I have many, many hobbies. Here I describe
some of them:
Maps, Cycling &c
Digital Archiving and iPods
Gourmet, Global Networks and Movies
Among the numerous hobbies one I like very much is squash. Squash is usually played by two persons hitting a small black ball into the front wall and trying to outwit each other. Squash requires good coordination and good physics. I have played squash for fifteen years. I have been honoured to train under the direction of two very prominent figures in Finnish squash, Sami Elopuro and Juha Raumolin. I have played in two clubs, ESP and HSRC.
It makes me very happy to be able to combine two hobbies, programming and squash. I noticed that there practically no applications to count points in games. So I built an application called SquashCounter. You can try it for free (system requirements: Mac OS X 10.2 or later)!
Maps, Cycling &c
There are many interesting occasions in a year. One definitely interesting to me is Le Tour, the cycling event, in which the competitors are driven all over France (and neighbouring countries) during three weeks, finally arriving in Paris. This gives me the opportunity to combine several of my other hobbies. Maps are important in showing the route. Nowadays it’s also possible to follow the route using Google’s Google Earth with a route description. It makes especially the different altitudes a lot more obvious than the traditional maps.
France is a country I like very much. The language, the landscapes, the wines… And Paris, its capital, is unique. One of the most memorable moments in my life was, when I was in Paris with my wife. Very early one morning we walked around in the waking city, almost empty, looked at Seine from one of its bridges, the river glimmering in the first hints of the morning sun. Rive gauche, Centre Pompidou, Notre Dame, then finally a cafe noir and a croissant, that is a birthday morning difficult to make better.
Digital archiving and iPods
a computer professional, it is quite natural that I am interested in
all things digital. One of the most important digital appliances today
is my iPod (first gen nano). It holds a collection of my
not all of them, as its capacity is two gigabytes only.
My special interest for a long time has been usability. With iPod, it is interesting to analyze it a bit. Usability is very important with all digital appliances, but in many cases it is enough just to look at the device itself. With digital archive devices this is, however, not sufficient. As iPods are used mostly to play music, though this is expanding, one must look at, where the music comes from and how, how usable the whole work flow is. I myself am very happy with the usability of the device itself and its support system (believe me, I've seen systems I can not make heads or tails of).
Is iPod perfect? No. Other people surely have improvements of their own, but for me e.g. playlists are too simple, as they are now. It should be possible to arrange music based on several criteria, there should be more meta-data with the music. Current flat playlists could perhaps be hierarchical, too. And, as usual with devices with rechargeable batteries, their capacity could always be better. Charging the device shouldn't lose the status, either, as it does now.
What kind of music is best to be archived? The most obvious thing is dynamics, the other thing is length. Dynamics favours popular music, and lucky me, baroque (and older music, too), in which there is not very much dynamic change. The situation is problematic with late 19th and 20th century music varying from five p’s to five f’s, for instance. Probably good noise-isolating headphones help in this. Length is the other thing favouring popular music, and again, baroque (and older music). The music is listened to while moving, so changing from one situation to another may require stopping the music abruptly. In this case it is nice that replay is not too long.
My music player is just the beginning of digital archiving in my life, I expect…
Gourmet, Global Networks and Movies
Food is a necessity. It doesn’t mean, however,
couldn’t or shouldn't enjoy food. In today's globalized world,
one can get almost any kind of food almost anywhere in world. I like
several traditions myself, Finnish is naturally something I've grown
with, and that's why it may be easy to overlook. Spiced foods, say
Indian, Japanese, Chinese, Thai are enjoyed, but also several European
traditions relying more on pure tastes than strong spices, like French,
Italian, Russian, and Mediterranean.
It is, however, refreshing to make some food oneself. Use of spices is important, but show also matters. I am always proud, when I can throw pancakes. They are of course dessert, but nonetheless…
Show, food and global aspects are something I've found often in San Fransisco, California. One can find food from all over the world, not only from China in Chinatown, but also e.g. more exotic, like from Burma (current Myanmar). European traditions are quite easily found there, as well in restaurants as in movies, which seems contradictory. The fact is, however, that I've seen there European movies I've never seen in Finland (e.g. Benigni's “Il mostro”, and Amenábar's “Abre los ojos”). Odd, but true… This is something that shows the variety and richness of the world.
My daily job is quite technically demanding, developing software, so I am using a lot of my left cerebral hemisphere (controlling logical and verbal processes).Were I to do my software hobbies only in addition to my job, my head would be very imbalanced. To correct the situation I nurture my right hemisphere by doing some of the following: listening to music that is very emotional as well as intellectual, painting pictures, and writing poems. Poems are something I've been interested in a while after having read a discussion about rhythm in language. Poems and paintings are both something in which content and form may be conceived in a very short time, though in both finishing the details may take time. In both of these I am an amateur, doing them for my personal pleasure and perhaps for those nearest to me, but in balancing my head they do very well.