Saturday, May 29, 2010

Tea, Cha, Chai: LiveMocha!

A friend sent me a link to a random site called LiveMocha. I thought it was supposed to be some sort of online order espresso delivery site, but it turned out to be a language study site. Naturally, I have to feature it on this blog!
It offers very comprehensive lessons for 38 languages, including Japanese, Korean, and Mandarin Chinese. (It even offers Esperanto!) I've been testing the lessons for those three languages, and have pleasantly been rewarded with grammar and pronunciation corrections. The virtual teachers' recordings sound natural, and the lessons truly build with sufficient repetitions to drill in key grammar patterns and vocabularies.

Like Lang-8, previously discussed in this blog, other members in the LiveMocha community who are native speakers of the languages you study can correct your recordings and writings - and they will. I got a response on one of my recordings in less than 5 minutes. In order to access higher level lessons, you have to accumulate Teacher Points by leaving constructive comments on other users' assignments. Pretty nifty setup.

Essentially, LiveMocha is to the Rosetta Stone as Open Office is to Microsoft Office. So far, I'm enjoying it a lot. I'm waiting for the site to roll out with lessons in Tagalog though. If you give it a try, friend me at runinmusic!

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Technical Intermission: Linking Blogger to Facebook

You just spent hours crafting your blog entry, resizing and arranging your pictures and changing fonts so that the world (namely, your friends) can read about your life. You've put your link in the "websites" box on Facebook in hopes that your friends will click and check in once in a while. Alas, they don't. When you upload photos of your travels on Facebook, your friends all say, "Whoa, that's so cool! Where did you take that?" And all you want to say is, "stfu. I wrote about this - go read."

Fortunately, you don't have to exclaim profanity. And no, it's not Facebook's fault that you're ignored and isolated from your social network (especially if you're in places like China - can people access Facebook in China now?) All you need to do is built a bridge that will allow your entries to be posted directly on everybody's news feed.

This way, at least your friends will be able to read the title and maybe the first few words of your entry.
So how do you do this?
1. Under the Layout tab on the back-end of your blog, click on "Edit HTML."
2. Check "Expand Widget Templates."
3. Click inside the box with all the code, and find (by pressing Ctrl+F or Apple Sign+F) the text "".
4. Right below that text, copy and paste the following bit of code:

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5. Click on "Save Template." View your blog. Below every entry, you should see the text circled below. Now, you can click on the blue-highlighted text to share your entry through facebook.
I hope this helps!

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