Jon Aquino's Mental Garden

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dowling’s Wheel: A webapp I wrote to assist in the learning of Latin

Professor William C. Dowling has a great webpage called Latin by the Dowling Method which explains his unorthodox technique for learning Latin. In a nutshell:
  1. Learn a few simple concepts about Latin grammar, documented on his webpage (1 hour).
  2. Memorize six of the tables at the back of Wheelock’s Latin (6 months).
  3. Work through Lingua Latina, a wonderful workbook on Latin written in Latin (18 months).
Today I created a webapp to help with the second goal: memorizing the six Wheelock tables. Instead of writing out the tables by hand, you type them into the webapp. It highlights correct and incorrect words in green and red.

If you’ve ever felt the urge to learn to read Latin fluently, definitely check it out.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Computer = instrumentum computatórium, and other recent words translated into Latin

The Latinitas Foundation publishes a 15,000 Latin dictionary of modern words, called the Lexicon Recentis Latinitatis.

Here are some interesting ones:

computerinstrumentum computatórium
cigarettefistula nicotiana
engineerdoctor machinárius
amnesiamemóriae amíssio
deodorantfoetoris delumentum
megalomaniaeffrenata glóriae appeténtia

These would make for a good blog name or album name.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Installing Wikipedia on your mobile device

It's cool to have Wikipedia on your mobile device. It takes less space than you think. There are a few different ways to do it.

Windows Mobile

  • I haven't researched iPhone, but I hear that there are ways to install Wikipedia on it.

MDict with the May 2009 Wikipedia

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Babies trailer

For those of you with babies, check out this trailer for a new movie called...Babies.

Monday, December 14, 2009

My new daily schedule

There is so much that I’d like to study, and I’m not getting any of it done. So I’m making this new schedule for myself.

12:30–8:30 Sleep. A nice 8 hours.
8:30–9 Rosary
9–7 Work
7–9 Study. The three books I'm going to focus on are: the Iliad (Book 8), the Bible (Psalms), and Algorithm Design Manual (Chapter 5).
9–10 Free. Checking RSS feeds; puttering around the house.
10–11 Evening prayer; meditation.
11–12 “Free”. Family / exercise / calligraphy.
12–12:30 Random bedtime reading from my large pile of unread books.

Hopefully I can make progress on my reading plan between 7 and 9 pm.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Traditional Latin Mass in Victoria BC

On Sunday I went to something called a Traditional Latin Mass, for the first time. Unlike most Catholic masses today, TLMs are done entirely in Latin (except for a brief English sermon in the middle). The priest faces away from the people for most of the mass. A group of men in the choir loft sings Gregorian chant. The people remain silent throughout.

This is actually how it was done from Catholicism’s early days until the 20th century.

In short, it’s pretty cool.

Traditional Latin Mass, Queen of Peace Church, Victoria BC
Yes, Victoria has Traditional Latin Masses: Queen of Peace Parish, 11:45am on Sundays

Latin Missal
Get ready to brush up on your Latin!

Traditional Latin Mass, Queen of Peace Church, Victoria BC
The priest faces away from the people (ad orientem).

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Improving the Fitaly keyboard layout by adding common punctuation

Of the different Windows Mobile on-screen keyboards, Resco Keyboard is one of my favorites because you can customize it: changing the shapes of the keys, moving them around, and changing the look:

Resco Keyboard

I also like the Fitaly keyboard. The placement of the keys is brilliant. It really minimizes the travel distance when typing with a stylus. But an annoying thing is that common punctuation is not on the main screen; they’re hidden away in a secondary screen (for example, $, @, and "):


So I spent an enjoyable evening customizing Resco to re-create the Fitaly keyboard, but redesigning it to include all punctuation available on a standard keyboard:

Resco Keyboard used to re-create Fitaly

The customizability of Resco Keyboard is great. Someone should try porting the IBM Shark layout to it.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

It’s not Christmas yet—it’s Advent

I just want to remind everyone that it’s not time for Christmas yet—we are currently in a season of its own called Advent. We’re starting the second week of Advent, a four-week period between ordinary time and Christmas. It’s a period of time specially marked out for quietly preparing for Christmas.

So contrary to the holiday ads on TV, it’s not Christmastime quite yet. It’s Advent.

An old but good PDA: Dell Axim X51v

My Dell Axim X30 PDA finally died after 5 years of faithful service. So I picked up another PDA from eBay: a Dell Axim X51v. This was the PDA I lusted for back in 2005 when it was $500; these days, you can pick one up nearly new for $220.

And this time around I got a proper case (Sena) and a good screen protector (BoxWave Crystal—though I hear these scratch easily; the matte BoxWave Anti-Glare may be better).

Dell Axim X51v purchased from eBay
Like it’s 2005: The Dell Axim X51v with Windows Mobile 5 (A12 ROM).

So I stayed up until 4am on Friday night installing software on the PDA:
  1. Any necessary OS patches (for Windows Mobile 5 there are a lot)
  2. Calculator (Calc98, free)
  3. Photo viewer (Resco Picture Viewer, on Dell CD)
  4. Shutdown dialog (psShutXP, free)
  5. Wikipedia (860MB, free)
  6. Text editor (Flinkware’s Made, free)
  7. Loan calculator (MortgageCalc, free)
  8. Timer/stopwatch (Simple Timers, free)
  9. Screen dimmer (Screen Switch, free)
  10. .cab file installer (CabInstl, free)
  11. Temp-file cleaner (ClearTemp, free)
  12. Launcher (iLauncher, $15)
  13. Screen-capture utility (CapSure, free)
  14. Video player (TCPMP with Flash plugin, free)
  15. MP3 player (GSPlayer, free)
  16. Unit-conversion calculator (ConverterCE, free)
  17. PDF reader (Adobe Reader, free)
  18. Ebook readers (Haali Reader, free; Microsoft Reader, free)
  19. Password manager (KeePass, free)
  20. File manager (Total Commander, free—check out its "virtual 2 window mode")
  21. Notes (Tombo 1.17, free)
  22. PIM (Pocket Informant, $20—already purchased for my old PDA)

Stuff I was tempted to buy, but didn’t:
  1. Memory optimizer (MemMaid, $25—people find they don’t use it much)
  2. System utilities (SKTools, $20)
  3. Alternative keyboard (Fitaly, $30—I don’t think I type on it often enough to justify it. I may change my mind later.)
  4. Backup (Sprite, $30—I used the trial to do a backup of the fresh system; if I need to do another backup, I’ll go ahead and purchase this.)