Archive for March, 2008

March 29th, 2008

Easter up north

We spent the Easter holidays in northern Finland — I haven’t got time to write about the trip during the last few days, but finally boys are sleeping and there is some time before I need to hit the bunk.

Sanna and the boys flew to Oulu and travelled then to Taivalkoski already on Sunday one week before Easter. I spent the beginning of the week busily running my business and then rejoined them on Thursday evening after a day of meetings, telcos and travelling.

Helsinki region didn’t have that much of snow when Sanna left, but during the week we got some. Not much compared to Oulu and especially Taivalkoski that had at least a meter of snow. Most of our activities were related to snow, as this year there hasn’t been enough days to enjoy going downhill with sleds and bobsleds (Stiga Snow Racer).

There were some hills around Sanna’s parents house, but to get good fast and long rides, we visited the local ski centre Taivalvaara. They had a slope dedicated for sleds, so I and Aapo, or Sanna and Aapo had much fun with our Stiga going down the hill. It goes pretty fast with one child and one adult…

When we were not out, I spent my times with books — read four of them during the holidays. I had to prepare a few work related items, so some time was spent in front of laptop, too.

On Monday, Sanna’s mother drove us to Oulu and we visited Sanna’s old schoolmate for one night. We saw a few other friends and Aapo played (and also fought) with their children. The amount of noise that can come from two toddlers is amazing.

Tuesday was spent with work related items and flying back to Helsinki. From there onwards, I’ve tried to catch up with work — finally succeeding to spare some time to my hobbies, such as

Treasures and oddities from the nature

If you are refurnishing your house and would like to have a few items for showing off with your visitors or breaking the ice, visit Paxton Gate in San Francisco. The shop opened by two landscape designers have all kinds of items ranging from a bit funny to outright bizarre.

Paxton Gate in San Francisco, CA, USA

There are stuffed animals, such as the lion on top of the door (see image), butterflies and other insects, dolls made of dead rodents, all kinds of flowers and plants, and so forth. You’ll get the picture. There is also some more common items, such as tea and books.

The price of them items varies heavily, from a few bucks to several thousands. The store itself is worth of visit, even if you are not planning to buy anything., 824 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA, USA, +1 415 824 1872

Almost the W experience

W Silicon Valley in Newark, California, is a tad different W Hotel. Located next to Silicon Valley on the other side of San Francisco Bay, practically almost in the middle of nowhere — it tries hard to be in par with its downtown cousins.

W Silicon Valley in Newark, CA, USA

The hotel is not built as a W and it shows — not everywhere, but in certain areas. Especially bathrooms do not have the expected chicness. The rooms are also surprisingly big for a W, but of course the land is relatively cheap in Newark and this is a suite hotel anyhow. The amenities are the same, the beds are excellent and the service is nice. There is a wet bar in the room with some basic dishes, so you can get some take away from one of the shopping centers near the hotel. There is a restaurant and a bar also in the premises.

The area itself is desolate, so better have a car — there is free parking, by the way. There is a well stocked Safeway, other shops and a few restaurants less than five kilometers from the hotel. Ask directions from the concierge. The hotel sports also a miniscule pool and a gym.

Fortunately, the location reflects to the pricing and this is the most inexpensive W in the United States. By far on low seasons., 8200 Gateway Boulevard, Newark, CA, USA, +1 510 494 8800

March 18th, 2008

Site upgraded

As you probably can see from the site, I’ve done some major changes in the look’n'feel.

The previous site visuals where from 2004 (I think), so it was a proper time to do something for it. I’ve been designing again and again with half a year interval, but finally my design struck me as decent enough to go live.

The new design has removed a lot of bells and whistles around the content itself, and also modernised the look’n'feel quite a bit. The old site was built in several phases that were not connected to each other, resulting a bit different kind of items to various sections. This should be now fixed.

I’ve also removed a lot of advertisements that didn’t bring any value. Only Google ads are served from now on. The sidebar got a box shaped ad, as they seem to be getting a lot of image ads. I do hope that the ads do not interfere too much with reading the site — they need to interfere that much that someone ends up reading them, seeing some value in clicking and thus generating a bit of income to keep up the site.

There are a lot more changes under the hood. I upgraded to the latest WordPress and removed most of my custom stuff to the theme.

The old site had three different content management systems. Besides WordPress, there was my own page editor for content pages and then one image gallery for photo section. Remember, that the site has existed a long before WordPress had pages outside blog. Now all pages are under WordPress. Some configuration was needed to get journal in its old location. I also installed a set of new plugins to get better archive display, and to handle some CMS style features.

Most of the URLs have now changed due to the radical reorganisation. I’ve written .htaccess file that handles most them, such as images, gallery photos and some other items. Further, I wrote a simple PHP script that handles the content page redirects. All redirects give “moved permanently” HTTP status code to inform search engines to update their databases.

As always with site updates, if you see something not working properly, add a comment or send me an email.

March 13th, 2008

Websites are not remembering me anymore

I’ve recently made a bit startling discovery. My frequently visited websites are no longer remembering me. Instead, they show the login page. No longer greeting Janne Kalliola and welcoming me back to use the system instantly.

This is, of course, due to being once again so busy that I visit the sites more seldom. I maybe should not say this, but also my beloved WordPress at has been giving me the login screen. I try to be better in the future.

Sleek Italian fashion

If you are looking for stylish and sleek fashion in the Big Apple and you happen to carry a hefty wallet, consider visiting one of the Prada stores spread around the city. The Italian fashion house is renown for ultra-chic and minimalistic designs. You can satisfy most of your fashion needs, as Prada produces clothes, shoes, bags, travel gear, sunglasses and other accessories.

Prada shop in New York, NY, USA

I’m personally fond of their shoes, the design is excellent, they feel good and they are not that expensive compared to other better shoe labels.

As in all higher fashion boutiques, the service is top-notch — a bit distant at times, though. We visited their quite compact store on Fifth Avenue, but there is a huge concept store in SoHo, also worth of a visit., 724 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 664 0010

For the Apple faithfuls

Apple’s flagship store is a truly landmark at the southeast corner of Central Park, despite the fact that the entire store is under the street level. Only the entrance, a huge glass cube with simple Apple logo and nothing else, is visible to the street. But that is just enough to guide people to the Apple shrine downstairs.

Apple Store on Fifth Avenue, NYC, USA

The shop itself, as most Apple shops I’ve visited, is calm — computers and gadgets are spread around the big space, and everything can be tried. There is a lot of Apple clerks to help you with anything, and for any bigger trouble you can always go to the genius bar for some advice.

The shop is an excellent place to check your emails, as every computer has internet access and nobody stops you using it. And it is open 24 hours a day., 767 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 336 1440