My name is Mr. Kari Laitinen. I am the owner of

Living in Oulu, Finland, I am a semi-retired person.

I have worked as a software developer and computer programmer. I have also done research and teaching related to software development.

As I am still working as a software developer, I can give an interesting talk about this work and my approach to it.

Keywords to describe my professional interests are: software development, computer programming, software documentation, programming languages, natural languages, linguistics, natural naming, psychology of programming, and human factors in software development.


The sections below provide information about my workings and other interests. Please note that many things are listed in reverse chronological order.


Since November 2021 I have been semi-retired. I have, however, worked as a software developer in a project that develops a new kind of programmable metronome for musicians.

Read more about BARBARA the Metronome ...

From May 1999 to October 2021 I was a Principal Lecturer of computer programming and software development in the Oulu University of Applied Sciences. 

From November 1998 to April 1999 I was a Research Scientist at VTT (the Technical Research Centre of Finland) in Oulu, Finland. The work consisted of research and consulting work related to software process improvement and software documentation. 

From August '98 to October '98 I was free from any paid jobs, writing a textbook of C++ that teaches computer programming in an easy and natural way. 

From August '95 to July '98 I was a lecturer at Oulu Institute of Technology. Subjects of teaching were programming languages (C and C++), software development methods, digital logic, and operating systems. 

From January '94 to July '95 I was a Research Scientist in the area of embedded software at VTT Electronics (part of the Technical Research Centre of Finland), Oulu, Finland, working in a software-maintenance-related ESPRIT III project called AMES (Application Management Environments and Support). 

From January '93 to December '93 I was a Visiting Research Scientist at the Department of Computer Science of the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, U.S.A., working in co-operation with Prof. Neil Rowe in a project which studies computer aided natural language understanding techniques. 

From June '89 to December '92 I was a research scientist in the Computer Technology Laboratory at the Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT) in Oulu, Finland, working in several research projects dealing with improvement of software documentation, software reuse, and software quality assurance. The Computer Technology Laboratory of VTT became later part of VTT Electronics. 

From November '88 to May '89 I was a software developer at Edacom Data Systems, Stansted, Essex, United Kingdom, working in software development for cash terminal systems. The work involved also some development of software documentation practices. 

From April '87 to October '88 I was a software developer at Computercentrum C. van de Velden B.V ., Arnhem, the Netherlands, working in software development for cash terminal systems. An on-line bank-communication system was the major development project of this time. 

From October '86 to March '87 I worked as a software developer at Oy Edacom Ab, Oulu, Finland, writing software for cash terminal systems. 

From February '86 to September '86 I did my military service in the Finnish armed forces. A military service is mandatory for every healthy man in Finland. (I must say that during this time I did not much like the military service. But nowadays I respect the Finnish war veterans very much. During the World War II Mr. Stalin tried to occupy Finland with large armies, but he did not manage to do it because Finnish soldiers were fighting so hard.) 

From October '84 to January '86 I worked as a software developer at Oy Edacom Ab, Oulu, Finland, writing many kinds of software for Edacom cash terminals. 

From March 84 to September '84 I started my career as a junior software developer at Oy Edacom Ab, Kajaani, Finland. During this time I worked with a CP/M-based cash terminal which could be programmed with COBOL. 

From September '78 to February '84 I was a student at the Department of Electrical Engineering in the University of Oulu, Finland. In my studies I specialized in computers and software engineering. During my student years I had summer jobs in several Finnish companies and spent one summer working in Sweden. 

Programming books

I have written some books to help people to learn computer programming. Although the books are not very recently published books, they are still valid books for studying the basics of computer programming.

Read more about these books ...

The book in which C# is used as the programming language is probably the most beautiful book about computer programming.

Scientific papers

See list of scientific papers ...

Laitinen, K., Taramaa, J., Heikkilä, M., and Rowe, N. C.. Enhancing Maintainability of Source Programs through Disabbreviation. The Journal of Systems and Software, Vol. 37, No. 2, 1997, pp. 117 - 128. 

Laitinen, K. Estimating Understandability of Software Documents. ACM SIGSOFT Software Engineering Notes, Vol. 21, No. 4, 1996, pp. 81 - 92. 

Laitinen, K. Natural Naming in Software Development and Maintenance. VTT Publications no. 243. Technical Research Centre of Finland, Espoo, 1995, 170 pages. (Published Doctoral Thesis) 

Laitinen, K. Natural Naming in Software Development: Feedback from Practitioners. In: Proceedings of 7th International Conference on Advanced Information Systems Engineering (CAiSE*95). Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Vol. 932. Springer Verlag, Berlin, 1995, pp. 375-388. 

Rowe, N.C. and Laitinen, K. Semiautomatic Disabbreviation of Technical Text. Information Processing & Management, Vol. 31, No. 6, 1995, pp. 851-857. 

Laitinen, K. and Taramaa, J. A Theory to Support the Use of Natural Naming in Software Documentation. Working papers series B33, Department of Information Processing Science, University of Oulu, Finland, 1994, 27 pages. 

Laitinen, K. Pacific: A Programming Language Based on the Idea of Natural Naming. In: Baeza-Yates, R. (editor) Computer Science 2: Research and Applications, Plenum Press, New York, 1994, 529-540. (This paper was first presented in a conference in Chile in October 1993.) 

Laitinen, K. The Principle of Natural Naming in Software Documentation. VTT Research Notes no. 1498. Technical Research Centre of Finland, Espoo, 1993, 90 pages. (Also published as a thesis for the degree of the Licentiate of Philosophy at the Department of Information Processing Science of the University of Oulu, Finland.) 

Laitinen, K. Using Natural Naming in Programming: Feedback from Practitioners. In: Detienne, F. (editor) Proceedings of the 5th Workshop of the Psychology of Programming Interest Group, INRIA Roquencourt, P.B.105, 78153 Le Chesnay Cedex, France, December 1992, pp. 108-119. 

Laitinen, K. 1992. Document Classification for Software Quality Systems. ACM SIGSOFT Software Engineering Notes, Vol 17, No 4, Oct. 1992, pp. 32-39. 

Laitinen, K. and Mukari, T. DNN-Disciplined Natural Naming, A Method for Systematic Name Creation in Software Development. In: Proceedings of 25th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, Vol. II: Software Technology, IEEE Computer Society Press, Los Alamitos, California, 1992, pp. 91-100. 

Laitinen, K. and Seppänen, V. Principles for Naming Program Elements, A Practical Approach to Raise Informativity of Programming. In: Part I of Proceedings of InfoJapan'90 International Conference, Information Processing Society of Japan, 1990, pp. 79-86. 

Laitinen, Kari. Suoria rahalaitosyhteyksiä tukevan osajärjestelmän suunnittelu kassalaitteeseen. [A Subsystem for Supporting On-line Bank Communications in a Cash Terminal System.] A thesis for the Master of Science degree at the Department of Electrical Engineering in the University of Oulu, Finland. 1986, 64 pages. In Finnish. 

Most of my papers are published and presented in conferences. The first conference where I presented a paper was called InfoJapan'90. It was quite exciting to speak to something like 200 people who were all dressed in suits.

In the InfoJapan'90 conference in Tokyo there was also a presentation by Steve Jobs. Steve introduced the latest model of his NeXT computer. Only later, after having studied the history of computing, I have been able to appreciate the fact that I have once been listening a talk of this remarkable man. Steve was using a suit in the conference.


November 1995: Doctor of Philosophy from the Department of Information Processing Science at the University of Oulu, Finland. Professor Pentti Kerola was the supervisor of my thesis work. 

June 1993: Licentiate of Philosophy from the Department of Information Processing Science of the University of Oulu, Finland. (The Licentiate of Philosophy is a degree between of Master and Doctoral degrees and it is part of the academic systems in North-European countries.) 

October 1986: Master of Science from the Department of Electrical Engineering of the University of Oulu, Finland. 

May 1978: A Finnish diploma that permits one to study in a university from Vaalan lukio, Finland. (In my opinion, Vaalan lukio is the best educational institution in the world!) 

Some personal data

I was born in a place called Vaala in the Finnish countryside, 100 kilometers to the east of Oulu. My birth took place a couple of years before the Beatles published their first record. I do not remember the days of Beatlemania, but I remember that older people spoke, years later, about Beatles and the 'madness' that they caused among their listeners.

I lived the first 18 years of my life in a wooden house in Vaala. Those parts of Finland are quite rarely populated. When I entered school, I was the only student in the first grade. There was this benefit that I could easily win the skiing competition of the first grade. Later, though, the school was merged to another school where there were more students. That meant the end for my skiing career. 

Here is the school where I was the last student and a skiing champion. 


I have studied many languages during my life although I speak fluently only Finnish and English. Languages are fascinating. Also my research was related to languages. Here is a list of languages I have studied.

My native language is Finnish. I guess my speaking sounds much like the Kainuu dialect of the language. Unlike other languages in this list, Finnish is not an Indo-European language.
In the third grade we started studying English at school. The English teacher came once a week to our small countryside school to give us a lesson.
When I was eleven, the mandatory education in the Swedish language began. Swedish is the other official language in Finland. Many Finns dislike the language, but I adore the sound of the language that they speak in Sweden.
I studied German for three years when I was in the school that corresponds to the American high shools.
During the years 1984 and 1985, when I had almost finished the studies at the university, I studied French in an evening school.
During the first months of 1987, I studied some Spanish. Many years later I have taken Spanish courses in evening schools.
I moved to Holland in April 1987, and I started studying Dutch on my own. At the beginning of the year 1988 I was brave enough to start speaking Dutch to people. My landlord said that it was like his dog had suddenly started to speak. Dutch is still my best spoken language after Finnish and English. As Dutch people usually speak foreign languages, they are always overwhelmed when somebody speaks their language.
Once I had a very beautiful reason to read many chapters of a book named Teach Yourself Portuguese.
A few years ago, I ended up studying Italian by accident. The Spanish course which I had planned to attend was cancelled. As I had already paid the Spanish course, I could take some other course instead. There happened to be an elementary course of Italian during the hours I had reserved for Spanish. So, I am now a happy student of the Italian language.

During some travels I have tried to learn Greek and Latin but I have forgotten most of those studies. In general, studying languages is a good way to exercise your brains.


During my years as a student, I used to play drums in amateur rock'n'roll bands. Unfortunately I did not continue with the drums.

In 2006 I started to play drums again when some colleagues wanted to put up a kind of show group which also needed music players. Now I know that it is very important to practice, practice, and practice to become a decent player. Somebody should have said this to me 30 years ago.

Later I have ended up singing songs such as Paranoid of Black Sabbath while playing the drums. In the following video I cannot reach the highest note, but that does not seem to matter for the audience.

If you explore YouTube, you can find many versions of this classic Black Sabbath song. I find the following version by Maya particularly well done and paranoid in a nice way.

In many newspaper articles they say that listening to music, or singing, or playing some instrument, is a healthy activity for your brains. This is very interesting, and a good reason to continue the amateurish musicianship.


A book that I would recommend also for non-Finnish readers is The Egyptian by a Finnish author named Mika Waltari. This book is always 'modern' as its story takes place in ancient Egypt, more than 3000 years ago. The book is translated to many languages.

Links and Acknowledgments

I am enthusiastic about calendars and calendar reform.

I like espresso-based coffee drinks. See all my espresso machines.

If you play music, check the metronome called BARBARA. That metronome plays bars instead of beats.

The flag images shown on this page were taken from Wikipedia pages. I would like to thank the makers of those .svg files. Wikipedia is the greatest thing on Internet.