Archive for May 18th, 2007

Adrenaline seeker

I am alone at home tonight. JBQ went out to do exactly this:

OSNews on the Linux-based Motorola Z6

Special thanks to MobileBurn’s Michael Oryl for sending me a screenshot of Opera under Linux on the Motorola Z6 cellphone rendering OSNews. Michael posted a review of the device yesterday.

Unfortunately Motorola messed up the user agent on this phone and so it will be difficult for most webmasters to automatically recognize the mobile nature of the device and serve it the right content:
MOTOROKR Z6/R60_G_80.xx.yyI Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0 Linux;
MOTOROKR Z6;nnn) Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 Opera 8.50[yy]

Scorpions on a plane to Greece

I am currently listening to Scorpion’s “Always Somewhere“. What an amazing song!

While trying to find the right YouTube link for the song, I came across this video, from Scorpions’ live appearance in Athens, Greece, last year. Apparently they also performed in Greece in 2001 and 2004. Well, here’s the thing. Scorpions were big in the ’80s. Whenever they would go to perform in the ’80s, the concert halls would always be filled up. But even if Greek listeners were absolutely loving the Scorpions back then (I even remember 60 year old Greek ladies liking their music), they would not come to perform in Greece.

Fast forward 10+ years. The rest of the Europe does not care about the Scorpions anymore. Heck, Thom has told me that he doesn’t even know who they are. Their concert halls are pretty empty. The glory days are gone. And so they decide to come and perform in Greece in 2001 (for less money possibly than they were used to). And oh, the joy! There you have 80,000 hungry-since-the-’80s fans in a soccer stadium filling it up like crazy. And there you have Scorpions coming again in 2004, 2005 and in 2006 and they are scheduled for this July too. And not only that, but here you have Klaus Meine yelling at the microphone “wow, we will come next year too“. Well, asses, now that no one else wants you, you come back to Greece running, don’t ya?

I have a bittersweet taste in my mouth about all this. When I was a teenager in the late ’80s, not even 3rd class international artists would come to perform in Greece. The Cure and the Stranglers came once and it was presented by the media like the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! When Duran Duran were big and they performed everywhere in the world, Greece was also left out back then. And what do you know, fast forward when no one was giving a fuck about them, and where would you find them? In Athens!

Of course, this is not the artist’s fault. The Greek companies that were supposed to bring entertainers from abroad to perform in Athens were a JOKE. Even today they are still a joke and no one wants to do business with them.

Still, it feels bittersweet. From one side I feel robbed from my “teenage rights”, but on the other side it feels like a long lost family member who comes back and the whole village celebrates. That thought was enough to make me shed a tear.

Save Blake! Vote for Jordin!

The final of “American Idol” is this coming week. Do Blake Lewis a favor and vote for his competitor, Jordin Sparks! Ok, let me explain myself now.

The fact is that Blake Lewis is one of the worst *singers* in the competition. However, he is the biggest talent of all. You see, while he doesn’t have the voice to compete against Jordin, Melinda or Lakisha or even Phil Stacey, he has the rest of the package that the rest don’t have. He is an artist, not a singer. Blake acts, does voices, writes music, produces music, dances, beatboxes and sings (not so well). In other words, Blake is the best bang for the buck for a label (think “Madonna”). And he is good looking too, which is apparently important these days.

Jordin on the other side can’t do anything well other that simply sing well and look pretty on camera. She was awarded by God, erm, I mean Darwin, this beautiful strong voice. She could be a new Whitney Houston if the right songs are *given* to her. You see, she can’t read or write music, her career would simply depend on the good intentions of her label to promote her or not.

And this is where the trick is. If Blake wins American Idol, he will be forced to accept the “winning” contract that he has already pre-signed with that shark-turned-producer guy that created “American Idol”. It is well-established that the winning contract is nothing but prison. The winning artist is 100% used by the label that sponsors “American Idol” and is manipulated to the extreme. There is no artistic freedom or high profits from that contract (that’s the same producer who created some boy bands — the same popular boy band members who could not even afford to buy a car after having worked their ass off for 4 years!).

If Blake wins, this will be the end of him as an artist and as a professional. Blake on-purpose took big risks in previous sessions by choosing less popular songs/arrangements just so he shows off to OTHER labels that he’s got the real deal as an overall artist rather than just being simply a singer. There is no doubt that he would easily get a better contract with another label. Unfortunately for him, he is too pretty and so little girls kept voting for him. And so here he is, in the final of American Idol.

Do Blake a favor and vote for Jordin. I know I will.

The best of Eurodance

I spent the day the other day trying to remember my youth and college days — I miss the era. There is no better way to do that but through music. Back in the ’90s Eurodance was huge in the whole Europe (except UK), Japan, Brazil and Toronto (yes, only in the Toronto city). Eurodance is not a style of music that you listen when you want to simply listen to some music (for these times, I usually listen to alternative rock, pop & even classic). It is specialized in dance and clubbing, with the melody and the beat taking center stage, while the lyrics are there simply just as a guidance to the beat rather than having anything useful to say.

Checking out YouTube I tried to find some of these classics, and I was in for a surprise. Reading at the comments on some of these songs the European people who commented felt exactly as I do! For them, Eurodance is simply one thing: MEMORIES. Because the scene did not live on, it is now associated with a very specific time period (1990-1996) and so when you listen to some of these songs your memories are awaken! Much more than with other pop/rock songs. In other words, it is a bit of a cult for young people of the early ’90s, rather than an established music scene.

For those in USA and elsewhere who never heard most of these songs, thank God there is YouTube. I would have much preferred to link to iTunes’ previews, but iTunes do not carry Eurodance songs at all. It is very difficult to find these old hits these days. I tried to buy Sash!’s greatest hits album the other day, and Amazon only has an import of it for 80 bucks! That’s a ridiculous price for a CD!

Anyways, here are some of the best Eurodance songs (only 4-5 songs are missing as they are not available on YouTube). My all time favorite is the “rebased” version of General Base’s “Base of Love“. My second favorite is E-Type’s “Russian Lullaby“. For you who never lived in the Eurodance era (or country), please have a look to some of the songs in my list and tell me what you think. Remember, Eurodance is simply clubbing and happiness, not a thought-provoking form of art.

And a question for you: do you find this form of music “aggressive”? JBQ does… and he is the one who listens to heavy metal…

iPhone’s new clothes… erm, I mean Mizi’s

Mizi Research has updated its graphical user interface framework for consumer electronic devices like mobile phones. Prizm 3.0 has switched to Python as its main application programming language (from Qt), and has gained modern visual effects such as “dragging, sliding, fading and accelerated smart scrolling,” the company said.

It bothers me that Mizi did all this work to beautify their UI only after Apple introduced the iPhone. I am not saying that their UI update was not the right business decision to help them compete in this market, but it bothers me that they moved their ass only after Apple came in and showed them how shit is done. For 6 years now Mizi’s stuff looked like this instead. They should have innovated long before — they had the time to do so. Some of the new screenshots look like a copy/paste of iPhone’s UI ideas. And take that from a gal who always advocated that “copying” in the tech industry is normal.