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Norwegian band Vamp copies Malvina Reynolds’ Little boxes but gives her no credit

8.26.2012 | 0 Comments

the members of Vamp

I was listening to Norwegian radio station P3 today, and heard the band Vamp’s new single “Liten fuggel”. I immediately recognized it as “Little boxes” by Malvina Reynolds. The two were so close that I had to look up both songs online. Again, the similarity was striking! So I got curious how Vamp recognized this fact, and I did a little checking around:

What I found was several news articles (like this one from local newspaper Haugesund Avis, English translation here) about the band and the single. But even though Vamp pretty much has copied the melody straight off the original, and based the (Norwegian) lyrics on the song, they claim to have written text and melody themselves, and there is not mention of Malvina Reynolds.

I have made a video that compare the two songs:

Unfortunately, due to copyright law I could only use a short sample of each song, so the similarities in this video are not that obvious. But you can check out the full songs here:

I am a believer in copying and combining old music to create something new, as long as the original artist is given credit. But Vamp does nothing to that sort. Quite the contrary, they claim they are the original. And that’s pretty shitty.

The orginal song is now most known as the title song for the TV-series Weeds, where a multitude of artists made their own versions of the song, all of which gave credit to Malvina Reynolds. Check out a compilation of the versions.

Same text as above, in Norwegian:

Hørte akkurat Vamp’s “Liten fuggel” på P3 og kjente den umiddelbart igjen som Melvina Reynolds’ “Little boxes”. Sjekka sidene og albumet til Vamp, og flere avisartikler om det, men Melvina Reynolds og Little boxes er ikke nevnt med et ord. Er alltid for deling, kopiering og remixing, men da bør orginal-artisten krediteres. Vamp påstår selv at de har skrevet både melodi og tekst, og det har åpenbart ikke. Dårlige greier.

Hør selv:

Vamp – Liten fuggel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cE7RmeC9Ftc

Melvina Reynolds – Little boxes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_2lGkEU4Xs

Little boxes er forøvrig mes kjent som kjenningsmelodien til TV-serien Weeds, der mange artister har laget sin egen versjon av låten: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVyVp0qMpOk&feature=fvwrel


Get Spotify from anywhere in the world

9.25.2009 | 10 Comments

SpotifySo you have noticed how cool Spotify is? You want to try it too but can’t because it is not available in your country? Well now you can get access from anywhere in the world. Just follow this step-by-step guide to create a Spotify account without needing an invite and start listening to the worlds largest music database. Instantly. For free.

Because Spotify is currently only available in certain European countries, you need to make your computer appear as it is in one of these countries (called virtual private networking (VPN) or using a proxy). After the account has been registered you can turn your computer appear as back to normal.  So this is what I will guide you through; we will make your computer appear as in the UK, get you registered, download your version of Spotify, and get you listening to music!

The steps take take about 10 minutes and are as follows:

  1. Click this link
  2. A page with a form field appears (if you only see an ad click skip ad in the top right corner).unlocker
  3. Enter https://www.spotify.com/en/get-started/ in the field and click Go
  4. Spotify’s user registration page will appear
    spotify-regform
  5. Enter your account details. The following fields are required:
    • Username
    • Password
    • Confirm password
    • Email
    • Country: Select United Kingdom (It should be the only choice. If you see another country in the list then you don’t need to follow this guide)
    • Postal code: Any UK postal code will work. Use BT48 0PW if you don’t know any UK postcodes.
    • Gender
    • Date of birth
    • Letters. Enter the letters in the image above.
    • Check “I agree with the Spotify end user agreement”
  6. Click Create account and proceed
  7. If you have done everything right you should see a page saying that your account has been created. A new page with the download link will then appear. Don’t download from that page!
  8. Download Spotify using this link
  9. Install Spotify
  10. Log in with the username and password you created above.
    spotify-login

Thats it!

You should now be able to access and use one of the largest music databases in the world. Instant music for free :)

spotify-ui

Enjoy!


Qualified company logo

9.15.2009 | 0 Comments

I took my Adwords exam some months back but due to a hickup in the Google certification system I didn’t receive my logo until today. But here it is: Adwords logoYou can also see the full certification on the Google Qualified profile page.


Microsoft plan to cut CSS and background image support in New Outlook 2010

6.25.2009 | 1 Comment

Microsoft Outlook 2010 is in beta stage and Microsoft is asking for your feedback. Here is a chance to have your say and tell Microsoft that they are making a big mistake that will set email design back 5 years. So far 6,000 tweets has shown its support for the cause.

Microsoft recently posted some details on its Outlook MSDN blog about the upcoming Outlook 2010, part of the new Office 2010 software package. In the blog it says:

Outlook 2010 represents the latest in our work to creating a powerful and intuitive e-mail client, providing you with a rich set of e-mail management tools to manage your personal and professional life while staying in touch with the people that matter most. New innovations in user interface, search, and people photos are just some of the bold, exciting experiences that await Outlook 2010 users. In this next wave, Outlook will make accessing your e-mail and connecting with people wherever you are – on whatever device you choose – seamless and easier than ever before.

This sounds great, although it doesn’t say much in details. But when looking more closely at the features of the new Outlook it turns out that they are re-introducing Word as the rendering engine to display HTML emails. This, for those who remember, is what Outlook 97 used to do and with all the problems that came with it.

For anyone who is involved in designing and sending out email newsletters, this is a big setback.  Word has no support for CSS like float and position and background images and much more.

What does this mean? Well, you can see the difference in how an email with CSS is shown in Outlook 2000 and then how the same email will look in Outlook 2010 below:

So if you want to make your voice heard and stop this madness, head over to a site called Outlook’s broken – lets fix it and follow the instruction. Or simply tweet a message to your following and include http://fixoutlook.org somewhere in your tweet.


No more facebook.com/kiwibank

6.21.2009 | 0 Comments

logo kiwibankA week ago I wrote about how I registered the Facebook vanity URL facebook.com/kiwibank from New Zealand bank Kiwibank.

As I suspected this would not last for very long. Kiwibank would surely wake up and realise that someone had not been doing their job. And I was right; today I received the following email from Facebook:

Hi,

The username you selected was removed for violating Facebook’s policies. A Facebook username should have a clear connection to one’s identity. In addition, impersonating anyone or anything is prohibited. If you see other people with usernames that do not accurately represent their real names, it is only because they have not yet been removed for misuse.

To select a new username, please visit the following link:

www.facebook.com/username

Thanks for your understanding,

Allison
User Operations
Facebook

So there you have it: This is what happens when you try to register a brand name as a vanity URL with Facebook.


Website architecture visualised

6.15.2009 | 0 Comments

A company I am contracting to asked me today if I had a way to visualise how a Joomla website would be structured, what components would go into etc.

template for visualising the layers of a website

I have made all kinds of templates over the years. But one that has worked best for me is this one (excel file).

It is an excel document that includes a template showing the build up and architecture of a website, and a template for estimating the cost of building the site. The example used is for Joomla but any website build can be used.

The visualisation shows the various layers from database and programming language to CMS, components, modules, plugins and the number of templates that needs to be built for each. It also includes another layer for external apps that needs to be integrated.

Let me know if it comes in handy.


Did you get your Facebook vanity URL? I got facebook.com/kiwibank

6.14.2009 | 2 Comments

This weekend saw a massive land rush in people signing up for their vanity URL at Facebook. One hour after Facebook opened for vanity URL’s on Saturday at 16:01 NZ time, 1 million users had registered their vanity URL. That’s a lot of people, especially when you keep in mind that this was bed time for much of Europe and USA!!Facebook Vanity URL countdown

A vanity URL is a personal Internet address that is shortened and personalised so that other people can easier find you on a website.

For Facebook your profile page address has up till this weekend looked like this :

www.facebook.com/index.php?lh=82e25be80fc1540e354324f08fc35574&

instead of now

www.facebook.com/espeng

If you haven’t registered your vanity URL yet you can do it now at www.facebook.com/username

facebook vanity url username selectorOther social networks like MySpace has had this for years and Facebook has gotten a lot of criticism for not having it. So when they finally decided to open up for it the anticipation was huge around who would get their ideal username. Especially because the name is given on a first come-first serve basis, you can only choose your username once, and you can not change it. So for a lot of companies, artists and groups this was their only chance to get their ideal username or brand name.

Facebook had a counter counting down the days and hours until the launch.

And when they finally launched on Saturday -what a fight it was! I was ready on the dot and I had hoped for the username espen but 20 seconds into it that was already taken. Some other Espen from Norway snapped it away from me. So I ended up with espeng instead, not quite so glamorous.

facebook.com/kiwibank
More interesting is it that I have another test account with Facebook. Its something I have used for building Facebook applications and a vanity URL doesn’t have much point on that account. But I might as well register something so today, Sunday, nearly 24 hours later, I decided to try registering a brand name. Its a good way to investigate how Facebook look at company brands and how the process it for the brand owner to get it back. So I started with the top 100 global brands at Milward Brown. Not surprisingly I found that every one was taken.

My thoughts then went on to NZ brands; airnz, theherald, trademe… taken, taken, taken. But then, after trying a few bank brands I found that kiwibank was available!logo kiwibank
Kiwibank, who I must say is my favourite bank – they are innovative, good service, low loan rates, and very active on the web. But somehow someone at Kiwibank must not have been doing their job properly because there it was: “kiwibank is available, do you want to register it now?”. I clicked Yes.

So now it remains to see how long it takes before Kiwibank notices and tries to reclaim it.
Most likely this will be an easy process. Facebook has promised to react quickly to breaches of TradeMarks agreements and there is already a submission form available for re-claiming registered brands. If not, there is nothing I can do about it now because according to Facebook I can’t transfer it, change it or remove it…


Rescue Remedy as new client

6.13.2009 | 0 Comments

I have been hired to deliver a website for the Australian and New Zealand Rescue Remedy.rescue remedy logo

The scope of the project is the project management, design implementation and development of the Australian website for the product Rescue Remedy (RR). The purpose of the website is to market the product and provide information to potential customers and to provide support and information to its current customers.

The website will be installed with a Content Management System (CMS) suitable for the size of the website the employees that will manage the site.

The site is expected to launch in July/August.


New design and layout

6.13.2009 | 0 Comments

I was going to update the site today with some new projects and ended up completely re-doing the design and layout. In fact it is a completely new website. I have archived the Joomla system and I am now running WordPress instead. I love Joomla to bits but for me all I wanted was a site where I can put my portfolio up and I have to admit WordPress is better at that.

The whole installation of WordPress, finding and buying a $25 template (Yourfolio from ThemeForest), setting up and configuring, and adding the most basic content took me about 7 hours. Not bad.


Bobux online strategy project

6.13.2009 | 0 Comments

bobux logoBobux has hired me for the development of a new online strategy.

The strategy process will be managed by me in close relationship with Bobux.

The online strategy will consist of:

  • Customer profiling
  • Competition analysis
  • Goals and KPI’s
  • Revenue forecasting
  • Milestones and timeline
  • Risk analysis
  • Development roadmap
  • Technology guide
  • Budget and resource requirement

The end result is a strategy document that will set the framework for the website and marketing activities.