Monthly Archives: May 2012

Instant Translate – A very useful Chrome extension to translate any selected text without leaving the page

When I am reading a web page in French and want to look up a word that I don’t know, I open a new tab and use either Google translate or Reverso Dictionary to look up the word. The problem is that this process took time – I had to open a new tab, type a site address, type the word and then I get the translation. 2 days earlier I found an extension which eliminates all these time-consuming tasks – All I need to do is to highlight a word or a group of words and type ‘t’ on my keyboard – Voila, I see a small pop-up with the translation. The key board shortcut is configurable. This works so well that I look up many more words now than what I used to look up.

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How to back up all your phone contacts continuosly

Have you ever lost your phone and ended up losing all your contacts? I often come across people who have lost all the contacts in their phone for various reasons and they start from scratch to build their contacts list again. Here is a way that I have been using for a long time now to continuously back up all the contacts on my iPhone on Gmail. This mechanism not only acts as a backup but also helps me to save time whenever I switch phones – no time is wasted in transferring the contacts.

Even more useful, when I add a new contact in Gmail, it shows up immediately on my iPhone. When I update a contact or add a new one on my iPhone, it is immediately available in Gmail. Cool – isn’t it? If you do not have iPhone, don’t worry – this procedure works with most of the phones. I have tried it on Nokia and Samsung in the past.

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Kindle It – A very useful Chrome extension to send any web page to your Kindle for reading later

I was looking for a way to send web pages to my Kindle and I found the following 3 extensions in Chrome App Store – Send to Kindle, Kindle It and Later On Kindle. I tried all the 3 on a web page. Send to Kindle and Later On Kindle have scrambled the web page. Only Kindle It worked correctly.

Chrome extension to send pages to Kindle

Kindle It has scores of very nice features:

  • You can edit the title of the article. It is very useful in some cases where the web page title is not very meaningful.
  • You can send the article to more than 1 device. This is a useful feature to have since I can send it to my Kindle device as well as to the Kindle App on my iPhone when needed.
  • The extension documentation says that it supports PDF and Images – I have not tried them yet.

Check out Kindle It at Chrome Web Store.

If you do not use Google Chrome, then check out this article on the App from Amazon which can help you do the same from any Windows or Mac – Easily Transfer Web Pages and Documents to your Kindle

Michel Thomas French Total: Learning French can’t get easier than this

Most people who have tried learning French have a common complaint about French: French is very difficult to learn; the pronunciation is very difficult, the grammar is extremely hard, and for every rule, there are so many exceptions and so on. I also had the same impression when I started learning French. The few online courses I tried including LiveMocha, Babbel.com and even my favorite Assimil course served to reinforce the impression that French is a hard language to learn.

Enter Michael Thomas. I discovered Michael Thomas after I have completed about 30-40 lessons in Assimil.  When I completed my first hour of the Michel Thomas audio course, I had a question to myself: ‘Is the French language so easy to learn?’.

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How Amazon Kindle has helped me to read more books quickly and cheaply

It has been 5 months since I have started this blog and I have only been posting about my French language learning. One of the primary reasons I started this blog is to share my love of books and the immense ideas that I have gotten from the books. So, in the next few posts, I want to write about my passion of a lifetime – Books.

In this post, I want to talk about Amazon Kindle – a little about the Amazon Kindle device and a lot about the Kindle Edition books. I want to compare physical books vs Kindle books and talk about the advantages and drawbacks of Kindle books as I see them. Even if you don’t own a Kindle or never plan to buy one, read on – you will find some useful ideas here that will help you read more books at a lower cost.  Continue reading

Progress Report – 4 Months of French

Technically, it has been 4 months now since I have started learning French. But I have not studied French much in the last 2 months. Hence, I have not moved much beyond my last progress report at the end of 2 months.  My vacation took the toll on my French learning.

In fact, it has been about 6 weeks since I have touched my Assimil French book. Though the actual vacation itself was around 2 weeks, preparing for the vacation and settling back from the travel took more than 1 month. When I came back, I have lost all my interest in French. In a way, it is very ironic – when I was in my vacation in Saudi Arabia, each time I opened my mouth to talk something in Arabic, French sentences were about fall off from my mouth. I had to stop myself and realize that I don’t need to talk French here but Arabic. I was very surprised that every time I thought of a situation to talk, French words and sentences were popping into my head on their own. I thought that this was a clue that I am hooked to French, but Alas, on my return, I realized that I have lost all my appetite for French.

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