How Do You Spell β?

In an attempt to help clarify where Kotoba is at, we have appropriately adorned Kotoba with a β (beta) moniker to help ensure everyone knows what to expect. And by “what to expect” I mean to expect Google’s definition of beta; usable but constantly growing in functionality.

How Kotoba says β in Japanese
Kotoba says β in
Kotoba Says β in English
Kotoba Says β in

For the curious, I used Gimp and this great tutorial to help create the images.

Kotoba Making Friends

Kotoba wants to be your friend!

In what will be an interesting experiment in social networking, Kotoba now befriends other Twitter users who make posts that match a predefined list of words or the word of the moment. The idea is for Kotoba to reach out to like-minded Twitters in hopes they are interested in learning a new language. Let me know what you think: for, against, or indifferent.

Lost? Find Found in Translation

Some years (ahem, many) years ago I met the quite interesting fellow, Dave Malinowski, while a student at the University of Kanazawa, Japan. (For those in the know, we call it 金大. Tokyo cannot have all the fun.)

At the time I recall Dave being an amazingly adaptable and capable linguist who was comfortable in every setting, every culture, every language. Needless to say, we both admired and envied his near savant levels with language; the rest of us laggards struggling far behind.

Flash forward to today. Dave is now in Berkeley doing what he does best: bridging cultures with a wonderfully titled site, Found in Translation. Dave has a number of articles in English and Japanese that you can read more at here. And for those who are learning Japanese, take some heart, or solace, in reading Dave’s post on the horrors of kanji.

As an aspiring student of Japanese who believes that language acquisition is more just the bricks and mortar (words and grammar), I find Dave and his colleagues work inspiring. They are doing a wonderful job of providing a meaningful forum for persons yearning for that singular, shared dream: understanding.

Kudos, Dave!

Integrate, ho!

I will admit that it.  I am a sucker for integration.  In particular, technology even when it misses much of its potential such as AppleTV.

Facebook is cool.  So is Twitter.  Not to mention the obvious WordPress.  Even if you have an account on Facebook, LinkedIn is a great compliment to having both a personal and professional presence on the internets [sic].  But all of them have a lot of cross-over functionality.  You either pick one or the other, or resign yourself to maintaining duplicate information in multiple places.  While we are still some way from a completely normalized panacea (web 3.0?), there is enough plugins out there to make it appear like we have reached nirvana.  

LinkedIn already supports integration with WordPress.  Been there.  Seen it.  Done it.  Woot!

But what about Facebook?  Russ’s blog makes mention of WordBook.  With a few simple clicks you can install into your copy of WordPress and then a few more for it to register with your Facebook account.  Goodness on the cheap!

Last but not least, what about Twitter?  I love the uncluttered purpose of this protocol: it is a perfect, light-weight approach to dialoguing with friends via your smart phone (on iPhone I highly recommend Twitterific).  More so, Twitter is a great way of focusing on the one aspect that we most use on Facebook without all the overhead: little blurbs on what we are doing and thinking.  This plugin for Facebook effectively adds your twitters into your Facebook account.

With these plugins in place you can arrive at Web 3.0, if only in spirit.