WordPress hacking

I’ve been on a vacation with nothing planned this week so I’ve finally had time to hack around with WordPress. The new template system offers a great platform on which building customized views is easy. I added a thumbnail (and link) to the current image in The Life of Jalo, a list of the five latest posts when viewing a single entry, a link to geocaches near us if you’re viewing a geocaching post, now playing information, and I jumped the folksonomy bandwagon. The rest of this post is fairly technical in content, so if code and web development aren’t your thing, you might want to move on.

Newspaper archives as a regional memory bank

A Finnish journalist Matti Lintulahti has started a blog (via). He writes (in Finnish) on how the free on-line archives of newspapers can work as a revenue source but also on how they can be an important source of regional memories. In his column he hopes that Finnish newspapers would open up their archives, if even at a delay of a few days.

I’ve been disappointed by how most Finnish news sources present their content on the web. Feeds are a thing to dream of, and most content is hidden behind subscriptions. Our local newspaper, Karjalainen, offers some of its content for free – something I’ve used earlier as a source when I’ve discussed happening in our neck of the woods. However, the archives are far from having all of the content on-line, but at least it’s a start.

And by the way, I recommend following Lintulahti’s blog if Finnish is your thing.

Citizen’s MapSite

I’ve been a user of the Citizen’s MapSite (Kansalaisen karttapaikka) ever since it was launched sometime in the late 90’s. While it used to require a registration, the new version works without one. Which is just as well, as there wasn’t any sensible reason why the registration was required. It also appears that it doesn’t require you to access it from a Finnish address anymore either. I’d like to know if it can be accessed from other countries.

Train ride thoughts

I went down to Helsinki yesterday for a job interview and had to marvel at how modern technology has changed even such a simple task.

My first shock came from the realization that I could now buy my tickets on-line. I remember the time when finding train schedules was difficult enough. What was even more baffling was that I had the option of printing my ticket at home or receiving it as a text message. The problem was that we don’t have a printer at home and you can’t get the ticket as a text message if it’s a return trip. I guess they need to work on their system a bit more…

A quick phone call to VR’s support ensured me that I could show the email I received with my tickets on the screen of my laptop. However, once on the train I decided to finally benefit from the fact that my work phone can access my personal email (but not work ;). I opened my email on the phone screen, showed the message to the conductor and got my ticket receipt (or proof of payment).

Another, more amusing, aspect of modern technology that occurred to me on the trip down was seeing business men in suits with straps around their necks. Like the phone carriers that teenagers use. But what did they have around their necks? USB memory sticks. I joked last week that they’ve replaced floppy disks, this was just further proof of the fact.

I’m still amused, I remember the times when computers were rare and widespread use of the web was something most people didn’t even dream about and when GSM reception was off and on in the train. I wonder when we’ll be getting free WiFi?

The Finnish blog awards

The voting for last years best Finnish (not necessarliy in Finnish) blogs (Kultainen Kuukkeli) is open. There’s also a blog related to the whole process. The voting takes place in Finnish and you need a valid email address to complete the voting process.

I wrote the code that takes care of the voting process, PHP’s ability to accept arrays from a form helped minimize the amount of code that was needed. Some JavaScript is also used to identify the title entered by the user and automatically fill an URL. In case your wondering how the JavaScript matching works, it looks for the shortest title that begins with the text entered. If no titles match, then the first title that has the entered text as a substring will be used. For example, entering jalo will match The Life of Jalo and entering randomf will match this blog (at its old address).

Now go vote, you have until March 27!