May 10, 2012

Website Changes

This month so far has been full of changes. Firstly our Minecraft server got moved from a paid hosting provider to my local server. This meant faster ping rates and less lag with in the game. 

Also, another milestone achieved was the 5000 hits goal of My Bubbletea Time. This was celebrated with a spamming of posts and a website redesign. The main template stayed the same, but the logo, background, colour scheme, and tabs were changed.

I also introduced a few new services integrated into the My Bubbletea Time umbrella. These were the forum that allows anyone to post comments in. Also, a handy Server Status page has been added to view server statistics and information. Lastly, not open to public, some private administration tools have also been added; phpmyadmin and Redmine(upcoming).

Not forgetting the Subsonic server that I recently opened, this hosts all my music collection. The music streaming server is currently private and limited to my few friends. I do not plan to open up registrations in the near future due to bandwidth limiting and resource usage.

Now to today's announcement. The IRC channel has been deprecated. Why?
  • Lack of interest and users
  • The forum would be more interactive and allows anyone to post
  • The chatbots gave numerous errors stopped connecting to the IRC channel
So that's it for today. Right now, I am focusing on getting Redmine up and running. This would occur in 5 days when Redmine 2.0 is released. During that time I will also been posting regularly on the blog as well as monitoring and fixing the MBT server.

Time to get off,

Android Tweaks: Install live wallpapers

One of the key selling points of Android is the capability to have live wallpapers; backgrounds that can be animated or even interact with how the phone is being used. Finding new ones to install is easy as browsing the Play Store. However, note that whilst using live wallpapers is fun, it also drains your battery very quickly and also uses up your clock cycles in your CPU. Choosing wisely would be the best option to have a fancy wallpaper as well as saving those precious %s on your phone.

A. Find a new wallpaper
Open the Play Store app and search for 'live wallpaper'. A long list of available items will be listed for downloading. Pick one that looks ideal and download it using the same process as any other install.

B. Installing live wallpaper
Installing a live wallpaper is very easy to do. From the home screen press Menu then Wallpaper then Live Wallpaper. The next menu shows your new wallpaper. Select it and tap Set Wallpaper on the next screen.

C. Other wallpaper sources
Browsing the Play Store can be a bind. There are other places online that are more suited to browsing. The site is a great place to look for live wallpapers that are linked to the Play Store.

Anime Review: ef - a tale of melodies.

ef - a tale of melodies continues on the wonderful and magical experience from the prequel and gives us insight into the past of some of the characters and how it led to the decisions and actions taken in the present.

ef - a tale of melodies.Synopsis:
In a story set years in the past, Himura Yuu is a studious and diligent young man intent solely on maintaining his top academic position at Otowa Academy. One day, he meets a mysterious girl named Amamiya Yuuko, who, to his surprise, recognizes him. Memories of a distant childhood, memories rather left forgotten...meeting Yuuko again will force Yuu to confront the regrets and sorrows of their collective pasts and presents.

In the present, Kuze Shuuichi may seem like a womanizer, but upon closer inspection, is a man who would rather be left alone. Hayama Mizuki, however, is not the type of girl who would let him be, especially after hearing the beautiful sounds of his violin performance. As Mizuki attempts to become closer to him, Kuze attempts to push her away - the tale of their budding relationship is darkened with undertones of an imminent tragedy.

ef - a tale of melodies brings us the ending that describes everything in detail that was left out in the last series. We see a different pair of stories directly and indirectly related to the prequel. Here we see how the characters' relationships form and how they forgotten valuable memories that were left in the past. The story contains a bittersweet ending that I will not spoil for anyone. It is still hard to keep track of the continuity of time throughout this anime as it jumps to and from the past. He you keenly observe the surroundings and characters you will eventually come to realize the two separate stories were happening at the same time but in two separate (but similar) locations. The story contains lots of drama; so be ready for it. We got to see how the whole picture is formed and in the end, we get a happy but sad ending.

The art was even better this time, more rich and detailed. With some simple means it creates a terrific atmosphere which is absolutely necessary for this kind of story. The drawing is well-done, the animation authentic (especially the wind flowing through the hair and partially the movements), and the character design also really good. But the fact that makes this anime to something very special regarding the arts is the style of blending the images, using many different colors and shapes, implementing words and sentences from romanian languages and telling a parallel story besides the animation's story by using just these technical means. At this point it's pretty sad that some of those screens fade too fast so that the viewer has to pause the video in order to read what's written on the screen (and especially to think about the relation to the story).

The music in this anime was just beautifully composed. The classical orchestral music with some light beats just suited the anime perfectly. The music really affected viewing experience as it invoked feelings and emotions in the audience. It can be said that the music or "melodies" in this anime basically represent a person's life. I found that this anime had a really deep meaning through the use of music. Apart from the theme songs, the voice acting was once again superb by the characters.

ef - a tale of melodies gives us more background information of the side cast from the prequel. We see two different stories develop here, Yuu from the past and Kuze in the present. Keeping that in mind will make you understand what is going on and it does answer some questions that were raised in ef - a tale of memories. The development of those two characters influenced by feelings from other people and its outcome of finding strength and courage is the thing that makes me consider this anime as something 'real'. As quoted from the anime, "Miracles don't exist in this world. There are only coincidences, inevitabilities, and actions that people take. I'll just have to make this miracle into an inevitability."

In the end, it was one touching anime to watch. The anime psychologically influences your emotions and feelings from the story itself and from watching the characters go through pain, sadness, hope and regret. The ending is something to look forward to and this anime really leaves an imprint into your mind. The mystery gets solved and the story is finished. It is hard to describe the emotions invoked from this anime; so it is best if you experienced it yourself.

Dives into the past and extends the present to give us a better understanding of the whole series.

ART: 9
Simply beautiful and unique.

Music played a major role here whether you noticed or not.

A better understanding of all the characters from both series gives us the whole picture.

A grand sequel to completely end the story that was left unfinished from ef - a tale of memories.

If you watched the prequel, you definitely must watch this.