Archive for the 'English' Category

Impossible desires

Curiosidades, English No Comments »

I want a power trio just for me!

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Yet another digital me

Blog, Curiosidades, English, Vícios No Comments »

Well, since my videos on youtube are really shitty, I created a musical profile on myspace so I could upload a few better records. Check out especially the Purple Haze cover, I’m really proud of it. Drop by sometime.

http://www.myspace.com/timboothmusic

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ATM FAIL

Curiosidades, English, Humor No Comments »

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James – Hey, ma – Review

English, James, Vícios 20 Comments »

heymaalbumart.pngThe album is out. Finally. After a seven year hiatus, a reunion, a tour, a new best of compilation, Hey, Ma is finally in the stores. I’ve waited almost a week before saying anything about it for two reasons: I haven’t had much time to write anything and if I did after one hearing, I wouldn’t write the wonderful things that I’m about to write.

I’m re-hearing the album for the millionth time as I write this review, so I will write about each song separately. At least this way I have an excuse to enjoy once again each song with a glass of whiskey in one hand. Let’s do it. Glass in one hand, just press play, and start typing.

Bubbles: A soft start for a screaming album. The simple acoustic guitar riff and the steady drum beat open the door to a strangely calm voice of Tim Booth (the original, of course) . This kind of beginning reminds me of the beautiful Out to get you start to the hit album Laid, back in ’93. The song starts peacefully but ends in a crescendo of trumpets and keyboards. The lyrics could be interpreted in two ways: the “official” explanation of the birth of Tim Booth’s first son or, in a more broad view, the rebirth of a soul, in this case, the soul of a great band. 9/10

Hey, Ma: Third-single material in my opinion. Strong and straight forward political anti-war lyrics (kinda like the old Mother), simple song structure, small chorus and clean instrumentals. It’s a simple song, however, a beautiful one. Personally, this kind of lyrics isn’t my favourite type: too literal (Hey, Ma, the boys in body-bags coming home in pieces), but I can see the power rising from this song. Tim’s great voice isn’t well explored yet, except in the last bit of the song. An overall good song, however a bit distant from the rest of the album and the trademark of James. 8/10

Waterfall: It starts with a good drum beat (as always, courtesy of the master Bayton-Power) and after a bit the distinctive Andy Diagram trumpet riff kicks in. A single, surely. A relaxed song about growing up. As the lyrics say, Under the waterfall it’s cold and clear, after a certain barrier, all seems much clear. The I’m so cynical bit is a classic Tim’s footprint. 7/10

Oh my heart: The first really loud song of the album. It remembers me of such albums as Millionaires with a more common song structure and a really powerful guitar riff in the chorus. That’s my favourite part of the song. Tim’s voice begins to show itself in this track. It’s almost chaotic with all the instruments playing at the same time, and that’s the beauty of this song. Not one of my favs, but surely one that will get massive attention. 7/10

Boom Boom: A flavourless all at once start for this song. I’m sorry, but I just can’t find the enchantment in this song besides the pre-chorus. The chorus isn’t catchy and the guitar is too clean for this sort of song. It wouldn’t hurt some distortion in the guitar riff and the trumpet is barely doing it’s job. Positive mark for Mark Hunter (nice pun, hey?) keyboards and Saul Davies violin. The song that I dislike the most in the whole album, but a good song nonetheless. 6/10

Semaphore: Great start to one of the quietest songs in the whole album. Beautiful guitar intro. Angst lyrics, although a bit clichètic if there is such a word. The whole music kinda sounds like Top of the world on speed, although it can’t achieve that quality. I don’t like the fade out ending, but I assume that it was an hour long jam for an ending, which will do marvellous on a live show. Great song. 9/10

Upside Down: A passionate song for the whole gang. The first really passionate song in the album, I would say. Powerful, yet simple lyrics. This is not the cry about Immigrant labour that I’ve been hearing out there. Come on people, listen to the damn song: My work’s about words and sounds you can taste/Violins and trumpets, and chocolate cakes the words “words”, “sounds”, “violins” and “trumpets” mean anything to you guys? They’re talking about themselves and the time they spend away from their families, for God’s sake. Stop trying to glue a social commentary to such simple lyrics. I love Tim’s start in this song and I simple adore the passionate way he sings this track. It really shows he ments every word he sings. His voice too almost full potential in here and Andy’s trumpet, although not very distinctive, really creates a great harmony. Larry’s (not sure if it’s he or Saul here) solo is as powerful as it is catchy. Truly a great song and the best in the album for me. I would only change that middle soft part, but hey, that’s just me. Upside: A great song; Downside: None. 10/10

I just finished my whiskey, so I think I will be briefer in the last bunch of songs.

White Boy: The first single. Very well chosen, I would say. It really shows all their potential, however, it will be very strange for most people and won’t get much air time in radios. But it’s James at their best. Andy’s trumpet is the best in the album, and boy, it is great. Magical I would say, and most definitely, my favourite part in the song. Tim’s lyrics are the funnier and most relaxed in the whole album and his voice really shows itself in the chorus. Very good song. Not a perfect 10, because I promised myself I would only grant one, or else almost all the other songs would get 9’s and 10’s, and that would just mess up the grading system. 9/10

72: The only spiritual song in the album. Not really my cup of tea, I wouldn’t apply so many effects to the voice track. A bit funkier than the rest of the album, but a little change is always very welcome. The lyrics are a bit shadowed by the excessive effects, but are really powerful, in the same spirit of the classic God only Knows. It could’ve been one of the best songs in the cd, but lacks something I can’t quite put my finger to. But it’s growing on me, I will give it some more attentive listening, maybe my opinion will change. I will let you now if that happens. 8/10

Of Monsters, Heroes and Men: Just love Larry’s start to the song. It will mislead you, it’s a very sweet song, not the hard rock it may seem in the first second. I haven’t heard the lyrics with the attention they deserve, but up until now it seems to talk about the personal quest to surviving to life’s minor setbacks (either way, we’ll survive). Andy’s trumpet it’s a bit more lyrical and classical in contrast with the power showed in other songs. It also suits him, he’s a great musician. The crescendo end seems familiar but I can’t link it to any other song. Maybe to Sound, but I just can’t be sure. 9/10

I want to go Home: Starts of with a mix of Saul’s violin and some of Mark’s keyboard effects. The voice seems a bit out of tune in the very beginning of the song and it’s the only negative point to the whole song. The album starts softly and ends homesick (Come Home, anybody?), a recurring theme to Tim’s lyrics. They are clearly desperate (sex is NOT overrated, right guys?). It’s a first person monologue of a man who’s trying to pull himself out of the bottom of a bottle, crying to get his old life back. It’s a very pleasing song and a sad end for a great record. 9/10

And that’s it. I was really cheap in giving the songs ratings, but I didn’t want to seem to partial. To me, they all deserve perfect 10’s. I couldn’t end this review without mentioning Jim Glennie’s steady bass. Unfortunately, in this record, he doesn’t show the potential we all known that he has (Sound in the live cd Getting away with it… Live is a great example), but I couldn’t afford not to mention the only founding member of the band still in it (if we count the time they lived before being called James, curiously after the man Glennie himself). He’s a great bass player and deserves credit for it. And for reuniting my favourite band of all time. Kudos for you, Jim my man.
In overall, it is more than a simple comeback album. It’s not their best work, but it’s definitely in their top 5. It makes us ache for a next record, with the same formation, after all the engines in the complex machine that is James being well oiled. An overall rating of (drum roll David, please): 8,3/10

Give the album a chance, don’t give up on your very first listening, you probably won’t like it very much. But a warning is issued: If you re-hear it, it will grow on you.

And I know, such a long post is boring and time consuming to read. But give it a try, I spent at least ten times the time you took reading, writing it. For those brave ones who lasted until the last line of this review, I salute you!

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Ubuntu desktop and the new sound.

Blog, English, Linux, Mudanças, Tutorial No Comments »

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This is my beautiful new desktop. I’ve only used AWN as a dock bar, all the rest is customization from Ubuntu. It’s not ready yet, I’m still thinking about putting one or two docklets out there (System monitor, Calendar…) and change the upper bar.
I’ve also solved the sound problem I was having. I had to update the ALSA drivers and to follow this tutorial. And now it ROCKS!
I will continue to update you on my Ubuntu adventure. I’m really loving it!

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My first Ubuntu boot

Blog, Curiosidades, English, Linux, Mudanças No Comments »

I just installed a dual boot system on my new machine, with Ubuntu (Gutsy Gibbon) 7.10 and WindowsXP SP2. Everything is working fine in windows, and, so far, only the sound isn’t working on Ubuntu. However I’m currently updating the system, hopefully it will solve itself after this.

I’m the proud new  member of the Linux community!

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My new baby (part IV… no wait, V. No, wait… I don’t know.

Blog, English, Gadgets, Linux, Mudanças, Vícios No Comments »

Processador: Intel Core2 Duo T7250 (2x 2.00GHz) com Tecnologia Intel Centrino Duo Mobile
Cache: 2MB L2
Memória: 2GB DDR2 667 (2x 1GB), Máx. 4GB
Disco rígido: 250GB SATA
Drives: Gravador DVD±RW com tecnologia LightScribe
Ecran: TFT 15.4″ WXGA (1280 x 800)
Placa Gráfica: nVIDIA GeForce 8400M GS
Memória Placa Gráfica: 128MB (dedicada)
Interfaces: 4x USB 2.0
1x i.LINK (Firewire)
1x TV-Out S-Video
1x S/PDIF
1x VGA
1x DVI-D
Comunicações: Wireless LAN 802.11a/b/g
Rede 10/100
Modem 56Kbps
Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR
Sistema Operativo: Windows Vista Home Premium Português
Expansibilidade: 2x slots de memória (0 disponíveis)
1x slot ExpressCard
Dimensões: 36,5 (L) x 26,95 (C) x 4,05 (A) cm
Peso: 2.76 Kg
Outros: Leitor de cartões 8 em 1
Webcam Integrada de 1.3 Mega-Pixel
Intel Turbo Memory (1 GB)
Garantia: 2 Anos

Cristaltec courtesy. Beautiful.

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Rita Redshoes

Curiosidades, English, Mudanças, Porto, Vícios, YouTube 4 Comments »

A new star is born in the portuguese music scene: Rita Redshoes is the name of the beautiful girl who’s bright songs put a smile in all our faces. She plays with David Fonseca and sings in duet with him in the popular music Hold Still, so, she is no stranger to the fans. Her beautiful voice and figure cast a spell on the viewers and it’s impossible not to sing along or smile at one of her shows.

Yesterday I attended one of her first concerts in Porto, at PlanoB, a beautiful and well known bar in the northern city. And it was just marvellous. I’m now a devoted fan. I’ve even registered to MySpace just to be able to send her a comment…

Enough chit-chat, I’ll leave you with the video for one of my favourite songs, Hey Tom.

Enjoy.

Hey Tom

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Porto

English, Fotografia, Porto, Vícios No Comments »

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It’s a beautiful city.

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I can’t belive it.

Curiosidades, English, Vícios No Comments »

Oh.

My.

GOD.

Here.

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Sarah Silverman is fucking Matt Damon and Jimmy Kimmel is fucking Ben Affleck

English, Humor, YouTube 2 Comments »

Well, after Sarah Silverman f*cked Matt Damon…
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/wnVJZkDuVBM" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
Jimmy Kimmel f*cked Ben Affleck.
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/sIQrBouWRiE" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Both songs are pure genius. Hilarious.

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Wish you were here

English, Vícios, YouTube 1 Comment »

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/u5RBAIFbxh8" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

This time I improvised along Pink Floyd’s Wish you were here. It was a improvisation with no rehearsal, so, some bits are a little weird. The sound is really bad and the audio is out of sync with the video. However I don’t have any better equipment. And you get the point.

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Oscars

Curiosidades, English, Vícios No Comments »

This year I won’t do any analysis and/or predictions about the winners. For one, my lack of time kept me from seeing the new movie realeses. Also, the last time I tried it, I didn’t write anything in here for almost a year!

So, if you are watching, good award ceremony to you all.

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Take me out

English, Vícios, YouTube No Comments »

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/rjmt5jA1_uw" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
Now a take me out video. It’s not perfect, not even close. But was recorded in  one take and I was too lazy to do it again. Here I play a mix between the two guitars, but mostly the Nick McCarty bit.

Enjoy.

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40 ft

English, Vícios, YouTube No Comments »

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/NZ1nwiqEEws" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

I didn’t post a video in a while. Now, it’s Franz Ferdinand turn. In this video I’ve played 40 ft. Unfortunately the sound isn’t synchronized with the video, but that’s a question with the upload, on the original everything’s fine.
Well, check it. I thinks the solo part turned out ok. Then, criticize at will.

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Um pouco de publicidade gratuita…

Blog, Curiosidades, English, Portugês, Vícios 2 Comments »

Eu adoro informática. E novas tecnologias. E tudo isso.

Também adoro música. Toca-la, ouvi-la, falar sobre ela, tudo.

Mas a minha verdadeira paixão (e talento, se existir) é a escrita.  Ainda não tinha cá deixado isso claro. Tenho outro blog onde exercito essa paixão. Então resolvi fazer um pouco de publicidade gratuita. Passem por lá…

I love IT’s. And new technologies. And all that.

I also love music. Play it, hear it, talk about it, all that.

But my real passion (and talent, if I have any) is writing. I’ve failed to mention this here. I have another blog where I practise that passion (mostly in portuguese, sometimes in english and, so far in only one phrase, in italian). So I decided to do some free advertising.  Drop by sometime…

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Annoying

Blog, Curiosidades, English, Vícios No Comments »

It’s really annoying when you spent almost one hour writing a post in English in a forum to discover that your login has expired and your writing was in vain.

Fortunately, that didn’t happened.

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Drumming to Super Mario 2

English, Vícios, YouTube 2 Comments »

I’m not just a guitar man, altough is the only thing that I can play, I love to hear other instruments.
And this drumming, oh boy… Amazing. Played along the Super Mario 2 sound track. It really makes you hear the drums, not just a drum noise in the background of a song. Beautiful.
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/EF9e2ZVAapE" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

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7 Nation Army

English, Vícios, YouTube No Comments »

Ok, now, in order to test my new amp I recorded a new song: a cover of 7 Nation Army by the White Stripes.

The amp is loud. The camera is shitty. The sound in the video isn’t great, but you get the point. The back track can be found at GuitarBT. Enjoy.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/vUmS_q2Tqwo" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

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Jimi Hendrix’s Purple Haze Intro

English, Vícios, YouTube 2 Comments »

Ok, keep in mind three things:

1. I’ve only owned this guitar since Saturday;

2. I’m in exams season, so I really don’t have time to practice;

3. It was recorded with an 3.1 MP photo camera, so both image and sound sucks;

4. And last, I used my DVD player as an AMP so the sound sucks. Plus it adds that annoying echo effect that you hear in the background.

Ok, that was four things. Sorry about that. So, here it is, my version of Jimi Hendrix Purple Haze Intro and Chorus:

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/LA2DylWfGaA" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

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James

English, Vícios, YouTube No Comments »

Is it April 7 yet?

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/nCgp0GHlxxw" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

I’ve missed them…

They’re my favourite band of all time. Their lead singer, Tim Booth, lend me my screen name. And they’re about to release their new album. I can’t wait to hear it.

Last year they played hear in Portugal at Sudoeste Festival, however I was unable to attend it. I really hope they come back this year…

This video is from the DVD “Getting away with it… Live”, from their last tour pre-breakup. I just love that bit were Tim stops the music because the feedback was ruining the moment for him. And the fans loved him for that.

They’re brilliant. They made me love music. And I can’t wait to see and hear them again.

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Hello!

Blog, Curiosidades, English, Gadgets, Telemóveis No Comments »

The first post written directly from my mobile phone. Nice.

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Interview for a programming job

English, Programação 6 Comments »

As one might notice by the links in my blog, Jeff Atwood’s Coding Horror is one of my regulars. I have recently read two of his posts concerning job interviews for programmers. In the first one Jeff talks about simple programming problems used by some companies to filter their candidates.
He quotes two authors that had previously written about the subject.

I was incredulous when I read this observation from Reginald Braithwaite:

Like me, the author is having trouble with the fact that 199 out of 200 applicants for every programming job can’t write code at all. I repeat: they can’t write any code whatsoever.

The author he’s referring to is Imran, who is evidently turning away lots of programmers who can’t write a simple program:

After a fair bit of trial and error I’ve discovered that people who struggle to code don’t just struggle on big problems, or even smallish problems (i.e. write a implementation of a linked list). They struggle with tiny problems.

So I set out to develop questions that can identify this kind of developer and came up with a class of questions I call “FizzBuzz Questions” named after a game children often play (or are made to play) in schools in the UK. An example of a Fizz-Buzz question is the following:

Write a program that prints the numbers from 1 to 100. But for multiples of three print “Fizz” instead of the number and for the multiples of five print “Buzz”. For numbers which are multiples of both three and five print “FizzBuzz”.

Most good programmers should be able to write out on paper a program which does this in a under a couple of minutes. Want to know something scary? The majority of comp sci graduates can’t. I’ve also seen self-proclaimed senior programmers take more than 10-15 minutes to write a solution.

The second post is about the phone screening process. He quotes another author who claims there are five critical subjects in wich to analyze the applicants:

In an effort to make life simpler for phone screeners, I’ve put together this list of Five Essential Questions that you need to ask during an SDE screen. They won’t guarantee that your candidate will be great, but they will help eliminate a huge number of candidates who are slipping through our process today.

1) Coding. The candidate has to write some simple code, with correct syntax, in C, C++, or Java.

2) OO design. The candidate has to define basic OO concepts, and come up with classes to model a simple problem.

3) Scripting and regexes. The candidate has to describe how to find the phone numbers in 50,000 HTML pages.

4) Data structures. The candidate has to demonstrate basic knowledge of the most common data structures.

5) Bits and bytes. The candidate has to answer simple questions about bits, bytes, and binary numbers.

Please understand: what I’m looking for here is a total vacuum in one of these areas. It’s OK if they struggle a little and then figure it out. It’s OK if they need some minor hints or prompting. I don’t mind if they’re rusty or slow. What you’re looking for is candidates who are utterly clueless, or horribly confused, about the area in question.

Further in the post, he writes some examples of what he is talking about, I vividly recomend you to go and see them.
All of this seriously scared me. Altough I’m still a young inexpirienced programmer, some of those problems I could not solve in little time. I would probably not even pass the phone screening phase. I ask: Is this hard screening process standart for all those programming job openings or the standarts in our market are lower than that? Altough in an ideal world all programming jobs would be done by good programmers, I don’t see 90% of all programmers able to pass that interview…

Note: From now on, all (well, most of it) tech-related posts will be written in english, trying to maximize the audience that way.

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