Friday, August 31, 2007

Positive thinking: Turn problems into a puzzle

clipped from
12 Ways to Boost Your Positive Energy
8. Turn a Problem into a Puzzle: Sometimes a single word can make all the difference, and “problem” is one of those words. I’ve often wondered if children would take more readily to mathematics if we called them math puzzles instead of math problems: problem is such a negative, hopeless, impotent word. When a problem descends upon your life, think of it as a puzzle. Is there a way to solve this puzzle? If so, start putting the pieces together, calmly and with confidence.

Related Articles:

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Finally a fresh and interesting thought!
Maybe I should even change the way I refer to my profession:
Instead of a maths teacher I'd really love to be a PUZZLE teacher!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

A Guide to Finnish Customs and Manners

Since I have to go to work today after a very long and fabulous summer holiday (Thanks to all my Israelian friends including the Conceptis staff and also Rosa and her husband), I am not in the mood for anything very serious.
Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland ( Department for Communication and Culture/Unit for Publications and Finland Promotion) has published a remarkable guide about Finland: Virtual Finland.
The site covers probably every aspect of Finland, much more than I could tell foreigners about my country.
The site has also translations to français / deutsch / español / russian.

I think the best part is A Guide to Finnish Customs and Manner.
It is written by Olli Alho, PhD, known in Finland about his studies in humour.
The article introduces the Finnish habits an a very humorous and self ironic way. It has a stereotypical approach and we are of course different, but I like it. There is very much truth beneath the irony.

I have collected some examples here:

The use of modern information technologies
has revolutionized the image of Finnish
communication skills.

Finns place great value on words, which is reflected in the tendency to say little and avoid 'unnecessary' small talk. They are better at listening than at talking.

It's time for a cup of coffee. Finns drink coffee anywhere and everywhere. More coffee per person is drunk in Finland than anywhere else in the world.

Having a sauna is something completely natural to Finns. A first timer should perhaps have a first encounter with the sauna in the company of a genuine Finn.

After these appetizers, you can start to read the whole article here.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Conceptis on Technorati

I added to my watchlist in Technorati and got 173 Blog reactions!
The latest are mostly mine ;)
The rest of the list can be viewed here

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Second day in school

As I have written before, I have a dog named Piitu (actually Svarzekoks Born to be Wild). It seems that here Nomen est omen. Piitu is very active in all her hobbies. When she was a baby there were actually times when she could sit in one place for a while. Here is a picture I once put on the Conceptis forums:

As you can see also here she is biting my finger ;)

A week ago Piitu started school to learn some discipline. My daughter is her supervisor in the classes. It turned out that also learning new things is something she wants to wear her energy. Last week she learned to sit, come and various other commands I am not able to translate. And she even remembered them yesterday when they practised for the class.

Since I am still on holiday this week I decided to go and watch. The main objective yesterday was to learn the word NO (to Piitu it is of course EI!). I was sure Piitu would fail this time. At least I have had major difficulties to get her to understand the meaning of the word.
Fortunately I was totally wrong. They started with Katri holding a plate with sausages in her hand within Piitu's reach. Finally Piitu started to pretend she was not even interested in them.

Next they went outside to practise with three plates on the ground. Piitu was almost the hardest case of the students. A spray of water in her face did not help. I have noticed before that she actually likes it ! The next trick was a spray of air and that was it: after that Piitu did not even want to go very near the plates. Unfortunately I did not get a photo of the air spray but it looked like the sausages on the plate were exploding. And here is the result:

We have had mostly very sunny lately, but yesterday was cold. Fortunately the rain had stopped before the last lesson because when we went to the school it looked like this:

That is a flower pot and the white substance is hail from the sky...

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Teen fined for YouTube karaoke video

A Finnish court ruled against a 15-year-old student in a libel case on Friday after he posted a clip of his teacher on YouTube, ordering the youth to pay 800 euros ($1,085) in damages and a 90 euro fine.

Well, maybe the whole thing was an overreaction from the teacher. I find it however important that this way the students can see that there are boundaries they can't cross. The worst thing in this was the title the student used: "Karaoke of the mental hospital".
Respect for the teachers seems to be reducing gradually. The number of teachers changing profession is increasing.
Maybe there is a connection...

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Nice learning Site

I accidentally found a very nice site directed to kids, parents and teachers.
Here is some info from the website:

What is®?
Founded in 1996,® is a free, one-stop center of entertainment for the entire family. We offer Internet content within a protected playground that features hundreds of games, puzzles and other activities.

Why Was Created? was founded so that kids could find fun, engaging content in one place without searching all over the Web or stumbling into otherwise inappropriate material. Every piece of content in our SuperSite is hand-selected for our audience by the editors.

What is the Special Technology of
Visitors to do not need to purchase any special software to enjoy the protected environment of Instead, operates with a special user interface called "NetScooter®". This is our unique and free way of simplifying navigation and encouraging kids to surf within the kid-safe pages of and not through the Web at large. In addition, uses ContourLine™ which establishes an invisible boundary around all content within our site. ContourLine allows our editors to include only the highest quality parts of a website for our visitors to see.

The pages had also a link to Conceptis puzzles ;)
With the search it was easily found but otherwise it was buried very deep:
Here is the route from the site map to the link (Choose Brain Games):

and numbers at the bottom
And this can be found second on the list:
Conceptis Puzzles
Learn math the pretty way!

Here are some really nice looking math puzzles that are fun to do, and if you get them right, you'll have a cool picture at the end. Connect two numbers that are seperated by that number of squares. For example, if you find two sixes that are six squares apart, click them both to start your drawing.
Conceptis Puzzles

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I just wish teachers and parents use this!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Questionable Advertising

clipped from
Puskaradiomainonta hämärtää markkinoinnin rajoja

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The previous clip is from YLE, Finland's national public service broadcasting company and could be translated as:
Buzzer advertising dims the borders of marketing.
The same news clip has a link to the website which provides the Buzzers and also seeks for new ones.

The Background and Ideology
This Buzzler service is the first branded word-of-mouth marketing service in Finland and – as far as we know – the whole of Europe. Although the service is a completely novel innovation, it is based on an age-old truth: a satisfied customer is the best advertisement. We are all familiar with the grapevine as a phenomenon, as it forms an intrinsic part of our everyday lives and social interaction. It is a metaphor for genuine, natural interaction between people, exchanging opinions based on their own experiences. And that is just what Buzzing is all about.
How Does It Work?
The Buzzlers who have signed up for the campaign will receive the product by post along with the Buzzler’s Manual, which includes detailed information about the product as well as instructions for Buzzing. Instead of the product, the Buzzlers may receive a coupon that entitles them to a free sample of the product, which they can pick up from the shop. If the campaign involves a service, the manual will give clear instructions on how the service is to be used.
The Buzzlers test the product and form their opinion. They report their Buzzing efforts online and assess how successful each contact has been. The reports also indicate whom the Buzzler has chosen as his or her target and when, what the product was and how the Buzzler promoted it. The administrators then review the reports, awarding ten Buzzler Points for each approved report.
Buzzlers accumulate Buzzler Points based on how actively they Buzz. Buzzlers can view their points balance by logging into their profile on the website. Active Buzzlers are rewarded with campaign-specific prizes after the campaign has finished.
Why Is Buzzing So Effective?
- Each contact between the Buzzler and his or her target is intensive
- The Buzzler is able to judge who could be interested in the product
- The Buzzler can tell the target group about the product in a way that appeals to that particular target group
- If the Buzzler is happy with the product, his or her genuine excitement comes across
-> Innovative Buzzing can take place where the client would otherwise fail to reach potential customers
- Reliable communication -> the Buzzler has no personal interest in embroidering the truth; he or she will give an honest, genuine opinion
Research Data
According to the UK-based Henley Centre:
- 90 percent of consumers strongly believe that information received from friends and family is reliable.
- An estimated 89 percent of consumers recommend products or services that they have found useful to their acquaintances.

The question is: Who can rely on friends any more?
I listen to what my friends say but fortunately my friends also know that regardless of what they tell me to do, I follow my own route.

My blog may give the impression that I am a Buzzer for Conceptis!
I can assure that Conceptis does not pay me anything for advertising their puzzles. Besides I am not very good in Buzzing. Shouting would be a more appropriate word describing my style =D

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Pic-a-Pix syndication

Pic-a-Pix Tutorial
This lively educational program provides a quick and easy way to understand how Pic-a-Pix puzzles should be solved. Using Flash™ animation, the 88 step movie presents a B&W Pic-a-Pix 15x15 puzzle being solved from beginning to end, one-step at a time.

Play Pic-a-Pix
Click the following puzzle to play Pic-a-Pix

Sudoku Syndication

Sudoku Tutorial
This lively educational program provides a quick and easy way to understand how Sudoku puzzles should be solved. Using Flash™ animation, the 111 step movie presents a Classic Sudoku 9x9 puzzle being solved from beginning to end, one-step at a time.

Print Sudoku
Click the following puzzle to print

Friday, August 17, 2007

New puzzles today

Today is Friday and it means new free puzzles on the Conceptis website :)
I gathered last week's solutions for all to see how wonderful they are.
These are Pic-A-Pixies (PAP):
and these are Link-A-Pixies (LAP):
FIll-A-Pixies (FAP):
Maze-A-Pixies (MAP):
Dot-A-Pixies (DAP):
Note that these solutions are NOT the official solutions from Conceptis! The DAPs and MAPs have been solved with image handling programs (I use PSP X). The others are from pdf-prints of the solutions.
Thanks for brkip and tracey raye for sending me part of these :)

The solutions to the number puzzles I don't have. I do them occasionally but this week I only maneged to get the MultiSudoku done. Besides the solution of a number puzzle is not beautiful. Just numbers and numbers...

I am not doing this every week. I just wanted all to see how beautiful the pictures are.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Conceptis Puzzles

My major addiction is puzzles and the best and most enjoyable puzzles are made by Conceptis Puzzles.
Those who want to know more about Conceptis, can do it here.

Conceptis has a free website which offers lots of sample puzzles and more importantly: a weekly changing set of puzzles for us who never seem to get enough of them. The weekly puzzles are updated every Friday.
The website is totally free but needs a registration. This time it would be stupid to use a fake e-mail address, because you might miss something important. In all the 2.5 years I have been a member I have never received any spam related to Conceptis. You can keep your e-mail private from the other members but in that case other members can't contact you in a very important issue: sending you more puzzles ;)

The puzzles can be divided in two categories: picture forming logic puzzles and number logic puzzles.
When solving the picture puzzles you are rewarded with a fabulous picture in addition to the euphoric feeling you get from succeeding in the solution.

The weekly puzzles set contains altogether 53 puzzles :
  • 4 Pic-A-Pix-puzzles (also known as nonograms, griddlers, Paint by Numbers,...)
  • 4 Link-A-Pix-puzzles (Enigma, Pixel-link, Zahlen Logical,...)
  • 4 Fill-A-Pix-puzzles (Mosaic, Oekaki-Pix, Count and Darken,...)
  • 4 Maze-A-Pix-puzzles (Picture Maze, Labyrinth,...)
  • 4 Dot-A-Pix-puzzles (Dot-to-Dot, Connect the Dots,...)
  • 4 Classic and 5 variant Sudokus (Mega, Irregular, Diagonal, Multi and Sumsudoku)
  • 4 Classic and 4 shaped Kakuros (Cross Sums,...)
  • 8 Battleship Puzzles
  • 4 Hitoris
  • 4 Slitherlinks (Loop the Loop, Fences,...)
All the puzzles are provided as pdf-files to print them on paper and the 3 first on the list can also be played online with a Java Applet. Also 5 of the Sudokus can be played online with a Flash application.

If the variety of online puzzles seems too small, I have good news: Conceptis is launching a new website where all the puzzles can be solved online ;) and it will hopefully be in use in 6 months.

The website also has the most amazing forums. All people writing to the forums are so friendly and helpful. If somebody needs help in solving puzzles, finding magazines, sometimes even with personal issues, there will always be someone who comes to rescue. In the history only a couple minor arguments have occured and the community takes care of it's own members. During my membership I have got many friends all over the world.

I posted a tutorial to solving Pic-A-Pix-puzzles yesterday. All the puzzles have Flash Tutorials which in my opinion are very logical and even entertaining. If you want to see more tutorials click here.

If you decide to join, you meet me in the forums with the name lekahe. I was nominated moderator about a month ago ;)

In any case I'll be writing much, much more about these puzzles because they are closest to my heart most of my time =D

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A new Finnish champion

I heard in the radio news an amazing thing and found this article in CTV Canada news:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I have not played Pokemon nor know very much about the rules, but my son used to collect the cards and play years ago.
Since Finland is a very small country regarding the population, it feels good when someone succeeds in new areas.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

It's all about learning

Well, this day has been learning about details.
My dog, Piitu is very active and distracts m work all the time.
Here she is trying to catch my daughter's ear plug:

And here is her dearest hobby: Gardening.
No wonder my flowers don't grow very well

Monday, August 13, 2007

This is where it starts

I can't believe Gil got me doing this.
Let's see how long it takes me to handle all this.