silly thesaurus?

Plumb Design came up with what they call their Visual Thesaurus. I played with it a little, but I have to admit: I don't get it. It's very confusing.

First, I hate having stuff float all over the screen while I'm trying to read something. Second, when I'm using a thesaurus, I'm looking for just the right word, with just the right nuance, which this application doesn't seem to provide.

When I put my mouse over a word, I expect to see the definition. But no, I don't get that unless I put my mouse over a red dot--though WHICH word the red dot represents isn't obvious. At all. Clicking on a word changes the display to another set of words, all related somehow. If you see a red dashed line, I think it means "antonym."

The biggest pain is trying to go back up the path to get back to your original word, perhaps because you saw a likely candidate along the way and want to find it again. Using the visual map, at any rate. On the right side of the little screen you can see the text-based path, and read definitions, though it's not at all obvious which definition attaches to which word.

Maybe I'm missing something, but it seems like a toy rather than anything useful. I sure wouldn't shell out $2.95 per month for it unless someone could actually demonstrate that it would be useful to me. And show me how to make the fonts on the right side a LOT bigger -- like big enough to read.

Maybe the reason I don't see any point to this "application" is that I expect a thesaurus to be a thesaurus and this does not appear to be a thesaurus. If it's not really a thesaurus, what is it? Maybe if they named it appropriately?

Well, it was fun to play with. I must admit I had neither the time nor the patience to read the 13-page explanation of what it is and how to use it. I figure if something is billed as a visual tool, I shouldn't need to read 13 pages of explanation.

I'd rather just read the dictionary -- much more interesting and much less frustrating.
Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/19/04 at 04:13 PM
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