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10 of the best language learning apps to make getting fluent fun

18 February, by Bari Blitzer[ —]
10 of the best language learning apps to make getting fluent fun

Today's impressive technology has brought all the citizens of the world within closer reach than ever before, but there's still one big obstacle in the way of us communicating freely: language barriers.

Did you know that the number of languages spoken around the world is estimated to be over 7,000? Sure, only about two dozen of them make up the linguistics of more than half of the planet’s population. But even so, we're willing to bet you only speak one or maybe two languages fluently.

Certainly there are a rare few polyglots out there who are fluent in three or more languages, and we salute you with utter admiration (and maybe a healthy dose of jealousy, too). But what about the rest of us mere monolinguistic mortals who are hoping to learn a second language? Well, just like anything else, there's an app for that. Read more...

More about Apps And Software, Mashable Shopping, Language Learning, Tech, and Consumer Tech
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IMAGE: Duolingo

BEST OVERALL

Duolingo

A popular choice of language app with a fun and engaging interface.

  • iOS or Android: Both
  • Number of languages offered: 35
  • Program style: Quizzes and games
  • Duolingo: Free (with ads)
  • Duolingo Plus: $6.99/month
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IMAGE: Rosetta Stone

BEST FOR IMMERSIVE LEARNING

Rosetta Stone

In-depth and comprehensive lessons for people who want to learn a new language fast.

  • iOS or Android: Both
  • Number of languages offered: 25
  • Program style: Interactive
  • Three-month membership: $11.99 per month
  • One-year membership: $14.92/month
  • Lifetime membership: $199
  • Lifetime Plus membership: $299
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IMAGE: Babbel

BEST FOR QUICK LESSONS

Babbel

Short lessons designed to help users communicate confidently in the real world.

  • iOS or Android: Both
  • Number of languages offered: 14
  • Program style: Quick exercises
  • 1 month: $13.95
  • 3 months: $9.95/month
  • 6 months: $8.45/month
  • 12 months: $6.95/month
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IMAGE: Memrise

BEST LANGUAGE GAME APP

Memrise

A fun choice for beginners to absorb a new language.

  • iOS or Android: Both
  • Number of languages offered: 22
  • Program style: Interactive
  • Memrise: Free
  • Memrise Pro monthly: $8.99/month
  • Memrise Pro annual: $7.50/month
  • Lifetime membership: $139.99
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IMAGE: HelloTalk

BEST FOR LEARNING SYNTAX

HelloTalk

It's like Facebook, but for learning a new language.

  • iOS or Android: Both
  • Number of languages offered: 150+
  • Program style: Community Interaction
  • HelloTalk: Free (with ads)
  • VIP membership: $6.99/month
  • Lifetime membership: $175
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IMAGE: busuu

BEST FOR OFFLINE USE

Busuu

A great option for language learners who are constantly on the move.

  • iOS or Android: Both
  • Number of languages offered: 12
  • Program style: Interactive
  • Busuu: Free
  • Busuu Premium: as low as $6.56/month
  • Busuu Premium Plus: as low as $7.57/month
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IMAGE: Mashable

BEST FOR MEMORIZATION

Quizlet

A great study aid for memorizing vocabulary.

  • iOS or Android: Both
  • Number of languages offered: 100+
  • Program style: Flashcards
  • Quizlet: Free (with ads)
  • Quizlet Go: $2.99/month
  • Quizlet Plus: $3.99/month
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IMAGE: Mashable

BEST FOR AUDIO LESSONS

Pimsleur

Great for learning to speak and understand your target language.

  • iOS or Android: Both
  • Number of languages offered: 51
  • Program style: Audio
  • Price: Varies, but many are $19.95/month
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IMAGE: Udemy

BEST FOR VIDEO COURSES

Udemy

A (very) wide selection of foreign language courses at a reasonable price.

  • iOS or Android: Both
  • Number of languages offered: Varies
  • Program style: Audio and Video
  • Price: Varies by course
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IMAGE: Coursera

BEST FOR ADVANCED LEARNERS

Coursera

Access to world-class teachers and instructors at an affordable cost.

  • iOS or Android: Both
  • Number of languages offered: Varies
  • Program style: Video
  • Price: Varies by course

I'm over lifestyle influencers

18 February, by Anna Iovine[ —]
I'm over lifestyle influencers

If you've ever watched a daily vlog, a package unboxing, or a clothing haul on YouTube, you may understand the appeal of lifestyle influencers. These manicured, subtly-filtered people — who are usually women — enchant their viewers with their ringlit videos and highly-curated Instagram feeds.

Even before COVID, these types of influencers were facing backlash for a number of reasons — quitting their "real" jobs, contributing to unattainable body image ideals, selling snake oil, among others. 

Now, nearly a year into the pandemic, there's more to loathe than ever. I'm over lifestyle influencers, and I don't know if I can ever go back.  Read more...

More about Youtube, Instagram, Web Culture, Influencers, and Culture

Instagram confirms a bug broke link previews in iMessage

18 February, by Rachel Kraus[ —]
Instagram confirms a bug broke link previews in iMessage

Instagram and iMessage aren't on speaking terms. Well, in a small technical way that's made sending Instagram posts by text slightly more annoying, that is.

Have you noticed recently that Instagram links are not generating previews when sent through iMessage? I noticed this irritation a few months ago, and people have been complaining about it on Reddit, too. Instead, all that appears when you try to send an Instagram post to someone is the ugly Instagram URL, and users have to click through to see the post. The horror!

It wasn't always this way — Instagram previews used to work fine. The particularly weird thing about this issue is that Instagram previews only seem to cause an issue in iMessage, not when sent through other platforms, like Slack. And links from other websites, like Twitter or Google, preview fine when sent through iMessage.  Read more...

More about Imessage, Tech, and Social Media Companies

Facebook's Australian news ban also blocked links to weather, government services, poetry, and Facebook itself

18 February, by Caitlin Welsh[ —]
Facebook's Australian news ban also blocked links to weather, government services, poetry, and Facebook itself

Australians woke up on Thursday morning to find their news feeds, post history, and favourite news outlets' pages scrubbed of all links to ... well, news.

Facebook followed through on its threat to ban the sharing of news links by and to Australian users, as the country's government moves closer to forcing big tech companies to pay to link media outlets' content.

The proposed news media bargaining code would see tech giants like Google and Facebook having to pay media companies for content that appears on their platforms. While Google initially threatened to pull out of Australia over the law, which has bipartisan support, it instead struck deals with dozens of platforms to pay them for content via its News Showcase. Facebook, in contrast, has chosen to take its bat and ball and go home like a big sulky baby. Read more...

More about Facebook, Australia, Tech, and Big Tech Companies

How we measure internet access is broken in America, and the FCC wants to fix it

18 February, by Rachel Kraus[ —]
How we measure internet access is broken in America, and the FCC wants to fix it

As the pandemic rages on, the FCC took its first steps to overhaul its heavily criticized system for counting the number of U.S. households without access to vital high-speed internet access.

During a Federal Communications Commission meeting Wednesday, acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel announced the formation of the Broadband Data Task Force to create an accurate map of broadband access. At least seven FCC departments will be involved.

Having an accurate map of internet access is extremely important. One of the FCC's priorities is to close the "digital divide" by increasing access to the internet in low-income and rural communities. The issue has come to the fore during the pandemic as students and workers rely on remote learning and work. Without an accurate map to illuminate the problem, it's difficult to implement a solution. Read more...

More about Fcc, Internet Access, Tech, Activism, and Politics

'Mario Golf' and a 'Zelda' blast from the past highlight this huge Nintendo Direct

18 February, by Adam Rosenberg[ —]
'Mario Golf' and a 'Zelda' blast from the past highlight this huge Nintendo Direct

It's been more than a year since the last, major Nintendo Direct — which fell on Sept. 4, 2019 if you can believe it — so there was a lot of ground to cover in the latest. And cover it Nintendo did.

The highlights, of course, go to the company's titans: Mario and ZeldaMario Golf is announced, and it's coming to Switch on June 25. We're also getting Skyward Sword on July 16, perhaps the most underplayed (and hotly debated) of all the Legend of Zelda games. That latter-day Wii release from 2011, later delivered to Wii U in 2016, promises to bring tweaked controls and a freshened up look on Switch. Read more...

More about Nintendo, Entertainment, and Gaming

Amazon's Kickstarter copycat, 'Build It,' wants to make concept gadgets real

17 February, by PCMag[ —]
Amazon's Kickstarter copycat, 'Build It,' wants to make concept gadgets real

Want a smart cuckoo clock? Or how about a machine that can print out custom sticky notes? 

Amazon is working on some wild ideas for the smart home market. But before the concept devices become real, the company wants to first ensure that people will buy them.

The result is Amazon’s Build It program, where the company will show off the concept gadgets it’s been dreaming up. Interested customers can pre-order them, and if enough orders are made within 30 days, the company will manufacture the products and ship the batch out. 

“When you pre-order, you will lock in a special price, and you’ll only be charged if and when the product ships,” the company said in a Wednesday announcement. “If the pre-order goal is not met, the product will not be built, and you won’t be charged. It’s low risk, high reward, and a whole lot of fun.” Read more...

More about Amazon, Crowdfunding, Tech, and Big Tech Companies

'The Office' stars reminisce on the show's Second Life storyline

17 February, by Nicole Gallucci[ —]
'The Office' stars reminisce on the show's Second Life storyline

Uploads%252fvideo uploaders%252fdistribution thumb%252fimage%252f95039%252f1c5593ca 7c8c 4095 9b7d f5cccbb76ab4.png%252f930x520.png?signature=86qlvbqavmnx51cum03tzdhsxhk=&source=https%3a%2f%2fblueprint api production.s3.amazonaws Read more...

More about The Office, Office Ladies Podcast, Entertainment, Celebrities, and Movies Tv Shows

Everything coming to Disney+ in March 2021

17 February, by Brooke Bajgrowicz[ —]
Everything coming to Disney+ in March 2021

Uploads%252fvideo uploaders%252fdistribution thumb%252fimage%252f94900%252f99510070 dd09 4d19 99ed 0977cf68db51.png%252f930x520.png?signature=unlisc8ckep5vudncbpddnz6iac=&source=https%3a%2f%2fblueprint api production.s3.amazonaws Read more...

More about Disney Plus, Entertainment, Movies Tv Shows, and Streaming Services

YouTube announces new 'applause' feature that allows users to pay creators directly

17 February, by (Deleted account)[ —]
YouTube announces new 'applause' feature that allows users to pay creators directly

One of the best YouTube features for creators looking to get paid is the “Super Chat.”

According to the online video giant, YouTube will soon expand ways for YouTubers to monetize their content with its brand new “applause” feature.

Currently, viewers can give one-off payments to their favorite YouTubers, sort of like a tip to thank them for the content, via a Super Chat. The amount one can make from a Super Chat is not tied to how many people watch a video, as it is with advertisements. So it enables creators who have a small yet dedicated fanbase to earn a decent income.

The one issue with Super Chats is that it’s a feature that's available only on livestreams. If a creator often uploads pre-made, edited content like most YouTubers do, they cannot take advantage of the feature. Read more...

More about Youtube, Tech, Social Media Companies, and Big Tech Companies

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