News for February 2014

Sorry about the down time20 February 2014
I'm sorry about the down time today. It appears that a high load of requests to the Study pages forced our web host to take down the site in order to protect other websites on the same server (which incidentally includes our very own Reviewing the Hanzi , which itself was not affected).

In order to address this quickly I have implemented "throttling" on the Study pages. Practically speaking if you try to browse between Study pages too fast (within 1-2 seconds), you may see an error message. Wait for a couple seconds before reloading.

I understand it can be a little annoying but due to the nature of the Study pages I think it should be bearable. If you frequently use the Previous / Next buttons to browse between the kanji, try to wait a second between clicks, or directly search for a kanji rather than click five times forward/backwards.

I will do what I can to try and implement a smarter way of throttling the pages and detecting abusive users and scripts, and am considering banning accounts in the future who are scraping the Study pages stories and reducing the response times and quality of the website for everyone else.

Small usability update19 February 2014


  • Replaced the old glossy looking buttons with the new ones used in the Review page. The Edit Flashcard dialog now looks nicer and the buttons should be more comfortable to use on a touch device.
  • Added a confirmation step to the Delete option of the flashcard menu. This works on the Review and Study pages. Thanks to Cameron for the suggestion.
This small update today is part of a larger set of changes to upgrade old stylesheets (for example obsolete browser compatibility), replacing gif images with CSS3 that has become standard, and preparing for responsive layout.
Minor fixes and... line breaks!3 February 2014
Today's update involves a couple small fixes and a change to the Story edition feature.

  • Line breaks are now used when displaying your own stories (mnemonics) in the Study pages as well as the Flashcard Review "Edit Story" dialog (thanks to jmignot for the reminder).
  • Fixed issue with Flip Card keyboard shortcut (Spacebar and F) after using the Flashcard Menu dialog (thanks timaki).
  • Removed the fade-in effect when moving between flashcards. The intention was to add more visual cue but until I can do a better effect, I agree it can feel a bit slower. This should feel more snappy on mobile too.
Line breaks are not displayed in the Shared Stories list. This is intentional. Think Twitter's limit on the length of messages: the idea is to have small compromises in order to encourage users to share effective, and on topic stories.

However in the personal story area, I understand users want to add more information, such as example words, and misc. notes of personal interest. This is the reason why line breaks are displayed in personal, but not shared stories.

In other news, additional feedback for the mobile flashcard reviews is still very much helpful. Let me know what device you use, and whether or not it is comfortable to use.