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mungouk

Skritter developments

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mungouk

It may be of interest for Skritter and Chinesepod users that Fiona and Gwilym (ex of Chinesepod) have just joined Skritter, who are developing examples sentences with audio for HSK1-3 as well as a youtube channel.

 

https://blog.skritter.com/2018/05/may-is-the-month/

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pon00050
1 hour ago, mungouk said:

developing examples sentences with audio for HSK1-3 as well as a youtube channel.

 

Is that what I need? I don't think so.

I don't really need another resource for gathering example sentences.

 

What is Skritter trying to achieve by doing this in long term?

Is it trying to establish itself as another HSK preparation website?

 

I like Skritter as it is. Just let me practice writing characters.

 

Maybe allow the users to compete?

Maybe expand upon the idea of http://pinzi.jiong3.com/

and provide something similar so that the users can learn/review in more entertaining way?

 

 

My two cents.

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mungouk
1 hour ago, pon00050 said:

Is that what I need? I don't think so.

 

Fair enough.  Nobody will force you to use it.

 

OTOH I would welcome any easy way to practice listening to sentences on my phone without having to install another app (no space) or build them all myself somehow.

 

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amytheorangutan

Thanks @mungouk I actually quite like the idea of sample sentences. I learned around 600 characters at the moment and it gets harder and harder to learn new words in isolation. When I hear them being used somewhere else in a sentence, it helps me to memorise the words and how to write them. Maybe it’s just the way my brain works. 

 

The written sample sentences on skritter at the moment are a bit odd too, so hopefully they’ll use better examples.  

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sekkar

In my opinion they should rather spend the time and money on actually making a functional app. 

 

I honestly don't know if there's any products that I regularly use that annoy me the way Skritter does. First of all it's extremely expensive when compared to any other product/service. Why I'm paying 15$ a month for an app that produces no content? It's about the same price as Netflix and Spotify put together for God's sake.

 

Secondly, either their management is incompetent or their developers are. I started using it about two years ago when the 2.0 version had already launched, but I was stuck using the old android application due to bugs in 2.0. Every 6th month I've tried to upgrade to using the new version and every time I run into tons of bugs or lack of basic functionality which makes the new version unusable for me. Thus I'm still stuck with the old application, which still issues like taking 20 minutes to sync when switching between devices, but at least I can actually use it. I honestly don't know how you can spend years making an app like this with such shitty progress.

 

Sorry for ranting, but just thinking about the fact that I've spent more than 400$ on this product just makes me sad. Because I truly feel that there's a lot of potential there and I love spending my morning drinking coffee and practicing on my tablet. 

 

As they say, I'm not mad, I'm just disappointed.

 

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roddy

Makes sense. Skritter's done really well and is... wow, ten years old?

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roddy

Out of curiosity prompted by sekkar's comments I downloaded the iOS app to see how it had changed. Only spent a couple of minutes with it but works great. Tests pinyin and tones in ways I don't think it used to in my day. Not sure about the design - I'm not keen on the faux wood and paper look. 

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mungouk

I think there's truth in what @sekkar is frustrated about.. there's a lot of similar comments on their forums.

 

From a software product management point of view it seems they've made some bad decisions over the years about how to develop the product, which didn't quite work.  So recently they ended up changing direction away from a web-app using the same code across all platforms, to developing separate custom apps for iOS and Android plus the web-based interface.  Hopefully this will now go a bit better.  When they're keeping the blog and the dev-notes forum postings going (not all the time), there is some transparency there.

 

FWIW I tried using the Japanese version a few years back when I was learning Kanji, and I thought that previous look and feel was so fugly I couldn't bring myself to use it...  horses for courses I guess.  (Edit: I'm using the latest version on an old-ish Android phone, and waiting for the iOS version to reach its potential on my iPad.)

 

 

 

 

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sekkar

Yes @mungouk, I saw that they are moving away from the unified HTML5 approach they had. Hopefully this will make it easier for them.

 

I am honestly not someone that regularly complain about stuff online, but when you pay a premium price you expect a premium service. Is there any other apps that charge a similar monthly fee (excluding content providers)? 

 

Skritter should have been a buy once for 20$ kind of app. 

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mungouk

Well Chinesepod is $14 a month for basic and $29 for premium.  Depends whether you count them as a content provider or not.

Arguably, Skritter moving into providing content goes some way to justifying the price-tag a bit.  

 

Maybe it's because I used a coupon but got first month free then paid $9.99 for Skritter for next 6 months before it went up to $14.99.  Yes, over time, that certainly does add up, and I think I feel it more if I've not used the app for a while.

 

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pon00050

Oh! Another thing!

Allow the users to customize the experience a bit. A bit more than what they offer now.

I don't think that there is any stylistic choice given to the users at the moment.

I'd like to change the font style and the color of the tone marks.

 

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mungouk

@pon00050 why not join the throng over on the Skritter forums?

 

I agree with font styles for sure... both for Hanzi and Roman.  Applies to StickyStudy and doubtless many other apps as well.  

 

 

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大块头
14 hours ago, sekkar said:

I honestly don't know if there's any products that I regularly use that annoy me the way Skritter does. First of all it's extremely expensive when compared to any other product/service. Why I'm paying 15$ a month for an app that produces no content? It's about the same price as Netflix and Spotify put together for God's sake.

 

I highly recommend open-source (and free!) app Inkstone for learning how to write Chinese. It may not have all the bells and whistles that Skritter has, but I'm highly satisfied with it.

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pon00050
1 hour ago, 大块头 said:

I highly recommend open-source (and free!) app Inkstone for learning how to write Chinese. It may not have all the bells and whistles that Skritter has, but I'm highly satisfied with it.

 

Hmm... I am 500 characters in now with studying characters on Skritter.

This comment makes me wonder whether or not I want to discontinue Skritter and try Inkstone instead. Or just continue with Skritter..

 

One obstacle for me is that Inkstone doesn't seem to support Apple devices and I prefer practicing writing the characters on my IPhone.

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dtcamero

i think skritter's great... have many thousands of flashcards in my skritter deck.

my biggest gripe is just that their SRS algorithm is terrible.

i will regularly forget cards that come up in a way that somehow never happens in anki... which is weird because skritter is definitely using an SRS to produce the daily flashcard load. it's just really bad at predicting what you need to be studying.

sucks, i thought we figured out that algorithm like, 100 years ago... it's strange that some srs's are so much better than others.

(Pleco's is pretty awful too, which is why I gave up on that one as well. /rant)

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mungouk
8 minutes ago, dtcamero said:

their SRS algorithm is terrible.

 

I'm not sure if it's the algorithm itself, or how they've been managing it as the software evolves... their forums have a number of people complaining about stuff repeating in loops etc.  

 

 

1 hour ago, pon00050 said:

Inkstone doesn't seem to support Apple devices and I prefer practicing writing the characters on my IPhone.

 

It's supposedly open source, in which case surely someone with an Apple Developer account could offer to compile it and put it in the app store?

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pon00050
38 minutes ago, mungouk said:

It's supposedly open source, in which case surely someone with an Apple Developer account could offer to compile it and put it in the app store?

 

I wouldn't be the one to do that nor be waiting for anything to happen.

 

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大块头

A fairly good Android phone or tablet could be purchased for $15 x 12 = $180, if one didn't want to wait.

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sekkar
8 hours ago, 大块头 said:

I highly recommend open-source (and free!) app Inkstone for learning how to write Chinese. It may not have all the bells and whistles that Skritter has, but I'm highly satisfied with it

 

Looks pretty good! Although at this point I have more than 6000 words added on Skritter, so switching is not really an option anymore.

 

More competition is great though, I hope they keep developing that app.

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mungouk

At the risk of de-railing this thread (hey, but it's my thread!)...

 

23 minutes ago, sekkar said:

I have more than 6000 words added on Skritter

 

I'm curious @sekkar... did you use Skritter to learn the vocabulary, or did you learn it first some other way and then used Skritter to learn how to write it?

 

Working on HSK levels on Skritter, working towards the deadline for the exam, I found I just wasn't learning the vocab fast enough when I was having to learn strokes as well.  In the end I scrapped my lists, focused on learning to read/recall faster using memrise, and then later started again from zero on Skritter, learning to write words/chars I already knew.

 

Second question: Did you do HSK exams in sequence?   I'm also curious how people manage the exponential increase in words/chars you have to learn as you move up the levels, particularly after HSK 3. Does it become easier to learn vocab as you go along because you get better at learning?  (Learning strategies, know more radicals, using already-known chars etc.)

 

I'm at about 600 words now as I work towards HSK 3 in July.  I really can't imagine how your brain must feel at 6000...!  

 

 

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