Beiks remains one of the stalwarts
of the PDA dictionary world. Their offerings include more than
just English language tools, but extend to inter-language dictionaries,
speaking phrase dictionaries that use real human voices, and
a wide variety of references in fields like medical, law, theology,
etc. They just released a new app for spell checking: LexSpell.
The $24 English Heritage Bundle tested here includes full pro
version of the reader, three sizes of the English dictionary,
a thesaurus, and a verb conjugator. For this review, I used
the English Pro dictionary with 77,000 headwords and the thesaurus
with 55,000 words. The just-released BDicty Pro 5.3 sports
full Tungsten T3 DIA support.
BDicty provides a clean, easy to use interface
with a clever twist. The screen split between the word list
and the definition varies depending on focus. While searching,
the word list takes up about 2/3 of the screen. When encountering
a match while typing, the definition side grows to take up
2/3 of the screen. The split may be set vertical or horizontal.
Very nice implementation.
Any word inside a definition may be defined
by double-tapping to select it then tapping the AA icon on
the top bar. Tapping the pencil icon edits or adds a word
or definition. The ability to add words to the dictionary
proved unique to BDicty in this roundup. The icon next to
the pencil switches between stock and custom definitions.
The 1 or 2 in the upper right changes focus between the definition
and word list. Swap dictionaries with the pull-down list
box at the top. When swapping databases, BDicty immediately
tries to find the word on the input line in the new dictionary/reference.
BDicty can be pulled up from inside other
programs by being made resident. It uses the command line
as well as hotkeys, reducing the possibility of interfering
with other silk screen or button assignments. When activated,
BDicty looks up the highlighted word in the starting app.
It proved the most adept in this group at this task, being
the only one that works in WordSmith.
BDicty supports a number of options from
the menu, using a pull down list of setting dialogs. These
can be used to set the list/definition panels with horizontal
or vertical separation and use automatic changing of focus
of the two windows, location of databases, startup appearance,
and resident settings. BDicty performs lookups from the card
with rapidity, where its databases can be located in a dedicated
directly for faster access.
BDicty's primary English Pro dictionary uses an
enhanced WordNet database. Although it sports the lowest headword
count in this roundup, BDicty came out tied at the top in my word
test—locating all but two difficult words and all the modern
words. That equaled the American Heritage College Dictionary that
sports over 244,000 words! That alone should dispel the usefulness
of headword count by itself. In fact, BDicty's database seems to
contain the same word list as Mi:D's, and Mi:D claims over 100,000
words. The thesaurus also put in a good showing, being one of the
strong points of the WordNet system.
BDicty hasn't updated its English dictionary offerings
in over a year, while other companies have introduced expanded English
dictionary lines. BDicty's product manager indicated that new dictionaries
will be forthcoming in mid to late January. I'll be looking forward
to that with interest. The dictionary reader continues its continuous
growth. The new 5.3 reader release not only included Palm OS DIA
support, but native ARM code to improve stability under OS 5 and
improved hotkey support for the Treo 600.
In addition to its language offerings, BDicty offers
a number of free databases and even a free, reduced version of its
reader. Its quality and breadth of offerings has kept BDicty in the
top tier of the Palm OS dictionary market, and will continue to do
Simple, elegant interface
Excellent word coverage
Nice resident pop-up implementation that works
Support for Palm OS DIA
WordNet-based dictionary with attendant definition
limitations discussed in the side trip