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A helper program which makes cartridges for afterburner
Python
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README.md
construct_afterburner_inputs.py
convert_anki_to_sane_format.py
reverse_engineering_the_anki_assets.txt

README.md

afterburner-cartridge-factory

This is a helper program for afterburner which makes cartridges for afterburner from Anki decks. Currently the word "program" is used in the loosest possible sense, as this is more like a recipe than a fully-automated program. We use Anki decks as the input here because they're easy to find and abundant. So far I've only done a single Anki deck, which is this one.

"Cartridges" are the curriculum/lessons that you actually use to learn a language with afterburner. Just like in the 90's, you had to buy a Nintendo console and then also some games, which were stored on cartridges. Without the cartridges, the Nintendo was useless. So here, afterburner is like the Nintendo console, and the cartridge file is like the games. You can use the same console to play many games, just as you can use afterburner to learn many languages.

Under the hood, a cartridge is just a zip file containing a bunch of .mp3 files, which have names like 2203 and 24, with no file extensions. There's also a .csv file in the archive, which tells afterburner which .mp3 files go with which text in your target and known languages.

Anyway, the point of this program is to consume as input an Anki deck, which is a bafflingly complex bundle of .sqlite databases, .json files, and loose .mp3 files. This program extracts the parts we need and discards the rest, emitting a cartridge file which is suitable for use in afterburner.

Explanation of the files in this repo

  • reverse_engineering_the_anki_assets.txt is a log of what I did while exploring the Anki card stack format, which turned out to just be a .zip archive with its file extension changed. At the very bottom of this file, there is a series of bash commands which I ran to reformat the Anki data into an input suitable for afterburner. This file shows how and when to run the two Python programs mentioned below, and also includes some sqlite operations and some other bash hacking in e.g. sed.

  • convert_anki_to_sane_format.py is a little tiny Python program which consumes as input a .json file, which in this case is called media, with no file extension, and emits as output a way more readable .csv.

  • construct_afterburner_input_csv.py is a slightly larger but still small Python program which emits as output the .csv file which is used in the cartridge file.

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