2.1 Feature Requests

radioman

状元
I'm not a Windows mobile user, but I do know a little about interfaces. I run flashcards a few dozen of times a day, and I my opinion is that ANYTHING to make it easier to just kick off a session and get running is a good idea. Especially one where the icon would be in your face as a reminder. I would also offer that putting the cards due count in a badge on a springboard/desktop makes sense.
 

mfcb

状元
making more and more progress (thanks to your marvelous software) i really would like an option to switch off (or toggle) the pinyin in card definitions, in flashcards AND dictionary... specially that the pinyin is bold disturbs me, because it leads my eyes to the pinyin, instead of the hanzi...
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Well it wouldn't be a difficult feature to add, I guess - I'm actually a little worried about it confusion-wise, though, we had an awful lot of people launch the Flashcard Converter instead of the regular Pleco application back when 2.0 first came out and write us to say the software wasn't working correctly.

mfcb - can't you turn off the Pinyin by going into Preferences / Display / Mandarin Pronunciation and setting the rendering mode for it to "Skip"? That should work in some dictionaries at least.
 

radioman

状元
Whatever is done, to some it would be confusing. There must be some way, though, at the point of installation that the user can be asked if they really, really want a flashcard icon on their desktop. And then make the icon very different (whatever that means...).

Will flashcards be a separate program? Where techincally it would be possible to run both the dictionary and flashcard program? (I am thinking multitasking/jailbroken right now, legit multitasking and iPad in the future).
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Something in the installer might work, I guess - that installer kind of needs a tune-up anyway, actually; 2.0.3 was the first release that had support built into the application for the installer to automatically close it before upgrading / uninstalling, so now that it's been out for a while we can actually start taking advantage of it.

And flashcards will be built right into the main app on iPhone - otherwise you'd have to tediously exit / reopen to switch between the dictionary and flashcards, plus it would be much harder for us to facilitate quickly adding dictionary entries to your flashcard list since it's so tricky to share data between apps on iPhone.
 

mfcb

状元
mikelove said:
- can't you turn off the Pinyin by going into Preferences / Display / Mandarin Pronunciation and setting the rendering mode for it to "Skip"? That should work in some dictionaries at least.
i was not talking about pinyin in general, just pinyin in the DEFINITION (example sentences)... and the toggle button i would like to have next to the simple/trad toggle :wink:
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Well we've already had a few requests for a Pinyin / Zhuyin toggle, so I guess a "hide all pronunciation" toggle makes some sense along with that... not sure how many people would use it, though.
 
An option to fully color code the text in the reader.

Pro's:
Allows for rapid improvement in sentence reading and tone learning

Challenges:
Requires the software to predetermine word division and character grouping to avoid mis-toning due to homographs.
 
Text selection context menu to open in reader.

Pros:
Could replace Instant Access which no longer works on many WinMo phones because the default notification systems have been replaced (esp. HTC).
More compliant with standards and practices in Windows UI design.

Challenges:
You basically just need to figure out how to do it, but this shouldn't be too hard as the Merriam-Webster dictionary does it on WinMo. Whenever I highlight text anywhere, I've got a "translate" entry in my context menu from M-W.

Rob
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Thanks for the suggestions.

Coloring of text in the reader has already been widely requested, but I'm not sure whether that feature might ever make it to WM - the iPhone version of Pleco actually uses a totally different document reader system and it would be rather tricky to back-port it at this point.

That context menu feature would certainly make sense if we can figure out how to do it - possibly a registry key - though it still wouldn't help in a lot of cases, sadly - Opera, for example, which has its own menu / text selection system and seems to be completely immune to any attempts to hack it in its latest versions.
 

HW60

状元
Now that the IPhone version 2.1 is out: when will a similar feature like the character info/chars of Pleco-IPhone be available for Windows Mobile?
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Not sure; probably not until we've gotten it more fully fleshed out on iPhone first, right now it's still kind of buggy (the same component might have two or three different char codes -> not have all of the characters that contain it show up correctly in searches) and we haven't yet come up with a good UI to actually use it for looking up characters. We'd also like to make the fonts in stroke order diagrams (which use the same data) a bit more attractive. It's always much easier to finish these things on one platform and then port to another than to be constantly syncing changes back and forth. (part of why the final release of 2.0.8/2.0.4/whatever-we're-calling-it-now still isn't out)
 

HW60

状元
There is still a small amount of time left where I cannot use Pleco. To reduce this time, I would like to listen to Pleco reading the definition of selected flashcards. This would be helpful with new vocabulary, but also with words I have difficulties to learn. Pleco just has to read, make a pause (length in preferences?), read the next word... This is actually not my own idea: Minna no nihongo starts every lesson with a list of the new words. The length of the pause depends on the goal of the listener: if he just wants to think if he knows the meaning, a second or two may do; if he wants to think about writing, the pause could be longer. If he hears "ji" or "qi" or "shi", he may think about how many of those 汉字 he knows (if he does not prefer to listen to words with at least 2 characters). The statistics about the flashcards do not change, as the ideas of the listener are not recorded.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
English language text-to-speech for definitions would be very challenging - there's actually a system for it built into iPhone OS, but it seems to only be usable through the "Accessibility" system and there's no way for us to invoke it on our own, and there's nothing at all like that on Windows Mobile AFAIK. We could read the headwords, though, perhaps as part of an auto-advancing feature that might be useful in gyms and such.
 

HW60

状元
mikelove said:
We could read the headwords, though, perhaps as part of an auto-advancing feature that might be useful in gyms and such.
That's what I meant - just listen one chinese word after the other and imaging meaning and writing, then listen to the next one while I am jogging.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Ah, well that's certainly a possibility, and a UI-light enough one that there's a good chance it could appear on WM.
 

Wan

榜眼
Hi there,

it would be a good idea to add a sketchbox function to the "flashcards - review only" testing option. Reviewing is not for score or real testing, it's mostly used for getting acquainted to new flashcards. When doing this, I always scribble the characters on the screen, randomly selecting text and popping up menus. That's somewhat annoying. So why not add sketchbox functionality (with or without real lookup function) to the "review only" test?

Greetings,
Wan
 
1) In "Char Info" the ability to break down a character to it's "component parts" be they radical, simpler characters, like I believe the iPhone now has, etc.
2) More flash card statistics like those in Anki's "Hanzi statistics" plugin that tell you what % of HSK, TOP, Taiwan Ministry of Education one has covered.
3) Flashcard statistics that show you the number of flashcards due in the next few days, weeks, etc.
4) Charts for #2 & #3. I've found having such charts to motivate me to continue learning.

Anki's Work Load Charts


Anki's "Pinyin Plugin" has a real nice HSK chart.

5) Tools that can convert my Anki Flashcards (also using Sqlite) and perhaps smartfm.com flashcards to Plecodict flashcards.

謝謝
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Thanks!

Component breakdowns are a "maybe" on WM at this point - we don't even really consider that feature to be finished on iPhone yet (and it probably won't be until the next semi-major update, 2.2) since there are a number of components like 心 that aren't correctly linked with different-looking versions of themselves, and it's unlikely we'd roll it out on WM until we had it fully implemented on iPhone, so the question is whether there'll still enough interest in our WM software at that point to justify rolling out a new feature that people would have to pay for.

With the Anki "Hanzi Statistics" screen, since flashcards can appear in multiple categories (and we go to a lot of effort to check for / merge duplicates to make sure you don't end up with two different cards in the database for the same word), you can actually get those sorts of statistics just by importing word lists for HSK / TOP / etc; import HSK A/B/C/D, then pull up category-specific statistics for them in Statistics. Though I admit it would be nicer to get them all on a single page, and to factor in single characters that are only in your database as part of multi-word cards.

Workload / interval distributions and graphs are definitely in the pipeline (especially now that we've discovered the surprisingly-mature-looking open-source Core Plot project) but the graphs at least may be iPhone-OS-only. A chart over time like that Anki plugin would be tricky because for space-saving reasons we don't record statistics about the time of previous card reviews, only what scores were recorded on them.

Anki import would be easier if they didn't keep tweaking their database formats so frequently - in theory the algorithms are similar enough that if we can convert the data we should be able to come up with a pretty close approximation of their interval changes, though.
 
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