Marco's Blog

All content personal opinions or work.
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How Good Is Duolingo At Teaching Languages?

2023-11-18 13 min read Apps marco
I have been long fond of Duolingo, an app that teaches languages for free. You can use it on the phone, you can use it on a web site, it teaches language in a playful way that people call gamified. You get points, you compete with others, and you get constant positive feedback. More than just that, Duolingo has a series of courses for less common languages. I am particularly fond of the Esperanto and Hawaiian courses, as I love both languages and because there really wasn’t a good alternative for Duolingo before. Continue reading

Gender Treatment in Nova vs. Esperanto

2023-11-15 11 min read Language marco
One of the more political attacks against Esperanto in current times comes from the idea that Esperanto is inherently sexist. Nova is different, although the difference is less political and more due to language simplicity and consistency reasons. The end result is anyway that Nova, unlike Esperanto, is entirely sex-neutral in a way that is easier to learn and comprehend. Continue reading

Adding Search to a HUGO Site

2023-11-11 10 min read Site Programming marco
One function that is harder to do without a database backend, as static sites don’t, is search. With WordPress, search is baked into the core and all templates have to do is not get in the way. But on a static site, there is no backend to call, no infrastructure to invoke, and no user interface to show. Static sites have gotten around this by using third party search providers. Basically, you add some third party code to your site and then magic happens. Continue reading

Good Bye, Shasta

2023-11-11 8 min read People marco
I was perusing the articles on here and found the one I wrote when my older cat, Mondo died. When the younger one, Shasta died, I wrote a private one but nothing to commemorate her publicly, so here goes. Cats are weird animals, but they are weird in a way very similar to how humans are. Both of us are social, but not too much. We like interacting with other members of our species, but we also know we are competing with them. Continue reading

Moving on again: Joomla to WordPress to Hugo

2023-11-09 6 min read Site marco
It’s that time of the century again: I need to move on from one platform to another and carry (almost) all the content with me. This time, the move was not necessary and I could have continued working with WordPress. But updating the software every few days added up in time, the concern that eventually I’d be caught by a WordPress flaw that allowed remote execution, and ultimate takeover of the server, and the resources required to run PHP and MySQL were all too much. Continue reading

The Great Annular Eclipse of 2023

2023-11-09 7 min read Travel marco
I am still remembering the Great American Eclipse of 2017 with fondness and surprise. Even to a trained physicist like me, the sudden disappearance of the sun for a few minutes in the middle of the day was surprising, even startling. It’s probably my fondest memory of a natural event, together with the sight of lava falls on Hawai’i, the Big Island of the state. But there was a much more convenient eclipse happening in 2023. Continue reading

The Great Canada Snowboarding Adventure

2023-04-15 7 min read Snow Updates marco
The pandemic came in 2020 and ground all traveling to a halt. I had bought both IKON and EPIC passes that season, but by the beginning of March things started looking iffy. By mid-March the resorts all closed and travel, especially the international kind, had stopped. And for three years, all attempts at getting a trip together failed among successive waves of COVID-19. Then, at the end of 2022, it looked good. Continue reading
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