New release for IELTS Cafe

I have released a new version of IELTS Cafe yesterday, which was originally intended to target mainly IELTS test takers. Now user can listen to and practice nearly 80,000 English sentences with audio and transcripts. I like the feature of showing incomplete sentences (after the user has been the complete sentences in the previous screen), which I believe will help a bit with spontaneous speaking. I watched my housemate who is a beginner use the app yesterday and he seemed to enjoy it. 🙂 There still is a lot of marketing to do though.

DRILL in Speaking Lab

Taking inspiration from other similar apps for language learning, I’m preparing to add a new feature to Speaking Lab/Cafe, which I will call DRILL. The goal of DRILL is to make learners speak fluently and spontaneously, starting with sentences. In each drill session, users can choose the number of sentences they want to practice. Then for each sentence, they will be able to hear a sample recording, after which they will repeat the sentence twice — one with the full sentence and one with missing words. In future releases, progress of users will be monitored and used to match sentences to their appropriate levels. 

Matlab project directory

This is the template structure that I now use for projects in Matlab, always supported with git. Under scripts, I store the matlab scripts for running things, such as demo or batch of experiments. Under test I have the tests for important functions, especially gradient checking for optimization procedures. alltests.m has invocations for all of the tests written.


Use Vim

I’ve always been avoiding ‘complex’ editors like emacs and vim mainly for their steep learning curves. Well that was my very biased opinion, having never actually tried them long enough to fall in love with either of them. I remembered trying to learn emacs some time ago, but then gave up shortly due to its inherent complexities. Truth be told, I despise intricate tools like emacs that I’d rather use editors as primitive as nano and gedit. But after having to ssh into my remote lab computer on a slow connection and moving from the top to the bottom of the document with the down-arrow key, I decided nano and gedit can never be an option. Entered Vim..

The good thing about Vim is that it does not take much time to learn the first few basic commands that will get you through most situations. Sometimes there may be commands that make thing faster, but it’ll come down to the personal choice of having to do a little more work or learn a few more tricks.