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2013! February!

English: Duodji Saami symbols art Svenska: Duo...

English: Duodji Saami symbols art Svenska: Duodji samiska symboler konst (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Weird. I must have been so busy and exhausted I’ve forgot this blog. Let’s just say the beginning of this year has definitely been more interesting than last year’s January. Perhaps it’s the small things that matter. We have had snow, freezing days but the days are growing longer, day by day, slowly.

Eternal Tears of Sorrow has been busy, once again, even though in a different way than last year. We have a brand new merchandise shop at http://shop.eternaltears.fi/ . Also, the album is out, which means a lot of interviews and questions like “What does Saivon Lapsi really mean?”

Well, Saivo is something like this:

The south Saami used to believe that the ancestors lived in holy mountains called saajve(aajmoe). In the north Saami area this word – in the form sáiva – refers to sacrificial sites and to holy lakes, often round, with no rivers flowing into them, believed to be paired with a vertical shaft leading down to a lower one. Probably this is the original meaning because there is broad agreement that saajve/sáiva is borrowed from proto-Scandinavian *saiwa-z, “sea.” This interpretation corresponds to the fact that the Saami shaman, the noaidi, predominantly used a fish as the vehicle of his soul when he went to the land of the dead and to the fact that going there was referred to as “diving”.

And well, “Saivon” = “Saivo’s” or “of Saivo”, “lapsi” = “the/a child”, so “Saivon Lapsi” = “The/A Child of Saivo” or “Saivo’s Child”.

And yes, I finally managed to get the new version of our website online. http://eternaltears.fi/ is the place. It’s still far from perfect when using mobile devices or netbooks but I’ll get back to it a bit later.

 
 

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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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Pomodoro Technique and Writing Music / Lyrics

Damn, it’s already September. During the summer I’ve been busy, I’ve been idle, I’ve been thinking, I’ve been holidaying/vacationing, I’ve been writing, all the stuff I usually do in the summertime.

Eternal Tears of Sorrow is not having its winter sleep. We’re busy finishing our album. Due to some things (that are not under our control), the release of the new single and the music video have been delayed. Well, we don’t mind, we just keep doing what we can do: finishing the album. I also have another musical projects of which I’ve mentioned before. One is a long-time project that is finally about to finish something concrete. But I’ll write about it when the right time comes.

What I’ll write about today is the Pomodoro technique i.e. the tomato technique. This is what Wikipedia says about the technique:

The Pomodoro technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. The technique uses a timer to break down periods of work into 25-minute intervals called ‘Pomodoros’ (from the Italian word for ‘tomato’) separated by breaks. Closely related to concepts such as timeboxing and iterative and incremental development used in software design, the method has been adopted in pair programming contexts. The method is based on the idea that frequent breaks can improve mental agility.

There are five basic steps to implementing the technique:

  • decide on the task to be done
  • set the pomodoro (timer) to 25 minutes
  • work on the task until the timer rings; record with an x
  • take a short break (3-5 minutes)
  • every four “pomodoros” take a longer break (15–30 minutes)

So, this is originally an IT technique, a software design technique. But, in a way, designing and implementing software is similar to writing lyrics: you want to create something, you need some time to do it and you will have to split the task into smaller tasks.

I’ve used this technique this week, with some changes. And it works.

My first attempt was 5/5. Five minutes of writing, five minutes of rest. My idea was “I’ll take these four lines and try to improve them in five minutes”. And a five-minute break after the intense writing minutes. If I couldn’t improve the lines in one Pomodoro session, in five minutes, I’d use another small Pomodoro session.

The 5/5 Pomodoro technique was good one evening. I was tired that evening and I only could concentrate for five minutes at a time. On Saturday, I had to use a longer time scale. I had slept for 11 hours and I felt like a new man. Then, 15/5 was better. I didn’t even try 25/5 (maybe one day). Fifteen minutes of intense writing, five minutes of rest. After three sessions, a longer break.

What’s good about this technique? Well, it makes you write (or at least to try to improve) your lyrics even if you don’t feel like writing, even if you don’t have the inspiration. It also makes writing a bit easier because you concentrate on one small thing at a time. Instead of thinking “oh, how I am supposed to write lyrics for a whole song, that’s such an enormous task” you think “ok, one thing at a time, perhaps I should try writing the chorus first?”

Just try it. It won’t kill you. It won’t make you insane. But also, it’s not a miracle tool. It’s just a way to organize your time and your tasks.

 
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Posted by on 16.9.2012 in In English, Music

 

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Easter!

Easter

Easter (Photo credit: 427)

Easter is just around the corner! Oh boy, time really flies. Each day seems to be an exact replica of yesterday, but fortunately this year is going to have a lot of events that break the monotonous routines.

First of all, I need to get my car fixed. On one hand, it’s nice to walk at least 4 km every day (especially now that spring is here) but on the other hand, it’d be nice to get it fixed (even though the public transport is quite good here in North Finland).

But anyway, Eternal Tears of Sorrow is going to the studio next week to record the second half of the seventh EToS album. We’re going to record the basic tracks: drums, bass, guitars. And vocals & keyboard will be done a bit later this year. Also, we’re going to shoot our very first (!) official music video at the end of this month. And the single… Well, I can’t say when it’s coming out, before the midsummer, I hope. It’s going to be a nice album and once again, it’s going to be a different compared to “Children of the Dark Waters“. It’s still a bit too early to say, how different, but well…

The other music projects are doing fine as well, even though they are progressing much more slowly. There have been some questions I’ve been trying to solve this week (at least by thinking). “Can ambient music be done without keyboards or samples?” among others.

Those were the days: Amiga and ProTracker.

It’s not actually weird for me to write music with a computer. That’s what I’ve been doing since 1988 or so. That’s when Altti invited me to his home and we made a rudimentary cover of “Smoke on the Water“. Oh, those were the days. ProTracker, tracker music, MODs, Amiga.

Ever since, I’ve written and demoed every song on my computer, excluding “Chaotic Beauty” (2000) and “A Virgin and a Whore” that we wrote and arranged at our rehearsal place. On “Sinner’s Serenade” (1997) you can even hear the Amiga samples :). And On “Vilda Mánnu” (1998), we spent two whole weeks trying to convert module files into MIDI files that we could use at Tico-Tico Studio.

Now, in 2012, practically every band, no matter if they play electronic music or the most extreme kind of heavy metal, write their songs at home with their computers. There are computers in every single recording studio. Well, the modern world is thoroughly digitalized, which is mostly a good thing. In the 90s, if you wanted your band mates to hear your new songs, you had to take them with you on a diskette or a cassette. And you had physically move yourself to your band mate’s home, or invite him to come over :). Now, we have email, DropBox, SoundCloud and so many other ways to let the rest of the band hear what you’ve been up to.

Commodore Amiga 500, 16-bit computer (1987)

Yeah, when it comes to music, it’s much easier nowadays. Still, I sort of miss the old days. You’d to call your band mate using the landline telephone to know if he’s at home. Then, you’d take a diskette or a cassette with you and play the demo at his house. You could spend an entire evening just to demonstrate a new song because in Finland, it’s customary to offer coffee to your guests.

Now, it’s nothing but putting an MP3 file into your DropBox folder and sending a Facebook message “I’ve got a new demo, let me know what you guys think about it”. It’s much less personal nowadays. Just sending files and messages. In the “best case scenario”, you may even call your friends. Or is it just me? Perhaps I’ve become a lazy, fat, nostalgic bastard :P.

Anyway, I uploaded another “dark ambient” song onto SoundCloud. Listen to it if you’re interested in such genre.

Happy easter! (Or whatever you’re going to celebrate this week.. If you’re not celebrating anything, have a nice week!)

 
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Posted by on 3.4.2012 in In English, Music

 

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