Using Hoot Card Boxes

Card boxes have been added to the Hoot app in version 1.97. Using card boxes is a way to organize your study of Scrabble words based on the Leitner system. Each word or anagram is assigned to box 0, and is moved up or down depending on whether you get it correct or not. The words are also scheduled based on what box it is moved to, with higher boxes scheduled less frequently. Card box study can be overwhelming or addictive depending on how you approach it. Experience and card planning can help with that.

Getting Started

There are two simple steps to starting a card box study program: Add cards and take card box quizzes.

Adding cards

Adding cards is as simple as doing a search, long pressing results, selecting to Add to Card Box, and select the card box to add to. If the card box doesn't exist it will be created.

Cards are like words in Scrabble, except that one card could have two or more words associated with it. For example, the three letter card AAB would have the two anagrams ABA and BAA in the Collins dictionary. Cards for anagrams are normally stored as alphagrams.

Basic card boxes include Anagrams, Hooks, and Blank Anagrams. For blank anagrams think stems where you add a blank and anagram.

Adding lists

A unique feature of Hoot are card box lists. Each list is a separate card box. To create a card box list long press the results, Add to Card Box, Select List, and then select the type of card box, and give it a name.

For example, you can create a separate list of all three letter words and test yourself on just those. Note that they are completely separate. Card moves for an anagram in a list are not reflected in the global card box.

Quizzing

Begin a card box quiz, select Card boxes from the Options menu (three dots) and select the card box you want to study. For lists, select Lists and then select the list in the box below. Card are displayed based on a schedule, from oldest to newest. Hoot doesn't prevent you from studying words in advance of the schedule. Alternately you can select to take the quiz in cardbox order.

Quizzing in Hoot has two different modes.
When quizzing anagrams, the available letters are displayed as tiles at the top. Tap a letter to add it to the answer. The answer is automatically submitted when you've used all the tiles.

When quizzing other types, a custom keyboard is provided to enter the words. To submit, press the enter button.

In both cases, the status line provides information about the card, including how many words are expected, the lexicon, and in the bottom right the number of correct answers so far. Each card quiz is graded as soon as you provide all the correct answers. Once you have provided all the answers, the green arrow appears and pressing it will go to the next card. To finish the word quiz before providing all the answers press the show anagrams button, or press enter on a blank line.

Settings

Before using Hoot you should check out the settings to see if there are things you can and want to modify. You will want to make sure the correct lexicon is selected and if you are like me you will want to change to the Dark Theme. You can also select a list font size, enable fast scroll, and use the custom keyboard.

Additionally, there are several settings that affects slides and quizzes. Auto advance in Quiz will advance to the next card after answering all the answers so you don't have to press the green arrow. Loop in Slides will start over when reaching the end. Show hooks in quizzes with display hooks within the results. If you're taking a Hooks quiz you probably want to disable that. Keep Screen on will not time out while in slides.

Card planning

Plan what you want in the card boxes. Editing boxes isn't possible in the app, and not that easy elsewhere. Until then, you can choose to delete the card box and start over at any time.

When adding cards to a card box, think small. You probably don't want to add all seven letter words to begin with. If you do, you'll have to quiz yourself on those before any other cards show up.

This is where card box lists are particularly handy for beginners. Using lists you can add all three letter words to an anagram list, then add Top Fours to a list, then High Fives to a list, and when you are ready to quiz, select the list you want to review.

Card management

In Zyzzyva, and the desktop version of Hoot you can manipulate words in card boxes.
In the Hoot app, the only way to manipulate them is to copy a card box to the device from a different source.

The card box filing system.

Card box databases exist in subfolders based on lexicon, and most can be copied to other devices. One reason you would want to that is to manipulate them. The locations are fixed, so you may want to backup existing databases before copying.

Location

In the Hoot app, Card boxes are located in Documents\Cards\<lexicon>\<type>.db
For example Anagrams in CSW19 are at Documents\Cards\CSW19\Anagrams.db

In all cases, the name and location determines what type they are. A database named Anagrams.db in the CSW19 folder represent anagrams in the Collins lexicon.

Except for lists, this follows the same pattern as Zyzzyva so you could copy one from there.

Current paths to Card box files
Hoot path - based on the User Folder selected by the user. <UserFolder>\Cards\<lexicon>, typically C:\Users\<user>\Documents\Hoot\Cards\<lexicon>
Zyzzyva path - C:\Users\<user>\Zyzzyva\quiz\data\<lexicon>\
Collins Zyzzyva - C:\Users\<user>\.collinszyzzyva\quiz\data\<lexicon>\

You can't filter the card box in the app just yet. You can use lists as an alternative.

Conversion caveats

When lexicons are updated, it is also possible to copy a card box to the new lexicon and you'll be tested on the anagrams in the new lexicon. However, new anagrams may not exist in the card box for new words. For example, there are four 3 letter words in CSW19 that don't have anagrams in CSW15.

Hoot Limitations

In this new feature of Hoot you may notice several limitations. I've already mentioned the lack of card management. Also, when taking a quiz, you don't have the ability to manually move letters around. There is a shuffle button in Anagram quizzes, but that is it. You may also be disappointed to find that there is no easy way to import a list of words to add to a list. The only way to do that now is to download the database, use the Subject Lists feature of Hoot desktop and move the database back to the device. Of course, I'll be working on these, but as has been the case all along, Hoot progress is slow and steady. I only work on Hoot a few hours a week and bug fixes receive priority.

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