Monthly Archives: October 2011

No Texting While Driving (or Working) – DragonDictate Speech-to-Text

In my post, I always like to talk about useful tools that I personally use. Here is a lifesaver (literally, if youre the kind who cant resist texting while driving).
If you are always on the go and of course cant or shouldnt type while driving, here is a practical solution: use DragonDictate. This handy iOS app is a speech recognition tool that turns your spoken words into text. It is quite accurate too. I have made it a point to dictate this post through DragonDictate without any manual corrections.
With a simple one button interface, DragonDictate lets you speak your next blog post, e-mail, text message, tweet, or even a novel if youre that adventurous.
It also supports other languages, by the way. Did I mention it is free to download?

5 Free Online Visual Dictionary and Thesaurus Applications

Sometimes, when I need some inspiration and ideas for words to use in a project, I take the visual route and consult a “visual thesaurus”.

These handy Web applications can help you quickly find new words for a concept you’re working with, visualize its relationship with other words, and, of course, amplify your vocabulary and aid you in avoiding repetition, replication, redundancy, and echolalia, et &…

Here are a few online visual thesaurus applications that are free to use:

SnappyWords -Soon to have its open source code available for the public, SnappyWords can came in handy when you want to share a word’s connections with others: each entry has a unique search entry URL that takes users straight to its visual “network map”. This service also provides a built-in hover-over dictionary (when you hover over each word’s node, of course).

VisuWords -Very similar to SnappyWords, this application doesn’t seem to allow direct linking to specific words. Built-in dictionary.

WordVis - This simple visual thesaurus lets you filter words by different parts of speech and categories. Once again, no direct hyperlinking to specific words is provided. Built-in dictionary.

 

GraphWords – This visual thesaurus has handy (am I using the word “handy” too often in this post?), I meant “commodious” social media sharing buttons for quickly sharing your word maps with friends on Facebook and Twitter. Unlike the previous services on this list, GraphWords has a drawback: no built-in dictionary is provided.

Merriam-Webster’s Visual Dictionary – This is a typical illustrated dictionary. Illustrations are available in different categories. The search mechanism (custom Google search) isn’t very effective, but the illustration work is quite comprehensive.

 

 

An Unofficial Look into Steve Jobs’ Life and Career

The All About Steve Jobs website is an unofficial yet comprehensive source of information about Steve’s lifestyle, career, key people in his life, genius on stage, and genius at work.

The neatly-curated and well-presented information on this website includes interviews with colleagues, family, employees, and the man himself. Here you can have a glimpse at the way he worked with people on a daily basis, how he led Apple to mainstream success with his vision and “gut feeling” for good design, how he alone (and hist good taste for what simply works) was the consumer-testing department for every new product  at Apple.

A timeline shows Steve’s accomplishments at a glance.

An interesting fact about this website is that it has been built by a true fan over the years, not as a homage after Steve’s passing.

Image source: All About Steve Jobs.com

Steve Jobs Has Passed Away

A visionary, as many say. May sound clichè, but he (and the team he led) have truly revolutionized the world of technology. Under Steve’s command Apple brought UNIX-based laptop and desktop machines to a wider audience with the Mac with a longer life cycle than any more popular Windows-based systems then. Steve made  listening to music while wearing earbuds cool with the iPod line, and changed the world of mobile telephony with the simply yet powerful iPhone. He  (literally)  pushed the envelope for power in a small package with the MacBook Air, and (despite the initial controversy in the media) created a new standard in tablet computers with the iPad laying out the path for others to follow.
A few things I will remember about Jobs for:

  • The precursor of the Personal Computer era,
  • User-centered design and engineering working together into one product. Products that needed no manuals: play with them as soon as you get them out of the box. Remember the first iMacs? Seeing my daughter play with an iPhone since she was less than 2 years old is a testimony to Steve’s genius in proving complex experiences packaged in simplicity.
  • Technology not for technology’s sake, but having solutions and people in their center,
  • Awe-inspiring presentations that were just as simple as the products he envisioned. Using metaphors, clean imagery, and a soft-spoken tone.

Being in the field of Education myself, I have to say that Apple has long had a foot in Education providing excellent resources, professional development on how to use their products in and outside the classroom, and even offering products exclusively targeting the Education market. But it’s due to Jobs’ vision that creative professionals, educators, students are able to access, create, and share knowledge in ways we could only imagine a few years ago, being it on iOS devices’ innovative gesture-oriented interface, or sleek MacBook on the go.

Steve played a big role in Apple’s ascension. The world of technology in general owes a lot to his vision and leadership.

Even though he has passed away, his legacy is here to stay. He will be missed.

 

Here is what the Apple website looked like on  this sad day.

 

Some countries translated the message above.
Here are some examples.

 

Brazil:

 

 

Argentina:

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