22. July 2008

Free Offline Dictionary: LingoPad


A Screenshot of LingoPad

For translations, I usually refer to the excellent online dictionary of LEO (German-English). Unfortunately, this is suboptimal when you are currently without internet connection. So I searched for a offline dictionary – and found it: LingoPad.

LingoPad is free (though not Open Source). It can display phonetic transcriptions for many words. Besides the obvious way of using it (entering words into the GUI) it can also translate words taken from other application using shortcuts or Alt+right mouse click.

There are just two downsides: To copy words from another application, these words need to be marked. It would be easier to just move the cursor into the word without having to mark it. It’s also a pitty that you have to manually choose which direction you want the words translated upon entering directly in the interface. LEO just takes any word and automatically figures out which language it is.

On the bright side, the supply of different dictionaries is impressive. Besides German?English there is this excessive list of available languages:

  • German? English
  • German ? English Specialist Dictionary for Wale and Delfine
  • German ? English Specialist Dictionary for metalworking
  • Norwegian ? German
  • Spanish? German
  • German ? Latin
  • German ? Khasi
  • Japanese ? German
  • Chinese ? German
  • Chinese ? Englisch
  • Esperanto ? German
  • Turkish ? German
  • Kurdish ? German
  • Italian ? German
  • Hungarian ? German
  • Portuguese ? German
  • English ? Arabic
  • Frensh ? German
  • Dutch ? German
  • Russian ? German
  • Thai ? German

» LingoPad

By the way, LingoPad used to be known as LingoDict and Lingo4u Dictionary before that (according to Golem.de).

(This article is also available in German)

Topics: dictionaryfreeprogramsoftwaretranslation

26. May 2008

MySong: Simple Software Automatically Composes Musical Accompaniment

A research project by a student (Ian Simon) and a Microsoft empoyee lead to a nice toy called MySong. This software analyzes the melody of a vocal track and automatically creates a musical accompaniment:

MySong [...] automatically chooses chords to accompany a vocal melody, allowing a user with no musical training to rapidly create accompanied music. MySong is a creative tool for folks who like to sing but would never get a chance to experiment with creating real original music. Come on, you know who you are… you sing in the car, or in the shower, or you go to karaoke clubs, or you just once in a while find yourself singing along with catchy commercial jingles.

Here is a short video which demonstrates MySong:

For those who can’t/won’t watch the video, here a short description: At first, you sing a melody into your microphone. As soon as you’re done, MySong builds a chord sequence around it. You can influence the style a bit with two sliders. You can decide whether the music should sound more sad or happy and whether it should be normal or jazzy.

MySong’s creators emphasize that their program is not meant to automate songwriting. Nobody will ever create a top 40 hit using any version of MySong. It is rather meant to at least give people an impression of how it feels to write a song. It should also be good enough to produce a birthday or valentine song.

Unfortunately, the program is not available for download. I hope Microsoft doesn’t let it rot in the drawer…

» MySong Website

The website also has an article of a scientific journal which describes the theories behind MySong in detail. There’s also tons of samples.

(via Basic Thinking via ReadWriteWeb)

(This article is also available in German)

Topics: compositionmusicsingingsoftware

6. June 2007

Earmaster Pro 5: E-Learning Software for Ear Training


Screenshot: Earmaster Pro 5

Earmaster Pro is an e-learning program for musical ear training. It is supposed to help you perceive intervals, accords and rhythms more accurately.

» read on!

Topics: e-learningearlearningmusicsoftwaretraining

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