Category Archives: Technology

New Website Connects Language Newbies With Native Speakers

Via Mashable
Name: Verbling Quick Pitch: Verbling is a web-based platform where individuals can pair up with native speakers to practice speaking new languages on live video.
Genius Idea: Verbling makes language learning easy by offering a free way to connect instantly with native speakers with timed prompts and conversation-starting topics. Verbling was launched in 2011 when co-founders Jacob Jolis and Mikael Bernstein met while attending Stanford University. The two dropped out of the prestigious school and teamed up with then-Google software engineer Fred Wulff to build the language-learning startup of their dreams. Verbling.com, a Y Combinator -backed startup, is a website that people can access globally to speak with native language speakers living in different countries. For now, only Spanish and English speakers can access video chat, but the founders hope to add Arabic, French, Chinese and German — among 10 languages in total — by the end of the year. The idea of Verbling is to solve one of the biggest problems for language learners — not being able to practice speaking with natives. People devote time and money to learning language basics, but slowly lose linguistic skills without practice. “It’s very difficult to find native speakers without going abroad,” said Bernstein who speaks English, Swedish, German and Russian. “With Verbling, you can do that instantaneously. You don’t have to schedule or waste any time trying to find someone.” Verbling is all about the trade.
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New Website Connects Language Newbies With Native Speakers

Why Social Media Needs to Get More Personal


Via Mashable

Patrick Moorhead is president and principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, a highly regarded high-tech industry analyst firm focused on the disruptive ecosystems of smartphones, tablets, personal computers, living room devices and social media. New social media service  Path  promises to bring your true friends (not just acquaintances) together in a much more personal way. However, neither Path, nor Facebook, nor Google+ have fully comprehended that personal circles vary by context, and that context changes rapidly and infinitely.

 

In the end, while services like Path get us closer to “personal,” they are still very much “broadcast” versions of social media. Ultimately, new services will arise that will allow the user to easily and naturally build relationships, physically meet and communicate with one’s rapidly morphing groups of true friends.

     

How Humans Interact To fully understand how structured broadcast and personal social models differ, we need to look at real life. First and foremost, people segment friends and groups based on a specific context. To put it simply, there are people we are very close with, people we may have never heard of, but who seem “safe,” then there are thousands of groups in-between. And that context only changes more over time. Even though it sounds confusing, we build and segment groups because the action has been hard-wired into our brains.

The “Broadcast” Social Media Problem The Facebook, Google+ and Path networks liken online interaction to shouting in different-sized movie theaters, each of which contains a different combination of close friends, family members and acquaintances. Most people in the movie theater aren’t even listening; others listen but ignore; and an even smaller group reacts to what’s being said. For most people on the receiving end, a post is typically out of context, irrelevant, doesn’t require a response or was just plain missed. For example, some children aren’t on Facebook during school hours, and many older demographics don’t check notifications on a regular basis, or else they use their accounts for very specific purposes only.   What Defines “Personal” Today? I outlined the challenges that come with a “broadcast” model of social media. So what do I mean by “personal?” Quite simply, personal reflects how we interact in the physical world. The infinite number of groups we encounter in the everyday world communicate in a way you would expect: over the phone, through text, BlackBerry Messenger, face to face and via email. However, some of the tools we employ — even in today’s fast-paced digital environment — are slow, inefficient or even inaccessible.

For example, three families may want to go out to dinner after the eighth grade basketball game. Let’s assume there are six parents total and kids don’t get a vote. Just imagine how many texts it will take to arrange this.

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Why Social Media Needs to Get More Personal

Facebook Kills University’s Historical Profiles


Via Mashable
Joe McDonald died in 1971. This morning on Facebook , he died again. Facebook disabled the profiles of McDonald and his girlfriend Leola Lewis Wednesday morning, according to Donnelyn Curtis, the University of Nevada librarian who set the profiles up as a way to engage students in learning about history . “I was a little angry that I didn’t get any warning,” Curtis told Mashable . “I think that would have been polite.” The couple were both students at the university in the 1910s before marrying in 1915. Curtis said that when she tried to log in to the fictitious profiles this morning, she got an automated message from Facebook saying the accounts had been disabled for violating the social network’s terms of service. “I guess popularity kills,” Curtis said. Curtis actually set the McDonald and Lewis profiles up more than two years ago — but it wasn’t until last week, when she began providing more frequent status updates and photos, that they began attracting attention from the media and public. While McDonald and Lewis initially only had friends who were distant relatives, their lists of connections swelled from just over 100 each to more than 1,000. They were featured in Mashable , The Chronicle of Higher Education , Yahoo! News and the UK’s Daily Mail . Lewis and McDonald posted historically accurate status updates about their lives, photos of campus events such as “hop” dances and “Rugby Football matches” and listed musicians such as Scott Joplin and writers including Jane Austen among their favorites. Their profiles were hailed by many experts as a powerful example of social media’s power to bring history to life for a digitally absorbed generation. But, as fake profiles, McDonald and Lewis clearly violated the
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Facebook Kills University’s Historical Profiles

Apple Announces ‘Education’ Event for Next Week


Via Mashable
Apple has invited media outlets for a special event on Jan. 19 at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. The invitation mentions an announcement about education. The event begins at 10 a.m. ET. Mashable speculated earlier this month that the event would revolve around the publishing world. Perhaps Apple will be asking publishers to put textbooks on iOS devices? Mashable received an invite and will be covering the event. What do you think Apple has planned for the event? Tell us in the comments. More About: apple , trending For more Tech coverage: Follow Mashable Tech on Twitter Become a Fan on Facebook Subscribe to the Tech channel Download our free apps for Android , Mac , iPhone and iPad
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Apple Announces ‘Education’ Event for Next Week

Students Turn Classroom Notes Into Cash With Social Site NoteWagon

 
NotesWagon
Via Mashable
As universities become more competitive amid a tough-hiring environment, students are faced now more than ever with the pressure to succeed in the classroom. To alleviate some of those pressures, a service called NoteWagon encourages — with cash — students to work together and exchange notes on various subjects.
The social platform is trying to redefine college education by offering students the ability to swap course content in a social manner. Students who take excellent notes in class and are willing to help their peers can upload notes and study guides from their university classes and share them with others. NoteWagon pays these students for their contributions and also extracts a small fee from the ones that access the notes.
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Students Turn Classroom Notes Into Cash With Social Site NoteWagon