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Using the HP LX and DBLearn as a Learning Tool
This program asks for words chosen at random from the contents of any HP 100/200LX database, such as a vocabulary or foreign language database.
by Matt Haigh
Volume 6 Number 3 of The HP Palmtop Paper carried an interesting article by Hal Goldstein describing how the HP palmtop can be used to learn any new language or discipline.
Some months earlier, picking up on a thread in the HPHAND forum, I discovered the DBLearn n program on the homepage of the program's author, Gergo Viczian (DBLearn is postcardware). I downloaded version 1.4, registered it, and have been using it ever since to practice German vocabulary in spare moments, between meetings, when traveling, etc.
Like most programs, the best way to review DBLearn is to download it and try it for yourself. Downloading it costs very little, and takes very little time. I'll summarize the use and capabilities of DBLearn in just a few sentences:
DBLearn is a small program (39.5Kb) developed using PAL for the HP100/200LX, but it is quite sophisticated in operation. The program works by posing to the user a random selection of questions based on data in an HP palmtop database (.GDB) file (see Screen 1 and Screen 2). The program also analyses user responses and records success in a knowledge (.KNW) file.
Downloading and installing DBLearn is a breeze! The associated documentation (.DOC) file takes care of any queries that may arise in installing and using DBLearn. The icon provided represents (I believe) an HP LX connected by serial cable to a human brain!
When I downloaded the file it expanded to include a sample Hungarian-French database and a knowledge file. A quick inspection of the database (.GDB) file gave me all the clues I needed to modify the database for English-German vocabulary. I added to the database a few words of translation and began to evaluate whether it was what I needed or not.
The screen background, which consists of two columns of previously answered questions which scroll as newer questions are appended at the bottom right, can be confusing initially. But this concern disappears as one gets used to the way DBLearn works.
A comprehensive range of functions and options can be selected from a central menu (see Screen 3), unlike the usual System Manager compliant programs. As I have DBLearn configured to learn German, my menu options are:
The fact that I actually use the program is impressive, since I normally delete most of the software I download because I just don't use it. I find DBLearn really useful.
I have the following observations and criticisms of DBLearn:
If you think DBLearn could be of use to you, why not give it a try?
DBLearn is asking what the English equivalent of a German word is.
In this dialog box the program supplies the correct answer.
The central menu of DBLearn.
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