Yes, I am getting bored with smart.fm’s software, but that’s my problem. Once they complete their iPhone app and if I get an iPhone, I just might go back to using it.
But that doesn’t mean I’ve been putting off sharpening my Chinese skills. Here are some other tools I’ve been using to learn.
Chinese Pera-Pera Kun. Sure, nciku has a better translator, but they use AJAX calls to retrieve translations, whereas Pera-Pera Kun has the dictionary loaded on the client side. That means a much much faster translations. If I had a better memory, I wouldn’t need to use it so often.
Chinese Engadget and Autoblog. My two favorite blogs have Chinese versions. Some posts are direct translations from the main sites, others are Asia-centric news about gadgets and cars. I know I’ve succeeded if I can land a job there.
LyricMaster for Songbird Sort of works. The concept is that it retrieves lyrics online for your music collection. While it works 100% for English songs, it’s still a bit iffy with foreign language music. Less hitting up Youtube for karaoke videos though.
nciku toolbar. Find words by type or drawing characters. Too bad the translator takes too long to load.
Other things I should be doing to help myself.
Watch Chinese Dramas. Any good Chinese TV series? I want to get into understanding conversations, but almost all TV series from Hong Kong are well… crap. Nothing too feminine.
I need an app. I want an app that can detect and translate Chinese characters by pointing a camera phone at something. That would be cool.