Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Great App for Language Learners (Like Me!)

Owl - Duolingo Mascot
Duolingo is a fun, intriguing, and a rich-in-content language learning platform combining interactive language learning and translation games, it might even help you pop the BIG question to your beloved one!

Translate-text question
How does it work?

After you've signed up, simply go to the language page you want to study. There are 5 languages if you are using English to learn it:
1. Spanish
2. German
3. French
4. Portuguese
5. Italian
Pick one then start a lesson. For each lesson, you'll be given 3 hearts, meaning that you can make at most 3 mistakes before you have to start the lesson again. When you have finished the lesson, you'll have 10 points, and the hearts you can keep serve as bonus points, which will all add up to the points that are necessary to get a level up.

Mark-all question

Types of "games"
I call it games because it IS! I just love the sound effects for every correct answer and every completed lesson. You won't get bored because the games are easy enough to play and each lesson doesn't take long to finish. There are various games so you will be tested through different skill sets.

  1. Translate-text: Choose the correct translation by clicking on the words in order. Can it be more obvious?
  2. Mark-all: Read carefully because there might be more than one correct answers.
  3. Listen-and-type: just read it again, no explanation needed, right?
  4. Recording (Web only): If you're accessing via PC/Mac, you can do the recording exercise. But I tried it a while ago, I got kind of frustrated because I always failed to get it right. Maybe you can be the one who always gets it right, justmaybe.

Keyhole offers 3 attempts only

Do you think you can SKIP?
If you think you're good enough to skip many chapters, then the KEYHOLE is the best place for you.
However, wait for it...just imagine Gandalf is standing in front of you, trying to warn you of the upcoming danger...ready? YOU ONLY HAVE 3 ATTEMPTS. If you used up the attempts but still can't pass the test, you will have no choice but to go back to the last lesson and finish them all.

Tailor-made lesson plans = a marriage proposal!?
The below is the latest blog entry on Duolingo's official blog:
A few weeks ago we got a very sweet email:
Dear Duolingo Team,
I am Italian and my American girlfriend Kate is in love with Duolingo… she’s learning my own language and she enjoys it so much that I’m wondering if I could ask you to set up an exercise for her that would lead to the big question:
"Will you marry Flavio Esposito?"

She would die if she saw this! Thanks so much for your time and consideration ;)

Best regards,
Who could resist that? Excited to help, we worked with Flavio to come up with a special love lesson that Kate would see the next time she logged in:

Languages you can learn

In a way, Duolingo can offer more than just a language learning platform. Anyone wants to try this feature and pop the question to your boyfriend/girlfriend?

Pass page

New words you've learnt
Number of lessons varies

Profile page
Useful links:

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Before Sunset----Contribution to life

I had not written this blog while having my article posted up nearly 4 months, not only because of my open examination, but also lack of motivation to write. All these months, I just felt that my brain was filled with emptiness and ignorance since I only focused too much on exams with Chinese TV series and European metal music. I seldom watch Western films up till finishing those nerve-wrecking ones. Therefore, I would like to apologize for writing too much Chinese as well as not posting up too long in this blog before starting to talk about what I am going to introduce today.
(without spoiler)

I would like to share one of my all-time favorites------Before Sunset(2004). I enjoy watching this film for its content about exploring what we think on matters of life such as marriage and religion, apparently the film is about how life experiences make us, or even, how world changes our mind as it becomes more diverse. Two main character---Jesse and Celine, unexpectedly meeting in Shakespeare's bookstore in France after their break-up in Vienna nine years ago. They then went to coffee shop and some other places for taking a walk and sharing their recent lives. In those conversations, both characters discussed many about their outlooks towards life after recalling from past and nowadays. Those dialogues are realistic and practical, they reflect what our lives are like in reality. And, they advise the best solutions to tackle what problem existed in our lives.

Generally speaking, I appreciate screenwriters of this movie, whom are also director and leading roles of it. Their friendships are still bond though no cooperation among them nearly 10 years. They make movies together with passion and without adding any commercial purposes(i.e. no emphasis on cinematography, visual effect, sound editing and art direction etc.). They added their thoughts on it and decided what the best for the content. It is rare that actors and director gather for writing screenplay since many movies that I ever saw always had a fixed script for actors.

Another saga of  "Before____" will be released in this September, entitled Before Midnight. I would like to go to the theatre and have a look. I have learnt a lot in the previous two, especially Before Sunset, we know about matters of life as well as realize our views towards life change as we experience more, as if Jesse and Celine.

Rate: 9.3/10(simple but meaningful)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Great Books + Great Offers = Only At Book Depository!

Promotional banner

If you're a book lover, and you love to find your next big read in a fun and challenging activity, here's the news for you: It'sssssssssss book shopping time.

Book Depository (only on the uk site) is going to bring it on again, offering 100 books (e.g. fiction, non-fiction, children books, etc.) with great discount, you may find some of them are even signed/limited edition, so make sure you don't miss it (because I sure won't).

How am I going to know which book(s) I want? How am I going to decide and buy the book before it runs out of stock? In the following, I'll try to share a few things I did that helped me (at least I think they did!), so read on...

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Bell Jar: The Woman Who lived in The Wrong Time in The Wrong Place

New cover from Faber and Faber
The Bell Jar was a course text in an English course I did in a semester. In the story, there is an academically well-performed college girl Esther Greenwood who wins a writing competition and can go to New York to continue her study. It is then she starts to struggles between the convention and revolution. She slowly turns herself into a mentally ill woman and later she is sent into mental hospital to have an electric shock therapy. The story itself is horrible enough, but still, it cannot be compared to the fact that its author, Sylvia Plath, who committed suicide a month after its first publication in UK. While her death did bring more readers who read her book, there were even more who felt sorry for her death...

Wednesday, June 12, 2013



究竟朋友是什麼? 又有沒有一個標準?




這時候想起了<<天與地>>裡一個片段: 黃德斌的角色正值壯年,視力卻漸漸退化。有一次,佘思曼的角色為了令他重拾信心,竟然提出叫他合上眼睛,將他的手交給她,由她引導他要走的路。而他們倆的深厚友誼,就在那一刻表露無遺。在綠燈聲響下他們慢步行走,由一邊馬路走去另一邊,但是在馬路中他們的聯繫居然中斷了!手裡在想究竟余會不會得悉黃的手不在她的膊上,而盡快轉頭拉黃去對面馬路,又或是黃會不會那樣信任余,繼續合上眼,冒著生命危險地等她回來呢?





不過有時候,也會多想想,多問問,看看有沒有對事物有新的體會。或許我真的很無聊(我認 XD)。

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

[新書速遞] 《穿PRADA的惡魔》續集:Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns




Meryl Streep 飾 Miranda Priestly

我愛看MERYL STREEP飾演的冷漠上司MIRANDA,也愛看ANNE HATHAWAY飾演的私人助理ANDY。MIRANDA的那些超高的要求、那個冷得可以殺死人不償命的眼神、那句經典的:「THAT’S ALL!」、還有那短白的頭髮,這些都是令我感覺她是非一般的女強人,是一個高不可攀的女強人。可是,她也會有軟弱的一面,這也是我覺得好看的部份,一個妝容、一個手勢、一個失望失落的眼神,顯出她原來也是個普通人。

Anne Hathaway 飾 Andrea "Andy" Sachs




新書設定在大約10年後,ANDY和EMILY一起合作經營一份高檔的婚紗雜誌THE PLUNGE。雜誌很快便成為了婚禮界的新寵,由ANDY負責撰寫內文,EMILY負責派對規劃和廣告商事宜。ANDY遇到她的一生最愛MAX,他們將會舉辦一個盛大的婚禮。可是,婚禮當日的早上,ANDY收到一封令她訝異的信,一封將她由天堂般的幸福之地拉回到地獄裡去。


Saturday, June 8, 2013



不知道是不是今年才有APP看所有LE FRENCH MAY的活動,但是這實在是太便利啦!方便了不少的懶人,包括我,哈哈!
在GOOGLE PLAY上這個APP有中、英文版。我在想,為什麼要弄兩個APPS呢?為什麼不就一個APP內有2種語言的設定呢?


這次的LE FRENCH MAY我有很多活動都想去,雖然名叫作「法國五月」,事實上還有活動在六月有繼續舉辦呢~我在想,樂隊五月天也不只在五月舉行演唱會(對吧?對吧?)。



很後悔遲了認識一位法國新晉歌手JOYCE JONATHAN,她之前還來過香港的「法國五月」活動裡演唱呢~(T_T)



Friday, June 7, 2013


My two new babies.

It all began with the installment of Iron Man movies.
Who doesn't want to be cool, rich, smart, attractive, and powerful like Tony Stark aka Robert Downey Jr.? (If you're one of the rare few, please remain silent for the whole post. Thank you for your cooperation) So when the news about IRON MAN USB FLASH DRIVE was out, I just could not wait to get my hands on this product of high-quality.

A year or two ago, I bought a MARK VI (8GB). I was very satisfied with my usb for its cool appearance, especially the metallic paint, which was a very nice touch. However, good thing never lasts that long. The slider was broken (and for that, I thank my brother for his incessant pushing and pulling). While I was so busy sucking my own sorrow over my then-broken precious (YES, MY PRESUSSSSSSS), the news of a set of new IRON MAN USB came to me at exactly the time when I most needed some remedy.

Almost with no hesitation, I bought two flash drives this time: IRON PATRIOT and MARK 42. Both purchases I was made with GrouponHK. Speaking of GrouponHK, I must say that I was pleased to use their service but something odd happened today.

For the first time today I went to their newly open (I don't know when) pickup store in Causeway Bay. As soon as I got a ticket, it did not take long to have my number called out. I reached the designated desk and the staff went away with my receipts to find my 2 new babies. Here it is, the weird thing. The staff came with one MARK 42 (16GB), and, one WAR MACHINE (16GB). WHAT? I bought an IRON PATRIOT and you gave me a WAR MACHINE? For a second I thought maybe I could just take the WAR MACHINE because in the movie, he is on the good side. How embarrassed is that I thought IRON PATRIOT was the good one, too...Plus I did not (still don't) like WAR MACHINE's red eye blinking while it is plugged into a computer. I told the staff that there must have been a mistake because that was not what I ordered. Soon the staff came with the right one. One more odd thing happened after I unboxed my new babies, I will come to that later.
The new ones are larger than the previous generation.

This time around, the flash drives are bigger than the previous generation. Let me put it like this: my MARK VI's face is wide like a thumb, while both my MARK 42 and IRON PATRIOT can be as wide as two thumbs put together.
Slider design seems improved.
The improvement of the new flash drives would be the design of the slider, but I am not certain about it. At least they look different now. The old one could easily be broken by careless hands because the end of the slider was so thin and could break off with a bit effort and force. The slider on the new flash drive is bigger, and it looks as if it is less likely to break. Besides, when the usb plate (or whatever it is called) was pushed to emerge from the inside, it looked thinner than the old one. It gave me a worrying thought of whether it would break easily if someone (yeah, that someone would be me) accidentally had a direct contact with the product while it was functioning.

The new flash drives are still very light though increased in size. They look more like a little display because they are more noticeable with their size. Also, the metallic surface on the new one is different than the old one, the old one is clear like a mirror, while the new one cannot reflect well. But I do like the new one because I when I take a photo with my new babies they do not reflect like a mirror and I do not have to get myself to move a lot to get the right angle, which happened to be the case when I tried to take a photo of my MARK VI, it was a bit upsetting that it was hard to get the right angle so that its "face" looked clear and nothing was in it. The only thing I am not happy with was the absence of a bottle container to store the usb. I only have the packaging boxes to store the usb. Meanwhile, I guess I am going to keep the box, though it will soon prove itself to be a burden in face of frequent usage.
Box says WAR MACHINE, but inside contains IRON PATRIOT...

So, the box, right, the second and last odd thing has to do with the box.
Remember when I talked about the staff giving me WAR MACHINE and said it was an IRON PATRIOT? It turned out that the mistake was made because the packaging was done incorrectly. The box contained my IRON PATRIOT stated that it was a WAR MACHINE. ODD. I even went online to reassure myself that I had bought the right one. The whole thing was so confusing. Now I see why the staff thought she had got the correct usb for me. I wonder if other customers got the wrong one as well. If so, I hope that it would not be too late until they have found that out.

While it is EASY to plug the new ones into a PC, it is VERY DIFFICULT to plug them into a notebook. When I tried to plug one into my notebook, the slider was simply not strong enough and it fell back inside. I had to hold up one side of my notebook and tried hard to plug the usb in. I had another try and I had to be very careful in order to have the flash drives successfully plugged into my notebook.
I am seriously not happy with the new design because of the weak slider. I hope to see an improvement shown in the future products.