Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Music: Before You Burn that MP3 Disc

What I have found irritating is that when I burn an Audio CD from MP3s or CD/DVD with MP3s, from time to time I have to adjust the volume of the player because different MP3 s were encoded with different volumes. I searched for a software that would adjust the volume of all MP3s to one level. So, I found one, it is Mp3Gain:

So, before burning audio discs, try to use this utility to normalize your files.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

PIctures: Software Panoramic

My friend Levon did a panoramic picture in his blog and I thought I should try it too. So I took my old Kodak dx3500 and we went to the lake near us to feed the ducks. I took the pictures there and combined them with Canon PhotoStitch (actually Photoshop CS can do it as well). So, here is the lake:

and here is our room again:

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Sweden: ComHem Fixed my Problem

A small update on my case with ComHem. I think that somebody from the company read my post :) and made the changes. The guy from the support called me and told that the modem that I have bought is not receiving the settings automatically and therefore it will not work at a full speed. Well, I explained to him that another support person told me that I can buy any "modern" modem and that it should work. Then he told that then it’s the fault of the company/support and that I was kinda fooled, therefore they will send a modem to us for free, which is very sweet. Well, it took some time to solve the problem but in the end it was solved. So, now I am pretty happy and maybe ComHem got me back as a customer. We will see.

What I learned from this is that the Cable Internet is much more complicated than ADSL and people shouldn't take chances buying their own cable modems from the different countries. One way to get a cheaper modem is to find a person who has been using the modem on the same system and wants to sell the modem.

Now, I just can't wait to get my 8mbps line up and running.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Sweden: ComHem Lost Me as a Customer

updated: a small and happy update on this issue in the next post

I would like to share my experience with Swedish ComHem Internet provider. I pretty much anticipated all those things but hoped that it would be better than my experience with the cable internet provider in Lithuania.

Since we moved into the apartment only for 5 months we could not order internet for 12 months and get a modem for free. ComHem told us that we need to buy it for 100 Euros from them or we could buy our own somewhere (just any modern cable modem). Well, I thought I could buy a modem. So I did. I bought Motorola SB5100E modem from Denmark and it cost me 30 Euros to buy it. When the time came to install it, the MAC address of the modem worked but ComHem could not register the Serial Number in the system. Because of that, the modem would work at a lowest speed possible. So, I called the support and here is the sequence in which they told me to do the following:
The second time I called, they asked to measure the speed 3 times per day and call us back with the results.
The third time I called, they told me that tests do not matter and that they will forward the problem to the central support place and will call us back in case something is wrong.
Then, after 5 days I called them one more time. Now they told me that I have to get the modem from them, since they only work with their modems. Well, now I will have to buy a second hand modem in Sweden and probably sell the one I bought from Denmark to somebody else somewhere. We will manage get the internet working in a couple of days but when we move to a different place in summer, definitely will go to a different provider in Sweden, like Tele2. ComHem lost me as a customer.

The guys at ComHem should learn how to document the support question and build a normal knowledge base in their system. Maybe fix the database (so it would accept different kind of serial numbers). And stop holding people on the phone for 1 hour to get to the customer support. At least create a toll-free number so people could call from Skype or landline for free. Create a menu in Englsh (come on, even Lithuania has English in almost every service).

PS Just forget about my ComHem email support - none of my emails were answered.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Computers: To Vista or not to Vista?

When I walk around the computer stores, I see that notebooks and desktops have the stickers, like Windows Vista Capable. So, it does sound like a computer can run Vista. If you decide to buy a computer in the nearest future and you want to make sure your computer will run smoothly, do not look for the Vista Capable, look for Vista Premium Ready.

Here come the details from the Mcrosoft Page that state the differences:

A Windows Vista Capable PC includes at least:

* A modern processor (at least 800MHz1).
* 512 MB of system memory.
* A graphics processor that is DirectX 9 capable.

Windows Vista Premium Ready PCs
To get an even better Windows Vista experience, including the Windows Aero user experience, ask for a Windows Vista Capable PC that is designated Premium Ready, or choose a PC that meets or exceeds the Premium Ready requirements described below. Features available in specific premium editions of Windows Vista, such as the ability to watch and record live TV, may require additional hardware.

A Windows Vista Premium Ready PC includes at least:

* 1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor.
* 1 GB of system memory.
* Support for DirectX 9 graphics with a WDDM driver, 128 MB of graphics memory (minimum), Pixel Shader 2.0 and 32 bits per pixel.
* 40 GB of hard drive capacity with 15 GB free space.
* DVD-ROM Drive.
* Audio output capability.
* Internet access capability.

Well, knowing all that, I would say, get a 2GHz processor, 2GB RAM, 500GB Hard Drive and an upper class video card if you want to have a good feeling about your PC in a year or so.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Pictures: Workplace & KTH Lab

Here is a picture of my workplace (phone qty). It has a view on the highway, so I've got a pretty dynamc screensaver on my window.

And here is one more photo of the computer lab at the KTH. It has pretty high tables and chairs so that people could use computers while both standing and sitting.

I will probably get a table at work that can have different heights, controlled electronically. I am thinking about getting one for us at home but it costs around 570 Euros which is kinda expensive. But the I like the idea of working for an hour sitting and then for an hour standing and then again sitting and so on. Well, you get the point.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Pictures: New 2007 Year

Happy New Year Everyone!

Aaaaaalright. We moved in and happily met the new 2007 year. And we finally managed to take some pictures of the apartment that we will have until the summer. To be short, here are the pictures:

- the main hall on the floor

- the view from the door

- the computer

- the sofa

- kitchen

- the tv :)

And here are us at the New Year dinner table.