Tuesday, 14 July 2009

G.I.L.T. (gadgets I'd love to try).

There are many technological innovations out there that seem to have jumped straight out of sci-fi novels or movies. Many are already available to us; really nice thingamajigs are present in our everyday lives - MP9s, which have TV, phone and radio; bluetooth and infra-red devices, to name just a few of the most common ones. And some of them seem really useful or just fun, but they are either too expensive or way down low in the list of priorities we have. And by we, I mean me of course. But feel free to identify with me.
Some really mind-blowing ideas are still only concepts, and it is amazing that someone has even conceived their ideas.
Nokia has always been a top-of-mind brand for me, and that was before I knew about Morph.

Seems great, doesn't it? And self-cleaning on top of it all?
Now while Morph is not reality, here are some I would like to get my hands on - at least to try.
1) First and foremost, of course, the top wannahave gizmo: the iPhone, with all the features and applets you can download. I saw someone playing theirs like a flute, shaking and rolling dice and many other things. All very nifty.

2) Amazon Kindle or Kindle DX: a snazzy device for reading e-books. Need I say more?

3). A spotme - which honestly gives me the impression of a much improved pager, is an all-in-one communication service for events of all sorts - from 200 to 5000 participants.According to the company site, it "combines social networking via a searchable photo database, messaging, people radar, unique "Spotting" function and electronic business card exchange, with personalized agenda, audience response, Q&A sessions, messaging, lead retrieval, attendance tracking, electronic feedback forms".

I doubt it would be very useful, but it sure is really cute, check it out:

You may be thinking this is a pretty nerdy post, but wait til you see the next one:

4)The tricorder - "a location, orientation, and network-aware handheld device used to interface in real time to a wireless sensor network embedded in surrounding domestic and occupational environment. As the name suggests, the inspiration for the Tricorder comes from the fictional device of the same name from the original Star Trek science fiction television series. The fictional version of the Tricorder was a self-contained device capable of sensing relevant information about whatever it was being pointed at (e.g., life signs 50 meters back, magnetic disturbance above, or plot thickener ahead). Our Tricorder device aims to achieve the same goals, but rather than being self-contained, our Tricorder pulls sensor data off a surrounding wireless sensor network."

From http://www.media.mit.edu/resenv/tricorder/tricorder.htm

5). Sony PSP2, a handheld gaming device that looks really good too.

6). A real 3D photocamera. Wait, 3D photos? I don't even know what that looks like. Wouldn't it be nice to see one of those at work?
This one is the Fuji FinePix Real 3D

From http://www.mobilemag.com/2009/07/13/fuji-finepix-real-3d-shoots-what-you-think-it-does/

And to keep my coffee warm while I use my pc, it would be nice to have one of these:

A USB mug warmer.

Nice, huh? At least I think so.
The question remains though, should one really acquire all these gadgets and get to use them simultaneously, would they still be portable?
Holler if you know of any niftier, newer G.I.L.T.

Gadget Reference:
AmazonKindle: http://twitthis.com/ix6aup
Fun USB gadgets:http://www.perpetualkid.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWCATS&Category=258

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

TV and life worthwhile

I decided to watch TV today, after a long long time away from it. This happened because I had done something again after a long break: I bought, and read, a Veja magazine. In it I learned about the series "Som e Fúria" which was due to begin today and I got curious.
Was it worth it?

Well, I learned a few things:
-TV Commercials are growing more hysterical - how is it even possible?!?!

-I truly hate Casseta e Planeta. Critical though they may be, the short programme bits squeezed between the long long - so long - commercials are so not funny!!!

-Jô Soares is still too much himself. No, this is not a fat joke. As a fat person myself, I would never perpetrate one. I mean that he still speaks much more than the interviewee.

-Daniel Boaventura has a really good voice, and even though it could do with a bit of personality,I think it might make a nice gift for my dad. (4)

-Smile was said to have been Michael Jackson's favourite song.(2) And it makes some sense if you check the lyrics.

"Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though its breaking
When there are clouds in the sky, youll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
Youll see the sun come shining through for you

Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
Thats the time you must keep on trying
Smile, whats the use of crying?
Youll find that life is still worthwhile"

But it got me thinking... According to Veja and The Sun (1), MJ was on a daily drug regime which included from muscle relaxants, sedatives and anti-depressants, among which Zoloft and Prozac. Was his life still worthwhile? I don't think so.

What about the initial motive for my TV time today, the series?
The series produced by Globo are among the few things worthwile on TV, in my opinion. About this one in particular, I like the fact that it set in a theatre and that Shakespeare is present in the. We, average Brazilians, are not familiar enough with the theatre. The TV on the other hand, is sovereign in our family routine. I also like the cast, which includes Pedro Paulo Rangel, Andréa Beltrão and Felipe Camargo (who seems amazingly serene in the role of Dante). Som e Fúria(3) is an adaptation of the Canadian "Slings and Arrows". I liked the first chapter, let's see how it develops. Let me know if you guys think it is worthwhile.


Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Where does it go?

This is a lot of food for thought!

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Did you know?

First goosebumps, now for some scary stats:

Here's an older version:

So, what DOES it all mean?

Thanks Marcelo.

To give you goose bumps

No matter who you are
No matter where you go
You goin' need somebody
to stand by you
No matter how much money you got
Or friends you got
You goin' need somebody
to stand by you

Thanks Antoine

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Beer is bad for you. Or is it ?

In my opinion, beer has always been good for you - as a reason for socialising, and because of that first cold sip that washes down the heat and off the load of a day's work, and if consumed moderately.
But now, it's scientific.
Some very clever graduate students have come up with a kind of beer that can actually extend your life.
Beer is officially off the black list.
But don't take my word for it. Go check out the Discovery site.
Click on the post title, or copy the link below and paste onto your browser.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Self-learning Tips for English Learners

Every so often, a student comes up to me and asks me what they can do to improve their English. There are far too many things they can do on their own, without a teacher's assistance. I usually repeat the one I think most effective, and therefore, important: read in English, specially the classics, since they are the best and most reliable source of language.
But today, as I was preparing a list of tips, I decided to post them here. This way, I think we'll save paper, for only those who really mean to read them will print them.

So, here goes.
Dear Student,

Here are some tips on ways to improve your English independently:

1). Try to make it A MEANS TO AN END - an instrument - rather than an end in itself; especially to do something you love with it. Try a new recipe from the web, find out how to say what you want to that gringo boy/girlfriend, read about that car or motorbike, search for new gadgets for your fishing tackle box, discover the latest fashions, watch that episode of your favourite series before it's on your cable channel.

2). MAKE IT FUN for yourself: find something relaxing and good to do using your English:
- read books if you like to read them; find one you like, or go for the classics, always a good, reliable source of language.
- read magazines – the one of your preference
- watch movies with the subtitles in English or without subtitles
- listen to music (for music lyrics, google lyrics + name of song/band/singer)
- find someone to chat or exchange e-mails (see pen pals on E-practice)
- play games, do crosswords

3). In the spirit of making it fun, try to feel at ease while using the language, both in and out of class. Students usually know more than they think they do, but tension will interfere with their ability to use what they know. So, relax, breathe, smile, and SPEAK YOUR MIND...

4). Focus on what YOU KNOW rather than on what you don't. Instead of asking "how do you say... ", try explaining what you mean. This is an invaluable strategy when the aim is to communicate.

5). USE IT as much as you can:
talk to your classmates in English in and outside the class, while waiting for class to begin; use it when travelling, talk to English-speaking tourists around town/the country;
prepare a presentation to bring to class about something you like or about a hobby of yours, or an experience you’ve had (e.g.: wine drinking: how to choose the right wine; travelling abroad: the best/worst trip of your life, taking photos: the best tips; horse-riding: why do you like it so much)

6). Exercise your curiosity: asking questions in English is an art, with all those inversions, auxiliary verbs... isn't it? Well then, practice makes perfect. ASK AWAY – ask as many as you can, to whomever is available. Write to international websites; write e-mails to hotels abroad asking for information.

7). KEEP IN TOUCH with English on a daily basis: the world is at the tips of your fingers now, and it speaks English. There are innumerous things you can find to keep in touch with the language

a). Find a newspaper or magazine website, or a blog, and make a habit of reading a little bit every day.

Most newspapers, both broadsheet and tabloids, have an online version that can be browsed for free. Check out (www.): nytimes.com, thetimes.co.uk, observer.guardian.co.uk, thesun.co.uk, thestar.co.uk.
The same goes for women's magazines, which usually have US (.com) and UK (.co.uk) versions (e.g.: vogue.com, elle.co.uk, marieclaire.co.uk or marieclaire.com cosmopolitan.com or cosmopolitan.co.uk, goodhousekeeping.com) or any other magazine for that matter - sportsillustrated.com, playboy.co.uk, horseandhound.co.uk.
Blogs exist for whatever might tickle your fancy.
My favourites? Here are some: postsecret.blogspot.com (people send their secrets anonimously), justjared.buzznet.com (celeb gossip), ffffound.com (pictures, pictures and more pictures), decor8blog.com (decoration), toofatforfashion.blogspot.com (fashion beyond sample sizes).
Never mind what it is, as long as you can trust it's good English, and YOU LIKE IT!!!

In case you don't know exactly what you are looking for, use search engines (google, yahoo, altavista, askjeeves, etc.) and type in keywords for the subject.

Now if you want your virtual experience to be more directly educational, go to the infallible giants dsc.discovery.com and bbc.co.uk - for a wealth of general knowledge for your enjoyment and maybe help you help your kid, or kid sister/brother with their homework.

Now if you're going for some English self-study online, you can't miss these:

www.culturainglesa.net (for students only, visitors can take a test, and find info)
www.cambridgeesol.org (Cambridge examinations)

When browsing the web, keep on the look out for interesting podcasts in English, for sources of listening material. Here is one http://www.escribacafe.com/podcast-in-english-no1-the-secret-power-of-the-music/

b). Carry some light reading material in English with you, it makes for much better use of time than reading a page of Caras (the Brazilian version of People magazine) at the doctor's, or for reading your bank statement over and over when in line. There are plenty of graded readers which come with audio CDs. Check out www.sbs.com.br, best possible shop for books in English. I recommend the Macmillan series, very affordable.

c). Instead of reading the shampoo labels, read something in English - keep a magazine in English in your toilet reading box. Every little minute counts.

Well... there you have it: a lot, and yet, not everything to be said about the topic.
I think the most important is that you keep yourself open to learning the language, be positive and persistent.

English IS everywhere, and you already know a lot. Now, use the lot you know to find out about the other lot.

Cheerio for now!!

Thursday, 18 September 2008

A lesson on money

Tomorrow I have to start a lesson with the topic 'Money', so I looked up a few quotations about it.

Here are some I found most interesting:

There's no money in poetry, but then there's no poetry in money, either. ~Robert Graves

Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realise we cannot eat money. ~Cree Indian Proverb

No matter how hard you hug your money, it never hugs back. ~Quoted in P.S. I Love You, compiled by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

A Rock Poem

Nothing hits me hard
as that old rock song
that guitar I long to hear
vibrating inside me, right here,
in the middle of the afternoon.
You know that it would be untrue
But I am not a liar
The time to hesitate is through
and my heart's on fire
when it goes boom-boom
boom-boom boom-boom.

Sunday, 6 April 2008