Want something more?
Want something different?
Want something better?
Here’s how to get it.
You might not want to know this because…
… it involves ‘change’.
Which is usually uncertain.
“If I do this, will I get that?” – “Maybe, probably. Well, you might!”
And is often hard to figure out:
“I’ve never done that before. I don’t know how.”
“Google Play shows me hundreds of apps. Which one should I choose?”
Different, better, more – BY DEFINITION means doing something other than what you have hitherto done.
Try or don’t try.
Really, that’s up to you.
But here’s a truth for you.
Take a risk once, figure something out, achieve something, and you know what happens?
You’ll feel more confident about doing something ELSE new.
And perhaps more able to, having acquired new skills and confidence.
A couple of years will pass and you’ll look back and remark to yourself:
“What a lot I’ve learned!”
“How much better it is this way!”
“I’m so glad I tried!”
I never learned to operate a VHS player.
Remember those? I still use one in my pre-school class – the kids are SO CURIOUS! They’ve never seen anything like it before.
And I still don’t know what all the buttons on the remote do.
I’m always mucking it up.
It was the ‘eighties and my family only bought a VHS player (you could record your favorite programs from the TV!) after I’d left for university in another city.
When I came back, everyone knew how to use it except me, and I never bought my own so I never took the time to figure it out.
The same thing happened with cell phones, the old ones, before smartphones, with those horrible operating systems where you had to click through multiple menus.
I was working abroad when they came out and by the time I was back in the UK and bought a phone I was way behind and gave up on learning how to use it before I ever really got started.
Computers I more or less mastered – that would have been in the ‘nineties. We used them at work, which helped.
But when it came to smartphones, though I was an ‘early adopter’ (I bought the first iPhone), I didn’t get on with them. I hated the so-called ‘intuitive’ Apple interface.
When it comes to new technologies, you need time to play, time to mess about, time to learn.
Kids are great at this, not because they are intrinsically better than their moms and dads but because they have more time to try things out.
Anyway, a year or so ago when I started listening to Swedish radio on a daily basis (as I am doing now, as I type this), my wife started to complain that everyone in the house was forced to listen to my choice of radio program.
Why didn’t I get some headphones? she suggested.
Because I don’t like the dangly wires, I told her. They’re inpractical when I’m moving around in the kitchen, washing the dishes, cooking, and so on.
What you need is Bluetooth, she advised.
Another technology that I was aware of but which had, basically, passed me by.
For those of you in the same boat, Bluetooth is basically a very-short-range radio transmitting/receiving protocol.
Which means, for example, that if you have a modern car with a Bluetooth HiFi, and a modern smartphone with Bluetooth, you can be listening to the music on your phone without plugging it in.
And when the phone rings, you hear it through the cars’ speakers.
Fortunately, I don’t have a modern car, so I can skip that.
But… Bluetooth headphones!
You’ve probably seen people walking around with little white things sticking out of their ears yet no visible cables?
The smartphone in their pocket or handbag is beaming out a signal on the Bluetooth frequency, and the ‘earbuds’, or whatever they’re called, are picking up the signal and playing the audio.
Very private, very considerate to other people.
So I bought some.
That said, it then took me a year to get into the habit of using them.
But now the Italian school summer holidays have started.
And you know how teenage children like to lie abed?
So, instead of plodding around the kitchen listening to Swedish news or Turkish pop at maximum volume on my computer or smartphone, I have these little lumps of plastic crammed in my ears.
It feels a little like they’ll fall out at any moment, but they don’t.
Listening to the radio online works really, really well for my learning, especially as I can do it while I’m doing other things.
But I had to make the effort to find stations, programs that interested me.
And I had to learn about Bluetooth.
Now I know, though.
Now things are different, things are better.
I can take my earphones and listen on the bus to work, too.
I haven’t yet, but I will.
So I’ll be doing even more listening and hopefully learning even more.
At the weekend, I found out about podcasts, downloaded an app, then downloaded some programs to listen to on the plane to Istanbul later this week.
A podcast is like a broadcast, except you can save it and listen to it whenever you like, rather than having to listen in real time, as with radio.
Save a few hours worth of podcasts onto your tablet or smartphone, then listen to them while commuting, or while getting your teeth filled.
This’ll be the first time I’ve listened to something on the plane, though in the past I could see everyone else was doing it.
Because I didn’t know about podcasts, or bluetooth.
I’m planning to listen to some documentaries in Swedish, and a music and chat radio program in Turkish, to tune my ears in for when we land.
What’s a podcast, again?
That’s part of the process of doing new things.
Figuring out how.
But it’s worth it, some of the time, at least.
P.S. My breadmaker doesn’t make fries.
Several people wrote to me over the weekend to tell me that EasyItalianNews.com would be much better if the audio control alllowed them to easily go back, find the beginning of sections, etc.
My breadmaker doesn’t make fries.
I wrote to the manufacturer to complain and a nice man replied to my email (on a Sunday!) pointing out that, well, that’s because it’s a breadmaker not a deep-fat-frier.
He added that, while he understood my frustration, and while he admitted that the two machines are of a similar size and both have lids, I should understand that his company’s breadmaker was designed for making bread not for frying potatoes.
Which was very annoying!
So I wrote back to suggest that maybe they should really think about including potato frying in the list of bread-making options.
And the guy replied (still on a Sunday) saying that I should go buy a saucepan and a litre of vegetable oil and fry my potatoes that way instead.
Well, what a cheek!
Call that customer service??
https://easyitaliannews.com/ is for ‘long-form’ listening.
It’s designed to help you transition to real life situations in which you have to listen to long pieces of Italian WITHOUT stopping and going back all the time.
That’s what it’s for.
And it’s for that because no one else was offering that exact opportunity.
I figured an eight-to-ten minute audio with a supporting transcript would be useful specifically BECAUSE it’s long, because it’s free, and because you get three new bulletins each week.
After a few months of practice listening to long audio recordings, all the way through without stopping, it’s likely your listening skills will improve some.
As mine did after using a similar site for Swedish.
But you’ll never know if you don’t do it that way.
https://easyitaliannews.com/ does not fry potatoes.
If you want to be constantly going back and forth, for example to listen to the bits you didn’t get the first time, then you are absolutely free to do so.
But it’s not FOR that. And if you don’t use it in the way I designed it, you will not receive the intended benefit.
You may get other benefits, of course.
I usually say to people who write in on Sundays, listen, if you want the .mp3 then right-click on the audio link in the email you get containing the news bulletin and choose the ‘save link as’ option.
That will save the whole audio, absolutely free, to your computer or device.
You can then open the .mp3 file using your device’s audio player, which WILL allow you to easily flip back and forth in the bulletin.
I explained this at least twice over the weeked but was told that it was just too bad that my breadmaker doesn’t make fries and that it really should.
Someone said his smartphone doesn’t have a ‘right-click’ option, so my suggested solution was impossible.
Duh… Use a computer?
Which brings us back to where we started this morning.
Want more? Want better? Want different?
You won’t regret it.