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Author Topic: NANY 2014 Release: Q-FlashCards for Android  (Read 7330 times)

TPReal

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NANY 2014 Release: Q-FlashCards for Android
« on: December 10, 2013, 05:40:12 AM »
It's been over three years since I last posted anything on DC, so probably it's time to pledge something for NANY this year :)

NANY 2014 Release

Application NameQ-FlashCards
Version0.1
Short DescriptionAndroid program for learning (vocabulary, dates, whatever) using virtual flash cards
Download link
Supported OSAndroid 4.0.3 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or higher
AuthorTPReal


Description
There's quite a lot of programs that show you some questions every day and schedule next repetition based on how well you answer. This program is somewhat different, and much more effective, I think.

The program is not fully polished, I stopped developing it a couple of months ago as it became functional and good enough for using, but I never put it in the Play Store or anywhere else. Maybe it's time to publish it finally, and NANY seems to be a great occasion for that.

Features
  • The initial interval of displaying a flash card is not 1 day, but more like 2 minutes (configurable). This way you have much much better chances to actually remember the word at the time of the first repetition. This is based on Pimsleur's graduated interval recall system.
  • A flash card is displayed as Android notification, so it's where you see it every time you look at your phone. Answering a couple of cards takes just seconds.
  • If a card is difficult (i.e. you repeatedly give wrong answer to it) its interval is rapidly lowered to as little as 30 seconds. This is so short that it's really impossible not to finally remember it after a couple of attempts :) The program just hammers your head until you remember the word, which is good if you really want to. A specialised algorithm adjusts repetition interval after every response, taking card's history into consideration, to make learning most effective.
  • Answering a card is just tapping "I knew it" or "I didn't know it" (or "I almost knew it"), no typing to verify that you can spell the right answer. You just need to be honest, but if you're not, what's the point of any such program anyway?
  • You can always request some cards to be shown instantly, even if their interval is not passed yet. There is a couple of algorithms to select the cards to show, including an optimal mix, which asks some of the newest cards, some of the old ones, some of the most difficult so far, plus some random cards.
  • Can be used to remember a variety of things, like: vocabulary, dates, names, phone numbers, birthdays. Can be used even for information without easy textual answer, like: where is river X, where is mount Y - you can leave the response of a card empty, and when a card is displayed, just make sure you know the answer, or check it on the map.
  • Cards are organised into card sets, so you can learn multiple subjects at the same time without the risk of mixing them.

It's also kind of a feature that you currently cannot import any list of cards into the program - if you want to remember something, you just need to type it in first. This way you will only add cards that you really want to learn, and not just all stuff that you can find, which could turn out frustrating, and useless. Although there might be some kind of import feature added in the future.

I've been using the program since almost a year (it became functional in the beginning of 2013, but was never published anywhere, so I think it qualifies for NANY), and I have in the DB around 3000 words and expression of a foreign language I'm learning (plus phone numbers of a couple of people I might want to contact ICE - might get useful if I lose my phone).

Screenshots
device-2013-12-19-221708.pngNANY 2014 Release: Q-FlashCards for Android device-2013-12-19-223042.pngNANY 2014 Release: Q-FlashCards for Android device-2013-12-19-223853.pngNANY 2014 Release: Q-FlashCards for Android device-2013-12-19-224149.pngNANY 2014 Release: Q-FlashCards for Android

Download
First, make sure installation from unknown sources is enabled in your device's settings (it is usually somewhere in Security submenu). Then open this page on the phone and download the apk attachment, or scan the QR-code below. Select to save the file on your phone. When download is completed, tap it to install (the details might vary between phones, if the installation doesn't start, try opening the file from the Downloads directory via a file manager).
* Q-FlashCards.apk (512.61 kB - downloaded 264 times.)
qr.pngNANY 2014 Release: Q-FlashCards for Android
« Last Edit: December 30, 2013, 06:38:14 AM by TPReal »

kyrathaba

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Re: NANY 2014 Pledge: Q-FlashCards
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2013, 06:41:56 AM »
Excellent, TPReal! Great to have you participating!  :Thmbsup:

TPReal

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Re: NANY 2014 Pledge: Q-FlashCards
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2013, 05:09:39 PM »
OK, here's the app!

I added a couple of screenshots, and the apk download. I also updated minimal version requirement to 4.0.3 (ICS). Please someone at least install it and verify that it works :) as I never shared an apk file before.

TaoPhoenix

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Re: NANY 2014 Pledge: Q-FlashCards
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2013, 07:38:30 PM »
Please add a little advice for us non-programmers.

What's an Apk file? Will you compile it into something that "just works"?


TPReal

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Re: NANY 2014 Pledge: Q-FlashCards for Android
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2013, 01:32:17 AM »
Well, apk is the thing you install on Android. I added some information about installing, but it varies from phone to phone.

TaoPhoenix

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Re: NANY 2014 Pledge: Q-FlashCards for Android
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2013, 02:28:28 AM »
Well, apk is the thing you install on Android. I added some information about installing, but it varies from phone to phone.

Heh well I don't have an Android phone, but at least I understand a little more!


TPReal

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Re: NANY 2014 Release: Q-FlashCards for Android
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2013, 07:17:24 AM »
It looks like I won't find many users here. Maybe there aren't so many Android users on DC. It makes me a little sad. But anyway, I renamed the post to NANY Release so here it is, my submission this year :)

Ath

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Re: NANY 2014 Release: Q-FlashCards for Android
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2013, 07:57:13 AM »
That is looking very nice. :Thmbsup:

I'd advise you to publish, with a proper description and seo wordlist ofc, to the Play Store, so you get some real exposure.

I expect to use it for learning a language too, most likely, just not Norsk or Italiano ;D, and being able to download a library of words for that language would be really helpful. Typing in 3000 or more cards on my phone/tablet sounds really horrible :'(
Uploading a card-set I created could be rewarding as well :up:

Ps: I'll be testing after January 1st, as I'm still working on my own NANY 2014 entry :-[

cranioscopical

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Re: NANY 2014 Release: Q-FlashCards for Android
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2013, 08:05:11 AM »
@TPReal:

Thanks for the entry‚Ķ looking forward to trying it out  :Thmbsup:
 

skwire

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Re: NANY 2014 Release: Q-FlashCards for Android
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2013, 09:27:32 AM »
Seems to work fine on my Nexus 7.  Nice job.   :Thmbsup:

TPReal

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Re: NANY 2014 Release: Q-FlashCards for Android
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2013, 01:55:50 PM »
I'm glad someone confirms it works :)

As for importing a database of words, as I explained in the description: it's kind of a feature that you cannot import list of cards into the program - if you want to remember something, you just need to type it in first. This way you will only add cards that you really want to learn, and not just all stuff that you can find, which could turn out frustrating, and useless.

On the other hand I agree it could be useful, and it is sure to be the most common feature request. In the future I'll probably add a feature of importing a word list, with initial interval set to at least 1 day (otherwise it would be unbearable, trust me, I checked it :)). But this is a plan for the future. For now I just add cards as I go, and I'm very happy with how it works

As for Play Store, the program would probably need to be better polished, and have a webpage or something. I'm planning to do it some day if I have time next year :)

Ath

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Re: NANY 2014 Release: Q-FlashCards for Android
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2013, 02:03:17 PM »
Well, your app is quite well-polished, that's no reason not to publish to the Play Store. A (Play-Store)page listing all it's features is nearly ready when grabbing all information from this thread's first post, including the screenshots.

There is one feature-request though: I want to be able to stop all notifications. I've tried turning off everything I could find, but it still pops up in the notification area. I dislike most stuff that puts itself there, unless I explicitly allow it. Currently I'm unable to achieve that :huh:

TPReal

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Re: NANY 2014 Release: Q-FlashCards for Android
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2013, 02:17:17 PM »
Well, currently the notification is the only way to get to the screen where you answer the questions, so there is obviously no option to disable it... But it makes sense as a feature request to allow using as most of other similar programs work - answering questions only on demand. But the notification is actually the whole point and main idea - it reminds you of a word not just once a day or whenever you remember, but rather whenever you need to answer it to memorise it well.

Deozaan

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Re: NANY 2014 Release: Q-FlashCards for Android
« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2013, 02:21:55 PM »
There is one feature-request though: I want to be able to stop all notifications. I've tried turning off everything I could find, but it still pops up in the notification area. I dislike most stuff that puts itself there, unless I explicitly allow it. Currently I'm unable to achieve that :huh:

Depending on what version of Android you have, you can turn off all notifications for an app in the "App info" window. Just uncheck that "Show notifications" box and you're set! See my screenshot below for more an example:

2013-12-30 20.20.03.pngNANY 2014 Release: Q-FlashCards for Android


Ath

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Re: NANY 2014 Release: Q-FlashCards for Android
« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2013, 02:53:21 PM »
Well, currently the notification is the only way to get to the screen where you answer the questions, so there is obviously no option to disable it... But it makes sense as a feature request to allow using as most of other similar programs work - answering questions only on demand. But the notification is actually the whole point and main idea - it reminds you of a word not just once a day or whenever you remember, but rather whenever you need to answer it to memorise it well.
Yep, that sounds reasonable, but then, a way to turn the whole thing off until I turn it back on, would that be feasible?

TPReal

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Re: NANY 2014 Release: Q-FlashCards for Android
« Reply #15 on: December 30, 2013, 03:02:00 PM »
OK, feature request taken :) I'll look at this closer when I have more time.

If you want the notifications to stop appearing without deleting your cards, you can disable card sets. Long-press a card set (then select all of them if you have more) and select Disable from the menu. They will be grayed out and inactive, i.e. the cards won't cause notification to appear. The time will go on though, so when you enable them, you will most probably be asked all the cards instantly.

Deozaan

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Re: NANY 2014 Release: Q-FlashCards for Android
« Reply #16 on: December 30, 2013, 03:58:44 PM »
It's a nice app. It's working fine on my Galaxy Nexus (takju/maguro). My only complaint so far is that I have the notification sound set to make a noise for "overdue questions" but it seems to make a noise after only about maybe a minute. How long until a question is considered overdue? I would expect overdue to mean something like 30 minutes at least. And related to that, when is a question considered "long overdue"? And can these options be customizable?

[EDIT] Another complaint: I got one card wrong once after getting it right several times in a row and now I have to build back up from zero (the shortest delay between asking again)? That doesn't seem right. [/EDIT]

Another question: How does cloud backup work? I thought I'd need to enter some login credentials for Dropbox or something similar, but it just says it backed up successfully. To where? And how to I restore from my backup if I wipe my phone or install the app on another device?

I would also recommend that you put the app on the Google Play Store. No need for a separate website. The store listing itself can be its website. If you've never put an app on the Google Play Store before, it will ask you for your website. In my case, I just linked back to my developer profile on the Play Store itself and it worked fine.

« Last Edit: December 30, 2013, 04:09:49 PM by Deozaan »

TPReal

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Re: NANY 2014 Release: Q-FlashCards for Android
« Reply #17 on: December 30, 2013, 04:13:47 PM »
Overdue question is a question that is already waiting for X% of its interval (I'm not sure about the value of X now, probably around 20). So when you add new cards, they become overdue quite quickly, but that's the point of quick repetitions - you just should answer before you forget. Once your interval becomes a couple of days or more (which happens after just 5 or so correct answers if you answer correctly each time) you probably won't hear the sound anymore - you will usually just answer cards before they have a chance to become overdue. As for "long overdue", there is no such thing in the app, maybe just the string could be improved if this is confusing.

The cloud backup is provided by Android and works automagically, I don't even know the details, I just use the API. And I verified that after installing the app on another phone, the data just gets there. However the app definitely shouldn't be used on two of your devices at the same time, I think the backup would get all messed up. So this is useful in case of accidental uninstallation of the app, or moving to a new phone.

There is also option of a local backup and restore to SD card, but it's not polished enough yet to make it available in the UI, so this will most probably come in the future.

Hmm, I'll investigate the Play Store, but definitely not yet. First I don't have time for this, and second, things like local backup and at least some form of import, should be there from the very beginning I guess, otherwise folk will just flood comments with "poor app, no importing, one star, uninstalling" :)

EDIT: As for the algorithm of changing the repetition interval, one bad answer cancels more or less three good answers. My experiments showed that this is generally a good value, but could probably be configurable. BTW, did you notice the "almost knew it" option, accessible as the icon on the bottom of the screen when answering a card? As the mini-tutorial says, long-press icons to learn what they mean.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2013, 04:20:18 PM by TPReal »

Deozaan

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Re: NANY 2014 Release: Q-FlashCards for Android
« Reply #18 on: December 30, 2013, 04:19:52 PM »
The cloud backup is provided by Android and works automagically, I don't even know the details, I just use the API. And I verified that after installing the app on another phone, the data just gets there. However the app definitely shouldn't be used on two of your devices at the same time, I think the backup would get all messed up. So this is useful in case of accidental uninstallation of the app, or moving to a new phone.

I'm assuming this is provided by Google and requires you to be signed into a Google account on your device. That will probably work for 99% of Android users, but I think there are some people who don't like to use any of the Google services (perhaps ewemoa is one such person?). Also, Now that I think about it, I wonder if that makes a difference for people who use Amazon Kindle devices.


TPReal

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Re: NANY 2014 Release: Q-FlashCards for Android
« Reply #19 on: December 30, 2013, 04:22:49 PM »
I'm not sure Android devices are usable without logging in... And 99% sounds like a good target value. Anyway, one day the second backup option will be local to file, if somebody prefers this.