Archive for August, 2006

Word dump: colors etc

2006 August 29

Word dump: colors – 8:45 PM 8/28/2006

After understanding the colors themselves, I memorized the Japanese names:

Kanji Kana English
むしょく colorless
とうめい transparency
むしょくとうめい colorless and transparent
ブラック black
黒い くろい black
白い しろい white
ホワイド white
ホワイト white
グレー gray
グレイ gray
はいいろ gray
ぎんいろ silver (color, colour)
えびちゃ maroon
ルー red (fr: roux)
レッド red
赤い あかい red
かっしょく brown
ショコラ chocolate
チョコレート chocolate
チョコレート色 チョコレートいろ chocolate brown
しぶいろ tan (color, colour)
オレンジ色 オレンジいろ orange (colour, color)
だいだい色 だいだいいろ orange-colored, orange-coloured
ゴールド gold
金色 きんいろ golden (colour, color)
ベージュ beige
オリーブ olive
オリーブ色 オリーブいろ olive (colour, color)
オリーヴ色 オリーヴいろ olive (colour, color)
イェロー yellow
イエロー yellow
黄色 きいろ yellow
グリーン green
あお green
青い あおい blue, green
みどりいろ green
ライム lime
せっかい lime
アクアマリーン aquamarine
アクアマリン aquamarine
ターコイズ turquoise
トルコ turquoise (abbr)
トルコ石 トルコいし turquoise
こんぺき azure
ブルー blue
インジゴ indigo
パープル purple
むらさき purple, violet
クリムソン crimson
クリムゾン crimson
ピンク pink
ももいろ pink (colour, color)
シルバー silver

The katakana can be regarded as a bonus because most of them sound like the English counterparts.

I couldn’t find the Japanese of teal, cyan, and fuchsia/magenta. Some of the words there also doesn’t seem to refer to the color but to the object that the English color name is derived from. An example is ターコイズ (turquoise) which seems to mean a type of precious stone named “turquoise”. I could probably add 色 behind them to mean the color, just like 金色 (gold, the color) is derived from 金 (gold, the element).

There are many synonyms that I didn’t include. For example, ねずみいろ, しもをおいた, かいはく, and しもふり are other EDICT entries which means gray. I think it’s better to start with at most 2 Japanese words for each English word. Other synonyms could be memorized at a later date.

With the addition of those 54 words, my word count is now 1480.

The next word dump will be body parts. It will make my word count exceeds 1500, which means that I will then focus on drilling those first 1500 (or so) words.

モロ ノ モレ – 5:14 PM 8/26/2006

Moro, the largest shopping center in Purwokerto, was on fire yesterday. I’m currently eating a chocolate bar bought there.

Word dump: time pointers

2006 August 26

(written on 11:22 PM 8/25/2006)

Because of lingustic vocabulary ignorance, I’m just going to call the words I’m dumping “time pointers”. The time is not in the scale of seconds, minutes, and hours, but in the scale of days, weeks, months, and years. Here are the new words I gathered:

Kanji Kana English
本日 ほんじつ today
今どき いまどき today
今時 いまどき today
当月 とうげつ this month
今年 こんねん this year
とうさい this year
明日 みょうにち tomorrow
来週 らいしゅう next week
来月 らいげつ next month
来年 らいねん next year
明年 みょうねん next year
さくじつ yesterday
前日 ぜんじつ yesterday
先週 せんしゅう last week
前週 ぜんしゅう last week
先月 せんげつ last month
前月 ぜんげつ last month
さくねん last year
前年 ぜんねん last year
いっさくじつ day before yesterday
先々週 せんせんしゅう week before last
先先週 せんせんしゅう week before last
先々月 せんせんげつ month before last
先先月 せんせんげつ month before last
いっさくねん year before last
明後日 あさって day after tomorrow
明後日 みょうごにち day after tomorrow
さ来週 さらいしゅう week after next
さらいげつ month after next
さらいねん year after next
明後年 みょうごねん year after next

With those words and some other words I’ve memorized before, I can now make a time pointer reference in the form of tables.

First is the oftenly used “previous”, “current”, and “next” (e.g. “yesterday”, “today”, and “tomorrow”):

Previous Current Next
Day 日 (きのう, さくじつ)
前日 (ぜんじつ)
今日 (きょう, こんにち)
本日 (ほんじつ)
今時 (いまどき)
明日 (あした, あす, みょうにち)
Week 先週 (せんしゅう)
前週 (ぜんしゅう)
今週 (こんしゅう) 来週 (らいしゅう)
Month 先月 (せんげつ)
前月 (ぜんげつ)
今月 (こんげつ)
当月 (とうげつ)
来月 (らいげつ)
Year 年 (さくねん)
前年 (ぜんねん)
今年 (ことし, こんねん)
(とうさい)
来年 (らいねん)
明年 (みょうねん)

Next is “two units before current” and “two units after current” (e.g. “the day before tomorrow” and “the day after tomorrow”):

Before “previous” After “next”
Day 日 (おととい, いっさくじつ) 明後日 (あさって, みょうごにち)
Week 先々週 (せんせんしゅう) 来週 (さらいしゅう)
Month 先々月 (せんせんげつ) 来月 (さらいげつ)
Year 年 (おととし, いっさくねん) 来年 (さらいねん)
明後年 (みょうごねん)

Legend:

  • Red means that the entry is not tagged with (P) (popular) in EDICT
  • Bold means that I haven’t learned the kanji

To test my beefed-up knowledge (no grammar guarantees):

今日は金曜日だ. きのうは木曜日だ. おとといは火曜日だ. 明日は土曜日だ. 明後日は日曜日だ.

今月は8月だ. 先月は7月だ. 先々月は6月だ. 来月は9月だ. さらいげつは10月だ.

今年は2006年だ. さくねんは2005年だ. おととしは2004年だ. 来年は2007年だ. さらいねんは2008年だ.

Anyway, with the addition of 31 new words, my word count is now 1427.

Color fidelity etc

2006 August 22

Word dump: astronomy – 4:35 PM 8/22/2006

The current theme of the word dump is astronomy:

Kanji Kana English
星学 せいがく astronomy
天文 てんもん astronomy
天文学 てんもんがく astronomy
天文家 てんもんか astronomer
てんもんがくしゃ astronomer
水星 すいせい Mercury (planet)
金星 きんせい Venus (planet)
ちきゅう the earth
火星 かせい Mars (planet)
木星 もくせい Jupiter (planet)
土星 どせい Saturn (planet)
天王星 てんのうせい Uranus (planet)
海王星 かいおうせい Neptune (planet)
めいおうせい Pluto (planet)
わくせい planet
ゆうせい planet
せいと star
ぎんが galaxy
せいうん nebula, galaxy
しょうわくせい asteroid
せいじょうたい asteroid
りゅうせい meteor
いんせい meteor
すいせい comet

I managed to gather 24 words. Now my word count is 1396.

The literal translation of the planet names is interesting. Mercury (水星) is “water star”, Venus (金星) is “gold star”, Mars (火星) is “fire star”, Jupiter (木星) is “tree star”, Saturn (土星) is “soil star”, Uranus (天王星) is “heaven king star”, and Neptune is (海王星) “sea king star”. I haven’t learned all the kanji needed for Earth and Pluto.

I’ve actually learned some astronomical words before this. Some are from grade 1 kanji (月 = moon, 日 = sun). Some others are from songs, like:

  • ほうきぼし = comet (from Younha’s Houkiboshi): “moshi atashi ga HOUKIBOSHI ni nareta naraba”
  • ながれぼし = meteor (from Momusu’s Furusato): “NAGAREBOSHI wo mitara… nani wo inorou ka na…”
  • たいよう = sun (from Momusu’s Ai Araba IT’S ALL RIGHT): “ai araba it’s all right… TAIYOU wa subete omitooshi sa

The next topical word dump will probably be relative time pointer (today, tomorrow, yesterday, etc).

Color fidelity – 12:13 AM 8/21/2006

I already knew the name of some colors in Japanese (黒, 白, 赤, 青, みどり, 黄色, 茶色, ピンク) and planned to memorize some more. Of course, first I needed to gather the name of the colors in English.

For that purpose I used the color selection widget in SharpDevelop 2’s form designer:

SD's color selection widget
SD’s color selection widget

From the many colors listed, I picked the ones I’ve heard before. Here are my selection:

Black     
White
Gray
Silver
Maroon
Brown
Chocolate
Tan
Orange
Gold
Beige
Olive
Yellow
Green
Lime
Aquamarine
Turquoise
Teal
Cyan
Azure
Blue
Indigo
Purple
Magenta/Fuchsia
Violet
Crimson
Red
Pink

Sadly, eventhough I’ve heard words like “maroon”, “tan”, “indigo”, and “magenta” before, I didn’t know how the colors looked. “gray” and “silver” would be identified by me as “gray” (with differnt shades). “maroon”, “brown”, and “chocolate” would be identified as “brown”. “tan” and “beige” were unidentified for me. “gold” would be identified as a shade of yellow. I would probably call “olive” as “yucky green” and “lime” as “light green”.

“Aquamarine”, “turquoise”, “teal”, “cyan”, and “azure” would be identified as “blue”. Likewise, “indigo”, “magenta/fuchsia”, and “violet” were all “purple”. “Crimson” would be identified as a shade of “red”. “Pink” is an oft-overheard color in the current society so I knew it pretty well.

To enhance my color identification, I made a program called Quizzer:

Quizzer

The program is made using C# and Windows Forms. It runs on .NET 2.0 and Mono 1.1.16.

Basically, the program will show a random color on the window and you need to name it. If the answer is correct, another color will be shown. If the answer is wrong, there will be a message box showing the correct name.

When you give an incorrect name (for example “blacj” for “black”), the program will increase the chance that the wrongly named color will be displayed again. If you misname it for another color (for example “gray” for “silver”), both colors’ chance to appear again will be increased.

When you correctly categorize a certain color over and over, eventually that color won’t be asked again.

With the help of the program, I can now identify most of the colors correctly. I still have difficulties with “maroon” vs. “brown”, “crimson” vs. “red”, and sometimes “turquoise” vs. “cyan”. “Azure” and “white” is impossibly difficult to identify (unless put besides each other) and I hopelessly make the mistake over and over. I usually cheat for “azure”/”white” by comparing it to the white color of the text box.

Identifying them in the program is one thing, seeing colors in the real word another. In the real word, I encounter more shades in between those colors so it often difficult to name the colors I see.

Some color names are also the name for elements (silver, gold), stones (aquamarine, turquoise), plants (orange, olive, lime), food (chocolate), and town (magenta, a town in Italy). The name maroon comes from the French word “marron” which means chestnut. Purple comes from Latin “purpura” which in turn comes from Greek “porphyra” which is a shellfish. The name fuchsia comes from a plant scientist Leonhard Fuchs.

The source and executable for Quizzer is here.

Recalling items in an ordered list etc

2006 August 19

Recalling items in an ordered list – 5:22 PM 8/18/2006

Consider an ordered list like days (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday) and the first 10 natural numbers (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10). It is interesting that the ability to quickly enumerate the items forward doesn’t translate to the ability to do it backwards.

For example, I can say ‘a’ to ‘z’ very quickly, but I can’t say ‘z’ to ‘a’ quickly. Here are some lists and my ability to enumerate it:

  • Natural numbers from 1 to 10: forward and backwards
  • ‘a’ to ‘z’: forward
  • Musical notes (‘do’ to a higher ‘do’): forward and backwards
  • Days: forward
  • Months: forward

Speaking about numbers and letters, it’s weird that I can compare 2 numbers blazingly fast but my letter comparing speed is very low. For example, given two numbers like 3 and 8 I can quickly grasp that 3 is smaller. However, given 2 letters like ‘o’ and ‘g’ I need to ponder a while before I can decide that ‘g’ comes before ‘o’. Is this because the set of numeric symbols is smaller (10 compared to 26)? Will backward orientation (practicing enumerating ‘z’ to ‘a’) help?

Word dump: random – 4:57 PM 8/18/2006

29 random words which makes my word count 1372:

Kanji Kana English
しんさ judging
ちょくせつ direct
きんちょう tension
ゆうじょう friendship
ぜったい absolute
入力 にゅうりょく input
英数 えいすう English (ASCII) coding
きねんび holiday
すっぴん face with no make-up
めちゃくちゃ mess
あたり前 あたりまえ usual
当たり前 あたりまえ usual
当り前 あたりまえ usual
かっこいい “cool”
入会 にゅうかい admission
びっくり surprise
おばけ ghost
おくさま madam
たすける to rescue
ぼっちゃん son (of others)
へたくそ extreme clumsiness
しかし however, but
マジ serious (not capricious or flirtatious)
バランス balance
ぶらんこ swing
からす to exhaust
プチ small (fr: petit)
行って来ます いってきます I’m off
からす crow, raven

I’ve exhausted my randow word stock so it’s time to do a topical word hunting (colors, body parts, etc).

A long sought program: StarDict etc

2006 August 16

This post has been moved to singularity.agronesia.net: “A long sought program: StarDict etc”. Please visit the new server.

Explorer’s useless thumbnail etc

2006 August 12

Word Dump: サマーナイトタウン – 9:19 PM 8/12/2006

This word dump is from サマーナイトタウン by モーニング娘。 (Summer Night Town by Morning Musume). It’s Momusu’s 2nd single and the first one with an 8-member lineup.

Abe Natsumi in Summer Night Town

From left to right (just a guess): Yaguchi Mari, Iida Kaori, Nakazawa Yuko, Abe Natsumi, Ishiguro Aya, Fukuda Asuka, Ichii Sayaka

Kanji Kana English
  サマー summer
  ナイト night
  タウン town
  スマイル smile
見せる みせる to show
下手 へた poor
  だいきらい very dislikeable
  きせつ season
  なんか things like ..
  へん strange
  かんじ feeling
  すごす to spend
  ただ only
  やきもち jealousy
  むじゅん contradiction
  だらけ implying (negatively) that something is full of, e.g., mistakes
  うで arm
  とびこむ to dive
  すねる to sulk
見つめる みつめる to gaze at
  メイク make-up (abbr)
  どこでも anywhere
  いのり prayer
近づける ちかづける to put close
  とし age
近づく ちかづく to get closer
  クリック click
  しま island
  うかす to rise

Stats! Stats!

  • Previous “average new words/song”: 21.2
  • New words in this song: 29 (whoa, a lot! previous was 20)
  • New “average new words/song”: 22.5
  • Total words in word list: 1313

Because the word count has passed 1300, it’s now time for free word hunting. I will start by memorizing words I’ve encountered randomly (from TV shows, doramas, talks with 日本語-enabled people, etc). This free word hunting will continue until the word count reaches 1500.

Different place, different price – 10:17 PM 8/10/2006

My friend told me that buying an optical media (DVD-R etc) in Gejayan is cheaper than in CD House (near North MIPA). It is very much true. A Verbatim DVD-R (4,707,319,808 bytes) costs Rp. 4,500 in Gejayan but Rp. 7,500 in CD House. The Rp. 3,000 price difference is worth every cycle of my bike.

Explorer’s useless thumbnail – 8:37 PM 8/10/2006

This is a screenshot from a folder full of video files:

Black?

Explorer cleverly fetches the first frame for all files, so the result is darkness (well, except for the white one down there)! Thumbnail view, which ideally should help file identification visually, does nothing except to eat precious CPU cycles.

GNOME’s Nautilus is way ahead of time. I don’t know what algorithm it uses to select the frame for the thumbnail (random?), but rest assured it doesn’t just blindly select the first frame. The result is beautiful, and I would love to post it here. However it is impossible because after my partition was screwed I haven’t installed Ubuntu again. (Using the Live CD won’t do since the required codecs aren’t installed. Installing the codecs on the Live system isn’t possible since I haven’t downloaded the Dapper ones.)

(I think the screenshot deserves to be in http://explorer.istheshit.net.

Explorer’s self-mutilation – 8:14 PM 8/10/2006

Try doing this:

  • Open Windows Explorer
  • Make sure the “Task” pane on the left is on (turn off “Folders” or “Search” pane)
  • Go to a folder that contains an “avi” file and is in “Details” view mode (the system and hidden file thumbs.db shouldn’t be on the folder)
  • Select a file, then quickly press F2 to rename the file
  • Quickly append a new extension, for example changing “movie.avi” to “movie.avi.a”

If you’re fast enough, a message like this will pop out: “Cannot rename [filename]: It is being used by another person or program. Close any programs that might be using the file and try again.”

The hillarious thing about the message is that the “problematic” program seems to be no other than Explorer itself! When a video file is selected, Explorer will “open” the file and display its thumbnail on the left panel like so:

The modern yet problematic preview.

My guess is that the thumbnail generation process interferes the file renaming attempt. The weird thing is that if we rename it other than describe before (for example changing “movie.avi” to “movie2.avi”) the process never fails.

The workaround is obviously to wait a moment before renaming. However, this greatly slows down file management which kinda beats the purpose of a modern GUI file manager. Irritating!

I remember reporting some bugs to Microsoft a long time ago, but AFAIK there is no easily memorizable URL for it. Ubuntu has www.launchpad.net, Mozilla has bugzilla.mozilla.org, and Mono has bugzilla.ximian.com. Microsoft should have something like bugreport.microsoft.com.

Merging files in win32 etc

2006 August 9

Merging files in win32 – 8:34 PM 8/9/2006

To transfer a large file between computers using a removable media (flash disk, floppy disk, etc), we often need to split the file. There are many programs that does this (google “file splitter”).

However, to join/merge the files back we don’t need a special program. In Windows, just type:

copy /b [part1]+[part2]+...+[partn] [output]

For example:

copy /b movie.avi.1+movie.avi.2+movie.avi.3 movie.avi

Will merge the files “movie.avi.1”, “movie.avi.2”, and “movie.avi.3” into “movie.avi”.

“/b” stands for binary mode, which if ommitted won’t guarantee that the parts’ content will be duplicated exactly into the result file. In simpler terms, don’t forget it or the result can be corrupted.

Word dump: モーニングコーヒー – 8:14 PM 8/9/2006

This word dump is from モーニングコーヒー by モーニング娘。 (Morning Coffee by Morning Musume).

Morning Coffee

Morning Coffee

The PV is just a bunch of girls standing and singing. Compared to later Momusu PVs, it’s obvious that they couldn’t dance yet.

Kanji Kana English
モーニング morning
コーヒー coffee
どきどき beat (fast)
二人 ふたり two people
もんげん curfew
おくる to take or escort (a person somewhere)
弱虫 よわむし coward
遠回り とおまわり detour
口づけ くちづけ kiss
できる to be able (in a position) to do
しかられる to be scolded (reproved)
かまわない do not care (mind)
ときめき throbbing
まもる to protect
やる to do
たより dependence
本気 ほんき seriousness
つれさる to take away
なぜか for some reason
こまらせる to embarrass

Obligatory statistics:

  • Previous “average new words/song”: 21.5
  • New words in this song: 20 (down from 24)
  • New “average new words/song”: 21.2
  • Total words in word list: 1284

My current plan is to stop harvesting words from songs after the word count reaches 1300. Instead I will choose my own words to memorize until my word count reaches 1500.

Copy-paste in Putty etc

2006 August 5

A new era of UPT internet cafe – Just before posting

At last, after ages, some computers on the UPT internet cafe are starting to get a USB extension cable! I hope they plan to eventually stick it on all computers there.

Word dump: LOVE涙色 – 6:10 PM 8/5/2006

The current word dump is LOVE涙色 by 松浦亜弥 (LOVE Namida Iro by Matsuura Aya). I first knew the existence of this song while reading my friend’s Musume Monogatari (a manga about Momusu). I then heard it sung by Niigaki Risa and Tsuji Nozomi on H!P’s Wonderful Hearts.

I heard the original song by searching for the MP3. Later on I also watched Momusu’s 5th gen candidates singing this song for their audition.

Kanji Kana English
きっぱり clearly
とぼける to play dumb
何だか なんだか somehow
ふくざつ complexity
かんじょう feeling(s)
ぐるぐる turning round and round
あきっぽい fickle
せいかく personality
いじっぱり obstinacy
何となく なんとなく for some reason or another
とちゅう midway
何とか なんとか somehow
おだやか calm
なんども often
ほとんど mostly
まるあんき indiscriminate memorizing
やっぱ of course
何れくらい どれくらい how much
しんちょう height (of body)
のびる to grow (beard, body height)
やせる to lose weight
バイト work (de: Arbeit)
もどる to return
あまえる to fawn on

The stats:

  • Previous “average new words/song”: 20.67
  • New words in this song: 24 (last one was 23)
  • New “average new words/song”: 21.5
  • Total words in word list: 1264

Average new words is rising on and on…

Copy-paste in Putty – 10:37 PM 8/4/2006

Putty is a nice Windows SSH client.

Right clicking its title bar brings a pop-up menu but frustratingly the I didn’t find “copy” and “paste” there. (In gnome-terminal, copying and pasting can be done with Ctrl+Shift+C and Ctrl+Shift+V, respectively)

Accidently, I found that to copy a text from the console you just need to highlight it. To paste, right click anywhere in the console.

7th semester registration – 10:29 PM 8/4/2006

Registration just got simpler:

  • Go to Bank Mandiri with your student card and the required money. Trade the money for 2 receipts (green and yellow).
  • Go to the academic section of your faculty. Give the yellow receipt and fill a payment form. Get a new GMC by showing your old GMC.
  • Stick a photograph to the new GMC and get an official stamp at Gedung Pusat.

Filling KRS haven’t started yet. I’ve been told that KRS modification happens before classes start (lame) and classes start before KKN ends (again, lame).

Stone in the middle – 9:31 PM 8/2/2006

After applying a whole-surface label on my DVD-R, I noticed that there was somthing bumpy. Alas, a small stone was sandwidched between the label and the DVD-R top suface! I’m thinking of a way to safely do a mini surgery, and from now on I’ll make sure the top surface of a DVD-R (or CD-R) is clear before sticking a label into it.

Without a digital English-English dictionary etc

2006 August 2

Word Dump: 好きすぎて バカみたい – 8:34 AM 8/2/2006

The current word dump is 好きすぎて バカみたい (Suki Sugite Baka Mitai) by DEF.DIVA (a H!P unit consisting of Abe Natsumi, Goto Maki, Ishikawa Rika, and Matsuura Aya).

Kanji Kana English
みたい -like
ララバイ lullaby
あこがれ yearning
そうしそうあい mutual love
ころ time
まける to lose
ずいぶん extremely
まえ before
こおる to freeze
レンジ stove
かいとう thaw
もどる to turn back
やり直す やりなおす to start over
ねむる to sleep
いじょう more than
めいわく trouble
くちょう tone
さいしょ first
おくり seeing off
下らない くだらない worthless
かえる to go home
うなずく to nod
おわかれ farewell

Stats:

  • Previous “average new words/song”: 19.5
  • New words in this song: 23 (same as previous one)
  • New “average new words/song”: 20.67
  • Total words in word list: 1240

Without a digital English-English dictionary – 8:37 PM 8/1/2006

When I reinstalled my Windows, I backed up Oxford Dictionary’s folder. However running the executable on the new Windows didn’t work because the program seemed to require a library which was unregistered. Therefore I’m now left without a digital dictionary.

PS: Previously I installed the Oxford dictionary (called “Oxford Advanced Genie) from a CD that wasn’t mine. The content is of course superb (you can even hear the sound of each word), however it isn’t free and the user interface is terrible.

OpenOffice.org Writer’s thesaurus isn’t always helpful. For example, giving the thesaurus “gourmet” as an input brings “epicure”, “gastronome”, “bon vivant”, “epicurean”, “foodie”, and “sensualist (general term)” as synomyms. “Sensualist” didn’t seem to fit the context (it was about food). “Foodie” is a term that is absolutely related to food, but what does it mean? A person that likes to eat a lot? No idea. The other words are complete aliens to me.

How about Wiktionary? The entry for “gourmet” is probably there but I can’t access it from home, obviously.

Somehow, I have the installer for linguist (probably copied off a friend). Since it can function as an English to Indonesian dictionary, I installed it. Searching for “gourmet” gives “ahli pencicip makanan”. Nice, but it seems to be a commercial program (which I somehow have illegally obtained) so I’m quite reluctant to use it.

So, currently my legal alternative is a good old printed dictionary (God bless the trees). I currently have “OXFORD Advanced Learner’s DICTIONARY” (4th edition, 1989) which I borrowed from my uncle. “gourmet” gives “person who enjoys and is exper in the choice of fine food, wines, etc”. Nice description.

Another alternative is a “SAT I” book I own. It has a 3500 word list. There, “gourmet” means “connoisseur of food and drink” and “connoisseur” (an alien word) means “person competent to act as a judge of art”. You can’t count on every word being on this book, but when it’s there, you get a nice definition and an example sentence.

Because a paper dictionary is quite a bother to use, I’m going to search for a freely available English to English dictionary database. Something like EDICT, where you can download the database and use any client to view it (or make your own).

Btw, I encountered the word “gourmet” while learning Japanese. In “Hello! Project DVD MAGAZINE volume 7”, the sentence “ゴルメレポーター。。。” popped on the screen:

gorume repootaa

Searching “ゴルメ” (gorume) in EDICT gives “gourmet”, an English word unknown to me (“レポーター” (repootaa) obviously means “reporter”). This is not the first time something like this happened. “curfew”, “stingy”, “sulk”, and “fickle” are some other English words I stumbled upon while learning Japanese. It’s interesting that learning Japanese reveals a lot of my English vocabulary deficiency.

Update: The solution is to use StarDict.

Bad handphone design – 10:41 PM 7/29/2006

On my phone (Samsung something) the disconnect button (the one with the red phone icon) is placed above the “3/def” button and below the “options” button. When writing an SMS, pressing that button will discard the message and bring you straight to the main screen. The message will be lost!

With that design, a user that accidentally presses the button will lose the message. Murphy’s law states that “when something bad can happen, it WILL happen”. It happened to me already around 2 or 3 times, and I was really pissed off when it happened.

I can envision 2 improvements:

  • When the “discard” button is pressed, prompt the user. This behavior can be found anywhere from Notepad (“The text in the “xyz” file has changed. Do you want to save the changes”) to Firefox (“You are about to close “x” open tabs. Are you sure you want to continue?”)
  • Go to the main menu directly, but save the message in the drafts folder. This “no need to save” behavior can be seen in some programs like Tomboy (a great GTK# note taking program).

It’s pretty simple, really. The principle is “don’t let users do disastrous things easily”. Things like this are now taught on a standard Computer Science course, “Human Computer Interaction” (but not if you get my lecturer since he didn’t have a clue what the course is all about).