Take Our Word For It Issue 166
Aug 17, 2002 12:06 PDT
Take Our Word For It Issue 166
For Mac users who have trouble with our regular homepage:
Twelve hours late? Did anyone notice?
**This Week's Issue**
NOTE: The links in this newsletter are good for August16-August 23 only
(unless the next issue is delayed).
In Spotlight, we speak of brightness :
In Words to the Wise,we bring you the following words/phrases:
the jig is up
I should cocoa
In Curmudgeons' Corner there is up to one complaint or more
In Sez You... we hear about skoal, more importantly, I've already got
one, isinglass, donkey's (y)ears, not available in all areas, and
aficionado = amateur (lover).
In Laughing Stock we provide some pilot humor
This week, instead of a NOE (newsletter-only etymology), we provide a
review of the latest version of the OED (Oxford English Dictionary) on
CD-ROM, second edition, version 3.0.
It was a dickens to install! We had to uninstall several TSRs
(Terminate and Stay Resident programs, or programs running in the
background in Windows) before the software would run, and even then it
was spotty. We discovered that the data CD was badly scratched, and so
we arranged to have it replaced. The OED folks in the U.S. were very
helpful and we were back in business within a week. With an unscathed
CD, the program was quick and accurate. (We received a similar
complaint from a reader who purchased the OED through our bookstore; we
have yet to hear whether her problems were remedied to her
This version differs from the previous one in that CD authentication is
required only infrequently (once every few months, we are told). This
entails being prompted to insert the installation CD and let the CD-ROM
reader whir and spin a few times. Once that is over, one is ready for
uninterrupted searching for another several months. This authentication
process is used by Oxford to prevent illegal copying of the disks.
Additionally, while the previous version was frightfully buggy and had
conflicts with virus protection software, among others, this one seems
relatively free of such bugs. While the previous version locked up our
computers fairly frequently, requiring reboots, we have not had this
version lock up our PCs to date.
The interface is quite pleasant. One can do simple or complex (boolean)
searches. That is very useful, especially if one is searching for
phrases instead of single words. Etymologies, pronunciation,
quotations, and various spellings of the word can be displayed or not.
Word timelines can also be viewed -- this gives one a good visual tool.
In the advanced search, word entries or quotations may be searched, a
handy feature. There is also a "find in page" feature that is quite
helpful for the avid researcher.
There is apparently a bookmark feature, but we have yet to spend time to
figure it out. Under "About the OED" on the main "home" page of the
software, the prefatory material from print editions of the OED is
available in hypertext format. This includes a list of abbreviations,
which is necessary in a work of this magnitude. This version of the OED
on CD-ROM also includes material from the "Additions" series of 1993 and
1997. There is decent online help, for those who don't like to read
manuals (though the manual is relatively small) or who need help on the
All in all, we give this softare good marks, especially when comparing
it to previous unwieldy and buggy versions. Do make sure that your
computer meets the software's requirements before you buy, however: it
requires a PC with a minimum 200 MHz Pentium-class processor; 32 MB of
RAM (64 recommended; we have 120 MB but still had some initial
problems); 16-speed CD-ROM drive (32-speed recommended; ours is a
32-speed); Windows 95, 98, Me, NT, 2000 or XP (one of our computers has
Windows 98; the other has 2000 and it encountered a few minor but
irritating problems with the OED software); 1.1 GB hard disk space to
run the OED from the CD-ROM, and 1.7 GM to install the CD-ROM to the
hard disk (we run it from the CD-ROM); an SVGA monitor at 800 x 600
pixels, 16-bit setting recommended. Note that this program is not
networkable and there is not a version for the Mac.
This product is available in our bookstore. TOWFI readers get a 10%
We encourage you to send us funny photos, clippings or e-letters that
you run across, because if we use yours in Laughing Stock, you will win
a $10 gift certificate to Amazon.com! This week's winner is Robert
Fein, and his gift cetificate is on the way!
We are still in need of laugh-inducing photos or clippings!
Keep that curmudgeonry coming!
We've received about $100 in response to our plea for assistance last
week. We will update the Donors page very soon to reflect the names of
these generous individuals. For those who have not made a donation,
please consider giving even $5, and remember that $5/year (or even per
month!) is much less than one would pay for a subscription to most print
newsletters or magazines. We are going to leave our "pledge drive"
pleas on the pages for the time being.
Here's a brief rundown of our monthly costs to operate the website
alone: $40/month in web hosting fees, $50/month in web access fees, $40
a month in gift certificates to "Laughing Stock" winners, and our time
(which we, perhaps egotistically, feel is priceless!). We make an
average of $50/quarter from Amazon.com and nothing from our
commission-based advertisers (we'll be removing that advertising soon.
If any one of you wishes to advertise, please write us.)
We should be back next week (computer and internet connectivity problems
notwithstanding!) with a new issue!
Until next time,
Take Our Word For It!
Melanie and Mike