Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Music: Roxette - No More Crashing Guitars

There was as short interview with Marie Fredriksson during this summer on 13the of August during which she told that there will be no more Roxette projects in the future. She will continue working in Swedish though and will release her solo album soon. So, the project Roxette that lasted for 20 years is "officially" closed now. Both Per Gessle and Marie Fredriksson are continuing there solo projects. Marie not long ago has done a solo album in English. Per, at the same time had quite a success with his project Son of a Plumber in English. So, we might expect something interesting solo projects in English in the future.


Saturday, August 25, 2007

Computers: What to Buy - Classics

Since I have given my notebook to my sister and preparing myself for buying a new desktop pc, the first aspects I am looking for is processor and monitor. On the web I have found a short review from the magazine and found some information on what to see when you look at monitors and processors. I will be looking for the quad system, so I was particularly looking for these solutions. Since Intel has quad processors already, they have the advantage. AMD, on the other hand uses 2 sockets on the motherboard with 2 duo processors which it makes it into a quad system. What AMD tells on the other hand is that as soon as they release quad processors, you will be able to replace 2 duo processors with 2 quad processors which will make it into octo (8x) system without the need to upgrade the motherboard. So, I am kinda on the AMD side although before the review I was on Intel side. Well, one month to go before I will buy it and I need to find the place in Stockholm who will do a custom build for me but it’s never too bad to have some info upfront. The review has not only the guide for the processors but also for LCD monitors.


Job: One Week at Ascade

Well, one week has passed since I have started at Ascade and I must say my happiness about working there has raised together with the days. On the fist day I got a bit overwhelmed with the information but later on I realized that there is no particular immediate rush and I will manage to catch up with the process. Before September, there are some other new people joining the company and that will be the time when the main training will happen and the actual real work will start. I got the idea about how the work is done and which tools are used. I think every company that has chosen .NET platform, does it in its own particular way, having own framework, controls, tools and so on. There are quite a few smart people in Ascade and I will learn a lot from them in the process, I like the idea of learning from people with experience rather than just reading the books. People are very friendly here. The major difference from my experience is that Oracle database is used and not MS SQL. I think I will benefit from learning Oracle SQL PL since it is widely used in the world. The next time I will have to install the database on my computer, I will have to think which one :). Technically, in comparison with Tobii, this job is much closer to one that I had at Basic Partner in Klaipeda.

The company uses Dell computers and servers. My computer is not brand new but it's P4 3.00Ghz, 2GB RAM, 150 GB HD, Radeon X300. Surprisingly, there are quite a few ergonomic devices here. First is the vertical mouse which I have talked about in my previous emails and the second one is mouse trapper which is almost in every government institution and banks these days in Sweden. I will ask if I can get one of those for me.

So, Ascade office is on the 3rd floor and there are other companies in the same big (wide) building as well. In the past, I think it used to be a brewery there but now offices are there. I have a view on the water and I can see the town hall from the window in front of me. There are quite a few restaurants outside to go for lunch and there are two food stores near the office where I can buy lunch, bring it to the office and eat it there if we are too lazy cooking at home.

The room where I work is pretty big and some 15 people are in the same room. It has a very good air conditioning system and I hope it will have a good heating system in winter as well. As about the office location, it's around 30 minutes from the place where we live. Half of the way I travel together with Marie (5 minutes by bus and then 10 minutes by metro) and then I switch to another line and travel one more stop by metro while Marie goes a couple of stops further.
Here is the picture of my working place with some view from the window:


Friday, August 24, 2007

Fun: Music CDs Collection as my Hobby

I have got some questions about what I was doing during the time while I was on my summer holidays. Well, besides being lazy, drinking beer and gaining some extra weight, I came back to my old hobby which is collecting CDs. I spent a lot of time eBay and Tradera (Swedish eBay) and managed to get almost all Roxette CD Singles released. CD Singles are not that popular in Lithuania and I will give a short explanations what it is.

A CD Single or/a Maxi CD is a CD that might be either 5" (like a normal CD) or quite rare these days 3" (a smaller CD). Singles usually come in thinner plastic boxes or carton ones. In US, the singles come in normal CD boxes like albums. So, a single is usually a track from the album that is put on the CD with some extra material (remixes, edits, demos, live material, non-album tracks) or can be just one song and sold for a shorter period of time (unlike albums), from 2 weeks to 2 months maximum and then gets deleted from the catalog and cannot be ordered by the stores from the record companies anymore. These sales define the singles charts positions. Very often (but not always) a single gets a video promotion that is shown on MTV, Viva and so on. Sometimes single versions, album versions and video versions are slightly different. I remember that in school times I thought that the video version of the song was the "original" one. But it appears that the album versions quite often are edited for the singles. From time to time there are remixes that are release only on vinyl discs.

So, I decided to pay a tribute to the old-school times and collected quite a few Roxette singles (around 40) with various rare versions and live material. I also got their vinyl albums and some vinyl singles with the tracks that were not released on CDs. Along with my growing Roxette collection, I tried to get singles of Dr.Alban, U96, Erasure, DJ Bobo, Snap, Scooter, Westbam, Culture Beat, Haddaway, Madonna, Pet Shop Boys and some other bands from my high-school times when music was really something I was crazy about. Usually they wouldn't cost more than 5-6 Euros per CD with shipping. From time to time I try to search for the CDs like that just in case there is something interesting. I don't spend a fortune on that just from time to time here and there a couple of Euros. Obviously everyone has own taste and I have got my favorites. It's a nice feeling to have them in the collection, since there are fewer and fewer bands that could produce one good song after another. Is it us getting older or is it the world of music changing so much. Anyways there are quite a few old tracks that you do not get bored of even these days, and I am really happy that some of the old times figures are still making music and can compete with todays teenagers demand for music.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Events: Tall Ships in Stockholm

Catchin’ up a little with the events. In the end of July, in Stockholm there was a day when quite a few tall ships “parked” in Stockholm to spend a weekend and then go for the race. There were some events arrange for that. There was a parade when the teams from different countries (pretty much from all around the world) would march through the center of the city. After that there was a short concert where the same teams would present a song. After all, there was a long evening with small stages all around as well as beer and snacks. Here are some pictures of the ships. There was one ship that attracted a lot of attention. It was Russian Shtandart, which is a nice replica of the old frigate.

In 2009, the tall ships races will make a stop in Klaipeda for a couple of days.