Babelcarp news (newest first)

This just in (October 18, 2019): Embedded Babelcarp definitions
I’ve been friends with the people at In Pursuit of Tea almost as long as I’ve been interested in tea. So I listened when they asked if I could help them embed Babelcarp definitions of Chinese tea terms in their web pages. They liked the way you can hover your mouse over a link on a Wikipedia page and see a popup of digest of the linked page without leaving the source page.

So I implemented that for them, actually going Wikipedia one better in that you can hover over Babelcarp links in an IPOT popup repeatedly as far as the Babelcarp database takes you. Here’s the IPOT announcement. Here’s an IPOT web page with some Babelcarp popup links—hover over “mao cha” to see the feature in action.

I don’t have a business relationship with IPOT except for buying tea from them, and they didn’t pay me for my work on this project. I will happily do the same for other tea web sites, including vendors, if the work looks interesting and feasible. If you have a web site that you’d like to embed Babelcarp definitions into, just ask!

RSS feed
A couple of months ago, I decided I had had enough social media craziness, so I stopped using social media. I soon missed a lot of what I had been seeing on Tea Twitter, so I tried to remedy the loss by reading tea blogs. Refreshing tea blogs in a web browser periodically to see if anything is new gets tedious fast, so I rediscovered RSS, which is what I had been using to stay current before I discovered — or enslaved myself to — social media.

(If you are hazy on what RSS is, this is a good introduction. There of course is also a Wikipedia page if you want to get down into the weeds.)

I was complaining as politely as I could to a tea blogger whose blog had no RSS feed when it occurred to me that Babelcarp could produce an RSS feed even though it isn't a blog. So I implemented an RSS feed containing some of the stuff I used to post on Twitter and Mastodon: pointers to new entries that I find notable, as well as selected blasts from the past.

The best way to use an RSS feed these days is to subscribe using either a browser RSS reader extension/plugin or a dedicated RSS reader app. The Lifewire link above is a good place to look, and there is also this article.

Update requests
If you want to request that the Babelcarp database be updated, now you can do so from within the web app. There is now a form allowing you to submit (in Pinyin or Chinese characters) a new term to be defined, or a preëxisting term whose definition you think could be corrected or improved.

Geocoding completed
I finished geocoding all the place names in the database that I could find on the surface of planet Earth: 632 in all as of September 23, 2018. There are others I couldn’t find, so if anyone out there can find one of those, please let me know the coördinates.

Are you feeling lucky?
Yes, it’s that old Google slogan from when “Don’t be evil” still meant something. There’s a new “??” button on the Babelcarp form — if you click it, you will see the definition of a random tea term.

The app’s code has been updated to show a map as part of the definition of a geographic term. See, for example, this entry.

Improving the water you brew tea with
If you have been drinking tea for a while, you probably know that the water you brew tea with has a strong effect on the quality of the beverage. Quite likely then, you are dissatisfied with your local tap water and unhappy about buying mineral water that is transported across great distances. I recently developed a Web application to help you make your own mineral water starting from your local tap water or, failing that, distilled/deionized water. Please try it and let me know what you think.

Babelcarp on Pleco You probably know that Babelcarp can be used to read Chinese text, but the Babelcarp web app knows only tea terms, so submitting a Chinese sentence or paragraph to the web app is frustrating. Probably most westerners with a serious interest in Chinese these days use the Pleco app on an iOS or Android mobile device to read Chinese. Now I have developed a Babelcarp-derived dictionary that works as an add-on to Pleco. That way, you can read Chinese text and see Babelcarp definitions for the tea terms and definitions from other corpuses for everything else. If this interests, you, you can download and install the Babelcarp Pleco dictionary gratis the same way you would obtain any other optional Pleco dictionary: see the Add-Ons menu; from there, you want Available / Dictionaries / All Free Dictionaries. But remember, the Pleco add-on is not updated nearly as often as the web application — it’s the latter that is authoritative.

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