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Abba’s new release of an old song March 31, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Music.
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An Abba song that has never been heard in public before is about to be released after nearly 30 years, thanks to band member Benny Andersson.

In 1979 Benny, 60, and his fellow Swedish supergroup songwriter Björn Ulvaeus, 61, wrote a song they called Crush On You. It was composed around the time the pair were coming up with tracks for the album Super Trouper, which includes Abba’s huge hit The Winner Takes It All.

abba.jpg

However Benny and Björn did not complete the song and neither of them did anything further with it, until this year. Now Benny has dusted the song off and has recorded it with his band, The Benny Andersson Orkester. Crush On You will be showcased on an album to be released later this year.

Benny recalls: “Björn and I were working on this one 28 years ago but the song was never completed. Now we have finished it.”

In the meantime, fans hoping that Abba, including singers Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, might reunite one day are being treated to the next best thing.

Abba first shot to fame after winning the Eurovision song contest in 1974, and their backing band, who played on Abba’s million-selling albums and also toured with the group have now reunited. Abba The Show are now planning their own concert tour of Europe, including a date at the Royal Albert Hall in London on September 26. The gigs will feature many of the Swedish quartet’s old hits, including Waterloo, Dancing Queen and SOS, using guest vocalists.

And in a further treat for Abba fans, a big-budget Hollywood film version of the smash hit musical Mamma Mia!, based around a collection of Abba songs, is about to go into production with a big-name cast. It will star Meryl Streep as its single mother heroine and former 007 Pierce Brosnan as one of the men in her life.

How to create your own podcast March 28, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Blogging, Internet.
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What is a podcast, anyway? A podcast is an audio file that you create in .mp3 format that is uploaded with an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) file to your server for your target market to download on any number of programs created to receive or subscribe to your audio file so that they can listen to it at their leisure on their computer or a personal mp3 device.

Why should you create a podcast? I think it serves as a marketing tool for the solo service professional, who might want to do one of the following:

  • create an Internet radio show or talk show in which you create content-rich broadcasts for your target market
  • conduct a teleclass series in which you interview experts who have solutions to problems faced by your target market
  • promote a printed book, ebook, or CD/DVD series by releasing promotional snippets to a wider audience
  • provide short and valuable expert tips to your target market 

Many podcasts are about an hour in length, especially when they consist of recordings of radio shows or teleclasses. However, I think that the listening threshold for most people is about 10 minutes. So, that means that your podcast needs to be 10 minutes or less in length. If it’s longer, you really have to grab their attention in the first 10 minutes to keep them listening for the full amount of time.

Good content and a good speaking voice are key to maintaining interest. Don’t make your podcast one long advertisement for your services or products, share some useful information with your target market to help them solve their problems. And, you need to have a good speaking voice. Nothing is worse than listening to someone read a speech with a monotone delivery. So, for maximum impact when you record your podcast, especially if you’re just recording yourself, get up and walk around, smile, gesture, or do whatever you normally do when you deliver a speech. Modulate your voice, in much the same way that you would when you have a 1:1 conversation with someone, put feeling and emotion into your words. I pretend like I’m talking to my best friend, and that helps me with a lively delivery.

What are the Steps to Creating a Podcast?

1. Listen to a few podcasts to get a feel for what others are doing. To listen, you’ll need a podcatcher, podcast reader, which permits you to subscribe to podcasts in the same way you subscribe to blogs. I favor iTunes as my podcatcher of choice, which is a frëe online download. You’ll also need to find podcasts, and the quickest way to do that is via podcast directories, which include the iTunes store. Podcast Alley, one of the most popular podcasting sites, has a large podcast directory, and Yahoo Podcasts has a podcast search. To find others, simply search online for “podcast directory.”

2. Plan your podcast. Who is your target market? What do they want to listen to? How will your podcast be unique from others in your industry? What’s your format, interview others, host a teleclass, or record yourself? How long will your podcast be? How frequently will you deliver your podcasts?

3. Record your podcast. Many people choose to record their podcast with a frëe piece of software called Audacity. It has an easy learning curve and advanced features for more experienced podcasters. Mac users might want to look at Garage Band. For best recording sound, don’t use the microphone that came with your computer or that is built into your laptop. You’ll want to get a more professional one, such as the ones offered at Plantronics or Radio Shack.

4. Save and upload your podcast to your server. Once you’ve created your podcast in an mp3 file, you have to save it and upload it to a server via an FTP program, like CuteFTP, so that it’s readily available. You can upload it to your website, or use one of the many podcasting hostíng services available. The problem with uploading it to your website is that audio files are space hogs, and you can quickly exhaust all the storage capacity of your hostíng account, not to mention your monthly bandwidth capacity if your podcast is popular and is downloaded frequently. That’s why I use a fee-based audio service hostíng company, Audio Acrobat, which offers me generous storage and bandwidth capacity for a semi-annual fee. Another popular podcast hostíng company is Hipcast.com.

5. Create your podcast feed. You can create your podcast feed from scratch, but I recommend you use a feed service to do so. If you use a podcasting hostíng service, this feature is included in your service package. For everyone else, the quickest way to create your podcast feed is through Feedburner.com. This is the same service that creates RSS feeds for blogs. The advantage of creating your podcast feed from this site is that you can create a browser-friendly feed, track your circulation, and enhance your feed with its SmartCast technology.

6. Publish and promote your podcast. If you use a podcasting hostíng service, the service will publish your podcast and notify various podcast directories about the availability of your new podcast. Or, you can enter the info directly into the major podcast directories. You’ll also want to promote the podcast on your website, blog, and in your email newsletter. One of the easiest ways to do this is to add feed subscription buttons called chiclets to your sites. You’ll have to cut and paste the HTML code into your templates to create the chiclets. You can get directions on how to publish subscription buttons from the various podcasters you want to feature. Lastly, you’ll want to create “album art” for your podcast, or a graphic representation that many podcatchers upload with the mp3 file. Album art may be from 170×170 to 300×300 pixels square at 72 dpi. Any graphic designer can help you create this graphics file.

7. Make monëy from your podcast. Advertising on podcasts is still fairly new, but some companies like Fruitcast.com or PodcasterAds.com are places to start. Another option is to place Google Adsense listings on all of your sites listing your podcast, or seek sponsors for your podcasts, just like you would for a radio show.

Don’t let the audio world pass you by! Podcasting is a very inexpensive way of helping you get the word out about what you do and what you offër to the world.

Related Links >
http://www.podcastalley.com 

http://podcasts.yahoo.com 

http://audacity.sourceforge.net 

http://www.apple.com/ilife/garageband 

http://www.audioacrobat.com

http://www.hipcast.com

http://www.feedburner.com

http://www.fruitcast.com

http://www.podcasterads.com

Nokia in Romania March 27, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Mobile Telecoms.
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Nokia signed a deal yesterday with the Romanian government to open a cell phone production facility in Transylvania, the company said.

Nokia plans to invest 60 million euro in the plant near Cluj. It selected this area for the plant because of its pool of skilled labor, its good logistics connections and its industrial tradition.

Birthday Cakes March 25, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Drinks News.
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Food historians are split on who deserves credit for inventing the birthday cake. Some say ancient Greeks made the first cakes with honey and bread.

Others say the first true birthday cakes were made in Germany. Sweetened bread dough was shaped in the likeness of the baby Jesus and dressed in swaddling clothes to commemorate his birth. Years later, Germans began using these cakes to celebrate their children’s birthdays.

The earliest birthday parties in history were held because it was feared that evil spirits were attracted to people on their birthdays. At first only kings were recognized as important enough to have a birthday celebration. To protect them from harm, friends and family would help celebrate their birthday, bringing them good wishes, thoughts and presents. Hats and noisemakers were used at birthday parties hoping to scare away the evil spirits.

There are a few possible explanations as to why we have candles on birthday cakes. Nobody is completely sure how the tradition started. One possible reason is because the ancient Greeks used to take round cakes, to represent the full moon, to the temple of their goddess of the moon, Artemis. The Greeks are said to have placed candles on the cake to make it look as if it was glowing like the moon.

Birthday candles were later placed on cakes to bring birthday wishes up to God. In ancient times, people prayed over the flames of an open fire. They believed that the smoke carried their thoughts up to the gods.

Today, we believe that if you blow out all your candles in one breath, your wish will come true.

Of course, a loud round of “Happy Birthday to You,” must accompany the candle blowing. At our house, the big debate was whether you sang before or after. The jury is still out on that one.

How to celebrate 50 years of Europe March 23, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Culture.
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Fifty years ago this week the leaders of six European countries put their signatures to the Treaty of Rome which launched the European Economic Community. Fifty years later the Community has become the European Union with 27 members and almost half a billion citizens. This weekend celebrations across Europe will mark those 50 years. In Berlin EU leaders will gather to draft a declaration setting out what the EU has achieved in the 20th century and what it should do in the 21st.

Parties around Europe > In Brussels a concert on Saturday night will feature a variety of European pop stars such as Zucchero, Axelle Red, Simply Red, The Scorpions, Kate Ryan, Kim Wilde, the Gypsy Kings and Nana Mouskouri.

Germany, Austria, Portugal, Brussels: Concerts
Finland: Exhibitions
Lithuania, Denmark: Fireworks and laser show
Czech Republic, Cyprus: Bus with logo
Austria, Estonia: Open days in EP offices and EU embassies
Bulgaria: Round tables
Estonia, Slovakia: Tree planting
Greece: Internet quiz
Malta: Cutting of birthday cake
 
Austria: Young rock bands
Belgium: Veteran pop stars
Britain: Football match
Bulgaria: University debates
Cyprus: EU office open day
Czech Republic: Half marathon
Denmark: Free buns
Estonia: Tree planting
Finland: Public debates
France: Romantic movie
Germany: 27 nightclubs
Greece: Multi- media artwork
Hungary: All-night concert
Irish Republic: Prayer for Europe
Italy: 27 art masterpieces
Latvia: Documentary films
Lithuania: Science symposium
Luxembourg: Circular walk
Malta: Film festival
Netherlands: Church services
Poland: Academic conference
Portugal: Local musicians
Romania: EU internet chat room
Slovakia: Student conference
Slovenia: Parachute jump
Spain: Giant puzzle
Sweden: Europe seminar

Related Links > http://europa.eu/50/index_en.htm

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