Learn a second language easily with this smartly-designed app
Have you ever been suckered in to some sort of "learn language quickly" scheme? Audio tapes that you listen to in your sleep, expensive software that requires hours of use in a single setting, classes that require a large amount of physical effort? Don't worry, most bilingual-curious folk have. We caught ourselves using a demo of a big-name software -- and while it worked, it would have cost hundreds of dollars and still required 45-minute sessions multiple times a week. Enter Duolingo, a slick little app that aims to help you make quick work of picking up a second (or third, or fourth...) language -- for free.
'Remarkable' rise nearly 10 times normal, approaches top 20
Apple's Swift language, introduced just last June at its Worldwide Developer's Conference, as risen from 68th place to 22nd in the last six months on a ranking of the most widely-used programming languages. Enterprise developer liason firm RedMonk said it had never seen a growth rate so "meteoric" in the history of its rankings, which first appeared in 2010. When "ties" are discounted, the streamlined language has entered the top 20 just seven months after its debut.
Swype keyboard for iOS users now available in more than 20 languages
Nuance Communications has announced that its Swype keyboard app for iOS 8 has been updated, now featuring support for more than 20 languages. A keyboard app that learns how the user types, Swype now features QWERTY, QWERTZ and AZERTY keyboard layouts, as well as a new layout specifically designed for iPad. Its new intuitive emoji input predicts when to insert an emoji graphic where appropriate. Currently available for $1, Swype requires iOS 8 or later.
Gmail supports typing in 75 languages
Google has added a number of different input options to Gmail, in an effort to increase the number of international users of the service. The new additions include over 100 input method editors and virtual keyboards, allowing for text entry in a number of languages that do not use the Roman Alphabet.
Tidy Up! 2.0.4 ($30) lets users search for duplicate files and packages with various filters. The application features a security system that ensures at least one file of the duplicate group on your disk will be kept. This system also allows users to undo the copying or moving of files. The latest update includes support for automatically burning to multiple discs when the total file size exceeds the limits of one. The option to export search criteria to a separate file has also been added along with several bug fixes. [Download - 25.7MB]
The Tagger 1.3 ($30) is an MP3 and AAC tag editor for Mac. The software allows users to batch edit audio files, and claims to support a wider range of ID3 tags than iTunes. The softwares interface has been updated in version 1.3 and now includes a new toolbar, a simplified Tags menu, and new navigation buttons. The update also features the ability to edit tags from within the file browser and new commands for buying, opening and showing licenses. [Download - 1.7MB]
Encrypt Mail, Size Up
iSubtitle 1.2 ($19) is a tool that adds non-destructive subtitles to movies on the iPhone/iPod touch and Apple TV. The software enables people to use the interface of the device or application to turn on or off subtitles synced in real-time, and to watch the subtitled movies in full screen. Version 1.2 allows users to add chapters to videos automatically or manually. The update also includes options for changing the size of subtitles and fixes several bugs. [Download - 6.1MB]
Pocket Italian launched
Innovative Language Learning has released Pocket Italian and language learning apps in eight other languages. The apps are also available for Arabic, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, and Russian and will be available for English, German, and Spanish. They will be offered at four different levels of aptitude and will all be made available for purchase on iTunes during the month of February. The apps work using pre-recorded lessons and dialogues, self-recordings and dozens of pages of text-book style lesson notes with hours of audio, including compact versions of the company's educational podcasts.