Categories
Education

Duolingo – Learn New Languages With Fun On Mobile

duolingo-topDo you want to learn new languages but don’t have lots of time and money to do so?

Duolingo is here to teach you languages with lot of fun and for FREE on your mobile. Duolingo is the easiest way to learn Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian from English and vice versa. 

Duolingo was created by Professor Luis von Ahn of  Carnegie Mellon University along with few of his students. The same professor has created reCAPTCHA which was later acquired by Google. Originally Duolingo was launched as a website, as private beta  in November 2011 and for general public in June 2012, to learn languages on the web. It was an instant hit with the people. Later they released iOS app in November 2012 and very recently Andorid app in May 2013. At present there are around 3 million users of Duolingo according to Wikipedia.

duolingo-android-levels duolingo-android-lesson

Main features of Duolingo mobile application are as below –

  • Completely FREE – no ads, no fees.
  • Fun. Duolingo is almost like a game. There are multiple levels of the learning, you earn points after covering each level, you lost hearts for incorrect answers. You can invite your friends to learn with you and compete with them.
  • Learning languages with Duolingo is very effective which has been proven in scientific studies as well. Lesson units are very short and words are repeated in many ways so that you can remember them. 
  • Lessons are divided into various stages of skill tree. You start with Basics followed by Common Phrases, Food, Animals, Adjectives, Verbs, Colors, Pronouns, Clothing, Places, Nature, Communication, Science, Medical and many more.
  • It keeps track of progress – days of learning, points earned, number of words learned so far etc.
  • It sends daily emails to remind you for taking learning lessons.
  • Duolingo mobile application and website are synced so you can start learning from where you left.

duolingo-ios-practice duolingo-ios-friends

I myself have started learning French since last week on my Android mobile. I only give 10-15 minutes a day and have covered 2 lessons and learned 12 French words. It’s a nice feeling to learn a new language without worrying much about time and money. I would highly recommend Duolingo.

Duolingo iOS application can be run on iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Android app at present is compatible with phones while a tablet version is coming soon.

Download Links

Download from Duolingo Website

For Andorid – Download from Google Play

For iOS – Download from iTunes App Store

 

Categories
Weather

Skymet – Made In India Weather Application

skymet-weather-top

There are many weather applications for mobile phones but Skymet Weather is different.

Skymet Weather is almost first mobile application which is developed in India. I am saying almost because few months back Indian Meteorological Department has also launched one mobile application for checking weather, but this was not a good application. It was a good try by a Government body but the end result was nil. In that sense, Skymet Weather is the first real ‘Made in India’ mobile weather app.

Skymet Weather app has been developed by Skymet Weather Services Private Limited. Skymet was set up in 2003 and it is the first private company in India to provide weather forecasts and weather graphics. I think apart from Indian Meteorological Department, Skymet is the only company in country which provides weather information. Skymet already had a weather web portal which has much detailed information about weather in India. They have recently launched their mobile application which is named Skymet Weather.

skymet-android-hindiskymet-android-english

Features of Skymet Weather application are –

  • Weather information of 7500+ Indian locations
  • Provides information in 8 languages including English, Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Punjabi, Odiya, Tamil and Telugu
  • 7 days forecast
  • On-the-go weather alerts notifying Monsoon rain, high temperatures, storms etc. 
  • Widget Support
  • Weather forecast videos
  • Latest weather news and stories on business, lifestyle, agriculture, global warming and water crisis.
  • Share forecasts on social networks
  • Report weather in your area 

Skymet Weather is having very good user interface. When starting for the first time it tracks your location if GPS is switched on otherwise it asks to add your location manually, this location will act as your home location. This is indicated by a small home icon on the screen. There is an option for adding more than one location. To keep the other locations permanent in the app you have to mark these locations as favorite. You have to click a small heart icon on the screen which will mark locations as favorite. Locations can be changed by swiping the screen to left or right, there is also a drop down menu button for this as well.

skymet-android-widget skymet-android-forecast

There are four sections in the application – Today, Forecast, News and Videos.

– As its clear by name, Today section presents current weather conditions for the location you selected. There is a background image on the screen which changes according to the weather conditions. This makes the interface very beautiful and soothing to eyes.

– Forecast section shows future weather forecast for next 7 days  in a list on single screen. You can check the detailed hourly forecast of the day by clicking on the particular list item.

– News section has several sub-sections according to the category of news. These sub-sections are – Weather Warning, Weather News & Analysis, Lifestyle & Weather, Weather & Economy, Global Warming, Water and Air Traffic.

– Video section lists Videos of weather information of mainly metro cities and other important events like Monsoon forecast.

There is a facility in the application by using which you can report weather of your location, you can also add photographs to the report. Share button is also available for sharing the weather information on social media. Language and Units could be changed in Settings screen. You can also add Skymet Weather widget on your home screen to keep updated with weather information without opening the app.

In a nutshell, Skymet Weather is not much different with all other existing weather apps available in terms of major features and usage. But two factors make it distinct; First – it has been developed in India and second – you can see weather information in Indian languages. At present, Skymet Weather is available only for Android. So if you have an Android mobile, go straight away to Google Play and download the app. 

Download Links 

Download Skymet Weather from Google Play

Skymet Weather Web Portal

Skymet Website

 

Categories
Communication

Google Hangouts = Chat + Talk + Messenger + Hangout + SMS (?)

google-hangouts-tablet

Many years back Yahoo Messenger, ICQ, AIM and MSN Messenger were the major applications to chat with our friends or relatives. Specially Yahoo Messenger was the must install on every computer whether at home, in office or in cyber cafes. Then Gmail came and Google Talk was the first choice for chatting. When Google introduced Chat within Gmail, it ended any need for standalone chat clients on desktops and laptops with few exceptions like Skype for video chat. On mobiles the situation was different. There were chat applications for every smartphone platform like Google Talk on Andorid, BBM on Blackberry, iMessage on iOS. Then there were cross-platform messaging applications like Whatsapp, Viber, Kakao Talk, Line etc.

Google unveiled Google Plus in year 2011 to target both computers and mobiles and along with came confusion. Already there was Google Talk but now we were having Google+ Messenger and Google+ Hangout as well. Google Voice was also available in some countries. So in all we were having too many applications for messaging – Google Talk, Google+ Messenger, Google+ Hangout, Google Voice and above all SMS. There was need for one unified messaging application from Google. Finally Google listened and unveiled Google Hangouts on 15th of May in recent Google I/O 2013.

google-hangouts-listgoogle-hangouts-video

At present, Google Hangouts will replace Google Talk, Google+ Messenger, Google+ Hangout and Gmail Chat. It combines features of all of these individual applications and has added new features as well. Google has confirmed to add SMS functionality to Hangouts in near future so that we can have one ultimate messaging application.  

Google has taken clue from the competition and introduced good features in Hangouts as below :

– Seamless functionality across all devices whether computer or mobile
– Hangouts stay in sync across devices so you can start or continue them anywhere
– Hangout and message friends anytime, even if they’re not connected right now
– Get notifications just once. Once you see an alert, you won’t see repeats on your computer or other Android devices.
– See when your friends have read your messages and when they’re typing back
– If a friend isn’t available when you try to reach them, they’ll see an alert next time they connect
– Scroll back to any of your Hangouts
– Free video calls with up to 10 persons
– Work on Computer, Android mobiles/tablets, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
– Hangout on Air – Broadcast your conversation to the world for free

For Android – Download Hangouts from Google Play

For iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch – Download Hangouts from iTunes Store

For Computers – Download Chrome Application from Chrome Web Store

Will Google be able to take on the likes of  Whatsapp, Viber, Skype, Facebook Messenger, Line, iMessage ?

Categories
Travel

Recharge Delhi Metro Smart Card Online

Delhi-Metro-Smart-CardDelhi Metro is lifeline of people living in Delhi and coming daily to Delhi from adjacent cities. Delhi Metro is able to maintain its world-class status even after witnessing so much crowd daily. Further to add to its features now Delhi Metro has provided online smart card recharge facility to its commuters. Smart Card has many benefits over tickets including 10% discount on the fare and no waiting in long lines for purchasing tickets. Until now commuters have to recharge their smart cards on ticket counters and customer care centers. Now using the online recharge facility, smart cards can be recharged from home on Smart Card Portal of Delhi Metro. Even you can recharge your smart card on mobile by visiting the Smart Card Portal on your mobile phone as now a days there is not much difference in web browsers on computer and smartphones in terms of functionality.

At present the recharge process is not completely online because after every recharge commuters have to visit Add Value Machines (AVM) which have been stalled at Metro stations. Complete steps of Smart Card recharge are as following –

  • Visit Delhi Metro Smart Card Portal
  • Select E-Services from the Menu
  • Selection any one option from the two as below
    – Quick Top Up  (Recharge without Registration)
    – Recharge Your Card (Register on portal before Recharge)
  • First Option – Quick Top Up
    – Provide Engraved ID (Printed on back on the Smart Card), Recharge Value and Email ID
    – Choose Payment method from one of the four options – Credit Card, Debit Card, Net Banking (Not activated as of now), Prepaid Card (Not activated as of now)
    – Provide payment details
    – Visit AVM
  • Second Option – Recharge Your Card
    – First register on the portal by providing Name, Email ID, Password and Engraved ID
    – DMRC Smart Card Verification email will be sent to the provided Email ID
    – Click on the Activation Link mentioned in the email
    – Recharge Smart Card in same steps as for Quick Top Up

There are many benefits of registering on the Smart Card Portal as below –

  • No need for providing Smart Card Engraved ID every time which will reduce chances of providing wrong ID
  • Facility of adding multiple Smart Cards to your User ID
  • View past recharge history
  • Complaints/Grievances facility 

So use Delhi Metro Smart Card to avoid long queues, and use Online Smart Card Recharge facility to further save you time.

Visit Delhi Metro Smart Card Portal 

Categories
Travel

Indian Rail App – Fast and Quick Train Seat Availability Enquiry

Indian-Rail-App-SmallTrains are a part of daily life of most of the people in India. For longer journeys trains are preferred way of travel as Air travel is not affordable for major population.  It is one of the world’s largest railway networks. According to data available on Wikipedia, Indian Railway Network comprised of 65000 km route and 7500 stations. Around 25 million people (more than Australia population)  are carried by more than 10000 trains on daily basis. Advance train seat/birth reservation is must for most journeys. Seats can be booked 60 days in advance (recently reduced from 120 days w.e.f. May 1, 2013) at reservations counters as well as online via Internet. There are many trains available from source to destination and passengers have to find which train has the available seats before booking. 

Indian Railway has two main websites for train reservation (IRCTC) and seat availability enquiry (IndianRail). Although both of these websites are very good for serving the purpose but these are not very user-friendly.  Most of the time these websites function very slow due to heavy load which makes whole process of seat availability enquiry very frustrating. Also, there is no option to view seat availability in all trains in one screen. Someone looking for seat availability has to check all trains one by one on the route which is very lengthy process. But very recently I discovered Indian Rail App when I saw one of my friend using it for train seat availability.  

Indian-Rail-App

Indian Rail App is a web application which presents complete information only in one screen. You have to provide Source Station, Destination Station, Date of Journey and Class and rest of the work is taking care of by the application itself. Information has been divided into two parts. First part shows information related to all the trains available between source and destination stations. This information includes train name/number, departure time, arrival time, travel time, days of run and classes available.  Second part is the most interesting one and which is what we are actually looking for. It has two views Extended and Collapsed. Extended view is same like Indian Railway website so we are interested mainly in Collapsed view. It presents a calendar or table kind of view which shows Trains in rows and Journey Date in columns. Availability is being presented in all the cells of the table. Apart from the mentioned journey date, availability is shown for next five days as well.  Last column shows the fare for the journey. Green cell color denotes that seats are available for particular journey date. For checking seats availability in another class there is no need to start the whole process from starting. You just have to select the desired class from the options given and the table will be filled again with seats available for the particular class.

Best part of this application is that, unlike official websites, speed of fetching and showing information is very fast. Advanced web technologies have been used in developing the application so that there is no need for complete page refresh every time. Only the required portion is being refreshed based upon the input given by user. In fact, each row of the table is being loaded individually so that user does not need to wait for complete page loading. The application has been developed in a very intelligent way. Not much information is available on the website about the application. Just a Email and LinkedIn profile link of application developer has been provided in contact information. It has been developed by Rahul Goyal, ex-student of IIT Kanpur.

So next time, when you are checking train seats availability, use Indian Rail App. If you find this post useful, Please give your valuable feedback via comments.

Visit Indian Rail App

 

Categories
Entertainment

Listen All India Radio on Android and YouTube

Government of India has started adopting technology in good manner. Recently Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has launched All India Radio services on new technology platforms – Android application and YouTube channel. Apart from this live streaming of FM Gold and Urdu Service has also been started on its website.
All India Radio Android

Android application has been named as AIR NEWS. On this application news is available on both text and voice modes. Mode switch option is available in top right corner of the application. Text mode has been divided into various sections – Headline, National, International, States, Business and Sports Stories. In each section list of all news items is available and details can be seen after clicking on each individual news item. Audio mode is the most interesting part of the application. In this mode there are 3 sections – Audio News, Programs and Language. In Audio News section we can listen news in Hindi, English and Urdu in various time slots depending upon particular language. For example – Hindi section has four time slots – Samachar Prabhat, Dopahar Samachar, Samachar Sandhya and Hourly. Its very nice to listen impressive voice of news anchors Namaskar, Akashvani se prastut hai samachar prabhat after so many years as we rarely listen All India Radio now a days. In Programs section we can listen various current affairs programs like Samayaki, Sportlight, Money Talk, Surkhiyon se Pare etc. News in many Indian languages can be listen Language section. AIR NEWS looks like an application developed by some good professionals as its interface is easy and beautiful.  Application is available in Google Play store, download links are also available in the end of post.
YouTube channel has compilation of various All India Radio programs aired in past like ‘Excerpts from the Speech of Mahatma Gandhi 4-11-47’, ‘Balraj Sahni’, ‘Dilip Kumar’ and many more.

YouTube Channel Link – http://www.youtube.com/user/akashvaniair

Install AIR NEWS from Google Play –
Android app on Google Play

Categories
Entertainment

Google launched Movies on Play and YouTube in India

After launching Google Books and Google Devices recently once again Google has come with something new for India. Google Movies has been launched in India on both Google’s application store Play and YouTube.
 
 
Both renting and purchase options are available on the same concept of CD/DVD shops available in market. Difference is that now you have to watch movies digitally on your computer or Android mobile screen. Movies can be rented or purchased in both HD and SD version. In case of renting a movie, you can watch the movie anytime but before 30 days from the date of renting. Once you start a movie taken on rental, you can watch it as many time as but only for maximum 48 hours. After 48 hours the movie will not be available. You can compare this with a typical DVD rental shop where you have to return the movie to the shop after 24 or 48 hours depending upon agreement with the shop.
 
 
 
Both Hindi and English movies are available in various categories like Action, Comedy, Drama, Family etc. Pricing differs from movie to movie and starts from Rs. 50 and goes up to Rs. 700 depending whether you are renting or purchasing a movie.
 
Enjoy movies !
Categories
Travel

Train Enquiry on Mobile

In India trains often run late so its very usual for passengers to check whether train is on time or not. Indian Railway has provided various enquiry options like 139 telephone number to which anyone can call or can send SMS to find about train status. One disadvantage of using 139 number is that calling or sending SMS to this number is chargeable for the user and sometimes the information received is not correct or complete. One other better option is to check the status yourself on Internet on Train Enquiry website (http://www.trainenquiry.com) provided by Indian Railway.
 
This website has been developed by CRIS (Centre for Railway Information Systems) and RailYatri. The website is very simple and easy to use. Train status can be checked by entering train name, train number or station name in the search box provided on homepage of website. User guide has also been provided on the website itself for the benefit of users (http://www.trainenquiry.com/HowItWorks.aspx).
 
Facility to check status on-the-go on mobile phones has also been provided. There is no native application for various smartphone platforms like Android, iOS, Windows Phone or Blackberry etc; rather they have developed a separate mobile website (i.e. mobile web application) for this purpose. Whenever a user visits trainenquiry.com website on his/her mobile browser, he/she will be redirected automatically to the mobile website. If this does not happen due to any reason, the same mobile website can be accessed by visiting http://mobile.trainenquiry.com or http://www.railyatri.in in the mobile browser. This website has been designed specially for touchscreen smartphones using jQuery Mobile which is a touch-optimized web framework for smartphones & tablets. Most of the touchscreen mobile phones available in the market should not have any issue in displaying the website.
Mobile website is also again very simple and easy to use as it can be seen in the screenshots above. This mobile website is very useful specially for the passengers during their journey. So next time when you are travelling by train visit trainenquiry.com on your mobile instead of calling 139.