Right-Brained people will like this

April 30, 2008 at 4:29 pm | Posted in Misc. | 1 Comment

I am realizing more and more that I am more right-brained than left-brained even though I have always struggled and wanted to be more left-brained. Here is a cool website that I discovered today that strongly appeals to the right side of my brain: http://www.visualcomplexity.com/vc/ Check it out!

Web design for those without ADD?

December 19, 2007 at 11:38 am | Posted in Culture, Misc. | Leave a comment

The development of web-design over the years since the Internet made its appearance seems to have followed principles of good (pretty, tasteful?) layout and usability in most cases, in my opinion. I find it to have improved over time, cramming more information into a site and a page, using colors that are pleasing to the eye and, often – especially in the case of ecommerce sites like utilities, financial institutions, consumer sites – becoming more practical and allowing you to do more during one session.

However, it occured to me last night, while I was trying to show my mom how to transfer funds from one account to another from the Bank of America website (www.bankofamerica.com) that many sites are designed for a particular demographic: the ADD computer-savvy segment of the American population, I’d say, who were born after the 50s. These consumers are used to having to process a lot of information simultaneously and scan over a document, being able to easily distinguish what is important, relevant and not trying to sell them some other service or product.

 I will not say how old she is, but my mother was born before 1950 and it took her at least 5 times as long as me to accomplish what she set out to do. In addition, she was frustrated and I doubt that she will ever try to do it again. 

If companies that want to increase their web-traffic and web-commerce do not take this segment of the population into account when designing their UIs, I fear that they will alienate them and lose a good chunk of their income. What is the solution? Other than changing their design guidelines across the board and make their pages less busy, I don’t see much that they can do.

Check out this cool service – Jaxtr.com

August 12, 2007 at 9:43 am | Posted in Misc. | Leave a comment

If you make international calls frequently, check out Jaxtr. It’s an amazing service that lets you phone anywhere in the world for
free. Basically, you register your phone number and your friends register theirs. You then click “call” and it gives you a local number to call. You call that number and it says
“jaxtr is connecting your call” and it connects for free. You get 100 free minutes a month.

Jaxtr links your phone to the web, so you can hear from callers worldwide while keeping your existing phone number private. Jaxtr’s PrivacyShield™ automatically routes calls to voicemail. You can then easily control which friends you want to ring through to your phone. It works with any phone you already use, including ordinary landline phones. No download required.

Jaxtr is free. Their website says that in the future, they will offer premium services for jaxtr power users, but their basic service will remain free.

With jaxtr, you bypass expensive international mobile fees. Now, for the first time, you can call friends and family overseas at the same cost and with the same convenience as calling a friend down the street.

I thought it was worth passing on…

Very cool and downloadable: Web Trends Map 2007 by Information Architects

July 31, 2007 at 1:14 pm | Posted in Misc. | Leave a comment

World Trends Map 2007 V. 2Information Architects has created (again) a Web Trends Map 2007 V. 2 which maps the 200 most successful websites on the web, ordered by category, proximity, success, popularity and perspective. It is made to resemble the Tokyo metro map and is quite clever. You can purchase one or just download them.



Translator interruptus

July 26, 2007 at 3:48 pm | Posted in Misc. | Leave a comment

I’m taking a few weeks off from freelance translating. In the last 5 years I have taken any and every freelance gig I have been able to get my hands on. My specialty: translating from Dutch into English. Mostly marketing, business and some technical documents. I have honed my translating skill and my technical ability (using SDL-TRADOS) to such an extent that I am secure in the knowledge that, should every there be a lull in my income or an increased need for income, I can quickly pick up where I left off since I continue to be registered with Proz.com and translatorscafe.com two of the front-runners in online markets/clearing-houses and excellent examples of what the Internet is really good at: creating markets by bringing supply and demand together in one location and removing barriers to doing business. PayPal is another example of a service that has made borders and barriers come crashing down in the last 5 years. I can’t understand how there are still people who don’t trust PayPal (an eBay company). I am happy with the knowledge that I can make an income (limited by how many hours I am willing to stare at a computer screen a day) and, hopefully, will never be poor again. Have PC, will travel!

Starbucks shooting itself in the foot…

July 23, 2007 at 2:25 pm | Posted in Misc. | Leave a comment

So, I telecommute 2-3 days in the week and, since I have two little kids at home and have found that, when I stay home, I end up doing things around the house including playing with them, I try and find a nice quiet place (with coffee) to work.  Salem, MA (where I live) has some city-sponsored hotspots. In addition, there are cafes that offer hotspots. Since I like some variety in my life, the other day I decided to try Starbucks instead of my usual “office”, Jaho’s.

I installed myself and my computer at a table near a window and got into the mood for working. It was a quiet day and I was ready to produce. When I fired up my browser, however, all I got was a T-mobile homepage which tried to charge me an arm and a leg for connectivity. I was able to pick up the city’s wireless connection but only e-x-c-r-u-c-i-a-t-i-n-g-l-y slow. So slow that it was almost non-existent.

I promptly packed up my stuff and left, vowing never to come to Starbucks again. Not that I loved their coffee but I was at least willing to give them a second chance. Now they’ve lost me. I don’t understand how, in this day and age, when wireless is almost ubiquitous, expecially in urban areas, they still hold on to such a policy. Not good for business, in my opinion.

There may be a solution, though. The other day, I discovered a WiFi community called “Fon”. Fon offers a promotion where they offer a free wireless router “…if you live above or next to a Starbucks (or any cafe/coffee shop for that matter!) that will earn you cash from the minute you plug it in. This also means if you are a cafe, coffee shop, restaurant or other public venue you are eligible. By installing your FON router, you let others share your broadband for a daily fee. A fee that goes straight into your pocket. A savvy patron of your Starbucks need only pay $2 a day for your WiFi. The router comes with two channels – a private and a public – so you and your Starbucks customers will always be separate. Simple and secure. ..”

Now, that’s what I call savvy entrepreneurship!

Terug van weggeweest or…another attempt at blogging

July 19, 2007 at 10:30 pm | Posted in personal | Leave a comment

It’s been quite a number of months since I wrote even one post in this, my blog. I find that I a) have not time b) have nothing to say that I would deem worthwhile to be read by anyone c) am afraid to become addicted.  At any rate, here’s another attempt. It’s been a very busy 9+ months. For one, my wife, Kathleen, has been pregnant since November ’06. Work has taken a lot of my time and so has co-raising our almost 2 year-old daughter, Fiona.

The major thing that is on my mind these days – besides work and my daughter – is the newest addition to our family: Benjamin Laurence.   Ben was born on Independence Day, July 4th of this year. He weighed 8 lbs. and measured 20 inches. He shot into this world like the rockets that are sung about in “The Star Spangled Banner”. He is doing great and his sister is very proud of him and in love with him. Sometimes a little bit too in love. I have had to remove her from on top of him on occasion. Also, she almost ripped his arm out and poked his eye out once or twice. She doesn’t know her own strength and his fragility.  Nights are long — especially for Kathleen (I have been sleeping in Fiona’s room for the past 3 nights. There’s no use both my wife and myself being out of commission because of fatigue EVERY day!).  Anyway, here is a picture of Ben. My 2nd pride and joy:  


I am happy to have a boy although I must say that it is a little strange changing him after two years of only dealing with a girl. There’s just so…much more to take into account when cleaning him. Speaking of which, we had his circumcision a week ago. I prepared a little jewish-based interfaith service and was literally a foot away from the whole procedure. I cried a lot. I felt very bad for causing him so much pain. At the same time, I was incredibly proud and happy to carry on the tradition. It has gotten me thinking about why it is that the Jews decided on just that procedure to mark the covenant with God. Why not something a little more innocuous and less painful? I understand that it had/has to be a permanent mark and maybe it would be good if it were hidden from public view lest they be discriminated against, but couldn’t it have been maybe a little cut that would creat a scar, say, in the shape of a star or something? I’m just saying…If anyone can enlighten me, I would appreciate hearing from them.

Language Services Industry featured in TIME magazine

January 15, 2007 at 6:50 pm | Posted in Localization, translation | Leave a comment

TIME magazine reporter Jeff Ressner featured the business of translation, both in government and the private sector, in the January 12, 2007 issue (link). Citing the language industry research firm, Common Sense Advisory’s estimate of the size of the language industry, he also writes about what’s driving the market for global communication and product localization.

The article also mentions Lionbridge’s chief marketing officer, Kevin Bolen, for an overview of the company’s clients and industry trends. Other organizations mentioned included Idiom Technologies, L-3, and Global Linguistic Solutions.

Oh, Brother!

December 13, 2006 at 4:42 pm | Posted in Culture, translation | Leave a comment

Amigoe, December 12, 2006:

Blunder in info-paper final statement 

KRALENDIJK – The Governing Body of Bonaire rushed to apologize for an obvious mistake in the info-paper on the final statement that was delivered door-to-door in Bonaire this week.  The mistake was that the last name of the Statian commissioner Roy Hooker was translated into the Spanish word prostituta. 

The info-paper was in several languages, including Spanish.  The BC explained in a press release that a translation program was used for the translations.  This program has translated the name literally.  Unfortunately, the editor of the verbiage didn’t catch this mistake.  These things can happen.”The Information and Protocol Service of the island territory of Bonaire has meanwhile taken measures to prevent recurrence.

ProZ.com – best site for translators!

August 29, 2006 at 3:36 pm | Posted in translation | Leave a comment

I have been using ProZ.com in my translation business for the past three years. I have also been using a number of other services such as aquarius.com, translatorscafe.com, tralley.com, language123.com and what I suspected has been confirmed today: Alexa Internet, an Amazon.com company that gathers web information and statistics, has ranked ProZ.com in the top 5,000 most visited online destinations in the world. Propelled by ProZ.com’s growing community of translators, language service providers, employers and clients, the website has emerged as the largest and most visited networking forum in the language, localization and globalization industry. Out of the 80 million estimated websites worldwide, ProZ.com’s top 5,000 ranking underscores the strong organic growth of the site’s user community. Over 60,000 professionals visit the site every day, generating more visitor traffic than that of all its competitors combined. With more than $60 million in translation jobs posted last year and over 160,000 registered translators, interpreters and linguists, ProZ.com is the leading enabling and sourcing platform for language professionals worldwide. Leading organizations, such as Bloomberg, IBM, Honda, eBay, Costco, Lexi-tech International and The World Bank, use ProZ.com to rapidly search, find, evaluate and manage their mission critical human linguistic assets.

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