NOTICE:
Check out my awesome new project over at www.zettai.moe!

March 31, 2012

Ubuntu 12.04 Beta 2 Released

Ok, so I haven't been keeping up with the latest Ubuntu 12.04 development but since I recently installed Ubuntu on my laptop, I decided I might as well post about the development releases of Ubuntu 12.04. A couple of days ago, Ubuntu 12.04 Beta 2 was released. It's there now available for download.



With Feature Freeze and Interface Freeze long since past the majority of changes to this beta over the last are performance and bug related, although notable things to look out for: -


  • Unity 5.8
  • Qt-based Ubuntu One desktop client
  • Additional Application Quicklists
  • New Multi-Monitor options
  • New HUD animation
  • Updated LibreOffice and Firefox packages
  • Some updated apps from GNOME 3.4
I say I can't wait for the final release to come out on the 28 April 2012. Until then, I will stick with Ubuntu 11.10.

Anime Review: My Neighbor Totoro

A really popular anime that almost everyone that is a anime freak would have watched some point in their lives. Studio Ghibli successfully captures children's limitless imaginations of the world around them into a understandable film for the young and old alike.

My Neighbor TotoroSynopsis:
Follow the adventures of Satsuki and her four-year-old sister Mei when they move into a new home in the countryside. To their delight they discover that their new neighbor is a mysterious forest spirit called Totoro who can be seen only through the eyes of a child. Totoro introduces them to extraordinary characters, including a cat that doubles as a bus, takes them on a journey through the wonders of nature. 

Review:
I should have done a review on Totoro a long time ago, but I never got around to it. Many of you reading this would have already watched this film. If you haven't, what are you still doing!? I would say that this is probably the oldest anime film I have watched in my life. The story is well told and it captures the imaginations. I loved how the story was told and how it makes sense even though none of it makes sense. Of course, if you are a child, you will love this anime, if you are an adult, it may bring back some memories.

Let me say. This film was made is 1988. What do you expect the art to be? Well for one thing, I was really surprised at the quality of the anime for its time. The art was great and the imaginative environments clearly captivated me. You will love Totoro, the soft cushionny thing.

Sound was of high quality and the sound tracks were classically brilliant. Originality was the main focus here and the film really brought that out. Nothing to complain here. You cannot compare this film to the recent animes of this century. They are a totally different level.

The characters were stunning and cute. I loved the weird and wonderful monsters and mysterious beings featured throughout the film. Everyone loves Totoro but they also love the catbus more. CATBUS! I loved it!

Overall, I loved this anime. It is one of those special classics that will imprint into your memory forever. The innocent portrayal of children's imaginations in a wonderful world really captivates the audience. I have rewatched this film many times and I have not got bored of it once.

STORY: 9
A lively and imaginative story just captivates  the audience. Originality is here.

ART: 9
Really well illustrated for its time. I still can't believe this film was released in 1988.

SOUND: 8
High quality voice acting and brilliant musical score complements the film a lot.

CHARACTER: 10
Loved the catbus. CATBUS. CATBUS!! =D

ENJOYMENT:  9
Loved it. Full of surprises and discoveries. Funny in many ways as well.

OVERALL: 9
A must watch classical anime. Really well compiled.

Website Blog Posts Error

Hi all,

There is something wrong with the blog posts on the website at the moment. Don't panic as I am trying to fix the situation right now. This may take a few hours to completely check and fix all the template bugs on the website. For now, please bear with the inconviences caused. Sorry!

MegaBubbletea.

[EDIT: The website template has now been fixed.]

March 30, 2012

Just Be Friends - Human Covers

Hi everyone! Today two of my friends brought up the topic of being hooked on to the Vocaloid song "Just be friends", so I thought I'll chime in too!


I'll be frank, initially I didn't like the song because I didn't like the English lyrics "Just be friends, all you gotta do is just be friends. It's time to say goodbye, just be friends...". I just thought that in reality when you break up with your partner it's really difficult to say "hey, forget everything that happened between us and we'll just be friends". This is of course skewed with my bias of not believing in "love/falling in love" (this is a matter I will not ponder about in this post).

But what I do want to share with everyone today is a cover that Clear did of the song JBF (Listen here!). I really like this version of the song. The tempo is slowed down a lot from the original song. It contains plain piano accompaniment, which I think brings out the pain of breaking up with someone you love. Adding on Clear's beautiful and moving voice listening to this version will definitely make you cry!


Another cover of JBF is by NicoNicoChorus (in fact if you do a Youtube search you'll find many NicoNico covers). This one is one of favourites. I feel that the various human voices have been mixed in successfully, nothing seems out of beat or out of tune. I am also biased because Halyosy is part of the team singing this song.


One day I would like to make my own "Chorus". Go gather up a few friends, sing covers of Vocaloid songs and record them. But of course that is one naive dream. For starters I don't know Japanese so pronunciation is a problem, and secondly I can't sing ;_;.

Anyhow, I'll stop being depressive and leave you guys with a cosplay photo based on JBF.
Disclaimer: I don't own this photo. All credits goes to the cosplayers and photographer.

Kid Icarus: Uprising review

Hi! Rhycen here!
OK, so this is my first video game review, and I'm just doing this out of excitement, so it's not going to be the most comprehensive review, they are merely my thoughts on the game.


Kid Icarus: Uprising is a fast paced shooter/action adventure game developed by Nintendo for the 3DS, released in Australia on the 29th of March. You play as Pit, an angel and also the captain of the goddess Palutena's personal guard. The gameplay consists of flying shooter levels, where you just shoot the enemies that appear on the screen, and ground levels, where you have to find your way to the boss at the end. The gist of the story is, Medusa, the goddess of the underworld, is attacking, and it is up to Pit, with the aid of Palutena, to save the world.


I bought Kid Icarus uprising today, and I don't regret it one bit! At first I was slightly sceptical of getting this game based on reviews that complained about the terrible control scheme. However, a 20% off sale was too good to miss and I bought the game. As I expected, the reviews were quite exaggerated. The controls are nowhere near as bad as they make it out to be, although the camera is quite a handful to control and point in the right direction, but I imagine this can be perfected over time. The stand that comes bundled with the game certainly does help make gameplay more comfortable, although it doesn't help the fact that in exciting battles, I push my console on an angle, obscuring the 3D view. The gameplay is very fast paced, and you'll find yourself flying through the chapters at a blistering pace. After only about an hour of playtime I have already cleared 5 chapters, and also thoroughly explored all of the games features. The cut-scenes and animations are extremely well done and polished. The graphics are stunning, and the level design is interesting and non-repetitive. The game loads up very quickly, which is a plus for people like me who like to play games in short bursts. Also, the user interface is well designed and colourful, with large buttons that just beg to be tapped.


The action is heating up!
When beginning the story mode, after a short tutorial video on movement, you are thrust straight into the action of the first stage. There is no lengthy cutscene explaining the backstory  of this game. You are learning about the scenario at the same time as Pit. Palutena and Pit, and occasionally other characters, will constantly have conversations while you fight your way through each chapter, teaching you about enemies or how to get around obstacles, or even just joke around among themselves. I found this feature quite ingenious, as it provides information during gameplay, as well as additional "ear-candy" over the already beautiful soundtrack. The difficulty adjustment is also quite unique in this game. To raise the difficulty of the stages, you must spend "hearts" which is the basic currency of the game. This may seem a bit redundant, after all, why spend hearts to make it harder? Well, the harder the difficulty, the better weapon rewards you get for completing the stage. Having a strong weapon very important in this game so you can dispatch enemies quickly before they can hurt you. Speaking of weapons, the variety of weapons in this game is quite impressive. There are 9 different classes of weapons to choose from: Blade, Staff, Claws, Bow, Palm, Club, Cannon, Orbitars, and Arms. Each weapon has it's own advantages and disadvantages. There should be a weapon out there for any type of gamer. You can choose to fuse different weapons together to create even better weapons. I find this kind of collecting and combining very engaging.


The multiplayer is a very strong aspect of this game as well. After barely any wait at all, I was thrust into a beautiful arena with 5 other contestants. Although I did not fare as well as the more experienced players out there, I found the combat to be smooth and enjoyable. There was no lag at all during the match, which is awesome considering I am running on slowed down wi-fi as I am capped for the month.


Let the games begin!
Now, let's talk about the AR card feature. This feature was strongly advertised as a main focus of the game. It can take a while for the camera to register an AR card, but that could have been a result of my shaky hands. The models that appear above the card are well animated. A feature of these AR cards is, when two cards are placed head to head, a combat sequence initiates. During this sequence, you can view the cards' combat stats, which are health, attack and speed. When you press the fight button, the cards proceed to auto-attack one another, with their damage and rate of attack corresponding to their stats. The first card to lose all health points is defeated. Besides a big red X covering the card that last, there are no other effects after the cards are reset to full health. I find this feature kind of gimmicky, as there really isn't much use for it.


AR cards. Just a gimmick?
I have yet to complete the storyline, but I am going to enjoy every bit of it. This is a definite must buy game for 3DS owners, and one of the best 3DS games released to date.


Gameplay: 9/10
Graphics: 8.5/10
Cut Scenes: 9/10
Sound: 9/10
Controls: 6/10
Story: 7/10


Overall: 8.5/10


(This review can also be found at http://haveanicedaydotirl.blogspot.com.au/ )

My LUL #5

I guess it's time again to talk about what's happening around me at this time of the year. Firstly, let me talk about the blog. It's been quite successful since its beginning. Its gathered over 3000 views already and it will keep rising. I have been pretty busy lately with uni work and such, so my friends pumpkin_so77 and Rhycen has been helping me a lot by keeping the blog alive. I'm grateful for them to help me out. Anyway, I will keep posting stuff about Android and Technology everyday. I will also post the occasional anime review from my list. However, it seems my list is getting full and if I don't keep watching, I will have no more reviews to give.

Blog aside, the MBT team along with some third party members are in discussions of holding a cosplay photography event. It will obviously be based on Vocaloid as the central theme. Our goal is to do some scenes from the 'Just Be Friends' music video. It would be great if such an event happens. Of course, there will be a lot of organizing and preparation work to do, so I will keep posted on the blog.

Moving on, I bought a new mouse for my laptop today. Its a Logitech Anywhere Mouse M905. It was a special today over at JB Hi-Fi and I needed a new mouse, so I bought it. Why did I choose this mouse? Because it works anywhere. Serious. It even works on glass! Also its wireless! Also it has so many features...which I'm sure you don't really care about. So just a note, Logitech products are good. Get them if you can. Other brands to look for are Microsoft and Alienware. I've had bad experiences with the Razer products so far so I don't think they're that good.

So this ends my life update once again. To recap, I am really busy. I've been assigned to a huge uni project with a couple of other students in the class, on top of that, I've still got my C++ assignment left to do which is due next week! =O Save me! (I really shouldn't be wasting time watching anime should I? But...Steins;Gate is so captivating!)

'till then,
MegaBubbletea out.

Anime Review: Eve no Jikan (Movie)

In the future, computers have evolved into humanoid/android forms. They possess human like features and speech but is inhibited in emotions and feelings. As such, there is a big dispute between whether these androids are to be considered as just a household appliance or as something more.

Eve no Jikan (Movie)Synopsis:
The movie version is the complete version of the story. It includes all the OVAs and completely new scenes giving details on the background story of some characters.

Sometime in future Japan, androids have been involved in every aspect of peoples lives. One day, upon checking his android's behavioral log, Rikuo, a student, noticed his android's returning times have been odd recently. With his friend Masaki, they found out the place where his android, Sammy, have been visiting: a small cafe called Eve no Jikan where androids and human are not seen as different. Upon talking with the "people" in the cafe and discovering more of Sammy's behavior, Rikuo changed his view about androids and treat them as friends rather than tools. At the same time, elsewhere in Japan, the Ethics committee is trying to impose policies to reduce the involvement and use of androids in society.

Review:
Creating an telling a story about the future can be easy or hard depending how risky or realistic you want it to be. With that in mind, the creators of Eve no Jikan decided to leave out the minor details and dramatically throw the audience into the main plot right from the start. As of such, it can be quite confusing at first. However, the remake of the series into a full length movie with additional content added can be taken as a revision by the creators. Since the series did have a few loop holes, it was best just to cut the unnecessary bits out and add a proper explanation in. Thus, Eve no Jikan the movie has been refined to allow the audience to get a better understanding of what the anime is about. I personally did not watch the series as I noted that the movie was a direct remake with added extras. Hence, I will do this review from my perspective of the movie.

The story was great for a sci-fi, futuristic film set in Japan. We meet a guy named Rikuo who's android seems to be acting strange lately. After further researching into why his android, Sammy, was acting weirdly, he decides to follow her and ends up in a human/android cafe called the 'Time of Eve'. In this cafe, androids and humans are considered equal. However, a anti-android group wants to such down the 'Time of Eve' and similar places. Hence, this starts a chain of events that will affect Rikuo physically and emotionally. Overall, I found the plot acceptable to understand and interesting.

The art was really well animated and the characters all looked natural. Even the androids looked very human. The 'Time of Eve' was the main focus (or location) of the anime, and most events happen there.  Sound quality was good and the character's voice were all natural. Nothing much I can complain about here.

The characters were all interesting and its fun to watch the relationships that the characters have for one another. It is also interesting to see the interactions between the humans and the android from within the cafe and from the outside world. You will not get bored of the characters but you won't get emotionally attached to any of them since the movie is only a couple of hours long. (Approx. 8 episodes)

Overall, I enjoyed this anime. The anime is not the kind of anime that is focused on comedy, action, adventure or slice of life. Rather, I felt that it was giving out a personal opinion or a viewpoint of what would happen if the future had humanoid robots. So in a sense, it was like a educational, fictitious experience that touches on the ethics of having such a possible future. When I mean it is educational, I did not mean it was boring, I meant that it made you think of how you view such ethics in the anime.

STORY: 7
Interesting view on life in the future where robots are so human like. Where does your ethics stand?

ART: 8
Well designed art with fluid animation. Makes this a wonderful anime to watch.

SOUND: 7
Good voice acting and the theme songs where nice. Nothing to complain here.

CHARACTER: 7
Since its a short movie you don't get to see the whole background of the characters.

ENJOYMENT: 8
Entertaining in a different way. Really makes you think of the future.

OVERALL: 7
Its a pretty good anime to sit down and watch through in one sitting. The length was appropriate to get the message across.

Just Be Friends -ILLUSTRATIONS-

Let me talk about my album of the week. Just Be Friends -ILLUSTRATIONS- is a 'Just Be Friends' compilation album featuring man remixes of the same song. If you are a totally Vocaloid fan, you will definitely know the song. I first started listening to Hatsune Miku out of curiosity and after a while I started to enjoy her songs. Now, I finally broadened my Vocaloid collection after downloading the 100GB+ of Vocaloid music. So I accidentally came across this nice album. I would like to share it with you.
Track list :
01. Just be friendsトモダチダッテサ MIX
02. Just be friends NTMGmix
03. Just be friends Hard-R.K.mix
04. Just be friends ごめんなさいremix
05. Just be friends mintia mix
06. Just be friends 80’s winter discotic mix
07. Just be friends Punk Ballade mix

[DDL: MF]

March 29, 2012

GNOME 3.4 Released

Gnome has been updated v3.4. Here's some new features to look out for.

Dynamic Wallpaper
The default drape for 3.4 is has been made dynamic, with the lighting of it ‘becoming brighter and more radiant during the day, and dark and shadowy in the evening’.


Apps
The bulk of GNOME 3.4′s changes concern their shelf of applications.

Address book app ‘Contacts’, organiser ’Documents‘, and disk management utility ‘Disks’ all benefit from updated ‘fresh’ interfaces, helping to better balance the emerging GNOME ‘look’ that their earlier counterparts sometimes contradicted.

The default chat client ‘Empathy’ gains improved video calling, whilst the XMPP-powered Facebook and Windows Live Messenger chat protocols make their official debut.


Web
Arguably the ‘jewel’ in the GNOME 3.4 application crown is ‘Web’ – the web browser previously known as Epiphany.

Work on streamlining its interface, adding modern features and generally dragging what was always (without sounding too harsh) nothing more than a curiosity into something that’s more than capable of holding its own in the wide world of the modern web.
Gnome 3.4 with Web and Documents on Show

App Menus
Although some think it a battle confined to Ubuntu’s Unity, the march of the modern desktop towards a more intuitive moder application menu features in GNOME 3.4 by way of the ‘Application Menu’ – a sort of Chrome Wrench style approach to condensing the footprint of menus whilst speeding up access to important features.

Not many application on GNOME make use of it yet (Luddites may lower their picthforks), so mark this as one to watch in the future.

Slimmer Scrollbars


Other Improvements
  • Undo support in Nautilus
  • Smoother scrolling
  • ‘Every Detail Matters’ UI fixes
  • Better hardware support
How to Install on Ubuntu
Ubuntu users might not like the idea of switching distro solely to enjoy GNOME 3.4, and the good news is that, for the most part, they don’t need to.

Ubuntu 12.04 will ship with a number of updated packages from GNOME 3.4 (such as GNOME 3.4), whilst others will remain on their GNOME 3.2 counterpart (such as Totem Movie Player) for stability reasons.

It’s important to remember that 12.04 is a Long Term Support release.

GNOME 3.4 packages that aren’t included by default in Ubuntu, such as Web, Contacts and Documents, will either be readily available to install through the Ubuntu Software Center or, if aforementioned stability reasons mean they can’t be, through a dedicated GNOME 3 PPA maintained by GNOME developers.

Ubuntu 11.10 users wishing to jump aboard GNOME 3.4 can also do so at their own risk (expect breakages, missing packages, etc) by adding and upgrading from the following two PPAs to Software Sources: -
  • sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ricotz/testing 
  • sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gnome3-team/gnome3
  • sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
  • sudo apt-get install gnome-shell

Anime Review: Sora no Otoshimono Series

Sora no Otoshimono can be considered a comedy, sci-fi, ecchi and shounen anime that touches of various elements of life. It is an interesting concept because its serious yet unserious at the same time.

Sora no OtoshimonoSynopsis:
Sakurai Tomoki has been having the same strange dream since he was a child and would wake up in tears. Sugata, an upperclassman at his school, believes the dream to be of the new continent. Later that night, while waiting under the cherry trees for Sugata and his childhood friend, an angel called Ikaros comes flying down and his peaceful life changes from then on.

Review:
I am giving my overall opinion towards the series as a whole and not specifically the first season. The story is quite simple really. Some guy called Tomoki having a strange dream and somehow ends up finding a fallen 'angel' whilst waiting for a friend. Obviously, these 'angels' are another being from another dimension. What else can I say? From here on, the comedy and ecchi-ness just becomes endless to the end. There are some serious moments that do explain the back story of the 'angels' and that fits quite perfectly into the story as well. I can compare this anime's similarities with Chobits such as the characters and style of anime. However, this anime is completely a comedic joke and not to be taken seriously. The jokes are quite funny as well, some is just a bit disturbing. Otherwise, this anime just defies all logic.

The art was somewhat decent for an average anime. The characters and costumes were well drawn but heck, why the ecchi-ness of the 'angels'. Oh wait. Anyhow moving on, I shall say that the places and sceneries were great and the color/texturing of the different dimensions were uniquely different from one another. Otherwise, I have nothing else to say.

Voice acting was normal, just your average voices from the same group of characters, Although I would say though, the theme songs were pretty good. You will not get annoyed or bored of the voice acting.

Well, what can I say about the characters. The 'angels' were obviously all cute and had a slight touch on 'ecchi-ness'. Apart from that I would say the rest of the cast was average. Tomoki just looks like your average guy with black hair. Nothing special here. Move on.

Overall, I had mixed feelings about this anime. The story was interesting and the voice acting was good. However, I felt that the execution of the story felt a bit more towards the 'stupid and unfunny' side. Sure, there were some funny parts, but overall sometimes I felt that it was just being stupid trying to act funny. This anime is probably more for the comedic, ecchi type otaku.

STORY: 6
Decent elements here and there. Execution was a slight fail.

ART: 5
Average art and the characters were a bit plain. (Not including the 'angels')

SOUND: 5
Average, average, average. Sound acting was fine.

CHARACTER: 5
Somehow the perverted Tomoki just annoys me a lot. Otherwise, the 'angels' were my favourite.

ENJOYMENT: 5
Mixed views on this anime. I liked it and hated it at the same time.

OVERALL: 5
Could have been executed better in a less 'ecchi' sense. But hey, this anime was intended to be this way.

Google Chrome: Faster & Fancier Graphics

Google Chrome Gets Better Graphics
The power of the web today brings us a rich and rewarding experience right into our browser. With Chrome’s most recent Stable channel release, the team has sped up graphics and drawing performance for users on capable hardware, and enabled fancier 3D content for other users on older computers. If you haven't got Chrome already, what are you doing!? Take Chrome for a spin to see just how good the modern web can look. If you're into graphics and the such, head over to the Chromium blog for more details.

The latest Chrome release enables faster and fancier rendering of 3D graphics from your browser better than ever before. With previous Chrome releases, WebGL was already implemented and there were some cool Chrome experiments to play with. WebGL and HTML5 will slowly get better in powering those browser based 3D-intensive games with future releases of Chrome. But for now, enjoy some WebGL example clips of what Chrome can do.




March 28, 2012

Anime Review: Gosick

Gosick is one huge rollercoaster ride from start to finish. A really well told story of a boy that meets a mysterious girl in a library which she has incredible knowledge and perceptive powers. Thus, the two becomes friends and they start to solve cases of the weird and unexplainable.

GosickSynopsis:
The year is 1924, the place, Saubure, a small European country neatly tucked beside the Alps...

Kazuya Kujo has been studying abroad at the prestigious Saint Marguerite Academy, where urban legends and horror stories are all the rage. Most Kazuya ignores but the story of the Queen Berry, a mysterious ghost ship, really gets to him. Of course, his brainy friend Victorique is much more intrigued by true stories, and she uses her unrivaled logic to solve mysteries even the town's famous detective can't. Ironically, it is Victorique's inquisitive nature that leads the duo to board a ship that matches the Queen Berry's description to a tee, a ship that might just hold the key to solving a sinister mystery...

Review:
I have not be so captivated by an anime right from the start to finish for a while now. Gosick manages to do that right from the first episode, throwing the audience into a murder mystery of the Queen Berry case. Thus, this starts a whole chain of events for Kujo, as he becomes friends with the mysterious Victorique. The mysteries were great and kept be wondering to the very end of the episode. The interlinking between episodes was fluent and kept at the same pace. Each case had its own unique story behind it and different circumstances. When each case is solved, you will definitely say "Oh, I see." out load. Gosick lightly touches on romance and just a drop of comedy is evident here and there. Note that the anime does contain a bit of goriness and can get a bit creepy. Nothing you can't handle if you watched something like Ga-Rei: Zero, Ghost in the Shell or similar.

The art was excellent in this anime! The characters were all unique and the scenery were beautiful. Even the change in environment stood out in each episode. The many places the duo visit had their own unique characteristics such as a different tone of colour, objects around them and physical buildings. Victorique is cute as always with her ever frilly clothes and Kujo just looks cool in his trousers and hat.

Let me tell you about the music in this anime. The theme songs were really catchy and memorable. I loved every bit of music in this anime. Somehow, it suited the theme and genre perfectly for this anime.  Aside from the theme songs, the voice acting was also perfect. Victorique with a cute voice and Kujo with his cool accent. Sound was excellently used throughout the anime.

I never once got bored of the characters throughout the anime. Each case presented new characters which kept the anime fresh and alive. I loved Victorique since she was so cute and small! Also she has a tsundere attitude which evidently grows as you watch throughout the anime. Although her attitude does change in the end. Kudos to Kujo for sticking with her to the end. Also, Inspector Blois with his weird hair style never ceases to amuse me. There is a reason for that. You have to watch to find out.

Overall, I loved watching this anime from start to finish. Every episode just captivated me and kept me wanting more. I haven't had a single anime do this to me for a while now. The story was well told and the cases had logical conclusions. The art was beautiful and I loved the characters. I never got bored in the end. It's a definitely a must-watch anime for detective, thriller fans out there.

STORY: 8
Well told with many cases for you to solve. Smoothly transitioned from one episode to the next.

ART: 9
Just so beautiful, the places and characters. Really well done.

SOUND: 8
Catchy theme songs and good voice acting makes this that much more interesting to watch.

CHARACTER: 8
There were many characters to keep the story going and you will never get bored of Victorique and Kujo.

ENJOYMENT: 8
Loved each episode. I just wished they extended the ending just a bit more to tell a proper ending to it. Maybe its just me but I felt I needed more!

OVERALL: 8
Really well compiled anime. Loved it from start to finish.

March 27, 2012

What!? You haven't heard Nanoir or Last Color yet?

Nanoir and Last Color...the two Vocaloid albums I've had on repeat for the past three days.
Nano's album - Nanoir.

SCL Project feat. VanaN' Ice - Last Color.
Firstly, Nanoir is a twelve track album by Nano (ナノ), and includes collaborations with producers such as Yuyoyuppe, buzzG, and neko. The great thing about this album is that Nano took well known Vocaloid songs and rewrote the Japanese lyrics with his/her own English lyrics. Nano's English lyrics are very meaningful and full of emotion, listening to them makes me feel like crying. These lyrics reflect my own thoughts and feelings, and they bring back distant memories from my past. This is a very rock-based album. The songs on this album reminds me of songs by the rock singer Avril Lavigne and the Japanese rock band ONE OK ROCK. I believe Nano him/herself provided the vocals for this album. Nano concludes Nanoir with a calming piano version of Calc., a big contrast with the other heavier songs in the album, and the song brings happiness to the listener.

Secondly, Last Color is the latest, and sadly the final collaboration album by VanaN' Ice and SCL Project. This album features well known Vocaloid songs from their first album "VanaN' Ice", such as Imitation Black, Arrest Rose, Setsugetsuga and LovelessXXX. This album is sung solely by the three most famous male Vocaloids Len Kagamine, Kaito and Gakupo. This is also the main reason why I love this album, because I am forever a fan of "GxKxL". The vocals of the three Vocaloid boys work so well and so harmonious together. Of the various new songs SCL Project composed in this album, my favourite would be the third track "Le rouge est amour" because the style of the song reminds me of the Visual Kei band Malice Mizer. I would classify the style of music of this album under Visual Kei, especially considering the apparels of the three boys on the album art. I will sorely miss the collaboration team VanaN' Ice and SCL Project, however it has been reported that both groups will continue to produce more Vocaloid music individually - something I'm definitely looking forward to!

[Edit (30/03/2012): Okay, so it turns out after some snooping on Google that Nano is a girl!! Wow her voice is amazing, I think it is on par with trap-singers like Valshe. By trap-singers I mean that the person can sing in ranges of both genders.]

Temple Run for Android Now Available

Temple Run

Guess what? That popular game Temple Run that was on iOS is now available on Android. Finally. Featuring stolen idols, evil monkeys, coins and everything else in there, waiting for you to grab and go! It has been really popular on the iOS platform with over 45 million downloads. So what are you waiting for? Download it now!

Doctor Who Series 7 Trailer

Let's be honest here, I am a huge Doctor Who fan, and when I saw this trailer, I couldn't stop screaming (inside that is). I've embedded the YouTube trailer below.


The new season will see the last days of the Ponds, with Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill making their final rollercoaster voyage with The Doctor (Matt Smith). Amy (Karen Gillan) and Rory (Arthur Darvill) have been at the Doctor's side for more than two seasons but what will he do after their heartbreaking departure?

New guest stars so far confirmed to star will include David Bradley, Rupert Graves and Mark Williams. Season 7 will then see a dramatic turn of events when The Doctor meets a new friend - the recently-announced new companion, played by Jenna-Louse Coleman. Prepare yourselves for thrills, adventures and dramatic surprises as the show builds towards its enormous, climactic 50th anniversary year.

If you are a Doctor Who fan, you will too be excited by this new series. Coming soon later this year. For now, we just gotta wait.

Snuggle Truck for the Humble Bundle #2


It seems that the Humble Bundle has added yet another game to their #2 pack! Humble Bundlers can now download Snuggle Truck on to their various platforms now! If you have already purchased the Bundle, it will automatically appear on your downloads page (and/or Steam).


In Snuggle Truck, you must overcome treacherous terrain get your cargo of precious stuffed animals safely to the zoo. As a bonus-to-the-bonus, Android users can also download the uncensored original: Smuggle Truck, the same game framed as an immigration satire, which was reportedly too spicy for some game marketplaces.

That brings the Humble Bundle for Android #2 to a total of *six* new-to-Android games: Snuggle Truck, Zen Bound 2, Avadon: The Black Fortress, Canabalt, Cogs, and Swords & Soldiers. If you haven't already, head to the Humble Bundle site to pay what you want to get these games for your Android devices (and Windows/Mac/Linux too).


March 26, 2012

Over 3000 Hits

3000!

Guess what everybody?

My Bubbletea Time has reached over 3000 hits! That's amazing since I started this blog only a couple of months ago. Thanks to all the My Bubbletea Time fans and regularly bloggers for visiting my site! Next aim is 4000!

Anyhow, moving on. My hard disk drive just died on me today. So I went down to my nearest computer shop and bought myself a snazzy new SSD drive! 120GB only though. Enough for Windows 7, a few necessary programs and some songs. I still have my old 1TB HDD as back up storage for anything else that wants to fill up my drive. For my anime I got a special 500GB portable hard drive for that! =D


SSD is the new HDD. So fast. Incredibly fast. I feel like I can do anything now. Also, don't need to defrag anymore!

MegaBubbletea out.

Anime Review: Black Rock Shooter (TV)

Black Rock Shooter is a hard to explain story concept that involves two worlds and the pain shared between the characters of both worlds. This anime is not for those who cannot comprehend the deep meaning portrayed from the story. In the end, for the average viewer, it can be considered as messy and lacks continuity.

Black★Rock Shooter (TV)Synopsis:
It isn't the world you know. There wanders a girl with jet-black hair, ebony clothes, and a strikingly blue, glowing eye. Her name is Black Rock Shooter. With a huge cannon in hand, she throws herself into a fierce battle...

Meanwhile, in another world, middle-school student Mato Kuroi is drawn to Yomi Takanashi, her classmate with an unusual family name. Mato does her best to talk to Yomi, who just won't open up. Yu Koutari mocks her best friend Mato's efforts but at the same time, supports her. Mato also finds herself surrounded by other colorful characters at school, like the eccentric school counselor, Saya Irino, and the hot-blooded captain of her club club, Arata Kohata.

Then, one day, the window of opportunity opens. After Mato sees that Yomi has her favorite picture book, "Li'l Birds At Play", they strike up a conversation and Mato is invited to come over to Yomi's house. There, they gradually break the ice, until a girl in a wheelchair appears. This is Yomi's best friend, Kagari Izuriha...

Two worlds. Mato and Black Rock Shooter. This is the story of their "pain".

Review:
To be honest, I was slightly disappointed at the overall presentation of Black Rock Shooter. The OVA was good, but the TV series has been a messy, confusing and deep story. For the average viewer, they might not fully grasp the understanding and meaning behind the story. As for me, it took me until the final episodes to fully realize what was going on and how this story came to be. First let me explain my understanding of the story. The story is about a bunch of girls that are in high school, but they all share a common element: pain. Their pain is long suffering within their hearts and they are constantly troubled by the world around them. Hence, there is another "world" where the pain is stored by the characters of that world, which in turn fight it out. As for the real world, the girls go through much ordeal and sadness influenced by negative emotions and friendship hardships. Sound complicated right?  It is. For the first few episodes, it seems unconnected to each other, and we see only action of the other world characters fighting it out. However, you do see the connections of the actions played out in the real world reflected in the 'dream' world. In the end, I felt the moral of the story that was trying to tell. If you watched closely at the story and took in every dialogue and emotion, you may have picked up the same conclusion as I did. That is, building trust and relations with your friends is important, friends are there for you when you are feeling down (whether you need to laugh or cry on their shoulder), the world is not a bad place as it seems it is and treasure your friendship and make it last.

Let's talk about the art. The characters were not so detailed, but more like the 'Modoka Magica' style art. However, the 'dream' world is a much different place. I really liked the interesting backgrounds and places within the 'dream' world and the characters' unique weapons and looks. Black Rock Shooter never ceases to amaze me with her awesome costume and cool looking weapons that just seem to pop out of thin air. It can be said that the anime defies all logic situated in that 'dream' world. The battle scenes looked great and the gray overtones suited the environment perfectly.

The theme songs were of course 'Black Rock Shooter' by ryo as this anime was originally concepted from the music video. Catchy as always, 'Hatsune Miku' makes her debut in an anime. Well, just her voice though. Overall, I think the soundtracks did not play a major part in this anime. So it did ruin the atmosphere slightly. The battles scenes needed more energetic music to complement it. Other that that, the character voice acting was fine. No problems there.

Characters throughout the anime were a bit bland in my opinion. The anime series was not long enough to explain each character's background and situation properly to make me want to remember them. Of course the main character did play an important role, but I did not feel connected to any of the characters at all. I was disappointed that the anime was only 8 episodes long. If they extended it a few more episodes and tried to explains things a bit better, I reckon this anime would have got a higher rating.

Overall, I cannot say I totally enjoyed this anime. I was both disappointed and annoyed at the lack of cohesion and explanations that would have made this anime much better. The characters needed more work and the the background story was just in pieces. I really wanted to like this anime, but I could not find anything worth remembering (except for the cool battle scenes). In my opinion, this is one of those animes that care more about the action than the story. Perfect for people who just like watching intense fight scenes.

STORY: 5
The story has a deep meaning behind it. If you don't look for it, you will just become confused and frustrated at what is happening.

ART: 5
It is decent in a way. The battle scenes were excellently animated and I loved the 'dream' world characters and environments. Its just that, I think the real world characters looked a bit bland.

SOUND: 5
Lack of variety put this anime in a bad position. The theme songs were good, but were not enough.

CHARACTER: 5
Disappointed at the real world characters. The 'dream' world ones were much more interesting even if they didn't talk.

ENJOYMENT: 6
I enjoyed the intense fight scenes and I understand where this anime was coming from. However, I really felt unconnected to the overall plot.

OVERALL: 5
I wished this anime was much better.

March 25, 2012

Android Tablets Outselling iPads and Others

According to IDC, sales of WiFi-only tablets in Australia surpassed sales of combines WiFi/3G versions in Q4 of 2011 and for the first time, accounting for 54% of the 644,000 units shipped in the quarter. This is a small step forward for the Android operating system.

Yee-Kuan Lau, market analyst for IDC ANZ, said: "Most new entrants started off by introducing WiFi only media tablets in early 2011 and this has gradually increased the WiFi-only unit share. At the same time, the WiFi/3G unit share started decreasing after the low cost media tablets such as Optus MyTab and Telstra T-Touch were discontinued."

According to IDC a total of 1.67 million tablets were sold in Australia and New Zealand in 2011, 91.3 percent of them in Australia. Second half sales were up 147 percent on the second half of 2010.

In Q4 the iPad2 accounted for almost 84 percent of total sales and Android tablets 15 percent. In the Android segment Acer made the top position by a small margin, followed closely by Motorola and Asus.

IDC expects the Australian media tablet market to expand 50 percent year-on-year in 2012, while the New Zealand market is expected to bounce back from the impacts of the Christchurch earthquake with 70 percent year-on-year growth.

So, would you buy a tablet this year?

[via iTWire]

Anime Review: Kobato.

A romantic comedy anime featuring a peppy and naïve girl sent to Earth on a mission to collect 'konpeito' in a bottle by healing people's hearts. This starts off an interesting and uniquely funny story that will make an imprint in your mind.

Synopsis:
Sweet and naïve Hanato Kobato came to Earth on a mission to collect and fill a bottle with 'konpeito,' which appear after healing a person's heart that is suffering. Kobato collects these because it is her wish to go to a certain place. Despite her strangeness, Kobato turns out to be well-suited for this mission as her heartfelt sincerity in helping others earns her the love and admiration of everyone she meets. However, she is not allowed to fall in love with anyone whose heart she heals.

Kobato.Review:
After watching this anime, I would safely conclude that this anime is probably more suited to girls than to guys. Why? Because it is so uniquely cute, peppy and innocent that it may not appeal to guys that much. There is little action and some slight touches on fantasy, but generally, the story is focussed on the girl and her mission to collect 'konpeito'. I must warn though, the story is a bit 'draggy' and slow at the start, but towards the end, things get interesting. Will she fill the bottle in time? What is her final wish? How does love overcome all obstacles? These questions just kept on pulling on my mind. In the end, the plot is revealed and we get the answers we need.

The art was well done and of high quality. I can't say that it is superbly done, but is like your average anime. The characters were animated well, the backgrounds were beautiful as always and the texturing was perfect. I loved how this anime defies all reality into bringing moving stuffed toys and talking animals into the story.

Sound was decent. Not particular impressive or annoying, just your standard voice acting roles. The main protagonist, Hanato Kobato, may get on your nerves a bit with her peppy voice, but you will get used to it. Ioryogi was funny as always with his dry humour and fiery tempers. Background music was appropriate and the theme songs were nice and complemented the anime.

Moving on to characters, I loved the way that the anime expressed the naïve side of Kobato. It really suited the anime's overall purpose and theme to it. I am glad they did not change her personality or attitude until the very end of the series. As for the other characters, we all got to discover their background stories, their weaknesses and their hardships which led to Kobato healing them with whatever means possible. I did however, find a slight change of heart from Kobato throughout the anime. In the beginning, I felt Kobato was just finding people and trying to heal them without thinking, however, as time passed, I felt she actually showed compassion and willingness to help others without being selfish and in the end, getting rewarded. Oh and did I mentioned, some characters were referenced from Chobits! I was both shocked and suprised. After some research I discovered that both Kobato. and Chobits were by the same manga group. Whenever those characters pop up, I would hear myself repeatedly chanting, "Chobits! Chobits!". So I do recommend watching Chobits first then Kobato. to fully understand what I mean.

In the end, I enjoyed the anime to an extent. In my opinion, this anime may not be suited for a guy to watch for many reasons. This is a girl-oriented anime that expresses feelings and conveys emotions that not many guys can fully comprehend. That said, I honestly found the first half of the series a bit of a drag. It may be so, but maybe not for other viewers.

STORY: 6
A slight drag at the start but gets interesting towards the end. Some really funny moments here and there.

ART: 7
Not bad for a slice of life, fantasy and romantic comedy anime. Hanato Kobato's clothes do look cute as always.

SOUND: 5
Your average anime with decent voice acting and nice theme songs. Nothing too impressive here.

CHARACTER: 6
Some characters were annoying, some were funny, some were boring and some were nostalgic.

ENJOYMENT: 6
If I was a girl, I probably would have liked it more. But hey, don't ask for the impossible.

OVERALL: 6
I liked it overall, although I probably won't be re-watching it. Its a nice and innocent anime to watch when you have lots of free time or just tired from too much action/adventure and just want to relax.

March 24, 2012

My Top Android Browsers

There are so many Android browsers out there today, and each one claims to be better than the last. Some offer great experiences, whilst others boast that they are simple and just get the job done. I’ve been through many browsers in the last two years, and found a great set of them to showcase to you.

Google Chrome Beta
 

Google Chrome Beta was released recently and it has been a major hit on the Android phones and tablets. Not only did it do much more than your default stock browser, it could sync to your Google Account and grab your bookmarks and saved data from your desktop browser.

Opera Mobile Browser
 

I have been a long time Opera Mobile user and I say, I keep going back to it. Why? Because it is generally faster than the rest. The UI is simple and intuitive, no clutter and just speed. Plain speed. This makes Opera Mobile that powerful compared to the rest. Although it does lack the many features Dolphin Browser has, but it makes up for speed.

Dolphin Browser HD
 

Dolphin Browser HD is a solid and stable web browser for the Android platform. Not only is it fast, it also provides many handy add-ons to enhance your browsing experience. The latest version of Dolphin Browser HD includes a new in-built voice command function that lets you browse the web with your voice. Comparing this to Opera Mobile is like comparing a apple to a orange. They are both browsers, but they serve different purposes. Opera Mobile is generally used for speed in low connectivity areas whilst Dolphin Browser HD aims to give you an incredible desktop-like experience with additional tools and add-ons.

In the end, it is up to you to decide which browser will suite you the most. If you want pure speed then Opera Mobile (or Opera Mini) is for you. If you want add-ons and a complete powerful browser that can do anything than Dophin Browser HD is for you. If you want simplicity and style, Google Chrome Beta (or stock browser) is for you. Other browsers such as SkyFire and Firefox are also worth mentioning here. Both of them are quite good, but not as good as the three mentioned above. So take your pick. Which one is yours?

March 23, 2012

Anime Review: Chobits

Chobits mixes your typical sci-fi genre into a romantic comedy anime with an interesting concept of personal computers that look human in appearance and have their own personalities. The concept is great but how does it play out in the series?

ChobitsSynopsis:
In the future, personal computers have developed into "Persocoms", mobile computers that look like human beings. Hideki Motosuwa, a prep school student, desperately wants to buy a Persocon but cannot afford to. One day he finds a Persocom that has been thrown away and decides to keep it. When he turns on the Persocom, all she can say is "Chi" so he decides to name her that. After a while it starts to become apparent that Chi is more than an average Persocom. Having much better performance, it seems that Chi might be a "Chobit", a type of advanced Persocom rumored to have independent thought.

Review:
I found Chobits an interesting concept to be adapted into an anime. Not many other anime have combines sci-fi computer humanoids with everyday real life events that trigger romance and comedy in one package. Chobits somehow delivers that package and presents it pretty well. So basically, the story is set in the future where personal computers are human-shaped and are called 'persocoms'. Obviously, these 'persocoms' are restricted to the amount of programming built into it, but somehow, the main character find a special 'persocom' named 'Chi' in the trash. Why you may ask? Well, you will find the answer towards the end of the series. However, the interesting events only happen towards the end, before that, you will have to put up with some slow-pased introductions and every life commotions. Oh did I tell you, that 'Chi' has no recollection of any memories? Well, the first half of the season, you will be watching the main character teach 'Chi' all sorts of stuff about everyday life. Sounds interesting? Not really. Although some parts were funny, but in the end, the first half was a bit slow.

The art was well illustrated throughout the whole anime. The characters were stunning visually. The many places and sceneries throughout the anime were just drawn to perfection. You will not get annoyed at any character throughout the anime and the 'persocoms' do look cute with their electronic ear sockets. 'Chi' just looks so human and natural which makes it even more aesthetically pleasing.

Sound was above average in my opinion. The theme songs were nice but weren't that memorable. Let me talk about the voice acting. For the first half of the series, you will constantly here 'Chi' say 'Chi!'. Serious. When the main character first found her, all she could say is 'Chi' (that's how she got the name). It can get a bit annoying after a while since 'Chi' is constantly saying 'Chi', but she does learn to speak as the anime progresses along. Moving on, the other characters voice acting was well done.

I have probably already lightly touched on the character's personalities and style from before. We all know how 'Chi' is and what she does. Overall, the other characters were quite different and memorable. Each having their own sad stories to tell (whether 'persocom' related or not). It can be said that the characters to become a bit dramatic and melancholy, but you would expect that from a drama, right?

Overall, I really enjoyed this anime. Maybe because I am a sci-fi fan and I do love the occasional romantic comedy element thrown in. I don't know why other people don't really like this anime, perhaps getting it on with a 'persocom' isn't really a great idea and would create lots of problems. Which is basically the central theme this anime is based upon. If computers became like humans, what would happen to the world?

STORY: 6
Slow start but gets fast-pased toward the end. If you can't stand every life anime then this may not be for you. Also, if you think loving a 'persocom' is weird, then this is definitely not for you either.

ART: 8
Loved the artwork, the scenery, backgrounds and characters. Really well illustrated and animated.

SOUND: 6
Soundtracks were nice, although not that memorable. 'Chi' can get a bit annoying sometimes.

CHARACTER: 6
Humans and 'persocoms' living together, which creates many problems. As you will see with the many characters throughout the series.

ENJOYMENT: 7
It was both funny and sad in many aspects of the series. All I can say is that this anime is full of mixed emotions. Love, hate, envy, jealousy, sadness and much more.

OVERALL: 6
Falling in love is complicated. Falling in love with a supercomputer is a whole different story. The anime was fun to watch and if you like sci-fi romcoms, then this is for you.

Angry Birds Space Out Now

Angry Birds Space
Does anyone still play Angry Birds? Has the fad gone down? Perhaps not for Rovio as they release yet another spin-off of Angry Birds set in space. Angry Birds Space was released today and it is now available on the Google Android and iOS platforms.The game boasts over 60 interstellar levels for you to try your aiming skills, and you can be sure that the new cosmic backdrop will pose some fun challenges.


Among other twists, the sequel to the original Angry Birds mega-hit requires you to take into account the lack of gravity, as you navigate the restraint-challenged birds to planets, stars, black holes, and what not. Angry Birds Space also features brand new birds with various super powers. All your favorite angry fowl are making a comeback, along with a newly introduced extra-terrestrial Ice Bird that can turn anything it touches into ice. Because that just makes sense!

You can download it from the Google Play Store for free. Are you gonna play Angry Birds Space?

March 22, 2012

OMGPOP Bought by Zynga

Guess what? You know that new crazy game called 'Draw Something' by OMGPOP? Unsurprisingly, it has been bought by Zynga (creators of Farmville and Mafia Wars) for an expected $200 mil.

Zynga Games

'Draw Something' is the latest game on the Android and iPhone has acquired over 35 million downloads since its debut on both platforms. 'Draw Something' has been No. 1 top spot on both platforms and it seems to be not stopping. 'Draw Something' is categorised as a social game cross between Pictionary and Words With Friends, which is a great concept really. I personally have been playing 'Draw Something' for a while now, non-stop everyday. Although the app still has some minor bugs and the occasional crash, it is still addictive. I am not surprised that OMGPOP was bought by Zynga because the company has been non-stop on the rise in the web-based and smartphone games platforms.  

[via News]

March 21, 2012

Piko (ピコ) to release a new single in April 2012

Piko (ピコ) is a Japanese male singer who first came to fame through the Japanese equivalent of Youtube, NicoNicoDouga by posting cover songs. Piko also provided his voice for the Vocaloid Utatane Piko. Piko has a rare talent of being able to sing in both masculine and feminine vocal tones, see for example Piko - Nisoku Hokou and Piko & Sekihan - Cendrillon (the female-like voice is Piko, yes, the high notes at the beginning too! :3). 


Piko has released so far two albums and four singles. He will add to his collection of singles on April 25, 2012 when he will release his 5th single called「咲色リフレイン」(エミイロリフレイン)(Emiiro Refrain). 


This single was produced by L'arc en Ciel's bassist TETSUYA. This is TETSUYA's first time producing music for another artist. This single is a bonus for Piko because he is a huge fan of the Japanese rock band L'arc en Ciel.


TETSUYA expressed his hopes that everyone will enjoy the new song by Piko. He commented that Piko's wide vocal range allowed him to produce a beautiful song, and that he is happy with the final product.


Piko said that he never imagined to be able to work with TETSUYA, let alone sing a song he wrote. It has been reported that Piko has given this song his very best effort.


"Emiiro Refrain" will be sold in three versions, a limited edition, regular edition, and a limited time offer edition.