Sintel – A stunning short film

Sintel is an animated short film, initiated by the Blender Foundation as a means to further improve and validate the open source 3D creation suite Blender. Following Elephants Dream and Big Buck Bunny, the short movie is the third project created by the Blender Institute Рa division of the Blender Foundation set up specifically to facilitate the creation of open content films and games.

The most notable feature of the movie is that every part is skillfully animated. The graphic rendering and detail are excellent. Above all the entire film including the production data, animation data, characters and textures are released under the Creative Commons Attribution License.

Many may find it as a fantasy action movie, but what I think is that it has a serious life lesson.

The film follows a girl named Sintel who is searching for a baby dragon she calls Scales. It includes a flashback which reveals that Sintel finds Scales with its wings injured. She takes him home and cares him much. Their friendship strengthens day by day and eventually becomes inseparable. Later the baby dragon Scales will be abducted by a larger dragon. She decides to take up the challenges and rescue Scales. In the coming scenes, her adventurous journey in search of Scales is depicted. The climax, in particular is totally unexpected and I think it is best to just let you watch it and appreciate yourself.

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Bringing the Mac experience in Ubuntu

Anyone who have used Apple’s Mac OS X might have become an admirer of it just because of the usability and the great design in user interface. For the past few days, I have been trying to bring a Mac experience in my Ubuntu 10.10. I googled several times and the most suggested solution was to use Macbuntu. I downloaded and installed the Macbuntu transformation pack. It was pretty good. Almost everything, including the bootsplash, the desktop and the widgets got a Mac OS touch.

But I was thinking of some additional customizations of my own so that it will provide me exactly what I expected.

The bootsplash, the icons and the cursor theme were already changed  while I installed the Macbuntu package. Still I felt like editing the GTK+ theme files and changing some of the widget styles and also adding some more stunning visual transition effects.

Regarding the transition effects, all I had to do was to install the CompizConfig Settings Manager and install an additional package named compiz-fusion-plugins-extra and configure the keyboard shortcuts. The most tedious task was modifying the GTK+ theme and creating necessary pixmaps.

Instead of editing a pre-designed theme, I decided to create a new theme package that includes the best of widget classes specified in different themes like Macbuntu, Elegant-GTK, Aurora, Mac4Lin etc… etc…

Different GTK engines like murrine, aurora and pixmap were used accordingly. For example, notebook tabs, buttons, and combo entries uses the “aurora” engine, scrollbars uses the “murrine” engine, progressbars and toolbars uses the “pixmap” engine.

The default window decorator was replaced with Emerald window decorator, using the command emerald –replace.

Everything finished okay and the theme is applied, but the nautilus window was still annoying. There was a solution for that too. I upgraded it to Nautilus-Elementary and enabled features like clutterflow which made it look similar to the default Finder in Mac OS X. I installed Gloobus preview utility which shows the file contents in a blink, when space-bar is pressed.

Here are some screenshots:

Desktop after login

Skype Linux Version

Miro Internet TV

Nautilus Elementary with Clutterflow feature

Window Picker Initiated

Expo

Ring switcher

Shift switcher

The Desktop Cube

Water effect

Painting fire

Gloobus Preview

XBMC in window mode

Audacious Audio Player

Managing Tomcat localhost directories in Ubuntu

Recently I installed Apache Tomcat Server to work with JavaServer Pages. I was trying to identify the localhost directory of the server (the directory similar to /var/www in Apache PHP server).
Later I learned that it is very easy to set our own localhost project directory.
Here are the steps:

Go to /etc/tomcat6/Catalina/localhost and create a .xml file with the name of your webapp.
Suppose your webapp is testwebapp, create a file named testwebapp.xml

Now add the following lines to the XML file.
<Context path=“/testwebapp” docBase=“path to the directory where source files are located” />

Now open the web browser and type http://localhost:8080/testwebapp to load the index.jsp file (Server restart may be required).