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May 25, 2012

Anime Review (v.P): Code Geass - Rebellion of Lelouch (Season 1)

Simply put this anime is about revenge. This revenge takes the form of war and destruction.

Synopsis(from myanimelist.net)
On August 10th of the year 2010 the Holy Empire of Britannia began a campaign of conquest, its sights set on Japan. Operations were completed in one month thanks to Britannia's deployment of new mobile humanoid armor vehicles dubbed Knightmare Frames. Japan's rights and identity were stripped away, the once proud nation now referred to as Area 11. Its citizens, Elevens, are forced to scratch out a living while the Britannian aristocracy lives comfortably within their settlements. Pockets of resistance appear throughout Area 11, working towards independence for Japan.

Lelouch, an exiled Imperial Prince of Britannia posing as a student, finds himself in the heart of the ongoing conflict for the island nation. Through a chance meeting with a mysterious girl named C.C., Lelouch gains his Geass, the power of the king. Now endowed with absolute dominance over any person, Lelouch may finally realize his goal of bringing down Britannia from within!

Review:
[STORY] For the most part of the anime I found it rather boring. The story where the protagonist is bestowed with a "special power" which they use to destroy and take revenge to create a "better world" reminded me very much of the storyline for Death Note; but I guess pride and revenge are the main themes surrounding shounen animes. It took me a while to get into the spirit of the anime. The beginning was confusing and too many characters were thrown into the plot at the same time. I only got excited about the story on the third last episode which was the climax point of the anime. I must give the ending some credit though, because I thought that the producers created a wonderful cliff hanger for the second season. Now I can't wait to watch the second season.
Rating: 7

[ART] Code Geass has a very unique art style. It definitely falls into the shounen art style. The joints of the human body are depicted as very pointy and sharp. Quite a lot of the shots are shown from below, giving the impression that the characters have long legs and disproportional body sizes.
Rating: 7

[SOUND] I didn't really like the opening or ending songs. However, the background music used throughout the anime was very well composed and matched the atmosphere.
Rating: 5

[CHARACTER] While having many characters in an anime or manga makes the story interesting and provides many branches of potential development, however, introducing too many characters without fully developing each character is a waste and confuses the audience. I felt that there were too many characters to keep track of. But I guess in a war story you need to create lots of people so that they can die.
I found it hard to like the main character, because he is portrayed as the evil one destroying the world, disrupting the peace and betraying friends. Nevertheless, Lelouch is a true bishie, and Pumpkin loves bishies. So in the end I think I do like Lelouch even though I disagree with Lelouch's actions. Further, Lelouch's seiyuu is one of my favourite seiyuus. The exact same things can be said about Suzaku. I Loved CC's voice.
I was disturbed by the fact that Euphie was Lelouch's first love. Geez they share the same father...that's just wrong.
Rating: 5

[ENJOYMENT] I found that only the ending was enjoyable. The other parts of the story was confusing, and yet again let me complain about the overdose of characters that were poorly developed.
Rating: 6

[OVERALL] If you asked me whether I would watch this again, the clear answer is 'no'. However, I would recommend this anime to people who like shounen style and mecha. I wish that I read the manga before watching the anime. I think I would've enjoyed the anime more because I would've understood the plot better.
If I may guess, my intuition tells me that Lelouch is going to die at the end of the next season - so time to watch season 2 and see what happens!
Rating: 7

Extending the GIMP with Script-FUs pack

gimp 2.8 script fu

GIMP 2.8 Script-FUs is a collection of more than 100 scripts, initially created for GIMP 2.4, that have been fixed/updated recently to work with the latest GIMP 2.8. Besides filters and effects, there are also some scripts that allow you to easily create a calendar, create a CD label, add watermark and more.

Scripts included in the latest GIMP 2.8 Script-FU pack:
  • Artist: Angled strokes, Color Pencil, Conte-charcoal crayon, Crosshatched, Cutout, Inkpen, Note Paper, Paletter Knife, Pastel, WaterColor
  • Color: Invert, Saturation, BW from Graphic, Color Temp, Funky Color, Grey Point, Split Tone With ED, Tone Mapping
  • Contrast: Shadow Recovery, Auto Contrast, Change Contrast, High Pass, ISO Noise Reduction
  • Create new: CD label, GlassEffect Text, Glossy Orb, Letter Drop Animation, Scribbled Text, Text Balloon, Text Circle
  • Disorts: Circle Maker, Photocopy, Wrap Effect
  • Edges: Fade Outline, Fuzzy Border, Jagged Border, Translucent Border, Add Matte, Art Border, Frame like poster with strait corners, Frame like slide with round corners, Frame with Bevel, Frame with hover effect and round corners, Photo Border Fancy, Photo Frame, Tasty Frame
  • Effects: Cartoon 2, Blackboard Effect, Cartoon Quick, Chrome Image, Cross Light, Fog, Landscape Illustrator, Lomo, Reflection, Sepoina Graf-ix
  • Effects Selection: Bevel Selection, Chisel Or Carve, Glass Selection, Glow Selection
  • Photo: Picture to graphic, Copyright text, EZ Red Skin Fix, Film Grain, Fix Overblown, Halftone, Highlight to Sky and Clouds, Infrared Simulation, Red Eye by Selected Area, Red Eye Desaturate, Vintage Photo, Web Photo Editor
  • Shapes: CD Mask, Circle Draw, Old Paper, Stampify
  • Sharpness: High-Passs Sharpen, BSSS-Sharpen, Midtone-Sharp, Smart Sharpening, Wisest Sharpen, Blur Non-Edges, Make wonderful, Orton effect, Pixel Gradient, Sharp Blur, Soft Focus, Soft Focus Simple, Wrap Sharp
  • Sketch: quick sketch, Drawing, Line Sketch, Pastel Sketch, Pencil Sketch, Pen Drawn, Roy Lichtenstein, Synthetic Edges, Toned Line Art
  • Texture: Patchwork, Stained Glass, Texturizer
  • Misc: Arrow, Calendar Month, Calendar year, Prepare for Colorize, Remove Paths, Remove Settings, Step Resize, Stoked text, Watermark

To install the scripts, download the archive, extract it and copy the extracted  scripts (.scm) to the following location:
  • Linux: for your user: ~/.gimp-2.8/scripts or system-wide: /usr/share/gimp/2.0/scripts
  • Windows Vista/7: C:\Program Files\GIMP 2\share\gimp\2.0\scripts or C:\Users\YOUR-NAME\.gimp-2.8\scripts
  • Windows XP: C:\Program Files\GIMP 2\share\gimp\2.0\scripts or C:\Documents and Settings\yourname\.gimp-2.8\scripts

Another update by Lunduke - May 2012

Bryan Lunduke, the programming genius has released a a statement on what's to come relatively close in the future of his projects. Here are the full status of his various projects.

Software

Illumination Software Creator

Version 4.4 is just about ready for Beta roughly within a week.  The number of new features in this release is staggering. New stuff in 4.4 includes: Resizable UI’s (control locking), List boxes, Checkboxes, Reading and writing the contents of a dictionary to a local file, Dictionary variable default value editor, and a bunch more.   It is anticipated that the update will roll out to the public roughly a day or two after the Linux Tycoon for Android launch.

BLABA

BLABA has gone through some heavy optimisation.  The net result is that the drawing routines in BLABA are now roughly 1200% faster (that’s twelve hundred percent) than in Beta 2.  This means that low end machines will finally be able to run BLABA at full speed. The UI has been re-tooled a bit and everything is now available at once.

Lunduke SDK

Lunduke SDK has been undergoing many changes.  The Illumination Software Creator and BLABA uses  the Lunduke SDK to get things done.  There will not be a public release right now but Lunduke has guaranteed that within the next few months the SDK will be released.

Radical Comic Designer

The Windows version is planned to be finish next week and some other minor features will be added to the Linux version. No major changes here.

Games

Linux Tycoon

The Android version hit final play testing a few days back. The game is expected to be released soon.  Online play has continued in very limited  beta testing and will be released when it's ready.

2299: THE GAME

There may be a DOS version coming out.  It’s real and there are screenshots to be released soon.  According to Lunduke, the game is "almost ready" and will be released "when you least expect it".

Comics

Road-Sign Hank

There will be a total of 5 issues in this story arc.  Issues #3 and 4 are complete and 5 is in the works.  The web comic will be released as a digital distribution, and as a single volume.  No ETA on when issue 5 will be done.

2299

No new developments as the comic is now under mid-season break. It will return in a little over a week.

[via Lunduke]

Google Play now features in-app subscriptions



Google Play is not exactly the most efficient mobile app store for monetizing apps, and there have been many reasons for that. Google has addressed many of them over the past 2 years like: implementing better ranking of apps, making it easier for users to discover new apps, adding more countries that support paid apps, adding in-app billing, and so on. But they still need to work on making it easier for developers to make money.

Google says that the top 23 out of 24 top-grossing apps in Google Play use in-app billing, and that overall, the revenue they get from in-app purchases exceeds the revenue for simply buying the app. This is due solely to people willing to buy an app “once”, then expecting all updates and new features to come for free. With in-app billing, developers can get them hooked on the main app, and then sell them more content for more money.

Google is currently introducing in-app subscriptions as well, for apps such as magazines and journals, but they say developers can also use it to bundle apps, for game levels, music, video content, and any other type of creative content. Glu Mobile has already implemented in-app subscriptions in some of their apps like Frontline Commando. In the next few days, we’re going to see more developers launching apps with this paying method.

If you’re a developer, you can get started with implementing in-app subscriptions right away with this handy documentation. If you’re already using in-app billing, the changes to the code to support in-app subscriptions will be minor.

If you’re a frequent Google Play user, what do you think of this money-making method? If you’re a developer, will you be taking advantage of this new feature? Let us know in the comments below!

[via AndroidAuthority]

'Because We May' brings games on sale

Because We May

Whether you are a casual gamer or a serious one, you will be always on the lookout for game sales and bargains to grab your hands on. To satisfy your gaming needs, let me introduce to you the 'Because We May' game sale. The sale was created by a band of leading mobile game developers, bringing heavy discounts to favorite games of ours, including World of Goo, Osmos, EDGE and Fieldrunners HD. Many are on sale for under $2, while some are even 99 cents or less.

What's the big idea behind 'Because We May'? The devs point to a celebration of the freedom offered by modern digital distribution channels like Google Play and the iOS App Store.

The sale runs for the next week, so you've got until next Friday, June 1, to get your fill of some of the best Android games around. And if you're a multi-platform type, the 'Because We May' sale also has discounts on iOS, Mac and Steam titles.


Ubuntu One gets Paypal support


Buying additional storage space or purchasing an on-the-go music streaming subscription from Ubuntu One has just gotten easier.

The Canonical-owned service has added support for payment by PayPal to the checkout options for all of its packages.

Paypal is one of the worlds most popular online payment methods, with over 100 million active accounts in 190 markets and 25 currencies.

The Ubuntu Software Center gained PayPal support last December.

Despite the criticisms often levelled against PayPal there is no getting away from its near-ubiquitous reach that, in many instances, is the only digital payment option for many web users.

So if you are considering buying additional storage, you can now safely use PayPal as your payment method.

Anime Review: Honey and Clover II

The sequel to Honey and Clover wraps up the entire series and ties up loose ends between the characters. Once again it is another typical romantic comedy slice of life anime similar to its prequel.

Honey and Clover IISynopsis:

The sequel and final installment to the highly popular series once again delves into the life stories and love lives of Takemoto Yuuta, Mayama Takumi and Morita Shinobu. The story continues where the first season left off, after Takemoto's self-discovery journey around Japan. Of course, the love triangles and tribulations they face will continue, and eventually decide the paths to their future.

Review:

What was not answered properly in the first series is explained in Honey and Clover II. Such as the love triangles between characters. Just like the prequel, the story isn't much to talk about; a bunch of guys living their lives in a shabby apartment whilst dealing with love, hate, and everything in between. There were some happy moments, sad moments, and emotional moments. I was glad that this series was much shorter than the prequel and the story was more interesting with some major events that happen in the anime.

The art was the same as the prequel with the lack in fine detail on characters and surroundings. Nothing impressive to mention here. The characters were still unmemorable.

The theme songs were much better this time as they actually made sense and correlated to the story. Voice acting was the same as the prequel.

The characters were the same as before except the character's background story and personality is developed even further in Honey and Clover II. I got to finally understand the though-processes of the characters and how they try to overcome personal problems.

Overall, the sequel was much better than than the first. Loose ends are tied up and we get to see an unpredictable ending. If you have watched the prequel then you definitely must watch Honey and Clover II.

STORY: 6
Wraps up the entire series pretty well with an unexpected ending.

ART: 6
The same as the prequel.

SOUND: 7
The theme songs were much better this time with the occasional background music.

CHARACTER: 6
More character development shown in this series.

ENJOYMENT: 6
I was glad that this was a short series. Any longer would have dragged on the story unnecessary.

OVERALL: 6
Quite a good ending with the same amount of humour and emotions throughout the anime.