I’ve been sitting here for about a half-hour drafting what it is I want to say about this story, and I can’t seem to express it. Oh well.
You’ve probably read or heard this story somewhere before. The first memory I have of it is hearing it being read on an episode of This American Life a few years ago, though I vaguely have this memory of reading it on paper as well, so it might have also been an English assignment.
Nevertheless, since then, I have re-read this short story at least once every six months. I absolutely love the story, and it’s really well-written. The consequence it has left on me is that now I can’t write anything emotional at all without feeling like I’m just involuntarily imitating Murakami.
Considering “the first day after Golden Week” is May 6th that is Wednesday, the year of the story is estimated as 2009, thus “Three years before” is 2006. The anime The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya became a big boom in 2006, and we actually saw the “information flare” caused by Haruhi Suzumiya on the net (like this page or Youtube, for example). (source)
Let’s assume this is true.
One of the things that has occured every year since the Haruhi anime first aired is that every December 18th, the haruhi.tv homepage changed in a certain way. The reason for this is that December 18th is a pivotal date in The Disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi, the fourth light novel in the series.
I was wishing and wishing that they’d get to The Disappearance this season on Haruhi, but the chances of that happening with the episodes left to air are too low. The raw for episode 22 came out today, and it is The Sigh Part 3; knowing what also happens in that arc, there is enough content to last another two episodes, meaning that that would complete the second season. So, chances of it airing are close to zero.
Then you start hating Endless Eight, because it was, for the most part, the same episode aired eight times in a row, and ate up more than half the season, which is pretty disappointing.
So what if Endless Eight was intentionally filler material, and KyoAni is working on The Disappearance, to air it on the same day it would be in the storyline, December 18th, 2009?
Endless Eight could have been told in one or two episode tops. It did not have to drag on for so long, so theoretically, let’s say seven episodes of that was purposely there to stall the season and piss off fans. Then count about how much content there is to air with The Disappearance:
The Disappearance I
The Disappearance II
The Disappearance III
The Disappearance IV
The Disappearance V
Snow Mountain Syndrome I
Snow Mountain Syndrome II
still conserve chronological order; episode 28 in chronological order is Someday in the Rain, which takes place before The Disappearance.
make up for the lost time of Endless Eight, while taking fans by surprise if they weren’t expecting it
complement Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody, as it essentially sets the stage for The Disappearance.
It’s speculation, yes. But to me, the reasoning behind it makes sense, and doesn’t seem completely unreasonable. Don’t get your hopes up, but this would be pretty awesome if it came true.
Colleges across the province make use of this student portal software called Omnivox; using it gives you access to your grades, messages from various departments in the college, your schedule, and other stuff like that. It wasn’t particularly pleasing to use to begin with, and now they’ve managed to make it even more confusing.
Over the summer, the developers introduced a new dashboard available through Omnivox called LÉA, which apparently stands for "L’environnement Professeurs-Étudiats" (Student-Teacher Environment).
Now if you’re like me, you look at that and notice that already it doesn’t make any sense. Look at the acronym. There is absolutely no LÉA in "L’environnement Professeurs-Étudiants". To this day, I’m not quite sure how that got past them, but it was the first thing I noticed about this service.
There are a number of user experience problems with LÉA and I plan on making a series of posts pointing out a few of them; obviously one big post would overwhelm most people and, most likely, would bore them out of their minds.
Tonight’s victim: the middle column of LÉA’s front page.
The middle column on the front page displays an “activity log” for all of my classes. The picture above represents my literature class, and features in order, documents offered, assignments, class forum, grades, memos, and upcoming events.
The first issue with this is finding unread content. The main Omnivox dashboard (more on that in a later post) told me I had two unread memos in LÉA. I go to LÉA, and see seven classes set up exactly this way. The only unread indicator was a 12x12 star icon next to the date of the memo. Nothing else.
I literally scrolled the page up and down four times before I noticed it. Not good.
The next issue is the sorting of the classes; classes are sorted by numerical class ID. If you’re going to have laughable unread indicators, you might as well do us a favor and sort by most recent activity.
The last issue is really what makes it obvious a different approach needs to be taken: the LÉA front page focuses too much on giving a summary view of all information available for every class, when what most students care about is quickly seeing if anything new has been posted to any of their classes.
I propose LÉA should take an approach similar to that of the older Facebook news feed. For each change made in any of my classes, there should be a one-line summary of what that change was and a link directly to the said change. Then you can borrow an idea from a torrent tracker I go to: add a solid divider between what’s new and what was available last time you logged in.
My approach would solve the above three issues, all while making the user experience cleaner and closer to what the students really want. It would make LÉA infinitely more usable and/or useful than it currently is, though, there are still a lot of other user experience things to change before it actually becomes a good webapp.
So last week, my iMac was sent out for repair. Thanks to the awesome crew over at the Laval Apple Store for the great customer service and being overall awesome.
The display replacement took 5 days, which I spent on my Dell Mini 9 instead. It was a nice exercise in finding out if I could last a while on my netbook running Arch Linux. Here’s basically an overview of each activity I typically do.
Web Browsing: I absolutely adore uzbl; it is my favorite browser on any platform. It’s essentially Vimperator minus the bloat plus WebKit. Really neat; not many issues on that end though, most forum posts I made were typed up in vim and pasted in later, because uzbl has this thing were text in input boxes is black, and it turns out my GTK theme is also black, so typing anything into input forms is relatively tricky!
AIM/IRC: AIM is pretty easy with the help of pork; I use MacIrssi on the Mac and used plain irssi on the laptop. I wish I had better configured irssi because finding highlights when you’re not actively watching the chat with the default setup isn’t exactly the easiest thing to do.
Development: Worked quite a bit on Iconoclasm using gvim, the open iPhone toolchain, and my custom build scripts. Was pretty easy to do, maybe even easier than on my iMac?
Music: mocp is still my #1 console music player and it is awesome. One note though: Linux users wanting to use iPhones or iPods are so screwed; there is no lightweight easy-to-use solution to sync over a bunch of files anymore as Apple patched out a hole people used on 2.0. My solution was to install PwnPlayer Lite on my iPod touch and rsync a directory of music over via SSH, but that’s not very intuitive; maybe someone could do a GTK wrapper around that to benefit the community? :o
Torrents: Used unworkable to pull down the latest Haruhi raw, which for some reason, was playing very laggily on my laptop, whereas the a.f.k. hardsub plays marvelously. This might have to do with fd.o completely fucking up the X11 drivers for my Intel card and making it have 1/8th the performance it used to have this time last year. I DUNNO!
The Aftermath: The night before I got my iMac back, my laptop overheated or something, which is understandable given the insane heatwave we’ve been having recently. Upon reboot, my keyboard is no longer capable of giving any input to Xorg; I tried booting with a fallback kernel, and it’ll boot, but only mount my filesystem as read-only, which is pretty fucked up. I’ll probably rebuild the system later today because I need it for school, which begins “lol tomorrow”.
Could I live with my laptop as a primary machine? Surely.
SAYONARA HUMANITIES BUILDING! That building makes me enter a state of despair, and I had to spend most of last semester there against my will. The tides have turned and we are mostly back in the Sciences building where we belong! (I can now eat at the Sciences building daily; which is great because their muffins are infinitely better and made fresh!)
Only three hours of Visual Basic a week.
Two days of each week will be relatively relaxing, with one class in the morning and one in the late afternoon.
I end at 5:45pm every weekday (save Friday), meaning lots of 40-minute bus rides! (More on why this is good in a future post.)
Camille and Luc-Olivier are totally by my side in all CS classes except in half the networking classes.
Got into my “Sexuality Redefined” class like I wanted. Can’t wait to see how that turns out.
The bad news:
There are still three hours too many devoted to Visual Basic every week.
I do not believe this crap about Visual Basic Windows users in general telling me what is and isn’t a good UI. That’s like me telling someone if they’re in the right sex position. They don’t have any experience with good UI, so they have no idea what it is they’re talking about.
EIGHT FUCKING HOURS of databases a week.
I begin every day except Thursday at 8am; I had two days where I began at 10am last semester, which was way better IMO.
None of my teachers are the same this semester; I was hoping to at least get my awesome philosophy teacher in one of my two philosophy classes. :(
If anyone cares/wants to stalk me by coordinating what bus I’ll be on at what time, feel free to go dig into my schedule; it’s available here as a PNG file. Generally speaking, I will be home within 40 minutes after the day ends or whenever there’s a gap longer than two hours, so take that into consideration if you’re looking into my availability!
The Dell Mini 9 certainly qualifies as one, as mine came with Ubuntu Netbook Remix, but the term netbook feels diminutive, because it seems to imply that all you will be doing is browse the Web and use Web services. While lots of people seem into that nowadays, I prefer native applications, especially those that run in a terminal.
Tomorrow, I’m bringing my iMac to the Genius Bar, because it has some minor display issues. Anytime you’re not looking at black or white, it looks like someone used the gradient tool all over the place on the monitor, which isn’t normal, so I’m getting it fixed.
This’ll be a nice test to see if I can endure my weird laptop environment as a main machine for a couple days. I’ll keep you guys posted on the outcome.
Last week everyone was freaking out about the non-threat that was Safari Charlie’s SMS exploit; this week, something much bigger shows up and nobody seems to care except the 30ish people at the core of the jailbreak developer community.
Pretty ironic seeing as how we can already run whatever we want to run without having to code a buffer overflow to get past Apple. :P