Android! (and OCR!)

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mikelove

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goulniky said:
And despite similar thinking with iPad, I have decided to get one even sooner, so I will need to take a close look at the Pleco policy on upgrades. The question is, what's the deal with 2 devices (i.e. WM+iPad, then iPhone+iPad), is there a bundle deal available? I know about the licence issue, but that's basically a single user license as I couldn't possibly be using more than one device at once.
It's kind of awkward because of the way our licenses with publishers worked out viz-a-viz Apple's sales policies. Basically, if you buy a new copy of Pleco on an iDevice (iPhone / iPod / iPad), it can also simultaneously be used with any other device that syncs with the same iTunes account, but if you transfer a license over from Palm / Windows Mobile it can only be used on a single device at a time. And since there's no possibility for a "Card ID" lock on iPhone like there was on Palm/WM, this effectively limits you to one Pleco device with a transferred license. So basically, you'd buy a copy of Pleco for your iPad but then you could use that same copy on your iPhone (and keep your WM device around as a perfectly validly-licensed backup), or you'd buy a low-end bundle of Pleco for your iPad but then transfer over your higher-end bundle from your WM device to your new iPhone.

goulniky said:
Thx (and BTW, I no longer seem to get the email announcements for some reason)
Sorry about that - you can sign up for them again at http://www.pleco.com/company.html.
 

mikelove

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goulniky said:
Cool - thanks Michael.
(Gotta pop in next in I'm in NY, would love to meet the team if only for a few minutes)
We're actually somewhat geographically distributed - not really a big "Pleco HQ" anywhere, in fact I'm going to be spending most of the next 7 months or so outside of New York. (actually a large chunk of it in New Zealand, plus a couple of locations in Asia and the US)
 

ciaocibai

进士
I had to a double take just then - that's pretty cool. What are you coming to NZ for Mike (if you don't mind me being nosy)? Where will you be while you're here?

Aotearoa welcomes you!
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
ciaocibai said:
I had to a double take just then - that's pretty cool. What are you coming to NZ for Mike (if you don't mind me being nosy)? Where will you be while you're here?
Girlfriend got a 6-month assignment in Whangarei and I'm joining her for most of it - having lived in nothing but giant cities for the last 15 years it seems like a nice change of pace. And since I'm actually not a big fan of hanging around on beaches, if anything I'll be more productive there than I am in New York :) I'll let you guys know if I end up in Wellington at some point (seems fairly likely).
 

ciaocibai

进士
Haha, a change of pace indeed. Should be quite an experience though - Northland really has a lot of nice areas, and some really nice beaches if that's your thing. Really nice diving as well actually. Of course, I think the whole country is pretty great, but I'm probably a little biased.

Will that be your first time over here then? Pretty awesome for your girlfriend to get sent out this way. I'll definitely shout you (both) a beer if you're down in the Wellington/Wairarapa region as well.

Oh, and the most important question: have you started learning New Zealand English yet? I just had a cousin from North Carolina come over to visit, and turns out there are quite a number of subtle differences...
 

ipsi

状元
Indeed. While I've never been up quite that far (spend almost all my time in Wellington), it seems like a good place. There's a good panorama shot on Wikipedia.

For reference (and those following along at home), New York has an urban population of about 8,500,000 (nearly twice that of the whole of New Zealand), in an area of only 1200 km^2. Whangarei District (which includes Whangarei as well as a bunch of other small towns) has a population of 79,000 in an area of 2800 km^2. According to Wikipedia, at any rate. Whangarei itself has about 50,000 people, which means it is officially a City in New Zealand. I'm sure that will seem really strange to people in basically any other country.

But yeah, enjoy your trip, and I hope your lady enjoys her assignment over here (Though I have to say, I'm wondering what would be bringing her to Whangarei in particular).

Oh, and regarding NZ English: I'm sure you'll be fine word-wise, but I understand that to the unrefined American ear, Aussie and NZ accents can sound extremely similar (to the point that you may not be able to tell the difference). Making a faulty assumption about nationality based on accent will lead to death by defenestration :p.

EDIT: Oh, and we drive on the left-hand side of the road in New Zealand, which means that the driver's side of the car is the right-hand side of the car. Don't know how many places you've been to that drive on this side of the road, so it could take a little while to get used to, assuming you drive.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
ciaocibai said:
Will that be your first time over here then? Pretty awesome for your girlfriend to get sent out this way.
Yes - in fact I've somehow managed to get to this point in life without ever even venturing south of the Equator. (closest I've been is Singapore)

ciaocibai said:
Oh, and the most important question: have you started learning New Zealand English yet? I just had a cousin from North Carolina come over to visit, and turns out there are quite a number of subtle differences...
Aside from watching through both seasons of Flight of the Conchords, no - non-native English speakers all seem to think I have a British accent, though.

ipsi said:
For reference (and those following along at home), New York has an urban population of about 8,500,000 (nearly twice that of the whole of New Zealand), in an area of only 1200 km^2. Whangarei District (which includes Whangarei as well as a bunch of other small towns) has a population of 79,000 in an area of 2800 km^2. According to Wikipedia, at any rate. Whangarei itself has about 50,000 people, which means it is officially a City in New Zealand. I'm sure that will seem really strange to people in basically any other country.
Legally we actually have a pretty broad definition of "city" in the US too - there are certainly areas categorized as cities that have fewer people than Whangarei. But generally speaking, when an American thinks of a "city" it's something with at least a couple of skyscrapers and some sort of recognizable "downtown" (a few wacky exceptions like Los Angeles notwithstanding). Some areas can be very built-up and city-like without actually having a very large population, though: White Plains, for example, has skyscrapers, an airport and a definite "city" feel but a population about the same as Whangarei's - the population quintuples during weekdays due to commuters but it's pretty much a ghost town on weekends.

New York's on a whole different scale even by American standards, though - we've got apartment complexes with 25,000 residents. And it tends to feel even bigger than older cities like London and Paris which ostensibly have comparable populations, due I think to a combination of building size (London and Paris generally limit their 30+ story skyscrapers to a few specific commercial areas while in Manhattan they're all over the place) and, again, commuters (Manhattan's population roughly doubles on weekdays).

ipsi said:
EDIT: Oh, and we drive on the left-hand side of the road in New Zealand, which means that the driver's side of the car is the right-hand side of the car. Don't know how many places you've been to that drive on this side of the road, so it could take a little while to get used to, assuming you drive.
Same goes in Japan and the UK - I hardly ever drive in New York anyway, so the adjustment to driving regularly at all will probably be as big as the adjustment to driving on the left-hand side :)
 

ciaocibai

进士
Ha, we had long discussion trying to work out what things like comforters are - duvets in this country, if you are curious, and it was surprising to see the number of small differences. Of course, I think people from North Carolina are a whole different kettle of fish in other ways too. Flight of the Conchords is a good launching pad for learning - they also come from the Wellington/Wairarapa area, so hopefully you'll be able to understand us all here.

I'm sure you'll enjoy your stop in the southern hemisphere - good timing too with summer coming up. I managed to catch winter in China AND New Zealand, so you are certainly doing better than me.

New Zealand being the size it is though, should be fairly easy for you to get around. Anything over a couple of hours is a fairly long drive for us. Even Auckland to Wellington is just 9 hours depending how you drive. You might want to check out grabaseat.co.nz for cheap flights around the place as well - they do different specials every day.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
ciaocibai said:
I'm sure you'll enjoy your stop in the southern hemisphere - good timing too with summer coming up. I managed to catch winter in China AND New Zealand, so you are certainly doing better than me.
Yeah, but I'm missing out on autumn, which as a good New England boy remains my favorite season, so it's still not what I'd consider ideal timing.

ciaocibai said:
New Zealand being the size it is though, should be fairly easy for you to get around. Anything over a couple of hours is a fairly long drive for us.
NZ's human geography seems a bit awkward - major cities are too far apart to drive (without spending the whole day driving) and too close to fly, and while in some countries in that situation (Japan, e.g.) they've solved that problem using high-speed rail, NZ's population is probably way too small to sustain that; Ireland has roughly 2x the population of North Island in a comparable land area and with similarly spread-out cities and their train network is anemic at best compared to the rest of Europe. And so like NZ they seem to rely mainly on cars and buses.

Thanks for the note on grabaseat - given our flexible schedule that should actually work very well.
 

ipsi

状元
mikelove said:
NZ's human geography seems a bit awkward - major cities are too far apart to drive (without spending the whole day driving) and too close to fly, and while in some countries in that situation (Japan, e.g.) they've solved that problem using high-speed rail, NZ's population is probably way too small to sustain that; Ireland has roughly 2x the population of North Island in a comparable land area and with similarly spread-out cities and their train network is anemic at best compared to the rest of Europe. And so like NZ they seem to rely mainly on cars and buses.
I don't see NZ as being completely unable to support high-speed rail, and there are a few things in it's favour. The first is that it would probably be not significantly slower than taking a plane down to Wellington, and could stop at a few other major touristy places on the way (e.g. Hamilton, which is the largest city in the Waikato region, Taupo, and maybe Palmerston North). Taking it across Cook Strait would probably be too expensive, though. The Channel Tunnel seems to have been on the order of €1B, and that had two large countries investing in it.

The other reason high-speed rail might work is that the majority of international flights cannot land in Wellington - the airport is just too small to handle large international airliners (even existing smaller aircraft that use it apparently cannot take off when fully loaded due to the size of the runway) - and there's no room to expand either - which results in Wellingtonians having to travel up to Auckland (or possibly Christchurch?) if they want to go anywhere apart from Australia or the Pacific Islands, and tourists having to either fly or drive down - driving is a full days work (as you point out), but at least you can stop at other places on the way. Flying is quicker (maybe 2 hours, including checkin time and whatnot), but you can't stop on the way. High-speed rail would (I believe) combine the best of both - quicker than a car, but can stop at more places than a plane (though not as fast a plane, nor as much choice as a car). That, and by hitting Auckland, Hamilton, Palmerston North and Wellington, you would hit a good 60% of the North Island's population, Auckland being over 1/3 all by itself.

Something similar could be done in the South Island, going Picton - Christchurch - Queenstown - Dunedin - Invercargill, I imagine.

Course, that's probably just wishful thinking on my part - even assuming we have the passenger numbers to maintain it (and I suspect we would, provided it was done right), the construction costs would likely sink it.

Hmmm, that's a little more than I was intending to write about that. Guess I'm just a little annoyed that, despite New Zealand being an awesome place, getting around is just a little harder than it is elsewhere in the world (and there's good reason for that).

Oh, and this is an Android thread on a forum about Chinese - English dictionary software... Ok, on-topic contribution: Wellington's public transport is fairly well integrated into Google Maps, with all the bus stops listed (and you can click for when the next buses are *due* to arrive, which is helpful. And would be more helpful if the buses were actually on time). Google Maps comes with Android. Therefore, relevant. Also, not sure you'll have much use for Pleco in NZ, although Auckland does have most of the country's Chinese population, as far as I understand it.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Well it's really just a thread featuring responses to my announcement email about our Android / OCR support, so I'm fine with having it go off on a tangent if that directs Android-related discussion to the other two Android threads :)

As far as high-speed rail in NZ, I found a very extensive forum thread on that at http://www.bettertransport.org.nz/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=1544 - seem to be a number of potential roadblocks, though someone in there pointed out that if Australia gets their high-speed rail network off the ground that may provide some much-needed political will to improve NZ's railroads. Which appears almost catatonic right now - Auckland-Wellington rail service was almost canceled in 2006 and now seems to exist primarily for sightseeing purposes.

The population density would be the biggest concern, though; they're finally getting around to building a high-speed rail line between San Francisco and Los Angeles, which are about the same distance from each other as Auckland and Wellington but each of which has several times NZ's population, and they're projecting ridership of 90 million per year to justify it - i.e, every single one of North Island's 3.3 million residents would have to take 27 high-speed rail trips a year to match that. (NZ's 2.4 million annual tourists could only make a small dent in that, unfortunately) Though the NZ network might be a good bit cheaper on account of lower population density between the cities and hence less expensive eminent domain / noise regulations / etc - that thread projected $12B for a NZ high-speed rail link while the California one is projected at more than $40B.
 

ciaocibai

进士
We really should start another thread for this, but...

I'd love to see high-speed rail here, but as you say Mike, I just don't think it's sustainable. And when you consider that you can regularly get $40-$50 flights between Wellington and Auckland, I can't imagine rail could compete. Bearing in mind how old the current tracks are, and that they still have to charge an arm and a leg for long distance train trips, I don't see how they'd be able to lower it after constructing a rail project that would surely cost billions of dollars.

Actually, talking of transport though, you can also occasionally get very cheap bus fares, between $1 and $20 to Auckland (and other places around the country), and also can often get free rental cars (except you pay for petrol) when travelling North, because most tourists go the other way. I'm not sure about your to close to fly argument - I'd say it's worth it whenever you save time by flying, and so long as you didn't need a car at your destination - well, actually, you can rent cars really cheaply anyway - I travelled around the South Island with a Chinese friend, and it was cheaper to rent a car ($19 a day) than to take my car on the ferry (which runs between Wellington and Picton).

The drive down the North Island isn't a bad one though; my folks used to live in Matamata, in the Waikato - say about 6 hours from Wellington by car, and drove down fairly regularly. As ipsi pointed out there are quite a few nice destinations on the way as well. Taupo is really very high on my list, and there is an awesome mini golf course in Turangi (not far south of Taupo) as well if that's your thing. I quite like night driving, and back in my younger (faster) days, the road between Wellington and Taupo was always very popular. Pity that most roads in NZ are generally one lane each side - you can kiss your interstates goodbye!

New England autumns look nice on TV, but for me there are only so many times I can see leaves fall off trees. Curiously enough, a very large proportion of native NZ trees are evergreens, so we never get such a big leaf fall as anywhere in the States, let alone New England.

Anyway, I must say, you really do your research very well - I've no idea how you find the time really. And someone really should create a thread for this...
 

ipsi

状元
ciaocibai said:
Pity that most roads in NZ are generally one lane each side - you can kiss your interstates goodbye!
Doesn't help that New Zealand as whole (Wellington especially!) is fairly hilly, so your speed will slow to a crawl if you get stuck behind a logging truck or something, at least until you find a bit of road that's straight enough to pass it on (or a passing lane).

mikelove said:
The population density would be the biggest concern, though; they're finally getting around to building a high-speed rail line between San Francisco and Los Angeles, which are about the same distance from each other as Auckland and Wellington but each of which has several times NZ's population, and they're projecting ridership of 90 million per year to justify it - i.e, every single one of North Island's 3.3 million residents would have to take 27 high-speed rail trips a year to match that. (NZ's 2.4 million annual tourists could only make a small dent in that, unfortunately) Though the NZ network might be a good bit cheaper on account of lower population density between the cities and hence less expensive eminent domain / noise regulations / etc - that thread projected $12B for a NZ high-speed rail link while the California one is projected at more than $40B.
That's an interesting thread. Some people reckon the $12B is awfully generous, though I really don't know enough to comment on that. Even if it's not, it's still an awful lot of money. The cost would depend quite a lot on what the route taken was - going down past Taupo would probably end up being fairly expensive thanks to the various mountains down that way. And the Army uses bits of the Rangipo Desert (Desert Road) for live-fire exercises, I believe. Which would be exciting, but fatal.

As for different routes, you'd need to take care not to drive the train through a national park or something - people tend to get rather upset about that. Same for trying to drive it through someones farm. Doable? Certainly. As easy as some might wish? Not so much.

While I'm on the subject of cool-but-impossible transport dreams, I recall seeing an episode of Extreme Engineering (I believe) on Discovery some years ago, talking about a London -> New York undersea super-high-speed train. Yes, that's right, London -> New York, some 5500KM, under the Atlantic Ocean. Crazy bastard who thought it up suggested running a Maglev Train through a vacuum, so you could do the trip one-way in about 2 hours. While it would bankrupt both the UK and the US, it's still (to my mind) a damn cool idea.
 

Shadowdh

状元
With this news and if the switch from win to android is free then that could open a whole new era for me... nice work Mike and the team...
 
Shadowdh said:
With this news and if the switch from win to android is free then that could open a whole new era for me... nice work Mike and the team...
I had been feeling a awfully trapped, but between this and the winmo6 version of office 2010 sucking so badly, I feel free.
 

ilinkcs

Member
i am a palm user who migrated recently to android ... would be happy to be a beta tester ... when the time comes ...
 

sfrrr

状元
Off-topic warning!!!

Why is Android so graphically limited compared with, say, WinMo 5 or 6? (Forget comparing with iPods and iPhones--that's beyond hope.) The Adroid market seems to be composed of a bunch of inexperienced (yes?) developers either shamelessly stealing WinMo and Symbian apps. That explains some of it, but not all. Technologically, is Android 3.0 at about the stage of Windows PPC before 2003? And is it a problem of software or hardware?

On a related topic--it may be true that people who use their phones mainly for phoning or for multimedia may not be interested in paying for complicated, scholarly apps, but I would think that students would make a distinction between fun (and free) and studying (and paying for what you get). That's certainly the way I hooked up with Pleco in the first place.
 

nairbv

Member
Very exciting! I plan to buy a recommended android device and Plecosoft as soon as it's available!

I really hope the issues with the Oxford dictionary can be worked out though, I've bought 2-3 paper ones at one time or another, and I do like them.

I just subscribed to the mailing list, keep us updated if you do come up with device recommendations. I might buy a device in advance if I know it will run pleco well.
 
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