Tuesday, May 25, 2010

a-ha’s Greatest Hits - A Websnacker Exclusive Compilation

Awesome Hit Mp3s from the Norwegian New Wave Trio

Founded in 1982 by Morten Harket, Paul Waaktaar-Savoy and Magne Furuholmen, a-ha (spelled only in lower-case) is Norway’s best selling, Grammy nominated new wave band that has internationally sold over 40 million albums, won a phenomenal number of critical and popular awards and the first (and perhaps the only) Norwegian band to hit the No.1 spot in the U.S. charts.

Yet, a-ha is often misconstrued as an one-hit wonder for “Take On Me”, the extraordinary billboard no.1 hit of 1985 which alone is estimated to have sold over 10 million copies globally and the equally popular hit video that won 6 MTV Video Awards in 1986 including the Viewer's Choice award, Best New Artist, Best Direction, Best Special Effects and Best Concept Video (as it featured the rotoscoping technique for the first time).

With over 9 hit studio albums, beginning from their 1985 debut ‘Hunting High and Low’ to ‘Foot of the Mountain’ which was released in June 2009, a-ha are one of few remaining pop/rock bands from the 80’s that have transcended their original days of glory and have continued to be successful to this day. In fact, after they announced a formal split in Oct 2009, tickets for their Dec 2010 farewell show at Oslo were sold out in less than 2 hours. a-ha also incidentally hold a Guinness World Record for paying audiences as their January 1991 show at the Rio festival in Brazil attracted a paid audience of over 198,000 fans – the largest in the world for a single act !

I was first introduced to a-ha in 1989 when a friend of mine loaned me a tape of their ‘Stay On These Roads’ album which also featured the title theme song of “The Living Daylights” - the James Bond film. Since then, I have bought all their albums, been hooked by their infectious Nordic blend of breezy synthpop, Morten Harket’s moody vocals and amazing lyrics.

As a fan tribute, I have compiled a special handpicked 2 hours+ compilation of their greatest hits from 1985 to 2009, cult favorites like “Take On Me”, "The Sun Always Shines on T.V.", "Summer Moved On," and some personal selections like “I Wish I Cared” for you to download and enjoy. I am confident you’ll love this unique a-ha music assemblage.

27 tracks in playlist, average track length: 5:05
Playlist length: 2 hours 17 minutes 21 seconds

1. a-ha - Analoque (3:49)
2. a-ha - Cry Wolf (4:07)
3. a-ha - Crying In The Rain (4:21)
4. a-ha - Don't Do Me Any Favours (3:50)
5. a-ha - Early Morning (2:59)
6. a-ha - Foot Of The Mountain (3:57)
7. a-ha - Forever Not Your Yours (4:01)
8. a-ha - Hunting High And Low (3:46)
9. a-ha - I Call Your Name (4:53)
10. a-ha - I Wish I Cared (4:21)
11. a-ha - Little Black Heart (4:36)
12. a-ha - Manhattan Skyline (4:50)
13. a-ha - Minor Earth Major Sky (5:24)
14. a-ha - Mother Nature Goes To Heaven (4:08)
15. a-ha - Nothing Is Keeping You Here (3:17)
16. a-ha - Scoundrel Days (3:57)
17. a-ha - Shadowside (4:55)
18. a-ha - Stay On These Roads (4:46)
19. a-ha - Summer Moved On (4:35)
20. a-ha - Take on Me (Original Version)
21. a-ha - Take On Me (Techno Remix) (5:55)
22. a-ha - The Living Daylights (The Living Daylights SDTK) (4:16)
23. a-ha - The Sun Always Shines On TV (5:08)
24. a-ha - The Sun Never Shone That Day
25. a-ha - Thought That It Was You
26. a-ha - Velvet (Stockholm Mix)
27. a-ha - You'll Never Get Over Me

Free Mp3 Download - 2 Zipped Folders – Megaupload link - Disc1 , Disc2


a-ha Music available on a-ha.com, Amazon.com, iTunes.com and your nearest music retailer.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

10 Good Reasons Why Women Prefer Doggy Style!

Before you get too excited. Relax and read below 10 good reasons why women prefer Dogs to Husbands and Boyfriends. And if you’re a woman, maybe you’ll dump your man, get yourself a cute mutt and you’ll agree why it all makes sense.

1. Dogs are faithful companions. Your pet Labrador will never ever cheat or betray you.

2. He will never take over your TV remote, spend hours playing the Playstation or drop ciggy ash on the carpet because he's too lazy to reach for the ashtray.

3. He won't snarl at you for watching Twilight or the soapy ladies show on TV when there's football or cricket on another channel.

4. You can actually go for quiet strolls together to the park or a holiday on the beach without his head turning around in search of a hot bod.

5. He will still think you are the centre of his universe even if you grow a mustache or your diet plan misfires and you metamorphose into a baby elephant.

6. He might think a tin of Pedigree Chum is the height of haute cuisine but he will not mind you turning vegetarian, flexitarian, vegan or pescatarian.

7. Despite the whole dog's breath thing, being licked by your mutt still ain't as bad as being snogged by someone who's recently consumed a dozen lagers and a sushi dinner with hot soya sauce

8. He may pee on the floor if cooped up in the house all day, but at least he'll have the grace to look sheepish about it

9. OK if you let him sleep with you, he will fart in bed. But at least he doesn't stick your head under the duvet and shout 'you can smell the chicken tikka in that, can't you, love?'

10. He'll happily lick you all over without expecting you to do the same for him. (Although, if you actually want him to do this or feel like doing it to him, maybe you should stop reading and consider medical help).

P.S: I found these on the Web..maybe you’ll love this too.

- Dogs do not have problems expressing affection in public.

- Dogs miss you when you're gone and feel guilt when they've done something wrong.

- Dogs don't criticize your friends and admit when they're jealous.

- Dogs do not play games with you -- except fetch (and then never laugh at how you throw).

- Dogs are happy with any video you choose to rent, because they know the most important thing is that you're together.

- Dogs don't feel threatened by your intelligence and aren't threatened if you earn more than they do.

- Dogs understand what "no" means.

- Dogs think you are a culinary genius.

- Dogs don't correct your stories.

- Middle-aged dogs don't feel the need to abandon you for a younger owner.

- Dogs don't mind if you do all the driving.

- Dogs don't weigh down your purse with their stuff.

- Dogs take care of their own needs.

- Dogs mean it when they kiss you.

- Dogs are nice to your relatives.

- The worst social disease you can get from dogs is fleas. (OK, the *really* worst disease you can get from them is rabies, but there's a vaccine for it, and you get to kill the one that gives it to you.)

And finally, if your Dog Strays, you can cut his balls off legally!!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Depeche Mode’s Greatest Hits - A Websnacker Compilation

Grrreat Music from the Godfathers of Synthpop!

From Depeche Mode - the World’s most successful synthpop, electronic new wave rock band, comes this MP3 selection of some of their greatest hits and personal favorites that will make you realize why they have sold over 100 million albums, singles and remixes worldwide.

Formed in 1980 at Essex, England; the 5 time Grammy nominated Depeche Mode was originally a 4 piece electronic band featuring Dave Gahan, Andrew Fletcher, Vince Clarke and Martin Gore. In 1981, they released their successful debut album “Speak & Spell” which entered the UK Top 10 but soon Clarke departed and was replaced by Alan Wilder. 1n 1995, Wilder quit and since then, Depeche Mode have continued as a threesome producing numerous No.1 hit albums, Billboard hit singles and remix releases.

Rated as the world’s only electronic band to have achieved super-spectacular success across the world to being called as “the most popular electronic band the world has ever known”, Depeche Mode has been a pioneer across the electronic-laden new wave synthpop music space, providing inspiration to scores of musicians including big names like Linkin Park, Shakira, Pet Shop Boys and many more. In fact, their signature hit song “Enjoy the Silence” has been recorded as a cover version by over 100 international bands and artists till date.

Now, go ahead and download this extra-special Mp3 compilation featuring all-time hits like “Try Walking In My Shoes”, “Personal Jesus”, “Dream On” to personal favorites like “Precious”, “Useless”, “Its No Good” and “The Things You Said”. I have also added the Kruder & Dorfmeister Remix of “Useless”, the German Industrial Metal band -Rammstein’s awesome cover of “Stripped” and 21 of their most memorable hitsongs. Enjoy.

30 tracks in playlist, average track length: 4:52
Playlist length: 2 hours 26 minutes 2 seconds

1. Depeche Mode - Black Celebration (4:53)
2. Depeche Mode - Blasphemous Rumors (6:22)
3. Depeche Mode - Breathe (5:17)
4. Depeche Mode - But Not Tonight (5:12)
5. Depeche Mode - Dangerous (7:11)
6. Depeche Mode - Dream On (4:20)
7. Depeche Mode - Enjoy The Silence (Single Mix) (4:06)
8. Depeche Mode - Enjoy The Silence (6:12)
9. Depeche Mode - Everything Counts (3:57)
10. Depeche Mode - Freelove (Maximal Chorus Mix) (5:42)
11. Depeche Mode - Get The Balance Right (3:12)
12. Depeche Mode - I Feel Loved (Danny Tenaglia Mix) (6:55)
13. Depeche mode - I Feel Loved (4:20)
14. Depeche Mode - I Feel You (4:36)
15. Depeche Mode - I Promise You I will (3:40)
16. Depeche mode - It s No Good (5:58)
17. Depeche Mode - It's No Good (Ross Fortune Edit) (6:41)
18. Depeche Mode - Just Can't Get Enough (3:44)
19. Depeche Mode - Never Let Me Down Again (4:48)
20. Depeche Mode - New Life (3:28)
21. Depeche Mode - Policy of Truth (4:55)
22. Depeche Mode - Precious (4:10)
23. Depeche Mode - Shine (5:32)
24. Depeche Mode - Stripped (Rammstein Heavy Metal Mix) (5:15)
25. Depeche Mode - Tainted Love (2:42)
26. Depeche Mode - The Things You Said (4:02)
27. Depeche Mode - Try Walking In My Shoes (2:30)
28. Depeche Mode - Useless (Kruder & Dorfmeister Remix) (6:15)
29. Depeche Mode - Useless (5:12)
30. Depeche Mode - Personal Jesus (4:55)

Free Mp3 Download - 2 Zipped Folders – Megaupload links - Disc 1, Disc 2

You can buy Depeche Mode Music at the Depeche Mode store on Amazon or at the official DM Store. Depeche Mode also available on itunes.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Into the Perfect Storm (2000)

Movie Review of 'The Perfect Storm'

Yesterday, I caught up with “The Perfect Storm”(2000) on the telly and this is a rehash of an old review of mine which I had written for a web portal.

In 1991, a convergence of weather conditions - including Category Five Hurricane Grace and certain Canadian cold fronts – combined to form the most dangerous storm in recorded history. Sebastian Junger’s best-selling novel, “The Perfect Storm” is an account of the Andrea Gail ship and its fishing crew who sailed smack-bang into “the middle of the monster”.

Director Wolfgang Peterson (“Airforce One”, “In The Line Of Fire”) is adept at crafting Hollywood blockbusters as well as stories involving men at sea (his 1981 submarine flick, “Das Boot”, is a cinematic masterpiece). “The Perfect Storm” is proof to this fact with thrilling sequences that give “Titanic” a run for its money and detailed displaying of the discipline of catching swordfish.

If one knows nothing about the real-life chronicles of the Andrea Gail and wishes to remain oblivious before watching the movie, one is advised to stop reading more or be warned that there are spoliers ahead.

Yes, “The Perfect Storm” hits the mark with its rip-snorting special effects, but fails to stir on a storyline level beyond its initial concept set-up. The problem with “The Perfect Storm” lies in the film’s script, most notably in the representation of all its main characters. Unlike “Titanic”, whose lead characters are clearly fictitious creations set against the backdrop of the most notorious recorded sea disaster in history, the Andrea Gail crew actually existed outside of the film frame.

Skipper Billy Tyne (George Clooney),rookie Bobby Shatford (Mark Wahlberg), burly Dale Murphy (John C Reilly – “Magnolia”), prickly David Sullivan (William Fichtner – “Go”), happy-go-lucky Alfred Pierre (Allen Payne – “Jason’s Lyric”) and lonely Mike Moran (John Hawkes – “Blue Streak”) were all real, live people. That is, before they fell prey to nature’s wrath off the North Atlantic coast outside the fishing community of Gloucester, Massachusetts.

When one realises that “The Perfect Storm” is pure assumption: that no one could know what transpired on the Andrea Gail that fateful Autumn, the crew’s climactic deaths take on a hollow tone. At the film’s end, all the sequences at sea involving this group of brave salts determined to return home fail to ring true. One may as well watch “Armageddon” for a similarly contrived tragic finale payoff. The five souls who lost their lives are reduced to a handful of Hollywood action caricatures.

The only meaty parley comes when Clooney’s Billy Tyne poetically recounts to a fellow seafarer his joy of leaving port and setting sail onto the expansive ocean. But, even then, he has a pained expression on his face only half-hidden by Clooney’s trademark grin. It’s as if he’s thinking “Come on, let’s get to the action already!” Ultimately, “The Perfect Storm” could have showcased Bruce Willis, complete with hair extensions, on a surfboard and the outcome would have been equally as credible.

Free Download - DVDRIP - Single File Video weblink - Megaupload

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Making Advertising & Marketing Work!

This is my concluding post on Simplicity in Marketing

Why Experts Matter
A qualified corporate messaging process drives the dialog so that the visuals, language and information hierarchies are designed in concert with the product or service. Thoughtful design of content should begin earlier than many corporate executives and entrepreneurs believe. It isn’t just make-up to apply after the real thinking’s done. When experienced content designers are part of a strategic planning team, they can influence explanations for greatest success. They can provide the context to build the relationships between breakthrough ideas and the way they are expressed to the people who will buy them.

Whether homegrown or outsourced, your business needs a team dedicated to scanning for patterns and trends, and forging connections between ideas. They will also facilitate the integration across mediums that will bring together the systems, structures and processes in such a way that choices and solutions are connected, linked and cross-sold. A great marketing team is the liaison between the products of business and the minds of the consumer. It must understand both before it can serve

Particularly in this tight labor pool, a competent external marketing partner can be as important to business success as financial and legal counsel. Assuming a venture has an innovative product idea and business model, a great executive team and enough financing to get traction, it still needs the packaging that will take it to market effectively. An experienced agency (like us) can provide critical bandwidth and brainwidth extensions to ensure that a company’s look, feel and messaging resonate the personality an enterprise wishes to own in the marketplace.

Blending Online and Offline Worlds
Although brands and identities must be integrated, many messages that work great in print suck on web pages. This is a topic onto itself, but here’s the top layer.

Print requires great attention to one-dimensional design and layout. Each view is a discrete canvas. Information elements are static and can explain and enhance each other predictably. Web pages, on the other hand, are a dynamic scrolling experience that place greater significance on navigational feel. Relationships between information components are fleeting.

Print can be visually stunning and still accommodate substantial text. It appeals to the eyes. Web pages are compelling for their interactive engagement as much as their content. They appeal to the hands. Why does everyone need to print stuff out? It is actually quite difficult to read online (never mind the iPads and the eReaders.)

The infinite navigational dimensions of the web, current bandwidth limitations and differing desktop environments mandate fewer and smaller graphics, shorter text and simpler typography. While effective print design is grounded in highly refined best practices, web design is still infantile, with huge upside for marketers who get the interactive value and simplicity thing figured out.

To be successful in today’s energetic marketplaces, companies must project a integrated message across all communication materials – corporate identity, packaging, advertising, promotions and web presence. Companies must quickly amalgamate all of their core messages into a single, powerfully unique selling proposition in order to convince impatient, value-minded consumers. But the approach must be optimized for the delivery channel. The implementation techniques are very different.

Why Simplicity is Paramount
Simple means clear, consistent and easy to find. It all starts with leaders who aren’t afraid to think independently. To explore and map new ways through unchartered physical and virtual spaces so that people, actions and events can be connected in creative, compelling ways. It ends with those same leaders being willing to hear and communicate truth. It involves calculated risks. It requires the insight and courage to involve communication specialists in the development of business strategy.

The leader’s objective is to build a “landmark,” not just become “scenery” in a target market. Landmarks are easy to spot, but often endure on the basis of considerable underlying complexity. They don’t necessarily have to be large in stature, but they must be unique in appearance. They are always enduring and prominent. They are obvious.

The return on simplification is huge. By providing the right information the right way at the right time, messages resonate and trigger responses that deliver actual sales and maximize valuation. By distilling content, leaders are able to spend less to build and sustain differentiated brands. Investing in a singular positive image that is optimized for each medium has leveragable impact across the company’s entire portfolio.

So go ahead: make your long, long story short and bring your brand alive.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Distilling Your Brand’s True Brew

This post is a continuation to my earlier post on Simplicity in Marketing.

Creating a Simple but Effective Blueprint
Distilling the real essence of your message is an intense process that requires quality input, an understanding of goals, analysis and tough decisions. It involves regimented facilitation, real-world testing and expert packaging. There is no magic off the-shelf blueprint that allows you to make the intricacy transparent. However, brand specialists and expert knwoledge can assist with the refinement process – providing the steering tools and structures to aid and accelerate it. Beyond packaging the ideas for ease of consumption, these objectives can enable your company to swiftly convert a business model’s strategic objectives into actionable and profitable milestones that drive momentum, orchestrate positioning exercises and test acceptance.

Most executives want their company’s marketing and advertising messages to be “stylish, sophisticated or professional ” and if possible, “clever.” too. This pasteurized checklist is at the heart of what is leading many competitors toward a fruitless state of uniformity. They’re all saying the same things and trying to lead the customer to the same conclusion.

Eager to demonstrate their “proof-of-authenticity,” many of these same executives are afraid to leave any spec for scrutiny or proof point out of their sales proposition. The extensive detail is perceived as validation. This “everything-but-the-kitchen-sink” approach is an easy way out. And, its net effect is usually the exact contrary of what was intended. This plain vanilla granularity just causes more puzzlement that doesn’t help in any sales conversion or market expansion. Besides, there is brand degeneration resulting from decentralized company silos – corporate divisions and operating units which propagate self-styled messages, positions and identities, often ill-timed, hastily designed and poorly executed.

Think Smart and Work Hard
Product Differentiation and Service Demarcation is often the result of simply noticing what your competitors have overlooked and providing that instead of everything else. Think of the Apple iPhone or Gmail. A lack of sacrifice represents unripe positioning.

If your message designs are based on what really interests people, and how they can talk to each other and make easy comparisons, you will find that you can say a lot less. Strive to find and use the language and questions that real people use.

The Truth is Out There
Let your hair down for a second: When you visualize the triumph of your business, is it based on the way things ought to be or the way things really are? The act of arranging information for simplicity then becomes an act of brand and market insight.

Amidst a flood of new age propaganda and mega-efficient delivery mechanisms, human communication is still very much grounded in some enduring truths, and the maxim that those who do not learn from history are destined to repeat it is indeed one of them.

While technology is changing exponentially, the hearts of the people using it are inflexible to transform. Most of what’s being sold today as new insight is merely the rediscovery of knowledge we’ve had for centuries but perhaps not acknowledged. The trick is to admit it and leverage it to your advantage. Candor is a guiding principle and Authenticity provides understanding that transcends spin and packaging. As experience counts, you could also learn from the marketing gray hairs who’ve been through a business cycle or two.

Give What the Audience Wants
To see sales patterns and develop a marketing message that incites a desired result, start with age-old human nature, not cold corporate logic. Hence, the content of your brand message must communicate genuinely in the language of the intended audience. For a brand or image to break through the information overlaod and market sauration, it must be based on what the target audience perceives as indispensable and relevant to them. What they want to know and need. Not what you feel is imperative or exciting to them.

Technology can help and create exhilarating opportunities but it can also overwhelm us with choices. Codifying, collecting and making everything accessible in nanoseconds is less important than describing how it’s used – the application context. Instead of speeds and feeds or the rate of data, concentrate on describing your brand’s spirit and how it relates to your audience, reflecting on the people connection and your brand’s heart.

If you wish to harness technology efficiently, improvise all the time and focus on the things that happen behind the patented breakthroughs. Recognize that the real goal for the technology is for it to be as transparent and useful as possible.

Content is still the King (and the Queen too)
Content is and has always been the language of customers. And as mentioned earlier, remember to always communicate from the intended listener’s point of view, not your company’s. Start your brand messaging where employees and customers meet, work backward from their needs. By the way, cracking the code on your customers’ needs and priorities can’t be accomplished “inside”. The key lies outside your business and perhaps outside your industry.

If all else fails, revert to the inevitable and basic questions of your customer: How is your product useful to them? What value does it provide? What’s truly in it for them?

In this sense, your content should be much more than words, pictures and voices. It should evoke emotion – a deeper connect. It should be simple, insightful and compelling. And, it is perhaps Content - the one thing one can't teach a computer to generate, so there is a uniquely human dependency. Respect that. After all, the content you develop is what will help you bond with your customers and if driven right, help you achieve world-class results.
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