Archive for July 14, 2011

Learning Spanish with Rosetta Stone

Learning a new language can be very tricky but there’s always a few methods and tips that will ease the process.

I was born and raised in a french speaking family (I’m french Canadian) and learned english when I was a kid; mostly by watching tv, movies, reading stuff in magazines, on the internet or by hearing people around me.

I am pretty satisfied with my writing and listening skills but speaking it in everyday situations make me a little uncomfortable; So I don’t unless I really have to. Don’t really know why..I guess the french accent annoys me and makes me feel self conscious.. And since I don’t practice, I look like a douche everytime I talk with an Anglophone. Anyways, the fact is, I didn’t make any efforts to learn English so even though I already have acquired  a second language, I’m a complete newbie at learning a language.

I recently decided to try and learn spanish, (mostly for fun) and wanted something that would make me practice the “speaking” part.

Then I found Rosetta Stone, Here’s how it works.

The method they use is “immersion”. You basically have to associate a series of images, words (or sentences) and sound clips. Sometimes, you have to read out loud a word or complete a sentence (using a Mic).

I think it’s a fun non-cramming process. It looks a bit childish at first but it’s very efficient; There is no translation so everything you learn is by association. They don’t make you learn.. They make you understand. (I don’t know if what I just said makes sense but… meh)

After a few days (they recommend about 1h/day) you can already name objects, colors and food products very easily without thinking about it. the Pronouns, verbs and stuff come a bit later. By chapter 2 you start making sentences.

I’m really happy with the Software. The only “negative” thing I can say is that it may feel a little redundant some times. (Then again… that’s probably what makes it work so I can’t complain)

Here’s a few things I’m currently doing (other that Rosetta Stone) to “immerse” myself even more.

  • I switched my Facebook language to Español;
  • I loaded my iPod with Mexican music (I know there’s a lot of Spanish bands and singers, but I really like Mexican style music)
  • I picked a couple of DVDs that I’ve seen a couple of times. (favorite movies or shows) and switched the audio option to Spanish.
  • I also try to watch real Spanish-speaking movies but with English subtitles.
  • Spanish web pages; don’t understand much but when I “try to read” stuff (move eyes over text), I can already associate some words and see the resemblance between English-french and Spanish words or sentence structure.

It’s not much. I’m not saying this is the Ultimate way / fastest way to learn a new language but it seems to work for me. I never felt like I was STUDYING or taking classes. I’m learning through entertainment.

Any of you have other tips or experience you want to share about learning a foreign language?

Google+ thoughts

I feel strange on this whole Google+ will destroy Facebook thing.

When I heard Google+ was in… let’s say “restricted testing”, I searched my friends/contacts for an invite and was pretty curious about it.

Since ..hum, yesterday, I wasn’t a big “active user” of social networks but I mean, I know my way around facebook and even though I don’t update my status, and “like” everything I see.. I spend quite a lot of time on it.

Twitter, meh. Tried it. I follow people and stuff but never really got on the wagon.

Before that, I’ve tried and used a couple, (smaller) ones but for a limited period of time. whether it was forums or networking sites… I have more -inactive- accounts on the web than ( I just waited 5minutes trying to think of a good thing to say but… you get the idea.. I created accounts on lots of sites)

Back to the subject,
I got my Google+ account and started to mess around. Found it quite awkward at first. I didn’t know where things were, what they meant, how to do this and that; I was completely lost. Didn’t give up though, and after a few hours spent on it, I started to resent Google. Not because I don’t like it. It seems really great and useful but I had the same feeling as when DVDs came out and realized my VHS collection would end up in the trash. Get what I’m saying?

I really have mixed emotions towards G+. Example; I think it will balance out the social “monopoly” that facebook had but at the same time… I love the fact that everyone is on facebook.

Remember when Myspace was the other big one? You’d be telling a friend “oh add me on facebook” and get the “I use myspace” response. how annoying.
Facebook is now a household name and is used by kids, teenagers, adults and elderly. How many facebook users will switch?
I find it absolutely normal and ..in our best interest (I guess), to have more than 1 giant in the social industry and Google+ is the only website I saw/tried that would even qualify against FB.

But at the same time, it only complicates things doesn’t it?
..What do you think?
(lol. If I get a comment I will pop a champagne bottle.)

So yeah, just to round it up,
I like the features, the look, the feel (now that I understand a bit more what and where things are) I am curious about the announced “Brand pages” and how it will compare to “Facebook pages” so I will definitely stick around just to see the evolution and the popularity increase but I can’t say I WANT to switch or use both. It’s still pretty early to make a strong opinion about it, as they are still changing things due to all the feedback they receive so I’m gonna leave it to that.

transfering big files via usb / mac mini = omg fml!

Today I bought a really cheap WD 3TB external hard drive to back up 2 single 1TB hard drives that are on my TV’s Macmini. (the Macmini being…basically, my media player).
The 3tb was so cheap I couldn’t resist. Downside is, it doesn’t have Firewire… but then again… it’s for backup. The purpose of this HD was not to hold and stream my “media files” if you will, but only to save me from shitting my pants if one of the other ones I use crashes; I decided to buy.
It’s been a long time since I’ve used USB (probably 2 but not sure…maybe 1.0..my Macmini is old) to transfer big files; I took everything I had on my first drive and dragged it to the new one.
860 something Gb copying….
approx. 15 hours!
That is some serious time! but whatever. Sometimes they predict a 20 minute transfer and it only takes 2 so… meh.
4 HOURS-IN, the Macmini freezes.
….fml
the end.

I know there’s no real point of my posting this but I’m still testing WordPress so might as well take this off my chest.

PS. I love WD Hard drives. The computer freeze has absolutely nothing to do with the drive itself. I know they are great, all my external drives are WD (..except one).
I don’t regret buying it, it will be very useful and I paid a ridiculously low price for it.

Hello!

This is my first post….or should I say my first “test-post” if you will. I’m new to this. Don’t know the real purpose of the site alexplesz.com yet besides learning, sharing and… well, time wasting really..