Musings on Memory

25 Jun 2012

Mnemosyne first impressions.320x320

I believe—and I don’t have anything but my own anecdotal evidence for this—that using computers has wrecked my memory. Why would I need to memorise anything? I can hit Copy & Paste and achieve perfect results, without troubling my neurons.

Having started a blog pretentiously called “Mnemozzyne”, I felt it was obligatory to write something on the subject of memory. This is, as a by-product, the equivalent of one of those cringeworthy posts you read on other blogs. “Welcome to my new blog”, or, even worse, “Test post - please ignore”.

I’ve pondered in the past about writing my own program to enable me to memorize things. It’s well known that memory relies on repetition, and testing, two things that computers are pretty good at. I probably didn’t look very hard, but recently I discovered that, unsurprisingly, others have already had this idea, and it’s called “flashcards”. I wonder whether there’s a word that describes the feeling: you want to find something on the internet, you’re pretty sure it’s there, but you don’t know exactly what to search for.

So, I did a little reading and checked out the most prominent tools, namely:

First impressions are so important. Supermemo, I’m afraid, fell by the wayside, purely on presentation (and on being limited to Windows). First impressions of Anki were mixed - it works, looks well-supported and fully-featured, but somehow feels like a hobby project. If it proves itself I’ll consider shelling out for the iOS app, but I don’t like the sound of manual synchronisation. I don’t use iTunes, for starters.

Excellent first impressions for Mnemosyne (screenshot included here). I think I’ll give Anki and Mnemosyne a try out and see how they match up.

I have a pressing need to get my memory to work for me! More on that soon.

Tags: memory, productivity