iPhone Apps

Well, the first of my free iPhone/iTouch apps are now on the App Store (Greek and Afrikaans).

I started with Afrikaans (cos it begins with the letter A), and followed with Greek to check the code worked with two scripts. (The Greek alphabet and a romanised version).

I’ll link to them here over the next few days. If you want to find them *now* search for ‘Surface Languages’ on the App store.   (And give them five stars!).

Italian, Maltese, Polish, Romanian, Swahili, Welsh are also going through the process as we metaphorically speak and so (fingers crossed/touch wood) should appear soon.

Happy days.

Pax, Besos and Ciao for now.


iPhone Language Apps

I’ve been promising to write some iPhone Apps with similar content to Surface Languages for some time, but what with one thing and another (walking the dog, working … ) I’ve never got around to it.

Until now. The nights are drawing in. The days are becoming shorter. It is raining.  And here in the West Country I have been busy coding – as the great outdoors isn’t massively appealing this time of year.

So, largely due to the inclement weather, the first of the Apps is now going through the somewhat capricious Apple submission process.

This (all being well) takes between one and two weeks, unless the App is rejected at which point the process starts again. You fix the problem. You resubmit your App (returning to the back of the queue).  You wait. This can be tedious.

Once the first App (Afrikaans) has been accepted, I’ll add more. So tell the cool kids. Fan the flames of publicity and so on.

I’m going to add the link to each App here as and when they are in the App store. And cast your eyes to the right – where I’ve added a link to the iPhone App page.



Romanian language crossword

The clue is in the title really.

What with it being a bank holiday here in the UK, and me having time on my hands, I thought I’d *quickly* add a Romanian crossword and so on to the word games.

The code was already written (and tested) on Polish, Spanish and Italian. So what could go wrong? It would work straightaway and I could return to my normal bank holiday pursuits.

Well, it turns out that Romanian has a large number of diacritics.

I knew this already, but didn’t know how many. Each diacritic requires a special piece of code so that the comparisons with or without diacritics work correctly.

The Romanian word for cat pisică has a diacritic on the a.  The crossword needs to be able to treat piscia and pisică as the same word. This allows the solver to choose not to enter diacritics (which can be tedious on some gadgets).

I thought I had handled all the different diacritics when adding the Polish crossword.  Polish has a lot of them. So for example, in Polish ę needs to be treated as e or ż as z.

But it seems that Romanian has more.  Romanian has (for example) the aforementioned ă which needs to be treated as an a.

A few lines of code need to be amended.




Of crosswords, sentir and drzewo

I finally finished the crossword coding – if you are learning Italian you might like it.

Anyway, I finished the programming (spent all day playing with it) and thought I would tell my sister to get some feedback and general approval.

“I don’t speak any Italian” she said, and then looking at the crossword produced said “but I know that the Italian for Rome is Roma”. 

“You can press ‘check’ to check your answer is correct” I said and added “or press ‘cheat’ if you don’t know the answer”.

She entered ‘Roma‘ and pressed check.

It didn’t work?!! Huh?

I felt like a right numpty.

I’d made a newbie programming error and hadn’t checked for capitals. In the programming world ‘roma’ and ‘Roma’ are considered to be different. How my testing hadn’t revealed this is beyond me …

Anyway, it is fixed. Until the next ‘bug’ is revealed. Watch this space.

Back in the real world, today I learnt about some of the differences between the meaning of sentir ‘‘to feel’ in English and Spanish.

Confusing isn’t the word. ‘Es confuso‘ or ‘estoy confundido‘. There are all sorts of examples of sentir at word reference, and they have all left me none the wiser.  There are so many possible uses that I can’t see the wood for the trees.

But what I did learn (by saying in incorrectly) is that you can not say (using sentir), the city felt (or feels) safe using the English construction.

So, I made up three rules  to guide me in most situations:

1. Sentir  is on only applicable to ‘feelings and emotions’.

2. If you are referring to how you feel, then sentir is used as reflexive. So ‘Me siento triste por no entender esto‘.

3. If your ‘feeling’ relates to someone else, then sentir is not reflexive. So, ‘Siento lástima por — ‘ when you are ‘feeling sorry’ for someone else.

I’ve also finally remembered the Polish word for tree ‘dzerwo‘. Happy days. Make haste slowly. Etc.

Learning languages can be frustrating.





Eat your own dog food …

I’ve always liked this expression. It is used in some parts of the computing world, and means that you use your own products both to demonstrate their quality and to discover bugs and son on.

So, I am about to eat my own dog food … as opposed to my dogs’ food.

And by dog food, I am referring to the Italian crossword maker which I’ve recently added to Surface Languages.

It works!

It is complete 🙂

But there some glaring bugs 🙁

And doubtless some others which are more subtle! It is those that ‘dogfooding’ will discover. And in the meantime help me revise some Italian vocabulary.

An example of (a more subtle bug):

One across was Pasqua (Easter) and one down was paradiso (paradise). I had forgotten to convert all words to lower case and so program considered P and p as different characters. This meant that you could never enter the correct answer for both words. Ho. Hum. Frustrating for those solvers.

I will be eating my own dog food in the heat, as the temperature here in the West Country is about 30 degrees. Naturally, we don’t have air conditioning as we spend more time shivering than sweating, and all the shops have sold out of fans. It makes a change from rain but I’m walking our hound ridiculously early in the morning so neither of us over-heat. Chasing a ball in 30 degrees is no fun ..

tempus omnia revelat