New Directions in the European Fantastic published

untitledThe interesting new book, New Directions in the European Fantastic (edited by Sabine Coelsch-Foisner) has been published by Winter Verlag. It includes my article titled “The Global and Local in Fantastic New Media: The Case of Finland”, which is based on the keynote I delivered in the EUROFAN conference. You can find more information about the book from these places at least:

Vaio Z3 Windows 8 upgrade

I did the Windows 8 upgrade to my workhorse Vaio Z3 (short for Vaio, Z Series, 3rd Generation) today. My experiences from testing with the Asus Vivobook had been mostly positive, and as I had started getting bluescreens to Windows 7 in Vaio, it crashed if it went to sleep mode, the PMD discrete Radeon card was no longer recognised, etc., it would had been necessary to reinstall its OS in any case.

It was necessary to unplug the PMD during the installation, as that peripheral meant that Windows 8 would get stuck into the adding devices phase. And that meant borrowing another external DVD drive to access the installation media from, but otherwise the process was pretty straightforward. Some drivers had to be removed prior to installation and loads of drivers for Windows 8 were available from the Sony support page for Windows 8 upgrade. The only thing missing was the display driver for the hybrid Radeon/Intel display system Vaio Z3 is using. I try to post the link for that later, it is an unofficial beta thing, but seems to work fine with the PMD.


Pelit, pelimaailmat ja fantasian kautta voimaantuminen

[In Finnish] Tässä on luentorunkoni Tieteen päivät 2013 -esityksestä “Pelit, pelimaailmat ja fantasian kautta voimaantuminen”. Muut puhujat sessiossa “Verkkomaailmat – uhka identiteetille vai voimaantumisen mahdollisuus?” olivat Janne Matikainen, Susanna Paasonen ja Tere Vadén.

Lantrek mediaseminaari

[Speaking about game culture studies in Lantrek event in Finnish] Lantrek 2013 pelitapahtuman yhteydessä järjestetään mediaseminaari “Pelaamisen ja oppimisen ulottuvuudet” huomenna 11.1.2013. Ohjelmassa on monta kiinnostavaa alustusta; oma luentoni on otsikoitu “Digitaalinen kulttuuri ja pelitutkimus”. Lantrek-sivut:

Edit: tässä on myös itse seminaarin ohjelma: Pelaamisen ja oppimisen ulottuvuudet -ohjelma.

Tieteen päivät: verkkomaailmat-sessio

[In Finnish] Tieteen päivät 2013 alkaa tänään ja tarjoaa jälleen laajasti erilaista mielenkiintoista tutkimustietoa ja keskustelua. Osallistun puheenjohtajana ja alustajana tällaiseen sessioon sunnuntaina, 13.1. klo 12:00-14:00 Helsingin yliopiston päärakennuksen salissa 5 (3. kerros), tervetuloa kuulemaan:

Verkkomaailmat – uhka identiteetille vai voimaantumisen mahdollisuus?
Puheenjohtaja: professori Frans Mäyrä (Tampereen yliopisto)
  • Professori Frans Mäyrä (Tampereen yliopisto): Pelit, pelimaailmat ja fantasian kautta voimaantuminen
  • Yliopistotutkija Janne Matikainen (Helsingin yliopisto): Identiteetti verkossa – keksittyä vai todellista?
  • Professori Susanna Paasonen (Turun yliopisto): Trolleja, meemejä ja vihapuhetta – nettikeskustelujen tunnelataukset
  • Professori Tere Vadén (Aalto-yliopisto): Kuinka monta ensimmäistä Internet-vallankumousta maailmaan mahtuu?

Tapahtumaan on vapaa pääsy.

Hybrid Touch

ASUS Vivobook X202E (with a Chai Latte)
ASUS Vivobook X202E (with a Chai Latte)

A new Windows laptop with a touch screen is an intriguing proposition. After a couple of days of playing around with my new ASUS Vivobook X202E, I am pretty convinced: there are few obvious challenges, but apart from those, this is clearly the direction our media and information use will be heading in the future.

It is not only about having screen and keyboard and a touchpad as alternative ways of interacting with the same old windows, settings, applications and services. The increased freedom in interaction modalities feels liberating, and having the new (“Metro”) interface and the classic desktop both available is also contributing to the feeling that using a computer is now fundamentally altered. The touch screen is probably just an intermediate step; there are already some systems that come with pattern and movement recognition software that will recognize gestures, and when we are in the millimeter class of precision (see:, there is nothing stopping developers from coming up with games and utilities that will react to a blink of an eye or wrinkle on a brow. Gestures will feel unnatural in some situations, spoken commands in some others, like mouse, keyboard or touch screen all have their non-optimal use contexts — but all together, all these increasing alteratives will make it more free and more natural to do what we want to do, where-ever we want to do that.

The hybrid interface of Windows 8 is an obvious work-in-progress thing. Sometimes you click something in the Metro tiles and are suddenly taken to the traditional desktop app. Sometimes you will find a Metro-looking UI element stuck in the middle of traditional Windows stuff. It is confusing, to say the least. But I find it exhilarating: finally we have something interesting happening, something new. And it is not obvious what the right solutions to these multiple challenges and problems (of interacting with a plethora of different functionalities, applications and services with multiple different interaction techniques) will be. So: there is going to be interesting times ahead! Already it puts a smile to my face when with a flick of a finger I jump from blog writing to spreadsheet and then into Angry Birds Space, that works beautifully, like many other touch-enabled games that I tested from the Windows Store.

This ASUS laptop itself is also a sort of compromise. If a really optimal, top-of-the-line ultrabook with a fast SSD, touch screen and all the latest bells and whistles costs here perhaps around 1200 euros, this thing was only half of that. The 11,6″ touch screen is fine for me: it is bright, sharp and responsive, even while there is light leaking through from the corners and viewing angles are far from perfect. The processor could be speedier, there could be more memory (there is 4 GB), and the keyboard definitely would profit from backlit keys, but I am not complaining too much. The battery is too small to keep up on the road (it goes for maybe 3-4 hours and cannot be replaced by user), but I will be using this thing in home. The hard drive is larger than your typical SSD (320 GB nominal capacity, divided into two logical drives), but it is of course slower (and makes a bit of noise now and then) as compared to a solid state disk. So, there is one potential upgrade target, if wanted. But reinstalling the OS (and paying for a new licence key, as the preinstalled OEM Windows 8 does not come with a valid, user-accessible product key), all the drivers and all the applications — plus rehearsing all those tweaks and modifications to the OS I have done already — all of that feels too much hassle right now. ASUS has done admirable job in preparing so nice a package to the market in this price. Mechanical construction is solid, keyboard is very good, touchpad also ok, and it is easy to compare this e.g. to Macbook Air, even while I personally would not want to move into using the Mac OS. So, to conclude: small laptop that feels just right for me, right now. An interesting learning and testing environment.

eEemeli 2013: Oppimispelit ja pelillisyys oppimisessa

(Spreading word about the competition of the best playful / edugame of Finland) eEemeli on valtakunnallinen laatukilpailu parhaan interaktiivisen median oppimisratkaisusta. Kilpailun tavoitteena on kannustaa toimijoita luomaan ja kehittämään uusia e-oppimisratkaisuja sekä löytää uusia hyviä käytänteitä ja menestystarinoita. Kilpailusta lisää:

Windows 8 is for touch (Vivobook X202E)

I just placed an order for Asus Vivobook X202E – a small and affordable, touchscreen-enabled Windows 8 mini-laptop. This will be an upgrade to the Samsung N220 netbook I got in March 2010. Windows 8 does not make much sense without touchscreen, and it’s success will be related to how fast people will move to hybrid, touch-enabled paradigm. Working (at home) with the Vivobook should provide opportunity for some experimentation. Its battery is not good enough for serious on-the-road use, but for home it should be ok, we will see…

X202E is not a high-end device, but if you update the touchpad driver and do a few other tweaks, it should be enough for most things. There are good tips in the reviews:


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