September 2010

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The Listening Device

Philips SHH8808 in-ear headphonesA while ago I wrote about an item which I’d bought and which I didn’t regret to have bought.  A backpack to be precise.  Today I ‘m still really happy with that purchase.  But that’s not the topic of this post.  No, today I’m going to tell you about another gadget which I’ve bought.  Well, gadget is a big word maybe for something as simple as an in-ear headset, more precisely a Philips SHH8808.

I’ve only owned it for some days, and again I’m really happy with the object.  I bought it initially so that I could watch some recorded presentations – I have downloaded them a while ago but never found the time to watch – while sitting on the train commuting from work.  And then I realized that the headset not only fits perfectly in my laptop, it also works very well in combination with my PC at work.

And why would I want to use a headset at work, you might ask yourself?  Radio!  Streaming radio!  I like music quite a lot, and I like different genres.  Although not all of them.  My musical preference is a bit difficult to describe, music with good guitar and drums, music made with samples, as long as it sounds good to me :-)

Since I started using the train to commute to work, I’ve not been getting my daily portion which I would otherwise get while driving my car.  That has now come to an (unexpected) end, finally I can listen to some music again.

In fact, already the first day the headset has proven to be useful.  My favorite radio channel, Studio Brussel (live stream – High Quality), was broadcasting a song which I’d never heard.  It was a hip hop song which sounded quite bizarre.  Initially I didn’t even know in what language the dude was singing but after a few seconds it hit me.  He was singing in Afrikaans (one of the languages spoken in South-Africa)!

Almost ten years ago, my wife and I visited that magnificent (though shocking due to the contrasts) country for a three-weeks-long holiday.  Being a Dutch-speaker myself I can understand quite a bit of the language that they speak over there (although not all of it, again difficult to describe:-)).

The song they were playing is called Cooler As Ekke, which means “Cooler Than Me”.

Jack Parow – Cooler As Ekke

And it’s quite funny when you listen to it, it’s even IT-related (slightly).  Here’s part of the lyrics:

Ek’s original jy’s gecopy

Ek’s ‘n flash drive jy’s ‘n floppy

In English that would be:

I’m original you’re a copy

I’m a flash drive you’re a floppy

For more fun, try out Dans Dans Dans (dans is dance in both Afrikaans and Dutch).

Ow, and check out the clip of Dans Dans Dans, I think it’s really great.  Made me think of Indiana Jones movies for some reason, with a twist though.  The dude in the suit is just amazing!

Jack Parow – Dans dans dans

Here’s one more, called Blaas Jou Vuvuzela.  Blaas means “blow”.  I’ll let you work out/look up the rest :-)

Still not satisfied?  Lookup Jack Parow on YouTube :-)

A Quick Headphones Review

Now, back to the headset.  When I got it out of its plastic package, I was a bit surprised by its cord, more precisely the length of it.  It was only 30 centimeters long!  Then I had a look at the package.  It read “for mobile phones”.  Oh no, don’t tell me they expect people to use this headset with their mobile phone clipped on their shirt, or in their shirt’s pocket?!  I must say I was a bit worried for a while, just a little while.

The small black bag Then I had another look in the package.  It contained a small black bag, made from some special fabric, with a rope around the opening so that it can be closed.  That bag contained, guess what, an extension cord of one meter.  Plus additional earplugs of different sizes: S and L.  The M-sized ones were mounted on the headphones by default.  Phieuw, what a relief!

Apparently they chose to use this extension cord system so that it can be replaced with a mobile phone-specific cord with a speaker – that’s what they meant with “for mobile phones”.

The cord itself is made out of some special kind of rubber, preventing it from getting all tangled up.  It’s weird and it feels “jumpy”.  Very nice!  And all connectors are in shiny yellow, well, gold plated material.  I’m not sure if gold plated stands for better sound quality per se, but I guess it doesn’t hurt either.  Plus, it looks really good.

I don’t have a lot of experience with in-ear headphones, but I’m surprised by the quality of the sound produced by these things.  There’s more bass coming out of them than I’d ever have imagined – certainly a much better sound than what’s coming out of the headset that shipped with my Samsung phone.  Everything is really clear, I even hear things better than when played through my stereo system at home.

So, if you’re looking for a not-too-expensive headset, try out the Philips SHH8808.

Have fun!

Valentino.

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Ask The Experts, Now!

The Belgian SQL Server User Group is teaming up with Microsoft to organize an “Ask The Experts” event.

The purpose of this event is to give you, the SQL Server user, an opportunity to ask Microsoft those things which you’ve always wanted to know but never could find on the internet.

The questions are currently being gathered (that explains the “Now” in my post’s title).  This gives you some time to think about what you’d like to ask beforehand.  On the day of the event, these questions will then be answered by a panel of four SQL Server specialists.

So, ever wanted to ask Microsoft a question related to SQL Server?  Now’s the time to do it!  Send them to asktheexperts@sqlug.be.

Who’s The Panel?

The panel consists of three Microsoft employees and one SQL Server MVP.  Here are the full details:

> Wesley Backelant <

In his role as a Technology Advisor at Microsoft, Wesley is responsible for helping customers understand the capabilities of SQL Server and the Microsoft Business Intelligence stack. Before joining Microsoft, Wesley was a Database Architect working on some of the largest implementations of SQL Server in Belgium. Wesley started his professional career in the SQL Server 6.5 timeframe and remained true to his passion ever since. Wesley is active on Twitter where he handles topics related to his favorite technology.

> Frederik Vandeputte <

Frederik Vandeputte is a Senior Consultant and partner at Kohera, the Microsoft SQL Server/Business Intelligence Competence Center of the Cronos Group. Frederik has been working with SQL Server since version 6.5. In his free time Frederik collects Microsoft certifications. His collection includes MCTS, MCSA, MCSE, MCDBA, MCITP, MCT, ranging from Windows 2000 and SQL Server 2000 up to SQL Server 2008. Frederik is one of the co-founders and the President of the Belgian SQL Server User Group (SQLUG.BE). In January 2008 Frederik, became the first Belgian MVP on SQL Server. Follow Frederik on his website and twitter.

> Dirk Gubbels <

Dirk Gubbels is a senior consultant at Microsoft, and has been working with SQL Server since version 4.2. As one of the few Microsoft Certified Database Architects he has been involved in the most demanding SQL server based applications in Belgium and all over the EMEA region. His main focus areas are Design, Performance and Availability for both OLTP and Business Intelligence environments.

> Gunther Beersaerts <

Gunther Beersaerts joined Microsoft in 1998 (on the launch day of SQL Server 7.0) as a Technical Marketer for MSDN/TechNet road shows and has held a number of technical roles during his career, including Systems Engineer, ATS, TSP roles covering a broad set of Microsoft Application Platform solutions. Over the past few years, Gunther has been active in technical roles for Databases and Business Intelligence platforms in EPG Belgium & Luxemburg. He then became a Strategist in the CATM (Customer Advocacy and Technology Management) organization which is a key-connection between the Microsoft Development teams and Customers /Partners. In this role, Gunther focuses on the Microsoft Data Platform, including SQL Server and Business Intelligence solutions. Prior to Microsoft, he was a developer and messaging engineer at a large financial institution in Brussels.

When?

Wednesday, September 29th 2010, starting at 1900.

Where?

The Microsoft offices in Zaventem.

Don’t forget to register here!

May the inspiration be with you while coming up with some questions :-)

See you there!

Valentino.

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