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Monthly Archives: December 2012

Christmas, New Year, Gandalf and His Snowmen

shiny christmas.

shiny christmas. (Photo credit: rhoadeecha)

It seems another year is about to end. 2012. I can’t say this has been the most exciting or interesting year of my life. It has consisted of daily routines, relaxing and thinking. Thinking of life in general as well as my life. And  making some new plans on how to take over the world.. Err, I mean, to improve my life. Sorry. Freudian slip.

Anyway, I saw two interesting films/tv specials earlier this month. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and the Doctor Who Christmas Special 2012: The Snowmen.

First of all, how can Peter Jackson and his friends make three 3-hour epic films out of a children’s book? And what about the outcome? I watched the 3D HFR version of the movie and it was fine. A bit like “welcome back to the Middle Earth, friends and fans of Arda, enjoy!” The 3D HFR was an interesting thing to get used to and at times, it made the action scenes almost too intense. Fortunately, there were some action scenes because the first hour of the movie was a bit boring with all the songs. It’s not that the songs were bad (they weren’t!) but they were just a bit unnecessary. Still, it was a great movie.

Ian McKellen as Gandalf in Peter Jackson's liv...

Ian McKellen as Gandalf in Peter Jackson’s live-action version of The Lord of the Rings. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What about The Snowmen? First of all, there was Gandalf (sir Ian McKellen), albeit only as the voice of the Great Intelligence. In short, it was good. Much better than last year’s “now we need a Narnia story” Christmas Special. The “thinking” snow thing was a bit, well, childish. But who cares? We sort of found out who Clara Oswin Oswald is, was or will be. Some questions were answered and much more questions popped up. Damn, mr. Steven Moffat is a very cunning man.

Anyway, for the last couple of days I’ve been working on something interesting again. I’m trying to finish the EToS website and (promise not to tell anyone!) we’re also trying to get our music video released next week. Before that, there’s a lot of things to do: writing biographies and press releases and much more. It’s funny and weird that most of the band related things must be done in front of the computer. I mean everything from the song-writing process to releasing videos, singles and albums. And everything in between.

So, I wish you all a happy new year 2013! May it become an even better year for us all!

 
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Posted by on 29.12.2012 in In English, Life

 

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Websites and So-called Mobile Strategy

Internet Explorer 1

Internet Explorer 1 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How geeky can things related to metal music get? Well, thinking about something called “mobile strategy for the website” is probably the geekiest thing a metal band can do. The stereotypical metal musicians should drink beer and play their instruments instead of spending hours finishing their websites.

Well, times have changed. In the late 90s, a web designer only had to take care that the website looks ok in Netscape and Internet Explorer. But now, the world is full of different browsers and devices: computers, phones and tablet computers, different versions of different operating systems and so on. And this makes the situation a bit more difficult than before.

Internet Explorer Mobile 6 in Windows Mobile 6.5

Internet Explorer Mobile 6 in Windows Mobile 6.5 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, one big question pops up. How to make a website look nice and work perfectly on all the possible platforms?

In the end, there are two priorities.1. To make the website easy to use no matter which device and browser you are using. And 2. To make the content of the website easy for us to update. The former one is naturally the primary priority whereas the latter one is just a nice bonus.

Perhaps the easiest way would be just choosing the right JavaScript and CSS files according to the device the end user is using. That’s just an idea and I don’t know if it works. I’ll probably have to make the website to recognize the browser and to load the right files according to the information received. And it may become a total nightmare to make it work perfectly.

By the way, if you are wondering the same things as I am, I recommend Opera Mobile Emulator. It provides a nice way to see how different sites look with different devices. http://www.opera.com/developer/tools/mobile/ 

 
 

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Last.fm to Quit Their Radio Services in Most Countries, Damn..

English: Screenshot of the Last.fm software pr...

English: Screenshot of the Last.fm software program. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been an avid Last.fm user since 2004. Well, back then the thing we now call Last.fm was two (almost) separate systems: Audioscrobbler and Last.fm. Last.fm was basically just a radio and Audioscrobbler was the one responsible for writing down and keeping “in mind” what the users had listened to.

Things changed a couple of years later. Audioscrobbler and Last.fm merged. Which was a good thing and in my opinion made the service one of the best music-related service in the world.

I found their personalized radio channels years ago but didn’t start listening to them until I wanted to find completely new bands and new genres. This is why Last.fm is the best tool in the world. Three euros a month for a great service was extremely inexpensive.

But a couple of days ago, we heard sad news. People in most countries in the world will not be able to access the Last.fm radio channels anymore. They will shut down the service in mid-January 2013.

http://www.last.fm/announcements/radio2013

Last.fm is making some important changes to the radio services we offer around the world. We have considered these changes carefully, in response to various factors that affect our business differently in parts of the world.

[…]

Unfortunately, in all other countries, we are no longer offering a radio service after this date.

English: Availability of Spotify in Europe

English: Availability of Spotify in Europe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, the world always changes. And fortunately, we still have Spotify here in Finland. It just takes some time to get used to Spotify again. You know, with the Last.fm personalized radio it was easy. I just needed to press Play and I got to listen to some great songs. Now, with Spotify, I need to make some decisions. One of my playlists or a radio? And if a radio, what should it be based on?

Well, anyway, Last.fm will remain one of my favourite services. It is an archive of which bands I’ve been listening to. Not bad for a free service.

 
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Posted by on 14.12.2012 in In English

 

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There Is No Mystery in the Music Business Anymore

English: Kiss live at Paris in 1999.

English: Kiss live at Paris in 1999. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(I got the idea of this post from a post about journalism by Jussi Mäntysaari . Music journalism and band interviews, to be more exact. This gave me an idea. Read it if you want but beware: it’s in Finnish: http://alsosprachjussi.blogspot.fi/2012/12/ei-enaa-artistihaastatteluja.html ).

Back in the 80s, when I was young, I and the boys next door got into Kiss. Kiss was something huge, a group from another world or another dimension. We hardly knew anything about them as there was no Internet around – we just had read about them on Finnish music magazines.. We knew they were from the USA and had recorded some albums that affected us in a weird way.

So, we wrote a letter to them in very rudimentary English. “We are fans, can you please send us some guitars so we can be like you?” was the core of the letter. We never got a reply. Or our guitars. Why, Paul, Gene & the rest of the guys, why?!? 😀

And when I listened to the radio and found a damn interesting band, sometimes all I knew about the band was the song itself. Nothing more. It could be that no Finnish magazines ever wrote about them. But I was cool with it. Music was the most important thing and if I bumped into information about the band, fine. That was bonus.

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Now, almost thirty years later, things have changed. Teenagers don’t pick their favourite bands from television, radio or the magazines. They can be found on the Internet. You see a video on YouTube, get to their Facebook page, send a message and a bit later, you can even get a personalized reply. And you can get all the possible information from the band in no time. It’s almost like the members of the band live next door. Almost.

There is no mystery in the music business anymore. Is it good or bad? I don’t know. It’s different, that’s all I know.

Perhaps it’s me? I’ve learned a lot since the first demo of our band. I know how the music industry works. I know what bands have to do to get an album released.

Let’s just say both have changed. The world and I. Still, one question remains: can I go back to my teenage years? Can I listen to an album and feel the magic again? Well, yes, partly. Damn good songs still affect me in a good but weird way. But then, I’ll have to start digging information about the band. “Where do they come from? How do they look? What are their influences?” and all that stuff. Because the information is there.

What’s the solution to this problem? Should all bands be like Tool? They very rarely give an interview, you know. There is a certain amount of mystique around them. And that makes them more interesting to many people.

So, bands, don’t be like most bands. Be mysterious. Don’t spread around information about yourselves. And remember: in the end all that matters is your music. You’re just a carpenter, although you’re still interesting to some people.

 
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Posted by on 2.12.2012 in In English, Music

 

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