Nov 282007
 

The victory streak is now seven games long. Thanks to a single point victory this weekend.

The highest score of the week was off the Cowboys’ defense, who continued their mistreatment of offenses – the individual key play was a pick returned for a touchdown, sweet eight points in a single offensive miscue.

Drew Brees outplayed Derek Anderson, meaning that I really have to start thinking which one of the quarterback duo to field. The running backs executed themselves OK. But on the wide receivers should definitely gave fielded Atlanta’s Roddy White – his TD-capped 104 yards are surprisingly many against the stingy Colts’ defense.

The game was indeed close. And the opponent was carried by niners’ Frank Gore, who demolished the Cardinals for 32 points total. A welcome return of the air/land threat to the San Francisco team badly in need of a saviour.

So the week culminated in Monday Night Football, with Hines Ward and Heath Miller of the Steelers receiving corps fighting for points and a nine point deficit for the opponents. The game turned out to be an affair on a well-soaked field. With balls slipping out of everybody’s hands, the Pittsburgh-Miami event looked like the first scoreless draw in the 64 year history of NFL. But that was not to be, Jeff Reed kicked a field goal seventeen seconds before clock expired. No points for Miller, eight for Ward. Enough to preserve victory.

Bring on week thirteen.

Nov 272007
 

Do not attempt to locate a hidden message in the selection.

There isn’t any.

Nov 272007
 

Today’s biggest news item in the finnish blogosphere was the acquisition of Blogilista.fi by Sanoma Oy.

Thus this week’s fiver is all about the site that just got sold.

1. What do you think of blogilista?
It’s a useful aggregator, that’s probably done more good for the finnish blogging scene than any other domestic site.

That said, it really could do with an editor. The list is full of blogs that have died a quiet death or been stillborn.

2. Do you use it to monitor blogs?
I do. Have done for the last three-four years, and haven’t really evolved to using just a single RSS-reader.

3. What do you think about the acquisition?
No idea. I haven’t paid any attention to what happened to other sites that have been bought by Sanoma.

4. What do you think the future holds for Blogilista?
More advertisements, that’s a pretty safe bet.

5. Do you use any other domestic blog-portal? (Do you know whether there are even any others than blogispotti?)
I don’t. And I’ve never looked at blogispotti before…

Nov 272007
 

Broken time - Photo Thursday week #69 challengeThis week’s photo thursday challenge subject is brokenness of time, being built from a snippet from Kurt Vonnegut’s Man Without a Country

My take on the subject is the attached image, a chunk of first bona fide carved hieroglyphics I’ve seen. No idea what it means, but it easily shows that even if time itself is measured in fleeting seconds, some things will last through the millennia.

Initially thought about a clock running backwards, but don’t have one on my wall (though have been longing for one for quite a while). And my recollection whether KuuKuu really has a Gammeldansk-supplied one on their wall is too vague to warrant a quick drop in to ascertain the fact. An image of my calendar wouldn’t have been of much use either – the content is true to the task (time splintering into useless fragments), but I’d seriously break all possible NDAs showing that, and a snapshot of an Outlook screen simply isn’t as nifty as a piece of ancient egyptian rock.

(As usual, the full-size photograph is available by clicking the attached image)

Nov 272007
 

Hartwall has been quite good with introductions to their 1836-family lately.

The white lager was easily the best new finnish beer last summer, and the two darker entries (porter and all malt) are not bad either.

The first seasonal trial (octoberfest), on the other hand, was surprisingly uninteresting. There’s been many more involved interpretations of the topic, and as such this one seemed insignificant.

The newest entry in the family is chocolate porter, and it turns out to be very choclate-y indeed. The taste lingers on the border of being artificial or sweet, and manages to stay on the correct side. Though I’m sure the drink will have dozens of detractors who claim this is a hideous defacing of reinheitsgebot. Right now the porter is available in limited edition only (two cans + two glasses), but will be globally supplied after 2008 rolls in.

Nov 262007
 

Alice Cooper played today in Helsinki, on one of the last gigs of the Psycho-Drama tour.

Saw more than half of the warm-up band’s act. Uriah Heep hasn’t changed much (apart from the members) since the last encounter eighteen years ago. Pretty much the same classic songs were played this time as well.

The headliner act began ahead of schedule, and put on a decent, though un-surprising show. The song selection was very much on the safe side, with no new album to promote, most of the time on stage was given out to seventies’ songs.

Alice’s gig was also unexpetedly impersonal. There was no interaction with the audience, not even when Mike Monroe joined him on stage for School’s Out. The band got introduced almost as an afterthought during the encore, and all in all the show seemed distanced from the viewers.

Musically, though, the concert went all right. The band consisted of lean and hungry young players (and Eric Singer, a seasoned drummer), who rendered the song selection well. Acting on stage was more subdued on this tour (though the use of a gallows pole instead of a guillotine was new) – with Alice’s daughter Calico (though I could bet a decent sum that she was introduced as Tabitha) providing almost all of the theatre and acrobatics.

For a change, took notes on a set list:

It's hot tonight
No more Mr. Nice Guy
Under my wheels
I'm 18
Is it my body
Woman of mass distraction
Lost in America
Feed my Frankenstein
Be my lover
Dirty diamonds
Muscle of Love
Desperado / Halo of Flies / Drum solo
Welcome to my nightmare
Only women bleed
Steven
Dead babies
Ballad of Dwight Fry
Killer / I love the dead
School's out
Billion dollar babies
Poison Elected

As noted earlier, there was very little played from anywhere else but the seventies. Nothing off the duo of respectably metallic Brutal Planet/Dragontown, and only the obligatory Poison off Trash.

Not a great show, pretty much like Metallica’s earlier this year – a rehash of the glory years, with nothing new added to the mix. Good for the occasional listener, definitely, but not that good for the fans who have seen this material several times over. I sincerely hope that both Cooper and the Bay Area foursome get their monkeys off their backs with quick releases. And somehow I feel that the former is going to have far less trouble with his forthcoming Along Came a Spider.

Nov 252007
 

The qualifyer groups for the 2010 World Cup (in South Africa) were lotteried today.

Finland, even after being moved up to the third basket, didn’t have exactly the best luck in the draw.

We’re placed in group D, with Germany and Russia included as the big boys, and Wales, Azerbaidzhan and Lithuania rounding up the number.

As only the team on top qualifies direct, and the second place holders play off amongst themselves, this is not an easy group to get through to the cup.

Nov 252007
 

It’s been nine months since the previous breaking of a barrier when it comes to visitor count.

The twentythousandth visitor, who surfed in this morning 11:12:19 from htv.fi and had no meaningful referral, is welcome to name his/her favorite drink and the place to consume it, as well as the time to do so. Within reason, obviously, when it comes to the last two details.

(And yeah, the previously given caveats about the count are still valid, but that ought not to get in the way of things.)

Nov 252007
 

Re-watched Bryan Singer’s masterful Usual Suspects, and am still awed, who knows how long since the first viewing.

The film is as tightly packed as I remembered, the spare execution of the seemingy straight plot only adds to the utter feeling of rejection when the floor falls out from underneath.

And it’s testament to the film that the storyline is by no means obvious on a second viewing. While the MacGuffin is known, it doesn’t diminish the plot at all. The hard-edged habitual criminals are good company even when it’s known what really happened.

The acting is awesome across the board. Both Kevin Spacey and Benicio Del Toro got their big breaks from this movie and neither Kevin Pollak nor Stephen Baldwin has ever achieved these heights again. But still, it’s the duo of Chazz Palminteri and especially Gabriel Byrne that excel consistently, both alone and when sharing the screen.

Seems that I definitely have to look into the scripwriters’s other output – if it’s even halfway this good, it still demolishes pretty much everything else Hollywood provides. And I so need to watch Miller’s Crossing, the other Gabriel Byrne-vehicle, again as well.

Nov 242007
 

Today was the first presso-less saturday in ages. That is, if the paper’s summer hiatus is discounted. And from where I’m sitting, it definitely is.

Presso didn’t go down all nice and quiet – the border of the front page was a very long (and surprisingly spiteless) message in a very tiny font indeed, as reported in M&M.

So long Presso, it won’t be long before you’re joined by Taloussanomat. Which completes the root cause of my saturday morning dilemma – what’s a decent, tabloid-sized, yet intelligent paper to read over the breakfast?

Also noted that the 2007 has not been kind on my regular reads: there’s now three magazines down – Business2.0 being the third. The only replacement found thus far is for that. And the said replacement, Fast Company, is on probation only thus far.

Nov 242007
 

Noted that Apple packaged Dashcode, the most productized widget-creation tool with Leopard.

Played with the workbench a couple of minutes, and was able to craft an RSS-viewer widget for this very blog.

Shocking. Speed-wise, that is.

But the widget does not render images, so everything is not at all perfect with it right now. And it certainly will not be published until that immediately obvious shortcoming is fixed (if ever).

The shipped documentation is meager, and my javascript-fu low, so it’s time to turn towards the greatest of customer assistance tools in the world: random googling.

Stay tuned, for exciting announcements about further adventures in widgetstan.

Nov 232007
 

Bought a new computer the other week, and got it delivered tuesday evening. Apple’s web store proved to be efficient, and hit the delivery schedule spot on in the estimation.

I moved into the mac camp more than two years ago, and had no intention of straying from Steve’s disciples. lynch, the replacement of gromit the iBook, is a Powerbook Pro. Sleek and metallic, and hopefully powerful enough to last the next few years as the generic computation device of choice in the HQ.

Leopard, which was supposed to come pre-installed, wasn’t. But with the provided dvd that was quickly taken care of. Though not without a hitch, as the admin password for the Tiger-installation proved to be more significant than assumed (yeah, to be able to upgrade the operating system you have to remember said password).

While the iBook had a decent screen, the LED-powered screen the new laptop has is leaps and bounds ahead. And the extra real estate and brightness does not come at the expense of battery life either. Quite the opposite, as a fully charged battery clocks in at unexpectedly above four hours.

The keyboard is less plastic than that of the iBook, but sizewise there is no significant change. The illumination in low-light conditions has yet to prove its worth. As has the automagical brightness adjustment of the screen. Disabled both on account of occasionally triggering them accidentally in normal sofa conditions. And first worrying whether my flu medicine has kicked in an extra gear in surrealism.

The famed new release of OS X, Leopard has been stable and not too changed from the Tiger. Which is to say that I haven’t been playing with the Spaces or the Timemachine yet. The latter supposedly kicks in uncomfortably when an external drive is connected, something bound to happen when bringing in music and photographs from gromit.

Installed lots of mandatory applications instead of fiddling with the operating system. No firefox 3 yet, it’s too early in the cycle for that. Safari 3, on the other hand, seems to work well, and doesn’t go on memory consumption binges like firefox recently has every now and then. Though its lack of “where this link points to”-info field is more than a cosmetic demerit. Canon’s site was spectacularly slow, so camera software has to wait (and iPhoto may be able to pull the images out anyway). Nokia’s brand spanking new PC-Suite Light for the Mac shows some definitely interesting tools as well.

No games yet (apart from ScummVM and a multi-talented interactive fiction interpreter). Lynch ought to pack enough power to facilitate gaming natively (I’m dreading my first step into the inevitable MMORPG addiction), with a bootcamped Windows XP (as soon as I find an SP2-equipped XP installation disk) and virtualization. With both VMWare and Parallels bringing circa-2003 XP on the desktop with ease, and there’s no disrespecting DosBox emulator either. One of the three alternatives will, sooner or later, provide the ability to finish classics such as Planescape:Torment and Fallout 2 comfortably on the sofa.

Nov 222007
 

The myfootballcub.co.uk has gone ahead and fulfilled the dream of many armchair managers – the group now owns a bona fide football team: Ebbsfleet United F.C..

A team that’s currently not playing in the four levels of football league in UK.

But it’s a team nonetheless, even if the prospects of a six year rampage to the top of Champions League do sound a bit far-fetched.

At 35 quid the membership in the club is neither cheap nor uncomfortably expensive. But not yet attractive enough to pull me in. But it sure would be cool to visit Gravesend in Kent as an owner of the team. Never mind the fact that by the time there will be forty thousand others in the very same position.

Nov 222007
 

The finns are out of the Euro 2008.

We held onto the qualifying position until the very last game of the series, which is far longer than what usually happens.

The team fell with its cleats on, only one ugly loss (to Azerbaidzhan) really mars the series. But the number of draws was unseemly high as well, at least a couple of recent goalless games could have been easily converted.

So the qualifiers for the swiss/austrian games are now over, and the campaign for the 2010 games begins next summer. It’s too early to say how many of the aging players are calling it quits by the time the next series rolls in. But it’s a safe bet that some of them will, sooner or later.

Nov 202007
 

The season marches on, with the sixth Hakkapeliitat victory in a row.

The highest individual scorer this week was no single player, but the stingy Giants’ defense, that manhandled Detroit Lions with three picks, a forced fumble and a blocked kick as an added bonus.

Neither quarterback shone, chose Browns’ Anderson, and he came away with a slightly better output than his counterpart in the Saints. No thrown touchdowns, very decent yardage and a scrambled score for a surprise.

Atlanta’s offense was very subdued against Tampa Bay, and even the most prolific scorer, Eagles’ Brian Westbrook was held without a touchdown (partially explained by Donovan McNabb getting hurt before the halftime, which cut down on the passing game).

Thankfully the opponent had an off-kilter week as well. Especially Peyton Manning was subdued – the lone Colts TD was off the running game, and the victory was sealed by skillful clock management at the end. Titans’ Rob Bironas didn’t provide a kickfest on monday, and with Brandon Marshall evening the game scoring for the Broncos, the week’s margin remained the same as it was on sunday.

Bring on week twelve.

Nov 192007
 

This week’s fiver is all about television, and nothing but the television.

1. Do you watch television on an actual television, a computer screen, or some other gadget?
I do. On my aging Sony 29-incher right now, soon to be upgraded to a proper LCD monster.

2. Do you own a digibox?

If yes: why? what kind of? when did you get it? If no: why not? any plans on getting one? I do. A proper Procaster DVR. It’s almost two years old. The previous bare bones Handan I bartered to a bottle of quality whiskey.

3. Do you subscribe to any pay-channels, or just watch the regular fare?
Canal+. Planning on picking two or three months of Viasat on account of weekly NFL-coverage.

4. What’d'ya think… Will mobile television ever make it big?
Sure it will, but not before the government gets it act together about the fees.

5. Do you pay the television ownership fee?
I do. More out of convenience than anything.

Nov 192007
 

Everybody need some time, and with these links it’s easily spent.

  • The release of Amazon’s electronic book draws close, if Steven Levy’s Newsweek article is to be believed (and yeah, hopefully it’s the lead article of the international edition as well).
  • Jesper Juul has written a thorough history of matching tile games. Doesn’t sound too exciting, until the list is perused: Tetris, Bejeweled, Puzzle Bobble, and many others whose addictive qualities would be cause for banning in most european states.
  • History of digital tampering is much longer than expected – beginning with an overlaid image of Abraham Lincoln back in 1860s.
  • Somehow the feature wishlist for next Windows release (codenamed “7″) is more than a little bit underwhelming.
  • Not being allowed to die in the house of parliament has justifiably been voted to be the most ludicrous law in Britain.
  • Cost of the Iraq War? About 1.3 trillion dollars. So far.
  • Domo Arigato, Battleship Legoto.
  • An eponymous site lists the recognized biodiversity hotspots of the world.
  • freerice.com = charity and vocabulary enhancement. I so need to establish a firm presence above level 40.
Nov 182007
 

A semi-flu has occupied my vocal cords – and thus my brogue has gone down an octave or two (depending on the time of the day). No fever worth mentioning, no overarching world of hurt. Just a nagging feeling that someone turned my personal clock frequency down. Big time.

Been reading an excellent account of the first days of the Colonial Provincial Authority-led occupation of Iraq – it’s no wonder that Imperial Life in the Emerald City was immediately optioned for a movie.

Increased my elf cap ownership by one. It’s not often that christmas parties take this good care of participants.

Gave a healthy amount of props to Läkerol candy. In addition to being pleasantly non-sequitur in their advertising, the drops are excellent cough sootheners.

Haven’t had much inclination to blog or play. Expect return to form next week on the former, and probably latter as well.

Nov 172007
 

Just when the frighteningly activity-loaded weekend (two christmas parties, Turisas gig) rolls in, so does the first flu of the season.

No fever, but a sore throat accompanied by a seriously depleted tonal range is sure to cut into the festive mood.