I am very particular about my reference materials. Perhaps it was hammered into me in university when every course’s materials list was replete with nothing less than the Oxford Dictionary of English. Thus, when our Dictionary review section was finally launched, I was shocked at the proliferation of non-Oxford references in the App Store of which WordBook is one. At first, I took little notice of it as I was more anxious to complete reviews of THE Dictionary.
Looking back, my decision was not unfounded. WordBook, though not mated to Oxford’s content, is perhaps the most impressive cost-effective reference at the App Store. My tongue-wagging review won’t do greater justice than simply saying: ‘Kiss It’. Had I completed this review first, it would be much harder to recommend even the Enfour masterpieces.
A thesaurus is an indispensable tool for writers of any level. Verbose people (yours truly) need them and even more eloquent writers like Crom and Young can benefit from their use. The Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus is an excellent reference tool for anyone who is looking for that … word. In previous reviews, we looked at the Roget’s Thesaurus, AHD4 Deluxe and a couple of Oxford dictionaries that also feature thesaurus fuctions.
American Writer’s Thesaurus has a unique take on thesaurus in that it is tailored to writers. Just so you know, if you are writing anything: blogs, letters, papers, books, articles – anything at all – you are a writer. You don’t have to be published or famous or elegant. This thesaurus product is helpful for anyone who puts their words and thoughts down onto some form of media.
Nihon IR, maker of PC Dr. Momo, along with the Japan Times, have an ace up their sleeves; 出る順 is an excellent Japanese-English study tool as well as a great reference for learners of Japanese. It is a set of true language study implements that are geared toward the Japanese learner of English, but also serves as an excellent Japanese learning reference.
To become acquainted with 出る順, you have to be willing to experiment if your Japanese is stuck at difficult kanji. However, as it is a reference for Japanese learners of English, the main bulk of users should be comfortable with all aspects of text, layout and differing modes of study. (By the way, this review was written on QuickOffice for the iPhone!)
Some apps in the App Store are just for fun. Some are for educational purposes and then, there are those like Quotationary which exist to make you look like a scholar or a jerk. Quotationary hoards 30 000 quotes presumably from the internet but one can never know for sure. Inside, you will find thoughtful meditations, meaningless jabber from people you thought were silenced, jokes and many more items to devour.
If you have ever had to buy or sell furniture, used socks or MP3 players online, you are probably familiar with the now ubiquitous Craigslist. The Peer to Peer sales market consists of many entries but Craigslist makes a great blanket for everything and brings relative safety to both buyer and seller and does not incur extra expenses. Now, CraigsHarvest for the iPhone has arrived to make the best use of your searching powers.
The number of useful references at the App Store is growing rapidly. Just months ago, was was no Enfour AHD4 or Deluxe Oxford nor had Amazon’s Kindle been released to provide competition for eReader and Stanza. Truly the iPhone as a platform is evolving: able to stand toe to toe in some applications with computers for its usefulness as a reference. What once was relegated to libraries because of size, weight, volume and expense can now be carried in one’s pocket. The Bible is a resource that I would like to be able to tote in a bag along with a dictionary but until now has been impossible. In the App Store, there are many free and commercial Bible apps that bump shoulders vying for your download or purchase. While many do their job commendably, it still is hard to separate the chaff from the wheat if your needs, beyond simple reading and devotions, demand resources other than the Bible itself.
Though there are many concise versions of the Oxford English Dictionary, only a couple versions of the Oxford Dictionary of English have hit the shelves of the App Store. Likewise, our Oxford reviews have focused on the many flavours of the Concise versions. This week however, we sample the taste and culmination of research, programming and foresight that Enfour have employed to bring the entire ODE & OTE Oxford to the App Store.
From the company who brought us the Evangelion app suite that is deeply steeped in fan lore, a pair of historical art applications debuted early this Month. Appliya exhibit Ukiyo-e Beauties and Japanese Art Calendar which each draw inspiration from Japan’s methodical, alluring past: the wood-block print. Appilaya file these apps as utilities, but they would equally fit in as education or reference.
Their unique pairing of apps in the App Store for fans of anime and now Japanese art is a service to aficionados of both visual genres. Ukiyo-e Beauties’ spectacular images can be used to contruct personal calendars with the Japanese Art Calendar utility.
Prelude Mobile released an aesthetically pleasing and no frills Concise Oxford English Dictionary at a pivotal pricepoint of 19.99$. While cheaper than its competitors, Prelude’s version is remarkably simple to use and fast enough for those who want a dictionary and nothing more. The pertinent question for Prelude is, how far can a simple interface go against the bigger and more ambitious projects by Mobile Systems, Paragon and Enfour?
Paragon Software Group also have a version of The Concise Oxford English Dictionary. At 24.99$, it is cheaper than Mobile System’s Dictionary and Thesaurus combination and offers digitised audio and a faster interface than their competitor. However, have Paragon brought enough bells, whistles and gadgets to the table to really compete with their more expensive rival?