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adrianlondon

What could be better with Plecodict

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adrianlondon

I'm fed up having to register for forums, so I'm posting this here rather than directly on the Pleco forums.

I think Pleco is a fantastic product - I'm running it on a Palm TX. That's also a great product (if only it had a phone in it too; I don't like the Treos as I hate wasting screen real-estate with a keyboard I don't want).

I paid for the ABC (and NWP) dictionary combo.

The ABC dictionary is fantastic. Very impressive.

But the NWP (English -> Chinese) dictionary is ... crap.

A couple of weeks ago I wanted to look up "Vietnam" in Mandarin. Not there. Recently, I wanted to look up "Europe". Not a rare word, surely. It's in there, but only just. The pinyin is wrong and it has ?? in the description. Thanks. And it's an American dictionary (probably won't bother many people) but I wanted to find chinese words for "film" - as in a cinema film. Nothing. Had to use "movie" instead.

A quick solution would be to allow one to search the entire ABC dictionary. In other words, search the English descriptions.

Also ... I want to see words CONTAINING the character I type, not just words starting with that characters. Yes, I can use my laptop and Wenlin, or (as I hate Wenlin's user interface; it's like using a Tandy TRS80 all over again) going online and playing with the little horse at http://hmarty.free.fr/hanzi/

Any other issues with plecodict? Post them here and many someone important will take note and work on fixes or workarounds :)

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roddy

The problems with the NWP are just that - problems with the NWP. It's a small dictionary (20 something thousand words I think) and so some stuff is going to get missed off. Vietnam is an odd one, right enough, and there does seem to be an encoding issue with the capital Ō in Europe. Pleco are restricted by what they can succesfully license, and I wouldn't call this a problem with Plecodict itself.

I want to see words CONTAINING the character I type

Doesn't the wildcard function allow you to do that?

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adrianlondon

There's a wildcard function?

... there's a manual? :-)

Cool, thanks. Another beer I owe you.

As for the dictionary ... I know it's the dictionary's fault and not the plecodict software itself; however I bought the package, and someone decided what dictionaries to licence. Shame there aren't better dictionaries around - I would have paid for one. However, allowing me to "reverse search" against the ABC dictionary would help.

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adrianlondon

Right, I'm all sorted then!

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Nibble

I suggest you get the free add-on dictionaries from here. They help to fill in a lot of gaps in the purchased dictionaries.

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gato

The LDC wordlist works great as a replacement for NWP! Never noticed it before.

http://www.plecosoft.com/dictaddons.html

LDC English-Chinese Wordlist - Free English-Chinese (but no Pinyin) dictionary developed by the Linguistic Data Consortium at the University of Pennsylvania. Short entries, but lots of obscure scientific/medical terms. 110,578 entries. Last updated May 17, 2005

Developed By: Linguistic Data Consortium

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randall_flagg

Aside from the shortcomings mentioned above, Plecodict is an awesome product and I would recommend it to any learner of Chinese. Truth be told, I know for a fact that I have gotten 6 (!) people I know to not only purchase the Plecodict, but to by a Palm just to run this thing! And all because it was recommended to me in this forum...

To anyone doing a plecodict search on this forum thinking about spending all this money on some software: Do it! You’ll have no regrets! You’ll be able to look up characters so fast, you won’t believe it. It’ll help get you through essays with unfamiliar characters in no time. Also, the wildcard function mentioned above comes in very handy…and Wenlin does not have this function (as far as I know).

What I’m looking forward to right now is the pleco-update, sounds really promising.

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Shadowdh

Since the beginning of year two at uni I have had 4 or 5 people ask me about pleco and which equipment to run it... I have fully recommended pleco with no reservations and find that its usefulness is beyond describing... but I am looking forward to Pleco2 though for the added extra features... I havent had the problem you are describing Adrian but I did get all the dictionaries in my package.

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mikelove

This is interesting reading - I'm glad to see that most of the shortcomings are things we're already addressing, but I'm surprised to see so many complaints about the NWP dictionary. Does anyone have any suggestions about a really good English-to-Chinese title that's reasonably friendly to English speakers (i.e., includes Pinyin)? We've looked at an awful lot of them and haven't found anything better thus far - we've even seen samples of the new ABC one, and for various reasons we don't think that's going to meet our needs. If someone offered a 100,000+ entry English-to-Chinese dictionary with Pinyin transcriptions, simplified + traditional character support, and good coverage of American + British English, we'd spend pretty much whatever we had to to license it, but there don't seem to be any titles like that out there.

But yes, the reverse search feature is definitely going to be in Pleco 2.0; it's already working well in our development versions, and it supports Chinese as well as English searches.

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in_lab
we've even seen samples of the new ABC one, and for various reasons we don't think that's going to meet our needs

Not what I wanted to hear. I thought ABC could do no wrong. Any details?

If someone offered a 100,000+ entry English-to-Chinese dictionary with Pinyin transcriptions, simplified + traditional character support, and good coverage of American + British English,

I think any EC dictionary whose example sentences actually correspond to the Chinese definition entries should be under very strong consideration.

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adrianlondon

To be honest, I think I'll just start doing reverse-lookups each time I want to translate something from English. The Chinese-English dictionary is excellent.

I've also had a few people look at me in class, scribbling away and getting good lookups based on my poor character writing, and go "ooooo - me want!". I keep meaning to use my Palm TX for something else, in order to make that purchase better value for money, but at the moment I use it for Plecodict, the time planner, and nothing else.

I wish they'd bring out something, looking just like the TX (i.e. with no keyboard and a screen no smaller) which was also a mobile phone.

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roddy

Not sure how the screen size stacks up, but something like this - not Palm, but as I understand it Plecodict for PPC will run on one of these. Any Windows Mobile based smartphone would do, no?

As for other stuff to do with your palm - download Chinese podcasts over wireless and listen to them, read the news using Pleco's Instant Access, decipher the signs on Signese.com - plenty of stuff to do, and that's just Chinese based.

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mikelove
Not what I wanted to hear. I thought ABC could do no wrong. Any details?

Well I'm not technically under NDA about this, but I still shouldn't say anything specific until it's released - it seems fine for what it's designed to do, but it's not quite right for our purposes, and I don't think it'll be the same sort of blockbuster title that the C-E Comprehensive Dictionary has been. I'll be happy to go into detail about why we weren't that big on it after it hits bookstores. But even if we'd been more enthusiastic about licensing it, I don't think we could have come to mutually acceptable terms with Wenlin/UH (we had some less-than-promising discussions on that front), so it's kind of a moot point anyway.

By a surprising coincidence, though, we've actually just gotten a few leads going on some other E-C dictionary licenses; these are of the comprehensive but simplified-only and Pinyin-lacking variety, so they wouldn't replace the NWP but rather would fall into the same "advanced" category as our new Chinese-Chinese title. Once things get a little further along I'll post a message here and on our own site asking for opinions on the specific titles.

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randall_flagg

mikelove: This is probably rather sensitive information, but I'd really like to know how many units you've sold thus far? I know so many foreign learners of Chinese, but unfortunately, none of them seem to know plecodict.

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mikelove

That is a little too sensitive, I'm afraid. But we certainly haven't tapped out the market yet, so we'd love to find some ways of getting the word out more effectively.

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Shadowdh

Hi Mike,

2 Things.. when will pleco 2 be ready...?? Cant wait to upgrade and get all those lovely new features... and with christmas coming it will be easier to make the excuses for the purchase of the upgrade to the wife... :mrgreen:

Secondly as for a way to get the word out, perhaps offer incentives for those who use it now to spread the word... for eg if they get three referrals then they get a prize or something... just a thought... cheers

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adrianlondon

Yes, I like the incentive idea, too :)

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mikelove

2.0 won't be ready by Christmas, but there should be a Preview Release out within a month or so. Which will be missing some big features, like flashcards, but should contain most of the improvements to the core dictionary (full-text search, length-based result sorting, ARM acceleration, hyperlinks, etc) and on Pocket PC should also contain our new, fast, efficient replacement for Microsoft's painfully buggy font rendering system.

And we've looked into an referral system, but we can't come up with a way to make it work that doesn't require a huge expense of money and time on our part to maintain - at best we'd break even, and it's more likely we'd be spending significantly more money on the referral system than we'd be getting in additional sales. It's not just the prizes / commissions / etc, it's the support, people complaining because they don't get credit for a referral, losing their commission checks, tax/accounting issues, etc, not to mention the significant fraud potential. And farming this out to another company that specializes in referral/commission systems is a no-go because of our extremely international customer base.

The continuing flow of free upgrades constitutes a sort of incentive though - if we weren't expecting to make up our development costs in increased sales of the new version there's no way we could afford to give away (most of) 2.0 for free, so by referring people to our software you're helping to preserve our free-upgrade policy. It's a reasonable trade, we give you this cool new software and all you have to do is show it off to your friends :mrgreen:

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Shadowdh
The continuing flow of free upgrades constitutes a sort of incentive though - if we weren't expecting to make up our development costs in increased sales of the new version there's no way we could afford to give away (most of) 2.0 for free, so by referring people to our software you're helping to preserve our free-upgrade policy. It's a reasonable trade, we give you this cool new software and all you have to do is show it off to your friends

Oh and show off I do mate... I plug as much as possible...

I didnt know that about a referral system... sounds a right nightmare... And its a shame that 2 wont be out by christmas but I still look forward to it and you can be sure I will be buying the upgrade... (after all theres birthdays and fathers day too... hmmm maybe I can talk her into believing its a romantic valentine day gift too...lol...):mrgreen:

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