Italian notes

3 Oct

As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve been using Duolingo to learn Italian. I’m going to use this post to sort out some of my vocab issues

Quale (singular), Quali (plural): which one/are

Quanta (feminine), Quanto (masculine), Quante (feminine plural), Quanti (masculine plural): how much/many

I think what gets me, is that it seems that Quale and Quali don’t have a masculine and feminine form (or at least not one I’ve been introduced to so far) and that it is quite similar to Quanto. And then Italian doesn’t have the distinction between how much/many that English does for have continuous/discrete objects.

 

Well at least writing these out help me pass the second set of questions in the Questions module

 

 

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Fitbit

2 Oct

I bought a Fitbit One on the weekend as a somewhat impulse buy. I already use programs such as RescueTime to track my work, so the idea of tracking my exercise appeals to me, especially as all I need to do is the remember to put it on in the mornings and only needs to be charged once a week. The other big selling point of the Fitbit, that unlike other pedometers, I don’t need to have a pocket or waist band to attach it to (which my clothes often have neither). The fitbit one comes will a silicon case that has a metal reinforced clip which is thing enough to wear clipped to my bra hidden by my cleavage. I chose it over the flex or zip as I like to see all the different modes and have sleep tracking, which those two don’t. But really, I just wanted another toy and to try and compete with my boyfriend (a long time user of fitbit).

I’ve only been using it for two days and I’m surprised by how little walking I do in a day. In a normal day I would struggle to get up to 5,000 (the recommended amount is 10,000). The result is that I’m now forcing myself to go out for more walks. More walks isn’t really a hardship, my main problem is making the time for it. So little things like parking near my office rather than the gym when I go to the gym in the mornings adds 3,000 steps to my daily count, without causing me much more effort. Just then I walked up the 3 flights of stairs to see if a friend was in his office (need to check some details with him), which should add some to by stair climbing account. Later this afternoon I’ll go for a walk around campus which will hopefully add a few more thousand. When I get home, if I haven’t done my 10,000 I might go for a run.

I can’t comment too much of the competition aspect of it yet. On the fitbit dash, it shows your friend’s total steps from the last 7 days. My boyfriend has the full 7 days displayed, I just have 2 and a bit, so he is well ahead of me. Having said that, he is also ahead of my for average steps in a day, so I need to step up (pun!) my game a bit. I’m hopeful that the competition aspect will keep me looking at it for the long term.

Fitbit also gives you badges for reaching certain achievements. So far I’ve gotten 5,000 steps and 10 floors. So really nothing considering there are also badges for 10,000 steps and 25 floors. But knowing that they are there are making me scheme to reach those goals. I’m not sure what will happen when I get the easy ones done. There are daily smiley faces if you reach your goals on the dashboard (10,000 steps, 25 floors, 30 minutes of active walking time), so that may keep me going.

So positive changes so far. At least for the time being it is addicting, not sure about the long term

 

HabitRPG back up

1 Oct

I’ve talked about HabitRPG before, but I’ve been out of the habit (ironically enough) of using it. Mostly because of the memory leaks, the android app not working and the weekends. The memory leaks were getting so bad that it seemed like whenever I tried to go on the website, they were resetting the server. The (unofficial) android app wasn’t updating my stats. Because of the app not working, I wouldn’t tick of my habits over the weekend, which would result in death :(.

Happily though, the memory leaks seem to be sorted out, so I’m back to entering details on the website. The weekend issue still exists though: maybe the app is better now but either way, my phone isn’t happy with me right now (put it in my bra while running, now the touch screen doesn’t work :/).

Duo Lingo

30 Sep

In high school we had to choose a language to learn for the year: the choices were French, Italian or German. I went with German and proceeded to put next to no effort in it. The vocabulary was straight forward (for that course it was essentially English with a German accent), the grammar was bizarre. All I really learnt in that subject was how to count and that are is the plural or is.

In recent years I’ve become one of those people who wants to learn another language. I would love to learn something like Latin (just because) or maybe one of the Scandinavian languages (cause I would love to live there). But like one of those people, I never did anything about it.

 

Then a friend introduced my to duo lingo. Duolingo is a game that aims to teach you the basics of another language. So far they have Italian, German, French, Spanish and Portuguese, but by the end of the year users will be able to create their own modules. I wasn’t particularly interested in any of them, so I’ve decided to learn Italian on the tenuous reasoning that I would like to work with a particular Italian (which looks like it will happen next year!).

And I’m really enjoying it.

My grammar has always been next to non-existent as I never really saw the point of being able to work out what the subject of a sentence is. But in Italian (and I’m guessing most languages other than English), it matters as it changes the rest of the words. By learning Italian, I’m getting a much better idea of how the sentences are constructed, in both languages. I”m also getting a lot of easy wins as most words (so far) I can associate with an English word. Not always directly, for example balena = whale. In English, balene is the old fashion word for whales and dolphins.

On the downside, I’ve been mostly using the android app. It is fine for doing the lessons, but the website version is much better.  The website will actually tell you what all the forms of a word are, will say a single word out loud and give you more detailed information on your mistakes.

I’m also getting to the point where I can’t keep all the vocab in my head properly. I know that this is a matter of starting to keep proper hand written notes (hand written as I know it will stick in my head much better), but then I need to have some pen and paper and probably even a proper desk. While I do own all of those things, when I’m playing duo lingo, its often on the couch during an ad break. But if I’m serious about learning another language, I really should dedicate some serious time to it.

In short, I think duolingo is excellent for getting you into a language. But if you are getting much beyond the first stage, you need to start putting some proper effort into it. And make sure you use the website as well as the mobile apps.

 

I don’t like stuff

14 Aug

I’ve recently moved. Overall this is a good thing. On the down side, I had to pack up all my stuff, which made me realised how much stuff I actually have. I did get rid of a fair bit though and probably should get rid of some more. This is a good thing as well: I like the idea of having less stuff and being able to move more easily. Now most of my stuff is craft supplies , tech and books.

But moving means I’ve also collected more stuff: a bed (queen size! With a really nice mattress!) and a car. Well the car wasn’t from moving, but it is useful as now I’m about 9km away from the uni.  But with stuff comes more worries: I’ve had this car for just over a week. I’ve already managed to lock my keys in the car (at 6.30am in the morning, that was a $160 call out for a locksmith). Now the car isn’t starting. Yesterday morning it coughed like the engine was trying to turn over, but couldn’t. In the evening it was barely even coughing. Thinking back, I thought the acceleration was a bit dodgy, but I put that down to me being not entirely use to the car.

Moving also means that stuff gets damaged and misplaced: looks like my monitor/tv has a massive patch of screwed up pixels now and I can’t find some of my charger cables.

It really comes down to having more stuff, means that there is more responsibility and your feelings are tied to things you cannot  easily control. While I have downsized in this move, I’m really considering going further. Or at the very least, stop accumulating more stuff.

Moved!

6 Aug

On the weekend I moved houses. On paper it was a bad idea: my new place is further away from uni, the room is smaller, rent is slightly more expensive and since I broke my lease early on the previous place I’m stuck pay rent for two places, at least for the time being. But on the plus side I’m now sharing with just one other person who knows how to tidy up after herself, goes out and enjoy herself with friends. These pluses are more than enough to make up for the downside.

One thing I’ve learnt is that sometimes it is best to ignore what is  on paper.

I was really getting depressed at my old place. I love cooking, its is one of the best ways for me to destress. Yet at the old place, cooking was something I only did to feed myself. The kitchen floor was often crunchy (I actually found half a rasher of bacon on the floor when I did a quick final clean up). The benches were dirty and there was a pile of pots that needed to wash. Really, if I wanted to cook, it was almost  guaranteed  that I would need to clean up  first. I don’t find cleaning a good way to destress, so the result was I just didn’t cook. On a related note: I am an introvert. I’ve found interacting with peoples mess that be as draining as interacting with actual people, with no bonus side effect of companionship. Seeing a messy kitchen was enough for me not to want to interact with people.

Two of the four people I was living with, just didn’t talk. The other guy use to be a friend. Use to be as living with him made me lose all respect. He never cleaned (and actually consented to his mother, the landlord, cleaning up the house), left his shit around the house and just didn’t do anything. I did ask him a few times to  clean up after himself and got the whole “Well if you really think so, but I think you are being a bitch about it” impression from him. I wasn’t willing to ask him every single time, as really, I’m not his mother.

I’ve spent two nights at my new place now: and I’m actually happy. Last night, I came home. House mate was out, so I made a nice dinner (kale, caramelised red onion, marinated fetta,  olives with a friend egg) and could sit in the living room and read my book quietly. I then cleaned up after myself. It then struck me, that I was happy. At my old place I would be feeling a lot of resentment towards everyone else. I would be holing myself up in my room, trying to ignore everyone else. Now I feel like I can just relax, which makes this whole move  worth it.

 

MATLAB

30 Jul

Officially I’ve been teaching subjects that had a MATLAB component in it for the last 2 years (this semester would be my third). The problem is that I’ve never really learnt MATLAB. I had to use it briefly for my Linear Algebra course, but all we had to do what copy down commands. In the course I’ve been teaching, MATLAB has been a side thought and students have been able to successfully ignore it. However, this semester, MATLAB is the very first thing we are doing, so I got some hopes, not particularly high mind you, that students might actually end up using it a bit rather than just ignoring the labs.

Having said that, I am a coder. Just because I don’t really know MATLAB, doesn’t mean I have no idea what I’m doing. Its more that MATLAB does odd things. Like to access  vector (which as far as I’m concerned are just arrays) elements, you use round brackets. How am I meant to remember that when I only use MATLAB a few times a year?

Here to hoping that students are willing to actually play with it and learn.