July 14th, 2012


New netbook

Kodama has a 20GB SSD (divided in two parts of 4 and 16GB), and Ubuntu 12.04 doesn't fit on the 4GB part anymore. This means that things were starting to get a bit tight, and with klik's photography and my movies, space was getting too tight for comfort. So I was in the market for a system with a harddisk and a little more 'oomph'.
So last wednesday, we went into the city centre to buy a new netbook, precisely four years after buying Kodama. I decided on an Asus Eee R051BX: the AMD Fusion platform is efficient and packs quite a punch -- and the Linux support is getting better. It also helped that this was the cheapest netbook, and the Eee line hasn't let me down so far. And with a harddisk of 320 GB, there's plenty of space to fiddle with.

The machine (for which I couldn't find a product page on the Asus site) has the 'seashell design', which means the cover is molded with subtle ridges in a flowing pattern. Looks nice, and even the touchpad is so ridged, which gives nice tactile feedback when using it. Because of the naval themed look, I named the netbook Ponyo.

The system comes with Windows 7 Starter Edition -- which is, of course, next to useless: you can't even set the desktop wallpaper yourself! (And the upgrade to Home costs EUR 75!) So I did what I always do: I put Ubuntu on the machine. Install went off without a hitch, all hardware recognised, etc. And then I made the mistake to try and find a way to play H.264 videos with hardware accelleration. I got quite lost in the morass of drivers and extra packages. I even tried the OpenELEC XMBC build with Fusion support, but that one crashed because of some audio issue... In the end I gave up -- we never missed that capability in Kodama anyway. Ponyo does play YouTube movies quite nicely in ful screen though, so we traded up video-wise none the less.

It'll be weird to put Ponyo in the Kodama bag when we go on vacation.
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Let's brew!

More new anime

Oda Nobuna no Yabo: Last season, we had Sengoku Collection, where the warlords of the sengoku (warring states) period were actually women and they travelled to modern-day Japan. This season, we get Oda Nobuna no Yabo, where a modern-day schoolboy gets transported to the sengoku era and finds all the warlords are women. There's a slight twist, though: the schoolboy takes on the destiny of Toyotomi, and with his knowledge of the period, he can help Nobuna realise her ambitions.
Bland and unoriginal, so we'll be skipping this one.

Binbogami ga!: Sakura has it all: she is rich, succesfull, popular and has a huge bust. But her good fortune is balanced by the bad luck of those around her. Momiji is a god of misfortune, who comes to settle the balance and make Sakura less fortunate so that others can have their alotted luck. Obviously, Sakura isn't about to take that lying down.
Crude humour, 'zany' situations. This didn't have us in stitches, to put it mildly.

Joshiraku: Focusses on a team of five part-time 'comedians' who tell funny stories at a theatre as a side-job during high school. Obviously, all five of them are girls and obviously they spend a lot of time talking in the dressing room about all sorts of subjects. No action at all, typical characters... Fun for a single episode, but not more.

Moyashimon Returns: The return of Moyashimon, with the cute single-cell organisms that only Tadayasu can see. It's fun to see the characters again, gearing up to do some serious fermentation in the lab, but this episode felt more like a lecture than an interesting anime. We'll watch it none the less, in hopes of some sort of character-focussed story-line emerging.

La Storia della Arcana Famiglia: On an Italian 'trade island', the rules are made and enforced by the Arcana Famiglia, a maffia-like group ruled by a 'father'-type. They've all taken on an aspect of a tarot card, which grants them special abilities. Felicita is the daughter of the current don, and she tries to behave like 'one of the boys'. But when the current 'Papa' decides it's time to retire, he announces a tournament. Whoever will win, will become the next don and get Felicita as wife. Of course, Felicita isn't too happy about that, but she can't go against the wishes of her father. Which means she will need the boys to regain her freedom.
Booooring. It would help if Felicita weren't such a brat and if the usual pair of heroes wouldn't constantly fight.

Hagure Yusha no Aestetica: Schoolkids get transported to fantasy worlds, where they gain supernatural powers. When they return, they retain their powers, so they get trained in applying them for the greater good in Babel, a special school. One of these kids is Akatsuki, who was known as the 'Rogue Hero' in the world where he went to. His supernatural power seems to be that he can steal the underwear from girls... He defeated the Demon Lord of the world, and then took his daughter with him when he went back. Together, they enter Babel.
Again, not impressed. There's the ecchiness (and seriously: pursuers in maid uniforms!?), and then there will be the endless fights with the other kids at Babel. I'm sure there will be a plot, but it'll be padded out with the same-old, same-old.

Phew, I sound like a cranky geezer. Maybe I am, but I can't get excited about some of this stuff anymore because I've seen it many times before.