In the Mood to DASH!

Aiyumi -

I began revisiting the Rockman DASH (Mega Man Legends) series, watching (read "listening") some playthroughs and cutscenes to refresh my memory (I don't have the games anymore), trying to finally understand the plot. I didn't know enough of either Japanese or English to be able to grasp it at the time I played, which was some 12 years ago. Turns out that I can't fully figure it out even now :P. I have the impression that the second game (the one with the major plot points) felt a bit rushed, some important things are mentioned only in passing and aren't expanded anywhere. After the cancellation of DASH/Legends 3, it's unlikely that we'll be seeing these answers anytime soon. I also noticed differences between the dialogue from the English version and the original Japanese (inconsistencies in the translation/usage of names and terms) which may affect how we view a characters personality, as well as parts of the plot itself.

Aside from that, I still think it's a good plot, albeit a bit confusing and full of unexplored potential. That calls to one thing: fan fiction!

After checking the playthroughs, then reading a few discussions and fan fictions to see how other people interpret the plot, I was inspired to write my own fanfic, intitled "Trigger of Change". And like I did with my Pokemon fic, I began making Japanese anime style audio dramas out of it. This prompted the creation of a new Rockman section on the site, with the page for the audio dramas here.

To conclude this post, I leave you with my VOCALOID cover of "Anata no Kaze ga Fuku Kara", the ending song to the first game. Enjoy!

Download/listen: OGG (OpenDrive) | MP3 (4shared) | Youtube

Aiyumi, DASHing off!

Accessibility, and How I Began Using VOCALOID

Aiyumi -

What is VOCALOID?

It's something that became quite popular in the last few years, but I had no idea of what it was until 2011. I just knew it had to do with music, and for a while I had thought it was the name of a band (hahahaha)! But no. VOCALOID is a singing synthesis software, paid and proprietary, whose engine is developed by Yamaha. The voices are provided by real people, mostly actors or singers. Each voice is represented by a character. The most popular one is Hatsune Miku (I don't like her very much) but there are many others. VOCALOID runs on Windows and Mac.

For detailed information on all VOCALOID voicebanks available, visit the VOCALOID Wiki (which explains all this much better than me :P).

Examples of songs with VOCALOID:

UTAU

UTAU (meaning "to sing" in Japanese), is the name of another singing synthesis program, however it was developed by a fan. It's also proprietary, but is free (technically it's a shareware, but one of the few "advantages" of paying are just some interface improvements and maybe access to earlier test versions before the "general public", but it works for free with no problems). The voices are also provided by real people, with the difference that anyone can record his/her own voice and put it in the program without relying on contracts, studios and professional singers. So it has much more available voicebanks than VOCALOID, but the downside is that the quality varies greatly depending on the recording quality, the voicebank settings, the intonation and the pronunciation of the person who made the recording. UTAU has a version for Windows, and also one for Mac called UTAU Synth.

Examples of songs with UTAU:

To learn more about UTAU, check out the UTAU Wiki.

Soon I began wanting to use the programs to make my own covers, and that was when the problems started.

more…

The Power of SlackBuilds

Aiyumi -

I love SlackBuilds, the scripts to compile programs and create packages for Slackware. I was amazed after reading a great article explaining the advantages of using SlackBuilds VS. manually compiling with "./configure && make && make install". Unfortunately, the page is gone (it was the site of a Slackware based Brazilian distro called GoblinX, which then became ImagineOS but sadly stopped being updated).

The other day, I got a message from a person trying to use my scripts for installing Orca on Slackware (which I updated to work with 14.1, by the way!), with doubts about SlackBuilds in general. So I decided to explain, and this was the answer I gave him:

Basically, a SlackBuild is just a Shell script that sets some common variables (like which architecture your machine is), applies some patches if needed, and specifies which options to pass to "./configure" (like telling we'd like the binaries installed in "/usr/bin" and the libraries in "/usr/lib", instead of "/usr/local/bin" and "/usr/local/lib" which are usually the defaults if you don't specify it in "./configure"). It copies the documentation files to the appropriate places, compiles the program, then packages everything into a ".tgz" or ".txz" (if you use, for example, "tar -tf packagename.tgz" to view its contents, you'll notice that it's like the directory structure of your filesystem, with "usr/bin" etc., compressed with Tar and Gzip). These packages are very easy to install with "installpkg". When a package is installed, a file with the name of the package minus the ".t?z" extension is put in "/var/log/packages" listing all files that were installed with that program. And (one of the things I like the most), they're also very easy to uninstall with "removepkg". If the program was compiled with just "./configure && make && make install" manually without the SlackBuild (therefore not packaged and not tracked in "/var/log/packages"), it's much harder to know which files were installed where, and for removing them, the easiest way is to go to the directory with the program's source (having to download the source code again if we don't have it anymore, do "./configure" with the same options we used to install it the first time - if we remember what was passed, that is :P - to generate the makefile again), then use "make uninstall" (and guess what? Not every program with "make install" also has the "make uninstall" option! So, can you imagine the problem?)... Whereas if we had installed it through a Slackware package, we could remove it just by doing "removepkg packagename", and Slackware's package tools would take care of finding and removing the files correctly. In other words, it's wonderful :D.

This occurred to me later, so I didn't send it in the answer. Some people like to use programs like Checkinstall, which monitors "make install"'s output to find out where the files ended up, then creates an installable package (it supports many distros, including Slackware), but personally I prefer using SlackBuilds (even though it myght be a bit more work to create a script if I can't find one for the program I want) because it serves as an organized way to document the options and steps to compile the program, very useful when needing to upgrade and compile it again.