2011

Japanese: Where are my animations?

The new update allows access to iOS5’s awesome built in Japanese/English dictionary (hold your finger down on a question and press “define” in the popup to see the definition.)

The bad news is that this system function overrides the kanji animation’s trigger (double tap) in my app.

Until I think of a workaround for this, double tap just below or above the question to see the animations as before and double tap on the question to see the definition.

New Dictionary Lookup

The coming v2.2 of “Japanese” will make use of the built in iOS5 dictionary. Hold your finger down on the question for a second or so and “define” will appear (But what happened to the stroke order animations?)

Apple have been very strict about iCloud recently (i.e. file sizes) but if all goes well the update will be available next week.


imageDefine

Kana Update

Version 2.3 has around 250 audio files for all the example words plus a few corrections to the data files.

December News

snowman-icon

Now that Flash! is finished and currently waiting for approval, I can spend a bit of quality time with some updates.

I hope to update all apps this month with minor fixes and a few data corrections.

Either this month or next, I’ll be adding a brand new example sentence database to the Japanese app. Far bigger and better than the current version. Dictionary support is also on the to do list.

The Kana app has all the sounds for both hiragana and katakana built in but I’ll also be adding audio for the example words, too (courtesy of my wife - I haven’t told her yet..)

As well as “Flashcard Exchange” adding “Quizlet” to the Flash! app is in the pipeline.

SS + WWW = Flash!

As of next week, what you have in your flashcard app will be entirely up to you.

Flash! is the slickest way to choose from millions of decks from around the world and increasing your knowledge.

No annoying registration or usernames required - just download and go.

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Chinese v1.2 Update

Tweaks, bug fixes and a new import function that allows you to import up to 5 fields for each sticky: Simplified, Traditional, Pinyin (Number), Pinyin (Accent) and Answer (Note: Not all fields need to contain data.)

Simply cut’n’paste your data into the app (settings). Available in a few days.

Settings Manual

Settings-icon

What do all these settings in my app mean? Hopefully this new page will answer some of your questions.

Chinese v1.0.1

An update to fix the examples sentences bug will be available within the week. Apologies. This only affects those who are updating the app and not new purchases.

Import


import-icon

A feature conspicuous by it’s absence, it’s now time to allow you guys and gals to import your own data.


Up until now I have been reluctant to spend too much time adding import functionality as I’ve always believed that if the original data was good enough to start with, it wouldn’t be required. But, I’m bored and I want to add some new features for you all.

I’ll be offering an “import text box” within the app. Just copy and paste your data into this box (maybe from an email or notepad) and the app will automatically format the data ready for study. I’ve looked at iTunes synching functionality but I tend to use my phone away from my computer a lot so I’m more interested in making the iPhone (or whatever) a self contained study device without the need for connecting a cable.

If you have any thoughts or opinions, I’d be very interested to know. I’m aiming for an October update for Kanji and Chinese.

Chinese v1.1 In The Works

This is for you traditional guys/gals out there. The next update will include the new TOCFL (previously TOP) vocabulary files (basic, beginner, intermediate and advanced) and an updated examples sentence database with both simplified and traditional characters.

Rearranging the official lists is taking some time (due to multiple entries for the same head-word) but I’m aiming for an early September release.

Also, minor bug fixes.

Chinese v1.0.1

Minor fixes for the next update:

Stickies can now be moved correctly between files
In the HSK Hanzi L1 file: The traditional character for “” should read “
The “Swap trad/simp” switch functions correctly
“Autoplay audio” now functions correctly for those having problems

Available in a week or so.

Chinese v1.0

Now available in an App Store near you. The complete solution for those working towards the HSK test.

All the vocabulary and hanzi for all 6 levels given the StickyStudy treatment.

1 week introductory sale!

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Japanese v2.0

Many midnight hours of geeky coding have resulted in a new, improved and whiter than white version 2.0. Main features:

dropbox

Backup and restore individual files using “Dropbox” (not to be confused with import/export - see FAQ)
Orientation lock
Better randomisation during study
Many internal improvements and an oil change.

The app is now called “StickyStudy: Japanese” to stop confusion. For me. Available in a week or so.

Japanese Kanji Lite

v1.2 has been uploaded for review. It fixes the settings bug of not being able to remember... settings. Also, corrections to the vocab file (requires a reinstall or restore) and a few minor bug fixes.

FAQ

New FAQ page (top left menu option).

Tweet, tweet

Follow my progress on twitter.

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Progress

A little update as to what I’ve been doing recently.

Getting the data and audio together for the Chinese HSK app was quite a task but it’s now done and in the final stages of testing. It’s a goody!

As for the Kanji app, I have the code needed for the “Dropbox” support and I hope to implement it as soon as the Chinese app has packed it’s bags and left for the app store. I envisage an August release (v2.0). In the meantime v1.91 will be released in a week or so with a few fixes (see previous post), a new study option and a new settings tab to make things a little clearer:

settings


I’m interested in honing the learning algorithm of all the apps. As you may or may not know, the study order reflects the order in the browse view: randomise the browse view and the study order will follow suit. This is a little counter-intuitive as it should be independent of the browse view. Work in progress.

Feedback! Please! If you don’t tell me, I’ll probably never know.

休 and 父

Oops. The two stickies “休” and “父” in Kanji N5 have their definitions swapped. Apologies for missing this one. A fix for “Kanji Lite” has just been sent to Apple, “Kanji” to follow soon.

Calling All Beta Testers!

If you’d be interested in trying to break and generally cause havoc with my new Chinese HSK app for the sake of bug finding, please get in touch.

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Japanese v1.9

The next update of Kanji (v1.9) contains completely rewritten JLPT N1-5 files. They include more readings and, well, they’re just better. N3 vocabulary and kanji files are now separate. The “Joyo Kanji (New)” file has also been updated.

Early in the app’s development I decided to only include kanji readings that were commonly used while omitting some of the exotic, less used readings for the sake of efficiency and sanity. But, instead of enforcing this methology on my dear users I decided just to start from zero and make files that contain as many readings as possible.

Available in a week or so.

To protect your data, files will NOT be updated or overridden upon updating the app unless you restore the original file using the “Restore Original File” setting in study view or if the app is reinstalled.

To access the new N3 files without reinstalling the app, create an empty file called “JLPT Kanji N3” or “JLPT Vocab N3” and restore this file with the “Restore Original File” setting. The file will be filled with the N3 data.

If you have any problems or questions, drop me an email.

Chinese (HSK)

For those of you taking the HSK test, the ultimate study partner is on its way. Buckle your seat belts.

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The Story So Far

First, a big thanks to those who have chosen my humble StickyStudy method as part of their daily study. It’s been ridiculously hard work coding and refining it but satisfying seeing all that work coming together in it’s present form.

From start to finish (and including the time to learn XCode) it took me TWO years. Wow. Bear in mind that during this time I was working full time, got married, bought a house and, well, did normal stuff. I gave up the project twice vowing never to return and doubted my sanity many, many times. Now that the main code is finished, I’ve started speaking to my wife again and have learned to communicate with people in the outside world.

Your email support regarding bugs, features and problems has been very, very valuable and greatly appreciated. It also motivates me to carry on.

So, what's next? As far as the kanji app goes, the next step will be spending some quality time with the data files to make sure they're as accurate as possible - a spring clean if you like (I’m now working on new N3 data files). If I can add more functionality without spoiling the layout, I’d be interested. Let me know what you guys and girls would like.

A Chinese version of the kanji app is now in development. The layout of the browse view is perfect for kanji so Chinese is the obvious next candidate. The main hurdle is the character animations. Any help here would be greatly appreciated. The HSK files 1-6 for both the vocab and the hanzi are finished and so is full audio (around 8000 words/characters). It’s turning into a very promising app.

I'll also be releasing an English study app in the near future. Stay tuned for more details.

Japanese v1.86

A minor maintenance update:

[Added] Loop the kanji animation setting (study settings)
[Changed] Increased difficulty of "normal" and "hero" levels
[Changed] Removed v1.83 bug code (study settings)
[Changed] Keyboard pops up in new file view
[Fixed] Progress bar in study view rotation bug
[Fixed] Switches in study settings now remember their positions correctly

Other minor changes

Available in a few days.

Japanese Lite (JLPT N5)

Kanji Lite (JLPT N5) is a lite version of the kanji app that allows you to try before you buy. The basic functionality remains the same without the kanji animations, example sentences, file functions, progress view and a few options.

Ready and loaded with the two essential JLPT 5 files: vocabulary and kanji. Available in a few days.

Screenshot 2011.04.01 12.35.40

Japanese v1.85

Just a minor oil change this time around with a few bug fixes and the addition of 3 new files KanKen 4, KanKen 3 and KanKen 2.5 which roughly equate to School Grade 7, School Grade 8 and School Grade 9 respectively.

KanKen (or 漢字検定 / 日本漢字能力検定試験) is the official Japanese kanji test for Japanese people. Humans can only dream of attaining level 1.

The Heisig file has now been removed from the app at the author’s request. Current users of the file will remain unaffected.

Disappearing Kana

Under certain circumstances the kana readings stop displaying. After 6 hours of searching, the bug has been found, lined up against a wall and dealt with sternly. An update has just been uploaded to Apple for review.

If you have a file that is experiencing this problem there is now a repair button in the study settings to restore the file to it's former glory - with your scores safe and sound.

Japanese v1.84

I don’t know.. every time I release an update I think, “Right, that’s it. I’m going to have myself a little break for a while” but I just can’t help myself..

New in v1.84:

[Added] Recycle mastered stickies.
When a file is more than 20% learnt (still playing with this number), previously mastered stickies will reappear every now and again. I was weary of not making their presence too overpowering hence my initial reluctance in implementing this popular request.

[Added] Blank question option in tile view
Having a blank sticky may sound strange but there is method in my madness. Large files take a while to load in tile view because of the text but the background colours load almost instantly. Having this blank option allows you to see at a glance how you’re doing without worrying about loading times .

Screenshot 2011.02.18 18.19.29


[Changed] Can no longer select "tiny tiles" in tile view
When zoomed out (as in above screenshot) single screen taps are ignored so you don’t tap a sticky by mistake. Pinch and double tap remain unchanged.

[Fixed] "Restore original file" crash
Oops.

[Changed] Enabled editing of Heisig
Editing has been enabled with the exception of the Heisig number field.

[Fixed] Corrections in "new joyo kanji"

Any other ideas? Drop me an email.

Japanese v1.83

I wasn’t planning to release an update so soon but there are a few issues that are causing me restless nights:

iPhone 4 behaviour has been improved a lot (because I now have one to play with). I made the naive assumption that seeing as the iPhone 4 has twice the memory that I could use nearly twice as much. We learn, we grow. The memory usage has now been adjusted more sensibly.
The previously mentioned bug when moving or deleting stickies has been fixed
The “Grades” data files have been updated with better definitions (see below)
New font option (slightly slimmer than the default)
Study options sometimes forgot their settings. Fixed.
The date picker now works when using Japanese localisation.

Available around 20th February.

Note: The grade files will only be updated on your device when you select “restore original file” in the study settings. Otherwise, the update would quite happily write all over your files and scores which probably wouldn’t make me too popular. Currently, selecting this option will “drastically exit” the app (this will be fixed..) but it still works as advertised without any problems.

Multiple Move/Delete Stickies Bug

Please try and avoid moving/deleting MULTIPLE stickies; some strange behaviour has been discovered. I’m now working on a fix that will be available soon.

Thanks for your patience.

Japanese v1.8

The tank is full and the tires have been kicked. Available now.

Screen shot 2011-01-26 at 4.02.37 pm

[Added] Only show (Filter) stickies of a certain colour or flag (above)
[Added] Extra sort options: by “flag” and by “incorrect”
[Added] New Joyo Kanji data
[Added] "Always Show Kana" setting while studying
[Added] Variable Zoom Setting super zoom for iPhone4
[Added] More retina graphics
[Added] Memory warning (can switch off in settings)
[Changed] The history bar chart only adds one new bar per day no matter how many times you study that day
[Changed] Animation movies wait for touch before disappearing
[Changed] Minor UI changes
[Changed] You can now show the numbers in tile view with full size stickies
[Changed] Navigation box more accurate and larger on iPad. Smaller in landscape view on iPhone.
[Changed] New splash screen
[Changed] Reduced maximum zoom on iPad to avoid memory issues
[Fixed] "Blank sticky" issue
[Fixed] Issue when changing level and flag during search

Many other small changes and some bug fixes. Keep the feedback coming!

Japanese Kana v2.0

Stickystudy: kana has just turned 2! Now complete with audio and brush stroke animations for all characters. A very, very effective way to learn kana fast. Available now.

Japanese v1.71

I didn’t really plan on releasing an update THIS quickly but the new “flag” feature in the app just wasn’t behaving itself.

You can now flag as expected while studying. Other updates include:

-[Fixed] "Number" switch not remembering position in tile settings
-[Fixed] Corrections in example sentence file
-[Changed] When "Pass = -1" setting is on, getting a red card incorrect no longer reduces your score
-[Changed] Reduced iPad memory usage - less redraws
-[Changed] Slight increase of sticky max size with small files