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The Third

The Third

The Third – The Girl with the Blue Eye, based on a series of light novels by Ryo Hoshino, is a surprising show in many ways. What starts out looking like a fairly predictable action show ends up becoming an intriguing road trip through the eyes of a very strong and likable heroine. Complimented with a strong supporting cast, the girl with the blue eye may end up as one of your new favorite characters.

Synopsis:
The series is set many years after a devastating war, which killed 80% of the Earth’s population. Earth is being watched by a group of beings known as The Third from a planet called Hyperion. They are named after a red jewel-like eye on their forehead (Space Eye) that serves as a port for data access and other types of communication. These beings are committed to protecting the humans from harm. One of the main ways is to protect the humans is to control the amount of “technos” or technology that the humans have access to, known as the “technos taboo”. Human found using forbidden technos could be killed by The Third’s best “autoenforcer” an AI robot named Bluebreaker.

It follows the adventures of Honoka, a 17 yr old girl who is human, but was born with a blue third eye as well. The Third found that she could not interface with the rest of The Third and so declared her a mutation and left her with human parents. Her blue eye enables her to see Chi and use it to find cloaked enemies and sense the emotions of all living things. Honoka is a jack-of-all-trades who travels throughout the barren earth with the help of a sand tank operated by Bogie, an AI guardian given to her by her grandfather. She earns a living by doing various jobs with the tank like ridding areas of oversized spiders and ants and escorting or transporting clients. One night while traveling through the desert, she comes upon a strange man named Iks (eeks). He arrived on the planet for a purpose which is not clear until the last episode. The Third is also nervous about his arrival and fears he may seek to harm the humans. In order to understand the world more Iks contracts with Honoka to accompany her for most of her travels. During travel or at night, she recites poems by a writer named “Dona Myfree” (exact spelling unknown at this time).

Various other characters are woven in to bring out more of Honoka’s character and virtues. She grows over the episodes into a person whose personality becomes critical to the very survival of the planet.

Review:
The real strength of the series is Honoka herself. She is just a strong, determined character with many endearing qualities that really makes it easy to watch her. While carrying an air of mystery about her, she is equal parts courageous and vulnerable, brash yet caring all while carrying a little bit of a chip on her shoulder due to her “underdeveloped” figure. She is a joy to watch as she interacts with the rest of the cast while travelling though a surprisingly wonderful world full of natural and unnatural sights. Crossing paths with ancient relics of the war, a liquid metal assassin, wild sand dragons and more, Honoka learns from each experience and grows right in front of your eyes.

Now, The Third does have little quirks that bothered me during its run. There are a couple of episodes in the show where the quality of the animation just fell completely off the map. It doesn’t even look like the same show! Perhaps it was a different production house that handled those episodes, I’m not sure. But one of these episodes just happened to be the set up episode for the final little mini arc which really got under my skin. There was also a scene towards the end where the show seemed to forget itself and turned into something out of Dragon Ball Z. Honoka is definitely special and powerful, but one of her actions in the episode was way out of left field.

Finally, I have to voice my displeasure with the use of the show’s narrator. Throughout the show, Bogie acts as a sort of narrator for us. He describes events in the world that may have happened in the past and how they have impacted the planet we see in the present. He also goes on to describe the inner feelings of Honoka in the most inopportune times during the length of the show. Many scenes suffered because of the inclusion of a narration. He just spells out how Honoka is feeling or what her inner conflict is at the moment instead of showing us and letting us feel it. It only served to pull me out of strong, emotional moments. In the English dub, Nozomi Entertainment realized this and tried to lessen this flaw within the show. This effort is definitely appreciated, but it’s a shame it had to be in there to begin with.

Heroic Age

Heroic Age

Heroic Age, is an anime I’ve been searching for. It has action, wonderful story, war, Mecha, and a breathtaking soundtrack.

The storyline is similar to other animes out there. But why I like it, is because the hero is not the guy who is always caught up in annoying triangles; Like “who should I join? I am so confuse? who is the good guy? who is the bad guy?” The hero in this anime, knows his mission and knows what he is supposed to do. It’s a very straight forward anime, and it always teases you at the end, making you want to watch the next episode.

The story’s theme is based on stories in Greek mythology, especially those surrounding Heracles, upon whom the main character is based, and his Twelve Labors. Many of the other characters are also based on some figures in Greek mythology; characters share similar names to their Greek counterparts, and how their relationship is defined with others correspond with Greek stories. The title of the series, Heroic Age, is also a slight testament to the similarities to Greek mythology, referring to the time of the Heroic Age. The tribes featured in the anime are loosely based on Hesiod’s Five Ages of Mankind.

Synopsis:
There is an advanced race called the Golden Tribe that possess many powers such as creating planets and foresees the future. After creating one universe, the Golden Tribe will depart and explore the next universe.
Before the Golden Tribe left and move on to another universe, they’ve send out calls to other races and told them to explore the universe and venture to places yet to be known. And three races have answered the call, they are the Silver Tribe, Bronze Tribe and the Hero Tribe. Because of the immeasurable strengths and power possessed by the Hero Tribe, and driven by their aggresive nature, they have been fighting amongst themselves, resulting in the destruction of many planets and stars. Upon seeing this madness, the Golden Tribe have ended the meaningless war and punishes the remaning 5 of the Hero Tribe by sealing each of them in different races which are weaker than them. Just before the Golden Tribe about to move on to another universe, another race have answered their call, that is, the humans, which they regards as the Iron Tribe. However, the humans are facing extinction as their planet Earth, was invaded by the Bronze Tribe and the Iron Tribe have to leave their beloved mother Earth. The young princess of the Iron Tribe, Deianeira was leading a search party to look for the one who holds the power to save humanity. And the person she’s looking for is said to be the only human that have been raised by the Golden Tribe themselves. After a long journey in search for the “one”, they’ve been led to a ruined planet called Ouron, which holds the “one” she’s been looking for all these years. However, when princess Deianeira and her crew reaches the planet, they were attacked by the Bronze Tribe. But moments before the ambush, they found a human boy named “AGE”, who may be the one that is going to change the fate of humanity once and for all…

Review:
The settings and background of this anime is futuristic and most of the events are taking place in spaceships, outer space and planets. The coloring scheme used in the anime is very much “realistic” and the planets and outer space are done just nice and they do give a “deep in space” feel. The characters are design by Xebec and their appearace and outfits are based on spacesuits and uniforms (for Iron Tribe) and some are just robes (Silver Tribe) which are simple and not jagging.
The Hero Tribes within the Nodos ( the people of races which holds the spirit of the 5 remaining Hero Tribe) are illustrated in a beast-like appearance and i think this fits their aggresive nature perfectly. Not to mention about the fighting scenes with realistic explosions and planet-destroying-skills used by the Hero Tribes. The 3D engine used in the anime is also smooth and not like some other anime that looks really “bulky” and lack of impact.

Needless to say, the sound effects applied in the anime is great and the Opening theme surely has its “kick”. On the other hand, the ending theme is very soothing and relaxing. Moreover, the two other versions of the ending “Azurite~for luster star Deianeira~” and “Azurite~True grace~” is inserted into the anime as insert songs and the time when it’s played is simply awesome!!! It really reflects the situation and the interaction between the characters perfectly. What i mean is, the songs are played at the perfect timing and therefore, the result is satisfying XD

I think what made people interested in Heroic Age is its good storyline and “exaggerated” battle between the Hero Tribe.

The storytelling features its own unique and distinct approach, which made it different from other animes based on the similar ” outer space ventures and mecha” theme.

At first, i thought the anime would’ve last for about at least 50+ episodes but it turn out to be only 26. It keeps me pondering whether it would have a satisfying ending with just 26 episodes? In the end, the ending was splendid and i was immediately blown away!!

Overall, i think every part in the anime is done with care and none are overdosed (except for the fighting scenes between the Hero Tribe XD But who would want to watch if the action scenes are not impressive and mind-blowing enough? XD). And i think the anime surely live up to its saying in the ending of the last episode ” this saga has been pass on into legend” or some sort like this, forgot about the real quote, but this is roughly what it mean.

Darker Than Black


Darker than BLACK (also known as Kuro no Keiyakusha in Japanese) is an anime created by Tensai Okamura who is also known in anime Cowboy Bebop. The anime is produced by BONES animation. The anime consists of 26 episodes.

Synopsis:
Ten years ago, an inscrutable and abnormal territory known as Hell’s Gate appeared in Tokyo, altering the sky and wreaking havoc on the landscape. The real stars disappeared, replaced by false stars. During this time, people possessing various special abilities emerged, each capable of different supernatural feats – these are known as Contractors. Each fake star has a corresponding Contractor, which reacts to their activities. As such, Contractors are usually identified by their star’s Messier catalogue number. Kept secret from the masses, these individuals are known to murder in cold blood, smothering unnecessary emotions with logic and rationale. Their incredible abilities, however, are gained at the cost of their humanity – Contractors are thus named because of an involuntary compulsion to “pay the price” each time their power is used, which can range from eating particular foods and completing meaningless tasks, to self-harm and having their bodies change in peculiar ways. Various nations and organizations around the world train and utilize Contractors as spies and assassins, resulting in violent battles for valuable objects and information.

Review:
I find that this anime is really interesting as the story itself is full of mystery. At first I thought that this kind of anime might have a lot of jargon words but it turns out to be that the only terms that you need to remember is Contractor (keiyakusha). The birth of Contractors seem to be shrouded in mist at first because not much details are given about them. As the story progress, every single curiosity is answered making this anime’s storyline becomes even more interesting. However, be warned that this anime can be fulls of violence like blood spilling and the killing can be very brutal. If you don’t like anime with lots of violence, stay away from this anime. Overall, this is an interesting anime and if you love anime with a complicated and twisted plot, this anime is highly recommended for you.

This article has been moved and will now be maintained here.

VLC PlayerThere’s a good chance that if you’re reading this, you’re familiar with VLC, the high quality audio and video player for Linux, Mac, and Windows. Its speed, portability, and built-in support for most common codecs make VLC an extremely popular choice for playing video. While that’s all well and good, VLC can do a lot more than basic video playback, including things like video encoding, DVD ripping, volume normalization and more. Today we’ll look at some of VLC’s most interesting and little-known features that help make this an indispensable application for nearly all desktop platforms.

Video File Conversion

We’ve touched on video encoding with VLC here before, but VLC has been updated since then and the process is FAR simpler now. To convert a video file from one format to another, choose Media -> Advanced Open File. Make sure you pick Advanced, as the simple file opener dialog does not display conversion options. Add your file or files using the Add button, and once finished move the mouse cursor to the arrow next to the Play button to choose Convert.

vlc5-encode1

At the second dialog, simply choose your output format and filename, click Start, and you’re all set.

vlc5-encode2

DVD and Audio CD Ripping

While playing DVDs is common enough in VLC, many people don’t think of it when looking for a ripper. There are certainly more feature-rich DVD rippers out there, but VLC can always be counted on if you’re unwilling or unable to use a dedicated ripper program. To start, you use a process very similar to the Encoding section above. Click Media -> Open Disc to get the disc screen, and you’ll find buttons at the top to choose the DVD or Audio options.

vlc5-ripdvd

Choose Convert instead of Play Then simply choose output name and type, just like the Video File Conversion section above.

Jump to Time

This is a great example of a tiny, simple feature that can come in very handy. If you find yourself hitting the wall in Hour 9 of your Star Wars marathon, you can take note of the current play progress and jump back there tomorrow once you’ve had a chance to eat, sleep, and rethink your life. Just tell VLC where you left off and it’ll jump right back.

vlc5-gototime

Last.fm Scrobbling

While mainly for video, VLC is a fairly capable music player as well. If you’re a Last.fm user, you can use VLC to submit your tracks. The option to enable this is in the same place as the normalizer function, Tools > Preferences > Audio.

vlc5-lastfm

Automatic Audio Normalization

Many people and programs who encode video don’t always respect good practices when it comes to audio volume. There are few things more annoying while running a video playlist than to have to jump out of your chair and crank down the volume because someone didn’t respect decibel limits. Fortunately, VLC includes a live audio normalizer that detects and suppresses sudden jumps in sound. To access it, choose Tools -> Preferences -> Audio.

vlc5-normalizer

It’s worth noting that there is a slight delay in the normalizer. If you’re watching a video where a gunfight breaks out, the first shot might be missed by the normalizer but it will kick in shortly after. Also, it seems that if you enable this function while a video is playing, you will need to restart the video for the normalizer to take effect.

If you’ve got a useful tip for getting the most out of this excellent application, let us know in the comments below.

Linux has no shortage of music players, and even KDE has at least two: JuK and Amarok. The one you decide to use is truly a matter of preference, and it would be pointless for me to attempt to convince you to choose Amarok. It is, however, my music player of choice. I mostly use it solely for the purpose of playing music, ignoring any additional features, but once I started exploring the latest version, I noticed that Amarok has several extraordinary widgets.

Amarok has the ability to display widgets. It is divided into the three columns. The left column is the music browser, which displays the user’s local collection or the Internet music library of his or her choice. The right column shows the current playlist, and the center column can hold a number of widgets. Users must click the wrench icon at the bottom to add, remove, or reorder widgets.

1. Albums

The Albums widget provides users with the most recently added albums when nothing is playing, and when a song is playing, the widget displays the current artists albums. You can navigate through the list of songs for quick access to any other songs by the artist currently in your collection.

2. Current Track

Current Track shows the Album cover, title, artist’s name, Last.fm love button, position marker, play count, score, last played, and track rating.

Right click on the album cover and click “Display Cover” to see the largest available version of the image. Click “Fetch Cover” to download cover art from Amazon. Most of the time this works just fine for big industry artists, but there are some instances where it will display the wrong art or find none at all. In those cases, you can click “Set Custom Cover” to add your own. In addition, click “Tools” and “Cover Manager” at any time to download covers for all of your albums or edit any current ones.

The rating system has a 5-star scale, and each star has a 1/2 setting. You can change your rating of a song at any time, and when no song is playing, the Current Track widget will display top-rated tracks.

3. Lyrics

Rather than having to search the Web for song lyrics, Amarok has a built-in Lyrics widget. Whenever a song starts to play, just click on the Lyrics button to display the widget. Click the configure button in the top right corner to change font style and size. If no lyrics are found, you may have to search the Web, but you will only need to do it once. Simply copy the lyrics you find, click the Edit Lyrics icon, and paste them right into the widget.

4. Photos

One of the features that I just recently discovered is the Photos Widget. While a track is playing, it will run a slideshow of photos from Flickr. In most cases, it will accurately display pictures of the currently playing artist. In some cases, particularly with rappers or singers who have improper nouns as their stage names, you will have to do some configuring.

Click the configure button and add additional keywords that will help Amrok search Flickr for the right photos. You can also set the slideshow animation type and the number of photos to display.

5. Videoclip

The Videoclip widget harnesses the power of YouTube to offer quick links to videos of the song you are currently playing. Because almost every song is on YouTube, you are certain to find something, although it may not always be an official music video.

Once you select a video, it will play within the widget window. To play fullscreen, double click on the video or right click, and then click “fullscreen”. If you click on the link rather than the video thumbnail, it will open the video in your web browser.

6. Wikipedia

Want to know more about your musician? The Wikipedia widget does just what the name implies: displays the Wikipedia entry for the currently playing band or artist. Like the other Internet-based widgets, it assumes that a Wikipedia article actually exists for the person or band you are playing.

Amarok is a powerful music player with most of the standard features, such as playlists, album art, and collection/library management. What sets it apart is its extensibility. The widgets that come installed are impressive, and the ability to add more makes Amarok an application worth giving a try. Amarok is free and open source software, released under the GPL and is part of the KDE software compilation.

This article has been moved and will now be maintained here.


Happy Mother’s Day!

For all the women out there  who have taken the role of a mother…some of them didn’t have to conceive a child, but they too became a mother figure to someone . They deserve the same treatment.  Happy Mother’s Day!

Sa Ugoy Ng Duyan – Lea Salonga

This article has been moved and will now be maintained here.

UNetbootin Linux

Introduction

UNetbootin allows you to create bootable Live USB drives for a variety of Linux distributions from Windows or Linux, without requiring you to burn a CD. You can either let it download one of the many distributions supported out-of-the-box for you, or supply your own Linux .iso file if you’ve already downloaded one or your preferred distribution isn’t on the list.

Requirements

  • Microsoft Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7, or Linux. If you are having trouble with the Linux version, try the Windows version, it usually works better.
  • A broadband internet connection to download the distribution’s .iso file (unless you’re using pre-downloaded files)

Features

UNetbootin can create a bootable Live USB drive, or it can make a “frugal install” on your local hard disk if you don’t have a USB drive. It can load distributions by automatically downloading their ISO (CD image) files, or by using existing ISO files, floppy/hard disk images, or kernel/initrd files, for installing other distributions.

The current version has built-in support for automatically downloading and loading the following distributions, though installing other distributions is also supported:

The current version has built-in support for automatically downloading and loading the following distributions, though installing other distributions is also supported:


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