Polish Television

Last night I spent a couple hours watching Polish television on Onet.tv Platforma.  They have mostly clips on specific themes or topics but a few full shows.  I particularly like the "Podróże" section ("Travels").  There was a full episode of Podróże.tv (a travel channel) about Egypt and another showing a Klub Podróżnika ("Traveler's Club") in Kraków, where a guy was giving a presentation about his time in Kurdystan in Iraq.  Very, very interesting!  You can also find shows/clips on news, weather, cooking, film, music, games, etc..

Until now I've had a lot of trouble finding Polish television online.  A friend of my pointed me to wwiTV.com, where you can watch streaming live television from around the world, but I didn't have much success.  Many of the channels don't work and I just couldn't find a time when anything good is on!  By the time I'm home from work, its really late in Poland and there is mainly "adult programming."  I watched news on the religious channel for a bit, but that was pretty much all.

While I mainly like to listen to audio books, there are people who swear by the tv method of language learning.  Maybe it will help, maybe not.  But it is fun!  And on the occasion I feel like watching television, why not do it in Polish?

Lingwo.ws: Now without the delusions of grandeur!

I'm in the middle of an intense refactor of the Python implementation of Lingwo.ws.  Its mainly based on experience I had using the Perl port at work (oh yeah, over the summer, I ported it to Perl so we could use it at work).

Since I've began this project, I've learned alot about REST and building APIs.  One of the main things I've discovered is that I'm not the only one working on this.  Not by a long shot.

Here are just a handful of other REST + JSON specification in the works:

Blogging is hard work!

Dude, how hard can you be blogging?  You haven't written anything since October!!

Not entirely true.

I've written plenty! What I've failed to do entirely is finish anything. I have got to be the slowest writer on Earth. At least maybe in Midwest America.

It may (or may not!) surprise you to learn that I have 31 unpublished articles saved in WordPress. Some of them are very apropos responses to other bloggers or events that happened at the time which now probably make absolutely no sense to publish! Some are things I'd still like to say. But all of them are just sitting there waiting for another X revisions before I'm happy enough with them to let the world read.

Why does it take me so long to finish writing? I may never know.

But this just me popping up to say I'm still here and I'm going to make another valiant attempt to get some things published.

For real.

YouTube - Happy Birthday Madzia!

Shortly after posting my first YouTube video, I was contacted by a Polish guy who wanted to make a video of people all over the world saying "Happy Birthday" to his girlfriend.  He dug that I was an American who could speak Polish, so he asked me to wish her "Happy Birthday" in Polish and I did.  He also corrected some of the Polish from my earlier video (see the comments there), for which I am very greatful!

The video he made is now finished and posted!   While some of it is pretty corny, I think the video on the whole is really cool.  Some people sang, some made signs, some played musical instruments (there's a flute and violin in there) and several different languages are represented (Polish, Czech, Spanish, French, sign language).  I particularly like the guy at the end with balloons taped to his head, singing in French and drinking a beer!

But its really the YouTube community that impressed me.  That all these people, from all over the world, who don't even know each other would put so much effort in to this. Great work guys!

Here it is:


Inspired primarily by The Linguist Blogger's YouTube videos where he demonstrates his Spanish and Portuguese abilities, I created a short video on YouTube, where I speak in Polish. I've never put anything on YouTube before and, honestly, in the sea of videos to be found there, I didn't expect anyone to notice it until I linked to it.

However, within an hour of posting it I was getting messages from other users and later comments! YouTube is awesome! I met a bunch of really nice people. So, I think I may post more videos, maybe even do a "video blog" in Polish for the practice.

Anyway, the video follows. Its not terribly interesting, I didn't really plan what I was going to say before I did it. But it at least "proves" that I speak Polish and gives me something to gauge my progress against. I imagine that in a year I'll listen to it and laugh at how bad my Polish used to be. ;-)


Over the weekend, I asked Carrie to be my wife and she agreed! :-)

Lingwo.ws with Pylons

This is a short addendum to part 1 of my Lingwo.ws tutorial.

Aaron wanted to know how to run Lingwo.ws on WebFaction.  In talking to him later, it turns out he wants to use it inside of a Pylons application.  I have just the code for him!  I'm using Lingwo.ws inside of Lingwo.flashcards which is built on Pylons.

So, quickly, some background: when you create a Pylons application, you end up with a small library of code named like your application.  For example, in Lingwo.flashcards, that app is actually called "lingwo_flashcards".  Anyway, all your code goes in there.  For the rest of this example, we'll pretend that our application is named "myapp", ok?

First, you need to make a function creating your service with all its containers.  We'll put this in myapp/lib/api.py:

from myapp.server import *

Lingwo.ws tutorial, part 1: Creating a service

This is the first part in a four part series on Lingwo.ws.  In this part, we will:

  • Install the reference implementation.
  • Create a simple example service.
  • Use "curl" to experiment using the service.

What is Lingwo.ws?

Lingwo.ws is an open specification for a way to design RESTful web services.  I've described earlier why this is desirable, but to summarize:

  • Shared expectations: RESTful web services can be just about anything, so long as they follow a few design principles.  So, when someone says a service is RESTful, you will still need to read its documentation and learn how specifically that service works.  If a service conforms to Lingwo.ws, however, this means it conforms to a specific design.

Back in the U-S-(S)-A!

I just got back on Sunday!  I'm still trying to recover from the jet lag (I wake up completely awake at 3am) and I just came down with a cold.  But I'd rather suffer in the USA than while on my vacation so I'll take what I can get.

Anyway, the trip was brilliant on several levels!

I bought a whole bunch of awesome stuff:

  • A few bottles of Żubrówka (if you buy it in the USA, it doesn't actually contain any bison grass, its signature ingredient).
  • Lots of Harry Potter stuff: All the books and audio books I don't already have, as well as all the DVD's currently released.
  • A post apocalyptic sci-fi book: Apokalipsa według Pana Jana by Robert J. Szmidt.
  • June and July editions of Science Fiction magazine (Robert J. Szmidt was also founder of this magazine).  These are collections of short stories.
  • A CD by Kazik Staszewski.
  • More random assorted magazines and news papers.

Katolicki Uniwersytet Lubelski (KUL)

On Saturday, I'll be traveling to Poland again, for a 3 week stretch.  Like last year, I'll be taking a Polish language course at the Katolicki Uniwersytet Lubelski (Catholic University of Lublin) in Lublin, Poland.  The 9-10 hour plane ride should afford me lots of time to read!

When I took the course last year, I had a really strong grasp on conscious grammar but was rather weak with speaking, understanding and vocabulary.  On the first day they give you a placement test, to see what level you should be at.  It has a written component, which I did really well on, and an "interview-ish" spoken component, which I bombed.  Even so, they placed me in the highest level, bardzo zaadwansowany.

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