iPhone App Approved, should go live Friday

numble

状元
Well, personally I hope early adopters aren't punished. Especially if say you add 2 new dictionaries and bump up the price of the Complete bundle by $10 or $20, I think it would feel unfair to ask old Complete bundlers to pay $20-$40 to add 2 additional dictionaries.
 

radioman

状元
Now here's a thought... I am wondering, as a way to reduce up-front costs, would it be possible to charge an annual maintenance fee where all upgrades, dictionaries, flashcards, and oh yeah, Pleco Quarterly Bellagio-Vegas all-expenses-paid User Group Meetings (think Enron) could be extended to the purchaser? :D

,,,I wrote the above yesterday a bit in jest - wasn't going to send it, but maybe some "optional" maintenance program down the line does make sense if the upgrades benenfits and predictable piece of mind actually balance. The problem is that many of these types of programs over the long haul put the customer at a disadvantage - but if the Ballagio thing was thrown in, that 'id be different!!
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
numble - well I don't imagine it'd be that big a gap, if there was any - we might have some sort of "introductory pricing" offer, even. It's not necessarily certain that we'll be adding every dictionary we license in the future to the Complete bundle, though - there are some rather-specialized specialized dictionaries we're looking at (medicine, for example) which might get lumped (along with C&T, possibly) into a separate purchase.

radioman - heh, not completely impossible with iTunes' subscription-purchase feature, I guess... but yeah, they can be awkward since they effectively put pressure on us to release things in order to meet a schedule so that customers get something for their money. (Microsoft's had lots of trouble with this over the years)
 

jlg84

Member
I was so excited to get the email notification that the app had been approved, but for the past hour or so I keep getting error messages from iTunes saying that there was an error in the iTunes store. Is this just me (I'm also in China) or are too many people downloading the app at the same time?
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
I don't think this would happen from too many downloads - the basic app is coming from Apple's servers, not ours, and our download numbers are pretty tiny compared to some of the other apps in iTunes. So probably just a connection error of some sort - hopefully it'll clear up in a few hours.
 

jlg84

Member
I hope you're right, Mike! Thanks so much for your work on this, and for making it possible to transfer our old licenses to the new platform! I have not have a Palm device in two years, so my Pleco skills are probably rusty, but I look forward to getting back in the saddle!

Update: just tried to download some other app as a test, and that does not work either; must be something up with iTunes.
 

monkbent

Member
mikelove said:
The desktop Windows / OSX versions are a different story on that front, however.
YES PLEASE! Having developed the iPhone version, would it be relatively simple to come out with an OS X version? I'm already ecstatic about the license transfers, not sure if I could contain myself were a desktop app to come out...

:mrgreen:
 

monkbent

Member
I think Mike is talking about is the "grammar" of the UI. For example, on a Mac, close buttons go on the left, and in Windows they go on the write. Apps that differ from that are not user-friendly. The problem with Android is the incoherence of its grammar, and the fact it not only is inconsistent within the OS, but is also inconsistent across devices. On the iPhone, on the other hand, in a list, swipe always brings up the delete button in all 100,000 applications available on the device. That's but one of many examples that makes development much, much easier - Mike can focus on the core functionality because all the user-facing stuff is taken care of.
 

mikeygow

Member
Hey Mike,

Absolutely fantastic application. Really impressed with it all, and cant wait to test out the Flashcard apps. I DL'd the full complete version and very happy to see Pleco offering a student discount. I'll definitely be promoting this app through various academic centres, including British Inter-University China Centre (Oxford, Bristol, Manchester); BRIDGE (Bristol East Asian Studies PG Network); White Rose East Asian Centre; CPN (China Postgrad Network). This should help get the word around to the vast majority of those of us involved in long term study of Chinese and China in UK Universities, and hopefully win some lifelong Pleco users for you. So, if you've got any specific messages on Pleco, future devts and/or comments about the iphone app to pass directly to hundreds of professional and advanced Chinese learners (many at the beginning of their career in chinese studies), please get in touch.

I've been waiting for something like this to come along for such a long time. Really makes learning and maintaining Chinese so much easier. Thanks for all the hard work.

Just a couple of suggestions:
1. a dedicated chengyu dictionary (I know chengyu are included in one dict, but a dedicated dictionary would be great).
2. HSK vocab flashcards/dictionary (i know its covered in existing dicts, but studying for the HSK and learning Chinese ain't the same thing. An HSK vocab resource is essential)
3. academic dictionaries such as social science, economics etc/also dicts on place names/names

And finally:
Any chance that you'll be adding japanese functionality to PLECO???

And can you add me to a list for email updates on Pleco releases?? Thanks.

Mike Gow
PhD Candidate
British Inter-University China Centre
University of Bristol
Visiting Researcher - Xi'an Jiaotong Liverpool University, Suzhou
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
jlg84 - you're very welcome! I hope it's managed to download correctly by now; if not, have you tried downloading via the desktop iTunes instead of directly on your iPhone?

monkbent - pretty simple, yes; the UI classes are different but a lot of other core stuff like file access / text rendering / network connections are the same. Just have to get through a couple more iPhone / WM updates first.

And yes, I was talking about the inconsistent UI "grammar" on Android.

mikeygow - thanks! We really appreciate the word-of-mouth (particularly with such a big network); that's always been our biggest source of new business.

Thanks also for the suggestions:

a) A Chengyu dictionary is something we've gotten a bunch of requests for, but we're still trying to find a really good one that's also easily-licenseable - any suggestions on good Chengyu dictionaries you've found? (this is an open question for anyone else reading)

b) We actually already offer HSK flahcard lists, which we certainly plan to make available on iPhone too, and the Tuttle Learner's dictionary is actually explicitly designed to cover the first two levels of the HSK; I haven't seen a good dictionary that covers all four levels yet.

c) The 21st Century dictionary actually does a fantastic job with place names (and in both directions if you do a full-text search); even has the little town in Rhode Island where I grew up. For social science and economics, the problem as with so many other specialized dictionaries is that a lot of them are a) very old and not / poorly-digitized, and b) don't include Pinyin, though if we found a good one we'd certainly try to license it.

estudiando - yep, enjoy!
 

gato

状元
a) A Chengyu dictionary is something we've gotten a bunch of requests for, but we're still trying to find a really good one that's also easily-licenseable - any suggestions on good Chengyu dictionaries you've found? (this is an open question for anyone else reading)
For a new chengyu dictionary, you probably would want to get a Chinese-to-Chinese (C-C) one, since the ABC Dictionary already covers a lot of chengyu's for someone with just basic needs. The ABC, in fact, has substantially more chengyu entries than the Guifan dictionary.

We had a discussion about C-C chengyu dictionaries on chinese-forums a while ago.
See below for the two choices that stood out:
http://www.chinese-forums.com/showthread.php?t=32866&highlight=chengyu
Re: Big, Good Chengyu Dictionary with usage examples?

For a more comprehensive dictionary, you might consider the 1000-page 多功能成语词典 published by 商务印书馆国际有限公司. It has about 8000 idiom entries. I'm not sure what kind of index it has, but it probably doesn't have the 速查 index that the dictionary above has. But it does have synonyms and antonyms, and has more detailed definitions, including source of the idioms. You can see a scanned page from the dictionary at the link below.
http://www.yaomaishu.com/bk10764417.html
实用全新版系列-多功能成语词典
作  者:韦炳元,李艳,臧克娜 编
出 版 社:商务印书馆国际有限公司
出版时间:2009年04月

Another possibility for a comprehensive idiom dictionary is 新世纪汉语成语词典, which contains a whopping 16,000 idioms. .
http://product.dangdang.com/product.asp ... id=9170918
新世纪汉语成语词典
作  者: 伍宗文 等编
出 版 社: 四川辞书出版社
出版时间: 2006-1-1
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
I own a copy of an older one from 四川辞书出版社, actually - seems pretty solid, I'm just not sure about adding more C-C dictionaries yet. Though given the extremely positive response to GF in its new, quick-word-lookup-friendly iPhone form there's certainly a growing case for that. Indexes aren't particularly important for our purposes, since we can index dictionaries however we want as long as the information we're indexing is there somewhere.
 

gato

状元
汉英汉语成语用法词典 edited by 潘维桂 seems to be only choice for a bilingual chengyu dictionary. However, it seems to lack source, antonym and synonym information that are so useful learning chengyu's. It also only has 2327 entries, which might not be more than what's covered by the ABC Dictionary.

The 多功能成语词典 from 商务印书馆国际有限公司 seems to be even better in that it provides usage notes on each chengyu (i.e. whether a chengyu is bookish, what kind of situation should it be used in, etc.).

http://www.yaomaishu.com/bk10764417.html
实用全新版系列-多功能成语词典
商务印书馆国际有限公司

http://www.wl.cn/433095
汉英汉语成语用法词典(汉英本)
作者: 潘维桂编
出版社: 华语教学出版社北京华语出版文化公司
出版日期: 2002-01
本词典共收汉语常用成语2327条。主要读者对象是具有中等以上汉语水平的外国人,以及中等以上英语水平的中国人。正文由部分组成:注音、释义、用法、例句。释义和用法两部分英文译文。
 

mikeygow

Member
Great news about the flashcard situation. I look forward to that release.

One HSK guide I found particularly good was the "HSK - A Guide to the Usage of HSK Vocabulary 词语用法详解 by the Beijing Language and Culture University Press 北京语言大学出版社。 

It covers all vocab in the HSK and also grammatical structures and Chengyu contained in the exam (not many, about 140-150 Chengyu). But as its aimed at those studying for the HSK, I think its a very useful and specfically focused resource that would work well as an optional add on.

To be honest, I think the dictionaries already available are very good, even the free Pleco dict is really good, especially for beginners.

However, a specific Chengyu dictionary would be useful in that I could just learn a Chengyu from it every day. The HSK vocab thing may be better in a well thought out flashcard system, although no harm in adding an HSK dict aswell.
 
WOW! The license transfer was easy and painless. But the dictionary download, including everything I paid and the free ones, that's light-years ahead of Palm. Thanks! and Merry Christmas.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
gato - that would be a little short, yeah. Guifan's actually selling pretty well on iPhone so far, so that's an excellent argument for trying our hand at another C-C dictionary or two - really we could use a C-C Chengyu dictionary, a Classical dictionary and/or the Hanyu Da Zidian (though that may have so many impossible-to-render-on-iPhone characters that it's not even worth trying), along with perhaps a larger general-purpose C-C like Cihai, though the latter two are likely to be very expensive licenses to get.

mikeygow - thanks! BLCU Press haven't been very interested in working with us so far, unfortunately, though there are a couple of their titles we'd love to get our hands on if they ever decide to answer our emails / phone calls / etc.

estudiando - thanks! Same to you.
 

Vzzzbx

进士
mikelove said:
Vzzzbx - we had a couple of reports of that during the beta-test too, but weren't able to attribute it to a clear "bug" so much as the iPhone simply running low on memory in general; does this happen simply when you're handwriting a lot of characters, or does it only happen after you also shift around a lot to other tabs / functions? About how many times would you say you opened / exit the handwriting input screen before it happens?
I'm sorry to not get back to you earlier. I used it quite a lot in the past week (holiday) but it hasn't happened since, and I can't reproduce it. Maybe it was because I initially played with loads of settings; maybe the phone just needed to be restarted.

Thanks for your response.

Adam
 
Where do you set the dictionary default order for search results? For example, when I do a new search I want results from ABC always first, then when I switch dictionaries, I want CC to be next and so on in a particular order. Thanks.
 
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