SuperMemo (continued)

Tom   Thursday, March 11, 2004, 18:43 GMT
(continued from

Pentatonic, moving groups of items would be easy if drag & drop worked properly. I prefer to put everything in one place and never touch it. That way, I can be reasonably sure nothing will get screwed up.
Pentatonic   Thursday, March 11, 2004, 20:54 GMT
Hmm, well it has always worked fine for me. I just choose "add as last child" and it works well. The hardest part for me was discovering that I have to set the "hook" to get imports and new items to go where I want. SuperMemo is not exactly intuitive. What sorts of d&d problems have you experienced?

I think I'm about to revisit your page on how you're learning German. I've been learning German at a slow pace in what little spare time I have. I've learnt maybe 700 words and phrases. Now we plan on going to Germany again in July, so I have four months and it's time for hard study. I bought a list of beginning German words from SuperMemo which was full of errors. Now that I've corrected the errors and have begun to learn them, I realize how difficult it is to learn words out of context. I'm getting confused when to use certain related words like oben, ober, hinauf, and I think that sentences would help a lot in that regard. However, I don't have a lot of time to enter sentences. Maybe I can computerize it somehow.
HongKonger   Thursday, March 11, 2004, 20:56 GMT
So, Tom, do you mean that you may have 10000+ items under one root/category? we don't need to organize the knowledge tree at all?

Can I move multiple items in content window like what we can do in window explorer?
HongKonger   Thursday, March 11, 2004, 21:04 GMT
sorry for asking so many questions.......cuz I just got the trial version...and wanna explore it fully before I determine to buy it.

If I buy a collection online, can I integrate that collection with my existing collection? Like, move/copy all items in the new collection to my English collection.

Pentatonic   Thursday, March 11, 2004, 21:23 GMT
SuperMemo wants to branch off after a set amount of words. You can set this in the options but the max. setting is 500. Tom will have to answer how he gets around this.

You can integrate different collections together by exporting one collection and importing into the next. I don't know if entries containing sound, etc., would be transferred properly as I've never tried that.
HongKonger   Thursday, March 11, 2004, 21:27 GMT
ic....but I can't hold down Ctrl key to highlight multiple items to move them together, like in window explorer?!....I must move items one by one if I DON'T want to move ALL items under a certain branch to another one?!
Pentatonic   Thursday, March 11, 2004, 21:55 GMT
I can although it acts odd sometimes. I'm using Win2000Pro and have done the same on Win98. Can you select a range by clicking on the first, holding down shift, and then clicking on the last?
HongKonger   Thursday, March 11, 2004, 22:08 GMT
Oh, I am using Window 2000.....but, I am testing the supermemo 2000 NOT, 2002......does it matter?

I tried both shift and ctrl key.....doesn't seem to work.......should I change any option? close any windows?....etc.....
Pentatonic   Thursday, March 11, 2004, 22:22 GMT
I would guess it does matter since I'm using 2002. There are no options related to that that I'm aware of.
Tom   Saturday, March 13, 2004, 00:54 GMT
HongKonger, in reference to your question about pronunciation software, both PerfectPronunciation and Pronunciation Power have their advantages.

Pronunciation Power is designed primarily for practice in pronouncing American sounds. It is essentially a database of recordings organized by phoneme. It does not manage your learning process, so you just run it and play with it whenever you like.

PerfectPronunciation focuses on learning to pronounce a couple hundred most frequent words that you will use when speaking English. (You can still use it to learn the sounds.) It makes sure you practice regularly and makes sure the pronunciations stick in your memory.


+ better selection of words (frequency-based)
+ focus on words rather than sounds (e.g. phonetic transcriptions of words are given)
+ manages your reviews (tests you and forces you to practice regularly)
+ includes SuperMemo 99
+ much more reasonable price (PerfectPronunciation $34.95, Pronunciation Power - around $90)

- fewer recordings than Pronunciation Power

Pronunciation Power
+ stellar quality of recordings (though I can detect a slight Canadian accent on the speaker in a couple places)
+ you can practice whole phrases and sentences (good for advanced practice in linking & rhythm)
+ listening discrimination (minimal pairs) exercises for beginners

- you can run it and click and listen to good recordings, but it doesn't force you to practice regularly. Will you run it regularly or just play with it a couple of times and put it away?
- slow interface overloaded with graphics. Doesn't always work as expected (esp. the QuickTime-based animations are a pain in the neck).
- some mistakes (i.e. it's supposed to underline all schwa sounds in a sentences, and it underlines one or two non-schwa sounds, too)
- as far as I remember, it does not cover all the sounds of American English
- price

I'm learning German. I think that if I had a choice between "German PerfectPronunciation" and "German Pronunciation Power", I'd pick "German PerfectPronunciation". If Pronunciation Power was 50% cheaper, I'd get both PerfectPronunciation and Pronunciation Power.
HongKonger   Monday, March 15, 2004, 15:31 GMT
Tom, thank you so much for your advice! I really appreciate your detailed analysis, which also shows that you respect my question.

So, did you actually try Pronunciation Power? Or, you ran the demo movie and gave comment on that demo?

Does Perfect Pronunciation basically contain items with recordings ( teaching the most frequently-used english words)? It doesn't really have a strategy to teach individual sounds? Can I download a sample of Perfect Pronunciation?

Tom   Monday, March 15, 2004, 22:37 GMT
Yes, I actually tested Pronunciation Power 1, 2, and the 8-in-1 dictionary.

No, PerfectPronunciation does not specifically teach you individual sounds -- for example, it doesn't have lists of words with a particular sound.
You can generate such lists yourself by searching for "@", "..", etc.
You also get a more detailed phonetic symbols table (with slightly better quality recordings than those on this site).

No free sample is available, but feel free to ask more questions. You can also buy it and if you don't like it, I'll refund your money (minus 10% transaction processing fee).
HongKonger   Tuesday, March 16, 2004, 22:48 GMT
Tom, thanks for your suggestion.

I still have some questions about, the concept is.....supermemo won't control the speed of learning. Does it mean that I can set the workload myself?, I can set in supermemo that I want to repeat 50 items per days?!

If for some reasons, I want to stop using supermemo for a few weeks, how can I stop the learning process and pick it up later?!

Thanks a lot!
Tom   Wednesday, March 17, 2004, 01:17 GMT
You can set a parameter (Forgetting Index) which affects the number of reviews you get per day, but you can't specify that number directly. It's best to stick to the default value (10%), and control the number of reviews by memorizing more or less new items. If you stop memorizing new items for a while, your daily workload will always get smaller, because the intervals between reviews normally increase.

You can't really "stop" the learning process, because you can't stop forgetting (unless you have somebody freeze you in liquid nitrogen). If you stop using SuperMemo for some time, you will wind up with a backlog of unreviewed items, and you will have to handle that backlog (e.g. you can distribute the backlog over a number of days).
HongKonger   Wednesday, March 17, 2004, 21:40 GMT
Oh...I see.

Now, I am reading Supermemo online menu. However, I don't quite understand the need to differentiate between BRANCH, CATEGORY, and they sort of work in the same way? Would you mind telling me your ideas on those stuff?