It took a year to develop this version of JiShop for Windows, and another year to have it properly tested. That's what it takes to move a huge piece of software to a new programming platform and drastically redesign the user interface. But it was definitely worth doing, as JiShop is now much more powerful, convenient and user-friendly than ever.
Another novelty is that JiShop for Windows is now available in Microsoft Store. This is important, because most people today do their best to avoid malicious software and download applications only from well-known sources. It took a lot of effort and time to comply with the demands of Microsoft Store, which even made us change some application features.
The main change is a new concept of JiShop Concise. We gave up the 30-day evaluation period, as after these 30 days, according to Microsoft Store rules, the application would completely stop running, instead of limiting the amount of kanji as it used to do. The scheme now is different: JiShop Concise shows 1006 kanji from Monday to Thursday (Concise level), 2136 kanji on Friday (Plus level) and all kanji on Saturday and Sunday (Advanced level). Such day-of-the-week approach is unusual and probably not so convenient for those who want to fully evaluate the software during the first several days, but it's definitely better for those who are happy with the free Concise version.
214 minus 14
The table of radicals in JiShop contains as many as 632 components of kanji characters. This is almost three times more than the 214 classical radicals used in most kanji dictionaries, either paper or electronic. Some people express their perplexity about this. Indeed, why do we need so many? Aren't 214 enough?
It's time to explain. As a matter of fact, the JiShop table is not just a threefold extension of the classical list. In a way, it's a different set. What's most interesting is that it didn't include all those 214 radicals. Some were omitted!
From monsters to animals
Animals not found in Japan or China seldom have kanji in their names. Most often, their names are katakana transcriptions:Skunk: スカンク [sukanku]
Opossum: オポッサム [opossamu]
Kangaroo: カンガルー [kangaru:]
Kanji come out when, for example, a Western name is translated word by word:Anteater: 蟻食い [arikui] (蟻 ‘ant’ + 食 ‘eat’)
Platypus, duckbill: 鴨嘴 [kamonohashi] (鴨 ‘duck’ + 嘴 ‘bill’)
There are also several made-up words, without exact prototypes in other languages:Zebra: 縞馬 [shimauma] (縞 ‘stripe’ + 馬 ‘horse’)
Racoon: 洗熊 [araiguma] (洗 ‘wash’ + 熊 ‘bear’)
But today we talk about the few miraculous cases when a newly discovered animal adopts a name of a mythical creature!
Here are three examples.Read more...
Three weird kanji
In the old layout of our webpage, we had a section called "Kanji of the day",
with a screenshot of a JiShop kanji entry, one of 31 randomly selected. Some user critisized us
for having selected too common characters known to everybody and suggested to consider a Weird
Kanji of the Day!
I liked the idea. When the time came to redesign the site, I decided to introduce such a section and made a selection of weird characters. Unfortunately, the layout turned out to be overloaded and I gave up this idea. But now we have a blog where I can show you some weird kanji from that selection and explain why I find them fascinating.
WKS review: compounds & cursive
After I wrote in my previous blog post about the common habit of drawing kanji rotated counter-clockwise, some user suggested that JiPad should be provided with a grid. Several vertical and horizontal dotted lines would be a reminder for everybody to draw kanji at proper angles. This seems to be a sound idea, so JiShop 7.3 for Windows will definitely have such a grid (of course, with the option of hiding it).
Angles are not the only problem. Some users want JiPad to recognize not only single kanji but compound words, too. When it doesn't, they complain:
WKS review: angles
Every day I receive WKS files ("written kanji structure") from people who are not happy with the recognition of what they draw in JiPad. Sometimes these signals are very helpful, pointing out serious shortcomings of the algorithm, when a particular combination of strokes definetely should have been recognized. Other reports are more disputable. The most common case of recognition fault is a wrong angle of the picture. For example, look at these screenshots from mobile phones:
Welcome to the blog!
Today we have three pieces of important news. We have introduced a new design of our website, released a new minor version of JiShop for Windows, and launched a blog! What you are reading now is the first post of this blog.
Our website is now better structured (two menus, bread crumbs, etc.) and contains new features. You can, for example, try our demo that shows you the main features of the program in animation. It demonstrates how to use JiShop on Windows, but on other platforms everything works in a similar way. This demo might even surprise you with some features you didn't know about so far! We are planning to add more demos later, with concrete examples of looking up kanji and words. Read more...