Archive for the ‘Misc.’ Category


Join Google+ (Update: Do Not)

I’ve always thought that updating stuff to my homepage/blog feels a bit too much hassle, so I don’t want to do that very often. Strangely, even switching away from home-made kludges to WordPress didn’t help the feeling in a dramatic way, although it surely helped a little bit.

That’s why this page has always been subject to relatively long pauses without updates, even if I have felt like I’d like to share something. Thinking about alternative solutions, the social media websites, I’ve had a Facebook and Twitter account for quite a while now. I have always felt that Facebook suits best for personal friends and not for public stuff. Twitter is ok for public stuff, but the 140 char limit means that you’ll share only some tiny things, like a little anecdote or just a link to somewhere.

When Google+ came around, I started using it as well. By nature it is like a combination of good things from both Facebook and Twitter, and seems to fit my usage patterns quite well. It allows really easily to select per-post who I’m sharing it with. It doesn’t limit me to short posts when I want to say a little more. Each post is automatically a discussion thread, and since it isn’t hosted by me, I have less to worry about approving posts / preventing spam entries.

So I realized I tend to write there a bit more often – the smaller things, findings and even some more light-hearted observations go there. So, if you want to follow smaller updates from me, join Google+ if you aren’t yet there and add me to your circles. Today, I was originally going to write about my latest findings regarding prototyping with Processing (again), but decided I probably do that in my Google+ stream later and write this endorsement post here instead! ;-D

Update, early 2019:
Google+ is shutting down soon. I find it a bit unfortunate, as back in 2011 I felt it was better suited for public communication than some other alternatives. Also, as a generic principle, when some site or service is altered or discontinued, a graceful way would be to keep links working and data still readable. However, like almost always with site changes in the internet, also in this case the content is simply going to be deleted. I guess the end result will be that many links will cease to be working, which used to point to content in Google+.


Various ways to backup

Over the years I have been using several kinds of solutions to backup stuff. Here’s a description of the ones I can remember. Many of them focus on being low-cost, simple and straightforward, but are far from a perfect solution in many other ways.



Buggy software is cheap enough

If software would be made bug-free, that would force prices to be so high that nobody could buy them. How so?

Well, let’s think about what it means to build bug-free software. There actually exists some software, which is built with goal of “zero-defects”. By that, I’m not referring to the constant hype from latest agile method cult who may have some extravagant claims. I mean software where it’s of utmost importance to really have no bugs, no matter the costs. A case where a single bug may mean loss of lives or failure of the whole project. This kind of software is built for space missions, nuclear facilities, and so on. And such a policy on quality is inherently very very expensive.

Imagine if Windows, for example, would have been built with such policy. It’s a really complex and huge piece of software compared to ones normally built with zero-defect policy. But, given the option, would you pay $19,900 of your operating system, if it would never crash? It’s quite a no-brainer that “everybody” would rather pick the same software for $199 and just put up with the few problems they encounter. (The price difference was picked by Stetson-Harrison method. It’s a guess to illustrate the point. The difference could be actually lot worse for niche market software which isn’t aimed for mass market.)


Back from Japan

Fire station

I was away for about 2.5 weeks to visit Japan, more exactly Kyoto and Tokyo. The trip was excellent, and in retrospect it was clearly a good idea to visit both cities. While Kyoto is a modern city, it still has a bit more traditional feel to things. For example, the local laws forbid building tall skyscrapers, so there aren’t much taller buildings than we have in Helsinki.

Tokyo in other hand is very modern city with lots of skyscrapers. When going to see the city view from top of Mori building in Roppongi hills, you can see the city expands in every direction to the horizon as far as you can see. There is also extremely well developed public transportation, just check the Tokyo subway map (PDF). The public transportation in Helsinki is also quite good, but Helsinki is so tiny compared to a big metropolitan city so that our subway is tiny as well – just compare the above one to the current Helsinki metro map. ^_^

Small garbagetruck

Interestingly when going to USA it feels that everything is bigger. When going to Japan, it feels the opposite. Maybe that’s partly because there is a whole different class of small cars which are narrower than we’re used to. I think the average width of streets is a bit less as well. There are also typical big western cars, so there’s just more variety of different sized cars. There’s even mini garbage trucks as you can see. However, not everything is small; I think in Japan they just tend to make things small by default, but aren’t afraid of making things big when there’s a reason to do so.

Also some things seemed to be done in an opposite way of what we’ve used to. Not just the left-hand driving and walking, but cars are also almost always parked backing to parking spot so that it’s slower to park car but easy to leave. And at least in Kyoto the buses worked so that you go in from a single back door and pay when you exit through the front door. Curiously in Japanese language the verb is also put last in sentences (think of Yoda-speak).