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skishore

Inkstone: my free, open-source Chinese writing app

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abhoriel

I purchased the app on Google Play, it seems awesome! Thanks!

One feature that would be quite nice would be to be able to start writing the current character again from scratch (ie. clear any strokes so far)

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furiop

> I purchased the app on Google Play

me too, like a little contribution

 

> One feature that would be quite nice would be to be able to start writing the current character again from scratch (ie. clear any strokes so far)

I agee with you, I hope it will possible to repeat writing a character more and more, as a writing exercice in characters sheets.

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skishore

It sounds like there are a couple things you might want to do for a given word that aren't currently possible:

  • Clear the canvas. Should that start the current character over, or the whole word?
  • Blacklist the word. It'll never appear when blacklisted, and can be re-added from a settings page.
  • Add the word to a list of "starred words" that you can focus on? I'm not fully sure how this feature would work, but it sounds similar to the blacklist.

I think these options could fit in a menu where the dictionary hat icon currently is, in the upper-right hand corner. Tapping on the definition would still be a shortcut to open the dictionary. What do you think? I can probably get the first two of those working without much trouble.

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艾墨本

@skishore Clear canvas for just the character. It'd be easy enough to repeat clicking to clear even a four character idiom (should that ever happen).

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furiop
7 hours ago, skishore said:
  • Clear the canvas. Should that start the current character over, or the whole word?
  • Blacklist the word. It'll never appear when blacklisted, and can be re-added from a settings page.
  • Add the word to a list of "starred words" that you can focus on? I'm not fully sure how this feature would work, but it sounds similar to the blacklist.

Oh yes! Restart writing the same character like in paper based exercices...

Starred words: yes, creating a temporary subset of a working file until all the characters of the file will be ok.

...

Is it possible to select "avoid scheduling" in menu (all words of the file will be presented in a never ending way...)? For little files that can be useful.

 

Thank you very very much!

Furio

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Napkat

Bought the app three days ago, and thus far I'm loving it. Thanks (from both me and my wallet) for a wonderful alternative to Skritter!

 

Niggles/suggested improvements are as follows (I'll update this over time):

 

  • When writing characters, sometimes it'll mistake my intended stroke for something else. As this then messes up my 'stroke order' a little, it typically leads to failing a character. This is common when writing radicals/characters that have dots close together, such as the top half of 爱 and the top half of 亲.
  • It would be nice to view stats of how well I'm performing (retention rates, etc).
  • At the moment, if you fail a word, you have no choice but to move on to the next one. The ability to 'clear' the writing pad of the failed word and re-attempt to write it (for practice's sake rather than for scoring a somewhat unjust higher grade) would be nice.

 

Thanks again! I'm now using Inkstone as part of my daily routine. :)

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DanielG
On 27.3.2017 at 4:40 AM, skishore said:

As for suggestion #1, I like it, but where in the UI do you think a back button would fit best? Top-left is currently the "Home" button.

 

My instinctual impulse is to swipe left on the definition above the character.  Whether this is a good UI decision, I can't say...

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skishore

Version 0.1.2 is now out with "backup/restore" functionality. In addition to keeping your data safe, these backups can also be used to migrate data between phones, too (although it's not a full sync feature for studying on multiple phones). I was considering removing the backup option and just creating a daily backup by default, and may do so in the future.

 

Any custom lists you've added are included in the backup as well. Let me know if you run into any issues!

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Ken29

I actually don't find the app very useful without an easy way to import custom list or book list from Quizlet and other apps. Use "V" for "U" and stuff like that is to cumbersome even if it's free. 

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furiop
On 5/4/2017 at 3:26 PM, furiop said:

Oh yes! Restart writing the same character like in paper based exercices...

Starred words: yes, creating a temporary subset of a working file until all the characters of the file will be ok.

Is it possible to select "avoid scheduling" in menu (all words of the file will be presented in a never ending way...)? For little files that can be useful.

 

In my practice, if possible, I need:

1) after a wrong character (also a right one) to have the possibility to clear the page and rewrite the same character (a little left arrow near the cap in the upper right part can be useful)

2) to have the possibility to choose a subset of a file (like in Quizlet or others environments that mark with a star a subset to use for study): that means that I can look at the file in some way and mark only some words. It looks like a manual scheduling.

 

Only some suggestions for the next version... ;-)

Bye

Furio

 

 

inkst01.jpg

stars.jpg

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skishore

Thanks for the input! I'm investigating a couple of features to add next, based on feasibility: tone flashcards, starring / redoing words, and sounds.

 

In the meantime, though, I recently got an iOS device and was able to get Inkstone to work on it! Unfortunately, I don't think there's an easy way to sideload iOS apps. As a result, I can't just put it up for download. (If you know of a way to sideload apps, please tell me. I think it requires rooting the phone) Now, I'm using a free Apple account to test things on my phone, but it would cost $99/year to get a full account and add Inkstone to the iOS App Store. If there's interest in an iOS version, I'd be happy to go ahead with that - after all, that's why there's a paid version of the Android app =)

 

So I wonder, how many of you have Apple devices, and would you find an iOS version of Inkstone useful?

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imron

At $5, you'd need 20 people to pay for it per year to make that money back.  And you could for example have a limited trial version that was free, with an in-app-purchase for $5 that unlocked full functionality.

 

That seems quite reasonable considering Skritter charges triple that per month and I'm guessing has more than 20 users.

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furiop
2 hours ago, skishore said:

Now, I'm using a free Apple account to test things on my phone, but it would cost $99/year to get a full account 

There are fund raising sites also for little amounts, look at

https://www.kickstarter.com/discover/categories/technology/apps?ref=discovery_overlay

for example: in general contributors can have a free copy of the app or other benefits.

It worked for Outlier linguistics (https://www.outlier-linguistics.com/ now distributed by Pleco indeed...).

 

Only a suggestion, but you can talk with other people that used that platform: your work is genial, so I think that other people can be interested in helping you.

 

fp

 

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mikelove

iOS sideloading is doable, actually, but requires a Mac - if you post a pre-configured Xcode project, a user can pretty easily download Xcode from the Mac App Store and use it to open / build the project and upload it to their phone. Apple frowns on this, but as long as you're not also distributing apps officially through them there's not really a whole lot they can do about it.

 

Also, slight correction to @imron's math: since Apple takes a 30% commission, you'd need 29 people to pay $5 for it to get back your $99. Or you could raise that money through a Kickstarter or some such (note that they also charge commissions) and then release the app to everyone for free.

 

(also, in-app purchasing takes quite a bit of work to do well, especially when you factor in the support costs of people losing access to their Apple IDs, random Apple server borkings, jailbroken iPhones generating fake receipts, etc - if you don't want to spend a lot of time fighting with all of that a paid app will likely be much easier)

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imron
1 hour ago, mikelove said:

Also, slight correction to @imron's math: since Apple takes a 30% commission, you'd need 29 people to pay $5 for it to get back your $99

Correct, that completely slipped my mind thanks.  I'm pretty sure more than 29 people would be interested in paying for this.

 

The most annoying thing about the iOS developer program is not the $99, but rather you have to send a fax (!) as part of the application (or at least you did several years ago).  It was total pain to sort out, but eventually I found a site that did free faxing of PDF files to US fax numbers (hooray).

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wibr

From my limited appstore experience, I am fairly confident that Inkstone could make at least 99$ in a year, so just go for it!

 

@imron I didn't have to send a fax. Although there is some confusing tax stuff in the application.

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imron
43 minutes ago, wibr said:

@imron I didn't have to send a fax.

Maybe they finally got around to updating their technology.  I left some pretty strong feedback with them when they called to make the final verification of my application.  It seemed stupid to me that they would accept me sending a PDF of scanned documents to some random internet company that would then fax a copy of that PDF to Apple, but that Apple wouldn't accept the scanned documents themselves.

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IronMandarin

Hello, I've been using your app for a while, and was very happy with it, it's nice and efficient, and my writing has improved a lot :)

 

However there are a few small problems that make the daily use a bit annoying after some time.

First, we can't ignore a word. Unless I make custom list, I don't have an option to simply ignore one character. Considering how the HSK levels reuse many of the charaters, I end up typing the same character several times per day, even if I know it, just as part of other words. It increases the overall daily necessary time and an ignore button could be very handy.

 

Second, I try sometimes to type fast, but the recognition sometimes fail and interprets one stroke for another in the character, or I make a too short tap and it's interpreted as asking for a clue, and boom my character is wrong while I actually know it. Sometimes I just killed the app to restart the character because I can't be bothered to see this character again for days just for a mistake that's not really mine. Maybe allowing the user to cheat could be a feature, like anki, the user decides what's best for himself.

 

As for the single tap clue, maybe putting a button aside rather than tapping the main part would avoid mistakes?

 

Keep up the nice work, thank you for dedicating your time!

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dmccarroll16

1. Thank you for doing this!

 

2. I'd like to add my voice to those requesting the option to clear a completed, or partially completed, character. Like others, I like to be able to do this repeatedly until I draw the character correctly.

 

3. I own both Android and iPhone devices, but the iPhone is my main device. I'd gladly pay $5 (or even $10) if the app had the 'clear character' feature.

 

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avren

I would love to buy this, but in the mean-time I have no access to online payment methods (just have a debit card that cannot be used for online, and cash)...

 

I keep hearing there's a way to download a free version but I keep hitting dead ends? Can someone hold my hand to the download link please, because I must be missing something.

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