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The Great Palm OS Dictionary Shoot-out: BDicty, Mi:D, MSDict, Oxford American, and PocketLingo
Posted December 2003 by Tanker Bob — page 3

Mi:D 5.3.3 from ThaiPalm

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 these databases.




screen shot

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 interesting topics.

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.

Pros :

Excellent pop-up support

Wonderful 1913 Webster's Unabridged Dictionary available

Databases all free

Supports Palm OS DIA

Cons :

Database offerings unchanged for several years

No progressive search display

NEXT -> MsDict Professional Bundle and Pocket Oxford Dictionary

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