Here's my top 50 for 2012. Obviously a more techno-oriented affair than years past, but that's the direction I find my tastes headed in lately, and there seemed to be a shortage of interesting releases on the non-electronic front. Couldn't be bothered to do full-on write ups this time, but reviews abound, and hopefully there's something for everyone to enjoy here. Happy new year!
1. Tame Impala - Lonerism 2. Shackleton - Music for the Quiet Hour / Drawbar Organ EP's 3. Actress - RIP 4. Voices from the Lake - Voices from the Lake 5. Andy Stott - Luxury Problems 6. Recondite - On Acid 7. Silent Servant - Negative Fascination 8. Macintosh Plus - Floral Shoppe 9. Vessel - Order of Noise 10. Barker & Baumecker - Transsektoral 11. Burial - Kindred 12. Jacob Korn - You & Me 13. Laurel Halo - Quarantine 14. Death Grips - The Money Store 15. Deepchord - Sommer 16. Black Moth Super Rainbow - Cobra Juicy 17. Grimes - Visions 18. LV - Sebenza 19. Holy Other - Held 20. Todd Terje - It's the Arps 21. Sun Araw & M Geddes Gengras Meet the Congos - Icon Give Thank 22. John Talabot - Fin 23. Lone - Galaxy Garden 24. Jam City - Classical Curves 25. Daughn Gibson - All Hell 26. Ricardo Villalobos - Dependent and Happy 27. Juju & Jordash - Techno Primitivism 28. Mouse on Mars - Parastrophics 29. Tim Hecker & Daniel Lopatin - Instrumental Tourist 30. Motion Sickness of Time Travel - Motion Sickness of Time Travel 31. Blondes - Blondes 32. Frankie Rose - Interstellar 33. The Caretaker - Patience (After Sebald) 34. Carter Tutti Void - Transverse 35. Mirroring - Foreign Body 36. Lukid - Lonely at the Top 37. Bebetune$$$ - Inhale C4$$$$ 38. Aaron Dilloway - Modern Jester 39. Grizzly Bear - Shields 40. The Brian Jonestown Massacre - Aufheben 41. Mediafired - The Pathway Through Whatever 42. Redshape - Square 43. Outer Space - Akashic Record 44. Austin Cesear - Cruise Forever 45. Clinic - Free Reign 46. Com Truise - In Decay 47. BEAK> - BEAK>> 48. Cooly G - Playin Me 49. Traxman - Da Mind of Traxman 50. Lindstrom - Smalhans
The last 12 months have been some of the most tumultuous yet tremendous that Ubuntu has ever seen.
Before we look back at the highs and lows of Ubuntu in 2012 lets first pay some attention to the bits that help make it what it is: the apps.
So here are some of the best app-shaped debutantes of 2012.
(First release: October 2012)
Like flip-flops in mid winter, the usefulness of a ‘windowed’ weather app doesn’t seem immediately useful. If it’s going to rain, snow or hail we want to be able to see that at a glance, not have to remind ourselves to hunt around open windows to check.
But after downloading and installing Stormcloud, the first of three apps on this list by developers Caffeinated Code, those concerns were moot.
Stylish, slick and informative, Stormcloud showed that weather apps don’t have be droll, drop-down menu affairs. Its Unity launcher integration, striking visuals and customisation options mean that, for this app, the is looking very bright indeed.
To-do apps are, it’s fair to say, hardly on the ‘urgent’ list when it comes to things Linux users long for on the desktop. In fact, a quick search in the Ubuntu Software Center throws up a veritable post-xmas dinner quantity of options.
And most of them are about as good looking as the aforementioned metaphor.
So the launch of Nitro, an app by the folks at caffienated code, didn’t exactly make me giddy, particularly since Wunderlist – the ‘darling’ of task managing – was available for Linux in one form or another.
But I was proved wrong.
Sporting Dropbox and Ubuntu One syncing, as well as apps for Windows, OS X and the web, Nitro gave Linux users a gorgeous looking and well featured app that made accessing our to-do’s a must-do!
With some nifty Ubuntu integration and a healthy, though not exhaustive, feature set, Geary is shaping up to be the one e-mail client available on Linux that’s worth writing, or in this case e-mailing, home about.
Thankfully it didn’t take long for the community solutions to pop up, the most capable (and usable) of which being ‘InSync’.
Along with instantaneous syncing of your Drive contents to and from Ubuntu, InSync lets you edit your Google Docs files offline; integrates with Nautilus; and alerts you to any changes or errors via an indicator applet.
The company who make the app claim to store nothing themselves (bar authentication token and metadata info on your files). All uploads, edits and deletions occur natively on your device and are ‘synced’ to Google Drive.
The “bad” news is that the app is only ‘free to use’ during its beta period (which it is still in). After this time a subscription model will be introduced.
But don’t fear: a free Google Drive for Linux app is being made by Google, and I’m told it should make its way out into the wild in the first quarter of 1213.
2012 may not have seen any booms of the apocalyptic variety, but it did see one in the creation of Unity Lenses.
Most of them the work of one developer: David Callé. Amongst his multiple creation was this, the Unity News Lens.
Easily my favourite of his releases this year – I’m a news junkie, don’t hate – it brought
A healthy smattering of filters to narrow down search results; the use of your location to display local stories; and handy options for sorting made it a useful tool for those who, like me, are news junkies.
Picking just one last item for this list was hard. 2012 saw so many great applications created, many of which came about as entries to the Ubuntu App Showdown.
But my final entry is for Postman. It’s not the most useful app for its purpose, but it is one of the best looking.
It uses a psedu-literal metaphor for ‘sending’ your photos to Flickr and Ubuntu One; you put photos in the envelope, then attach a ‘stamp’ f0r ‘Flickr’, ‘Picasa’, ‘Google+’ and/or ‘Ubuntu One’ to send it to those services.
I did not get to see this until after I sent in several poll responses (OK, two), and was sad for that reason that it turned out to be exactly as miraculous as many people I trusted had said it was. The Murnau link is not even a sixth of it, honest. The narrative convolutions are as purposeful as they are expert, the imagery is never not gorgeous, and this is about as perfectly modulated in terms of humor, sadness, and genuine irony as movies ever get. (In a discussion for another time, and soon, I was bitterly disappointed with Tarantino's Django Unchained, and came out of Tabu saying "Now THIS is how you pull off a meta-movie!" And again, that's not even a fifth of it.) Seriously, see this.
9) Holy Motors, Leos Carax, considered here and here.
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