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Monday, June 23, 2008

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Kwik Fit Insurance

Kwik-Fit is a Scottish car-servicing company. It was founded by the entrepreneur Tom Farmer.

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The first Kwik-Fit centre opened in Edinburgh in 1971. As of 2006, there are 600 Kwik-Fit centres in Britain. In 1973, it opened its first centre in The Netherlands, and by 1999 it had acquired 570 centres in mainland Europe, including centres in France and Germany.

Kwik-Fit was bought by the Ford Motor Company in 1999 for £1 billion. The company was acquired by CVC Capital Partners in 2002 who sold it in 2005 to the French based venture capitalists, PAI partners.

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Friday, June 20, 2008

The 25 Best Heavy Metal Bands

Now for 25 performing outfits who have made Heavy Metal what it is.

25) Meshuggah: Swedish metal bands prefer to make things difficult for themselves. First off, they're in Sweden, not exactly a prime lift-off point for World Domination, unless you're IKEA. Top that with the fact that these guys refuse to play in standard time signatures, standard key signatures or do anything that could be considered standard. They sometimes don't even make the standard "evil" faces. They try. But it always looks like they're about to laugh. The music really is like shoving your head into an industrial fan. Impressive.

24) Mercyful Fate: A Danish metal band fronted by a guy in slightly wrong Gene Simmons make-up, a screech that sends chills up your spine and a goofy fun-lovin' name like King Diamond. Yet, for all that, the guitar playing, the relentless rhythms and the obsession with Satanic gobblygook make them sureshots in my book. Slightly more entertaining than Venom, who were number 26 and therefore left off this list.

23) Alice In Chains: Some people might choose Soundgarden and I might too, on a different day. But Alice In Chains were heavier and weirder, bluesier and more decadent. They pre-dated grunge and uncomfortably jammed themselves onto the Seattle tugboat as it sailed into the Pearl Jam nation. To anyone who says "Hey, they're not metal," I remind you that heavy metal began with a very strong blues influence and Alice In Chains were far bluesier than many bands who have since come to define metal.

22) Uriah Heep: The roots of Spinal Tap? Albums such as Very ‘Eavy...Very ‘umble, Look at Yourself, The Magician's Birthday and High And Mighty sure seem to have conceptually influenced a strain of "mock metal," yet Uriah Heep with the amazing singing of David Byron, one of the originators of the heavy metal vibrato-laden moan, and the brooding organ of Ken Hensley jammed together as many styles as they could sneak past customs. Sometimes it was peanut butter and jelly, sometimes Rum & Coke and sometimes bananas and bar-b-que sauce. At least they tried.

21) Pantera: Phil Anselmo is one scary dude. And I wouldn't want to meet any of these guys in a dark alley. But on a stage, gainfully employed, Pantera were in their element. While their hard and heavy ways made them heroes to their devoted following, one misguided member of that devoted following took things to the point of indescribable horror when he shot and killed guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell (among others) while Darrell was playing in his post-Pantera group Damageplan. Being in a band has its job hazards; this should NOT be one of them.

20) Thin Lizzy: You'll see that I'm partial to bands who can write songs. Play as many notes as you like. Scream your lungs out. Tell me the world isn't fair. Hail Satan, if you must. Tell me more about how you're going to "rock me." Or tell me all about the people in a faraway galaxy who will one day communicate through the electric guitar. But I'll still take someone who can write: "Jailbreak," "Cold Sweat," "Whiskey In The Jar" and "The Boys Are Back In Town."

19) Kyuss: Who to blame for Stoner Rock? Why not these California desert dudes? These days people know about Queens of the Stone Age, who excel at shifting their line-up on a monthly basis, but once upon a time in the early 90s, Josh Homme and his then buddies stayed together on a fairly consistent basis (well, bass players come and go... and the drummer got switched up in the end, but for these guys that is consistency) and cranked out albums and looked to be going somewhere. Then, of course, before they could really be considered successful, they broke up. Which is what stoners do.

18) Guns N' Roses: With sides of punk and glam, Guns N' Roses coasted into the heavy metal mainstream with catchy tunes and a harder edge than their nerf-metal counterparts. There seem to be two kinds of heavy metal groups: ones that can't stay together and ones that never quit. Funny how everyone but Axl seems to be able to play nice with each other. They say money changes everything, but apparently not everything.

17) Kiss: They may never get the respect they crave. But they've got the sales they always wanted. If any band can be said to be a retail industry, it's Kiss. While so many bemoan the fate of the music business since music is so often distributed free these days, Kiss were already making merchandise a key monetary hub in their organization while others were busy building up their reputations with critics. Now grab your Kiss lunchbox and set it down on your Ace Frehley dinette set with those Peter Criss utensils to nicely cut up that Gene Simmons Bologna and Paul Stanley Liverwurst. I don't even own this paragraph. Gene Simmons does.

16) Dio: Ronnie James Dio is what we call a lifer. A Heavy Metal Zelig, always somewhere in the mix, whether it's with Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Elf or his own self-titled Dio. One of the originators of that vibrato-heavy metallic moan, Dio not only qualifies for a lifetime achievement award for his contributions to furthering the cause of Metal throughout the world but for Medicare in this country. And they credit him with that funny hand gesture!

15) Robin Trower: Ah, who? You know the guy from Procol Harum? Ok, that doesn't help. Well, ask a heavy metal guitarist sometime who's among their favorite players and nearly every time you'll hear people bring up the name Robin Trower, whose solo albums from the early ‘70s are pretty damn staggering in their sludgy-blues heaviness. This is back when the music didn't mind bringing you down. Which just goes to show what a good Quaalude can do. Start with Bridge Of Sighs.

14) Rush: Rush took a severe beating at the hands of critics for being a tad humorless about their high concepts. But they never whimpered and headed home. Nope. They had too many kids waiting for them in the stadiums who liked their high seriousness and looked forward to living in a future they would never actually live to see. 2112 is still a long ways away...They did it with guitars and they did it with synthesizers and they did it with a drummer who owned way too many drums. But to be fair, he uses all those drums. They're not just for show, like with some people.

13) Spinal Tap: Everyone says they weren't real. Yet I will put them on every Heavy Metal list possible, since their material--you know, the songs--are every bit as good as the "real" thing. And even if they never really did record an album called Intravenus DeMilo, they should've. And if the budget had been there, they just might've. And who's to say Shark Sandwich isn't just the victim of a clever two word put-down review? Maybe someone should go back and re-evaluate this band's imaginary oeuvre.

12) Deep Purple: While Sabbath and Zeppelin have gone on to be immortalized, Deep Purple have fallen dangerously behind. Ritchie Blackmore deserves better than to be lumped in with the "Where Were They Then?" pile. "Smoke On The Water" may be obvious, but "Space Truckin'" and the rest of Machine Head should be textbook cases for all aspiring young hard rockers. And they were purple when only hippies were ruining the color and not dinosaurs and Prince.

11) Slayer: Slayer redefined "heavy" back in the 1980s by speeding things up to the point of hardcore punk but with intricate riffs and shout-outs to Satan that made them obvious followers of the Metal church. With such a volatile sound and temperament, who would've thought they'd still be hanging together this many years later?

10) Iron Maiden: Just caught a live concert of theirs from 1985 on--where else?--a sports network. Great, since the music networks can't be bothered. And boy did these guys look kind of funny with all that billowing smoke and weird prancing around--and those spandex tights. In some respects, almost as good as Spinal Tap, and in some ways better since they were serious. "Rime Of The Ancient Mariner" is ponderous, but the hoof-beating gallop of "The Trooper" and just about anything from The Number Of The Beast makes up for their inherent corniness.

9) Motorhead: By never swerving from their ideals, Motorhead managed to win the hearts and souls of metal loyalists everywhere while simultaneously gathering punks and critics (same thing?) for their cause. Playing louder than others proved to be a key strategic move. Writing "Ace Of Spades" proved to be the other.

8) Aerosmith: There are those who will swear they aren't heavy metal. Yeah, I know. They were once considered a Rolling Stones ripoff because Steven Tyler had big lips like Jagger and Joe Perry was the sullen shadow playing the role of Keith Richards. But this bluesy, R&B-based hard rock band wrote stuff like "Toys In The Attic," "Back In The Saddle" and "Draw The Line" before crashing, burning and reforming in the ‘80s to further a more commercialized rock sound that sure sounded like a lot of heavy metal at the time.

7) Judas Priest: Their songs were always pretty catchy for a metal band, but I always preferred singer Rob Halford's between song banter. Very brief and always spoken in the same punctuated strain that he uses for the climax of their best tunes. In other words, he never lets up the intensity or drops the mask. He is the dominator on that stage and with two guys--K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton--on guitars who virtually defined the overused trope "twin-guitar attack"--how much more definitive do you need?

6) Metallica: Whether their new album this Fall brings them back up a few pegs remains to be seen, but before they started a virtual war with their fans over $$ (weird, coming from a band who'd already raked in more than most bands would see in a lifetime) and put out St. Anger, the album that made people think that maybe Load was worse than they originally rationalized, Metallica were once the lords of a new generation. Master Of Puppets remains one of the sacred treaties and the self-titled Black Album is that one metal album that non-metal people own and pull out to prove they "like" heavy metal.

5) Jimi Hendrix Experience: Hendrix was far more than some heavy metal guitarist. Putting his music in any box is useless because it always sneaks out. But from the opening notes of "Purple Haze," it's obvious that Jimi was interested in being louder than the other boys. While it's an obvious shame that he didn't live through the ensuing decades, it's a blessing that he came of age at a time when musicians relied on band chemistry and not Pro-Tools to make their magic. Because as good as Hendrix was, he also knew how to pick the right supporting cast.

4) Van Halen: Some metallists say these guys aren't metal because they like girls and to party and they cover the Kinks, Roy Orbison and Motown. But have you heard Eddie's tone? He re-taught the guitar for an entire decade and while they lose points for employing Sammy Hagar (whose band Montrose, you'll note, is absent from this list), they did once bring us that ultimate, premium, all natural ham of hams, the great David Lee Roth.

3) AC/DC: Chords on top of chords, hooks on top of hooks and two singers--Bon Scott and Brian Johnson--who combined for a serious number of knockout punches. AC/DC knew how to flirt with radio without losing the crunch. And how Angus manages to bang his head and hop around the stage to this day remains one of metal's unsolved mysteries.

2) Led Zeppelin: Zep never stayed in one place too long and while Jimmy Page had an arsenal of riffs for aspiring young guitarists to emulate, the band coasted off into acoustic Hobbit tributes and art-rock when they got bored. But their complete demolition of the blues was damn impressive, whether it was Bonzo's beating the drums into submission or Bob Plant screeching for another inch of his love.

1) Black Sabbath: The lords of darkness who were always trying to find the sunshine but couldn't find the energy to lift the blinds. By keeping it simple and focusing on the most elemental elements, Black Sabbath mastered the art of the powerchord and the downward spiral. Killing themselves to live, never saying die and fighting the war pigs! What a legacy!


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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Celtics rout Lakers 131-92 to claim 17th NBA title

By TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer 1 minute ago

BOSTON - On a new parquet floor below aging championship banners, the Boston Celtics won their 17th NBA title and a first one — at last — for Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen — their Big Three for a new generation. After 22 long years, the NBA has gone green.

Lifted by ear-splitting chants of "Beat L.A." from their adoring crowd, which included Boston legends Bill Russell John Havlicek and JoJo White, the Celtics concluded a shocking rebound of a season with a stunning 131-92 blowout over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 6 on Tuesday night.

With the outcome assured, Boston fans sang into the night as if they were in a pub on nearby Canal Street. They serenaded the newest champs in this city of champs, and taunted Kobe Bryant and his Lakers, who drowned in a green-and-white wave for 48 minutes.

Garnett scored 26 points with 14 rebounds, Allen scored 26 and Pierce, the finals MVP, added 17 as the Celtics, a 24-win team a year ago, wrapped up their first crown since 1986.

This was total domination. The Celtics obliterated the Lakers, who were trying to become the first team to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the finals.

No way. No how. No chance.

Boston's 39-point win surpassed the NBA record for the biggest margin of victory in a championship clincher; the Celtics beat the Lakers 129-96 in Game 5 of the 1965 NBA finals.

Pierce doused Celtics coach Doc Rivers with red Gatorade. Owner Wyc Grousbeck, who named his group Banner 17 to leave no doubt about his goal, put an unlit cigar in his mouth — a tribute to Red Auerbach, the patriarch who had a hand in the franchise's first 16 titles.

Garnett dropped to the parquet and kissed the leprechaun at center court, then found Hall of Famer Bill Russell for a long embrace.

"I got my own. I got my own," Garnett said. "I hope we made you proud."

"You sure did," Russell said.

Rivers pulled Pierce, Garnett and Allen with 4:01 left and they shared a group hug with their coach, who was nearly run out of town last season. In the final minute, Rivers, who lost his father at the beginning of this remarkable season, was soaked by Pierce, the Celtics' captain who decided to stay when things were bad and was rewarded for his loyalty

It's was Boston's first title since the passing of Auerbach, whose signature victory cigar was the only thing missing on this night. Even Auerbach, who died in 2006, got some satisfaction. Led by Rivers, his beloved team denied Lakers coach Phil Jackson from overtaking him with a 10th championship.

A perfect ending: a 17th title on the 17th of June.

The Boston-Los Angeles rivalry, nothing more than black-and-white footage from the 60s and TV highlights of players wearing short shorts in the 80s to young hoops fans, remains titled toward the Atlantic Ocean. The Celtics are 9-2 against the Lakers in the finals.

They missed their first crack at closing out the series in Game 5, but didn't miss on their second swing, running the Lakers out of their gym.

Bryant, the regular season MVP, finished with 22 points.

Garnett and Allen were All-Stars in other cities, stuck in Minnesota and Seattle, respectively, on teams going nowhere. But brought together in trades last summer by Celtics general manager Danny Ainge, a member of the '86 Celtics champions, they joined Pierce and formed an breakable bond, a trio as tight as the club's lucky shamrock logo.

With Garnett scoring 17 points and Pierce adding 10, Boston built a 23-point halftime lead, and unlike Game 2 when they let the Lakers trim a 24-point lead to two in the fourth quarter before recoveirng, the Celtics kept coming in waves.

They pushed their lead to 31 in the third quarter, and with Boston still up by 29 after three quarters, plastic sheets started going up in the Celtics' locker room in preparation for a champagne celebration.

Bryant started 4-of-5 from the field, but he missed seven shots in a row and finished 7-of-22. Everywhere he went, L.A.'s No. 24 ran smack into a wall of Boston defense as high as the Green Monster a few miles away at Fenway Park.

"Defense," Rivers said before the game. "Is what we do."

In the second half, Celtics fans chanted "You're not (Michael) Jordan" at Bryant, who will have to wait for his fourth title and first without former teammate Shaquille O'Neal. The Lakers, who stole Pau Gasol away from Memphis in a mid-season trade to help Bryant, will have the all summer to think about what went wrong.

No team had to work harder for a championship than these Celtics, who were playing in their record 26th postseason game. They were pushed to seven games in the first round by Atlanta, another seven by Cleveland and then took care of Detroit in six to win the Eastern Conference title.

They entered Game 6 of the finals slowed by injuries as Pierce, Kendrick Perkins (shoulder) and Rajon Rondo (ankle) were less than 100 percent. There was also uncertainty surrounding Allen, who stayed behind in Los Angeles following Game 5 after his youngest son became ill.

But just as they had while winning 66 games during the regular season, the Celtics got plenty of help from their bench as P.J. Brown, James Posey, Leon Powe and rookie Glen "Big Baby" Davis came in and contributed.

It was a group effort by this gang in green, which bonded behind Rivers, who borrowed an African word ubuntu (pronounced Ooh-BOON-too) and roughly means "I am, because we are" in English, as the Celtics' unifying team motto.

The Celtics gave the Lakers a 12-minute crash course of ubuntu in the second quarter.

Boston outscored Los Angeles 34-19, getting 11 field goals on 11 assists while holding Bryant to three points, all on free throws. The Celtics toyed with the Lakers, outworking the Western Conference's best inside and out and showing the same kind of heart that made Boston the center of pro basketbal's universe in the '60s.

House and Posey made 3-pointers to put the Celtics ahead by 12 points and baskets by Pierce, Garnett and Rondo put Boston ahead by 18.

In the final minute, Garnett floated in the lane, banked in a one-handed runner and was fouled. His free throw made it 56-35, and after Perkins scored, the Celtics ran to the locker room leading by 23.

On his way off the floor, Garnett screamed, "That's that."

And so it was.

Notes:@ Since the finals began in 1947, 16 have gone seven games, the most recent in 2005 when San Antonio had to go the distance to beat Detroit. ... With little to say, Jackson answered three questions during his pregame news conference before saying, "It's been nice, thank you." ... It wasn't as starry as L.A.'s crowd, but Game 6 brought out celebrities including Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler, actor Leonardo DiCaprio, Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who got a huge ovation when he was shown on the scoreboard, and Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade.

Boston Celtics' Paul Pierce (34) celebrates with Ray Allen near the end of Game 6 of the NBA basketball finals against the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday, June 17, 2008, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Metallica: Still Heavy After All These Years



Band returns to speed metal on new disc with Rick Rubin

This is the advice producer Rick Rubin gave Metallica over two years ago, as the band knuckled down to write its next album: "I said, 'Imagine you're not Metallica,' " Rubin recalls. " 'You don't have any hits to play, and you have to come up with material to play in a battle of the bands. What do you sound like?' "

"It was the obvious thing — that we didn't see," says singer-guitarist James Hetfield. Rubin, a longtime friend and fan who was producing a Metallica album for the first time, "gave it a focus, instantly, with that statement."

Set for a September release on Warner Bros., Metallica's still-untitled new album is their first since 2003's St. Anger and their first with bassist Robert Trujillo, who joined in February of that year. It is also a stunning, overdue return to the shock and rush of the band's speed-metal monuments, 1984's Ride the Lightning and 1986's Master of Puppets. The 10 long tracks are all multi-riff blizzards with jolting rhythm swerves, while lead guitarist Kirk Hammett makes up for the no-solos asceticism of St. Anger with vintage bursts of cackling-hyena wah-wah.

"Rick said he wanted to make the definitive Metallica record," says drummer Lars Ulrich, "a step forward that incorporated elements from what he considered our creative peak. Every time there was a fork in the road, we said, 'In 1985, we would have done this.' " One song illustrates Hetfield's lyric hook "Hunt you down all nightmare long" (there are no formal song titles yet) with vicious-staccato guitar riddled with tempo U-turns and Ulrich's double-kick-drum thunderclaps.

Another combines a hard-funk chorus, jarring tempo collisions and a reflective, growling Hetfield ("Suicide, I've already died/It's just the funeral I'm waiting for"). A third song recalls Metallica's 1988 riff avalanche, . . . And Justice for All, but with a steady conqueror's-march beat. "What don't kill ya makes ya more strong," Hetfield sings on that track — and he says he believes it: "It feels like old Metallica to me, but with more meaning now."

Metallica are a changed band from the one that went through group therapy and nearly broke up while making St. Anger, a weirdness captured in the documentary Some Kind of Monster. "I was nervous because of what I saw in that movie," Rubin confesses. "But I found a unified force that had come to terms with all of the stuff that got dredged up." Hetfield, who went into rehab during the St. Anger sessions, remains on "the clean-and-sober path," as he puts it. And Metallica worked on the new album in bursts of several weeks to minimize time away from their families (all four band members are now fathers). "Making records in the Nineties wasn't a lot of fun," Ulrich says. "On this one, we made ourselves a promise: to have as civil an experience as possible."


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Coldplay album selling fast, music to EMI's ears


LONDON (Reuters) - Coldplay sold 125,000 copies of its new album on the first day of release in Britain, a solid tally industry experts say should be music to the band's ears and those of its ailing record label EMI.

"Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends" now looks "certain" to top Sunday's album chart, according to The Official Charts Company which tracks record sales, even though it was released on Thursday rather than at the start of the week.

"Coldplay are an international act ... and these sales figures in the UK are the first indication of how the album will be received, and EMI will be very pleased," said The Official Charts Company managing director Martin Talbot.

"X&Y", Coldplay's last album and most successful to date, sold 465,000 copies in its first week in Britain.

EMI, and its boss Guy Hands, will now turn their attention to the world's biggest music market in the United States, a more important barometer of the album's success when it is released there next week.

The band has expressed relief the recording process is over for one of the year's most eagerly anticipated records.

" feel very relieved that the album is finally released out into the big wide world," the band said on its Web site. "It's out of our hands now. It doesn't belong to us any more."


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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

How to make Firefox More 2x Faster


1) Type "about:config" into the address bar and hit return. Scroll down and look for the following entries:
network.http.pipelining
network.http.proxy.pipelining
network.http.pipelining.maxrequests
Normally the browser will make one request to a web page at a time. When you enable pipelining it will make several at once, which really speeds up page loading.

2) Alter the entries as follows: (by double clicking them)
Set "network.http.pipelining" to "true"
Set "network.http.proxy.pipelining" to "true"
Set "network.http.pipelining.maxrequests" to some number like 30. This means it will make 30 requests at once. (I changed mine to 100, works great.)

3) Lastly right-click anywhere and select New-> Integer. Name it "nglayout.initialpaint.delay" and set its value to "0". This value is the amount of time the browser waits before it acts on information it recieves.

Labels:


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Download Limit: Unlimited
File Life: 30 Days (Deleted only if there is no download activity in 30 days)
URL: http://www.zupload.com

myShareBox
File Size Limit: 100MB
Download Limit: Unlimited
File Life: 30 Days (Deleted only if there is no download activity in 30 days)
URL: http://www.mysharebox.com

ShareBigFile
File Size Limit: 300MB
Download Limit: Unlimited
File Life: 21 Days
URL: http://www.sharebigfile.com

MegaUpload
File Size Limit: 250MB
Download Limit: Unlimited
File Life: 30 Days (Deleted only if there is no download activity in 30 days)
URL: http://www.megaupload.com

UpDownloadServer
File Size Limit: 250MB
Download Limit: Unlimited
File Life: Unlimited
URL: http://www.updownloadserver.de

MyTempDir
File Size Limit: 40MB
Download Limit: Unlimited
File Life: 21 Days
URL: http://www.mytempdir.com

Send File
File Size Limit: 40MB
Download Limit: 10 Downloads
File Life: 10 Days
URL: http://www.send-file.co.uk

XtraFile
File Size Limit: 250MB
Download Limit: Unlimited
File Life: 15 Days (Deleted only if there is no download activity in 15 days)
URL: http://www.xtrafile.com

bonpoo
File Size Limit: 250MB
Download Limit: Unlimited
File Life: 10 Days
URL: http://www.bonpoo.com

FileCache
File Size Limit: 250MB
Download Limit: Unlimited
File Life: 31 Days
URL: http://www.filecache.de/upload

Supload
File Size Limit: 200MB
Download Limit: 30 Downloads
File Life: 7 Days
URL: http://supload.com/sendfile

TheUpload
File Size Limit: 100MB
Download Limit: Unlimited
File Life: 30 Days
URL: http://www.theupload.com

zSHARE
File Size Limit: 100MB
Download Limit: Unlimited
File Life: 10 Days (Deleted only if there is no download activity in 10 days)
URL: http://zshare.net


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