The Eurovision Song Contest 2007

EBU-UER title

The Eurovision Song Contest 2007 (from Finland)

Sometimes I am asked "why should I read this instead of other Eurovision sites?". You shouldn't think of it like that. There are many fan sites, all of which will reflect the tastes and opinions of the site owner. Read and enjoy them all.
Where I believe my site to be different is that I write my reviews, and take the pictures, from the live broadcast. If you read the files in this first section of links in order, you can not only find out what my thoughts of the songs are; if you missed the contest (or live in a country that did not broadcast it), you'll be able to share in the "which one will it be?" (assuming you didn't already find out the winner from another site!).
Every so often people write and ask "do you really write that stuff 'live'?". YES! Apart from filling in missing data (missed titles, etc) and sometimes the addition extra comments (which are indented to set them off from the original content), this is all written live. That, actually, is the point! It is my dream to one day have all of this stuff working on-the-fly on broadband, so you will be able to follow my thoughts and ideas as the competition progresses.

Anyway, enough already... Here's the stuff to read:

Finland in Europe, and the flag of Finland

Note: This map is old, so shows Europe as it was back around 1990 - i.e. showing Yugoslavia as a single country...






They did one with dancing too...




The Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2007 (from Rotterdam, Holland)


Do not read below this point if you do not yet know
who won in 2007, and don't want it spoiled for you.


Further reading

The winners, all in a line...


Rick's creepy little fact to ponder...


What goes down in Finland?

A crash-course to the country hosting this year's contest:

Finland, or Suomi to the Fins, is the right-hand side of Scandanavia, squeezed between Sweden (and a bit of Norway) and Russia. Nearly a third of the country is within the Arctic Circle, an area known as Lapland (Samiland). The home of Lordi is a place called Rovaniemi which is two thirds of the way up. It is also supposedly the home of Santa Claus (when he's not at work up the North Pole).

The language, should you wish to visit, is obviously Finnish. Some speak Swedish. The Samis speak Sami, which is a version of Finnish.
Finnish itself is classed as an Finno-Ugric language, with the "Finno" part covering Finnish and Estonian, and the "Ugric" part covering Hungarian (Magyar). A related language is spoken in parts of Siberia.
Finnish is not related to Swedish, which is a Germanic language, akin to Norwegian, Icelandic, and of course our very own English.
A visit to a European chain such as Lidl should produce food packets written in a variety of languages allowing you to compare words for such exciting delicacies as "durum wheat semolina" in Swedish, English, and Finnish (not to mention others).

I feel cold just looking at my map! In actual fact, the climate along the south is around +16°C in the summer and -6°C in the winter, which is less harsh than might be expected given its location. Helsinki, as a port, is usually icebound from January to May except for a lane kept open by icebreaker. Well, maybe not this year, if the weather records are to be believed...
The country has a few lakes. Conservative estimates put the figure at around 60,000. Sticking out to the south-west of the country is Ahvenanmaa archipelago which is comprised of some 6,500 little islands. They do things on a size, don't they?
Huge swathes of the country (some three-quarters) are forested. It isn't difficult to create renewable forests so we can enjoy real Christmas trees instead of those not-quite-right-yet plastic efforts.

Finland is one of Europe's least densely populated places. The population of the entirety of Finland (to a 1995 estimate) is actually about half of the 10-12 million living within the Paris metropolitan area; slightly more than Berlin's four million, and a few less than London (and borough)'s almost-eight-million. For non-European readers: New York City's population is around seven and a half million, while the Tokyo metropolitan prefecture (Tokyo-to) is on par with the Paris metropolitan area. No matter how many numbers we fling around, the fact of the matter is the Finland occupies an area of 130,559 square miles (338,145 square kilometres), and there's practically nobody there!
The population of Helsinki (1995 estimate again) is a tad over half a million.

The Finns like books. Helsinki City Library has more books than there are people in the city. Almost four times more. I guess the average GCSE level British teenager will feel right out of place here, given that an astonishing number seem to leave school functionally illiterate. But hey, Britain doesn't need smart people, Britain needs people that won't ask awkward questions when the government wishes to apply severe taxation for short-hop air travel "to help fight global warming", while planning extra runways at major airports. Clever people would ask questions. Savants wouldn't. Read "1984" some time, it's a refresher course on the Blairite legacy...
Anyway, a Finnish invention everybody ought to know of is the sauna. A steamy sort of relaxation bath achieved by pouring water over hot rocks.

While wood and paper pulp is an important industry in the country, so to is electronics. Is it pure coincidence that in the south of the country is a town called Nokia?

Helsinki held the Olympic Games in 1952. And the Eurovision Song Contest in 2007.


Technology used

The screenshots taken on the days of the competition were captured with a miro PCTV PCI capture card. These were saved as DIBs, compressed, and transferred to my main PC by serial link. The captures are half size (384 pixels wide) because the 90MHz Pentium computer (72Mb, Windows 95 OSR2) does not offer enough bandwidth to transfer a full frame picture.
Other screenshots (i.e. the UK national selection pictures) were taken using an old HCCS Vision digitiser connected to a 40MHz ARM710 RiscPC (32Mb, RISC OS 3.70/Wimp 3.98), saved as RISC OS sprite. These were batch converted to JPEG, tarballed, and transferred to the main PC by serial link.
The use of the PCI card for the contest pictures is because the HCCS digitiser performs the decoding line-by-line in software. As there is no reference to the previous/next lines of the picture, the conversion process can suffer from line artefacts upon solid areas of colour, especially reds and blues. The PCI card does a full frame conversion in hardware.
As I can understand that the above was gibberish to many readers, here is an example picture - HCCS decoding on the left, Miro on the right. Both images have been digitally sharpened (equally) slightly to make the undesired patterning more obvious.

The main computer is a 466MHz Celeron Acer Travelmate (64Mb, Windows 98SE). A bundled version of ULead's PhotoImpact5 was used to trim the pictures to remove letterboxing black bars, and also save with the best trade-offs between file size and image quality (usually ~85%, no (4:4:4) subsampling). For ease of manipulation on older RISC OS systems, the "progressive JPEG" format is not used.
These HTML documents were written by hand using LiquidNinja's Metapad. This is a Notepad replacement that looks and acts like Notepad, only it is a lot more capable and powerful.

For actual reception, the contests were received using a Silvercrest SL65 digital satellite receiver. Everything else was received using a Pace BSkyB 2500B SkyDigibox. The reason for this is that the SL65 offers a better tuner (which won't flake out for no reason), and also - according to my mother - a better quality picture. It looks much the same to me!

I had purchased an AverTV USB digitiser, it claimed to be able to do half-frames over USB1.1, which is fine. Unfortunately the driver took one look at my computer (Win98SE, 466MHz Pentium, 64Mb) and said "don't make me laugh!". So this, I'm afraid, will have to wait a while, until I can afford a better spec computer. Try me again in 2010! ☺
[donations welcome, company castoffs are probably higher spec than this hardware! email me!]


HTML markup

The HTML markup has been progressing year by year. This year I have used in-line styles for the text formatting and title styles. Unlike previously, all text sizes are relative.
What this means is that while I design using the "medium" text size to 800×600 and 1024×768; you can freely alter the text size (with MSIE and Firefox this is under the 'View' menu; Opera has a 'zoom' which works slightly differently) and the document will reformat to fit. Everything, including all of the titles, will resize relative to the main text.
This is likely to be of most benefit to people using unusual settings (perhaps 'Larger' text size on insanely high-res displays?) or those with specific text sizes for partially sighted viewing.
Please let me know if you prefer this method of mark-up.


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Text and HTML copyright © 2007-2008 Rick Murray
Images copyright © 2006-2007 EBU-UER; sourced from BBC broadcasts
Line-drawn map is from a clipart compilation (old, hence shows Europe circa 1990), edited and flag drawn/added by myself.
Shaded eastern Europe map is from a screendump of a Microsoft Encarta article.