Archive for the 'free' Category

Hooray! やったー!

February 15, 2008

I am a fan of a new 20% project Google has rolled out: translation bots in Google Chat. Add a specific e-mail address to your buddy list (my bot of choice is en2ja@bot.talk.google.com) and if you send it a message, it will spit back a translation. This is a lot faster than Babelfish and what have you, and you can have a group chat open with multiple translation bots. This is hard to explain, but check the link and look at the screenshot.

This is a fantastic resource for anyone trying to learn a new language. As my interest in Japanese has recently been re-piqued, I think I’m going to be having a lot of chats with en2ja in the future.

30 places to find free online courses for writers

February 8, 2008

Via Lifehacker, 10 places to get writing courses online including MIT, Utah State, Purdue’s Online Writing Lab (more of a reference, less of a class repository, but whatever), and more.

Another free way to improve your writing: join a critique circle. I dabbled in a few through Meetup.com (just punch in your city/state and “writing” and you should get some results) and wasn’t impressed, but it’s all about finding a group with whom you work well. I took a fiction writing class in college three times because I knew the instructor was brilliant and that he’d bring amazing things out of the group. I think it’s harder to get this dynamic without an established leader/authority figure, but not impossible.

And last, courtesy of Freelance Writing Jobs, 20 more course offerings, with little overlap because this list includes courses that cost money.

I’m wary of online courses that cost upwards of $300, but I’m loath to make a snap judgment and say they are not worth it. Has anyone tried an online, paid course?