Apr 302005

A passing kayaker rediscovers
ivory-billed woodpecker in Arkansas. The bird was thought to be extinct since 1944, and it’s not exactly a small tweeter, so this is a major discovery.

And what’s really surprising is that the species has a finnish name, rämetulikärki, sometimes the tenacity
of finnish hobbyists/scientists is just overwhelming.

Next up… The return of the formidable Moas in New Zealand, couple of Dodo species and whatever the cats, rats and pigs extincted in the pacific islands. You’d wish.

Apr 302005

Yet another piece of entertainment built on top of the mighty search machine.

This one challenges you to discover the word whose search returns the twenty image fragments shown.

The game is short, and the first few rounds (there are ten altogether) are spent in cheerful bewilderment. Got 226 points on first and only try. The top-list is full of people who seem to have mined the game for maximum score with what appears to be graceless repetition and rote learning, which is quite impressive since the right answer is not given out by the game. Or perhaps they just are very quick to spot the search term in the collection of images. But hey, ignore the competitive aspect, and it’s jolly good fun.

Apr 302005

Yah, a not totally useless meme. Picking up after Visa Kopu, and initially from defectiveyeti.

What is the URL your browser gives you for each letter (and number):

Apr 292005

Went to see Jonna Tervomaa in Tavastia yesterday.

The scheduling seemed odd, since posters stated that showtime was 21:30. Decided against early arrival, and got to the place after half past eleven, when the warm-up act, Tuure Kilpeläinen was playing. Very much singer-songwritery- type stuff, not bad at all but not exactly my cup of tea either. Some good bits in songs, but not enough to really raise the vocalist up from mediocrity. Or perhaps I’m being just too critical.

The main act was accompanied by extremely lame interaction with the audience, but the gig itself was good. Sharp vocals, accompanied by funked-up renditions of classic songs by Jussi Jaakonaho the guitarist. Turns out (as far as I could tell from the confusing raps) that this was indeed the second gig of the day, first one having been played at the appointed hour. But she bravely played the expected hour-and-then-some, and I decided to split around the third song in the encore to escape the rush at the coatcheck. No new songs that I could tell.

Despite this being quite a bit later occasion than yesterday’s, there were still buses going north. Which was good, since there seemed to be a bit of shortage on taxis.

Apr 282005

So, the annual finnish blog-awards gala was held yesterday. Skipped, in favor of friends and blacksabbathinfinnish, thank you very much.

Haven’t really many of the winning blogs, so can’t really comment on most of them (Kari Haakana, kasa and hockeyblog are worthy). But I agree on the honorary winners. And the anti-award as well – though I haven’t yet tested whether this blog passes the Karpela-koolaid-test. Well, I’ll find out the next time I have time to kill near a public web-kiosk.

Anyway, all’s not truly well in the blogosphere. The counter-award by
lehti is pretty much what it appears. And a severely pseudonymous Täti Pensiö is stirring up trouble.

Apr 282005

Broke a long and boring no-live-music season, and went to see Sapattivuosi at Tavastia.

Arrived pretty much eleven o’ sharp, and the band was just kicking off with Hautuumaan Lapset. Perfect timing, for once. Played a good chunk of songs from both albums: Sotasiat, Elävinä Kuolleisiin, Tarviin Pimuu (a genial rendition of Dirty Women), and many many others. Good 75 minute show. No Paranoid, but a merciless version of Symptom of the Universe as encore.

Ran into Pekka. Skipped buying a t-shirt (silver on black), and got home surprisingly early (starting early on a weekday is a good thing, especially when there’s an early meeting waiting on the unwary rock-cop).

Maybe I have to invest in the second album as well, since many of the new songs sounded good indeed.

Apr 252005

Ok, so it’s not Nokia, but Samsung who will sponsor Chelsea next season. And for quite a bit more money than was originally reported.

Too bad, would’ve been cool to have the most famous finnish logo on the most expensive football jersey, but that’s not to be had. And perhaps this is for the good. After all, sponsoring one team might have alienated the fans of others…

The roundabout of sponsors in the premiership goes on, as the Blues’ current sponsor, Emirates Air, moves on to Highbury Lane.

Apr 252005

Yet another great comic artist goes beyond the veil of ink. Romano Scarpa, whose long career (spanning fifty years almost to a day) in creating Duck/Mouse stories leaves most of the others standing.

He was not the most technical of artists, nor did all the stories make much sense (though the writer’s usually to blame in this case). But prolific, oh yes.

And the best stories, from the turn of sixties/seventies (published and republished in Finland during the next decade) had a kind of Lynchian sense of wonder to them. Everyday tales, under whose surface
lies hidden menace. Needless to say, these were kinda standout stories at ripe age of less than ten years when most of the magazine was already getting stale. So, it’s now back to re-reading the
Iroquois Necklace and Swedish Matches amongst others, stories from a time when the monthly pocket issues were done with care instead of just by the numbers.

Apr 242005

And not by EA, but the real thing. First round of playoffs, and the series wide open.

Indeed, Miami – New Jersey 2215 on canal+. Probably not the most appropriate background noise for finalizing a presentation for next week, but it’ll have to do.

Apr 242005

Updated blogger code:

    B5 d t++ k s u f i- o+ x-- e l- c


  • B4 -> B5 (time takes its toll)
  • s– -> s (figured it’d be useful to know who visits)
  • l -> l- (like, what was the previous useful meme)
Apr 242005

Seems that the service provider had a bit of trouble with servers this morning. Ping worked, but anything above that didn’t.

Fine now, but no reply to my problem report yet (would be nice to know the reason, extent and duration of the incident).

Apr 232005

Began experimenting with comments, and after a three point clue from Aaro chose to play with the free tool from Haloscan instead of trying to whip something up on my own. It’s a start, and replaceable if it gets iffy.

Pay no attention to the screams and spilled chemicals. They are necessary artifacts of progress. The styling is far from final. I hope. It’s between lame and awful at the moment. And anyway, spring cleaning for the bloated .css would be beneficial.

And nope, I’m not going to enable comments on any previous entries. Unless appropriately bribed. Let the past be static and undisturbed.

Still missing a real perma-link thingy. But that’s more a fault of the publishing system than anything else. And would necessitate some additional hackery. Which is not a bad thing, of course, but no thanks on a lazy saturday night, please.

And no categories either. Since the content tends to wander between subjects in entries, this would not be a very important addition.

Jury’s still out on doing RSS/Atom/whatever-feeds.

Apr 232005

Individual I animated logo

The very suspicious penguins were originally reported by Bruce Schneier, definitely a blog worth following if you’re interested in either Big Brother’s encroachment on us all or the general cluelessness regarding electronic security issues.

Schneier’s idea of a real concentrated Individual Rights campaign is a very good one – thus far all efforts to question authority have pretty much been lost in the noise. A single front will help matters.

And yeah, been a Schneier-reader for a long while. My initial plan regarding my master’s thesis was to do it on everyday corporate cryptographical applications, and at that time (mid ’96) the
definitive volume on the topic was Applied Cryptography, which is still highly regarded. However, due to one reason or the other, the cryptography topic fell by the wayside, and I embarked on the road to describe a way to revolutionize a thoroughly proprietary operating system with standard interfaces. And yeah, once I locate the elusive .pdf of the final version, the outdatedness of the study will be quite painful.

Apr 232005

Yesyesyes, the Niners show that they can put 1 + 1 together. And get a two for an answer.

Indeed. Alex Smith is now a San Francisco Fortyniner. Here’s hoping for a quick revovery. After all, a 2-14 season is definitely something not to repeat.

Apr 232005

Vltava – the new (and large) czech-style restaurant smack in the middle of downtown Helsinki has been receiving lukewarm reviews recently (eg. nyt).

Decided to cap a “winding the workweek down”-session with a chunk of some serious meat. The visit does not start well, a five-person table takes “like some 40 minutes” to get, according to a waiter. The forty minutes quickly turn into almost seventy before we’re ushered to the table on the third floor. The menu looks good, hearty food all around. The appetizers don’t take very long to arrive, but beer does. And that’s inexcusable, piping hot onion rings pretty much scream for a chilling liquid on the side, even the appearance of water was very much delayed. Food itself is good, and the portions (had pork with
potato pancake and sausage) pretty optimally sized, definitely could have eaten another chunk of Vltava’s own sausage, but that’s a minor niggle. The check was given on a by-person basis without any extra hassle, which is always a plus.

Not a bad place, but I’m not holding my breath waiting for a second visit. And they really, really ought to stock some plum-brandy.

Apr 212005

In the slowly continuing series, “what’s spinning in your dvd player”: Seinfeld and Angel.

Never been a big fan of Seinfeld, but when the three first seasons on dvd were going dirt cheap in a sale, nabbed them. I don’t think I’ve seen a single season 1 episode before, and at least the couple first ones definitely have not hit the ground running. And the pilot’s definitely weird (no Elaine, Kramer’s called Kessler). So, the bullseye episodes are yet to come, but the dialogue has occasionally already hit all cylinders, but it’s just not consistent thus far.

To contrast the early Seinfeld, there’s the late Angel. Late as in “cancelled” as well as “season 5″. The first eight or so episodes have been of uniform good quality (nothing exceptional, but neither truly wretched). And clearly Whedon & co. are still hoping that they’d get an extension on the show – haven’t yet resorted to weirdness or tying up all the loose ends. But I’m sure there will be time enough for both.

Apr 192005

Outlook seems to be having some sort of vendetta against yours truly. I use it at work only, don’t worry, I do practice safe communication at home.

Anyway, looks like that moving the good ol’ laptop between offline and on-line states too many times terribly confuses the sad excuse of an e-mail client, and it goes sulkingly into permanent offline mode. And with w2k taking close to five minutes to restart, it isn’t really a solution. But at least the relevant help files provide no assistance in this. The usual reward applies – sufficient or even helpful answers get beer. Not that anyone really came forward with a solution when I was waging personal warfare against the w2k DHCP-client. Which, by the way, still sucks.

Apr 182005

Yeah, bought it on saturday. Along with Teräsbetoni’s debut.

Ok, so the reception‘s been lukewarm. But I like it. More organic than the previous album – fewer loops, more guitars. But kind of devoid of hooks. Or then I’ve just not been paying attention enough. Well, I anticipate this to grow on me, hence a good position near the very top of ipod’s disk.

And since pretty much every second inbound person seems to be looking for the lyrics to “Taivas lyö tulta” via google, it’d be polite to have them here. Perhaps some day. Anyway, the rest of the album is not nearly as good as the first single, but there are some bright moments.

Apr 182005

Whoo, good old ESPN.com has really outdone itself lately, three biggish articles worth reading in a row…

First up is a neat-o collection of cheating tales. Some familiar, some less so. My favorite is #19, which shows why Grouchy Souness is not really destined for a bright future.

The second, an analysis of the quarterbacks for the almost-immediate NFL-draft. And unless the niners manage to pull a Sounessian moment of genius, they will draft Alex Smith. After all, their previous smart [Smith graduated in two years, majoring in economics] Utahn [that's, like, Steve Young, for the less enthusiastic readers] QB only took them to several championships.

And last, a ten year retrospective on ESPN history. As far as I can remember, an annual membership therein (or actually Starwave sports with whom they merged) was my very first web-purchase. And no, my credit card number was not nabbed, and I gave up the subscription after a year as the information kept getting more and more liberally shelled out for non-subscribers as well. Thanks for the ride, and here’s looking for another decade of decent reporting.