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PropShop update

posted by Tage Widsell 2009-02-05 at 16:16

I'm so far behind Dan's plan update tsunami it's not even funny anymore.

So what's new from the PolPots of marketing this week? Actually, we did a pretty nice update to the PropShop that Klara just uploaded. Ever since the PropShop opened back in the web's Jurassic period (1997), we have had UPS as one of the shipping alternatives. UPS actually stomps the other options, being fast reliable and the added bonus of having your package delivered by a guy in a handsome brown outfit.

But the coolest thing about UPS shipping is the tracking. I can't help it. Whenever I order something that is shipped with UPS, I'm a sucker for that tracking page and I can't stop checking back to see that "aahhh, my die-cast miniature Prius has now cleared Customs in Osaka. Where will it turn up next?".

In the PropShop, doing this was a bit complicated until yesterday. You had to copy the shipment's reference number and enter that together with address and other stuff at to track your shipment. As of now, you can track it directly here at In the PropShop, there is now a page callen My Orders where all your propshop orders are listed, and you can also track your shipments there, without any hassles at all.

Now, doesn't this sound like fun? Want to try it out? Order yourself something nice and pick the UPS option and soon you can join in the tracking craze. (sorry, I can't help it. I'm in marketing)

We also added a little navigation tweak to the shop. In the past, there wasn't really a good way to go back to a shop category from the product details page. Now we have added a so called 'breadcrumb' to allow PropShop shoppers to backtrack their steps. Want to try it out? Just go to the PropShop and browse the different categories, such as ReFill downloads. While you're at it, hit the 'add to cart' link now and then and then go to the 'check out' page to finish your order. Oh, here I go again. Sorry.

In addition to new web content such as artist stories, Discovering Reason (new Thor article is coming next week) etc, little updates like these are happening all the time. There's a lot of things happening that isn't really visible for most site visitors. Recent updates include Paypal options in the shop (wanna try it out? ...oh sorry), a UI update in the support section our ongoing move to use YouTube for all our videos etc etc

The bulk of our web application code is written by Klara, our ehh... web application coder. I'm filling in when I'm needed or of nobody stops me, but since I have a tendency to write overly complicated code for very simple tasks (two dimensional arrays, anyone?) I try to stay in the background and do some video stuff or something where I can't break stuff.

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Leo is starting to look grey in the face...

posted by Tage Widsell 2008-11-24 at 15:07

...from trying to keep up with all the basslines being sent in during the bassline battle's last desperate hours.

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posted by Tage Widsell 2008-11-01 at 11:49

I just got back to London after filming some stuff that will show up on a website very much like the one you are most likely reading right now (unless my psychic powers fail me and you are in fact reading this somewhere else - an RSS feed perhpas). 

As I got there I realized that I haven't really been in London for many years now. Heathrow is where I usually change planes, but that doesn't really qualify as a visit to London. Two things I learned on this short trip:

1. London is more crowded and claustrophobic than i remembered it. Hauling my laptop bag, camera bag and a 25kg (or 52lbs for the metrically impaired) case of equipment on the underground in rush hour is not a good idea.

2. You are not allowed to shoot video in that same underground. I wanted some London scenery shots - buses, streets, famous landmakrs and also underground trains pulling in to the station.

I put my tripod down and hit the record button and after about 10 seconds i had a serious-looking police badge in my face, wielded by an equally serious looking plain-clothes police officer. He was very friendly and polite as he informed me that it wasn't a crime to film in the underground, but it was prohibited. He expained that in part it was due to the fact that the underground is run by private enterprises and you needed their permission to use their stations for filming, but also hinted to the fact that people "in this day and age" get uncomfortable when seeing guys using cameras in the subway.

I found this a bit ironic, being London - CCTV capital of the world. Cameras are all over the place, but a camera operated be a mere civilian should be considered a threat.

Anyway, the guy was really friendly and just asked me tot kindly cease and desist and ask form permission if I really needed to shoot video in the London underground. Fair enough.

Other than that and a horrible cold coming on, it was a good trip. I met with former work mate Ulrika over that food and failed to hook up with the Flatpack guys who apparently had more important things to do than to socialize with a propellerhead dude visiting town. ;-)

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My first 10

posted by Tage Widsell 2008-10-23 at 11:54

Today is a special day. It's now ten years ago that I started working here at Propellerhead Software. Ten years... Ten years! OMG!

& Pelle anjoying an ice cream at the 1999 Frankfurt show.

When I started we had just released ReBirth 2.0 a few of months earlier and the developers, all four of them, were busy getting the 2.0.1 release done and ready for release. 

When I started working here I was the webmaster and support guy. The company was smaller then and it was actually possible to do both things simultaneously. I met a guy working for another music software company at the Frankfurt show in 1999 and he asked me what I did for Propellerhead. When I told him I did support he just laughed and said it must be the laziest job on earth doing support at Propellerhead with ReBirth's famous stability - a unique thing at the time.

My first big task at the company was to move the website beyond the realms of the static html pages we had earlier. We picked ColdFusion as our app server and off I went. I created an automated song archive and for that we needed to know if people were registered so I did a registration and user group handling.

I then wrote the infamous message board that was in use until the switch to our current board in May this year. People have been nagging about how bad it is for years. The actual layout was a copy from the cgi-script board that we had prior to that. That board was a free script that our former webmaster Fredrik Hägglund found when setting up the Propellerhead website back in 1997. Imagine it lived until 2008. That actually means my wonderful thread sorting algorithm was in use, pretty much unchanged for some eight years or so.

At the NAMM show in January 2000 we showed Reason for the very first time. Until then it had been jokingly known as Project-X in our .plan files for some time. Now the cat was out of the bag, which was fun. What wasn't so much fun was that we realized that we didn't have three months of development left. It actually took us the rest of the year and the whole company was under tremendous pressure to get it done. This was an important lesson and it is for this reason that we don't hint on what's coming until we are very nearly done - usually when beta testing starts.

Reason was a runaway success and the company grew quickly. We became independent around this time too. Before that we had been a strict development company with all our sales and distribution handled by Steinberg. As we started doing sales and marketing on our own, we needed people to handle those tasks. I was asked if I wanted to take on the marketing role in the company and I accepted, rather reluctantly actually. After all, don't you have to trade in your BBEdit license for a golf bag when you become a marketer?

It turned out I didn't have to. Here I am, still a happy BBEdit user. Shortly after becoming the director of marketing I met that same guy that said support at Propellerhead must be a lazy job. When I told him I was now in marketing he just chuckled and said I must be really lazy. Doing marketing for Reason - that software that everybody wants anyway...

With the company growing, we have gradually added more people to the marketing team and my present job is Creative Director of Marketing. It's a great job! I deal with all the content for our marketing campaigns, web site, videos etc.

So, a very short summary of my first ten years. Here's to the next ten years coming!

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Back again

posted by Tage Widsell 2008-10-22 at 10:15

I'm back again and so is my luggage. I had to pick it up at SFO as I was leaving San Francisco. Not impressed.

I had a good week in LA with James Bernard & Gerry Basserman, spent mostly in meetings with artists. It's really cool to see what people are doing with our software. Some of the people we met with will appear on this website as artist stories in the months to come. Check back for more!

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posted by Tage Widsell 2008-10-13 at 10:20

If you are bored by nagging travel stories, don't bother reading the rest. I wouldn't...

So I'm in California to do some artist interviews for the web site this week. I normally don't mind flying so much. I've barely ever had problems with lost luggage and such, but on this trip Murphy's law have applied to almost every part of it:

Connection flight #1 Stockholm - London circled around for a long time before we could land, giving me exactly 30 minutes to reach my next flight. I'm thinking if I make it, my luggage won't. I'm not let through the infamous flight connection checkpoint at Terminal 5 since less than the stipulated 35 minutes remained. 

After lining up behind hundreds of other passengers in the same position, British Airways arranges a new flight three hours later on Virgin and also rebooks my connection LAX-SFO. Great. I'm getting where I want to go and now my bags will make it in time.

Of course there are no bags in sight when I get to LA. I file a report saying that it is really really really really important that the bags are sent directly to San Francisco and not to LA. No problem.

Getting on the SF flight was a problem though, since the friendly staff at Heathrow had forgotten that the new flight was not an American Airlines flight but an Alaska flight, and the Alaska check in crew could not see my ticket. A long walk to the BA ticketing desk (here it was pretty good not having two suitcases full of equipment to haul around) failed to turn up anything other than directions to the AA ticketing desk in the next terminal. After a lot of Hmmmmand Aaahh the AA guys issued the ticket and I had to run back to terminal 3 to catch the flight last second.

Here I am, 36 hours later and my bags are in LA! At least they might be in LA. The staff at Virgin will only tell me that they were scheduled to go on the first LA flight on Sunday, but after that they don't know anything. 

So, with some new underwear purchased at H&M (something else would be unswedish of me), I'm just hanging around here waiting for my bags to show up. Been sight-seeing this afternoon with Peff, which is always nice. San Francisco is a cool city. Last time I was here was four years ago and I was locked up at the Remix Hotel all day and didn't see the city at all in daylight.

If you're religious, send a prayer for my bags to arrive tomorrow. As an agnostic, I can only say that I think there's a 25% chance they will.


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Arthur C Clarke 1917 - 2008

posted by Tage Widsell 2008-03-19 at 10:10

"It is full of stars!" 

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My favorite widget

posted by Tage Widsell 2008-02-21 at 12:26
So that I'll always remember how many days there are until the Spore release.

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Damn you, Ola.

posted by Tage Widsell 2008-01-20 at 04:48

I will never make another stupid face (at least not deliberately) when you are around!


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Mysterious postit notes

posted by Tage Widsell 2007-11-30 at 16:26

Here's a yellow post-it stickie on my desk. It's been there for ages (among a few others) and I have completely forgotten why I wrote it. It says

Blah blah blah" 

AFAIK, I have not been involved in any MS related projects in Venezuela, but maybe a mandatory memory erase was part of the project.

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