Google links to maps?

Every now and then I query Google with my own name (and other search terms that people have used to come to our site). Tonight Google.fi gave me some very interesting results. Before the first search result I got a link to Michelin’s and Map24’s map services with the search term ramin. Below is a screen shot of what I got as a result.

Google map option on google.fi

Trying the same search through Google.com didn’t yield a map link. And, in fact, the order of the search results was quite different as well. I’d been wondering how Finnish pages tended to be ranked quite high in my search results recently. Apparently Google’s localized sites take the language used into account when calculating the page rank. At least in Google.fi my homepage is ranked second, whereas in Google.com it doesn’t fit in the first ten.

But ramin is the only search term that I tried that resulted in the map link. Any other well known cities or towns didn’t give me such results. Is there anybody out there who knows how this map technology works and how page rank differs depending on the localized version of Google that is being used. At least Google’s own basic documentation doesn’t lead any insight into these two issues.

P.S. There is a Ramin is Eastern Germany near the Polish border and one in Northern Italy as well. I never new that. And Google just gave us two more places that we need to visit sometime…

Some favorites of 2004

I’ve been seeing these lists around for a couple of days and thought I’d contribute my own .02 € to the fray. So here is my list of the most notable albums, books, movies and website designs I’ve come across this year.

Music

Nightwish: Once
I’ve listened to Nightwish of and off for several years now, but Once really got me. I’ve had it playing in all of my playlist variations since it came out, quite a feat in itself. My favorite songs of the album? I’d have to go with Ghost Love Score, Wish I Had an Angel, and Creek Mary’s Blood. I think. And we did go see the gig where they first played the new album songs (even before the album was out). (I know, the layout of the page breaks and it’s out of the navigation of the site. I’m working on it…)
Dream Theater: Train of Thought
I’ve been a DT fan ever since I heard the beginning riffs of Pull Me Under way back in 1994 (or was it 1993, I forget). Check out Endless Sacrifice.
Eppu Normaali: Sadan vuoden päästäkin
Don’t have the album yet, but what I’ve heard of it, it’s guaranteed Eppu Normaali quality. They are back after 11 years of silence (compilations are not new albums). A Finnish classic that means that we’ll finally get to see them live…

Worth a note are also the new albums from Within Temptation, Xandria (both in the same general musical niche as Nightwish), and Kilpi (exprienced rockers with 80s style metal, nostalgic and good). These have all been new acquaintances for me, so far so good.

Books

Neal Stephenson: The Confusion & The System of the World
While many have complained about the Baroque Cycle being slow, I’ve enjoyed it immensly. I like the rambling story-telling of Stephenson and keep hoping for more.
Tom Clancy: Teeth of the Tiger
Finally the Jack Ryan universe takes a step forward. While Ryan was getting too old (and powerful) for any new stories, I like seeing how the following generations keep up the flame.
Neil Gaiman: Neverwhere
I only wish I had the imagination and skills that Gaiman has. I wonder what kind of underground Joensuu has, especially considering that it’s old swampland and right next to a lake ;)
Jarkko Sipilä: Karu keikka
One of Finland’s most respected crime reporters is also an author. His third book that we only noticed once he had published his fourth. I wonder why we hadn’t noticed him earlier.
Mark Barrowcliffe: Lucky Dog
A very English lead character and a talking dog that reminded me of our own Flippe more than once. Strongly recommended to all dog lovers (dog haters may find it amusing as well ;).

Movies

We don’t go to the theater all that often (try hardly ever), so we wait for the DVD release (and are quite picky at that).

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Extended Edition ?)
What can I say? Ever since I was twelve or so my friends and I have been speculating on how LOTR could be made into a movie. I was waiting for Jackson’s version with mixed feeling, hoping for the best, preparing for the worst. Luckily they pulled it off.
The Pirates of the Caribbean
My favorite ride in Disneyworld when I was five and I’ve always been a fan of Pirates… ‘Nuff said!

Website designs

Jon Hicks
Sidesh0w, by Ethan Marcotte
Asterisk, by D. Keith Robinson

Once I get our photo gallery working, I’ll follow up with a post of some of my favorite shots of the year. Which reminds me, maybe next year I’ll collect links to some of my favorite photos by others and have it up about a year from now.

Finnish TV preparing for the holiday season

I sometimes wonder how other nations see us Finns. After all, there aren’t many countries in the world where a major TV station would drop a popular soap opera in favor of a mini-series on a group of people trying to organize a group suicide. It’s scheduled to run on every weekday all through the last two weeks to christmas. Luckily it isn’t as macabre as it sounds. The mini-series is based the book Hurmaava joukkoitsemurha (charming group-suicide) by Arto Paasilinna, who is famous for his humorous approach. I don’t remember if it really ends with a group-suicide or not, but the book is certainly a funny read.

But we Finns are quite weird at times. And no, my christmas album recommendations are nothing out of the ordinary. They are quite normal. ;)

End of a career

Well, now it’s official. Yesterday I handed in my resignation from the university (I’ve been on a leave of absence for almost two years) and signed my contract with the North Karelia Rescue Department for the next year.

The coming year will hopefully bring new responsibilities in addition to the development of our web and intranet applications. Playing around with mobility and VIRVE (in Finnish, with blinking text) radios. VIRVE is the first official network built upon TETRA technology.

But other changes may be in the air as well. I have filled and sent a job application elsewhere, but there are many ifs in the way of it coming through. Web development would still be the name of the game with a strong tie with the rescue profession. But we’ll see what happens.

Finnish hyphenation in LaTeX

It took me quite some time to get Finnish hyphenation working with LaTeX and babel. I don’t know why current Linux distributions seem to comment out languages, I never had this problem before. But here are the steps to get Finnish hyphenation working:

  1. Run texconfig and select hyphenation and latex. In the editor remove the comments from those languages that you want to use (finnish in this case).
  2. Run fmtutil --all in the shell
  3. Now the generic instructions of appending
    \usepackage[T1]{fontenc}
    \usepackage[latin1]{inputenc}
    \usepackage[finnish]{babel}
    

    to the preamble of the document will work

Thank goodness for Google though…