Aug 282008

The blog restoration project has now progressed well into the 2006, just past the blog’s second anniversary.

One of the non-migrated things is the previous comment system, the few hundred comments written in during the reign of commenting externalized to haloscan will disappear, given time. Until the service provider decides to pull the plug on them, the old comments will of course be available in the old archives.

The restoration work is thankfully no longer manual. I modified the RSS-generator to understand even the semantically not so well put-together HTML of pre-2007 entries, and thus far it has been performing very well.

However, the import-functionality of WordPress is by no means perfect. It’s unable to handle categories, and picking them off the list does take a while. There’s no facility to configure the author of the imported posts. Defaulting to admin can, obviously, be subverted by removing that account entirely, in which case any update to an entry (say, for adding the category-information) marks the entry having been written by the user.

A lot of the links have expired during the years. I’ve fixed some, but in most cases just noted on a per-entry basis that there’s nothing to be expected in clicking on them.

20 months to go. Perfect coverage is still a good while away.

Aug 272008

catHad my first ever bingo (using all the seven letters off the rack) in Wordscraper on facebook. As the game doesn’t yet offer blanks, this was all done using the lettered tiles. Sadly the word was “GASOLINE”, using only low-scoring tiles, which meant that the resulting score was not obscenely high.

The image is off, the premier provider of lolcats.

Aug 272008

Mozilla Labs, whose pages I definitely ought to read more often than once a year, have introduced the very first version of ubiquity.

A tool that’s actually hard to explain concisely. Basically it allows the creation of mashups using quasi-natural language and a selection of thirty web services.

And unlike traditional mashups, it’s all done in the client’s browser.

Aug 262008

The fantasy football season kicks off soon, the first NFL game is next thursday.

I will be defending the championship ring with Haagan Hakkapeliitat in a public league at Yahoo!

And in addition I took on a challenge, an eight team league with my first live draft ever. I’ll report back on sunday after the selections have been made.

And every week after that on success in both.

Aug 262008

Browsed through the Rakkautta & Anarkiaa tabloid yesterday and noted that there’s plenty of interesting movies on offer: from confessions of love to a font to the Coen brothers’ newest via a paradox-inducing spanish time travel experience.

Jotted down fifteen movies, the catch will be smaller due to scheduling, but I definitely aim to catch way more movies than in the last couple of years.

Aug 252008

Back in late 2006 it was revealed that a committee had been set up to give every mammal a finnish name.

The work is now complete, and around 3500 creatures have been given a name.

The naming is even more iconoclastic than was originally thought. The principles are all sound, but it will take a long while before finns warm to the likes of termiittikaivaja and jurumi over maasika and muurahaiskarhu, respectively (aardvark and ant-eater). As to most of the others, no-one can argue that turning a name with four qualifier attributes like “etelänlyhytkuonopussimäyrä” into a “ruskopusseli” doesn’t improve things (and that’d be a southern brown bandicoot in english).

The pictured tikutaku (chipndale in english) is the new name of a chipmunk, and its Disney-origin is bound to cause grief. As are some of the newly invented names like “lenko” and “rattu”. The former, a fruitbat, is a curious abbreviation of “lentävä koira” and the latter a brand new body for hundreds of rat-species.

(The finnish work on naming all birds and a sizable subset of the fish have been completed previously.)

Aug 252008

This is the first time that war on photographers is waged on a location I’ve visited.

Even though photography at the Swan Point Cemetery in Providence, Rhode Island, is forbidden, the abuse heaped on the visitor who took a photo of H.P. Lovecraft’s tombstone is an astounding example of good customer service.

I visited the location in 2006, and took no pictures. Mainly out of inconvenience as my backpack was buried in the backseat of the car.

[ via boingboing. ]

Aug 242008

It’s time to hop back on the photography challenges after a lazy summer.

And after the photo thursday participation, it’s time for the first Macro Day challenge in a while.

With the purchase of a real macro lens, a 100mm Canon, there’s no hiding behind equipment any more.

This week’s Macro Day challenge is wet. And today’s weather was just optimal to arrange for conditions, it kept raining for hours.

My take is a traditional “droplets on a leaf”. The nice bokeh is provided by the shallow depth of field used.

Macro Day 24.8.2008:  Wet

Aug 242008

Clint Eastwood by Anton CorbijnWalked through the galleries of the Anton Corbijn exhibition in Tennispalatsi art museum today.

It’s not a big show, just one floor is used for four selections, and a minimalistic video exhibit.

Three of the selections are of the expected kind – raw, over-exposed and grainy images of famous people. The image Clint Eastwood to the right was one of my favorites, but by no means the only one I wouldn’t gracing a wall at the HQ. Too bad there wasn’t a proper catalogue available in the museum shop (and the two books stocked were either very specific or flimsy, contentwise).

Aug 242008

Spent friday evening on Senaatintori, enjoying the free concert put up by Helsingin Juhlaviikot. The subject was the year 1968, and covering the songs of the year were a bunch of finnish vocalists, singing to a well-stocked house band.

Walked in as the last of the warm-up bands, Eternal Erection, was finishing its set. The intermission before the main event was considerably brightened by a reel of snippets from Helsingin Sanomat running on screens next to the stage. The reel consisted not only of news (the occupation of Czechoslovakia, assassinations of King and Kennedy and sports featured prominently) but nostalgic ads from forty years ago also got their fifteen seconds of fame.

The concert kicked off predictably. Tipe Johnson’s (off Leningrad Cowboys) rendition of Steppenwolf’s Born to be wild was faithful to the original and not at all a bad start.

The artists changed quickly on stage, and alternated between individual songs and medleys.

The song selection (of which there seems to be no official set list available) was picking the cream of the crop of the year, and with a couple of exceptions consisted of familiar takes.

My favorites were the Zeppelin’s Good times, bad times, the Who-medley (Pinball wizard, Pictures of Lily and See me, feel me) and Rolling Stones’ Jumpin’ Jack Flash and Sympathy for the Devil.

The latter Stones’ piece was sung by Maya Paakkari, an artist unknown thus far, but based on her output (also sung Piece of my Heart) definitely worth of further investigation.

By far the biggest production values were used on Fredi’s Kolmatta Linjaa. Ismo Alanko was accompanied by some thirty members of the Cantores Minores on stage, and the rendition was somewhat unorthodox.

Marzi Nyman’s take on Hendrix classics (All along the Watchtower and Crosstown Traffic) was inspring, but seemingly too long and boring for some audience members. I figure the loudest singalongs happened with Mrs. Robinson and the final duet of Paula Koivuniemi and Mike Monroe of Hey Jude. The sole encore was the only song performed by the original artist from forty years ago – Eero Raittinen’s Vanha Holvikirkko was a spine-tingling finale in the quickly darkening Helsinki night.

The conditions were pretty much optimal. The weather was warm and almost windless. The crowd large and milling, but not packed like sardines. Drunken kids, always a plague on Night of the Arts events, mostly absent.

My n95 is still out of action (supposedly news of its condition should arrive next week), and the loaner phone’s basic 1 megapixel camera was not going to do well at all in the twilit conditions, hence the lack of pictures.

Aug 242008

This might be a harbinger of something good and big.

Or perhaps the market is just not ready for a wordy and thorough science fiction magazine.

The evolution to a quarterly from a monthly is a double-edged sword. On one hand it allows for much bigger feature articles, on the other this means that it cannot as effectively function as a source of news. Then again, in the age of internet and twentythree second lead times, no magazine can.

So I’m not worried about the schedule change, but the proposed arrival of two new magazines that “will be specialist interest magazines that will share much in common with Death Ray” may dilute the impact of the flagship magazine somewhat. But as nothing has been revealed of the new duo, not even their subjects, worrying would indeed be premature at this stage.

The last monthly issue of Death Ray, #15, hasn’t yet reached Helsinki, but ought to, next week.

Aug 212008

Caught PMMP on their first night of a back-to-back in Tavastia yesterday.

Missed My First Band, the warm-up, completely. The startup time was in the ballpark, waiting for fifteen minutes was by no means painful, even if the sold-out premises were warmed up and occasionally steaming.

The show was as energetic as expected, the year-long absence from the stage must have left a lot of pent-up energy to vent.

Didn’t recognize all the songs, and even missed the name of the one new song played.

Here’s the entire setlist, courtesy of the band’s message board:

Hyvin hiljaa
Kovemmat kädet
Ikuinen leikki
Joku raja
Oo siellä jossain mun
Päät soittaa

The biggest hit of the band thus far is curiously absent from the list. Maybe today’s selection is different. Maybe not. They did, however, play the two songs I really wanted to hear. Even when faced with the prospect of losing my reputation as a tungsten-hearted metalhead, I found the matkalaulu/oo siellä jossain mun duo touching, as usual.