Archive for category personal development

Create your own ANKI deck with automated translations and voices: Part 5

This is the final post in a series about creating your own ANKI SRS card deck for learning a foreign language.

This year I wrote about a method to create ANKI flash card data, using google Spreadsheet and some scripting to pick up mp3s from google translate. I found it an effective way to study vocabulary for Chinese, and particularly listening for new words as it embeds the voices to words as well.

Recently I developed an app to take care of the scripting parts of the tutorial. It works on windows and mac. Here is a video showing its use.

By using this app you can create your own ANKI Card structures that can aid to your own learning.

One example is I sometimes study on the train or whilst walking, but I cant look at the screen. In that case I build a Flashcard deck that consists of English and Chinese sounds only.

 

REQUIREMENTS:: this app requires MONO runtime to work
I haven’t made an install package yet so please grab this before running the app (if you don’t have MonoDevelop or Xamarin installed)
Card Generator MAC
http://download.mono-project.com/archive/3.2.1/macos-10-x86/MonoFramework-MRE-3.2.1_1.macos10.xamarin.x86.pkg – Mono run time for mac
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BxEgxZPzMLVEVEp6VXh0d2JDaUE/edit?pli=1 – The CardGenerator app.

Card Generator WINDOWS
http://download.mono-project.com/archive/2.10.9/windows-installer/0/mono-2.10.9-gtksharp-2.12.11-win32-0.exe – The mono runtime
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BxEgxZPzMLVEV0RsRTdyRnlEeXc/edit?usp=sharing – the CardGenerator App. Please unzip and then run the application file (CardGenerator3.exe) from the folder inside

SOURCE CODE
Available at https://github.com/martinogg/CardGeneratorANKI for those who are interested.

If you have any suggestions or feedback, please let me know.

Development

This app was developed using C# in GTK# / mono with Xamarin IDE. It took about 80 hrs to develop. It uses a standard SQLite database file for storage and connects to google translate to obtain the mp3s. The decision for this platform was because I wanted to use a managed code system for quick development and have multi-platform capability too.

 

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Review of 2009 and Plans for 2010. Part 4: Work-life and discipline for goals

This post is a continuation from my previous entry about my review of 2009 and plans for the next coming year. (http://www.martinogg.com/2010/01/happy-new-year-a-review-of-last-year-and-my-plans-for-next-year/)

Setting and achieving goals is something that has greatly benefit me in 2009. At the start of the year, I did little in the way of forward planning or goal setting.

It just didn’t occur to me that I needed to maintain goals to forward myself from where I currently was. After all, I shared a flat with my girlfriend, had a car each and a reasonably well paid job. It was a comfortable situation and each month I had enough disposable income to buy whatever I reasonably wanted.

That said, there were occasions where I felt frustrated about my situation; some things just never turned out the way I thought they should have done. Working a 9-5 job constricted my free time and I wasn’t meeting new people like I used to when I was traveling or at university. I didnt have the time to see my friends quite as often as I’d have liked and I couldn’t get away for a couple of months at a time because my holiday-allowance at work was too short.

At one point I used work as a scapegoat. Because I was being ‘forced’ to work the best hours of my day away, I consequently was too tired in the evenings to do anything exciting. The weekends were then just time of refuge where I would rest in order to prepare myself for the next week. Because of this job, I was spending all my day on a computer, spending the majority of my day staring at the same screen. I talked to the same small group of people every day. To me it didn’t feel like a brilliant realisation to come to. Programming is my hobby and I was getting to do what I loved, but at the expense of other sides of my life. And after all, I had spent so many years aiming to get to this professional level.

It wasn’t till nearer the middle of the year that I started taking personal development more seriously and started making goals.

By planning out goals and thinking about what it would actually take to achieve them, I began to realise the strength of consciously thinking about what I actually wanted to have; what was realistic and what I thought I wanted but on reflection, turned out to be pretty stupid requests.

One of the most productive goals I aimed for was to have more up-time outside of work time. By getting up at 6:00am instead of 8:00, I found I could make it to work for 7:30am instead of the latest allowed time of 9:30am. And instead of taking a full one hour lunch break I took half hour breaks instead. The result was I managed to finish work at 3:30pm instead of the 6:00pm usual time. This extra time in the afternoons was amazing! I had the time and energy to work more on the things I actually wanted to do outside of work. Whether it be putting my feet up, do some reading or play some games. It was the first time since started professional work I felt I wasn’t time-poor.

Then an amazing transformation happened. I began to realise that I work wasn’t the incapacitating monster I had envisioned.  I began to see work for what I remember it being in high school; a hobby of problem solving and taking on interesting tasks which helped other members of the team achieve their goals in their own work.

Another major goal I worked on was becoming more proficient with reading and in particular photo-reading. Previously reading was a chore for me and consequently I didnt do very much reading. However the last few months have been a real adventure and I have found myself become interested in a larger range of subjects.

For 2010 I would like to continue to work on the goal-setting areas more vigorously. Essentially it is just a simple feedback loop. Consciously discover how things can be done differently and then experiment with making changes to see how it has an effect.

I want to maintain the 6am starts throughout the year, which sets the enables the capacity to do my job and yet still have enough time to work on myself. There are times when I become lazy and I will have a few days or weeks of getting up later, allowing the snooze alarm to get me up at 6:30am or even 7am. Whilst these are still much earlier then my previous wake up times, the lack of free time later in the day makes it a real challenge to be alert and able after work.

For 2010 I need to work on my discipline to keep up challenges I set myself. Maintaining motivation is also another key element to achieve goals, though I am not so worried about any lack of this. The more I seem to do towards personal effectiveness the more I seem to be motivated to do it. Its like a snowball rolling down a slope, gaining mass and momentum all the time. Every goal I set myself and achieve is helping. Whether or not the goal gives the outcome I wanted isn’t as important as having completed the goal itself.

Of course it would be great if every challenge you face gives you immediate satisfaction and benefit but sometimes it doesn’t always go to plan.

My website is an example of this, so far it hasn’t had quite so many views or generated income as much as I’d have expected but I feel I have greatly benefited by sticking at it and writing up content to it.

I aim to keep on looking at ways to improve and set new goals to explore what things can really help me and others.

Experiments I have already started are to try vegetarianism (started from 2nd January :) ) and to look into driving a car which runs on LPG instead of diesel or petrol.

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