December 12, 2007

Stedman28 review

My parents got me an early xmas present ... a new phone/PDA! I'm thrilled about it; it has a camera and email and all that jazz my original nokia block phone did not have. It also means new programs! I'm shopping aroung to find medical software for my Windows mobile and I noticed a lack of critical reviews on a lot of things. Reading reviews like "THX SO MUCH OMG" and "I love this program! Keep up the great work!" are nice and all... but very uninformative.

I thought I'd do my blogger duty and contribute my opinions to the all-powerful google cache.


My first review is on my most-used program on my old PDA... Stedman28. It is the 28th edition of Stedman's dictionary and I purchased a cool combo of hardcover book, PDA software and accompanying spellchecker last year. I don't remember the price, but it was WELL-WORTH it. Just having the spellchecker makes you seem more intelligent; spelling out words like chondrocalcinosis or progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy with autocorrect is beautiful.

The nice thing about Stedman28 is the simplicity of use. Just write out the word and it flips through the index until it finds the one you're looking for! The definitions usually match up with those from the electronic Stedman's Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing 1.0... so the hardcover book had a few more details (and pictures!) of items not included in the e-version.

Now for the critique.
Stedman28 takes too long to use. Here's the steps I have to go through to get my definitions:
Since my 1 year subscription expired, I get a message that says:

"Stedman expiry status: your subscription expired on 06/27/2007. Please renew
now for continued access to product updates and Skyscape support.

I have to click a red x to move through that alert message. I don't like the renewal model... when I buy a textbook, the first page I open up to doesn't say "sorry, you've owned this book for more than a year, please buy our new version"... why should it be any different with an e-book?!? I don't want my programs to harass me.
Then I have to select the correct word list index. As you can see from the above graphic, the menu is split between the A-L and the M-Z list. If you are in the wrong index, i.e. searching for the word "neuron" in the A-L section, it chirps at you a bunch of times as it scrolls all the way to the end of "L."
If I search for a word like "NANC neuron" or "motor neuron," it takes me to the broader definition of "neuron" and then I have to scroll down the list until I find the correct word. Sometimes this can take a long time because of the number of words clustered in the list.

I give this program an B+. I have never had any technical difficulties and the word list is impressive. There are a few eponyms that it misses, but those are easily caught by the Eponym program (review to come.)

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