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SuperMemo in Two or More Computers Synchronized (Part I)

February 8, 2010

SuperMemo sync by Dropbox

SuperMemo portability is something very important, in fact that is one of the reasons many people prefer Anki to SuperMemo, of course many of those are people interested only in learning vocabulary, not even a whole spectrum of language skills.

I’ve been trying to synchronize my SuperMemo ever since I started using it, but its single file per component scheme would make this tasks… if not slow then to many steps would be involve.


Use single or multiple collections on different computers and make the synchronization almost automatic if not completely automatic.”

This post is going to be divided in several parts, as I’m low on time available and because it makes more sense dividing it by the probable context of the synchronization process.

Many post on Yahoo group and elsewhere recommend using Dropbox for accomplishing the task, but this can’t be done with out certain troubles. Because supermemo doesn’t open files in the collection until they are needed making is lighting fast, but that means Dropbox could be uploading the last changes made to a register file at the same time while SuperMemo requires access to it. So, using SuperMemo and Dropbox at the same time results in I/O errors, at first those most of the time are troubleless but in some occasions it could lead to huge errors and corruption on the SuperMemo files. Yesterday fellow blogger Jerry Pettit asked me if a Autohotkey would solve the problem, then the idea of making this post came again to a high priority on my todo list.

Steps Required:

The steps needed to use supermemo on several computers by using Dropbox (a nice – online – free up to 2 GB – delta – multiple computer synchronization start up) are the following:

[Steps for windows XP and above]
  • Join and Install Dropbox on all the computers you need to sync supermemo, configure Dropbox to start at system startup
  • Move the collection(s) to a pre-made folder inside Dropbox folder (say: SuperMemo_Collections).
  • Download and Install Autohotkey (a nice simple scripting program)
  • Modify the AutoHotkey script to suit you own needs copy and saved with .ahk extension (say: SuperMemo&Dropbox.ahk). Link for download bellow.
  • Drag and drop Supermemo&Dropbox.ahk to Startup folder from the start menu folders (Windows), this make  your script run automatically at logon.
  • Repeat the same process for any computer you wish to sync.
  • To start SuperMemo hit Win+Alt+s (or any other keyboard combination if you modify the script provided).

Always check your files are fully updated by Dropbox, before working on another computer.

(Download script: MediaFire)

I you have any troubles or some enhancements leave a comment.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. Steven permalink
    February 9, 2010 13:23

    Many thanks for this. I investigated this months ago, but made a todo item to learn autohotkey scripting, but hadn’t got back to it. The way the script is written is exactly what I wanted to do.

    • Steven permalink
      February 13, 2010 13:56

      A follow up. I tweaked the autohotkey script so that opening the script launches Supermemo, without waiting for the keyboard shorcut. Then I redirected the SuperMemo icon in the Start menu to the AutoHotkeyScript.

      While it’s faster to use the keyboard shortcut, my habit is to launch SuperMemo from the Start menu. Hopefully, this script will preclude me from having conflicted copies of my collection in my Dropbox like in the past.

      Thanks again for this post. It was a huge help for me.

      • gersapa permalink*
        February 13, 2010 14:42

        ITs nice of you to follow up your developments, many people have downloaded the script, but without follow up is difficult to decide what is better or not for the sake of sharing.

        About the hack on the script: This was, more or less, the way I intended to code the original script. But as I said, inspiration to actually code it was on a portable script that needed to further change. I’m glad you found out the Autohotkey script is really easy. So easy I’m not learning python any time soon as I don’t have the time, but Authohotkey scripts can be written in really short time. I had the idea of compiling it, but I now know it was better to make it open source.

  2. LittleFish permalink
    February 15, 2010 09:25

    I like the new look of the site! The top picture resembling brain synapses is most appropriate. 🙂

  3. Chris permalink
    June 14, 2010 04:29

    Ironic, that you use a graphic of a couple of macs for this article, when supermemo “on a mac” is at best laughable and at worse insulting and disingenuous:

    I actually bought a palm pilot in order to use Supermemo years ago. I’ve had several palm devices since then, but stopped using them because they all broke. In all those years still no supmemo on the mac. Then along came supermemo on iPod. This tops the SM on a Mac suggestions for ridiculousness by a long shot.

    In contrast Anki just works. No fuss, no vmware, no silly suggestions, and the iphone client isn’t crap either.

    • gersapa permalink*
      June 14, 2010 16:02

      I like Anki’s simplicity too, plus it is multiple platform ready, I’m using one collection (because it was ready made – some UK medicine exam Q&A).

      Anki is a no brainier simple app, that’s something that adds to its viral nature. Bear in mind that if it wasn’t for the two facts, three facts per card confusing features, no way to use sets, no occlusions possible, no incremental reading, and the fact that it is based on a lousy scheduling algorithm, I wouldn’t mind changing my knowledge to any other SRS if there was any proof of better efficiency of learning, but that’s just me, perhaps I’m just outdated.

      On the other hand, some people are happy that Anki is popular, as this make them feel like, by using a “perhaps superior” tools, they have an Ace under the sleeve, might be simple placebo effect, but what ever helps, even it is only on your confidence is always welcome, right?

      About the MAC, the MAC is stylish and Iphone has solved many smart phone issues, I just happen to like them. I like the Lamborghini too. But today I’d rather buy two houses on that price and have more actives instead of bragging those four wheels.

  4. Marion permalink
    October 31, 2010 09:25

    Sounds great, but I have a few questions since I’m not that Computer Crack as you are…
    1: Do I have to install supermemo on all the computers?
    2: How do I modify the AutoHotkey script?
    3: How can I drag and drop Supermemo&Dropbox.ahk to Startup folder from the start menu folders?

    Thanks for your support!
    Cheers, Marion.

  5. April 25, 2013 14:08

    Wondering if it’s easier now to sync supermemo? I’m looking at various spaced repetition programs for my English teaching. I came across your blog post when considering supermemo. Do you have any idea if 3 years after it’s easier now?

    • gersapa permalink*
      April 26, 2013 14:36

      No not really supermemo development has almost stoped. I Hardy believe a plataform independent full function supermemo should be coded I using ankidroid a lot more now.

      Germn Salzar Pareja

  6. October 7, 2013 15:01

    With havin so much written content do you ever run into
    any issues of plagorism or copyright infringement? My website has a
    lot of completely unique content I’ve either created myself or outsourced but it appears a lot of
    it is popping it up all over the internet without my permission.

    Do you know any solutions to help prevent content from being
    stolen? I’d really appreciate it.

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