Technical Improvements - What has Worked

August 20, 2010, 12:45 PM posted in General Discussion

I'm posting this to list past improvements CPod made that have worked well.  The intent isn't to set up a "feel good" post.  Rather, there are a lot of comments here about problems with the recent changes to the site and, of course, that's a good, healthy give-and-take between the users and CPod.  However, equally important feedback is what improvements in the past have worked; not as fun as complaining, but what the hell.

Also, if you feel comfortable doing so, it would be informative to list your service level as well; some improvements are not apparent to all users.

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August 20, 2010, 01:14 PM

Since I started this, I guess I get to make the first post.  I have been a premium/guided subscription subscriber for around three years.  

An improvement from my standpoint was when the ability to resize characters used in the exercises, flashcards, expansions sentences, and dialogues was added.  I forget what the exact change was, but in the past I had problems reading the more complex characters.  However, when I turned on screen magnification, it only made the English larger.  As a result, I could not read around one-in-ten sentences.  There was a workaround (pasting the offending character into Nciku), but it was a major pain in the posterior region.  

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August 20, 2010, 02:39 PM

My favorites:

  • A huge improvement are the exercises.
  • The fact that there are mobile apps. 
  • Threaded commenting. 
  • The replies to me field.
  • Actually even the lessons have still been improved from excellent to awesome. (I sometimes figure that, when an old random lesson comes in)
  • The font resizing

/me like this thread already


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August 20, 2010, 04:18 PM

I've been a user since the end of December 2008.
A couple of changes that to me were unarguably good:

Convert to Tone Marks function given with the Comment-writing and also the Reply to text-writing boxes I was thrilled to see (when was that, early this year?). Before that I used to go into Activity Stream and convert in one of the text boxes there, then Cut and Paste.
Actually I have given this positive feedback already. I gave it as soon as I noticed the change.

Wasn't it just last year that we became able to choose to show the (now hidden by default) English translations with the lesson dialogues?  I can hardly remember any more life before that improvement.

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August 20, 2010, 07:34 PM

I have been an on/off user of ChinesePod these past few years. Somewhere a few years ago you received a CD with a couple of hundred lessons if you joined up. Made for great listening in the car. 

As I have a new job that requires lots of commuting the Iphone app is really fantastic. I select a lesson or two during breakfast, listen on the way to work and start adding keywords to the flashcards. 

Review over lunch and do another lesson on the way back. I really struggle to find time to do the lessons reviews at home so the iPhone app really allows me to make progress.


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August 21, 2010, 01:51 AM

These are my two:

  • replies to me
  • tone markers

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August 21, 2010, 03:21 AM

I like the dashboard, the skritter app, the ability to download cpod lessons into a mobile device like an iPod. Hopefully, the Progress Improvement measurement beta will continue. I also like it that cpod is interested in continuing innovation on the website.

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August 21, 2010, 03:59 AM

All things considered, the content of the lessons has always been top notch and the exercises are quite good.  The community, while always changing, remains a strong point.

In fact, I think the site now is much more stable than in years past.  While some ideas recently have not gone as well I might have hoped, I don't think we've been hit by a second iceberg.

I've been a subscriber and user at most of the different subscription levels since late 2005.  Currently, I'm in the final weeks of my Guided Plan.

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Out of interest, what was the first iceberg?

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There was a site update a few years ago that was supposed to make the site much easier to use and it turned out to be anything but that. While things were settling down, it became known that the update was code named "Project Iceberg" or similar name.

I can only speculate that the name was chosen because there were a lot of unadvertised features and infrastructure added that wasn't supposed to be visible to the users. But the end effect was more like the titanic, except i think everyone survived.