Mar 302008
 

South ParkSouth Park goes free.
Every episode will be available on the web.
And the logic behind this move (by Trey Park and Matt Stone, the show’s creators) is nothing short of genius:

[we got] really sick of having to download our own show illegally all the time. So we gave ourselves a legal alternative.

Yeah, it’s seriously ad-plagued, but still a better way of catching up with the new episodes than trying to figure out when the finnish channels broadcast them.

Mar 302008
 

Back in 2005, I took Jakob Nielsen’s test on blogging sins. And came off with four and a half. Some of which were rectified in the intervening years, but now, with the new engine, it’s time to revisit the list, which appears not to have been updated since.

1. No Author Biographies
No real biography, CV does mitigate this sin a little. Half a sin.
2. No Author Photo
Yes there is, on the top page of the site. No sin here.
3. Nondescript Posting Titles
I still believe in the non-sequitur school of entry naming. Hence, no sin.
4. Links Don’t Say Where They Go
True, they don’t. But then again, how many people actually stop to see the link title appear before boldly clicking the underlined text. Quarter of a sin (with a hint of mistrial in the air).
5. Classic Hits are Buried
They are. And this is especially bad considering the shape the old archives are in.
But I will launch a “Best of…” widget in the sidebar soonest, thus nipping this sin in the bud.
6. The Calendar is the Only Navigation
It no longer is, categories are used to the full effect.
I’m still on the fence about using supplementary tags as well.
7. Irregular Publishing Frequency
I don’t consider this to be a sin. Apart from the “game of the week”-category being truly misnamed. Irregularity is good, and the use of the RSS-feed pretty much keeps readers informed when there’s new stuff available. No sin, no sir, indeed.
8. Mixing Topics
As with previous, I don’t consider this to be a sin.
“Rampantly and wilfully mixing topics since 2004″ is actually a pretty decent tagline.
9. Forgetting That You Write for Your Future Boss
Nah, I don’t blather too much about work or my private life to register.
And anyway, anybody who seriously objects to something written here wouldn’t be much of a long-term prospect as a superior officer anyway.
10. Having a Domain Name Owned by a Weblog Service
Nope. It’s mine, all mine. My precious.

There, that was easy: .75 sins, with one new entry-listing to launch. Got off much easier than three years ago.

Mar 292008
 

4 Candles (by Uwe Hermann)Today marks the fourth anniversary of Lavonardo (as a blog, that is).

The blog is now exactly 2366 entries old.

The biggest news of last year is obviously the long-resisted change to a real blogging engine – the switch to WordPress went smoothly, and I’m happy about how things have turned out to be. Whether this baby makes to to the ten year mark, like Jason Kottke’s blog just did, remains to be seen. No bets are taken on the subject.

There are no concrete plans for world domination for the next year – just more entries, more photographs and hopefully more interaction with the audience.

Previous annual updates available: 3, 2 and 1. The original humble beginnings have been saved in museum-quality environment as well.

Mar 292008
 

This entry attempts to catalogue the open digital photography challenges in the web.

Day Name Description Participation
Monday Moody monday In english.
Single-word subject.
No registration.
~50 participants.
Exposure date not set.

No.
Monday JorjDotOrg PhotoHunt In english.
Competition, consists of multi-week seasons.
Single-word subject.
Registration needed.
~20 participants.
Exposure after the challenge (not enforced).

No.
Tuesday Tuesday challenge In english.
Competition.
Single-word subject.
No registration needed.
~40 participants.
Exposure seems to be after the challenge (not enforced).
No.
Wednesday Lensday In english.
Single-word subject (seems to be, the 4 year archives were wiped in february).
No registration needed.
~50 participants.
Exposure seems to be after the challenge (not enforced).
No.
Wednesday Photosharks In english.
Single-word subject.
No registration needed.
~50 participants.
Exposure seems to be after the challenge (not enforced).
No.
Wednesday ABC Wednesday In english.
Subjects whose name begins with a given letter (multiple images per participant OK).
Manually administered in a blog (seems complex).
~100 participats.
Exposure date not set.
No.
Thursday valokuvatorstai In finnish.
Very variable subjects.
No registration needed.
Not competitive.
~150 participants.
Exposure date not set.
Almost every week.
Thursday Thursday Challenge In english.
Single-word topics.
No registration needed.
Competitive.
~100 participants.
Exposure date not set.
Occasionally.
Friday Photo Friday In english.
Variable topics.
No registration needed.
Competitive.
~400 participants.
Exposure date not set.
Occasionally.
Saturday Shutterday In english.
Usually single-word topics.
No registration needed.
Competitive.
~50 participants.
Exposure date not set.
No.
Saturday Unique Exposures In english.
Variable topics.
No registration needed.
Competitive.
~30 participants.
Exposure date not set.
No.
Sunday MacroDay In english.
Usually single-word topics, always macro-related.
No registration needed.
Competitive.
~30 participants.
Exposure date not set.
A few times.
Sunday See It Sunday In english.
Usually single-word topics.
No registration needed.
Competitive.
~30 participants.
Exposure date not set.
No.
Multiple days DPChallenge In english.
Vey variable topics.
Registration needed.
Seriously competitive (disqualifications happen).
~300 participants.
Exposure date set (and enforced).
No.

Original idea taken from Kameravene.

Corrections, content suggestions and information about further challenges welcome.

Once the challenge-specific archive-pages are up, I will link them here as well.

Mar 282008
 

Finished the first episode of Forumwarz, the massively single player online game of forum domination and pwnage.

Had plenty of fun, was impressed by the implementation, and will definitely be back for episode 2, as soon as it is released.

The troll was probably not the easiest character class to play (having to rely on lots of supplies on harder runs puts a crimp on the wallet), but conceptually it was way more appealing than the other choices.

Mar 272008
 

GET LAMPInteractive fiction – that is: games that use pure text for input and output – seems not to be the topic of a snazzy movie.

But against all odds, GET LAMP, a documentary film on the very subject looks to be very interesting indeed. Jason Scott, the director, has previously put together a well-received documentary film on the bulletin board systems communities.

The recently released trailer for GET LAMP is not exactly action-packed, but a neat dissection of the first ever internet community I actually participated, back in the early nineties, when USENET was king of the hill.

Mar 262008
 

Mondo Paris guidebookI seem to have ended up with TWO copies of Mondo’s Paris guidebook. Haven’t paid for either, so it would be only fair to pass on the book.

So the first one to comment this with “Me!” or to send equivalent e-mail gets the book. To be picked up in person or somehow transferred for free, I don’t intend to fork over shipping costs.

Countdown starts right now.

Mar 242008
 

Matt Barton started his history of computer roleplaying games in GameSetWatch, bartered it to Gamasutra to expand the readership, and has now expanded the subject into a 450 page book.

Dungeons & Desktops just went on top of my Amazon stack, and based on what I’ve seen on the web, will be good reading.

Links to the history in three chunks (I’ve covered them before, but cannot be bothered to look them up now): Early Years (1980-83), Golden Age (1985-1993) and Platinum and Modern Ages (1994-2004).

Mar 242008
 

A very relaxing easter weekend is drawing to a close, and what would be a better way to finish it off than bunnies.

A doubleheader of them, to be exact.

Useless Creations’ screensaver puts a group of rabbits on screen, and manages not to get annoying in the first fifteen seconds. In screensaver-land, that’s a plenty.

The second item is a triplet of songs from the second best episode of Buffy ever, Once More, With Feeling. There’s just no beating the Hush, but as a source for peppy songs, this award-winning sixth season episode comes up tops.

Mar 242008
 

Based on uncovered evidence, it would seem that Days of Wonder’s Ticket to Ride is headed for the Xbox Live Arcade.

The two first XBLA takes on board games (Catan and Carcassonne) have been pleasant indeed, and there’s no reason to doubt this wouldn’t succeed as well. After all, there’s already a successful digital adaptation of the game, created and hosted by the company behind the boardgame.

Mar 242008
 

After the second upset in the playoffs, Haagan Hakkapeliitat made it to the final in Yahoo! 76191.

Apart from negligible output from goalies (Tim Thomas is having a really bad stretch in Boston), the team played in solid fashion, and most of the categories had very comfortable margins.

But it’s a whole new game (two weeks in length) in the finals. Hakkapeliitat will face the #4 seed, who went an upset the regular season winners in the semis. The biggest worry in the home camp is Ryan Getzlaf’s ability to play, he’s been the most prolific player of the season.

Mar 242008
 

Grace - crepuscular raysAdded a sidebar-item on popular search terms, with which casual browsers have ended up here.

By far the biggest item on the list is the mysterious “singhiozzerebbe”, which is the biggest scoring word ever in Scrabulous. When played with the Italian dictionary, obviously.

The attached image is the other massive attractor – an image of crepuscular rays piercing deep cloud cover that was used for “grace”-challenge in photo thursday. Somehow this brings in lots of folks from google’s image search (but the actual queries behind the hit are not revealed).

Mar 232008
 

Celebrated payday by going shopping.

Refrained from picking up anything significant (like a new television, camera or an apartment), and concentrated on music.

The theme was definitely metal, of a retro-ish kind. Not of the spandex-wearing kind, but metal that can be respected even while completely sober.

The first discovery was Death Angel‘s new Killing Season. First old school thrash album I’ve bought in ages. The record was sold with a fifty-minute dvd of a gig in Strasbourg back in 2003 – definitely a nice bonus.

Since I’d been quite impressed by Electric Wizard‘s Let Us Prey, just had to check whether Keltainen Jäänsärkijä had anything further from the Dorset doomsters. Certainly, and there’s still a few albums to be purchased on subsequent visits.

Encouraged by the availability of old doom, just had to check out two old favorites of the genre whose output has been recently re-released… The store was sadly sold out of Solitude Aeturnus, but had plenty of Trouble. Bought the second album, the Skull, and have been very pleased with it (especially since it, too, contains a bonus live dvd).

Capped the day consisting mainly of random wandering around by enjoying an excellent stuffed squid in Empire Plaza in Kamppi. Perhaps the place is not as authentic as Dong Bei Hu, but it sure is conveniently close.

Mar 232008
 

A couple of things of interest:

  • The header image is now rotated from a collection of ten. Catch them all. Or jump off to the page that shows them all in thumbnailed glory.
  • Re-engineered the system that generates a page on movie reviews. It’s not perfect, but good enough, and will be worked on in the future.
  • The page on pre-2008 archives is now up to date.

The real spring cleaning will occur once the WordPress 2.5 is formally released.

Mar 222008
 

“Bump, bump, bump” by GwenSeems that this blog (and the whole site as well) endured a spot of serious bandwidth loss this morning.

Excess traffic is definitely not the cause, and the ISP’s explanation of “miscellaneous firewalling issues” seems to be on the vague side.

Mar 222008
 

Lost logoThe fourth season of Lost kicked off on finnish television last week.

And continues directly where the third season ended, with a rift-inducing arrival of “rescuers” and flashforwards. The identity of the former is very much under wraps, but seems not to be of good news to all inhabitants. As to the second point, the main storyline still seems to occur on the island, I’m using that as the zero-point in the timeline.

For new arrivals on the scene, the production company has put together a nicely compressed view on the first three seasons. Its duration, at a mere 8:15, should not deter any viewers.

Via Domus, the Lost video game is out in Finland also (seemed to enjoy a rather delayed release), but following mainly lukewarm reviews I’m in no hurry to pick this up. With the sizable backlog that doesn’t diminish by itself, this wouldn’t get much playtime right now.