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There is a Linux for everyone. Whether you are a scientist, a gamer, a musician, a visual artist, a developer or common desktop user, you will find a distro to suit your needs. If you need a distro for older setups, you can find plenty. If you like the new and flashy, there will be many to pick from. But what if you are a Manga fan?
Animesoft has thought about manga and anime fans in need of a Linux distribution and created a Linux distro with just the right theme: Mangaka. It comes in different flavours, with a common underlying theme: Manga and anime art.Mangaka flavours
Mangaka is based on Debian and Ubuntu. According to Animesoft Mangaka is “especially developed for the specific needs of the anime and manga community from Japan and world wide, including by default professional free software for fansubbing, web browsing, multimedia playback and 2D graphical creations as well codecs, java and flash out-of-the-box.”
They offer six flavours which are codenamed in a unique fashion. The three-letter codenames are “made from Animesoft-english and AnimeManga-japanese pronunciations:”
These codenames also mean different environments for different needs, or so the website seems to claim. It is interesting to note that some of these flavours are based on old, outdated systems.
ONE is meant for older PCs. The download is only 700MB, fitting on a CD, and features a lightweight Openbox environment. It is based on Ubuntu 8.10 which is quite outdated by any standard.
Note: Most probably (and as the name seems to indicate) this was the first Mangaka release. Unfortunately 8.10 is no longer supported, and even the system update will not work as the repositories have already been taken offline. The software included is very old (Firefox 3 being a good example of that), and the system is most likely insecure. This flavour is not recommended for daily use, not even on older hardware, and has only historical significance.
CHU was not available at the time of writing (it says “recreating” on the website).
MOE is meant for laptop use. This runs on a really old base, Ubuntu 10.0 (although LTS is nearing its end of support), and still features a GNOME 2 desktop.
NYU is one of the more up-to-date versions, with a 64 bit Ubuntu 14.04 base which will be maintained for some years to come featuring the Pantheon desktop we know and love from elementary OS. The DE has been tuned to be best suited for touch screens.
KOE is also based on 64 bit Ubuntu 14.04 and features a full KDE experience. This is meant for the Desktop PC with plenty of eye-candy.
The latest in the line, MOU, keeps the 64 bit Ubuntu 14.04 base and offers the Mate desktop. It also comes with Apple and IBM PowerPC 64 bit architecture scripts, so you can run it on a Mac. (It will of course run on any 64 bit architecture.)Mangaka MOU
To test the distro, the most recent release – Mangaka MOU – was installed. The Live environment booted up lighting fast (it literally took three seconds on a Virtual machine) into a visually intensive, albeit simple, MATE desktop session.
The installer itself is a standard-issue Ubuntu installer with probably a bit more purple.
After rebooting, the environment itself will not have changed much. It’s the same old simple MATE desktop. But what is under the hood is what really matters. The standard background is not manga-related, but of course hardcore fans will have some more on-the-track images to choose from.Software
Where Mangaka really stands apart from a simple re-skinned Ubuntu distro, besides the artwork, is the pre-installed software any hardcore manga/anime fan will find useful, in two areas in particular – graphics and education.
On the graphics side, Mangaka has MComix pre-installed. Unfortunately, no comics are included. Apparently distro is not so much about enjoying art but rather for creating it. Besides the usual contenders, GIMP and Inkscape, there are some interesting and unusual graphics applications OOB, such as Pinta, the cross-platform easy image creation program (modelled after paint.NET),
Tupi, “a design and authoring tool for digital artists interested in 2D Animation, offering an interface experience focused on 8-100 years old kids,”
and Synfig Studio, a FOSS 2D animation software that could be used to create film-quality animations.
On the education side, you have:
Gijten, a Japanese-English dictionary
gWaei, which would make Japanese-English translations easy (although it comes with no preinstalled dictionaries)
Kana test, a game that helps you learn kana characters
Kanji browser, that will allow you to find kanji characters
Kiten, a Japanese reference and study tool
and Tagaini Jisho, a free Japanese dictionary and study tool
Mangaka MOU also comes with a generous selection of multimedia applications for creating and viewing/listening to multimedia content. The inclusion of LibreOffice, Google apps, and other essential pieces of Desktop software make Mangaka MOU an excellent all-round distro with a special emphasis on visual arts and Japanese language.Conclusion
Mangaka Linux offers a great and refreshing desktop alternative. The pre-installed software make it essential for any serious manga or anime fan, but the distro reaches far beyond its goal. Mangaka might be useful for any visual artist, especially those who create 2D art like comic books, and anyone interested in or learning Japanese language and culture.
The latest versions are great, apart from a few glitches (for example, NYE will not work in a Virtualbox), but the older releases are so outdated that there doesn’t seem to be a reason to maintain them. That said, Mangaka developers will hopefully have the initiative to re-release Mangaka ONE on a more recent system base. After all, an Openbox based manga distro could really find its user base among manga fans using older hardware.
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Animes refer to animation in Japan, and despite their reputation for lowbrow graphics and nerdy content, they remain unique. They have been around for decades and are known for their gripping storylines. However, it can be hard to get into animes. If you are one of those or simply looking for the best animes to binge-watch, I got you covered!
I have compiled a list of the best animes to watch on Netflix and Hulu! Keep scrolling to find out.
Total Episodes: 220
IMDb rating: 8.3
Did you really expect that Naruto won’t be a part of this list? Any Top-10 anime list is incomplete without Naruto. While this one needs no introduction, I will still talk about the show’s gist if you want to awaken the inner Hokage in you.
I’d recommend Naruto to those new to animes.
Watch on Netflix
2. Death Note
Total Episodes: 37
IMDb rating: 9.0
Genre: Crime, mystery, horror
Death Note is based on the manga published on the Weekly Shonen Jump. It is undoubtedly one of the best thriller animes out there!
Our teenage heartthrob Light Yagami stumbles upon a notebook which makes him God. You might be thinking, how exactly does a notebook make one as powerful as God? Because the notebook is called “Death Note,” and whoever’s name is written down in it, that person dies at the specified time.
Yagami starts unyielding this power to carry out a cleanse and starts killing “unworthy” people to make the world a better place.
While the characters in Death Note will make you question your morality, you will still be left reeling for more episodes. And that’s where Death Note will let you down because it only has 37 episodes. Nevertheless, Death Note is one of the best short anime series.
It will hook you sheerly for its high-level game of wits that keep you on your toes through to the end. And I am not kidding!
Caution: Steer clear of the Netflix movie on the same. It was a big letdown for many like me!
Watch on Netflix
3. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
Total Episodes: 34 and counting
IMDb rating: 8.7
Genre: Drama, action, dark fantasy
Demon Slayer is set in the early 20th century in Japan, in a land where humans and demons co-exist. Our protagonist is Tanjiro Kamado, whose family is killed by demons while he is not at home. His sister, Nezuko, is converted to a demon.
The plot follows Tanjiro as he decides to become a demon slayer, not to kill the demons of the world but to find a way to restore his sister to a human.
You will fall in love not just with Tanjiro and his companions but with the scintillating graphics at play here too. Demon Slayer makes for a gripping watch. Like the previous two in the list, Demon Slayer is also based on the manga by Koyoharu Gotoge.
Moreover, unlike others, this one marked the start of the quality anime, making it one of the best on Netflix if you want visual treats too.
Watch on Netflix
4. Attack on Titan
Total Episodes: 86 and counting
IMDb rating: 9
Genre: Dark fantasy, action
Attack on Titan, whose first season aired in 2013, has taken the world by storm. In this anime, humanity is restricted to live within huge walls. Outside of these walls, the world is ravaged by titans who eat humans for dinner.
Our protagonists include Eren Yeager and Mikasa Ackerman, who join the Survey Corps to hunt and kill titans. Eren is incredibly motivated and is hungry to kill titans, whereas Mikasa is laid back yet strong.
Attack on Titan will keep you on your toes with each episode, and you won’t find many other animes that will top the jubilation you will feel after watching this one.
Watch on Hulu
5. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Total Episodes: 69
IMDb rating: 9.1
Have you ever about how you would bring someone back from the dead if magic existed? You’re not alone! Turns out that the writer of Fullmetal Alchemist thought the same too! It is about two brothers – Edward and Alphonse Elric, living in Amestris, where magic is real and is called Alchemy.
The duo tries to bring their dead mother back. However, bringing someone is considered a taboo in the world they live in, and they pay for it. Edward, the elder brother, loses his right arm and left leg, whereas the younger brother Alphonse loses his body, and his soul is trapped in a suit of armor. Because alchemy has a basic principle: to obtain, something of equal value must be lost.
The anime follows the journey of the two brothers while they try to get their bodies back. En route, we find out the dark secrets of alchemy.
As the name suggests, the anime is entwined with brotherhood, love, and courage. There won’t be a dull moment while watching Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood!
Watch on Netflix
Total Episodes: 369
IMDb rating: 8.1
The anime follows Ichigo and his friends as they travel through the Soul Society and indulge in fights.
Not only does Ichigo win my heart over and again, but the fight sequences in the anime are also super cool. Many have criticized Bleach for its overcrowded cast, but that’s something I like about it.
And if you were worried about the length of the anime, there are over 350 episodes to keep you occupied.
Watch on Hulu
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There are plenty of sound bars on the market at the moment, from super-high-end models that cost thousands of dollars from boutique brands, to $99 Black Friday fodder chilling out on the shelves of your local big box store. This week, however Sonos updated its Sound Bar offerings with a new flagship called Arc and it brings the company into the world of Dolby Atmos surround sound audio and waves good bye to the company’s other aging sound bar options.
The $799 Arc draws its named from the 270-degree curved grill that sits over its speaker array, which has 76,000 holes drilled into it. Underneath, you’ll find 11 individual speakers, including a pair of upward firing drivers and one speaker on each end to help create the multi-directional effect.
Even in the age of a simple sound bar, there’s still a lot going on behind-the-scenes to try and get your optimal sound. As per its usual approach, Sonos has tried to sort out as many of the details as possible for you.
The holes from the grill also appear on the sides of the sound bar. Sonos
For instance, you can attach the Arc to the wall, at which point a magnetic sensor in the device will tell the speaker to tone down the low-end its pumping out to prevent the wall itself from vibrating and causing distracting noise. It’s similar to the process Sonos uses in its Move portable speaker to try and adapt to the environment in which it’s sitting without requiring users to go in and actually tune the settings.
Sonos also helps users navigate the somewhat complicated landscape of surround-sound platforms. The Arc is compatible with Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Digital 5.1, and Dolby Atmos. Unless you’re an experienced A/V enthusiast, it’s unlikely you can tell those apart. But, the Arc can and it can adjust accordingly. If Atmos audio signals are unavailable, the Arc can conscript the upward firing speakers to help add more bass since they’re not required to simulate surround sound.
Since Sonos builds wireless audio systems, the Arc can bundle with the Subwoofer, which brings the price all the way up to $1,500 for the setup. But, letting the sub handle the low-end response also frees up the speakers in the sound bar to concentrate on the highs and the mids, which translates into better overall sound.
The Sonos Arc is meant to match bigger TVs over 65 inches. Sonos
If you want to go full surround mode, you can add more satellite speakers to the mix, like the One SL, or even the Ikea lamp speakers developed with Sonos. You’ll need a pair of extra speakers to complete the effect and pump out sound from behind the listener.
While this surely looks to be the best Sonos sound bar so far, it has ample competition on the market at the moment, including companies like Vizio, which has been ratcheting up the quality and pushing down its prices in recent years. But, if you’re house is already running a Sonos network, you can finally add Atmos surround sound audio as simply as possible.
The Arc is available for pre-order starting May 12.
Poseidon Linux is an Ubuntu variant for scientists. It is developed and maintained by a group of young scientists from Brazil and Germany. Poseidon comes pre-installed with many software related to GIS, Mapping, CAd, 2D/3D modelling, statistics, genetics etc that are frequently used by Professors, students and scientists. The inclusion of many academics related software and the ease of use have made it a popular Linux distribution among academicians, who usually prefer to stay away from Linux.2. Vinux
Vinux is an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution for visually impaired people. It is developed by Tony Sales who teaches at National College for the Blind in Hereford, United Kingdom. Tony was frustrated with the default accessibility support provided by mainstream Linux distributions and this is when decided to develop a Linux distribution solely for blinds and partially sighted users.
Vinux provides a screen-reader, full-screen magnification and support for Braille displays out of the box. It can be used alongside Windows or as the sole operating system. It has been developed in such a way that a visually impaired person can install it on his/her own without much effort. A great OS, I would say.3. Mathbuntu
Now, don’t run away from this Ubuntu just because you saw Math in its name. Mathbuntu is an Ubuntu based Linux distribution exclusively for maths lovers (yes! this species exists and I am one of them). Mathbuntu comes with bunch of free and open source Mathematics software. It also comes with lots of free textbooks. It has two variants available – one based on Ubuntu and other based on Kubuntu. Some of the pre-installed software include Sage (Mathematics Software System), Maxima (Computer Algebra System), R (Statistical Computing), Octave and Scilab (Numerical Computation), GeoGebra (Interactive Geometry and Algebra).4. Peppermint Linux OS
Peppermint Linux OS is a web application / cloud focused Linux distribution based on Ubuntu. Being a lightweight Linux distribution, it consists of mostly web applications instead of native desktop application for e.g., it uses Google Docs instead of a regular office product. It is pretty fast to boot-up and can be (loosely) termed as a competitor to Google’s Chrome OS.5. Sabily
If you thought Linux has nothing to do with religion, you were wrong. Sabily is an Ubuntu distribution for Muslims. It is not like that it is some sort of “halal Linux” but it comes with applications useful for practicing Muslims such as prayer time tool, Koran study tool etc. It has great support for Arabic language.
There are many more Ubuntu variants. I have deliberately not included popular ones like Backtrack, Bodhi Linux, Elementary Linux etc. What do you think of these weirdo Ubuntu variants? Do let us know your views.
Image Credits: Wikipedia
Abhishek is a Linux lover and Opens Source enthusiast. He takes a keen interest in day-to-day computer life and wishes to share his experience with others to make their computer experience better and easier. He is the owner of increasingly popular tech blog Computer And You and Open Source blog It’s FOSS.
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Like iPhone sleeve cases, the “dock” is a generally over populated hardware field that many manufacturers throw out as an option. With so many different docks on the market, little things make or break the product. At what angle is the iPhone sitting, does it adjust, what are the materials, can it hold both iPhone and iPad, etc? Today, I take a look at the successfully Kickstarted MiDock and put it through the paces.
My first impressions of the device were very positive and for my personal preferences, it fit with my iPhone usage. However, after looking at the MiDock more critically, it might not be for everyone. Take a stop beyond the fold to determine if the MiDock is right for you…Design and function
As with all docks, the design inherently determines function, which is not necessarily true for all hardware accessories. MiDock is CNC machined from one solid block of aluminum. My natural finished silver MiDock sits next to an iMac, perfectly matching the color and finish. At just over one inch tall, the MiDock is a great resting place for an iPhone, but height is not the only factor to consider.
With simple curves and flat surfaces, MiDock fits in well with the iPhone and iMac design lines. It neither attracts attention, nor gives up an opportunity to look elegant. It is, however, a solid small block, as seen in the images. Without any design cut outs or small armed design, the block looks heavy, but is contrarily lightweight due to the aluminum construction. Because it is lightweight, two micro suction cups keep MiDock well grounded when freeing an iPhone from the Lightning cable.
Micro suction cups are making their way into more hardware items for adhesion. I greatly appreciate this proliferation because it sticks to surfaces, but does not leave any residue. Even better, if it stops sticking to the surface, simply wash it clean of dust and debris, dry, and re-attach. Opting for micro suction instead of the now old-school 3M strip option, is cause for praise.
In order to prevent muffling sound, the docking channel has two holes bored through the dock and past the foam. The channels lead to speaker grills on the back of the dock, which broadcast the sound, although in a backward direction. The sound is not muffled, but it does project it in the wrong direction. In this case, design limits function. The dock looks nice without holes bored into the front, but sound quality suffers as a result.Conclusion
Well, this is a tough call because so many factors determine the overall impression. There are a lot of great things playing into this dock and several things that keep me from completely loving it. Take a few minutes before determining whether this dock is for you. Do you prefer a dock that is only sized for an iPhone? Would you like a single unit, machined design? Do you care if the Lightning cable must be installed to hold the iPhone? Do you have a thick case on your iPhone?
Depending on how you answered the above questions, this case is either completely perfect for you, or completely worthless. It really can go either way.
Personally, I like the looks, the coloring, and micro suction cups, which even work on my natural wood desk. I like installing my own Lightning cable because it keeps costs down, but I don’t like relying on the cable to prop the iPhone. The viewing angle is a little too 90 degrees for my taste and it isn’t adjustable. Additionally, the foam pad is a nice touch that other manufactures sometimes forget. A small size is great and the footprint leaves room for other desktop items.
Overall, I am really in the middle of the road. I can say that it has been on my desk for the better part of two months and I have not used it as much as other stands, primarily because I prefer not to charge my iPhone every time it is docked. Maybe that is my final determiner and I will leave it there.
Ultimately, it is your call. Think carefully about how you use your iPhone before making a purchase. At £34.00 ($55) in silver and black, it is reasonably priced for European customers, but on the expensive side if you are a US Dollar shopper. If you are interested, there is another upcoming dock, offered by the same company, made specifically for iPad. I will be covering it shortly in an additional review. Thanks to the team for sending them over the pond for review.
What do you guys think about the MiDock?
[iDownloadBlog review disclaimer statement]
Film Both a Personal and a Global Journey COM filmmaker’s thesis finalist for Student Academy Awards
A frame from Snovi, featuring the main characters, the Dreamer and the Girl, played by Alban Ukaj and Zana Marjanovic. Photos courtesy of Reshad Kulenovic
Any graduate student is familiar with the challenges of completing a major thesis project, but those faced by Reshad Kulenovic were anything but typical. Aspiring filmmaker Kulenovic (COM’11) spent eight months flying back and forth from Boston to Bosnia to scout for and shoot his short film Snovi. Kulenovic’s debut effort has also earned him an extraordinary distinction. The film was recently selected by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences as a finalist for a Student Academy Award.
The film, whose screenplay was cowritten by Jonathon Myers (GRS’07), is based on the short story “Dreams,” by John Bernstein, a College of Communication associate professor. It is the fictional tale of a Polish Holocaust survivor whose memories of war begin to interfere with his daily life and prevent him from connecting with other people. Kulenovic, who was born in Sarajevo, adapted the story, setting it in Bosnia in the aftermath of the 1990s Bosnian War. The film’s title—Snovi—is the Bosnian word for “dreams.”
The idea of adapting Bernstein’s story came to Kulenovic when he realized that its themes resonated not only with his own past, but in a larger way as well. “The themes behind the story and the movie are so universal,” he says. “I just wanted to expand on them using what I know.”
Kulenovic was adamant about filming in his native country, despite the fact that he knew nobody in the Bosnian film community. “I basically spent three months finding people to work with,” he says. He also insisted that the actors be Bosnian: “To deal with a really sensitive and difficult subject, the actors have to have that conflict inside of them. They are all burned by the memory of the war.”
To raise the money necessary to film overseas, he sought funding from several organizations. He received a grant from the Heinrich Böll Foundation and additional assistance from the French-run Centre Andre Malraux Sarajevo. Working with two producers, Claire Wasserman (CAS’09) in the United States and close friend Azra Mehic overseas, Kulenovic shot the film over five months.
It was after arriving in the United States as a 12-year-old refugee that Kulenovic (above) became interested in filmmaking. He eventually attended the University of Rhode Island, studying international business and film media, before coming to BU for graduate work in filmmaking. He credits the COM program with helping him discover new influences and showing him the potential of narrative storytelling. “You see what film can do, all the possibilities that film has,” he says.
A screenwriting course taught by Bernstein was especially influential, he says, shaping his perception of how a script works. “He taught the basics of screenwriting, but was also open to experimental cinema. We combined classic storytelling with the kind that pushes the limits of what narrative can do,” Kulenovic says.
“Reshad is an extraordinary young artist blessed with a unique voice and vision,” Bernstein says. “Snovi is one of the most visually stunning films I have ever seen here at BU.”
Bernstein’s confidence in the film has been validated by a recent spate of industry prizes—the film was an official selection at the Talinn Film Festival, the Cinequest Film Festival, and the European Independent Film Festival. Most important, the film placed Kulenovic on the shortlist for a Student Academy Award in the best narrative category this spring. While he didn’t win, the filmmaker says just being a finalist has proved amazing.
“It opened doors,” he says. “I actually had agents getting in contact with me.” He hopes the recognition will make it easier for him to obtain funding for his next project—expanding Snovi into a feature-length film.
Kulenovic is now living in New York City and rewriting the screenplay, which he hopes to have finished by fall. He already has most of a team in place for the feature film, including the same cast as in the original short, a group he describes as “amazing, inspiring, some of the best actors in Europe, hands down.”
Snovi will be screened at the Rhode Island National Film Festival, August 9 through 14. A donation page for the project is here. More information on the cast, crew, and story is here.
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