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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Shuffled not Stirred » » Free stand-alone Android app to practice stacks (8 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Claudio
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Hi mem-deck aficionados,

I have developed an Android mobile app to practice your favourite memorized deck: MemdeckPro. I’ve had no time to use/design highly polished graphics as I developed it for my private use, but as it is free I hope you won’t complain too much. I’ve kept the grand standing name in case I find the time to embellish it Smile

It’s a standalone app, i.e. it does not require you to be online to use it. It has a few built-in stacks (Aronson, Mnemonica, BCS …) and allows you to maintain (create, delete, edit) your own.

It has many test settings: automatic or manual mode, time, card range, suit range etc.

I have not yet published it on Google Play as I am asking a few mem-deck enthusiasts to give it a trial run first. If you are interested to try it and give some feedback (general comments, bugs, nice to have features etc.) before I release the app, PM for the download link . (I tried to post it here, but my post gets rejected).

You must have an Android phone (OS version 4.0 (i.e. Ice Cream Sandwich ) or greater) as it does not scale as well on tablets, and you must know how to install from the apk file directly as I don’t offer any support for this procedure. If you are unsure, please wait until it’s been released on the Google store.

If you have Avast Mobile Security running, it might generate a false positive if you have an out-dated version, so make sure you update Avast to the latest app version and virus file definition. There’s no issue with other virus checkers.
TerrorInt
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I would be interested in checking it out. When wasting time like waiting for busses, I do various exercises to keep my recall speed up. I have my own stack, so the edit ability is good.

Does your app have a +1 or -1 test mode? My usual method for increasing speed is to cut the deck, peak, then name the *next* card. It reenforces both location and card identification simultaneously.

If you are looking for feature requests, I'd also like a test suite that allows me to test +xx where I peak a card and have to calculate what card is xx ahead of it. It is probably a personal quirk, but I like to do some automatic (mathematical) card tricks starting from any point a spec cuts the deck, so I am regularly adding or subtracting whacky numbers like 19 (depending on the shortest route).
Claudio
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Currently, there's no function to check +1/-1, but it has a function to test your stack "cold". It's very much like knowing the alphabet, you know automatically that E comes after D, and M before N without the inference of position. If you uncheck "Show Stack No" and check "Sequential 0rder" you can practice your stack cold.

I certainly could add a feature to test +x / -x.

I have fixed a small bug (thanks Francois). I will release the app on Google Play sometimes next month.
Claudio
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If you want to have a look at a demo, download the mp4 file below. The app runs much more smoothly than it is portrayed in the video that I wanded to keep small in size.

Remove the single space after mediafire to obtain a valid URL. I had to do that to prevent my post from being rejected.
MP4:
www.mediafire .com/download/nti88zcxu7xz1pb/MemdeckPro.mp4


If you want to download and install the app, here's the link.
APP:
www.mediafire .com/download/abqhdhvscv9s4bf/MemdeckPro.apk

Eventually, I'll add voice recognition to the app.
dylanxtay
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Hey Claudio! Just wanted to let you know that the app runs perfectly fine!

A great way to test the stacks with the flash cards. Great work!
Dylan Tay
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Check Out My First Cardistry Tutorial Release http://thenewdeckorder.com/hk-tutorial-pack

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Check out my new Cardistry video, "Iridescent" right now!
https://youtu.be/iXPUETl8eQ8
Francois Lagrange
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Great app Claudio. It's intuitive and the interface is easy to use. I like that you don't have to write anything. Could you add voice recognition mode to Automated and Manual? I noticed that there's a button greyed out on the Stacks page?
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Claudio
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Thanks Dylan.

Francois, soon the app will have Text To Speech capability, i.e. the add will voice the question and the answer. This would be useful in situations where you can't keep your eyes on the smart phone.

At a later stage I'll (try) to implement voice recognition: you give an answer to the app that checks for its validity (and keeps stats maybe).

Thank you to all who gave me feed-back by PM.
TerrorInt
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Cool either way. I used to use a java memdec tester and simply added 2 other stacks - one as +1 and the other -1. It is something am sure all memdeck users do on a regular basis (peaking the bottom to discern the top), so I'm betting a +1 / -1 feature will be useful to everyone who uses this app. I am installing it this evening. Will let you know how it goes.
Claudio
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OK - I have implemented Text-To-Speech output, i.e. the voice (female on my version of Android) will ask the question and speak the answer, if you check the option of course, and therefore you can practice your stack hand and eye free.

It's somewhat different from visual training. I know my personal stack inside out, visually that is, and it's a breeze to get the answer out even when the time settings are set to the minimums. However I found that I was not as fast during audio training and had to reduce the speed, especially when going from card name to position.

TerrorInt, I'm working on adding the feature you requested right now. BTW, have you installed the app yet?
Claudio
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Finally I have implemented the -1/+1 feature.

I have removed the files for download as they have been downloaded many times (though very little feed-back) and it'll get difficult to support once the app is on Google Play.
TomasKancyper
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Hey claudio, can you send me a link to download your app? I´m very glad that i´m gonna be able to have "magic related" apps in my android, as most of them are just for ios
Claudio
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Tomas, will do once I'm back home next week Smile
Tom G
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Claudio, I'd be interested too. Thanks.
TerrorInt
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Claudio I certainly have. I quite like it so far. How do I go about updating to try the +/-1 bit? It looks really good, and I managed to get my stack in there right off the bat without instruction. Very intuitive.
TerrorInt
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Also, sorry for taking so long to get back. I had a busy spell. But I got some good play time with the app. The time display has shown me just how much being distracted affects recall time lol.
Claudio
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No, problem TerrorInt, and all who PM'd me, I'll send you a download link by the end of next week. Your personal stack should not be erased if you choose not to.
TerrorInt
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I don't mind if I have to fill it in again. It's all part of being beta. Bonus if I don't have to of course hah.

I discovered this morning that sometimes if you halt the app without stopping it, you will receive an error when you restart it. That might not be a bug, though. It's hard to tell. I don't remember what the error is, but it has something to do with only having 0 and it needs more of *something*. I will try to make it reproducible and let you know. Today was the first time I saw the error, and I got it twice, so I should be able to give better info later.

I have a couple requests: I haven't seen the +/-1 setting yet, but I was thinking part of the quizzing that would be really beneficial is if you can show a card, and have to guess the next or previous card by images alone, numbers alone, or the combinations. You might have done that already. The second request is that since you have a mode that lets you tap the changes (versus using the clock), can you have it show how long each took? I love the tap version since I can use this in public even with distraction, but I also think it would be nice to be able to see what cards/numbers take the longest to remember, etc. to direct what areas need the most additional practice.

BTW: Are you aware that the unicode character set has images for each card in a deck? In theory, using them should guarantee that the graphics look good on all devices. 🃁 It would also make your app footprint quite tiny. The only problem is the court cards aren't colourful, though. For the most part, your app looks great on my phone. The images are overly compressed, though. I had a java-driven memdeck quizzer, but yours is by far turning out to be the better one.
Claudio
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Thank you for the detailed feedback.

Regarding the error you mentioned, it was fixed a while back. It happened when the app was in the background for too long and the activity got killed by Android. It now checks for this scenario and restarts the app when it occurs.

The +/-1 test can only be chosen in image mode, as it does not make sense to me to, for example, show the number 32 and expect the answer for 33 as one will automatically mentally add one to 32 and give the answer for 33.I can't see the value in this, but I am open to persuasion.

I certainly can add a clock on manual (tap) mode and add some stats, but I may just differ it until the next version. The current looks quite stable so I'd hate to break it.

I agree that the image quality could be improved, as I mentioned in my very first post and if you know where I can find a good set of playing card images, please let me know. I am interested in SVG format too as they scale perfectly without loss of resolution. Unicode set is also something worth checking.

I have added the ability to export /import a deck. Makes it easy to create or modify current decks.

Thanks again for your feedback and suggestions Smile
Claudio
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I have uploaded the latest version of MemDeckPro on mediafire.

Here are two links. I had to insert a space in front of .com to be able to post them. Remove it after copying the URL in your browser.

You can download an mp4 which shows a quick run of the app here:

http://www.mediafire .com/download/1yimhnyelrfcovg/memDeckPro.mp4

If you prefer, you might be able to watch it online using this link, but it tends to get stuck so you may have to nudge the video forward once in a while:

http://www.mediafire .com/watch/1yimhnyelrfcovg/memDeckPro.mp4

I have PM’d the download link to members who requested it.

If you have installed the previous version, if you update the app, it’ll try to keep your old data. Useful if you have entered more stacks.

Once you’ve downloaded the app on your Android device, navigate to Settings |Security and check “Unknown sources”.

Navigate to the download folder and tap on memdeckpro.apk. You’ll be prompted for update or new install according to whether you had already installed the app or not.

I have added a function to Export/Import a stack. It’s quite useful when you want to create a new stack or update a current stack with “mnemonics” as typing with the virtual keyboard is a pain. The best way to use this feature is to Export any stack to generate the “memdeckpro.xml” file in the device’s Download folder. You can then copy it onto your PC and import it back by first copying it back into the Download folder.

Here’s an extract of the file. You can change the stack name if you’re creating a new stack.
Fill in the symbol values (AC means Ace of Clubs, 2C two of Clubs etc…)
Fill in the mnemonic values if you are using them.

<?xml version='1.0' encoding='ISO-8859-1'?>
<stack name='Personal'>
<card stack_no='1'>
<symbol>KD</symbol>
<mnemonic></mnemonic>
</card>
<card stack_no='2'>
<symbol>10S</symbol>
<mnemonic></mnemonic>
</card>
<card stack_no='3'>
<symbol>AH</symbol>
<mnemonic></mnemonic>
</card>
<card stack_no='4'>
<symbol>8C</symbol>
<mnemonic></mnemonic>
</card>
<card stack_no='5'>
<symbol>KS</symbol>
<mnemonic></mnemonic>
</card>
………
A word of warning, the app was originally developed for small devices (my small mobile phone in fact) but as a few members told me they wanted to run it on a tablet, I have edited the code to do just that. It looks much better than it used to, but it’s still not perfect. I have increased the quality of the playing card images. They are not stored in the database anymore, which means that you should be able to replace them with your own .png files should you wish to. Let me know if you find free good ones.

Enjoy Smile
Nick Pudar
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Claudio,

Nice work!

If you want perfect PNG card images, please see this site by Chris Aguilar. He has all the card faces in amazing detail in vector format (EPS and SVG). (If you've ever tried to create vector images from detailed source material like a court card, you will know that Chris spent A LOT of time on this.)

https://code.google.com/p/vectorized-playing-cards/

If you have access to Adobe Illustrator or a similar vector based tool, you can easily convert the images to PNG in any target size you want. Otherwise, you can use this free online tool to do the job as well.

http://www.fileformat.info/convert/image/svg2png.htm

Nick
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