SD is the first stage of DAF – Deutsch als Fremdsprache (German as a foreign language).

SD stands for Start Deutsch and is the first level of learning German and is split into A1 and A2 levels.  To take the course students should be at least 16 years old.

At the end of the course students should be able to understand simple sentences and talk about themselves for about 3 minutes.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

(Press the “play” button to listen to the podcast)

Download the MP3 file | Subscribe to the podcast

Blu-ray v HD-DVD – just another format battle?

Today’s news shocked me at first: Toshiba has effectively conceded defeat for the HD-DVD format and Blu-ray is the winner.

It was a battle that, although it had interested me, was not one that I was going to let affect me. I am currently quite happy with the DVD standard for video and data, and although it’s interesting to see where the technology is going, I already see enough problems with the DVD subformats to worry too much about any new ones.

That said, I am worried that in the not too distant future, we will not be able to read the DVDs that we write today.

When I got married I archived all of the digital pictures on a CD and gave copies of this CD to our relatives. One of my friends asked me if I was sure that I would always be able to read them. At the time I thought that the CD format was pretty much standardised, and the pictures were in JPEG format – something that I couldn’t see dying out too quickly.

And yet now I find myself really wondering if I will be able to read the CDs in 10 or 20 years time. What will come after Blu-ray? Will the drives read the ‘old’ CDs? Or will reading a CD then become like reading a disc today.

Actually I still use 3.5″ discs as one bank that I deal with accepts DTA files on them. I also use one when I want to print flyers at the local copyshop.

So currently I find myself using 3.5″ discs, CDs and DVDs for my data, not to mention my USB stick and the SD card in my PDA and the MMC card in my mobile phone.

Is Blu-ray going to be just another format to add to the list?

I remember the VHS/Betamax time at the beginning of the 1980s – the current discussion has often been compared to this. At home we had VHS, at school Betamax. At least one person I knew had betamax at home, but everyone else had VHS – and eventually my school changed as well. Whatever happened to those betamax recorders?

The fact is, that I still use VHS cassettes. Yes, I can record a DVD instead, but when I want to play it somewhere else there are always compatibility questions: is it +R, -R, +RW, or -RW? Has the last session been closed? These two simple questions determine whether or not I can watch my recording on other equipment. VHS does not, normally, have this problem (although I did once have an SVHS recorder…)

Will Blu-ray bring the compatibility that VHS once did?

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