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November 30, 2012

Introducing the Humble THQ Bundle

The Humble Bundle is back once again, this time bringing in THQ games. The games available are Darksiders, Metro 2033, Red Faction Armageddon, Company of Heroes and their stand alone expansions Opposing Fronts and Tales of Valor. If you pay more than the average (you should) you will get the wacky, zany, amazingly fun and offensive Saints Row: The Third. Along with the games you'll get the soundtracks from Saints Row The Third, Darksiders, Red Faction Armageddon and Company of Heroes.

All these games are for Windows only and must be redeemed through Steam. Unfortunately, if you own any of the games already, you won't be able to redeem an extra one to give away. However, even if you are missing one or two of the titles featured, or you don't have it on Steam and can't find those archaic discs, it's worth picking up.

The charities supported this time is the always popular Child's Play that provides games and game systems to sick children in hospitals. The other is the American Red Cross which is always in need especially after disasters like Hurricane Sandy.

So if want to support the developers and/or help charity, you definitely must buy the bundle!


[via PCWorld]

November 2012 Recap

It was a pretty quiet month of November this year. However, there were a few updates that may have sparked our interest.

November 6 marked the day when Microsoft announced that it would be dropping Windows Live Messenger in favor of Skype. Whether this will actually happen anytime soon is unknown.

It was the day all Linux gamers were waiting for. The day that Steam for Linux was released to a limited close beta group on the 7 November. Many gamers were rejoicing.

21 November was the day when Linux Mint 14 was released. It was the latest and greatest version of Linux Mint yet!

Because of high demand, Steam opened up it's Steam for Linux beta platform to 5000 more gamers on the 22 November. More games for Linux were released, and it shows no sign of stopping anytime soon.

The 24 November was a special occasion for us of My Bubbletea Time. The website managed to get over 20,000 hits! Thank you to everyone for their continued support.

The YouTube music video hit, 'Gangnam Style' continued to rack up views to become the most watched YouTube video ever. This was on the 25 November.

And so that wraps up another month in the world of technology.

Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade coming to North America

Final Fantasy
DeNA and Square Enix are teaming up to bring us the very first free-to-play Final Fantasy game to be released in English. The upcoming title is called Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade, and is available right now in Japan.

The new Final Fantasy adventure is a cooperative title that places you in charge of an airship. Throughout the game you can team up with other players’ airships and work to take down enemies in order to gain experience points. All the items and inventory will be familiar to Final Fantasy fans, though the gameplay itself seems considerably different from titles like Final Fantasy Dimensions.

For those looking for a hardcore MMORPG experience, this isn’t it. Square Enix is billing Airborn Brigade as an “ easy-to-play social game where players cooperate and adventure through a world inspired by the popular FINAL FANTASY series”. Basically this means it is casually-oriented, but should still appeal to Final Fantasy fans because of the familiar items and references in the game.

If you happen to have friends that own an iDevice or if you own multiple devices yourself, you’ll be happy to know that the game is cross-platform and free for both ecosystems. So when exactly is the game coming? Square Enix has yet to give an official date for the game, but you can pre-register at Square Enix’s website for more information and updates about Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade.

Keep in mind that this Final Fantasy title is only expected to arrive in English for the North American market, at least initially.

[via Android Authority]

November 29, 2012

Anime Review: Bakuman. 2

The story of manga creation continues with Bakuman. 2. It never fails to entertain and inform the audience the happy and sad moments of manga creation and how it affects our very lives.

Bakuman. 2Synopsis:

After the decision to serialize Moritaka and Akito has been made, they are introduced to Miura, their new manager. At first, the two thought it was a joke, but Hattori gives them a pep talk before leaving. While Miura doesn't seem like a bad person, he is given to rudeness and seems to be worried about the duo's future. In addition, the duo are given three assistants to work on their manuscript, and with the assistance of Ogawa, an experienced assistant, their work progresses well. 

At the start of the new year, Moritaka and Akito both attend Shonen Jack's New Year Party. There, they meet Hiramaru Kazuya, said to be a genius of a whole different level from Eiji.

Review:

After watching this anime, you feel give slightly more respect to the hardworking people that draw manga because they love it. Not only that, the anime itself gives us a realistic view into the preparation, commitment, revision and refinement of manga by hardworking enthusiasts that want to get there work out there for our enjoyment. That said, Bakuman. 2 continues the excellent story from before and gives us more insight into the progress from amateur to professional manga artists. The story here adds more complications and twists with the introduction of a new manager, Miura. Although relatively new to the editing office and with some experience in handling manga projects, Miura tries his hardest into helping the duo with their serialization. And so, as the series progresses, many failures, emotional moments, complications and resolutions are made. There are also new rivals to compete with so it is one eventful year for Moritaka and Akito.

The art was once again really well done and high quality. The art was quite good throughout each episode. The anime’s art shows a great amount of detail yet still maintaining that slice of life environment in the anime. Something which intrigued me the most, in terms of the art, was the displaying of the stories each manga artist made. By animating the storyline and having a narrator explaining the information in the manga, improved the anime. The character themselves were well illustrated and fluidly animated.

The voice acting was perfect for the characters. I felt that the character's representations through their vocal expressions suited them perfectly and portrayed their attitudes and personalities nicely. The theme songs also suited the anime really well and brought excitement to each episode. I did not find anything annoying throughout the anime series regarding the soundtrack. It was just well presented.

The series continues to uncover more about Moritaka and Akito. However, it felt like Miho has been left out of the spotlight. Although Miho does have a few moments in which her relationship with Moritaka progresses but other than that, she felt too much of a side character here. Of course, this doesn't really matter as the story is totally focused about the failures and accomplishments of the manga artist duo. Other than that, we see more interaction between them and other manga artists such as Eiji, Kazuya, and plenty of other characters.

In the end, it was very well done and entertaining to say the very least. The story was well presented and kept me engaged the whole way through. The art and sound quality was excellent and I had no issues at all. If you watched the prequel, then you definitely must watch Bakuman. 2. The final series of the trilogy, Bakuman. 3 is currently airing so for those who have finished 1 and 2, it is time to see what will happen in 3.

STORY: 9

ART: 8

SOUND: 9

CHARACTER: 8

ENJOYMENT: 8

OVERALL: 8

Google Drive update brings more features

Google Drive
If you are the person that edits spreadsheets whilst on the go, you would be please to hear of this new update to the Google Drive app. The latest version of the app on the Android platform allows you to do just that. The new update introduces some new features that should make your life much easier.

Previously the editing of spreadsheets were limited to a slightly unappealing web-based UI, with this new update, spreadsheets have gotten their own UI, complete with the ability to zoom, directly edit formulae and resize and re-style cells.

There are also a few minor changes, like the ability to maintain formatting when copying and pasting within Docs, and the ability to add home screen shortcuts to specific files or folders.

  • Edit Google spreadsheets in new native editor
  • Edit contents of tables in Google Docs editor
  • Formatting is maintained when copy/pasting within Google Docs
  • Single tap to enter edit mode in Google Docs editor
  • Add a shortcut to Drive files/folders to your homescreen for quick access
  • Send Link now supports copying link to clipboard

Two Hatsune Miku Dancing Videos Fascinate Vocaloid Fans

MMD (MikuMikuDance) is not only tool to create dancing videos of Hatsune Miku and other vocaloid characters. Two new videos recently posted in the web have amazed vocaloid video watchers by their uniqueness and cuteness. The first video "Kami Miku Nekomimi Switch Odottemita" was created by Miro using paper collage technique. The creator made 2,000 paper Mikus and spent 7 months to create the video. The video has been viewed more than 140,000 times at Nico Nico Douga in only 6 days. The second video "Doll-type robot dances 'Miku Miku ni Shite Ageru'" was made by Rozen Zebet using a highly-realistic 60 cm dancing robot doll "Arisa" in Hatsune Miku costume. 
Which dancing Miku is your favorite?

"Kami Miku Nekomimi Switch Odottemita"

"Doll-type robot dances 'Miku Miku ni Shite Ageru'"
Source: cruchyroll

Karneval TV Anime's 1st Promo Streamed

Karneval, supposedly the next "big" fantasy, action and mystery anime in 2013. Let's hope the promotions aren't just all `talk' and the final product doesn't disappoint, like with Arcarna Famiglia, K or Magi.

The official website for the television anime adaptation of Touya Mikanagi's Karneval manga added the first 36-second promotional video on Tuesday. Voice actors Hiro Shimono (Nai) and Hiroshi Kamiya (Gareki) narrate the video.


The website also updated with details about a February 10 "Opening Performance" event in Tokyo, as well as additional character profiles.

The original manga follows Nai, a naïve boy searching for someone important to him, with only an abandoned bracelet as a clue. He encounters the pickpocket Gareki when the two meet in a strange mansion. Soon they find themselves part of a setup, becoming wanted criminals by military security operatives. When all hope seems lost, the two are introduced to none other than the country's most powerful defense organization, "Circus."

Eiji Suganuma (Kodomo no Jikan, Mashiroiro Symphony - The color of lovers, Ninja Cadets, Sasameki Koto) is directing the series at Manglobe (Deadman Wonderland, Hayate the Combat Butler: Can't Take My Eyes Off You, Mashiroiro Symphony - The color of lovers, Ergo Proxy) and Touko Machida (THE IDOLM@STER, Lucky Star, Amnesia) is handling the scripts. Toshie Kawamura (Yes! Precure 5, Smile Precure!,Mashiroiro Symphony - The color of lovers) is serving as the character designer and chief animation director for the series.

The television series is scheduled to premiere this spring, and the manga's 10th volume shippped last month with an anime preview DVD.

Source: ANN

November 28, 2012

Adblock Plus for Android now available

Surfing the web can be such a pain nowadays, with annoying and persistent ads following you at every step. The nuisance of ads on mobile is even more distressing, as these can not only cripple your browsing experience, but also bug the heck out of you inside free, “ad-supported” apps.

Thankfully, Adblock Plus, the go-to Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Opera add-on, has finally made its debut in Google Play, being available starting today for devices running Android 2.1 and higher.

Adblock Plus for Android theoretically blocks ads both in apps and around the web, but, just like on Google Chrome or Firefox, there are a few limitations. First off, the app runs best on rooted devices. If you have such a gadget, you will be able to block ads over both Wi-Fi and 3G without having to make any manual changes to your phone or tab.

For non-rooted devices, things are a bit more complicated. If you’re on Android 3.1 or higher, you’ll only be able to block ads over Wi-Fi, while on 3G (and 4G) nothing will be intercepted. Meanwhile, non-rooted gadgets with Android 3.0 or lower will require some manual configuration (more details here).

Gmail now allows you to send larger files, thanks to Google Drive integration

gmail
Ever had a situation where you needed to send a few larger files over email, only to find that what you were sending out would have went over the file limit size? The good news is the days of 25MB file limits are over for Google users, thanks to the integration of Google Drive into Gmail.

Instead of a measly 25MB, you can now upload up to 10GB through Gmail. We doubt that many of you are planning on sending 10GB attachments with your email messages anytime soon. Still, this is really useful for special circumstances such as sending family and event photos through an email that go over the small 25MB limit.

The reality is that 25MB isn’t much these days, so this is a wise move on Google’s part. Keep in mind that you really aren’t emailing these large files. Instead, Google is just sending a link to your recipients that allow them to grab the files from your Google Drive account.

To get in on the new larger file capabilities you will need to opt in to the new compose feature found in Gmail, if you haven’t already. Also keep in mind that the feature is said to be rolling out over the next few days, so it might not be available for you yet.

[via Android Authority]

November 27, 2012

Android App Spotlight: Need for Speed™ Most Wanted

Need for Speed™ Most Wanted
Do you dare to be the Most Wanted?

Need for Speed Most Wanted on Android is one of the most thrilling and engaging racing game on the platform. The game allows you to evade police whilst driving hard out with other street racers. Included in the game is the Origin feature that allows you to check your stats against your friends.

Here are some features of the game:
  • Drive and customize over 35 of the world's most exciting cars
  • Race the way you want! By popular demand, you can now touch or tilt to steer
  • Use Mods to enhance your car and get ahead of the pack in style
  • Experience the action with mind-blowing graphics and intense full-car damage
  • Earn Speed Points to unlock new cars

Anime Review: Asu no Yoichi!

If you feel like so light-hearted comedy along with some cheesy action and hints of ecchi, then Asu no Yoichi! will definitely entertain you for those few hours that you have nothing to do.

Asu no Yoichi!Synopsis:

His skill with a sword is magnificent but his social skills still need a lot of work! 

After many long years perfecting the art of fighting, 17-year-old Yoichi Karasuma is sent down from the remote mountains where he has been raised thinking that he's going to study some new martial arts techniques... but what he's really going to learn about are some slightly more practical things, like electrical appliances, modern clothing and, most especially, how NOT to make girls want to kill you! 

Unfortunately, that last lesson is one Yoichi may not survive, as his new dojo is infested with the infernal creatures in the form of the Ikaruga sisters, and they don't really seem to understand how "proper" girls are "supposed" to behave! Will Yoichi's bushido blade be struck down by the fearsome charms of Ibuki, Ayame, Chihaya, and Kagome? Or will the equally lethal girls from the rival Tsubame school be his undoing?

Review:

You probably have watched plenty of similar titled anime already and Asu no Yoichi! doesn't really cut it above the rest. However though, you do get the same pleasure as always like any other romantic comedy anime. That said, the story presented here was rather hit and miss. I must applaud the effort into actually trying to turn the story into an action, super power anime but rather, it just felt all too pasted together with the theme of 'romance' and 'comedy' thrown in. The anime starts off pretty predictable with a guy named Yoichi Karasuma being sent down from the mountain to learn about modern society. Of course, since the guy as been living in the mountains for his whole life, he knows nothing about modern culture and technology. You can already guess what happens in the rest of the series. He ends up in all awkward and embarrassing moments with the Ikaruga sisters from the dojo he is training at. The rest of the series just thrown in some rivals in love, a few learning experiences and some light-hearted comedy.

The art was pretty well done with some exceptions of object placement and animation. For a 2009 anime, the art style felt a bit too low quality like other anime released in the same year. Perhaps it was only released only in DVD format that explains lack of some fine detail in characters and environments. However, it was decently well illustrated and animated enough to be enjoyable at the very least.

The voice acting was really good for most for the characters. I noticed some popular voice actors were used throughout the anime and I was pleased with the overall compilation. The sound effects were effectively used and background music for pretty appropriate for the various settings that the battles take place. Theme songs were decent but not that memorable.

As for characters, they were pretty generic and much like any other anime of similar style. The main protagonist, Yoichi is pretty much standard naive and easily embarrassed guy that doesn't know anything above love. Ibuki is the strong-willed girl that doesn't often show her inner emotions. She keeps everything in check and strives to set a fine example to her younger sisters. Ayame is the tsundere one that doesn't really like to associate with anyone or to be honest with herself. Chiyaha is the peppy younger sister that just likes to tease and joke around. She is rarely serious. Lastly, we have Kagome, the youngest sister of the family. She likes to be helpful for others and shows kindness to everyone. So there you have it.

Overall, I enjoyed it for its funny moments at the very least. I didn't mind the comedy action and the romance of it all. I felt the overall story and setting is a bit weak and generic, as if it has already been done and tried before. However, it serves as a good time filler when you have a few hours to spare.

STORY: 6

ART: 7

SOUND: 8

CHARACTER: 7

ENJOYMENT: 8

OVERALL: 7

MeMuMo: Forever We Can Make It! by THYME

Title: Forever We Can Make It!
Artist: THYME
Year: 2008
Comments: Forever We Can Make It! is the catchy opening theme song from the anime To Love-Ru. Is features some nice beats to it and the singing isn't that bad. The melody is also quite lively and energetic. It is a good song to cheer you up or to get you motivated.

Square Enix Lists 5 Elements That Make a Final Fantasy Game

The Japanese game developer Square Enix held a conference in Tokyo last weekend to discuss its recent real-time tech demo Agni's Philosophy: Final Fantasy. During the conference, the creators of the tech demo presented a list of five elements that make a Final Fantasy game:
  • Magic
  • Summoning
  • Gorgeous beauty
  • Refinement
  • Change and challenge
The creators did not go into detail on each of the components.


In a related story, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn director Naoki Yoshida recently discussed what he thought went wrong with the original Final Fantasy XIV massively multi-player online role-playing game (MMORPG). Yoshida was not a staff member on the original game.

In an interview with Kotaku, Yoshida said that for the Final Fantasy XI MMORPG, Square Enix researched the EverQuest game for a year to discover why it was so popular and then created a game that was inspired by EverQuest but added elements that made the game distinctly a Final Fantasy game, such as story-driven content and cutscenes. For Final Fantasy XIV, however, Yoshida said that Square Enix tried to make a game that was different from Final Fantasy XI. Yoshida added that he thought the original creators of the game did not recognize the way that MMORPGs had evolved since Final Fantasy XI.

Yoshida added that "I think it would've been good if they tried seeing what happened if they turned World of Warcraft into Final Fantasy." He said that Square Enix should have similarly had its employees play World of Warcraft for a year for inspiration. Yoshida also said that he thought it was a mistake to release Final Fantasy XIV when it was, and he and his team will be sure not to release the revamp game before it is ready.

The Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn revamp game will host an alpha test this winter, and a beta test from late January to early February.

Source: ANN

November 26, 2012

Steins;Gate Film's 2-Minute Teaser Trailer Streamed

Japanese production company Kadokawa began streaming a 118-second teaser trailer for the Steins;Gate Fuka Ryōiki no Déjà vu film on Saturday. The sequel to the 2011 Steins;Gate television anime series will open next spring in at least 30 theaters across Japan.
Source: ANN

Dog Days Anime Gets 3rd Season

Dog Days manga artist Takuya Fujima reported from the "Special Promotion -Flonya Festival 2012-" event on Sunday that production on a third season of theDog Days anime has been green-lit.

The studio Seven Arcs (Asura Cryin', Sekirei, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha) animated the first two seasons that premiered in 2011 and 2012. In the story by Masaki Tsuzuki, Princess Millhiore (Yui Horie) of the Biscotti Republic decides to summon a brave warrior from an alternate world to defend her country from the neighboring fiefdom of Galette. The "brave warrior" turns out to be a boy named Shinku (Mamoru Miyano) from modern-day Japan.

[Via 0takomu]
Source: ANN

November 25, 2012

Anime Review: Kyoukaisenjou no Horizon II

Continuing the story from before, Kyoukaisenjou no Horizon II brings more fan service, laughter and action  of the battles between various nations and groups.

Kyoukaisenjou no Horizon IISynopsis:

Taking advantage of the opportunity that the Mikawa Conflict provides, Toori and his comrades attempt to rescue Horizon from the Testament Union. But even as the Floating City Musashi speeds towards its next destination, the Floating Island England, Tres España is preparing its own armada for war against the British Islanders. Now, as the quest of Horizon's emotions builds to its climax, Toori's new battle is about to begin in the land ruled by the Fairy Queen! The reenactment of the history described in the mysterious Testament continues as the secret of the Armor of Deadly Sins is unleashed in the spectacular second season of Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere!

Review:

The story like before is no simple plot indeed. It mixes in alternate historical timelines with futuristic gadgets all the whilst dealing with action and fantasy elements which results in a convoluted plot. If you clearly analysed each and every character and faction in the prequel, you may still get lost as the sequel introduces even more characters than before. The story itself doesn't even focus on Horizon that much but rather the conflict between Musashi and the other factions. Bunched together are nonsensical plot devices that are used and some quite silly elements throughout the anime makes the story a bit of a hit and miss. I got to say though, it was slightly more interesting than the prequel.

The art was once again well done. Characters were well designed and the special effects are endless. The CG elements (for the ships flying through the sky) were really well done and the animations were fluid. The backgrounds and scenery were high quality and beautifully illustrated.

The voice acting was pretty much the same as the prequel. The new characters' voice acting were also of high standard and quality. They suited the characters really well. The theme songs were once again quite average and weren't that spectacular or memorable or anything; but it suited the anime's theme nonetheless. I must praise the nice use of background music as well as the plentiful of sound effects in every episode. It brought the anime to life and made it even more enjoyable to watch.

Once again Toori Aoi is felt a bit useless in the anime. By the time you reach the middle of the series, you would have already concluded that Toori Aoi will always be the class clown, the joker, the guy that does pretty much nothing in the anime. I have to question why he is constantly naked in the anime? I can't remember given any explanation of it. Anyhow, Horizon is still dull and expressionless as ever and she also plays a rather minor role in the anime. Rather though, the anime focuses more on the group as a whole than specific characters. I really wanted Toori Aoi to actually do something worth while, but in the end, his friends pretty much took the spotlight.

Perhaps a sequel will arise in a few years. The story ended with a sense of continuation with no near end in sight. I did enjoy the action scenes, comedy elements and the whole fan service of it all. I am still slightly confused at the storyline and at what actually is going on between these factions. All I know that a bunch of nations are trying to avoid a world Apocalypse by re-enacting historical events. Something like that.

STORY: 7

ART: 9

SOUND: 8

CHARACTER: 8

ENJOYMENT: 8

OVERALL: 8

'Gangnam Style' becomes most-watched vid ever

It coems to no surprised as "Gangnam Style" has become the most watched video on YouTube. As of today, Psy's "Gangnam Style" surpasses Bieber's "Baby" to become the most-watched video on YouTube. The video racked up more than 805 million views to pass Bieber in less than 5 months.

Marketing blog Wordstream compiled a bunch of "Gangnam" stats and found that in November, Psy's video was being watched over 4,000 times each minute, on average. Gangnam Style has also been certified by the Guinness folks as the most-liked video in YouTube history with over 2 million digital thumbs up.

Wordstream also projects that given Psy's sustained YouTube momentum, "Gangnam Style" will become the first YouTube video to reach a billion views, around December 11.


[via CNET]

November 24, 2012

Anime Review: Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon

Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon is different from any other action, fantasy anime in a way that it incorporates both elements into one with comedy and romance thrown in. It is quite difficult to discern what is happening when all these elements are combined.

Kyoukaisenjou no HorizonSynopsis:

In the far future, humans abandon a devastated Earth and traveled to outer space. However, due to unknown phenomenon that prevents them from traveling into space, humanity returns to Earth only to find it inhospitable except for Japan. 

To accomodate the entire human population, pocket dimensions are created around Japan to house in the populace. In order to find a way to return to outer space, the humans began reenacting human history according to the Holy book Testament. But in the year 1413 of the Testament Era, the nations of the pocket dimensions invade and conquer Japan, dividing the territory into feudal fiefdoms and forcing the original inhabitants of Japan to leave. 

It is now the year 1648 of the Testament Era, the refugees of Japan now live in the city ship Musashi, where it constantly travels around Japan while being watched by the Testament Union, the authority that runs the re-enactment of history. However, rumors of an apocalypse and war begins to spread when the Testament stops revealing what happens next after 1648. 

Taking advantage of this situation, Toori Aoi, head of Musashi Ariadust Academy's Supreme Federation and President of the student council, leads his fellow classmates to use this opportunity to regain their homeland.

Review:

Unlike you average action, comedy, fantasy and romance anime that splits all elements into different episodes, Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon tends to complicate things and mash all these elements into one episode. If you are not careful enough, you may find yourself quite lost as to what exactly is happening. That said, the story is not as simple as it sounds. Basically, the setting takes place in the future where humans are living above the ruined Earth and trying to find a way to travel back in space. To do that, they decide to follow the Testament history book. Every country is trying to re-enact history in order to find the way to travel in space, however a rumour spreads that the world will end after the year 1648. That is just the background story. The main storyline in this series is about Toori Aoi trying to save his automated doll girlfriend from the Testament Union. As like any other action fantasy anime, there are plenty of battles, different kinds of people and weapons as well as comedy in almost every form.

The picture says it all


November 23, 2012

PSotD - Dark Shame

Title: Dark Shame
Artist: Granrodeo
Year: 2012
Notes: OP for Code:Breaker.
Another catchy rock tune.
My favourite characters: Toki, Yuuki, Yukihina, Heike, Hitomi, Prince.

DDL: here.

SwiftKey 3 and Swiftkey 3 Tablet now half off

SwiftKey 3 Keyboard
Yet another app sale for the Thanksgiving / Black Friday weekend is SwiftKey. Both smartphone and tablet versions of the custom Android keyboard are half off - $1.99 a pop.

For those unfamiliar, SwiftKey is a highly respected Android keyboard replacement that emphasizes predictive suggestions based on Twitter, Facebook, and Gmail usage. There's a really wide range of language support too, which is a must-have for many users. If you're looking for something comparable to Swype with gesture-based typing, you'll have to wait for SwiftKey Flow.


November 22, 2012

Anime Review: Inu x Boku SS + OVA

Ever wondered what a bunch of youkai would do if they all lived in the same complex? Well that is basically what Inu x Boku SS is all about. The lives of the bunch of funny and quirky youkai characters and their interactions with one another.

Inu x Boku SSSynopsis:

The Shirakiin house's daughter, Shirakiin Ririchiyo, who has a complex about being unable to live independently and unprotected, feels the need to move out and live on her own under the condition of residing in the mansion named "Ayakashi Kan." In this mansion, only those who have cleared a very strict examination could reside in it, and for each resident, they are accompanied with one agent of the Secret Service (S.S.). Although Riricho has rejected the company of the S.S., while residing in the mansion she finds out that the agent dedicated to protecting her is actually the Fox Spirit.

Review:

Although the anime is listed as comedy, shounen, and supernatural, I would disagree otherwise. From what I experienced whilst watching through this anime series contains far more genres than the above. In my opinion, the story does a great job in captivating both shounen and shoujo audiences with its inclusion of an underlying romantic comedy plot along with some light action with the inclusion of supernatural characters. At first I thought that this was a complete shoujo anime because of a female lead and crazily hot guy protagonist; but somehow it is not as simple as that. The story starts off with a extremely tsundere (or rather tsunshun) female lead character named Shirakiin Ririchiyo moving out and living on her own. She ends up in a mansion named "Ayakashi Kan" and the only residents are youkai with secret service agents assigned to each and every one of them. Like any other shoujo anime, the main female lead gets a hot guy assigned to her. In this case, we get a Fox Spirit named Miketsukami Soushi. The story goes uphill from there with competitions among the youkai, a break-in attempt, a rival from long ago, and the collection of past memories. It is quite entertaining to watch.

The art was really well done. The character designs were not too bad and their transformations were quite detailed and accurate to actual youkai myths. The backgrounds and sceneries were also very well done and animation of movement was fluid. I had no complaints here.

I was impressed by the voice acting and the theme songs of this anime. Although the anime doesn't focus on sound and character voice acting but more on the comedy element, I still found the soundtrack impressive nonetheless. I liked how each character had their own ending theme song that will play at the end of each episodes whilst the credits rolled. That put a refreshing touch to each episode and felt unique in it's own way.

I should mention that since this anime is all out a bunch of youkai, you should at lease understand stuff about Japanese mythology. However, the anime does give a short explanation on the different kinds of youkai that apepar in the anime, so you won't get confused that much. Shirakiin Ririchiyo is a complete tsundere (or tsunshun) character with a sharp tongue. She acts all cold and arrogant on the outside, but she is kind and understanding on the inside. It is pretty humorous watching her interact with other people. Just watching Miketsukami Soushi reminded me of the guys over at the Ouran Koukou Host Club. He is just completely submissive, calm and polite to everyone. Definitely what you would call a bishounen. His fix transformation isn't that bad either. The other characters were also quite unique and had interesting personalities.

Overall, it was an enjoyable anime to watch. The story was quite intriguing and humorous most of the time although some parts were quite silly. There was also some nice light action and romance thrown in to give it a bit of spice; not to mention the mysterious background of the main characters and how they came to know each other from long ago. It is quite well done and an appropriate length. I would say though that this anime series may be more to the shoujo type than heavy action shounen type.

STORY: 8

ART: 8

SOUND: 8

CHARACTER: 8

ENJOYMENT: 8

OVERALL: 8

Steam open Linux beta to 5000 more gamers

Valve has announced a widening of access to their Linux Beta client. Some 5000 users who signed upfor beta access will be granted access to the Steam beta client.

Valve's Frank Crockett announced to members of the Steam for Linux community on Steam:
“We’re making good progress finding and fixing issues that our users have reported so we’re expanding the beta by 5000 before the long holiday (US) weekend kicks in.”
New beta testers will find an email in their inbox with further instructions on how to download and install the client, redeem their code, and enable any restricted drivers required to make Steam work.


Ubuntu 13.04 default wallpaper revealed

Ubuntu 13.04's default wallpaper has been unveiled 5 months before schedule. The visuals won't shock anyone; it's pretty much the same as before - but familiarity can be a good thing.
You can download the wallpaper here if you feel like it!

November 21, 2012

Linux Mint 14 Released!

It is finally here. Linux Mint 14 codenamed "Nadia" has been released. For the first time since Linux Mint 11,  the development team was able to capitalize on upstream technology which works and firs its goals. After 6 months of incremental development, Linux Mint 14 features an impressive list of improvements, increased stability and a refined desktop experience. Here are some new changes in this release.

Skype for Android gets a makeover, brings tablet optimization and more

Skype for Android
Skype for Android has been update today bringing it to version 3.0. Not only does Skype add a new tablet optimized UI, there is also improved sound quality, Microsoft Account support and much more.

Skype for Android 3.0 stands out as a massive improvement from the previous version. When using a tablet, the new UI features a two-column design that allows access to all the important areas of the app on the left-hand side and other information on the right. As for the smartphone version, it pretty much looks the same before, with most of the changes being under the hood.

What else is new? For those that don’t know, Microsoft recently announced it is retiring its Windows Live Messenger application, and so Skype for Android 3.0 sees the integration of Microsoft account support in order to help phase out WLM. You can now choose to use your Skype or Microsoft account to login. When signing in with the Microsoft account you will get access to all your existing contacts and can add new Skype contacts as well.

It’s also worth mentioning that the overall sound quality in voice calls and video have greatly improved in Skype for Android 3.0, thanks to the added support for Skype’s SILK wideband audio codec. Wondering if you’ll be able to use the new version? The requirements for Skype are actually pretty low, all you need is an 800MHz processor and Android 2.1, so basically all Android users out there should be able to get in on this update. As always, Skype works both with Wi-Fi or mobile broadband for all of its features.

Skype for Android 3.0 is available now through Google Play.

Which anime fansub groups should I use?

A quick search for an anime title in your favourite anime download site will generally return with bundles of results from various fansub groups. One major dilemma is to decide which group should I choose?
Does it even matter which fansub group to use in the first place? I'm a very picky person, so yes. It bugs me so much when I find typos, grammatical errors and even translation errors in fansubbed anime. So for me, it is important that I choose the "best" available subs.
Because we don't speak 'cow'
What factors should one consider when looking for the 'best' available subs? For example,
  • the quality of the translations - how accurate are they, do they troll the audience, have the scripts been proofread;
  • the quality of the anime file - did they tamper with the colours, what type of encoding is used, the size of the anime file;
  • the typesetting and presentation - do the fonts look nice, are the text aligned, is the timing correct;
  • karaoke - do they bother translating the OP and EDs, do they adjust the translations once the music is officially released with lyrics.
To decide which fansub group to use, I usually do a quick check in anime forums for the highly recommended groups. Another method is to physically compare screenshots of the same anime that are subbed by different fansub groups. The following site has been created to help anime fans do exactly that. 
However, at the end of the day, all we want to do is just sit back, relax and enjoy our dose of animation. Don't forget, we need to be thankful to all fansub groups. After all, they are offering their time and sweat to us for free. So make sure you drop a 'thank you' on their websites for their hard work!

Louis Vuitton Designs Hatsune Miku's Costume for Opera

For THE END opera that will be held on December 1 and 2 at the Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media in Yamaguchi City, director Toshiki Okada and digital music artist Keiichirō Shibuya decided to collaborate with French fashion brand Louis Vuitton. Louis Vuitton artistic director Marc Jacobs is designing the outfits that Vocaloid idol character Hatsune Miku will wear onstage.

No humans will appear onstage during the opera, even to play the instruments. Instead, Vocaloids will take their place, taking over every aria and recitative. The "actors'" onstage images are designed by artist YKBX (also known as Masaki Yokobe), who is known for his video "amazarashi." Shohei Shigematsu, an architect and a partner of OMA New York, is designing the stage.

The clothes Hatsune Miku will wear are clothes based off of Mark Jacobs' spring/summer 2013 collection that were altered in order to fit the virtual singer's body type and unique style. As this is the very first time that outfits from Louis Vuitton will lack the label's signature monogram symbol, the outfits will instead be using a pattern similar to theLouis Vuitton's familiar diamond pattern. The purses have been altered from the standardLouis Vuitton bag into cubical and square shapes to accentuate to the geometric themes.

Tickets were available for pre-order for 3,000 yen (about US$37), but were sold out as of November 14.

Louis Vuitton also collaborated with modern artist Takashi Murakami on his Superflat Monogram and Superflat First Love anime.

Source: Natalie via 0takomuANN

Google promises fix for Android 4.2 December birthday bug

Android Central
Good news for anyone with a birthday or anniversary coming up next month, as Google has confirmed that it has a fix in the works for the recently-discovered "December birthday" bug in Android 4.2. The glitch resulted in December being absent from the date selector in the Android 4.2 People app, as you can see in the shot above.

The fix will most likely take the form of an over-the-air update for devices running Android 4.2 -- the Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10. No timeframe was provided for the OTA, but with December looming, we'd expect it to hit in a matter of days.

[via Android Central]

November 20, 2012

Anime Review: Ben-To

It is an all out war for the last remaining half-priced bentos and noone is giving way. This is the anime about supermarket territories, gangs and all-out brawls just for bento.

Ben-ToSynopsis:

Satou You is a high school boy who likes SEGA games. One day, he enters a grocery store to buy some food for dinner. When he tries to take a bento box, he loses consciousness. He comes around to find all the bento sold out. He notices there is a war game going on at grocery stores and players called "Wolves" compete for the half-priced bento. Yarizui Sen, the leader of the Half-Pricer Club, forces You to join the club and he enters the bento war.

Review:

As silly as it sounds, this anime is quite entertaining to watch. Why? Because watching a bunch of guys fighting over half-priced bento is somewhat serious business indeed. Not only that, the anime takes this huge 'supermarket fight' thing to a whole new level with players called "Wolves" fight each other to the end. Of course, the victorious will gain approval and recognition (as well as a title) among the Wolves. At first, it may seem weird that an anime is that popular just based on a supermarket war game, but somehow, it was quite interesting to watch. The story starts off with an ordinary high school boy named Stau You that finds himself unconsciousness after visiting the supermarket in search of food for dinner. He discovers that there is a war game going on in supermarkets across the area. With the help of the leaser of the Half-Pricer Club, he and Yarizui Sen take on the competition is the fiercest bento battle yet. Honestly, I found it entertaining and engaging to watch. This of course, is quite original and there is nothing out there like it. Not only that, there are also plenty of comedy moments as well as hints of romance.

The art was excellently illustrated and animated. The backgrounds and scenery were high quality and the battle animations were fluid. The characters also looked quite great. The art style isn't groundbreaking but it is quite accurately illustrated and places, just like your standard anime animation.

The opening and closing songs were quite catchy. The opening song was quite upbeat and suited the anime perfectly. In addition to that, the voice acting was perfect for the characters. I have no complaints here.

The reasons why I watched this anime was because I wanted to see how the characters would play out in this interesting story. Satou You felt a bit generic in design and personality, but that is probably just standard for any other action anime featuring an ordinary male protagonist. Yarizui Sen was perfectly portrayed for her character. She is a quiet girl but quiet understanding towards You. There's also Shaga Ayame, the lively cousin of You and tends to like to tease him a lot. Lastly, in the club, there's Oshiroi Hana. She is quite an interesting girl with hobbies that relate to yaoi related content inspired by other bento brawlers.

Overall, it was a weird and wonderful anime to watch. I didn't mind the unrealism of hunger-crazy people going all-out fighting over bento. It was both quite humorous and serious. If you want some quick light-weight anime to entertain yourself for a few hours, Ben-To should satisfy your (anime) hunger.

STORY: 8

ART: 9

SOUND: 9

CHARACTER: 8

ENJOYMENT: 8

OVERALL: 8

Team Fortress 2 now available to public on Linux

Team Fortress 2, a free to play first-person shooter (FPS) multiplayer game, is now available for everyone using the Linux Steam client, and not just those who have received a beta invitation, so non-beta users shouldn't see the "server is too busy" error when trying to download the game any more.
Team Fortress 2 Ubuntu
team fortress 2 Ubuntu
It seems this is a mistake from Valve, which fixed a bug that prevented Ubuntu Developer Summit participants from playing Team Fortress 2 and in the process, somehow the game ended up as being available for everyone. This might mean that Team Fortress 2 won't be available after Valve fixes the glitch, but considering they haven't fixed the bug that allows non-beta accounts to use Steam for Linux, they might allow this as well.
Team Fortress 2 game Ubuntu Steam
To play Team Fortress 2 in Linux without a Steam for Linux beta account, firstly install Steam for Linux, then launch Steam, search for Team Fortress 2, click the "Play game" button and then wait for the download to complete - it will take a while since 12 GB of data needs to be downloaded.

[via WebUpd8]

November 19, 2012

Anime Review: Haiyore! Nyaruko-san

Sometimes you just want to just forget everything and go silly. Well, that would be my opinion of Haiyore! Nyaruko-san. Although it's not the best parody comedy anime of all time, but it still gives a few laughs here and there.

Haiyore! Nyaruko-sanSynopsis:

"I'm Nyarlathotep, the creeping chaos always smiling beside you." But you can call her Nyaruko for short. One by one, the Great Ones from the Cthulhu mythos are coming to earth to target Nyaruko and her human friend Mahiro. He's utterly clueless about the true nature of his cosmic conflict and just wants to live in peace.

Review:

There are plenty of parody comedy anime out there and not many people know of them. Haiyore! Nyaruko-san would be one of them. I would say that it is described as an action, parody and comedy anime with some slight hint in ecchi. If I would say what this anime was about; I would say that it completely random. The story is supposed to be about a bunch of aliens of different races in conflict with each other; but then, something completely off-topic just happens and you get thrown off guard. That said, you cannot take this anime seriously. Even if it goes into full on "Space CQC" combat, in the end, it is all for some silly purpose. It felt like the jokes were a bit too childish and the comedy elements were slightly dry. I did notice some parody elements of Pokemon, Back to the Future, and other western culture influences. Somehow though, I think I entirely missed the point of the anime. That said, you would probably enjoy this anime much more if you actually knew what each and every parody element was referring to.

The art was quite well done and the animation was fluid. The characters themselves looked great and the environments were well laid out. However, I did notice some reuse in special effects animation which was a slight shame as the battles are quite solid. Other than that, facial expressions, object placement and camera shots were quite natural and correctly illustrated.

I had issues with voice acting in this anime. I found that most of the characters did not suit there voices at all. Mahiro sounds too deep and expressionless. Nyaruko's voice was too loud and too annoying. Constant screaming and high-pitched voice didn't make me enjoy the anime that much. Not to mention Cthuko's voice. It too was slightly unsuitable for the character. I don't know why the producers didn't use more suitable voice actors but surely, they would have noticed that the voice acting doesn't suit the characters at all. On the other hand, the theme songs were quite catchy and if not, a bit silly. Other than that, there were no other problems.

With unsuitable voice acting for most of the characters, it made them quite unmemorable and sometimes even annoying to watch. Take Mahiro for instance, I felt that he was too cruel to Nyaruko at the start. I felt bad for her to put up with the constant shut downs by Mahiro. Anyway, it wasn't just Mahiro that had problems; Nyaruko is just too lively and her constant obsessiveness to get closer to Mahiro is whichever way possible just got a bit annoying in the end. As for Cthuko, she is just plain too boring. To be honest, nine of the character made any sense and the anime does very little to explain any of the characters properly. You will find that there really anything to like about the characters at all.

In the end, I just rapidly watched through the series and disregarded the annoyances along the way. However, there were a few occasions which made me laugh and plenty of knowingly nods. Other than that, the story and character development is nothing to venture upon. The anime is probably more suited for people who loves the parody genre and just want some silly laughs. Other than that, don't take this seriously because it will not be worth your time.

STORY: 6

ART: 8

SOUND: 5

CHARACTER: 7

ENJOYMENT: 7

OVERALL: 6

Oops! December left out of People app in Android 4.2


Android 4.2 has been out for a few days (and it’s only available on a handful of Nexus devices) but it wouldn't be surprising to hear that no matter how thoroughly it was tested before release, the new software still has some bugs that will most likely be fixed in a future update.

However, the following error is not just a minor bug worth ignoring, it’s a major Android 4.2 blooper that should not happen in the house of Google, or anyone else’s for the matter.

The Android 4.2 People app does not have December included, so you can’t add birthdays for contacts that were born in the last month of the year. And it’s not like it’s lacking just December 2012. There’s no December in the app at all.

Luckily for Google, the error wasn't apparent from Android 4.2 launch day, and it took Nexus owners a few days to find it, so it’s not a major scandal yet. In fact, it’s one of the perks of Android’s fragmentation, as Android 4.2 is yet to make it to the vast majority of Android devices out there.

However, we should expect Google to issue a fix for it as fast as possible, because this kind of oversight opens doors to plenty of attacks from the competition, jokes and mockery.

November 18, 2012

Anime Review: Sekirei: Pure Engagement

Continuing on the story from before, Sekirei: Pure Engagement introduces new characters, more fan service and the continuation of the game.

Sekirei: Pure EngagementSynopsis:

The battle to find the supreme Sekirei continues. Still some of the fighters and their masters refuse to participate in the battle since losing it means to lose the Sekirei forever, and many of them actually care about their partners, while others just use them as tools. A storm is rising on the horizon, a bigger threat approaches the city and it's about to bring pain and suffering to those who love and care for their Sekireis.

Review:

Sekirei: Pure Engagement has a much more engaging story than it's predecessor. Much like any other ecchi harem anime, the anime features plenty of fan service like never before. This time though, Pure Engagement adds a bit more spice and direction in the story with the whole Sekirei and game thing being explained. With more Sekirei appearing and and all-out battle between them, the anime fully captivates your attention right to the end. Of course though, it is not all over. With a hinted sequel coming, you can expect more action, more fan service, and more of an awesome ending.

The quality of the animation is great and the characters were cute and revealing. Everything flows pretty smoothly and characters are drawn in detail. However, most of the characters felt a bit too generic and similar to other titles of this genre. In the end, they weren't that memorable. However though, the backgrounds and sceneries well well done and contained fine detail. The special effects used in the anime were pretty convincing and did not feel scrappy or lazily done.

The voice acting was pretty good for most of the characters. They suited their personalities perfectly. I must note that even though there were plenty of characters in nearly every scene, you can instantly distinguished the characters apart just by their voice. The characters were full of expression and emotion.

Overall, I must say even though the art and sound were pretty much the same as before, the storyline has been improved dramatically. It was enjoyable to watch and I cannot wait for the sequel!

STORY: 8

ART: 8

SOUND: 8

CHARACTER: 8

ENJOYMENT: 8

OVERALL: 8

XBMC Media Center 12.0 Beta 1 Released: Supports Raspberry Pi and Android

XBMC Media Center, a free and open source digital media player hub and HTPC (Home Theatre PC) operating system has reached version 12.0 beta 1.

Besides new features and improvements, this new version is now available on some new platforms such as Raspberry Pi or Android.
Xbmc 12 Ubuntu
Here's what's new in the latest XBMC 12.0 beta 1:
  • HD audio support, including DTS-MA and Dolby True-HD, via the new XBMC AudioEngine
  • Live TV and PVR (personal video recorder) support. This allows users with a TV tuner to watch live TV, listen to radio, view an EPG, schedule recordings, and more
  • h.264 10bit (aka Hi10P) video software decoding for anime
  • 64bit support in OSX to match the 64bit support in Linux
  • Improved image support, allowing the database to accommodate numerous additional image types
  • Improved Airplay support across all platforms
  • Advanced Filtering in the library
  • Advanced UPnP sharing
  • Raspberry PI is now fully supported
  • Initial support for Android
  • More
Here are some screenshots:
XBMC 12.0 Ubuntu XBMC 12.0 Ubuntu
XBMC 12.0 Ubuntu XBMC 12.0 live video pvr
Even though XBMC 12.0 beta 1 comes with initial Android support, there are no Android builds available on XBMC download page and the XBMC Android FAQ advices the users to compile it. But if you want to download pre-built Android binaries, you can download XBMC 12.0 for Android from xda-developers.

Check out the source link for download and installation instructions.

[via WebUpd8]