Learn a Language While You Wait for People to Respond to Your Gchats


There are plenty of tiny moments of downtime while you’re online. There are the seconds you wait for your computer to connect to WiFi, the time you spend waiting for a page to load, and the time that passes as you wait for someone to respond to your chats or emails. MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) wants to harness those moments to help you be a little more productive, as CNET reports.

WaitSuite is a group of apps designed to teach people languages during that online downtime. Rather than letting those language-learning app reminders go ignored because you’re too busy to practice your Spanish vocabulary, you can learn while you Gchat.

WaitChatter, a Google Chrome extension, works with Gchat to present you with a new vocabulary word in French or Spanish while you wait for your conversation partners to respond. The new foreign language vocabulary word shows up side-by-side with its English translation just below the box where you type out your messages. You can check “didn’t know” or “already knew” to move on to the next word.

The researchers also created other wait-time language learning tools. As they write in a paper on their apps [PDF], they created language-learning tools to test you on vocabulary while you wait for your WiFi to connect, while you wait for your email to send, while your web page loads when you use the “pull to refresh” function on your phone, and while you wait for an elevator (this one required Bluetooth sensors to be placed next to the elevator, so it wouldn’t really work in the wider world). They found that not only was this “wait-learning” not distracting from the primary task of say, emailing or reading something on the web or chatting with a friend, it reduced the frustrations people felt while having to wait. WaitChatter users learned about four new words a day, according to the study.

WaitChatter is the only app that’s publicly available right now, but its functionality might not last long. It’s based on the older version of Gchat, which will be going away soon. On June 26, 2017, Google Talk will be replaced completely with Hangouts, so you won’t be able to revert back to the old chat interface after that. While the creators are looking into making versions of the plugin for Hangouts or for Slack, those likely won't be available for a while, if they come to fruition at all. Before Google makes the Hangouts switch in June, then, you'd better get in as much vocab learning as you can.

[h/t CNET]

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The 25 Most In-Demand Job Skills Right Now, According to LinkedIn

Looking for a new job? Depending on what line of work you’re in, you may want to brush up on your technical skills—or learn some new ones. LinkedIn recently released a list of the 25 most desirable skills for 2018, and it’s clear that many employers are on the lookout for people with experience in computing, web development, and software and data engineering.

LinkedIn analyzed data from its member base of more than 500 million people to determine which skills are most needed by employers, according to Business Insider. The thousands of individual skills that can be found across member profiles were grouped into overarching categories (iOS, for instance, would go under the mobile development umbrella). Next, LinkedIn analyzed hiring and recruiting activity during an eight-month span and “identified the skill categories that belonged to members who were more likely to start a new role within a company and receive interest from companies.”

Here’s the full list:

1. Cloud and Distributed Computing
2. Statistical Analysis and Data Mining
3. Middleware and Integration Software
4. Web Architecture and Development Framework
5. User Interface Design
6. Software Revision Control Systems
7. Data Presentation
8. SEO/SEM Marketing
9. Mobile Development
10. Network and Information Security
11. Marketing Campaign Management
12. Data Engineering and Data Warehousing
13. Storage Systems and Management
14. Electronic and Electrical Engineering
15. Algorithm Design
16. Perl, Python, and Ruby
17. Shell Scripting Languages
18. Mac, Linux, and Unix Systems
19. Java Development
20. Business Intelligence
21. Software QA and User Testing
22. Virtualization
23. Automotive Services, Parts and Design
24. Economics
25. Database Management and Software

Many of these skills can be learned from the comfort of your home via online classes that are available on platforms like Udemy, Coursera, edX, and Lynda. While it couldn’t hurt to know these hard skills, 57 percent of business leaders surveyed by LinkedIn said soft skills are even more important. Those tend to be more universal across careers, with leadership, communication, collaboration, and time management being identified as the most crucial soft skills to have in 2018.

If you’re ready to start learning a new skill but don’t know where to start, check out this list of 25 ways to learn a new skill quickly.

A 92-Year-Old Woman Just Earned Her Fourth College Degree

Judging by the case of 92-year-old Annie Dillard, it's never too late to learn something new. Dillard, who owns and runs a hair salon in South Carolina, has just earned her fourth college degree.

The eager nonagenarian earned an associate degree in liberal arts from Midlands Tech in Columbia, South Carolina on May 9. She told reporters the big day felt “wonderful," according to WLTX 19.

However, her strut across the stage hardly marked the end of her lifelong love of learning, which she says keeps her mentally sharp. She will soon pursue her fifth degree in early childhood studies, and she hopes to work alongside her physician daughter, WIS reports. "I don't have any rest at all," she said, but told WLTX 19 she's fine with that because "only the strong survive."

Dillard said her experience living through the Civil Rights movement challenged her and pushed her to succeed. In the 1960s, she earned a teaching degree from Allen University—also located in Columbia—but she decided to continue working in cosmetology.

She is believed to be the oldest Midlands Tech graduate in the school’s history.

[h/t A Plus]


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