The 8 Best Language Learning Apps That Really Work

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Whether you’re gearing up to go on vacation, studying for exams, or just want to expand your mind, it’s always a great time to learn a new language.

You can stock up on books, spend hours listening to CDs, take an online class, or try learning as you browse the web. But these mobile apps give you easy ways to integrate learning into your daily routine no matter where you go.

1. Duolingo

With a bright and intuitive interface, Duolingo lets you naturally progress at your own pace. You start with simple phrases and gradually move to more complex sentences. There’s help every step of the way as Duolingo points out mistakes and praises your efforts.

Duolingo addresses reading, writing, and pronunciation by challenging you with a fun range of activities. It’s amazing how quickly you can pick up the basics without even realizing it. Plus, it’s easy to revisit the lessons and work on your weaknesses.

Duolingo offers an upbeat experience, lets you join clubs for healthy practice, and really does make learning enjoyable.

Download: Duolingo for Android | iOS (Free)

2. Memrise

Many students use flashcards to help them through their exams and Memrise takes a similar approach. It starts off slowly. To learn Russian, for instance, you’re guided through the Cyrillic alphabet, but that’s by no means a bad method. There’s something quaint and inviting about its simplistic visual aids, as if a friend is showing you tips to remember each lesson.

Memrise has a friendly interface that’s encouraging and attractive. If you are interested in expanding your new language skills, take a look at Memrise Pro which offers games, chatbots, and an offline mode for learning on the go.

And if you like the game idea, you can also learn Spanish with a set of fun and educational games.

Download: Memrise for Android | iOS (Free)

3. Busuu

Boasting over 80 million users worldwide, the best aspect of Busuu is its interactivity. With 12 languages, full courses, exercise reviews from native speakers, and accent training, you get a complete experience with Busuu.

You can begin with a placement test so that you start at the right level. This is terrific if you are not a complete beginner but want to practice language skills you learned earlier. The app also provides offline access, grammar tips, and official certificates with its premium upgrade.

Busuu is an all-around super option that gives you a wide range of learning activities.

Download: Busuu for Android | iOS (Free)

4. HelloTalk

HelloTalk connects you to people who speak the language you want to learn. In return, you help them learn your language. It’s an incredibly basic idea that lets you talk to native speakers. Everyone’s there for the same reason and you can be both a student and teacher without much hassle.

HelloTalk lets you select your entry level, then find a stranger to talk to. A variety of neat tools like correction, translation, and speaking make this a full-featured chat experience.

There’s a huge list of languages to choose from, and you can refine your list of possible tutors by age and country. HelloTalk breaks down the barriers between countries and that’s what learning another language is all about.

Download: HelloTalk for Android | iOS (Free)

5. Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone has been a leader in teaching languages for 25 years. So it’s no surprise that it has a mobile app too. Choose from 24 languages and then start learning the basics. Listen to the words and repeat them, then match photos to phrases.

You can easily review your progress with correct answers in pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar. Rosetta Stone is a subscription-based learning tool, but you can try out the first lesson for free to see if you like it. If you are serious about learning a new language, then Rosetta Stone is an excellent option.

Download: Rosetta Stone for Android | iOS (Free)

6. Babbel

Babbel is similar to Rosetta Stone in that it’s a subscription-based app where you can try out the first lesson free. Select from 14 languages, listen and repeat words, and then test what you learn. You can also disable the microphone and just hear the words spoken to you with a brief quiz at the end.

When you finish the lessons, you can view the vocabulary lists and then choose from flashcards or writing exercises to review what you learned. If you are serious about learning another language and don’t mind the subscription price, Babbel is another great choice.

Download: Babbel for Android | iOS (Free)

7. Beelinguapp

If you want a unique learning experience that involves books, Beelinguapp is for you. The app offers your favorite stories with an audiobook reader in a variety of dialects. You can read the story yourself if you prefer and see it in both your language plus the one you are learning on the same screen.

Pick from a classic like The Three Musketeers or let your child enjoy a tale like Cinderella. What’s great about Beelinguapp is that you can follow along with the audiobook reader as the words are highlighted with the narration. This is quite helpful with pronunciation. For a two-in-one app that lets you appreciate a story while learning a new language, Beelinguapp is a winner.

If you like tunes or news instead of tales, then take a look at how music can help you learn a foreign language or how to learn a new dialect with the daily news.

Download: Beelinguapp for Android | iOS (Free)

8. Clozemaster

Clozemaster for iPhone

For a gamified language learning experience with an old-school look and feel, check out Clozemaster. The app offers over 100 languages, an optional text-to-speech feature, and a free account signup for saving your progress.

You can start with the most common words where you earn points for selecting the correct word missing from the sentence. Then when you’re ready, take on the grammar challenges.

Clozemaster is a good follow-up for testing what you recently learned or brushing up on a language you learned years ago.

Download: Clozemaster for Android | iOS (Free)

Are You Ready to Parlais Francais?

Speaking more than one language improves your memory, enhances your perception, and gives you a greater command of your native tongue. It can help your business expand and introduce you to new friends. Put simply, it’s a wonderful way to better yourself.

With so many easy-to-use apps out there, there’s no reason not to dabble in Spanish, French, Gaelic, or even Mongolian. And if you want something out of the box, take a look at some unusual ways to learn a new language.

iPhone and iPad – MakeUseOf

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Is iPhone X really too expensive? We’ll find out May 1

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The date for Apple’s second financial earnings call of 2018 was revealed on its investors’ website tonight, setting Tuesday, May 1, as the big date. Apple has reportedly been facing slumping iPhone sales amid waning demand for the iPhone X. Investors will find out just how bad (or good) the sales figures are when Tim […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)

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Really Useful IPad Tips You Probably Didn’t Know

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The advancements in technology that have occurred over the past several decaades are quite amazing. Technology is getting stronger, but also arriving in smaller packages every year. These tips can help you get the most from your iPad.

Before you purchase an iPad, you should take the time to make a list of the features you need and decide what kind of storage size you want. There are different models of iPads available and there is no point in spending money on features you are never going to use.

If you are new to using an iPad you may initially think it cannot do much. Don’t be fooled, you simply need to start looking through apps. The real capabilities of an iPad come from the additional applications that you are able to download and use directly from your device.

If you want to organize your apps, create some folders. You can create a folder by tapping one of your apps and holding until all the apps are moving. Drag this app over a second app you want to place in the same folder and a folder containing both apps will appear. Drag other apps to the folder.

Some newer iPads have a mute button instead of a lock orientation one. If you prefer the lock orientation feature, you should go into your settings and tap on the general section. You will be able to choose which function you want to associate with this button. Save your changes when you are done.

Make the most of the “delete all” function that is incorporated within the iPad. For security reasons you can program the tablet to delete all your sensitive data if your password is entered incorrectly 10 times. This is a perfect feature if your tablet has been lost or stolen and you keep extremely confidential details on it.

Take Apple’s iTours to get yourself familiar with your new iPad. It is fun to have all these exciting new apps, but sometimes you could use a little help figuring out how to use them. Apple has an online video tour for every app that comes preinstalled on your device, so be sure to take a look at them.

Using AirPrint, you can print straight from your iPad, as long as you have a compatible printer. AirPrint works with most newer HP printers. If you have a Mac, you can use the Printopia app to print to any Mac printer. To use AirPrint, simply go to the share menu and choose print–that’s it!

Did you know you could print the documents you have on your iPad? You need to purchase an AirPrint ready printer. While you are near the printer, access your share menu and select printer. If you have a Mac computer, you can download an app called Printopia to send your printing jobs to a printer connected to your Mac.

If your iPad turn by turn directions are too soft or loud, change them in settings. Some people may need a little extra volume for these directions, while others like them softer. No matter your need, you can make adjustments right in your iPad settings. You can even turn off the voice if you don’t want it.

Talk to your friends about what applications they use. You may not know that a certain app exists, but your friends might and that app might end up being your favorite. Every now and then, check out what your friends are using, and it might give you some ideas for yourself.

When using your iPad to input a large volume of text, use this time-saving tip. When you get to the end of a sentence, do not type a period. Instead, you can tap the space bar twice in rapid succession. This will automatically insert a period followed by a single space for you to begin your next sentence.

When checking out any new applications, don’t overlook free options. Many times they are just as good as the paid version, although they may include advertisements. This is also a great way to have a type of trial before purchasing the full version that doesn’t have any obtrusive ads on it.

You do not have to save documents to your iPad to share them. Access them via the Internet and open your share menu. You will then have access to a list of all the documents you opened. Tap on the document you want to share. If you want to share an entire page, you will be able to send it as a Word document or as a PDF.

Find out about other Apple products. You may be able to use your iPad in tandem with other devices in the Apple family, making your use of all of them much easier. You can look at the Apple site, or you can just search on the internet for ways that you may be able to use other Apple devices.

If you have some recently purchased apps from the app store you want to hide, it’s quite easy! Open up the App Store and click on the ‘purchased’ tab on the bottom of your screen. It should give you a list of apps and choose the one you wish to hide. Swipe over the app or right over it, and it should now grey out over the ‘installed’ button. A red button will pop up and you will now have the option to hide the app.

Take advantage of free apps for your iPad. Although there are a number of sites that offer apps at reasonable prices, there are also those that give them to you for free. Be sure to check the reputability of the site you download from and read the fine print. You should have no problem getting nearly everything you need at no cost.

Computers no longer fill a room, now they can be held in your hands. When you choose the iPad, you also need to choose to keep learning about what it offers. If you need to learn how to get started using your iPad keep reading this article.

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Opinion: Apple’s privacy-first approach has downsides but is really paying dividends now

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HomePod reviews almost universally agreed on two things: the speaker sounds incredibly impressive for the size and price, and Apple’s smart speaker is the least-smart one on the market. Both Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home speakers were found to be significantly more capable when it comes to answering questions and carrying out tasks.

This is not, of course, coincidence. Amazon opens its Alexa ‘recipes’ up to any third-party developer, and Google has long snaffled-up as much data as it can to make its smart assistants as capable as possible. Apple, in contrast, carefully controls the personal data available to both itself and to third-party developers …

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[Update: Post deleted] LG wants to know how you really feel about displays with notches

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Love ’em or hate ’em, notches are quickly making their way to nearly every Android phone. What the iPhone X started (yes, we know the Essential Phone came before it) is now spreading to phones from ASUS, OnePlus, Huawei, and more.

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[Update: Post deleted] LG wants to know how you really feel about displays with notches was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Amazon Is Really Serious About Making Healthcare a Part of Its Future

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Unlike some other Twitter-loving tech CEOs we know, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos likes to keep his company’s plans fairly quiet. Some even call Amazon “secretive.”

Bezos disagrees with that label, though. In 2014, he told shareholders he thinks “quiet” is more accurate: “Our primary approach is, we talk when we have something to say.”

As recent whisperings about Amazon’s involvement in the healthcare industry have risen to a crescendo, Amazon may be just about there.

Bezos first alluded to Amazon’s healthcare plans at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit in October 2016. “I think healthcare is going to be one of those industries that is elevated and made better by machine learning and artificial intelligence. And I actually think Echo and Alexa do have a role to play in that,” he told attendees.

Clearly, he wasn’t just riffing. Amazon has spent the last year slowing inching its way deeper into the healthcare industry.

In July 2017, Amazon set up 1492, a secret lab dedicated to healthcare innovation. Since then, they’ve hired a number of healthcare experts to join the project, including Seattle doctor Martin Levine and Taha Kass-Hout, former chief health informatics officer for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

In February, the company even teamed up with JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway to form a company dedicated to reducing healthcare costs for employees.

It’s not yet clear how these pieces will come together, or how Amazon will stake its claim in the healthcare industry as a whole. But there are more signs that when the company’s efforts come to the fore, they could be in a position to dominate the industry.

The latest sign that Amazon is really serious about getting into healthcare is the sheer number of healthcare experts on the guest list for Bezos’ third annual MARS conference, an invite-only event that draws its name from the topics under discussion: machine learning, home automation, robotics, and space exploration.

At the meeting, Sonde Health presented its technology: AI that can diagnose mental and physical conditions based on recordings of a patient’s voice. Rich Mahoney, head of clothing startup Seismic, demonstrated his company’s “powered” garments, which could help the elderly and disabled people cope with mobility issue. And neuroscientist David Eagleman showed off his company’s vest that uses “sensory substitution” to help the deaf communicate.

It’s still anyone’s guess how these technologies could tie in with Amazon’s healthcare plans. But it’s worth noting this was the first year Bezos invited reporters to join in on his “summer camp for geeks.” For someone who typically likes to keep Amazon’s future plans under wraps and carefully controlled, that fact alone could be a sign the company’s healthcare ambitions won’t be a secret much longer.

The post Amazon Is Really Serious About Making Healthcare a Part of Its Future appeared first on Futurism.

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New York Media’s publisher says Apple News is in ‘really early days’, sees potential in platform

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Facebook has been getting a lot of heat as of late due to its users’ privacy concerns about the platform. New York Media’s CRO and publisher Avi Zimak takes a deeper dive into online media as a whole, more specifically noting that Apple News has promise.

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The Oregon Trail handheld game is a really fun nostalgia gadget

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In late February, Target quietly began selling a portable version of The Oregon Trail for $ 24.99. Now, I’ve spent $ 25 on much dumber things than this in my time. You probably have, too. So I went right out to my local store and bought the handheld game once it was in stock. (Initially it was only available in stores, but now you can order on the web.) Target is the exclusive retailer, and it also sells a card game, though can’t imagine that would scratch my nostalgia itch to the same satisfying degree as this miniature Apple II gadget.

Target and Big Fun, the actual manufacturer of this handheld, definitely get points for presentation. The beige unit is chunky but light and comfortable to hold. And for something that costs $ 24.99, the…

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Mark Zuckerberg Is ‘Really Sorry’ About Cambridge Analytica Data Scandal

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Yesterday, Mark Zuckerberg broke his silence about the Cambridge Analytica data scandal. And he wants everyone to know that he’s “really sorry” it happened. The Facebook CEO spoke to a range of media outlets on Wednesday about the controversy, from the New York Times to Recode. Prior to his public appearances and interviews, there were […]
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Can smart cities really save us all 125 hours per year?

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Smart cities, and the components which comprise them, will save us all time – and a new study puts the total at 125 hours per citizen per year.

The study, put together by Intel alongside Juniper Research, found that 125 hours, or 15 working days, will be claimed in four buckets. Mobility, such as smart traffic systems, smart parking, and ‘open data platforms’ – so users can pick the least congested bus and train services – will account for 60 hours. Greater public safety – predicting crime spots through machine learning – will account for 35, while healthcare comprises nine and productivity – digital services simplifying administrative processes – will account for 21.

What could inhabitants of smart cities do with all that free time, the report asks? They could take a long holiday, get active, or spend it with family and friends. What’s more, wounds will heal quicker – if you’re not stressed, the body can recover more easily – you’re less likely to get depressed, and you’re likelier to earn more money.

According to the analysis, Singapore is the city to beat across all areas of mobility, health, safety and productivity. London, New York, Chicago and Seoul were also well placed.

“Analysts tend to focus on the technical underpinnings of building a data-centric world,” said Windows Holden, head of forecasting and consultancy at Juniper Research. “We can’t overlook the importance of the real human benefits that smart cities have. Connected communities, municipal services and processes have a powerful impact on a citizen’s quality of life.”

Sounds great, doesn’t it? Yet the outcome will be much more complicated than this utopian vision.

Benedict Evans, partner at Andreessen Horowitz, has made a very key point on this aspect in various blog posts: with a truly smart city, the entire rules of traffic can be changed, never mind how cars will be developed. What about parking? What about cycling? What about new cities which could be built in ways which will seem alien to us today?

Tom Rebbeck, research director for enterprise and IoT at Analysys Mason, says that while looking at smart cities in terms of time saved is an interesting angle – and that indeed the opportunities outlined by the report are broadly in line with his views – but the number crunching doesn’t take into account all areas.

“The figure seems to be based on some bold assumptions,” Rebbeck tells IoT News in an email. “For example, it suggests that open data will help reduce commuting times by 15% by ‘highlighting optimum routes’.

“Possibly this holds for some car-centric US cities – even there it seems like a stretch,” adds Rebbeck. “It is hard to see how that would apply to somewhere like London where only around half of people work, and where only around a third of workers commute by car.”

There is one other issue which the report doesn’t go into: how much time this process will take. Rebbeck notes that there is no way of measuring whether the predictions are correct, adding: “I’d guess they will never happen, but there is no way of testing this either way.”

You can read the full Intel report here.

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