The Oxford English Dictionary, the only English lexicon worthy of the definite article, has several iterations in the App Store for hungry stodgy customers. By hungry, I mean that the App Store’s reference niche, though small, is rabid. Many users want the best, not just the most popular new entry. Last week, we looked at the excellent American Heritage Dictionary Fourth Edition that offers a complete dictionary/thesaurus package for the handheld digital age and this week our review will turn to the OED.
Not that it’s my strong suit or anything, but I certainly take issue with Apple’s wording of Exodus International’s Gay Cure rejection letter, which went something like this:
“We removed the Exodus International app from the App Store because it violates our developer guidelines by being offensive to large groups of people.” (Cult of Mac emphasis kept).
Presumably, the ‘large groups of people’ Apple reference is – in this instance – the gay community. The problem, of course, is that the wording is otiose and could be construed to fit anyone’s purposes. Imagine Canon camera fans taking issue with Nikon Learn & Explore app. Or, Oxford dictionary devs taking issue with (admittedly inferior) Webster dev counterparts. Without even touching the political/religious debate, Apple have opened a can of worms by failing to properly copy edit their marketing literature. They aren’t some two-bit blog, they’re the most iconic tech company in the world, and their moves (no matter how small) vibrate around the world.
On the other hand, Exodus International’s rebuttals are hardly convincing, either. Exodus’ next editions: The Mormon Cure, the Jewish Cure, the Liberal Cure, the Evolutionist Cure, to be followed by: the Mormon Solution, the Jewish Solution, etc.. Both sides adroitly prove just how flawed a system of checks and balances can be.
Thanks Cult of Mac.
In the next couple of weeks, TouchMyApps will compare glamourous new digital dictionaries with traditional hardcovers versions. We will weigh cost, totability, usefulness and possibly acceptance in places of work and school. If you are a word buff or like me are a word clutz, stay tuned: we were able to tap a few great resources in our quest for the right word.
The Digital Divide:
Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus
Consise Oxford Dictionary and Thesaurus
Concise Oxford English Dictionary
American Heritage Dictionary: Fourth Edition
American Heritage Dictionary Deluxe: Fourth Edition
Roget’s Thesaurus II
After breaking my arm a couple of months ago, I learned a bit of biology. Bones are serious buggers, you know; they don’t just Lego into place after snapping. But even at 31 and five fingers down, I applied myself very fastidiously to apps that I could use one-handed. At first, they may seem eclectic, but I assure you that they were the best medicine. If you’re intent on joining my club, send in your resumes, apply something heavy/swift to your long bones, and then follow the gap!
Kayac, the legendary developer of GravSynth, have a unique app up their sleeves called IdeaPod which attempts to separate your thoughts into organised problem-solving methods. IdeaPod stands upon the ideas of TRIZ and attacks problems systematically and is a great enhancement tool for brainstorming.
Dictionaries? Covered. Wikipedia? Getting there. The App Store even has Bibles now and entire Bible libraries, but its list of productivity and reference apps is far from complete. QuickOffice have brought forth an iPhone iteration of their popular mobile software which is specifically tweaked for the iPhone and iPod Touch. My wife and I tend to spend a goodly amount of time pouring over excel files both for her work and for our finances and I am a slowly doctoring myself into a Word junkie. I have been fortunate enough to use it now for about two weeks and feel that my experience with it is enough to finish an in-depth review. Look for that on Monday.
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.