Something new

Phew, been a while – and I don’t even want to know for how long this blog was down:(
But alas, I saw the stats (below):

ippe_statsIt seems the hosting provider changed the DB settings pretty dramatically (and I didn’t react). I might’ve gotten the memo, or not. Anyway, site was down apparently from last December(!).

On the positive side, you can see more up-to-date news at Twitter!

VR ja PUS5Y pitkällä sormella.

VR:n uudistusten myötä itse junalippukin koki joukon mullistuksia (linkkejä uutisointiin lippu-uudistuksesta: TalSa, YLE jne.)

Lippuun ilmestyi myös “sattumanvarainen kirjainkoodi”, joka on aiheuttanut hämmennystä jo aiemminkin. Kirjainkoodia ilmeisesti käytetään mikäli lippua ei pystytä junassa lukemaan koneellisesti (eli konduktööri ei pysty piippaamaan lukulaitteellaan lippua).

Säännöllisenä junamatkailijana olen tuon(kin) jutun jälkeen aina muistaessani tarkastanut millainen koodi sieltä sattui nyt tällä kertaa tulemaan. Yleensä se on ollut niin satunnainen kun nyt sattuu satunnaisena olemaan.

VR:n junalippuTämä ei sitä sen sijaan ollut.

Jaksoi huvittaa ja huvittaa edelleen (vaikkakin vanha sanonta pervoudesta kuulijan korvassa pitänee paikkansa tässäkin tapauksessa).

Ystäväni Facebookin puolella ehtikin tätä jo kommentoimaan “pussy pitkällä sormella” – näinkin se menee;)

Kaikille keräilijöille tiedoksi: lippu on edelleen tallessa.

Choosing Gender (Or How I thought I Became a Female)

I like running, a lot, actually.

I live in Finland.

My first name is Ilkka.

Am I male or female?

(And why the hell am I thinking about this?)

Long story short; some years ago I bought iPod Nano with Nike+ -running sensor. Sensor worked fine during running but doesn’t work when I inline skate (well, obviously as it is based on step counter/acceleration, read more at Wikipedia). Therefore my usage was cut short and nowadays I’m perfectly happy with my Nokia Sports Tracker and N82 -combination, thank you.

Well now, as the Sports Tracker from Nokia comes with a web site (reviewed earlier), so did the Nike+iPod, too (www.nikeplus.com). Nikeplus boasts all the same features as Nokia Sports Tracker’s site and few more (like being able to buy sneakers and music to iPod) but is basically the same site with different skin (this is my opinion, of course. All Nokia/Apple/Nike fanboys can disagree as much as they want).

At NikePlus one creates an user profile, fills in all the important stuff and so on. One of the things one has to tick in the registration form is gender. I’m a male, therefore I ticked “Gender – male” (screen capture below).

NikePlus.com, account info-tab

If I understand the form correctly, I have ticked “male“.

Now, why the weird title and all this before making any point?

NikePlus has these wondeful promotional, playful competitions challenges (like who runs the most distance at two weeks, which one of your running mates runs longest/fastest etc). There’s atm a race between men and women going on, goal to run more km than the other group (Titled simply “Men vs Women – make every run count”. See the ad below). And as some of you may know, I’m all in for a bit of competition!

nikeplus challenge ad: men vs women

And then we come to my first name. As it ends with A, some European (and US citizens) tend to think it’s a female name. Well, it isn’t. In Finland there’s no such rule that male names end with certain letters and/or female with certain (ok, bit harshly said, but anyway).

Anyhoo.

NikePlus sends me occasional e-mails. Haven’t unsubscribed as I quite like them (and Gmail swallows almost anything I can stuff there). Last week I received an e-mail about the challenge between men and women (I’ll just paste selected parts below, italics by yours truly):

We’re ahead on KMs, let’s keep it that way

Men may be ahead on total KMs – but this is no time to get complacent – there’s more than one way the girls could win this race.

Show your female friends the score with the live-updating Men Vs. Women Challenge widget.

Why are we the superior sex? Let’s be kind and leave it at two reasons: strength and competitiveness. So give in to your animal instinct and power your way ahead. She won’t see what beat her (she’ll be running too slow).

Ahem.

Well, yeah, we are the superior sex, aren’t we? “Girls could win this race“?

As I read the e-mail for the first time at my mobile, I thought they have gotten the gender wrong. Which e-mail letter would state men the superior sex? What letter would talk to men about girls – and about showing my female friends the challenge?

Apparently this one.

Well, ahem.

I misread the letter at the first time, have to give you that. And as quite many foreigners mix my gender based on my name I thought that was the case here, too.

Now I’m just wondering which one is more stupid, me misreading the letter or the marketer writing it? (Well, I’m blogging about the letter, giving it free publicity and everything, so that leaves only me.)

Any publicity is good publicity?

Conclusion

  • People can be touchy when it comes to gender based marketing. It might work better than anyone has ever expected – or then backfire and do a lot of damage.
  • Challenges work (and as NikePlus -typed site is filled with runners it works perhaps really well)
  • Don’t assume anything about gender based on person’s name.

My Comparative Study about Facebook Ads (weeklies, part 1)

This may just be the beginning of a long and fruitful friendship!

Erm, what?

Facebook is a well-known social platform. Or as they put it: “(Facebook) is a social utility that connects you with the people around you.” I’ve been playing with FB last few years, not that early adopter world wide but quite early here in Finland (as it has gained popularity during past year).

Anyway, Facebook’s business model is quite interesting, altogether. Ads, targeted marketing, applications etc! (If you’re interested: Facebook Case Study: Offline behavior drives online usage, Facebook’s uncertain Business Model, Facebook Platform Developers’ Guide (with business model warnings) and so on).

Business model is a whole different matter – perhaps I’ll post something about that later. This posting will focus on Facebook’s (targeted small) ads. FB promises “advanced targeting“, where ads can be targeted by “age, gender, location, interests and more”.

As a Finn living in Finland this is quite interesting as Finland is a small country with a low populage, only 5,1 million or so. Language spoken is finnish – not that common elsewhere;) Now, why is it interesting?

First things first, finns in Facebook are quite neat a target group. The Finland Network at Facebook has at the moment (25th June) about 410 000 members. Supposing these are mainly Finns we can say that 10 % of Finns is moderatly active at FB. Now, if you want to target all Finns you can pick that group as target or all the members who give their location as Finland (this probably would include all the foreigners in Finland, too, excluding Finns abroad).

Anyway, the ads. I actually wanted to write about the targeted and localized ads as they become more common sighting at FB. I’ll do this by listing here 10 ads I see during this afternoon (perhaps later, too) and commenting on them. (Most of the translations (from english) to finnish are quite hilarious. Too bad they don’t translate that well back to english.)

Here we go!

  1. Title:
    Laihduta kuten Hollywood  (In english something like “lose weight like Hollywood”)
    Content:
    Picture of a young (skinny) lady in a smallish swimsuit on a beach. Some kind of weight loss dingy.
    Relevance (to me):
    Not relevant at all. I don’t a) need to lose weight b) want to lose weight.
    Origin:
    Translated from some other language.
  2. Title:
    Uudet Arabian Muumi-mukit (new Moomin cups by Arabia)
    Content:
    Picture of cups with Moomins. Web address with a promise of quick shipping.
    Relevance (to me):
    Well, I have two of those cups, so quite relevant.
    Origin:
    Finnish
  3. Title:
    Mitä tekisit 60 tonnilla? (What would you do with 60 grand?)
    Content:
    Picture of some guy with huge glasses wearing a lot of bling. Some half-naked ladies behind him. Text tells me to pimp my life (“tuunaa elämäsi”) and a web address.
    Relevance (to me):
    Not relevant at all. I don’t want to pimp my life.
    Origin:
    Finnish
  4. Title:
    Omega Seamaster
    Content:
    Picture of a watch. Ad for 1 cent auction.
    Relevance (to me):
    Watch looks ok. Don’t do auctions online (or otherwise)
    Origin:
    Have no idea. Probably translated.
  5. Title:
    Voita uusi MacBook Air (Win a new MacBook Air)
    Content:
    Picture of a MacBook Air.  Ad for some online auction.
    Relevance (to me):
    MacBook Air is always ok (would like to have one if I just had too much money). Don’t do auctions online (or otherwise)
    Origin:
    Finnish?
  6. Title:
    (network addess for a “finnish online pharmacy” – censored)
    Content:
    No pictures. Some generic ad fro health products online.
    Relevance (to me):
    Not relevant. Side note: selling pharmacy related stuff online is illegal in Finland. This ad is actually for natural remedies.
    Origin:
    Finnish
  7. Title:
    Kämppiksen kanssa menoja? (Going out with your room mate? — or something. Very bad translation to finnish)
    Content:
    Logo of a web site. Text tells us about this wonderful service which you can use online or with a Handy.
    Relevance (to me):
    Not relevant. I have no “room mates”
    Origin:
    Translated
  8. Title:
    1 year MBA in Boston.
    Content:
    Picture is obscure – don’t actually know what the hell is in it. Golf clubs? Ad for some MBA in Boston.
    Relevance (to me):
    Not relevant. I think my M.Sc (tech) is enough.
    Origin:
    US. Not translated (in english)
  9. Title:
    Lainaa rahaa – (name censored) (Loan money – (name of the company))
    Content:
    Logo of the company. Text says that they’ll help me to get a loan online.
    Relevance (to me):
    Not relevant. I don’t want a loan (from Internet)
    Origin:
    Finnish
  10. Title:
    Lemmenlaiva (Love Boat)
    Content:
    Logo of the company. Text tells us that there’s a high quality online shop for couples (you get the point?)
    Relevance (to me):
    Hmm. Hard to say, perhaps relevant.
    Origin:
    Finnish

Bonus:

  1. Title:
    Says my cousin added this one particular Facebook application.
    Content:
    Logo of the application. says the above plus that I can use this application for what it was meant.
    Relevance (to me):
    Hmm. I actually do have this application installed. Don’t like it (nor use it), though.
    Origin:
    Not translated. International.

Well, not that many hilarious results this time. Conclusions? Those ads weren’t very relevant for me. Online auctions are not my thing, nor is weight loss or diets. I have plenty of applications installed (too many!), but I don’t add them usually from an ad. At my case the targeting was quite bad. Some other time perhaps better!

(Perhaps I’ll do this weekly. Could be nice – yeah, I’ll do that if I have the time and energy)

Firefox 3 and mouse gestures (general whining and Fangs!).

As I’m always eager to be accepted in a gang (any gang?), I did my part of the hype. Downloaded Firefox 3.

First impressions? Not that good as two thirds of my extensions stopped working.

Second impression? Pretty good. I’ll go with this version, any time.

Anyway, mouse gestures.

“In computing, a mouse gesture is a way of combining computer mouse movements and clicks which the software recognizes as a specific command.
— Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mouse_gestures”

I truly love my mouse gestures, have ever since I first bumped on them on some ancient version of Opera. Now, in Firefox, there’s as far as I know no native mouse gestures implemented. May be wrong, anyway.

I used to use the infamous “All-in-one mouse gestures” -plugin, but as paradise began (FF 3), it didn’t quite make the upgrade with the browser. Which is not nice.

A friend of mine (thanks F!) gave me a tip ’bout mousegestures.org (Mouse Gestures Redox). Now I’m a happy camper, again!

Entensions and versions in Firefox have been somehow problematic combination since beginning of the browser and sadly still are. For example, My favourite accessibility extension, Fangs, has been a major pain in the ass with the compatibility issues for many years. And yes, still is. No Fangs for Ilkka, again! (I highly recommend Fangs for web developers – makes making things a bit accessible easier. What is it then? I quote: “creates a textual representation of a web page similar to how the page would be read by a modern screen reader.“)

Hope in the future the problem persists no more. Please!