Sunday, 30-Jul-06 20:18
Some initial Macbook experiences

So, I got my badly overdue Macbook on Friday, and so far the overall experience has been positive. It's not as heavy as I feared (my old one is a 12" Powerbook), and the new display is simply gorgeous. Finally I can use it outdoors at full sunlight with no problems.

However, I had considerable trouble trying to migrate my data from my old computer. You see, I had managed to create a couple of files in iTunes which had random characters in their names, and it turns out that these files cannot be opened nor copied. The nasty bit being that Migration Assistant read dutifully for an hour, and then died at this random MP3 file - deleting everything it had moved so far from my home directory. So I had to run it again, and move the 40 -odd gigs of stuff yet again...

The fun thing about those files is that they can't be deleted either. You simply can't get rid of them. The only thing that works is that you copy (with cp -Rp) the directory which contains these files, then you need to remove the old directory (with rm -rf). You will end up with one directory which cannot be removed, because it's still not empty. You move that directory to /tmp/, and then rename the directory you copied to the original name.

In the end the only way I could do this was to do this whole process to my entire iTunes Music library. Which took a bit of a while. Then I ran the Migration Assistant again, and hey! It worked perfectly.

Other than that, the experience has been relatively smooth. VLC still does not run reliably, and World of Warcraft could be faster (but it's entirely playable, if you don't use the highest settings). Compilation on this beast is nice and fast - and it looks pretty cool too. The Macbook is clearly quieter than the old Powerbook, but my guess is that the Macbook's fans don't start turning so easily (i.e. it lets the computer run hotter). The Superdrive still sounds like it dies every time you insert/eject a CD, but then again, the only time it failed on me it was nice and quiet, so I'm welcoming the noise.

I've not yet found that it would run overly hot. Yes, if I really push it, then it does get hot, but I can actually hold it in my lap while I type this (I'm testing Parallels in the background, so there's some activity). Not that I would recommend it to anyone wishing to breed later on, though.

(Oh, and by the way, there should be a law against getting sick while on holidays.)

Wednesday, 26-Jul-06 13:16
DRM not really that bad for consumers?

David Robinson has an interesting tidbit of information. Supposedly, the new Microsoft music store (Zune) will scan user's iTunes library, and buy all the iTunes-purchased music from the MS store at Microsoft's expense. Simply speaking this means that the DRM lock-in value has vanished for Apple, since it will be trivial to start using MS's store instead. You lose no music.

But now it seems that it may actually be easy as pie for any iTunes user to leave the Apple platform. The cost of the Zune player, which will presumably be exclusive to the Zune music service just as the iPod is to iTunes, is a significant factor, but given that reliability issues require users to replace iPods frequently, buying a new player doesn’t actually change the cost equation for a typical user over the long run.

What are the lessons here? Personally, I feel like I underestimated the power of the market to solve the possible problems raised by DRM. It appears that the “lock in” phenomenon creates a powerful incentive for competitors to invest heavily in acquiring new users, even to the point of buying them out.

And, of course, since it does not delete the original, you will end up with two copies of the same music (except with different DRM). This makes the life of the consumer easier, since they don't have to be reliant on a single music provider any more. I would not be surprised if a similar deal became suddenly available from Apple.

Tuesday, 25-Jul-06 19:51

So, Jyri and me decided to throw ourselves into the Web 2.0 bandwagon with our new podcast. Lots of weird Finnish/English mixed chitchat will be abound shortly. Enjoy.

Wednesday, 19-Jul-06 12:34
India censoring web sites?

Hmmm... India has now joined the "the internet is bad for you, mmmmkay" fray and started to censor evil web sites, such as blogs.

Anil Saxena of Spectranet confirmed that the list sent by the DoT contained names of particular blogs, but added that Blogspot as a whole had not been blocked. This is contrary to the experience of customers like Dwivedi, who are still unable to view sites hosted on Blogspot, in addition to those on Typepad and Yahoo!'s Geocities. "The list is confidential and I can't make it public," said Saxena.

The question beckons: Why? Why are some blogs blocked and why are others not? What would a democratic government be afraid of?

(Via Slashdot.)

Update: Rediff lists the sites that are blocked. It would appear that the banning criteria is that some those sites are critical (or downright offensive) of Islam. Or, like in one case, a defunct girl's journal.

Wednesday, 19-Jul-06 12:11
Macbook new revision?

I succumbed to the temptation, and ordered myself a spanking new MacBook last month. However, the estimated shipping date passed - even the estimated delivery date passed. So I finally called them today and wanted to know why the ~MacBook is two weeks late.

The guy at the Apple Store said simply that production is revising materials - in some ~MacBooks, the covers can get discoloured, so they're changing the composition of the plastic to get rid of that problem. I also got the impression that they are revising the motherboard as well (though this was a bit unclear on the discussion). So maybe I won't be getting an infamous Rev. A. machine?

Apple could not give me an estimated shipping date, though. But this was probably one of the better reasons for a delay - I don't mind if I get a better machine. My ~PowerBook is still chugging along, but it's certainly starting to show its age...

Update, a couple of hours later: Well, what do you know? It now says "shipped" on my order. Maybe they bumped me up in a queue or something... There is, however, a question of keyboard - for some reason my computer was ordered with an UK keyboard, and I had to call in to remedy it. I just hope the French sales guy understood what I wanted...

Friday, 14-Jul-06 23:12
Jaiku, social software for your phone, launches

Jaiku, a software which integrates your Nokia phone book with presence and social information has been launched.

This is just a heads-up - I don't have a S60 2nd edition phone I could test it on; my phone runs only on 3rd edition. If you guys have a 3rd ed beta program, I'd be happy to contribute... ;-)

Thursday, 13-Jul-06 14:24
Streaming in Linux is illegal, says EU

Tietoja koneesta -blog linked to an article in Helsingin Sanomat, in which it was complained that the citizens of EU are not interested in viewing media streams from EU meetings. Of course, nobody knew of such a possibility, because EU PR department is not very good at their work. Therefore it's a bit of a stretch to say that people are not interested.

If you are interested, here's the link to the service.

Here's the fun bit. Look at the FAQ. They say (emphasis mine):

On which platforms can I view the live streaming media service of the Council of the European Union?

The live streaming media service of the Council of the European Union can be viewed on Microsoft Windows and Macintosh platforms. We cannot support Linux in a legal way. So the answer is: No support for Linux

WHAT?!? What do you mean "you can't support Linux in a legal way?" There are plenty of possibilities to do cross-platform streaming, starting with the Another Seattle Company called Real, who have been supporting Linux, Windows and Mac for ages. There are a gazillion different Flash players out there (which are really cool because they don't in general need any installation), and not to mention all sorts of open source options. Even using a standard such as MP4 or MPEG-2 would perfectly suffice for any and all Linux users, who have also legal ways to watch such streams.

Unfortunately, EU has chosen to use Windows Media, which is a proprietary standard, owned by the same company that EU is slapping a big fine on for being such a proprietary company. And yet, at the same time, they are supporting this proprietaryness by requiring everyone to use Windows Media, and giving the appearance that it is an only option, and it would be illegal for them to support Linux in any way.

Now, I know EU government is big and vast (and has its share of incompetent nincompoops), but this irony is still laughable.

(Besides, you can go and install Crossover, completely legally, and get the full Windows Media Player experience in Linux. So please.)

Wednesday, 12-Jul-06 12:32
Deviceless kitchen

I just realized something while eating breakfast: what happened to the "automated kitchen of the future"? In the sixties and seventies, the great dream of the future was to relieve the women from the kitchen by adding more machines that would do everything. From an automatic bread-slicer to a multi-function refridgerator which can order food when it's out, it was all there. In fact, the trend has been going on for years; with the automatic fridge being the dream of ubiquitous computing geeks for years now.

But what happened? A modern kitchen has a fridge, a microwave oven, a regular oven, a stove, and a couple of different mixers. And we still use lots of regular pots and pans and knives to prepare the food. Nothing fancy, just simple things.

And people are eating out 30% of the time (in the US), double the rate it was 30 years ago. There is not that much need for home automation anymore. In fact, I think there is great value in actually preparing your own food, and taking your time doing it.

Maybe all the dreams about the automated kitchen were created by lonely geeks, who had nobody to cook for them? I have lately grown a bit disillusioned about the whole concept of ubiquitous computing. We already have computers everywhere in the environment - just count the chips! Every single electronic item in your home has a chip of sorts, from the fridge to the vacuum cleaner to the DVD player, and have they made our life easier? They've certainly eased certain robotic work, but they have created other kinds of emotional complexities, from "what shall we watch" to "what is this bloody thing DOING!?!" It's not about making life easier, it's about shifting complexity from one aspect of life to some other aspect.

The cool thing about all that is that thanks to technology, you get to choose in what way to make your life complex, which is more than what the previous generations had. But it's not making your life easier.

People fill their lives with complexity: always trying to do more and more. Maybe it would be time to try and fill your life with simplicity?

Update: Finnish readers are suggested to read Jani's "Fatless Fat", too. Good thinking, as always.

Tuesday, 11-Jul-06 12:02
Evil advertising

Nainen ratissa writes (in Finnish) how TV has become her slave instead of her being a slave to the TV. All thanks to a PVR (a digital TV box which contains X Gigabytes of hard drive for recording shows), she can now watch her programming anytime, and she gets to skip all the commercials at the flick of a button. I think this is great! Freedom, at last!

Of course, the media industry thinks this is all evil and we should do exactly as they want. Following the well-known comments of Jamie Kellner, CEO of Turner Broadcasting, who thinks that skipping advertisements is stealing, now comes ABC, the producer of such TV shows as "Lost", who wants the fast forward button on PVRs to be disabled, so that people would be unable to skip commercials.

Note that DVD's already have this: quite a few DVD's I've seen lately (rented or purchased) have a long, "anti-piracy" propaganda clip in the front, which cannot be skipped or fast-forwarded, and it just keeps going and going and going... It's almost irritating enough that I've considered if I should rip the DVD to my hard drive just so that I wouldn't need to watch the bloody clip anymore.

It's not a long step to add something like this to the digital TV standards. In fact, it would be trivial, and the DVB consortium (i.e. the guys who developed the current European digital TV) is already working on such a specification called Content Protection and Copy Management. It can also do things such as prevent something from being recorded (unless you pay an extra fee), or say that you can only watch something once, and then it will get removed permanently and automatically, or prevent you from moving your recording outside of say, Finland (so your entire video library might cease to function, if you move).

Of course, thanks to the new copyright legislation in place in Finland and elsewhere in Europe, at some point in time it will probably be illegal to own a device which can fast-forward through commercials, because it would circumvent a content protection system. Assuming it all gets adopted by device manufacturers. Which it might, if the media lobby can turn the heads of a majority of MEPs...

Would somebody please think of the consumers as well?

(Do you see why I sometimes want to forget all about technology and become a sheep farmer in Scotland? Or New Zealand, that might be more interesting.)

Sunday, 09-Jul-06 22:31
Training woes and wonderings

I recently purchased a heart rate meter to track my progress and motivate myself. Interestingly, I hit a strange glass wall when discussing it with some people - mostly either fitness experts or medically trained people: they said that these meters are worthless, because fitness is such a complex thing and cannot be reduced to something as trivial as how much your heart beats per second as you are climbing up the last few hundred meters to your home.

But what strikes me odd that there have been quite a few medical and fitness experts probably designing these things. Is their expertise worth nothing? Could they all be wrong, and sacrificing their professional integrity on the altar of enlightened self-interest?

And most importantly, I'm a geek. If I am motivated to train more because I can watch my progress in Excel sheets and someone - even a tiny wristwatch computer - prompts me to go out there and do something, is that a bad thing? Should I feel bad because I am now exercising more - just because I am motivated by a thing with blinkenlichts?

Is this another case of computers invading a profession, undermining the white towers that have been so carefully erected over the years? For all their promises of making life simpler, they're certainly making the life complex for some people: the entertainment industry is struggling hard to keep their scarcity-based business models as digital media eliminates scarcity. The march of broadband is threatening traditional telephony, and old-school journalists write disdaining articles about bloggers and participatory journalism. Wikipedia is constantly under attacks from the publishing industry, and harsh words are being exchanged over patents and copyright.

Is medical technology something that will see the next revolution in user-created content? Call it "user-assisted diagnostics", if you will. Some of my doctor friends have told of cases where the patient knows more about their disease than the doctor, because they've been reading all the material they can get their hands on off the internet. Some of them detest it, because the patient has no medical training and should therefore be not messing with things they do not understand. I can understand that attitude, doctors are, after all, a very conservative bunch, and they know of all the things that can go wrong if you're hasty.

But when more and more simplified medical technology reaches the common man, will we see another big boom? What will be the mouse and the World Wide Web of the medical technology? What will push through the barrier and make people discuss "parameters of the human body", much like they discuss which web site gives the best discounts on flight tickets? Does a person have a right to diagnose and treat himself in any way he pleases, even if it goes against the recommendations of doctors?

I really have no idea. But I know that there will be lots of resistance and debate when that happens. The internet might be something that happens to other people, but messing with my body is personal.

(Blog tip: SchizoBlog. No, not the one you think, if you're Finnish. Thanks to Matt.)

Friday, 07-Jul-06 22:49

Holiday, vacation, loma... What wonderful words!

I may start posting more often, or way less. Or... who knows. I'm on vacation now. Ta-ta!

Wednesday, 05-Jul-06 16:51
E-series blog

Now this new e-series blog looks rather interesting and useful, if you happen to own any of the new Nokia E-Series phones (like E70, E61 or E60). Now, if I only could figure out who's writing that blog - the guy is very mysterious about his identity or affiliations. Makes you wonder...

Anyway, I'm certainly going to try and sync my E70 with my Mac, as described here. Did you also know that you can lock your phone remotely by yourself, if it's lost or stolen?

Wednesday, 05-Jul-06 10:14
Complaint Choir of Helsinki

There's something very, very Finnish in this song.

(Thanks to Younghee for the tip!)

Monday, 03-Jul-06 11:36
Spam is getting really targeted

Got this a couple of moments ago, and it nearly was caught in my spam trap (I use a Bayesian-trained Spamassassin with Razor, if anyone cares. No false positives, and only about 1% missed spam rate):

"Do not ignore me please, I found your email soamewhere and now decided to write you. I am coming to your place in few weaeks and thought we can meet each other. Let me know if you do not mind. I am a nice pretty girl. aDon't reply to this email. Email me adireclty at"

...right. Darling, if your sender email address starts with "rvxcgyijw@", then you are more likely to be a bot than a real person. Now, I like tech porn as much as any geek, but sorry, spam bots just don't do it for me.

In the mean time, go relive some of the giggliest moments of your youth with the 50 worst video game titles 3v4h. (Thanks to Falla for the link.)

Sunday, 02-Jul-06 21:09
Two years

It's been two years now from a perfect moment (the blog entry is dated on July 4th, but that's only because we were, erm, busy.) I still remember how excited, scared, giddy and anxious it all made me feel.

Sorry for getting mushy again. I promise to become a hardcore technologist again next week. ;-)

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

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