Toshiba Satellite L300 + SSD – refresh attempt :)

I wasted most of my last weekend trying to do something with extremely sluggish Toshiba Satellite L300 laptop with Windows Vista. After some years of being in use by my father this laptop become so slow that it exceed tolerance limits even such undemanding user as he is :) As a new and really good laptop was not something within available budget for this particular case, I’ve decided to replace HDD with SSD for best performance gain possible (adding RAM was not an option as this model can’t handle more that 2 GB which were already installed, I found it difficult to believe into this limitation, especially these days, when we can have 64 GB of RAM in desktops :) ).

I ended up buying 240 Gb OCZ Arc 100 to replace built in 160 Gb Toshiba HDD.

OCZ_SSD_Toshiba_HDD

This procedure was easy, unlike further wipe and load procedures. Carelessly I started my attempt to put Windows 10 TP onto this antique device – it took 2 attempts and some pondering on why Windows 10 install freezes on “Getting Ready” phase somewhere in the end… I tried to google this and 2 most common suggestions for the similar issues were that windows fails to load/find compatible driver (not sure what’s the difficulty to surface an error/warning for this) and splendid suggestion “I know this is not very good answer but just wait for couple of hours, it may work out, it did for me”. In the end I decided that I wasted enough time waiting, and end up with installing x64 Windows Vista as this laptop was shipped with this OS. Though before doing that I decided to remove another possible reason of poor performance – dust in cooling system:

Toshiba_L300_Dust

It required almost complete disassembling of laptop, though it seems that it was necessary thing to do as air which the system blow out from the inside before cleaning was way too hot.

Toshiba_L300_motherboard

I have not had good Vista SP2 ISO file with all the updates and it took me almost whole day while Vista tried to download all post RTM updates :) At some point I decided that downloading SP2 and installing it would speed up the process – so did I, only to find out that I have to download and install SP1 first. After all service packs were installed it took extra 5 hours to got all the subsequent updates.

OCZ_SSD_Installed

In generally I would say that putting SSD improved responsiveness of this laptop but not to extend I expected – i think mainly because other components become bottleneck and also due to the fact that Vista doesn’t support TRIM as at the time when Vista was released SSD weren’t mass market product. In case of Windows TRIM stated to be supported with release of Windows 7/Server 2008 R2 for SATA drives and starting from Windows 8 and onward Windows TRIM supports PCI Express SSDs based on NVMe, and the unmap command which is a full analog of the trim command from Serial ATA for devices that use the SCSI driver stack. It seems that missing TRIM may lead to SSD performance degradation overtime unless you don’t have and use some third party software which takes care about this (e.g. Samsung provides sofware which performs garbage collection for their SSDs), but also Vista not as quick starting from SSD as Windows 7 which I believe has other SSD related optimizations. But anyway before installing SSD this system used to take 2 minutes to start (and something like up to 5-6 minutes to the moment when you can actually start using it, i.e. antivirus and other stuff finally started and your desktop become responsive) and something like 15-30 second to start IE, after switch to SSD these delays decreased and system is more pleasant to work with. Alas, there is no that blazing fast speed which you may see when you put SSD into a bit more powerful system with more RAM and newer OS optimized for SSD, where you can reach something very close to impressive 15 seconds from power off to fully operational desktop, but in the end it was not the aim of this attempt :)

Windows client certification upgrade

It’s been a while since I last time taken Windows client certification exams. Well I’m certified on Windows client starting from the Windows XP/MCDST certification, and actually did all the upgrades all the way up to Window 7. But it seems that now is quite good time to either took or refresh Microsoft Client certification as Microsoft suggests you to Step Up to Windows 10 challenge. To put things simply it means that if you earn a Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) certification in Windows 8 between February 15, 2015, and May 31, 2015, and you’ll be eligible to take a Windows 10 exam (Exam 697) for free.

So I decided to participate and for me it should take only 70-689 upgrade exam which I already paid for and scheduled – challenge accepted :) .  So I guess as a part of my preparation to 70-689 I will write series of posts covering exam objectives and everything it is necessary to know about Windows 8.1 (at least in terms of passing certification exam). I think this is also good idea for me as since last time I seriously learnt client side stuff was at the time of Windows XP, next there were upgrade exams with lesser amount of learning and preparation, with Windows 8.1 and soon to be released Windows 10 windows client OS amassed critical mass of changes and features which are warranting for thorough learning and review.

K2 releases 4.6.9

Originally posted on Workflow, not Work:

Here’s some highlights of the new release:

  • The K2 for SharePoint Online app has officially moved from preview mode to release status. Hurrah!!! The 4.6.9 app version (version 4.4120.5.1) is only compatible with K2 4.6.9. Be sure to upgrade your K2 environment before upgrading to the latest K2 for SharePoint Online app.
  • K2 smartforms 4.6.9 now includes Internet Explorer 11 support. BTW, Internet Explorer 8 is no longer supported. New Lithium theme gives a responsive design and is perfect for mobile devices. Offline forms are in preview in this release.
  • K2 smartforms controlpack 4.6.9 now includes new controls such as auto complete, tree view and timer
  • K2 blackpearl 4.6.9 adds comments and attachment SmartObjects into the framework. On top of the existing DateTime property type, two new Date and Time types for SmartObject properties are now made available.

Download the latest release from K2 customer portal. jEyLaBs will be releasing our…

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How many languages is it plausible for somebody to ultimately speak fluently or at least on a conversational level?

How many languages is it plausible for somebody to ultimately speak fluently or at least on a conversational level, and does speaking more than one closely related language help to leave room for more languages to learn relatively easily?

Answer by Judith Meyer:

We don’t know the upper limit. Historic polyglots are said to have spoken 65 or 58 languages. In the modern day and especially in terms of verifiable claims, I present to you:

Emanuele Marini speaks more than 30 languages on a conversational level and has proven it: at the Polyglot Conference in Budapest, he was accosted in 16 randomly-chosen languages (with less than an hour to prepare) and the result was posted on Youtube:

He is a shy, quiet guy who doesn’t have a language-learning product to sell you. He doesn’t even have his own blog or channel, but he sure impressed all the polyglots who attended the conference.

Relatedly, here’s a video of Richard Simcott (the guy on the left in the above video) speaking 16 languages more fluently; he has also studied 30+ languages:

Alexander Arguelles knows 38 languages – his focus is to read literature in them, but he also speaks most of them fluently.

Ioannis Ikonomou, an in-house translator for the European Commission, speaks 32 languages (http://www.webcitation.org/6A5rD…) – and that includes Chinese at such a high level he can do official translations of classified documents in Chinese.

The limit is really time rather than languages. All the people I mentioned above have jobs that allow them to spend all day speaking or writing various languages, so they are investing more than 8 hours a day in maintaining their languages or studying new ones. At that level of commitment, the sky is your limit.

I calculated my own average as well and it’s more like 2 hours a day. That’s enough to learn and maintain 12 languages – if you accept that for some I’m significantly better at reading than speaking, simply because it’s my focus and I don’t see much point in speaking Latin for example.

Regarding the question of closely-related languages, I personally find that they can be a hindrance as much as a help. When you learn too many closely-related ones, it becomes really hard to keep them straight in your head. That’s why I have lately only added non-European languages to my roster.

How many languages is it plausible for somebody to ultimately speak fluently or at least on a conversational level, and does speaking mor…

What should I do to increase my vocabulary in English?

Answer by Anne W Zahra:

When you study English, you have to learn a lot of words (vocabulary breadth).  You also must understand how to use the words you know.  (vocabulary depth).

Vocabulary breadth comes from word study.  You take courses and you learn lists of words and take tests.  You may buy a book or use software to study vocabulary words on your own.  You should do these things because you need to know 10,000 words or more to use academic English.

Vocabulary depth comes from reading and writing with feedbackVery few English students are taught in a way that builds vocabulary depth.  Materials that develop depth are uncommon.  Teachers are not trained to teach this way, but this is needed, very badly needed especially if you speak Arabic, Russian, Chinese or any language very, very different from English.

A page from the Oxford series Words in Use, and a rare example of a textbook that teaches vocabulary depth.  Students must learn how to use vocabulary words (vocabulary depth), but few textbooks, courses of studies or individual teachers focus on this.  This is one of the major weaknesses in language teaching in general.

How do you overcome this problem?

Reading teaches you to understand the ways words are used.  If you don’t read a lot you will not know how to use the words because you will not understand how they are used.

Writing in the language for a class gives you feedback– important information about what is correct and what is wrong.  You need this feedback, and you must correct your mistakes and you must understand why what you wrote is a mistake.  That does not happen quickly.  It is not easy.  It takes years.

I speak three foreign languages.  I learned them mostly in school or studying them by myself.  I study specific texts and I collect words from them that I don’t understand.  I practice verbs a lot because these cause the most errors.  I use dictionaries a lot and I use the Internet to find what words mean.

What should I do to increase my vocabulary in English?

Windows Server 10 TP

I’ve just configured my Synology NAS as iSCSI target and mapped it to my laptop. As a quick test I decided to install Windows Server 10 Technical Preview on VM stored on the disk created on top of this iSCSI target – seems to be working nice. It’s good to see that in v10 iteration we’ve got Start menu back without neсessity to have any addons.

Windows Server 10 TP

I guess I can start with building my distributed lab environment / VMs zoo now :)

If you learn a foreign language, what is the most efficient and fast way to improve your vocabulary?

Answer by Mikkel Ramzuiv Pittmann Wilson:

When I moved to Denmark a little over a year ago, I only had one mission: To learn Danish, and to learn it as well as I could, before returning home for summer vacation. A year is both an extremely long amount of time, as well as an extremely short amount of time; Whenever I meet new people, they are always extremely impressed with my skill in Danish, especially given that I’ve only lived here a year. Why? Well, I was well equipped with the experience of multiple failed language learning projects in my life – I had wasted 3 years of study trying to learn Japanese, and I had a hobby project learning Latin – And while I can’t even understand the most vital of sentences in those languages, I was left with something even more valuable: The experience needed to create a battle plan so my next language learning expedition would not just succeed, but succeed Brilliantly. So what was my plan?

Well, first off, obviously, the first step is obviously to become familiar with the phonology and grammar of the language, but since that’s not what the question is asking, I’m assuming you already have control over those (If you don’t, focus on those first. If you try to build vocabulary without knowing a language’s pronunciation or inflection patterns, you’ll end up making many silly errors despite having a strong vocabulary)

The past year, I was always seen using my two tools that I used to build vocabulary: Reading and Spaced Repitition Software.

Reading seems pretty self-explanatory, however there are a few caveats here. Here, all that you want is text in your target language. It doesn’t matter if it’s something you know by the back of your hand, or if it’s something that you’ve never read before. The only important thing is that you have a text which has many words in it. I’d then slowly read over it, translating each sentence in my head, making sure I knew that I understood what it meant exactly, and if I came across any word or phrase that made no sense to me, I’d highlight it (Or later, simply write down the word on my iPad). I’d probably spend about an hour every day just reading.

Once I was finished reading, I’d then proceed to open Notepad, and go to Den Danske Ordbog (A very good dictionary for Danish – If you are learning a large language like English French or German, I’d advise Wiktionary – otherwise, use your favorite dictionary for your language – or use Google Translate!). I’d then look up each word, and write down the word and it’s meaning in a .txt file.

You’ll notice I also notated how the word is pronounced, and whether it inflects with -en or -et  – That’s why it’s so important that you know a languages phonology and grammar before you try building a vocabulary – otherwise you won’t know what details are important to inflect, and which aren’t. Also note that every 25 words, I seperate the words with a line – this’ll be important later.

Once I have created a list like this with 100 words, I’d then proceed to open Byki – Byki is a program based upon the philosophy of Spaced repetition, and is very powerful – Some people use Anki, which is free, and while I personally prefer Byki, Anki also works really well, and it’s free. Both programs have windows where you can create lists, which is of course, the next step

Once we have our list created (I always try to keep my lists around 25 words, and I mentally organize them in groups of 4 lists for 100 words), we then get to the really fun part, where we get to train our new words, which I think is fairly self-explanatory. Once we have trained our words, and are able to recall all of them from memory, both going from the target word to the concepts they represent (Recognition), and from the concept to the word (Reproduction), you might think we are finished, but really, we’ve only just begun. While we can indeed recall all of them from our memory now, in a few days, after learning a lot more about other things, many of the words we learned today will be forgotten, but the good news is, that once you learn something once, it is really easy to learn it again, so Byki and Anki have a special function where you can refresh the words you just learned, and every time you refresh a word, you can now go an even longer time without seeing that word, and still remember it when you need to, until eventually you forget that you ever had to learn that word.

The system is very efficient with regards to your investment in time in regards to most of the other answers on this page (Looking at all of you who say “Just consume media and you’ll learn” – yes, you will, but only very slowly – Especially in the begining ;] ) – It’s also more efficient than Duolingo, which is all the rage these days (I’ve been able to learn 100 lemmas (unique uninflected words) in 1 day multiple times using my method, while Duolingo, especially after the first few lessons, is extremely grueling and slow – 6 or 7 words (Including variations of the same word – e.g. “Tasche” and “Taschen” are counted as 2 words, while you’d only ever learn “Tasche” with my method) in an hours worth of trying to pass a lesson without making any mistakes; That’s one of the huge drawbacks of DL – it’s way too unforgiving) – There are definitely many points where I’d say it is in want of a better way to do it (especially making lists- I’ve wasted way too much time converting my notebooks and .txt files into lists, if I could just make a .txt or an Excel spreadsheet, and then train with that, I’d have saved so much time), but despite its flaws, it is still the best, most efficient way of learning vocabulary I have ever tried.

If you learn a foreign language, what is the most efficient and fast way to improve your vocabulary?

My take aways from this answer:

- Answer represent possible application of spaced repetition approach to vocabulary building, tried by author.

- Importance of learning a language’s pronunciation or inflection patterns, before starting with vocabulary building, as you’ll end up making many silly errors despite having a strong vocabulary in this scenario

- Recognition and Reproduction – these technical terms seems to be obvious when you read definitions, but it is important to be aware about these 2 distinct operation we need to perform when handling vocabulary. So: going from the target word to the concepts they represent called Recognition, and when we go from the concept to the word it is called Reproduction. My guess it that the latter requires more time to acquire – you quickly starting recognize words in text, especially given the hints from the context, but reproduction in writing, or more important in speech doesn’t come equally fast (it should be trained separately/additionally).