Sunday, 29 September 2013

End of summer 2013-report

Right now I am sitting in a train traveling to my right now favorite place in the world(Zagreb) and counting the last hours of my almost 3 month long summer vacation.It was a pretty average summer.

In June/early July I still had some exams left to finish.At the beginning of that exam period I was pretty pessimistic about it.I almost screwed up some things,so I was expecting a possible catastrophe like last summer.However in the end I actually even increased my total average,with some surprisingly good grades.Somewhere at this point I switched from Ubuntu 12.04 to Ubuntu 13.04.

In early July I finished all my exams so this is when my vacation actually began.I was afraid I could fail the last exam but I actually aced it.It was still a close call though because I did not have time to answer all the questions.Soon I started looking for a part time job.Because at 21 that was my next step towards independence.I did not really do it for the money(alright,maybe a little for the money),what I actually wanted was the experience.But while I was waiting to get a job I did not just wait while doing nothing,I tried to get some skills.At first I wanted to familiarize myself with the basics of the python programming language.I think I did learn enough that If I would ever want/need to get serious about it I would have a good starting point.I also tried to learn myself some Linux terminal commands.I had the same result as with python,a good starting point.This might have been the best period of my vacation.

I think I finished multiple dozens of Anime movies and series during July XD.Bakuman was great at that time.

August...I was still searching for a new job.I already had several job interviews under my belt and I already kind of knew what to expect.I still continued to slowly gain some skills.I think that that month I watched loads of computer security related tutorials and "how to" videos on Youtube.And at the end of August it finally happened :I found a job!!!!It's true that I quit after 4 days(because it simply was not going right,most of my coworkers quit as well),but I have to look at the positives.I gained that initial experience that I wanted so much and I learned that I can survive an 8 hour working day.So that was for me another step into adulthood.
In August,just like I did in July I finished loads of anime.Puella magi Madoka magica and Steins gate were great at that time.August was also very good.

September...Was kind of,well I spent most of my time helping out my parents.Sure nothing wrong with that,but yeah,I am not really a family person.I tried learning some Japanese Hiragana.Well I could have done better.I really did not have a lot of free time during September :( .I was hoping to spend 5 days in Zagreb but unfortunately I had to cancel that,because I was just too busy.So September left a bad aftertaste.

And here I am now counting the last hours of my vacation.Ultimately it was better than last summer which was mostly spent for learning for my HTML/CSS exam because I needed to take it a third time,but it was worse than expected.
I spent most of my time in a small town in my parents house. Unfortunately that small town is boring as fuck,so I spent most of my free time doing nothing specific and just being in my room. Occasionally I went to Zagreb for college stuff or for job hunting,those days were fun...

So what will I do with the remaining few hours of vacation?I guess watch some anime,sleep,wake up,experiment if I can jam my wifi signal with Kali Linux,paint,go shopping,eat...and then my first class of the semester will start so the vacation will be officially over.

Well that's just it.

Though I hope I won't stop blogging. I still have some blog post ideas in my mind.Maybe I won't post as frequently as I did during vacation,but hey I will try...

Friday, 20 September 2013

KDE vs Unity

So basically,once I installed  my standard Ubuntu 13.04 a few months ago,the first thing I did was install KDE alongside Unity.I had some reasons why I did that.Well you will learn more about those reasons in this post.So since I have those two I decided to make a comparison between them.

1. Ease of use:
Probably the most important category.Unity has a great launcher with appropriately sized icons,it has the dash which is easy to navigate and it has the hub.Everything is a few clicks away.KDE on the other hand has pretty standard ease of use..A pretty standard taskbar similar(the one that windows 7 ripped off).Nothing special there.


2. Startup speed:
People complain that unity is slow,but KDE is even worse.


3. Customization and personalization:
Unity can be configured pretty nicely if you know how to do it...However KDE is unbeatable there.The most configurable interface right now.With enough creativity you could make it look like it was done on crack.


4. Out of the box beauty:
Out of the box both are pretty good.It is just that Unity is a bit more composed,has a better default wall paper,a better default theme and some minor pluses.


5. After customization beauty:
 If you give it some effort you can really make your KDE interface shine.It has tons of effects,a multitude of great themes to choose.And you can pick colors for everything.You can move your task-bar into any side of the screen,even put it in the middle of the screen,you can change the size and shape of the task-bar both vertically and horizontally...


6. Neatness:

The desktop in unity is as neat as its user.Nothing special there.However KDE has some features which allow you to keep your desktop neater.It has this kind of "fence" where your icons,folders and documents are.You will see it on the screenshot I will provide.


Here is a screenshot of my Unity desktop.The only customisation here is the wallpaper:

And here is KDE.What you see there is how the wobbly windows effect works,once you move a window it becomes wobbly :).This one is heavily customized:

So its a tie with 3:3!

Monday, 16 September 2013

Anime conference in Zagreb:Pandakon 2013!

A few months ago I was asking myself if there are any anime related conferences in Zagreb,or at least in the vicinity of Croatia.The answer was of course,no more than 0!However,that changed,now there is one,but I will write about that one a few paragraphs later.

Back then a few months ago I even found a list of anime conferences in Europe.It seemed that the closest anime convention was in Belgium.Lol,no way,that's too far.

Ok,on that list were probably only some of the biggest and most succesful conventions in Europe,so I can probably guess there were conventions closer to Croatia.However we live in a hit or miss kind of world.Going out of the country just to visit some small conferences seems like too much.

However again,things have changed.Just a few days ago I was informed that some enthusiasts are trying to establish their own anime convention right here in Zagreb.I immediately started thinking,has the world finally come to its senses and started to bend at my own will?(lol,probably not)

Here is the official facebook page(unfortunately in Croatian,but you are still welcome even if you are not from Croatia):

First of course the entrance fee:it's free :)(free as in free beer I guess XD).The conference will be held on the 27/28th october 2013,and it will be open from 12:00 until 03:00 the next day.

Now,what can you expect word:


There will be:
-movie projections
-outfit competitions with rich prizes
-anime soundtracks
-anime beauty salons
-creative booths
-manga trading
-merchandise trading
-and more...

And if that isn't enough I will be there.This might be your once in a lifetime chance to meet me.I mean,what else could you want?(ok that's enough joking).

But seriously now,this convention promises to be AWESOME!If you have the time you should definitely go there.I mean,this sort of thing rarely happens in Zagreb,or even in Croatia,and if enough people come,there will be another convention next year.And if even more people start coming this convention might grow and become even more AWESOME!

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Why anime is not for kids only!

So the worst misconception and stereotype about anime is that just like 95% of western animation(cartoons) it is for kids only.That could not be farther away from the truth.How many times have people told you that anime is only for children?Well good news,it is not only for children.

Don't think I hate cartoons,as a child I loved them.Even now some spongebob,simpsons,south park jokes still crack me up.Btw. in this post most of the things that are animated but are not anime will be included into "cartoons".

Back to anime though.Modern anime even has separate genres for adults,like josei,seinen and well stuff like ecchi and hentai.

A year ago I also found this article on tvtropes(a great website btw.):

The problem is that this article has been changed a lot since then,or I would rather say it was destroyed.It is missing the information I was looking four.Luckily I can still remember most of it.The next link is proof that the article was changed,because if you will read everything there carefully,it will not make sense:

This is a quote from the old article before it was edited:
With standards lowered and budgets tightened, cartoons became little more than a drawn series of humorous gags devoid or blunted of emotional impact. Soon, it became unavoidable that the children's demographic became its target market. Although they were often funny and creative, their lack of concern for depth or strong characterization lent little room for adults to enjoy them. Furthermore in the West, animation was pigeonholed into a stereotype that they could only be successful if they were humorous.

So now I will try to remember what was written there and retell it in my own way.We have to go to the past a bit.The history of anime and cartoons between the 1940's and the 1970's.

In the 1940's/1950's anime and cartoons were both basically carbon copies of each other.Unlike todays cartoons which are aimed only at children,1940's cartoons were aimed to adults as well.Just like anime today they had adult themes.In fact cartoons were mostly considered to be a form of art,so you could win academy awards,without investing a lot of money.Back then you could make cartoons or anime without investing a huge amount of money into production.That is not really childlike,is it?

So what changed both the anime and cartoon industry?When did they split up into two diverse entities?

To understand that we need to mention the difference in tastes between adults and children.
Adults want/need:good animation quality,realistic animation,a good story,character development,good sound...
Children:don't care about any quality as long as they can spend some time.

So in 1953 color TV was introduced.For anime and cartoon producers this meant that in order to attract grown up audiences they had to invest more money into production.BAM,that is when things started to change and the so called "animation age ghetto" was created.

The cartoon industry decided to take the easy road.Children don't care about good animation quality,a good story and stuff like that.So by the beginning of the 1960's most cartoons were oriented towards children.This was done in order to cut production costs.Because with the introduction of color tv adults started to demand more and more quality.

The anime industry did not do the same mistake.They continued to improve the story.They continued to improve the animation quality.The anime industry instead continued to try to appeal to the more mature audiences.

In the 1970's the cartoon industry continued the trend that started in the 1950's.The 1970's were even worse because the first "30 minute toy commercials" have started at that time.
In fact we had to wait for the 1990's (The Simpsons to be more precise) to see the first signs of this trend slowing down.
This of course created the stereotype in western culture that everything that is animated is for children.

Meanwhile what was happening in Japan?
In the 1960's the traditional anime style of animation was established.That is when the anime industry became its own entity.That is when anime became what it is today.In the 1970's many modern animation studios like madhouse and sunrise were founded.This allowed a whole new generation of  authors to enter the anime industry.The mecha subgenre was established.And then came the 1980's...

Here are some more sources.I found those while I was searching for the original text of the first source I mentioned in this blog post:

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Foreign languages and how to remember them.

So,one day I was thinking about what were my talents.Not what were my skills,but what were my talents.Most of the skills I have acquired were not acquired by talent,they were acquired through tough practice.However,I am not a talentless person,I just never really got motivated to develop the talents I got.

My computer skills were gained purely by practice.I even think that a lot of my college friends have a better learning curve than I have.

However,let's go back to my talents now.I think I have two pretty good talents(maybe more,but those are the only ones I can think of right now).The first one is that I am great with foreign languages.I mean If I had tried I am sure that by now I could have learned at least 10 languages.I didn't because of laziness.The other one is my ability to surprise people,even myself,even if I don't try.I mean seriously there is nobody in my life whom I haven't surprised.Intentionally or not.Luckily right now I am more or less successful at limiting my surprises to positive or neutral surprises.I am filled with surprises.

Now,let's go back to foreign languages.The context being that I am in the process of learning Japanese.I have actually written the next parts a week ago on a forum,but the forum post was so good that I thought I could expand it into a blog post:

The good:My Japanese is good enough that if I started learning it intensively now that I could speak it pretty good in less than a year.Or watch raw anime.
The bad:If I continue with this speed it might take half a decade or even a whole decade.

I have tried watching an episode of hellsing the dawn raw,and I think I at least partly understood half of it.It was a few months ago.The truth is you can really learn a language just by consuming a lot of media in a certain language.I learned German when I was six just by watching German TV.Even without translated subtitles.I also think I learned more English by using it on the Internet or watching movies in English,and guess what I almost qualified for my country's national English competition.I was second in the Zagreb county and I will always regret the fact that I did not score 2 more points to qualify.And my German used to be even better than my English a few years ago.Yeah I guess I got my point across.Even children learn their mother tongue by listening to people around them.There is no such thing as genetic knowledge.At least that is what science says.You learn languages by using them,not by well "learning them manually".

The problem with that is that you also forget languages by not using them.College has proven that my English is not at its best.Because for some reason or another I am just not using it as much as I did before.Maybe I could switch to dubbed anime,but then I would have to quit on my Japanese so I won't.And my German is even worse off.I haven't had a proper chance to use it ever since they stopped airing German dubbed anime on German TV.But I am planning to enter a student exchange program,and I plan to go to Germany trough that program next year,so I guess I will have a good chance to renew both my English and my German then.

Another problem with this method is that it is not very good for learning grammar,unless you really stick to it.

That's it.Hope you had a good time reading this.