Over the past few weeks, there was a lot of hype surrounding Netflix and tvN’s Korean Drama entitled Start-Up. If you’re still unaware, this series revolves around the world of tech “Start-Ups”.
Other than the star-studded cast starring Bae Suzy, Nam Joohyuk, and Kim Seonho, the show is also popular for its life lessons that will either make or break an individual in their quarter-life crisis (I’m including myself in that narrative).
Frankly speaking, viewers focused more on the love triangle involving the real and fake Do-san, and Dal-mi. At the same time, most viewers cared less about the “tech” segments of the series because most of them have little to no knowledge about the tech jargons used. Even my friends and acquaintances who are Hallyu fans weren’t familiar with them.
To make it worse, the tiny and super quick information glances being displayed per episode isn’t enough to feed us the necessary information.
In this article, I’ve listed down the tech terms I caught and defined them in a manner most of you will understand. It may not cover all the terms used but to simply put it, this gives fans, non-viewers, and even tech nerds, a taste of what Start-Up is like.
This listicle only covers tech-related terms used in the drama. Listing specific business terms would entirely be out of the topic.
Terms that would fall down under the tech-business setup.
From the word itself, it’s a company or project made by several individuals (commonly young entrepreneurs and programmers) who want to start developing a product and bring that technology to where it’s mostly needed.
Think of it as a seed. A start-up is like a budding plant. After ample time, energy, and resources used, it will soon be a fruit/crop that is ready for harvesting that will be brought to a market for consumers to buy.
If you think you’re doing so much work in a small scale when harvesting your crops, it’s time to level up, add to your workforce, and build a bigger farm.
With that example, a Scale-Up is the stage in your Start-Up company or project where you’ll get more people or teams to continually evolve and making your start-up ambitions a reality for the general population.
It is a short term for “hacking marathon”. This is an event where a software development team composed of programmers, project managers, plus graphic and interface designers, come up with a software/hardware solution and present them through a crowd after hours of coding and managing design and data altogether.
It’s like the “showcase” of a start-up. This is the day where several start-ups pitch their business in front of the investors in hopes of a securely-funded investment and be able to push through with their future projects as a recognized start-up company.
As portrayed through a pre-millennium website ‘www.baedal.com‘ made by Dal-mi’s dad, it showed a glimpse that one-click viewing and purchasing is possible and can be accessed through the website all at once. That’s how a one-click website works.
This is the collection of codes, program instructions, and data that are stored in your device’s internal storage.
AI (Artificial Intelligence)
Unlike Do-san’s dad, you shouldn’t confuse it with Avian Influenza. Artificial Intelligence is the ability of a computer, robot, or even your smartphone to do tasks that only human’s intelligent behavior can differentiate. Learning, logical/rational thinking, and self-improvement are crucial in AI programming.
VR (Virtual Reality)
Coming from its literal sense, it gives the user a “virtual” reality that can be viewed through the use of monitors, smartphone’s screen, or even specific VR headsets to fully-maximize the sense of all-around audio-visual experience.
With the use of special equipment and sensors, a user can also interact with three-dimensional objects in a tiny, digital world.
With the use of camera, it is the ability of a software system to recognize objects based on a cluster of pixels and/or images alone.
This is a specific type of image recognition that focuses more on a human being’s facial features. Some systems can even “identify” or guess a person’s age and mood.
OCR (Optical Character Recognition)
This is another type of image recognition that detects special characters and numbers in scanned and digital documents and converts them into readable and editable data.
ML (Machine Learning)
This is nowhere related to the mobile game ML (Mobile Legends), rather a technology that uses algorithms to analyze generic data. After learning from that gathered information, it will then create informed decisions based on what it has learned.
As explained by Do-san through his own take with metaphor, it’s like Tarzan giving Jane certain objects and learning from it based from her facial expressions.
Not to confuse with Machine Learning, Deep Learning is a sub-category of ML that does more of “human-like” artificial intelligence such as speech recognition, object detection, language translation, and more. Its structures algorithms in layers to create ANN (Artificial Neural Networks).
Not limited to mathematical equations, algorithm in tech works by setting a set of instructions in performing a simple or even a complex task before the program completely processes it.
ANN (Artificial Neural Networks)
These are needed for recognition systems in solving complex problems by adapting to internal and external factors around them.
ANNs got the inspiration from the neurons in our brain. It’s like how our brain tries to learn complex movements. With repeated training and testing, the neural networks learn from it and be able to come up with a definite solution and even prediction on a certain problem in the near future.
API (Application Program Interface)
It is a set of tools in which programmers can make use of when creating a software and allows them to deliver solutions rapidly without ever worrying how to execute it.
It also serves as the software medium between two apps to simultaneously communicate and work together — such as replying to a text message (from your crush) or checking the weather.
Just like a real bug that destroys crops just right before harvesting, a bug in a program is a coding error or a fault in the end of the programmer. These bugs may even cause serious issues within the system if not solved or eradicated.
Whether you go to malls or restaurants, the most common thing you see nowadays are these codes in a box. Dubbed as ‘Quick Response’ codes, it uses the camera to quickly go to a specific website and displays all the data supplied.
Meanwhile, these are the physical devices that make up a unit. Unlike software, these things can be held with our bare hands.
CPU (Central Processing Unit)
The CPU is a crucial part of a system that does general tasks such as playing games, browsing the web, or even typing texts and documents with ease. It’s needed for a machine to respond — even if the task is as simple as turning on and shutting down a computer.
GPU (Graphics Processing Unit)
This is a specialized processor for tasks that include rendering graphics. This is essential in improving the graphic performance of a device.
NPU (Neural Processing Unit)
Unlike a CPU that does most (if not all) of the generic tasks, the NPU is solely focused on ML and AI workloads. Basically, it is a dedicated chip for keeping AI apps run efficiently, especially in smartphones.
GPS (Global Positioning System)
These work through GPS receivers and artificial satellites outside earth that give enough information about map layouts and satellite images. Through GPS software and the use of systems, they’re all able to pinpoint precise location and navigate through road directions with accuracy.
This is an early model or sample of a product that is subjected to a series of tests and processes before the final product gets released to the public.
It is a tiny device that can be inserted in your fingers or clipped on your ears and detects the blood oxygen levels through infrared light.
The latest Apple Watch Series 6 is the only smartwatch so far that can detect Blood Oxygen levels like a pulse oximeter.
Without data, both the software and hardware wouldn’t function at all.
This is designed to deliver data to other computers and systems through a series of LAN (Local Area Network) or WAN (Wide-area Network) cables. Not all servers are the same as they run through specific server software depending on where they’re mainly used (such as web, file, or even mail).
It is a collection of data, often presented in table that consists of fields with specific attributes as records with certain values.
This is the organized collection of structured data and/or multiple datasets that are stored and accessed generally through a computer system and can be override anytime.
It’s like a huge container that holds all your datasets and other structured information that may also consist of certain triggers and commands.
Just like humans, software and hardware also need security to be able to securely store data without anyone’s vicious attempt of breaking it.
Encryption is all about converting your files or data in a format or code that cannot be read by other users other than you. This is to prevent unauthorized access and conceals sensitive data.
This is basically just the reverse process of encryption. You can do so if you or someone else owns the digital key (either a PIN or a lengthy password with various characters) to gain access to the encrypted files.
From the word itself, it is money represented in the cyber world or through electronic form. This is mainly used for transactions made in the internet where on-hand cash couldn’t be accepted.
It is a system of recording information that will be stored into blocks and are linked to form a chain with other blocks of similar information. Using the Blockchain system makes it difficult or harder to change or hack the system.
A severe type of malware infection in computer systems that threatens a certain individual or a company by exposing and leaking private data. In return, they need to pay the desired amount the culprit/hacker wants before they can get their files back.
This section has spoilers. You’ve been warned.
Samsan Tech (삼산텍)
Originally founded by Nam Do-san as Dosan Tech, but with the unexpected recruitment of his colleagues Lee Chul-san and Kim Yong-san — one start-up company, three names that end with -san. Thus, Samsan Tech!
In a literal sense ‘Samsan‘ directly translates to three (삼/sam) mountains (산/san). The “mountains” in the logo are in red, green, and blue to emphasize ‘RGB’ or the primary colors in the color wheel.
Sand Box (샌드박스)
Dubbed as “Korea’s Silicon Valley”, Sand Box is where the imaginary Korean tech giants such as SH Venture Capital and Morning Group reside. This is also where most start-ups flourish and get funded by investors depending on how viable their companies and projects are in the long run.
It’s for you to find out how Sand Box was formed but I would just want to point out that this majestic technopark was filmed at three different locations in Korea: (1) Robot Land in Incheon (2) Nodeul Island in Seoul; and (3) Oil Tank Culture Park also in Seoul.
2STO (where the original Samsan guys joined after winning the annual “Demo Day”) may just be a made-up company, but Silicon Valley is a real haven for geeks, developers, programmers, and software engineers alike.
It is located in the southern part of San Francisco, California where most of the tech start-ups and gigantic tech headquarters such as Apple, Google, and Facebook are all located. Even Netflix’s HQ is also in Silicon Valley.
Mentioned by Dal-mi’s grandma halfway through the third episode, AlphaGo is the first AI-developed program by DeepMind Technologies that defeated the professional Korean Go player Lee Se-dol and made headlines not just in South Korea, but worldwide. Go is a popular board game among Koreans for its complexity. It was first originated in China.
Jang Yeong-sil (장영실)
Yeong-sil (pronounced as “yong-shil”) is a fictitious voice assistant slash AI speaker by Koreans and for Koreans. To simply put it into context, it’s like a Korean equivalent of Amazon’s Alexa.
Spoiler alert: Yeo Jin-Goo (in his EP16 cameo character Hong Jin-seok) is the voice behind Yeong-sil. He also starred in last year’s Netflix/tvN K-Drama ‘Hotel del Luna‘ together with the K-Pop singer and actress, IU.
NoonGil is a make-believe accessibility app that helps the blind recognize objects around them with the help of their smartphone. The app works through Samsan Tech’s Image Recognition algorithm coupled with Yeong-sil’s voice recognition.
Tarzan is a self-driving car system headed by Seo Dal-mi under Cheongmyeong Company (청명컴패니), which is a subsidiary of Injae Company (인재컴패니) founded by her sister Seo In-Jae (formerly Won In-Jae).
This is in response to Tarzan (the original Disney character) being able to learn by grasping objects from his environment. Thus, Tarzan, an autonomous driving system, does the same thing through machine learning and image recognition.
Not to confuse with the G-Suite alternative Coda, CODA (just like the ending couple) is also a fictional event where software developers around the world participate in bringing the best when it comes to machine learning. Just like how the Samsan team described it, it’s like an “Olympics for A.I.”.
If you still haven’t watched Start-Up, it’s streaming in most (if not all) countries that Netflix supports.
P.S: I’m #TeamGoodBoy :)
Arcane Act III: Gobsmacking finale
I am lost for words
Act III: Gobsmacking finale
This article contains spoilers. Read at your own risk.
I wasn’t prepared for Arcane to end. And for the emotions that astounded me throughout the series’ third act.
I was delaying the inevitable; that this series will come to an end. I delayed watching the final act on purpose, just like I would with any other show I’ve fallen in love with.
But I’ve faced the end and I was utterly speechless. With every episode ending, I found myself dumbfounded with all the revelations, twists, and cliffhangers.
I thought Arcane would be predictable, especially when you base it on the game’s lore, but it wasn’t. And that made me love Arcane even more.
Art that gets better
Just when you thought the animation was already marvelous, it got even more magnificent. The introduction of more characters, sceneries, and changes in the plot often require brilliant storytelling.
Arcane slew it with its visuals, majorly between Ekko and Jinx — childhood friends turned enemies. The two brandished the contrasting ideologies in the city of Zaun.
The fight scenes also got sprightlier, thanks to the advent of HexTech through the weapons. I was ecstatic when Jayce whirled his hammer and he transformed it into a cannon, much like in the game.
Honestly, I wondered why I didn’t have a crush on Jayce when I was playing League of Legends, but I find him bewitching in Arcane.
On another note, Vi’s gauntlets punch through walls and bones with ease. Her clash with Sevika is one of the reasons why I was reminded of my love for martial arts. I can only dream of doing those stunts.
Riot certainly outdid themselves in the visual presentation of Arcane. It was carefully planned and executed. There’s no wonder the series got people hooked — even if they aren’t fans of League of Legends.
Taking a wild turn
Arcane is so damn unpredictable. Knowing the game’s lore could be the endgame, and indisputably the future of these characters. But let’s forget that for a moment.
What Arcane showed is the prosaic, everyday passing through the lives of the champions who lived in and crossed Piltover and Zaun. We even got a glimpse of what Noxus feels like — another empire in the land of Runeterra — through Mrs. Medarda.
Yes, the scheming councilor that our beloved Jayce is knocking boots with, has a parent come over to the City of Progress.
The third act expanded the story and its characters. How their lives are intertwined and divided by the circumstances surrounding them. And how it’s setting up for a war that might take place in the near future.
Unbeknownst to these characters, their lives are connected in ways they’re unaware of.
The collab we never knew we needed
Arcane exhibited different pairings we never expected. Caitlyn, Vi, and Ekko — teaming up to go back to Piltover and clashing with Jinx.
Heimerdinger discovers Ekko’s ingenuity and the two work together. (Bye, Jayce!)
Vi and Jayce shut down Silco’s manufacturing plants.
And even a peace agreement between Jayce and Silco to prevent war.
The series gave a platform to various dynamics; clashing personalities and upbringing brought together for one common goal.
I would’ve thought they’d cross each other in one grand finale, but the ending wasn’t what I expected. But somehow, it’s a serendipitous way to end the first season.
So open-ended, it presented possibilities on what’s next. Fans delighting in coming up with theories on how the story will pan out, especially for Season 2 — which Riot and Netflix have already promised to deliver in the future.
Though a bit anticlimactic, personally, I’m elated that I watched Arcane these past few weeks and it ended the way it was. I didn’t have the good ending I hoped for, but it gave me the opportunity to yearn for more.
Having a second season might give me the answers I’m searching, and the excitement I’ve been looking for. Riot hasn’t disappointed so far, and I’m certain they’ll make a grade with a masterpiece when the next season arrives.
Netflix Cowboy Bebop: Odd remix to the original’s jazz
Might give fans of the anime the real folk blues
“The work, which becomes a new genre itself, will be called… COWBOY BEBOP.”
The line above is an excerpt taken from the text we see flying around in the opening sequence of the original animé. It’s a sort of manifesto to the intentions of the show — a new genre itself. The animé, which first aired in Japan in 1998, more than lived up to this. Netflix’s live adaptation certainly tries its best, but what it ultimately achieves is an okay cover of a masterpiece.
Before we proceed, we think it’s only right to put a big fat SPOILER WARNING here. While we won’t go into specific details, some parts of this review/reaction to the series might contain mild spoilers. You have been warned.
If you’ve been keeping an eye on Netflix Cowboy Bebop, you’ve likely seen the teasers and trailers they’ve put up thus far. These sample tastes don’t veer too far from the overall feel of the entire series. It’s colorful, campy, and full of energy.
For the most part, the production got a few things right. We can’t really comment much on the editing since we were told some final touches were still being applied. Essentially, the screeners we got aren’t the final cut. But it was supposedly good enough to be shared with reviewers.
There was plenty of care and attention to detail put in the overall set and costume design. It does, somewhat, capture the world of Cowboy Bebop… just in a different lens.
Some of the fight choreography felt clunky but we’re gonna chalk that up to this not being the final cut. Most other physically demanding scenes looked great. There were just a few that we felt needed more polish.
Overall, the show feels zany but not in the same way that the Cowboy Bebop animé was. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what’s different, but somehow the live action just lacks the grit of the original. Instead, it feels like a mashup of the 1960s Batman starring Adam West and Saban’s many Super Sentai adaptations, only a tad bloodier.
What’s holding this together is the brilliant performance of John Cho as Spike Spiegel. He nails down the character to a T and is what pretty much carries a bulk of the show. He is nonchalant and carefree on most days, but is worked up every time his past hovers around him. Exactly the Spike we know and love.
Other than that, it’s his banter with Jet Black (Mustafa Shakur) and Faye Valentine (Daniella Pineda) that give the live action adaptation any semblance of the animé. The scenes featuring these characters together are easily the best parts of the show.
They did make changes to the characters. Changes are generally okay, if they work. However, we can’t say that’s true here. For Jet, the key change was okay. But how it will affect his character and the show was telegraphed at best and predictable at worst.
My Funny Valentine
Meanwhile for Faye… it’s hard to nail it down. To get it out of the way, I thought the costume change was fine and practical. No issues there. But part of what makes Faye Valentine a femme fatale felt lacking.
Daniella Pineda perfectly captures the character’s rough edges. It’s the silkier side that was missing, and this isn’t because she’s not built like the Faye in the animé. Faye, despite learning to be rugged, still maintained a certain air of sex appeal that was simply missing in the live action adaption.
Of course, yours truly writes this being fully aware that he is a straight man commenting on how a female character should appear sexy. Faye is, for better or worse, a heavily sexualized character in the animé and perhaps they wanted to tone it down. However, maybe there could have been a way to execute it without completely shying away from the matter.
On the flip side, this version of Faye could be empowering to women. This writer is personally still unlearning the many trappings of the patriarchal society we live in and is excited to listen to conversations about the character.
To mixed effects, we see more of Vicious (Alex Hassell) and Julia (Elena Satine) here than in the animé. For one, it does a generally good job of providing a bit of backstory to the two key figures in Spike’s past. However in doing so, they start to feel less like the characters in the animé.
Instead of simply fleshing them out, what came across on screen seemed like alternate universe versions of the characters. For Vicious, this is especially true in the early to middle part of the series. Where animé Vicious felt ruthless and menacing, the live action Vicious felt a lot more whiny and unhinged.
Julia will be polarizing. The arc her character goes through is fascinating in that she goes from a simple love interest — a damsel in distress if you will — to a woman acting out of her own agency. But the choices she makes towards the end of the series felt unnatural for her character.
The Real Folk Blues
In a media availability, the main cast talked about how much those who worked on the show revered the original. That’s certainly evident in the production design, dialogue, and selected episodes of the live action adaptation. There’s plenty of near one-to-one recreation of scenes in the animé that will make any fan gasp with excitement.
However, in their desire to expand, the showrunners miss some story beats, subtle moments, and character nuances that make the original animé great. Instead of the smooth soulful Jazz feel of the original, what we get instead is an odd remix that may be a little off key.
Cowboy Bebop streams on Netflix on November 19.
Arcane Act II: Whirlwind of emotions, understanding
It’s like an emotional check-up!
Act II: Whirlwind of emotions, understanding
This article contains spoilers. Read at your own risk.
URGH. That’s the last screech I let out in front of my Samsung The Serif TV when I was hooked watching Arcane’s Act II. It was the sound of frustration from someone who wanted more.
The second act progresses the series with world-building scenes, side stories, and the foundation for that one big finale. Instead of scattered introduction from the first act, Arcane gets to expand the lore for every champion and significant character in the story.
We got glimpses of the characters’ lives and what they’ve become after the time jump. But I’m not going to spoil you with the fun that you can discover while watching Arcane. Instead, let me share with you all the emotions felt.
Processing deaths and loss
The element of grief is prevalent in the story’s major characters. They say time heals everything, but not with grief — or at least for those who didn’t process them well.
For Powder, Marcus, Vi, and even Caitlyn — losing people can take a toll on your mental health. Similar to our waking reality.
The pandemic has taken the lives of some of my friends. Even parents and families of colleagues and loved ones. And I would admit: I haven’t even processed my emotions fully. I barely gave myself time to cry and surrender to the void I’ve felt.
Arcane presented the reality of grief and mourning. Even though you seem fine on the outside, and even if you look like you’ve already moved forward, the void is still there until you ought to address it properly.
Marcus and Caitlyn remembered Grayson, the enforcer killed in Act I. While Marcus sees Grayson as a good woman, he continued her path but became severely corrupted in the process.
Caitlyn, on the other hand, remembers fond memories with Grayson and how the enforcer helped her believe in herself and her skills as an excellent marksman even at a young age.
For Powder and Violet, the circumstances are different. Powder became a madwoman in the streets of Zaun, working for Silco as Jinx. But she’s a harrowing account of trauma and broken inner child.
Everywhere she looks, she gets haunted by her memories: Accidentally killing her friends, hurting her family, blaming herself for being abandoned.
She became unstable caused by her guilt. And she badly needs a therapist. But I’m sure she’s going to shoot and bomb anyone who’ll try to get her treated.
Vi spent years in a locked cell, treated like a dangerous criminal that needs to be isolated. After being released and traveling back to Zaun, her memories started haunting her. However, Vi is embattled with repressed emotions, and sometimes, it gets the best of her.
Arcane presented how loss and grief manifest differently in those who were left in the living.
Relationships are tricky
Arcane magnified relationships — business, platonic, romantic, and sexual connections — throughout the second act. Jayce, who’s stepping up to be the next shiny thing in Piltover due to the progress he’s making in the city, realizes he has to be careful.
Being in the public eye and the brain behind the innovation, everyone can be his enemy or an ally.
This is true even in waking life, where we need to play our cards right. When gaining status and power, depending on how you deliver and present yourself, you can choose your friends and foes.
With the help of Councilor Mel Medarda, Jayce got investors to back his Hextech research and even gain the favor of other Councilors. This helped him establish dominance in the Council and got support when he pushed for Heimerdinger’s retirement.
Concurrently, Jayce and Mel Medarda are knocking boots. After a vulnerable moment was shared, the two ended up kissing and having sex — sharing a passionate night while Viktor collapsed due to his illness while working on the Hextech.
Though Jayce slightly felt torn between his friend and his girl, Mel Medarda asked Jayce to spend time with Viktor and to put him first. The lady knows the code: bros before hoes.
Not all reunions are worth celebrating
Vi and Powder got a tearjerker reunion. Though I got real emotional, the reunion was cut short when they were attacked by the Firelighters — a gang that Jinx ambushed earlier in the second act.
If Taylor Swift could sing in Arcane right now, it would’ve been “All Too Well”. Especially that line “you called me up again just to break me like a promise” because that’s how Powder probably felt. Once more, Vi is leaving her again.
On another note, Vi saw how much Powder has changed. Years of being in survival mode had turned Powder into Jinx the madwoman. Or in the game’s data, “The Loose Cannon.”
There were no exchanges shared regarding how much they’ve changed, but their eyes and facial expression have shown the disconnect between the two sisters. Separated by fate, ripped by strife, torn by the events that changed their life.
Arcane Act III will premiere on November 20, 2021.
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