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gsaines

Skritter: Online Character Practice, want feedback!

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roddy
finding the subscription funds became a necessity.

Sounds like you're mugging old ladies on pension day. Although I might come to that myself, the thought of going to bed without clearing my Skritter review queue brings me out in a cold sweat. And it's only gone and jumped up to 9 while I've been writing this.

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gsaines

Thanks for the kind words Roddy and Xianhua, it's always great to hear that people are enjoying the program. As someone working on the project full time, I always hear compliments and think "just wait until we have feature X," so while it's satisfying to hear that it's useful now, I guess I'm sort of waiting for the future, when it gets even better!

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roddy

Hurry up with Feature X then . . .:)

One thing I think might be worth considering is the way tones are tested. At the moment, taking 本来 as an example, it goes (test 本)(test tone of 本) (test 来)(test tone of 来). That's fair enough, but I find that the tone test breaks up the flow of writing the two characters. It would make more sense to me to go: (test 本)(test 来)(test tone of 本)(test tone of 来). And even betterer would be if you can do a double width pad for two-character words so we can do (test 本来)(test tone of 本)(test tone of 来). And ideally, could we do (test 本来)(test tone of 本来) where users have to chose between a bunch of two-tone patterns.

And I'll have a pony for Christmas, if you're not too busy.

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xianhua
Sounds like you're mugging old ladies on pension day.

You've been away too long Roddy. They now get it paid directly into their bank accounts. :wink:

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roddy

How's everyone getting on with the new practice app? I'm finding it a lot choppier than before - quite often misses strokes and the animations as the strokes snap into place are nowhere near as smooth. Makes it a lot harder to get into the zone and just pile through loads of characters like you used to be able to.

Is anyone else seeing this, or is it just me? I'm not running anything else processor-intensive, and certainly nothing I wasn't using alongside the original version. Will try different browsers next time - I've sometimes found Chrome works better for Flash stuff than Firefox, although I'm not sure if there's actually any truth in that.

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xianhua
I'm finding it a lot choppier than before - quite often misses strokes and the animations as the strokes snap into place are nowhere near as smooth. Makes it a lot harder to get into the zone and just pile through loads of characters like you used to be able to.

I agree, and as a result, my last session took longer than it would have done the day before. This could lessen my hanzi intake by a fair dosage over the next few months.

I found that even writing a 口 radical, took several attempts before it recognised it. It needs to be a bit more forgiving as before. I mean if I was to write a 口 on paper, I'd never get anything near a perfect square, but this is what it seems to demand now.

I read the guidance on why the guys made these changes, but why fix something if it isn't broken? Feature X needs to go back and consult with Plan B. Sorry guys.

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roddy

I just spent an hour with Skritter using Chrome, much better experience than yesterday - was able to get up to speed (and also noticed that once a character turns green you can just tap to proceed, rather than hitting the arrow - that speeded things up a little also). Was going to try Firefox again for comparison, but the page isn't loading properly.

I'd give Chrome a shot and see if that helps. But my issue wasn't so much with me drawing a stroke and the program saying 'nah, that's not right' - the whole app seemed to be choking and strokes wouldn't even appear, with the cursor seeming to jump around the field.

Just got it to load on Firefox - same as it was yesterday, often fails to pick up strokes.

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roddy

The Skritter folk talk a little about which browser is best to use here, but basically: Chrome. I'm now in the habit of starting Chrome up for Skritter.

Never noticed any problems with the old practice pad, but it became very apparent with the new one. Still, fairly easily fixed.

The Skritter novelty has worn off quite a bit now, but I'm still clearing my queue a couple of times a day. My two week trial is almost up, will likely invest in a subscription when that's done - otherwise justifying the writing tablet is going to be tricky :D

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pancake

I love Skritter (and am a paid subscriber as well)!

What I would like is for Skritter NOT to check on a stroke-by-stroke basis, the reason for this is that I occasionally find myself wildly guessing the first stroke, and then remembering how to write the character only after my initial guess is confirmed.

Since in "real life" no such confirmation is forthcoming, I find that my Skritter skills are less transferable to the classroom as a result. Basically, what I envisage is having to write the entire character, and then tapping a "Check" button (or something similar) to then find out if I got it correctly.

Any thoughts on this? Is it a stupid idea?

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pancake

As an addendum, I find that Safari on Mac works very well for Skritter, but that I have to use Witopia as the great firewall absolutely kills performance. Has anyone else noticed this?

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taylor04
The Skritter folk talk a little about which browser is best to use here, but basically: Chrome. I'm now in the habit of starting Chrome up for Skritter.

That was my post, and even with Chrome the new practice page is slow for me. For some reason, the old practice page is a bit faster, but it is certainly not their fault, my computer is a bit slow. I'm thinking of reformatting my computer, but I hate having to reinstall everything again

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gsaines

Sorry for such a long delay in getting back to this guys, I rely on my Google alerts and they have failed me!

Regarding the practice page load times, Chrome does do a better job of pre-caching everything, so the choppiness you describe tends to be minimal, however, I'm an ardent Firefox user and haven't noticed much in the way of performance problems on the new practice page recently.

Nick and I have spent several evenings trying to catch the bug that was causing choppiness in Firefox, and it boiled down to the fact that Jquery was generating all these mouse move event handlers that Firefox's trash cleanup was choking on. Nick uploaded a fix 4 days ago (on the 11th) that should have made it a lot better. Since then I haven't had any problems in Chrome or Firefox, but I'd be interested to know if it fixed the problems for others. I work on a pretty over-powered desktop, so I'm really not the average user.

The reason we switched was the new practice page actually has an entirely different Actionscript code base (hence the performance bugs that we haven't stamped out yet), which allows us to handle the definition and reading practice. The reading practice will probably be out in mid January and the definition practice is up now (although the design/layout is still wonky).

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roddy

Right, I'm sure the Skritter folk have got a to-do list as long as their collective arms, and most of this is probably on it, but I like to be heard, so:

I'd like to be able to separate tone and character testing sessions. Say I don't have my tablet with me - it'd be nice to just whizz through all the tone tests and leave the character ones sitting till later.

I'd like some session stats. 'Click to end session' button, which throws up a window telling me I've learned X characters, forgotten Y of them, etc.

More scheduling information. Show me how many reviews I'm going to have in 8 hours, 24 hours, etc, so I know what to expect.

Predictivity. If you continue learning at this pace you will finish list A in 5 days. That kind of thing.

Firefox is now usable, thanks.

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xianhua

Just seven more days of continual practise, and the hallowed Skritter T-shirt is mine. :D Anyone else in line for one?

T-shirts aside, I'm looking forward to seeing some of the proposed user-added mnemonics appearing on the character pages.

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roddy

Nah, I missed Christmas Day, and was away from my computer for the last few days, so I'm missing out. And thanks to the missed days I've also got a 1000+ item queue to look forward to. Yay.

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skritterdoug

I'm sure a lot of you have tried Skritter (where I work). For those of you who have still not heard of it, it's a site that focused on teaching written Chinese (Hanzi) with stroke-level feedback, audio playback, spaced repetition, definition practice, and several other features. What we would really like to know is:

Do you use Skritter, why or why not?

We want to figure out why some people come to the tool, maybe check it out, maybe even try it out but don't go on to use it regularly and subscribe. We'd also love to hear from those who do use it regularly to help us figure out if the challenges are more in what the service does (features) or figuring the service out (usability).

If you have not heard of it, the splash page (with a 1 min video) is at http://www.skritter.com and there is a demo at http://www.skritter.com/demo you can check out.

Thanks!

Doug, (doug ..at.. skritter.com)

Skritter.com, the Write way to learn Chinese.

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Janne

I use it but I really, really miss a feature to add your own definitions and/or comments to characters.

Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty please add this function. With sugar on top. (And if you liked Lucas Arts games in the 90's there's a good ol' quote to add as welll... :D )

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thekhanon

I'm not using it (yet) because I'm trying not to increase my monthly spending right now. I'm saving my 2 week trial for a time when I know I will be able to dedicate plenty of time to trying out the site. I want to make sure that I know whether or not it will help me in my studies prior to having to pay for it.

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Rockford

I used it for the two-week trial period last year, and I liked it. I don't use it any more because I can't justify paying that kind of money for the service. That's me, though; and if someone asked me, I would recommend Skritter.

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taylor04

If you have time to use Skritter, I would recommend it. People think if they use Skritter it will just teach them how to write characters, but it goes far beyond that. When I started learning Chinese, I was one of those foreigners who thought writing Chinese is useless (which I still do in some aspects). The most important thing I found about Skritter, or rather, learning to write in general, is my reading has gone from passive recognition to conscious recognition.

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