Archive for February, 2008

February 20th, 2008

First Finnish spams

I just received my first Finnish language spams ever. And when it rains, it pours. I got the same message several times (no wonder), and then also some different messages. Someone has inserted Finnish language files to some bots.

The first mail batch was peculiar. Nothing to do with the normal spam stuff, but it was about a nuclear reactor meltdown in Mikkeli. Rather odd message to be sent as spam, but probably tries to lure people to click on the link at the end to get them infected with spyware or something. Don’t know, didn’t try.

The message would have been more effective, if a) the sender would have had a Finnish name and b) there would be a nuclear power plant in Mikkeli. At least spammers got the name of the town right.

Jokes aside, I think that this development is alarming. There are a lot of people, especially older ones, that do not speak English or any other foreign language in Finland. They have been protected from spam threats by natural means, but now that protection is going to wear off.

I do hope that my parents are not fooled to click on the links, or I end up running anti-spyware tools all the time for them. Better call them tonight.

Huge toy store

Toys’R'Us have a huge concept toy store on Times Square. You get the idea of the size when looking at the full-sized Ferris wheel rising high above the ground floor (see picture).

Ferris wheel inside Toys’R’Us toy store on Times Square

All floors have been filled with toy goodiness; everything and beyond can be found there, as long as it is manufactured by some major toymaker. Don’t expect to find rarities, though. There is a lot of toys on display, but not that many that can be tried out — unlike in Hamley’s in London.

The price level is decent, especially for us Europeans due to low dollar. Funnily enough, European built Legos are way cheaper across the pond. If you are visiting the store with children, don a thick wallet and empty suitcase.

www.toysrus.com, 1514 Broadway, New York, NY, USA

Ode to commercialism

Times Square is New York’s ode to commercialism. There are probably any places on Earth that is more filled with advertisements, corporate logos and all other commercial paraphernalia.

Times Square at dusk in New York City, NY, USA

If you like that, Times Square is just the place for you. You can stare the endless rows and columns of blinking lights, news and stock information flashing on the walls, advertisements of all kinds and generally feeling being fast-forwarded in life.

Besides the lights, Times Square has a plethora of shops and restaurants to spend some time and money. Most of them are part of a chain, so don’t expect to see anything too special. The shops, however, have focused a lot in showing off and some of them are really worth of visit.

Times Square, 42nd Street, Broadway & 7th avenue, New York, NY, USA

February 9th, 2008

Changing hosts

I’ve been forced to move out from my current hosting company (OnSmart) as they are moving out of business.

They first lost one domain for me (kept the money, though) and then had radio silence for a couple of weeks — until today they informed that they are swiftly going out of business. I had reacted a few days earlier and moved to HostMonster.com.

The site moving was surprisingly painless. I made a tarball of the files and dumped the databases, unpacked the files to the new location, and recreated the databases from the dumps. A few configuration file needed changing and then everything works ok. Or at least it looks like that. If you notice any glitches, please inform me.

Fortunately, nomadig.com is not registered through OnSmart. Better keep my domains and hosts in two different vendors.

Built wilderness

A trip to New York is not complete without visiting Central Park, the lungs of the city. The huge park occupies several square meters of space in the middle of Manhattan, stretching from 59th Street to 110th Street. The sloping terrain and curvy roads hide the fact that you are inside a huge metropolis.

Autumn colours in Central Park in New York City, USA

There are several distinguished places to visit in the park itself. You can go to ice skating or visit Central Park Zoo. Also the Metropolitan Museum of Arts is located in the park, albeit in a separate enclave facing the Fifth Avenue. Strolling or jogging around the park is also a favourite pastime for busy New Yorkers. During warmer months, there are people playing games or having a picnic. Reading a book in shade of a tree is an excellent option, too.

www.centralpark.org, New York City, NY, USA

February 2nd, 2008

Becoming father for the second time

As you might know, we’ve been expecting a baby for better part of 2007. The estimated due date was on January 31 that passed without any signs of delivery.

Things changed rapidly during the night, and Sanna left to hospital at 4.00 AM. I tried to sleep with little success and found myself soon in front of my laptop, cancelling meetings for Friday and trying to kill some time before waking up Aapo. The kindergarten opened at 7.00 and we were promptly there, so I could swiftly continue to the clinic.

After a few hours of waiting for me and intense labor for Sanna, I was proud father of a baby boy. I was honoured to wash him, measure the mass and length, and spend time with him before meeting the happy but exhausted mother.

The image below is from the first half an hour of a new life.

Our second son

We have a peculiar habit in Finland to name children after a month, so you have to wait until the christening in March.

The proud big brother Aapo has visited the clinic a couple of times to see his new little brother. My mother has also joined us to help with the chores. Sanna is still in the clinic, but should be home tomorrow with the son.

Miniscule wildlife park

Central Park Zoo is one of the smallest zoos that I’ve ever visited, but maybe for this reason it is also one of the best experiences. There are only a dozen or so bigger species and then a whole bunch of smaller ones, so the trip is not exhaustive but just fun. It is also the most accessible, being in middle of New York City instead of some distant suburbs. The zoo is open also on every day around the year.

Central Park Zoo in New York, NY, USA

The zoo is best experienced with children, as their excitement of sea lions, polar bears, penguins, and monkeys is reflected to the adults, too. The only thing that bothered me was the miniscule sizes of animal compounds — the penguins were really stuffed into a glass walled box with not much to do or place to stroll around.

Besides animals, there is a small shop and a cafeteria.

www.centralparkzoo.com, 64th Street on Fifth Avenue, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 439 6500

Funky shopping gallery

Foorum is a funky small shopping gallery next to Viru Keskus in Tallinn downtown. There is a limited number of shops, as the gallery is just one corridor. The floors above are part of the same center, but used for offices only.

Foorum in Tallinn, Estonia

The gallery has several nice boutiques, such as Camper, Timberland, Morgan, Miss Sixty and Tommy Hilfiger, to name a few. The emphasis is heavily on fashion and shoes. There is also a kiosk, optician and a few other stores. A few boutiques are located on the street side, too.

If you are not interested in shopping, the gallery is a magnificent place to visit due to its peculiar architecture (see image).

www.foorumkeskus.ee, Narva Mnt. 5, Tallinn, Estonia