English-language Word Processing

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NeoOffice Logo

Several of my students have had Japanese computers and Japanese operating systems, with Japanese versions of Word. They needed to write English essays for their classes. However, it’s difficult to get the settings (line spacing, paper size, etc.) correct in Japanese, because everything is different. For example, English essays are spaced by line: double-spaced, single-spaced, etc. Japanese essays are spaced by character. It’s really confusing to try to make it match!

I know some people must be able to do it correctly, but I couldn’t figure it out.

Anyway, I recommended downloading either NeoOffice or OpenOffice.org (Yes, “.org” is part of its name…). Both are free office software packages (including databases, presentations, word processors, etc.). If you download the English version, it’s good practice. You will be able to find the right settings for writing in English. If you’re using a non-English operating system, the website might try to make you download another language. Just look for an “Other Languages” option and choose English.

NeoOffice (Mac OS X only–I use this one)
OpenOffice.org (Windows, GNU/Linux, Sun Solaris, Mac OS X)

(I didn’t include the OpenOffice.org logo because their website says you have to ask their permission. Um, okay …)

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Fashion Blogs & Websites

Here are some English-language blogs you might enjoy if you like fashion:

The Fashion Police Files
Advanced Style
Haute Macabre (warning: includes lingerie/underwear)
Ne Plus Ultras
The Sartorialist
The Dandy Project
Mrs.O
The Urban Gent
The Chocolate Fashion Blog
Punky Style
Diary of a Vintage Girl

Can you find one that suits you?

There are also lots of English blogs about Asian fashion…lots and lots! Sushi-Cat.net is one, and there are so many more–even for people who like to wear kimono. You can find them if you use Google.

Two of my favorite places to look at accessories online are Etsy (here are some of my favorite items) and Sock Dreams. Like most of my friends, I don’t really care about famous brands. I just like things that look interesting.

If you have links to fashion blogs or websites, in your language or in English, please comment and share them with us!

TED | Translations

I’m posting twice in one day! Crazy!

Here’s a resource for intermediate to advanced learners:

TED | Translations.

TED talks have become extremely famous for their interesting topics and good presentations. The speeches are from 6-20 minutes long, with still images or videos (NOT traditional Powerpoint). The speakers talk about everything: dance, robots, food, storytelling, DNA, etc. They talk about “big ideas.” (Some of the speakers make me cry.)

However, a lot of the speakers talk really fast because they’re trying to fit big ideas into 18 minutes. And sometimes they use difficult vocabulary words for the same reason. Still, because the ideas are so cool, I think they’re worth a try if you are not a beginning or low-intermediate learner. (If you find some easier TED videos that are good for lower-level learners, please tell me!)

Lots of volunteers have helped make subtitles for TED. You can see these at TED | Translations. I recommend watching your favorite videos several times–with subtitles in your language, then with English subtitles, and then without any subtitles.

TEDx events are not official TED events. (There’s TEDxTokyo, TEDxSeoul, etc.) They’re TED-style events, and the speakers are sometimes not as skilled as the TED speakers. However, sometimes they’re just as good. Some TEDx speakers speak in languages other than English, with English dubbed versions available. You can try those, too.

You can subscribe to TED in iTunes, by the way.

Here’s one very popular video that is available in 21 languages. Click on View Subtitles to see them. The speaker has a light Nigerian( or Nigerian British?) accent, but she speaks more slowly than other speakers, and her presentation is really interesting.

Let me know if you find some good ones! There are so many TED videos–it’s hard to know where to start.

New Laptop

MacBook image from Wikipedia
MacBook image from Wikipedia

I have a new laptop. I didn’t want a new laptop, but I have one.

On May 28, I came home at night after I went to a convention. My door was open a little bit, and the frame (the part around the door) was damaged. I realized that someone must have broken in to my townhouse. My friend and I looked inside, just a little. I saw that my laptop was gone. I wasn’t really surprised, because it’s a nice laptop. We called the police, of course. The police came and looked for fingerprints, but they didn’t find anything. The police officer said that the thief or thieves would probably not use the laptops–they would probably break them into parts and sell the parts. Since they didn’t take the power cords, I guess he was probably right.

This has never happened to me before, but the economy is pretty bad. I know people in several different countries who have experienced break-ins. And it could have been worse–nobody got hurt, and we have renters’ insurance.

Renter’s insurance is a kind of insurance for people who are renting their homes. You pay some money each year, but if you break or lose your things, or have something stolen, your insurance will pay to have it replaced. Since I had a MacBook Pro, which is kind of expensive, and we had a couple of other laptops, and a lot of books, etc., we got renter’s insurance about a year ago.

Anyway, it took some time to get our new laptops, but now I have a very nice new MacBook Pro. Our insurance paid for most of it. It has a new operating system and other new features that my old MacBook Pro didn’t have. Unfortunately, I’m missing a lot of files and photos, because I didn’t back up my data often enough. :( I’m very glad that I have a laptop again, though. I’m still setting it up (getting it ready) by downloading my favorite programs.

Have you ever had anything stolen from you? It’s not very common here (I know everyone thinks the US is really unsafe, but it’s usually pretty safe here.) It can happen anywhere, I think.

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