Well, sometimes things just take a little longer than one expects. In this case, about two years longer!
A feature that has been sorely lacking in Memverse is the ability to memorize verses in the context of their containing passage. After many months of experimentation, we have released an early version of this new feature: Passage Review
Since this involved a significant number of changes to the software, it is likely that there are still kinks to be ironed out. We recommend waiting a week or so before you jump in and start using it.
memory verses, memory passages
First, welcome to all the new members who were referred from Challies.com. We had 20x the usual number of signups yesterday. Great to see so many new people and looking forward to getting to know you all.
Today we want to foreshadow some upcoming changes on Memverse. We started Memverse with two motivating ideas: 1) making it simple to keep track of and review one's memory verses online and 2) using the Supermemo algorithm to efficiently retain a large number of memory verses.
Over the past three years it has become clear that there was a gap in the functionality. It is difficult to learn a new verse without an intensive period of repetition at the start. To solve this we have been working on a new feature which will allow you to get a verse 'stuck' in your head before you start the period of review. It is still a work in progress but you can try it out. It will likely evolve over the next few weeks so feedback in the comments is welcome.
Our plan is to build this page into the 'flow' of the website. More details on that in a future post.
learn, memory verses
We have added the ability for groups on Memverse to add a short description of the goals of the group. We have set it up so that the leader of the group is able to easily edit the description.
Enquiring minds will want to know who the group leader is. For groups that had previously been created we have set the leader to be the person with the most completed memorization sessions. In the future, the leader will be whoever creates the group.
In the event that the leader of a group becomes 'Inactive' (hasn't memorized for a month), the leadership will pass to the person in the group with the most completed sessions. Clearly being a group leader is a miniscule honor; A more suitable term would be 'Administrator'.
We would encourage those of you leading a memory group to use the 'Description' field to encourage your group members, keep them up to speed on which memory verses they should be working on, BBQ's you'll be hosting at your home, and anything else you can dream up.
memory groups, group description
Alex has added a new feature which should enable you to get through your memory verses a bit quicker on those days when you're in a bit of rush. You can now enter just the first letter of each word in the memory verse and Memverse will treat it as though you've typed the entire verse. Memverse will automatically detect when you've entered this mode so feel free to use it whenever you need it.
You can also use it for sections of a memory verse that you know well. As soon as you type two single letters (seperated by a space), Memverse will assume that you've switched to mnemonic mode.
It will also be very helpful for those of you using an iPad (and for those of you brave enough to use your phones!).
We recommend not getting too attached to this feature as it does make it a bit easier for inaccuracies to slip in to your memorizing.
mnemonic, memory verse entry, memorizing
It became apparent a while ago that the blog was starting to creak under the weight of the steady stream of chatter and discussion. A blog is actually not the best paradigm for hosting user discussions so we have launched a new forum.
I have been occasionally dismayed by some of the comments on the blog so would like to quote Justin Taylor from the Gospel Coalition to set the tone early on for the new forum:
I welcome blog comments, although they are often notorious for unfruitful and uncharitable discussions.
I hope this can be a place where we “seek understanding” before critiquing, where we are quick to listen and slow to speak, where we judge others charitably not critically, where we encourage and build up each other rather than tearing down and destroying each other.
I would encourage commenters to consider carefully the following commands and principles regarding our speech:
“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt” (Col. 4:6).
“By your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matt. 12:37).
“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor” (Rom. 12:10).
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Eph. 4:29).
Speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15, 25).
“If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless” (James 1:26).
Over time we will appoint moderators for the forum. My bias is still towards a liberal policy as I believe that we have a community largely walking in step with the Spirit. Let's all strive to outdo one another in showing honor.
Second, please do not use the forum to report problems. Continue to use the feedback tab on the right. It is likely that as the number of users grows over time we will have less and less time to keep up with what is happening in the forum. Feel free to continue to comment on the blog posts but we will now require comments to be directly applicable to the original blog post and subsequent comments.
Finally, if there are forums that you would like added, please let us know. We'd like to avoid having too many but if there is a big category that we've missed we'll be happy to add it.
We are excited to announce that the first three badges have been released so you can start working towards earning those. Remember, the badges are supposed to be rare and difficult to achieve. It is highly unlikely that anyone will be able to earn all, or even most of, the badges.
The first badge is the 'Sermon on the Mount' badge. As you can probably guess, this badge is awarded once you have memorized Matthew 5-7.
The second badge is the 'Consistency' badge which will be awarded to people who consistently complete their memorization sessions. To earn a gold badge you will need to complete 350 memorization sessions in a year. The silver badge will require 320 and the bronze badge 280.
The final badge is the 'Referrer' badge and is awarded to those people who have done a stellar job spreading the word about Memverse. You need to have 200, 100, and 50 active referrals to earn that badge.
The badges are awarded when you complete a memorization session or when you visit the 'My Progress' page. At the moment we have it set so that you won't ever lose a badge once you've earned it.
A huge thank you to Dakota Lynch for designing the badges. I think he did an absolutely brilliant job!
Finally, we would love to hear more ideas for badges. Our plan is to keep releasing new badges over time.
You will notice that we have added auto-complete functionality to the tagging of verses. I think this will go a long way towards improving the tag cloud by eliminating spelling mistakes. As part of that process we have reset the tag cloud. It will rebuild itself very quickly as people continue to tag their memory verses. Please don't spoil it by typing in silly tags. This is also a great time to clear out some old, misspelled, or unused tags.
I'm very excited to announce that this feature was implemented by the newest developer to join our small, but trusty, team: Josiah. Please congratulate him and shower him with requests for changes and extensions!
We have made sweeping changes to the page where you add memory verses. Looking back, I'm not too sure what we were thinking with the old design. We took a lot of the enhancements we made to the 'Getting Started' page and incorporated those into the new page. You should find it faster, cleaner, and more intuitive.
You can now search for verses by entering keywords (e.g. 'make every effort'), single verses (e.g. John 3:16), passages (e.g. Matthew 5:3-10) or chapters (e.g. Romans 8).
One bit of functionality that was lost along the way is support for entering references in other languages. We will hopefully have that back up and running soon.
Also, if you need to switch to a different translation, just click on the translation to change it.
add verses, add passages
Hi everyone! The start of 2012 sure has gone by quickly. We are now past January, the month of resolutions, and Feburary, the month of fraying resolutions. If 2012 saw you resolving to add to your stockpile of memory verses, now is a good time to renew that resolution!
Many of the changes we've made to Memverse in the first two months would have gone largely unnoticed to those of you who joined before the end of 2011. The start of this year saw us making some changes to simplify the first few minutes of the Memverse experience. We had noticed that 1/4 of the people who signed up never added a single verse. Another 1/4 would complete one memorization session and never come back.
Since we know that you're all hard at work referring people in order to advance in your levels, this state of affairs was tragic. We suspected that over the years complexity had accreted like barnacles on a ship, so we set to work simplifying the startup experience. Only new users will see these changes but we're happy with the early signs. Now, more than 90% of the people who sign up add some verses to their account. Over time, we will be merging some of these changes into the 'Add Verse' page.
If any of you happen to be looking over the shoulder of someone who is brand new to Memverse we would love to get feedback. What confused or puzzled them? What caused them to throw up their hands in despair and stomp out of the room muttering: "Where are my flash cards? Now I know why the Law was delivered on stone tablets and not via a browser!" ?
Second, we have added some more levels for those of you who just can't level up quickly enough. We promise to add more variety over time. Alongside the standard progression system, we will be gradually adding some 'badges'. There will be more to come on this topic but the first ones will probably be awarded for consistency in completed sessions. Most badges will have 3 levels (bronze, silver, gold). We are looking for someone to design some fun badges so if you have an artistic bent we would love to hear from you. We would love to have the badges designed by members of the Memverse community so try your hand at designing a set of 'Consistency' badges. (The badge dimensions should be 120 x 120 pixels and can be either round or square.) If you know someone who is a brilliant graphic designer, please ask them to help out.
badges, levels, quick start, getting started
We have finally added a long requested feature. Memory verses can now be classified as 'Memorized', 'Learning' or 'Pending'. You can manually set verses that you don't want to be working on to 'Pending' status by clicking on the verse on the 'My Verses' page. Then click on the verses status and after a few seconds it will change from 'Learning' (or 'Memorized') to 'Pending' and will no longer be included in your daily memorization schedule.
If this sounds like a lot of work, the system is set up by default to work automatically. Once you set your time allocation on your 'Profile' page, Memverse will automatically add verses from your 'Pending' list once your work load (the number reported at the end of each memorization session and on the 'Memverse Today' tab on the home page) falls below your time allocation.
There are currently a few limitations to the system that will be fixed over time: If you're already memorizing a passage and you add new verses into that passage then the verses will be automatically reviewed as part of the passage and will no longer be classified as 'Pending'.
Whether you plan to use this feature or not, it is important that you set your daily time allocation so that Memverse knows roughly how many verses to present you with each day. If you currently have many more verses than you can handle, then this would be a good time to go and set some of them to 'Pending'.
pending verses, inactive verses
There are two new features that you might not have noticed with all the changes on Memverse:
- Accuracy test results - at the end of the accuracy test the final results page will now show you the difference betweeen what you entered and the actual memory verse text. It shows every difference so even minor differences that wouldn't result in you getting the question wrong (e.g. incorrect capitalization, omitting dashes) are shown.
- Reset your schedule - if you've ever gone on vacation you'll know that returning to hundreds of overdue verses can be quite daunting! On the home page, on the 'Memverse Today' tab, you can now reset your schedule. Anytime you have too many overdue verses you will be given the option to re-allocate those verses over the following few memorization sessions. This is for those of you who, like me, prefer to have a sense of completion each day as you gaze fondly at your progress chart.
schedule reset, accuracy test
Welcome to our new look!
I want to thank up front, Emeka Rajis (website) for the brilliant job he did redesigning the site. He did it free of charge so please give him a heartfelt thank you in the comments below.
Second, as with any change of this magnitude, there are going to be bugs that we couldn't catch. If you find one, please click on the 'Feedback' tab on the right of the screen to let us know about it. Please be sure to include your browser and version e.g. Firefox 3.6, Internet Explorer 8 etc. so that we can recreate it and get it fixed as quickly as possible.
When we started Memverse we had always hoped that the day would eventually come when you no longer had to type in the memory verse but could simply recite it. That day is gradually coming closer with this feature in the next version of Google Chrome:
One of the new features is added support for the HTML5 speech input API. This means that you’ll be able to talk to your computer and Chrome can interpret it. Those who have become accustomed to doing this on Android and other mobile devices will love this. More importantly, it’s an HTML5 spec that any developer will be able to take advantage of, not just Google.
If you’re running Chrome 11, you can try it out here. It works very well. You speak, and the browser is able to transcribe what you say. No Flash, no plug-in. Yep. Awesome.
I think we're still a few years away but it will be exciting. Reciting your bible verses out loud is a great way to entrench them in your memory.
speech recognition, reciting, Chrome
We've added a new page (under the 'Home' tab) which allows you to search for memory verses. It only searches bible verses that have already been entered in Memverse by another user so if you don't find a verse you're looking for it's probably because it hasn't yet been entered. If you would like to restrict the search results to a single translation, just add your bible translation. For instance, search for "In the beginning NIV" and the search will return only NIV versions of Genesis 1 (plus a whole host of other verses that include the word 'beginning').
This is also a quick way to add verses if you can already remember a fragment of the verse you're looking for.
We recently released a few new features on Memverse. We're doing our best to maintain a simple look and feel so you might not have noticed some of them.
Print or Display Selected Memory Verses
At the bottom of the "My Verses" page you now have the option to either print (by creating an Adobe PDF) or display memory verses that you have selected using the checkboxes in the first column. This is very useful if you have similar memory passages that you'd like to print for comparison. It's also helpful if you only need to print some of your newer verses.
Filter Your Memory Verses
I really like this new feature on the "My Verses" page. There is a small magnifying glass on the right of the browser window. Click on it and a box will open which allows you to filter your memory verses by any of the columns on the page. For instance, if you type in a tag name, it will show you all your memory verses with that tag. Type in a date and it will show you all the verses for that date. Type in 'Learning' and it will show you all the verses that are still classified as 'Learning'.
Search the Blog
You might have noticed the new "Blog Search" page. It's still in its early form but you can now search the blog. This is the first step in a broader effort to implement a global search option on Memverse. For those of you who are interested, we are now running our own Sphinx search server. Hopefully, in the future you will be able to search for verses by phrase. Feel free to leave feedback in the comments on your experience with the search tool. There are thousands of configuration options.
Finally, we are aware of some of the issues with the QuickMem page. Thanks to those of you who have helped with the debugging. We're hoping to get them resolved as soon as possible. The software that we released today will clear up some, but probably not all of the issues. If you haven't done so already, upgrade your browser to the latest version. Every update gives you better performance at no cost.
filtering, search, print, display, blog