The End Of The 3DS Era


“holy crap. they decided to go ahead and do it.”

That was my response to Nintendo announcing that they would shut down the eShop for the 3DS and Wii U systems, posted in a private IRC channel with a bunch of friends.

Imagine if you will.

It’s 2015 again. You’re in elementary school, sitting in a classroom with the lights on, as the teacher continues on and on about some math stuff you can’t seem to recall right now.

Lunch happens. You go into the cafeteria, and sit down. With a tray full of tasteless food, you reach into your coat pockets and pull something out. A light on it is blinking orange, and you open it-making a loud CLICK-CLICK-CLICK noise.

You can stop imagining now.

That was how one day in my life went.

That thing I pulled out? You probably guessed that was a 3DS.

At the time, almost everybody who was considered a ‘gamer’ at this school had a 3DS.

Many of us saw the graphics demonstrations for the Xbox and PlayStation with our mouths dropped open. People who actually owned one of those consoles were considered almost god-like.

If you happened to wander into the cafeteria-like what happened earlier-it could be extremely easy to find someone to connect with and play multiple rounds of whatever game. This was aided by Download Play, where if a game supported it, you could play multiplayer with someone-even if you didn’t own the game.

It was also very easy to find people using the StreetPass feature on the console-you could walk past people and collect tons of Miis and maybe a couple Mystery Boxes in Mario 3D Land if you were lucky.

Now let’s fast forward to 2019.

At this point, the Nintendo Switch has been gathering steam, and most of us have already shelved our 3DSes.

Fast forward some more to 2021. I’ve entered 8th grade and now with less COVID insanity, the world finally has stopped whirling like a top.

The gaming world has now become, well, another console war. The PS5, Xbox Series X/S, the Switch, and PC are now almost at equals, doing console war things.

I, myself, sat down on PC, since I was never going to get a new console-plus most of my friends were now playing on platforms like Steam.

And by that point-Nintendo consoles became sorta…casual.

In the world of high school gaming, you are either hardcore, or casual. One is better than the other.

You are either shelling out $1000+ for top-of-the-line hardware or you aren’t playing any games.

You are either playing what everybody else is or you aren’t playing any games.

You are either Xbox, PlayStation, PC, or Nintendo.

And the platform divide is big. And always has been.

I still sometimes remember when most of us used one platform-and were happy with it.


The Apple App Store Problem

The App Store is a pretty decent part of the iOS/macOS ecosystem. Being able to get access to and manage thousands of third-party apps with something directly integrated into the operating system is actually really good and adds a fair amount to the user experience, compared to Linux, where the various package managers, their repositories, distro and architecture differences, and Flatpak’s annoying insistence on security that results in the apps you install you using it not being able to autosave, the App Store is somewhat better. Even Microsoft jumped in on it, with the Microsoft Store in Windows 8.1.

However, as we’ve seen in the past, nothing is perfect.

It can be really hard to develop for (if you’re not a Mac user)

Before apps can even reach the store, they must be developed. While writing the code is easy, with plenty of documentation, frameworks, languages, and tools to help, and you can do that with an ordinary Windows or Linux PC.

However, you can’t just release source code and expect it to work. You’ll need to build real executables for iOS before your app can be released on the App Store, so it can be run by any old user. To do that, you need Xcode. Xcode is Mac-exclusive, which means you can’t run it on Windows or Linux.

Macs are very expensive, and getting a used one risks getting a computer that can’t run the newest version of macOS and Xcode. Because of this, some app projects and developers may not even be able to even develop their application at all.

Getting on the App Store itself can be expensive

However, even after you’ve managed to build your app, there’s another issue: actually getting onto the App Store.

In order to upload an app to the App Store, you need to be a part of the Apple Developer Program. To join said program, you need to shell out $99 every year to publish your app and keep it there. (If you don’t renew your subscription, your app will remain on user’s devices if they already downloaded it, but it won’t let new users install it)

Although for some of you, $99 a year isn’t a large ask. Some people pay more than that a month for their phone service and internet plan. However, for some smaller developers or open-source projects relying on donations, it could be a pretty large wall. A large social network company with thousands of users could keep their subscription, but a small, obscure app with only a few users?

Probably not.

Now, let’s look at what iOS’s biggest competitor, Android, does differently.

Compared to Apple’s Xcode, which is again, exclusive to Macs, Android Studio is available on Windows, Mac, Linux, and even Chrome OS.

And to publish to the Play Store, you only need to pay a one-time fee of $25, not per year, only once.

Those reasons make a very open marketplace, with lots of smaller developers. I’m not saying Google’s store is perfect, what with its tons of low quality, uncontrolled services, and even malware, but it’s something Apple could learn from.

Apple could port Xcode to Windows and Linux. They could also fix the monetary requirement, possibly lowering the fee from $99 per year or even take from Google’s playbook and just have a one-time fee, all while keeping their existing guidelines.

Who knows if Apple would take these ideas. Maybe they won’t. But…again who knows?

Electron.JS: Both good and bad

For what seems like forever now, Electron seems to be the go-to way to make standalone apps from web languages and frameworks like React, Svelte, and Tailwind.

Microsoft, Spotify, Scratch (and TurboWarp), Discord and many, many more use Electron to make their desktop apps.

Being able to turn your already existing web code into a desktop app may work a lot better in some instances than rewriting your applications to be native, like being able to have a consistent UI, have backends and codebases that work across platforms, and save a lot of development time.

However, nothing is perfect.

Electron is very flexible, mostly because it bundles Embedded Chromium (the engine that browsers like Chrome, Edge and Vivaldi use) and Node.JS.

However, this makes packages very large.

Let’s put it this way:

If your app is small, light, and simple, using Electron will cause the app to bloat up and become, well, not very small, light and simple.

Plus, it uses a lot of resources. Running it on something like a Raspberry Pi at its defaults is very slow, which makes for a very poor user experience. Running many Electron apps at once, well, it may make an even worse user experience.

If you really want a more lightweight app and a better experience for low-end devices, then you might want to look into alternatives like Tauri and Neutralino. Those use webview, which loads your apps in the OS’s built-in web component instead of bundling Chromium like Electron.

However, I’m not saying you should drop and run away from Electron. If you feel like you want a mature framework, then you can go with Electron. However, if you don’t need a whole browser embedded in your app, and you probably don’t, then look into Electron alternatives. Your users will thank you.

The One Common Thing Between Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer

Web browsers. Some of us use the one we get on our devices out of the box. Others download another one. After a few minutes, the browser becomes part of the ordinary, just a way to access the many parts of the internet.

However, there’s more to that icon on that bar at the bottom of the screen. The developers, the designers, heck, even marketing. And after all the work the creators put into it, they would really, REALLY like it if people used it.

Of course, how exactly are you going to get people to use your browser?

Microsoft, in the late 1990s, had a great idea: bundle the browser with the newest release of their operating system.

On May 15, 1998, Microsoft released Windows 98, a new version designed to replace the slightly-dusty Windows 95, all while adding some new features to keep up with new technology. One of these new technologies was the Internet. You know, the thing that let me share this article with you, the place for endless memes, among other things?

At the time, the internet was very small, but the basics were there. You needed a device, a connection, and internet software in order to use it. Like a browser.

Today, we have four major browsers: Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, and Microsoft Edge.

Back in the 90s, there was Netscape Navigator. Although there were other smaller browsers, much like today, Netscape was the biggest, having the most market share. Unlike today, where most browsers are free, Netscape was a commercial product.

When Windows 98 launched, it was bundled with Internet Explorer, and because Windows was, and still is, the most popular desktop OS out there, Internet Explorer quickly gained market share. People already had a browser built into their new, shiny Windows 98 computer for free, so why would you want to go out and buy another browser?

So with that, Netscape was dethroned, and IE was nearly unstoppable. And Microsoft went all out on forcing it onto users. The usual help program for Windows was replaced with “HyperHelp”, basically HTML pages loaded in, well, IE. Heck, even File Explorer used IE!

However, Microsoft couldn’t do this all without getting in trouble with somebody, right? You’d think this would be another company, right? Maybe Netscape would speak out against all of this, right?

Well, Microsoft did get in trouble, but with the United States Government, who, on May 19, 1998, slapped Microsoft with an anti-trust case.

Microsoft argued with some hilariously dumb points, such as Windows being literally completely broken if IE was uninstalled, (which was not the case) and that people could if they wanted, install Netscape, and it would be just as easy as using IE. (Ok, maybe that wasn’t as dumb, but this didn’t really pass in court)

Long story short, Microsoft lost the case, was found guilty of anti-competitive practices and was ordered to split in two, one company to work on Windows, and another to work on software, like Internet Explorer and Office. Microsoft appealed, and the case was settled with Microsoft staying as one big company.

Microsoft bundling a browser and using methods to make it harder for users to use other browsers probably should have stayed in the past.

Well, it didn’t.

You probably know about Microsoft Edge, right? The replacement for IE? In Windows 11, Microsoft made it harder for users to change the default browser from Edge to anything else, just like they did with IE! This video by Enderman on YouTube shows how difficult it is:


Microsoft might be hurling at record speed towards another anti-trust case, and it might be a matter of time before it happens.

Well, that’s the one common thing between Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer. They are/were being bundled with Windows, and Microsoft is using/used measures to prevent users from switching away from them.

(comic from xkcd)

Computer Pain

Computers are awesome.

However, they aren’t perfect.

Take my computer, for instance. I’m having a couple of very annoying issues with it, and this post is just a mild, not very angry rant.

Well, let’s get into it.

My computer is a 2013 HP ProDesk 400, that I bought used a couple years ago running Windows 8.1. I used what it came with for a while, before I wanted something different from Windows, so I set out for a new operating system. Some people pointed me towards Linux. So, that afternoon, after a quick web search, I installed Ubuntu on my computer.

And, I actually liked it. I enjoyed the freedom to use whatever I wanted, and heck, it was even faster than Windows!

However, again, I wanted a better operating system. The Ubuntu staff had made some changes that I didn’t like, and I wanted a new distro. However, my computer was aging quickly (mind you, this was early 2021), so I wanted something modern, but I also needed something that could run on this 8-year-old computer. So, after more digging, I decided to switch over to Manjaro. I installed it, liked it, and I’m continuing to use it to this day.

However, like I said, computers are not perfect.

My computer has this one very annoying issue where if a lot of action is going on screen, like me juggling 20+ tabs in Firefox, while chatting on my friend’s Discord and IRC, editing pictures and having my music playlist open, then the computer locks up and goes completely unresponsive. Even the power button cannot save the computer. I have to get on the floor and manually unplug the computer, wait a few seconds, and then reconnect it, and hope that whatever the heck I was working on was saved. (hint: probably not)

I’ve learned to do what I need to with only what I need to do, with as little background stuff, and not to over-multitask. (my multitasking skills suck anyway) But occasionally, the computer will lock up, like when multiple people join a voice chat while I’m playing Minecraft.

Any person in an armchair would blame the operating system, but this happens on EVERY SINGLE OPERATING SYSTEM I BOOT ON THE THING! I’ve tried calling tech support, and they have offered to help, but the computer’s warranty has expired, and I’m not able to pay for the extended warranty because it’s too expensive!

However, I’ve been having a bigger issue with my computer.

Last night, I updated my antivirus, and then shut down the computer. When I turned it back on again the next morning, Manjaro didn’t boot. I saw the general Linux startup stuff, but it would stop with some gibberish techno-babble error and wouldn’t continue. I had to restart the computer and boot into Ubuntu. As of right now, I’m waiting for the Manjaro ISO to finish downloading so I can create some new install media, use the Live Boot function to get my data off of there, and reinstall the OS and start fresh.

I, however, don’t think I’ll continue to use this computer for much longer with all the problems I’m having with it. I’m considering getting a new computer, probably a Raspberry Pi 400.

Computers aren’t perfect, they do have their issues. What really matters is you having the measures when things go wrong.

“trash. blocks everything”: Why does my school block things?

You probably know what this article is about. Schools blocking stuff on devices using software like Securly and GoGuardian. However, this isn’t some fuming rant about how my school’s filter blocked my favorite game or Spotify and how it’s a disgrace to the planet and should be thrown into Wonderer Land.

I’m talking about why your school blocks things.

You probably know how blocking works. Visit a website that just happens to be blocked by the school filter, like Coolmath Games, and you get slammed in the face with a block message. The story goes that in the early days when the page they tried to load was blocked, people would just assume the page had some inappropriate content, and move on with their life. Some people say that it only blocked the majorly inappropriate pages. However, one day, several educational and web game sites got blocked. And here we are at the present date.

Cue the angry 1-star reviews.

Of course, most of the reviews on filter extensions are written by 8-year-olds who can’t play Getaway Shootout while they’re supposed to be taking a state test, but some make a point about educational websites being blocked, such as NPR and Wikipedia. This is a major problem for those trying to do research projects.

“because securly blocked gmail, quora, and all that useful stuff, my grades have gone from 30% F’s to 0% F’s. all because i cannot message my friend to get help on an assignment(i dont have a phone), and i cant use quora to tell me how to do something that i NEED for the assignment, otherwise i fail.”

someone on a certain chat website

With all that said, people are going to get even madder, and then start looking for ways to get around the filter. And are there a lot!

A few years ago, the only way to circumvent a blocker extension was to open the task manager and close the filter extension. Nowadays, we have full-on websites and hacks dedicated to circumventing school filters.

One of the many websites dedicated to bypassing school filters
The problem with using web filters is that people CAN and WILL bypass it if they can. Which leads to the question: Why are things blocked at all? Why the heck does Securly and GoGuardian and Hapara and whatnot exist?

Simple. The Children’s Internet Protection Act, or CIPA, for short.

Schools and libraries subject to CIPA are required to adopt and implement an Internet safety policy addressing:
-Access by minors to inappropriate matter on the Internet
-Measures restricting minors’ access to materials harmful to them.


Essentially, if a school doesn’t block inappropriate things, then they are breaking the law. But what about game sites? Only a small percentage of web games contain content that needs to be blocked.

Chances are, games are distracting. Trust me, I have burned many hours on Henry Stickmin that should have been spent on homework. Teachers and admins just want students to focus on their education.

But what about all those “horror stories” of people failing a class because the websites they were trying to use for their research were blocked? It’s really hard to crack that puzzle. However, the most likely cause is faulty page scanning.

Every time you visit a web page on a school device, the filter scans the website once it has finished loading for inappropriate content using an AI engine. However, these have a track record of making mistakes. Essentially, when a page scanner AI makes a mistake and misreads a safe, appropriate piece of content as inappropriate, the block hammer go swing! And all traffic to that website on the school filter is blocked.

AI-based page scanning works well, but it has lots of issues that need to be fixed.

And that’s why your school blocks things. (basically)