Posts filed under ‘Entertainment’
Sorry, but I just had to write something about this. F4 (of Meteor Garden fame) has come out with a new commercial promoting tourism in Taiwan. I was laughing my ass off at Jerry Yan’s seemingly inability to speak English. Either that, or he just didn’t know the script and the director just yelled, “Ah, forget it. That’s a wrap.”
Here’s the mumble mumble Taiwan video:
Are you one of those people who would almost like to switch over to Ubuntu but just couldn’t because you don’t quite like great open source games such as Glest, Sauerbraten and Tremulous? In today’s post, here’s one more reason for you to do so: Now you can play Warcraft III, Frozen Throne, and also Defense of the Ancients, or more commonly known as DOTA! Ok, so that’s 3 reasons…but since DOTA is just a custom map for Frozen Throne maybe 2 and a half…anyway…let’s get started.
It’s now been over 2 weeks since Project Peach’s Big Buck Bunny opened in theaters last May 30, or at least in home theaters. So if you haven’t seen it yet, now would be a good time to head on over to the Big Buck Bunny website and download a copy. If you’re still downloading pirated movies, here’s a breath of fresh air: this short movie is given to you completely free of charge.
Big Buck Bunny is the story of a large, but kind rabbit who is bullied by three naughty rodents. Finally, Big Buck Bunny decides to fight back, and…well you’ll have to see it for yourself. The visuals are breath-taking, from the tall grass blowing in the wind, to the stream reflecting off sunlight, to the cute and cuddly creatures.
If the concept of open movies is new, or strange, to you, you may find it interesting to know that Big Buck Bunny is already the second open movie in the world, following from the success of the first open movie, Elephants Dream.
Two years ago, the Project Orange released the world’s first open movie, and it was titled Elephants Dream. Elephants Dream and Big Buck Bunny are called open movies because they are made entirely with open source tools, where of course Blender is the star player. Not only that, all the production files, all the 3D assets, everything used in the movie is also available for download, and it’s also included on the DVD.
Computer graphics, or CG, has been used with film since all the way back in the 70’s even before films like Tron came out. Back then, the technology was still at its infancy. As the technology progressed, CG found its way more and more into film, combining live action and animation in films like Batman, Star Trek, The Abyss, etc. and moving on into feature-length movies like Toy Story and Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. What most of them have in common is the use of expensive software, such as Maya, for creating the CG (except Pixar; they use in-house technology built on top of Linux).
A lot of you probably don’t know that there is a software out there called Blender proving itself and its abilities to be on par with the big industry giants like 3D Studio Max, Lightwave, Maya, and SoftImage. But unlike its counterparts with 5-digit price tags (in US dollars), Blender is completely free! That’s right. Free to use, free to abuse, free to modify, free as in freedom and free as in beer.
Now there are a lot of people I know who are averse to Linux and the concept of free and open-source software, believing them to be of inferior quality because they’re not backed by large companies with lots of capital. I think that Blender is one of the model FLOSS software that proves this to be simply not the case.
If you haven’t seen the Open Movies yet, now would be a good time to do so. Head on over to the Elephant’s Dream page or the Big Buck Bunny page. You can also see how Plumiferos, another movie in the works, is coming about, as well as a whole lot of movies over at the Blender Movie Gallery. Oh, and of course, tell your friends or give them a copy. Don’t worry, it’s free (and open); Edu Manzano or the MPAA won’t be knockin’ on your door anytime soon.
I just got a new toy to add to my room! I have been looking out to buy a flat-panel LCD monitor for my desktop. My aging CRT monitor’s plug was already falling apart and the monitor was displaying pink. While I could breath a little bit more life into it by repairing it, I figured it was time to move up.
I’ve been looking around for a flat-panel monitor for 6 months, but since I had a long-term assignment in Japan, it would be gathering dust and cobwebs if I had bought one last year. And thank goodness I didn’t! My initial choice was a 19-inch widescreen Samsung. But when I was already about to get one, the store guy recommended that I get this AOC instead, since the price difference was minimal.
Aside from the 19-inch widescreen goodness, the AOC also had a built-in TV tuner and your standard-fare RCA and S-Video inputs, as well as DVI input for a full HDTV experience (if your hardware has it). Of course, it comes with a remote control.
After trying it out at the store, I was pretty much convinced. After all, I didn’t have a TV in my room (my old TV was brought down to the living room). So now, not only do I have a space-saving flat-panel monitor for my PC, I can also play with my Wii from the comfort of my room! Plus the fact that I could pay for it slowly for 6 months through my credit card.
Another cool thing is the picture-in-picture (PIP) function; it allows me to use it as a monitor AND watch TV at the same time (click picture to enlarge)! Sweet.
Update: Today, less than 2 weeks later, my girlfriend got herself one of her own.:)
I recently had to go to Japan, and as as consequence forego the luxuries of having my meals cooked for me, which meant that I had to eat out for all my meals, which isn’t exactly cheap here, or learn to cook. And I had no experience with the latter. Ok, maybe I know how to boil an egg and fry some bacon. For those of you with the same opportunity that I have, Shaberu DS Oryouri Nabi (しゃべる DS お料理ナビ) comes to our rescue. Armed with a knife, a pot, and my DS in one hand (Ok, maybe not. You’ll find out why), I set out to try if I can really learn how to cook with this software.
“Shaberu” has a total of 200 dishes, ranging from snacks to complete meals, Western or Oriental, and can even be filtered of ingredients you have to avoid, say, due to allergy or your doctor’s advice. And among the different dishes, Shaberu offers you different ways to search for a recipe. Of course, you have the basic option to browse the entire list, but you can also specify what ingredients you have, by set menus, keyword search, or by filters. Personally, I found the filter feature useful; I filtered for dishes that were easy to prepare and can be done in 10 minutes, but you can filter it for other criteria like calories as well. I decided I wanted seafood and picking one from the results, chose Clams Steamed In Wine.
There are 3 basic steps to do when cooking:
Prepare the ingredients and tools
In this step, you can choose how many people you’re cooking for, which automatically adjusts the shown amount of ingredients you will need. And you can also check off items you already have, like in a checklist, and Shaberu saves this data so when you turn on your Shaberu the next time you’re in the groceries, you’ll know exactly what to buy. Shaberu also tells you what tools are needed.
Go over the cooking process
Of course, before any cooking actually begins, you have to make sure you’re ready by reviewing each step of the cooking process, from preparation to finishing touches. You can of course skip this part if you wish.
Here’s where the real fun begins, and where Shaberu, as well as the capabilities of the DS, shines. First of all, Shaberu means to chat in Japanese. Naturally, you can’t be holding your DS in one hand will you’re holding your pan and vigorously stirring with your spatula! Shaberu talks you through the dish so you don’t need to hold it. Just place it somewhere in the kitchen, preferably on a location where you won’t accidentally cook your DS, and listen to the instructions while you cook.
Although you can set the speed of the synthesized voice, for inexperienced cooks like me, I need a way to sort of pause it without having to touch my DS (specially not my touch screen) with my potentially dirty-from-handling-raw-food hands. Here’s where Shaberu’s show-stealer function comes in. Like I said, Shaberu means to chat, and chatting is a two-way thing. Using the DS’s mic, you talk to your DS to tell it to go to the next step, go back a step, repeat the step, and even to ask it for more details (Err, so how exactly do I clean these clams?). Of course, you can still navigate it with the touch screen if you so wish.
After cooking the dish, Shaberu confirms if you were abe to successfully make it and celebrates with you with confetti while showing you how your dish should turn out. It also takes note of the dish that you cooked in its calendar, so you have a record of the dishes you’ve made so far.
Ok, now onto the Cons. As you might have probably guessed, Shaberu is a Japanese title. Naturally, it speaks Japanese and you can’t change languages. And even though Shaberu uses simple language, unless you’re well-versed in Japanese kitchen and food terms, or you have another DS running Rakubiki Jiten, you’re gonna have a bit of difficulty following the steps.
Overall, Shaberu makes full use of the multimedia capabilities of the DS to deliver a really effective cooking guide for both beginners and intermediate cooks alike. For expert cooks, I suggest going for the sequel of Shaberu, where you’ll be instructed by no less than 7 hotel chefs.
I found this cute little Speaker Cube from Eiden, an electronics store in Japan, for Y2,980. It’s small and fits right in my palm (ok maybe a bit bigger). You turn it on via the top power button. It’s powered by USB, but you can also put in 4AA batteries. It can connect to any device with an audio jack, say your laptop or your Nintendo DS. However, I have to loosen the plug on my DS for it sound properly as in the picture. But I think this is more of a problem with the plug than anything else. Works perfectly on my laptop though. Also, the 2W stereo speakers don’t give enough oomph. It’s perfect when you just need decent, portable speakers. If you don’t have a laptop or PC nearby, you can also buy a wallplug to USB converter, perfect for plugging in your DS USB charger, and of course the speaker cube. With Wallplug USB, Nintendo DS, and Os Speaker @cube, you can take your music anywhere for picnics, hanging out, or other such social gathering.
[Edit] I later found out that it plugs fine on my Nintendo DS. The problem, actually, was that I didn’t plug it all the way in at the back of the speaker cube, nevertheless it still sounded fine on my laptop where I first tested it so I didn’t notice. Stupid!