Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Finishing travel and tech notes

Two quick things today: a few tech notes for Win8 and the Nexus (including Dutch language tools), and closing out my February travel.

And wondering what the sculpture is doing in the Wyck…

Travel blogging, briefly, first.  I was on the road in February for a couple of weeks, both busy and disconnected throughout.  I did scribble a lot of impressions and I took a lot of pictures, planning to backfill the bloggy bits afterwards.

Backfilling the blog is a lot of work, and not something I’ll try to do again.  I think that it loses spontaneity, things get placed into context rather than as stand-alone ideas, and I  the passage of time causes the writing to be more analytic.

It is done, it was a good experiment, but I won’t do it again.

Start8On the tech side, I’m giving up on trying to operate Windows 8 without a touchscreen.  To regain control and sanity, I’ve installed a couple of simple add-ins: Start8,  restoring the Start Menu, and ModernMix, allowing Apps to run within desktop windows.  If you are upgrading from Win7 to Win8, this will restore your productivity .

Microsoft has also released IE10 for Windows 7: it’s a worthwhile upgrade.  It is much faster than the old version, which was completely unusable, and seems more stable than Chrome (which has lately been suffering a lot of Flash and Shockwave crashes).

The core Mail and People Apps on Win8 have also been updated, but both are still far short of what is needed.  I’m staying with Google Contacts and Outlook.com for now.

And it turns out that LinkedIn did scan my mail headers, not my contact list, for 325 new contacts.  I’m getting connected to folks I only know vaguely, but who are now populating my address book.  ‘never just click “OK”.

On the Dutch side, Google Translate has introduced Offline Translation, so you don’t need an internet connection to compose and explore between Dutch and English.  BabylonIt’s great for quick, everyday tasks.

Babylon is still my preferred dictionary, and I use the three Van Dale plug-ins so that I have official word books close to hand.  They are pushing Version 10, but aren’t promising that the plug-ins will still work, so I’m hanging back one release.

Finally, the NT2 School portal, with online, interactive version of the Delft Method green and gold books, is wonderful.  I’m using a combination of this tutorial and the Boom site for NT2 preparation, supplemented by daily book and newspaper reading, occasional online TV viewing, and an hour’s live conversational tutorial each day I’m in Maastricht.

I’ll get there.

Disclaimer:  As always, these thoughts are my own and I buy all of the products I talk about.

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