Author Archives: Joona

Interviewee vs. Interviewer

Being in a job interview is usually, though maybe tenuously, linking an applicant and the part where said applicant is getting the job he once was interviewed for. That said, there are not only lots of different types of conducting an interview (e.g. some of the best questions) but also differing bargaining positions partly in relation to who has the higher stakes at play in the interview.

This time around, I had not applied for anything but instead the company contacted me by phone as I had left my contact information a few years before at their stand (while attending a competition with prizes in beer) in some convention. Interesting, to say the least. Maybe they really needed talented people with proven record, I thought. I told them I was already employed, but asked them to send some more information through email anyway.

In a way, the situation was upside down from what it has previously been. Getting my first real study-related boulot was a fascinating experience in itself and afterwards I prioritized continuing my working career without gaps while studying. Now, being employed and doing something I enjoy, I need something else to even remotely consider going somewhere else. Luckily, there is an unlikely solution to this dilemma. Why not simply sit down and chat about it? Instead of reading cheesy and polished up job descriptions, emailing back and forth and wasting a lot of time doing so.

So why go through the trouble? For starters, getting experience of these kinds of situations is something I am always looking forward to. In addition, I like to explore different kinds of options that may be available to me and within my reach. Moreover, it helps me gather a picture of how highly rated my current experience (or perhaps lack thereof) would be out there in the real world. And how about plain old curiosity? Of course, there are also the cool socializing and networking aspects involved. Alright, that is plenty of buzzwords for today.

An interview is, after all, a mutual information sharing and interest shaping session. One could even argue that the stronger the interviewee’s position, the better the outcome. Then again, if I do not have any reason or incentive to sell myself to you, spare me the marketing pitch and tell me why I would like to work with you. This is something I regard very highly.

All in all, I enjoyed the three hours I spent this week being interviewed – to my surprise – for something I had not originally thought of. This was a breath of fresh air and a starting point of sorts for a whole new thought process.

– Joona

Running and You: Road to Helsinki City Run 2011

For once I decided to take upon a non-gaming, non-technology topic. Hell, it would not even fit into the casual nerd talk category if I were not the one typing this. So, what could be the reason I am not going out and about, but striving for something out of the ordinary? In fact, I accomplished my second half marathon almost two weeks ago and so I decided to sharpen my pencil (or maybe stretch my fingers) and share my journey with you. Physical prowess is, after all, only second to gaming skill on my scale from zero to awesome.


The Leivo Dynasty has long been engaged in numerous events related to running. It was not until last year that I had the opportunity to be asked to join this great bunch of people for the whole duration of a half marathon. Naturally, I could not (and still cannot) refuse that kind of challenges.

Due to numerous coincidences and some mitigating factors, I ended up running last year as Jaana Olkkola, my (female) alter ego. Being the first time I actually ran for that long, and without proper training, my target was merely to finish the course and see how it goes. Well, I guess I was not too shabby, as my time back then was around 2 hours and 2 minutes. That is roughly a pace of around 6 minutes per kilometer. Somehow, and maybe for a good reason, I had the gut feeling that I could do better and that this had not been the end of my running endeavors.

This fateful Saturday afternoon things were different. I was prepared for what was about come and I knew I could definitely beat my old record and maybe even surprise myself while doing so. I had the right mindset and I had even considered what to eat beforehand to maximize my performance. I even had the right kind of lenses for my sunglasses. My choice of eyewear definitely did not go unnoticed.


Instead of really concentrating on work and studying, I have been endorsed in taking the physical capabilities of my body to the limit each week for the past three months. It started with buying a runner’s card to a local indoor arena when I got back from Japan. Then I ventured forth and began to go the gym a couple of times each week. Soon, my evenings were filled with different types of exercises. Now I find it hard to spare one or two days each week for resting purposes. My housemate has been a great motivator. Together, we have been aiming for maximal stress (i.e. the state of Hapetus, for those familiar with our training methods) when doing lunge jumps, ankle jumps, squat jumps (among other kinds of jumps) and different types of running exercises.

Not all training was for this single half marathon. To tell the truth, I was not even supposed or prepared to participate in the competition a week before. However, thanks to Antti not being here to uphold the Leivo dynasty, he wanted to transfer his participation right to me thus allowing this feat of strength to happen. Instead, I have been training for an orienteering relay called Jukola along with a couple of mountain biking events. Then again, orienteering mainly consists of running so it’s a win-win situation when it comes to participating in this year’s HCR.

The act

After a slowish start to the course (first two kilometers took roughly 5 minutes 50 seconds each) I was a bit uncertain if I could make it under my initial goal of 1 hour and 50 minutes. Sadly, most of the people in my group (with target time between 1:50 and 2:00) should not have been in that group – at all – as they clearly had no incentive or capability to accomplish what they had bargained for. Without giving it too much thought at that point, I aimed to up my pace to around 5 minutes per kilometer. As I had my watch with me this time around, I could easily keep track of time spent covering each kilometer.

I recall arriving at the halfway mark at around 53 or 54 minutes, which was in line with my expectations. However, nearing the latter part of the course, first at maybe 12 kilometers and then at around 16 kilometers (after passing Antti’s brother Aleksi whom I had been following for the majority of the run) I realized that I might actually make it under 1 hour and 45 minutes, which was nothing short of a magic barrier for me. Were I to make it, I would have definitely outdone myself. I remember thinking while running about how Antti had commented earlier on one of my trainings that he had a hard time believing my results. Perhaps that gave me the final boost.

At exactly 1 hour, 44 minutes and 33 seconds after walking over the starting line along with a merry crowd of people, I crossed the finish line at the Olympic stadium. This year’s HCR was over!

My feelings at the end of the course were quite magnificent. It had been a wonderful day. I had not had any kind of trouble during the run. I beat my old record. Moreover, I beat my target time. I could even surpass the magic pace of 5 minutes per kilometer which had been my maximum training pace. As an additional bonus, I even beat the Super Leivo Brothers. All things considered, I am happy to admit that I am damn proud of all of it.

– Joona

PS. Next up in my schedule are the following physical challenges: Lohja MTB next weekend, Jukola in mid-June, Tahko MTB in early July and finally Espoo Rantamaraton (another half marathon, target: under 1,5 hours) at the end of September this year. I can hardly wait!

Legendary Lost Treasure of Mêlée Island

Gaming on the iPad

Aside from Rovio’s Angry Birds, there is in fact quite a lot of other goodies available in the entertainment ecosystem that Apple has so graciously provided us with. Anyway, some months, maybe half a year ago I realized that there is a bunch of old, quality point-and-click adventure games available on the iPad. Games such as Monkey Island. Needless to say, I bought the full suite. And a few others.

These recent developments have not gone unnoticed in the media. The one and only Finnish gaming magazine, and my all-time favourite called Pelit (i.e. Games) has recently been publishing more and more articles and reviews of games made for the iPad. From what I have read (and also experienced at firsthand) it seems that even the most cynical journalists have approved of iPad’s capabilities in this area. And why would they not? For those of us interested in older PC games (or even console games for that matter) the device kind of feels like an old PC with its 1024 x 768 resolution and simple graphics compared to modern video cards.

The latest revolution has been the adaptation of both old and new board games to the digital world. Titles like Carcassonne and Small World are now in their full glory on the iPad. And judging from the reviews alone, the change of platform has been a successful one. Unfortunately not all games work. Playing first-person shooters such as Doom and Duke Nukem 3D is possible, but moving and aiming at the same time without a physical controller has proven to be a bit frustrating. The same goes for a bunch of driving games and other types of shooters.

Accessories for Gaming

The iPad has Bluetooth connectivity so it would be possible to use gaming controllers for modern consoles (such as the Dualshock 3 made for Playstation 3) with it. In theory, at least. The system being closed I would not hold my breath for anything to happen on this front anytime soon. Perhaps Android-based Playstation-enabled phones (and perhaps tablets in the near future) will have this kind of functionality. I guess the technology enthusiast collective could cook up something similar with jailbroken iOS devices. Then again, it may not be something to attract a large enough audience, as jailbreaking requires some effort and technical knowledge. Ironically, right now the iPad is only as good as Apple allows it to be.

There have been some tries to make the touch interface a bit more suitable for fast-paced action gaming (such as the Fling joystick quickly viewed by Engadget). I have not tested any of these yet, but they could prove fairly useful to those of us wanting to broaden the capabilities of our gadgets and get the most out of the gaming experience. For point-and-click games and the ever-growing genre of games for the iPad such extra gimmicks are of course useless.

Now, if only Baldur’s Gate 1 and 2 (and their excellent expansions) were available on the iPad. Then I would be set for life. At least for the time being. Now where did I leave my Carsomyr +6?

– Joona

Cooperative Gaming

Oh, the wonders of modern age gaming!

Having played and spent quite a while in alternate, virtual worlds, I currently thoroughly enjoy the fact that games have a starting point and finally (often also unfortunately) a point where they simply end. What lies between these two points can last from a few hours to over a hundred hours. But still, it is not endless. Games like <insert here the name of your favourite MMORPG> are perhaps a bit too time-consuming and addictive for my taste. In addition, those places are filled with people who are way too young to speak properly and also to understand that bad equipment does not explicitly mean that the player has no skill whatsoever.

Then again, social gaming is a lot about who you play with. Playing split-screen cooperatively  on the same console is simply a lot of fun. Feedback and emotions are expressed spontaneously and instantaneously. Unfortunately it is not always a possibility to have a LAN party (which is arguably the best form of gaming), but cooperation comes pretty close. I would most likely rather stay inside on a sunny day and fight off all those invasions of alien lifeforms with my best friend. Sounds like my kind of good time! Back in the Baldur’s Gate era it was even fun to play singleplayer games with friends. It sure is a shame that there has not been much of that lately. Even in the virtual world, I will rather stick with players I “know” to some extent.

There is a clear distinction between cooperative and other multiplayer games. Working in cooperation means working together towards a common goal. So, it is not enough to merely have two players bashing the hell out of each other – unless, of course, there is a somewhat reasonable plot there somewhere that explains all of that. That being said, there are some excellent single-console multiplayer games, such as the whole Soul Calibur series, which simply belong to a different category altogether.

I can forgive a lot of shortcomings in case a game offers some sort of cooperative gameplay. It does not matter if the plot is full of holes and nonsense (kind of like Lost Planet 2 and Borderlands), as long as it is fun to play together. Sometimes controls (have you ever dashed in the wrong direction by accident in Gears of War?) and difficulty levels (the game being way too easy, like Borderlands) may cause some trouble. In the end, it is all about how the game nurtures your teamwork. It seems that the game industry has also noticed the rise in interest in cooperative gaming as there has been quite a plethora of quality cooperation available on consoles for the past few years.

Luckily gaming skill is really not an issue (though it might limit the spectrum of available games) as you can normally compensate for that by lowering the difficulty setting. Naturally, people tend to have different tastes in games and some sort of compromise might be required. Of course, there are games such as Super Mario Galaxy 2 that are, at least for the most part, universally designed for anyone. Be wary though: in case you play games, but do not like SMG2, you just might have a defective brain.

To mention a few of the best ones I have come across so far:

  • Doom – probably my first cooperative game, worked quite well over a serial cable
  • System Shock 2 – excellent cooperative mode to defeat the lovely (though crazy) Shodan
  • Dungeon Siege – a Diablo-like hack’n’slash with experience and weapons, need I say more?
  • Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Las Vegas 2 – terrorist hunt sure is fun
  • Gears of War 2 – the sheer amount of action is almost overwhelming
  • Splosion Man – an easy-going arcade game with some great puzzles and playability up to four people

A good source for a lot of reviews on co-op games would be Co-Optimus. My advice is that next time you play a game, grab a friend along just for the heck of it. As always, it is wonderful weather for gaming!

– Joona

PS. I can hardly wait for the co-op action that Dungeon Siege 3 and Gears of War 3 will most likely provide once they come out.

Defective Buyer’s Goggles


Lately I traveled to Turku and back by train. To my astonishment, the trains were late only by roughly 5 minutes. I suppose that is an acceptable performance on a warm, sunny Easter afternoon. Anyway, what I did not agree with is the reason (or lack thereof) why it costs more to take the Pendolino train instead of the Intercity 2 train. Normally the Pendolino would be a bit faster (maybe 5 minutes on this distance) so the difference in price (like 15% more) would be somewhat acceptable, but now the online reservation system (which still cannot be used during the night) suggested that the traveling time would be the same no matter which train I took. Great.

Unfortunately I did not want to wait for at least two hours before the next cheaper train comes so I decided to hop on the more expensive alternative. So what was I paying for? My guess is that because the two types of trains are equally fast, one of them costs more. Or maybe I pay more to have the exquisite on-board WLAN capabilities and no possibility to transport a bike at my disposal. Sweet.

It gets better with differing regional tickets from long range tickets. To be honest, I do not even know if it is possible to buy a single ticket from Turku to the nearest train station to where I live (update: you can). If not, I have to buy another ticket, the regional one, which may cost quite a bit compared to the ticket I already had. Even though, looking at the trip on a map, I might have just passed the station I was going to. Ah, if only we were in Japan where it usually only matters where you get on and where you get off. That way passing one station and then going back would not result in a penalty. Sounds fair, right?

Bubble Bobble 2

One of my all-time co-operative favourites, Bubble Bobble, finally came a while ago to Xbox 360 as an arcade game. Of course, I bought the game, after reading a couple of assuring reviews saying that the same good old playability was still there and that the new version merely had new graphics, maybe extra music and perhaps some new and innovative gaming modes. If anything, I hoped the game to be like the good old versions of NES and Amiga.

However, what the reviews did not say (or pretty much lied about) is that the playability is nothing like it used to be. How can they even claim that? Not even having a million monkeys and enough time would make the game playable in any commonly understood way to understand the definition of playable. To be blunt, I would have rather burnt the money.


Ah, the wonderful ventures of software companies and Digital Rights Management. The idea is good (no piracy), but unattainable in real life: DRM with software usually just ends up bugging the Average Joe. Maybe the only way to get rid of this is to make it easier (users are lazy) to actually buy the product instead of using one’s favourite BitTorrent client and service to get it. Perhaps application stores that are tied to the operation system will provide an answer to this dilemma.

Now that Sony has some trouble with their Playstation Network, it seems that some people even have trouble playing their games offline on their own consoles. And that is partly due to excessive DRM systems. Not to mention Sony’s earlier achievements in making people angry. Anyone remember Sony’s rootkit-based protection system on some of their CD albums? The system was not only illegal but it also spawned new malware to abuse the holes left by the rootkit.

The irony is that pirates play the games and listen to the albums without ever noticing such minor caveats.

I probably need to start to wear my set of Imagination Goggles +6 to understand the full logic behind these business decisions. Or maybe they could ask me or any other possible customer next time? I know, it is doubtful, but I could gently point them in the better direction.

– Joona

Bad User Experiences

“Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM equipment” – from Wikipedia’s Fear, uncertainty and doubt article

Ever tried searching from a big company’s web site using their own search? The closest comparison I can come up with is smearing your hands with poo and wondering why no one comes to shake hands with you. Usually the results of such shameful endeavors are either non-existent or ridiculous at best.

Recently there has been quite a bit of trouble with the hosting company that provides Sebaattori with its server framework and WordPress platform. Last week there were some 503 server errors due to broken firewall settings on the host’s part (or so they informed us). In addition, today I encountered a database connection drop when I was trying to write my post. Unfortunately it seems that cheap hosting equals problems with such simple requirements as performance, reliability and availability.

Uncertainty in dealing with IT systems is, well, one of the top sources for my daily frustration. In my case the uncertainty is not always related to my ability (nor inability) to use the system but instead to the system’s qualifications to properly serve my needs. For example, I find it very annoying having to ctrl + copy this text (that I am typing right now) every now and then to the clipboard and paste it to my favourite text editor. Why? Because I cannot trust the connection/computer/web browser combination to stay alive long enough for me to finish typing, post everything back and not lose anything while doing this.

More problems arise when multiple users are munching and lurking around in the system at the same time, looking for creative new ways to force the poor software architecture to a standstill. Multiple users tend to do their stuff at the same time, perhaps even in the same place and whilst working on the same items. From a system designer’s standpoint that is, if not the worst-case scenario, pretty close to being just that. What if the users open, modify and save one resource at the same time? There is no simple right answer to how to handle this. Should we lock the resource so that only one may write and others read? Or maybe we should do like Google Docs: allow multiple users to work on the same resource and keep all changes. In the ideal case we might not even give access to non-tech-savvy users at all (or we could remove access rights from annoying users who try to break the system’s rules).

It is really easy to spot not only badly designed and annoying software products but also systems where it seems that their basic design principles are just plain wrong. Cumbersome, counterintuitive systems (with corporate policy written all over them) make me ponder the real reasons for their seemingly meaningless existence. I highly doubt that it is in the best interests of any company to purposefully make it harder for their employees to do anything meaningful with their time at work. Despite the large amount of bureaucracy involved in (and mostly even required) keeping a company running, people should still be able to be more productive than ever before. And IT systems, especially, should be there to help management fight these problems and facilitate end user access to shared resources.

IT industry should always be based on expectations of working systems. I totally agree with that goal and it would be wonderful for it to be the status quo. As long as the system is reasonably fast, is each time available when I need it and does what I need it to do in an understandable manner, I will be fairly satisfied and I will not have much to complain about. In the end, it all comes down to some very basic questions in software development: user needs, requirements and specifications. If these can be fulfilled effectively in a manner that makes the users want to use the software, we have come a long way. Unfortunately, we are not quite there yet.

In case you are interested, try comparing any major webpage (or software suite) against Nielsen’s heuristics. The results can be quite frightening – and those are just the very basics of any user experience. Communication over the web fails far too often.

– Joona

PS. An example of a badly designed site I came across earlier today: – Helsinki WDC (World Design Capital) 2012 stamp suggestions open for voting. The page looks cool, but from a simple usability standpoint it is unbearable. The site loads the next 25 pictures (out of over 1400) each time you scroll to the end of the page with no option to load all of them at once. Of course, there is no way to search for a single suggestion. In addition, there is no opportunity to link to just one work of art (preferably with voting link). Moreover, I could not even find a link to the English version of the site. World has to stand for something in WDC, right?

Current Gaming in Espoo

Lost Planet 2, Uncharted 2, God of War 3 and Batman: AA


What wonderful weather for gaming! – Dan Bull

Dan Bull is close to the core truth about gaming. And by the way, if you have not seen the YouTube flick, check it out here: Dan Bull – Generation Gaming. I recommend listening to the song even for you non-gamers as the song’s rhymes are fairly well thought-out. And if you still decide not to listen to it, then it is your loss.

On a side note, I have been purchasing a lot of my console games from It would not really matter which online store I use, but TheHut has proven to offer fairly good prices and I have not experienced much trouble dealing with them. Last week I bought three new games (cheap ones, though) as I received a 10%-off discount code from said store. They sure know their marketing mix in my case. However, I find it astonishing how every game is cheaper to buy from abroad. Hell, I could even fly there myself, buy the games, fly back to Finland and still get a profit. Alright, it is not that bad with the newest games that have not yet hit their first round of discounts. Some Finnish stores based in the tax-exempt wonderland of Åland offer fair prices on such upcoming titles as Deus Ex 3 and Gears of War 3. Finally!

Anyway, after reading Antti’s message on Twitter regarding Kotaku’s article I could not help but agree with Leigh Alexander. Only a handful of the games I have played during the past 5 years have been as absorbing as, let’s say the Original Doom and its many addons (or WADs). What is especially inspiring about this is that lately (or rather, most of this week) I have been playing the newish Batman: Arkham Asylum (with 3D goggles and everything). In fact I got the game on Sunday last week but I did not begin to play it until Monday evening. I knew even before I started the game that it would probably be a bit bad idea to set forth on my journey through Gotham before weekend. Not that the game is bad or anything – it is just a tiny bit too addicting.

Now, on the third day after beginning my trip to Joker’s twisted humor and crazy plans, I have completed 46% of the content of the game. To my surprise, the game looks wonderful (even if it is a console game and definitely not 1080p) and the cartoon-based world feels quite real indeed. The sound environment is excellent as well. Playing with my headphones on in a dimly lit room I could almost smell being inside the Asylum with the inmates. No reason to worry though – Batman is not your average guy when it comes to prevalence in martial arts and being an awesome detective (quite like being a two-in-one Conan all by himself). I am beginning to learn to use his constant stream of bullet time melee attacks and slowdowns to down a dozen of foes at the same time. As an option, I can sneak up on them goonies and take them to the ground with a swift strike from the above. Batman even has his own set of gadgets and a remote hacking tool. Now how cool is that?

This is my first time experiencing 3D (even though it is merely based on colored lenses) in a current-generation console game. My initial impression was quite simply “meh“: the effect is there, but it does not, at least in its current implementation, bring much more to the game. Let me elaborate on that. I have no doubt that on currently-sold televisions the 3D effect can be quite a lot better than this mimicking with fancy cardboard glasses and plastic lenses. As those second-generation TV sets have been made 3D performance in mind. My 5-year-old Sony rear projection TV is not exactly state-of-the-art in this time and age. Anyway, the implementation being what it is, the only resultant effect is a headache after an hour’s playing. Perhaps after a few iterations (and actually using current technology) this just might work. Right now, the effect is too slim to trade off color balance and brightness, among other things.

To sum it up, I have really enjoyed my stay on the penitentiary island so far. Joker’s whacky announcements remind me in a good way about System Shock 2‘s (now that is another excellent game deserving its very own post) sweet, but insane, Shodan and her riddles. In addition, the built-in lore about Batman comics is worth reading and all those in-game collectables keep me going for hours without noticing the passing of time. And the story is not bad at all itself. Now that is what I call quality gaming!

– Joona

The Hidden Art of Presentation

Today at work I had the opportunity to take part in our company’s quarterly kickoff meeting where the CEO tells us commoners about the current situation of the company. This includes, but is not limited to, refreshing our strategy, declaring new goals and objectives and further strengthening our commitment to the company’s mission and vision. Naturally, all workforce is present as this is such a high-scale event to graciously set us off on our next thee-month journey.

Anyway, being a relatively new company listed in the Nasdaq OMX stock market, we had the rare opportunity today to learn about different rules and regulations that deal with working in such a company. I thought, perhaps, I will actually learn about what harmonized disclosure rules and having inside information might mean in my case. In addition, having a break from dealing with customers’ possible problems (or rather, specified features depending on the interpretation) with our software product was a welcome breeze of change during the day.

The man responsible for this ground-breaking lecture introduced himself as a director from a Finnish authority that is responsible for regulating stock exchange in said stock market. My hopes were high at this point, him being an expert on the topic and me knowing nothing much on the subject. I was certain that he was well prepared and had most likely given the same lecture to thousands of people before. And knowing the usual quality of presentations given at any corporate events I have attended so far, it could not be much worse than those!

But no. Right during the very first few seconds I realized my hopes had cruelly been trampled upon. There they lay, bruised and battered. To say the least, I felt ashamed and flustered at the same time as I was listening to the man giving his speech about what I thought to be his daily topic. He clearly had too much nonsense stuffed in his 45-minute lecture consisting (originally, as he reminded us) of 88 slides. He skipped back and forth, repeated himself over and over and even went so far as to casually belittle himself to try and shred off even the last drops of credibility that still lay there somewhere. 10 minutes into the lecture I hoped to be back in my cozy corner dealing with server errors. I could have learned more in 5 minutes by reading the rules and regulations summary instead.

I wonder what the underlying problem really is. It is not impossible to not add every word you are going to say to those PowerPoint slides. Granted, it is tempting, but hey – why not even try doing it differently for once. Giving excuses for the presentation’s quality while giving it is in my opinion nothing short of unacceptable. And even if the material is bad, the presentation does not have to be, right? Perhaps there was something else involved, like maybe telling the man 5 minutes before that his time would be, what, one third of what it was originally going to be. Even then there would have been too much nothing. Instead of merely wasting time, we would have also been bored to death. And while I am at it, always use a remote controller to switch slides and have a goddamn laser pointer at hand! Is this not common sense?

Today’s man in black is unfortunately not the only one guilty as charged. I see this happening every time. Even our official presentation slides – the ones shown to our potential customers – have so much text I could not even begin to fathom who bothers to read them. Is the point to just have the slides play their little game somewhere in the background? I would rather use no slides and a chalkboard instead! I understand that in the world of universities and knowledge, scientific publications and qualifications come first and not every professor is an able speaker. But why does this happen in the corporate world as well? There are plenty of courses available at different universities or commercial organizations on how to communicate or give presentations. If that is a no-go, then have someone else do it. Even if I do not like giving a speech, I would definitely and absolutely really strive to make an effort to make it worthwhile to listen to me. And why purposefully undermine your own credibility while giving the presentation? That is beyond my comprehension.

Finally, all of this made me think of the costs incurred to any kind of company having such wonderful learning opportunities. Let’s make a quick assumption that on the average an hour of any kind of work would be billed at the rate of 100 euros per hour. Thus having 100 persons present for one hour would cost said company in terms of lost income at least 10 000 euros. Somehow, I see a point in having an expert work his ass off at making that one hour’s education not only excellent but almost damn perfect. Talks of reducing costs and improving on efficiency mean little to me if the savings can so easily be out-weighed. Why not pay a qualified lecturer 5 000 euros instead to actually get the most out of it?

All in all, I did learn a few things about the topic of the lecturer. And in the end (after the notorious Thank you slide) he had reserved some time for questions which proved to be a whole lot more educating than the presentation itself. To sum these up for my own future reference:

  • key phrase of the day was “relevant impact on investors’ qualified opinion on the value of the company”
  • inside knowledge is any knowledge or information that could affect the situation described within the key phrase
  • rules and regulations must be followed precisely and they are strictly enforced
  • disclosures have to be simultaneous and well-distributed
  • any information regarding the key phrase should be made publicly available without delay
  • any publicly listed company should have some kind of policy on how to deal with the above

Over and out. Time to sleep.

– Joona

End of Procrastination

In psychology, procrastination refers to the act of replacing high-priority actions with tasks of low-priority, and thus putting off important tasks to a later time. – Wikipedia

True enough, that is exactly what I have been doing at least for the past month and a half, or the time I have been back home from my odd travels in Japan. However, lately I have felt this urge to try out new things. Or maybe this is another, more sophisticated, form of procrastination. For my own sake, in the end, I hope that is not the case.

Alright, writing in English is not exactly a new thing. Nonetheless, actually doing it with no ulterior motive and no exact, tangible motive, is just something I do not normally do. I do read blogs though, especially technology-oriented ones. All those well-written pieces of first-hand experiences of some new gadgets or programming techniques: I could spend all day just hopping from blog to blog. The sheer amount of people writing about their daily lives, projects and opinions is in the hundreds of millions. Then again, that is the point. Most people would not care, but the ones who do will care a lot.

First Steps to Writing

This is my homage to my arch nemesis Antti. I dare not compare my endeavours to the difficulties he may have encountered during the past few weeks of his stay in Japan. Yet, he has been able to produce legible, understandable and well-written English. I thought maybe I could try that as well. Nothing big and fancy at first. I want to improve as a writer and the only way I know to do that is… Writing.

Upon finally deciding to begin my work on my master’s thesis, I have been attending this course, in Finnish, on different techniques and tools to creating a successful oeuvre d’art. The lecturer made a fair point: creating is important and should be practiced by producing text, photos – whatever it is you need to ultimately create. In the end, the thesis is not my raison d’être and definitely not the reason I have spent the better part of my adulthood skipping classes and earning ECTS. I prefer not to slowly and aimlessly wander in the state of laissez-faire. It certainly is easier to not make an effort, or divert one’s concentration and efforts to something easily achievable, like playing and watching TV series.

The difference between talking about (and thinking of) doing something and then actually doing it is simply breathtaking. I realized that lately there has been too much of thinking and not enough of doing. I want to get to the source of this problem, ridding myself of my comfort zone.

Welcome to the Creator

There has been (or rather, there is and there always will be) a gap between where I am and where I would like to be. I would like to have a blog with cohesive posts, rants and whatnot. Overcoming the first step is to start writing. I do not think it even matters what you write about as long as you are being sincere. Perhaps later, looking back at my old washed-out thoughts and banal vanities, I might be taken aback on how naive I was. I believe in all honesty that I will be delighted to read those again some day.

Half a year ago I could not see myself writing. Yet even back then I had ideas on what to write about. I will aim to polish my rusty English and writing skills. Maybe, from this moment on, little by little, tout va s’arranger.

– Joona

Road to Nagasaki

After having a not-so-good night’s sleep due to excessive coldness during the night, I woke up a bit late in order to eat breakfast or catch a morning shower.

At Hiroshima Shinkansen station I wondered whether something major had happened as the train I was supposed to board at a bit after nine o’clock in the morning was roughly 10 minutes late. The same applied to other Shinkansen trains as well. I doubt that VR would even count that as being late.

From Hakata station there is a limited express line called Kamome straight to Nagasaki with few stops on the way. Exchanging trains worked like a charm – it took me less than five minutes to walk get off the Shinkansen, pass through ticket checking and find my way to the correct platform.

The railroad becomes a lot smaller on the way. There is just one pair of tracks for the most part of the journey. The ride on the Kamome is nice however. With wooden floors and leather seats along with tinted windows there is a certain notion of quality involved. The landscape is worth seeing as well. With the iron bars hugging close to the coastline, it is possible to see the Inland Sea on the left most of the time. On the right, mountains rise to a few hundred meters.