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Old 12-17-2010, 12:43 PM   #1
bld
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HOW-TO: clean up that dictionary (for your pocketbook)

Hello from a long time lurker, first time poster!

Having recently bought a Pocketbook 360, I discovered there were no decent English dictionaries available for it. I tried downloading the available .dic dictionaries but they seemed all to be badly converted. All had weird square characters or formatting codes rendered in the text.

Example from a Russian forum:



Uh-oh! Well, here's how to get a clean dictionary:

1. Start with a .dsl format dictionary. The one I used: "Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, 5th edition, 2009 г. ". Don't ask me where to get one. Just acquire a dictionary that you like in an acceptable way.

2. Unpack the library if it the download is compressed. You get a big (>100MB) .dsl file.

3. Open the .dsl file with a nice text editor. Programming editors are preferred because of regular expression support. I used EditPad Pro, the trial is free and fully functional.

4. Start searching and replacing! Some corrections are simple search & replace and some use regular expression. Though my command of regex is very primitive... The phrases are also in a separate text file to conserve characters.

In the dictionary I chose there were ugly square characters. The solution was a simple replace:

Code:
Replace
‧ with • (bullet in Windows Character Map)
⇨ with → (Rightwards Arrow in Windows Character Map)
After this the dictionary is already quite a bit more aesthetic!

Some optional tweaking:

Code:
Regular expression (explanation in parentheses):

{{.*?}} (remove {{Roman}} tags)
\[sup\][0-9]\[/sup\] (use?)
\([0-9]\) (?)

Remove unused speech samples:
\[p\].*?E\[/p\] \[s\].*?wav\[/s\] \[p\].*?E\[/p\] \[s\].*?wav\[/s\] 
\[p\].*?E\[/p\] \[s\].*?wav\[/s\] (as with above)
\[s\].*?wav\[/s\]

\[b\]\[c .*?\] [SW][0-9]\[/c\]\[/b\] + normal replace  AC (S1,W1 etc. are word frequency markings, "AC" marks academic words)

\[c .*?\] (and normal replace [/c] & [c]) (remove color tags, obvisously not used in a B&W device)
There is still more useless stuff (not used or displayed on a Pocketbook) to remove, but the gains are small. Few irregularities are perhaps still present (double spaces etc.) but this a tiny annoyance in my opinion.

5. Save your edited dictionary.

6. Convert the dictionary. I have attached the converter (version 4.1, from the-ebook.ru forum) to this post. Should be virus free (scanned with F-Secure).

A) Unpack the converter in a convenient directory, for example: c:\dic

B) Transfer the edited .dsl dictionary to this directory

C) open a dos prompt and navigate to this directory.

D) use command "converter.exe dictionary_name.dsl eng" to convert your dictionary. Use de/rus/etc in place of eng if your device keyboard is in another language.

7. Transfer the created .dic dictionary to your device and enjoy!
Attached Files
File Type: txt replace.txt (1.3 KB, 84 views)
File Type: zip Converter 4.1.zip (1.01 MB, 94 views)
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Old 12-17-2010, 11:36 PM   #2
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I wont buy this device, without a decent English dictionary any ereader is useless.
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Old 12-18-2010, 02:51 AM   #3
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Mine had a decent English-German one, and I have since obtained other, larger dictionaries without any of these issues.
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Old 12-18-2010, 05:36 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greenhat View Post
I wont buy this device, without a decent English dictionary any ereader is useless.
there are at least three free dictionaries on this forum, you can check post number 8 in this thread.

One question though - will the Pocketbook (I am talking 903, but I guess it applies to all models) read a .mobi dictionary, or should it be converted? hope this question is not too stupid
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Old 12-18-2010, 06:45 AM   #5
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Pocketbook uses a fairly obscure format called .dic. I've seen StarDict dictionaries ported to it, but not .mobi ones.
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Old 12-18-2010, 08:32 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greenhat View Post
I wont buy this device, without a decent English dictionary any ereader is useless.
The Pocketbook line is hardly lacking for dictionaries; english, spanish or russian. Or french, german or italian. I've seen chinese and other languages, too.
For that matter thesaurii and encyclopedias are also available.
All wor with the PB360 and IQ (I've verified it personally) and the other eink models, too.
The converter is easy enough to use and even pre-converted files are available.
You just need to do a bit of hunting on the net.
(Google translate is your friend.)

And that is before getting into the mythical "20 Lingvo Dictionaries" scheduled to appear Real-Soon-Now...
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Old 12-18-2010, 10:56 AM   #7
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If I recall correctly, the edition with dictionaries did appear.
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Old 12-18-2010, 12:08 PM   #8
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It is true that there are many dictionaries available for the Pocketbooks. Sadly, no commercial ones (except perhaps in .epub or .mobi format). All the dictionaries you can use from the interface (instead of a separate book) are converted from sources in a different format available on the internet and because of this they vary in quality.

The last post of this thread contains a link to a good site with many fine English dictionaries.
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Old 12-18-2010, 12:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bld View Post
It is true that there are many dictionaries available for the Pocketbooks. Sadly, no commercial ones (except perhaps in .epub or .mobi format). All the dictionaries you can use from the interface (instead of a separate book) are converted from sources in a different format available on the internet and because of this they vary in quality.

The last post of this thread contains a link to a good site with many fine English dictionaries.
What is the quality of the free ENGLISH dictionaries?? are they easy and smart to use? concise or huge?
Do you have to leave the book application just to look up for one word or not?
thanks
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Old 12-18-2010, 12:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greenhat View Post
What is the quality of the free ENGLISH dictionaries?? are they easy and smart to use? concise or huge?
Do you have to leave the book application just to look up for one word or not?
thanks
Quality: It varies. Copies of the commercials dictionaries (Longman, Oxford, Merriam-Webster's, etc.) are very good in quality (especially after a bit of tweaking). The only legally obtainable English dictionary (as far as I know) is the 1913 Webster's Unabridged. It has about 100k words, doesn't have contemporary words and (I hear) often the spelling is archaic.

Size: This is of course according to the dictionary, for example the Longman has 230k words.

Ease: .dic dictionaries work from inside the book application and you can look up a word with a few button pushes: open the menu -> choose dictionary application -> navigate to the right word on the page. I like it a lot (taking account the other good qualities of the PB360).

Other readers perhaps have superior functionality if a dictionary is of the greatest importance to you: on the Sony touchscreen readers you can lookup a word by tapping it (certainly less work than on the Pocketbook). And they come with a Oxford dictionary. I hear the kindle also has good quality dictionaries. However, with them you can't choose the dictionary by preference, you are stuck with the manuafacturer's choice.

Last edited by bld; 12-18-2010 at 12:46 PM.
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Old 12-18-2010, 02:10 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bld View Post
I hear the kindle also has good quality dictionaries. However, with them you can't choose the dictionary by preference, you are stuck with the manuafacturer's choice.
Kindle sells a zillion dictionaries and you get choose freely.

As to the legality of the other dicts floating around, most seem to be PD. Others seem to be screenscraped from commercial products and their legality will vary by country. Dictionaries are essentially databases of facts and in many countries you can't copyright facts. In others you can only copyright the arrangement/organization of data.
Pretty much a gray area.

Most of the ones I'm using come from the open source repositories and they get the job done for me.
Given that some of the stuff I read is PC classics the 1913 Webstters is useful because it contains a lot of the older usages.

Last edited by fjtorres; 12-18-2010 at 02:17 PM.
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Old 12-18-2010, 02:53 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by fjtorres View Post
Kindle sells a zillion dictionaries and you get choose freely.
I stand corrected, although there doesn't seem to be that many of the big English dictionaries. Quick search found Oxford Dictionary of English, Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Merriam-Webster's Advanced Learner's Dictionary and WordNet3.

Quote:
As to the legality of the other dicts floating around, most seem to be PD. Others seem to be screenscraped from commercial products and their legality will vary by country. Dictionaries are essentially databases of facts and in many countries you can't copyright facts. In others you can only copyright the arrangement/organization of data.
Pretty much a gray area.
It's black enough for this forum to forbid direct links and attachments of said dictionaries. I'd also say that the effort to explain a word in a useful way (to a student, for example) constitutes original work. It's not just a fact you discover if you hear/read a word. However, as said, laws vary country by country. And a man's ethics are his own.

Last edited by bld; 12-18-2010 at 03:04 PM.
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Old 12-18-2010, 03:18 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by bld View Post
Quality: It varies. Copies of the commercials dictionaries (Longman, Oxford, Merriam-Webster's, etc.) are very good in quality (especially after a bit of tweaking). The only legally obtainable English dictionary (as far as I know) is the 1913 Webster's Unabridged. It has about 100k words, doesn't have contemporary words and (I hear) often the spelling is archaic.

Size: This is of course according to the dictionary, for example the Longman has 230k words.

Ease: .dic dictionaries work from inside the book application and you can look up a word with a few button pushes: open the menu -> choose dictionary application -> navigate to the right word on the page. I like it a lot (taking account the other good qualities of the PB360).

Other readers perhaps have superior functionality if a dictionary is of the greatest importance to you: on the Sony touchscreen readers you can lookup a word by tapping it (certainly less work than on the Pocketbook). And they come with a Oxford dictionary. I hear the kindle also has good quality dictionaries. However, with them you can't choose the dictionary by preference, you are stuck with the manuafacturer's choice.
what kind of English dictionary you have succeeded to install for free in your PB360 so far?
Is is it a good modern dictionary or just a an archaic outdated one ?

I was thinking to buy the sony pocket version, but I didn't really liked it when I saw it in the store, it lacks a hard cover, it looks fragile and weird I didn't like at all its look.
I don't like touch screen technology too the drawing stylus idea is just disguising to me .
I prefer something like PK360 without any touch screen and few buttons but with a good dictionary.
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Old 12-18-2010, 05:24 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greenhat View Post
what kind of English dictionary you have succeeded to install for free in your PB360 so far?
Is is it a good modern dictionary or just a an archaic outdated one ?
I have now in my PB360 only the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English (5th edition, 2009). It required some editing to display perfectly (detailed in the first post). In my opinion it is superb now, the best dictionary I ever had. It is very easy to use while reading a book and so far I have found every word I have searched for.

I also tested the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary (8th edition, 2010). It works fine, but I prefer the Longman.

Quote:
I was thinking to buy the sony pocket version, but I didn't really liked it when I saw it in the store, it lacks a hard cover, it looks fragile and weird I didn't like at all its look.
I don't like touch screen technology too the drawing stylus idea is just disguising to me .
I prefer something like PK360 without any touch screen and few buttons but with a good dictionary.
If you want the hard cover, then there really isn't any other options than the PB360. I think you can use the PRS-350 with a finger, so no need to use a stulys. I'd suggest using the comparison matrix and looking at the "dictionary lookup" row for each reader.

As a summary I'd say you can get an excellent dictionary for the PB360 if you are willing to put some DIY into it and are willing to acquire the dictionary from a dubious source. Other readers (for example Kindle 3, Sony readers) offer better/easier out-of-box experience and official versions of dictionaries that you can buy.
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Old 12-18-2010, 06:31 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bld View Post
I have now in my PB360 only the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English (5th edition, 2009). It required some editing to display perfectly (detailed in the first post). In my opinion it is superb now, the best dictionary I ever had. It is very easy to use while reading a book and so far I have found every word I have searched for.

I also tested the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary (8th edition, 2010). It works fine, but I prefer the Longman.



If you want the hard cover, then there really isn't any other options than the PB360. I think you can use the PRS-350 with a finger, so no need to use a stulys. I'd suggest using the comparison matrix and looking at the "dictionary lookup" row for each reader.

As a summary I'd say you can get an excellent dictionary for the PB360 if you are willing to put some DIY into it and are willing to acquire the dictionary from a dubious source. Other readers (for example Kindle 3, Sony readers) offer better/easier out-of-box experience and official versions of dictionaries that you can buy.
According to their user guide, you have to use the stylus for tiny areas, I have downloaded 24 user guides so far and put them in one folder, Poketbook 360 seems to please me a lot.
No frills, no extra buttons, no stylus, no touch screen !
Due the E ink screen refreshing limitations, those gadgets are not meant for word processing or drawing, since both of those operations require high refreshing rate, any keyboards or stylus would be like a burden rather then a useful tool.
Sony pocket version is like a car built with huge wings but not intended to fly.
One of the weirdest use of Sony stylus is hand writing annotations ! you write some "text" on the screen, BUT you have to name it using the virtual keyboard in order to be able to locate it using the search engine.
This a waste of time and memory.
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