I think you're confusing conservative-as-facade with conservative-as-need-for-survival. Do you really think that having a mascot would decrease the chance of it surviving?
Not exactly a question per se, but I remember Yvain complaining about invalid entries, such as words in the number field etc. etc.
This sounds like something that simple Regular Expressions could speed up. Perhaps we could ask him what his current survey workflow is and try to see where they can fit?
Although this advice seems a bit TOO obvious not to have been mentioned before. Apologies if so.
I highly, highly recommend Naoki Urasawa's Monster. While I'm not sure it quite reaches the level of a novel, its characters are well developed, multi-dimensional and engaging. It's been quite some time since I've seen it.
Unfortunately, the only official localization of the series by Viz seems to have been canceled, but I believe HBO is planning to adapt it into a live action series.
Along the lines of Remembering the Kanji, but significantly more entertaining is KanjiDamage, which features more yo momma jokes than necessary for learning Japanese, but is moderately entertaining and also provides example compound words and usage.
It also has a premade deck for Anki, if you wish to overcome the initial overwhelming barrier of having to make them. Inferior to making them yourself, as the cards tend to be too dense, but better than loafing around.
Incidentally, even if you do not end up using it, check out the Dupes Appendix which disambiguate homonyms which are also synonyms.
If you plan to practice by reading web pages, I highly recommend Rikaisama for Firefox and Rikaikun for Chrome.
These extensions automatically give definitions upon mousing over Japanese text. Highly useful as a way of eliminating the trivial inconvenience of lookup. I will warn you that EDICT translations (the default back end to rikai) tends to give a very incomplete and sometimes misleading definition of a word (seldom used meanings of a word are presented alongside the common ones without differentiation) but it's still better than nothing. I would advise moving onto a Japanese-Japanese dictionary as soon as possible (probably a year or so down the line depending on commitment).
There's no pictures and the first time I get the dossier is on the day I teach my class. It's slightly premature optimization to start an anki before the first week of TAing, because about 5 or so students shuffle in an out during the first two or so weeks. Currently though, I'm applying for a physics major only class where there would be pictures and the class size is much more static.
Thanks for suggesting an out and out comparison. It hadn't really occurred to me to do this if I do land the other job.
Using Antisuji's system:
I've considered adding all of my family's birthday's to the list but 1) I'm too embarrassed to ask 2) Calenders are an easier solution. Has anyone else done something similar?
Also, indirectly, I teach a class of about 25~ students every quarter and while I don't put them in a deck, I make sure that I'm exposed to the entire classes' names in a roughly spaced repetition way (First class I attempt to say everyone's name twice, grade different assignments at the appropriate spacing and 'reset' my schedule for mistaken names). This has caused my students to respect me as a teacher much more (No other Teaching Assistant knows everyone's name!) and slightly deters people from being quiet when they don't understand something (as I can just call out their name).
Umineko runs on Nscripter, which is closed source according to wiki. Fate/Stay Night runs on Kirikiri2, which is, indeed open source.
I'm not sure if the Umineko translation worked like the Tsukihime one, where they ported it over to the open source ONscripter, but AFAIK there is no way to change the text scroll behavior.
Note that the patch which removes the content also adds in PS2 specific content, like voices and CGs, the CGs are mostly on the final route. You can pick an option which only adds content and doesn't remove any.
All three look promising. However, you might be pidgeonholing yourself by trying to go back to the "SRS as generalized learning tool". For most people, it would appear as if that's too abstract. You may be much better off focusing on the most generally appealing use case (The name-face ID one sounds the most promising; I can't imagine any people who weren't already self-motivated autodidacts using the first two). In fact, it might turn out to be much better than than the original Anki-as-service app; it appears to me that many more people view "oh god what's her name I just met her a week ago THINK" as a problem than "Oh, hm, it appears I've forgotten how to say 'praying mantis' in Japanese".
To extend the Name-Face identification concept, you could also add things such as people's birthdays, dates of important events such as anniversaries into it; although I'm not sure how many of those things aren't problems anymore because of calenders etc.
I can't comment too much on the "Twilio of online learning" idea; I don't know the interest level of online courses such as Udacity, Coursera and Codeacademy on something like that. Although I will warn that there's a real risk that it'll be treated as "just another complicated feature that I don't need to use" by the average student. But if you get a hardcore userbase who are happy with the product and willing to give feedback then you're in much better shape than trying to arbitrarily design for the "average" user.
I imagine this would be very hard to monetize and get customers as-is. The below is merely a brief list of problems that I've thought about
The average user needs to be sold on the effectiveness of a product very fast, on the first usage (or perhaps even sooner!) in order for them to continue using. However, SRS software in general are almost by definition antithetical to that goal: Their benefits do not come until far into the future, worse still it's an undefined time in the future. Sure you can use arguments about the benefits of SRS and the psychology of memory and , but it would appear to be an uphill battle to make the benefits immediately relevant and immediately relevant to the people who wouldn't already be using Anki and other free equivalents.
In addition, before you can even start using the product as advertised, you have to learn how to make cards that are easy to memorize or download a deck which is already well made. The first is "Wait so you want me to learn all these tiny rules before I can even start learning? ". The second presents a chicken-and-egg problem. How are you going to have high quality decks that teach things? By having users! How are you going to get users? By having high qual- oh, darn.
It would appear that your general idea is going in the right direction; to make the best SRS program as painless as possible and to extend it to be more powerful. Your emphasis though, would appear to be more oriented toward existing power users of SRS. So there's the matter of getting them to switch which... I have no idea how hard that would be. (Sample size of two; you'd obviously build something you'd want to use; I'd jump on board instantly if I could transfer my existing Anki decks).
One possible solution to the adoption is to piggyback it on an existing service; if users get to use it as an additional option on something they already use habitually then getting consistent usage wouldn't be as much of a problem. I believe Khan Academy has expressed interest in including SRS in there. Another is to try and "gamify" it (argh I hate that word) by either making the entire application a sort of game or incorporating cow clicker like features in there to get the user hooked (IT'S NOT EVIL IF THE ADDICTION IS GOOD).
The making your own decks feature can be mostly hidden from the normal user, with a gradual introduction to it as they use the product more (paid feature?). As for having high quality decks; you can try porting the entire Anki library of downloadable decks, filter them in some way and use that to bootstrap up to a much higher standard of quality.
Of course, any and all advice here means absolutely jack compared to the behavior of actual users; release a minimal version, see who bites and check to see what the users complain about before even thinking about what I said here. Making money is and should probably be a distant 4th or 5th consideration behind making a product that you would use and making it easily extensible.