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Public demonstration against Internet censorship

Posted: 2008-03-06 17:48:05, Categories: General, Finland, Helsinki, Politics, 153 words (permalink)

People demonstrating against Finnish Internet censorship in Helsinki. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Internet censorship in Finland. On Tuesday March 4th there was a public demonstration against the censorship law. I was there in front of the parliament house with about 500 other demonstrators.

Lack of interest from the parliament members was rather disappointing. Out of the three big political parties only one (Kokoomus) was represented, with SDP and Keskusta not having sent any representative to hear what we had to say. A few representatives from smaller parties were there, but most of them still didn't seem to understand what the whole thing is about.

Luckily, the journalist who wrote the article about the demonstration in Helsingin Sanomat, the biggest daily newspaper, did get the point. The article is not available online free of charge, but if you can read Finnish and have access to the March 5, 2008 issue of Helsingin Sanomat, check out page A-5. That gives some hope.

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Internet censored in Finland

Posted: 2008-02-19 00:42:47, Categories: General, Finland, Politics, 131 words (permalink)

Freedom is important for me. Freedom of movement, freedom of assembly, freedom of thought, freedom of speech, right to receive information. The two last ones have been recently violated in Finland. The Finnish police has been maintaining a blocklist of web sites allegedly containing child pornography. Now they have added a Finnish site criticizing the censorship on the same blocklist.

Instead of trying to describe the matter further, I'll point to an excellent summary of what it's all about.

My Internet operator doesn't use the blocklist, at least not yet. However, it's a sad moment when censorship is seen as the official way of silencing critical voices. I certainly hope this farce is going to end soon and the law which originally enabled the creation of the blocklist will be overturned.

Christmas and New Year greetings

Posted: 2007-12-21 12:03:24, Categories: General, 188 words (permalink)

My Christmas card 2007, English version. You can read my Christmas and New Year haiku in English, in Finnish or in Japanese. A haiku is a poem consisting traditionally of a pattern of 5, 7 and 5 Japanese language sounds, or syllables. More recently poets have taken liberties of deviating from the pattern, especially in languages such as English which are not so clearly based on syllables. Finnish, on the other hand, fits rather nicely in the traditional format.

In addition to the electronic card, I did send a fair number of Christmas and New Year greetings also in old fashioned paper format. Otherwise I rarely send letters — email has replaced them quite completely in my life — but at the change of the year I still find it nice to send and receive some, especially hand-made or otherwise personalized ones. Mine were variations on two simple origami (paper folding art) themes, photos, plus a few commercially sold cards which were still lying around from previous years. I didn't buy any new cards this year.

I hereby wish all the readers of my blog happy festivities, in whichever way you celebrate them. May peace be with you in 2008!

Quest for a balance between work and free time

Posted: 2007-10-31 18:38:03, Categories: General, Work, 627 words (permalink)

A corner of the CSC building with the company logo in morning light. I have a job again. My employer is CSC, the same where I worked before my year on the road. The contents of my work is also similar to what it used to be. However, there is one important difference: my contract is for 80 hours per month. In other words, roughly half the hours, half the pay compared to full-time employment.

Work is divided unevenly in the society. Some people are frustrated about being unemployed and unable to find a job, while some others are spending virtually all their time working, stressed, living on the verge of burnout. The number of working hours per week tends to increase the higher one climbs up on the hierarchy ladder, or in some cases reaches a peak on the middle management level. It has long been preached that new technology, development and prosperity would make life easier and reduce the amount of work, but it doesn't seem to generally happen that way.

If work is really a passion and one truly wants to focus on it, working long hours is fine. But how often is that really the case? I've had the privilege to have jobs I've found interesting and even enjoyable, but I couldn't really call them passions or at least not something I'd want to invest all my time on. I have many parallel interests and find it difficult to stay fully focused on any single topic for a long time. I need a balance between different activities in order to continue liking each of them.

The proper balance varies between individuals, and less work than before but still some work sounded just right for me now. Committing to 80 hours per month I will be able to alternate flexibly between days in the office and days out, in average working about 2.5 days per week. Sometimes I'll probably work for a full week and then have a full week off. I will have more time for my Chinese language studies and volunteering in clubs and societies. I have a few projects in mind in that area, but I'm not setting any exact goals. If it happens that I just end up spending more time cycling, traveling, watching movies, surfing the net, going to parties and enjoying life, let it be so.

My main reason for going back to CSC were the people. Being surrounded by intelligent colleagues I can learn things not only related to work but about the world at large. The project I'm working on, large scale data storage in a grid environment using the dCache software, is interesting but I would have been able to find other good ones too. I considered for example working as a freelance journalist like I did during my student years, learning interesting topics and then writing articles about them. In the end, CSC won because I had got on well there before and they were willing to hire me even after listening to my slightly unusual requests.

I do realize that this is not the way to go towards a shining career and promotions to higher positions. However, that doesn't feel like the most important thing now. I'm currently not willing to commit into anything for a very long time, and wanted to be open about that: I signed up only until the end of April 2008. I need to be good in what I do and at the same time be happy about the job — the contract will be extended only if both parties want it.

It'll be interesting to observe for the next six months how I'll feel about this new arrangement and what kind of comments I'll hear from others around me. At least based on the first three weeks I think I've made the right choice again.

Meet me at Facebook

Posted: 2007-10-29 01:05:09, Categories: General, 103 words (permalink)

Except for hospitality exchange, I haven't been very active in the social networking websites on the net. However, I recently decided to join Facebook. I was curious about the popularity and appreciated the fact that people join it using their own name instead of using a nick as is common in many other similar networks.

After joining, I discovered that almost everybody from my somewhat Internet addicted circle of friends are already there. Many have also joined just recently, though. I'm going to hang around at least for a while to see if several million flies are right or wrong in this case.

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Copyright Arto Teräs <ajt@iki.fi>, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
(Unless otherwise mentioned in individual photos or other content.)