It’s that time of year again. Time for new Trapper Keepers, reams of lined paper, and bouquets of freshly-sharpened pencils. It’s also time for a little note-passing (at least for students who can’t access email or text messages in class). Note-passing is all about being stealthy; you don’t want a teacher or another student to be reading the latest gossip out loud. The solution, for the sophisticated teenager? Writing in code, of course.
Even if you’re beyond the point of passing folded notes under a teacher’s nose, coded note-passing still holds an inherent kind of pleasure. One of the easiest ways to do it? Using the Alienese Decoder created by Software Engineer Damian Reichel, which translates and decodes Alienese, the fictional alien language of Futurama. The best part? It’s dead simple to use, whether you’re using the decoder in your browser or though the Android app.
You can use the Alienese keys to translate a message from Alienese to English, or you can type a message in English and have the message translated into the Alienese glyphs. See? Simple.
Though Reichel originally created the Alienese Decoder as a way for fans to interact with Futurama on a new level by giving them a way to explore the messages in the show easily while watching. But what he didn’t anticipate was that people would go beyond using the decoder to translate onscreen Alienese — they’re using it to send messages back and forth to one another.
“I never really even thought of it as a note passing app until the reviews started coming in,” says Reichel. “The number one request was and still is a way to copy and paste the message to send to other people to have them decode.”
An easy way for fans to send coded messages back and forth in an alien language from one of their favorite shows? Yeah, we can see how people would be really into that.
“Part of it is definitely just being in on something,” says Reichel. “Just like the decoder rings back in the day, you feel like you’re part of a secret club if you know how to decipher a secret message.”
Okay, so we may be past the folded paper football note-passing stage of our lives, but we’re still kids at heart. And if you want to tap into your inner-kid in a delightfully nerdy, 21st century way, sending messages back and forth in Alienese isn’t a bad way to do it.
Now get to note-passing, nerds.