Trim Shortcuts turns off Ctrl+Alt+C and some other shortcuts
(Jiri Pik, Wed, Jun 27, 2001 8:44)
Why can I not use Ctrl+Alt+C shortcut for selecting the current category in SuperMemo 2000? In the previous releases it worked without any trouble?
Make sure you have Trim Shortcuts in Tools : Options : SuperMemo unchecked. This shortcut can be inactivated to compensate for a bug in handling diacritical characters in some national versions of MS Windows
It may happen that you will not be able to edit
material if you use a wrong template!
(Glenn Fraser, Japan, March 16, 2000)
When I choose Add new I cannot edit the texts! Until recently, I was able to work without problems. What might be happening?
You must have saved an empty element as the default template (e.g. by pressing Ctrl+Alt+M upon deleting all components). The simplest solution is:
- go to any of the correctly looking elements
- choose Template : Save as default (Ctrl+Alt+M). This will save the element as the default template
- choose Add new (Alt+A). This will add a new element with the same looks as the saved element
- delete texts, sound or images saved in Step 2
- choose Template : Save as default again (Ctrl+Alt+M). This will save the template with the right looks but without any content
Use import/export repetition history to resolve corrupted repetition history
(Jiri Pik, Czech Republic, 12/1/2001 5:59:25 PM)
SuperMemo has just displayed the following error: "Wrong repetition history record found. Writing Item #145428: NOM DE GUERRE"
Repetition history record is kept only for your information and does not take part in scheduling repetitions. If the repetition history has been corrupted (e.g. due to an aborted learning data transfer) and you cannot fix it with File : Repair collection : Verify rep. history, you can try the following procedure:
- back up your collection
- use File : Tools : Export : Repetition history
- run File : Tools : Reset parameters : Repetition history
- use File : Tools : Import : Repetition history (with the file created in Point 2)
Errors in reading picture files may indicate problem with file integrity
(Simon Jacques , Thursday, April 17, 2003 2:10 AM)
I received the following message in SuperMemo: "Bitmap error"
This message is not displayed by SuperMemo. It results from errors in a picture file used by SuperMemo (e.g. picture displayed in your collection). SuperMemo never modifies picture files (except JPG/GIF compression). For that reason, you can be sure the error must have occurred as a result of problem with file integrity on your hard disk. Such errors may have multiple causes: physical hard disk error, logical file structure error, damage produced by a virus, etc. If this problem occurs with only one file, you can simply delete or replace that particular file (it would be safe though to inspect the entire hard disk for file integrity). However, if this reoccurs, you may want to have your PC inspected by a hardware expert
Range Check Error on starting SuperMemo
(Paul Richards, United Kingdom, Wednesday, June 25, 2003 10:35 AM)
When I start SuperMemo 2002, I get a range check error. The software seems to work ok after that; however, I get the same error when I try Help : About. The error occurs even when I start SuperMemo in a clean folder. I am using Windows 2000.
Try installing the latest Internet Explorer with SP1, and allowing Windows Update to update everything it wants to. This error is most likely caused by some outdated Windows libraries that deal with controls and/or graphics. Even new installations can misbehave if some applications substitute Windows DLLs with their older or modified versions
Errors while reading incrementally with SuperMemo
(Piotr Wasik, Poland, Monday, January 13, 2003 11:38 AM)
SuperMemo is often aborted by the OS with a Polish error message: "Program wykonal nieprawidlowa operacje i nastapi jego zamkniecie" ["This program has performed an illegal operation and will be shut down"], while extracting sub-topic with Alt-X, few times during a two-hours session. I don't believe in hardware problems as suggested in your troubleshooting section. I understand that incremental reading feature is heavily dependent on IE6 libraries and it's quality affects overall SuperMemo stability. What is the best reference configuration for SuperMemo to make it reasonably stable?
It is true that in some configurations, error messages in HTML-based incremental reading can be annoying. SuperMemo delegates a couple of simple copy and delete operations to MS HTML libraries (source code). Unfortunately, depending on the HTML content and the operating system, even these simple operation may cause errors. SuperMemo 2002/2004 was developed in English Windows 2000 and Windows XP with Internet Explorer 6.0 that included all patches and updates up to the date of release. For that reason, these platforms provide highest stability. Newest patches to IE6 might add stability but can also produce slight changes in the behavior of SuperMemo. Non-NT Windows (98 and ME in particular) are by far less stable and this also shows in SuperMemo. In addition, some national versions of Windows may contribute to instability. In Windows 2000 or XP, SuperMemo nearly never closes and nearly never causes loss of data in the presently edited HTML. If your present installation produces aborts you can either consider upgrading to an NT-based platform (Win2000 or XP), or change your default incremental reading template to RTF (to avoid using HTML libraries). It is also recommended that you experiment with various types of content. mshtml.dll shows notoriously bad behavior with tables, scripts and some multimedia content. Using HTML filter (F6) dramatically improves performance in such cases
Trim shortcuts may turn off certain shortcuts
(Kentaroh Takagaki, USA Educational, Thursday, September 26, 2002 5:17 AM)
I have recently switched to Windows XP. After the switch, I lost the functionality of the Ctrl+Alt+D shortcut key (Duplicate element). I do not have any other special keyboard utilities installed, and all of the other shortcuts I use work fine
Go to Tools : Options, click the SuperMemo tab, and check if the Trim shortcuts option is unchecked. This option turns off some shortcuts by design to avoid conflicts with some national keyboard settings
SuperMemo for Windows requires the Pentium
(Patrik, Monday, October 08, 2001 11:38 AM)
Does SuperMemo 2000 run on a 486 processor?
Officially, SuperMemo 2000 requires the Pentium, but there are no technical limitations that would truly put it out of use on a 486 computer. Your main limitation will be speed. In addition, large collections may consume a few MB of RAM that could make your PC crawl. Finally, be sure to run newer Windows releases to avail of multiple features added by the Internet Explorer. Important! Please try a demo before ordering the product
SuperMemo eGroup is not owned by SuperMemo World
(Nathan Forsdyke, Tuesday, August 06, 2002 3:12 PM)
It would be good to see a link to the Yahoo users group in the help menu of SuperMemo, to encourage people to join up
SuperMemo eGroup is not owned by SuperMemo World. As a result, we are not in power to ensure its continued existence and make the link permanently functional
Use layouts to determine window sizes (#29094)
(Janusz, USA Educational, Monday, October 18, 2004 7:34 PM)
Is there a possibility to introduce a command line parameters to open SuperMemo in a predetermined window size (say 640x480)?
No. You can use layouts instead. Arrange the windows in the way you like and choose Window : Layout : Save as default (Ctrl+Shift+F5). You can store several layouts and choose one of them from Window menu at any time
There are no plans for a dedicated version for Windows ME
(Walter Cook, Saturday, July 21, 2001 7:20 PM)
Will you have a version of SuperMemo for Windows ME out soon or have you developed a workaround solution for it?
Currently a dedicated version for Windows ME is not planned. There is a likelihood of improved performance with new component library coming with the release of Delphi 6 (compiler used to develop SuperMemo for Windows). Another hope comes from Microsoft patches that could resolve incompatibility and memory leak problems (see: Memory leak bug in Windows ME). Otherwise, the only solution for now is to try a demo of SuperMemo 2000 and decide if performance problems are sufficient to disqualify the product
You can easily learn 10,000 items per year (#29064)
(Robyn, Oct 13, 2004, 10:12:16)
I read that many users add 10,000 items per annum effortlessly, but this is 28 items per day implying 230+ reps per day. Isn't that very demanding? Can it be kept up year after year? What sort of material is the 10,000 item observation based on?
Adding 10,000 items per year is demanding and requires self-discipline. Many users are able to achieve this rate, but they are still a minority. The statistic refers to learning English vocabulary (in particular: Advanced English). This rate can be sustained for a couple of years; however, it requires a ready-made simple word-pair collection. Advanced English provides a supply of learning material for only a sustained 4 years of learning at the said rate
E-mail communication is imperfect but invaluable (#30023)
(snjpurcell, Friday, November 19, 2004 6:36 AM)
Waiting on e-mail interactions given all the problems you have with email as documented in your FAQ is a very poor solution for unlocking SuperMemo for use
Even though the cases of lost mail increase (mostly due to anti-virus and spam protection barriers), e-mail is still a very effective way of communicating with customers. Unless there is an inherent problem on the customer side (e.g. specifying wrong address, permanent error at the mail server, etc.), the random nature of communication problems makes it possible to resolve a vast majority of cases by simply resending mail. Assuming perfect randomness of delivery trouble, if 1% of mail is lost, resending should leave only one in 10,000 cases unresolved. In cases of repeated delivery problems we may resort to calling the customer. Such cases are extremely rare
You can save HTML files locally to save on your Internet bill (#29200)
(nibalart, Italy, Oct 24, 2004, 23:12:18)
I have imported some html pages, but when I'm not connected to the Internet the pictures don't appear. Is there any chance to do all downloads automatically without spending a fortune on connections to the Internet
You could save the page with File : Save As (Web page complete) in Internet Explorer and import it with Edit : Add to category : HTML file in SuperMemo (Ctrl+Alt+H). This way, you will be on-line exactly as long as it takes to load the page once
Turning off template type mismatch warning (#29188)
(morphpuppy, Oct 23, 2004, 12:23:18)
When I press Ctrl+Alt+N to paste text to SuperMemo, a screen pops up with "Template type differs from the element type Topic #164". How can I turn this off?
When you choose Ctrl+Alt+N, your article is pasted to a default topic template of the current category. However, if your default topic template is actually an item template, you will receive the warning: "Template type differs ...".
You can either choose another topic template for your current category or change the type of the current template to "Topic". You change default category templates in the category registry (Search : Categories)
Find string enters the editing mode (#736)
(Marcos Pereira Rufino, Jun 29, 2004, 18:49:52)
When I press F3 or choose Search : Find string, one of the components enters in the editing mode
Find string is used to search for a string in longer texts. The component automatically enters the editing mode so that you might immediately proceed with editing actions. Most often, you will need that function in incremental reading. Once you locate a piece of text, you may want to process it for further learning. By default, presentation mode is selection-less so that you associate selections with editing
Use Edit : Menus to access the component menu of a read-only component (#29192)
(Ivan Briery, Oct 25, 2004, 12:17:19)
I selected Read Only in an HTML component, but now right clicking on the component does not offer the same menu. How do I remove this Read Only attribute now?
You need to use Edit : Menus : Component to access Text : Read-Only again. Once you make a component read-only, it will disable the standard component menu with all editing options. In such cases, HTML component offers the standard Internet browser menu
You can import multi-line question&answer files (#29253)
(Steffen Schwember, Oct 28, 2004, 08:51:36)
I could not import multi-line (not multi-answer) items into SuperMemo using the following text in the Q&A file:
q: What is ...?
You must make sure that you are using plain text components. In HTML, your lines will be merged into "explanation example synonyms" (unless you introduce HTML tags). You can either choose a plain text template for the import, or apply the template after the import
You can easily back up SuperMemo (#29624)
(Gilles Compienne, United Kingdom, Tuesday, November 02, 2004 10:39 PM)
I have been disappointed by the fact that the download only gives access to a bootstrap program. It means that if your servers are down or your company goes under then I will not be able to reinstall the product (to keep Windows happy, I usually reinstall it every 2 years or so!)
You only need to back up your SuperMemo executable (e.g. sm2008.exe). The program is self-contained and does not require an installation procedure. You can also backup SuperMemo along with your collections. To reinstall, you will only need to copy your SuperMemo folder to a new computer. Last but not least, if there was to be a problem with the continuity of a given software line or business, SuperMemo is likely to be released as freeware
(Michal Klejman, Poland, Aug 28, 2000)
Will SuperMemo be available for Linux?
We hope to port SuperMemo 2000 to Unix with Kylix tools from Borland. Currently it is difficult to estimate the probability that this enterprise will take off and what the release time-table might be. Please write to lnx(AT)supermemo(.)com for details
Note that you can try SuperMemo 6 (DOS) or SuperMemo 7 (Windows) in Linux emulation modes
Ordering SuperMemo 2008 should be easy (#29743)
(Jan Warngren, Thursday, November 04, 2004 8:52 AM)
I've been trying to get to your SuperMemo Store for a couple of days. I've tried via Yahoo Shopping, by clicking on your website and by googling it and so on. Don't you want to sell your product? Haha, usually when you want to buy something it is very easy. Now it almost seems like you deliberately trying not to sell
You can order SuperMemo 2008 from here. If you experience any problems, make sure your firewall or your browser do not block the purchase in any way (scripts, cookies, ActiveX, etc.). The order page is hosted by Yahoo Stores and should be considered state-of-the-art. Other orders seem to flow in without hindrance at the moment. See also: Yahoo FAQ
What is the delivery time (for CD-ROM titles)?
(Noel Clary, USA, Nov 26, 1997)
What is the delivery time of packages sent to the US?
If you order directly from SuperMemo World, it takes on average 7 days for packages to reach Western Europe by airmail. The same time for the US is about 10 days. It may take over a month to deliver packages to some distant countries (e.g. South America, Africa, etc.)
Ctrl+Alt shortcut problem
(RD, beta, Poland, 02-03-12 11:59:18)
SuperMemo seems not to see the difference between Alt Gr (right Alt) and Ctrl+Alt, which makes it difficult to enter Polish "a" and "e"
This is a problem that affects many Windows applications (not only SuperMemo). SuperMemo solves this by switching off offending shortcuts with Tools : Options : SuperMemo : Trim Shortcuts. It is also possible to enter these diacritical characters by pressing ~a or ~e in a sequence
You can do a swap on questions and answers in a branch (#29748)
(Kazimierz Bigus, Nov 04, 2004, 14:52:53)
What is the easiest way of swapping questions to answers for a given group of elements?
Use Tools : Swap Q&A on the browser menu
You can paste a picture to HTML as remote or as local (#1040)
(Ewa K, Aug 12, 2004, 09:26:58)
When I copy pictures from webpages into HTML, they always get integrated locally with the HTML file. Can I just leave them on the remote server?
You can paste pictures to become local or to remain remote:
- local - copy the bitmap alone (e.g. right-click the picture and choose Copy in the browser)
- remote - copy the picture as HTML (e.g. select the picture by clicking to the left and dragging the mouse to the right, and then choose Copy)
In the first case, only the bitmap will be copied with no information about bitmap's location. Such a bitmap will be integrated with the HTML file to which you paste.
In the second case, a piece of HTML will be copied with a pointer to the remote image (e.g. <img alt="Map of " src="http://www.nationmaster.com/images/maps/sb-map.gif" width="330" height="354">). Such an image will remain remote
Keyboard use is optimized for English
(Michal Szklanowski, Poland, Monday, January 20, 2003 12:43 PM)
When I use Trim Shortcuts option, SuperMemo is unfriendly for keyboard freaks, because you don't have shortcuts to Add new or Learn. Why did you choose Alt keys instead of good old Ctrl keys, which work for all keyboard layouts?
The shortcut table is quite crowded. For that reasons, it is optimized for mnemonic use with a bias towards English. As Ctrl+Alt combinations misbehave in some localized versions of Windows, the option Trim Shortcuts is vital for those who need to use AltGr in their local language. The shortcut Ctrl+A was voted out by users of SuperMemo who prefer to use it for standard Select All in texts. However, you can still use Ctrl+L to execute Learn. In most context, Enter will also execute Learn. With SuperMemo 2002, the emphasis shifts from adding your own items to incremental reading. This means that instead of using Add new, you will rather paste texts to SuperMemo and process then with incremental reading tools
Problems with installing a collection (#29810)
(Lovicam, Nov 10, 2004, 06:16:31)
I downloaded the GeographyMix and it shows the icon of a floppy disk on my desktop. I double-click on it but it does not do anything, I open SuperMemo and double-click on it and it still does not do anything. I then dragged GeographyMix onto the SuperMemo icon, it opened SuperMemo with nothing, and created two additional icons on my desktop: a folder and an icon. When I click on the icon, it opens the same blank version of SuperMemo, and when I open the folder, it shows 5 folders (info, registry, stats, tasks and temp) and one file (collection). I then opened SuperMemo and clicked on File : Open Collection : Desktop -> GeographyMix.kno then I click OK and it re-opens the same blank page with nothing on it
The correct sequence is:
- Run GeographyMix file to extract the collection
- Open the collection by selecting the KNO file with File : Open collection (in SuperMemo)
- When you run GeographyMix.exe, it creates the collection for you. It may happen fast enough so that you miss the unzipping act. It may also be corrupted and the extract process is aborted (in the latter case, you should repeat the download)
- When you run SuperMemo and then run GeographyMix.exe, the outcome is exactly the same. SuperMemo takes no part in the process
- When you drag GeographyMix.exe on SuperMemo, SuperMemo creates an empty collection GeographyMix. It does not run the exe file, extract the collection, nor open the collection
- When you then click on the newly created icon, you open the same blank collection that was created when dragging GeographyMix
- Each collection is made of the KNO file and the folder. That is the foler where you see "5 more folders". These all store the data of the empty collection you have created
You can change the default item template in any category (#29973)
(Pat E., Oct 18, 2004, 21:29:47)
I couldn't seem to find the way to change the item template for the current category
Do as follows:
- Choose Search : Categories
- Scroll to the category that is to be modified (if that category is not the current category)
- Click the button Template
- Choose a new item template
- Click Accept
Q&A file import allows of HTML tags (#29766)
(Justin Wilson, USA Educational, Nov 05, 2004, 07:41:45)
I imported a Q&A file with important information about verb types included inbetween angle brackets. I was shocked to discover that all this information is simply discarded after import!
Q&A files allow of HTML tags. All information in angle brackets will be interpreted as HTML. If it does not form valid HTML, it will be treated as "invisible comment"
SuperMemo knowledge and SuperMemo documentation do not live by the same rules (#30037)
(David Weisblat, Nov 18, 2004, 07:28:15)
The layout of your own support documentation doesn't follow your own rules of formulating knowledge. Doesn't that seem odd to you?
The 20 rules of formulating knowledge refer to knowledge that is supposed to be subject to active repetition. SuperMemo documentation is supposed to be reviewed passively. 20 rules refer to learning, while the documentation serves as a reference. Not all rules valid for active repetition will apply to passive review.
Nevertheless, if you identify specific problems with the documentation or specific articles that are hard to comprehend or use, your remarks will be considered with utmost attention
Certain shortcuts do not work in the editing mode
(JP, Monday, December 02, 2002 9:32 PM)
The Ctrl+Alt+C shortcut key responsible for selecting a category from the category combo box available in the Tools toolbar doesn't work when I review elements, which use HTML components.
The shortcut key will work once you exit the editing mode (e.g. by pressing Esc)
Installing old Advanced English with new SuperMemo
To update Advanced English 97 bought on CD-ROMs to SuperMemo 2008 format I put all the information from both CD to the hard drive (into two different folders corresponding to each of the discs) of my computer and run the old Advanced English collection. SuperMemo seems to successfully go through the process of updating. But at the end of the process I got the following message: File not found: F:\Supermemo_disk1\SYSTEMS\PRON\reports\Recover.txt
The recommended procedure is:
- install Advanced English 97 (running setup from CD-ROM)
- open it with SuperMemo 2008
If you would like to use the collection without CD-ROMs, copy the sound files from CD-ROM #2 (the ELEMENTS folder) to your hard disk and point Secondary Storage of Advanced English to that location (Tools : Options : Access : Secondary storage)
Corrupted download may result in "futile upgrade" (#24584)
(Nitin T, Nov 17, 2004, 19:30:13)
I have ordered SuperMemo 2004 upgrade. The install seems to go successfully. In the end I am given an option of "Run SuperMemo". When I run it, it still opens the old SuperMemo 2002
This could happen if SuperMemo files had been corrupted at download. Repeat the download process. If the problem persists, you may need to look for reasons with your computer configuration. You can also contact support for further assistance
After a break, you may be surprised with good recall and long intervals (#24576)
(Dustin, USA Educational, Nov 18, 2004, 09:26:34)
I decided to dust off one of my old collections and give it another go. I was pretty pleased that I managed to answer half of all the questions just about perfectly. Since there was an interval of two years since my last use, SuperMemo was putting the next repetition out to, in some cases, 2009! These are items with a total of 3 repetitions on record. I'd like to know if for the time being there's a way to override the interval manually? This way I can confirm, just for myself, that in some 70 days from now there's still a good memory trace
There is a widespread misconception that SuperMemo schedules repetitions when the information is "on the verge of forgetting". The truth is that it schedules repetitions at the time where only a small fraction of material is likely to be forgotten. Due to a negatively exponential nature of forgetting, this implies, that even after a substantial delay in repetitions, you are still likely to remember most of the learned material even if you double or triple the interval (assuming well-formulated knowledge). To capitalize on this fact, you should reserve pure SuperMemo strategy only for your mission-critical material. For the rest, you can safely increase the forgetting index or heavily use Postpone. This way you can find the optimum balance between high retention of vital knowledge and high speed of learning for lesser important material. If, due to delays, your interval was 2 years instead of 2 weeks, you can still recall some of your material if it is either very easy or is subject to repetition outside SuperMemo. If you show good recall after 2 years, SuperMemo will accordingly look for an appropriately long interval that will comply with the forgetting index criteria. Repetition in 2009 should then not be a surprise. If your material is very easy, SuperMemo imposes an upper limit on how much you can delay a repetition (even if it might result in better recall than indicated by the requested forgetting index). This is why you may show excellent recall after a long delay. However, 2009 is a repetition date with that limit already imposed. If you believe you recall some items by fluke or by virtue of having them reminded in the course of other activities, you can manually set the next repetition to a safer date. You can also change intervals when you simply feel you do not want to risk forgetting in the meantime (remember about the spacing effect that may have the outcome opposite to the intended one!).
You can use Execute Repetition (Ctrl+Shift+R) to choose a new interval or a new repetition date. Having already executed a repetition, you can alternatively use Reschedule (Ctrl+J) for the same purpose. Both commands are available from the element menu
SuperMemo CD-ROMs carry older versions of the program
(David Palmer, UK, Sep 9, 1997)
If I order SuperMemo via snail mail on CD-ROM do I get a better or more detailed version?
No. CD-ROMs usually use older versions of SuperMemo or Multimedia SuperMemo
Warnings at collection repair are no reason to worry (#30034)
(John Butler, United Kingdom, Nov 18, 2004, 12:21:27)
I get the following message at using Repair collection:
Warning! Template registry reference list cut to 500 members
Template #13: "Item"
Members listed: 593
Should I start getting worried?
Warnings should never be a reason to worry. However, if you do not understand them, it might be beneficial to check for their meaning in the documentation or, if they are not documented, write to support for the documentation to be extended. In your case, you have used a template "Item" on more than 500 elements. SuperMemo tries to keep a reference list of these elements. This reference list is useful if you would like to see which elements use the template "Item". However, for performance reasons, SuperMemo does not keep lists longer than 500 elements. In other words, if you review elements using the template "Item", you will not see all of these elements. If you applied a new template to those elements, there would still be 593 elements which would retain the old template. At the next Repair collection, SuperMemo would then recompile a new reference list and you would be able to access those extra 593 elements and re-apply the new template
You can use the German keyboard with SuperMemo (#30019)
(Mark Banks, Nov 19, 2004, 05:00:39)
Does SuperMemo have the capability to type the German umlaut a, o, & u (dots on top of the letter); and es-tset (looks like a B)?
Yes. However, this is not a function of SuperMemo, but a function of Windows. Use Control Panel : Keyboard : Input locales for that purpose
You can achieve fluency in both British and Indian accents (#30057)
(Anab, United Kingdom, Nov 22, 2004, 12:35:03)
I am originally from India and speak good English since all my education in India was in the English language. But after I came to London, I felt a little inhibited, as my accent was very "Indian”. I realised that it is not your command over the language but how you speak the language, which defines the relationships one forms with local people and becomes critical to feel socially included. I wish to learn “A British Accent” but at the same time I don’t want to forget the way I speak originally because that seems to be one of the most important links I have to my own cultural background and my home in India. Is there a method by which I can learn a new accent and still retain my old accent?
To retain your Indian accent, you will probably only need to stay in touch with your culture and refresh your natural way of speaking from time to time. Probably you will not need SuperMemo for that. As for the British accent, you will need to begin a program of conscious immersion. This means a meticulous attention to all differences between the two accents, the choice of words and phrases, and the pronunciation. Focusing 100% on the British accent for some time would probably be the best strategy. All documented details of differences between the accents, you could store in and rehearse with SuperMemo. This way you will be sure your investment is not eaten away by time and forgetting. It will also help you minimize interference between accents. With time, you shall be able to turn on a mental "switch" and speak the accent of your choice. Despite the fact that we speak here of two versions of English, the knowledge of differences between accents and cultures is huge! It may be easier to learn a new language fluently, than to move from fluency to a native perfection. You can accomplish reasonable language fluency with 5000-10,000 items in SuperMemo. Approaching native accents is more of an acting skill. It may call for another 5000-10,000 items with this vital difference that those items are not easy to find in a textbook (say "British English for natives of India"). Moreover, the items are often hard to define and verbalize. Learning a new accent will also rely more on your "inborn talents" for mimicking languages. Research shows that you need specialized neural networks for this goal. If you fail to develop these networks early, if you live most of your life in one phonetic world, it will always be harder (but not impossible) to compensate when moving to a new phonetic world. The best thing you might do now is to ask one of your friends with an acute ear for accents to call your attention to your native ways of speaking. Once you identify differences, you could use SuperMemo to meticulously document and drill both ways (i.e. both accents). You will iterate this process until you reach a satisfactory fluency. This is a long way!
You can remove all information about the learning process
(Mariusz Szepietowski, Poland, Dec 7, 1997)
How can I remove information about the learning process from a collection? I would like to start learning all over again from scratch?
Use File : Tools : Reset collection. At the end of this process choose sorting the pending queue either by contents or by ordinals (e.g. as in Advanced English)
Can I order SuperMemo and have it mailed as a gift?
(Werner Pirkl, Switzerland, Feb 2, 1999)
I would like to order SuperMemo and have it shipped to Austria to a colleague who does not have access to the web. Is it possible?
Yes. However, we recommend that you rather order a CD-ROM version of SuperMemo as it might be easier to use for novices
Adding random images to items would not likely improve the learning process (#28967)
(Michael, Oct 10, 2004, 15:17:53)
If SuperMemo could select a random image from a directory of a few thousand everyday life images (people going to work, forests, shops, kitchens, etc), and display those images as background to items, would this not be far better than seeing every item against a plain background? It would be more like real life: at each repetition, your brain would have to recall the answer while in a completely new 'virtual environment'
Unfortunately, random images are not likely to add challenge to repetition. They would not simulate real life situations well. The value of the context shows at times when you force the brain to extract commonalities from a muddled picture. Questions with backgrounds are extremely easy to decode and you will quickly learn to ignore backgrounds (well-formulated items are context-independent). Your brain will simply learn very quickly than no additional useful information can be found in the background. The ever changing backgrounds will not render your questions different or more difficult. You will make a repetition, and a few seconds later you may not even be able to recall the context picture. The picture will not enter the stimulus portion of the stimulus-response association. No inference, no learning. This is why the value of this approach from the learning standpoint will be limited. This does not mean that random pictures would not have an esthetic effect that would make learning fun and/or perhaps improve the neurohormonal setting for the review process. Theoretically, this could work to your advantage. However, pictures might also act as a distraction (e.g. if these included attractive individuals of the opposite sex). Changing backgrounds might be welcome, if you previously used static backgrounds to short-circuit the path to the correct answer (i.e. associate the answer with the picture rather than with the question). Such clue-illustrations should be avoided, yet are a common practice for many. Sadly, SuperMemo World has also made an error by experimenting with static images in Advanced English 97 CD-ROM. Research shows that these images had a detrimental effect on the learning process. Students who memorized portions of Advanced English 97, showed diminished recall once the pictures were removed from the process (even though these had not carried any relevant information).
Last but not least, this answer is purely theoretical. To definitely answer your question, we would need to run a test and compare repetitions with and without visual context. The outcome would hinge on the type of images (e.g. the degree of distractibility) and your personal preferences. For that reason, do not take this response as final. You can create your own collections and experiment. Once you believe you are getting better results with pictures, it would be worth analyzing your particular case and look for reasons
You can see the position of a task in the tasklist within Element Parameters (#30155)
(Bryan Bodine, Wednesday, December 01, 2004 9:16 PM)
What is the meaning of the Pos field in the Element Parameters dialog on the Task tab?
Pos indicates the current position of the task on its tasklist. Although, task's position on the list should solely be determined by its Value and Time, you may occasionally want to "sneak in" urgency to override importance (e.g. in condition of an approaching deadline). Instead of determining the true Value of the task, you can "cheat" and set Value in such a way that the task is placed close to the top of the list
You can keep many tasklists in one collection (#30018)
(Mackay Paul, United Kingdom, Wednesday, November 17, 2004 8:23 PM)
How can I create multiple tasklists within a single collection?
Use Edit : Create tasklist for each tasklist. Use tasklist combo box on the Tools toolbar to switch between tasklists. You can also use the combo box in the tasklist manager, this will switch the tasklist temporarily (i.e. the default tasklist will not be changed)
Not all buttons in SuperMemo are documented (#30230)
(Bryan Bodine, Wednesday, December 01, 2004 9:16 PM)
There is a small (no caption) button to the right of Time field in Task parameters. When clicking this button, it automatically converts whatever is in the Time field to 0.017. There is no documentation on this button
This button is useful only in reading lists. It sets the Time field assuming the reading speed of 1000 chars/min. Some less frequently used buttons or menus are indeed not listed in documentation. In such cases, you could use button or menu hits for a description. If that is not helpful, write to us
You can choose a template for cloze deletions (#30293)
(Aleksander Pronkiewicz, Poland, 9. decembar 2004 23:56)
When I create a cloze deletion, a template is applied by default to newly created items. Saving a new template as a default does not change anything
The template used by cloze deletions depends on the default item template of the category to which the article belongs. Saving template as default will only affect the currently used category. If the article belongs to another category, saving default template operation will have no effect on the appearance of cloze deletions. In addition, if you uncheck Auto-Apply in the article's category, no template will be used. Instead, the cloze deletion will be formed on the basis of the template used by the article
RTF text components need to be printed separately
(Ronn, Tuesday, August 28, 2001 4:26 AM)
I have been trying to print out the questions and answer element. I click on print and all I get is a blank sheet of paper
Rich text components do not get printed along the element content. You can work around this problem in the following ways:
1. Using Text : Print on the rich text component pop-up menu (right click)
2. Copying questions and answers via clipboard (e.g. Ctrl+C)
3. Using plain text components instead of rich text components (e.g. apply Classic template)
All this trouble results from a bug in Delphi VCL library (SuperMemo development tool) that fails to print RTF texts on form printouts
SuperMemo is a compromise (#30745)
(Robert Dr? Poland, 20. decembar 2004 9:12)
If Random Tests are inferior to mid-interval repetitions, why haven't you dumped Random Tests at all from SuperMemo? I don't think that many users understand the difference between Random Tests and mid-interval repetitions
Random Tests should not be used in learning; however, they are still useful in reviewing someone else's collection. Inevitably, SuperMemo is a compromise between what is optimum for learning and what users want. For example, drag&match tests are dismal in terms of learning efficiency (let alone the time needed to prepare tests for oneself), yet years ago a number of customers threatened to "switch to alternative flashcards" if they did not get drag&match. Random Tests are considered a must-have feature by SuperMemo newcomers. The fact that many users do not understand the difference between random test and mid-interval repetition, only shows that the road to acceptance of the alternatives is long. Very often, the choice of the proper name solves the comprehension problem. Let's hope, the term review will be accepted to intuitively denote mid-interval repetitions (although review is also used in other contexts, e.g. to differentiate active recall from passive review in repetitions). In Random Tests you randomly peek at elements. In Random Review you peek at elements and inform SuperMemo that you are trying to register information in memory. This way, SuperMemo can leave an imprint of the Review on the learning process.
Use Random Review when inspecting your own collection, use Random Test when inspecting somebody else's collection
Why do I have to fill out the shipping address for downloadable material?
(Costanzo Cosentino, Italy, June 15, 2000)
I would like to order SuperMemo Upgrade. However, there is a shipping address in the form. Why do I have to fill out the shipping address for downloadable material?
This field should not normally appear on the order form. Please check if you mistakenly did not add any CD-ROM item to your shopping basket. If this problem persists, please simply ignore the shipping address
You can temporarily randomize repetitions (#30734)
(Piotr Slowinski, Poland, Dec 23, 2004)
How can I randomize repetitions without randomizing the sequence of items in the outstanding queue?
You can do it this way:
- View : Outstanding
- Ctrl+Shift+F11 (Randomize browser)
- Ctrl+Alt+L (Learn browser)
This will act as if you randomized repetitions, but you will be able to return to the original sequence of elements with Esc
SuperMemo in Windows XP
(Claudio Fernando Pereira, Macau, Sun, Jan 13, 2002 3:11)
Is there any compatibility problem with SuperMemo in Windows XP?
No. SuperMemo 2002 has been developed in Windows 2000 and extensively tested in Windows XP
You can easily add components with templates (#188)
(David Mckenzie, United Kingdom, 8. januar 2005 14:23)
When I add a component to an already generated element, 99% of the time I want to add an answer. I also often add images which I want not stretched. Is there any way of setting defaults for these 'one-off' components?
You can define a template with an extra answer component. Then you can apply this template if you want to add an answer to elements that look the same or add that template if you add the answer to different types of elements. Analogously, you can define another template with an extra unstretched image component and apply or add this template wherever applicable
Background in SuperMemo (#232)
(Marcos Pereira Rufino, 13. januar 2005 20:21)
I've noticed that the "background" feature (Ctrl+Alt+F10) is active by default in SuperMemo 2004. Is it supposed to happens this way? I used to disable the background every time I open my collections because I like to see my dictionary at the back of SuperMemo and have a fast access to it
The background is used for SuperMemo to completely fill out your screen and maximize focus on learning. However, if you like to see through unused screen space, you can turn off the background and save your default layout the way you find it more efficient (save the layout with Ctrl+Shift+F5)
Understanding U-Factors, O-Factors, etc. is optional (#368)
(Alec Sherman, Australia, Saturday, January 15, 2005 1:08 PM)
What is 'A-Factor', 'U-Factor etc.?
Understanding all those X-Factors may take some time and is not vital for your progress in learning. A-Factors (for items) are easiest. They tell you how difficult an item is. The larger the A-Factor the easier the item. Very difficult items may have A-Factors equal to 1.3-1.4. Very easy items may have A-Factors equal to 5-6. Mathematically, A-Factor equals the ratio of the second and the first optimum interval in learning a given difficulty class of items. The actually used intervals always differ slightly from optimum intervals. U-Factor (for repetition>1) equals the ratio of intervals I(n+1)/I(n) for n-th repetition. It tells you how much the interval increased in the last repetition. Other X-factors may be harder to understand. You would need to understand the algorithm used by SuperMemo. Understanding of the algorithm is not easy and is entirely optional. See also the glossary with short definitions of individual factors
SuperMemo relies heavily on third party applications to do import and processing of data (#444)
(Gary Belhomme, Canada, 27. januar 2005 8:39)
I just wanted to know if SuperMemo can accept input from pen scanners? If it does not have this feature are you planning to offer it in a future versions?
SuperMemo does not include a specific code for pen scanners. However, you can use a pen scanner with your favorite word processor and paste the resulting text to SuperMemo. Wherever possible, SuperMemo avoids duplicating functions that are far better done by other applications.
Phonetic transcription registry includes special characters in the sort (#419)
(Mirek Wojna, France, Jan 28, 2005)
I added phonetic transcription to the phonetic transcription registry: licorice -> 'lIk@rIs/'lIk@rIS. But when I search for /, and review the new subset, I cannot find my transcription. It should be sorted between: leads = lid/led and lists = lIsts/lists
Remember that the registry does not sort independent of the stress mark! In other words, you should search for licorice after lever='lev@R/'liv@R
Use Alt+F7 to get to the read-point (#356)
(Karen, 22. januar 2005 8:54)
Pressing F7 to get to my read point in the article brings up a spelling checker. Have you changed that command? That never happened in SuperMemo 2002
Yes. This change was postulated by users who are accustomed to use F7 to spell-check their texts (as in Microsoft applications). You can use Alt+F7 to get to the read-point. It will take some time before this becomes a habit. The change was made to make life easier for future users
Problems with registration on Pocket PC (#497)
(Epp, Helmut, USA Educational, Feb 01, 2005, 06:20:39)
SuperMemo for Pocket PC seems to forget the registration. After I put in the password and username all is well and I am not restricted to 30 elements
Make sure you use File : Exit to quit SuperMemo. This one operation is needed for the registration data to be stored in Windows CE registry
Massive swapping of questions and answers is possible with the browser (#598)
(Quin Arbeitman, Wednesday, February 09, 2005 2:20 PM)
I opted for SuperMemo 2004 because of the possibility of executing Swap components on a subset of elements; however, I have had no luck finding this option (including by googling "site:supermemo.com")
To swap questions with answers in a group of elements, do the following:
- open the elements in the browser (e.g. to open all memorized elements, choose View : Memorized)
- choose Child : Items on the browser menu (to speed up processing by eliminating topics and tasks)
- choose Tools : Swap Q&A on the browser menu
It is recommended that you back up your learning material before you process a large number of elements at once
Q&A import can only be used to import plain text
(Alexia L McKnight, Monday, February 11, 2002 12:17 AM)
I imported a big Q&A text file into SuperMemo. How can I get SuperMemo to retain special characters: superscripts, subscripts, etc.?
Q&A format is a plain text format intended solely for data exchange between platforms and older versions of SuperMemo. To retain formatting, you need to create your material in SuperMemo. For good effects you can use rich text components and edit your texts in MS Word (shortcut F9). Or you can save your files as HTML and import them to HTML component. As for your Q&A file, it will require some extra effort. Either you paste individual items individually or import them all and correct formatting in SuperMemo. The fastest approach though is to use incremental reading tools. Paste the entire file to a single rich text topic (e.g. with Ctrl+Alt+N), generate individual elements with Extract and create individual items with Cloze. This work should take a fraction of time needed to learn this material
You can use voice recognition to create your collections (#640)
(leo murphy, Friday, February 11, 2005 10:49 PM)
If I used voice recognition software to dictate my questions and answers into text, could I transfer the text of questions and answers into SuperMemo?
Yes. You could use the Q&A file format or paste your file and process it with incremental reading
My collection disappeared (#977)
(HickoryHol, Friday, February 18, 2005 9:56 PM)
Today I decided to download a free collection (Latin vocab) and now I have lost everything I had previously entered. Is there any way I can retrieve it? What did I do wrong so that this doesn't happen again? I want to order other collections but am a little afraid to now
You would need to specify more details on your course of action. When users report their collections disappearing, there may be a number of reasons of which the most frequent probably are:
- deleting the entire collection
- deleting the collection folder
- deleting collection's KNO file
- overwriting one collection with another
- misplacing the collection
- losing track of the location of the collection vs. the location of SuperMemo
- data loss (e.g. hardware failure, corrupt files, viruses, etc.)
- deleting the icon corresponding with the collection
- creating two collections with the same name (at different location), etc. etc.
Depending on the cause, your collection might or might not be retrievable. Installing a new collection should not affect your previous work, unless the new collection has the same name and location as your old collection, and you allow the installer to overwrite the old collection.
Make sure you read this text carefully: Backing up your learning material
Dragging modes determine how elements are moved in the contents window
(Asia, Poland, Wednesday, November 20, 2002 5:05 PM)
I can't easily move elements in the knowledge tree. Are there any tricks that make it easier?
Before you drag an element, it is vital to know there are three dragging modes, which determine different ways to move elements in the knowledge tree. They are available in the drag&drop combo box on the edit toolbar in the contents window. For more information, read: Modifying the tree using drag&drop operations
You can import Q&A files with your selected fonts and colors (#653)
(Bismillah, Tuesday, February 15, 2005 8:48 PM)
It is very difficult to setup a Q&A deck with proper fonts and colors for questions and answers
You can do it this way:
- apply the Classic template
- choose fonts for question and answer fields using the component menu
- choose the color (use the element menu for the color of the element or the component menu for the color of questions and answers)
- choose File : Tools : Import : Q&A Text and select Use the current element as template
Pending queue is not the best tool to prioritize your items (#1038)
(Eryk, Poland, Wednesday, February 23, 2005 6:34 PM)
When I add new items they automatically become memorized. What to do to have them pending and memorize when I feel like doing it?
Pending queue is no longer recommended in learning material you create yourself. It is far better to overload the learning process, use the forgetting index to prioritize items, use Postpone to unload excess items and use Execute Repetition (Shift+Ctrl+R) or Reschedule (Ctrl+J) to send items to a later date repetition. Pending queue presents items on the "first come first go" basis. Overloaded learning process with randomized schedule will present excess items randomly. You can then decide to send them to later date with Ctrl+J depending on when you think you will have time to master them. You can even use Forget (Ctrl+R) to put the least important items to the pending queue. If you do not want to learn Postpone and other incremental reading tools, you will need to press Ctrl+R after adding each item or use Learning : Forget on subsets of items that you want to place in the pending queue
Retention and back-Retention data
(Robert Drozd, Poland, Wed, Jun 26, 2002 16:29)
I used Save data in Excel format in the Workload window. What do these columns mean: BackRetention, BackItems, BackTopics?
Retention on a given day tells you how well you remembered the material repeated on that day. BackRetention tells you how well you later remembered the same material. Retention is measured on the day in question. BackRetention is measured later; when successive repetitions take place (on various dates). BackItems indicate how many items took part in the BackRetention measurement. BackTopics say how many topics took part in later reviews. The later the measurement, the closer the value of BackItems to Items
You can print many Q&A items on a page (#1163)
(Lyn Nurick, South Africa, Wednesday, March 09, 2005 4:29 PM)
How can I print out all the elements with their answers? Is there a way of printing out many items on one page (e.g. to be used as a last minute revision)?
By design, SuperMemo is basically a paperless application. Therefore, it does not include printing options. However, you can work around it by exporting your item subset as a Q&A text file:
- open items to be printed in the browser
- choose Tools : Export as Q&A text on the browser menu
- print out the resulting file
If you know how to use stylesheets, you can also export with Tools : Export as XML. This way you can retain HTML formatting and provide your own custom layout to the printed items
You can determine the priority of
I keep material of different learning priority in my collection. Can SuperMemo help me pay more attention to high priority material?
Yes. You should reduce the value of the forgetting index for high-priority material (forgetting index is a proportion of items not remembered during repetitions). In the contents window select the item or node that you want to have higher priority and choose Process branch : Forgetting index : Set forgetting index on the contents menu. Forgetting index is 10% by default and can be set to 3-5% for high-priority material or only to 20% for least important branches of the knowledge tree. You can also set the forgetting index in a subset of elements with Process browser : Forgetting index : Set forgetting index on the browser menu. Read: Using forgetting index
Phonetic transcription on upgrade (#1264)
(Aga Kolodziej, Mar 17, 2005, 18:19:38)
I switched from SuperMemo 97 to SuperMemo 2000, but I can not find how to replace text with phonetic transcription when mouse is moved over the component
You need the following:
- phonetic transcription installed (including the font)
- setting for the mouse move in Tools : Options : Mouse
- setting for the phonetic transcription in Tools : Options : Language
Categories vs. Folders vs. Topics (#1277)
(marktboylan, Mar 15, 2005, 23:16:57)
Can someone please explain to a noob the difference between categories, folders and topics?
Topics and items are two types of elements ("pages of information") in SuperMemo. Topics may be used to display longer general texts for reading. Items may be used to display specific questions and answer that test your memory. Only items ask for grades in learning. Folders are elements that keep together a bundle of other elements. They are like folders in Windows, only instead of keeping Windows folders and files, they keep topics and items (and other SuperMemo folders). Categories are like special super-folders that keep elements together and make sure they are provided with some special properties (e.g. color, font, picture, etc.)
You can turn on and off templates for cloze deletions (#1307)
(Vikki Lam, Mar 10, 2005, 20:52:21)
How can I turn off the option that automatically applies a template to my cloze deletions?
- use Search : Categories
- select the category to which your cloze-generating material belongs
- uncheck Auto-Apply
You can learn a number of branches in sequence (#1304)
(appleriver, Mar 21, 2005, 10:42:16)
Whenever I get through one branch in learning, I would like to automatically go to the next branch
In subset learning, you have two options:
- learning a single branch of the knowledge tree
- learning a single subset in the browser
This means that you can do one of the following:
- put the branches you want to learn in sequence into a single parent branch and start subset learning on the parent branch
- put the branches you want to learn into a subset and learn that subset
You can release your own CD-ROM with SuperMemo (#1458)
(Jonathan, Mar 23, 2005, 08:40:35)
I have recently built a SuperMemo language collection and I am hoping to sell it to language students. I would like to sell it along with a copy of SuperMemo. What should I do?
You can do the following:
- release your collection on CD-ROM with SuperMemo 98, which is freeware
- release your collection as a download
If neither option is satisfactory, contact us to discuss other options
You can change the color of the font in a text selection (#1576)
(ksimic, Apr 06, 2005)
I can`t find how to change the colour of selected part of the text
You can right click over the selected text, choose Text : Edit font on the component menu and change the color of the font. Remember that this will not work in plain text components (e.g. you will need to use HTML components instead)
You can use Japanese in SuperMemo 98 freeware (#1565)
(Jonathan Heddle, Mar 23, 2005, 08:40:35)
Can I use Japanese in SuperMemo 98? Can I copy Japanese texts from SuperMemo 2004?
You can use HTML components in SuperMemo 98 to display Japanese. To copy Japanese texts from SuperMemo 2004 to SuperMemo 98 do the following:
- view HTML source of the Japanese text in SuperMemo 2004 with Edit : View Source on the component menu (Ctrl+Shift+F6)
- copy the code to the clipboard
- switch to the editing mode in SuperMemo 98 (e.g. with Ctrl+E)
- paste the HTML source code to the HTML component in SuperMemo 98
- press Esc to return to the presentation mode and view the Japanese text
SuperMemo 2005 (#1635)
(Klara, Apr 06, 2005, 14:10:23)
Can you tell me when do you expect program SuperMemo 2005?
We do not announce new versions in advance to make sure that the development cycle is completed without external pressures that might negatively affect software quality. Moreover, the cycle now extends to 2-3 years and there is very little chance for successive annual releases
Titles are created automatically from the first text component (#1616)
(wulinsi, Apr 05, 2005, 09:25:10)
I have a template with a static text component in it. The default item name is always the text from the static component, so its always the same
You could put this component to the end of the component list in your template. Use Components : Component order on the component menu (Ctrl+Shift+O)
You cannot choose the number of repetitions afforded an item (#4709)
(Kats R., USA Educational, May 31, 2005, 19:55:22)
I use a forgetting index of 8%. However, sometimes, there are too many repetitions. Is there any way to fix repetitions at a given number (say 100 or 150), without changing the forgetting index?
Repetition number does not meaningfully translate into learning goals. This is why you can control the learning speed and retention only via the forgetting index. However, if you reach 100 repetitions at the forgetting index of 8%, you need to carefully analyze your items for the compliance with the rules of formulating knowledge. For well-formulated knowledge, you should rarely reach beyond 20-30 repetitions in lifetime within the reasonable range of the forgetting index
You can generate your own XML files for import to SuperMemo (#4334)
(Xavier Verges Farrero, Apr 26, 2005, 00:40:32)
Would SuperMemo 2004 be happy if I generated my own XML files?
Yes. The definition is simple enough for you to just export an exemplary XML file from SuperMemo 2004 and figure out its structure on your own
Vocabulary can be learned in a passive way, active way or both (#4377)
(Chris Capel, May 02, 2005, 23:33:48)
When learning language vocabulary, why is it important to have swapped items, with the same word appearing in the answer of one item and the question of another?
In real life, you encounter words and phrases passively (e.g. when reading or listening to someone) or actively (e.g. when you write or speak). For those reasons, you too form memories for both passive recognition and active recall. As active recall often (but not always) entails passive recognition, you use passive recognition only in two cases:
- When you can recall words, but you still do not recognize their meaning
- When you do not plan to use words actively, and passive recognition is all that you need
For active recall, it is recommended that you use word definition instead of word pairs in learning. This means that you should define the meaning of the word and ask for its recall. If you use a foreign word as the question, your command of the target language will be less fluent, and may entail a degree of translation instead of native automaticity. Learning with word pairs in two languages is recommended only for translators and interpreters who need to translate between languages, as opposed to just using the learned language. All in all, swapping may be useful, but it is not always needed
SuperMemo 2004 is compatible with a subset of Multimedia SuperMemo (#4279)
(asmiech, Poland, Apr 21, 2005, 12:14:26)
I learn Power Words with Multimedia SuperMemo 1.2.57 (Jan 9, 2003). Is it possible to use SuperMemo 2004 for the database?
It is possible to open files created with Multimedia SuperMemo with SuperMemo 2004; however, some functionality may be missing. At times, the missing functionality may be needed to effectively use a given collection. In addition, you cannot downgrade your collection back to the old format. In other words, the upgrade is irreversible. For more see: http://supermemopedia.com/index.php?title=Multimedia_SuperMemo
Cannot select a new default element (#4142)
(Barry Giles, Australia, Jun 03, 2005, 12:52:46)
Cannot select a new default element because of this error:
Access violation at address 0046925D in module 'sm2004.exe'
Read of address 616373A5
This is a harmless bug in SuperMemo 2004. The error occurs when you try to define a default element, but close the Options window before choosing the default element in the contents window with Accept.
"Save template with objects" vs. SuperMemo 98 (#4814)
(jon tarpman, Jun 12, 2005, 00:37:20)
I am using SuperMemo 98. I would like to save a template along with its text. It is suggested that this can be done by saving template with objects from the element menu. But I don't see the option on the menu. Is this feature only present in more recent versions of SuperMemo?
Template : Save with objects is not available in SuperMemo 98. However, Edit : Duplicate on the same menu could help you accomplish similar functions
Default font in HTML components affects only newly created texts (#4803)
(Reed, Richard W, USA Government, Jun 08, 2005, 06:21:53)
When I create a cloze deletion, the default font of the question is Arial but the default font of the answer is Times Roman. When I go to Tools : Options : Answer font, the default font is Arial. I would like the answer font to default to Arial
Cloze deletion extracts a piece of HTML code without the surrounding HTML tags. If your default browser font is Times New Roman and your original text is shown in Arial, the answer will be extracted without the Arial <font> tag and display in the default Internet browser font (e.g. Times New Roman). The Answer font in Options does not affect fonts used in cloze deletions (only newly created HTML answer fields are initialized with that font). In other words, the only way to change the font in answers is to either change the default font in the Internet Explorer or force a template auto-apply with plain text answers using the preferred font.
Remove read-only attribute from files copied from a CDR (#4842)
(Mikhail Golender, Jun 13, 2005, 03:38:10)
I can not use my collections recorded to CD. I am not satisfied with this disadvantage. I get the message:
Cannot reload HugeArray from C:\PROGRAM FILES\SM2004\SYSTEMS\MEDICINE\info\history.sub
File access denied"
After you copy files from the CDR, you need to remove the read-only attribute from all files. Otherwise SuperMemo cannot modify the collection
Check the website for important updates to SuperMemo (#4859)
(Brian K. Barrett Jr., May 13, 2005, 03:54:41)
Is there a way to receive an e-mail when both the PC and PPC versions of SuperMemo get updates?
No. We do not do bulk mailing. Updates are rare and if they are important they are listed at supermemo.com. With SuperMemo 2004, you can also re-run the installer to see if a newer version of the program is available; however, updates are available only if critical problem in the program is identified and removed. Usually that means only 1-2 updates shortly after the release
To save space, SuperMemo keeps one formatting per one text (#4873)
(supermemo-at-yahoogroups.com, Jun 18, 2005, 14:37:07)
I noticed that when answers are the same, formatting transfers from one to the other. For instance, I have a question, "Who is called upon to decide which of the three goddesses, Hera, Athena, or Aphrodite, is the fairest?" with an answer of Paris. But I also have a question, "Where did Porfirio Diaz flee in 1911?" with the same answer. Why does the the format from the first question transfer to the second?
To save space, SuperMemo keeps one formatting per one unique text. To keep different formatting for identical answers, you need to make the text unique (e.g. by adding an extra space or so). If you keep answers identical, SuperMemo keeps the formatting that was applied last. Similarly, if you edit a picture, it will change in all elements that use it. To save space, SuperMemo does not clone pictures at editing.
You cannot use Q&A format for importing sound (#29241)
(Steffen Schwember, Oct 28, 2004, 09:17:03)
Is it possible to automatically add a sound to an item using the Q&A import feature? Can I import sounds using a similar syntax?
No. The ancient Q&A format survived only because before XML data exchange, it was the only way of transferring questions and answers between SuperMemos. After some training effort, you will notice it is far easier to use templates to edit your learning material within SuperMemo. You need to use a sound template and Import file (Ctrl+Q) to import the sound file to your items. This approach is recommended because it ensures learning and authoring proceed in parallel (i.e. once you add an item to SuperMemo, it automatically enters the learning process)
Importing OCRed vocabulary (#4789)
(Dagwin Roelants, Belgium, Jun 07, 2005, 15:38:16)
I used OCR software to make a large list of French words and their translation in Dutch. Do I have to copy and paste them into SuperMemo or is their some sort of template to import them (from .xls or .doc, etc.)?
Two methods are most popular with equally balanced number of those who prefer one over the other:
- the officially recommended method is to paste the whole list with Ctrl+Alt+N, and process it incrementally with extracts (Ctrl+X) and clozes (Ctrl+Z) (see: Incremental reading for more)
- the seemingly simpler method is to import the list in the Q&A format (see File : Tools : Import for details). However, for this to work you need to first convert your text to Q&A format. For this conversion, you need to be fluent with the tools you work with (e.g. Excel)
OEM Character set vs. HTML (#1733)
(Derek, Apr 09, 2005, 15:58:02)
What justifies an OEM font? Also how do I check to see if things are encoded in HTML? Can I convert?
In SuperMemo, you can used an OEM font to use a 256-character set to represent texts in foreign languages. You can also use HTML to represent the full Unicode range of characters. The encoding you are using depends on you, and you will probably be in the best position to determine which encoding is used in your collection. If you use plain text components, you are probably using an OEM font that displays characters as determined by the relevant code page. If you use HTML components, you are probably using HTML representation (e.g. as pasted from the Internet). SuperMemo does convert OEM to Unicode only on one occasion: when you export your collection to XML. In such a case, you need to select OEM conversion and you need to supply your font's code page number. As XML must use Unicode for the file to be displayable on other devices, SuperMemo converts your OEM fonts to Unicode. You can thus use XML export to determine the encoding. If it does not display ok in XML without conversion, it must be code page based.
You can but you do not need to determine the sequence of items to repeat (#1819)
(johnw, Tuesday, April 12, 2005 5:28 PM)
Can the user select which cards to go over at any time? Or is it only accessible via the scheduler
It is recommended that you only review items as scheduled by SuperMemo. However, if deadlines or exams enter into the picture, you can make use of subset review. Note that reviewing more, may often mean worse recall and poorer consolidation of memory.
Low forgetting index will slow down learning (#4315)
(Ole F., Germany, Apr 25, 2005, 15:35:21)
I do not understand why you recommend a forgetting index of 10. If I put the forgetting index in the options to 4, the first repetition is after 2 or 3 days. This seems to me to be a nearly perfect first interval
The shorter the interval, the more comforting the perception of knowing things well. However, reducing the forgetting index to 4% will dramatically slow down the learning process. This comes not only from the fact that shorter intervals are used, but also from entering an area where the spacing effect will be painfully visible (spacing effect results in poor memory consolidation if intervals are too short). Today, 4% may feel well; however, objective measurements will show that your speed of learning will suffer and that breaks in learning will do more damage to recall
You will not find SuperMemo CD-ROMs in an average computer shop (#5947)
(yxuequn, China, Mon, Jul 30, 2001 15:14)
May I buy SuperMemo CD-ROMs in Aalborg Denmark or Copenhagen?
This is quite unlikely. With the exception of a few countries in Eastern Europe, SuperMemo is nearly extinct in traditional distribution channels. The best way to buy SuperMemo (including CD-ROMs) is via the Internet
Use Search : Find Unicode to search for non-Latin characters (#4388)
(Rafal Smyka, Poland, May 03, 2005, 08:30:33)
I've upgraded 'Deine Chancen in Deutsch' from SuperMemo 98 to SuperMemo 2004. Now when I'm trying to search for items with German umlauts, nothing is found
Use Ctrl+S instead of Ctrl+F in search (Ctrl+Shift+B to open the search results in the browser), or use Search : Find Unicode (in this case, choose the OEM option)
You can use a link to an external site in HTML component (#7353)
(Kentaroh Takagaki, Japan, Thursday, October 18, 2001 7:39 PM)
I would like to make an active link in HTML component to an external website, so that each time this element comes up in the learning process, the newest version of the website is displayed in the element window. How can I do this?
The recommended way is Edit : Add to category : URL (with Ctrl+Alt+U). This requires a click on the link but you will not have to wait for loading the whole page each time you enter this element in contexts other than learning
Names of inquirers are automatically added to FAQ lists (#4404)
(anonymous, May 03, 2005, 14:32:56)
I was just wondering if you wouldn't mind changing my inclusion in your FAQ page to an anonymous heading, as I didn't really want my name floating about on Google
Yes. Your name will be removed from FAQs. Names are added automatically and are removed only (1) upon inquirer specific request, or (2) if the questions are intimate or might be embarrassing, or (3) the name is unique enough to identify a specific person. Name removal requests are processed within 2-3 days, uploaded within further 3-4 days and will disappear from Google within 1-4 weeks depending on page's popularity. For any inconvenience cause, we apologize
Use Synchronize Contents button to view the location of elements in the contents window (#6899)
(JUNEI MARTINS DE MELO, Dec 09, 2005, 02:53:39)
I am having problems with incremental reading. The text does not scroll to the keyword I deleted with Alt+Z to create a cloze deletion. The question is then not fully visible. I have to manually display it using the mouse. It seems to be a defect because I pressed the button "Synchronize the contents window with the displayed element".
One of central principles of incremental reading is: keep your questions short. While extracting topics, you should arrive at a sentence that contains minimum information. Only such a sentence is a good candidate for generating cloze deletions. Within the normal range of screen resolutions and font sizes, you should never need to scroll your question to be able to read it. In other words, before you press Alt+Z, make sure your topic sentence is as short as possible. The button you pressed is used if you want SuperMemo to update the selection in the contents window while you are learning. Occasionally, you may wish to instantly preview all elements displayed in the element window in the contents window. You can check this button for such occasions. However, it is always automatically unchecked while learning so that to prevent slowing down the transition from one element to another.
You can decide which portions of material require more attention
I keep material of different learning priority in my collection. Can SuperMemo help me pay more attention to high priority material?
Yes. You should reduce the value of the forgetting index for high-priority material (forgetting index is a proportion of items not remembered during repetitions). In the contents window select the element or branch that you want to have higher priority and choose Process branch : Forgetting index : Set forgetting index on the contents menu. Forgetting index is set to 10% by default and can be set to 3-5% for high-priority material or to 20% for least important branches of the knowledge tree. You can also set the forgetting index in a subset of elements with Process browser : Forgetting index : Set forgetting index on browser menu. Read: Using forgetting index
What would I need SuperMemo for? (#4509)
(torben svendsen, Norway, Sunday, May 08, 2005 6:41 PM)
How do I get the questions? Do I have to write them myself? If I wanted to write my own questions and practise, what would I need SuperMemo for?
The primary benefit of SuperMemo is to ensure that you can remember the answer to the questions you write down. It is difficult to do an optimum review without a computer. For more see: Introduction to SuperMemo
Is SuperMemo 2004 easier to use? (#5703)
(John Morgan, Aug 20, 2005, 15:06:47)
Several years ago I tried to use SuperMemo. The program was complicated and I was unwilling to invest the time required to learn the program. Is the new SuperMemo 2004 easier to use? Does it support Unicode fonts?
Although SuperMemo 2004 increases the clutter of options, it does make a number of procedures easier. In particular, Unicode support was substantially improved. As for user opinions, they always differ. A large majority of comments seems to indicate that SuperMemo 2004 is easier to use. However, the program remains complex and requires substantial investment of time if to be used at a professional level
Your contents is your property (#1035)
(Paul Mulik, Wednesday, February 23, 2005 10:34 PM)
When I create my own Q&A lists, is it OK to share these lists with anybody?
Yes. Your contents belongs to you. It is not much different to creating document files with MS Word, or composing your own e-mails in your mails software. If you decide to share as freeware, consider publishing it at supermemo.com
Changing a category template will only affect new items added to the category (#1882)
(Rorce Lam, Canada, Tuesday, July 27, 2004 11:05 PM)
Once I am able to change the default category template, will all the previous items created using the old template change?
No. If you change the category template, only newly added elements will be created with the new template. Previously created elements will not change in any way. If you would like to change the look of old elements, open them in the browser and use Template : Apply template on the browser's Process Browser menu
You can localize remote images or import them to the registry (#2006)
(JPik, Sep 21, 2004, 13:20:19)
In Download Images, why do I need to click Localize after Download? Why isn't it automatic?
After you download the images, they are stored in a temporary folder. Before they can be used, you need to either click Localize (to integrate the images with the HTML file stored locally on your hard disk), or Import (to import images to the registry and display them in proliferating image components). After you choose between Localize or Import, temporary images are deleted. If Localize proceeded automatically, choosing Import would leave two copies of the same image on your hard disk: the local copy integrated with HTML and the copy imported to the image registry
You can delete templates by using the template registry (#30036)
(Michael D. B., Nov 18, 2004, 09:01:34)
I have a ton of templates that I never use, how do I remove them?
Use the template registry (Search : Templates). Click on the unused template and press Del. If the template happens to be in use by a few items, and you still want to delete it, choose Impose at delete time to make sure the items that use the template do not lose their look
Names of HTML files may appear random (#27124)
(Colin B., Aug 05, 2004, 06:52:20)
Items which are added are mixed up. When editing question text (Edit : Edit File) the name is 51.htm, When editing question text the name is 58.htm
You do not need to be concerned with filenames in the element filespace (visible when pressing F9). The system for naming files is complex and understanding it is not needed when using SuperMemo. In most cases, you can do your editing without evoking an external editor (as with F9). However, if you do use Edit File, ignore the filename. It is meaningless from the user's perspective and should not be changed
Final drill includes the randomized set of poorly recalled elements for the day (#6962)
(Artur Mickiewicz, gru 01, 2005, 12:10:43)
I don't want to learn all the entered words straight away. When I learn 30 words, I would like to press Final Drill and have repetition only from the 30 words I was learning. What I am getting at the moment is all random words from the entire database (214 words), which I haven't even learned.
If your final drill includes unlearned elements, it must have been created artificially and should be deleted. In the normal course of learning, only memorized items that perform poorly are introduced into final drill. Otherwise than by using subset operations, you cannot execute a final drill on a subset of elements. Final drill is a low priority stage where you try to increase chances of recalling an item once it had been forgotten. If you learn on subsets, all subset will contribute to the final drill. Ideally, the final drill queue should then be randomized (it happens by default). If you happen to run out of learning time during the final drill stage, there is little harm in deleting the final drill queue. All short-interval items will be presented again soon during standard repetitions. For long-interval items, the effect of final drill is negligible.
You must determine your own grading criteria for Fail vs. Pass (#4652)
(yahoogroups, May 23, 2005, 18:40:10)
I am curious how people grade themselves with a guess that is right. For instance, a question asks, "Early Indian group that built flat-top pyramids?" and I guess Mayans (the right answer). But I am not positive I could recall this if someone asked me in person, how would you grade yourself?
You must decide what level/form of recall is satisfactory, and grade Fail if you do not meet that level, or Pass/Good if you do. If you guess the answer, minor changes to the form of the question might result in failing to answer. It is now up to you if you can afford to fail in real life situations, or if this is just a portion of your fun knowledge were precise recall is not essential. For vital knowledge, not only should you grade Fail, but also identify the clues that make the guess possible, and change the question accordingly. If there are not clues, and the guess is just a wild shot (say you only heard of Maya, Inca and Aztec and pick the first that comes to mind), you should grade Fail.
Changing category template will affect only newly added elements (#4759)
(Barry Giles, Australia, Jun 04, 2005, 15:58:04)
When creating a new category in the contents window using the Category wizard, I select a valid Topic Template but a check of the new category (using Ctrl+Shift+P) shows no template applied
To change template in existing elements use Apply template in subset operations. Changing the template for a category affects only new elements added to that category
Merging collections is easy (#4756)
(Jerry, Poland, May 24, 2005, 10:45:03)
What is the best technical means of combining two collections in one?
Use File : Merge collection. This copies the content of the current collection to any collection of your choice. Remember that the transfer may leave some settings behind (e.g. a collection can keep a single default background image, if you merge two collections, the image of the transferred collection will be ignored)
You can use subset operations to treat portions of knowledge differentially (#7388)
(Darek, Jan 21, 2006, 04:11:07)
I would like SuperMemo to have an option: "Postpone/Dilute All except Selected"
You can easily accomplish that with subset operations or with child browsers. All you need to do is to subtract the subset you do not want postponed before you execute Postpone. Better yet, you can use subset learning. Start with reviewing all material that you do not want postponed. At the end of the day, postpone the rest.
Picture occlusions must use an image component (#5377)
(Kazimierz Bigus, Jul 26, 2005, 23:08:08)
I would like to create occlusion elements where shape component would cover parts of images embedded in HTML component. SuperMemo does not allow me to do it despite the fact that the shape component is the last one in component order editor
You cannot create occlusion tests with pictures embedded in HTML because the HTML component has an "always on top" property. In addition, there is a risk that free-flowing pictures will move their position if you scale the HTML component or apply a new template. To create graphic occlusions you will need to use image components. You can easily convert your HTML pictures to image components with Download images (Ctrl+F8)
You can safely invest years of learning in SuperMemo (#5317)
(Alex Quinn, USA Educational, Jul 22, 2005, 13:23:21)
Reading your documentation raises questions that make one nervous about investing tens or hundreds of hours into SuperMemo for Windows.
As long as you learn to create correct backup copies, you can safely invest years of learning into SuperMemo.
Many users have successfully continued learning for over a decade with multi-megabyte files. Even if the development of the product or the company cease, the Windows version is likely to retain compatibility with future versions of Windows for years (DOS versions from 1980s are still usable today). You can always export your learning material as XML and try to transfer it to other platforms in the future. Last but not least, in case of trouble, SuperMemo is more likely to be released as open source than to die out entirely
Windows shortcuts mask SuperMemo shortcuts (#6487)
(M.M., Oct 27, 2005, 12:45:29)
I cannot use Ctrl+Alt+M shortcut (to save the current element as the default template for the current category). I tried to save a template and instead MS Outlook turned on
You must have defined this shortcut in Windows to start Outlook. Windows shortcuts take precedence and mask shortcuts in SuperMemo. You can either use an element menu option (Template : Save as default), or change the Windows shortcut for Outlook
Import Web Pages : Local Pages results in blank elements (#6391)
(R. G., USA Government, Oct 07, 2005, 23:30:55)
When SuperMemo 2004 tries to Import Web Pages with Local Pages set, the resulting HTML component is blank
If you select portion of text in the browser (e.g. in a search box), SuperMemo will try to import that portion first (if it is empty, a blank page might result). This might come from the fact that your browser is not up-to-date (use Tools : Windows Update in Internet Explorer to verify this), or that you are importing pages of special non-HTML content (e.g. embeded Active X content will not import). If those pages are located on the Internet, and you still cannot solve your problem, send the URL for review so that this behavior could be verified
Using Polish Programmer's Keyboard
(Gil, Marcin, Tuesday, August 06, 2002 11:38 AM)
I can't use <Right Alt><a>, <Right Alt><e>,<Right Alt><o> etc. to obtain Polish special characters
You can turn off the conflicting shortcuts with Tools : Options : SuperMemo : Trim shortcuts
No slide show in SuperMemo 2004 (#6730)
(Wynn Beattie, Nov 09, 2005, 09:43:03)
Is there a slide show feature. It would be great at the beginning of class to show questions and answers by a zip drive that does not have to be installed on a PC. It is also a great way to sit back and read/study without buttons and distractions
No. SuperMemo 2004 does not include this feature. The closest alternative is to open the set that is to be presented and run a random review (e.g. with F11). You will need to press Space or Enter before the next "slide" is shown. The slide show option (called "Demo") was present in SuperMemo 7 (1995) but was dropped due to little interest. Moreover, the present line focuses on incremental reading, which does not produce much material suitable for slide shows
Cannot save OLE Object (#1991)
(Michal Grodzki, Poland, Sep 29, 2004, 18:53:50)
SuperMemo displayed the following error:
Cannot save OLE Object #2
Cannot create file C:\mount\SML2nd\MG2004\elements\3\1\21\27513.OLE
"Cannot save OLE Object" error occurs at the time when SuperMemo tries to save an object embedded in the OLE component. This procedure occurs in two steps: first (1) the OLE container is closed (if the OLE object is active) and then (2) OLE object is saved to a file (or the file is deleted if the object is empty).
Object #2 indicates that the OLE registry member located at position #2 is the one that could not be saved.
"Cannot create file" is the specific error generated by the OLE server (i.e. not SuperMemo). In this case, for unknown reasons, the OLE server could not create the file in which the OLE object should be stored. The most likely cause of such a situation is that the file has been locked (e.g. by a crash of the OLE server). Unfortunately, SuperMemo does not have any control over OLE server other than to command it to save the file. Once this procedure fails, all SuperMemo can do is to display the error. Restarting the server, SuperMemo or Windows can all help to recover from a similar situation.
All you can do here is to experiment with the particular server and look for possible causes of the server crash. Even if the server is unstable, some simple workarounds may exist that will make it possible to use it in conjunction with SuperMemo. See also: Cannot save OLE Object
Cannot save OLE Object (#7237)
(Joseph T. Craney, Jun 20, 2004, 05:06:49)
SuperMemo has displayed the following error:
"Cannot save OLE Object #1
The server threw an exception"
This error is beyond SuperMemo's control. It is a result of trouble with the server application. For example, if you are integrating Excel spreadsheets, the error would be caused by Excel. If this problem persists, you might prefer to use the binary component to integrate files unsupported by SuperMemo. You will lose instant preview, but you may prefer editing or inspecting the files in the original application. This will eliminate potential stability problems coming from the OLE in-place activation and unstable communication between SuperMemo and the OLE server. See also: Cannot save OLE Object
You can change the sequence of learning
(John Gibney, Australia, Sep 1, 1998)
What is the simplest way to determine the order in which elements are memorized?
You can sort the pending queue in the order of the element appearance in the knowledge tree by using File : Tools : Sort pending by contents. You can also set individual element ordinal numbers and choose File : Tools : Sort pending by ordinals. Finally, you can search for individual elements and memorize them individually with Ctrl+M
Occlusion shapes hide behind content (#6698)
(Max, Nov 12, 2005, 01:26:09)
When I try to create a graphical deletion, the shape appears behind the content. Even in presentation mode
You need to use Image components for this purpose. HTML and OLE components show always on top. In other words, if your pictures are embedded in HTML or OLE, they will always come on top of the shape component
Some fields in Plan are not editable (#3702)
(Mariusz Zmuda, May 19, 2005)
In Plan, I can't change Delay manually. When I've tried, I could write only "***". Why?
Delay is a measure of the time that passed between the optimum start of the activity and the actual start of the activity. You can affect Delay only by executing activities in time. Once you are late, the Delay is determined by the degree of your lateness. It is a read-only property
Defining fonts for the collection (#26479)
(Jerry Ast, Poland, Jul 09, 2004, 22:56:23)
How can I define the font of all elements in the question-answer template? In Multimedia SuperMemo, I just use Ctrl+Alt+U to create a duplicate that has the same font settings (different for question and for answer)
New SuperMemo uses HTML instead of plain text. HTML keeps fonts wired in the text as opposed to keeping them in the registry (as in simple plain text components). To have new SuperMemo behave in the "old way", change your default template in your current category from HTML to plain text (e.g. use Classic template). You can execute Duplicate with Ctrl+Alt+D
For the font to be applied in HTML, the text selection cannot be empty (#1603)
(Grzegorz Sep 09, 2004, 14:20:49)
I applied SMIPA font to an answer component (HTML), but the font does not seem to have changed
Be sure you first select the text in which you want to have the font changed. Then chose Text : Edit font (if you need to apply this font only once) or Text : New font (if you plan to reuse the font definition with the help of the font registry). Unlike plain text components, HTML components allow of the font to be applied to a portion of the text. This is why you first need to select that portion. See more: Tools : Options : Fonts
You can change fonts in a group of elements (#27569)
(Kazimierz Bigus, Sep 12, 2004, 02:31:38)
I would like to change the font size in plain text components in a group of elements
If these elements use the same template, it is enough you choose Text : Edit Font on the component menu. However, if the elements use a different template, you may need to open them first in a browser and then apply a single template with Process Browser : Template : Apply Template on the browser menu. Remember that this will work only with plain text components
Changing siblings to children
(Josep Ortega, Andorra, Apr 28, 1999)
How to change sibling items into child items?
Do the following:
- Select Add as last child at the top of the contents window
- Select sibling items that are to become children
- Drag sibling items
- Drop sibling items on the item (or topic) that is to become their parent
How can I best delete and re-download SuperMemo (#7361)
(DONALD GRASS, Jan 19, 2006, 18:41:41)
I would like to delete SuperMemo, download again, and re-install. Should I use Windows "add/remove" to delete? Any special instructions for second download?
It is enough you delete your SuperMemo folder. Be sure to back up your learning material (which is by default stored in that folder). If you need to download again, you can always e-mail for help. Important! If you want to reinstall due to suspicious behavior of the program (e.g. due to corrupted data in your learning material), it is enough you move SuperMemo executable (e.g. sm2004.exe) to a newly created folder.
Unicode in SuperMemo 98 (#630)
(supermemo at yahoogroups.com, kwi 10, 2006, 01:15:10)
I have SuperMemo 98. How do I find out if it supports Unicode? I want to learn Korean
Unfortunately, SuperMemo 98 is very weak in Unicode. All it can do is to display Unicode in HTML components or OLE components. Both can be edited using external editors or using HTML if you know HTML. To learn Korean, use HTML components and edit HTML using any HTML editor (editing Korean in HTML verges onto heroic; you would need to know all Unicode codes for Korean ideograms)
Cannot write to KNO file: H:\SuperMemoInstallation\systems\Daily Japanese.Kno (#7609)
(Chakravarty, Apr 12, 2005, 19:52:51)
SuperMemo displayed the following error:
Cannot write system info: H:\SuperMemoInstallation\systems\Daily Japanese.Kno
Cannot write to KNO file: H:\SuperMemoInstallation\systems\Daily Japanese.Kno
This error occurs when there is a problem writing to your collection file: "Daily Japanese.kno". This may be an indication of a serious problem that needs to be investigated for safety of your learning material. As the problem occurs at the very low level, it is difficult to determine if it is software or hardware related. You should run File : Repair collection on "Daily Japanese" AFTER restarting BOTH SuperMemo AND Windows. If this re-occurs, you may need to investigate your computer for problems unrelated to SuperMemo. If errors occur at repairing collection, see the error documentation to choose the optimum course of action (which may involve resorting to your most recent backup).
Bug statistics: Among users who reported this problem there is a greater than average proportion of those who use Asian languages and those who use network drives to store some or all collection files
SuperMemo CE and SuperMemo for Windows can only exchange collections via question-and-answer format (#6207)
(Ellis, Richard M, United Kingdom, Thu, Aug 16, 2001 8:27)
I recently purchased SuperMemo 2000. If I were to buy the Windows CE product, is it possible to synchronize the databases between a PC and CE machine
SuperMemo 2000 and SuperMemo CE can only exchange material via question-and-answer text files. This makes it impossible to effectively use the same material on two computers. You can develop material on one computer and learn on another, but each portion must be dedicated to learning on a given platform. Better tools for SuperMemo CE are in plans
You can check the certificate of security of SuperMemo Store (#5229)
(Donna Egge, Saturday, August 27, 2005 7:49 PM)
This is the first time I have ordered anything online without an indicator of security (like Verisign). I hope this is very secure
SuperMemo Store at www.super-memo.com is hosted by Yahoo Stores with state-of-the-art security. The security padlock is displayed in the browser only when you proceed via the checkup. The padlock is not visible amongst ordinary store pages. The padlock should help you identify the certificate as issued by Secure Server Certification Authority to Yahoo for order.store.yahoo.com
Topics that play the role of folders should be dismissed (#16)
(Tyler Durden, kwi 28, 2006, 23:14:33)
I'm using topics like "chapter 3: verb conjugations", but they show up when I'm learning, minor annoyance, not sure what's going on
When you see such topics, press Ctrl+D. These should be dismissed (i.e. not play any role in the learning process)
Dismiss tasks to keep them in the archive (#9851)
(Laubscher, Theresa, Jun 27, 2006, 15:16:33)
I want to mark a task as finished and not necessarily lose track of the task and on which tasklist it was
Once you execute a task, dismiss it (e.g. with Ctrl+D). This action will turn a task into an archive (dismissed) topic. If the tasklist category and its archive category are different, this action will also move the task to the archive category. You can change the archive category for a given tasklist in the tasklist registry. Use can use Ctrl+D either in the tasklist manager or when viewing the task in the element window
Help files at supermemo.com are marked in blue (#10180)
(Robert G., kwi 27, 2006, 05:33:27)
Your help system is too wordy. I don't want to know about your reasearch and the theoretical background underpinning your product. I've been reading this thing for several hours and still don't understand how to use the product
Help files of SuperMemo for Windows are marked in blue. If a link leads you to pages in a different color code, you can consider these optional. You will find little "SuperMemo theory" on blue help pages (except where it directly affects the function of the program). As for being wordy, some users prefer concise documentation, while others like things explained step-by-step, even if steps are repetitive for different procedures. Majority, however, expresses a wish for more detailed explanations of individual functions. For those differences in opinion, documentation files become not much different from the web. You will never manage to read everything. You have little choice but to locate material that helps you learn individual skills as needed and ignore the rest. Last but not least, it is the program itself that is rather complex. It is more friendly to an advanced user than to a beginner. In addition, some skills take months to develop rather than just hours. It is not always the documentation that is at fault. All in all, cutting down on volume is not a prescription for friendlier documentation. It is the optimization of the structure of the document space that is considered the best way to accomplish the goal. Yet, if you believe you have specific observation as to individual improvements, they will be considered carefully. Wordiness will not likely be tackled by deleting portions of the documentation. These are more likely to be relegated to less frequently traversed pathways.
Some collections can only be used in SuperMemo for Windows (#27426)
(Robert Budzul, Aug 27, 2004, 04:24:46)
I notice that on some of the websites with additional SuperMemo files, that ones for Chinese or Arabic learning are marked as not being compatible with Pocket PC. Can you shed light on why this would be so? Is it the problem with the font? Will it remain like that?
SuperMemo for Windows uses many features that are not compatible with other SuperMemos. Some collections are not transferable to other versions for lack of functionality (in other versions) or lack of conversion tools
Cannot determine workload (#8104)
(adrian rivera, Saturday, August 13, 2005 7:10 PM)
SuperMemo has just displayed the following error:
"Cannot determine workload for day 33"
This error indicates corrupt data in the file workload.dat that is stored in the info folder of your collection.
You may try the following:
- backup your collection
- execute File : Repair collection
- inspect the recovery report generated by Repair collection
- see if the error has been eliminated
- review the collection for possible damage to other files (e.g. with random review by pressing F11 repeatedly)
- on the basis of Steps 2-5 determine if you should return to your most recent backup or continue with the repaired collection
The main worry with this error is that it may indicate problems with a file system in your computer. In other words, it is quite likely, other files in SuperMemo will get corrupted as well. This is therefore highly recommended that you give your PC a thorough hardware, software and security checkup
Cannot get children count (#5543)
(David fenollosa garcia, Aug 11, 2005, 16:54:25)
SuperMemo has just displayed this error:
"Cannot get children count for element #1"
This error indicates corrupt data in the file contents.dat that is stored in the info folder of your collection. File : Repair collection might solve the problem; however, the error appears to occur in the root of your whole knowledge tree. This may make recovery difficult.
You may try the following:
- backup your collection
- execute File : Repair collection
- inspect the recovery report generated by Repair collection
- see if the error has been eliminated
- review the collection for possible damage to other files (e.g. with random review by pressing F11 repeatedly)
- on the basis of Steps 2-5 determine if you should return to your most recent backup or continue with the repaired collection
Universal Q&A text file format is ASCII only (#8503)
(Tim Navratil, Feb 16, 2006, 16:37:45)
I am using SuperMemo CE. I am trying to create a database of English Words being answered with both Pinyin and Chinese Characters. I created a txt file using Unicode on Windows Notepad. When I import a file without the Chinese characters, the file imports fine. If I include a Chinese character the file gets created but it is empty. The font I'm using for the Chinese characters is listed on the font pull down menu on the SuperMemo database edit screen
The original Q&A file format does not allow of non-ASCII characters. SuperMemo for Windows can import such a file if this is UTF-8 encoded and the appropriate import option is chosen. Other SuperMemos do not currently support UTF-8. To use Chinese in SuperMemo for Pocket PC create your items inside SuperMemo CE, or use XML file format for import. If you have SuperMemo 2004, you could also create your items there and transfer to Pocket PC via XML. You could also import your Q&A file to SuperMemo 2004 first.
Continuous video does not play (#6372)
(Kazimierz Bigus, Sunday, October 09, 2005 12:47 AM)
What is the option Continuous in video components supposed to do? If it is expected to repeat the movie - it does not work that way. I always have to create a script. E.g. play 3 goto 1
If checked, Continuous should continually play the video. Because the video restart occurs through windows messaging, it might so happen that your configuration somehow interferes with that system (e.g. through message intercepts). You could try the same procedure on a neighboring PC and look for interfering software or configuration differences. Please write back if you collect more information
You can save texts with a template (#7415)
(Neal Walters, Jan 23, 2006, 07:49:45)
How can I make the text “sticky” to the template so that all items in the template will say “Cortina German” in the text box?
Instead of using Template : Save as template on the element menu, use Template : Save with objects on the same menu
There are no mechanisms for prioritizing separate collections and these could best be merged (#7412)
(Neal Walters, Jan 23, 2006, 14:11:49)
I see there are tasks and priorities for incremental reading, but how do I assign priorities to collections?
There are no priority mechanisms that work across collections (although you can set up your own system using collection names, etc.). It is recommended that you merge collections into one and use priority system of incremental reading to master the flow of knowledge in your master collection. The chief tools to use are: the Priority Queue, A-Factors, intervals, forgetting index, subset review, selective postpones and branch operations. Some of the prioritization is done for you in the background as you work with extracts and clozes
You can see the exact history of repetitions of
a given item
(Dr Janusz Murakowski, USA, Nov 18, 1997)
What is the meaning of Full History of Repetitions in Tools : Options : Learning? How can I see the history of repetitions?
With Full History of Repetitions, all individual repetitions are recorded in a separate file (\info\reps.dat))). Information about the history of repetitions of a given element can be viewed by double clicking the element data window or choosing History in element parameters dialog box available from element menu. You can also use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+H to view the history of repetitions of the currently displayed element
You do not need a credit card to upgrade (#8471)
(Christian Schrauff, Germany, Feb 13, 2006, 21:54:27)
I have SuperMemo 2000 an would like to upgrade to SuperMemo 2004. Is there any way to get the upgrade without a credit card.
Yes. There are several methods of payment, and the price of the upgrade is unchanged. All you need to do is to write an e-mail with a request for the current payment methods and the price
Final drill queue is a relic from older SuperMemos (#2679)
(126.96.36.199, Aug 07, 2006)
Why is there an auto-delete option for final drill. Does it not slow down learning?
The final drill queue is a relic of older SuperMemos. It is universally used and even liked by users of SuperMemo (esp. students of languages). However, it provides for a slightly relaxed repetition routine. Ideally, the student should consider a repetition a one-only chance to reconsolidate a memory. Items that score Pass are not significantly 'fixed' in final drill, and will score Fail if badly formulated, if their difficulty is underestimated, or simply by chance due to the randomness of the process of forgetting. The ''weakness'' of final drill comes here from spacing effect. On the other hand, items that score Fail will usually do far better after the final drill, however, it should be the student's goal to ensure sufficient recall after the first review. This attitude improves concentration in learning, and can be demonstrated as a measure that improves the overall speed of learning. It may seem the failure rate after the first interval should increase, but SuperMemo compensates that by shortening intervals (to a reasonable degree). In overloaded learning process (e.g. in incremental reading), the final drill concept becomes particularly outdated, as repetitions of the outstanding material will always be of far more importance than the final drill repetitions. As a result, SuperMemo makes it possible to automatically delete the final drill that is older than one day, or suggests doing so to the user
Selling collections (#10628)
(Olav Benum, Aug 15, 2006, 17:36:01)
How profitable is it to sell SuperMemo collections? Is there a financial reward for bringing people to your site or getting them to buy SuperMemo? What are the arrangements for selling at your site? Can I be sure to be admitted? Can I split in free and for pay collections as I like? What margin do you take? Can you indicate how much some existing collections are selling? Is there some kind of financial reward for bringing people to your site or getting them to buy SuperMemo?
Selling SuperMemo collections has always been difficult (see history of SuperMemo Library). There are only a few success case and these all were associated with substantial investment in advertising or other forms of promotion (e.g. Easy English series, Advanced English, or Extreme English DVD). SuperMemo forms a small and rather elitist market. Within that market, the interest in ready-made collections is little. Easy English was an example where the learning material was advertised on its own and SuperMemo was carried along as a bonus. In other words, the highest selling SuperMemo product was not even named as a SuperMemo product. If you decide to promote your collection on your own website, you can use "Money in the link" program to sell SuperMemo as well.
You can prevent the spell-pad from being hidden at question time (#1115)
(Maarten, Netherlands, Aug 23, 2004, 14:56:48)
I do not like the check-mark Answer of the Spelling template. I don't understand why it is there. When I use items with a spellpad, I want to see the spellpad immediately after pressing Next Repetition. I don't want to press a key to get the spellpad visible
The Answer attribute is part of data, not part of presentation. In other words, it is not affected by the template. The Spelling template has Answer unchecked, but this does not affect the source element data. For that reason, you must make sure that Answer is unchecked in the element onto which you apply the template, or uncheck Answer after applying the template
Knowledge tree can automatically be sorted in alphabetical order
(Ahmet Karahan, Friday, December 13, 2002 10:52 AM)
Why category subfolders created automatically by SuperMemo are sorted like this  Category name,  Category name,  Category name,  Category name,  Category name, etc. while I would rather expect them to be like this  Category name,  Category name,  Category name, etc.
To avoid alphabetical sorting of your collection do the following:
(1) Go to the contents window
(2) On the content menu then uncheck Customize : Sorted
Swapped word-pair requires a separate learning process (#27433)
(Kenneth Nichols, Aug 26, 2004, 12:30:10)
I'm learning Dutch. Sometimes I want to be given a Dutch word and to respond with its English meaning, but other times I want to do the reverse. How do I do this in SuperMemo?
You need to create two separate elements with two different questions. This is compulsory. The reverse word-pair produces a different memory trace! The fastest way to do this is to use Duplicate and Swap components. You can execute these two by pressing Ctrl+Alt+D and Ctrl+Shift+S in succession
Learning material that changes overtime (#27500)
(Dr. U. Muller, Switzerland, Monday, September 06, 2004 8:11 AM)
I would like to learn material that is changing over the time. I am a medical doctor. There are continually upgrading online resources around like UpToDate® or Standard Books where you could get an updated version every few years. Are there some ways to detect easily, what parts I have imported into SuperMemo did change.
Changes and updates to knowledge we learn with SuperMemo have until now been a very hard problem to tackle. SuperMemo may even put you at a disadvantage when compared with "slow learners" in cases where you think you know and do not check upon the validity of your knowledge. The best remedy until now has been a never-ending learning approach, in which you incrementally learn new things and resolve contradictions in your aging study material. You can use Edit : Add to category : Web page (Ctrl+Alt+U) to import a web page and make it show its most recent version (by checking Open automatically); however, this will not allow you to execute incremental reading and will have marginal effect on learning. In the future, on-line SuperMemo might include collaborative material. Items changed and invalidated would show up highlighted in your collection so that you could review and relearn the material that is no longer valid. However, this vision is not coming up soon. Please read more about incremental reading. This technique provides a number of mechanism that help you regularly update knowledge in massive learning
Error editing HTML (#2703)
(Seth G., Sep 06, 2006)
I get this error message: Error editing HTML Access violation at address 7778DD49 in module 'shdocvw.dll'. Read of address 00000000 I use Windows XP (SP2) and IE 6.0 (SP2)
This error might occur while switching between editing and display modes. It is raised by a component of Internet Explorer ('shdocvw.dll'). You could first see if it is not content-dependent (i.e. caused by a specific page that causes problems with Internet Explorer). For example, you could apply HTML filter (F6) or read more here: http://www.supermemo.com/help/faq/html.htm If this persists, you might send the article that is causing the problem.
You can convert a directory with sound or image files into a collection (#27559)
(Pawel, Poland, Saturday, September 11, 2004 9:22 AM)
I have many sound files. It would be great if SuperMemo could generate elements based on the filenames from the directory containing sounds
Try the following:
- create a new collection
- in the sound/image registry choose Tools : Import files
- choose Tools : Generate elements on the registry menu
SuperMemo vs. EyeQ (#27562)
(Dave, Sep 10, 2004, 16:13:20)
How does SuperMemo compare with EyeQ a reading program on an infomercial?
Rarely do we test and/or pass judgment on products in the "speed-learning" or "speed-reading" category. The field is very wide and peppered with pseudo-scientific claims that are too costly to verify on a one-by-one basis. Your inquiry is the first to call our attention to EyeQ. On a quick net search, it seems there are a number of products using this name in areas ranging from optometry to nutrition. However, you are probably interested in the product based on the "research of Dr. Kawamura". The scanty information available from the web indicates that the program seems to capitalize on the concept of "whole brain learning" that is supposed to accelerate the processing of information. On multiple occasions, we have expressed skepticism in reference to both "whole brain" and "widening information stream" (e.g. search for PhotoReading at supermemo.com).
SuperMemo helps you retain memories with the help of well-timed review. As such, it goes in quite an opposite direction. It encourages you to disregard excess information that is not likely to be consolidated long-term. With SuperMemo, you are supposed to learn the difference between short-term knowledge used for contingencies, and mission critical knowledge that you can afford to consolidate in long-term memory for years or lifetime of use.
Please consult other sources on the matter of EyeQ. We will revisit the subject if there is more interest from amongst users of SuperMemo
Empty RTF text found (#1774)
(Grzegorz Szczotka, Sep 14, 2004, 13:47:39)
SuperMemo displayed this message:
Empty RTF text found at registry member #Text #641: """
SuperMemo warns you that your text registry stores an empty RTF text at position #641. This text will be of no use and can be deleted (e.g. use Ctrl+G with 641 to locate the text in the text registry and press Del). SuperMemo will keep displaying this error until you disconnect all references to the deleted text in your text components. You can do it by running File : Repair collection with Rebuild registries checked. During this procedure SuperMemo resets references to a deleted member. Instead of deleting the member, you can also use Ctrl+B in the registry to browse users of the member #641. If there are not too many elements listed, you can simply edit or delete the empty texts, or delete the empty text components if you do not need them
Copied collections always look for secondary storage files in the original location (#11121)
(Gary Belhomme, Canada, Oct 16, 2006, 06:35:29)
I restored a backup to my new laptop, but I keep getting this annoying message “Cannot find SuperMemo Backup files in drive L:”. Drive L: is no longer a partition on my new system. How do I modify the backup files so that it no longer searches for Drive L:?
Try the following: Tools : Options : Data access, and delete Secondary Storage
SuperMemo error: Optimization record is set as read-only (#9571)
(Dirk Sterckx, Belgium, Dec 01, 2006, 15:21:04)
SuperMemo displayed the following error:
Optimization record is set as read-only
If your collection has just been copied from a CD-R/DVD-R, remove the read-only attribute from all its files
Trim Shortcuts turns off Ctrl+Alt+C and some other shortcuts
(Jiri Pik, Wed, Jun 27, 2001 8:44)
Why can I not use Ctrl+Alt+C shortcut for selecting the current category in SuperMemo 2002? In the previous releases it worked without any trouble?
Make sure you have Trim Shortcuts in Tools : Options : SuperMemo unchecked. This shortcut can be inactivated to compensate for a bug in handling diacritical characters in some national versions of MS Windows
Music can play a positive role in your learning (#11213)
(Michellie, Nov 06, 2006, 01:21:33)
I am a seventh grader student who is taking part in a science fair on the topic "How does music influence learning and memory?". I would appreciate it if you could tell me what you know about the topic. These are my questions:
- How does music influence learning and memory?
- Do the different genres of music affect it?
Your own experience will tell you that music definitely affects you. It can perk you up or set you in a melancholic mood. As such, without doubt, it affects memory and learning. Much has been said in the media about the positive influence of music on learning. Many commercial companies try to sell tapes with music that allegedly improves learning or even increases your IQ. They quote the so-called Mozart effect. Mothers play "Einstein tapes" to their kids while they are still in the womb. You will find lots of materials with many wild claims on the net. However, there is very little solid research indicating that music can easily and/or seriously affect your learning or creativity.
If you ask for a practical advice on learning and music, you could best limit it to two points:
- Use music that you enjoy to set yourself in the appropriate mood for learning. Some genres might act in ways similar to a cup of coffee. They can energize you and set you in a happy mood that can help you learn.
- Remember to energize yourself before, not during learning! The more you like a tune, the more likely you are to react to it, to hum it, to stomp, to become distracted. The only exception might be to use unobtrusive music to drown out noises coming from the street, from your neighbors or from other people in your household. Yet disks with bird songs or murmur of brooks might play that role better.
Music can also be used to keep kids interested in learning, or as a mnemonic tool (e.g. we seem to remember words of a song better than words of a poem without a tune). Musical training, as much as nearly any form of training, has been shown to positively impact your brain and your learning skills in general. In particular, musicians show better verbal memory, enlarged portions of the brain, and slower decline of mental faculties with age.
However, all these positive factors are not likely to play a major role in your learning of, say, chemistry. Most of your learning success will depend on the learning process itself. Happy hormones will affect the chemistry of memory, musical training can improve your overall learning power, but the miracle of learning comes through systematic and well-planned study.
Shipment and taxes are included in the price
(bauzawin, UK, Fri, Jun 22, 2001 11:09)
I would like to buy a SuperMemo CD-ROM. What is the cost of postage, packing and taxes?
The price listed at www.super-memo.com is the same amount that will show up on your credit card. Shipment and taxes are included in the price
In a group of students, motivation, grading skill and knowledge formulation are vital for progress (#11209)
(Geoffrey, USA Government, Nov 07, 2006, 18:59:12)
How do I correct the A-Factor to get repetitions to come up MORE OFTEN. We purchased a site license for 50 students. We have about 20 students of different ages (11 to 23). They have gotten into the BAD habit of pressing Good when they barely knew half of the answer. I keep catching them pressing the wrong buttons. Now I have some students who have NEW questions that have their second repetition scheduled for 5 or 10 days later instead of 2 to 4 days. Therefore, I assume the A-Factor is too high. They do not have such great memories.
By its definition, SuperMemo is not an easy to use in a classroom setting. Your problem is quite typical and can only be resolved by teaching your students basic SuperMemo skills. In particular the following aspects of SuperMemo need to be fully understood by students if they are to ever be successful with the program:
- motivation: the goals of learning and the role of SuperMemo
- grading: in particular the difference between Fail and Pass grades
- formulating knowledge: poorly formulated items are one of the greatest factors discouraging the use of SuperMemo
A-Factors cannot be modified as they reflect the difficulty of an item for a given person. This difficulty is an absolute value of a very specific meaning. Changing A-Factors could be compared to "cheating" that SuperMemo would compensate for over time anyway. You could reduce the forgetting index (e.g. with subset operation: Set forgetting index or by changing the default forgetting index); however, keep in mind the following:
- early in the process, SuperMemo may still be attempting to correct optimum intervals. It is always better to wait with corrections to the forgetting index until this process is over (usu. several weeks)
- overly frequent repetitions are a highly discouraging factor for new users
- without solid motivation and grading skills, changing the forgetting index may be counter-productive. If the student is not motivated enough and/or does not understand the role of SuperMemo, (s)he is likely to develop a very mechanistic view of the program and develop a dislike of learning in general
Without solid grading skill, SuperMemo will be unable to produce correct intervals and the use of the program will be pointless. Proper formulation of items is also vital to keep students motivated. One of the best methods to remedy the problem is to sit down with individual students through their learning session on a one-on-one student-teacher basis. Depending on student's personality, skills needed to effectively use SuperMemo may take weeks or months to develop. Motivation and enthusiasm are hardest to achieve.
Displaying Japanese in the contents window
(Chakravarty, Apr 24, 2005, 03:50:44)
I learn Japanese. I can't see the element titles properly in the contents window because of the font problem
To display Japanese in the contents window, choose Customize : Font on the content menu, and select any suitable OEM Japanese font (i.e. font based on a code page). If you happen to use the same font to build your collection with plain text components, the titles will automatically display in the contents window. However, if you use Unicode with HTML components, you will need to type in the title manually. The contents window uses a tree view control that is not Unicode-enabled. In other words, the contents window is limited to 255 character sets
Cannot display image! (#185)
(Sun Yu, Nov 19, 2006, 13:54:06)
SuperMemo displayed this error:
"Cannot display image!
File is of zero size
This error could be related to a bug in compressing very large image files. If you had chosen a very large file as your About Box picture, SuperMemo might have failed to produce a compressed version suitable for the About Box. The only workaround is to choose a different picture or compress it first with some image processing tool. As this bug is related to the availability of memory, you could also try a clean re-start of Windows
Use the Back button to return from an Internet trip (#13150)
(Christian Ostensen, Mar 07, 2007, 17:59:57)
How do I get back to the original page in SuperMemo when I clicked a link and I'm still in SuperMemo (I did not open it in a new window).
Use Back on context menu (right-click) or click the Back button on the element toolbar (marked as <)
SuperMemo helps you delete imported files to clean up your hard disk (#11434)
(Richard H., Nov 28, 2006, 21:29:27)
After import of the .gif file and the .wav file a question is asked if one wants to keep the file in its original location. What are the implications or tradeoffs of keeping the file in its original location versus not doing so?
If you have saved the file only to import it to SuperMemo, let SuperMemo delete it to keep your hard disk clean. However, at times, you will import files that you need to use also outside SuperMemo. Then you should tell SuperMemo to leave the file in its original location. SuperMemo will simply copy the file into the collection without deleting the original (i.e. you will have two copies of the file: inside and outside SuperMemo)
No minimize button
(Tomas K, Czech Republic, 3.5. 2002)
There is no button to minimize the whole SuperMemo application. There was such a button in SuperMemo 2000
You will need to use right-click and Minimize to minimize the application with the docking toolbar on
Technical details: This strange feature comes from a series of window style dependencies in SuperMemo. What seems like a simple collection of windows in SuperMemo is actually a far going compromise resolving a number of border style, parenthood, ownership, window style and Z-order conflicts. These conflicts have been magnified by the use of the web browser Active X which is notoriously badly behaved when encapsulated as a Delphi component (see: source code). To improve the "behavior" of other windows, for reasons too complex for a simple FAQ, the main docking toolbar had to be changed to bsSizeToolWin border style. This style precludes the minimize button. This painful compromise allowed of resolving a number of other issues pestering SuperMemo
(Dawn Barrie, USA, Nov 2, 1999)
After downloading SuperMemo 98 I attempted to register it, and was asked to pay for it. When I downloaded this program, I was under the impression that this was freeware, yet it appears that a paid registration number is required to unlock it. What benefits are there to unlocking it?
The confusion resulted from ZDNet's reviewer mistakenly classify SuperMemo 98 as freeware (http://www.softseek.com/Education_and_Science/General_Education/Review_28830_index.html). We will contact Softseek.com to fix this error. In the meantime you can download older freeware versions. As for the benefits of unlocking: locked SuperMemo will run only for a limited period of time depending on the intensity of use
You can increase the size of font in Q&A imports (#12774)
(Telemate Sokari, USA Educational, Jan 23, 2007, 06:12:58)
I have SuperMemo 2004. When I import files in Q&A text form how do I get them to all be in a bigger font without having to increase each one individually?
You can either define a larger font in Internet Explorer, or you could use a text editor to insert HTML FONT tags in your Q&A file. Alternatively, you can import your questions to a plain text template with a larger font (e.g. modified Classic template). In SuperMemo 2006, you can also apply a large-font stylesheet to the import template if it is based on HTML components. You can apply a stylesheet before the import or after the import
Lack of Internet Explorer 6.0 will cripple SuperMemo
(hudson, Poland, Tue, Jun 25, 2002 15:53)
Do I have to use Internet Explorer 6.0 to use SuperMemo? I am definitely not going to install IE6.0
Most advantages of SuperMemo will evaporate if you opt to stay with the older browser and older versions of SuperMemo (e.g. SuperMemo 2000). However, with the move towards HTML-based incremental reading, SuperMemo has been permanently tied to Internet Explorer. In other words, if you stick to your resolution, you will cut yourself off from all future developments on the Windows platform. Many people refuse to install Internet Explorer for ideological reasons; however, there is no escape from Internet Explorer for users of Windows. More and more system-wide components depend on it. If you plan to stay with Windows, updating Internet Explorer is a must. Those who refuse to do it only hurt themselves. This way of opposing Microsoft's monopoly probably does not benefit anyone
Some applications may interfere with SuperMemo (#4304)
(Jim Hill, Apr 22, 2005, 23:10:58)
Did you test SuperMemo 2004 with XP SP2? It's constantly crashing the mshtml.dll library
Windows XP and Windows 2000 are currently the primary development platforms for SuperMemo 2004/2006 and successors. For that reason, the number of problems on these platforms should be minimum. The largest number of complains refers to the mshtml.dll library. In a vast majority of cases, these are an annoyance only and do not result in loss of data. They can also be avoided with a few simple workarounds. However, there were 3-4 cases where more serious errors occurred in conjunction with the problems with mshtml.dll. These have all been tracked to interference with other software (in particular anti-virus programs). If your problems persist, you might want to test the same collection on a neighboring computer, or with some software and services turned off. You can also greatly reduce the number of problems with mshtml.dll if you install Internet Explorer 7.0
Tasklists vs. incremental reading (#6935)
(Theresa L., Mozambique, Thursday, December 08, 2005 10:22 AM)
I am not sure when I should keep tasks on a tasklist vs introducing them to the learning process.
The main purpose of tasklists is to help you maximize the value generated in a time unit. The main purpose of incremental reading is to process information. Both can be used for managing projects with many tasks. You will lean towards tasks each time you can precisely define the value of a task and the time it takes to execute it. You will learn towards incremental reading each time information processing starts playing a role. For example, incremental reading may be useful if:
- the task is of creative nature and needs to be built upon with new ideas
- the value or duration of the task is unsure and needs to be figured out incrementally
- you want to introduce a degree of randomness into the project (e.g. to counteract cognitive biases)
For very important tasks, you can keep them both on the tasklist and in the incremental reading process. This is particularly useful for tasks whose value and cost are well-defined, but which need further creative processing (e.g. reading a project description, reading an e-mail, etc.). Very often you will first introduce an outline of an idea into incremental reading, and place it on the tasklist only then when the idea clears up in your mind as a well-delineated task
Use Google to get basic info about SuperMemo (#2673)
(Korean, May 20, 2006, 20:34:42)
I find your help files very confusing. For example, you say that "Browsers are mostly available from the View menu and provide a set of operations available from the browser menu". But you do not say what I should click to get the browser menu?
To help you read any article about SuperMemo, in any order, basic vocabulary and principles would need to be explained on every page of the documentation. Whenever possible, hyperlinks are used to send you to information about most fundamental terms. In this case, it is enough you click on the browser menu hyperlink to have your question answered in the very first paragraph.
The term browser menu is hyperlinked in many contexts. However, if you find a place where a hyperlink is not provided and a term is unclear, you could best use Google. For example, in this case, type the following in the Google search box:
"Browser menu" SuperMemo
The same browser menu article should come on top: http://www.supermemo.com/help/browsermenu.htm
Efficient image compression
(Beta, Martin, Romania, Tuesday, March 12, 2002 5:34 PM)
I would like to be able to choose the compression mode GIF/JPG to minimize the size of images. My experience shows that GIF can be 10x more efficient than your default JPG
SuperMemo executes very rudimentary compression that will not produce such large differences. Rarely do images differ in size more than 50%. You can indeed obtain higher compression by using lossy algorithms, but these are not included in SuperMemo. In other words, if you want to achieve maximum compactness of images, you will need an external dedicated application. Such an application will also let you decide how much quality you are ready to compromise and produce truly amazing compression ratios
How to avoid the editing mode when clicking a highlighted item in the contents window? (#13416)
(Helga, Mar 15, 2007, 03:09:08)
When clicking on a highlighted item in the content window, it always goes to rename mode. There seems to be no way of merely choosing it short of clicking on another item first
The simplest way is to click the caption of the contents window
If you find a forgotten item, use Execute Repetition (#14157)
(Julio Bernardi, May 14, 2007, 19:38:09)
What would be the most efficient action to take when one finds a forgotten item, but one that is not due to review in the present day? Try to re-memorize it, reschedule it, or leave it as it is?
You should use Learning : Execute repetition on the element menu (press Ctrl+Shift+R). This option has been added specifically for this kind of situations. In the past, you would indeed need to re-memorize (if the item was important), reschedule (to delay items whose repetition was coming too soon), or leave "as is" (if the next repetition was to come far in the future). Execute repetition tells SuperMemo that you have inadvertently reviewed the item. You will need to guess the grade that you believe you would have scored (e.g. if the item was chanced upon and is not forgotten). If the optimum repetition was to come soon, the repetition will be nearly as effective as a standardly schedule repetition. If the optimum repetition was scheduled far into the future, SuperMemo will delay the next review accordingly
Why don't I get any response from you? (#13382)
(linda t, South Africa, Monday, April 09, 2007 12:02 PM)
This is now the fourth time that i am emailing you this problem and I am now getting really irritated, I want the program that I paid for and I do not understand why you can not come back to me and let me know what the problem is.....what has whether I like the program or not got to do with having an Apple computer.....I bought the program because I need it and I need it asap....what is the problem.....come back to me asap....
You have placed your order during Easter time which is a holiday in Poland (from where your order is being processed). The promise of "one day" processing time refers to "business day", not "calendar day".
As for Apple, SuperMemo 2006 was written to run in MS Windows. Here are the minimum requirements:
You can easily replace one picture with another in the entire collection (#3071)
(Marcus R., Jun 26, 2007, 18:48:16)
I have a picture in 350 elements produced from a single article. How can I easily replace this picture with a new one that has a better resolution?
- go to any of the elements that holds the picture
- paste the new picture into that element
- choose Overwrite component image (not Create a new component). This will make sure the new picture replaces the old picture instead of being pasted into a newly created image component.
- when asked for the picture name (Image registry: New name) remove the unique suffix proposed for that picture (usually '(1)')
- choose "Use new "picture name" to make sure you choose the new picture to represent the registry member (rather than the old picture with the same name)
Alternatively, you can use Overwrite file in the image registry.
Accumulation of knowledge in SuperMemo does not become unmanageable (#14745)
(Samuel Sieh, Jan 04, 2008, 11:11:36)
I am very much convinced with the power of computer-aided spaced repetition memorizing as opposed to mnemonics and other type of wild methods such as photo-reading. I am planning to make SuperMemo my life-time learning companion and am afraid that as the amount of questions (managed knowledge) accrue, I will be spending too much time per day in going through the questions. Do you have any suggestions as to how I could manage the the amount of questions as well as the frequency and the time I need to go through them daily?
You do not need to be concerned with the frequency and timing of review in SuperMemo. SuperMemo does all the planning for you. You do not need to be concerned with an exponential increase in the workload either. Counterintuivively, the increase in knowledge is nearly linear in the long run (see: Figure 1 in SuperMemo Theory). It is highly recommended, you also master mnemonic techniques, which help you effectively combat difficult-to-remember material, and reduce the workload.
My measured forgetting index is too high (#18127)
(FD, Wednesday, January 16, 2008 1:57 AM)
My forgetting index is too high. Quite some time ago I changed the requested forgetting index to 6%, but I am still getting over 10%. Is there a way of changing the forgetting index on all the previously made elements to 6% too, or does the new forgetting index only apply to new elements? I've been making my clozes smaller as you suggested, and also have been splitting up leeches into several smaller elements. Is there anything else I can do?
SuperMemo imposes some restrictions on the length of intervals. This means that it will often not shorten the intervals enough to get you to your requested forgetting index. This may occur if your knowledge is particularly difficult, or improperly formulated. Those restrictions are supposed to prevent a situation in which you keep repeating material that is very hard to remember and thus squeezing life from your learning process. If you already try to keep your items simple and apply the 20 rules of formulating knowledge, your only rescue can come from (1) mnemonic techniques or (2) decision to give up on portions of material that seem impossible to remember in the long run. Paradoxically, a great deal of "must know" material required for a professional degree (e.g. in medical schools) is virtually beyond the grasp of memory, and respected experts in the field tested on the same material often fail. The trick is often in changing the way you remember things. No medical professional nor even an average intelligent individual should fail to understand the role of insulin or growth hormone. However, there is little value in enumerating all endocrine glands and hormones in an alphabetical order. You can send your most intractable items via mail for analysis. Whatever can stick to a memory of an expert can be formulated in a way that should satisfy your requested forgetting index.
To change the requested forgetting index in any subset, use Forgetting index : Set forgetting index on the browser menu. Remember, however, that setting the forgetting index too low can backfire by evoking the spacing effect, weakening the memories, and dramatically increasing your workload.
Only CD-ROMs are air-mailed
(Stanislav, Wednesday, October 20, 2004 8:40 AM)
Do you ship programs by post? I am in Canada and so far downloaded my purchases from FTP. If you ship it, I might have to pay a huge custom duty
Only CD-ROMs are air-mailed. All stand-alone SuperMemos and collections are available exclusively via download
SuperMemo error: Cannot delete last system used from file pick-list [SuperMemo #18279] (#18279)
(Jeff Nutt, Mar 08, 2008, 05:10:09)
Cannot delete last system used from file pick-list Unable to write to E:\Program Files\SuperMemo\bin\supermemo.ini
When SuperMemo opens a new collection, it writes the current collection's name and address in supermemo.ini file. When that file is locked by another process, SuperMemo will be unable to write the data, and will display the above error. Although this error is harmless on its own, you should immediately seek the cause of the problem as it may be associated with problem to writing to other files as well. The most frequent causes of file access problems are:
- read-only files (e.g. on DVDs)
- inadequate permissions (e.g. you need to Run as Administrator in Windows Vista)
- anti-virus programs that scan SuperMemo files (those need to be disabled)
- indexing services that scan SuperMemo files (SuperMemo files must be put on the exclusion list)
- system crashes
- hardware problems (e.g. hard disk flaws)
Losing pictures copied from PDF (#17414)
(Mario Peng, Jan 05, 2008, 18:25:06)
I often encounter that some copy/paste pictures from pdf that are used for the answer part are lost during repetition
You need to copy pictures separately as pictures, not as part of the selected text (the latter is not supported). You can either copy a picture to the clipboard, paste it to SuperMemo, and mark it as an answer, or you can copy the picture of the window (Alt+PrintScreen) and then trim the picture to include only the part of interest. Either way, the picture will reside in an image component (not in an HTML component), and will be listed in image registry with the possibility of reuse in other elements.
Browsers do not open sorted
(J.P., Germany, Sunday, May 05, 2002 8:50 AM)
When you display the contents browser it is not sorted, even though the settings in the contents window are to sort the contents
Customize : Sorted on the contents menu affects only the order of elements in the contents window. The contents browser collects elements from the branch in their physical order. When you open a browser, it is never sorted. However, you can easily sort it by clicking the Title column
Reviewing the same items in the loop is a result of scoring low grades (#19004)
(Rutis, Cameron, United States, Jun 18, 2008, 18:21:03)
I have a handful of items in supermemo so far. When I go into learning mode it keeps asking me the same handful of questions over and over during a single learning session. I thought when I had done each repetition for the day supermemo would display 'Nothing more to learn" or something like that instead of repeating questions over. When I look at the history I see that I reviewed all the questions and the next repetitions are some days away... yet supermemo keeps repeating the repetitions
If you keep seeing the same items again and again, you are probably providing grades that are below Good (i.e. Pass, Fails, etc.). You can use Learn : Cut drills, or score Good or Bright on the items queued for final drill.
SuperMemo 2002 can be made to work in Vista (#19216)
(Jaime Pinto, Sunday, June 29, 2008 11:29 AM)
After installing SuperMemo 2002 in Vista, I got the following error: Fatal error! Cannot open registry files Registry=C:\Program Files\SM2002\Systems\ABC of SuperMemo 2002\registry\category File access denied
SuperMemo 2002 preceded Vista by 4 years. Due to the fact that Vista reduced privileges given to applications for security reasons, you need to either move SuperMemo folder out of c:\Program Files\ or change SuperMemo shortcut to let SuperMemo Run as Administrator. More details: http://supermemopedia.com/index.php?title=Will_SuperMemo_work_in_Windows_Vista%3F
What is "fraction" in SuperMemo Algorithm SM-5? (#14257)
(Joseph Michael Galero, Jul 03, 2008, 20:46:40)
I am trying to understand SM-5 and I have questions regarding Figure 3.4 (in http://www.supermemo.com/english/ol/sm5.htm): 1. fraction - described to be a number between 0 and 1. How is this determined?
Whatever number you choose, as long as it is not too close to either 0 or 1, the algorithm will work. That value will determine stability vs. accuracy component of the optimization procedure. In other words, if the fraction is very high, you will get the OF matrix modified very fast, but its values may swing widely around the optimum. On the other hand, if you choose a very low value of the fraction, the algorithm will produce an accurate convergence of the OF matrix to its optimum/true value, however, the changes might be unacceptably slow, esp. that repetitions in SuperMemo may be spaced by years and you do not get that many repetitions in a lifetime to wait for the convergence! In practise, the fraction had to be guess-computed (based on the experience with previous algorithms), and modified on the basis of intitial feedback and the performance of the early implementations of Algorithm SM-5. In other words, Fraction is a heuristically determined value that should not be considered "set in stone". It should be watched carefully and modified if need be.
What is the interpretation of mod2 in Algorithm SM-5? (#14257)
(Joseph Michael Galero, Jul 03, 2008, 20:46:40)
I am trying to understand Algorithm SM-5 (as described in http://www.supermemo.com/english/ol/sm5.htm). mod5 and mod2 are described to be values proposed for the modifier when q is equal to 5 and 2 respectively. In the code, mod5 is used when q > 4, consistent with the description. But, mod2 is used in the computation of the modifier in the else condition. Doesn't that mean mod2 represents q's 0 to 3 (with 4 left out because q=4 doesn't change the OF)?
Yes. mod2 is used for a range of values. The name and the description come from the fact that for Quality=2 you get modifier=mod2 (because modifier:=1-(1-mod2)/2*(4-quality)).
Plan alarms fire in advance of activity due time (#19180)
(Michael, Jun 21, 2008, 08:47:06)
What's the meaning behind the Marg column in Tools : Plan?
Marg defines the time margin for alarms. If Marg=3, the alarm for the present activity will fire 3 min. before the expected end of the activity. As all activities require some time to terminate, margins helps you stick to the schedule without accumulating delays in the course of execution.
The date of forgetting (#933)
(Patrik, Thu, May 02, 2002 14:07)
SuperMemo 2002 ABC.kno collection asks "How many times does SuperMemo ask you a given question?" and the answer is "Several times in the future (e.g. 10 times in a lifetime)". A better answer would be: "On the day before you are most likely to forget the answer"
This answer would not be correct. This is true only in special cases (for example, forgetting index 10% and the optimum interval 10 days). Usually, the repetition takes place after the day of maximum forgetting probability. The catch is that this maximum probability is very low (e.g. less than 1% for intervals longer than one year and the forgetting index 10%). The repetition takes place on the day when the probability of failure equals the forgetting index. It is important to distinguish between the probability that forgetting will occur on day X (a very low value), and the probability of failure on the repetition day X (equal to the forgetting index on the day of the optimum repetition). The former often reaches its maximum before the day of the optimum repetition. The latter is always increasing in time (i.e. memories always fade in time). You can find more about the probability of forgetting and the probability of recall at: Theoretical aspects of SuperMemo. Including the description of this exemplary forgetting probability graph, in which the maximum forgetting probability occurs after the optimally scheduled repetition (which isn't usually the case).
What is the optimum temperature for learning? (#19890)
(Louie Duvall, Aug 10, 2008, 04:13:27)
I was reading your 20 myths about memory and thought it interesting, but didn't see anything from what I could see about the optimum temperature for learning (if there is one). I've always thought the optimum temperature for learning is on the colder side, but can't really prove it since I wouldn't have a successful control in the experiment.
You won't find much discussion about the optimum temperature for learning at supermemo.com for the same reason as we do not discuss optimum diet for learning. Such questions are better answered by specialist sources or websites. Your optimum diet should basically be healthy, and your optimum temperature should basically be comfortable. There will definitely not be a single recommended temperature for everyone as people differ in their metabolism and their thermogenic capacity. As your body will naturally set its thermostat for optimum metabolic performance, the sense of being comfortable while learning will probably suffice. In other words, defer to your body to optimize your environment. As for colder temperatures, you may be right. Hormonally thermogenesis and vigilance are both favored by a similar set of endocrinological stimuli. However, you won't gain much by reducing the temperature in your room as even a slight drop may result in distracting discomfort. What you can do though is to work on improving your own thermogenic capacity. This will naturally reduce the preferred ambient temperature and make it possible to boost vigilance through activation of thermogenesis. In addition, you can work over your heat tolerance to quickly adapt to changes in temperature (if any). In short: (1) make your learning site comfortable and (2) take icy showers often. An occasional trip to sauna will probably also be helpful. NB: If you know what you suspect to be a myth about the optimum temperature for learning, please write.
Why has my name been included in your documentation? (#19887)
(anonymous, Aug 11, 2008, 14:20:11)
I very specifically asked for my question about SuperMemo to only be listed on the wiki anonymously. Why is my name on it?
Indeed your question at SuperMemoPedia has been tagged by your first name. Please accept an apology if this caused any distress. We try to do our best to respect your privacy. Our FAQ carries a warning that all questions are tagged with user name when published on the FAQ site, unless anonymity is specifically requested. Name tags are useful in support, case studies and reference. Different rules apply to supermemopedia.com. Those questions, very often more intimate, are usually tagged by the first name or the initials. They are supposed to be basically anonymous. As first names are often not specific enough for identifying a customer, they are frequently used as tags. This is what happened in your case too. If a request for anonymity slips through in the cracks, we try to correct the error promptly. Your name has been removed from the site.
Research into comparing spaced repetition algorithms (#3310)
(Julio Bernardi, May 22, 2008, 13:45:03)
I am a great admirer of your original idea of supermemo and your commitment to such an idea. I take such a commitment as a example to be followed by fellow researchers like myself. However, I have a certain level of skepticism about supermemo, as a good scientist should have. [...] There are a multitude of open source spaced repetition aplications, that have some advantages over your product [...]. But I remained skeptical about the performance of supermemo's competitors algorihtms, unti I realised that I do not have any data whatsoever to support these beliefs. My hypothesis is that the latest supermemo algorithm must outperform the aplications based in older ones, like Mnemosyne, based on SuperMemo 2, as the ideas are evolving for more than 20 years now, by a group of professional coders. That hypothesis is easy to test in a controlled manner. I am therefore asking if supermemo team could kindly provide me with some data to allow a comparative study to be made. Without knowing what data, if any, that I am able to get hold of, I cannot design a methodology beforehand. I would also try to get data from mnemosyne, witch uploads reports from their users. I could use data from other sources if asked. I'm looking for the following principles: 1. Adequate statistical treatment. The statistics used in the site as scientific evidence actually are very flawed, and usually consists on individual reports being offered as evidence 2. Blinding. I hope that I can be blinded in some way about the origin of the data [...]. Because of my motivation, I am commited to seriousness, and if I cannot be effectively blinded, I won't analyse the data personaly and will arrange to another person, which I can blind, to do the work. 3. Free publishing of results. That would of course occur independent of the findings of the study [...]. This is a type of scrutiny that I find honest and confident inventors, as I personally imagine you to be, would not frown at, and would actually be more than willing to cooperate. So, what kind of data, if any, can I expect to have access to? I will make simillar inquiries to Mnemosyne developer and to others, if suggested to do so. I will then write a sketch of what I intend to do, submit it to both parties for approval, and then get the data, calculate results, and write the article. I would also provide a preprint version to each party to allow a response to whatever the result is to be with the main results. Note that if I get to the point of convincing you that I am a reliable and neutral person and get the data, I will publish it no matter what the results are, while allowing critic to my work to be printed with it [...]
For a solid comparison of repetition spacing algorithms you need a set of data that meets the following criteria:
- each repetition record is a triple: [ID, date, grade]
- the set is large enough for valid comparisons. Experience shows that 500,000 repetitions may be needed for solid approximations due to the stochastic nature of forgetting, and the difficulty of eliminating the interference with the casual use of knowledge that is the subject of learning (for this kind of datasets it is impossible to make volunteers learn material that is not supposed to be useful in any way)
- the set spans a period that is long enough. Even 10 years may not be enough to produce a solid differentiation. It is relatively easy to design algorithms that perform well in a short run due to the high frequency of repetitions in the initial period. SuperMemo data spans two decades for the prosaic reason that its first computer applications were written only 20 years ago. Data the reflect the quality of the most recent algorithms spans mere 6-8 years. As the concept of spaced repetition only recently attracted interest of developers, you may find it hard to get data that spans even half period, i.e. 3-4 years!
As for the design of your comparison procedure, you can define your own optimization criteria (if you believe SuperMemo criteria are not adequate). SuperMemo optimizes learning to achieve a so-called "requested forgetting index". As forgetting indices differ for different items, full validation of SuperMemo can only be run on data where repetitions quadruples are known: [ID, date, grade, forgetting index]. However, for the sake of comparisons, it is possible to generate data as above with all repetitions selected for the forgetting index equal to 10% (which is default in SuperMemo software). You can receive data meeting the above criteria at any time via e-mail (write to Dr Wozniak). You can define your own format in which you would like the data to be submitted. If Mnemosyne is based on SuperMemo Algorithm SM-2, it can safely be predicted that it will compare poorly with newer SuperMemo algorithms. SuperMemo 2 did not optimize for the forgetting index, nor did it collect forgetting curve data. For the criteria defined above, it has been demonstrated to be significantly outperformed by newer algorithms such as SM-5 (1989) and SM-6 (1991). As of 2008, the newest algorithm denoted Algorithm SM-11 (2002) is even stronger in its accuracy. It produces a significantly faster convergence of the measured forgetting index to the requested level. Note that every user of SuperMemo 2006 can produce his or her own validation of the algorithm by using the forgetting index history graph available with: Tools : Statistics : Analysis : Use : Efficiency : Forgetting index.
No. SuperMemo World will gladly sponsor objective independent research on the efficiency of its spaced repetition algorithm; however, after 20 years of field tests and usership going into millions, such research is no longer high on the agenda, and we are not actively seeking parties to conduct it.
There are many obstacles that make such research difficult. Here are some notes on the issue:
- future - the best approach for comparisons would be to provide students with (1) identical software, (2) identical learning material, and (3) different algorithms to determine overall speed of learning and long-term retention after a process lasting a few years. Such research would be very difficult to design, supervise, and very costly.
- short-term studies - short-term studies are not likely to provide valid differentiation as it is the toughest part of the spacing process to determine long-term intervals. Algorithms that could do well in a short-run, could show their weaknesses only after months or years.
- forgetting index history graph available in SuperMemo (in SuperMemo 2006: Tools : Statistics : Analysis : Use : Efficiency : Forgetting index) can be used by anyone to demonstrate a near optimality of the spacing algorithm (on condition that well-formuated knowledge is used in learning). If other applications provided a similar graph, they could self-verify their own validity, and yield comparisons for stability, accuracy, as well as overall retention in time (integral of the graph)
- optimality - by its optimization criteria, which can also be demonstrated as nearly ideal for long-term learning, current SuperMemo algorithm achieves extremely fast convergence to the optimum. Further improvements to the algorithm are not likely to bring much change to this fact. It is conceivable that other optimization approaches would also quickly achieve that level making all comparisons futile.
- weak competition - for many years, there was little noteworthy competition to SuperMemo. Some academic systems did not translate well into practical applications. Multiple flashcards programs often limited their spaced repetition efforts to the Leitner system without solid theory behind their algorithms. Only in recent years, partly due to the inspiration from SuperMemo, and partly on the basis of its own algorithms, multiple application gradually started appearing. As of 2008, none of these presented its own strong theory for computing optimum intervals.
- logistics - in the early 1990s, SuperMemo World made several attempts to work with schools and universities to run comparisons of learning efficiency with SuperMemo as compared with traditional methods of learning. Learning English was the primary test field. Due to complex logistics, those attempts were not successful. A nice testimony to SuperMemo was when in one of those tests, students in the control group copied SuperMemo from the rest of their class and one-year-long costly experiment had to be abandoned.
- traditional learning - early comparisons with "traditional learning" showed the difficulty in defining the concept. If "traditional learning" was taken as equally spaced or randomly spaced learning, SuperMemo could show in simulations a staggering advantage in the speed of learning. However, such simulations do not take into account the fact that memory naturally eliminates poorly formulated knowledge, while SuperMemo will be dramatically slowed if the user does not understand such efforts on his or her own (with the help of tools included in newer versions of the program)
- formulating knowledge - the way knowledge is formulated in learning may often be more important for the outcome of such research than the algorithm itself
- incremental reading - spaced repetition is old news in efficient learning techniques. With the advent of incremental reading, the focus of SuperMemo is on new challenges such as tackling overflow, prioritization, subset learning, and the unexplored field of developing semantic mechanisms for managing the learning process. The old good spacing algorithm has passed its field tests, and further improvements will have negligible impact on the speed of learning and long-term retention of knowledge
- research - currently, the most promising areas of research that can bring further improvement to learning with SuperMemo are investigations into the optimization of sleep, the link between sleep and learning, as well as the entire spectrum of technologies and techniques that can bolster the power of incremental reading
Will SuperMemo run in Vista? (#20445)
(Ron Hernandez, Jun 01, 2008, 07:38:14)
Will SuperMemo for Windows run on Windows Vista Ultimate?
You can use SuperMemo 2006 in Vista as long as you install it in its default folder (usually c:\supermemo, etc.) as opposed to "Program Files". Alternatively, you can install it anywhere and make it "Run As Administrator"
How can I play with the forgetting index to memorize more? (#19881)
(sadria, Canada, Aug 13, 2008, 03:12:38)
I'm currently trying to memorize large piles of biomechanics information and so I set my forgetting index to 20, since I have no great need of most of this information within several years. Anyhow, my measured forgetting index is at 35%, and I find that a lot of my repetitions are leeches, with 3 or more lapses, up to 6 lapses. I'd like to have more time to learn new things, and I need to know how to accomplish this. My thoughts are to reduce the forgetting index, but that might just take more time on the old stuff.
Setting forgetting index to 20% will be very frustrating. You will have an impression of standing still and being overwhelmed by "leeches". 6 lapses are just a beginning. You may crank it up to 20 or more. A far better strategy is to use the priority queue with auto-sort and auto-postpone and the default forgetting index. This way you can set high priority to items that you need to remember, and leave others at low priority. If you pump up the volume, you will naturally get overwhelmed by the material, and lower priority material will suffer automatic postpones that are equivalent to setting a higher forgetting index (even beyond the allowed 20%). In other words, your answer to volume and memory problems is PRIORITIZATION.
(Robert Whitinger, USA, Mar 4, 1999)
I installed smhelp.chm file in the BIN subfolder but SuperMemo still attempts to connect me with the Internet help!
Make sure that you choose Tools : Options : SuperMemo : Help system : Microsoft Help (CHM). If you choose Optimize instead of Microsoft Help, SuperMemo will always check the date of your chm file, and if it becomes outdated, it will attempt to connect you with the newer version of the same help page on the Internet
If I write my own learning material for SuperMemo, can I sell it to SuperMemo World?
Yes. Write to library (at) whiz (dot) me. We can also resell your material. See: Submissions to SuperMemo Library