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wfujkramer

Palm - pleco software - which dictionary ?

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wfujkramer

I want to buy pleco for palmpilot -

I have been told that I should buy the $99 package - the ABC and N(something) dictionary set. Living in china, this is already a lot of money for me to spend. Would it really (really, really) be worth the extra $20 to get the $119 package which includes those dictionaries plus the two oxford dictionaries? Considering the fact that I am going to lose my palmpilot within a week and not have enough money to replace it, I'd prefer to cut my losses short at $99 that will be useless to me in two weeks time instead of $120. Is there really an advantage to having the oxford set as well?

I talked to some people that have all 4 and they say they very rarely use the oxford dictionaries. comments?

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roddy

I think there's a post on here covering this, but can't find it at the moment. If I remember correctly, general opinion was that if $20 wasn't an issue they were worth getting for the sake of having extra example sentences, but otherwise you weren't likely to miss them. I don't have them, and have never regretted not getting them.

Roddy

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trevelyan

Just out of curiosity, why are you buying a dictionary application for a handheld system if you won't have it in two weeks?

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mikelove

I think he was referring to the possibility of losing it rather then the certainty of giving it up. (correct me if I'm wrong) Though I should point out that a cheap replacement Palm could be had dirt-cheap on eBay; if you hunt around you can get an m500 (and the 64MB SD card you'd need to install PlecoDict on it) for maybe $30-$40 total.

Anyway, in spite of the fact that we make more money from the Complete than the Professional version, I'd recommend sticking with the Professional - we didn't even offer a Complete version when PlecoDict was in beta, we added it by popular request when people kept writing to ask about the possibility of getting all of the dictionaries together. The extra example sentences are nice, but if you're trying to save money it's probably not worth the $20.

Michael Love

Pleco Software

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wfujkramer

It's a pleasure to read your comments Michael. I can't wait to try the product. As I'm sure you have guessed, I have heard this is the end-all product when it comes to dictionary software.

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beirne

I have the Oxford dictionary along with the NWP and ABC. Occasionally I'll look at it to try to get a different perspective on a word, but very rarely and it doesn't end up helping that much. What are useful are the Adsotrans and LDC dictionaries and they are free. While I wouldn't want to rely on them as my only dictionaries, sometimes they contain some obscure words that don't show up in the NWP or ABC. If you have room on your card I would download them after installing the Pleco with NWP and ABC.

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mikelove

wfujkramer - Thanks! I haven't been posting here much lately because we've been cranking away getting 1.0 for Pocket PC ready, but now that that's done I'll hopefully be able to contribute occasionally when Pleco- or PDA-related issues come up.

And the free dictionaries beirne mentions are quite good - we should be posting an updated version of the Adso one next week, actually, David is kindly supplying us with the latest SQL dump. At some point in the future we will hopefully be able to provide regular Adso updates, right now it would be problematic since flashcards created with one version won't link up to any other.

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sui.generis

Pleco is da bomb. I have never felt the need for another dictionary other than the Oxford, but some people were extremely excited for the new additions. I'll probably make my next dictionary purchase when they debut a Chinese-Chinese or some area-specific dictionaries (tech, sci, business, etc).

When I get my TX this week, I plan on loading up the Adso as well. Thanks to everyone who worked on making it availible to PD. I imagine, as an occasional NIC user, that it'll be pretty useful.

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wfujkramer

How do you get those free dictionaries you mentioned? Do they fit right into Pleco?

I wound up sending the whole $120 your way, Mike. The software is fine. It's the palm pilot that has been having problems - It seems the US charger doesn't work here in China on 220 volts, and I can't get a local version since the Zire-31 was never released in China. So, I have been using the USB trickle charger which does not seem to really work.... So, like my earlier prediction, I have $120 of software that I can't really use.

Has anyone else had this problem - bringing a US palm pilot to china? They seem to design the chargers to only accept US voltage so that you are forced to buy a travel kit (most other electronic components - laptops, Ipods, etc - use AC adapters that can accept any voltage between 110 and 240volts ) For me its the time as much as the the monetary rip of that is frustratingf - - I don't want to wait 3 weeks for this thing to possibly show up here in harbin.

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beirne
How do you get those free dictionaries you mentioned? Do they fit right into Pleco?

Instructions and download links are at http://www.pleco.com/dictaddons.html. They will go in the main memory if you have room or on the SD card with the other files.

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sui.generis

Palm's travel chargers are universal, and pretty cheap on ebay. I bought a kit before my trip that included various plugs, though with the power strips they have there, I wound up not needing them.

Are you using a laptop to do the trickle charge? I read that some laptop USB ports won't provide enough juice to support trickle.

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mikelove

wfujkramer - thanks for your purchase! There'll be updated versions of the Adso and CEDICT databases posted soon, so check back on that page in a few weeks for those.

On the charger front, two workarounds come to mind other than ordering the Palm travel kit: get a 220-to-110 voltage converter (just about any hardware store or electronics market should sell these) or find a dedicated USB power adapter (I've seen these in the US and I'm sure they have them in China too - power plugs on one side and a fully-powered USB port on the other). A powered USB hub would probably also work and might be easier to find.

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gato

I just bought a copy, too. I'm planning to make a fairly extensive use of the flashcard system. Its interface seems rather complicated. Maybe too many options. Since I used to be a programmer, I figured out a way to get it to do what I wanted, but I imagine a more novice user could be bewildered. Also, for some reason, I wasn't able to get a UTF-8 file imported correctly into a flashcard list. I got it working after converting it to GB encoding; however, the GB encoding PlecoDict uses is still the older version, which doesn't allow for the traditional characters that the newer GB does. Anyway, this is just a minor quirk. A great product, all in all.

Oh, by the way, I know that through the "Instant Access," one can highlight a word in another app and get a definition from Pleco. However, neither PalmReader nor iSilo on the Palm seems to allow highlighting of words, is there a way around this? Or can this feature only be used with an editor like DocsToGo?

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roddy

I gave up on trying to get iSilo to play nice with Plecodict, and wound up being very happy with Tealdoc for Chinese language reading / Pleco instant access. Mobipocket is my preferred document reader, but never been able to get it to display Chinese.

Roddy

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mikelove

Yeah, the flashcard system is less-than-intuitive in its current state; if you think that's bad you should have seen the original design (which had probably twice as many panels and was truly incomprehensible to anyone without an extensive technical background). We're overhauling the design completely for Pleco 2.0, which we'll be announcing some preliminary details about in a few weeks - the current system of lists/ranks/flags will be discarded completely, replaced by 'categories' and something we're currently referring to as 'optimization modules' but for which a cleverer name will no doubt emerge soon.

GBK support is another 2.0 feature, we didn't implement it originally because when we were designing 1.0 we weren't aware of any Chinese systems for Palm OS that supported GBK.

As for the iSilo issue, you could try checking the "Use clipboard" (and if you're really daring the "Experimental") boxes in the Characters section of Preferences - that should significantly improve Instant Access' compatibility with other programs. Unfortunately, if a program doesn't use the standard Palm OS system for drawing text then it's very difficult for us to pull out a selection from it.

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wfujkramer

I had to say that the tutorial/user manual is one of the best I've seen. In a really short period of time I got a pretty good feel for most of the less-than intuitive features of the program. The program is really packed with features that I would not have expected. The wildcard search is fantastic - often when I learn a character that seems to (initially) have a very limited definition/use I want to see every word the character is in to determine if it really is a useless character or not. An example would be looking up the character Mei2 which initially appears to just mean "mildew" (limited use). when you search for other words that use this character you find its in everything from "penicillin" to "bad luck" (useful)

It seems I can accomplish this goal by searching for $$ is that correct?

Two things that would be on my wishlist would be:

1) an option to reverse to a pinyin flashcard system - reading is easy for me, I want to be flashed with a pinyin and definition and see if I can write the character.

2) be able to use pleco on my laptop. If I'm at home I would prefer to use my computer's fullsize keyboard and screen to look up words or go through the flashcards. Would it be difficult to convert the palm file to run under windows xp?

otherwise thanks, great work.

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wfujkramer

I found I can get a full charge in about 12 hours from the laptop, which is fine if I'm not traveling. I also heard back from palm very quickly and they said the Zire 72 and Tungsten-E2 both use the same charger as the Zire-31 so hopefully I can get my hands on that in beijing today.

Thanks for the advice about the USB charger, that might be another good option. I already gave my palm to a delivery company in beijing to take it to the store to have them try it out to make sure it works with their charger. = I will probably never see the palm or the delivery company again.

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roddy
be able to use pleco on my laptop.

This is something I'm extremely keen to see. I know it's on a list of things to do at Pleco, and Mike just mentioned

future desktop versions.

in another topic.

So come on Mike, give us some more details. Out by summer, yeah? :mrgreen:

Roddy

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fatchance

My Zire72 was mailed from the States and I ran into the same problem with the charger. Went to the nearest electronics market (in Dalian) and picked up a converter for 20 yuan--maybe it was 10. It's a black box just like the charger--without the cord; with a socket on the back. Plug into the converter, then plug into the wall. Never a problem. Take the Palm charger with you and point to the "120V" etched into the back. They'll get the idea.

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stephanhodges
be able to use pleco on my laptop

I've also emailed Mike directly with that wish. Ironically, Palm has a specific license that they will give to developers to allow distribution of a simulator. I believe it's a customizable version (for copy protection, etc).

I have the standard simulator, and can run the DEMO version of plecodict on it. The DEMO version doesn't have the copy protection, however.

Maybe more sincere requests for a PC version will convince him!

BTW, it's really awesome running on a Tablet PC, where you can write the characters directly. :)

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