Are you ever at a loss for words? Whether you're writing an essay, a letter, a business proposal, or even a novel, there are inevitably times when the right word is just out of your mind's reach. In the old days, you might pick up a dictionary or thesaurus to find a specific word, but now most people know that resources on the Internet are only a couple of clicks away. There's one program I like to use, however, that's even easier than opening your Web browser.
If you spend any time with young children, you've been exposed to talking, beeping, musical toys. Most of them seem designed to annoy adults, but as good parents, we're willing to make the sacrifice if it keeps our children happy. Unfortunately, the average child's attention span for one of these toys is no more than three months, after which it sits in a corner, abandoned, until dad trips over it and sprains an ankle. Next stop: Freecycle.
This whole thing started weeks ago when fellow Craver Tim Moynihan posted a story on a vintage NES game controller and cartridge that had been modded into an MP3 player and portable speaker. Not to be outdone, I realized that my homebrew MP3 player, the Little Professor, needed an equally nostalgic portable speaker system. A quick look through my closet produced the most worthy candidate imaginable--a malfunctioning vintage Texas Instruments Speak & Spell, manufactured the same year as the Little Professor--the year of my birth, 1978. Excellent.
Transforming the Speak & Spell into a portable speaker system wasn't nearly … Read more
When Power Downloader recently sat down to check his e-mail, he quickly noticed a message from his niece, Kitty Kilobyte. In the message, Kitty explained that she would soon be attending a summer English class, which would mean she would probably be writing a lot of papers. She went on to explain that though she was embarrassed to admit it, spelling wasn't her greatest skill, and any software he could recommend would be a big help.… Read more
Gspell is a great little add-on for Mac users to add system-wide spelling recommendations from Google search results. For 10.4 users, Tiger's had spell-checking from the New Oxford American Dictionary built in, but even that has its limits when it comes to brand-new words and company names. Gspell's solution is to search Google to find spelling recommendations based on top results. This comes in handy when typing in people's last names, or site names that are slight variations of real words, such as Digg, Yelp, and CNET.
Gspell does have a few limitations. For one, it … Read more
Now this is a USB drive that comes preloaded with something we might actually use, as opposed to others we've seen recently. Tech Digest says Disgo is offering a 2GB storage key that carries the "Concise Oxford English Dictionary" so you'll never have an excuse for any typos. This could be invaluable for those of us who have become dependent on Web dictionaries but occasionally find ourselves without a Wi-Fi connection. (We don't trust automated spell checkers either.) It even has games designed to improve spelling skills, but we wouldn't recommend this as a … Read more