Not as well known as some
of the others reviewed here, Mi:D has been around a long time.
The shareware Mi:D app offers a 30-day trial and registers
for $16, but all its databases are available for free. Originally
designed as a hack, it has been updated to use the new OS 5
constructs. Recent updates include support for the Palm T3
DIA and the Sony TG50.
Mi:D was originally designed as a pop-up,
but can be used as an ordinary app. The screens are identical
no matter how activated. The simple interface provides the
standard tools without fanfare. Icons, from left to right,
impart cut, copy, paste, selection, dictionary choice, font
changes, and menu selection capabilities. Preference options
include multiple ways to activate Mi:D, places to store its
databases, number of history and near-word entries to display
on command, and talking dictionary settings.
You read correctly, Mi:D now support s
talking pronunciations. The only problem lies in the size
of the data files. It apparently implements this through
individual letters saved as wav files, of which almost all
individually take over a MB of space. Clever concept, but
a bit pricey in card real estate.
Mi:D apparently uses the same enhanced
WordNet word list as BDicty, and scored identically, only
missing two of the test words. However, the implementation
and definitions differ from BDicty's. Apparently to save
space, many of Mi:D's “definitions” actually
simply point to other words. For example, exact (v) brings
up “1. See claim (v) definition 1. 2. See demand (v)
definition 2.” This prevents the same definition from
appearing more than once in the database, reducing its size
and speeding searches. However, I found it annoying jumping
around looking for real definitions. On the good side, Mi:D
includes thesaurus results with most definitions. Selecting
a word in the text then tapping the lookup icon brings up
the word's definition.
In addition, I tested what I believe to
be a variation of the Webster's 1913 Unabridged Dictionary.
This work had the best and most complete definitions for
its over 114,000 words, including usage examples from classic
literature. It's score on the difficult words equaled the
enhanced WordNet, but of course it contained none of the
modern words. Still, it's an outstanding dictionary from
a period when words really meant things. The separate WordNet
thesaurus proved adequate. You can't beat the price of all
Mi:D's claim to fame has always been its rapid
reading of databases off the card. It continues to bring up entries
almost instantly. Mi:D uses indexes to speed searching, and it works
great. When popped up, it automatically looks up the highlighted
word in the underlying program. It will not only use the standard
silk screen buttons, but also stylus strokes around the screen. I
used one from the top of the screen to the center with great effect.
Regrettably and like many others, Mi:D doesn't work in WordSmith
without cutting and pasting.
The databases available for Mi:D haven't changed
in a couple of years, although the reader itself continues to be
updated. I assume that no new databases are forthcoming. The current
crop includes an interesting encyclopedia-- Probert's.
Though hardly comprehensive, this British work covers a variety of
Perhaps Mi:D's greatest shortcoming comes as a
consequence of its simple interface. While every other dictionary
in this roundup updates its word list progressively as you enter
characters, Mi:D doesn't display a word list. You can pull up a list
of close words at any time, but this doesn't provide much help finding
words you don't know how to spell.
Excellent pop-up support
Wonderful 1913 Webster's Unabridged Dictionary