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’.

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.

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.

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.

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')

Average, average, average. Sound acting was fine.

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

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

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.