Friday, June 30, 2017

DIY Removable Flash Card Based On Sigur Rós Songs

How It All Started

I was sitting all relaxed one morning listening to Sigur Rós when a thought crossed my mind: "What if I could make you, a flash card that teaches you Icelandic, based on Sigur Rós songs?" I was about to tweet that, but instead I started working on it. Obviously 'cause I thought it was gonna be a breeze. Spoiler alert: it's not.

The Idea: It Has To Be Removable!

I'm gonna make a set of flash card consisting of five batches. One batch will consist of ten word entries that are taken from one Sigur Rós song. At the end, I'm gonna have 50 word entries derived from five songs: Hoppípolla, Starálfur, Glósóli, Ekki Múkk, and Inní Mér Syngur Vitleysingur.

But, because it's not enough to learn Icelandic or any language from only 50 vocabs, I decided that the entries should be removable and updatable. That's why the words and illustrations on my flash card can be pulled out and replaced with something new.

The Journey

Initial Phase: Solid Idea, Bad Execution

After figuring out the tools and materials I might need, as well as calculating the dimensions of the card, I started working on it without much thought. I knew I got the materials I needed. 

For the base, my mischievous self insisted that I make use of the last remnants of my failed startup, i.e., my business card.

And then origami paper will cover up the base and give it color. 

At each corner and the middle of the card, I'm gonna attach small pieces of poster board--but just on one side at the edge so they can serve as a clip that holds the word and illustration pieces. 

Lastly, I'm gonna slide the word and illustration pieces made of origami paper between the poster boards. This way, the words and illustrations can actually be pulled out and changed (into a new entry, or into another language) according to your wish.

The plan is good, the base cards are ready, time to insert the word and illustration pieces. 

But oh, because I made the cards willy-nilly, they're askew, their sizes inconsistent, and as a result, the pieces did not fit. 

An awful mess. I have to start from scratch.

Reborn Phase: Beauty Matters! Restart Everything!

Wow. Apparently, you cannot work willy-nilly when you're doing 50 pieces of cards by hand. Okay, I decided to redo everything, but this time, I'm gonna rely on something I know will be consistent: computer and printer. 

The first time I tried making the flash card, I cut up my pieces along hand-drawn lines. Wrong. Before you cut them up, just make the lines on the computer and print them out directly on your poster boards or origami paper. Saves you time and gives you consistency. Then for a clean cut, go with a sharp cutter.

Once I got my poster board pieces ready, I attached them on the base really carefully. As I learned before, askew pieces will fuck everything up.

Now I got a really neat poster boards accurately placed exactly where they should be. And when it's time to slide the word and illustration pieces, they actually fit.

Crazy Hidden Challenges

Now. I don't wanna talk about it, this is really painful and traumatizing, but actually, there's one more challenge in making a flash card. Not just my flash card, any flash card I believe. And that, is illustrating a certain type of word.

It is easy to select a picture to illustrate a hand, or a woman. But how exactly do you illustrate words such as "therefore" or "but"? 

I had to rack my brain and get around the problem. Eventually, I decided to get creative by getting philosophical, going abstract, and conceptualizing shits. Anything to survive basically. And the result is absurd cards like these:

Endalaust | Eternity. A wheel and its shadow. 
Because together they create the "eight" symbol. 

Öðrum | Other. Kids excluding one other kid. 
Because that's just how you behave towards other people.

And the most absurd one of all...

En | But. Scissors taken apart. 
Because it is a pair of scissors, BUT it is not functioning that way.

From Maker Movement To Open Knowledge Movement

As a user and fan of a lot of MOOCs, I'm grateful for their existence in the open knowledge movement. Now that I've completed my project, I'd like to give back to the community by making my design available to anyone who wishes to make it.  

Here are the downloadable files where you can find the ready-to-print designs and materials:

Materials and Tools
Poster Board Pieces
Word Pieces
Illustration Pieces

Credits and License

Special thanks to Sigur Rós for providing the inspiration and creating the songs.

Picture credit: 

A wheel and its shadow: Ravinder M A
Kids excluding one other kid: Robert de Bock 
Scissors taken apart: Eric.Ray 
Night: frostnip907
Down: Riko Jennrich
Standing: Thoroughly Reviewed
Yes: Pabak Sarkar
Dream: Emily Raw

Also thanks to Flickr users whose pictures I used as illustrations, whether they're shown here or not.

This flash card and its design are free for non-commercial use.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Forgetting Wonder Woman

I just need to write this post really quick. It's been a couple of days since I watched Wonder Woman and I can't seem to get over it. So I just need to get it out of my system.

I'm in love with Wonder Woman--not the character Wonder Woman, but the film Wonder Woman. And I wanna talk about it.

First, let's talk about the fighting scene.

I love it. It's ugly. It's unpretty. That's why I think it feels damn realistic. You think when you're trying to deliver a fatal blow to your male opponent you can still be pretty and graceful while doing it? No, except maybe you're doing Kung Fu. And that's what it shows here. That 360 degree flipping kick is manly and ugly as fuck. And that's... I think that's how it's supposed to be. It's not supposed to be pretty, it's supposed to be done with great force. Prettiness be damned. So its unprettiness feels realistic. And because of that, we buy that it's badass.

Second, Wonder Woman's struggle.

The moment I saw the no man's land scene in the film is the moment I realized that that girl is right. Which girl? The girl whose tweet went viral

I get what she's talking about. Wonder Woman marches forward on her own. So badass. But for me, why this scene is so precious is not just about how tough she is, how badass and powerful she is, but actually, it's the struggle. It's this one sequence where she is bombarded by machine gun and she stopped and shielded herself. Ogghhh... Perfect.

And I love that the camera moves closer to focus on her struggling face. Gal Gadot so delivers. This shot reminds me of our struggle in life. We all like to share our success moments, but we rarely share our struggle. So this one shot represents it. I can relate. This is us when we struggle to reach our dreams and goals. Without this shot, the no man land's scene will be just another battle scene in a film, but this one shot brings out the heart of the film. 

Third, the Titanic similarity.

I saw one Youtuber reviewed this film and she mentioned Titanic--my number one favorite film. The romance in this film reminds her of Titanic. Aha! My reaction to her opinion is no and yes and yes. No, it's not as romantic as Titanic; in my opinion it's closer to sweet than romantic. But yes, I understand where she's coming from. And also yes, it reminds me of Titanic too. 

What, then, reminds me of Titanic? 

All the love this film receives. 

Wherever I go--Twitter, Youtube, check the score on IMDb, on Rotten Tomatoes--almost everyone comments positively on the film. Probably only one person, of all the comments I saw on the internet gave a negative comment on this film. That is... crazy.

Sure, when Titanic was released in the 90's there were no social medias. So how can I really compare? But I imagine, with all the commercial and critical success that Titanic managed to amass, this must be what it was like for Titanic when it was released. This overflowing universal love.

Lastly, the trailer.

When I saw the trailer for the first time, I wasn't interested. It's just another superhero movie. Whatever. Not convinced it's going to be great. So when everyone on Twitter talks about how great the film is, I'm confused. What's with all the love? Eventually I decided to give it a try and as you can see, I end up trying hard to forget it.

I like the film so much that I watched the trailer again on Youtube just to catch a glimpse of this film again. Here's what's interesting, it's the same clip I watched before watching the film, it's the same clip I watched after watching the film, and it's also the same clips that are in the film. Only this time, I like it. Why? 

Because this time, I get the context. Before watching the film, there was no context of all those clips being shown. Wonder Woman running in a field, tackling bullets. Pow! Pow! Pow! Pow! Who the fuck cares? But in the film, the clips work perfectly because of the build-up it brilliantly crafted. There is the build-up to that very scene, there is the origin story of hers, and these things make all the difference. These things make you care

In the end, I think I fell in love with this film not because it's a good female-led film and I'm female, but because it's a good film, period.

Pics of Wonder Women taken from: Wonder Woman trailer
Tweet taken from:
Titanic poster taken from:

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

And the Strip Club On Your Birthday...

I keep reading this concept on the internet that if you are learning to program, you should write about it. Write about your journey and your understanding. I think the whole point of doing that is to make sure that you understand what you've been learning so far, because the logic is you can't write something that you don't understand. 

All right. Challenge accepted. I'll kick my first post on programming by talking about "for loop" in Java in a way that is understandable by even non programmers. 

So generally speaking, the concept of for loop is to make the computer do the same task over and over again, for as long as it is required, without writing repetitive code. As the writer of the code, you get to decide when it starts, and when it ends.

This is a generalized understanding of a for loop syntax:

for (when it starts; when it ends; when it should happen again) task;

This is an example of how to write a real for loop syntax:

int i; 
for (i = 0; i < 4; i = i + 1) System.out.print("ha");

Now the code above will print this word: 


It's okay if you don't get it yet. Because now is where I'm gonna explain for loop with an analogy involving a strip club.

Okay. Before we write the code, it's better to really understand and imagine what we want the computer to do for us.

So, I want you to imagine this scenario.

1. You have a little brother. And on his 17th birthday, you take him to a strip club. 

2. In addition to that, you also promise that you will take him there once a year, that is, on his birthday.

3. But here's the catch, you will only do it for as long as he is not yet 23. (Because by then it has gotten pretty old and you both probably have found other interests.)

So how do you translate this scenario to a for loop? Here's how:

int myBrosAge; 
for (myBrosAge = 17; myBrosAge < 23; myBrosAge = myBrosAge + 1)   
        System.out.println("Taking him to a strip club now that he's " + myBrosAge);

The code above will print the following message:

Taking him to a strip club now that he's 17 
Taking him to a strip club now that he's 18 
Taking him to a strip club now that he's 19 
Taking him to a strip club now that he's 20 
Taking him to a strip club now that he's 21 
Taking him to a strip club now that he's 22

So every year you take him out to a strip club on his birthday.

Now, what if you are a much richer big sis or big bro? On his birthday, you can take him to a strip club, AND, give him 50 dollars.

Well, here's the modified for loop for such scenario:

int myBrosAge; 
int myMoneyInTheBank = 500; 
for (myBrosAge = 17; myBrosAge < 23; myBrosAge = myBrosAge + 1) {   
        System.out.print("Today my bro turns " + myBrosAge + ". I'm taking him to a strip club... "); 
        myMoneyInTheBank = myMoneyInTheBank - 50;  
        System.out.println("And give him 50... Now I have " + myMoneyInTheBank + " dollars left."); 

Which will print this message:

Today my bro turns 17. I'm taking him to a strip club... And give him 50... Now I have 450 dollars left. 
Today my bro turns 18. I'm taking him to a strip club... And give him 50... Now I have 400 dollars left. 
Today my bro turns 19. I'm taking him to a strip club... And give him 50... Now I have 350 dollars left. 
Today my bro turns 20. I'm taking him to a strip club... And give him 50... Now I have 300 dollars left. 
Today my bro turns 21. I'm taking him to a strip club... And give him 50... Now I have 250 dollars left. 
Today my bro turns 22. I'm taking him to a strip club... And give him 50... Now I have 200 dollars left.

Notice that when you have more than one task for the for loop, you must wrap it inside curly braces.

What's that? You also catch the print and println difference? Good catch. The difference between them is that "println" will start adding one line below it after it has finished printing, whereas "print" does not do this.

Okay, that's all for this episode, I hope you understand it pretty clearly (and become interested in programming?). Ask me if you've got any questions and I will answer as best as I can.

Monday, January 30, 2017

You Pivot Before You Even Begin

I have never told you about this but actually I've been trying to launch my own startup last year. It's called The Little Fed and it's going to be this tennis information hub for Indonesian citizens. Go ahead and visit and see for yourself.

That's right. You can't see anything. What you're gonna find is just a page saying that the website is still under construction. Yeah it's not online yet. But I could give you a sneak peek 'cause behind the curtain the website has already taken shape.

But here's the thing though... After about 8 months working on it--on my own, that's why the development is really slow--I feel there are some major problems that need to be addressed if I want to give a fuck at all about the fate of my startup.

Problem #1 - You Don't Know How to Generate Revenue

When I told people about my startup, whether they're tennis people, or non-tennis people, they had this similar reaction: "CSR", "Charity", and other synonymous words were their response. That's what they saw. They didn't see it as a profit-turning entity. 

I see it as a business. It's just that I have no idea how to generate profit from it yet. I just want to put this tennis information out there so it helps people who want to start or keep playing tennis.

So why don't you make it a nonprofit then, one might ask? I don't want to make it a nonprofit 'cause I know in my heart of hearts that one day I'm gonna want to commercialize it. So I might as well declare it from the beginning that it's a for-profit business rather than calling it a nonprofit only to have a change of heart later.

Problem #2 - You Forgot to Take It Easy

The Little Fed's dream is to see another Indonesian player playing at the Grand Slam. The Little Fed's dream is to intensify tennis activity in Indonesia. We're not trying to cure cancer or do anything majorly important. So why strain ourselves? Chill and take it easy.

And besides, here's one thing I realized now. A hobby is only fun when it stays as a hobby. When you turn it into work, you take away the fun element out of it. So it simply becomes work. And it's not fun. So I'm gonna have fun with The Little Fed 'cause otherwise it's dead.

Problem #3 - You Don't Own the Technology

It's only been a few months since I first learned Android programming, but let me tell you, it is so, so good to have control over what you have because you're the one who made it. So you really, really understand what it does, its limitation, its potential, and so on.

On the other hand, when I look at my startup, I see that I wasn't the one who developed it. I see that I don't have a web dev to take care of it, develop it further, or troubleshoot when problem appears. In short, I don't own the technology. I don't own the fucking technology. You're stuck, you're dependent, you're disabled, you cannot function properly, and that sucks.

Whatever happens, we want to own the technology.

Problem #4 - You Didn't Notice the Trends They Are A-Changing

When I created the concept of The Little Fed, I chose website as its platform. People are gonna be using the website to access The Little Fed. That's what I had in mind. Unfortunately, in the field of technology, things change pretty quickly, and you gotta follow the trend. And one day I saw this graph that shows how people use the internet. The graph showing the use of desktop is plummeting to the ground, whereas the graph showing the use of mobile technology is climbing up.

Okay, so the trend is people spend more time on their smartphones. This means that, A, either I should have designed the website with mobile-first approach, or B, I should have opted for mobile application instead of website.

So, yeah, seeing how I have a website that was not even developed with mobile-first approach, I'm fucked.

With these problems in mind, I feel it's important to keep certain things always in check. Here's the newest manifesto for The Little Fed if it ever wants to survive:

#1. We're a for-profit business entity. We just don't know how to make money off of it yet. So please no more (major) expenses.
#2. We're not trying to cure cancer. So take it easy, and have fun with it.
#3. Whatever platform we're using, make sure that we own the technology.
#4. Where people are, that's where we'll be. If they are on their phone, we should also show up on their phone through mobile-first website or mobile application.

These kinds of problem only became apparent in hindsight. They've been there all along, but we simply couldn't or wouldn't want to see them because we were in denial for so long. That is, until we could find something else to hold on to.

I don't know how many startup founders share their struggle, but hey, here, a glimpse of startup life.


A first-timer

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Kerber the Late Bloomer

Some people are just not done. Heck, they might've only just begun.

Earlier this year I made a post about Angelique Kerber and how her winning Australian Open surprised me, especially considering my personal story of her.

As things unfold, she solidified her earlier result with impressive records, thus making my post even heavier with irony.

She's turned what used to be zero slams, zero weeks at No. 1, zero medals, zero YEC titles into two slams, a silver medal, and becoming world No. 1, while the YEC is set to run later in October.

In case anybody missed it, this is the highlight of Angie's career this year: 
-winning Australian Open, 
-reaching the final of Wimbledon, 
-reaching the final of Olympics, 
-becoming world #1, and,
-winning US Open. 

Scary good.

Just... I'm still amazed at how she turned her situation "overnight". Angie Kerber is "overnight success" personified. I know it's actually not. I'm sure behind the scene she's working hard practicing, training, and doing a lot of things right--all of that under the radar. But what we see on screen is this woman, suddenly, boom, came out of nowhere. Breaking through at 28. Winning things left and right. 

I think this is the first time in many years, since 2011 to be exact, someone has a better season than Serena Williams. Even if Serena ends up winning the YEC, we could still make a pretty strong case on whose season this is.