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Moved to a new site!
Just so you know I've moved my blog to a self-hosted Wordpress instance. It's at Check me out!

Almost summer!
Woah... been a while. Here's brief summaries of what's new:

There's quite a bit to read. Click here to see :D!Collapse )

What's up with all the Russians?
As of the past day or two, I've been getting email after email after email about Russians adding me as friends. If you happen to be one of these many Russians, why? What's with the huge surge in Russian popularity around my blog (as well as my girlfriend's blog) is getting?

Ditching The Dock
This goes without saying, but many people I know use docks. You know, those auto-hide-y, shiny, non-standard lumps of icons that seem to make desktops more enjoyable. I have to admit that the first time I tried a dock program, I fell in love! The simplicity of it compared to something like the GNOME panel blew my mind! At the time, though, my PC wasn't exactly the most powerful in the world, so after I upgraded my RAM from 512MB to 2GB, I tried some again. I used these docks for quite a long time, but I slowly realized that I didn't need them. Why couldn't I just use a panel? What was wrong with my old setup?

When I first tried Ubuntu, the two panels just didn't make sense at first, but I grew used to it. Replacing the bottom panel with a dock that would take up less space made sense at the time, especially since many docks now group programs based on application. Some docks also had great add-ons/plugins/extensions, like replacement Gnome menus, comic readers, system monitors, and other fun things. One rather large problem I had with all of these docks though is that they used a lot of memory (especially Gnome-Do/Docky, which is written in C#). The latest development releases of AWN were very nice and lightweight, but still seemed slow-ish to me at times. Don't even get me started on how confusing Cairo Dock is. Slowly, I began to remove these little bonus add-ons I had on my docks and all I really needed was grouping applications. But opening these docks on system start-up and the fading in and out over and over of the docks kept leaving my desktop slower than it needed to be. I even had to close my docks sometimes to speed one application up (like a game or video editor) since I only have one core in my processor.

In the end, I remembered what some people said about a little program called DockBarX. Having not tried it yet, I decided to search around about it and found out that it can work like a GNOME panel applet, so I decided to try it out. I went to this site to figure out how to install it, and once I added it to my GNOME panel it fit perfectly! Here's a picture of my desktop when I was using a dock. Kinda cluttered, isn't it? I eventually ditched Screenlets because it was slowing everything down and didn't provide too much of a benefit, and I also eventually ditched AWN. My desktop later looked like this. I had gotten so used to ALT+Tab that I didn't even need the dock any more, and I just went to one panel. Now pay attention to this next picture: this is me with DockBarX. If you look carefully in the top left-ish of my desktop, you'll see some program icons. If I hover over one of them, it shows all of the open windows for that program. Not only does this take up less space than a regular application switcher, but it's extremely configurable and does its job much more perfectly than any dock has done for me. Hopefully you will try this, like it, and switch to it as well because it really is that much better than a dock.

Christmas, Capcom, and Kingdom Hearts
So its been a while since my last update, and I have quite a few things to say that are new:

First, Christmas happened! Yay! But even though it the celebration of Christ's birth, I had a little incident with my friends and I felt depressed the whole day... probably making it the worst Christmas I've ever had, but we're all okay now =D! So, I got the following cool things:

* The following music albums: The Essential "Weird Al" Yankovic; Absolution by Muse; Live at the Royal Albert Hall by The Killers; and Parachutes, A Rush of Blood to the Head, X&Y, and Viva La Vida (a second copy, which I later gave to my uncle) by Coldplay.

* The following video games: Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, Bleach: Dark Souls, Wii Sports Resort, and New Play Control! Pikmin.

* A limited-edition Ubuntu hoodie (=D!!!)

* Amazing headphones, Koss PortaPro (they're fantastic, get them if you want good-quality headphones for cheap)

* A new keyboard and mouse (WIRELESS! =D)

* Two books: The Complete Edgar Allen Poe (I love his writings <3) and a guide to Catholicism with lots of illustrations (and it's alphabetized!)

As you can see from the above list, I got quite a bit of interesting stuff. I also got my dad a greatest hits album of Electric Light Orchestra, a favorite of his (and mine ^^), which he liked very much. One of the most interesting things I got, however, was Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days for the DS. Actually, the only Kingdom Hearts game I've ever had in my house before was Chain of Memories for the GBA, which I borrowed from a friend. As such, I had to spoil bits of the story from the other two games so I knew what was going on, unfortunately. If you like co-op games, or just RPGs in general, you'll find it very entertaining; I loved it, to be honest. However, there was quite a bit of "filler", as some people might call it, in the game. The filler I didn't mind much, but there was quite a lot of times where there's a break in the story for a few hours for you to do mindless missions. This adds up at the end, though, which was rather sad =(, but in a good way =).

Since I liked the DS game so much, I decided to get a PS2 and get the other 2 games (not including chain of memories, which I already played). While I was at it, I got the original SSX since I'm fond of the series in general, and it was only $2 used (yay for impulse buying =P). From what I've tried so far, the game's pretty similar to the DS game, but it's definitely less linear. You can go to so many different places and do so many different things, while the DS game was just a series of missions. The voice acting, of course, is also much more frequent and the quality is neither better nor worse. The second game, from what I've seen, looks and sounds better than the others, so I can't wait for that! After I beat all 3 (and maybe Chain of Memories again) I'll post an entry comparing each of them in terms of story, presentation, sound, gameplay, and anything else I have to say about each.

So, just a little while ago a small crack on my DS Lite's hinge became worse, and to prevent it from getting even worse I decided to repair it by buying a replacement housing/case for it.... But when me and my dad tried repairing it, we messed up big time and now it doesn't work at all =(. Fortunately it was on a 3-year service plan at Target, so we're getting a new one without a cracked hinge =D (at least I hope it doesn't have one, or I'll be ticked)!

But unrelated to that, I've been looking at the new game "Tatsunoko Vs Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars" for the Wii the past couple months, and I've been dying to get my hands on it (ZERO YAY =D!!!), and my brother ended up buying it because his friend told him to. After playing it for a few days now, I have to say that it's a fantastic fighting game, maybe even better than Super Smash Bros. Brawl, if you care about strategy, that is. Brawl's still fun with 4 players and items, but if you try to play it for strategy, it gets pretty boring. There's a bunch of characters that are fun and wacky, and the fighting system is almost perfect! The giant characters are pretty cheap, but besides that the game is very well-balanced. If anyone else has this game, I'd be glad to play you over Wifi sometime.

So, until next time then!

Free Culture: God's Ideal Culture
For my English class I had to write an essay. At the moment I've been reading about Free Culture, Free Software, and many other movements, so I decided to do a paper about it. The paper is titled Free Culture: God's Ideal Culture and is written from a Christian perspective. What good soul that is also a Christian could possibly disagree with these facts? A Free culture is a culture willing to let people share, remix, and adapt the works of others. Disney didn't create Dumbo or Winnie-the-Pooh or Snow White or lots of other tales, but they remixed and adapted them into films. If people can't build on the ideas of others, how can we improve as a culture? Should the only people allowed to remix/adapt be the rich ones with money to burn? Why can't anyone do it?

You can download it here:
Download as ODT Download as PDF

Creative Commons License
Free Culture: God's Ideal Culture by Ryan Peters is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Gundam Wing!
I must be a huge fan of these boxed-sets, because I have yet another one to add to my collection: Mobile Suit Gundam Wing Complete Collection Volume 1! This awesome pack has 25 whole episodes with English and Japanese audio tracks and English subtitles.

When this show first came out in the states, it was a HUGE hit! I had absolutely no idea what it was at the time since I didn't have Cartoon Network, but I remember watching SD Gundam Force and Gundam SEED (the latter I have the entire series of in DVDs). The show involves 5 Mecha pilots in machines they call "Gundams" sent to attack the Earth's government, because they're unjust and cruel. I've only seen 12 of the 25 episodes I've purchased so far, but from what I can tell I'm really enjoying this. The opening and ending themes are great, the characters are likeable and unique, and the story's very original. However, I've read some comments about how Mobile Suit Gundam 00, one of the best things I've ever seen on television, borrows a bit of story elements from Wing. From what I've seen, they're right somewhat. Here's a comparison:

Gundam Wing:
There are 5 main Mobile Suit pilots. All male.
Their Mobile Suits are different from others; more powerful, speedy, each having unique abilities, and called Gundams.
They are all linked together by a common background, but they are not guided by any particular organization.
A female character, daughter of a leader of a kingdom, is good friends with the main character and follows him, learning from him.
Their objective is to destroy the Earth Sphere Federation government, which has been unjust to the space colonies.
There's a coup d'état where the government is taken over by a brutal organization named OZ, which the Gundam pilots must now defeat if they want peace.

Gundam 00:
There are 4 main Mobile Suit pilots. All male.
Their Mobile Suits are different from others; more powerful, speedy, each having unique abilities, and called Gundams.
They are part of a group called Celestial Being with several members besides the main characters.
A female character, leader of a kingdom, is good friends with the main character and provides moral guidance.
Their objective is to "eliminate war", by destroying every soldier that happens to be fighting.
There's an organization working above the government called the A-Laws causing destruction, the main target of Celestial Being in season 2. There is a coup d'état partway through the second season against the A-Laws.

Similar, right? Gundam 00 has a lot more action and better voice acting than Wing, but it's also newer (Wing came out in the 90s and 00 in 2007/8). The main difference I can see is that Wing has a much faster plot. You'd have to wait about 10-15 episodes in 00 to have something that'd take 3-6 episodes in Wing, for example. I'll post later how I like it once I finish the first 25 episodes.
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New style, some cleanup, and
Notice anything different? If you haven't, I changed my layout/style! It looks more fun-tastic now and a little cleaner, so it's easier to navigate.

In other news, I just got an account! It's amazing! The whole thing (even your updates) is free as in speech and Free Software-based, works with Twitter and Facebook, and you can log in using OpenID! I love it and you should try it sometime if you love Free Software and social networking.

AWN 0.4
This is great! I used to use Gnome Do/Docky for my dock needs, and I tried out AWN, Kiba Dock, and Cairo Dock before, and none of them really seemed to fit my needs. However, I just tried out AWN 0.4 Beta and it works like a charm! Fast, lightweight, feature-filled, stylish, and (mostly) stable! I recommend that you try this out right away; it will amaze you. It can work as a dock, panel, panel looking like a dock, dock looking like a panel, whatever you feel like! There's a LOT of applets for it too and more are being made as time goes on (I think a meebo one is soon to come).

Click here to see a picture of my desktop with AWN!Collapse )

Coldplay covers Billy Jean!
This is RAD! I found the neatest thing online today about how Coldplay covered Billy Jean; no joke! It sounds like the kind of song they'd cover IMO, but they changed it around a little bit to be more Coldplay-ish. Here's a link for the 1.4 people currently caring about my livejournal:

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