The news section
1 January 2012
First off: 新年明けましておめでとうございます！Hope you had a great year, and that this one'll be (even) better! It's been long enough between updates. At the time of the previous news entry, I was doing a redesign that lead to a separate search subdomain. It's time to pull it all back together now, and move Nihongoresources into a more modern internet. I'm currently working on a complete overhaul, and have reached a point where it's time to start asking your help by using the new website and letting me know what doesn't work, or what can be done better. All input is welcome, so hop on over to redesign.nihongoresources.com and help me prep it for replacing nihongoresources in the nearby future!
21 July 2010
Yeah... so... what have I been doing between the book release and now? Well, for one I got approved for Canadian immigration, so that was exciting. Oh, I also did a COMPLETE SEARCH ENGINES REWRITE. We're talking reparsed data, extras like morphology information in the dictionary, stunning graphics for the kanji dictionary (read: each kanji in several written forms =), a shoutbox to leave random comments... So, if you want to play around with it, go for it! But be nice enough to leave some feedback in the form of a contact-me-email via nihongoresources.com, or just leave a shout in the shout box =P
23 April 2010
At long last, the nihongoresources grammar book is finally available in the shops, and on sale on the interwebs! For only $30, £20 or €20, you can pick up a copy today!
28 February 2010
Though I'd forgotten, hadn't you? Nothing could be further from the truth. After a long proofing process (as well as some other things), the book is moving closer and closer towards publication. How much closer, you ask? Well, once I'm back home from Vancouver, it's getting test printed. That's the 10th-ish of March. If that looks acceptable, then I'll move on to publication proper, and it should be a few weeks later that the title will be available in the major retail catalogi. So... hurray! Price? Think around 20 euro/pound (I know, they're almost 1:1 now... quite scary), or 30 dollar US/CD (same story... almost 1:1 O_o). Anyway, actual real physical book soon. Exciting times! ... and of course, you can still download a fresh copy off of http://grammar.nihongoresources.com =)
13 October 2009
It is done.
After what no doubt seemed like 'too long' to you, and 'longer than I had ever thought' to me, the new book is done. So without further ado, go download it. The version that's been put online is a publication draft, and will be up for about a month, so that you can send me your comments, or report any kind of errors you spot in it, through grammar.nihongoresources.com, which is the book's home, and allows everyone to leave comments per section-with-a-heading in the book. After this period of public scrutiny, it'll be sent off for publication and you can finally buy a copy to put on the shelf, read in the train, write and doodle in, and do whatever you like with because it's yours.
Thank you for your patience, and I sincerely hope you will enjoy this as much as people have indicated they would if it were done! =D
25 September 2009
I had to ban some IPs. Actually, a fair number of them. As of today, large parts of hinet.net and netvision.net.il are perma-banned for hammering the website with empty page request. If you're on hinet or netvision and you're reading this on someone else's machine or at schooll/work: I'm sorry, but it's not okay for about fifteen IPs to constitute 15% of NR traffic, and one IP singlehandedly hammering the site worth 12% of monthly traffic. Yeah... no. Whoever's machine that is, I know it explodes in a way that takes out the owner with it. Thank you, and good night.
8 September 2009
Turns out I completely forgot to add in input validation (go Poms!) so that comments with quotes never made it into the comments db (or rather, broke the insert command =).. and then I forgot to hash on page+section, rather than just section, so same-named sections on different pages would get the same comments! So that's been fixed. If you still want to comment on the content, go wild!
3 September 2009
It's been half a year since a news post. Have I been that busy? Actually, yes, I have. With result I might add: for your viewing pleasure I present to you the new nihongoresources book content, and not just the content but wrapped in a customised dokuwiki that lets you, the reader, add comments for me (and whoever is on the editing team at the time) to improve the book without needing to deal with such trivial matters as registering for an account to edit a page that other people can unedit immediately. The next step for me is to now automate the process of turning the book data (which thanks to dokuwiki is stored in plain text form, which is very nice for processing) into a pdf for you to download, in such a way that monthly, weekly or even daily builds are a matter of clicking the "build" button. And then, of course, with this pdf available to all of us, the last step in the process is to publish it, so that the people who want a more portable document and don't want to dish out hundreds of dollars for an ereader can spend a much smaller sum and have a nice crisp dead tree copy to work with. With that said: please, enjoy the new content. And if you want to add comments, I only ask that you first make sure to read the welcome page.
13 February 2009
First things first: I updated the forum from phpbb2 to phpbb3, which should make everyone's life easier. It also means that all the 'inactive' users have been pruned, so if you had an account but you'd never posted anything, your account's been removed - then again if you never posted anything you didn't really need a user account anyway, and this way all the illegal bot registrations have been cleared too.
In other news, the book rewrite is going well. Chapter 1 has been completely rewritten, and chapters 2/3/4/5 are being taken together and restructured into two chapters, one covering "the essential basics" and one covering the extended grammar, all to gear the book more towards functional learning, rather than pure referrence work - the referrence parts will be added as appendices instead, so that lookup is still convenient, but leaving the rest of the book more geared towards getting a bit of a grasp of the language and then building on that.
14 January 2009
First off, a happy new year to all! And what a new year: one that will see the nihongoresources book revised and published, so that you can put a copy on the bookshelf or give it as gift =P
In all seriousness though, I had to prioritise my work, and it comes down to the fact that I need to start paying off a student loan that is close to $100,000, and the only way to do that without financial ruin is to have a second income - which means the book simply has to be done. So that's where you come in! Send me emails with what you thought the old book was missing, or where you think it could be tightened, and I'll try to get everything into the revision. Most appreciated are things like additional idiomatic expressions and sayings (the list can use a few more of them), nominalisers, particles and counters that you feel were missing, and bits of grammar that you believe were inadequately explained in the book draft as it's available online right now.
One thing I will be adding is a chapter at the start of the book explaining how linguists look at languages, and what most of the grammar terms used in the book mean, so that the discussion of Japanese in terms of word classes and grammatical constructions in the rest of the book is less problematic.
I'm also rewriting the section on verbal bases and several of the particle explanations to match what is currently up on the lessons instead of in the old book, because the stuff in the lessons is simply more accurate. That said, please, mail me with your recommendations and hopefully in under a month the book can be wrapped up for editorial review and publication. I need the money, and you deserve a good book. And yes, a free copy will stay available as downloadable pdf, and the published book won't be a $100 textbook. I'm thinking $30~$35 at most, since it doesn't help you if the book costs a ludicrous amount of money, and it doesn't help me if it's so expensive no one can afford it. So with that said: yoroshiku onegai itashimasu~!
28 October 2008
The decompositions are done, let the sequencing begin! ... almost anyway, I need your help. In order to make sure that the data is properly useful for everyone else, I'd like to run it through a bit of proofing, and I can't do that myself. I mean, theoretically I can, but how reliable am I going to be correcting something I've been working for weeks on? Yeah... so instead I figured I'd ask you to help out if you have a bit of time =)
I set up a wiki on wiki.nihongoresources.com, so that it's fairly easy for whoever wants to help out to look over any number of kanji (anything upward of one is appreciated, really) and suggest either better decompositions, or add in an agreement so that kanji can be "locked down" as proper. And then I can do the kanji sequencing instead ^_^ (For a bit more on this matter, read this post on the matter, on my personal page). On a different note I'm also moving house this week, although I don't really expect to keep me occupied more than a day... (not one of those people who needs a perfect house before I focus on things I was doing before I moved)
14 October 2008
Yeah, I'm still here. And hard at work on the kanji decompsitions I might add. I know, you don't hear a lot from me, but for the kanji decompositions I've been spending the last 10 days manuall writing out kanji decompositions. This is not a quick task. I'm creating meaningful decompositions for some 3774 kanji, and all the common graphemes those have too, just so the kanji ordering can be made more sensible in terms of learning kanji of which you already know how to draw the subparts. I should be done with that data file in another day or 5 or so: I have 3000 done so far, and it really is mind number work. But, then again, if I don't keep at it until I'm done I'm probably going to let it slip again, and it's too late in the year to do that again. I'll keep you posted!
3 October 2008
How's the kanji ordering going, Pomax? Well, pretty good actually. You will be pleased to know there is some interesting stuff to read concerning the statistics of Japanese. In particular you will want to read this first, about the reality of kanji use in Japanese novels, and then after that, you will probably want to read the next post, found here, on the corresponding research pertaining to essential vocabulary. Fascinating stuff, really
27 September 2008
I've reabstracted some word frequency files for the kanji ordering program I'm working on (and hopefully can get a paper out of) - the files can for the moment be downloaded from my personal homepage. Reading the entry is optional, but probably a good idea.
20 September 2008
I've been reworking my own homepage for a bit. I like being able to flex my muscles before taking up the task of revamping NR itself a little. Yes, the design is functional, and no, it's not really of this time anymore. Web 2.0 be damned, it's just too... plain. CCS2/3 offers so much more. That aside, I'm also working on getting lots of kanji ordered in a meaningful way for students. The problem right now is that it's fairly trivial to come up with "which kanji are important if you're going to end up reading". And that's fine. My problem is taking that list of kanji, and refining it for people who also need to learn them - simple kanji first, "core" words first... what the hell are core words? Simple verbs, yes, certainly. Simple nouns... what are simple nouns? O.o How do you collate these things? Yes, I am a master of science in the field of A.I., and yes I have some ideas on how to tackle this, but right now I have several ordered lists of word frequencies (which entails kanji frequencies of course) and a codebase that can load it all in, and then rank individual kanji based on this. The only problem is there are lots of parameters, and tweaking them is more of a dark art than science.
20 August 2008
Fairly long silence... Stuff happened in the mean time. Foremost, I graduated. That's right, I am now a master of science, in the field of Artificial Intelligence. Go me. Secondly, my love interest has been with me for the past two months, so I've had pretty much no time for nihongoresources, or internet at all for that matter. I was just busy enjoying life too much I'm afraid. However, sadly for me she's leaving for Canada again in about two weeks, but lucky for you I now have a decent paying job that I took up specifically on an "I will only work four days in the week, because I have enough stuff *I* want to do as well" basis. This means I - yes, I know it sounds surreal - actually have SCHEDULED free time now to work on nihongoresources. Bizar as that sounds, first off a change to the website: google ads are back. Basically donations are sparse, and having just been hit with the $200 server bill, even with a decent paying job that's a lot of money and either people miraculously donate from all over the world (no complaints if that happens!) or the ads are back and hopefully manage to generate enough revenue again this time round to cover server costs. In the mean time I'm footing the bill of course. So what's going to happen once my dear has left again? Well, the book needs overhauling (bless XeTex and TexMaker, it will make things so much easier for me to do so), the lessons need expanding, the kanji system needs finishing up (I got stuck with it and diverted attention to other things) and a "try to translate this full sentence" function needs to be added (no, that's not as hard as it sounds, but yes, it is a lot of work. Not hard work, just a lot of it). Anyway, until the calendar hits september 5th, don't expect to hear form me other than by email... after that, the sky's the limit (for three days of the week at least!)
28 May 2008
A lot going on. Foremost, I am about to graduate, and iterative thesis revision is not my idea of a good time. Should only take another few days at most, but it's yet more days I'm not really allowed to work on NR. In the mean time, a tech teaser I guess. In order to sequence kanji properly I needed graphical decompositions. I didn't find any, so I made my own. The tech teaser page for this is up while I'm neck deep in graduation affairs, feel free to play with it - I know that some decompositions are not correct, I didn't have a chance to run it through a decent proofing yet. Time and all that... hope to be able to go back to NR coding, research and writing soon (graduation is set for June 23rd, so you have an indication of the timeframe I'm in atm). Also, donations are still welcome ^_^ (one of my computers died. I'm replacing it with a new mini-itx - a Jetway J7F4-k with a small OS HD and 1Tb samsung storage HD... not really that expensive, but still about 300 euro more than I had expected to need to spend this month)
8 March 2008
I have been neglecting Nihongoresources for a while again, with various things going on in my life that either prevent me from working on it, or making me feel like working on a computer is the last thing on my mind. However, it is time to pick up the slack again, and I've written down some things I would like to do over the next few months. These include finalising the sequencing of educational kanji, doing a revision of the grammar book, writing lesson 5, and adding a translation aid that allows you to have the website quasi-translate sentences for you by running the sentence through a lexical parser and giving you a sentence with per-word translations, with a dropdown menu style thing for when there are multiple interpretations possible for a word. This will not be an automated translator - it will be for people who are stuck on a translation and need hints.
Also, the lack of ads has been fairly obvious in what the site generates, and donations have dropped to pretty much no donations at all, so if you can spare even a small amount, any little bit helps. If you've found the site enjoyable, feel free to donate what you think it deserves, or what you can spare - whichever you feel comfortable parting with really, a lot of small donations really help out a lot more than sporadic larger donations ^^;
29 November 2007 - part 2
29 November 2007
17 November 2007
I know it looks like not much happened to the site, but that's because essentially all the changes were under the hood. I drastically rewrote the CMS (content management system) that's responsible for generating all the pages on nihongoresources, because adding new content was becoming complicated rather than simply 'a bit of work'. How drastic was the change? Well, because of the rewrite, it is now possible to look up something and then paste the result link to a friend, like a lot of other dictionary sites allow. Extensions regarding external calling (for instance, other sites using NR as backend) has become easier too, and data retrieval has been (effectively) made independent of whether the request was a GET or POST request. If you don't know the difference, suffice it to say "it matters a lot". Personalised settings are now also a lot easier for me to set up, and for you to play with. Just as a reminder I'm still taking polls on the "who, what, where?" page, so if you study Japanese somewhere but haven't filled it out, click on the link and help build a page for prospective learners to find out who's teaching Japanese near where they are, using which materials! For more information, head over to this forum post with all the point by point explanations.
27 September 2007
It only took forever, but I've almost finished lesson 4 - just need to finish the conversation and as a lesson it'll be done. I need to work on the jouyou kanji part of the site a little to make it suitable for integration into the lessons, so the kanji sections of lesson 3 and 4 are down while I work on that right now.
25 September 2007
If you want to help out form a new resource for people who are considering taking up Japanese at a school, college or university (or even local community center evening classes), then please head over to the "who, what, where?" page and fill out where you're currently taking Japanese and which books you use for it. your help will be greatly appreciated!
9 July 2007
I've updated the jouyou stroke diagrams up to day 55, and will have the finished lesson 4 up soon.
3 July 2007
I relocated to Canada, Vancouver to be precise, for three months mid June. The idea was to work on my new graduation project, and nihognoresources... and those plans got canned by me promptly taking ill and being incapacitated for a bit over two weeks. Not a pleasant way to start, because I now have quite a bit to do. Aside from the grad work (obviously), I need to work on several things for the site. Firstly, stroke diagrams. Not adding any means that people have probably run into jouyou kanji by now that have no diagrams. That sucks, so I'll remedy that hopefully today by doing 200 or so diagrams with stroke order where needed. Secondly, the lessons. Lesson 4 needs to be wrapped up, I need to rewrite the kanji section of lesson 3 a bit so that the lessons can be integrated with the jouyou learning system as it's up right now. Lesson 5 needs to be written to. I'll be on what to do when you want to use conditionals and uncertainty. Useful stuff, so it needs to be written ASAP and placed online. Third, the particle dictionary needs to be finished and databasified as well. So that'll keep me busy. In the mean time, enjoy some photographs.
15 May 2007 - part 2
Alright, the jouyou study page is up - this is similar to the jouyou inspection pages that were up already, except using plain html rather than dhtml to get you the information, and a scheduler. The idea is that if you do one "page" a day, you will run through the jouyou kanji in roughly a year, and you will have built a rather large vocabulary as well. As always though, don't rely on just vocabulary without knowing how to use them, so do not consider this "enough" to learn the kanji - use the words, and have people correct you when you use them wrong ^_^
15 May 2007
It's been too long since the last update, so I'm going to generate a bit of momentum so I can feel good about working on the site again. The first update is the new particles dictionary. Right now, the base file is not done (not all entries have example phrases for instance) but I'm going to make it accessible anyway so I can work on it bit by bit and not deprive you of particle dictionary-esque data any longer. The second update will be a "learn the jouyou kanji" system, which will feed you several kanji a day with all readings for a kanji, its stroke diagram, and all the words that contain the kanji you're learning and kanji you've already learnt (so you only get words with kanji you already know). Might go up today, but could also be going up tomorrow.
1 March 2007
I've decided to give up on google adsense advertisement. The ads that were put on the site were starting to become ridiculous (online dating of japanese women? what the hell?) and since not enough people were clicking on them (either due to this malcontent or because of the placement, I don't know and stopped caring) the revenue generated off them dropped to $25 per half year instead of the $25 per month it was generating before NR moved hosts. This means google ads can't cover the hosting bill, so I'll have to come up with another way to have the site generate money (feel free to contact me if you have an idea that doesn't involve payed memberships). In the mean time, I've replaced the google ads with a simple request to if you feel like you have a few dollar, euro, pound, or whatever your currency is to spare, any donations will be highly appreciated. And I do mean any, if you want to donate $1, that's $1 more than if no one donates anything ^_^;;
23 February 2007
Okay... it's been a while. I 'discovered' I had not ported the particle dictionary even though that was supposed to be easy job... so I made it a difficult one instead: I'm completely rewriting the thing to what I'd have liked to see on the old site, which means redocumenting about 150 particle constructions, about half of which require one or more example phrases with example-analysis so that the use is clear. This will take a bit more time to complete before I can stick it online in searchable form, but for now there is a preview version of the XML I'm working on here. open this in firefox or something, because IE still cannot display :before and :after text. Also be sure to note the "this file is under construction" text, which means that this file is .. well you get the idea, don't bother with creating your own search system for it, it's likely the structure's going to change before the file is considered done. Finishing Lesson 4 is in the background atm I really want to get this done first (more people will benefit from it than from a finalised lesson 4), but for those who were wondering if lesson 5 will be the last lesson: no. There is a reason the lessons are numbered with two digits, so I'll let you draw the logical conclusion on that one.
26 January 2007
On request I have extended the こそあど words in lesson 2 with examples that hopefully make their role a bit clearer. If there are still any questions after this, please post your question in the forum so that the answers will benefit everyone ^_^
24 January 2007
Alright, so it took a bit longer than expected, but then the lesson is not the most... how do you say... easiest. The problem is that because it's a lesson mostly focussed on teaching you how to count, it's not really a very varied lesson, which makes it boring very quickly, so I had to balance the material a little... I don't know if I succeeded, but at least the lesson is now online for you to peruse. For the while though, just the lesson; the other pages will follow in the nearby future when I've had time to actually write them (which should probably take less time that writing the actual lesson...)
16 January 2007
I've been working on lesson 4, and am making decent headway. I'd say I'm about half way so the lesson at least should be up somewhere over the next few days. I've been working on my grad project, because I want to move on from the "comp. sci" part (ie, coding, which I am good enough at, and ironically don't actually enjoy) to the actual A.I. part, which is what my study was all about and would be nice if I saw reflected in my work... anyway, for those interested my homepage for this is on pomax.nihongoresources.com although it's not the most worked out project page you ever did see (last update was january 11).
23 December 2006
Not a lot's been happening - I know. The reason for this is that the
love of my life is spending December with me, so I hope you will excuse me if I completely
ignore other engagements for a good month until she has to leave the 31st =)
I did create a christmas colour scheme, which can be used by setting the colour in the JEEJ dictionary's "more options" to "christmas" and saving your settings. Merry christmas to all, and on to the next year! 皆様メリークリスマス～ ^__^
13 November 2006
Added some bits of CSS to make the site look more like what I want it to in Internet Explorer 6 (ie, to make it look like what it looks like in Firefox...). I still haven't figured out why IE doesn't pick the right japanese font, but who knows maybe I'll discover that too eventually. Some of you may have noticed I also moved the cache files to a new location, this was to prevent cache files form one search engine accidentally being named the same as one for another search engine, and things screwing up that way. Finally, I added reference numbering to the jouyou pages, so that it's a heck of a lot easier to find the kanji you just clicked on based on its jouyou list number.
12 November 2006 - part 2
All jouyou kanji (except the name kanji of course) have been example-set-cached so it should no longer be the case that you have to wait between 10 and 60 seconds for a kanji's information to be loaded onto the page. Now I can get back to the job I'm supposed to get payed for, which I had originally intended to do this weekend >_>;;;
12 November 2006
Jouyou grades 1 through 6 have been cached, so they will respond within 1 or 2 seconds to your request (note that example words are a random choice from the set of possible examples, so you won't get the same words everytime. this is quite intentional =). The general jouyou kanji will be cacheclicked somewhere during "today" probably. Thanks to LaC's recommendation it is no longer essential that you wait for a kanji result, the cache will get built regardless of whether you stop looking at the page after you click on a kanji now (so that's sped up the caching too, because I'm basically just clicking through the lists). I've also added the kanji numbering in the information panel, along with which the kanji numbers of kanji used in example words, just because that might be useful for you.
11 November 2006
A significant update: for the first time in the new overhaul the site has a functionality that it didn't have in the old version. I have added example-grabbing functionality to the jouyou kanji lists so that whenever you click on a jouyou kanji, it will list examples that are composed of any jouyou kanji that can be assumed known for that kanji. So, if you look up the kanji 音, which is number 78 in the jouyou kanji list as presented on nihongoresources, the example words for this kanji will not contain any "unknown" kanji, but only kanji 1 through 78. This is immensely valuable if you wish to learn kanji, and is something I particularly liked in books such as "Kanji and Kana"- I feel really good about having been able to add this functionality to the site, because it means the jouyou kanji information is now actually educationally sound, rather than just the plain kanji information from kanjidic. I know that stroke order diagrams are still missing, these will take *a lot* of time to make for all the jouyou kanji + jinmei kanji so I will first think about how to tacklet that issue before sitting down and making the actual diagrams. For the moment, please enjoy the now actually super-useful jouyou list functionality, and tell your friends about this new feature, the more people that use it, the faster it'll become! ... no really, there is a reason why I say this. Because the system is new, none of the example words have been indexed and cached yet, so if you are the first person to click on a kanji for its information, the site will first build the server-cache for it. This can take quite some time for high-frequency kanji, and may take up to a minute. The upside is that any next check takes only a second or 2, but it's of course quite important that the initial cache is built first, and that means that if you find you're waiting for something to happen, please, PLEASE don't close your browser but wait for it to finish... you'll be helping nihongoresources, and everyone else ^_^;;
9 November 2006
Pending a dedicated jouyou kanji database I've decided to add some dhtml to the jouyou pages to allow people to look up information about the kanji in the lists anyway. It's not a lot of work and I should have done this quite a while ago, since it just uses the kanji search system anyway with a slightly modified markup for the final visualisation. In short: funtionality on the jouyou pages is back in a different form from the old site, I'll look into a way to add stroke diagram images to them but don't expect any soon (unlike the search function, stroke diagrams are a crazy amount of manual labour on my side, so I need a good week if I want to do all stroke diagram images!).
Secondly, I changed the way dymanic colouring works. Instead of having the script include the css style code in every page, I decided to go with separate css files again, mostly because the CSS data is 5kb, and it's just idiotic to keep sending you the same data over and over again, when your browser can cache .css files just fine - this should shave a decent amount of load time off page retrievals
4 November 2006
I reorganised the grammar section, and have put up everything except chapters 7 and 8, because they're big and take a lot of time to turn from generic XMLmind html output into nicely proper NR style. I've also added a few more colour schemes, a nice blood red scheme and an almost-monochrome scheme. You can try them out by using the "more options" option in the JEEJ search, and if you like them you can commit them by selecting the one you like and saving your search settings. I realise this is not the best place for the colour selecter, but until I make a dedicated page that allows you to save all possible customisable settings on the site, this will have to do. At least you get to play with a few more colours now. Also, if you think you can come up with a nice colour scheme, drop me a line or write a message in the forum - more schemes, more choice.
1 November 2006
Chapter 2 of the e-book is online in html form. More will, do doubt, follow in the next several days.
31 October 2006
Season's greetings, I figured I might as well make the CSS a bit more customisable so for now I added dynamic colouring at least on my side. I'll add a cookie-based selector menu so you can pick which colourscheme you like NR to be in, feel free to suggest more colourschemes if you think you can come up with a nice one.
Also, a new version of the free e-book has been pdf-ised, the major changes involve the explanation of why kanji are good to have, the section on し, several major typos, the note on colloquial short potential for ichidan verbs, and some other smaller things I can't remember doing. Anyway, the normal A4 version is up for downloads, I will be making an e-reader version available the moment NJT from www.mangahelpers.com and I manage to get it to look right enough on a sony ereader ^^;
29 October 2006
I've started putting the book's content online in html form, which is not something that can be done really fast - in order for it to fit the new NR style I have to edit the html that XMLmind generates quite a significant bit, so I'll be doing it in chapters, or parts of chapters for chapter 2 (verb grammar) and 7 (particles) probably, since they're quite big. Chapter 1 and the acknowledgements are online, I will be spending most of the rest of the day making a new pdf copy of the book (there have been a few changes made to the content, most notably I rewrote し because I was explaining it wrong, and a bit of text in the introduction chapter on japanese has been rewritten, aside from that mostly typos removed). I will generate a normal A4 version, as well as a smaller format pdf that can be loaded onto the sony e-reader and other portable book devices.
28 October 2006
With the completion of the lesson 3 practice page , lesson 3 is now completely done, hurray! That means I can stop worrying about lessons for a short while as I focus on getting the grammar pages back online in html, rather than just pdf, form (as well as create two pdfs, a new normal book size one, and one suitable for the sony ereader and the likes).
27 October 2006
right-o, lesson 3 word list and conversation are up leaving only the practice page to be finalised before I'll move on to getting the topicised grammar back online, with a search function to make things a bit easier. I guess that course in Internet Information Retrieval will come in handy after all. What's that? The entire site uses indexing and retrieval? Oh... =x
26 October 2006
Okay so it's a few days later, but I can genuinely say that writing the kanji lesson with all the explanations and easing in to the general way to handle seeing kanji readings explained, is not fun. Anyway, the lesson 3 kanji lesson is up. The plan is to now do the world list, practice page, conversation page, and then convert the ebook to html as well as a new pdf (a few small changes, 2 big changes), as well as a pdf geared for the new sony ereader (some people are consumer whores! ... though honestly I wouldn't mind having one if I weren't too poor to buy on on impulse)
23 October 2006
Just to reassure you that, yes, I am still working on the site, and even more specifically, on lesson 3. I'm trying to get the kanji page finished, and it's a hell of a lot of work drawing kanji stroke diagrams, not to mention it's incredibly boring ^^; I hope to have the kanji page up some time tomorrow, after which I'll work on the wordlist, conversation, and practice page in that order. Honestly, writing lessons probably takes longer than studying takes you.
17 October 2006
Still working on the rest of lesson 3, but I added some audio files to the hiragana and katakana pages in lesson 0 by popular demand. They're in mono mp3 format but then you don't need stereo for example audio files. Yes, that is my voice.
16 October 2006
Lesson 3 is partially up, which means that the lesson is up, but the word list, kanji section, practice session and conversation are not yet online, or even written for that matter... writing a lesson is definitely time consuming @_@
Apologies for any typos, I figured I'd stick it online and correct typos in it afterwards... as in tomorrow >_>
10 October 2006
I found a nice free sousho font so I decided to finally do all the derivation images for the kana. You can read about them on the new "where do the kana come from" page in the new writing section ^_^
10 October 2006
After a bit of fiddling it turns out that LIKE matching takes twice as long on dreamhost as it does on my machine, but disastrously RLIKE matching takes an infinity longer - 8s on my machine, over a minute on the dreamhost servers. As such, I've rewritten the names dictionary data format so that it can be searched using only LIKE matching, which should significantly increase its speed (of course you'll still be looking through over 700,000 entries, so it's not quite as fast as the JEEJ dict, but then you're looking for more specialised data, so I hope that justifies the extra search time ^^;)
I've also redone the old typefaces page, so that it's now a new typefaces page, with slightly different information, but in its own new section hinting at even more resourceness for people looking for answers. It will be filled in due time =)
9 October 2006
The names dictionary has been put back online, and has been integrated with the rest of the site. That means you can search for names, and the kanji in names hotlink to the kanji dictionary, which in turn links to the normal and names dictionaries... pretty sleek if I do say so myself. Enjoy this for now final bit of dictionary addition - I will be working on the lessons and secretly the particle dictionary.
6 October 2006
Resumed work on my grad project, which I will devote 3 days in the week to, see the project's description at my homepage (much as NR is my "home" page, it's not really about me, so...). Anyway, I just finished a task, so I'll be working on getting that names dictionary back up tomorrow.
5 October 2006
Lesson 2 now has all its section filled, which means that I can focus on something else a moment: getting the names dictionary back up, and contemplating whether or not to put up the particle dictionary, or rewrite it first. In the mean time, enjoy the lesson, and no doubt there will be updates to the site again soon enough ^_^
2 October 2006
Added the conversation for lesson 2 is up. All that remains to be done now is to create the practice page and put it online. In the mean time, the databases dir is filling up with cache files (about 一万 of them now) but since they take up very little space (88Mb so far), I see no reason to prune the dir until we pass something like 150Mb in cache files. Having them doesn't affect disk space cost (2Gb storage), but does speed up searching, so I see keep them till it becomes a problem ^_^
1 October 2006
I was being a bit lethargic, but in order to force myself active again I did the wordlist for lesson 2, I should have the practice and conversation pages for lesson 2 up in a day or two as well.
27 September 2006
In order to save you from more website-that-doesn't-work and me from more headaches, I just removed the cache management system all together. The website still caches, but there's no frequency counting and no fancy lock systems... it just writes cache files. The only time this will go wrong is when to users search for the same thing at the exact same time, and it wasn't searched for before. In that case one of the two users will probably raise their eyebrows because they get a sqlite lock error, and if they search again, the error will be magically gone. Which is good. And now on to more important matters... lesson 2 anyone? >_>
27 September 2006 (just)
So... I fixed the database lock issue by securing the database update calls. Then it broke again, because I was an idiot. You see, secure database updating is fine and all, but if you forget to secure the initial *inserts*, you're basically asking for it to break a lot faster, and a lot more. Which it did. A lot. So, I secured the inserts as well, and hopefully it should be smooth sailing from here while I focus on more intersting things. Like getting the rest of lesson 2 back online ^_^;; As an extra, I added an RSS feed for the news. Figured some people might like to add that to their RSS readers.
26 September 2006
I've rewritten the cache-updating system so that concurrency should now be impossible except in the insanely unlikely event that two people search for the same thing, at the same time, and when I say at the same time I really mean "then try to update the master cache file at the exact same time"... and even then I added a safeguard that should theoretically prevent concurrency problems because the script now also checks whether the concurrency prevention system actually worked, before adjusting the records. Interestingly I discovered a bug in PHP's SQLite library, but finding a workaround was reasonably straight forward. If we ever get more "database is locked" errors I'm going to really, really have to scratch my head concerning how the hell this was possible
25 September 2006
I've put up lesson 2's main lesson, and will be adding the word list, practice page and conversation as soon as possible too. I also noticed there is still some database locking going on so I will fix this tomorrow by adding some concurrency-impossible-making-ness to the database processing script. This should fix the problem once and for all.
22 September 2006
I think I know what is causing the database lock errors, and I'm trying to create an automated workaround for them. In the mean time there is a really quick and simple way to solve them, provided I notice the database is locked of course (so either I discover it myself or someone contacts me about it). The problem is a concurrency lock, where the searches for two users are trying to update the master cache records simultaneously, and then the script kind of dies. The simplest workaround is to just copy the master cache file to a temp file, delete the original, and then copy it back to its original file name. This automatically creates an unlocked file, and is really simple to do... but that solves the wrong problem. For now I'm going with the simple solution, but will be thinking about how to tackle the original problem of concurrency being possible in the first place. I just really hate the thought of having to invoke lockfiles or the like... those tend to come with their own set of headache causing problems.
20 September 2006
I was reading up on classical Japanese in bed and realised I was explaining the modern 一段 verb form completely wrong. As such, I wrote a little note saying "change the explanation of verb classes" on a note and went to sleep. Waking up today, the first thing I did was do what the note on my desk told me - I updated lesson 1 to reflect the *real* explanation, and will be updating the book later today. My sincere apologies for this. At least I caught myself...
I also updated the kanji dictionary, it was lacking wildcards and nanori readback. I also made it not list empty readings, so if a kanji has no onyomi, kunyomi, nanori or (sometimes) english translation, rather than the reading name followed by nothing, the reading entry is simply omitted. Also, I modified the romaji-to-Japanese functionality so that stuff like "gyou" becomes "ギョウ" instead of the "ギョー" that the JEEJ conversion gives. This is fairly important, as the onyomi may be written in katakana, but aren't gairaigo in any way, so ー does not apply.
17 September 2006
The forum now supports UTF8 properly in topics, messages, and signatures. I managed to discover why phpBB doesn't process it properly, and it was pretty silly indeed. According to the phpBB FAQ, php "does not decode http encoded strings"... except instead of saying that to fix it you can just make php do so anyway with the html decode function, they tell you to do ... well really weirdass stuff. So instead, wherever PHP processes html-encoded material I just told it to decode first so that UTF8 *stays* UTF8 instead of being html &#nnnnn values for unicode text. Quite silly indeed.
12 September 2006
I've added the old feedback page back, or that is, the functionality of the old feedback page. Comments that don't require personal contact or the forum can be left on the site for everyone to read, just keep it civil, I will obviously delete messages intended to insult people, and spam of course =)
Also, in order to cut down on the spam in the forum, I renamed the index page on roxfan's recommendation, so if you have it bookmarked, be sure to update your bookmark to the new link. I would hope that that his enough to stop the bots grabbing the link.
10 September 2006
An attempt to make the databases case insensitive has fialed, due to mysql doing unpredictable things, with its UTF8 support in TEXT fields working on the development machine but not on the live server. Hurray. But not. It means that for now you'll have to capitalise your words properly. Looking for "Japan"? That's a proper noun and thus should be capitalised... I'm not enthousiastic about it, but until it becomes clear what is causing problems with the UTF8 support for mysql on the server, it'll stay this.
The JEEJ navigation bar is now fully supported at least; reverse sorting works again, and the "save settings" option is now also supported. I've also changed the caching system a little, so you might find that some searches are a tad slower than before if you happen to be the first person to do the search - the change is basically that the cache results needed reverse data columns so that reverse sorting will work, and the main cache db needed columns so that I can actually check which terms get search over and over again for permanent caching.
8 September 2006
lesson 1 has been finalised and is now online in its entirety. I've also added google ads back to the website, which will show up only when you search the dictionaries. The reason is fairly simple: while the income is not massive (no $100 a day.. or week.. or even month) it is enough to make the site pay for its own hosting, which means the site can technically run indefinitely. If google ads did payment to paypal then the site wouldn't even need me anymore to make sure it paid for itself... but they don't. Anyway that aside, They're fairly non-intrusive with the colour sheme I've set up, so if you see a link you think is interesting, by all means check it out (I know I have in the past... they may be ads, but sometimes even ads can show you something new ^_~)
7 September 2006
I finished porting and again for a large part rewriting lesson 1, and have put it online with one small thing left to do: creating the new practice page. This is, however, not as important as getting the lesson itself online, because you can learn without having "me" test you probably, though the additional tests will benefit anyone trying to learn from these lessons a great deal - or at least so I hope. Anyway, enjoy the lesson and if you spot any error drop me a line either through the mail or in the forum. Both work, the forum will allow people to comment on it =)
4 September 2006
It took a bit more work than I expected, but the onomatopoeia and mimesis (sound/state) dictionary is online
and can be searched. All you manga translators, go wild ;)
I have to say though, sometimes it seems like the site is really fast, and at other times it seems a tad slow to say the least.. I wonder how this new host does load balance analysis and b/w assignment... Anyway, enjoy the giongo/gitaigo dictionary functionality.
Secondly, I've added the external site searching back in, which means that you can use the nihongoresources database search system on your own site for "plugin" type functionality like retrieving dictionary information for double-clicked words or the likes. If you have an idea like this that requires dictionary information from the NR system, drop me an email and I'll explain how to poll NR for this information. The feedback is delivered in XML form, which can be parsed by your own site, or can just be visualised on any random xhtml webpage with a bit of CSS for the nr specific tags.
27 August 2006
I've added "show romanisation" back into the search engine, though I do recommend that if you use it a lot, learn hiragana and katakana ^_^ (since it takes you all of 2 weeks to learn both).
Also, I shall be off for a one week vacation cut off from the internet (hurray!?) at a farm somewhere in the middle of the country, I have no actual idea where, but it does mean there will be no further updates for about a week (give or take a day). I'll be taking my laptop with me, but I hope to spend only a trivial amount working on it, and using it mostly to play the "Pro Pinball Fantastic Journey" game (when not playing katamari damashi on the Xbox someone else is bringing). Feel free to post your comments and ideas on the forum in the mean time, or mail me (at my nihongoresources address please, not some other address that I also happen to have...) and I shall read everything when I get back! - では、また一週間に ^_^
25 August 2006
Reimplementing the kanji dictionary search system was, frankly, not easy. However, after quite some muddling with database layouts and who-does-how-much-work between mysql, sqlite and php, I have got it to work fairly decently. For now, doing a kanji search from the dictionary results by clicking on a kanji will run the kanji search engine, rather than popping up a new window for it. To determine whether this should open in a new window or whether it should work the way it does now, I'll run a poll in the forum, so stop by there, and cast your vote - it will determine the shape of nihongoresources! Also, I added the old visualisation for kanji results, so you can now pick what you want to see: "kanji [kana] - (type) english" or "kana [kanji] (type) english".
22 August 2006
Since I always wanted this on the old site, but never found a good applet, live chat! The applet is an IRC applet that connects to the #nihongo channel on irchighway (feel free to connect the normal way if you use IRC anyway), so finally people who want to be able to talk to everyone who usually hang out in nihongo, to ask questions or just talk about Japanese (or even random topics) can now do so straight from NR! Hurray.
21 August 2006
Back up! Finally! Of course, not everything is back up, but the most important part is that the website is back, and usable, and I can go and add the rest of the functionality back in while you can do your funky dictionary searching and looking over the site! If there is anything of which you think "now hang on, that shouldn't be happening", please head over to the forum and post a bug report issue. You can also use the forum for your general comments, I'll be reading it a lot probably in th next few days ^_^;;
19 August 2006
Waiting for a SQLite issue to be resolved. Which issue? Only the one where PHP can create and write to normal files just fine (fopen/fwrite), but when it does the same for sqlite files (sqlite_open/sqlite_query) the files are magically locked by *something*. My guess is that somehow the files are made on another disk, and need to be network transfered first, instead of being created directly where they should be. If this should turn out to be the case, this is complete and utter madness.
17 August 2006
The site is provisorilly online. There are still quite a few things missing, and the dictionary functionality is not working at the moment because SQLite is missing from the PHP install, but that is hopefully solved very soon
31 January - 10 February 2006
Created the the framework, worked out the structure, ported but for the most part created anew all the scripts, did the database design, figured out how to use SQLite for caching, then everything went back to sleep because I was busy with other stuff...