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Eric Kidd
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I've just added a French version of my technical blog. I never knew that a garbage collector was a "ramasse-miettes" in French, or a "crumb picker-upper." Fun image.

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My programming blog has been online in one form or another since 1998. I've just put it through a major overhaul and I'll be posting more code, projects and random technical advice there, for those who are interested in that sort of thing.

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I've been learning ancient Egyptian using Anki (so I don't forget everything between weekly study sessions) and Beeminder (so I don't put off my weekly study session). The friendly folks over at Beeminder asked me to explain what I was doing, so I wrote some language-learning advice.

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A whole bunch of polyglots having fun in about 30 different languages.

Skype is such an awesome way to practice a language. I've spoken to everybody from college students in Quebec to religious proselytizers in Algeria.

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If you're interested in learning a foreign language, the various Assimil courses from France are excellent. You start out by listening and reading for about 20 minutes per day. This builds a strong, subconcious knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. Starting on day 50, you begin producing simple sentences, and the time required jumps to about 45 minutes.

At the end of 6 months, I could hold simple conversations in French and read a 450-page book. Highly recommended, if you've got a couple hundred hours to spare and you're willing to work hard.

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OK, here's a second (even better) explanation of SOPA from the guy who runs Khan Academy: (11m)

As usual, it's a video with lots of multi-colored line drawings.

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Wonder why lots of websites are blacked out today? Confused why Hollywood wants Congress to pass the SOPA and PIPA, or why Wikipedia, Google, and hundreds of US startups think these bills go too far?

A freelance film editor took a hard look at these bills, and wrote an excellent summary of the whole issue. If you find the summaries on Wikipedia and Google to be a little too vague, then take a look.

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Sunset on the White River in Sharon, Vermont.

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Nick and Kurt run a class IV/V rapid on the Mascoma River in downtown Lebanon, NH. This run involves fast current, sharp rocks, channel-blocking trees, and the occasional piece of iron rebar. Basically, unless you can run class IV+ rapids upright, in complete control, you don't want to be here. I'm safely on the bridge, where I belong.

Shot with a Lumix DMC-TS3 as the sun was going down. I locked the shutter speed at 1/125, turned on the histogram, and zoomed in until just before I would start losing detail to black. Can't do much more without a bigger lens or some more sunlight.
Downtown on the Mascoma, 4 Nov 2011 (9 photos)
9 Photos - View album

From a discussion on HN about Google search:

guelo: Another thing that has been annoying me lately is that it seems like like I have to add a + in front of every word or Google might decide without any indication that it will completely ignore it.

rachelbythebay: Now you know why they called it Google Plus.
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