When you press $ and get £ instead
The contest for shortest and most obscure Pointers tutorial topic continues – and may be over. No more calls, we have a winner: this one is about changing your keyboard language. It's so obscure that you may not even understand what that means: if you're in America, for instance, you can tell your Mac that you prefer a British keyboard. Amongst other things, it saves you having to contort your fingers to press the right combination of shift and Command keys to get your local currency symbol.
Give yourself a refresher course with this simple Spanish language course
Language is one of those things that needs to be maintained and routinely brushed up on, and is especially true of a second language. How many of us took Spanish or French in high school, but haven't spoke a lick of it since then? If you're looking for a great way to refresh your memory, we suggest checking out something like Learn Spanish with MosaLingua.
A handheld scanner and translation dictionary
We admit it, we've never had much luck learning another language. In the past, we've made liberal use of dead-tree edition and digital-translation dictionaries to figure out what people are trying to tell us. The WorldPenScan X is a tool that helps with that. The user scans some printed material with the device, and the text is sent to a mobile device or computer for translation; there's even a feature to pronounce the word or words, which seems useful if you're trying to order off a menu. It's a pretty great idea, but the device didn't always help us as much as we would have liked. Learn more in our review.
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.
Helpful real-time translation keyboard for iOS 8
There's no doubt that the world has gotten much smaller in recent decades. Thanks to mass media and the Internet, most of the world is connected constantly. While this is often quite beneficial, there's still the issue of language differences. However, thanks to technology, even that barrier is constantly being chipped away at. We took a look at Slated, a translation keyboard designed by Gist, that aims to help connect users with those who speak another language.
Gmail non-Latin address support to be followed by similar Google Calendar update
Google has added support for non-Latin and accented characters in email addresses on Gmail, in an effort to improve the company's overall multi-language support. The change, which will allow users to send and receive messages to and from addresses with characters not typically used in English, will apparently also spread to Google Calendar in the future.
Restored support for Trust, Thunderbird
TranslateIt! for Mac, a tool that can translate and define text on-the-fly in all Cocoa-based Mac apps, has been reworked into a new version, called i3, that offers a new dictionary format, new text translation tool, adds a number of European localizations, improves the suggestions search engine, adds F-Script support and restores support for Thunderbird and Trust, among other improvements.
myTexts, Patent Grabber
iMusic Valet 1.0 ($12) is a media player that allows users to link songs with specific images. Users can choose to play single music files at a time or continuously play music from a specific library. The applications interface resembles an iPod and can be set to float above all other windows. Photos that are linked to songs are shown within iMusic Valet's window as the song plays. [Download - 8.7MB]
EasyBatch 1.3 ($18) provides users with a set of tools that let them scale, resize, rotate, covert, rename and add watermarks to groups of images. The application also offers options for adjusting resizing smoothness, JPEG compression, preserving EXIF data, interlacing PNG's, and more. The latest release includes a new tool for viewing EXIF data, additional scaling options, am updated interface, and various bug fixes. [Download - 0.9MB]
iKanji, Web Site Maestro
PacketStream 2.5 ($25) allows quick access to a Mac's built-in network monitoring tool. A user can monitor data as it is streamed over the network allowing them to check web traffic, network bottlenecks or watch for any suspicious activity. All data is logged within the application and can be saved to a file for further analysis. In version 2.5 includes a new dock icon that changes to indicate when a network scan is running. It also uses system sounds to indicate when a scan starts and stops and allows users to copy text from the mail display window. [Download - 8.3MB]
ThinkMac Software has announced iKanji 1.0, a brand new application for learning Japanese kanji characters on a Mac. iKanji features over 2200 of the most common kanji characters as well as nearly 20,000 example words. The software is designed as a helpful tool for anyone attempting to learn Japanese, offering an intuitive, friendly interface that takes full advantage of Core Animation to provide users with an engaging experience. It features editable flash cards that can be used to learn anything from Kanji readings, English meanings of characters or stroke animations.