Codemotion, here I come!

Codemotion Amsterdam is next week. Codemotion is a tech conference that deals with rather broad topics.  It covers Inspirational speeches, Security, DevOps, front end, Game Dev and a bunch of other things. Some of their talks look really interesting. I really hope I get to understand at least a fraction of it, but here I go again.

I had given up on the idea of going because I can’t really afford tickets to tech conferences. I knew there was a ticket giveaway with the GGC (Girl Geek Carrots), but I reacted too slow. Then, a friend told me Codemotion had a diversity program “why don’t you try applying that way?”.

Guys, I did. The answer was almost instantaneous. I have a ticket! I’m really excited!

You know what else I’m excited about?

The Django Girls Groningen! It’s going to be on the 20th. So I’ve been going through the tutorial again and scrutinizing every bit of it. The past two GitHub pushes have been all about it. I actually had a hard time uploading to GitHub because Windows had some saved credentials that clashed with my input from the console. I was really about to lose it. I had googled the problem and most of the answers were not cutting it. Then the hubby googled it and found the answer within 5 minutes. He’s a googling God, I swear.

It’s going to be on the 20th. So I’ve been going through the tutorial again and scrutinizing every bit of it. The past two GitHub pushes have been all about it. I actually had a hard time uploading to GitHub because Windows had some saved credentials that clashed with my input from the console. I was really about to lose it. I had googled the problem and most of the answers were not cutting it. Then the hubby googled it and found the answer within 5 minutes.

He’s a googling God, I swear.

He spoils me rotten.

What else can I say? I’ve been looking into some other Python tutorials. I keep on getting the feeling that I’m missing something. I really want to be able to solve things and answer questions when the next Django Girls Groningen comes around.

I’ll also practice a bit on the console. Typing in the bash always makes you feel like a h3xx0r, solving problems makes you feel like a genius. Having an error and banging your head for hours only to have someone else solve it in five minutes makes me feel sad.

So here’s to new habits, tech conferences, and googling Gods,

Enjoy the evening!



Distant Worlds 

Many years ago, when I was still learning how to play the piano, I remember finding music sheets for an arrangement of “To Zanerkand”. I was around twenty years old and I was going through trying times. The music sheets felt like a piece of magic that had stumbled into my hands. 

Playing games was about the only thing that kept me sane those days. Geek culture was not popular at all during those early 00’s years. Many of the people I interacted with were in their 30s, they had children and husbands. They thought I acted like a young boy (“why is she carrying that thing around? It’s called a Game BOY for a reason!”). I spent a lot of time studying the Dutch language, playing games and talking to my online friends (who I’ve never met in real life, but who are the biggest influence in my life). It was like living two different lives: the real world life and the geeky online life. 

The music sheet was a bridge between the two worlds. It was the opening theme of my favorite game, written in a format that I could play. I was overjoyed. I took it to my piano teacher. She scoffed: “those game songs, they’re so simple,” she said “they have no nuance. You should be playing real music”. 

That was the last piece of music I learned how to play. 

Now we fast forward to the event I went to last Thursday. A full concert hall, full of people like me, who love video game music. I looked down to the orchestra playing “To Zanerkand” and I wondered if they also loved it. I wondered if they thought it was crass and simplistic. I wondered about what they thought about all of us: the people who came just to watch them play our favorite video game music. I hope that in their hearts they appreciate it. 

Just hearing them sent shivers down my spine. I was on the brink of tears. I looked around and thought “good God, there’s so many of us”. I used to feel so alone and disconnected, but there we are. Awkward, shy and infinitely geeky. All together. 

Distant Worlds has been going around the world playing Final Fantasy music for a decade now. Last Thursday was their first time in Amsterdam (and The Netherlands). Final Fantasy is now a 30 year old franchise. I’m so glad that now at last I’m discovering that I was not alone. That it’s OK to be a geek. That being open about what you love brings about the best in you. Hopefully. 

To you, friends. Thank you for listening. 


Talk Linux to Me!

The first time I heard about Linux was back in 2002. I was dating a guy who studied IT and I would sometimes sneak into his lectures. His friends thought that I was incredibly nosy and annoying because of that. Sometimes I would sneak into the IT labs and watch him code.

All of the IT labs were connected to an internal network. There was no internet connection. All of the computers used Linux. At the time, I had no idea what an Operating System (OS) was.

“Linux is an OS”, he would say and I would look at him like he had sprouted a second head. He’d clear his throat and continue, “basically, it’s like Windows. You have a computer and you install a system that can act as the bridge between the user and the computer. Linux does the same thing as Windows, Unix or Mac OS, but it’s a little different”.

“Then why don’t you use Windows?”, I’d ask.

“Well, because Linux is open source”, he’d explain. I’d stare at him blankly. “That means that all of its source code is publicly available. It makes it easy to customize and it’s free”.

I still didn’t understand what “open source” was. Also, by saying it was free, I made a completely wrong assumption about the meaning of how “free” it was, but more on that in a later post.

It was a whole new world and, not wanting to be too nosy, ignorant and annoying, I decided to leave it at that. It’s been almost 15 years since I first encountered Linux and I’ve learned a few more things about that OS, which I would now like to share with you.


What is Linux?

Linux was created in the 1990’s by a man named Linus Torvald. It started out as an OS for hobbyists but has since become one of the most widely used OS available, especially in –but not limited to– hosting servers. Linux is also a popular OS for smartphones (Android), video game consoles, smart watches, automation devices and many other things that we use in our daily life.

The reason a lot of these devices use Linux is that there’s a lot of free software developed for it. That doesn’t mean that all Linux distributions and software are free, though, only that their source code is freely available.


The History

At the time of its creation, most OS were commercially developed and open source code was not freely available. The source code of these OS was not legally available so that learning about how an OS worked was very difficult.

Inspired by Minix (a mini-OS created by Andrew Tanenbaum to teach his students about the inner workings of an OS like Unix), Torvalds developed his own OS and made it readily available on the internet, along with its source code. The original distribution of Linux only had a Bash, GCC, and an update system. The idea was that by allowing other people to modify his product, the result would be even better.


What the Heck is Open Source?

Open source software is software whose source code is freely available so that other developers can download it, modify it and make it better. In the case of Linux, this has led to there being a lot of versions of the software available, each reflecting on the tastes and necessities of the different communities who have created them.


The Linux OS comes in many different flavors, which are usually called “Linux distributions”. These are the different versions that have been created by the different Linux communities. They’re kind of like different packages that have been created containing a Linux kernel, utilities, and configurations. Of course, you could potentially modify them and create your own version of Linux. Different Linux distributions have different strengths, weaknesses, and uses.

Some popular Linux distributions are CentOS, Debian, Fedora, SUSE, Red Hat and Ubuntu. Some distributions are available for free like Fedora and Ubuntu, and some can be purchased like SUSE and Red Hat.

Ubuntu is one of the most used Linux distributions for desktops. Many consider this distribution a beginner’s version of Linux for users that are new to the Linux OS. Personally, I use Fedora, which is a free avantgarde version of Red Hat.


There’s a lot more to say about Linux, but I don’t want to make the post too long. I’ll go into the grit of Linux some other time. Until then,


New Year, New Life?

2017 has arrived and, looking back it looks like things ended in a low key with frustrations piling up. Let me clarify things: after my frustration, I continued studying, but my increasingly busy social life prevented me from blogging about it.

I have thought long and hard about some kind of plan as to how to follow this new life course. Hopefully, you’ll be able to journey along with me through these new changes.

I had wanted to keep posts in this blog above the 700-word mark (and preferably above the 1k mark). That goal is unachievable. Hence, I have decided to start over, with shorter, more frequent posts.

Originally, I didn’t want to write too much about myself either, but I’ve decided to be a bit more subjective and open up a bit about my personal life here. That means that you’ll be hearing about my travels and my life experiences along with all the geeky stuff that I find appealing.

This post is just an introduction to the new format the blog will be following. Next up is a small post about one of my new interests: Linux.


The Java Blues

Last Friday, I spent three hours with a friend making a simple Othello game in Java using NetBeans.

It made me remember the very first time I wrote a book: I was three years old and I dictated my thesis about the origin of dreams to my father, who faithfully committed it to paper. The book was a homemade pop-up book where I postulated the sort of theories only a three-year-old can come up with.

I have written countless stories: science fiction, diaries, fanfiction,  blogs and God-awful poetry. I got all of my CAS points in High school from writing at and my high school thesis was a literary analysis of the book “Doña Barbara”.

I have always loved stories and literature. I had so much fun at University studying Literature that I never wanted to graduate. I loved academia, and I never wanted to leave it…

…So why in the world did I just spend two hours trying to figure out how to write a Java object? Why am I trying to learn how to program? I’ve never done anything like this. Am I really cut out for this? I spend hours learning on my own… I think I have it all figured out.

Then I’m with someone else, someone who is taking the time to guide me in this new journey. Then my knowledge about loops and methods and variables go out the window. And I’m left there.  Like a level 1 Magikarp. Karp. Karp. I can’t even write a “Hello world!” by myself. So I despair. I’m sorry for wasting your time on me. I’m sorry for my noob questions.



I’m a noob. The noobiest of noobs.

“Why am I doing this?,” I think,”Should I give up?”.

I remember how easy it felt to write about literature. I’m tempted… And then I remember the writer’s block. I remember that I can’t write about literature like I used to because I still remember that exhilarating moment when my code turned to actions for the very first time. I remember that I haven’t given it my all.

Have I really done as much as I can? Couldn’t I do more? I haven’t yet hammered the basics against my brain long enough to memorize and imprint them there forever. I can’t give up without having done my all. I’m not even close to the level of dedication I should be having. So why am I getting depressed for? I haven’t even started to try!

Growing up, I always wanted to be the special snowflake hero: Superman, Rogue, Cassie. The people who were born heroes, the people who were just naturally gifted…  The logic of these heroes states that you’re probably gifted one way, so all you have to do is follow the path that has been laid out for you and you won’t fail. The problem with those heroes is that they’re rarely overpowered and they never doubt themselves. They are perfect. I can’t be like that. I’ve failed at things long enough to know that I don’t have a particular talent. Not naturally.

As I grow older, I’ve started liking heroes like Yona-hime, Yukihira Soma and Mumen Rider. Perhaps they’re not the best at what they do. They’re not particularly gifted or talented. In fact, they can be downright useless. They have grit, though. They’ll try as hard as they can. I want to be like that.

I won’t give up. I don’t have the right to give up. I haven’t even started to really fail. I don’t want to run away anymore.

Here’s to my Java blues: I’m going to conquer you.


An Honest Review of Pokemon Go

My goal this month has been to write blog posts regularly in order to get in the habit of writing again. All my efforts so far have been trumped by the release of a highly anticipated game, however. Do you want to take a guess which game I’m talking about?


Pokemon Go is the game that everyone is playing. Ok, not exactly everyone since I don’t think most of the people my age and older would play it, but let’s say Gen Y and younger are all raving about it. It even secured an article on Forbes magazine, so it must be quite something. Right? Here lies my concern. I think Pokemon Go is not going to be much more than a passing fad and these are my reasons:

  • It’s a Pokemon-skinned Ingress

For all of you who are absolutely new to GPS games and are playing Pokemon Go for the first time, I regret to inform you that you are playing another game altogether. That game is called Ingress.

Ingress is a game much like Pokemon Go where you have to capture portals around the world and link them together to create fields. Every Pokestop and Pokemon Gym you encounter in Pokemon Go were born as one of those user-requested “portals”. These portals are used by Ingress players to gain control over an area (so people would request portals be made close to their working places and homes) and it is probably the reason why there are a few Pokestops that don’t make any sense (a seagull on top of a house? Sure, why not make that a portal!) or that don’t exist anymore. Ingress players abused the ability to request portals be made, and usually requested portals to be easily accessible by car. If you translate that into Pokemon go where you’re supposed to walk (eggs can only be hatched if you move slowly), you get a lot of Pokestops that are located in areas that are difficult to access as a pedestrian and that just doesn’t make any sense.

There was also something called ” exotic matter” which was basically a recording of how popular a road was. places with a lot of user transit would get a higher level of exotic matter, which meant walking around exotic matter fields would grant ingress players energy. The idea made a lot of sense in Ingress since it came from the premise that aliens were drawn to humanity and humanity’s inspirational objects. In Pokemon Go, however, the exotic matter has been replaced with chances of random encounters and that makes a lot less sense to me. I mean, why would there be a bigger Pokemon density in highly populated areas? By the way, this is why you’re getting Aerodactyl while you’re on the highway.


  • It’s not Newby Friendly


If you’re playing Pokemon Go, most likely you have googled “how do I throw the stupid Pokeball?” or asked a friend how to put the eggs in the incubator. To this date, I have no idea how to use the tracking system (should I be given an arrow to follow the Pokemon I’m tracking?), whether I should power up before or after evolving, or whether the size has anything to do with HP. There are thousands of articles that tell you what to do or things the authors wished they knew before playing Pokemon go, but all in all, let’s just agree that the tutorial system sucks.

I agree that there should be a bit of a struggle if you want to max out your characters, but I should be able to understand how the game works and why. As a game, Pokemon has evolved from the time where it was 150 Pokemon, and there’s a lot of types that have changed over the years. Niantic expects users to just generate content, tutorials and do a lot of research, after all, it worked with ingress, right?


  • The Battle System is Awful


One of the finer points of the Pokemon games was the turn based battle system, and the ability to choose which moves to learn and at what stage to evolve your Pokemon. You would get a Magikarp and make sure it was under level 20, so it could potentially evolve into Gyarados. Certain moves could only be learned at a certain level and the best way to ensure you did everything right was to hand-raise your Pokemon with a lot of tender love and care. There was also the breeding system which added another layer of complexity to the game.

I understand, a battle system as complex as the one in the old games could not make it to a game where you have to keep on the move. It’s a pity because a lot of enjoyment of the classic Pokemon games comes from people trying to raise the perfect team, but there are better alternatives to a button-mash game mechanic. At first, I thought dodge would be an interesting addition –albeit a bit clunky. Since then I have realized I get more damage done to me if I try to dodge (this probably has to do with the lag and may be fixed when the unkillable bosses are not a thing anymore). I feel that the game’s battle system wants to be faster than the old system, but it is still too slow. A Gym battle doesn’t end seconds after you arrive and that means you have to stop, check your Pokemon, make sure everything is in place and then attack the gym enough times to be able to take it over. I would also much rather battle a specific thematic gym than a bunch of other people’s Pokemon. I’ll miss Brock and Misty.

One improvement of this system from the Ingress system is that the attacker has the advantage and that is great! In Ingress at a low level, you don’t stand a chance against a high-level portal, it seems Niantic has learned its lesson and allowed for more fluidity between gyms. Still, I find the system too slow. I would have preferred a battle system like that in games like Hearthstones/Magic (there was a Pokemon card game at one point, right?) or like Half Minute Hero. The basis for this comment is that if I don’t really have that much agency in what the fight will look like, I would like the fight to be done automatically.

On top of that, the idea of not being able to choose which moves my Pokemon knows is something I am personally incredibly bummed about. Sure I can catch a bunch of them until I get the perfect combination of moves and CP, but that feels joylessly grindy: It’s like waiting for that perfect Ancient Furnace to drop on Diablo III. Worst of all, it’s all about chance drops. I think I wouldn’t mind grinding a bit if I had more agency in what I’m getting: if moves worked the way moves work in other Pokemon games.

Finally, let’s agree that the idea of a starter Pokemon is completely lost on Pokemon Go. I understand it’s a legacy mechanic from the old games, it just doesn’t make sense on the capturing mechanic of Pokemon Go. You needed starter Pokemon in the old games because to capture a new Pokemon you need to fight it. If you didn’t have a Pokemon to start out with, you couldn’t capture a new one, but on Pokemon Go all you need to do is throw balls at the wild Pokemon, so why do you need a starter again? Not to mention it’s a really weak Pokemon too that you’ll grow out of as soon as you capture your first wild Pokemon. And again, this section doesn’t even have a good tutorial on how to capture Pokemon. The professor just leaves you there almost shouting: ” ok, that’s it, you’re on your own!”

  • The Rivalry System will make for Scary Real Life Situations


I have no idea why North Americans have such a strong belief that dividing people into factions and making them compete against each other is the best way to create cooperation. It’s like they think humans are incapable of bonding over anything other than a common enemy.

I have said this once before about Ingress and I will say this again now: that works in online games when you can’t stab each other for real or when the other person can’t chase you with a baseball bat. Yeah, you’re laughing right now because the worst thing you can think of is chasing a Squirtle around a bad place of the neighborhood. Trust me when I say this: people will be losing their sh*t over you taking ” their” Gym. How can I tell? Because it happens all the time in Ingress. So make sure you are safe. Also, be wary of stalkers. Those happen too in Ingress, so just be careful when and where you put your Pokemon on your local Gym.

On an added bonus, there’s now robbers attaching lures to remote locations, waiting for you to come and take your valuables. Yay?

  • It’s a Niantic Game


What do I mean by this? First, I think Niantic is a very lazy company. They got as far as they did, hitchhiking on the content their users provided them with. That’s why Pokemon Go has such a high breach of your privacy. They’ll most likely sell your data to someone else –and they know where you’ve been, who you’re with and where you live.

When I first started playing Ingress, I was told I shouldn’t be too negative about the game “it just came out of beta, so things are bound to get better”. Years later, Ingress is now a bit more dumbed down, but most of their major issues are still not resolved. They’ve completely relied on crowd management of their game and I don’t think this will change in Pokemon Go. I would love to choose my Pokemon’s moves, battle friends or even trade Pokemon, all things people talk about ” coming later”, but knowing Niantic, I’m not too hopeful.


All negativity aside, I am having fun playing Pokemon Go. I’m level 15 at the moment and I’ve been walking the dog a lot longer than usual, so that’s good. I probably will continue playing casually for years to come, if the game is still alive by then. I think there’s many nice friendships that can be made and a lot of life improvements. I just feel that I was expecting more from this. Maybe when the fever dies out, Pokemon Go will be one of those games you’ll talk about among friends and smile ” remember that time when we went to the park at night to catch a Charizard? Yeah, that was crazy scary! Those were the days!”


Three Awful Messages Dating Sims Perpetuate

Let me start by explaining the concept of dating Sims for those of you lucky enough never to have crossed paths with the concept before. Dating sims are a derivate of games known as “visual novels”: a type of game that is akin to “choose your own adventure” books.

In visual novels, the player gets to read a story from the first person point of view. There is usually a point where the main character (often referred to as MC) will need to make a choice and that’s when the player decides which choice the main character will take. Usually, the choices the player makes affect the events and/or the ending of the game. There are many genres of visual novels including horror, adventure, mystery, and romance. However, even when many games take elements from visual novels (choices made in Telltale games or games such as The Witcher, Mass Effect, and Dragon Age that include decision making and character romance) pure visual novel games are often seen as inferior or not considered true games at all. Dating simulators or dating sims are visual novels that specialize in romance. Generally, people make a distinction between dating sims aimed at men (gal games) and dating sims aimed at women (otome games).

Of all visual novel games, dating sims are probably the most well-known and the most despised. Dating sims would probably be an even more obscure genre, were it not for the world of anime. Despite the negative bias against dating sim players, media built from and around dating sims have become quite popular and celebrated: for example, the manga and anime series The World God Only Knows which uses and comments on popular tropes of the dating sim. There are also a number of dating sim titles which have gone to become celebrated anime series such as the Kyoto Animation trinity: Air, Kanon, and Clannad.

For me, personally, dating sims tell a story of gender representation and mating rituals. I have decided to list here three of the things I believe dating sims have to tell about our society:



1) Romance is marketed differently for men and women.

Usually in a gal game, you will play a character and according to your choices, you will end up romancing a character in the story (or none!). There are probably exceptions to this rule, but in general, it’s the way things play out: go to the library and find the timid bookworm girl, wake up early and go to the race track and connect with the active jock girl, go to the art room if you want to romance a sensitive artsy girl. In gal games, you’re always on the hunt. Even some games give the player the option to have the elusive (but totally achievable) ‘Harem ending’, where you manage to “conquer” all of the girls at the same time. Not so much so for otome games.

Otome games like to have you take the backseat in the story: you’re not going to choose who you want to end up with in the middle of the game, you choose that before you even begin the game proper. I think this is because most dating sims come from the standpoint that women are supposed to value monogamy over anything else and men are supposed to be promiscuous. See, it’s ok for a guy to choose who they’re going to woo during their gameplay, but women are supposed to be committed to a route from the start. Sure, there are exceptions like Cinders, Re:Alistair, and Hatoful Boyfriend but the majority of otome games will give you a quick introduction to the story, showcase the characters and then ask you to pick one before you can continue the story. There are also gal games that will have you pick a route early on, such as Katawa Shoujo, but I haven’t experienced that to be extremely common and you were allowed to go around during the whole first act hunting wabbits, I mean, girls. In otome games, it’s not even possible to link events from one storyline to the next (mostly because the stories are completely different other than the characters’ personalities). You will hardly have a game where you gain insight about the events by playing different routes. They’re altogether parallel universes.

I think this is probably all tied in with the idea that men are supposed to hunt for a partner, while women need to be wooed. I wish more games allowed female characters to woo their partners, but instead we are left in a position of improving ourselves: you need to buy specific clothes in order to attract your man! Most free to play games end up with an internal coin system and a set of character dress-up trials as if telling you “you have to be this tall to be on this ride”. And speaking of rides, why is it that dating sims for men have so much fanservice and sexual content, but dating sims for women are satisfied after showing you a chaste kiss? Where a gal game will have plenty of nudity and reward its players for treating its conquerable characters as sexual objects (press “P” to make Vanilla’s boobs wiggle- it’s an achievement!). Otome games rarely go beyond a kiss and main characters are supposed to be prudish virgins who will faint at the sight of a bare chest (“how dare you show yourself naked from the waist up? You pervert!”).

Otome MCs make for such bland and stupid characters, most otome game adaptations in any other medium come off as cliché, corny and stupid (Amnesia: Memories, anyone?). The gal game MC can be quirky, funny, tough or cool, but the otome game MC’s main trait is often being sweet and forgiving.


MC: “It’s OK, Toma, I know you only put me in a cage because you care!”

2) Not being in a relationship is the end of the world.

I understand that the point of a dating simulator is to simulate dating someone in real life. Having said that, I have a feeling I should be allowed to break up with any virtual partner if they bug me enough. A good example would be most of the cast of Amnesia: Memories or The Men of Yoshiwara. Some of these characters are excessively controlling, abusive and domineering but your character is supposed to forgive all that because otherwise you cannot achieve the “good ending”. You could dismiss these games as bad games and leave it at that, but I think they have a good enough following so there’s clearly a market for this kind of content, so dismissing them as bad games just because I disliked the characters sounds too subjective to me. Not all games suffer from this problem. Cinders, in spite of being way patronizing and preachy (show, don’t tell!), manages to convey stories that lead to a good ending regardless of whether your main character found a partner or not.

I think that in the same way that you shouldn’t agree to marry a person you met on Tinder before your first date, you should be allowed to choose to say no to 2D character’s advances. I also think that representing the idea of being single as a ‘bad ending’ or ‘bad outcome’ is harmful. Not everyone who plays a dating sim is already in a loving relationship, in fact, I would dare to say most people who play that sort of game are not in a relationship. Telling your audience they are living the ‘bad ending’ can do funny things to a person’s self-esteem. I think games should be open to the idea that it’s ok to be single, no matter what.

As an aside, I also wish they would stop stressing the importance of age, beauty and wealth. Because you know what? Maybe I don’t want to marry the young and handsome new CEO of the company. Frack that guy, he’s an a-hole.



3) Nobody cares if you’re LGBT.

As a heterosexual female, I can’t quite tell whether there are a lot of LGBT dating sims out there. As far as I have seen, I’ve found a couple of them on steam, but really I would probably be able to count them on one hand. It’s not that I have looked very hard, but at the same time, I do feel there should be a way to romance same-sex characters in normal games. I have read more than one review of an otome game asking for a supporting female character to become romanceable. I can totally understand that feeling. Sometimes supporting characters are more interesting than any of the MC and let’s face it some of these characters are there for MC in ways that none of the love interests are. Quietly and lovingly looking over us. I don’t think this should only be available in otome games, but also in gal games. If you want a stronger argument, look no further than episode 4 of Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-Kun.



All in all, I know this all sounds very pessimistic, but hopefully, it comes across as a loving criticism rather than pure criticism. I think that dating sims are incredibly fun games that tie in storytelling and decision making to deliver sometimes incredibly moving love stories (eg. Clannad), but I also think that many of the conventions these games operate under are outdated and harmful to their audience. I hope the future brings about new visual novels and new dating sims that everyone can find enjoyable and use to unwind for a while and just feel loved.


Summer Anime: Nudity and Regrets

I would like to talk about two specific animes that are being released this season: the second season of Shokugeki no Souma (Food Wars) and Orange. I have read the manga for both of these series, so I have an idea of how things are going to continue. I would like to give a personal impression on how I see the representation of these two series taking form (and the hurdles to overcome when making an anime series based on a manga) and my own thoughts about these series.

Let me start by saying that a post like this would not have been possible without something that happened fifteen years ago. Fifteen years ago, I made a decision I would regret for the rest of my life. The decision was to “follow my heart”, as TV usually tells you to do. It’s one of the most used lines in existence, after all. Who could ever go wrong by following their hearts? I did. As a consequence, I ended up abandoned, with no clear road or destination ahead.

Orange is about decisions like that. It’s about how those little every day regrets can build up and become the difference between a person’s life or death. The premise of the story is simple: a young 16-year-old girl receives a letter from her future self that warns her about her future regrets and instructs her on what to do to avoid having the same kind of regrets in the future.



The manga is a very sweet slice of life story where the only sci-fi element is the nature of the letters. It reminds me a lot of series like AnoHana and Ao Haru Ride. I have yet to watch or read ReLIFE, but I find it amusing that we get two series this anime season that talk about second chances in life after failing the first time around. That said, I thought the way the manga tackled the idea of having these kinds of regrets was well done: Where most series tend to talk about past regrets as unclimbable obstacles and traumatic experiences that lead characters to be unable to cope with their lives, Orange portrays regrets as missed opportunities that characters wish they had done different but that altogether lead to different paths to happiness. The fact that you made a mistake does not mean that you will never be happy, or that you’ll never find love again. If your first love failed, you can still have a happy family in the future. Life goes on and there is no certain road to success. I like this message.

Having said that, I feel that the anime adaptation of this series suffers a lot from the difference in mediums. In the first episode, there’s a lot of reading and the montage of the group of friends going around and playing felt a bit odd paced. Well, in general, I’m not a big fan of the animation of this series, but since I don’t know much about film and art composition, I would not dare to pinpoint exactly my discomfort. If possible, I would advise people to read this series rather than watch the anime. Although the anime seems to be a lot faster paced than I remember the manga being. I can imagine there will be a lot of details that will be lost to anime viewers. All in all, I will continue to watch this series with a tissue box at hand. Mostly because I’m a big Suwa fan and I really don’t care much for Kakeru. I wonder if this anime will allow the main character to be happy no matter what her decisions are.

I thought that it was nice that there were things that could be changed because of the letters and things the main character would struggle to change or that even if she changed them, some things would turn out the same. How much of the things that happen are up to you to change? How much is predetermined? I like that this series sets this question and I like it that it never answers it. I think answering it would cheapen the overall experience.00aa

On a whole different spectrum is the second season of Shokygeki no Souma. The reason I decided to talk about it here (aside from the fact that it is a summer anime) is that the person who originally recommended this title to me is one of the people who I met after making that one huge mistake in my life. He was a huge influence when it comes to me becoming the geek/otaku that I am today and I can honestly call him one of the main influences in my current life. Without having made past mistakes, I really doubt I would have met him, so I am glad things happened the way they did.


He’s a chef and studied cuisine for some time, so when he recommended the manga to me, I was curious. He said much of the theory in the manga was based on real culinary theories, in spite of the exaggerations. I decided to give it a try and ended up facing something akin to tentacle porn. needless to say, I was shocked enough to stop right there and then.

Then came the anime version and I thought, well, some series are better as anime than they are as manga, right? They wouldn’t put as much sexual content in an animated version, right? The answer is, they actually put more fanservice into the animated series than they did the manga. Not only that, but they added a whole first episode to showcase a strange S&M event that does not really add to the series as a whole.

The only way I can justify all the nudity in this series is that the author probably really likes cuisine theory and between his action-packed arches he likes to explain why things work the way they do, but then catches himself talking too much about cuisine and makes up for it with naked women instead of potatoes. My friend likes to defend it saying that there’s also naked men, but to be honest, the ratio is completely wrong and the type of men that are mostly depicted are hardly eye candy for women (mostly old men).

This upcoming season will continue the tournament arch. I wonder how far after the tournament will the anime go. So far the anime is following the manga step by step, which I am glad of because, as I said before, I was not a big fan of the extra fanservice the animators tried to cram in the series. In spite of it all, I am looking forward to this series, I just need to make sure to have a full stomach before each episode.

Here’s hoping for a good summer anime season.


Computers and The Internet Magic

Back when I started learning how to program, I had a nagging feeling that I was missing something. There is a lot to computer science and I wished I could just download all the knowledge directly into my brain, The Matrix style. Mind you, if possible, I would download as much knowledge as was available into my brain that way.

You see, I never had to study computers, so to me the internet was a magical place more akin to Plato’s world of ideas than anything physical. It wasn’t until I joined a workshop by the Django Girls that I started to understand what it was about. Sadly, the “how internet works” part of the Django Girls Tutorial completely lost me half way. I was left adrift with more questions than answers. I ended up looking at Khan Academy for an easy explanation.

What you’re about to read is what I ended up with after trying to make sense of it all using the resources available to me.

In the Beginning, There was Binary


One thing all tutorials seem to agree on is that the internet is much like a postal service. Since I grew up in a country where going to the post office equals getting robbed and where all the goods sent over post are stolen by the post office staff, I did not fully understand the analogy. I understood the gist of it: you give a letter to the post office, then the post office brings it to the place it needs to go. But who was the post office? What kind of letters were sent? How?

So what does binary have to do with all of that? Well, the information that is sent over the internet uses the binary system to make it easier for the computer to understand the data. So the letter you want to send is a bunch of binary data. See, the binary system is easy for a computer to use because it only needs two levels of information: on and off. It makes designing circuits easier.

There are other systems other than binary:

  • Decimal (base 10)
  • Octal (base 8)
  • Hexadecimal (base 16)


The problem with these systems is that they are difficult to represent in the physical world and therefore difficult to build. On top of that, we use the octal and hexadecimal systems to represent binary (think about computer color palletes).

Representing things as a yes or a no, on or off, one or zero makes things easier, but it is also a limitation on the type of algorithms you want to use. There’s no way of representing “maybe”. That’s where quantum computers shine. Quantum computers use “switches” that can reliably hold more than two posible states. If you want more information about this, I recommend this video. For now, let’s go back to binaries.

Binary information is sent in the forms of bits: a pair of opposites (1,0). Eight bits are one byte. A thousand bytes are one kilo byte and so on. The way we physically convey this information is for example using switches, or light that can only be on or off. Khan Academy has a really nice video about how information is passed using tangible examples (a timer and a light bulb).

Then The Computers Talked and They Saw That It Was Good


If you’re anything like me, you probably wondered how your computer is able to connect to a computer at the other end of the world. I mean, I knew there were cables that connected computers together like one big happy LAN party, but I wondered about the ocean. Are there cables in the ocean? Yes, yes, there are. Here’s the proof.

So in the end, the internet is not necessarily what connects your computer to all the rest, that’s what you did when you plugged in the internet cable. The internet is actually the framework that organizes the way your computer interacts with all the other computers. In the words of the people from Khan Academy: it’s “a design philosophy and an architecture expressed in a set of protocols”. In other words, a set of rules of how to communicate.

The first thing you’d need to communicate is an address (which ties in with the idea of sending mail by post). This role is fulfilled by the IP address: your computer’s name (according to geeks and other computers on the network).

There are computers who specialize in serving information to other computers –so your own computer doesn’t have to. Could you imagine if you needed to have your computer on at all times so other people could look at your website? Those computers are called servers (because they “serve” information to other computers).

What it boils down to is that once you give your computer a website address, it uses it to find the IP address of the computer that contains the file you want to look at.



Hello world!

Welcome to my blog.

You see before you a literature graduate in her natural habitat. See how she strides along the crammed bookcases in search of her prey! Her mind is focused on the next book to devour without realizing she’s in for a surprise.

The video game came out of nowhere. It’s seductive pheromones made her unable to resist. The video game swiftly wraps itself along our literature graduate’s mind, filling it with ideas, questions and theories that are too difficult to prove without a sociolinguistic study. The hunter has become the hunted.

The video game roars in triumph. The animes, manga books and programming languages will have to wait.