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 japanesepod101.com 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!

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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 10:30 AM | TrackBack

November 15, 2008

The beast-est.

Bond tonight, I'm trying not to get too excited. I wish I liked martinis.

Jo loves her new MacBook, an early gift when the drive on her old one died in a spectacularly audible fashion. The lack of FireWire is quite annoying, but at least I have other machines from which I can network-share my existing backup drive. She loves the speed, she loves the feel, but most of all, she's mesmerized by the gestures on the trackpad. Who knew?

We are also the proud owners of a new elliptical machine. This thing is a beast. I can't believe we got it down the stairs, and then that we were able to assemble it. It only squeaks a little and we only broke one plastic tab. Have I mentioned it's a beast? We're never moving. Ever.

Posted by pinkerton at 12:58 PM | TrackBack

November 8, 2008

Who knew?

I tried that Bud American Ale this week. Who knew it doesn't suck? I'd actually buy another 6pk.

What's with this weather? It's November. It shouldn't be 70. I'm sweating!

Posted by pinkerton at 1:33 PM | TrackBack