Expand MacOS Built-in Dictionary

Two months ago, I purchased a Mid 2012 version 13″ MacBook Air with Mac OS 10.8.2 Mountain Lion installed1. It did not take a very long time for me to be familiar with the basic operation of the new OS. I know MacOS has a built-in dictionary application, and sometimes I use it to learn some new words I saw online, since I have been used to look up the new words on Merriam Webster online dictionary2. A couple of days ago, I took a test to estimate my English vocabulary online, which made me resume learning English again. Also, it is a good way to learn English by reading newspaper and professional textbooks and articles. Obviously, more and more new words I could see. Then I did research on how to expand the Dictionary application built-in MacOS. It is possible to add more dictionaries into the application from the online resources. I followed the steps shown in an article [Mac]使用系统自带的词典程序快速取词翻译(fast pick-and-translate the words using built-in dictionary application)3.

To expand the Dictionary application, we need a small tool name DictUnifier, which is free and could be downloaded from google codes4. Also, the must have dictionaries could be downloaded from StarDict Dictionaries5.

After having downloaded the DictUnifier and dictionaries, open the software and drag the dictionary file into the software, wait until the file is uncompressed, convert, and put into the folder automatically. Then setup the Dictionary in the Preference, such as the preferred dictionaries and the sequence of the dictionaries.

Finally, with the correct dictionary, you will know the meaning of a word in any language to another language with the application.

1. Apple MacBook Air specifications

2. Merriam Webster online dictionary

3.[Mac]使用系统自带的词典程序快速取词翻译(fast pick-and-translate the words using built-in dictionary application)

4.Mac Dictionary Kit

5.StarDict Dictionaries — 星际译王词库 词典下载



A couple of hours ago, suddenly all the pdf files on the desktop of my laptop disappeared with several application software and many folders. One of the folder contains the updated files of my research work. I am not sure whether I have met exactly the same situation before, while I believe that is not the first time that I lost my data. I began using Ontrack® EasyRecoveryTM Professional since 2002. Not only EasyRecovery but also FinalData could recover the lost data or unintentionally deleted data. From my personal experience, I prefer to EasyRecovery much more.

If the lost data contain some common used format files, such as word, excel or powerpoint, the software have special recover program for each format. I remember that I helped my colleagues to recover bunches of reports, data, and presentations. Since EasyRecovery doesn’t have such a module,  I almost successfully recovered all the pdf files today.

No software is perfect, and EasyRecovery is not an exceptional case. There are still some pdf files are not fully recovered. One of them only gives a name but no content at all. Also, I tried recover some word files before, but the results disappointed me a lot.

In nowadays, the hard drives run more quickly than before. Also, the size of theirs are by far larger than before. Therefore, the hard drives seem to be more fragile. Thus, all of us should remember the most important thing is backup. Even, more than one backups should prevent the damage from the disasters. Maybe solid state drive is another choice, but the threshold is too high for most user. The online storage offers one more option to keep the data, which also could remotely accessed. The internet connection is a must under such a situation. Besides, the net speed is concerned. Eatra money is needed, and the quality is not fully guaranteed.

OpenOffice.org and Kingsoft Office 2010

The trial version of Microsoft Office 2010 on my laptop has been expired early today. I had to uninstall the software suite and try to find an alternative. I have a genuine copy of Microsoft Office 2003 bought on campus several years ago. Unfortunately I do not bring the disk with me. Thus, I had to give Microsoft Office up.

As I know, there are several alternative software to Microsoft Office. I used Kingsoft WPS which stands for Word Processing System on MS-DOS operating system, and its successors, WPS 97 and WPS Office series. The personal edition of Kingsoft WPS Office (Chinese) is free for all Chinese users. This time, I chose another free office suite, OpenOffice.org or OOo, which could be run on multi-platform. The latest stable version is 3.2.1, while I selected the release candidate, 3.3.0. This office suites includes OOo Writer(similar to MS Word), Base (MS Access), Calc(MS Excel), Impress (MS PowerPoint), Draw (CorelDraw), and Math (MS Equation Editor). A snapshot of OOo could be found at the end of this paragraph. The free software suite could be satisfied the needs of MS Office users, but also provide some extra applications, such as exporting the file into PDF format without Adobe Acrobat. Up to now I am used to the one I have never used before.

A Snapshot of OpenOffice.org Office Suite

BTW, the row between Tencent QQ and Qihoo 360 sounded the alarm of privacy security. It is said that both of them may grab the users’ personal information on the computer without notice. And now they are exclusive of each other. I do not care about it that much, because I seldom use either of them now. In fact the row offers their competitors an opportunity to give help to the users. Kingsoft Duba(Internet Security, and/or Anti-Virus Suites) and Kaspersky Lab could be used for one year without paying any money in China Mainland market. If you are interested, you need to visit their Chinese websites. There are bunches of free software online, I believe if you want you can have a computer which could satisfy the daily needs without paying a penny on software.

WordPress Replaces Windows Live Spaces

Yesterday, Microsoft announced that it would migrate all Windows Live Spaces blogs over to WordPress.com platform1. Long time ago (I am not sure the exact time, maybe 4 or 5 years ago), I set up an account on Windows Live Spaces, but I did not write too much there. Actually I used Xanga.com for a couple of years. Early this year, I regarded http://my.opera.com as notebook for my lab work with restriction. Once I got to know that WordPress blogging is integrated with linkedin.com, I determined to open a blog here. The purpose of this blog is going to show my ideas about life, science and others except for my personal life. I think it is really strange to expose my private to unanimous.

From the above words, the migration has no effect on my blog. According to the report, more than 30 million users have to begin using the new platform2. Microsoft gave an answer why Spaces is going to move to WordPress.com instead of upgrading itself3. In a word, at least Spaces is not so good as WordPress.com2. There is a hypothesis that Microsoft is going to acquire WorldPress.com in the future for this announcement2.

From the Q&A, there are four options for Windows Live Spaces users:

  • Upgrade your blog by migrating to WordPress.com.
  • Download your blog to your computer.
  • Delete your space permanently.
  • Wait and see in the next few months3.

Based on the Q&A, the migration is automatic with limitations. The old posts (including the comments, the photos and other media integrated with the post) are ok, but the drafts, modules (including the photos in the module), themes, gadgets, guestbook, lists, and notes could not be moved4.


1. Windows Live Spaces moves to WordPress.

2. Microsoft culls Windows Live Spaces for WordPress.com-acquisition possible?

3. Why is Spaces moving to WordPress?

4. Please Read: FAQs concerning moving your Space to WordPress.

Web Browsers

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned Maxthon when I introduced JDownloader. That is the latest web browser I am using. On Sep. 15th, Microsoft unveiled  Internet Explorer 9 Public Beta in San Francisco, CA. To be honest, I am not very interested in IE since I got to know Opera, Firefox, and Chrome. Especially when I saw some snapshots of IE 9, I found it has now much more similarity with the above 3 web browsers, such as the most visited webpages, and download tools. I heard that IE 9 runs fast, but I cannot experience and proof it now because I only have Windows XP on hands, which could not be compatible with IE 9. Before 2000, there were few web browsers on the market, such as IE and Netscape Navigator. At that time, IE was integrated with Windows, the Operating System. Later, Microsoft was accused of monopoly abuse over IE for several times by United States government1 and European Commission2. I began using Firefox because of Google. Before Chrome, Google recommended Firefox. I used Netscape Navigator for a while. The computer in the lab I have the administrator privilege still has it. Now Chrome and Opera are the most frequently used web browsers I am using. I cannot tell which one runs faster. To protect the computer and avoid the ad on the webpages, I use Opera much more. I believe Google Chrome is more compatible with the service Google provides, in fact which has not been confirmed, yet.

1. United States v. Microsoft.

2. Microsoft accused of monopoly abuse over IE.


Today I am going to introduce a free download manager, JDownloader. One year or two ago I started using this software once I need something that has been stored online. I found it on a forum, where people always exchange software information. The Java written open source software allows the automatic download of files and split files from one-click hosting sites, such as Rapidshare, Megaupload, Hotfile, and depositfiles, etc. Recently, I found a new use of JDownloader. As we know, Google has a service Google books, with which people could search and preview the full text of books online. To protect the copyrights, Google does not allow copy and store the contents of the books, even you cannot read all the contents of the books. If you tried, you would find that each time if you read the same book, the pages you could read are different. Ten days ago (Aug. 29th, 2010), I found a book in the service, and occasionally copy the link into JDownloader. To my surprise, the download manager fetched some pages of the book from the web. But, the speed is very slow. Within the ten days, only 17 pages have been downloaded into my computer. Technically the software could do this job, since the speed may disappoint you. Is this a bug? Possibly. I am not trying to teach people how to crack the service and grab the books with free. If someone from Google read this post, would you please send me some money for this finding? 🙂

Update 1:

The pages on Google Books could be downloaded by JDownloader any more I guess, because the response seems to be different from before. 😦

Update 2:

A couple of hours ago, I found another way to download books from Google Books. I installed Maxthon1, a China-based freeware web browser for Microsoft windows. Then, I downloaded a plugin, ViewPage2, which can analyze the webpage, including the pictures. Each page of the books could be recognized as a picture by the software. Till now, I have downloaded 48 pages, 31 pages more than before. I guess if I wanted to download more, I had to change a computer or IP address. Hopefully that will work for me.

1. Downloading the e-books from Google Books Using Maxthon (Chinese).

2. Instruction to ViewPage, a Plug-in of Maxthon (Chinese).

iPhone’s Problem 1

Last week, there was something wrong with my cell phone, iPhone 1st generation. I robbed this one from my wife one year ago. As we know, usually iPhone was sold with AT&T contract within US. This one is refurbished and sold without the contract. Most of time I am on campus, where there is wi-fi provided. It is not worthy spending extra money on data plan. During the past year, it worked very well for me. I do not have many calls every day, since I have a lot of contacts on my list. Several days ago, I called my friend, but there was no response when I pressed the numbers on the touchscreen. Then I tried to call them via VoIP, which transmit phone calls through wireless internet. The weired thing was that my friend could call me and I could pick up the phone. Google offered me a lot of help as usual. There are two choices that could solve the problem. One is resetting network settings, and the other is showing my caller ID. I tried both, but only the former works.