October 2000

October 24, 2000

A whole lotta Helvetti

You know what? I'm tired again. I'm tired of how the new, yet unpublished Helvetti looks. We've gone through several design incarnations. Like this one and this one and a bunch of non-working sketches and drafts.

We can't leave it like it is, I mean, look at it! What are designers supposed to do when they look at their design so much that they begin to hate it?


October 21, 2000

Monopoly—the ultimate sport

Cool! There is a sport that doesn't require a super-human training regime—monopoly! The World Monopoly Championship is apparently has a long history, but this was the first I heard of it. I find it refreshing that there are competitive events for which the competitors don't have to give up normal lifestyles to excel in.

Of course, there's computer gaming, also a totally different kind of "sport". The most popular competitive computer game is Quake. I've heard you can even make a living as a professional gamer these days. At least the very best can. However, I find the image of a pro gamer sitting in front of the screen playing Quake eight hours a day a little unsettling, so I'm not so hot about that sport. It's different when I sit in front of my computer eight hours a day working. That's cool. Really, it is.


Newmedia.com folds

Newmedia.com goes under. I never did like them, but now I really don't like them. They're selling their assets, which includes their customer list—and I'm on it. Damn.


October 19, 2000

Userland’s new pages are Netscape-killers

The newly redesigned Scripting News and other Userland sites are truly causing me problems. Dave mentioned that they tend to screw around with Netscape 4.x browsers. It has something to do with tables, but I've been too lazy to actually look at the code to find out if it's nested tables that's causing all the trouble.

How my teetering Netscape reacts to the new Userland sites is a little unusual, also. Instead of crashing, which it does plenty of, it just briefly freezes up. Not that that's not annoying and can lead to a panic reaction of rapidly trying to switch between open windows and leaving the toublesome site (which does crash Netscape).

Dave says I should update my browser, but I can't! We've had IE4 on this computer, but that totally messed up everything. It makes changes to Windows and made running every program slow. We had to format our hard drive and reinstall everything. I've laso tried to update Netscape, also unsuccessfully.

The problem, of course, lies in that our computer is too old. We actually have another newer computer, but we can't switch to that until we get a new Internet connection. We have an ISDN line, but the ISDN card is so problematic that installing it correctly is a near impossibility. It's a matter of trial and failure. Even the computer repair shop people can't install the card correctly. In the end it's always a matter of luck.

So what we're waiting for is a new Internet connection. And that has its own catches.


October 17, 2000

Dismissing StarOffice and the rootless, undying image of Che

David Coursey dismisses StarOffice. I find the style that Coursey adopts and the language he uses a bit odd, though. He attacks StarOffice and, indirectly, the open source movement. What's odd about the article is how Coursey goes about discrediting StarOffice's significance.

Based on the fact that Coursey wanted to get a hold of a copy of StarOffice, but was unable to obtain one, he establishes just how marginal the software is. He alludes to the fact that StarOffice is trying to beat Microsoft at its own game by spreading FUD on "upcoming" and "soon to be released" vaporware.

On route to the climax of his article, Coursey goes for some additional credibility by using a tactic most-often seen in debates, in which you concede a point to the opponent. It makes you sound just plain reasonable. Coursey stoops--just barely--to admit that at some point in time, a few years ago, an alternative to Microsoft's Office "seemed like a good idea".

The real bomb Coursey drops totally blows me away.

I like open software for the same reason I find communism attractive, if totally unworkable. Wouldn't it be great
to live in a world where human nature was subservient to the common good? No homelessness, no crime, one for all and all for one. It would be heaven—OK, boring, too—if only it worked.


There are a few truths that every half-educated dimwit of western culture knows. These are learned on a very fundamental level and they lie dormant somewhere in the depths of the collective western subconscious. One of them is "communism is a great idea but it can't work."

Droves of Finnish teenagers are downloading Che Guevara icons for their cell phones without knowing who he really is. They are surprised when they learn who Guevara was and what he did. The most common reaction: ". . . He was a communist!?"

I'm neither disputing nor confirming the truth of the statement. I just think it's a dangerous symptom of collective ignorance. "No need find out about communism for myself, I already know the gist of it." Call it a product of sound bite culture, call it a remnant of the years of cold war propaganda. Either way, I find it disgusting that a "common truth" like this is used as proof of a point.

Coursey's language is filled with figures of speech that belittle both StarOffice and the open source movement. Coursey's tone is meant to be sarcastic and witty. What bothers me, is that his choice of words and manner are so blatantly used to prove the point he is trying to make. He has an opinion. He actually has good grounds for his opinion and facts that that back his arguments. Why, then, does he use such an indirect approach?


October 12, 2000

NY Times redesign

The New York Times is redesigning its web site. I like their current site better than the proposed redesign, but the new one, which they've posted for comments and review, is certainly more web-like. I also like the idea that NYT has offered up its new design for critique, letting users know about in advance, and giving readers a chance to voice their opinions. Of course, that doesn't mean they will actually listen to readers' comments and take them seriously.


Gift idea

Anybody wondering what to get me as a gift? I want this font. Very basic, very classic and I don't have any font that's anything like it. Myriad MM, I think I love you.


October 11, 2000

Internationalization and idioms

Dave Winer explains the expression "to drink the Kool-Aid." Dave often includes explanations of sayings or terms he uses in his articles. They've been quite useful and I think the practice will spread. Unless a site is catering to a very local audience, chances are that people from across the world won't understand the full meaning of idioms and expressions used (and taken for granted).


October 10, 2000

Webcams and community

Salon's story World wide webcam details the vision of Garland Simon, CEO of Cammunity.com, a web cam portal of sorts. She wants everything, everywhere to be on a web cam, all the time.

I have mixed feelings about web cams. They are a nice bonus when they show something I'm already interested in, like perhaps the workings of a gang of my favorite bloggers. An other web cam that sparks my interest is the ones that offer a kind of real-life soap opera. I haven't ever followed the lives of web cam celebrities, but I'm sure I'd be addicted in a second. I feel like I've missed out on the whole JenniCam scandal.

Still, most web cams just seem awful boring.

Home-made web cam enhanced serials, however, seem very promising. Any web cam feed with a storyline is infinitely more interesting than a plain old blurry and slow picture of an empty room. Multiple medias obviously add depth. Not only can you read my journal, you can also watch me writing it!

Taneli and I have been bouncing around ideas on how communities are made up, how people are entertained and what keeps them coming back to a caf� or club. We've been thinking how could we connect the Internet to a caf� in a meaningful way, so that it would extend a caf�'s current role of a place of leisure and human interaction. We want to enhance interaction and foster a community. Web cams and open mic audio feeds are obvious tools (and "content" channels) that we've talked about, so it's exciting to see other people's ideas on what web cams can do and where they are going.


October 9, 2000

Thoughts on autumn

Autumn is my favorite time of the year. I’m not quite sure why. Every change of season triggers a torrent of memories that are evoked and heightened by the smells, sounds and sights of the world around me. Most of the recalled memories are good, though not all of them are happy. Read more


October 3, 2000


Also from kottke.org, metascene rediscovered. Metascene isn't a daily read of mine, but from now on it will be. It's aesthetically ascetic and purrs to me with a very pleasant voice. It also has the four magic letters in its name that spell 'meta'. Undoubtedly they'll soon become pass�, but for now, they make me wanna hum for meta-goodness.


17 myths of graphic design

I gather that everyone is linking to the 17 Myths of Graphic Design. So of course I am too! I hadn't seen it before, so thanks Jason. I found it both entertaining and educational. Just what I wannabe graphic designer like me wants to read.


October 1, 2000

It is an autumn Sunday evening

Yesterday Jyri, Eemeli and Joonas stopped by to say hi. Jyri and Joonas were on weekend leave from the army (a six-month minimum military service is mandatory for men in Finland). Anna spent the night on Friday and had been cooped up in the house all day with my little brother Joel while Elexa and I were taking exams. Anyway, she was antsy to get out. Read more