Harvia Figaro

Sauna enjoys a semi-religious status in Finland — there are over 2 million saunas in a country with a population of 5,3 million. Choosing details of your own sauna is therefore not a joking matter. There are several schools of ‘proper’ or ‘right’ Way of Sauna in Finland, and a passionate (or even heated) discussion can ensue when competing views collide.

I have a pretty typical sauna in the cellar floor of our house (rintamamiestalo house type in Finnish). It had been recently renovated and I had no intention of changing ventilation or lauteet (the seats or platforms). But our kiuas (the stove, or heater) was an old Narvi electric kiuas, which was small and apparently also partly broken: it would only heat the room into c. 60°C in an hour. Probably there was problems in the heating resistors. I could have tried to get the old kiuas fixed, but it made more sense to try and get a better model.

I ended up with Harvia Figaro FG90 model. It suits our particular demands which actually fuse two sauna cultures or styles: the slow and mellow, and the hot and aggressive style. Since Iki Kiuas introduced their massive stoves, the mellow school of löyly (steam or ‘spirit of sauna’ that you evoke by throwing water to the hot stones) has been gaining in popularity. I personally like a bit hotter löyly though, which has also some ‘kick and punch’. So we tried to find a kiuas that would scale from massive-and-mellow löyly up to the hot ones.

Our sauna room is 2,30 m x 2,10 m x 2,05 m in size, which means c. 9,9 cubic meters of space to heat. But you need to take into calculation also the cold stone or concrete walls and glass walls or doors (we have both) that leak the heat, rather than work as insulators. FG90 is a 9,0 kW model, so it specs say it fits 8–14 m3 saunas.

My first test run today was principally positive. At the start of the evening Figaro behaved like a slow, massive kiuas (we loaded it with c. 80 kg of stones). After another hour with the settings in the maximum, FG90 put the room into 122°C temperature, which was as far as I wanted to push it this time. That was more than what I needed anyways; 90-100°C is mostly hot enough for me, and for a slow and mellow family bath, 65-75°C is probably the optimum range.

I like the design, too. It is not as fancy as a ‘full tower model’ like Iki Kiuas or some of its clones would be, but you get a rather compact stove that is flexible in its use range, and while installed in a small to medium sauna, it shows towards you a long flank of dark Finnish stone, packed behind bars of stainless steel.

Harvia Figaro

More of Harvia Figaro (in Finnish) from here: http://www.harvia.fi/products?lang=fi&gid=991.

Nokia BTH-905

Nokia BTH-905, originally uploaded by FransBadger.

There are moments when noise cancellation headphones come in handy. I tested my new Nokia BTH-905 today as I mowed our lawn. Klippo is not the most silent of lawnmowers, but having these on my ears made the motor sound become like quiet hum. And I could enjoy my favourite music, so the damned exercise was much more tolerable.

I tested the compatibility with two mobile phones, Nokia N900 and Apple iPhone 3GS. Ironically, N900 did not fare so well. The sound started cutting and breaking up immediately, and closing the bluetooth connection actually froze the headphones so that a reset to the initial configuration was needed before I was able to continue using them. I guess the bluetooth stack in N900 is still “under construction” — there are many other people also warning against this particular phone–headphone combination in the net. Nothing like that with iPhone. After enabling the bluetooth linking, you can use the headphones for making calls and listening to music perfectly normally. The sound is pretty good, even if I think my Sony DR-BT50 actually deliver more clear and articulate soundscape. (Now, if I could only find the lost power adapter for that Sony from somewhere here…) The main attraction for Nokia BTH-905 is nevertheless the decent noise cancellation technology. The sales package of BHT-905 actually claims 99 % reduction of noise, which is probably a bit too much to promise (or something that will only be reached with precisely right kind of noise), but it is nice in any case. I haven’t tried out the popular Bose QuietComfort models, so cannot really make comparisons, though.

More about Nokia BTH-905: http://www.nokia.com/microsites/bh-905

CFP: Finnish Fantasy Researcher Meeting

Note that this event also accepts papers on fantastic/SF games (English below):



Jyväskylässä torstaina 15.7. & perjantaina 16.7. 2010

Finnconin yhteydessä järjestettävän yhdennentoista scifi- ja fantasiatutkijoiden tapaamisen teemana on teorian käytäntö. Fantastinen asettaa jo peruslähtökohdissaan tutkijalle joukon teoreettisia kysymyksiä. Mikä on ”fantasian” suhde ”fantastisen” usein kuvaamaan “luonnollisen” ja “yliluonnollisen” suhteen ratkaisemattomuuteen? Miten tämä liittyy lajikysymykseen ja fantastisen kerronnan muotojen todellisuutta kyseenalaistavaan ja sitä uudeksi määrittelevään kerrontaan?” Continue reading “CFP: Finnish Fantasy Researcher Meeting”

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