Archive for December, 2010

Test your connection speed

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I came across this website that measures your internet connection speed so I thought it should give it a shot.

Interestingly enough when I first ran this test the server that it pinged was provided by Dreamhost! Same people who host my website – it’s nice to see them out there doing digital good :)

I tried it out with two different providers and here are the results:

SAVVIS communtiations: Download 33Mbs Upload 28Mbs
Road Runner: Download 12Mbs Upload .86Mbs

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Japanese Dictionaries

I know a few good (and free) Japanese Dictionaries that are available via the web and iPhone.  They’re both based on Jim Breen’s WWWJDIC, which is one of the most well known and trusted dictionaries available.  Although using Jim Breen’s dictionary straight from it’s own website never gives me the results I’m looking for :/  So that’s why I have these two alternatives that are a little more user friendly.

The first dictionary I want to talk about is  It’s one of the best designed Japanese dictionaries I’ve seen.  And 90% of the time I’ll get the result I’m looking for when searching it’s database, it also checks for you if you’re using Romanji and will find results based on that without you needing to specify if you’re searching for English or Romanji words.  You can search by radicals, and it has stroke order for all the Kanji in the Database.  One thing though, it’s error messages could use a little work.  When you search for a word that it’s doesn’t have any entries for instead of saying something like “No matches found” it goes to an error page that says “Please come back later.”  When I first saw this I thought the site had gone down, but I had simply misspelled the word  was looking for.

The other dictionary I want to talk about is Kotoba for the iPhone.  It’s just as good as Jisho with all the same features, but with better error messages.  This one is only available on the iPhone though.  It’s great when you’re away from home and you don’t need an internet connection to use it so you can search away on you iPod Touch without worry of WiFi.  The only issue I have with Kotoba is when I’m using an App that has a word I want to look up I have to close that out and then open up Kotoba to check it.  That is why I have Jisho as a backup – so I can have it open on a computer while using an App on my iPod.

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Free books online

If you’re a book lover then you’re in luck!  There are many free books available online, and not only are there full verions of classic novels but also thousands of poems, essays, and short stories are available at Also, with the new release of Google Books the amount of free literature available online has increased with Google’s own assortment of free books.

So if you’re looking for more reading materials on a tight budget – you’ll know where to go :)

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Ninja Words

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I recently picked up an app called “Ninja Words”  It’s normally $2.99, but I got it on special for $.99 :)  It has a free version too, so you can get a feel for it before putting any money down.

It’s a very nice game for studying Kanji, I’ve played Slime Forest Adventure before and the quality and price of Ninja Words is a lot better.  Although, Ninja Words only goes over 500 Kanji and no Kana.  The graphics and storyline and very cute, and I’m finding that the typical grinding style RPG gameplay is pretty well suited for studying.  I really like that it has a storyline involved so there’s some motivation to move through the game.

There’s one bad thing though, that I’ve noticed with other Kanji studying tools too.  It doesn’t have any sample words or furigana :(  If you care to learn how to speak the words you’ll have to keep a dictionary handy.

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Get a clue

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Clue is a website that will take a screen shot, show it to users for a few seconds and ask them what they saw.  It’s a way to get some input on the first impression your website gives.  But when most of the answers relate to color I’m not sure how much you can glean from that information…

Still, it’s free and super easy to set-up.  And you might discover some interesting reactions to your website.

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