MobilePhrasier: user's guide

Here is the general outline of use: click to go to the appropriate section.

The general practicing scheme, as you may see, is exactly as in Phrasier. In older versions of MobilePhrasier, you had to export the CHS session files as ASCII files, but this is no longer required.

Download, install and run

Download the MobilePhrasier package and unzip the contents. The package contains the MPhrasier.jar and MPhrasier.jad for installing MobilePhrasier on your mobile telephone, Phrasier.jar which is the version of Phrasier to run on your computer (e.g. for making your own session files to use on your mobile), and sample flash card files (type CHS) which are ready for use with MobilePhrasier.

Installation on mobile phones may vary slightly from mobile to mobile. One method which should work on most phones is to copy MPhrasier.jar and MPhrasier.jad to the phone's memory card, then find the files using the file browser on the phone; trying to run the file will then usually install it (some phone's take the JAR and some the JAD). You may look up instructions for you particular phone: e.g. go to your brand's home page, or Google for information. Most phones will run the program after installation, but later you would normally go to some kind of Java application menu to run MobilePhrasier.

Installing flash card practice session files

In order to use MobilePhrasier, you need one or more flash card practice sessions on your phone. These are CHS files like the ones used by Phrasier. (Previously, these had to be saved in ASCII format, not UTF-8 encoding as is the default for Phrasier, but this is no longer required). There are some sample practice sessions included in the package, or you may make your own using Phrasier.

You just copy the flash card practice session file (or files) to any directory on the phone's memory card. When you start MobilePhrasier, there is an option in the menu to open a file: this allows you to browse the directories and CHS files and select the one you want to use. It is somewhat hard for me to predict what the different memory modules are called on your phone: they may show up with some names on your computer or file browser when you connect the phone to your computer, but something else in MobilePhrasier's file browser. When you choose a practice session file, MobilePhrasier will remember the choice, so next time you can just select the Reopen last option from the menu instead of having to click your way to the file to select it.

All the practice information is stored in the CHS file, and this is in turn compatible with Phrasier although MobilePhrasier saves the file in a somewhat more compact format. Thus, there is no installation of the session files, it is just stored on the memory card as any other file, and you may shift at will between running it on Phrasier and on MobilePhrasier.

After selecting a flash card session file, usually by the Reopen last option, the flash cards will be loaded. You will most likely be required to verify that you allow the program to access the memory card; some phones will require that you verify this each time the program makes an access which may be a few times. Loading the flash cards may take a little time, at least on older phones. You will see the progress as it counts the number of buffers read: each buffer is appr. 4 kB.

Practicing flash cards

After loading a flash card practice session, it will pick a term to practice and display the phrase by default, or the pronounciation, translation or comment field if you have changed the default settings. You can switch between phrase, pronounciation, translation and comment by pressing keys 7, 8, 9 or 0. For full overview of the term, press the * key. When you decide how well you know the term, you give feedback to MobilePrasier by pressing one of the keys 1-5 where 1 indicates you don't know the term at all, and 5 that you know it well; you can skip the term by pressing 6.

When you press one of the keys 1-6, MobilePhrasier automatically goes to the next term to practice. By default, the display remains on whichever of phrase, ..., comment that was displayed when you pressed the key. However, you can go into the menu and select AutoStyle, and MobilePhrasier will automatically switch to the selected display styles when you press 1-6: e.g. it you were displaying the translation when you turn on AutoStyle, it will switch to display the translation whenever you go to the next term. The AutoStyle mode will be remembered: it is stored in the practice session file.

For Chinese, the pronounciation is typically shown using Pinyin. By default, this uses tone marks which requires special characters. If your mobile does not support these characters, you may try pressing the # key while in pronounciation display to change this to Pinyin with tone numbers. In the future, Bopomofo (used in Taiwan) should also become available. As of now, this is the only function of the # key, but in the future I may implement alternative display styles (e.g. with other languages) in which case the # key will take on more uses.

If you press * to get term information, you will be shown the learnt-index and the importance. In the menu, you may increase or decrease the importance (in steps of 0.5).

In the menu, you can also change the font size, the font colour, and the background colour. Changing the colours may be required on some phones: e.g. on one Sony Ericsson, the phone decided that nice default colours were white text on white background, which was rather impractical. These choices are stored permanently with the application and apply across different practice session files (if you have several).

The vocabulary file from which each term was imported is stored in the session file, and you may choose Select from the menu to select which are to be included or excluded from the practice. This is particularly useful if terms were imported from one vocabulary file per lesson: you then just import all the lessons into the session file when you make it using Phrasier, and include/exclude lessons when you want to practice, e.g. adding lessons as you studying progresses.

When you have finished practicing, choose one of the save options, the default being Save & exit, and the updated session is saved back to file. Again, you may have to verify that you allow MobilePhrasier access to the memory card. A backup of the original file is made first in case something goes wrong. Session files contain a checksum that should detect if something has gone wrong or the file has been modified since last saved, in which case you will receive a warning when you open it.

MobilePhrasier key and menu options

MobilePhrasier uses the following key and menu options during a practice session:

Keys 1-5:
Respond how well you know the term, 1=don't know to 5=know well, and go to next term.
Key 6:
Skip term and go to next term.
Key 7:
Switch display to phrase (e.g. Chinese).
Key 8:
Switch display to pronounciation.
Key 9:
Switch display to translation.
Key 0:
Switch display to comment field.
Key *:
Show info on term.
Key #:
Switch display style if more styles are available (e.g. Pinyin style, Bopomofo for Chinese)
Menu - Save&exit:
Save session an exit MobilePhrasier.
Menu - Save:
Save, don't close session
Menu - Save&close:
Save and close session, but does not exit MobilePhrasier.
Menu - Close, don't save:
Closes the session without saving changes.
Menu - Select...:
Select sources (e.g. lessons) to include in practice.
Menu - AutoStyle:
Switch AutoStyle mode (to present style, or turn off).
Menu - Contents:
Summary of contents of present session.
Menu - Help:
Some help.
Menu - Incr. importance / Decr. importance:
Increase or decrease the importance of the present term.
Menu - Large/Normal/Small font size:
Select font size.
Menu - Background:
Select background colour of term field.
Menu - Text colour:
Select text colour of term field.

Making your own flash card practice sessions

You need to use Phrasier to make your own flash card practice sessions: i.e. practice sessions with your own selection of flash cards. In the Phrasier user's guide you can find more information on how to make your own vocabulary files.

Last modified July 02, 2010.