January 1, 2012

Welcome -- what you will find on this site

This is the home page to Pablo and Pingrid.

December 1, 2011

Learning Chinese -- PABLO, my personal Chinese dictionary



Introducing Pablo


A treat for Chinese learning beginners: a compact, nifty, featured-packed and free Chinese-English dictionary for Windows.

Pablo is probably the best Chinese-English dictionary alternative for beginners.


Unrivaled search features
  • English, Chinese and pinyin
  • Search a character from its radical
  • (exclusive!) Find a character from its various elements
  • Simplified and traditional characters
  • Quick navigation (no java, no long downloads!)
Popup definitions in other programs

All graphical interface
  • Handwritten character recognition
  • The best collection of character animations (4,500 characters!)
  • Navigate through search results with one click
Based on the acclaimed CEDICT database, over 90,000 entries.

Click for screenshot:










>> For tips and support, visit the online forum at: http://pablopingrid.freeforums.org/

Get the installer from the Download box in the left part of the page.
This is a self-extracting file that installs or updates Pablo automatically.




       Pablo is a one man effort. Please donate to support developments and updates. You can try out Pablo for free, but if you like it and continue using it, it is only fair to contribute a small amount, don't you think?

Suggested amount is $15, any amount is welcome-- feedback from users is a treat!


How to get the Chinese voice to work.
You need to install the voice engine with the Microsoft Chinese voice. For step-by-step instructions, look here.

Finally, if you haven't yet, be sure to check out Pingrid, a fun and effective game to train your Chinese vocabulary.

October 1, 2011

Discover PINGRID version 3, complete Chinese vocabulary game





Make your learning time 100% useful

3 years ago, Pingrid was born as a clever game for learning Chinese vocabulary.
Later, Pingrid version 2 introduced a powerful spaced repetition model, to detect the words you need to train and therefore make your learning time 100% useful.

From the start, what makes Pingrid unique is that it is completely focused toward learning Chinese vocabulary.


Version 3 takes Pingrid to a new dimension, with handwriting traing! It combines two activities to memorize your Chinese vocabulary.

Picking words
Handwriting


Picking words in the grid is the original Pingrid training mode. It associates word, sound and meaning.
Its power: super fast training. Priceless when you are serious about learning and have sizeable vocabulary to absorb.
Handwriting is new in Pingrid version 3: you have to draw characters with the mouse!
Its power: active memorization. If you can write a word, then you are much more certain to recognize it.

And Pingrid's adaptive, spaced repetition model directs your effort to the words that do need repetition. No more cramming, your training time is 100% useful.


Get the installer from the Download box on the left part of the page.
This is a self-extracting file that installs or updates Pingrid automatically.

       Pingrid is a one man effort. Please donate to support developments and updates. You can try out Pablo for free, but if you like it and continue using it, it is only fair to contribute a small amount, don't you think?

Suggested amount is $15, any amount is welcome-- feedback from users is a treat!

How to get the Chinese voice to work.
You need to install the voice engine with the Microsoft Chinese voice. For step-by-step instructions, look here.

Finally, if you haven't yet, be sure to check out Pablo, a great Chinese-English dictionary for beginners.

For tips and support, visit the online forum at: http://pablopingrid.freeforums.org

August 20, 2011

Pablo experimental version - test the autocomplete feature

Version 2.7x introduces an experimental feature (among other improvements): auto-complete. As text is entered in the search box, suggestions are displayed for quick access to most frequent words.

Please try it and comment on this blog or on the forum: does it work on your system? How useful is it? How would you like it to behave?

Have fun!

February 4, 2011

Pablo spricht Deutsch - Pablo parle fran├žais!


Pablo version 2.5a introduces support for the HanDeDict Chinese-German dictionary and for the CFDICT Chinese-French dictionary. Both are great collective-effort dictionaries.

HanDeDict user guide
Download the dictionary from: www.chinaboard.de
Unzip and copy the dictionary file handedict.u8 or handedict_nb.u8 to Pablo's data directory.


CFDICT user guide
Download the dictionary from: www.chine-informations.com
Copy the dictionary file cfdict.u8 to Pablo's data directory.

The German or French dictionary will be recognized automatically and you get Pablo's great search features with HanDeDict or CFDICT contents!

June 11, 2010

Useful tips: read and type Chinese characters on your blackberry


If you only see black squares instead of Chinese characters on your blackberry, rejoice!
On his blog, Icey Cake explains how to solve that.
http://www.iceycake.com/2009/02/tutorial-viewing-chinese-with-t-mobiles-rim-blackberry-8xxx-series/

After you have installed the fonts to read the characters, you may want to type Chinese characters. If like me, your carrier software is of the "international" version, meaning Western languages, do not despair. It can be done following these steps. I can assume no guarantee of success as I got to this by trial and error. Please forgive me in advance if it does not work in your case, or you lack some permission to achieve it.

1. If you have already installed the blackberry desktop software on your computer,
I suggest doing steps 2 and 3 below on another computer, so as to keep your installation clean. I am not sure what may happen but that is to be on the safe side.
If you do not have the blackberry desktop software installed yet, then do step 2 from your computer and skip step 3.

2. Get the East Asian system files
If they do not come with your software installation, it is still possible to find East Asian system files. The internet is a possible source. Another one is the Blackberry website (http://us.blackberry.com/support/downloads/download_sites.jsp), where "device software" updates can be found. Be sure to select a version that:
- corresponds to your device model, e.g. Pearl 8110;
- matches the system version installed on your blackberry, e.g. version 4.5;
- is of the "East Asia" type.

Download the software and install it. Among other things, this will install a number of files on your computer, at a location whose name looks like:
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Research In Motion\Shared\Loader Files\8xxx-vxx_Px.x.x.xx

3. Copy the East Asian language files
Among those files, you have to salvage the ones related to East Asian languages, namely:
- a file called CJK.alx
- within the Java subfolder, all the files whose name ends with "chinese...", "_zh", "_zh_CN", "_zh_TW"
In my case I found around 50 such files.
Copy all those files and paste them to the computer where you have the blackberry desktop software installed:
- CJK.alx to directory C:\Program Files\Common Files\Research In Motion\Shared\Loader Files\8xxx-vxx_Px.x.x.xx
- the other files to subdirectory C:\Program Files\Common Files\Research In Motion\Shared\Loader Files\8xxx-vxx_Px.x.x.xx\Java

4. Install the Chinese support
Connect the blackberry to your computer with a USB cable.
Go to C:\Program Files\Common Files\Research In Motion\AppLoader
Run the program loader.exe
If all works well, you will see a list of:
- all the software already installed on your device,
- all the software that is not yet installed but is ready to install.
If all works really well, you will see some options like "Chinese pinyin" or "Chinese Wubi" in the list. Check them and then click OK to install.
If not, try pressing the button "Add..." and then point to the CJK.alx file.

The device will be busy for a while (in my case it takes a couple of minutes) and then if all works really really well, you get Chinese added among the user languages!

November 22, 2009

Introducing Pablo and Pingrid's support forum

Hello Pablo and Pingrid users


Your feedback is important to make Pablo and Pingrid always better. In order to give more space for your comments and make reading them easier, I am pleased to introduce the support forum.

Check it out at:
http://pablopingrid.freeforums.org/

A special category is dedicated to receiving your suggestions for future evolutions of Pablo and Pingrid.
 
Thanks for your loyalty.

August 23, 2009

Novelties in Pablo version 2.0


Hello, the new version 2.0 of Pablo is out!



More features for even easier and more powerful searches:

- Improved popup definitions, working in many other programs!

- Highlight your own "favorite" words

- Easily get updates of Pablo and the CEDICT database

and more!

February 1, 2009

New! Popup definitions in Pablo

Discover an exciting new feature in Pablo:

Popup definitions when you move the mouse over Chinese text in other programs!
Just run the mouse over text in Word or Explorer and you get the translation right away!

Also, click in the popup window to bring up the full Pablo window!


Requirements
The popup definition feature is designed for Windows XP, Windows NT. It does not work under Windows 95 or Vista.

Caution: Popup definitions may interfere with other software. The reason is that, in order to display popups, Pablo needs to constantly monitor your system and detect Chinese text.

You can configure in which programs you want popup definitions to appear.



You can also toggle popups on/off by clicking the small 'Pablo' icon located in the taskbar.
##version 1.99b

December 8, 2008

Installing Chinese voice synthesis in Windows

A frequently asked question on this blog is: how to install Chinese voice in Windows? Voice synthesis is a great enhancement to Pablo and Pingrid.

SOLUTION 1: Use free speech engine Ekho

Download the installer from http://sourceforge.net/projects/e-guidedog/files/latest/download
or go to Ekho's home page http://www.eguidedog.net/ekho.php (look for the paragraph: "here are some recommended versions".)
Download the file suited for your system and open it to install the package.

Then go to Windows Control Panel and click on the Speech icon. Change the Voice Selection from default to the newly installed one.
Click on the Audio Output button and check that the voice is directed to the correct audio driver or sound card.

SOLUTION 2: Use Microsoft Chinese voice

Quality is not as good as Ekho but is is free as well. Here are some step-by-step instructions, reposted from a comment by Benjamin Lim on this blog (thanks, Benjamin).

Follow the Lingoes link http://www.lingoes.net/en/translator/speech.htm
(Lingoes is a very good freeware translation tool).

At the Lingoes webpage look for the following paragraph:
Recommended Excellent TTS Engine
Microsoft Simplified Chinese Voice
PackageFile Size: 1.55 MB
Download: Mirror 1, Mirror 2

Download and it will appear as "Microsoft_TTS_51_chs.msi". Double click on the msi file once it is downloaded

Go to Windows Control Panel and click on the Speech icon. Change the Voice Selection from default to the newly installed one. In my case Microsoft Simplified Chinese. Then click on the Audio Output button and check that the voice is directed to the correct audio driver or sound card.

SOLUTION 3: Commercial voices

Other high-quality voices exist. As far as I know, all of them require buying.