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AV Linux is another incredibly powerful boot-from-DVD build focused on a specialist task set and workflow, and once again it is centered around audio/video production (hence the name). It has all the tools most of us will ever need to create, edit, and compile our projects into coherent multimedia presentations. Like most Linux builds, the default menu buttons and icons are aligned across the top of the screen (although you can move them to any screen border you like best), and they have a small collection of the links to the stuff the developers felt was most important on the screen proper, like help files and the install tools.

Like more and more operating systems, they also have an Icon Bar running down one edge of the screen, giving you a smartphone-like collection of apps/programs to access from your start screen. Again, you can rearrange any component of the desktop to suit your own preferences and habits, like throwing the Icon Bar to any other border, but since this is a Live DVD, you will either have to remaster it, or install it on a Flash Drive/Hard Drive, to get it to remember your preferences from boot to boot. Besides making your choices persistent, installing it on a thumb drive will also allow you to update all the programs and install more of your own, so you can tweak it into the perfect tool set for your projects.

The build itself includes an amazing range of Audio, Graphics and Video content creation software demonstrating the excellence of Open-Source solutions, and the fact that they are free is just making a good thing better. This one is designed for a 32bit computer, meaning this Operating System is designed to turn a regular OLD PC or Intel Mac into an Audio/Graphics/Video workstation with power you won’t believe. I have been somewhat surprised to discover some of my legacy computers are able to outclass some of my newer Windows systems for multimedia creation after booting them from this kind of Linux Live DVD.

The video at the end of this post is for the LAST version of AV Linux; this version is way better! But he covers a ton of stuff included with the OpSys (no great surprise, he coordinated building it, so he knows it best), and most of the basic stuff is the same. Only the names have changed, to protect the innocent Apps (sorry, I couldn’t resist). It gives you a wonderful overview of a lot of the software packages included in the last release, and as always the latest version has all of that and so much more. If you are an audio or video creator and work inside computer environments, this will give you an excellent understanding of which tools you will want to call up for what processes.

AV Linux Screen
AV Linux Screen

After New Years we get a few movies worth checking out, including Paradox, a story about a theoretical physicist who’s wife is murdered. He build a paratime device to allow him to jump between parallel universes, looking for one in which she is still alive. Unicorns is about a teenage girl who retreats into a fantasy world when her first romantic entanglement turns violent. This one doesn’t seem to be genre really, but it is as indie as they come, so I thought I should at least mention it on the off chance it does go into a fantasy realm.

The most interesting film this week has to be Her, a story about a writer who installs a new artificially intelligent operating system designed to meet his every need, and discovers himself drawn into a relationship with it he never expected. Don’t expect explosions and chase scenes, Spike Jonez doesn’t usually do that kind of science fiction; this story is all about intelligence and the heart. We also get Walking with Dinosaurs 3D this time around, quality animation with a story about survival and triumph. This is from 20th Century Fox, with BBC Earth doing the UK airplay, and plays a lot like some of the better classic Disney stories. I think I will probably have to see them both, and I have to say it is nice to have a choice between two stories that have never been told before. It comes complete with a free Augmented Reality App that lets you take photos of your surroundings with dinosaurs in them and a lot more.

Not the Experience in Seattle, home of the Science Fiction Hall of Fame, but a real live Museum of Science Fiction is being built in Washington, DC, and it is yet another project being built by crowdfunding. It will cover the history of the genre in all the various media, and examine its relationship to the real world. As they say on their You Tube page: Our mission is to create a center of gravity where art and science are powered by imagination. This effort is headed up by science fiction authors Greg Bear and David Brin, and their crowdfunding is centered at Indiegogo. They are starting by building a preview museum to open next year, and hoping to open the full scale facility by 2017. The preview museum will have exhibits including Star Trek, Star Wars, and Doctor Who artifacts, as both a warm up and an additional fund raising effort. Thanks to USA Today for the heads up on this one.