P2 Course blog opened

Tomorrow I will start a new lecture course series, ‘Theories and Interpretation of Interactive Media (P2)’ in WordPress.com: http://newmediatheory.wordpress.com/ . I will be making use of Slideshare service in publishing my PPT lecture notes, further media still under consideration.

Challenges of Samba

One of the key issues in today’s home with multiple ip-networked devices is sharing data. All those photos, songs and video clips need to be flying from room-to-room in addition to those work related files that seem to follow us home, too, in these days. A Linux file and printer sharing server is nice basic element for that kind of work; the software is free and even rather old and cheap hardware can run it (hidden into some distant cupboard, well-air-conditioned of course, preferably). But unfortunately I’d still need to recommend for a casual home user to keep within Windows home networking, rather than venturing into setting up one’s own Linux server box. I have now installed several versions of Linux (all of them from Ubuntu family, supposedly the most user-friendly distribution out there), and yet even getting the basic file sharing smoothly running between Windows and Linux machines, in a typical mixed environment with ADSL-modem, home router and a couple of Wifi boxes is still a complex and frustrating task. I finally today got the Gutsy Gibbon workstation installation running Samba in a way that is compatible with our WinXP Pro and Home machines (oh yes, forgot about the new Mac…). This piece of instruction appeared to be the most useful one: HOWTO: Setup Samba peer-to-peer with Windows – Ubuntu Forums.

Ubuntu Gutsy: flashy but keyboard & mouse freeze up

I spend some of last night setting up the new Ubuntu Gutsy (7.10) version into my new workstation. After setting up a separate hard disk (so that I could maintain Windows on its own disk), the initial impressions were positive; with the new nVidia card the Compiz-enhanced desktop really shines. Eventually I also got sounds out (Ubuntu did not get anything out through the digital audio, I found out). But then the system freezes started; mouse cursor still moves around, but you cannot click anything. Keyboard is completely dead, too. There appears to be multiple people reporting similar bugs:

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=568023

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=412125

I suspect something in the combination of Dual Core processor, Asus motherboard and nVidia display card make this happen, but apparently there is no solution. Thus: no working Linux desktop yet, back to Windows we go…

Edit: Uninstalling the restricted nVidia accelerated graphics driver seems to bring back the stability, so that must be the main culprit. Thus, I can use Gutsy Gibbon without the Compiz extras, but without crashes, or see the flashy version of UI for about 30 seconds, until it freezes. Oh, dear… It would be nice to get some automatic notification when nvidia-glx-new gets updated (today it apparently equals to Nvidia’s current release 100.14.19).

Name-giving party

Name-giving party
Originally uploaded by FransBadger

Our little boy finally got his name yesterday. Or two of them: in ‘Luka Ilmari’ the first part is rooted in the Mediterranean civilization, whereas Ilmari comes from the deep roots of Kalevala and Finnish history. “Ei nimi miestä pahenna, jos ei mies nimeä.” Nuff said.

Salary solution for Finnish universities

This autumn has been full of news about the Finnish labour market turmoils — particularly nurses have protested that they were promised a lot during the parliamentary election campaigns, and then let down in the actual salary solutions. This morning there was this piece of news that also university professionals and other government/civil servants have now the results from the salary negotiations: 11,5 % by the end of 2010. I suppose the solution is pretty much in line with what has been going on in the other negotiations, but the entire salary negotiations roulette leaves bad taste in your mouth. The economists and lawyers disagree with the fundamentals on what the current and future Finnish economy can handle in terms of salary rise, politicians change their views on what they have promised and what not — and the “competitive”, “innovation based” knowledge society refuses to fix the unmotivating and deep gap in the basic funding of Finnish universities. See: YLE uutiset / Kotimaa.

Conference in National Museum

Conference in National Museum
Originally uploaded by FransBadger

Today will be spent in Helsinki, in the National Museum where I am presenting a short talk about games, virtual worlds and what these developments in digital culture could matter to museums and other institutions of cultural heritage. Rather than just focusing on ‘canonised culture’ (traditional national treasures and art of the analogue world), I am also calling for initiatives to maintain the digital memories, artifacts and some significant virtual environments for the future generations. (Pictured: some canonised art by Gallen-Kallela in the museum entrance lobby dome.) Link to conference pages: http://www.accessibility2007.info/

Testing Mac Mini with diNovo Edge and Full HD

Testing Mac Mini with diNovo Edge and Full HD
Originally uploaded by FransBadger.

One of my souvenirs from Tokyo was a Mac Mini (one of these new Intel Core 2 Duo, 2.0 GHz models) — my first mac ever. I plugged it in to my Full HD tv in the living room, and to get away of the wires, used Logitech diNovo Edge bluetooth keyboard to interface with it. I must admit I am pretty happy with the combo, even if (with the Netherlands trip and all) I’ve not got so much time to test it in action. It also takes time to troubleshoot the system and hack into it, as a newbie mac user. For example, it appears that when you use DVI-to-HDMI cable to connect Mac Mini, instead of true Full HD (1080p), you get interlaced video (1080i). 1080p is not available in the display menus, and even trying out SwitchResX has not solved this for me so far (see http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=5504980). Also, diNovo Edge is great keyboard with lithium-ion rechargeable battery and built-in touch plate to emulate mouse, but it is not officially a Macintosh-compatible device. Almost all of its keys and functions will run just fine in any case. The Front Row media center interface is simple enough, and runs fine (as I finally got it loading, needed to use keyboard shortcut rather than the remote for that, though). Thus, it appears that even if mac is sweet and easy, there is also learning curve and some tweaking required if you really want to experience it in full HTPC glory.

Amsterdam, again

Amsterdam, again
Originally uploaded by FransBadger.

The remaiming PTS2007 schedule was messed up by the chartered bus missing in the morning. I finally joined a group who made it from Haarlem to Amsterdam individually with busses and train. No longer having time to visit the Holland Casino that was in my program, I find myself making it by foot through the Amsterdam centre, towards the Rijksmuseum where our airport return trip should eventually kick off. normally I would love playing the tourist, taking a close look at the historical sights, like the Koninklijk Paleis (pictured). But I am simply tired of all this travelling, homesick to get back to Laura and our baby, and even if the remaining trip goes according to schedule (which I am starting to doubt), it will be something like 3 am in Sunday morning before I am home again. Oh dear. — Oh yes, there also seems to be something wrong with mail-to-Flickr and WordPress integration; my Tokyo and Holland posts have gone missing and I have had to repost them all from a PC. Yes, home would be a great thing.

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