my things

Saturday, May 21, 2016

War Against the World

Recently, certain theocratic groups have been a constant source of news. It is my view that politics and religious fanaticism do not mix well at all.
Even in "liberal" Finland, there's been statements such as "the government has gotten its mission from God", and that God is to be feared. It follows that the government's mission is a fearsome one; and that much would seem to be true. Be that as it may, it looks like the powers that be have shed their pretense of being empowered representatives of the people, and elected instead to answer to a "higher calling" (other than the Christian Party, which has always been like that, I suppose).
In fact, on close inspection, a lot of finnish society is influenced by christian theism - and many would like to keep it that way (eg. certain songs being sung at school). There is also no separation of church and state, here: a few christian sects have the prerogative of collecting tax, and are formally supported by the state apparatus. Even the flag has a cross on it, by jiminy!
Here is a video production that plays with some of these themes.

It was originally meant for the Wild compo at the aptly named JumaLAN 2016 (Jumalan = of God). Unfortunately, I was unable to book edit times for the last parts before the party, so I sat on it for a while and now released it at Simulaatio 7, where it got disqualified. The name is from a series called Black Sails that deals with piracy in the West Indies. My political standing is firmly anarchist, but I've voted Pirate in the past.
An effect in the video, I'm sure you can tell which one, is a re-hash of pakkoruotsi by HTeL. Here's the video capture of that:

It is a protest demo against mandatory swedish education. Christendom came to Finland from Sweden by way of the sword, so I think the placement of this demo within my work is apt. But, rather than take the path of the aggressor and follow the finnish adage "what would remove evil if not evil?", I think we should adapt to this teaching of the Master, the One-well-gone, Buddha:
putting away all unkindness to sentient beings, he abstains from destroying life. He lays aside the cudgel and sword and, full of humility and pity, he is compassionate and kind to all creatures that have life
(emphasis mine)
And, thus, we come to the main themes of this productions, which are the overt and covert symbols of violence in our society. I, for one, feel a decrease, not an increase, in security, when armed thugs and neo-nazi paramilitary forces on patrol cross my path.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Old Memes are Old

I was recently trying a USB thermal printer, and I wanted to test the improved image handling in python-escpos, courtesy of my friend Zouppen. First of all, do not buy this printer. The print quality is extremely shoddy; I get a rorschachuesque splotch when I try to print a solid-black block.
So anyway, I needed a vertically long image to test, and what is long? Longcat is long. I usually scoff at meme propagation, but what the hey. So, here is a longcat generator. Base image by some fine dude on an imageboard somewhere. And here's the result:
The code is forkable on Github. Essentially, it's missing a "save stitched image file as..." button. I printed the image as PDF, then used ImageMagick to convert the file to GIF (understood by the printer).

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Instanssi 2016

As long as I learned about them, I have liked Lissajous curves and related curves, along with their automated creating apparatus, such as Spirographs and Guilloché patterns.
I participated remotely in Instanssi 2016 with a quick Processing entry. It placed #3/3. I had scribbled together something resembling a classic Amiga effect, known as shadebobs, but it ran sub-1 frame per second on my netbook. So, to get a video capture out of it, and to support the event, I entered it in the compo at Instanssi. It was accepted into the "Pikkiriikkinen demo"/Intro competition, with the size only including the source file, which could've been squeezed down even more by making all the variable names single characters, but I couldn't be bothered. The standalone Linux application exported from Processing is ~4.3 MB, and even this needs the Java Runtime Environment, so the admittance into the Intro category is sketchy (geddit?), but then, the border between an intro and the environment always has been.
Anyway, turns out the effect is slow even on proper machines, so enjoy this still image of an effect that was meant to be animated.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


On 26.1.2016, I took part in a hacker conference, I was there as a speaker, which made me quite nervous, and, in fact, caused me to forget to mention a tidbit about how Burp Suite can be set to automatically update the content-length header of requests modified at the proxy. The presentation is available on Github. Here's a video recording:

All in all, it was a great time! I might have also shown some interesting Shodan  searches (product:mongodb and some webcam searches come to mind), but oh well.
There were interesting presentations and workshops. Sadly, I missed out on the traffic analysis workshop, but I got a +1 to lockpicking, which is a great hobby! There are practice locks and lockpicks available on and AliExpress. It's a great feeling when things finally "click" and the lock yields.
I've been focusing on information security, lately, eg. by taking a course on Coursera, which is a great, free-as-in-beer learning platform. And speaking of "free as in beer", I was approached by a recruiter from a certain major finnish software vendor at the event! I thought I would finally make myself useful in the working life after some years of unemployment, when he promised that "you're already hired, you can start on Monday!". We shook hands, twice, and I even got him to buy me a beer to seal the deal. So there's the segue.
However, the following Monday, the email I got was far more reserved. He asked me to submit a formal application, including my résumé, which I did. Then, some days of agitated waiting later, he got back to me with "yeah, we're really looking for someone in the Helsinki region" (whereas I'm based in Tampere). Even though we'd discussed this at the event, and he'd promised that the company would take care of finding me an apartment (I would've been willing to relocate)!
Well, I guess I'll just continue my studies and FLOSS efforts in "noble poverty". At least I got a beer out of it!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Some fabric designs

So I've added a new site, Spoonflower to the About me - sites section. There's a couple of fabric designs available, there. I'm also looking for work in this area - probably on a per-design basis.
The basis for the other design is one that I drew freehand some time ago, and now traced in Inkscape. There is a losslessly zoomable SVG version online.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Graffathon 2015

This past weekend, I took part in Graffathon, a three-day hackathon.

This demo (link has binaries/source) was made during the time of the party. It placed #25/32. The idea for it was to make a simple "memento mori" type of thing. We shall all melt away, like the skulls shown. I am skeleton jelly.
The music is by my friend, tzaeru. A later, more finished version of the song is available. The effect is a recreation of one from Doom, while the graphical assets were from VectorFree:
It uses a meter analysis tool by Wavesum for sync data. Syncs could have been improved a lot, but I gave up on this as I was unable to work on the prod on my own computer.
Releasing this made me realise I had not updated here about another HTeL production that I was a part of. The theme here is doing more with less - ironic, as the new demo plagiarizes an effect that the 386s of Doom's time had no trouble with, and yet it completely exhausts my Samsung N145 Plus (Intel Atom N455 1.66 GHz). It's likely that I just can't code - time, indeed, to "upgrade my software", ie. thinking.

These days, everything, up to and including thinking, is becoming increasingly controlled. Just recently, a german was the victim of a police operation because she is a holocaust skeptic. Even in my native Finland, there have been outcries for laws against holocaust denialism. The fact that both of these cases deal with holocaust skepticism is purely accidental, by the way.
In any case, HTeL, as I see it, stands against this kind of infringement on our freedom of expression, with no internal quality control and an open joining process. Indeed, within our small sub-culture, it has elicited a very similar response to the skeptics mentioned above - to wit, a quote from the demoscene:
can someone ban this nazi scum please
As a funny aside, while editing this blog post on the bus, I got the message "The site you requested ( has been blocked". It seems the automated algorithms we employ to sanitize our information feeds are not as infallible as we'd like... or maybe my writings are more dissident than I've thought! Well, this blog ought to make it to a few more blacklists as I publicly and unequivocally deny the Holocaust. That's right, I'm now going on record stating that the Holocaust never happened. No such events took place. It was all made up.
There, now ask yourself: is my saying this a threat to democracy? Should it be a criminal offense? A string of words with a particular meaning? What if I'd denied the moon landing, instead?

Friday, June 5, 2015

Assembly 2003

Recently, a friend mentioned that old Assembly competition entries might be available from the compo crew. So, I emailed them and found out an old demo of mine for the TI-86 is, indeed, available and online!
This demo was not qualified to be shown on the big screen at Assembly 2003's Mobile Demo competition. Sadly, the binaries were lost long ago, but here is the recording of it:

I made this demo with TI Basic, directly on the device (while at school...).

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Simulaatio 2015

This weekend, I participated in the awesome Simulaatio 6 demoparty. Here is my contribution to the short wild competition (max. 45 second running time):
It's the spiritual successor to yyyy yy yyyy (ff fff ffff). The music is by my friend zax. Of the binary releases above, Linux 64 bit is what I developed on, and is the only one verified as working (by me and another user). If you try the builds for other platforms, let me know.
I drew inspiration from WOWGREAT, a cool blog that features abstract, geometric art, often done with Processing. I wanted it to show two ideas: a field recording soundtrack and a graphical style of painter's algorithm without canvas clearing. I thought there were too few productions where the buffer is not cleared every frame. It makes for a neat effect, reminiscent of classics, such as shadebobs. Different blending of the elements would be a possible avenue of development.
It placed #4 out of 12 in the compo.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


And as for me?
Why am I here?
it is a sphere
When all it asks for is a drop
a row of tables, and a crop
You've shot some guns,
you've seen my rack?
Would you hack tables,
not my back?

I don't give jobs
I've gotten sacked
I've been to mobs
I've crossed, I've tracked.
Would his car rot?
A car it ain't
Three pounds of flax
(now take the taint)
I'll send you acks
(Who said, "a saint"?)
Fingerpointing, yes's he's mean,
dictate some wars? You should have seen
"They must be cleansed! They must be clean!
And now, let's see, where have they been...
What have they done, and are they lean
let's weight this, measure a bean..."
And he goes off, no shoe no cough,
"Was there a script? Perhaps a draft?"
(pondered that, back on the raft)
Those are words I hate, give me malice,
you speak of rabbit holes? Down like Alice.
And in the end, in concentrates,
"A killer gene", some dire straits

"Oh, the killers? Here's a switch,
got the cure, and found the itch
But then who'll battle,
who will burn?
For after all, they all must earn
their absolution, in my eyes"
A pot of crock, a sack of lies.
A man who picks the sword then must
Know when to glisten, when go bust
How did you get here? Did you climb?
Care for some lemon? Bit of lime?
And pardon me, but damn, o clé?
Could not have done it, without the Faye.
I thought the door, open, ajar,
would be enough, but then, agar...
is just a substrate, for mushrooms.
I've got an answer, and it's brooms
which witch rides which?
Is there a care?
Rub my belly
want a hare?

Sunday, July 14, 2013


Have you been hungry, known some pain?
Would you crown love, and let it reign?
Why, would you travel
in their shoes
would you be open, to their boos?
Would, then, the kingdom be regained
From those that fought, and shan't be named?
Lift those who weep, and pray for rest,
those who have withstood heaven's test:
it tries to give the answers first -
the questions, then: it's in reverse.
And what's the harm in breaking fast
when every meal could be your last?
Those on a knife's serrated edge,
who make their bets, and some who hedge,
who'll slice an apple, blinking twice,
who'll live, and seize the day: arise!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A Barrel Roll

The illusion of the Self's so strong that I
drink water for my health, for heavens vie
"If truly you're a dervish of the Way
then you should write a poem, not idly lay"
The Self has many guises just like this
that guide you 'long the Way if you're amiss
A king whose lonesome wish is to be freed
from his unwelcome crown yelled on his steed:
"To overcome the Self you truly must
have feelings above those of primal lust"
As he went his Way, in the settling dust
a sufi and his bowl, both filled with trust
"Each day of my existence, beg and plead
that others will supply me what I need
mostly I get tender, the least to say
but some who are advanced along the Way
will pleasantly surprise me - 'I'll be gay
to offer you massage', I'll here them say"
And as they're rubbing on his aching feet
In a distant land, there falls some sleet
It falls upon a dog, whose mind's eye sees
A straggler from a distant hive of bees
He dreams about a visit to that land
Where the treated-on sufi plays with sand
The masseuse, having finished with the task
Simply cleans his hands, rising to ask
"Of all these characters, dear Effendi
pray tell, which one am I -- which one is He?"
"I think your faith is strong; your selflessness
is what has brought you to your present mess
although you have no Self, I still must ask
if you would like some wine? I've got a cask.
As for your words.... about divinity,
I think the One you seek, is Trinity"

Saturday, June 29, 2013

What's Up with Camels?

There is a saying that goes,
"again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye
of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven"

It has raised some confusion, so a step-by-step guide on how I'd
1. Carry the needle
2. Distance yourself from the camel
3. Look through the eye of the needle. The camel goes through the eye of the needle quite easily this way.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Omnivore's Hymn

I've got a bell and genie,
the genie grants a boon:
perhaps a seed.
At first it is three wishes,
but the first,
I feel like I would like to be immersed,
So I wish the bell was special,
In a way: the zeros would just come,
in the right way.
For each tin of this bell, a rebel yell,
Will set just the right register,
djinn needs hell.
He runs around in circles,
that's his way,
his soul is made of fire,
so some say.
"If only gin and tonic,
could end wars,
wouldn't it be better,
with some fours?"
A hissing and a flame,
they're playing craps;
meanwhile, a distant hunter,
sets some traps.
"If you think it would be better,
rolling dice,
then that would be ok'ish - think of mice.
Not always beneficial, so some say,
but necessary killing? Well, the way
with which you do it: you must ask.
Some animals are game; they're only pleased,
when after all that time, they are released,
Think of a wild boar: what's in a name?
I think your answer would be much the same
As the logic with which I go set my traps,
when you eat a former soul, you'll hear their raps"
Now this is not what he says, or what he thinks,
it's an approximation, and it stinks.
It's difficult to translate,
all those words,
each one is made of nibbles,
or reverse.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


Friday, November 16, 2012

Vesi of Shorejärvi

All dichotomies are false or inadequate - even (or especially) this one, and the true/false premise it tries to smuggle in. It follows that there is not, and can never be, a satisfactory formal description of What It's All About™. This production deals particularly with the illusion of self/other, or subject/object. Using brainwaves to alter real waves, the distinguishing line between observer and phenomenon is brought under question.

Vesi of Shorejärvi from Valmet Children on Vimeo.
Of the various belief systems (handily shortened to BS by Robert Anton Wilson), discordianism appeals to me in its attempt to pay homage to the ultimate paradox, that which is true, false, neither and both (and much, much more) at the same time. The application of such a world view to everyday life is a different question altogether - how to live in peace in a profoundly chaotic system? Personally, I've found Zen buddhism sufficiently unassuming (there's a strong link to discordianism, which is sometimes referred to as dada-zen). Once it has been established that all belief systems and abstraction frameworks are more or less arbitrary mappings, it becomes more "acceptable", in my mind, to adopt and adapt some such frameworks and memetic structures.  However, a process of self-evaluation should be ongoing to ensure that these frameworks serve a supportive, rather than restrictive, role. Of course, to keep things interesting, even these terms are highly (or perhaps solely?) dependent on context. Said context being up to choice, we're right back where we started (which is not to say that the round-trip's been useless). 
Basically, the way to build a memetic framework is something like:

  1. Choose a basic dichotomy - good/bad, true/false, etc. (or don't)
  2. Choose an axiom based on this dichotomy. You can say that the two things are "different", for example (dualistic world view), or that they are the same (monistic world view), or that they are both, something in between, neither, or anything else you might think of.
  3. Keep going in an effort to "refine" your world view.
Step two is basically a description of what (western) science is about - "to divide, separate", which, when iterated upon, creates systems of categorization, classification, etc. Things are broken down into their properties in an effort to learn about them. This is all well and good, of course, and has yielded amazing results! Trouble emerges when a thought structure becomes self-serving; that is, when actions are motivated by adherence to the structure (a "restrictive" structure), rather than the structure serving as a foundation for further exploration (a "supportive" structure). It's good to keep in mind that this division, naturally enough, is just as arbitrary as any other, and there are infinitely many shades in between, above, below, and all around it. Out of necessity, there is always that elusive "more" to find out - therefore, science (or life) should, in my humble opinion, be viewed not as an effort to capture or even describe, but to familiarize with and pay tribute to, the whole.