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Saturday 2 November 2013

Biscuit - App Review

The Americans and Brits don't totally agree on exactly what a biscuit represents. A British biscuit is a cookie in the States; an American cookie would be called a scone in Europe. Those of you into porcelain will also be familiar with the term 'biscuit' referring to the process of baking twice.

The developers of this App have redefined the word as "making dictionaries suck less and making your vocabulary more awesome"; the graphic images this conjures up, in its literal interpretation, are wonderful.

Now for the ACIDS test:

One you have signed in, you are presented with a list of dictionaries:

English to English
English to Spanish
English to French
English to Russian
English to German
English to Turkish
English to Chinese (Simplified)
English to Chinese ((Traditional)
English to Japanese
English to Korean

Pick whatever it is that interests you and just leave the App running.

Now go to whatever App you in which you want to read something. When you come across a word you don't know or want translated, simply highlight the word and press Copy. At the top of the page (in the notification area) you will see the translation or explanation, without leaving the App. In addition to this, every word you highlight is saved in the App (more about this later). This is very different to having to switch to another App (or a heavy tome) to get your translation.

If you then touch the notification, you are taken to the Biscuit App. Here again, things are different. Apart from seeing a listing of the words that have previously interested you, you have the ability to touch them and be reminded of the definition/translation.

You can also enter a word directly from within the App and, most importantly, as all the information is downloaded with the App; there is no need to be connected to the Internet.

This works just like a flash card system. Once you are happy that you have memorised a word (or just want to get it out of your biscuit box, flick it to the left... and it joins your memorised words.

If you're still not impressed (you are obviously hard to please), you can have the words spoken to you. This requires the information to be downloaded but then, it is always at your fingertips.

You can also choose to have the App quiz you during the hours that you choose, with the number of words that you require, at intervals during the day. This is excellent if you are learning a language.

Provided you have an Evernote account (and if you haven't what are you doing?), you can get a beautifully laid out list of your words and translations/definitions which you can then consult wherever and whenever you want.

And now, at least in theory, for the nec plus ultra (roughly translated into British as the dog's juicy bits). Take a photograph of a page of text and have it turned into... text. The words in this text are then added to your list, which in turn you can find on your Evernote account in a Notebook called 'Biscuit' (now there's a coincidence).

In some ways these guys have chosen to reinvent the wheel but, you know what, maybe, just maybe, round is not the best shape.

Not only is the App free (at least for now) but, the fact that the dictionaries are downloaded means no roaming charges when you are abroad (and a dictionary becomes essential).

If you never use a dictionary of any kind whatsoever, you don't need this App... and I would be stunned if you are still reading this review.

It's worth noting that the App is still showing as 'Beta', so must be allowed some leeway... and at the price, it's not too much to ask for.

The English voice seems to change from American to British, and male to female, which, in one way lacks consistency but, in another, helps you to get used to differences.

The App only seems to work from English, which then means that the voice doesn't give you the pronunciation, or at least I couldn't get it to work in that way.

You need to either join by email, or sign in with your Facebook account.

Additionally, not connecting your Evernote account will deny you some useful features.

ACIDS Test Rating:

This App really takes the biscuit (sorry, couldn't resist).

To find out how the ACIDS Test works, click here.

You can get Biscuit here and support for the App here.

1 comment:

  1. The developer advises that there has been an update to version 3.9.2 of the App.

    This includes the following enhancements and alterations:

    - "Bake it" time limit
    Due to changes in Apple policy, the amount of time that Biscuit's "Bake it" can run in the background has been reduced from 30 minutes to 3 minutes for iOS7 and to 10 minutes for iOS6.

    - New design for iPad
    - Sync with Evernote and Dropbox
    - Added English-Italian and English-Portuguese dictionaries
    - You can now change your password
    - Voice feature does not make a problem with iCloud backup any more
    - Bug fixes


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