Death of the BEST Viet dictionary

It's gone.  The Vietnamese dictionary that I've been using for years and years and years (well, at least since 2003), and has served as my homepage since the beginning, has finally gone the way of all the earth.  Returned to the dust.  Paid the final visit to grandma and grandpa.  Gone back to the happy hunting grounds.  :(  I'm sad.

The dictionary of which I speak is the English - French - Germany [sp] - Vietnamese Dictionary once available at dict.vietfun.com.  The genius Hồ Ngọc Đức created the dictionary software and the database of terms.  He is truly dedicated to extending the Vietnamese language to the world via the Internet, and leads the ongoing effort toward developing VietWordNet, a "large-scale online lexical-semantic Vietnamese language net" (like the English WordNet developed at Princeton).  His contribution to the Vietnamese language on the world wide web is perhaps the most influential, considering that apparently all current Vietnamese online dictionaries use large portions of his database, including the Vietnamese Wiktionary.

It thus saddens me to see the most intuitive and useful tool in accessing the above resource vanish from the Web.  Why was this the best dictionary?  Absolutely no ads.  Simultaneous language lookup (a drop-down box is a terrible way to choose language!).  After lookup, auto-focus to the input box and auto-selection of text (allowing user to enter the next term without having to navigate to the input and/or select the text).  Right-click on a word in the definition to lookup that word.  These features provided a seamless, speedy workflow that minimized the amount of lost time with keyboard-to-mouse-and-back hand movement.  I remember countless times looking up a list of mixed words (both English and Vietnamese) without touching the mouse once.  This functionality was in place before Web 2.0 and mobile interface concepts had emerged mainstream - truly a web app beyond its time.

All of the current online Vietnamese databases have some of these features, but most revert to a language drop-down, severely limited efficiency and doubling time when translating.  I find the drop-down an eyesore that may conserve screen real estate but lacks functionality (in this application).  In a subsequent post, I will list the dictionary resources that I will now have to use since my trusted site is gone under, grimacing each time I have to click for a language and see a gaudy ad.

I had noticed that the dictionary at dict.vietfun.com was quite fickle over the last several months, so I was relieved to see a message last week stating that major improvements were being implemented.  Alas, I access the site this morning only to find the hated drop-down language selection!  Mừng hụt!  And what's worse?  A gaping text box spanning half my screen, reserved for translation.  Yuck.  Lookup and translation should never be on the same page.  I frantically clicked the About tab to see if Hồ Ngọc Đức is somehow involved with this remake (hoping that he wasn't).  A 404 error - the page doesn't even exist.  The site is due for completion on June 25, but judging by its current state, it will never be half the site it used to be.  The beautiful simplicity has been compromised for Bleh and a Translation Box.  And a drop-down. 

This is a sad day.  I don't know if I can function without this dictionary.  Perhaps if someone were to re-create it... hmm, now that's an idea.

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travel log
  • 02.13.08 - to the temple with Luan and his mom, good to be back
  • 02.14.08 - Mẫu's alive! and staying for the weekend
  • 02.15.08 - floor hockey and Thái food makes for some strange dreams
  • 02.17.08 - frisbee and swamp monster at the park: fun but I'm pooped!
  • 02.19.08 - just read Triết's response to my last post - game on!
  • 02.20.08 - raining and expected to continue through Sunday - thank goodness!
  • 02.21.08 - 3-hour nap is a bad idea right before bed
  • 02.23.08 - to the beach to watch kites, a baptism @ 5pm, and homemade bulgogi - what a day!
  • 02.25.08 - just gave myself a haircut - woo, cold head!
  • 02.26.08 - 75° and spring cleaning - couldn't feel better
  • 02.27.08 - fed the elders bún đậu tonight - think it's their first time
  • 03.01.08 - working on new background...
  • 03.02.08 - finalized javascript to change background without muffing up my other scripts
  • 03.03.08 - fhe: "In his strength I can do all things" (Alma 26:12)
  • 03.07.08 - some decisions are harder than others, but some are downright excruciating
  • 03.08.08 - there is life after work... i almost forgot
  • 03.11.08 - the distance between good and bad is much shorter than between better and best
  • 03.12.08 - conversion is sometimes a gradual process, so much so that we don't even notice
  • 03.14.08 - for some reason everything was a little harder today, looking forward for bed!
  • 03.15.08 - last night after blog reading, I missed OnlyBlue, today I find she's back
  • 03.16.08 - best day of my life!
  • 03.19.08 - "Pray for the answer that they've been looking for"
release notes v1.0 - FINALLY DONE!
  • 12.07 - first thought of starting a new blog
  • 01.08 - busy with election stuff but blog design still on back burner
  • 01.13.08 - first idea to imitate jk rowling with the "desk" theme
  • 01.28.08 - start sketching current design, breaking down development into phases
  • 02.02.08 - election only days away but still drafting final plans
  • 02.04.08 - v0.6 LAUNCH
    • main components (blog body, sidebar, header, etc) designed and implemented
    • styling for font, links, drop caps, etc. finished
  • 02.07.08 - v0.8 LAUNCH
    • image style to imitate polariod
    • moveability - post-it notes and static clings can be repositioned by drag and drop
    • release notes styled and written
  • 02.16.08 - travel log (beta) added in hopes of catching the mundane
  • 02.22.08 - lightbox 2.03 reinstalled and working fine (hopefully - let me know otherwise)
  • 02.26.08 - v0.9 LAUNCH
    • travel log seems to be working, so I'll keep it
    • lightbox also seems to have passed the test, so it's a keeper
    • some credits/info added to bottom (will expand)
    • keeping old Viet terms in archive for future viewing
  • 03.18.08 - v1.0 LAUNCH
    • installation and testing of time-sensitive background completed (for now)