iPhone Feature Requests

nlucchesi

举人
Requested feature: Copy.

I wish there were a way to copy portions of a definition, e.g., sample sentences.

At a minimum, after I've found the word/characters I want to copy it so I can paste it into an email or other application I'm working on. It is very clumsy now to quit Pleco, launch email, and then remember/key in pinyin to re-create the character.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
We've actually just added a copy function to the popup reader toolbar in the new update we just submitted to Apple; won't let you copy out arbitrary portions of definitions yet, but you can at least use that to copy out a particularly useful Chinese word / phrase and paste that into another app. Hopefully they'll have that approved and released sometime this week.

We've been working on a way to do full iPhone-style text selection / copying, but it's very dicey because the standard iPhone tap-hold gesture tends to interfere with tapping on characters to look them up; we don't want to make that function any less useful for the sake of copy-and-paste.
 

TerranX

Member
The iPhone version rocks - it sets a new standard for Apps, period - language or otherwise. Two features I'd like to see:

1) Spaced repetition review option for the flashcards implementation.

2) Fold in Jyutping - Pinyin for Cantonese learners
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Thanks. Spaced repetition is already supported in our Palm/WM flashcard software and should certainly be included on iPhone too. Adding Cantonese to anything but Unihan entries would be tricky, though - we'd need some sort of Cantonese pronunciation database, and we haven't been able to find any of those that we can license yet.
 

TerranX

Member
Thanks for mentioning the Unihan word entries - I'll check that out. One possible source for Cantonese database licensing: Adam Sheik, creator of the very robust and useful CantoDict Project. Could be a win-win partnership.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Already talked to him and he wasn't interested, sadly. (seems to be entertaining the idea of doing his own mobile app)
 

numble

状元
I see that there might be expanded MP3 support in the future--would this include being able to do things with the lyrics stored in a MP3 (I think its in an ID3 tag, but not sure)? Lesson podcasts usually include dialogue transcripts in the lyrics, and Google China includes Chinese lyrics with most of their songs. This idea came to mind as I was on an airplane constantly flipping between iPod mode and Pleco to look up lyric meanings to songs.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Haven't investigated that much, but in theory it seems like it certainly ought to be possible - there's actually already experimental / basic support for just playing MP3s in Pleco, if you tap on an MP3 file in the document reader file browser it should start playing it (and stop playing if you tap on it again - no play controls yet, though). I don't think it would be possible to read lyrics from an MP3 file stored in the iPhone's regular audio repository, though, only from an MP3 you'd separately installed in Pleco.
 

sthome12

Member
mikelove said:
Haven't investigated that much, but in theory it seems like it certainly ought to be possible - there's actually already experimental / basic support for just playing MP3s in Pleco, if you tap on an MP3 file in the document reader file browser it should start playing it (and stop playing if you tap on it again - no play controls yet, though). I don't think it would be possible to read lyrics from an MP3 file stored in the iPhone's regular audio repository, though, only from an MP3 you'd separately installed in Pleco.
Wow, this is a great news. I'm a music lover on-the-go, and this will be another great experience for me if this will be realized.
Looking forward to experiencing this. =)
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
numble - neat, I'd read that document but somehow missed the lyrics property key; with that, I think it'd actually be even easier to extract lyrics from a library music file than is from one in our own documents directory, though we'd still want to support the latter for the sake of easy downloads of integrated MP3 / transcript / flashcard list packages and such.
 

numble

状元
mikelove said:
numble - neat, I'd read that document but somehow missed the lyrics property key; with that, I think it'd actually be even easier to extract lyrics from a library music file than is from one in our own documents directory, though we'd still want to support the latter for the sake of easy downloads of integrated MP3 / transcript / flashcard list packages and such.
Great! I think this will be a really good feature, as many people outside Chinese-speaking areas encounter the language through songs and lesson podcasts.
 

Eggwind

举人
That's a great idea. ChinesePod are requiring a premium membership to use their iPhone app, which doesn't really offer anything other than another way to access content you can already access with a basic subscription. Would really be no use for it if you could access the mp3 lyrics field from the Pleco reader! For now though, I'll just convert the pdfs to txt and copy them over to the reader manually.

I have another request: it would be handy to have a clear input button on the pinyin keyboard you're designing. I find it difficult to hit the clear button on the entry field. Also, as others have said, it would be nice if definition were not hidden when the keyboard is open. Both of these features would make me more effective when adding words to a vocab list.

I have another suggestion for when you add flashcard support: when adding words from the reader panel, it would be nice if the flashcard entry could contain the name of the document file to help when reviewing.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Well I hate to take money out of John et al's pockets, but I suppose since the lyrics are already embedded in the MP3s they're not really doing anything to discourage their further use - they're not letting you use the iPhone app specifically without paying more, but those things aren't automatically related.

Good points about clear input and about noting the source document, though the latter would require some changes to our flashcard database format and so probably won't happen until the next big cross-platform flashcard update.
 

Eggwind

举人
numble said:
Their iPhone app looks like it does a lot more than provide access to the embedded lyrics...
Well, I tested it for a bit and as far as my usage is concerned it didn't offer much:

It lets you download podcasts from within the app - a jailbroken iPhone with safari download plugin will let you do the same (they sneakily block you from viewing your personalized RSS feed from the iTunes app on the iPhone)
Transcript and glossary - the PDFs containing such can be downloaded in the same way, and are in my RSS feed already
Flashcards - this will be unnecessary once Pleco gets updated

Obviously premium memberships offer a little more content such as study review tools, but it seems their business model is partly based on inconveniencing basic members to encourage them to upgrade, which in my opinion is a tasteless business tactic. I guess companies need to differentiate their products somehow to justify pricing.

I apologize for going off-topic but to sum up, Mike, you shouldn't feel bad about implementing this feature. There's no rush, though, since converting the PDFs to text and importing them is fairly trivial.

As for other feature requests, I find Stanza books easier to read than books in the Pleco reader for some reason. I think it might have something to do with the margins - right now the text is pushed a bit far up to the edges. A setting might be nice, if it is easy to implement.

Another thing about the hardware keyboard: you mentioned that you will remove the spacebar, but right now as far as I can see there's no other way of clarifying ambigious pinyin. "Guanai" won't find 關愛; you have to search for "guan ai".
 

elipio

秀才
Hi Mike, still very happy with my purchase;-)
one thing I'd like to see added is the ability to choose a colour for the drawing tool. I've been learning to write the signs and make snapshots of the signs with a definition in the background as my own flashcards. If I could choose one of the colours of the tones it'll be easier to remember how to pronounce the sign, just looking at it.
It'd be great but it's not a must for me to keep loving the soft...
Best
Pete
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Eggwind - there'd be a space button in our onscreen keyboard too (or a ' button), just smaller than the current spacebar. Though we probably should stop being such sticklers for Pinyin formality and just start allowing "guanai" to search both "gua nai" and "guan ai".

ellpio - sorry, I'm not quite clear on this - so you'd want a set of buttons somewhere in the handwriting interface that you could use to vary the stroke color? In general, if we were adding the option to change the stroke color it'd probably be somewhere harder to access (i.e. something a couple of panels deep in Settings), since we'd mostly be thinking of it as a color scheme / Night Mode thing.
 

stisev

进士
Mike,
Is there ANY possibility of introduction "auto-flashcards" in the iPhone version? Oh please! please! please! This feature would be very useful to the people like me who like to study Chinese in the car or are studying in bed with their arms under the sheets.

Basically, give us a checkbox that allows the flash cards to progress automatically and (of course) give the option for the Chinese speaker to speak the word automatically. Obviously, this would be for review purposes in the car. I know the English word would not be spoken.

OR

An even more interesting idea: Pleco listens for the user to say "Pass" or "Fail" orrr "Correct" or "Wrong" while doing flashcards.

What do you think?
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Sure, but probably not in the first release - every new feature we add means a longer wait, so if anything we'll cut some features out of the first iPhone flashcard release just to get it out the door ASAP.
 
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