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Dictionary junkie // iPhone - Lograh

Friday, 17.Apr.2009

19:44 - Dictionary junkie // iPhone

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So, I was doing a little digging around today, since I was still
unsatisfied with the dictionary options I had on my phone, and I came
upon a post by someone else talking about a version of the American
Heritage that he rather enjoyed. Sure, it's no OED but it is still an
acceptable tome for referencing the vernacular this side of the
Atlantic. I went to read the details on this app, looked at the
screenshots, and after some hemming and hawing decided that it was
worth trying out.

I can say that I am throughly pleased I did. This is just about the
perfect dictionary interface for me. It has almost everything I had
been hoping for. The one thing it lacks is an uncluttered interface.
Mind you, it still has less clutter than some other dictionaries out
there. I can't help but wonder, though, if a few things could have
been streamlined. Text resizing, for example. Did it have to be a
button? Wouldn't the ever-present pinch-zoom work? Ah well, a minor
annoyance at most. Probably the largest annoyance so far is the
'back' button only goes back one step. Sure, the history is more
complete and you can use that, but it'd be nice if 'back' could keep
going back through the history.

Things I love about this app:
It is both a dictionary and thesaurus in one! Just tap the word
itself to toggle between the two.
Unabridged goodness! Full definitions for every usage of the term
(well, as much as the A.H. does at all), as well as etymology back to
PIE where available.
Fully cross-linked! Tap any word in any definition to look up that
word, including some words in the etymologies too!
Not just the definitions, but appendicies and other extra material
is included too! Can make for some fun reading, that.
The load time is short and the search is *fast*! Finding a word in
this is faster than any other searching I've seen on the iPhone.
Particularly impressive given the number of entries it includes.

It was a big download, sure. 300+MB and a price tag at about 55ish
(or something in that area) made it more that just a quick impulse
buy. But I like it, and this one is likely to stick around my
homescreen even if the full-sized OED some day winds up right
alongside it. And if that 20 volume masterpiece ever does find its
way to the iPhone, I hope it is done by the same people who handled
this version of the American Heritage. They know how to do mobile
dictionaries that don't suck.

addendum
after another half hour reading the dictionary before bed, a few corrections are in order:
the etymologies only go back to I.E.
the only parts of the etymologies that are tap-able are the I.E. roots, not the Latin or French or others.
looks like it was only 40ish.
I should note this was the 'deluxe' named one, which had Roget's bundled in the same app.
some people online are complaining over a claimed lack of pictures. I wouldn't know as I rarely reference the pictures in a dictionary. I'll swing by a library and compare this with the real thing later.

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