mental note to self...

...always double-check your regular expressions. Especially if there's a "rm -rf" somewhere on the command line.

I just accidentally destroyed several megabytes worth of data from a Wiki, and of course the restore system fails at the same time. Gngh.

Well, luckily I am so paranoid I actually have double -backups of all important data.

Wednesday, 06-Aug-03 11:52
Phantom time

Another odd thought that occurred to me yesterday:

Phantom time
The short period of time that occurs when you're almost late from an appointment, but your clock is not on time. During phantom time you don't know whether you're late or not; you might have time, or you might already be late. It's kinda like a lease that can suddenly be unilaterally terminated, but not by you.

Dunno... I often catch myself in these phantom moments.

Wednesday, 06-Aug-03 11:47
P-time and simultaneous discovery

It's scary how you get this idea all by yourself while cycling home, and then the next morning you find that someone else has thought about the same thing and blogged it during the night.

From Joichi Ito's weblog:

Ever since I started IRC, I've noticed that I'm reading much less email, getting a lot less structured work done, but having a much better sense of what's going on in our "space" and able to tie a bunch of pieces together that weren't tied together before. I think some people mistake this type of contextual multi-tasking as some form of ADD.

So, I shall not talk about time, since he already did so, but I'll talk about packetized conversations. In the old days, we had these huge packets (letters), that travelled slowly. Then we got email, and started sending smaller packets. With weblogs, we found broadcast traffic. And with IRC and other many-to-many chat systems, we have very small packets, with fast transmission and very low latency. It's kinda like the UDP/IP of human communication.

So, it's no wonder that Joi and others are now prioritizing chat to email. However, what I am worried about is persistence. While IRC can be logged, the conversation there is not usually archivable and searchable, unlike email, weblogs and wikis. How much knowledge will we lose if a huge chunk of the online communication disappears into the bit bucket? Do we care, i.e. is that discussion worth saving in the first place?

Tuesday, 05-Aug-03 11:52
London as a Wiki

Heyhey, this is seriously cool: The Open Guide to London is a Wiki, much in the Wikipedia style. In fact, all of the web site seems to be working on the same principle.

Yes, knowledge repositories and other areas that benefit from massively parallel data processing (i.e. a bunch of people writing, fact-checking, revising, and updating) are the right areas for Wikis. A company intranet, or a project worksite is very good ground for a wiki, but wikis are not very well suited for discussion, so they tend to grow out of control quickly. At the very least, they require someone who wants to edit the discussions into a readable form.

However, an encyclopedia rarely requires deep discussion, so a Wiki is a very logical choice for something like that.

Hm. Makes you wonder - what would be the correct way to add discussion capabilities to a Wiki - a WebLog facility certainly helps, but it's still no substitute for a good discussion board. And still, the transference of the discussion onto a WikiPage is a problem.

Monday, 04-Aug-03 15:15
Friendster, LinkedIn... Who needs friends?

Greg Storey presents Introvertster, The New Way To Get Rid Of People.

Monday, 04-Aug-03 15:13
God must exist

There are over 300 reasons why! For example:


  1. God exists.
  2. If God exists, then if reason exists then God exists.
  3. Reason exists.
  4. Therefore, God exists.


  1. God exists.
  2. God, existing, is either necessary or unnecessary.
  3. God is not unnecessary, therefore God must be necessary.
  4. Therefore, God exists.


  1. Person X, a well-known atheist, was morally inferior to the rest of us.
  2. Therefore, God exists.

Link through Tom Coates, who has a very good article about why he is an atheist:

I explained that while Christianity seemed transhistorical and transcendent - that originally it was just one of many different cult practices that exploded in a region at a certain time in history. And that none of these things made it untrue as such - but that they certainly challenged the monolithic image of Christianity as a pure beam of message from God - and that anyone who was going to seriously consider dedicating their life to a religious practice should probably do some bloody research beforehand...

It raises a question though: why does one have to justify being an atheist, but those that believe in God usually never have to justify their belief? Perhaps it is because there is no rationalization for faith? Or is it just because not believing is not the norm?

OK, I've had my share of things that could be called "religious experiences" so that I know that they are really hard to approach rationally, and that it is difficult to explain them to people who have not had them. I know it's also easy to get into this "holier than thou" -attitude: "You don't know what I've experienced, and I've seen so much better stuff that you simply must be wrong." But it is not so. It is a misinterpretation. Believing in God does not make one a better person. It may do that, and all those people who found God in prison, or otherwise reformed their life because of that: "Good for you!" But really, what you say and do has more relevance than what you think or believe in.

An old Zen story:

Student asks master: "What is enlightenment?"
Master says: "First, mountains and lakes are mountains and lakes. When you try to understand, mountains and lakes are not mountains and lakes. And once you achieve enlightenment, the mountains are mountains, and the lakes are lakes.

Sorry about the rambling. Difficult subject, Monday, first coffee break of the months of drudgery of work.

Sunday, 03-Aug-03 23:36
Vacation over

Back home. Saw Hulk. Movie good. Very comic-like. Nice transitions. Now tired. Need sleep. Work tomorrow.

Saturday, 02-Aug-03 20:12
A geeks choice

Sci-fi, agent comics, tech magazine, or go problems? Sci-fi, agent comics, tech magazine, or go problems?

Friday, 01-Aug-03 20:47
A reminder about endurance

This tree has been growing like this for at least ten years. Each year I am surprised to see it still alive, expecting that this winter the ice had finally destroyed its roots beyond repair, or the snow had broken it.

But it just keeps going. One has to admire that.

I guess that there are many cliche-y lessons in all this, but I think it demonstrates well the sheer stubbornness of life. No matter what the conditions, giving in is not an option. Sometimes we people tend to forget that.

Friday, 01-Aug-03 14:58 say nothing of the dog

I think he would've fit perfectly onto the boat with the three men, yes?

He loves sailing. We have no idea why.

And yes, my dear readers, I am aware that my blog has recently been most uninforming and self-centered. We will resume normal transmissions on Monday, as I again return to the megacorporation that pays my wages.

Wednesday, 30-Jul-03 20:28

Sauna, peace, quiet, lake, beer. Perfect.

Wednesday, 30-Jul-03 17:16
Holiday mode

I decided to go to my parents' cottage for a few days. Don't expect any speedy replies if you email me... :-)

Tuesday, 29-Jul-03 15:33
Leg trouble

Our Russian breakfast: steak, macaroni, tea, muffins, sweet bread, and normal bread. No need for lunch after this.
I had the worst cramp in my leg for many years on the last night in Russia. I don't know what triggered it; the heat, lack of some nutrient, dehydration, the spring bed, alcohol - but at any rate I woke up nearly screaming at 7 am, unable to do much other than wince and curse while stretching.

Of course, walking around first for a day with two heavy backpacks, and then sitting in the train for five hours didn't make it much better. Ten hours of sleep on top of that made it stiff again. Now as I catch up on my email, I have to get up every few minutes to stretch again. Annoying.

Strangely, I used to have these much more often when I was younger, more fit, stretched regularly, and practiced martial arts...

On a more positive note, I believe today is the first straight day I've had since I went to Russia. The beer and vodka was so cheap over there (1 bottle of vodka = three beers = 60 rubles = 2€), not to mention free of the usual "what disease will I get if I drink this" -worry, so that we chugged down a few pints every day to compensate for the dehydration...

Tuesday, 29-Jul-03 12:26

The Grand Cascade of the summer mansion in Petrodvorets.
I'm back home, sweating in my apartment. The weekend tournament went quite well, technically. I scored four wins, being the best Finn and won a t-shirt. Unfortunately I got two of my four wins because my opponent did not show up, and thus forfeited the game. Darn. I would've liked to play those games. Now I didn't get to play any serious games on Sunday :-(.

Anyhoo, on Monday we went to the summer mansion of Peter the Great in Petrodvorets and then jumped on hydrofoil ships that transport passengers to St Petersburg. The trip takes 30 minutes, and was the most comfortable method of travel on the whole trip. Of course, it was also 20 times more expensive than the bus... But the arrival up the Neva river into the heart of St Petersburg is worth it.

On the whole, the trip was a very positive experience, regardless of the problems we had in registration, migration card thingy, etc... The only thing that really strained my patience was the return trip: When we arrived on the train, and went into the restaurant car to enjoy some beer and a game of go, the train personnel really boiled my blood. The talk went something like this (in Finnish, of course):

"You have to leave." Note the lack of apology.


"We need those tables for people who want to dine."

"Err, but aren't we paying customers too?"

"You should really thought about it before you came in that there will be people dining here, and you are taking up far too much space with your games." Then she added, as if it made things better: "But you can stay here until the diners arrive."

I finished my beer quickly and went back to my compartment, seething. I mean, of course they need the tables for diners, but she still did not have to act as if we were at fault there. A polite apology and an explanation and a request to move elsewhere would've been cool, and we would've moved, but if you start by telling that the customers are idiots who can't think for themselves (even if they are), then that is not the key to customer service.

Fuck them. That must've been the most Soviet thing I saw on the trip, and after Russia, that's saying a lot.

Saturday, 26-Jul-03 22:33

I finally managed to squeeze some wins in the main tournament, and started the weekend tournament with some confidence. I scored two wins out of three games today, yay!

Other than that, I find it hard to believe but the heat is actually getting to me... Well, it's not so much the heat, but the moisture. I drink a lot, but still I feel thirsty all the time.

Went to St Petersburg yesterday by train, and came back with a minibus. Surprisingly, the trip took about the same time, but we got a reminder of the fragility of the human life as the driver of the minibus decided that it's quite okay to drive 100 km/h into a traffic jam, just simply because there was 4 meters of empty space. Just a single mistake from anyone, and someone would've died. Even the locals that were traveling with us looked scared, and they should be pretty jaded.

Wednesday, 23-Jul-03 17:41
Juggling in Russia

Went today for an arranged tour of St Petersburg, and had a magnificent lunch in some palace of some Grand Duke or something. The trip was expensive, but the lunch pretty much covered most of the cost: it had probably the best salad I have ever eaten, and the dessert was pretty good too. St Petersburg has also gained a lot of its early splendor, the 1.3 billion USD that they poured into renovation for this year's festivities shows. This is a beautiful city, I need to explore this again in the future. It's kinda like London, one of my favourite cities; except that the roads in St Petersburg are broader, there are more parks and canals, the city is more consistent, and the women are more beautiful.

In other news, my juggling seems to be improving. We had some spare time today (I didn't want to go to the arranged visit to a souvenir shop any longer than was necessary), so I started juggling (some simple tricks with three balls; columns and stuff, nothing really fancy) outside behind the corner.

Some tourist gave me a ruble.

I must look really pathetic.

Tuesday, 22-Jul-03 11:23
From Russia, with mixed feelings

Russia is everything you ever heard of, and more. The bureaucracy is (still) astounding, organization ... needs some getting used to, student housing over here is dismal (I have pictures but no way to upload them), food is filled with fat and salt, and everything seems to be on the verge of falling apart.

But people are extremely warm and friendly, (some) food is excellent, living is cheap and St Petersburg is very beautiful. Unfortunately we're living in a bunch of student apartments 40 km outside St Petersburg, so so far I've only seen it from the window of a bus.

Oh well. Lost all of my games so far (even the ones I already won). Bloody depressing.

Update: It seems that SSH outwards is blocked, and my webmail server (imp) is far too slow to be of any use - I've been waiting for 15 minutes for my mailbox to open now - so I am currently in complete email blockage. If you need to reach me urgently, drop me an SMS or leave a comment here.

Saturday, 19-Jul-03 07:28
Off we go!

St Petersburg, here we come.

Friday, 18-Jul-03 11:57
Why not just execute filesharers?

Dan Gillmor asks: Why not just execute filesharers?

Guilty as charged; I've been for ages distributing JSPWiki on the WinMX network :-). Though it's no longer there, since I don't run Windows anymore...

Perhaps I should put a BitTorrent server for JSPWiki stuff... It's not like we really need it, though.

Friday, 18-Jul-03 11:49
OK, scare over, nothing to see here.

The great "Is LGPL viral for Java discussion is over. From Slashdot:

The FSF's Executive Director, Brad Kuhn adds "LGPL's S. 6 allows you to make new works that link with the LGPL'ed code, and license them any way you see fit. Only the LGPL'ed code itself must remain Free. Such 'client code' can even be proprietary; it need not be LGPL'ed."

David Turner concurs

So it was just an interpretational thingy. Feel free to embed JSPWiki anywhere you like, even commercial products.

(Whoa, I was this >< close to being Slashdotted :-)

Friday, 18-Jul-03 00:20
Cleaning frenzy

For some reason, I've been giving a long-overdue cleaning treatment to the whole apartment. Certain places I haven't dared to touch yet, but I did wash the floors, reorganize a book shelf, and spend a few hours scrubbing my mats in the sea. It seems that in Helsinki, all public carpet washing places are by the sea (and thus with salt water), whereas in Espoo and Vantaa they use fresh water. BTW, it's amazing what sort of stuff your kitchen mat can absorb. Or your door mat, for that matter =).

Oh well. At least the weather was good for shifting my tan lines a bit.

Thursday, 17-Jul-03 13:55
RSS does not have to be unidirectional

Well, we can embed HTML in the RssFeeds, yes? That means that we can also embed links, yes? Well, so far RSS has been a very uni-directional, that is, just a content syndication format. But Eric had a brilliant idea on how the RSS feeds could be amended to become a bi-directional format.

So I've implemented the basic "green card", "red" card thing on this site, but for the RSS feeds ONLY! If you want to vote for an entry, just click on the word "YES"; or if you want to vote against an entry, click on "NO".

You can see the result on the bottom of every actual entry page. Not on the front page, though.

So, ya think this is good? :-)

Wednesday, 16-Jul-03 22:08
Cleaning day

Today, I've, among other things, washed my Pikachu.

Wednesday, 16-Jul-03 19:56
LGPL viral for Java?

Blogging Roller: LGPL viral for Java?

Andy Oliver: I clarified the LGPL in Java issue with the FSF and posted to poi-dev. According to the FSF, the LGPL is indeed viral towards Java code. Thus, in essence GPL and LGPL are the same for Java. You could still find that the copyright holder of a particular software package held a different view and is willing to state that explicitly, but it looks like the Apache Software Foundation and Sam were right and I was wrong.

To echo the statement by Dave: "This sucks".

The problem is: the Lesser Gnu Public License text was designed in a time when languages like Java did not exist, and thus the wording is imprecise with respect to dynamically binding languages.

Of course, there is a certain "rivalry" between different Open Source and Free Software factions, which makes that people tend to read the licenses with extra ... accuracy, but if it is the official position of the FSF that LGPL is viral for Java programs, then I have no choice but to seek a new license for JSPWiki.

I would otherwise go Apache, but I would still like to retain control over my code, so I need a license that would be "LGPL" in spirit, but would also work for Java. There's some discussion already over at Hacking Blog.

But really, I want to hear from a FSF representative or an attorney that LGPL is indeed viral for Java before I actually make a license change.

Tuesday, 15-Jul-03 17:19
CSS experiments

Please excuse me if this site suddenly started to look strange on your favourite browser. I've been doing some CSS experiments to replace the default look that was done with tables. Unfortunately, it seems that one has to learn a whole new set of problems with the browsers...

I know that if you look at this site with NS4, it looks horrible. But then again, I don't really care about NS4; it's such a broken browser. I'm a bit more worried about Konqueror and Safari... Drop a comment if you spot oddities.

Oh yeah, and this blog should now also be quite readable on mobile phones as well; at least the 7650 and 3650 work...

Tuesday, 15-Jul-03 15:44
JSPWiki gets intelligent caching

Yup. Since 2.1.52 the magnificent OSCache has been integrated into JSPWiki. The cool thing is; now the search over 400 pages takes now less than 2 seconds on the same hardware it used to take over a minute =).

We currently just use OSCache to cache the page contents (with the ~CachingProvider), but I'll probably implement a ~CacheManager that gives a proper caching system across the entire application.

On a separate note, I just love this heat wave :-).

Monday, 14-Jul-03 22:42
Beautiful beer

Whoa. Samson's Smooth. Aesthetically pleasing cream ale. And the taste isn't too bad either.

Monday, 14-Jul-03 18:55

Yup! I'm in the shower, blogging. Boldly experimenting with new innovations! Or in this case, a mobile phone wrapped in a plastic bag.

No, I am not going to post more pictures, you pervs.

Update: Posting from such an electronics-hostile conditions suddenly makes me realize the power of moblogging against plain weblogging: The ability to instantly publish from locations that simply would be inaccessible to desktops, laptops, or WLAN. By the time the weblogger finds a hotspot for his ~WiFi and types in his thoughts, the mobloggers armed with their cell phones and GPRS (or 3G) have already covered every possible angle... The ability to do blogging with a single hand, as a near-background task, instead of being tethered to a desk is very, very powerful.

Granted; it ain't quick to type, nor is it deep, but moblogging is fast, much faster than traditional weblogging. And that may be the reason why people will put up with the lousy keypads, bad resolution cameras, etc. Moblogging is to weblogging like IM is to email.

Monday, 14-Jul-03 15:29
Summer rain

26 degrees, sun shining, and me cycling to a park, just to hide under a tree as a particularly perky summer rain arrives out of nowhere...

Update: You know why it is not a good idea to seek shelter under an elm tree? Because of the goo that will cover you, make your hands stick to the brake handles, and make your hair stand up in fashions that are usually found only in Hirajuku. Yuck.

Sunday, 13-Jul-03 22:03
Necho feed added

As an experiment I wrote an implementation of the (n)echo for JSPWiki. It's in the CVS now, and also available on this site. However, it's probably outdated already, and it doesn't do Wiki diffs properly yet, only weblog content, but it's a start.

Necho feed of the ButtUgly weblog.

Sunday, 13-Jul-03 21:08
Back from the camp

OK, the camp is over. I managed to sleep 26 hours over the 46 hours that I spent there. No wonder I managed to play only about 8 games or something (I can't actually recall the exact number anymore). With a price of 60€, that the average price for one game to about 7.5€. A normal club night is usually tenth of the price.

Oh well.

Was it worth it? I don't know. If I had enjoyed myself, sure. But now...

I have this nagging feeling I was snappy and impolite most of the weekend. Apologies to all insulted. Can't remember details, though.

Saturday, 12-Jul-03 21:21
No sir, I don't like this

This place sucks. It is ugly and boring. They have karaoke as entertainment, for chrissakes. Even the sauna closes at nine. Won't come here again.

(Where? Päivölä school. Not a good place to spend a weekend. Could be that the weather and my mood are contributing to this, but this place ain't exactly cheering me up either... It looks just like the barracks where I "enjoyed" most of my military service.)

Saturday, 12-Jul-03 19:51
Good times

Slept 14 hours last night. Still tired, gotta sleep some more. I am missing out on a lot, but it doesn't feel that bad. Better to prepare properly for the European go congress next week.

Besides, playing really tires me now... I must've been more tired than I thought.

Can't say I like this place too much either.

Friday, 11-Jul-03 15:02

Three weeks of glorious vacation!

I need it. Badly. Let's hope it's enough.

Could be that I blog a bit less during this time. Could be that I moblog more. Could be this, could be that; I am not making any commitments for the next couple of weeks. Though I'll be going to the European Go Congress next week in St Petersburg... Unfortunately, my operator has no GRPS roaming in Russia, so moblogging will be a bit more difficult. :-/

Friday, 11-Jul-03 14:44
Supernova coverage

Couldn't make it to the Supernova, so I tried to follow the coverage through IRC and the few random weblogs here and there. Unfortunately, a lot of the coverage is really useful only if you're there AND understand the context. I've always found it very difficult to read through someone else's conference notes, they are invariably too long and would need a lot of context to understand what they talk about.

But Kevin Marks nails it with his limerick coverage of Supernova.

Thursday, 10-Jul-03 14:30

Jim O'Connell has made a SpamBlog. All of the spam he receives goes directly to a weblog, which you can syndicate, too.

He warns on the top of his page: "I wouldn't read this site with a Windows machine, if I were you..." A good idea, since he probably blogs all of his viruses, too. :-)

Thursday, 10-Jul-03 10:02
Real action bullet time

Henri sends a link to this wonderful Japanese video, where two guys do the Matrix bullet-time in real life, on stage, with ping-pong balls. No computers, no special effects, no wires, all in a single shot.

Wednesday, 09-Jul-03 14:48

Mozilla just crashed on me, as I was writing a longish post, and of course all of my deep, insightful text disappeared into the oblivion. That's the downside of having a "browser-editable" web page.

I don't think I'm going to rewrite that post. It is not worth rewriting.

This sort of gives a first-order metric of a weblog post, which one should probably consider every time before clicking on "Save".

If your browser crashed as you were writing the final dot, would you rewrite the whole thing again?

If the answer is "yes", then your thoughts matter to you enough so that they might matter to others.

(Would I rewrite this entry? Yeah. But only because it's shorter than my previous post. And I also took a copy of it to the clipboard =).

Tuesday, 08-Jul-03 12:59
Wikis make it to the MSNBC

MSNBC has a short introduction to wikis. Cool, though a bit short.

It’s not hard to imagine how such a forum being completely open to the public could turn into a real mess, which is why Wikis seem to be primarily tools for smaller, contained groups like business work groups.

But in my experience, it is the mid-sized wikis that become unmanageable messes; small ones (such as this one here) are fine, and the really big ones seem to manage okay. But I've noticed that for example the JSPWiki site is harder and harder to keep in order: people write stuff at random places, and very few people (me and Ebu mostly) seem to bother to move them around to any sane order. On my other site there are signs of disorganization, but the larger amount of active users seems to keep it in order better.

I heard somewhere that when a wiki has between 10-100 contributors, it is then when it becomes most messy. However, I can't seem to be able to find the reference anywhere. It would be interesting to study this: What is the amount of people after which wikis start to self-organize instead of self-disorganize?

(Link through Corante.)

Monday, 07-Jul-03 23:03
Partly Hairless

Strange. I must've accidentally partly shaved my legs. Or I have started balding from the bottom up. Or something really sneaky is afoot.

But the outer sides of my legs are now smooth as soap, and I have no idea how it happened. That... that would be scary if it wasn't so darned interesting.

Monday, 07-Jul-03 15:52
The internet is not shit

...and the virtual communities are not dead, Tom Coates reminds us.

Yup. The value of the Internet is not in e-commerce, or web services, or ubiquitous computing, but in the simple fact that we all need to belong. Before, you could only be a part of the community that was physically around you, and if you weren't accepted in that, well, there wasn't much you could do about it.

Now, at least theoretically, anyone can find a group to belong to.

(Is this the reason why people have clustered up in big cities? Not only to seek shelter, but also because it is easier to find a community?)

Monday, 07-Jul-03 15:31
Weblogging a fading fad?

Well, the question did turn up in a late-night conversation. Is blogging a fading fad?

I think the question is moot now, with the upcoming AOL Journals. (Another review by Jeff Jarvis.) AOL seems to be pulling all the right strings: they support RSS out of the box, have direct IM blogging, photoblogging, etc, but something worries me:

The feature list, though, is of secondary importance, compared to AOL's ability to offer a blogging platform to tens of millions of people at once. I was there during the "AOL offers usenet access" days in the early 90s, and that was like watching someone turn the lights on at a baseball stadium.

Yeah, I remember the onslaught of people who came over to the Finnish USENET newsgroups and started screaming because we were not writing in English. They all thought it was a part of AOL. Which was scary. And it transformed USENET. The question is now, how much power does AOL have to transform the blogosphere?

By the end of this year, blogging will be mainstream. But will it be blogging anymore? And will the blogosphere survive?

Monday, 07-Jul-03 13:55
JSPWiki turns two

I nearly missed it, but JSPWiki is now officially two years old. Woo-hoo!

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana. --Groucho Marx

Monday, 07-Jul-03 13:21
More interop magic

Well, it turns out the "Now Playing" -thingy was pretty easy to do in Winamp as well - I just needed to write a custom JSP page to accept submit URLs from the DoSomething plugin.

Cool :-).

Sunday, 06-Jul-03 20:19
Interop magic

Notice the "Now playing" -ticker on the right-hand bar. It comes from the XMMS player, and is directly written on the NowPlaying page. No changes to JSPWiki are necessary - here's the relevant shell script that does the hard stuff, and is called by the XMMS Song Change -plugin every time the song changes:



echo $1 > $FILE

You, of course, need to setup SSH so that you don't have to input a password. JSPWiki will notice that the page has been externally changed and will reload it.

Update: The question is, how do I do this for Winamp as well?

Sunday, 06-Jul-03 17:12

Today, I have mostly been learning how to make juggling balls.

Saturday, 05-Jul-03 22:30

Thank you Henri. Thank you so much for loaning that CD.

For the past few days, I've had this extraordinarily contagious song run in my head. It keeps repeating, and repeating, and repeating, and it simply does not make any sense. No sense at all. And I can't get rid of it! Help me out here:

Olet ainoo jonka antaa uskallan/käden laittaa taskuuni mun/sillä tiedät tempun tosi taitavan/josta aina mä innostun.
Sä osaat sillälailla peppua vemputtaa/astua tahdon onnen laivaan/huulillas kutsuvilla ahmit sä suudelmaan/on kuin aukeisi portit taivaan.
--Eveliina Kurki: "Sä osaat sillälailla peppua vemputtaa"

In English (rough translation by yours truly):

You are the only I can really, really let/put your hand in a pocket of mine/because you know a trick so wonderful/it always makes me go wild.
You know how to tickle and wiggle my bum/wanna step in the happy boat/your lips call me to kiss and gloat/it's like gates of heaven.


That is so completely and utterly inane, it needs a new word. Wiggle someone's bum? (The Finnish word transcends my translational abilities) Why? And what does the happy boat do here? AGH! Explain! My rational mind implodes!

The song, logically, continues with "flabbergasted ducklings" and "rowing to ecstacy", and goes downhill from there.

I've tried to steel myself with the witty and deep songwriting of Kylie Minogue, ~RuPaul, and a bunch of 80s artists, but this, this, this...

For more wonderful Finnish music (this time with video), see the streaming Quicktime Kesänaru music video. In case you have ever wondered why you almost never hear of Finnish rock bands, or a Finnish Eurovision song contest winner, check it out. It should be a joke, but you can never be sure with Finnish music.

And no, I am not going to translate the words.

Saturday, 05-Jul-03 18:53

OK, so I enabled comments on this site. This is a relatively new feature for JSPWiki, so expect some odd breakages.

Unfortunately, the event for which I wrote the comment functionality has been cancelled. So no more fear and tears. Too bad, it might've been something interesting.

Friday, 04-Jul-03 16:21
Fourth of July

Today is the Fourth of July - the independence day of the United States of America.

Much like Christmas, it's true and original purpose has been forgotten by most people, replaced with commercialism, cynicism and nationalism. And in the current world, we are again faced with the two age-old questions: "Does absolute power corrupt absolutely", and "Who watches the watchers"?

Dan Gillmor hasn't forgotten.

Thanks to Syksy for the link.

Friday, 04-Jul-03 15:11
Office day

Summer is here (finally, I might add) and hanging in the office feels like a crime. Luckily our office is close to the sea, and I can steal some time hanging out...

Friday, 04-Jul-03 13:47
Plug for a new Finnish blog

No, Hakkis, I am not uneasy. Sorry, Finnish only.

Thursday, 03-Jul-03 18:03
Testing OSCache...

Out of curiosity, I decided to enable OSCache on this web server. For some strange reason, I cannot use their ~CacheFilter, which cuts off everything after 16384 bytes... But we're now both caching the main page, as well as the RSS feed.

Let's see if it helps in page load times and server load.

Update: Yap, everything seems to be snappier, but I can't be certain until I try some serious load later on today...

Update2: OK, apparently it works. I managed to overload my 1.4 GHz Athlon at home when trying to overload this server, but the load here got never over 2, and it still served happily 80+ JSP pages/minute. Hooray for OSCache! I'm definitely going to integrate it into JSPWiki.

Thursday, 03-Jul-03 13:13
JSPWiki performance evaluation

Since I am going to be loading this server really heavily next week, I thought it would be a good idea to run some performance and profiling tests on the current code base.

Well... I never realized RCSFileProvider is so incredibly slow! OK, we do have a slight problem with getPageInfo() being called far more than is really necessary, and that is something that is very slow with RCS.

I changed this weblog to use VersioningFileProvider on the theory that I don't edit pages a lot anyway. The server can now serve four times the RSS feeds/minute it has done before, and about the web log main page should be about 3 times faster...

Yup. If you use JSPWiki for weblogging, use VersioningFileProvider.

Wednesday, 02-Jul-03 18:52

Walking is good for ya. Took a wrong turn, er, shortcut, and saw whole new places I've never seen before.

By AnonymousCoward  Permalink  Comments? (0)
Wednesday, 02-Jul-03 17:14
Nostalgia on the fast lane

It's time to take a look at my statistics, now that I have been up and running for six months:

  • Average page views for the past two months: 11,000/month, total of 47,000 (126,000 requests).
  • 51% of my readers come from .fi -domain
  • The most popular referrer is the pinseri bloglist, with raible designs around half the amount.
  • The most popular search words to this site are (in order), put together in phrases: "butt ugly people" and "buttugly pictures of kylie minogue" (Sorry, Kylie)
  • And obviously, my most popular page is HowToMinceAHamburger, which has twice the amount of accesses of any other individual page :-).

Draw whatever conclusions you will, but to me it really seems that most people are really only interested in sex (and if Kylie's butt ain't sexy, I don't know what is) and food.

Hooray for the Internet, which allows us to gain these incredible insights into human psyche.

Shall I continue blogging? Of course. This has really taught me so much, and it seems that I am learning at an geometric rate (I might even become self-aware in a while), not to mention all the cool, interesting, wacky, annoying, despicable, wonderful and new people I have met.

Besides, it's a good egobooster and a conversation subject these days :-).

By AnonymousCoward  Permalink  Comments? (0)
Wednesday, 02-Jul-03 16:56
Blogger API 2.0 RIP

Well well well, this is turning out to be a busy day in the blogosphere:

Evan Williams, the developer of the original Blogger XML-RPC API for weblogs pledges massive support on Echo:

  1. We will continue to support the Blogger API 1.0.
  2. We will not be implementing or supporting the Blogger API 2.0.
  3. We are moving away from XML-RPC.
  4. The syndication format and API format will be unified.
By AnonymousCoward  Permalink  Comments? (0)
Wednesday, 02-Jul-03 15:54
The rise and fall of Dragonball Z

There is currently a big debate in Finland about Japanese manga (comics) which have been labeled as child pornography. The discussion has been going back and forth - mostly forth - with the Christian Party calling for a ban of pornographic material targeted at underaged. You see, over here comics and animation are seen as something that is only applicable to children, so if it's drawn, it always automatically gets lumped with Donald Duck's and Pokemons.

The discussion centers on the first manga published in Finnish, the relatively crappy Dragonball Z. In one episode there are a couple of references to tits and panties, which was quite enough to send a bunch of people - who have NO idea whatsoever about what manga really is - into rage and mouth-foaming convulsions. The discussion was fueled with a major newspaper columnist blaming the whole enjo kosai -phenomenon[1] on comics, and claiming that "millions schoolgirls engage in prostitution in Japan every year". Of course, this is a totally absurd statement - it is easy to calculate that the revenue generated by millions of schoolgirls selling themselves would easily rival the entire national defense budget of Japan - but so far it has been relatively uncontested. I don't know what the Japanese ambassador thinks of all this...

Anyway, I am writing this to explain to my English readers why I am linking to an Finnish-only story about the whole matter. It is an excellent (though rather sarcastic) viewpoint to the whole debacle from someone who really knows what the good Japanese comics can really, really be about.

So, if you can read Finnish, enjoy Dragonballin nousu ja tuho by Jari Lehtinen.

[#1] - schoolgirls selling themselves to get more money to spend on clothes, etc.

By AnonymousCoward  Permalink  Comments? (0)
Wednesday, 02-Jul-03 13:12
EU software patents

European software patents 'a done deal' says this article on ZDNet, and continues:

The European Commission and European Parliament are determined to introduce software patents in Europe despite widespread opposition from European companies and software developers, according to a UK open-source software lobbying group.

Aw, crap.

By AnonymousCoward  Permalink  Comments? (0)
Wednesday, 02-Jul-03 12:29
"Blog" (R)

"Blog" is now a registered trademark in Japan, says Joi Ito.


By AnonymousCoward  Permalink  Comments? (0)
Wednesday, 02-Jul-03 02:07

Yup. Made the commit a few minutes ago. We now have a fully functional, though buggy and limited AAA (Authorization, Authentication and Access Control) service for JSPWiki.

I'll try to roll it to this site shortly to see if it really holds up =).

In another news, I have promised to participate in something really strange. I feel deep fear.

You should, too.

By AnonymousCoward  Permalink  Comments? (0)
Tuesday, 01-Jul-03 18:13
Wikis and personality

Corante has an excellent post about how Wiki can function as depersonalizing place for standards development:

But there is a second reason, under the surface but possibly more important -- wikis denature personality. Echo exists not because there are things wrong with the RSS markup -- there are, but they could be easily fixed. Echo exists because there are things wrong with the RSS process. RSS is having not a technological crisis but a constitutional one, where who decides what concerning RSS is not clear, and will never be clear, because the people doing the deciding don't even see themselves as being part of a decision making body.

Yes, exactly.

There is no technological problem here. All RSS readers worth their name can read all three prevalent formats, with little trouble. "Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you output" - an old truth is valid also here.

By AnonymousCoward  Permalink  Comments? (0)
Tuesday, 01-Jul-03 12:40
XML-RPC spec updated

Les Orchard notes that Dave Winer has updated the XML-RPC specification to remove the comment about ASCII.

The question now is - what should be done with respect to the Wiki XML-RPC API, which already encodes stuff in Base64?

Should we issue a new version which breaks compatibility with older versions? What?

By AnonymousCoward  Permalink  Comments? (0)
Tuesday, 01-Jul-03 11:47
Like, man, wow

<mumble> ...if you could have a dreamwiki where people could go when they fell asleep and had their dreams available and editable by anyone, so that we could have these communal dreams... </mumble>

By AnonymousCoward  Permalink  Comments? (0)
Monday, 30-Jun-03 00:10
Role playing gives you ideas on Wikis

Relaxed weekend, killed player characters. My plans didn't go according to plan, but then again, neither did the PCs' plans. Oh well.

Interesting idea came up while we were talking this-and-that in sauna: One of my players also GMs occasionally, and he has built an interesting GM tool on top of TouchGraph and a custom HTML editor bean. Now, there is already a ~TouchGraph WikiBrowser...

What if you had a ~TouchGraph view of a Wiki, combined with WYSIWYG, Hydra-like editing, all on top of a WebDAV repository? That way we could get rid of

  • The traditional Wiki problem of bad navigability (and replace it with something that might, or might not be equally bad)
  • Edit mode
  • Page locking
  • The need to learn WikiMarkup
By AnonymousCoward  Permalink  Comments? (0)

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

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