perhaps you can explain this scheduling

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05 Jan, 2019 06:38 PM

Each day at midnight, the app is designed to make due whatever notes are scheduled to be due for that day. It will attempt this immediately if the app is already open, or upon the next time you open the app. Years of use with the app have taught me that having due notes still left to study for the day when midnight arrives is problematic for the syncs in the days that follow between the iOS and mac apps. But it is even more problematic if you are actually in the middle of a study session at the stroke of midnight. When this happens it never fails that I'm going to have a sync issues in the coming days, either with an all out crash, or sync times of a couple of hours. The sync problem as best I can tell is more likely to occur a day or two later rather than the first sync that you make after finishing the study session. Now, I understand you will say that "shouldn't" occur, but unless you specifically designed it to cause a problem, the of course it "shouldn't " occur,. And if by this kind of response to these situations you mean, "I can't think of why this would occur", well , that's to be expected. It would be nice if when every bug occurs one already knows why and doesn't need to go through a debugging process. All that said, the fact is it *does* occur, and has for years. Due to this, I finally just stopped adding new cards to the app and dispensed with using and syncing to the mac app. That way I avoid the problems, and while it would be awesome (and I would prefer) to be able to add and edit more notes, I will be content just to maintain my long term study of the 9500 notes on their, and use other apps for new cards.

Actually, as of now, I have had the mac app uninstalled for quite a while, but I did turn the cloud sync back on with the iphone app about a week or two ago.

Well, last night I lost track of the time and let a study session drag on past midnight. As a result, when I finished yesterdays due notes (I think around 135) I immediately upon closing that study session had a new group of around 290 cards due for today. Well, I studied those this morning when I woke, but what surprised me was after finishing *that* study session, I again had a new group of due notes waiting for me. Now I might have expected that of the ones that I had graded as wrong in the study session ongoing at midnight about 13 hours ago were delayed in being scheduled to be repeated today and not included in the 290 that showed due for today. But that didn't make sense because it is showing 95 more due notes, and I didn't grade anything close to 95 notes as wrong in last night's session.

Well, it can't be the mac app that is causing a conflict in what is showing as due on the iphone now, because the mac app is not installed. I'm going to study the 95 now and see what happens. But it occurs to me that probably part of the trouble that I have always had between syncing the mac and the iphone is a result of whatever is going on with this scheduling response and having to juggle this odd scheduling behavior between the two. Do you have any idea why it would behave this way?

    When I studied the new 95 due notes, one of them did stand out as one of the notes I graded wrong in the study session that was ongoing when midnight hit last night. It was not among the 290 that were showing due at the end of that session, and I recall it being one of the later cards in that session, so most likely I graded it after midnight. So that may answer why it did not show up among the 290 but did schedule its repeat today among the new 95. It doesn't explain where the other 94 cards came from, since I know I didn't grade 95 wrong cards and in fact, there were cards in the the 95 that I know I haven't studied in quite a while, much less in last nights session.

  1. Support Staff 1 Posted by drewmccormack on 06 Jan, 2019 01:01 PM

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    The other 95 were presumably the notes that could be added on the new day. There can be a number of aspects that affect this:

    1. You are part way through a study session, so a portion of the notes have already been rescheduled. Notes are rescheduled in real time, not at the end of the study session.
    2. A new day, a new batch of due dates that have been reached.
    3. If you have multiple prompts in a note, it is possible you study it in one combination one day, and immediately the next day see the other option. Each is scheduled separately, though the app does try not to have a note featured more than once in a session.

    Hopefully one or more of these helps. It doesn’t surprise me that if you study into a new day, on the new day a bunch more notes become due. Presumably those notes have just reached their due date.

    Kind regards,

  2. drewmccormack closed this discussion on 06 Jan, 2019 01:01 PM.

  3. zeppo re-opened this discussion on 06 Jan, 2019 02:59 PM

  4. 2 Posted by zeppo on 06 Jan, 2019 02:59 PM

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    I'm not sure we are on the same page.
    Friday I have 135 notes come due. I begin studying them before midnight, say around 11:30 pm. Usually, I try to make sure I have studied all due notes before midnight. In this case I was watching television at the same time and lost track of time and didn't wrap up the session until around 12:20am. When I finished the studied session, 290 notes immediately showed as due. Since, as you say, notes are scheduled in real time at midnight and do not wait for the end of any ongoing study session, this explains why the 290 notes now marked as due for Saturday were already ready and waiting when the study session I began Friday ended at 12:20am (normally it takes about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes for the scheduling process to complete when I open the app each day for the first time).

    Everything up to this point I understand, and is what I would expect. And per your points 1 and 2 above this is to be expected. I would also expect that a portion of the notes that were included in the study session from Friday had not yet been studied when midnight hit, and thus had not yet been assigned their next scheduling at the time the 290 due cards for Saturday were generated.

    This is where it gets confusing. The app is designed to generate any new due notes (per whatever the scheduling shows for that day) at midnight if the app is open, or if the app is closed at midnight, it will generate the new due notes the next time you open it.

    But something else is going on as well. Where does the second batch of 95 due notes come from? If they were scheduled to be due for Saturday, they should have been added to the 290 for a total of 385. Now if there had been around 20 instead of 95, I would have guessed that these were cards I had graded as wrong after midnight within that session that was ongoing at the time ( the app not having the input from the study session of those cards to determine their schedule yet at midnight).

    The way I have always understood your point #3 above is that if you have a reversible note with two facets, each card is a prompt that is scheduled independently, and conceivably, the user may find the first prompt easy, but have a much more difficult time with the note when the order is reversed and the second prompt is used. In such a case, you may have these prompts come due months apart-- that is, as I understand it, they will not always be scheduled on consecutive days, and in fact, as time goes on, in the long term, most reversible notes will not be scheduled on consecutive days.

  5. Support Staff 3 Posted by drewmccormack on 06 Jan, 2019 06:42 PM

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    Another option, I suppose, is that a note can be running behind schedule. This can happen if it doesn’t get to become due as a result of a limit on due notes, or simply because you don’t study it for a while. In such a case, a note could be due several days in a row, as the note tries to catch up to the schedule.

    It’s all speculative. A good idea would simply be to take a look at a few of the 95 notes. Are they from yesterday? What is the next scheduled date etc?

    Kind regards,

  6. 4 Posted by zeppo on 06 Jan, 2019 10:16 PM

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    "... if it doesn’t get to become due as a result of a limit on due notes, or simply because you don’t study it for a while."

     I study all due notes each day every day, with the exception of occasional occurrences like this where the study session continues past midnight, so they don't fall behind.

    The default limit for a new stack is 100 notes, and I don't have any stacks with more than 40 notes. Actually, I like to keep them to around 20 notes if they are reversible and 25-35 if they are Question and Answer. The reason for this is these numbers are in the range of the number new cards I prefer to add to scheduling at any one time. I create multiple stacks in one sitting and then introduce them to my study sessions (switch on scheduling) stacks by stack in the weeks and months that follow.

    I'm not aware of any limits on a group of stacks, but it doesn't appear to be a factor because right now I show 165 due in my Spanish group.

    I can replicate the situation, having done so inadvertently many times over the years. This is the first time I did it without having the mac app installed and mac sync turned on, however. Bottom line is that my experience over the years is that being in the middle of a session at midnight is to be avoided, as the app will typically have issues within a couple of days. So I will first wait a couple of days and see how if the phone app has any sync issues as a result when it is the only device involved in the cloud sync.

    I'll intentionally study past midnight again later in the week. Then I can check the info on any second round of due notes that may be generated

  7. 5 Posted by zeppo on 07 Jan, 2019 07:36 AM

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    The issue with the over an hour sync times kicked in again after completing the 165 due notes yesterday. App crash occurred after opening app today as it began the process of generating today's due notes, with the "iCloud Sync has been disabled..." pop up appearing upon reopening the app after the crash.

    At least I know now that the issue does not need the mac app involved to be recreated.

  8. Support Staff 6 Posted by drewmccormack on 07 Jan, 2019 08:07 AM

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    Yes, to track down any issue, try leaving sync off completely, trigger the problem, and then take a good look at the new due notes that you think should not be there. When were they last studies? What is the next scheduled date? Are they reversible etc?

  9. 7 Posted by zeppo on 07 Jan, 2019 05:19 PM

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    Yesterday I had 304 come due and I did have one note that I easily recognized as one that was a repeat from an appearance the previous day among either the group of 290 or the 95. It was easy and I wouldn't have graded it wrong. Yet here it showed up again yesterday (a day later). It only has one prompt (not reversible). So I did actually immediately screenshot the scheduling on it and it showed a "recent run" of 1 correct grades, last studied yesterday and is scheduled to come due again after 6 more days. It shows I've studied it 17 times with a ratio correct of 88%. Month retention is 80% and year retention is 6%. I may load up the mac app and sync so I can see what the scheduling says on that app, because it will show the detail of the past grading with those colored dots. There's a chance I fumble fingered and accidentally graded it wrong on Saturday, but I'm noting it because it may be some other issue.

  10. drewmccormack closed this discussion on 08 Jan, 2019 07:44 AM.

  11. zeppo re-opened this discussion on 15 Jan, 2019 01:55 PM

  12. 8 Posted by zeppo on 15 Jan, 2019 01:55 PM

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    I finally got around to installing the mac app again and syncing the data from the cloud to it. (I have not turned back on the iphone sync since the crash I mentioned). When I checked the scheduling info on the mac of the one questionable card I mentioned in previous reply, it shows info from before the study session that never got synced due to the crash. It shows a recent run of 1 incorrect. If I assume I somehow accidentally graded it wrong, there is still a question I have about the dots that serve as indicators for year retention and month retention. They are all grey. Yet the card shows it had been studied 16 times with ratio correct of 88%. Does it make sense that these dots would be all grey? Is it an indication that something was reset? Do they reset after every time a card is graded wrong?

  13. Support Staff 9 Posted by drewmccormack on 15 Jan, 2019 02:09 PM

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    When you grade something wrong, you didn’t know it, so it has a retention of zero. You didn’t retain it at all. So that does make sense.

    I think the calculation is based purely on the recent run of correct answers.


  14. 10 Posted by zeppo on 16 Jan, 2019 12:39 AM

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    Ok, I have been examining the info panels for the cards in may Recently Incorrect stack, and I see where the retention is set back to zero for a prompt that you grade wrong, so the colored dots are all greyed out. The exception is if you have multiple prompts. With a reversible note, an wrong grade for one prompt will only affect what is shown as the retention % by half, as it apparently averages the retention for each prompt.

    I would just do away with these colored dot indicators as you get the same info in the Recent Run much more effectively than counting up the number of dots-- and that's ignoring the fact that I think most users won't even know what these dots mean. Red, yellow, green... Who knows what they are trying to say? And to even try to make sense of it for a reversible note you have to run through the hoops of deactivating one prompt, saving the note, and then going back in to see what the info panel has to say for a particular prompt, and then go back in and make only the other prompt active, save the note , and reopen it to view the info panel for that prompt, and then turn both prompts back on again and save it when exiting.

    In fact, it would be much more useful if you could use that real estate to display the recent run for each prompt of a simple two-sided reversible note, rather than just recent run for the prompt last studied.

  15. Support Staff 11 Posted by drewmccormack on 16 Jan, 2019 08:40 AM

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    I think most people understand "green" = OK, 'yellow' = 'borderline', and 'red' = 'problem'. Traffic light colors.

    It's a also a meter of 10 dots, so can ignore the colors and still get that 8 dots means 80% chance or retention.

    Yes, there are subtleties like averaging over prompts. These details are deliberately hidden. If you knew how complex some of this software is, you would go crazy .The intention is that the user doesn't have to understand ever minute detail, but gets a single number — the retention — which is quite easy to understand: it is how likely you are to remember the note after 1 month,


  16. drewmccormack closed this discussion on 16 Jan, 2019 08:40 AM.

  17. zeppo re-opened this discussion on 16 Jan, 2019 05:53 PM

  18. 12 Posted by zeppo on 16 Jan, 2019 05:53 PM

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    Okay, so what is the difference between 4 yellow dots and 4 green dots?

    I have a card with 3 red dots. What is that telling me?

  19. Support Staff 13 Posted by drewmccormack on 16 Jan, 2019 07:17 PM

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    3 dots = 30%
    3 red + 4 yellow = 7 = 70%

    The number of colored dots is yet percentage. The color is just a guide.

    Kind regards,

  20. 14 Posted by zeppo on 16 Jan, 2019 11:54 PM

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    Okay browsing through a bunch of notes I see that a % of 30 or less (1 to 3 dots) will use red dots, 40 to 70 % will use (4 to 7 dots) will use yellow, and above that will use green. My first inclination on seeing these dots was that these were study events.

    It is confusing to me how I could have a non-reversible card with a 50% month retention and 40% year retention, and also have another card with an 80% month retention and a 20% year retention. But I guess its a factor of the number of times they were studied, the first being studied 30 times compared to 54 for the other. I've never made use of these stats however beyond hoping to glean some indication of where a problem may lie in the sync problems.

  21. Support Staff 15 Posted by drewmccormack on 17 Jan, 2019 08:24 AM

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    It is quite an advanced algorithm, which looks at who you studied, estimates a "rate of forgetting', and uses that to predict how likely you are to know something after a given period.

    I actually think the retention is one of the most well thought out things in the whole. app. Most apps just pile on endless stats about how much you have studied something, how often you got it wrong etc. That's all pretty usefulness. It doesn't really tell you anything about how well you know something. The "retention" is all of that condensed into a single percentage. "If I have a test in 1 month, what is my chance of getting this question correct?". Perfect.

  22. drewmccormack closed this discussion on 17 Jan, 2019 08:24 AM.

  23. zeppo re-opened this discussion on 17 Jan, 2019 02:20 PM

  24. 16 Posted by zeppo on 17 Jan, 2019 02:20 PM

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    But that information is too buried (even more so with multiple prompts) to make it of practical use. You can't sort according to it. I don't see users really getting any value out of it. I know I don't. But if you could put some indicator on the card itself (without having to dig for it) of the length of the current interval from the last studied date to the next, that would give you a good idea of where your expected retention is as well, while at the same time serving as an alert when obvious problems in the scheduling like the one I've mentioned are occurring (especially if you could sort for it).

  25. Support Staff 17 Posted by drewmccormack on 17 Jan, 2019 02:28 PM

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    You can sort on retention. Click the magnifying glass in the search box.

    You can also make smart stacks based on it, so it is very easy with a single number to find any notes you don’t know well, or do know well.


  26. 18 Posted by zeppo on 17 Jan, 2019 03:46 PM

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    I'll give it a shot

  27. 19 Posted by zeppo on 17 Jan, 2019 04:13 PM

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    Not sure I'm doing this right, but I created a smart stack with the sole parameter of "one year retention" "is less than" "20".

    Then I sorted by "last studied date" in "ascending order". The first group of cards were all the ones for which I have not yet turned on studying as might be expected. After than, though it did sort out about 1100 cards to be in the smart stack out of 9400, the number of dots it is showing are all over the map-- 10 green dots, 4 yellow dots, 1 red dot, no dots (grey), etc. Any idea what's going on here?

  28. 20 Posted by zeppo on 17 Jan, 2019 05:04 PM

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    Oh, I forgot that the number beside the stack is the number of due notes in it, rather than the total number in the stack. So that part makes sense.

    When I try the opposite and create a similar smart stack, but with "is greater than" and "10" , there are no cards generated for that stack.

  29. 21 Posted by zeppo on 17 Jan, 2019 05:34 PM

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    I'm going to delete this data, reset the cloud, and reload my iphone data up. Then I'll sync to the mac again and see if anything changes, unless you are seeing the same problem on your end (assuming you have a deck with a variety of year retention percentages to test with).

  30. Support Staff 22 Posted by drewmccormack on 17 Jan, 2019 06:54 PM

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    I think the retention is actually between 0 and 1. So you would want 0.2 instead of 20%, I think.


  31. 23 Posted by zeppo on 18 Jan, 2019 02:18 AM

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    Ok, that worked. I created a smart stack with runs of greater than 0 incorrect and it generated about 400 cards. Of these, about 40 were scheduled to be studied next in January 2019. The cards are all over the map in terms of number of times studied, retention %, date created, stacks they appear in, last studied date, etc. So I couldn't find anything in common between them that might be a clue as to why, as cards that were last graded as wrong, so many have been scheduled as if they were graded correct.

    I did figure out a way of resetting the scheduling though I think. As I said, turning the scheduling on and off did not work . But switching the facet off as a prompt and then back on did reset it on a couple that I've tried on the mac app so far. However, trying the same trick on the iphone app did not work on a couple of cards that I tried. I'll try some more tomorrow.

  32. drewmccormack closed this discussion on 18 Jan, 2019 08:00 AM.

  33. zeppo re-opened this discussion on 22 Jan, 2019 10:48 PM

  34. 24 Posted by zeppo on 22 Jan, 2019 10:48 PM

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    Both apps already had the sync turned off, but on the 19th I reset the cloud on both apps, deleted the mac app library/containers folder, and then turned on the iphone app sync to upload to the cloud. Later I turned on the imac app sync and grabbed the data from the cloud. But the scheduling anomalies mentioned still exist when I check them.

    But I also noticed I was wrong about turning a facet's prompt on and off being a way to get a card to reload and correct odd scheduling. I think I may have thought it worked, but didn't realize it reverted once I finally saved the facet back with an active prompt.

    The next day the iphone app crashed again because, due to the long sync times (40 minutes or more) , I forgot it was still syncing and walked out of wifi range for a moment when grabbing something from my car. That's the problem with crazy long sync times.
    Anyway, I reset the cloud on both but I'm not worrying about turning the syncing with the mac right now so I'm leaving it off.

    But then the next day (yesterday the 21st ) the odd thing happened again with the device scheduling additional due notes after finishing the session of All Due Notes, though this time it was just 14 new due notes. I completed those yesterday.

    Then today I studied All Due Notes, and _again_ after completing the study session the app scheduled more Due Notes (six more).

    So not sure what is up with that, but it appears it has two different schedules.

    I did find a scheduling bug whiich I'll mention in another post

  35. drewmccormack closed this discussion on 23 Jan, 2019 07:41 AM.

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