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Anime Review: Norn9

Year: 2016
Episodes: 12 + recap episode  (English Sub of Japanese series)
Norn9 Online: WikipediaMyAnimeList, IMDB, Hulu
Genre: Shoujo, Science Fiction, Romance, Drama

I came across Norn9 several months ago while trawling Youtube for anime music videos. One of these AMVs featured a handful of scenes from the series, and I decided to track down the anime. I am glad that I did because it turned out to be an epic and beautiful journey.
Norn9: Norn & Nonet follows the story of the inhabitants of the high tech ship known as the Norn. The Norn transports the hope of the world, a group of young men and women with special abilities. An attack on the ship by an unknown force follows the arrival of new member Koharu. The crew now have to deal with a figure that wants them dead. As they move closer to Reset, the stakes increase.
Norn9: Norn+Nonet is an anime adaptation of an Otome game for PlayStation Vita. It appears that things were different from the game. The anime removes the reverse harem elements of the game. This makes room for more linear romantic storylines and makes more sense. So, if you are a fan of the game (I never played it) don’t expect the adaptation to be a reverse harem.
The plot of Norn9 was compelling. The writing offered enough mystery that I binge-watched the show in two days. I had several theories after the first episode. It turned out that I was way off base with these initial impressions. But there was more than enough clues for it all to make sense. Anime and manga cliches slip into the storyline, but are meaningfully woven into the plot. 
A neat cast of characters made the story even more compelling. It was easy to grow attached to the characters, even the villains. You might not like some of their choices but it was easy to relate to their situation. The special abilities were cool but are second to this focus on characterisation. The art for Norn9 is gorgeous. The characters are attractive, with their own measure of uniqueness. The visually-striking science fiction world setting has its share of strange technology. The visuals for the Norn and The World HQ were especially amazing. Yet, Norn9 is a lot more than attractive bishies and neat-looking technology.
The music was set the right mood. The Japanese voice acting was spot-on. But, the sound effects weren’t special.
In conclusion, I have to say that this is close to the best drama anime that I have seen in a long time. Sure, it has romantic elements but they were one part of an epic story. All in all, a must watch for folks looking for an epic science fantasy with romantic elements.

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Video of the Week #021

This week, I am sharing a “what if?” video by AlternateHistoryHub. AlternateHistoryHub has been producing these thought-provoking videos for years. This makes them an interesting source for history discussions as well as for writers looking for creative prompts. They also release the occasional video on pop culture as well.
For this week’s video, AlternateHistoryHub considers the possibility of what might have happened if JFK had not been assassinated. JFK’s assassination has been the source of numerous conspiracy theories and other conjecture throughout the years. The consideration of what life would have been like had he lived has also led to shows such as Red Dwarf throwing their two cents in.

I have some more activities for you this week.

  • What do you think the world would look like right now had JFK lived? Write at least a paragraph citing policies that he was attached to. Compare these with the policies implemented by LBJ.
  •  Write an alternate timeline wherein Ronald Reagan doesn’t survive the assassination attack during the 80’s.
  • Write an alternate timeline where Barry Goldwater is elected.

You can find the AlternateHistoryHub channel here.

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Course Review: InDesign CC 2017 Essential Training

Teacher: David Blatner
Length: 6h 42m (course link)

In lieu of InDesign CC 2017 Essential Training being suggested as a prerequisite for Learning InDesign CC2015: EPUBs, I decided to enrol. Once I got used to David Blatner’s eccentricities as a teacher, I found myself looking forward to each chapter of the course. It turned out to be the best LYNDA course that I’ve done so far!

This course is a lot longer than the ones that I’ve done on LYNDA before because there is a LOT of material covered. Throughout, Blatner points out that the material covered is the beginning. He suggests other LYNDA courses for in depth training of those features. I’ll likely be enrolling in some of those other courses in future.
Blatner is a curious figure. His enthusiasm for InDesign made me look forward to each lesson. He teaches many routes for each feature covered. He then gives an overview of the pros and cons of using specific methods. He also covered hotkeys and interface differences for the MAC and Windows versions. This made the lessons applicable to users of both operating systems.

In conclusion, this course kicked ass. Blatner does a great job of getting students excited about the material whilst he imparts a lot of information. I look forward to enrolling in more of his courses and will also be enrolling in other courses about InDesign in the not-so-distant future.

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Course Review: Google Drive Essential Training

Teacher: Jess Stratton
Length: 1h 30m (course link)

In this course, Jess Stratton gives students a solid grounding in the features of Google Drive. Google Drive is the cloud storage solution offered by Google and also hooks into a range of other Google products including Google Docs. The paid and unpaid versions are used by millions of people around the globe but it is just one of the numerous storage solutions around today.

To begin, the course is a compact yet powerful ninety minutes long. I say “powerful” because Jess Stratton covers a lot of material during that time. As with all of her videos, complexity is built over time in order to make the material accessible to beginners and up. This gives a great foundation and covers features that even the veteran user might not have used before.
Next, we see how easily Google Drive connects with other Google products including Google Docs. In the case of Google Docs, there is some mild crossover but I would recommend that you check out her course Google Docs Essential Training if you want to learn more. The course also continually points out the similarity in interface across all of the Google range of products.

In conclusion, this is course is a must if you are looking for a comprehensive understanding of Google Drive. If you are also looking for courses on other Google products, I highly recommend that you check out Jess’s other courses over at LYNDA.

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Course Review: Google Docs Essential Training

Teacher: Jess Stratton
Length: 1h 33m (course link)

There are several cloud-based office suites on the market today. Google Docs and Microsoft Office have received a huge chunk of the market because of the availability of both free and paid options. This also poses a problem. We need to consider the features of both products.
The first product that I’ll be looking at is Google Docs through the lens of Jess Stratton’s Google Docs Essential Training course available at LYNDA. I’ll also be delving into the features of the word processor for Microsoft via another course in the next few weeks. This is for the purposes of comparing the learning curve and features of both products.

In Google Docs Essential Training, Jess Stratton offers a comprehensive look at the features of Google Docs’s word processor. The course is fast-paced with info aimed at beginners and up. Although I knew a lot of the material going into the course, I found myself getting some benefit from the course itself.
Jess Stratton’s keeps the student engaged throughout. There is a lot of features covered but I never felt overwhelmed or lost. She also repeatedly points out how the layout is streamlined across most of the offerings from Google, which can help users make educated guesses about the product should any changes occur in future.

I highly recommend this course to anyone considering using the service for cloud-based word processing. It will give you a decent grounding in all of the features you’ll need for creating, sharing and collaborating on your files. Jess Stratton also offers a bunch of offer courses on Google products that I also recommend that folks check out.


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World of Keiko 2017-08-14

Hello again, folks! I’ve been rather busy this past week. I am slowly getting used to some healthier habits across the board. I should also be able to get back into a better blogging schedule for non-education posts as well. That means that I should be back to regular posting about anime, manga and TV shows over the next week or so. What recent changes have you recently made to your life and why?

As some of you have noticed, I’ve been busy studying and reviews the various courses that I’ve recently completed. It’s been an odd week but I’ve also learned so much in a short period of time. That makes it time well spent so far. My next line of attack is focusing on material that helps me be more self-sufficient when I finally finish a book. As such I am now learning how to format ebooks.
Yesterday, I started the Publish an Ebook learning pathway at LYNDA. Between last week and yesterday, the staff removed one of the courses from the pathway. When I started the first course in the revised pathway, I learned that I needed to do a prerequisite course. As such, I started InDesign CC 2017 Essential Training. I will probably not use the paid product very soon, but it is a pretty neat course so far. InDesign CC 2017 has a lot of features and hotkeys to navigate. I will likely finish the course on Wednesday.
Due to overzealousness on my part, I didn’t get any French lessons completed last week because I was focused on learning other things. With some idea of how much I can do during the day (between chores, writing, study, exercise and quality time with hubby) this means that I can better judge what I can achieve each day of the week. That should allow me to better plan out my days in future.
Have you started learning something? What is your reason for choosing that course over something else? What do you hope to achieve from learning the materials? What is your next step?

On the writing front, I haven’t got anything written at all due to my focus on study. However, I do tinker with the OneNote notebook for the Freak setting on occasion. The new formatting knowledge helps a lot. What have you been writing?

Well, that is it for this week, folks. Thanks again for sticking with me throughout this messy, disorganised period. A big shoutout to new follower and coding blogger Jozsef Torsan. You can find his main blog here. I leave you all with the following video clip:

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Course Review: Google Calendar Advanced Tips and Tricks

Teacher: Jess Stratton
Length: 52m (course link)

This course covers a lot of the same material as Jess Stratton’s course Google Calendar Essential Training. As such, I found myself skipping past various sections in order to get to new material. A further explanation of video events was quite useful, allowing me to make sense of a service that I will likely use in the not-so-distant future.
If you are new to Google Calendar, then I highly recommend that you do Google Calendar Essential Training instead. However, if you are looking to brush up your skills in Google Calendar, then Google Calendar Advanced Tips and Tricks offers good value due to how condensed the material is.