Tag Archives: android

#dayofDH Japanese apps workshop for new Penn students

Today, we’re having a day in the library for prospective and new Penn students who will (hopefully) join our community in the fall. As part of the library presentations, I’ve been asked to talk about Japanese mobile apps, especially for language learning.

While I don’t consider this a necessarily DH thing, some people do, and it’s a way that I integrate technology into my job – through workshops and research guides on various digital resources. (More on that later.)

I did this workshop for librarians at the National Coordinating Council on Japanese Library Resources (NCC)’s workshop before the Council on East Asian Libraries conference a few weeks ago in March 2014. My focus was perhaps too basic for a savvy crowd that uses foreign languages frequently in their work: I covered the procedure for setting up international keyboards on Android and iOS devices, dictionaries, news apps, language learning assistance, and Aozora bunko readers. However, I did manage to impart some lesser known information: how to set up Japanese and other language dictionaries that are built into iOS devices for free. I got some thanks on that one. Also noted was the Aozora 2 Kindle PDF-maker.

Today, I’ll focus more on language learning and the basics of setting up international keyboards. I’ve been surprised at the number of people who don’t know how to do this, but not everyone uses foreign languages on their devices regularly, and on top of that, not everyone loves to poke around deep in the settings of their computer or device. And keyboard switching on Android can be especially tricky, with apps like Simeji. So perhaps covering the basics is a good idea after all.

I don’t have a huge amount of contact with undergrads compared to the reference librarians here, and my workshops tend to be focused on graduate students and faculty with Japanese language skills. So I look forward to working with a new community of pre-undergrads and seeing what their needs and desires are from the library.

nhk and tbs radio podcast apps for android

Here’s another short post about some apps I found for Android that are really helpful for getting ahold of Japanese content – and, of course, learning and practicing Japanese.

NHK news is notoriously difficult to listen to. I’m not going to argue there. But I still enjoy listening to it, and even more to TBS’s various podcasts, so I was delighted to find a very simple RSS app for my phone that lets me download and play individual NHK news broadcasts (7 am, noon, 7 pm, 10 pm, and sometimes midnight). Once in a while (about once or twice a week) you’ll get the “news journal” at midnight, which is an hour long and has breaking news such as there being garbage at Mt. Fuji. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

I don’t listen to TBS podcasts as much – and there are more comedy and entertainment shows there, although you can find news as well – so I haven’t evaluated that app, but it’s by the same developer and is the same idea. By the way, you can subscribe to these same TBS podcasts on iTunes, and I’ve enjoyed doing that so far. This is just one step more toward convenience!

If you are learning Japanese or want to stay in practice – or just like listening to NHK news – please give this a try. I haven’t had it crash on me yet and it’s done its simple function very well!

Here are links to NHK Radio News and TBS Podcast Radio on Android Market. Enjoy!

android slashdot reader: 和英コメントで言語学び!

Now that I have an Android phone and have found some pretty great things on the Android Market for getting ahold of Japanese content, I would like to start sharing with you all what I’ve been using and whether it’s worth downloading.

First up is my favorite new find: Slashdot Reader. Yeah. It’s an RSS feed reader for Slashdot. Why so great?

Well, can you imagine my reaction when I read its description and saw images of posts from slashdot.org and slashdot.jp showing up all mixed in together? Then I read the description: “just a feed reader, nothing more” – for both Japanese and English Slashdot.

It’s like I found an app made by my doppelganger. Really.

If you don’t want one or the other of the languages, it allows you to toggle both, Japanese only, and English only.

Because it’s a feed reader, you only get the headlines and leads from Slashdot, but can easily click through to the full story, and therein lies the amazing language learning tool that somehow never really occurred to me.

All of these years, I could have been learning Japanese through Slashdot comments! That’s right. Of course it’s not textbook Japanese. I already know how trolls (荒らし) talk after just a minute or two of reading. How nerds talk. (They always use が and never けど, although they do use ね sparingly for emphasis. A certain language teacher from several years ago who forbid us from using けど in class for an entire semester would be proud.) And how random users talk.

I also know how they’re basically saying exactly the same things that commenters do on Slashdot in English, only they’re saying it in Japanese. (open source != free as in beer, anyone? I seriously just read this. 無償 is free as in beer, and note that it’s not the same as the widely-used word for “free” 無料 – so I just learned something new about software licensing.) So if you’re a Slashdot reader, this is going to help you immensely. It’s all about context.

Yes, so there are people out there who would disparage the idea of learning language from internet comments. But I counter that with: it’s real language! And this is a specific forum where you know what is coming: some nerdspeak, some posturing, some trolls, some reasonable people, talking about a rather limited set of topics. So you are going to learn voices, not just “Japanese.” You are going to learn what people say in a certain situation, and also what not to say. I can’t think of anything more helpful than that!

And here you go: Slashdot Reader for Android (this takes you to Android Market).

new phone destroys old phone

I’m jumping headfirst into the 21st century here for once, rather than being dragged kicking and screaming. Yes, I have replaced an old electronic device (to be fair, only 1.5 years old) with a fancy shiny new one.

Samsung Epic 4G

I posted once about my Blackberry destroying certain parts of my internet life by being a laptop replacement that nonetheless can do fewer things. Well, I now have a laptop replacement that can do quite a few more things, but with a harder to use keyboard, and which sucks its battery down like you wouldn’t believe. Goodbye, poor Blackberry. I who defended you so stubbornly am now transferring your pictures away and will soon recycle you, and remember you fondly in spirit.

Blackberry Curve Purple

 

RIP Blackberry Curve Purple!

P.S. The new phone is one that someone else gave up for an iPhone and donated to yours truly. So I’m still in character, fear not.