General

I guess you all know the track “I’m on a boat” by The Lonely Island.

Well, now there’s a new version for all you Mac users out there!

The Pantless Knights are at it again with a sequel to our “Mac or PC Rap.”

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It’s official! I am a Hero!

They got some facts wrong though. I’m not Swedish but: Danish / German / Belgian, and I did not pay for a TV licence. But hey, I’m still a hero right? 🙂

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Top Gear on iPlayerDon’t you just hate the fact that you can’t access Hulu? Or BBC iPlayer? Or the good music on Spotify?

If you look up Internet on Wikipedia, it is described as:

The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet Protocol Suite (TCP/IP) to serve billions of users worldwide.

However, as we’re getting ready for 2010, the internet is getting less and less global thanks to our “beloved” media institutions.

Services like Hulu don’t work outside the US. Why? If I can’t watch the stuff legally, on Hulu, or buy the shows on iTunes, I go about getting the same show somewhere else. It’s not that I wouldn’t pay, it’s just that no-one wants my money. How is this possible?

Hulu outside the USFrom a technical point of view, it would cost Hulu (or it’s ISP) a bit more to have traffic go out of the US through transit, but hey, I would be willing to pay a bit more for it. I thought Hulu was ad supported anyway? So where’s the problem? The license owner (the TV network) would make more money that way. They aren’t seeing a single cent if I were to get that show elsewhere.

What about the BBC iPlayer? Why isn’t that accessible globally? I can watch BBC on cable TV, or via Satellite for free too, just like people within the UK. Ok, I don’t pay any TV license, but then again, I don’t pay that in the UK either. So no real reason there either.

And then there’s my favorite app: Spotify.

Spotify Track not available in the UKIn an age, where I can get any music track within minutes, why do you still have a different catalog in every country? It’s ridiculous. I’m paying £9,99 per month, to get access to unlimited music. But then I find out, that I have to switch my account between UK and France, to get all the music I would like. That’s the only reason, I still open iTunes from time to time. It could be so much better!

It would even save Spotify storage, as you seem to be keeping the same track from different CD’s with different track IDs.

The US roll-out, I can understand. It’s all a matter of scaling the backend, but you could at least allow Premium signups in those countries. Again, you don’t seem to want to make money?

And don’t start blaming it on the music / TV / film industry. We all KNOW it’s their fault, but you are owned by them! So point out to them, that censorship is something that we can bypass. Heck, I’ve got IP blocks, and there’s VPN services for the rest, in nearly all European countries and the US, so I can get around the limits. But at the end of the day, you’re the loosing party! (I should build a product with this!)

So this is where we’ve come by 2010. The internet is getting limited on a per country basis, and net neutrality is the fancy word that the industry doesn’t like.

So I’m begging you guys: Please make more money, by making your services global. Isn’t that what the internet is all about?

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As most of you know, I’m online most of the time one way or another.

Before I left for London, I used to use my laptop or WiFi on my E61. That resulted in me getting my laptop out in Airports, Cafés and nearly any other place. Some would call it an addiction 🙂

Having left for London more than a year ago, I finally had the possibility of getting more or less unlimited internet on my phone, without having to sell my soul. That was a huge game changer. I could now check my E-mails, track support tickets – do anything really!, anywhere without having to get out my laptop. Great!

Then there were those weeks I had to head back to Belgium for family festivities etc.. I quickly realized that my 3 UK contract gave me way better rates for data in Belgium than my Belgian Proximus Pay&Go card. It wasn’t really cheap, it was just the lesser of two evils.

But now there’s a solution!

Mobile Vikings, a Belgian “next gen” MVNO finally saw what’s missing in Belgium. In the age of Twitter and hyper-connectivity, people want to be connected at all times. Either with their E71, BlackCherry or iPod Touch with phone capabilities. Pushed E-mails, Twitter streams and of course XMPP are just a few of the things people will start to use more. Just look at any other country where there’s contracts for mobile internet that are affordable.

Anyways, I immediately ordered my free SIM and ported my number. The SIM arrived 3 days after having ordered it, in a very nicely designed envelope (kudos to Mobile Vikings for that!). The accompanying letter told me to send a text from my old SIM in order to initiate the number porting process. That took about 2 hours, and I was ready to go! Topped up €15 and got my 1000 texts and 1GB of data. Worked like a charm.

Seeing as I was driving round the country quite a bit the next few days, I decided to put the Network to a test. Unlike the UK, Belgium has a mobile network that’s worth a fuck, so I was pretty optimistic. From experience, I never had any low coverage with Proximus. Never. Always good signal, and 99% even 3G (Three could learn something from them)!

Mobile Vikings use the BASE Network. First disappointment was that BASE has no 3G, but only EDGE. Having done a bit of research, it looks like BASE wants to enable the 3G network in the next few weeks, so keep your fingers crossed for that. Having said that, I was quite surprised how fast the EDGE network is. I could play Spotify tracks with only short buffering times (2-3 seconds) without any major issues. That’s really the beauty of Belgium. No one uses the data network, because it’s so damn expensive, hence it’s extremely fast! So I can’t wait until BASE fires up their 3G Network. That should be amazing.

Having spent 5 days with Mobile Vikings, I have to say, the network isn’t as bad as I expected it to be. I had issues getting signal in the Cinema (Proximus worked fine), and in some parts of Mol. But for the rest, it’s all good.

The only thing I still don’t get: How is the traffic accounted? On the site it says:

€2,50 per MB consumed,
starting from the first byte of each megabyte started.

That translates for me into: I use 1 byte, I pay 2,50€ for it, and my signal drops then, so I just paid 2,50€ for a byte. Right?! One thing I would urge every operator: charge per byte. Yes, indicate the price per MB, but the charging should occur per byte.

It’s nice to see that a group of people are getting Belgium prepped for the 21st century! So definitely get your Mobile Vikings SIM card today and join us! Just head over to: mobilevikings.com

PS: It is a great name for a Mobile Network!

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E71 with SpotifyFinally, it’s here! Spotify for S60! It was worth the wait.

I have spent all morning playing with the App, and it’s as beautiful as the client for Mac. The entire UI is not as “chunky” as Nokia’s Media Player, it’s more like an iPhone app, in the sense that it has smooth transitions between the different panels, which makes the entire experience very nice. As you can see on the picture on the side, you have something similar to Apple’s Cover Flow, which shows you the current previous, current and next track cover art. Another thing you should check out, is skipping in a track. It gives you big digits on top of the cover art.

All in all, very very sleek.

Spotify Playlist SyncOf course, it wouldn’t be Spotify, if it wouldn’t sync your playlists in realtime. This is, pardon my french, fucking awesome! Like on the iPhone or Andriod, you can select which playlists to sync, and you’ll see it syncing.

Just a note at this point: Don’t even bother syncing a few big playlists like mine via 3G, unless you’ve got a data plan that allows you to download the entire Internet. I synced my Calm Mood and Various Goodness: Dance playlist via WiFi, which generated 1,15GB of traffic. So yeah, I wouldn’t even try that.

Screenshot0010But the guys at Spotify have thought of everything. They added an option under More, which allows you to say that it should only offline-sync stuff when you’re connected via WiFi, which is probably a setting you should not change.

However, don’t be afraid to listen to Spotify tracks via 3G/HSDPA. Just listening to a few tracks on 3G won’t cost you too much traffic. It’s about 3-4MB per song.

I tested it on Three UK, and it worked surprisingly well. Just as good as the Desktop client, which I think is an amazing accomplishment!

So all in all, if this doesn’t make you upgrade to Spotify Premium, I don’t know what will! It’s amazing! The only thing missing is the possibility to queue tracks.

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I had some spare time today, so I spent it by re-configuring my EyeTV. If you don’t know what EyeTV is, it’s probably the best DVB-T client in the world!

So, after having realized, that you need a huge antenna here in the UK to actually get some signal, I set that back up. Now, turns out you also need to tilt that in the correct angle to get any signal. But once that is done:

Screen shot 2009-11-22 at 18.43.46Woop woop! 392 channels!

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A few days ago, I saw this coming on XKCD.

bag_check
A laptop battery contains roughly the stored energy of a hand grenade, and if shorted it … hey! You can’t arrest me if I prove your rules inconsistent!

It’s so annoying that you always have to get everything out of your pockets, and your bag, for “security reasons”. There is no added security. If I really were to blow up the plane, I would have tons of options that wouldn’t be detected. It’s just a matter to let people think they’re secure, at the expense of travel comfort.

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SpotifyIn 1944, Russ Morgan, Larry Stock, and James Cavanaugh wrote the song, “You’re Nobody Till Somebody Loves You”.

That’s the start of the E-mail I got on the 11th of September 2008. Back then, Spotify was still in private alpha, and I was still a big fan of Winamp. That day, all changed. The E-mail was my sneak preview invite to Spotify.

Since then, Spotify was launched to the public, and found it’s place in many people’s lives. I would even go as far as saying that Spotify changed the way people consume music. Before Spotify, I used Last.fm for my scrobbling and discovering of new Music. But there was always this thing, it wasn’t a real Music player. It was a streaming service.

But Spotify! Spotify was a music player. Yes, it played music you didn’t own, but it felt and sounded just like your local music. No buffering, skipping in the song, etc… the same as with your local Winamp / iTunes. I was amazed. It was amazing, and quickly became my favorite music player. It allowed me to listen to all, or at least most, of the music I love, and it was legal!

In the last year or so, everyone I showed Spotify to, has started using it. It’s amazing to see, how everyone instantly likes an application like Spotify. I have handed out invites in Belgium, France, Finland, Denmark, Netherlands, Germany, US and also the UK.

I’m convinced that Spotify has struck the perfect mix between Free and Paid content. 6 months ago, I thought: 10€ / month for higher quality streams only and ad-free music? No way! I personally like the ads, as they were different. Yes, they got boring after the fifth time hearing them (“Hi, I’m Roberta from Spotify. We hope you love Spotify as much as we do….” – That’s from memory!), but they weren’t as bad as the TV ads, and come on, 1 ad every 30 minutes, that’s fine.

But with the new additions, like Offline-Syncing and Mobile support, it’s actually worth getting Spotify Premium. I’ve got no iPhone (an S60v3 tester needed?), but offline-syncing is great for someone like me who’s always on the go.

It’s inspiring to see how a small startup like Spotify came along and single-handed innovated the industry. The Evil Giants have actually taken a shine to the Spotify Freemium idea, and aren’t suing the shit out of them. It’s a pity that my Various Goodness list has a lot of unplayable tracks after the pull of quite a large amount of music, but it’s slowly coming back.

The Music industry should finally realize that they are in a global society. Geo-restrictions, deferred releases, all that is just stupid nowadays, and until they change this, piracy will not drastically decrease.

But it seems like there’s still hope. Spotify seems to have quite a good relationship with the Industry giants, and maybe they can convince them to finally enter the 21st century with their licensing laws.

Spotify has changed the way people consume music. The world is changing, and Spotify is a big part of that change.

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After Jizz In My Pants, there’s ‘Wrong Hole’. Very entertaining song, not by the SNL Crew though.

This one’s written and performed by DJ Lubel, together with Taryn Southern and Scott Baio.

Enjoy.

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I have to say Taryn Southern has a great voice.

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I finally did it!

I found a cool WordPress Plugin that does URL shortening. So now I have finally got a use for my short domain 🙂

So my question is … should I make this URL shortener public? I somehow need to pay for the renewal of fj.nu, and I’d love to make fj.nu accessible to the public if I can get some donations in order to pay for the 300€ renewal 🙂

An example: This post’s short URL: fj.nu/d

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