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Visuwords Awesomeness

I am not a native English speaker, my first language is Turkish. Years ago, when I was in college in the US, I had the chance of taking various kinds of courses. Among the technical courses that my studies required, we also needed to take English classes. Visuwords is an awesome online graphical dictionary that displays searched words in such a way that I’ve never seen before.

You basically type a word (or you can use the “Random” button just for fun), and it will search that word in the internal database and display it with its connections to various other words with examples when you run your mouse over to it. The interface is explained at their website but the awesome thing about it is that once you see the word and it’s connections, it is kind of hard to forget the word. I really wish I had come across to this tool in my early years of English education.

The tool helped me a lot when I was working on my masters on the reports we’ve been creating for our Computer Science classes. It also attracted my attention for various reasons.

1) The Visual Interface – It is like a network or hub of words together that helps you understand the meaning of the words and different usages of those words

2) It was opensource. Did I mention it was OPENSOURCE.

3) It was really open source. Think about it for a second, you can modify this for a language of your choice if you know that language and if you are technical enough to modify the source code.

So why am I mentioning visuwords out of the blue? Yes, you guessed it you can install it on Solaris…. To do that, you will need a separate package called WordNet 3.0 which is licensed a bit differently (still opensource).  What is required to run such a program is that you will need a php enabled server such as apache2 that is thankfully installed by default on Solaris. If you look at my previous post about sugarcrm, you can review the steps to configure the web server and you will be golden. At this point, all you need to do is unzip the visuwords folder in your webroot as explained at their web site. I tested this on Solaris 10 Update 9 and followed the directions as they mentioned, it worked right out of the box.

Please go to www.visuwords.com and give it a shot. I was blown away when I first saw this tool. Kudos to the folks over there bringing up such a great tool.