Patrik's Arbitrary Collaboration, Vol II

posted 15 Mar 2016, 11:39 by Markus Helander   [ updated 15 Mar 2016, 11:41 ]

Something new to lighten up the day. A new release from my son.
You want arbitrary? Well, here you go:

A granny and a kid

Once upon a time there was a granny and a kid.
The kid went to meet the granny..
..they went to a train.

The kid had to pee and told the granny I have to pee. They went to the toilet and the granny said to the kid to call the police or sing to my ear. The kid really needed to go and heard the granny tell him to the pee in her ear.

So the kid peed in the granny's ear. She woke up and and told him once more: "Call the police or sing to my ear"! The kid said okay and asked for her telephone. Even though the kid didn't have to pee, he called for the police: "Hi, I'm on the train A2. Can you come and open the restroom door"? The police said no! And he ended the call.

Now the kid really had to pee and he tried to call the police again, but he couldn't because the battery had died. So, the kid decided to pee to the granny's ear, again.

The original Finnish version.

Olipa kerran mummo ja lapsi. Lapsi meni mummin luokse. He menivät junaan. Lapsella tuli pissa hätä hän sanoi mummolle minulla on pissa hätä. He menivät vessaan mummo sanoi lapselle soita poliisi tai laula minun korvaan. Lapsella tuli pissa hätä hän kuuli että mummo sanoi että pissaa minun korvaan. Joten hän pissasi mummon korvaan. Mummo heräsi ja suuttui hän sanoi uudestaan. Soita poliisi tai laula minun korvaan! Lapsi sanoi okei ja hän pyysi mummolta puhelimen. Vaikka lapsella ei ollut pissa hätä hän soitti poliisin hei minä olen junassa A2 voitteko tulla avaamaan vessan oven poliisi sanoi emme voi! Ja lopetti puhelun. Nyt lapsella tuli oikeasti vessa hätä hän yritti soittaa poliisille mutta hän ei pystynyt koska puhelimessa ei ollut akkua joten hän päätti pissata uudestaan mummon korvaan.

Well, that was certainly something..

The Best Red of the Arbitrary Best Red

posted 28 Sep 2015, 09:50 by Markus Helander

A while back, like two years ago, I started to list up and rate (read here) most of the red wines I bought. As the numbers
started to pile up, I found myself closing on sixty wines with almost half a dozen with the best arbitrary rating: Five; "When in doubt, get this wine".

Could it be that exactly ten per cent were of the best grade? Sure enough, we were told of a great red and decided to go for it - for obvious reasons: rating, alcohol.. company, good times. We gave it a five and then there were six; six of sixty.

Now, what would be better than to list those six up again and rate them once more? Lots of things, but here you go! A capture of the original list is on the bottom. Oh, and again, both the original list and the new revision of the best is totally arbitrary and should be treated as one. These wines are not enjoyed with lamb, veal, let alone responsibly, but rated with pleasure.

The contenders are Kaiken Malbec, Moltalto Nero d'Avola Passivento, Villalta Valpolicella Ripasso, Gnarly Head Old Vine Zin and Torres Gran Coronas Reserva. All wines have been enjoyed by the bottle; first everything on the side, after which with something suitable and at hand and the moment. So, keep this in mind; this is very arbitrary.

First up was the Villalta Valpolicella Ripasso

Unfortunately 2011 had gone so I had to settle with the 2012 - also the price had went up for whatever reason. The 2011 edition was 10,99 eur and the second cheapest of the five-rated lot.
I found that either I had made a mistake when rating the Ripasso at five since the taste was, albeit very deep and heavy which is to my liking, rather sour. I would have guessed (remembered) it was more lighter than this but I really did not like this anymore. Even with some cheese tasting it didn't stand up to its expectations; it was better, so something is needed along with this wine, but still no cigar.

It shall have a mere TWO as its rating. Now, when I say two at this point, it isn't the two-rated crap than in the earlier list (here). This is more in comparison with what I hoped and wished the wine would have been - so, still, a very good wine, but not in this race.

Gnarly Head Old Vine Zin 

Was also two years less vintage at 2013 but the price was the same. I liked it again from the get-go; the taste was very pleasantly fruity and fresh and the bottle could have been easily emptied as is.

However, it was mostly enjoyed with milk chocolate (at hand), and went very well with it!

So, overall no surprise there. This Gnarly was evidently the same Gnarly as before and still surely worth the five it was rated before. But since this is arbitrary, I shall give it FOUR to leave room for improvement and other contestants.

Kaiken Malbec

I have to say, of all the wines that were rated five in the original Arbitrary list, the Kaiken was the one I was sure to remain my favorite. Maybe it was just that expectation that brought the red down.

I've enjoyed many Kaikens over the.. months and every time I've emptied the bottle with the feeling that this is a sure favorite to tell friends about. But now it really left me empty - apart from the quick and efficient intoxication, obviously.

Even with the familiar favorites of mine like Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon, it just left a very bitter taste accompanied with a huge disappointment. So, it is a TWO, maybe a THREE. But out of the final games, nevertheless.

Then on to the Nero d'Avola Passivento next. 

Had high hopes for this since I remembered it having something different to it.

This will be one of those wines that are good but you can't have the whole bottle of it (we did, obviously). The taste is almost like some dessert wine due to its sweetness. And I mean this is really really sweet. I like the taste, but since you can't enjoy it by the bottle, it will miss the high points.

The initial sip is more like FOUR, but really, it has to be a mere THREE.

But how about the Tommasi Ripasso Valpolicella!

I'm already declaring it as the winner since it worked all the way. Its taste started semi-sweet but then turned to deep and dark, just the way I like it!

And you can't blame the environment either since the bottle (again, obviously) was emptied first with ham & burger, then with an assortment of cheese and some candy. It went well with absolutely everything - and just by itself, too.

Is it coincidence that it's the only bottle so far that has a real natural cork? Probably! But still good to know that sometimes taste and feel goes hand in hand. This one gets a solid FIVE just to make the last competitor feel weak!

So, the last of the lot: Torres Gran Coronas.

What a wine! It kind of gave me the feeling of some after-work evening with a cheap house wine that just worked. Not that sweet than the previous Ripasso but sweet nonetheless. Slightly more bitter that gave me the familiar feeling described.

I'm not quite sure whether it is on par with the one rated five above and then again, this was tested with mere meat and chocolate.

But in the name of continuity, I am going to rate the equal so I can return to the once more in the Arbitrary Red Duel! So, it's also a FIVE!

A draw between Tommasi Ripasso Valpolicella and Torres Gran Coronas. How would have thunk? Also a surprise defeat to Kaiken Malbec, which was the clear favorite in the beginning. Luckily no disasters with the wines and even the Kaiken and Villalta were very good wines indeed! Surprisingly, tho, the top three with better grades were all slightly pricier than the others. Although is should be noted that the prices of all the wines had gone up since the last tasting. Here's the new and improved table with the finalists:

 Wine  Price  Grape  Country  Rating
 Tommasi Ripasso Valpolicella   19,99 €  Corvina, Rondinella, Carvinone  Italy  5
 Torres Gran Coronas Reserva  14,44 €  Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo  Spain  5
 Gnarly Head Old Vine Zin    11,99 €  Zinfandel  USA  4
 Montalto Nero d'Avola Passivento     9,99 €  Nero d'Avola  Italy  3
 Kaiken Malbec     10,50 €  Malbec, Caberned Sauvignon  Argentina  2
 Villalta Valpolicella Ripasso    12,99 €  Corvina, Rondinella, Carvinone  Italy  2

The top 6 of the original Arbitrary Red Wine Comparison,
cheapest on top, all rated 5 "When in doubt, get this wine".

Patrik's Arbitrary Collaboration, Vol I

posted 24 Jul 2015, 01:04 by Markus Helander

Upon my recent win of the Eterna Media Competition (here) with my article of an Eterna watch (here), my 7-year-old son got interested in writing, too. 

This is the first of his stories, obviously translated from Finnish to English by yours truly, about a boogeyman and a crocodile. 

Obviously, this is already a masterpiece so you should read it accordingly. If the terrific and surprising plot twists make your head work overtime, keep in mind that this piece might not be for everyone.

I'll add the original work after the English version.

May I present you:

Boogeyman and crocodile

Once upon a time there was a boogeyman and a crocodile. The boogeyman saw the crocodile's nest and went to irritate him - just for fun. After the boogeyman had woken the crocodile up, and made him furious, a race begun.

The race was actually about the crocodile chasing the boogeyman and it made the boogeyman laugh, because the crocodile was so angry. The boogeyman just wanted to make fun of the crocodile, but then, at that very moment, an apple fell from a tree. The crocodile liked the apple and asked the boogeyman if they could just be friends. The boogeyman said that of course they can be friends and told the crocodile that he was sorry of making fun of him.

The crocodile then asked the boogeyman that since he was much taller, could he maybe reach him an apple from the tree. The boogeyman said that of course he could. The crocodile thanked the boogeyman and started to scrunch the apple and the boogeyman started to look for a banana tree. When he found the banana tree he took a banana and ate it whole.

The night had fallen and so they went to sleep. When the morning came they went and set up a hammock.
To be continued in 2016.

The original Finnish version.

Olipa kerran mörkö ja krokotiili. Mörkö näki krokotiilin pesän ja meni huvin vuoksi ärsyttämään krokotiilia. Ja sitten krokotiili heräsi ja suuttui. Ja alkoi kisa. Kisa oli semmoinen että krokotiili jahtasi mörköä. Mörköä nauratti koska krokotiili oli niin vihainen. Mörkö halusi pilkata krokotiilia. Samassa hetkessä puusta tippui omena, joiata Krokotiili tykkäsi. Krokotiili kysyi mörkö kiltti voitaisiko olla kavereita? Mörkö sanoi tietenkin voidaan. Anteeksi että kiusasin. Krokotiili kysyi möröltä kun olet minua pidempi niin voisitko antaa minulle omenan? Mörkö sanoi tietenkin voi. Krokotiili sanoi kiitos ja krokotiili alkoi narskuttaa omenaa. Ja mörkö alkoi etsimään banaanipuuta. Ja hän löysi banaani puun ja otti banaanin ja söi sen.Oli jo yö ja ne menivät nukkumaan ja silloin kun oli aamu ne pystytti riippukeinun. Jatkuu ensi jaksossa 2016.

So, there's something for your inner kitchen Freud. Like the original author wrote: to be continued.

Eterna Media Competition WIN

posted 15 Jul 2015, 00:55 by Markus Helander


Won't you look at that! I actually won something!
This is really huge for me personally. I read about the Eterna Media Competition originally from the Finnish Watchmakers' Association site and knew instantly that I have a story to tell. The story would be about a trip to Iceland where an Eterna watch played a big part.

So, I dug up the images, wrote some words, sent it to Eterna vie email, Twitter and Instagram and forgot about it. You can imagine my surprise when I received the email of my win. You can read the finished product here.

Now, a few weeks later I've received the watch and made arrangements for the flights. I'm still waiting for additional information of the schedule once landed in Zürich but to my understanding there should be a dinner, a visit to their factory and some time to visit the town. I'll be writing a new article of the visit in September (or October at the latest), so if you're interested in this, stick around or at least remember to pop by for visit later this year.

Oh, and the watch I won was an Eterna KonTiki Chronograph with a steel bracelet. I swapped a green nato because summer - soon it's going to be back with the steel.

Here's the link to my story once more:
Eterna KonTiki 1958 Automatic -01

Thanks for reading!
Thanks Eterna!

The Good Guys

posted 3 Jun 2015, 10:20 by Markus Helander   [ updated 5 Jun 2015, 10:29 ]

Buying luxury items, or anything more expensive, online is always a possible huge risk. Like many others, I've found the exceptionally good prices more and more appealing over the years. In my experience the best prices are most often from Southern Europe and unfortunately also the wildest stories and rumours are from the same area. So that's how the risk starts to materialize.

In order to make future sales easier (or less riskier), I decided to list my online, non-private seller, purchases here. They haven't all gone like in the movies, but in the end at least I have been satisfied.

  • Orologiando di Bertolini Emilio,, Zenith El Primero Rainbow.

    The price including shipping was the lowest in Europe. Pictures were good and
    condition matched the pictures. The chrono function had some issues after the first week, and after been forced to deny that I had somehow broken it, the seller agreed to refund the cost of the service in Finland. Also, the possibility to send the watch back to the seller was an option. Communication was good and the answers came quickly.

  • RomaOrologi,, IWC Portofino.

    Again, Italy FTW and price is right. The watch worked perfectly and the service was fast. Shipping to Finland was very expensive. However, one thing that was not visible on the pictures, was the worn out anti reflective coating. I suppose from sloppy polishing, the edges from the crystal were complete lacking the AR coating. This was visible when tilting the watch in different light conditions. The seller wanted to resolve this by taking the watch back and refunding all but the, again very expensive, shipping costs. My counter argument of the price of new crystal as a partial refund was accepted after negoatiations. The negotiations were made more difficult by the lack of translator in the middle since the English wasn't that good in the other end.

  • Diamond Centre Ludovisi,, Ulysse Nardin San Marco GMT

    Seems like Italy is my favorite place. Scared to visit there in the future. Terrific seller, though, the language barrier between us was probably the largest to date. Again, the delivery to Finland was expensive for what ever reason, but communication was fast and more pictures were supplied upon request. Everything went just fine!

  • TheSwissCaliber, SwissCaliber on Chrono24,, Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Memovox

    Fast communication this time from Spain. Lots of good pictures and quality service from start to finish. Slight hiccup pre-delivery since it turned out that they aren't actually in continental Spain. Normally not a big deal, but in this case, purchasing from the Canary Islands means extra 24% VAT when the watch arrives to the Finnish customs. TheSwissCaliber saved the day, though, since one of them was travelling to Riga next week so he took the watch and send it from there. Good stuff!

  • Nikias Gold,, Montblanc Star 4810 Automatic Date

    A great site, truly great service. To my understanding Nikias Gold is a local pawn shop in Athens and, again, the prices are absolutely fabulous! The communication was easy and fast. Shipping was extra but not that much. The watch was just as described and worked well for all the time I had it. Flipper's disease, you know..

  • Topper Jewelers,, Ball Engineer Master II DLC

    From the US, solid dealer and a sponsor of Had to add the VAT 24% and a significant shipping fee, but at the time Ball watches were not everywhere. Again, I went for the budget model that had slightly scrathed bezel and hugely smaller price. The pictures showed the watch in much better condition than it really was but since I had been aware of the scratches, I decided not to go after a discount. Didn't mind them when I had it on my wrist but it was hell to sell it due to the markings. Quick shipping and good service. Nothing to complain other that the "marketing photos".

  • Olfert & Co,, Hamilton Khaki Field Officer Auto

    A certain model of Hamilton that was not easily available anywhere else. This has actually been the first and only time I've thought that I've been scammed. After a week of agreed delivery time I got absolutely no response from email, their contact page or Chrono24. I called the store and the customer service was very good and explained the situation. Supposedly the ordered watch had arrived them with a leather strap rather than the bracelet it was ordered with. Nobody had unfortunately cared to notify the customer about it. Well, all was well in the end an this was a completely new product so nothing to question there. Still the radio silence gives me the creaps.

Those are the ones I've dealt with and that have worked with me. Like said mostly Southern Europe and Italy but with a few exceptions on the side. Hope you get good experience from these or find solutions to those difficult situations that are usually linked to poor condition, lack of service, subpar customer service ect. All of these are also on probably with a Trusted Seller stamp but so are many many other.

Remember to buy the seller and be aware. Be safe.

Apple Watch - threat or possibility?

posted 12 Mar 2015, 01:59 by Markus Helander   [ updated 12 Mar 2015, 05:42 ]

I just had to take a poke at this.

After the Apple event two days ago on March 9th, I got even more certain that this device, at present, does absolutely nothing to me. The thing is not that they're late and there are many other devices doing the same things. I appreciate the design - Apple rarely stumbles with that. The smoothness of the case and especially the perfectly gliding strap lug mechanism and the magnetic strap lock system. I think, out of all manufacturers, Apple may be the only one that probably actually succeeds in that perfect fit and finish!

Firstly, I came up with two.. no, three features that I would want to use on this watch that use the phone that is sitting tight in your pocket/purse:
  • tactile vibration to give notification of incoming messages, calls, etc.
    • I'll gladly keep my cell on silent basically always if I can get the info in some other way.
  • turn-by-turn navigation fed from the main device to the watch screen.
    • I like the idea of having my hand on steering wheel and getting the info I need with an easy glance.
  • activity monitoring and health information
    • I don't need it per se, but I can see the use of getting something tell you when you've sat too long and you're behind your daily activity or step count. Of course there are already dozens of devices that do this already but with a sweet Apple-like interface, it could really be something.
Since the actual mobile communicating device will be in the said pocket or purse for a little while more, my need or want for the tactile functions will not be going anywhere. The two others, navigation and activity features, can easily be included in the watch itself, probably already planned to the later iterations.

I don't want to see the likes and the pokes and the comments on my hand. I can take the time for it; have a break or a lunch and browse them through from a bigger screen. And speaking to the watch is a nice wet dream for 10 year olds' but actually doing it - really. Just put the phone to the speaker mode and do it like it's supposed to do and alone since it's infuriating enough to hear someone's voice through the call of the person sitting next to you. Also, there's the social stigma of looking at your watch - it tells your bored or late. It tells others that you'd more likely be somewhere else.. obviously that may be true. The same goes with taking your phone out on a dinner, meeting, or other social occurrences to browse your feed or commenting. Really something that has been around the past few years. But actually the three-point list above tells my feelings of the new Apple Watch. Get those working perfectly and the watch might be on my impulse buy short list for 2015.

And make it pair with Android - just in case.

WTF Lollipop?

posted 20 Feb 2015, 03:52 by Markus Helander   [ updated 20 Feb 2015, 12:16 ]

The much anticipated Android Lollipop arrived to my 
Samsung GS5 few weeks back. I was all excited and stuff. 

Tho, after couple of hours and especially after the 
first night together, I wasn't.

I decided to list the things that really make me wonder what have they been thinking whether it is the Google devs or Samsung's layer on the top. My main issues are with the change of the way vibrate works, as well as forcing the use of privacy mode (which I like in principal). Then there's the UI change regarding the power off menu.

So, the few things:
  1. The power off menu does not include ringer options anymore.
    • Now, seriously! To get my cell on vibrate/silent or off of them, I need to unlock it, swipe down the menu and select the appropriate function there. What??
  2. The lock screen has an interesting set of pop-ups available.
    • No more notification icons in the top bar - thanks, I wanted to see my service provider there.
    • I can now either have half of the screen filled with two huge tiles and icons below them. Even if I want to have the "personal information" hidden. Useful as hell!
  3. There's a clever new privacy mode which enables one to set the phone to allow only the notifications you want.
    • I actually like this approach when in private mode but they've not thought it through properly - the only way to disable vibrate is to block everything with the private mode. Nice try, tho.
    • It also quiets the notification light to make sure I'm in perfect peace.
    • This is supposedly meant to replace the silent mode over all. All good and well but that if I want to set the phone next to me on the table and see if I get a message or a call without it vibrating (you know, like when in a meeting)? I can't. Stupid.
  4. Phone vibrates when battery is reached full capacity.
    • Always, everytime, unless the device is in full privacy mode blocking everything else in the way.
    • So, if I want to wake up to my kid calling in trouble, I also have to tolerate the 3am vibrate (which wakes me up) when the battery is full. FFfff!!
  5. Keyboard has started to bug.
    • It doesn't seem to crash per se since there's no crash notification but it just keeps not showing up in Whatsapp and Messenger. Cool stuff again!
  6. Fingerprint scanner hangs.
    • Every once in a while, I cannot unlock the device normally. The scanner does absolutely nothing. After blanking the screen it works again. Yet another Lollipop-introduced feature.
I am really seriously thinking if I should root my work phone or just switch to iPhone which also has its flaws. The thing is, before Lollipop, the SGS5 was really really good!

So sad..

Bulk edit Sharepoint list item-level permissions with Powershell

posted 2 Feb 2015, 00:54 by Markus Helander   [ updated 2 Mar 2015, 03:36 ]

When fiddling with Sharepoint Designer workflows and modifying item permission, you're generally walking on thin ice.

In my case item-level permissions needed to be granted on the basis of a form entry: the end users select a value to a column which need to define the permissions of the added item. 
Pretty simple.

Now, obviously the permissions are added via groups to avoid a catastrophe when single users need to be changed. But what if you need to a new group and you're not planning on manually going through tens of thousands of items.

As I see it, there are two ways and both include using Powershell:

1) Fire at will

- update your Designer workflow for the list.
- make the workflow start when modifying an item.
- run an insignificant change to all items with Powershell.

It would go something like:

$web = Get-SPWeb http://your-sharepoint-address-here
    $list = $web.Lists["List-name-here"]

    foreach ($item in $list.Items)
    if($item['Column-name-here'] -eq "Column-value-to-look-for-here")


$item["Insignificant-column-to-change"] = "Insignificant-value"


Write-Output (" Updated rights to ID " + $item['ID']);

2) Or then you can be like a sniper

- Create a Sharepoint permission group.
- Run the script below.

$web = Get-SPWeb http://your-sharepoint-address-here
    $list = $web.Lists["List-name-here"]

    foreach ($item in $list.Items)
    if($item['Column-name-here'] -eq "Column-value-to-look-for-here") 

$groupname = "Sharepoint-permission-group-name-here";
$group = $web.SiteGroups[$groupname];   
$role = $web.RoleDefinitions["Permission-level-here"]
$assignment = New-Object Microsoft.SharePoint.SPRoleAssignment

Write-Output (" Granted rights to ID " + $item['ID']);



The end result should give something like this:

And of course the the permission should be changed as well.

Arbitrary Red Wine Comparison, 60 wine list, updated 08/2015

posted 5 Jan 2015, 23:21 by Markus Helander   [ updated 13 Aug 2015, 11:33 ]

I guess I'm a friend of red wine. I like to have a glass every now and then. I also like to pour a whole bottle down in good company.

A few years back I thought it would be nice to know what are the wines that I've liked - to have sort of a wine diary. To see if there is a type of red wine I prefer or is my taste taking me all over the place.

There's a simple rating system. Nothing fancy. Just a practical way of typing down with numbers if I liked it or not. And it is really arbitrary. But it gives a nice base line, I think.

A disclaimer type of line first. This list is to be considered arbitrary at best. The wines are rated with a "company value" in mind, meaning that the wines are perfect when enjoyed with company, hopefully with other bottles of wine on the table. No fish, no beef, no veal. Just a friend or two.

Rating goes:

Five: When in doubt, get this wine.
Four: Surely recommendable to friends and foes.
Three: Friend-zoned in to mediocrity.

Two: Steer clear, barely A for effort.

One: Suitable for sauces, soups and sewers near you.

The list is first sorted by the rating and after that by price. So on the top, there is the cheapest red wine rated 5. The bottom has the most expensive rated 1.

Maybe at some point I'll revisit the Rated Five, but until then I just keep growing the list.

Naked domain and Google Sites

posted 16 Nov 2014, 12:46 by Markus Helander   [ updated 20 Jan 2015, 07:06 ]


Had to make a change with the DNS provider, so Hurricane Electric had to go. The problem with HE was that you couldn't have a wildcard as a hostname, meaning that I only had the address in use. I was not possible to make a hostname or redirect from (naked domain) to the www subdomain.

So, I went with 
Namecheap like I suggested in my first post (here), though, not as a domain registrar but domain name services.
You can have one free domain managed at Namecheap and that's more than fine with me. You can have several subdomains and for a veery low cost, 
an email forwarding to use your own domain as an email address. And that's cool.

Settings for Namecheap's domain management are as follows:

 Hostname   Address Record type MX TTL
 @ URL Redirect -   60
 www CNAME (alias) - 60

Solution to the problem!


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