10 Ways to Make Your iPod a Better Learning Gadget

ipodwithclass_21.jpgThe iPod can super­charge your learn­ing. But it’s often a mat­ter of find­ing the right soft­ware and con­tent. Below, we’ve list­ed sev­er­al new pieces of soft­ware that will let you suck more edu­ca­tion­al media (DVDs, web videos, audio files, etc.) into your iPod. And we’ve also list­ed some impor­tant pieces of con­tent that will make your iPod a bet­ter learn­ing gad­get. So here it goes and be sure to vis­it our Pod­cast Library and our relat­ed piece 10 Signs of Intel­li­gent Life at YouTube:

1) Put Wikipedia on Your Ipod:
Ency­clopo­dia is a free piece of soft­ware that brings Wikipedia to the iPod. Ency­clopo­dia can be installed on iPod gen­er­a­tions 1 through 4, as well as iPod Min­is. Def­i­nite­ly worth a try.

2) Watch DVDs on Your iPod: This free, open source soft­ware works on MacOS X, Lin­ux and Win­dows, and makes it sim­ple to load and watch DVDs on your video iPod. Here are some help­ful instruc­tions to get you start­ed.

3) Load YouTube Videos to Your iPod: Con­vert­Tube allows you to take any YouTube video and con­vert it to a for­mat that works on your iPod. It’s as sim­ple as enter­ing a url and click­ing “con­vert and down­load.” If you want to give the soft­ware a test run, try con­vert­ing these UC Berke­ley cours­es that were recent­ly launched on YouTube. Or these Nobel Prize speech­es.

4) Make Oth­er Video For­mats iPod-Ready: Life­hack­er recent­ly men­tioned three oth­er pieces of soft­ware that will make a vari­ety of oth­er video for­mats iPod-ready. For Win­dows, see Vide­o­ra; for Mac, see iSquint. Or more gen­er­al­ly see Zamzar. In a nut­shell, these items will turn a wide range of video for­mats into the one video for­mat (MPEG‑4) that your iPod likes.

5) Con­vert MP3 files into One Big iPod Audio­book File: Down­load­ing free audio­books can often require you to work with a series of sep­a­rate mp3 files, which can make things rather cum­ber­some. This soft­ware does you a favor and mash­es the files into one man­age­able file. And it has a fea­ture that will let your Ipod remem­ber where you stopped if you decide to take a break. (If this one appeals to you, be sure to see item # 10.)

6) Cre­ate eBooks for the iPod: This bit of soft­ware turns text files into ebooks that you can read on your iPod. After you load a text file, it will make the text read­able through iPod Notes (which you can find under “Extra Sett­tings”). Then, voila, a portable text. Thanks to Pachecus.com for point­ing this one out.


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William F. Buckley v. Gore Vidal — 1968

William F. Buck­ley, Jr., the intel­lec­tu­al force behind the strand of con­ser­vatism that peaked with Ronald Rea­gan, died yes­ter­day. (See NY Times obit.) Here, we have some vin­tage Buck­ley. The video clip below fea­tures Buck­ley and Gore Vidal going at it, almost com­ing to blows, dur­ing the con­test­ed pres­i­den­tial cam­paign of 1968. It offers a good reminder that Amer­i­can polit­i­cal dis­course has­n’t been agree­able for quite some time. Com­par­a­tive­ly, things look down­right civ­il today.

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Not Always a Nation of Dunces

Here’s a nice coun­ter­point to our post last week cov­er­ing Susan Jacoby’s new book The Age of Amer­i­can Unrea­son and her lament that Amer­i­ca has declined into a morass of anti-intel­lec­tu­al­ism and low expec­ta­tions.

Let’s set the scene: A reporter selects a young Barack Oba­ma sup­port­er at a ral­ly and starts pep­per­ing him with ques­tions about the can­di­date. And it all feels like a staged effort to demon­strate that the mobi­lized youth has no real han­dle on the issues. He’s just blind­ly buy­ing the hype. With­out wast­ing time, the reporter leads the young man into a con­ver­sa­tion on the com­plex­i­ties of health care. It’s the per­fect set­up. But then it sud­den­ly becomes clear that the reporter chose the wrong kid (who is a nat­u­ral­ized immi­grant, by the way) to play the fool. Watch the video below (and check out this fol­low up video that gives you more of the back sto­ry).

via Think on These Things

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How to Learn a Foreign Language

We stum­bled across this video (below) over on YouTube. It offers a quick sur­vey of web resources that will teach you for­eign lan­guages for free. Among oth­er items, the video men­tions our For­eign Lan­guage Pod­cast Col­lec­tion and, for that, we want­ed to say thanks to who­ev­er put this togeth­er.

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The Best Place on the Web for Film Junkies

Some of you may know GreenCine as a high­brow video-rental com­pa­ny, one that serves as an alter­na­tive to Net­flix and Block­buster. But the best thing about Greencine is its blog, main­tained by David Hud­son and updat­ed sev­er­al times a day. A though­ful and unpre­ten­tious col­lec­tion of reviews, inter­views, fes­ti­vals and oth­er worth­while online film dis­cus­sions, refresh­ing­ly free of snark or inva­sive opin­ion­at­ing. Think of it as a very, very smart aggre­ga­tor. This par­tic­u­lar cineaste makes it her home­page.

Cracking Tarantino

“Taran­ti­no’s Mind,” an award win­ning short film from Brazil, decodes the fil­mog­ra­phy of Quentin Taran­ti­no, draw­ing con­nec­tions most Taran­ti­no fans might not have drawn them­selves. Act­ing in the film is Seu Jorge, a great Brazil­ian musi­cian (check this album out) who has gained recent fame in the US. The clip runs a good ten min­utes. The only down­sides are the small sub­ti­tles and lan­guage not suit­able for puri­tan­i­cal types. But we are in Taran­ti­no ter­ri­to­ry, so what could you real­ly expect? (The video below has been added to our YouTube Playlist.)

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80 Years of Academy Award Winning Films in Posters

Great poster col­lec­tion of Oscar win­ning films, from 1927 to this week. Check it out here.

via Kottke.org

Online Writing Courses at Stanford (Spring)

Quick fyi: Start­ing Mon­day, you can sign up for online writ­ing cours­es at Stan­ford. (See list below.) Offered by Stan­ford Con­tin­u­ing Stud­ies and the Stan­ford Cre­ative Writ­ing Pro­gram (one of the most dis­tin­guished writ­ing pro­grams in the coun­try), these online cours­es give begin­ning and advanced writ­ers, no mat­ter where they live, the chance to refine their craft with gift­ed writ­ing instruc­tors and smart peers. Just to be clear, the cours­es are not free, and they will start the first week of April. For more infor­ma­tion, click here, or sep­a­rate­ly check out the FAQ.

(Full dis­clo­sure: I helped set up these cours­es and think they’re a great edu­ca­tion­al oppor­tu­ni­ty. But nonethe­less take my opin­ion with a grain of salt.)

Spring Cours­es:

By the way, if you live in the San Fran­cis­co Bay Area and want to keep the mind engaged, give some thought to Stan­ford Con­tin­u­ing Stud­ies. Our full spring cat­a­logue is here.

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