Saturday, January 24, 2009

Saturday loose ends

Santiago is still standing after the storm yesterday which caused a couple of blackouts through the night (link from here).

I fear that this means that my code which was running overnight will not have been saved, so I'll have to go back and restart that some time this weekend.

In the meantime I've been trying out a new piece of software: Mnemosyne, which is similar to the interval learning software, Genius, which I wrote about some time back. The benefit of Mnemosyne is mostly that there are plenty of ready made word lists in Spanish and Chinese (amongst many other languages). The interface takes a little more time to get comfortable with, mostly due to its simplicity, but it seems like another good system for interval learning. (NB. See also Kevin's page with some great links to more Chinese files for Genius)

This morning I also found a series of lectures at the Perimeter Institute (as I followed a link from Bee's blog) which look excellent. In particular, this course from Alex Buchel which is an ongoing course on String theory promises to be a valuable resource for those starting off in this subject without any other directed learning. Also check out the extensive course on Quantum field theory.

(Random, no context link to a multigigapixel panorama from the Online Photographer. I shan't be processing anything like this any time soon!)

Anyway, another busy weekend beckons including the promise of plenty of good Chinese and Korean food tonight with a Korean birthday to go to. Kimchi supplied by yours truly.


Luca said...

Hey Jon,
about SRS softwares I'd recommend Anki. I wrote about -- rather quickly though -- on my blog a couple of months back.
I find it quite useful for allowing me to add images for stroke order. I don't know of any similar project for Chinese characters, for, as I understand, stroke order rules for Japanese are different than for Chinese (also kanji are more similar to traditional Chinese, even though with few exceptions like 学.)

Unknown said...

In fact since writing this post I came across Anki which definitely has advantages, though I prefer the timing method of Genius which is somewhat more intensive. I think it'll take a while to get used to using Anki regularly which seems more important than it does for the other programs. Certainly there are a few good files for Chinese which I've been playing with. I'd be interested to know about the difference in stroke order between kanji and hanzi. I'll look into that one.

Cheers for the link,


Luca said...

I didn't try Genius to be honest, so I don't really know how to compare. I think Anki is pretty good if you're building up your vocabulary while using it, because the timing is completely automatic.

When I started learning kanji I was surprised on seeing how Chinese friends of mine were writing hanzi: it looked ... funny. The main difference is on when to write minor strokes, which for hanzi it's (often) last, while for kanji not so often.
I guess it's something similar to color and colour.

Unknown said...

Ah, I see, so one of them is right and one of them is wrong ;-)

I would definitely recommend trying out Genius as a comparison. It seems to me that if you can write files which work in both then they would be complementary. Genius works on a much shorter time period of interval training, whereas Anki is over several days - I'm giving this a go at the moment.

Luca said...

I would have given Genius a spin if it were not only for Mac.
Unfortunately I'm still on an old laptop running Linux.

About stroke order: no wonder they fought each other for centuries.