TOY BOX: Some nice words on talking dictionary

Confession time. I love words, but I can't spell. Spellcheckers saved my journalism career, even though I seem to find ways around them sometimes.

Confession time. I love words, but I can't spell. Spellcheckers saved my journalism career, even though I seem to find ways around them sometimes.

My need for spelling salvation helps explain why I enjoyed Franklin's Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary 11th Edition talking dictionary.

The hand-held device is a dictionary/thesaurus that speaks when you ask it to pronounce words. It also has a clever feature that shows you words that can be confused with ones you type in - i.e. "threw" and "through" - so you can avoid using the wrong word in a written presentation.

You can create word lists and even have it quiz you in a spelling bee that includes an SAT-word version - handy if you have kids taking college-entry exams.

On the fun side, games include a word-version of Tetris and a letter poker game. Old standbys like Hangman and Jumble also are included. Try the higher difficulty levels or you'll get bored.

In all, this a fun device that has many practical functions.

Any suggestions for gadgets we should try? Send them to toybox@prweek.com

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Price $99.99

Available at Best Buy, Circuit City, Sharper Image, Office Max, select Borders, Amazon.com, Staples.com, and Franklin.com.

Specs Definitions for more than 200,000 words, thesaurus with 500,000 synonyms. Uses phonetic spell correction for hard- to-spell words. Dimensions: 5.125" x 3.5" x .5"

  • John N. Frank writes Toy Box. He is the Chicago-based Midwest bureau chief for PRWeek

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