November 22, 2008

Things that have me giddy

I've been finding a bunch of cool things lately, and wanted to share.

I've been trying to get back into learning Japanese, but Kana flashcards for hiragana and katakana are quite cumbersome. To the rescue come several highly rated flashcard apps for the iPhone, but the one I finally settled on was Kana Flip because of its intelligent algorithms for tracking progress. I always have my phone around, and I feel much less self conscious about dragging it out to spend five minutes reinforcing the Kana than a handful of cards with alien writing on them. I'm still having lots of trouble with katakana. Why does it have to be so different form the corresponding hiragana!??! It's a conspiracy!

With now requiring a subscription for access to their old content (blech!), I went in search of other online resources and found something incredible: iKnow. It's a complete online learning tool for learning Kana, Kanji, and vocabulary that's very highly polished, intuitive, and fun to work with. The graphics are stunning in quality and the Flash app only takes 30% of my poor laptop's CPU! Programmers who care! Members can create their own content and lists of words (in any language, mind you) and share them for everyone's benefit. You can also create a custom podcast of your completed words. Best of all, it's free!


The new iPhone 2.2 features are cool, but I'm drooling about the new podcast features in the iTunes store. Not only can you now get podcasts directly from the store (finally!) but you can delete completed podcasts directly on the phone (just swipe) to free up space. You also have the choice to either download the podcast or stream it if you have network connectivity, saving you from having to take up precious space. This is really a game-changer when it comes to information snacking. I don't need to be tethered to get what I want, nor do I even need to go through the hassle of subscribing. I can just pick a few before I head out, save them to the phone, listen in the car or on the Metro, and then delete them as I listen to them. The barrier to accessing new content is now ridiculously low. Keen.

I'm also loving the voice search in the Google Mobile app for the iPhone (disclaimer: I have some code in there, so I'm a little biased, but not too much). The interface is really clean and just works. If it gets the recognition wrong, just pick from the suggestion list and it will learn for the future.

Jo says I need to write about how "fantastico" the Facebook app is. She's addicted. Is that a recognized disorder?

Posted by pinkerton at November 22, 2008 10:30 AM | TrackBack