CLO User 133's blog

Bulk Downloads

As we are approaching the magic 100 lesson mark I've decided that the feed is becoming too big and it's not practical to have all the old lessons available for download on the main podcast feed.  Add to that the font problems associated with the feed version of the lessons.  So I've decided to make older lessons available for bulk download.  The advantage to downloading them this way is that those wanting to play lessons on iPODs will be able to view transcripts on their screen without the font and screen switching problems that occur with the regular podcast versions.

Premium subscribers can also download all the dialogue only and podcast reviews for older lessons in bulk zipped up format.  You can find all this goodness here.

I have also reorganized the drop down menus so Flashcard and Word Bank now appear under the Premium content tab.  The above Bulk Downloads link is now under the Resources tab.  Enjoy!


I have added a new Audiobooks section to the Resources page.  This page includes links to other learning Mandarin courses.  The Pimsleur series is one of the most popular language learning systems (for any language) and was one of the influences in the design of my course.  The various levels and versions are now available for purchase here.  Links to other courses are also available for those looking for more material to supplement your learning here.

While they are being sold by third party vendors, CLO gets a small commission for referring them to you.  I will also be adding Google Adsense ads to the Music pages in the near future.  Revenue from these ventures will be used to enhance the free resources on the website.

Murphy's Law

This has been a very interesting week for me (notice I'm using past tense here since I'm expecting that the troubles are over).  In the span of two days, my main system crashed and was rendered unusable, the server that the site is being hosted on crashed for several hours and multiple speakers mysteriously canceled on me leaving me behind in my lesson development.
The good news is that the main computer has now been replaced, most of the data was retrieved, the server is back up and I was able to find alternate speakers.  The Premium podcasts and notes should be up to date in the next day or so.  Thanks for bearing with me.

Updated features

I've color coded the vocabulary in the vocabulary pages to separate individual vocabulary items from dialogue examples.  Also, these items can now be clicked on to take you back to the Word bank to see how they may relate to other examples in the course.  For the Chinese character versions, individual characters can be clicked on to see other examples in the Word bank.
The latest Complete word for word transcript (Lesson 91) now lets you click on some of the Chinese Pinyin words to take you to the Word bank.  I'll extend this to future lessons and later to past lessons.

I'm hoping having these links to the Word bank will allow you to easily get the bigger picture of how different words and characters relate to each other in this course.

General Updates

The Word Bank should be up to date for Level 2 (lessons 61 on).  I'll slowly start adding level 1 lessons.  The complete functionality will of course be felt when it's completely up to date with all lessons but hopefully you can still find it useful now.  Once it's up to date, I will add cross links to the transcripts allowing you to click on a word in the transcript and have it search the word bank for you.
The Flashcard program is also up to date with the latest lessons.  I was trying to hook it up to the Word bank so that it can automatically be updated.  However, since each lesson only has a few new vocabulary items rather than having each lesson with its own quiz with only a few questions I've decided to continue to manually update it - combining multiple lessons into quizzes so that most of the questions are new.

If you notice any typos or bugs in the above, please let me know.

New song

I added a new pop song to the Music section today. It's a duet between two very popular artists. Enjoy!

"Marry me today" (Jintian ni yao jia gei wo) by David Tao and Jolin Tsai

Simplified Traditional

New Premium Podcast transcript format

Since the Premium podcast consists mainly of questions and answers, I've hidden the answers in the transcript. This allows you to use the Premium podcast in two ways. You can test your understanding using the audio format of the podcast lesson, and/or test yourself visually by going through the questions (in Pinyin) and trying to come up with the answer on your own before clicking to reveal it.

All previous Premium podcast transcripts (Lessons 61+) have been updated with this new format. Enjoy!

Course Schedule Update

I've had to update the Course schedule to reflect a week break from lessons that will be taking place this week. I am going in for laser eye surgery on Tuesday and was told that I need a week of rest for my eyes to heal. Hopefully this won't put a cramp in anyone's learning.

You will notice other breaks in the schedule between now and level 3. Those breaks represent travel time as I will be in Taiwan for a month. How does that benefit you, you ask? Well for one thing I'm in Canada now and Kirin is in Taiwan which means you won't hear anymore of her voice till I get there. I also hope to shoot some nice scenic videos for some of the older dialogues (some of you have been asking for more). Between now and then the speaking roles will be divided between Bing and Jen, Leo and Amy and possibly one more new speaker.

I'm glad you see benefit in the Word-bank. Initially it was just meant to be another tool but now it's expanded into a way of linking all the lessons together with the enhanced search tools. The real benefits will be realized once it has been updated with content from all the lessons. You will then be able to click on a word or a Chinese character and it should pull up examples from all lessons where that word / character was used.

I'm still hoping to find a solution for the font troubles I've been having on the site (the comments on the main site don't display Pinyin now?!?). Maybe a week of lying in bed with my eyes closed will give me a flash of inspiration...

Update: A small change in the Word Bank code suddenly fixed the font troubles I was having in the Comments section.  Can our Mac users tell me if this has had any difference in the other font troubles you were having?

New song added

It's been a while since I've updated the Music section so I thought I'd add another male singer to balance things out. The name of the song is "Have to Love" by Wilber Pan although it's better known as "Bu de Bu Ai" by "Pan Wei Bo" Enjoy!

Simplified Traditional

Premium preview

The Word bank page is now available for you to preview at

Currently only the first few lessons are present but over time I will be updating it with all the lesson material. Non subscribers can view the first four lessons while Premium subscribers will have access to all lessons (when available) by logging in. Your comments and feedback are most welcome.

Premium subscribers may also notice that the Vocabulary page for the latest lesson now utilizes the new format that I mentioned in my last post. Hopefully you'll find this more efficient as it combines 3 pages into 1. Note though that future lessons will now use the URL structure: rather than separating the pinyin, simplified and traditional pages like before.

Update: I've gone back to the old system of lesson-xxx-pinyin for the main vocabulary page to keep everything consistent so ignore the mention above of the "vocabulary" extension.

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