GarageScript in Partnership with Mozila Indonesia Community Launches Its First Free Coding Course in Indonesia

garage-script-01

GARAGESCRIPT sounds new to us in Indonesia. I, too, was unfamiliar with this startup until I came to their course at Mozilla Community Space in Jakarta, sat down and talked to two of young men from the startup to get to know more. It is simply put a nonprofit startup from San Jose, California, which opens free courses to anyone wanting to learn coding. There is no requirement that one should be a computer science graduate or master some basic knowledge. Even if you have no idea what coding really is but as long as you have the motivation to learn, you are welcome in the course because it starts from the most fundamental materials.

The startup began operating in 2 years ago. “It all started from our founder, Song Zheng, who wanted to teach his girlfriend (now his wife) Yoojin how to code,” Alvin told me in one brief interview along with his colleague, Jeffry. Song realized he could do more than just helping his beloved person. He could help more people out there to learn coding skills. The high unemployment rate in the US where he lives also partially motivated him to found GarageScript. Alvin mentioned that Song only wants to see more people smile after they can bring happiness to people they love at home by getting better-paid jobs.

Jakarta was in fact not in their plan. They planned to build networks in Malaysia. But a twist of fate led them to Indonesia. “There seemed to be a bureaucracy problem. A friend offered us to start here and then we shifted our focus on Jakarta,” Alvin said. Now they also have organically grown a community in Lippo Karawaci, Tangerang, where they hold regular daily meetups.

In GarageScript, students are free to learn at their own pace without having to be under pressure. Some people are fast learners but the rest are slower. For super fast learners, GarageScript provides a 3-month bootcamp which is set to be a key milestone as a new engineer. As the bootcamp ends, it means they are expected to keep learning and honing and updating their skills as the progress of technology is so rapid these days.

They give free coding courses at public libraries with the peer-to-peer approach. And because they want the course to be accessible for anyone, they thought weekends are the best time. “We volunteer teaching JavaScript at Santa Clara Northside Branch Library every Saturday for two hours,” he explained.

As the tech world needs more and more engineers, GarageScript seems to be willing to help people who need more lucrative jobs to try shifting to the tech job market. And being a software engineer is one of the prerequisites to earn more.

Instead of only about getting more and more from the free course, these students who have mastered the materials, they are encouraged to teach what they have learned to other people.

Though GarageScript is a startup, it grew initially as a community. You can see its community spirit implanted in their culture when Jeffrey told me that in the meetups, every member is asked to take turns to lead the meetup every week. And this proves their attitude towards their work. It is more about growing together, instead of competing against each other.

“We plan to open regular courses at Mozilla Indonesia Community Space on working days. We started with projects which can be achieved by our students and once they are competent enough, they can be asked to contribute to next projects,” Alvin added.

No lesson taught here goes wasted as they learn by doing (read: building projects). Results of their hard work will be used to help others learn the same way.

“Now our goal is to build a sustainable community in Jakarta so our efforts will continue here. And once they are skillful enough, they can teach others,”  Jeffry quipped.

As they can’t stay forever here, they want to make sure the seed of community is planted in the proper nursery room. And he seems to have found an apt place. (*/)

 

L10n Contributor’s Story at Jakarta Firefox Rocket Sprint 2018

Skills are valuable only if shared with others for good purposes.

Firefox Rocket is one of Mozilla’s success stories in Indonesia. That said, Mozilla Foundation keeps on pouring attention to Internet users in the large country thanks to its quite significant number.

In addition, Internet users in Indonesia are heterogeneous. Cultures and languages are very diverse, which is why it is not enough to launch products in English and Indonesian. Mozilla understands well that many Indonesians prefer browsing the web in their mother tongues which in many cases are indigenous languages. Unfortunately, there are not many supports available for these languages in Indonesia.

This weekend, Mozilla Indonesia Community hosted 2018 Jakarta Rocket Sprint. Located at Mozilla Community Space Jakarta, the event which aimed to generate the Javanese and Sundanese version of Firefox Rocket browser took place from Saturday morning to Sunday afternoon (11-12 August 2018). Four volunteers joined the Sundanese localization team while  five others did the Javanese localization team. Mozilla Representative Fauzan Alfi led the Sundanese (basa Sunda) team and Rizki Kelimutu the Javanese (basa Jawa) one.

Acting as the event organizer, Fauzan said on the first day of sprint the volunteers were invited to localize all strings in Firefox Rocket browser. Next, the volunteers and both team leaders were agreed upon which suggestions to use and upload onto Pontoon.

The processes took a while as localization not only translated from one language into another but also capture subtle meaning and cultural context which are at times complicated and difficult to express in another language. Here the volunteers referred to the available sources of Javanese and Sundanese localization sources such as web reference, online and print dictionaries.

“On top of that, we also review volunteer contribution results on the second day,” told Fauzan who were joined by Delphine Lebedel (Mozilla Localization/ L10n Project Manager) and Mo Peiying (L10n Program Manager). The two also gave the volunteers some hints and directions so that localization outputs qualified and are compliant with Mozilla Foundation’s guidance.

On the second day, the contribution results already went live on Firefox Rocket for the testing purpose. At this stage, the volunteers were allowed to examine what was presented on screen and spot any bugs or strings that they felt bizarre or ambiguous in meaning.

Because Localization Sprint 2018 also aimed at building the proper foundation for contribution of Mozilla Indonesia Community volunteers in the future, there needs to be a style guide that they agree upon and see as a reference.  The guidance was written at the same time by both teams. It will also be of great help in the event of new strings to add or minor changes.

The next form of support for Firefox Rocket users in Javanese and Sundanese is SuMo (Support Mozilla) articles. “Because Firefox Rocket has its Javanese and Sundanese version, there needs to be support pages in these two languages,” Rizki explained in his brief presentation.

Now that Firefox Rocket is localized for Javanese and Sundanese Internet users, we expect more people are accomodated. This is in accordance with Mozilla Manifesto which strives for one open, inclusive web for everyone on the planet regardless of languages they speak.

Are you curious about Firefox Rocket? Try to download it by clicking this link.  (Also published on Mozilla Indonesia blog)

Firefox Support Sprint 2018

WE had much fun today as we concluded our “Firefox Support Sprint“. I happened to take part actively in the event and I can say it was a blast.

So what is cool about joining this?

As a volunteer, I was assigned to respond to as many reviews as possible.  Though you are authorized to write a response, you have to comply with some guidance, which is as follows:

  • Share the love, be kind. It’s not your job to defend yourself, others, or even Mozilla. Users may just be venting because their problems are frustrating. The best thing to do is to help the user get his or her answer. If you feel that a post has crossed the line, skip it.
  • If you get stuck on a difficult support question, you can use the Support Forum Contributors Advanced Troubleshooting forum to discuss difficult questions or to see if other contributors are able to help. The #sumo IRC channel (accessible here via Mibbit or via Kiwi) is another place to ask for help and you can ping @guigs for staff support. On Telegram you can also join Support Mozilla (SUMO) and reach out to @rtanglao if you’re really stuck.

First thing first, you have to identify some common issues types such as speed, crashes, hatred, problems with latest updates, compatibility, keyboard, video capability, app file size, etc.

Once the type is identified, you may supply an appropriate response to it. But if you find it ambiguous or you feel reluctant to respond to such a review (not all review is nice to read for your information), just skip it for another to handle. That is pretty much how you can respond to a Mozilla Firefox review on Google Play.

That also means you need to develop extraordinary level of patience and vast range of vocabulary so that you will find it easy to select right words to address an issue without harassing or insulting others. Here chances are you will discover impolite reviews which you think are as derogatory and insulting as you have ever heard in your life time. But still, you have to maintain decorum while responding to it. Never lose temper because you have to focus on addressing issues.

The next step to take after responding to many reviews is taking a role of moderator. Here you are dealing with a collection of responses (that you and other fellow have previously posted). To be qualified and publishable, a response has to be positive, to address issues, and personalized.

This might look simple but at the end of the day, it proves to be useful for users of Mozilla Firefox. (*/)

My Experience of Using Merahputih.id

Indonesia free email service Merahputih.id is the one and only free service of its kind available so far to support Indonesians’ communication and productivity. [Photo credit: Merahputih.id]
CONSIDERING the creepy dominance of Gmail in Indonesian market, at the same time I too cannot deny my dependence on this webmail service. I have owned and actively used my Gmail account since 2009 and there must be countless data I have stored in it. The service has really made my digital life easier and more comfortable.

But far before using Gmail, I had used Plaza Mail [correct me if I am wrong] in my college days. And the experience was — as far as my memory served right — quite good, if not extraordinary. Somehow I no longer used my Plaza account, partly because I have forgotten the password and do not bother to try recovering it.

In short, I truly miss that sort of free email service built by fellow Indonesians or Indonesian company. Why? Because if your nation can build its own products, why do not you support it by using them? Using our own digital products also supports our digital industry growth. I have been so sick of seeing Indonesian treated as a mere market. With resources this big, I think we could have been bigger than what we are now. Also, using our own digital products save us from negative impacts of data misuse done by foreign parties. If anything bad happens, suing service providers in our own jurisdiction is more plausible than doing so to overseas service providers such as Facebook, Google, Yahoo, etc. Of course other reasons [like what is pointed out by Marsya Nabila of Dailysocial.id here] make sense as well but my own motive is mostly nationalism.

So when I discovered Merahputih.id on the 15th of April 2018 [amidst Facebook-Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal], I was so delighted I ‘jumped into the wagon’ right away.

The interface is clean and smooth and minimalist. There is much to complain about. [Photo credit: My own screengrab]
Having used the service for roughly a month, I can tell you it is AWESOME as the substitute of Gmail. At first I thought I can totally migrate to my Merahputih.id and close my Gmail account but then I decided to still let it active for a while to allow people who know nothing about my shift reach me through my Gmail. Now I have been less and less on my Gmail, which is good.

The bright side of this service is that it offers you 50 GB inbox capacity [compared to Gmail’s 15 GB]. As generous as it can be, it is also secure. IP Network Solusindo [the company offering this email service] claims it has applied the latest encryption algorithms. And what I like best is that all of its servers and tier-3 data centers are located in Indonesia.

One of points of improvement that I have in mind is that the service should also try to allow users to see the inbox or currently opened or read email when they are typing a new email or reply. Just like Gmail does. What I see now is the service leads you to a separate webpage dedicated solely to typing a new email and attaching files. This way, it is impossible to take a glance at a previous email you want to use as a reference. You may open it on another tab but that would be impractical.

As for mobile use, I found no difficulty in setting up my Merahputih.id email account in my iPhone. It is seamless to say the least.

Aside from MP [Merah Putih]  Mail, the company also offers MP Boks which I assume functions as your Dropbox. It allows you to automatically upload images from gadgets, automatically back up your contact, and enjoy free 2 GB storage. But too bad it is only available for Android-powered gadgets. As an iPhone user, I have no option other than wait for the launch on Apple Store.

In the near future, the company plans to  enrich their service portfolio by launching a group chat service, social media/ forum, news portal, IPTV, marketplace, to collaboration messenger.  So it could be like what is Kakaotalk to Koreans or WeChat to Chinese.

I myself have huge expectation that this service will proliferate anytime soon so this nation is no longer overly dependent on foreign services. (*/)

 

Two New Online Tools You Must Use to Combat Hoax

THERE is nothing I hate most nowadays but hoax. Fake news is so prevalent on social media that I recently deleted my Facebook personal account [though I am occasionally still on it for the sake of this blog’s presence].  I swear I never consume content through social media ever again. At least until the political situation is cooling down, which means after the next year’s Indonesian presidential election is over.

Good news is here now!

Two online weapons are already invented to eradicate fake news on the web.  By means of these tools, everyone can discover who initially spread the fake news in their circles. That way, we will easily find out who must be held responsible for any misinformation and later on blacklist these allegedly reckless and irresponsible accounts. So let’s check them out.

Once you enter the Twitter handle in the box at Hoaxy, you can see the analysis of a Twitter account [to find out if it’s a bot or not], its followers, and friends.

HOAXY

To find any culprits of fake news on Twitterverse, you can rely on Hoaxy. The open source tool presents you visualization of how online content gets spread and trackskinks published by two types of websites; i.e. low-credibility news outlets and independent fact-checking organizations. It can also detect bots or automated accounts. Hoaxy welcomes any feedbacks to improve their accuracy.

You can see the result of my own Twitter account in the above screen capture. And interestingly I can also detect all of my followers to know whether they are inclined to be bots or real accounts. Real accounts have lower scores [lower or around 1]; whereas, bots or automated accounts have higher scores [apporachig 5]. Twitter accounts with scores between 1-4 are allegedly using automation tools in some various extents regardless of the possibility if they are real people or bots.

Botometer is qite tricky to use if you are an occasional internet user because it is more technical and the interface is a bit more dull and rigid.

BOTOMETER

The next is Botometer. It assesses the degree of likelihood that an account on Twitter is in fact a bot. The higher the score gets, the higher as well the likelihood of being a bot is. To find bots around us is important because it helps to detect hoax. Hoax or fake news is usually spread by bots or automated accounts to give an impression that it is widely talked about by many people while in fact it is not at all. Botometer also serves us visualizations of scores.

Takeaway:

I definitely recommend using these online tools to stay sane in the Twitterverse amid these political events. But I do hope in the near future it is possible to use the tools  on Facebook and any other social media sites. For the time being, both have shown quite satisfactory  and reliable performance actually. (*/)

From “Global Sprint 2018” at Mozilla Indonesia

“Global sprint” may sound too foreign to most people. It in fact refers to a global online event run in many countries by Mozilla. In Indonesia, Mozilla Community held it today (May 10, 2018). It aims to spur people’s contribution to many Mozilla’s nonprofit beneficial projects.

One of its open source and nonprofit projects is Common Voice, whose goal is to teach machines how humans speak. Another product that may share similar functions is Google Voice. But Common Voice is different in that the data gathered here is NOT intended for commercial, forprofit purpose.

Here we contributed by collecting a huge amount of written texts in a certain language. In my case, my team was working on Common Voice in Bahasa Indonesia [Bahasais the improper way to refer to the language, for your information] or Indonesian.

Why does our contribution matter?

Because we all know that Internet is dominated by English-speaking, Anglosaxon-cultured audience. How about other Internet users who don’t speak or write the language? Did we notice that English content on the web is so easily found but in Indonesian less content can be found?

Mozilla is focusing on how to include these marginalized people while still giving control of their data. And because it is nonprofit by nature, they rely on volunteers.

Speaking of Indonesian representation in Common Voice, there is hardly data stored there. To fix the situation, Mozilla allows anyone to contribute by donating their sentences to the database.

“Wait, why should I do this?” you may ask yourself.

So here is the advantage. You may not help yourself directly but if you contribute, the database may help those who plan to do research on a limited budget for educational, nonprofit purposes (such as for their academic final project, thesis or dissertation research) to make their dream come true.

We read some texts and later our voice can be changed into texts by means of STT (speech to text) feature. The more sources provide texts and feedbacks, machines would distiguish voices better and more accurately. If there is any error, it is correctable.

In this Global Sprint 2018, contributors present in Jakarta’s Mozilla Community Space were sitting together to store as many sentences as possible on the database of Common Voice to improve the machines’ performance in recognizing various human voices.

Below are important and informative links you can click in case you need more resources on this Global Sprint:

  • about Mozilla Global Sprint: https://mzl.la/global-sprint
  • about Mozilla Common Voice Project: https://voice.mozilla.org/id
  • about Mozilla Community Voice Sprint: https://voice-sprint.mozilla.community/contributing/
  • Where to upload your sentences: https://voice-sprint.mozilla.community/upload/

Pandai Menerjemahkan? Yuk Berkontribusi untuk Pelokalan Mozilla

Pelokalan alias localization mungkin terdengar asing bagi banyak orang. Namun, pada dasarnya ini sama saja dengan penerjemahan. Hanya saja yang diterjemahkan bukan teks dalam file dokumen yang selama ini kita sudah akrabi.

Lalu apa yang diterjemahkan dalam pelokalan?

Saya mendapatkan jawabannya dalam lokakarya (workshop) pelokalan yang diselenggarakan malam ini di Mozilla Community Space, Kuningan, Jakarta.

Selama ini kita mungkin jarang menggunakan produk-produk Mozilla yang sudah berbahasa Indonesia. Padahal jika mau mencarinya, kita bisa temukan dengan mudah di sini. Peramban (browser) berbahasa Indonesia mungkin jarang dipakai anak muda perkotaan yang sudah akrab dengan bahasa Inggris. Tetapi bagi mereka yang tidak sebaik anak-anak muda ini dalam pemahaman bahasa Inggris, produk berbahasa Indonesia tentunya akan sangat membantu.

Di sinilah Anda yang berminat dalam bidang bahasa dan penerjemahan (terutama dari bahasa Inggris ke Indonesia) bisa memberikan sumbangsih.

Dipandu praktisi pelokalan Mozilla Indonesia Lidya Christina, hari ini kami menjajal bagaimana berkontribusi dalam proyek-proyek pelokalan produk-produk Mozilla untuk pengguna Indonesia.

Pertama-tama, bagi Anda yang ingin berpartisipasi, bisa mempelajari Panduan Gaya Pelokalan (Style Guide) yang mencakup:

  1. Formalitas
  2. Gaya selingkung (nada dan suara)
  3. Keluwesan bahasa
  4. Penanganan istilah setempat, idiom dan bahasa asing
  5. Konsistensi gaya
  6. Terminologi
  7. Satuan dan ejaan bahasa Indonesia

Sementara itu, gaya pelokalan Mozilla yang lazim terdiri dari dua unsur utama: akurasi dan kefasihan. Akurasi artinya ketepatan dalam menerjemahkan teks sehingga pesannya tetap tersampaikan dengan jelas dan tidak bertele-tele. Kefasihan terkait dengan bagaimana hasil pelokalan itu terkesan alami dan tidak janggal, atau kaku.

Untuk Anda yang ingin berkontribusi, Anda dipersilakan membuat akun Mozillian dulu di Mozillians.org agar kontribusi Anda bisa terlacak. Tujuannya bukan untuk pamer tetapi agar Anda bisa menyumbangkan lebih banyak jika hasil pelokalan Anda terbukti bisa diterima (acceptable) dan berkualitas sehingga layak dipakai dalam produk-produk Mozilla untuk pengguna yang berbahasa Indonesia.

Nantinya jika Anda berminat untuk lebih banyak terlibat dalam upaya pelokalan, Anda bisa naik jenjang dari kontributor menjadi penerjemah. Kontributor bisa menyumbang usulan penerjemahan namun masih ada kemungkinan hasilnya tidak dipakai atau ditolak karena berbagai pertimbangan. Untuk level penerjemah, sudah diberikan kewenangan untuk menolak hasil pelokalan dari kontributor dan turut memberikan usulan dan perbaikan. Dan tentunya manajer memiliki kewenangan lebih banyak dari sekadar penerjemah.

Kembali lagi ke cara melokalkan produk Mozilla, Anda bisa masuk (login) ke akun Mozillians Anda dan kemudian masuk ke  https://pontoon.mozilla.org/. Di sini mirip dengan wadah untuk menampung berbagai proyek pelokalan produk Mozilla. Anda bisa memilih mana yang Anda sukai, tetapi diutamakan pilihlah proyek yang tenggat waktunya mendesak dan memiliki tingkat prioritas lebih tinggi.

Sebagai catatan, bila bingung dengan istilah atau kata yang harus diterjemahkan, cobalah menggunakan beberapa referensi seperti:

  1. http://transvision.mozfr.org
  2. http://kateglo.com
  3. https://id.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daftar_Istilah_Internet_Indonesia
  4. https://id.wikisource.org/wiki/Panduan_Pembakuan_Istilah,_Pelaksanaan_Instruksi_Presiden_Nomor_2_Tahun_2001_Tentang_Penggunaan_Komputer_Dengan_Aplikasi_Komputer_Berbahasa_Indonesia

Setelah bereksperimen melokalkan string atau untaian kata-kata dalam proyek Common Voice milik Mozilla, kami bisa melihat pencapaian masing-masing. Kontribusi masing-masing kontributor terlihat jelas.

Dan di sini Anda sebisa mungkin memakai ragam bahasa formal karena ini akan dipakai untuk pengguna secara luas, bukan menyasar ke segmen anak muda saja.

Tertarik ikut? Nantikan lokakarya pelokalan berikutnya (yang sedianya akan diadakan pada Selasa malam) di Mozilla Community Space. (*/)

4 Benefits of Volunteering at Mozilla Community Space

Just a brief caveat, I’m not going to say anything here about the free-flow snacks and drinks and free internet connection available at anytime (though they’re two of the benefits to lure more people into coming more often and spend nights there).

Here I give you four of so many benefits of volunteering as a keyholder at Mozilla Community Space.

BETTER MENTAL HEALTH

Certainly Mozilla Community Space is no place to go to cure your mental disorder or illness but I’m serious about this. According to Harvard Health Publishing (a publishing section of Harvard Medical School), people who volunteer have a better mental health condition. Stephanie Watson of Harvard Women’s Health Watch elaborates on this point, saying:

Studies have shown that volunteering helps people who donate their time feel more socially connected, thus warding off loneliness and depression. (source: healthharvard.edu)

It’s an inconceivable benefit that I’m sure everyone wants to reap from volunteering for any social causes, including Mozilla which is a non-profit organization.

In Mozilla Community Space, you’ll meet not only friends you’re already familiar with but also an endless supply of new acquaintances who can bring you a lot of new perspectives in life.

LONGER HEALTH SPAN

It’s useless to live a long life but bedridden, too il to wake up and enjoy the world and all things in it. That’s why I pick the ‘health span’ term instead of ‘life span’.

Great news for you who are too worried about your physical health, and most specifically your blood pressure. Now, you can get less dependent on your anti-hypertension medication by spending more time to volunteer in Mozilla Community Space.

More on this, read on below:

Those who had volunteered at least 200 hr in the 12 months prior to baseline were less likely to develop hypertension (OR = 0.60; 95% CI [0.40, 0.90]) than nonvolunteers. There was no association between volunteerism and hypertension risk at lower levels of volunteer participation. Volunteering at least 200 hr was also associated with greater increases in psychological well-being (source: here).

BUILD WIDER NETWORKS

If you’re under 40 years old like me, volunteering does nothing to boost your wellbeing but hey, let me tell you that the benefit is not always about health. Volunteering can be impactful even if you’re a lot younger, especially when it comes to networking. Volunteering at young age  especially allows you to get exposed to people and worlds outside of your comfort zone. For young people, that comfort zone may be your school, your family and immediate relatives maybe. But if you volunteer, you’ll discover so many unknown worlds other than people you’ve known since your childhood.

In Mozilla Community Space, I can meet with younger people, lots of them actually (I’m the eldest newly-appointed keyholder). And seeing these youths who are as old as my younger siblings pretty much gives me a great deal of youthful spirit. Besides, more acquaintances means more opportunities in fact.

ADD MEANING TO LIFE

Life is a lot more boring if you only focus on your personal life goals. You want this and that and when you have it all, only you can enjoy it. Life can be more meaningful than that by volunteering your time and energy to a specific cause you prefer.

So what’s my cause?

Freedom!

For the sake of freedom in the virtual world, I want to be more actively involved in Mozilla Indonesia.

Why Mozilla?

Because nowadays our freedom as internet users have been ‘robbed’ by all tech giants like Google, Microsoft, Facebook, etc. We are made to trade our privacy and private details with convenience, a bait too tempting to refuse. They shape our lives and our future as human civilization, too. So we need an alternative which is free from business, commercial interests.

The keyword is FREEDOM.

Freedom to make choices, whether we willingly swap our privacy for convenience or hold tightly that last shred of privacy and explore the web without being herded like a bunch of dumb sheeps and being fed by grass decided by algorithms.  (*/)

Risiko Pokemon Go

Permainan dengan teknologi Augmented Reality ini memang baru diluncurkan hari pertama Lebaran kemarin tetapi sudah diunduh dan dimainkan jutaan orang di dunia. Pokemon Go berhasil membuat orang tetap setia bermain game sembari terus menggerakkan tubuh mereka untuk berburu makhluk maya yang hanya bisa dideteksi lewat layar ponsel.

Setelah beberapa hari diluncurkan dan dianggap sukses besar, muncul berita-berita negatif tentang efek berbahayanya (yang kadang begitu absurd sampai pembaca tidak yakin dengan keabsahan isinya dan media penyampainya). Misalnya, risiko tertabrak kendaraan, jatuh di trotoar yang berlubang atau tidak rata, menabrak pintu kaca, (atau tersandung mayat seperti seorang remaja di negara bagian Wyoming, AS) karena terlalu fokus berburu Pokemon di jalanan. Bahkan di tanah air sudah ada beberapa kasus, pemain game ini (lazim disebut “trainer” atau “PokeMaster”) menyewa ojek daring untuk berburu Pokemon dan tidak peduli harus membayar asalkan sukses menangkapnya.

Tapi yang sebenarnya tidak kalah berbahaya ialah ketidaksiapan orang-orang pecandu game ini, yang mulanya lebih banyak duduk dan santai sepanjang hari, tiba-tiba ‘dipaksa’ untuk beranjak dan keluar rumah atau kamarnya yang nyaman dan lebih banyak bergerak tanpa pemanasan yang cukup. Bayangkan anak-anak muda yang biasanya hanya berolahraga jari atau seminggu sekali karena kewajiban di sekolah, lalu harus berlarian bak kesetanan di tengah terik matahari siang bolong. Otot-otot mereka dingin, mudah kram. Dan mereka lebih terbiasa di sejuknya hawa dingin AC. Dan sekarang anak-anak ini (dan sebagian yang sudah bukan anak-anak juga tetapi juga bergaya hidup sama) mengumumkan dengan bangganya mereka sudah berjalan sejauh 20 km dalam sehari untuk memburu makhluk tanpa wujud yang bisa bertelur itu. Gila memang bagi kita yang tidak atau belum tahu rasanya kecanduan game ini.

Seorang peneliti Pokemon Go, Molly Larson, menyatakan ada sebagian orang yang sampai lupa menoleh ke kanan dan kiri saat menyeberang jalan dalam perburuan mereka. Risiko yang tak kalah berbahaya ialah menerobos hingga masuk ke lingkungan yang membahayakan karena si pemain lebih fokus ke layar ponsel, bukan lingkungan sekitarnya. Orang-orang yang berniat kurang baik bisa memanfaatkan kelengahan itu. Jika anak Anda suka berburu Haunter atau Pokemon malam, waspada juga dengan risiko penculikan, kekerasan baik itu atas alasan finansial atau seksual. Bisa juga pemain tidak sadar ia memasuki kawasan yang menjadi hak milik pribadi seseorang dan tidak seharusnya diterobos tanpa izin.

Entah dengan pemerintah kita, tetapi menurut Harsha Vattem dari India, pemerintah di beberapa negara sudah mengeluarkan peringatan terkait Pokemon Go.

Tentu tidak semua penggemar Pokemon Go menerima opini bahwa game kesayangannya memiliki risiko. Sejumlah PokeMaster menampik bahaya-bahaya yang disebutkan tadi. “Kalau memang berbahaya, kenapa game ini diberi rating E (Everyone) yang artinya boleh dimainkan semua orang di segala usia?” begitu protes seorang pemainnya. Itulah bahayanya fanatisme. Mau game, keyakinan atau aliran politik, sama bahayanya.

Possible, Living without WhatsApp

What was cool becomes uncool and sickening. (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Someone asked on Quora:”What does it feel like to delete your WhatsApp account?” Some people mentioned about the inefficiency of living a life in a modern, digital world of the 21st century. But some others lauded the option of living without the chat application as their lives seem to be back to normalcy. They have lived without it and claimed there was nothing wrong about getting rid of WhatsApp.

Whatever. In addition to my security concern that I have learned long time ago (read on: “WhatsApp Flaw Leaves Users Open to Spying) , this is my own experience.

Well, I haven’t gone that far to be frank. I only uninstalled the application on my smartphone. And it was at first not because I hated the application but because of the insufficient storage capacity on my smartphone. To note, I used to have an iPhone 4S with 16GB capacity but now that I lost it somewhere on the road, I had to resort to an Android one with storage capacity half of the iPhone. Poor me, I know. But the screen is more satisfying. I got another extra inch of screen to type and swipe on. Such a relief.

The limited capacity is actually a blessing in disguise. I really had to select applications that really really really mater. Ones that I need most. A friend told me to download and use Sebangsa app, an Indonesian social media with the same functions of Facebook added with some Indonesian flavors. But with all the limitations, I don’t think I can manage the time for the app. Sorry.

Aside from the less spacious memory of my smartphone, I also noticed recently that I got restless when I saw a notification from the application. It used to be a great and meaningful way to connect actually but once too many people are on it, I saw more and more people form groups of WhatsApp. What was cool back then now gradually look sickening and obnoxious.

On WhatsApp, I suddenly came to a realization that all the interactions are somewhat unnecessary and inessential. “What is it all about?” I mumbled to myself when one night I was trapped in a war of words with a bunch of pals in a group. They should’ve been kinder than this. But on WhatsApp, what I saw was their vanity. I too saw my own ugliness. As I read again my sentences, I realized I was a horrible chatter. I gave an impression of an arrogant, self-centered man. And it all came down from an uncontrollable exchange of arguments and jokes and trivial stuff that consumed too much time and energy.

On the family WhatsApp groups, a new day always started with an upload of photos or icons. And the next hour, I shall read one or two articles copied and pasted so liberally from whatever sources. The content was like a stone thrown into a pond, causing ripples and stirs. Suddenly more responses were given by participants. Some stayed silent. And then a joke was hurled into the arena, and more notifications popped.

Now I have had enough. This is INSANITY that I had to stop!

I also deleted my Path application, reasoning I have no time to manage the account. I have come to a resolution. WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Line are enough for me.

Why WordPress? Because the application serves as a mobile blogging tool for a writer like me. I can post anything by means of the application  without delay when it’s really necessary.

Why Facebook? Because to date it proves to be the most widely used social media service on earth. And I get more visitors and acquaintances from it.

Why Twitter? Because I can share more words continuously without annoying my friends, just like on Facebook.

Why Instagram? Because it’s the only one social media service uniquely based on visuals. So unique that Facebook and Twitter combined cannot equal the experience.

Why Line? Well, I don’t want my digital life to be owned by Facebook (WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook, to remind you) so I quit using it and opted for Line (for the sake of more funny emoticons).