Archive for the ‘Languages’ Category

潜水士試験:合格

Thursday, October 11th, 2018

What a mess that was… everything completely in Japanese and out of more than 300 testees, I was the only non-Asian person. Well, I passed and that’s what counts.

Above: I was testee #0047

Looking at the list, most people passed but there were some who failed. Anyway, most people used more or less the same textbooks, I will post mine here later. There does not seem to be so much variety of textbooks on this subject.

Next step: Find employment as part-time scuba diving instructor?

Anyway, time for a celebratory beer…

 

Books I’m reading at the moment… October 2018

Tuesday, October 9th, 2018

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Short_History_of_Nearly_Everything)

The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant part I by Stephen R. Donaldson (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Chronicles_of_Thomas_Covenant)

攻殻機動隊 1.5 Human Error Processor by Masamune Shirow

My first self-created course on memrise.com

Friday, September 28th, 2018

I’ve been posting about memrise on a couple of occasions. This time rather than bragging how many words I’ve learned and how many points I made, I created my own course:

https://www.memrise.com/course/2053021/qian-shui-shi-shi-yan-nodan-yu/

It’s a Japanese -> English course supposed to help you with vocabulary required to help passing the Japanese dive theory test called 潜水士試験

(I have no idea why the URL uses the Mandarin pinyin pronounciation for the test… I’ve inputted Japanese kanji – I also opened a help call with memrise but no reaction so far)

Creating the course was not difficult but you need to prepare the list(s) ahead and put the colums in the right order if you want to mass-import the lists.

Good luck, give it a try yourself (the course as well as creating your own course ^^)

Replacement pen for the Casio EX-word Dataplus 6 XD-D10000

Saturday, August 18th, 2018

Nowadays, everything breaks… somehow I even managed to break the pen for my Casio EX-word 電子辞書… somehow. Don’t ask me how because I don’t know either…

Anyway, finding a replacement was not easy… the Casio homepage is less than helpful. But accidentally I’ve found some replacement pens that are 98% perfect (not 100% because the replacements are slightly loose in the penholder incorporated in the main body of the device).

Here they are:

If you need replacement pens too, maybe this will help.

A memrise milestone…

Wednesday, July 18th, 2018

Recently surpassed a streak of 10^3 consecutive days of learning on memrise… don’t think I’m going to be able to keep this up until I hit 10^4… and guess what, no rewards or points or anything for it.

Here’s a screenshot:

Which also means that slightly more than 1000 days ago, the app and the website didn’t work and I lost a 350ish day streak. Nobody ever said sorry about that then.

CPE result

Monday, January 29th, 2018

Last week (or maybe two weeks back), the result of the CPE came in. I passed with a grade of A and with a score slightly higher than 220 although I messed up the writing part somehow. Given the minimal preparation I spent on this test, probably quite a decent result.

Oh, at my current employer I had to take an obligatory speaking test (automated): Verdant. Verdict:  a very valiant 78 of 80 points.

CPE… the last test this year

Monday, December 4th, 2017

Last week I took the Cambridge Proficiency Test, the whole package (English in use, Writing, Listening, Speaking). The result should come in around December 10th which is refreshingly quick. I’m not unduly worried but it won’t be a perfect score this time, definitely not.

Still, for anyone out there on a reasonably good level in English should take up this challenge. You can do it!

PADI Assistant Instructor – done and dusted

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

While still doing the PADI Divemaster internship, I started and recently finished the PADI Assistant Instructor course. The certification card should be on its way.

Whereas the Divemaster has a lot of practical aspects, the next step in the PADI career focuses on teaching, teaching techniques, structuring lessons and applied lessons in confined water and open water.

First time supervising an open water lesson was pretty stressful. All of a sudden you have to deal with things such as bottom topography and current, which you don’t really have to take into consideration in a pool.

One of the most painful lessons I learned was the aspect of control – even if you have an assistant, you need to constantly monitor everyone around you, even the assistant – unless you know him/her pretty well and you make a good team.

I have to say, I really enjoyed the first dive *after* the course because after weeks and weeks of tasks, homework, assignments and such I finally got the chance to enjoy a quiet, no-pressure dive again. Felt good…

(Edit on 2017/08/25: corrected three typos)

Schnapszahl* anniversary on memrise

Monday, April 10th, 2017

I’m a cautiosly avid user of memrise (memrise.com) – every tool has its advantages and disadvantages. So far, memrise has worked well for me and this weekend I was able to celebrate a 555 day streak (everyday continous learning). Something to be a little proud of.

This means two things:

  1. I have used a computer/tablet/smartphone for 555 days straight
  2. 556 days ago, the memrise app login and the website were not available, I just could not login which ruined my previous 300+ streak. Thanks a lot, memrise. By the way, there was never an apology or even an explanation about the outage. Well, it’s a free tool so I guess I can’t complain.

*What’s a Schnapszahl, you ask? Apparently there’s no direct translation in English. It’s defined as a number which consists of several equal numbers such as the above 555. Before trying to find a translation and checking the definition I though it also included patterns e.g. 737737, but this could be a regional difference.

Does memrise help you remember stuff?

Monday, August 29th, 2016

I use a couple of memorization tools…. anymemo, memrise, mnemosyne. They all have their strengths and weaknesses. In this post, I would like to divulge my opinion on memrise.

Overall, I have been using memrise for app. 553 days. The app encourages streaks – continous days of usage. For one set of vocabulary, I’m on my 333rd consecutive day – before that, the website was down so I lost my previous 200 or so day streak.

By the way, no one at memrise has ever apologized for that one day of downtime nor was there ever any explanation posted on the webiste. Shame, shame….

Memrise comes in two options: You can either login to the website memrise.com and learn facts and vocabulary there or you can install the memrise app.

Please keep in mind that I’m using memrise to learn Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Hebrew. The relevance will be clear after the next paragraph…

The algorithm behind either version is the same – the main difference is the input and its configuration. On the website, you can choose to type vocabulary by using your physical keyboard whereas in the app, memrise provides an onscreen keyboard. Why does that make a difference?

On my pc/laptop, I have succesfully configured Mandarin and Japanese input for which I can use the latin alphabet as a basis. To type 漢字 in Japanese, I switch to the Japanese input and type “kanji” (Enter). The same principle works for Mandarin.

Korean on the other hand uses a totally different keyboard and so far I have not found a latin alphabet-bases input configuration. A colleague uses a self-made paper layout on top of his physical keyboard. Until I have to get really close and intimate with Korean, I will remain on the current low-key configuration, thank you.

As for Hebrew which is a right-to-left language (totally freaks me out in vocabulary lists in Excel), I don’t know. I’m just learning some basic words and phrases for the time being, so I have not looked into any input methods on my pc/laptop.

The exercises on memrise come in several patterns, but this can widely differ from course by course, which are contributed by memrise members. Naturally, the quality of the courses can also differ…

Most courses come with cards in English–><foreign_language> and the opposite (<foreign_language>->English). The “better” courses provided audio files for the <foreign_language> cards which can be really helpful for any foreign language, especially tonal languagues.

The “written” cards come in the following variety: Typing, recognizing and selecting. All in all, a good variety.

Before a card is marked as learned, you have to repeat it appr. six or seven times in learning mode. Afterwards it is moved to the “learned” heap and reappears according to a long-time memorization algorithm, similar to supermemo, anymemo, mnemosye and so on.

The downsides of memrise (the app, not the website) is the development. I was invited to participate as beta tester for memrise but after watching the google+ group for a couple of weeks, I decided to leave the group and not update memrise if I can avoid it.

The guys behind memrise basically make the same mistake all developers seem to make…. features over fixes and implemenation of features that do not make sense. I can understand the rationale behind this, but first of all I want a working app not new features all the time.

Also, there is considerable lack of communication about development and features. I have not seen a properly maintained list of bugs (open, in work, fixes). Frankly, the whole process of reporting bugs until a fix is implemented seems not very mature. A lot of users in the groups simply state “it’s not working pls fix it”. The more communicative users at least state their type of mobile phone, what version of ios or android and how to recreate the bug.

If you just are looking for a different way to learn vocabulary, check out memrise – at least I think it’s a good way to learn.