It’s great because it can recognize fluid handwriting where the strokes run together. Yes, you may have seen that kind of software before, but keep in mind that this is a free online dictionary.
Below are some examples of horrible handwriting being correctly recognized.
(Each character to the right displays its pinyin when you mouse over it.)
One of the really cool things about the handwriting recognition is that it keeps going in realtime as long as you write, and it always guesses. I’ve used programs that reach their recognition limit and just say, “nope, can’t do it.” Well, not this one. It gets an A+ for effort.
This, of course, leads to some fun experimentation. Here are a few of mine:
Thanks to David for introducing me to this website.
– Instant English/Chinese language toggle
– Audio recordings of the station names (in Chinese)
– A color scheme matching Shanghai’s actual subway maps’
– Instant station locator dropdown menu
– Trippy “night mode”
– Move the map by dragging on an empty spot
– Get the fare and time estimate between any two stations by clicking on the starting point and dragging to the end point
That last feature is really killer. It even animates the path for you.
Jonathan Yuen has a really cool Flash design site. Check it out; it is totally unannoying, and pleasantly imaginative. It also uses Chinese. Unfortunately, the Chinese characters are small and hard to read, and Flash’s normal zoom option is turned off. So here’s my transcription of the Chinese from the site:
> 思源 寻找的终点最终依然是起点
> 创意 能感动人心的才是至高境界
> 童心 用中庸的心态来审观一切
> 邂逅 尽管是僵然也应顺其自然
Sorry, no time for a translation now. Try copying and pasting into AdsoTrans. Maybe I’ll get a chance to put up a translation later. Also, I’m a little unsure of two unfamiliar words (which were a little hard to make out): 审观 and 僵然. Anyone who wants to jump in and translate in the comments, knock yourself out!
I have this bad habit of randomly sampling Chinese Flash animations and games from time to time. Recently I found this trivia game called 百萬富翁遊戲：愛國版 (Millionaire Game: Patriot Edition). It’s got trivia questions mainly relating to the Opium War and Republican China. I have never been a very good student of history, so between my ignorance and the annoying traditional characters it took me a few tries to win the game. But now I feel confident enough to take on those Hong Kong primary schoolers!
The game kind of made me wonder about Hong Kong’s version of Chinese history. Both the PRC and RoC have ridiculously stilted versions of history. How is Hong Kong’s? Did it change a lot after 1997? I really have so little contact with Hong Kong.
About a year ago I presented a Hakka version of Jingle Bells and a lot of people enjoyed it. I thought this year I’d share another Chinese take on the Christmas classics. This time it’s a band called Cookies (曲奇) singing in Cantonese (so to me it sounds almost as bizarre as the Hakka song). You have to listen to a bit of Canto-pop before they get into it, but at the 1:26 mark they start singing to the tune of “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” followed immediately by “Jingle Bells,” then “Joy to the World,” “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing,” “Deck the Halls,” “Come All Ye Faithful,” “Silent Night,” and finally “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” (don’t be alarmed when they only slip into English briefly during those last two). It all has a very bizarre Canto-pop hyperactive feel to it.
You can find and download the song easily through Baidu; just follow this 曲奇圣诞歌 search link, then either click on one of the 试听 (“listen first”) links, or click on one of the song titles and then download the song from the MP3 link on the new page.
While I’m at it, I thought I’d throw in some Chinese Christmas flash fun as well. Check out these links (also found through Baidu):
– What do Santa Claus and a skiing alien accompanied by snow pigs have in common? Watch this “origin of Santa Claus” cartoon to find out.
– Chinese Jingle Bells Rap. Nuff said.
– 圣诞结 (that’s someone else’s pun, not my 错别字), the most depressing Christmas song ever. It has lyrics like, “of all the people I’ve loved / not a single one is left by my side / only loneliness keeps me company throughout the night / Merry, Merry Christmas / Lonely, Lonely Christmas.” On this joyous holiday, this is a great song to remind you how miserable it makes some people. (Note that for many modern Chinese, Christmas is seen as a day to be with a boyfriend/girlfriend).
– Hit Santa with a Snowball. This game is not fun, it’s just hilarious to me because the animation is so awful and the “music” has about a 3 second loop. Well, that and the fact that you get presents out of Santa by knocking him silly with snowballs.
– Santa does Mission Impossible. And also some Chinese song covers.