Mar 30, 2011

First boat to go around the globe with only solar power

There has been for a half a year already expedition ongoing to go around the world with boat using only solar power. They have already got half way around the world and are currently heading from Central-America to Australia.

Using solar power for boats makes lot of sense and definitely will be the way to go in future. Sea and sun goes well together and specifically for leisure purposes these kind of boats seem great. Hopefully also soon in the future there would be enough capacity to carry cargo with those. If you are interested go to see the details from their website and see the route and lot more info with videos and maps about journey. 

Here's the boat details from their website:

PlanetSolar is a catamaran that runs solely on the energy found in light. Additional removable parts allow it to expose a total of 537 m2 of photovoltaic modules (solar panels) to the sun. This impressive data makes it the biggest solar-powered ship in the world. 
  • Legnth: 31 m
  • Width: 15 m
  • Length with flaps: 35 m
  • Width with flaps: 23 m
  • Height: 6.1 m
  • Draft: 1.55 m
  • Weight: 95 t
  • Surface area of solar modules: 537 m2
  • PV panel efficiency: 18.8%
  • Installed PV power: 93.5 kW (127.0 hp)
  • Average engine consumption: 20 kW (26.8 hp)
  • Crew: 6 people
  • Number of people that can go on board: 40
  • Autonomy: never-ending solar navigation
Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Mar 28, 2011

Digital identity, many views to single person. Is it about to change?

I noticed that Jeff Jarvis had blogged about identity (One identity or more) bit before I blogged about social media making people specialists. It's bit lame to say, but that post from Jeff is exactly the things I have been thinking and also I tried to come across on my post. Jeff is talking about inner self and outer self as the ones that you know you are and what you want people to see you as. I don't believe anyone can argue that there are different side of ourselves depending in a context.  Is social media now changing this?

Facebook comments is an example where your different outer selves would start to mix. If you start to you extensively FB comments on everything you comment about, you start to reveal much wider picture of yourself and your interests than you would only using FB like and status updates. For example most of my FB friends don't know (and or don't really care) about my blogging and also about the issues I follow and which I comment to. If I would start using FB comments it would mix my FB me with blogging me or twitter me.

There's nothing secret in these different sides of me, but those are mainly my own interpretation of the people I interact with in those media's. So I tend to think most of the FB friends don't really care about my interests towards high tech or innovations or having conversations like this one. And on the other hand I tend to think that readers of this blog don't care about huge amounts of sports I follow, so I don't blog about those here. That's the reason I've decided to have so many different ways to interact with me in the web.

Now I think this might slowly start to change. People will start to use more and more the same point of view (outer self) to all things they are interested. So with one look you would be able to see all from humiliating photos to the specialized interests and knowledge of a one person. This will make all of us more human, but it also will make it harder to find information based on source. There is a need to have still much better ways to get specialized updates based on subjects and not only by sources

I would be really happy if one day I could have all of my friends, coworkers and those who want to follow me for specific reasons under one tool. I could use the same tool to share and write about kids, sports, exercising, high tech, humorous, photography, UX and everything else that interests me. Currently I'm still too afraid that most of these subjects wouldn't suit most of you in this media, so I've decided to use different tools for different subjects.  

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Mar 26, 2011

Tips for good password management for people with bad memory

I bet I'm not the only one who is strucling with passwords with all different services in the internet and work life. Then in addition I have always had a bit hard to remember details on many things, like names and dates et cetera. I've read and heard many different ways to handle passwords, but I wanted to give my tips, if you are equiped with similar memory that I am.

Password management is easy if you don't care about privacy. You can use same or similar passwords for all services. Or just change a number in your password everytime you have to. Those area really not that secure. In some point for sure, one of the services you have created account, will be hacked. I want to prepared so that everything I have ever been signed to can't be used when one of my passwords will leak.

So here's my tips:
  1. Combine important dates, people and places for your passwords
  2. Have separate password for email
  3. Use different levels of passwords for services
Tip 1 Combine important dates, people and places for your passwords: I use passwords as way to remember also other important things. As an example I could combine my car's license plate number with car model. So if car would be Skoda Octavia and license plate ABC-789, then I could have password SkOcABC789. It wouldn't be easy to hack, but it would be easy for me to remember. Here's an other example, if I would have been in Barcelona in 2006 with my friends John and Jack, password would be JoJa06Barc. You can actually make up these quite easily. Things I have used have been parts of social security numbers of my family, important dates like birthdays, trips, addresses and many more. I find this system quite useful

Tip 2 Have separate password for email: Email is your most important account because, that's the way to recover passwords. If someone would hack you email, it would be really easy to get almost all passwords you have in any services, just by searching from email your account confirmation mails and then with service say that you have forgotten your password. Then you will get new password to email and your account is hacked. This is why I see email account being the most important one and that password I never use in any other services. 

Tip 3 Use different levels of passwords for services: I see this as one of the best ways to make sure that I don't lose it all, when someone gets a password of mine from one of the not that well secured services. So I have basically 4 levels of passwords:
  • 1st level are the most important ones like emails and work passwords. Those I keep unique. So I have 3-5 unique passwords for this level. 
  • Level 2 is the services I use really often like some of the social media's. And I use that password for only the couple main services and nothing else.
  • Level 3 are the ones I do use randomly, but those are not in everyday use. 
  • Then level 4 are all the services you create account without knowing if I'm ever going to use those again, but those require password to be able to even try. 
I've seen this 4 level password management to work for me, but it would work with anything from 2-6 levels depending on your ways to group applications and services you use.

This system has worked really well for me. It makes me feel safe with tens, even hundreds of services I've used and tried. I've always liked to try all things there are available in the web, but still I care about my privacy. This works for me and if you got some tips to take with you, it would be nice. Password management is really hard, but it remains really important before other ways to identify users become popular.  

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Mar 20, 2011

Social media is making people specialists

People in internet are quite often stuck in subjects. People are either being serious or being funny, talking about business or about environment, politics or sports and so on. That's not the case in real life. In real life some of the most professional guys can be the most funny ones and politically aware people can be really into sports.

Blogs are often focused on certain subjects by nature so maybe those are not the best way to evaluate this situation. Twitter proves my point much better. Twitter is personalized and it is concentrated on the actual person and he's or she's tweets. There are companies also, but mainly it's still actual users. Most of the Twitter users I follow are sticking with quite limited area of subjects. Some of them have taken the role of sharing high tech news, others tweet about social media, some about sports and so forth. Really rarely you see these really mixed.

I'm wondering why is that. In the real life, almost all people I know are willing to discuss, are interested and knowledgeable in multiple different subjects. At least in much wider range of subjects than common Twitter user is (according to my limited experience). Are the tools that make people being stick with subjects they feel most close or is it because the audience?

Maybe it's those combined. Way internet is currently used, creates niches and specialists. People tend to find information from services and places which are specialized in one area and then other information come from another source. Then the same logic also applies to Twitter. I've noticed when I have tweeted about books I've read, I'll get some followers who unfollow me after couple of days when I'm tweeting about something else. I'm not sure if that is a pattern, but I've noticed that to happen often with book blog posts.

Will internet change people so that they will be focused on fewer subjects or will internet actually adjust to meet the needs of generalists also? I think I'm one of the latter ones and that's why I care about this. There's so much interesting stuff all around the world, that I'm not willing to enjoy only a part of it. I know I will lose followers and readers because of that, but social media isn't my job in any means and I prefer being myself than attracting followers with something else.

I find this subject interesting. I just can't believe that people would be that focused really on certain subjects, but maybe they are just using different means and tools for different subjects. That just sounds bit boring, I'm waiting internet to fix it for me.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Mar 17, 2011

Safe the world with robots

Cool way to use robots for good cause. Finnish company having a robot for picking recyclable items from waste.

They have one of the coolest product videos I've seen a while. You could easily make really boring video out of robot picking stuff from waste, but these guys made it really cool.

Company: Zenrobotics
Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Mar 15, 2011

Everybody appreciates a thank you

I've always believed that we are all just humans. I've believed that even the most successful company leaders, successful athletes and popular writers, they are all just humans and appreciate a feedback and thanks for their work. Now in the times you can quite easily to get hold on basically all the people in the planet, I've really got the proof that all the people are just people.

I've blogged about, tweeted and emailed a bunch of people who I think have done a great job in something I care about. I haven't actually been expecting any feedback from these people, but I've just thought that I'll spread the good word or give the feedback to them directly. As a pleasant surprise I've got an answer from many of these people saying that they appreciate it.

That's just so nice. I take it as a proof that they are really normal people, who connect with other normal people. Small thing to understand, but yet so powerful.  
Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Mar 13, 2011

Is it wrong to follow these catastrophies this closely?

When Friday morning I saw the first tweet about earthquake and tsunami, I tuned in to watch the horrible tragedy going on in Japan.  I felt horrible. I was of course sad about all the people who was about to to suffer and lose their homes, but also I was feeling bad about actual watching. We who were safe had the possibility to see one of the biggest catasrophes in live footage from helicopters and many different cameras all around. It's not fair to say that we were enjoying, but definetely we were curios and wanted to see the enormous strength of mother nature. That felt so wrong.

This all started September 11th 2001 when I came from university to our apartment and my friend called: "quick open CNN, plane just hit the twin towers". I was already watching when the second one hit the another tower and kept watching all the details of that tragedy. That was the first time it was possible to see horrible disasters happening around the world at live footage. All the way after that I have been following these type of tragedies, but always I keep thinking, what's the point. Do I help these people by following closely what's happening or is it just causing extra misery to everyone to see all this.

I've tried to convince myself that it's important to be aware of these things, and that spreading the knowledge will help those who suffer, but I'm not sure anymore. I feel so helpless for not being able to help at all, and for the same reason I feel bad about it. Donating some money to help organizations will have small impact of help, but actual heroes are the ones going there and helping.

Maybe the main benefit of all the media coverage from these is, that people are getting more and knowledgable on the organizations who need more voluntaries and more resources in case of emergency. Also there's always people who need for help, all around the world, but also very near of you. Maybe that's the one reason it makes sense to have this good coverage.

I still think maybe we wouldn't need to be able to follow these catastrophies this closely. Definitely we need to be knowledgable on things happening everywhere in the world, but we also need to continue living and caring about the environment and people around us. I know that as the years go bye, we will be able to follow these in more and more details. Media don't have a consciense and the increasing possibilities of social media will bring us every time more horrible details of the accidents. We need ourselves to make the judgments on what helps these people in pain and what of it is just pure entertainment.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Mar 8, 2011

My thoughts about book Gamestorming

I've always enjoyed events and meetings which have something special. It's always nice when organizers have used time to think about better ways to spend the time together than just regular meetings or normal events. That's the reason I bought this book, Gamestorming. I was expecting to get good ideas for organizing meetings or events. Book really hit the target.

Book made by Dave Gray, Sunni Brown and James Macanufo is a perfect playbook for anyone wanting to make more productive meetings. It tells a bit overall about gamestorming, using game type of activities for different situations to resolve problems, and also it gives lot of good games to try with. I was familiar with few of the gamestorming games beforehand and I can say from experience that those have been really productive meetings and events when those were used.

This book will definitely have a place in my office bookshelf as playbook for different situations. I'm eagerly waiting to get to try some of these games out. I know that it does require a certain type of issues and a group willing enough to use these, but situations to use these still come quite often. For that reason I'm going to keep this book close.

Book was easy to read and games were easy to understand. Still already now, I know that I don't remember half of the games there were. I used a different tactics, I tried to detect situations, where I think these games would come handy. Then next time when I come to similar situation, I will pick up the book and check one of the games I thought would suit that situation. So my idea is to start to use it as a guide for these games and I'll learn by trying these out.

If you need to organize events, solve problems with groups or get people for meetings, this book is a really good one.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Mar 7, 2011

You can do so much cool stuff with video camera's

Here's one perfect example. I happen to love these high speed camera stuff. This really cool video was taped by Tom Guilmette:

"I was working a gig in Vegas with a brand new Phantom Flex high speed digital cinema camera. I had to try it out. In fact, I never did go to bed that night.I opened up a wormhole shooting at 2,564 frames per second."

Check it out, it's wicked cool:

Locked in a Vegas Hotel Room with a Phantom Flex from Tom Guilmette on Vimeo.

I've always loved video taping. We used to tape lot of cool stuff back at high school. I've also taken lot of videos with my N8 and I really enjoy editing videos at work when I get the change. Currently I don't own decent video camera, I just realized I must get one. All I need is money for buying and time to shoot and edit.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Mar 6, 2011

Lying have become big part of social media marketing

Do you remember rear view girls? What about Jesus loves KitKat? Or Future of Digital Camera demonstrared in CES 2011. I do. All of these got viral and got lot of attention. All of these turned out to be adverstising campaings instead of real stuff.

Rear view girls was the latest of these. It was presented so that two girls came up with idea to attach camera on their back to see how guys and all others are checking their asses. Couple of days later it turned out to be a Levis jeans sponsered thing and not really real. Original video was removed from Youtube, but was at least available at time of writing this in Dailymotion.

Another one was Jesus loves KitKat. Nestle or their ad agency sent some photos to different news or websites with a picture of KitKat candy bar, where after a bite there was a picture of Jesus shown. They where hoping that it would get viral and it got. I blogged about that sometime ago already. Then after some time they actually told that it was done by them and not by any real KitKat buyer.

Then there was Future of Digital Camera demonstrared in CES 2011. Guys made a video at the time of CES, which is the world's largest consumer technology tradeshow, which seemed like they were annoyncing this camera at CES. This soon got viral, even though it raised some questions in many forums. This one turned out to be a concept from ad agency and not really a real one.

I bet there are lot more of these, but the common thing in all of these were, that the purpose was to make these look like a real thing and get free publicity because of this. These all were big fat lies.

These kind of publicity stunts, make us question everything there is in the web. It starts to be imppossible to know what of it is real and what is not. News sites and other media sites are also sharing all these content with everybody as fast as they can to be on top of the media stack, and they are not being critical with any of these content. This will cause that all these stunts get lot of attention really fast.

So is there a harm in this? I think there is. I see it to be dangerous when ads and real life are being mixed. People trust less and less on news sources if they often find out that the content they thought was real, was just another ad.

I already once made a mistake with questionable campaign againsts McDonalds, I thougt it was just another PR stunt, but it turned really to be a campaign against McDonalds. I think I'm not the only one doing these mistakes. I believe many don't even know that all of those three examples I told about are actually fake ones.

I admit I have enjoyed all of these stunts. Still I don't like they intentionally lied to me and made me believe these stuff were real. I would appreciate there being a small disclaimer saying that this is an ad campaign when it is. It would help us all to make a better and more transparent web. I guess I'm just dreaming.  

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Mar 2, 2011

What I miss in the internet - real discussions

One reason I'm active in the web are different point of views. I love discussions on many topics. I have the luxury of having co-workers and some friends who are not afraid to discuss and disagree. With them I can argue so that it's not going to insults, but stays almost always on intelligent level. Still often those discussions are really tense and I can really feel the adrenaline level raising while having those. It's just a pity that I don't get those in the internet.

In the web I tend to follow the people I agree. I tend to comment to posts I somewhat agree. And the times when I or someone else disagree's on some subject, discussion almost always ends really shortly. Either one of the discussion partners just disappears or then it goes to meaningles "I'm right and you're wrong" type of discussions.

One problem is that in the web you don't really need to listen. You don't really need to try to understand the point, you can just jump to shouting mode and state your point. One doesn't have the possibility to explain the point thoroughly and to make sure the opposite site undestands the point so that he or she could adjust their comments accordingly.

In the web it's so easy to turn the other cheek or run away. If you disagree with someone, you can just ignore the message totally and find something else.

Web is full of happy happy, joy joy type of comments. Comments start often like this: that was a good post, here's an another point to support your point. It's much easier to go and support a post than disagree with someone you don't really know.

I'm not saying that everyone should be hostile and fighting with each other in the web, but I tend to believe, that new always start from disagreement. The only way to change and develop is to challenge. Challenge the existing knowledge and challenge the common believes.

I love good discussions where different point of views are appreciated and arguing enriches discussions. So far, web hasn't been able to bring that to me. That's why I still need real life.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen