Nov 122005

Bunch of things that are worth mentioning, but not big enough to warrant individual entries. Or maybe I’m just being lazy.

  • KillBill’sBrowser combines my appreciation of IE-alternatives, Quentin Tarantino and nice layout very well. Some of the listed reasons for switching are priceless, such as “Mozilla has never made a talking paperclip.”
  • Lots of links to how to build a macquarium. Have one surplus Mac Plus and a sturdy cupboard, so this would be an interesting hardware hacking idea to consider.
  • Two finns in the “five NHL players exceeding expectations this season”-list. Definitely pleasing to see Selänne appreciated again, and Joni Pitkänen has matured to a top-flight defender in a very short time. If the guys stay in good shape (and the goalies start picking up pucks) we might have a good chance for success in Turin.
  • Time to pick up hockeyblog again.
  • My contribution to the handwriting-meme running rampant in the finnish blogosphere. And no, I’m not the author of the SIG-blog, merely of the un-wipable scribbles on the whiteboard. And yeah, my writing is usually clearer, but not by any sizable margin.
  • Again. Lots and lots of interesting stuff in O’Reilly’s radar. Haven’t checked Veronica Mars out, but with the persistent comparisons to the almighty Buffy, maybe I just should.
  • The drummer of Alamaailman Vasarat has hurt his hand, and as such their participation in next week’s gig with Tuomari Nurmio has been cancelled. Bugger. Was looking to see them together.

EDIT 25.8.2008: Not all of the links have survived the intervening years.

Nov 062005

On the “reliably out every month”-front: The november issue of Aponogeton, the free finnish aquarium web-zine is out. Interesting content: first picture of a Chiapas catfish I’ve ever seen, spawning report of arrowhead pufferfish. Altogether this new arrival at its fifth issue beging to rival and surpass the content in the professional finnish magazines.

On the “finally, and why on earth did they spend so long at it”-front: Pink Floyd will release the Pulse-live material on dvd. Out, on december fifth. Bought, on december fifth.

On the “not-so-good news at all, dude”-front: it seems that Joss Whedon’s Serenity will not be released in the theatres in Finland. Oh well, the R1 dvd (with a heinously ugly cover) will be out on 20.12.

On the “so soon? why bother”-front: the newest Scarpetta-mystery by Patricia Cornwell, Predator, is already out. And the reviews in do not indicate that this is a book to get. Especially when the previous few were very lame already.

Oct 162005

new lamp for the aquarium
150 watts of metal halide light, to be exact.

Replaced the very unergonomic (can’t see jack when you’re cleaning the tank) arrangement with a hanging light system.

Which is scarily bright. But well-reflective, to prevent major light spillage that would threaten enjoyable lounging on the sofa.

And cleaning was indeed much easier than previously, especially with the one of the world’s laziest fish in the tank, it’s good to see what’s actually lying on the sand.

Open-topped until I find a decent glass/acrylics-shop, the curving front means that dishing out an order on the phone is out of the question.

And yeah, this entry would be more appropriate in the hibernating fish-blog instead. That’ll get re-started when I get a decent chunk of free time. Or bored enough.

Oct 062005

In the shade of the copyright debacle, do not smile when clicking on these. It would not be appropriate:

  • A gloriously long interview with Jon Stewart. The book mentioned, America is a great introduction to the history and civic life of the great nation – an inbetween the lines it illustrates many things that are wrong with both.
  • Bunch of semi-interesting links on O’Reilly’s Radar. Not a bad new-tech blog at all.
  • One of the things often referred to in the previous is Web 2.0. It’s an interesting, albeit complex and hard-explain thing. Discover had an elementary article about the subject.
  • The october issue of Aponogeton is out.
  • The magnificently rural bothnian translation of the Lord of the Rings seems to have stalled. But the completed chapters are very worthy indeed.
  • Brian Greene’s view on the most famous equation of them all.
  • Whedonesque, for those that bow to the new master.

EDIT 25.8.2008: As usual, some of the links are guaranteed not to work.

Aug 052005

The third issue of Aponogeton cf. AW, the free aquarium magazine is available.

And it’s good. Noted that I’m not alone trying unsuccessfully to cope with Marsh Pennywort. No articles on fish, but two on setting up reef aquaria, so there’s definitely something interesting to read.

Jul 132005

Aponogeton cf. AW, the magazine put together by the Aqua-Web community is of very high quality. Heavily recommended.

The site does not seem to have a dedicated page for the magazine yet, so here are links to the issues published thus far: june/05 and may/05.

Beats the perplexingly sucky Akvaariomaailma by a mile, and gives Akvaristi a good run for its money.

Jan 092005

Bought an aquarium on friday. Crafted an additional blog to document setting it up as well as its life once the occupants settle down. So, fish-averse readers can now browse this stream of consciousness safely, without constantly stepping on slimy flounders and other scary critters of the deep.

EDIT 16.8.2008: The link works, but there’s not much content. I so need to pick up writing about fish again.

Nov 142004

Second day of the summit got off to a less than auspicious start when the keys to the conference room were not available when the show was supposed to start. So, this year’s Akvariet’s Oscar (a recognitional prize for a prominent scandinavian hobbyist) was awarded in the lobby. Happily to a local recipient: Mikael Westerlund, a famous cichlidist from Helsinki. The rest of the day consisted of three presentations and an auction at the end. No new faces on stage, all speakers had already been seen the day before.

Sune Holm: Aquascaping with casting dealt with making exact copies of natural features instead of merely imitating it by carving styrofoam. By far the biggest chunk of the hour was devoted on a how-to session on making a silicon mold of a sheer rock face and using that to cast concrete backgrounds for aquariums. More advanced than the presentation on previous day, but interesting nonetheless.

Rainer Stawikowski: Rheophilic Fish from South America dealt with rapids-dwelling fish; mainly cichlids, but other groups were also discussed (loricariids most prominently). Tall tales from the tropics, accompanied with pictures on both the environment (waterfalls never cease to please) as well as fish. And a lot of new species were on display, most probably utterly unavailable in Finland, and needing special conditions (extremely powerful water circulation) to dissuade most aquarists. By this time, I’d already made up my mind to get back into fishkeeping, but not with a rapids-tank. Noted some interesting names of fish to google and get information the old fashioned way (books). The DATZ-special issue on loricariids (first bilingual issue ever) was on sale after the presentation along with a brand new book on cichlids – already had the first one, and didn’t have enough cash for the latter.

Christel Kasselman: Plants II concentrated on the conditions of some plant collection sites as well as the plants found therein. Some odd water-conditions (chilly water in tropics, alkaline jungle rivers) did not really perk up the presentation, and the slides had too many of macro-pictures of blooming flowers, that tend to be way more boring than full-body pictures of plants themselves. Anyway, there was a lot of data, and the pure german appearace of the society devoted to aquatic plants did not keep the interested audience members away.

Last part of the summit was an hour-long auction. Sune Holm’s worthy paludarium never got off to a start (beginning at 1000 euros), but every single plant donated by Tropica was sold. Bought three items – a small swordplant, as well as a coconut and a huge chunk of bogwood both covered by java fern and java moss. Time to put them in my parents’ aquarium until I get my own… Ought tro circulate a couple of shops next week to get a good idea of what’s available these days.

Saw Halo 2 at Timo’s place. Played a few of the early levels in co-op mode. The very first one is a traditional FPS-level that could be taken from a number of games, but the second level ups the ante with well-recreated urban warfare (like Black Hawk Down with 22nd century weapons).

Nov 132004

Spent the day in Kaapelitehdas, attending the annual nordic fishkeeping summit. First time in Finland as far as I can recall.

First visited the aquarium fair organized by the local aquatic society. A lot of tanks crammed into a single room, very little shop presence. Some very interesting inhabitants (mudskippers, rays, Tanganyikan shell cichlids), but also some very garishly decorated tanks and too many crayfish for my taste. First nanoreef that I’ve ever seen, at 22 liters it looks very tiny indeed.

The summit itself is held downstairs, and the room is pretty packed – the organizers were surprised at the turnout. Four presentations altogether, which make up for some six hours of sitting.

Sune Holm: Aquascaping was the most fascinating of the presentations. Tips and tricks on how to make a lifelike, yet lightweight, decoration from styrofoam. The creations are indeed spectacular, and sold for a pretty penny as well. But this was no sales pitch, it concentrated on providing aquarists with skills to reproduce nature. The hour went by quickly, accompanied by the best slideshow of the day and entertaining warstories by the author. The presentation was capped with a live example, a paludarium of a desert lake filled with exquisite detail and very little water for the killifish living within. Mr. Holm sold hardcopies of the presentation and I was lucky enough to purchase one. Will be put to good use some day. And I expect a full-fledged book as a followup soon…

Rainer Stawikowski: South American Cichlids was also a very good show. About neotropical cichlids, some common, some that I’d never even heard about. Concentrated on behavioral aspects, and some weird behaviors were indeed shown – such as eggs laid on a sunken tree leaf and subsequently moved around in the tank.

Christel Kasselman: On Plants I was not very interesting, as I’ve never found plants to be as important as fish. However, seemed very well-received by the more green-thumbed members of the audience. It was the only really Old Skool presentation, consisting of real framed slides and a projector as opposed to PowerPoint. Some neat images from around the world, but not enough to really hold interest.

Kenneth McKaye: Malawi Cichlids was the only presentation with moving images, and a very strong conservational message within. Indeed, the underwater videos on cichlid behavior were stunning – displays on dead fish mimicry, nest building and broodramming were the first that I’d ever laid eyes on. The presentation had a WWF-stamp on it, and the conservational spirit was powerful. Lake Malawi has seen some good management lately (no aliens introduced), even though it’s governed by three governments. The lake as a tourism center was played up as an evolutionary hotbed – after all, where the Galapagos Islands have 14 species of finches, Lake Malawi has hundreds of endemic cichlids all descended from a single stem species.

Day one finished with a trivia contest between finnish and swedish participants (three-person teams), and the home team was royally trounced by the visitors. Some of the questions were indeed trivia (which islands the five named Cryptocoryne species are from), and the presentation of the quiz was not exactly lightning-fast, but all in all it was an hour well-spent watching expert hobbyists talking the talk.