Chapter 1
Preparations: Selection of a Textbook and the Compilation of Free Programs

For your language studies, organize a textbook, a computer, and free, 100% free programs, including three central applications: A word-processor program, a sound recording program, and optionally a communication program for telex and PC telephony, or a user account with a service provider that offers both online.

Even with a slow Internet connection (56 kbit, modem), or even completely without internet connection, you can benefit from using a computer. Here you can send and receive sound files (read aloud texts) recorded at home from an Internet café, with a USB stick and by electronic mail, which is offered free of charge by numerous communication service providers. For sound recordings in standard quality and for PC telephony, built-in or separate webcams are completely sufficient, and headsets are available as an option.

Table of Contents Chapter 1

1.1 A Book as a central Learning Basis

A classic textbook with chapter episodes, i.e. with factual texts or stories that present vocabulary in the frame of reference of everyday life, is a good basis for learning and studying.

Start your search for a textbook, used or new. Are accompanying records or cassettes available? If not, ask your language learning partner if she could record the text in question as an audio file or on an audio cassette. Or you can look up the basic pronunciation in dictionaries with sound files, or read the phonetic transcription to the words in the IPA notation or in another phonetic alphabet, the use of which is described in the respective dictionaries.


The amount of freely accessible language knowledge in the Internet is enormous. As in every knowledge dis­ci­pline, however, structured introductions with exercises and solutions are best suited for the teaching and ac­qui­si­tion of a solid, well-founded language competence.

Older literature is also suitable. Erroneously, it is some­times assumed that what the background powers and their lying press praise as the latest and most modern cor­re­sponds to the most advanced state of de­vel­op­ment. But this is not always the case, neither in science and technology nor in language. For example, the natu­ral linguistic dynamics of the supraregional written German in the “FRG” (“BRD”) was deliberately and severely raped for political reasons. The German written language experienced a deformation and reduction of its expressiveness to an outrageous extent, by decision of the occupation power administration, which as always ignored the native people; in one federal state a ref­er­en­dum took place despite all repressive measures, the result of which was simply ignored.

The younger generations are usually unaware of the differences in expressiveness and often think in terms of

“outdated versus modern”, “flexible and progressive ver­sus inflexible”. However, the BRD-​End­pha­se-​Schrift-­deutsch, which is taught at schools and other institutions, is only a distorted subset of the naturally grown German. The natural written German is incomparably more pow­er­ful in its expressiveness than the occupation power written German. The motives of the language deformers are dealt with in an article that is in the making.

Passing a written language test may currently require knowledge of the highly politicized language regulations, so you may currently be forced to acquire a “politically correct” set of grammar and language rules. However, do not disdain language literature in naturally developed and expressive German or corresponding textbooks in the respective languages of other countries in which at times similar prescriptive language tendencies may prevail. The future permanence of such sets of rules is very likely, since they reflect the naturally developed and proven central written-language rules, the essential, more stable core that will presumably outlast the continuous, ever-changing linguistic dynamics.

1.1.1 Book Sources

As basic equipment you buy a text­book or a (grammar) set of rules and a dictionary in the lan­guage you aspire to. In the long run you will systematically expand your collection of language lit­era­ture.

If there is neither money nor Internet access and only an old or very old computer is available, you can still start with a rich supply of free teaching materials from the

Internet, including complete language courses, audio books and video films as well as comprehensive dictionaries. You can download these materials from an Internet café or other Internet-capable institution and save them, including a backup copy, on a data carrier (e.g. twice on a USB flash drive and on DVDs). If you don't have money for your own computer, look out for discarded devices: Specialized lightweight free operating systems transform old and very old computers into modern production platforms. Private Book Stocks and Antiquarian Bookshops, existing Language Courses on Audio Carriers

Search your private book collections and those of your family for language literature, books, records or cassettes. Many computers have analog audio inputs as standard, if not, you can buy USB audio interfaces for digitizing (vinyl) records and cassettes or specialized inexpensive players. Are there any old school books?

Go to antiquarian bookshops, local booksellers and via the Internet, e.g. to central directories of antiquarian books, or to Amazon or other Internet booksellers (WP-list “Category:Book selling websites”) and search, often there are very inexpensive offers. Used and new Books

In addition to antiquarian bookshops and mail-order bookstores, language literature can also be purchased through uni book sales in which older, discarded stocks are sold. Such events take place once or several times

a year. Discarded school books are another possibility. Inform yourself on site. Public Libraries

Public libraries are a good starting point for language literature. Some works can only be used as attendance literature that cannot be borrowed, but in most cases several language courses with sound carriers are offered for borrowing. Find out about discarded books, which are often sold very cheaply. Academic Libraries

Many academic libraries also offer access to and use of the book stock to the general public. Inform yourself about the possibilities. Cultural and Language Institutes: Meeting Points and Language Meeting Places

Cultural institutes are another possibility to borrow books, sound carriers and video films, for example the Carl-Schurz-Haus and the Institut Français. Such institutions also offer language courses, give lectures and organise discussion meetings where language can be practised, usually with the participation of several native speakers.

Take a look at the articles: “Cat­ego­ry:International cultural or­gani­za­tions” • “Cat­ego­ry:​Cultural promotion or­gani­za­tions” • “Cat­ego­ry:Lan­guage advocacy or­gani­za­tions” • “Cat­ego­ry:Lan­guage education or­gani­za­tions” • “Lan­guage education” • “Cat­ego­ry:​Lan­guage education”.

1.1.2 Books that combine several Books

In addition to the dictionary and grammar rules, some works combine numerous other themes from everyday life. They are offered in different versions and by different publishers.

An example of such a standard work is “The New International Webster's Comprehensive Dictionary of the English Language[,] Encyclopedic Edition[,] 2003 Edition,” which contains over 2000 pages.

1.2 Learning a Language with a Computer, even without Internet Access

If you do not have your own network access, download all programs and materials from

Internet cafés (or from acquaintances) and save them on data carriers; make a list for this purpose.

1.3 Even old Computers are very well suited

You only own an old or very old computer? Then use specialized, free lightweight operating system dis­tri­bu-

tions. Read the introductory article “Modern operating systems for old computers”.

1.4 The sovereign Use of the Keyboard

Use the opportunity to write with 10 fingers, learn the ten-finger system. This results in several advantages:

A big time saver, since you write down your thoughts in words blindly and directly, immediately, work on texts with highest efficiency and productiveness

No more distractions by unnecessary glances at the keyboard, continuous reading of telex dialogs on the screen, fast reaction times, calling of program functions by key combinations instead of time-consuming mouse clicks.

If necessary, you will also learn the original keyboard

layout and the ten-finger system for an additional language of your choice. Example: The keyboard layout(s) for French or the layout for German or the Russian PC keyboard(s) in Cyrillic. You can switch the keyboard layout in a flash by pressing a key combination or clicking the mouse. Newly learned words and phrases are written down several times in the ten-finger system of the original keyboard layout, in a word processing file, for the purpose of memorization. This also ensures immediate, fast written communication with language learning partners during direct written communication (telex dialogues, chatting).

1.4.1 Free Software for learning the Ten-Finger System, Teaching Articles

People of all professions write in the ten-finger system, for significant time savings and increased responsiveness, and for maximum concentration on content. Your attractiveness as a language learning partner is simply greater if you can answer your language tandem partner directly in writing in telex dialogues.

In the WP article “Touch typing”, various aspects are explained and in the German article ver­sion a com­pre-

hen­sive list of free software for the touch system and online help is referred to. Among the free programs, the free cross-platform writing trainer TIPP10 [English website version] (German WP-article) stands out. It offers a sophisticated, interactive and self-adaptive writing course.

In the Internet, countless information is available free of charge and directly. Examples: Google search for “touch system typing”, Google video search for “touch system”.

1.4.2 Language and Keyboard Layout

Acquire the ten-finger system not only for your mother tongue, but also for the other language you wish to acquire. There are usually several (country-specific) keyboard layout variants available for each language. The English Wikipedia article “Keyboard layout” offers a very comprehensive overview. The article itself is offered in different languages (menu on the left), other Versions may not be as comprehensive as the English original. The article contains numerous hyperlinks referring to national and country-specific Keyobard information; These subarticles can provide you with a lot of information, also in languages other than English. Always look (in each [sub] article, cat­ego­ry, etc.) on the left for other language versions.

Modern operating systems support all common world­wide assignments. Switching is done either by mouse click or via a self-defined key combination (short­cut).

The following procedure is recommended for learning the keyboard layout of your target language:

Find the corresponding information in the WP-article “Keyboard layout” (or in one of its other language ver­sions)

Example for German, French, and Russian: German: Jump to the section “QWERTZ”, from there follow the link “Main article: QWERTZ” (German article version: “QWERTZ-Tastaturbelegung”). The section “Austria and Germany” contains the hyperlink “Main article: German keyboard lay­out”. This article, “German keyboard lay­out”, provides comprehensive country-specific in­for­ma­tion (German article version “Tastaturbelegung”). Now click on the keyboard shown there, whereupon the WP page German keyboard layout "T1" according to DIN 2137-1:2012-06 appears. Press “More details” at the bottom right, which will take you to the File:KB Germany.svg. French: Go to the “AZERTY” section and select “Main article: AZERTY”. In this article (French ver­sion: “AZERTY”) you will find the relevant in­for­ma­tion. In the “French” section, click on the keyboard shown there, whereupon the WP page “AZERTY layout used in France” appears. Press “More details”, at the bottom right to go to the Wikimedia Commons page „File:KB France.svg“. Russian: In the Cyrillic section “6.4.2 Russian”, several keyboard layouts for Russian are shown. The separate article “JCUKEN” provides more information about the Russian standard keyboard layout.

Now click on the keyboard shown there, whereupon the WP page “ЙЦУКЕН key­board la­yout” appears. Press “More details” at the bottom right, which will take you to the Wikimedia Commons page „File:KB Russian.svg“.

There are now two ways to print the keyboard: You click on the original-SVG-​vector graphic file (German: “original file”, French: “Original file”, Russian: “Ori­gi­nal file”) and it opens in your web browser. Afterwards, go to the print preview in the browser menu: “Print” → “Print pre­view”. Now select “Landscape” for the orientation and then click on “Print”. Alternatively, you can also use a precalculated PNG-​file (different resolutions) for prin­ting. The table with the PNG versions is located under the respective SVG file.

As long as you have not yet mastered the keyboard layout of your target language, pro­ceed as follows: 1. Print the keyboard. 2. Stick it on a firm cardboard base that you can cut or fold. 3. Attach the keyboard to your workplace so that it is always in your field of vision, or make a stand-up display.

To learn new (chapter episode) words, open a word processing file. Write down each new word to be learned in the ten-finger system, at least over several lines. Pro­ceed word by word, paragraph by paragraph. Writing down entire texts is also useful for memorizing them.

Use the numerous instructions on the Internet to select the appropriate keyboard layout. For example, use the search query Russian keyboard or generally the search com­bi­na­tion [target language] keyboard layout [op­er­at­ing system]. Keyboard layout graphics can also be found directly via the image search, for example via the Google image search for Russian keyboard, or for Russian keyboard layout.

Your language learning partner will be amazed if suddenly you can write just as fast or even faster than them. In the physical world, language is the key to the culture of peo­ples and to the hearts of your people. Read the com­pre­hen­sive article on free, powerful online and offline dic­tion­aries, language learning and translation projects: Freely accessible Language Resources: Dictionaries, Machine Translation, Language Courses.

Seriously striving to speak the national language of a local people involves a fundamental respect. The local people will be aware of this and, no matter how advanced your language skills are, you will be met with a correspondingly open-minded attitude.

1.4.3 Your National Keyboard Layout and the US-American PC-Keyboard-Layout, EFI and BIOS

Take a look at the English WP-​article “Keyboard lay­out”, whi­ch contains de­tailed information about your national key­board lay­out as well as hyperlinks to further articles about each individual keyboard character; WP-SVG graphics are also offered, e.g. on the the German PC-keyboard-layout. On the left side of the “Keyboard layout”-article, you can look up the language version that contains the relevant information for your national

keyboard version. Keyboard lay­out and EFI: In rare cases the EFI and possibly also the predecessor system BIOS or another program require an input with US-American keyboard mapping. Confirmations with “Y” (for “Yes”) and the reconstruction of already set system passwords can only be made if the US mapping is known. It is therefore essential that you file a printout of the US keyboard layout in your physical computer folder (WP-article on the US-keyboard layout, overview on the WP graphic file versions [various resolutions]).

1.4.4 Mechanical Keyboards

Frequent writers, authors and programmers prefer mechanical keyboards, for example the timeless, world famous Cherry G80-3000 LSCDE-2 (black version). There are worlds between PC foil circuit board keyboards and the right ones, the so-called mechanical keyboards, both in terms of writing comfort and touch precision, as well as in terms of consistent writing quality, robustness and durability of the keyboard.

Two articles about this keyboard class and its different types: “Benefits of a Mechanical Keyboard for Writers” • “Best Mechanical Keyboards For Typing – 2018 Edition”.

1.5 Free Software for your Language Studies

Free Software strengthens the independence of the in­di­vid­ual and the nation. Its permanent availability free of charge and its customization possibilities promote widespread education and enable the effective use of older computer systems. Learn more about the essential

aspects. Main article: “Introduction to Free Software and Operating Systems” (terms and technical matters).

Inform yourself about “vocabulary trainer” and about “screen photo programs”.

1.6 Word Processors

Typesetting programs offer an extremely wide range of design options, the effective use of which requires a longer familiarization period. Long-term stable free soft­ware proves to be advantageous here, since changes to operating and functional concepts occur within the frame­work of natural development, in contrast to pro­pri­etary software, in which a continuous purchase of new products and operating manuals is often artificially forced. (Op­er­at­ing system) platform independence as well as the mastering of a truly open document format suit­able for archiving are further central criteria, in par­ticu­lar for the use in heterogeneous company computer networks and in the administration area.

High-quality typesetting is even possible with old and very old computers thanks to specialized lightweight free op­er­at­ing systems and software.

This overview article introduces you to widely used, free type­set­ting systems and basic document types. Extensive link lists lead to further, also powerful free program al­ter­na­tives.

To ensure the technical and content integrity of your docu­ment, it is advisable to be familiar with the practical ap­pli­ca­tion of cryptographic checksums (electronic fin­ger­prints). Use freely accessible language resources. Keep your readers up to date on news about your article or book with RSS news tickers.

1.6.1 Universal Word Processing with LibreOffice
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With a powerful range of functions and a worldwide user resp. support community, or­gan­ized in the Do­cu­ment Foun­dation (WP article), including states and according to a (German) Heise message also the company Intel, LibreOffice offers all the pre­requi­sites to meet professional requirements. Even DTP func­tions are possible. For details see the “LibreOffice Writ­er Features” page.

LibreOffice's user interface is available in dozens of lan­guages and dialects, to a comparable extent as the free software Abiword (WP article) supports languages (list of Abiword user interface languages).

Further information on the Open Document Format and on free word processing programs: “Open​Docu­ment Format Alliance”, “What is Open­Do­cu­ment?”, “Open­Do­cu­ment facts”, “We Can Put an End to Word At­tach­ments”, “Catego­ry:Free word pro­ces­sors”.

LibreOffice is subject to ongoing maintenance, further de­vel­op­ment and functional expansion, including op­er­at­ing concepts. Software and operating concept changes, however, take place on a natural development basis; in contrast to artificial, forced changes to pro­grams and formats of some other manufacturers, for the purpose of the forced continuous purchase of new programs and operating manuals, whereby a part of the acquired knowledge becomes unnecessarily obsolete prematurely.

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Countless reader-friendly and appealingly designed books prove that nowadays you can also create high-quality, professional books with word processing programs. How­ever, the use of some type­set­ting subtleties is reserved for spe­cial­ized typesetting and DTP software such as LyX and Scri­bus.

The training in LibreOffice is a valuable investment that pays off in the long term and is recommended to pupils, trainees, students, merchants, scientists, civil servants and people from all professional and interest groups. Libre​Office, with its many DTP functions, is also a powerful tool for book authors to implement their works.

Find out more about other free alternatives, for example the office application Cal­ligra Suite with its word processor “Words”, or about Abi­word (WP-​article): Official site • AbiWord High­lights • AbiWord Plugins (detailed page) • AbiWord: Reviews.

For the written learning of your target language, you create a sample template document in which the choice of dic­tion­ary, hyphenation and other country-specific pe­cu­li­ar­ities have already been taken into account. You then create working copies of this document.

Libre­Office Writer Documentation and Help Pages

Background information on the history of OpenOffice and the differences to can be found in the official questions- and answers section. The help pages for LibreOffice Writer contain extensive information; use the search function in the upper bar. “Getting Support” de­scribes the possibilities of direct help by contact persons (mailing lists, forum).

The section “Get Help” is a starting point to get general overviews and information about the use of LibreOffice in various areas of application. The official documentation contains the “Libre Office Writer Guide”.

A list of free extensions for Libre­Office and for Open­Office informs about functional extensions. Search: LibreOffice Writer introduction • video search: LibreOffice introduction

1.7 Electronic Mail (E-Mail)
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To find a lan­guage learning partner via the Internet and exchange lan­guage files, the following pre­para­tory steps are required:

1. Setting up an e-mail account

2. Familiarization with the basic func­tions of a sound recording pro­gram, the supplied on-board programs are completely suf­fi­cient and usually the easiest to use (see section 1.9).

3. Try out the chat function of your e-mail service pro­vid­er or another provider for direct written communication (you can even chat directly via online services without reg­is­tering), although the immediate exchange of e-mail messages is already similar to direct communication.

4. Optional: Try out PC telephony

Set up an e-mail account or use an existing one. Back up the files sent to you by your language learning partner regu­larly, e.g. on a USB flash drive. Read the WP over­view table “Comparison of webmail providers” as well as the respective articles about the individual service pro­vid­ers, especially the respective critique categories.

Some e-mail service providers offer the possibility to use telex and PC telephony web-based, for example Micro­soft's webmail service

Get overviews: Cat­ego­ry:​Instant messaging clients, Cat­ego­ry:​macOS instant messaging clients, Instant mes­sag­ing.

1.8 Audio and Video Devices for Voice Recording and PC-Telephony

Text recordings in standard quality can be created easily and with on-board tools.

Use of built-in (camera) microphones: Most com­put­ers (or monitors) have a built-in webcam or micro­phone, the sound quality of which is usually sufficient for re­cord­ing texts and speech dialogues. When writing messages on laptops, dull noises may occur, depending on the pro­cess­ing quality. The system settings of your op­er­at­ing system can be used to look up the connected audio devices; built-in microphones in computers are some­times so inconspicuous, so “invisible” that you only learn of their presence through the sound settings menu.

External webcam: Today's webcams (camera-micro­phone combination) have an amazing sound sensitivity. This means that even softly spoken or whispered text is captured excellently and you can talk naturally and qui­et­ly, leaning back on the chair or even at a distance from the computer workstation, e.g. on an armchair. In­form yourself on site in the trade and keep an eye out for product reviews (Youtube etc.) as well as

for experience reports from users (example search term combination: [product model] experience report, [product model] test).

Use of a headset: Classic headsets offer two advantages: they ensure a constant micro­phone distance when speak­ing (less relevant nowadays, since the very good sound quality of webcams), and they help to avoid acoustic feed­back, which can be particularly beneficial in video con­fer­enc­ing.

Simple PC-micro­phones: In addition to mid-range and high-end microphones, the trade also offers very simple floor-standing micro­phones for voice communication on the PC, with USB connection.

Use of classic headphones and a simple microphone: Existing analog headphones and microphones can be connected to the computer via appropriate connectors (or adapters) as standard. If not already present, look out for a simple table microphone stand to ensure a consistent distance when speaking.

Via your operating system, you determine which devices you use for sound input and output.

1.9 Audio Programs for Voice Recording and Playback,
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A software audio recorder (audio editor) can be used to create sound files; spoken texts are entered via (camera) microphones built into the computer or monitor, via a headset, or via a separate microphone.

For the creation of sound files, the standard on-board equipment is completely sufficient, the menus and buttons of built-in sound recorders are kept minimalistic. The installation of further programs is unnecessary in most cases. Depending on the operating system ver­sion, newer voice recorders have to be reloaded first, but they are usually offered free of charge.

Information on MS-Windows: “How to use Voice Re­cord­er • Voice Re­cord­er (Windows)” • “How to Record Your Voice on a Windows Computer” MacOS in­for­ma­tion: “Voice Memos User Guide” Distributions for Unix/​BSD or GNU/Linux usually also install sound recorders by default, otherwise they can be installed via package manager.

The free, cross-platform audio recorder Audacity (WP-article) is also very suitable for creating sound recordings as part of a language tandem, for example for recording reference texts and for reading out learning materials for the language partner, or for creating sound letters (as an e-mail attachment).

More free audio recorders: Ca­te­go­ry:Free audio editors • KWave (screenshots).

Read or skim through: WP-​article “Audacity (audio editor)” • “Category:Free audio software” • “Com­pari­son of free soft­ware for audio”

The free program VLC media play­er is recommended for playing sound files and video films. Other free media play­ers: “Category:Free media play­er”.

1.10 Video Software, Audio-Letters and Video-Letters

Texts can also be read aloud in video films, video letters enable com­pre­hen­sive explanations and presentations. The recording function of webcams can be used via supplied software, com­mu­ni­ca­tion programs or video editing pro­grams, so-called video editors.

Sound and video files can either be sent by email, or they can be uploaded to file servers and kept ready for download. Audio letters are much smaller than video letters. If you use a sound editing program such as Audacity, you can also access your webcam's micro­phone only, using it isolated from the video camera fea­ture.

Another option would be to record all your recordings on a classic compact cas­sette recorder and then digitize that cas­sette recording to a sound file using a converter.

Free video editing programs are available for post-pro­cessing. The free OpenShot editor, which is available for all platforms, is easy to use and clearly laid out, and the ba­sic func­tions can be quickly learned. The program Pitivi, available for GNU/Linux, is comparably simple.

For very comprehensive projects among others the cross-platform Kdenlive is recommended. Get overviews of free video software: Ca­te­go­ry:Free video soft­ware

1.10.1 File too big to send by e-mail? Use free file hosting services!

If files become too large, too impractical to be sent via email (due to file size restrictions at the sender or recipient), you can use browser-based file hosting services such as We​ Such a service allows you to temporarily upload one or more files to a server that keeps them ready for download by the recipient. These services are available in a free and a paid version, the latter usually offering additional functions. For an introduction, read the English Wikipedia article “we transfer”.

Translated excerpt from the introduction of the German WP-article version, as of November 01, 2019: “WeTransfer [...] is a file hosting service introduced in 2009. The primary purpose of WeTransfer is not to per­ma­nent­ly store and share files with others, as com­peting ser­vices offer, but only to send large files to one or more recipients (i.e. to store them on the server

at short notice for the purpose of early downloading by the recipients).

A special feature is that you do not have to register to use the service. All you need to do is to provide your own e-mail address and that of the recipient. According to the operators, files are deleted from the server one week after uploading, one file must not exceed 2 gigabytes in size and the number of recipients must not exceed 20. WeTransfer announced that in November 2013 two million people per day had used the service to transfer files. Since 2018, the number of recipients has been limited to 3. Up to 50 recipients can be registered with WeTransfer Plus, which is subject to a fee [...].”

If you want to send many single files at once, you can combine several files to one single one, for a simpler handling, over so-called file archiver software (data compression), as for example the free 7-Zip.

1.11 Communication Software and Networks
1.11.1 Teletype, PC-Telephony, and Video Telephony

Worldwide exchange with fondly loved people, strengthening of the personal language competence completely without travel budget – PC-telephony sets communication standards and accelerates immeasurably the development of the personal language potential, to 100 % free of charge, computer and broadband connection presupposed.

E-mail, telex, Internet and video telephony provide optimal preconditions for learning a language:

  • PC-telephony offers a far greater frequency range than classical telephony
  • Increased memorability of new words learned in conversation, through combination with telex dialogues
  • Viewing and discussing text documents and websites together
  • No more dependency on locally available native speakers for a language tandem; assuming a flat rate, unlimited round-the-clock calls can be made worldwide free of charge, including overseas calls.

1.11.2 Service Providers

Look for a suitable service provider. Familiarize yourself with basic terms, read the WP articles “Online chat” and “Etiquette in technology”. Some programs, for example “Coccinella (software)”, contain a so-called whiteboard functionality, a window visible to both conversation partners in which you can write, draw, etc.

Chat and PC-​telephony services can be used either via Internet sites (online, web-based) or via an independent program, some service providers offer both options. Some online chat services can be used directly without creating a user account.

Inform yourself about popular service providers, e.g: “Skype”, “Discord (software)”, “Google Hangouts”.

Read or overfly: “Cat­ego­ry:​Online chat” • “Cat­ego­ry:​Free instant messaging clients” • “Ca­tego­ry:​Internet Re­lay Chat clients” • “Cat­ego­ry:​Free Internet Relay Chat cli­ents”

“XMPP” • “Comparison of instant messaging clients” • “Cat­ego­ry:​Chat websites” • “List of chat websites” • “Instant Messaging” • “Psi (Instant Messenger)” • “Voice over IP” • “Comparison of VoIP software”

The software “Skype” has been under criticism in the past (since 2003), especially because of the Supernode prob­lem. Explanations can be found in “The Dark Side of the Skype-Hype” (German article, 2006) and in “Under­stand­ing Today's Skype Outage: Explaining Supernodes” (2010). However, according to the article “Skype ditched peer-to-peer supernodes for scalability, not surveillance” (2013), technical changes have been made in the mean­time.

A very good alternative to the proprietary telex and Inter­net telephony services is the powerful, open standard XMPP.

1.12 Web Browsers
Web Software, Saving and Playing Internet Videos

Firefox is one of the most powerful web browsers for the internet, it can be easily adapted to your own needs, especially via so-called “Add-Ons” “Plug-in (com­put­ing)”, which allow a comprehensive modular functional ex­ten­sion. Before using Firefox for the first time, de­ac­ti­vate the “network.prefetch-next” function (“Link pre­fetching”). Read the introductory (sub)articles “Pre­fetching” and “How to Enable or Disable 'Pre­fetch' in Google Chrome”. Less severe but also important is the knowl­edge about referrers.

For users of unix-like operating systems, it is also worth taking a look at the GNU IceCat derivative (WP article) [official page].

Here is a selection of extremely useful Firefox extensions, several thousand are offered under

Video DownloadHelper (Freeware) Never before have personal training opportunities been as comprehensive and far-reaching as they have been since the intro­duc­tion of the Internet, 100% free of charge, assuming computers and a broadband connection. Internet video films play a central role in this: lectures, educational films, documentaries and entertainment films can be called up millions of times in many languages free of charge, with hundreds of video portals, e.g. on Youtube, in feature length or multi-part in shorter units. However, most videos can only be viewed and not saved. Thanks to the Firefox extension Video DownloadHelper, videos, audio documents and other document types can be permanently saved and archived for private use.

xVideoServiceThief offers itself as a free, platform-independent program alternative.

Recommended starting point for searching for videos: 1. Go to a search engine, such as, which will take you to the much more comprehensive and less censored U.S. search index; it is the superset and also contains search indexes in other languages.

This means, for example, that you are not redirected to the highly censored German search engine catalog (ncr = “no country redirect”). Official Google information on this in English.

2. enter your film title or your search terms.

3. press in the left navigation bar on “Videos” to display video search results.

SeaMonkey combines a web browser, an e-mail program, an address book and other functions in one single application. The project is hosted at Mozilla, most Firefox and Thunderbird add-ons are also available for SeaMonkey, including privacy add-ons. “Community and Support”, “Documentation and Help”.

Read or skim the relevant WP overviews on free web page readers, there are many of them, even lightweight ones for old and very old computers: “Ca­te­go­ry:Free web browsers”.

The VLC media player is recommended for playing downloaded video films and sound files. It plays numerous media formats and is available across platforms.

The PDF format (Portable Document Format) is one of the most widely used document formats. Some web page readers contain built-in PDF viewers, but do not always display the PDF documents correctly. Regardless of this, a separate PDF viewer is always recommended. In addition to the free but proprietary original Adobe Acrobat (freeware), there is a series of comprehensive-free PDF viewers.

Some browsers contain a built-in screen­shot functionality that even allows you to capture complete HTML pages as an image (Fire­fox+​screenshot, Chrome+​screenshot). Beside the respective operating system screenshoot function also spe­cial­ized free programs can be used. Get overviews: Category:Screenshot software.

Screen recorder: For video recording of all activities on the screen, including filming videos etc. in picture and sound, the free software OBS ( is particularly recommended, WP article on OBS.

1.13 Navigation in a Complete Target Language Environment

On the operating system level (desktop interface), you can set or select your computer as well as all your application programs so that all menus are displayed in your desired target language, provided that the re­spec­tive language is supported.

Optionally, you can create a separate user account in which you can set up, select and install the desktop interface and the respective program versions according to your desired language. This allows you to move around

your computer workstation/screen workstation as much as possible in a complete target language environment.

With web browser programs the language identification of the browser can have an influence on the delivered con­tents: Some Internet pages, for example search engine providers, dealers, and other service providers offer their web pages in different language versions, they orient themselves among other things at the language code of your web browser.

1.14 News Ticker Reading Software for News on Websites: Introduction to RSS
     original image source:,

Internet sites inform their readers on request about new news and contributions. In addition to the classic e-mail newsletter (newsletter, mailing list), RSS news tickers are also very popular. These inform you either about all new contributions, or purposefully only about individual subject areas, articles (as well as uploaded video films, sound files etc.), or about new reader comments, entirely after your choice.

Read the introduction to RSS in the appendix chapter for an overview.

As of: March 19, 2023

Copyright and translation rights 2008–2022 by Peter Jockisch,

All listed brand names, trademarks and work titles are the property of their respective owners
For this translated chapter version DeepL ( was used extensively.

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A majority of the images come from the “Oxy­gen”- and from the “Cry­stal Pro­ject” and is avail­a­ble at “Wi­ki­me­dia Com­mons”. Overviews:
“Ca­te­go­ry:Cry­stal Pro­ject” • “Ca­te­go­ry:KDE icons” • “Tan­go icons” • “Ca­te­go­ry:GNOME Desk­top icons” • “Ca­te­go­ry:Icons”

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