smart.fm sucksI just got an account on Smart.fm the other day and finally, about an hour ago, got around to trying it out: it sucks.

Allow me to elaborate: I’m fairly computer/web saavy, I’ve used a billion different similar software/web interfaces before, I spent nearly AN HOUR trying to make some simple flashcards in Spanish (that is, cards with a Spanish word on one side and the English translation on the other) and trying to figure out how to get them to display such that I could study them. I could not do it. Their interface is terrible, it makes doing the ONE thing that the majority of their users are going to want to do immediately (create some simple flashcards) infinitely difficult. Plus, they don’t really have anything resembling a proper tutorial or instructions on how to use the site (yes, really: huge damned PR 6 site, hundreds of thousands if not millions of users, and they don’t have any instructions on there), nor does it seem as though there’s any way to actually contact support (they have the “community” area where you can talk to other users, but forget bitching to the people who run the place).

A quick side note: if you’re interested in teaching yourself Spanish…

I have a short post and video (that are free to read and view of course, won’t cost you more than a few minutes of your time) on how to do precisely that with the system that I put together which allowed me to become fluent in Spanish in just 6 months after years of trial-and-error by watching Spanish-language TV shows (like telenovelas, hence the name of the system) and movies, reading Spanish books and comics, and listening to Spanish music. If this sounds interesting to you, check it out by clicking the link below (the following link should open in a new tab or window for you when you click it so I’m not asking you to leave this article here):

“The Telenovela Method of Learning Spanish” (a “telenovela” is a Spanish-language soap opera, they’re what I initially used to teach myself Spanish!)

I also include some quick and valuable tips for learning Spanish as well as a couple of the most useful free Spanish-learning websites that I recommend.

This is even worse as it’s right on the toes of my first use of the Anki software (yes, I’ll gladly link to them, they, on the other hand, do not suck ­čśÇ ) yesterday which I was quite impressed with. The only possible, relatively tiny, criticism I could make of Anki is that their syncing system could be just a little bit simpler, that’s all. Otherwise, it rocks. Also, Anki has an EXCELLENT series of short and simple how-to videos that quickly but comprehensively introduces you to and shows you how to use the interface (easy to do because Anki’s not insanely complicated, it’s actually pretty simple while still having a lot of awesome features), Part 1 of 7 (each part is about 5-7 minutes) can be seen here on YouTube (the other parts are over in the right sidebar).

Sorry, I just wasted an hour of my time on Smart.fm, I’ve had similar things happen with other poorly designed websites and software programs, and it just really irks me especially when it’s a major site/program that REALLY ought to have simple things like that fixed by now, I needed to rant. Plus, now you know who to go to if you want a good SRS system.

A Quick but Essential Note Before We End…

I’ve got two posts that I’ve put up that I’m recommending everyone interested in learning Spanish go read if they haven’t already (if you have, ignore this, sorry): How to avoid wasting months learning Spanish the wrong way (basically this is my “how to get started right in learning Spanish” post for complete beginners) and The Telenovela Method where I cover how to use popular media like movies, music, and books to learn Spanish. Additionally you can check out the front page for a more complete list of my best and most popular posts.

Cheers,

Andrew

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