What do you think of when the conversation turns to Finland? It's the kind of question that might only happen in some sort of Pub Quiz word association game. Some might think of snow, or some platinum-haired beauty. Motorsport fans will reel of a succession of rally and F1 drivers, such as Häkkinen, Mäkinen, Räikkönen, Grönholm, and Vatanen. Telecommunications giant Nokia is possibly the most famous Finnish company worldwide.
Graphics geeks will point out that Finland is the home of 3DMark. Gamers will shout 'Remedy!', who not only contributed to the graphics technology behind said benchmark, but also the Max Payne 1 & 2 games; their latest work - the psychological action thriller Alan Wake - will set new standards for in-game atmosphere with its cutting edge graphics engine.
For a country of just 5 million people, the Finns certainly punch above their weight on a global scale.
If you narrow the field to case modding, the nation's achievements are more modest. MetkuMods is one of the biggest sites - you might remember their 16MB Pez Dispenser mod from a few months ago. Today we have a new name to introduce to you: PatenttiNet.com. One of their talented modders, 17 year-old Lassi Niemistö, has kindly translated his project from the original Finnish into English for us to enjoy. This is his story...
The Tonkputer by Nev@Lehmä
Each summer, gamers, coders and demo artists from around the world gather in Helsinki, Finland for one of the world's largest LAN events, Assembly, now in its 14th year. Of course, when you get that many comptuers in one place, people will show off their case modding skills, and there is a competition to decide the best of show.
Panorama of 3,000 gamers at Assembly 2003
When I won the second prize in Coolest Case of Assembly 2004 competition with my wooden case LazerWood, I couldn't help feeling a little disappointed and was determined to win next year. I spent hours and hours brainstorming ideas, but didn't produce any that could be a show stopper.
Then one day, I was looking for something in our old cowshed, which we use just for storage, when an old 40 litre milk churn caught my eye. I almost heard the click in my head and I knew then that I had the theme for my case. Why a milk churn? It is an interesting shape, the aluminium will be easy to machine, and the internal dimensions are big enough to fit all the components.
I named the project 'Tonkputer' which is a blend of the word 'computer' (obviously) and the Finnish word 'Tonkka' which means 'churn'. It has nothing to do with the toy truck Tonka brand. The cow theme also just happens to fit my nickname: Nev@lehmä, or neva lehmä, means 'Swamp Cow' in Finnish.