Dial-up handshaking illustrated

Oona Räisänen has written a thorough and engrossing article about the noises emitted by dial-up modems while they connect and handshake, and the accompanying graphic (ZOMG HUGE) is nothing short of spectacular. It would make a great full-size poster -- maybe a framed art-print.

Now the modems must address the problem of echo suppression. When humans talk, only one of them is usually talking while the other one listens. The telephone network exploits this fact and temporarily silences the return channel to suppress any confusing echoes of the talker's own voice.

Modems don't like this at all, as they can very well talk at the same time (it's called full-duplex). The answering modem now puts on a special answer tone that will disable any echo suppression circuits on the line. The tone also has periodic "snaps" (180° phase transitions) that aim to disable yet another type of circuit called echo canceller.

Now the modems will list their supported modulation modes and try to find one that both know. They also probe the line with test tones to see how it responds to tones of different frequencies, and how much it attenuates the signal. They exchange their test results and decide a speed that is suitable for the line.

After this, the modems will go to scrambled data. They put their data through a special scrambling formula before transmission to make its power distribution more even and to make sure there are no patterns that are suboptimal for transfer. They listen to each other sending a series of binary 1's and adjust their equalizers to optimally shape the incoming signal.

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Extreme multi-purpose tarp -- great for casual Fridays

Finland's Varusteleka sells a multipurpose "Jerven Fjellduken" tarpaulin that you're meant to wear, sleep under, and sleep in. It makes you look like a well-camouflaged Nordic Nazgul.

Jerven bag, those are almost words of power among hunters, outdoorsmen and soldiers the world over. Jerven has been making the Fjellduken since 1982, besides the obvious hunting trips and hikes the Fjellduken has seen action in Afghanistan in the hands of Norwegian and Danish special forces.

You won't find any hi-fi bullshit in your Jerven bag, the technical bits start and end at the zippers, that's it. All of Jervens products are made and developed by the very same people who use them. The unique design and materials make the Jerven bag an incredibly versatile and high performing piece of equipment. This is not your standard modern trinket, which relies on never ending lists of one after another more trivial properties and features to impress people, this is simple perfection at its best!

Jerven Fjellduken Extreme multi-purpose tarp / sleeping bag (via Making Light) Read the rest

Grassroots legislative proposal in Finland poised to reform copyright law

A recent change to the Finnish Constitution allows the public to put any subject to put legislative proposals up for a Parliamentary vote by garnering 50,000 or more signatures. A hugely successful proposal that's rising through the petition service at present seeks to remake Finnish copyright law, putting in line with common sense and common activities:

Termed ‘To Make Sense of the Copyright Act’, the proposal (in Finnish) takes aim at modern changes in copyright law, and with the 2006 modification in particular, Lex Karpela. Included in the proposal are reducing penalties, increasing fair use, and easing the ability for people to make their own copies of items they already own (for format shifting, or backups)

According to the DailyDot, it was one of the most commented on, and best rated of the proposals on the Open Ministry site. At the time of writing, the proposal, which has been going for two days, has already gathered over 7% of its target, giving it an estimated success date of Feb 18th.

Part of the success might be due to the outrage the Finnish copyright laws generated when it was revealed that a police unit raided a 9yo girl and confiscated her Winnie the Pooh laptop after an allegation of sharing. The matter was eventually settled with the child’s father paying 300 euro to the anti-piracy company CIAPC.

Finland’s Crowdsourced Copyright Law Proposal [TorrentFreak/Ben Jones]

(Thanks, Sulka!) Read the rest

In Finland, piracy fines are orders of magnitude higher than fines for rape, torture and murder

Thierry sez, "Hey, remember the scandal last week about the girl whose laptop was confiscated for downloading a album from Chisu? Well, here's another shocking story about the same company, with a staggering €400,000 fine to a young man aged 21. According to this, piracy is worse then rape or murder in Finland, i.e. a fine for murder is up to €11,000 and rape/torture €2,000. The fine for downloading is a whopping €800,000 to a couple. Moral of the story? Learn to use a proper peerblock." Read the rest

Finnish police confiscate 9-y-o's laptop after she downloads a song from the Pirate Bay

A nine-year-old Finnish girl's computer was confiscated by the police after she downloaded a track from the Pirate Bay. She was trying to preview the new album by Chisu (she later bought the album and went to the concert). The Finnish TTVK (Copyright Information and Anti-Piracy Centre) demanded 600 Euros in summary fines from her family, along with a gag order, and the family refused, so they sicced the police on them.

Events started when last year's october family's daughter tried to preview to Chisu's new album. According to child's father, searches took her to the Pirate bay. Next spring the father got a letter from TTVK demanding 600 euros. TTVK's letter also demanded a nondisclosure. Father didn't oblige, but instead, wrote a letter back to the attorney. Letter included photographs of the bought album, and the tickets to the concert, which her child attended.

According to a TorrentFreak report, the confiscated machine was a Winnie the Pooh laptop.

9-year old girl prosecuted for Piratism in Finland Read the rest

Free/open math textbook written in three days

Here is a free/open upper secondary mathematics textbook written in a single daythree days by a group of Finnish math teachers, working together in a "booksprint." Related news: California's passed a bill establishing 50 "open source" (CC-BY) textbooks for core lower-division college courses (though, as a poster on Slashdot notes, this still has to be funded in the California budget, which is a place where many good ideas go to die). (via Hacker News) Read the rest

Finnish band tells its fans how to get around Finland's Pirate Bay block

Alymysto is a Finnish band that releases its music over BitTorrent, and counts on fans being able to access The Pirate Bay in order to find it. But The Pirate Bay is blocked by court order in Finland. So the band has published info showing its fans how to get around the block. "We don’t want the courts to mess with our Pirate Bay based promotion." Read the rest

Finnish court: open WiFi owners not responsible for copyright infringement

A Finnish court has ruled that merely operating an open WiFi access point does not make you liable for copyright infringements committed on your network. From the defense attorney's press release:

This alleged copyright infringement had taken place in a specific 12-minute period in July 14 2010, a date when a summer theater play with an audience of around hundred people was held at the premises of the former school owned and resided by the lady.

The applicants were unable to provide any evidence that the connection-owner herself had been involved in the file-sharing. The court thus examined whether the mere act of providing a WiFi connection not protected with a password can be deemed to constitute a copyright-infringing act.

Crucially, the applicants also sought an injunction to prevent the defendant for committing any similar acts in the future. Had the injunction been granted, the legal status of various open WiFi providers would have turned out extremely difficult, as rights-owners would have been provided with a powerful legal weapon to shut them down in cases of similar, arguably insignificant infringements by incidental visitors and customers...

Finally, the court concluded that the WiFi owner cannot be deemed liable for the infringements actually committed by third parties.

Finnish court rules open WiFi network owner not liable for infringement

(Image: Warchalking, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from isaacmao's photostream) Read the rest

What the US government tells European parliamentarians about ACTA

Sulka sez, "A Finnish MEP (Anneli Jäättenmäki) visited US and got told that given ACTA has been prepared entirely outside of Congress and isn't ratified, it's probably not legally binding towards US. The process has also been similar in other countries (Finland included), so it's questionable if the treaty has any power."

I visited Washington in the European Parliament, the Liberal andCentre Group Presidency with the beginning of the week. We met with U.S. Congressional representatives and financial experts. One of the most talked subjects had anti-counterfeiting agreement, Acta.

We heard some unexpected information. U.S. Congress senator responsible for ACTA foreign trade committee chairman Ron Wyden, said he'd tried to find out if Acta is binding towards US or not. Congress has been kept outside of the process for forming the treaty, and the senator has received no response to his inquiries.

We also got to hear that the U.S. government does not intend to give Congress a vote on the agreement as it would collapse in Congress, which is a pretty worrying rationale. According to the U.S. law, Congress always deals with international agreements.

The U.S. government characterized in a reply to Wyden that ACTA is a bilateral trade agreements and as such has no effect on U.S. law. The big question remains as to whether the Acta at all binding on the United States.

The European Commission assumes that Acta is binding on the signatory countries. ACTA's credibility is seriously at stake if its signatories can apply it as they see fit.

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How a dead paper mill in Finland became a model for future Google data centers

"In February of 2009, Google paid about $52 million for an abandoned paper mill in Hamina, Finland, after deciding that the 56-year-old building was the ideal place to build one of the massive computing facilities that serve up its myriad online services." Wired on the future of Google data centers, with a focus on this odd story of creative re-use. Read the rest

Anonymous Finland: 10% of Finnish email accounts nationwide compromised

"Anonymous Finland" claims it has compromised the email logins and passwords of 500,000 Finns -- about ten percent of the country's population.

Among the hacked emails are allegedly accounts belonging to journalists at Finland's mainstream daily Helsingin Sanomat, members of the Finnish parliament, police officials, Helsinki city councillors and students and faculties at several of the country's universities.

The hackers said they had taken advantage of security loopholes in company computer systems storing email addresses and passwords.

Anonymous Finland has also launched a campaign against the rightwing extremist Finnish Resistance Movement, leaking a list of its membership applications on October 31.

And on Monday, the group announced it was launching a series of cyber attacks against Finnish mining company Talvivaara, alleging its mining activities in Sotkamo in eastern Finland are conducted to "the detriment of the local natural environment and people of the communities".

Finland facing large-scale hacking attacks: police Read the rest