Monday, May 16, 2011


I’m currently listening to “Hotel California” while typing this and it’s one of those songs that I will never get tired of hearing. I ripped it from the original CD that I purchased years ago and of course it’s in a lossless format. I can play this same exact file on my smartphone/portable music player, home theater system, and even my car stereo (auxiliary cable or Bluetooth from my smartphone/portable music player). Every single one of them is playing it in its original CD quality audio.  Now here’s my question, are you able to do all that with your FLAC version of your favorite song on the computer?
Yes, the format I currently have it in is Apple Lossless (ALAC) and I know I’m probably to receive much criticism from it. But hey, I prefer convenience and this is the best and easiest way I found to enjoy my CD quality music everywhere I go. Free Lossless Audio Codec (FLAC) is a completely open format that allows millions to enjoy their lossless music…on their computers. Is your smartphone able to play back FLAC? What about your portable music player? Is there any simple way of playing FLAC on car stereo? What about your home theater system, without having to attach a long cable from your computer?
All Apple portable devices (iPhone, iPod) and even Android smartphones support this closed proprietary lossless codec called ALAC. The most popular MP3 player (iPod has 76 percent of the U.S. MP3 player market, Zune has 1%) also natively supports ALAC. What about listening to your digital lossless music on car stereo? Simply connect your smartphone/portable music player to your car stereo through auxiliary cable or Bluetooth. The same also applies to your home theater system.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m someone who would never want FLAC to go away. It allows me to discover thousands of timeless classics online in their original CD audio quality. I just personally don’t find much use for it beyond the computer. I always end up converting it to ALAC using dbpoweramp (if I’m on a PC) or Max (if I’m on a Mac) since I want to enjoy it in places beyond my office.
How do you enjoy your lossless CD audio quality music beyond the computer? I know there exist certain portable music players or car stereos that natively support FLAC, I just simply don’t want to go out of my way to purchase additional accessories when I could just convert it to ALAC instead. Oh and of course there exist those who just encode it all in MP3, I have nothing against that. Half of my music collection is in a lossy format since there exist songs I only listen to every now and then. Any criticism at all is welcome, I'm simply sharing how I listen to my music at home and on the go.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Blu-Ray. Necessary?

Blu-rays. Beautiful high-defintion movies and TV shows for our viewing pleasure. Excellent 25GB or 50GB (if it's double layer) storage capacity, just enough to store 7.1 Dolby TruHD audio. Requires a Blu-Ray player and an HDMI TV (or monitor) to enjoy its content.

But do we actually need Blu-Ray discs to enjoy HD content?

If you're like thousands of others, you probably downloaded the occasional HD movie through other...more unconventional means. And you might have been surprised to realize that a 3 hour 1080p movie with 5.1 FLAC was only maybe 7GB online.

How was that possible? How can a 3 hour 1080p movie with 5.1 surround sound actually fit into 7GB? That is enough to fit into a double layer DVD by the way. And yes, formats like AVCHD (wikipedia it) exist that allow you to burn HD content on a DVD disc and play it on compatible AVCHD players, like the PS3.

Oh, maybe it's compressed so you won't truly experience the actual HD quality in these movies available online. It is nowhere as near the quality as those on a regular 25GB Blu-Ray disc, correct? But if it's 5.1 FLAC, then it has the original audio quality as the 5.1 Dolby Digital audio. However, it is true that the 1080p HD content was reencoded to a smaller file size, but can you actually tell the difference? In fact, some encoders (especially in the anime fansub world) are actually able to improve the original video quality that came with the Blu-Ray. A 19GB m2ts encoded into a 7GB 1080p 5.1 FLAC file.

So do we really need Blu-Ray, or is it just a technology that has so many unused capabilities. I'll end this by mentioning that HD video games are already available for the Xbox on a format other than Blu-ray, a simple double layer DVD.

Ore no Imouto Volume 8 Initial Thoughts

So what actually happened at the end of Volume 8? Who won? Kirino or Ruri? Unfortunately, there are differing accounts of what happend all throughout the Internet. Rumors of Ruri moving (but then coming back) and torn up light novels by certain Ruri supporters. Combining all the conflicting reports led me to this unofficial summary of what actually happened between the three.

"Kuroneko dumped Kyousuke after he did/said something involving his sister (nothing sexual) and it made her realize he won't ever love her the way he loved Kirino.

Which then became public knowledge on campus (Kuroneko did rat out Kyousuke's relationship with Ayase to Kirino during the Oreimo PSP's Ayase route, so this is no surprise) everyone gave him the cold shoulder.

Out of nowhere, Kirino comforts a depressed Kyousuke over his break-up. To the point of him saying "Damn! If she wasn't my sister, I would've fallen for her!". While Ruri dumped him because she thought he loved Kirino more, what she did indirectly set off a now much more complicated relationship between the three.

End Volume 8"

As for the rumor Ruri of moving a  way, certain Ruri fans claim it was only temporary and she actually ended up moving closer to Kyousuke.

No girl "won" in the end of Volume 8. But Ruri's abandonment of Kyousuke because she thought he had stronger feelings for his sister...indirectly resulted in him beginning to see Kirino as more than just his imouto. 

This is very important since while we have always known that Kyousuke truly loved his sister, this is the first time that he himself actually started considering looking at Kirino as more than just a sister. We know that as the series progressed that Kirino herself started developing strong feelings for Kyousuke, even to the point of forcing him to go on an actual date with her in Volume 6. But while Kyousuke's relationship with her improved, it only showed that he truly loved a sister. He may have had other feelings for Kirino, but it is at best subconsciously. It is only at the end of Volume 8 that is beginning to consciously realize his feelings for Kirino.


Well I have no idea of what to really say on my first official independent blogpost. However, this isn't my first time writing a post online, I've written countless posts on other sites that hundreds have seen and have been looking forward to, for various reasons. Hell, sometimes I've been criticized for typing too much which I will try not to do on here.

My alias is Maruko and I'll be writing posts about various topics that interest me, but will mostly fall back on animu. Whether it's my irrational love for Kirino (Ore no Imouto), several light novel/anime series that interest me, whether anime fans should actually consider themselves real fans of certain shows if they don't spend a dime on them, and even the occasional political issues of the day.

I'll simply come out with it: I am not afraid of being considered biased. Everyone has their own opinions and it is almost impossible to be completely objective. Whether it's my preference for a certain character in anime series, my opinion on moe versus (what's the official name for its counterpart?), or even certain anime review sites. However, I'll try (but can't guarantee) to provide reasons for my blatant biases every now and then.