My life

Things that are related to my life. Back to the front page.

Lunch with John Buckman

Neat: I met John Buckman and his wife Jan, both very nice people. John is, of course, the mastermind behind Magnatune and, most importantly, BookMooch. It's pretty strange to meet people like that in your home town - this time the key was the Openmind conference.

And the world is a step smaller, again: it turns out that now I'm just one step away from Doris Lessing, as I have met Jan who knows her.

24.10.2006 klo 14:29 | Be the first to comment | TrackBack (0)

Baby life

The boy is two months tomorrow. It's been a wild ride so far... Though to be honest, I think life's been easier than I expected. The nights haven't been bad - I have to wake up few times, but that's pretty small. So I sleep from nine to five instead of eleven to seven, that's minor.

It's been fun, that's for sure! The baby is a constant source of funny stuff. He's cute as a button and almost endlessly capable on strange noises and funny faces. That's very nice, except at three am when you'd rather be sleeping than listening to a grunting baby, but hey, it's all or nothing...

So yeah, I'd recommend this to others, as well - having a baby can be good fun. Particularly if you enjoy poop jokes and find farts and burping entertaining...

22.08.2006 klo 07:12 | Be the first to comment | TrackBack (0)

It's a boy!

My son was born today, just seven minutes past midnight. He's small, cute and seems to enjoy sleeping quite a lot. I don't know what to say, it was simply an amazing experience seeing the birth and the first few moments, my son and his mother together. It's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.

The first day has been taxing (little sleep) but rewarding (lots of contact with the new kid in the block). Can't wait to see him again tomorrow...

23.06.2006 klo 21:14 | Be the first to comment | TrackBack (0)

My Master's thesis

I got the grade for my Master's thesis today. I scored an eximia cum laude approbatur, that is accepted with particular gratitude. It is the second best grade one can get. The best grade, laudatur, is super-rare and really hard to get.

Getting an eximia requires a well-written work with something new in it; you can't get an eximia by going over someone else's work, no matter how well you do it. I suppose my contribution to the body of research on XML information retrieval was notable, in some way. I should get the actual evaluation tomorrow, then I'll know what they really thought of it.

I'm quite glad. I never expected to get a grade this good, it was too good to expect. Now they'll probably want to me to continue postgraduate studies, particularly as I'll be working on the department this Fall doing some kind of small research project.

Which is nice, but I'm not that keen on getting a Doctorate; it isn't too hot on the job market, really - getting a decent job with the Master's degree is hard enough, as I'm over-educated for most of the library jobs that are available. A Doctor is good for running a university library, which takes years of work experience, which might be hard to come by...

I'm also less keen on embarking on an academic career. While it might be kind of fun, I'm not so sure I'll enjoy the battle for the extremely limited research funding... Well, I'll just have to see what the future brings. Que sera, sera, right?

15.05.2006 klo 18:55 | Comments 1 comment(s) | TrackBack (0)

Master's thesis

I finally finished something I've been doing for over a year now. I started work on my master's thesis (or pro gradu, as it's called in Finland) last year on the Spring term and now it's complete, all 71 pages of it. It's a relief, having it off my hands. Now I'm just waiting for the evaluation.

One thing's for sure: it's not going to become a big hit. Actually, the initial print run is a whopping six copies: one for the library, two for the department and three for me (to be distributed to my parents and myself). Of course, it will also appear in the University thesis database as a PDF, so anybody interested in can print it out themselves. There might be few people doing their work on similar topic, who might be interested, but even that's a bit unlikely.

My topic is Using multi-valued relevance in XML retrieval evaluation, I'm working in the context of the INEX XML retrieval conference. I created an evaluation tool to use the Cumulated Gain based measure XCG, hoping to overcome the problems of overlap and overpopulated recall bases in XML retrieval. I succeeded, too.

If you didn't understand anything of the last paragraph, don't worry: many students of Information Studies wouldn't understand it, either. It's a bit of a specialty field. I do hope choosing a slightly obscure topic will secure me a decent grade, though - at least my thesis isn't a bog-standard information seeking behaviour of group X type of thing one sees quite often. Those can be interesting, of course, but I do feel it can also be an easy way out, too...

23.04.2006 klo 08:45 | Be the first to comment | TrackBack (0)

Growing old

You know you're getting old, when you choose to spend 90 euros on a crib instead of two tickets to a Morrissey concert. Well, now we have a crib for our baby to use for a long time and we'll get to see Morrissey later.

After all, it wouldn't have been that much fun, with Johanna being seven months pregnant - that's not a good condition to be in when you're in a rock concert with no seats and 2000 drunken idiots. So, with a bit of sadness, we skipped the gig.

On the lighter side, we'll have a baby in June if everything goes well!

20.02.2006 klo 21:25 | Be the first to comment | TrackBack (0)

Recovering from an operation

It's a week now from my operation. I was put on the surgeon's table for tonsillectomy and uvulectomy. I'm starting to notice some slight recovery, perhaps - it's a slow process, and I'm still consuming painkillers in large quantities. The biggest problem is of course the inability to eat anything that's hot, hard or tricky to eat.

While I haven't really lost weight more than a tiny bit, I'm still missing food like crazy. Living without my daily tea is hard enough and I definitely miss rye bread: I can only eat soft wheat bread and I don't like it, bland industrial toast bread is only good when it's toasted, and then it's hard and hot and I can't eat it. Pizza, tortillas, hamburgers, candy...

17.02.2006 klo 08:55 | Comments 1 comment(s) | TrackBack (0)

Married for a year

We've been married for a year now. It's been a good year, one of the very best in my life. Things are so bright and as it seems, can only get better.

I'm really glad we got married... I'm sure we would've had a fine year even if we didn't, but it's made things even better.

Happy anniversary, Johanna, you've made my life just so much better!

28.08.2005 klo 17:53 | Comments 1 comment(s) | TrackBack (0)

Moving on

We've been moving. It's hard work, let me tell you... I've spent hours putting stuff in boxes and taking stuff from boxes. Now that everything starts to fall into place (except one very messy room), it's starting to look it was worth it.

Our new apartment is gorgeous, that's for sure. We've got one extra room (and a sauna!), over 20 square meters more and the building is 40 years newer than the previous one. Quite an improvement, I'd say.

There are downsides, too. The most obvious one is the lack of Internet connection. Once you get used to having a 24/7 Internet connection, being a week without can be painful. Well, judging by the e-mail I get, I don't lose much, but reading blogs and the board game society forum has become a habit like reading the morning newspaper.

Well, that should be settled on Monday (fingers crossed!) and this entry will probably be posted then so it'll be old news already and we can really enjoy our new home. Now we're just waiting for a new carpet on the living room floor and our new, superneat sofa.

29.07.2005 klo 16:35 | Be the first to comment | TrackBack (0)


We're currently pretty busy packing up our stuff. We're moving tuesday; we'll get a bigger place (one extra room, 25 or so extra square meters) in a building that's much better than our current one.

When going through our kitchen cupboards, we found a tin of tea that's been sealed with tape, to keep the tin from opening while moving. You know, it's been, what, four years since we moved? I'd say it's time for that tin of tea to go!

24.07.2005 klo 13:40 | Be the first to comment | TrackBack (0)


This is a meme that's been going around a while now. I'm not generally into these, but this one is more interesting than most. So, here goes:

10 years ago I was in the 8th grade in school. I had just found goth rock and live action role-playing. I was socially inept geek (I'm better now: I'm socially capable geek). Back then I was known as the walking encyclopedia, who knew everything about everything. I wonder if my current friends would consider that as my main characteristic? Anyway, I had planned my future: I was going to university to study computer science to become a programmer. Didn't happen.

5 years ago I was spending the last months of my compulsory military service, which I didn't do in the army. Instead, I was working in the Jyväskylä university student association, doing the basic office work. I was slowly discovering board games. I had already met Johanna and I spent most of my weekends using the free train tickets courtesy of Finnish state to visit Tampere. My plans had changed. Even though I had already cleared the exams to go to university of Jyväskylä (majoring in computer science), I applied to university of Tampere and information studies. I think I wanted to become a librarian - or anything else, but not computer science. Moving to Tampere was my priority number one, anyway.

3 years ago I studied hard and got an internship in the university library. I'm still there. We're slowly reaching written history and the first blog entries. That summer we moved with Johanna to our current apartment.

Year ago we were planning our wedding. I attended a course in XML, which inspired my master's thesis (or pro gradu). I also visited Helsinki to meet my future side employer, Marektoy.

So far this year I've worked hard: I've studied, worked at the library, translated games, updated web sites, written articles.

Yesterday we had pleasant evening with lasagne, good wine (Gazela, Portugese green wine) and good cider (Cidre Pays d'Auge, soft and smooth French cider).

Today I've been working hard: I finished my cross-language information retrieval exercises and two translations and wrote an article and a letter.

Tomorrow will begin a new week of hard work.

27.02.2005 klo 17:26 | Be the first to comment | TrackBack (0)

Job update and security issues

I'm still working at the library (see I got a job!). I had to give up the card index in December, but continue to work at the circulation desk. I first got January (because January is very busy, almost as bad as September) and then February and March. I think the University isn't technically allowed to keep on hiring me for short periods like this, since my job isn't a temporary project - they should strive to employ people for longer periods.

However, I'm still very temporary. Their excuse is that I'm still here to help them survive the busy period. Except that's not true, the library isn't really that busy anymore. But hey, it's not that I mind, because I like to have to a job. I'm not going to complain about it to anyone who would care, I'll just whine and pout in my blog.

That's fun, so let's continue: recently they installed new self-service machines. The new machines require the user to both flash their library card and enter a five-digit PIN code that's also used to access the library web services. Earlier the card was enough. This, I reckon, is because of security issues.

Which would be nice, except: it's still possible to use someone else's card, just walk to the circulation desk and that's it. It's not like we're checking everyone's ID or anything. Second, users must type their PIN code on a touch display that's set up high on top of the machine, so everyone behind their back will see the code as they type it in. Third, the new system confuses the heck out of people, who don't know what a PIN code is and even if they know it, they generally spend a lot more time with the machine than before.

I think the new system is pretty daft. It's not like anyone actually benefits from the upgrade (except the company who sold the library the new program). It's a fine example of totally pointless security, too - it's like a state-of-the-art gate in a fence that has huge holes in it just few meters from the gate.

19.02.2005 klo 11:17 | Comments 3 comment(s) | TrackBack (0)

I got a job!

Once again I'm working at the Tampere University Library. This time I'm doing stuff for the move project. The library is moving in about two years and that means loads and loads of extra work for many people. Just imagine all the books! What's best, not all the books are in the library database. Some are a lot older than the databases.

My job is related to that. I'm going through the trusty old card index, now full of reference cards that reference already removed cards. It's almost useless, but it still has information about books the database doesn't know. So, my job is to take every proper card from the index, find the book, check if the National Repository Library has it and then pass them on. Other people will decide what to do with the books: keep them (in which case they are added to the database), pass them to Deposit Library or just get rid of them.

My task is large, there are approximately 50,000 cards and almost as many books. These are books nobody has used in decades, perhaps. I don't expect many of them to remain.

Anyway, it's a lovely job, which I like a lot. There are many things involved I like: locating things, creating systematic order, sorting index cards, handling books, independence and so on. And what's best, I can take it easy - no matter how hard I work, I won't finish the task (my contract ends - as far as I know - in the end of the year), so it doesn't matter if I take my time. I have a room of my own, so nobody superior to me is watching over my shoulders.

Besides, getting paid is fun. It's been a while...

23.09.2004 klo 16:48 | Comments 4 comment(s) | TrackBack (0)

My life as a married man

Bride and groom I've been married for a week now. It's been fun and I'm indeed very happy about it. Our wedding party was a great success: the location was perfect, the ceremony went smoothly despite us not rehearsing it and everybody (we had almost 70 guests, friends and closer family) seemed to have fun.

Elvis We had minimal entertainment: some cello music and an Elvis impersonator. That worked, as we both hate the traditional wedding numbers. We had enough action arranged, but also enough time for us to mingle with the guests.

Monday we're off to Madeira for a week, that should be fun. Our first week of marriage has been great and if the rest of it as much fun, I'd guess we'll live happily everafter.

4.09.2004 klo 13:00 | Comments 4 comment(s) | TrackBack (1)

Peace and quiet

Except in my life. Well, we're mostly excited about the wedding, which is coming closer all the time. Just three weeks and five days now! Fortunately everything's coming together very smoothly, we've had no bigger problems. One thing is sure, however - I'm most satisfied man when the festivities are done with and we're married and I don't have to worry about organizing the party. I don't envy wedding planners, that's a job I know I wouldn't enjoy.

2.08.2004 klo 10:23 | Be the first to comment | TrackBack (0)

Living with a woman, part 3.8.


(At least in Finland, March 8th is the official women's day)

9.03.2004 klo 14:40 | Be the first to comment | TrackBack (0)


I'm 23 now (actually, I've been 23 since Friday - it's just taken me a while to get used to the fact). I'm glad to be back in a prime number age - reaching next one will take a while.

14.10.2003 klo 09:07 | Be the first to comment | TrackBack (0)

Operating the circulation

Today was my first day at the Tampere university library circulation desk. It was an easy day, as I had only two hours of real customer service action. The library system didn't work in the beginning, which is always exciting - modern libraries are crippled when the computers don't work.

I'm looking forward to going back to work tomorrow. Working only 20 hours a week makes it a bit easier to handle. Full-time job would be worse. But, I can always repeat my mantra: "library work experience, Voyager library system experience, money" to help me carry on...

1.09.2003 klo 15:24 | Be the first to comment | TrackBack (0)


It's our fourth anniversary today. I've got a gift for Johanna and tomorrow we'll go and have a good meal in a restaurant. It's been a good year, and even better ones will come!

(On a side note, it's also the 84th anniversary of the Finnish goverment system.)

17.07.2003 klo 08:47 | Be the first to comment | TrackBack (0)