Hellfire and hangman

Janette Wolf

Pocket Bookman Dictionary and Thesaurus, Pounds 55.28

King James Bible, Rom Card. Pounds 34

Franklin Electronic Publishers, 7 Windmill Business Village, Brooklands Close, Sunbury on Thames.

It is said that if you ask mountaineers why they want to scale Everest, they will inevitably reply, "because it's there". Ask Franklin, the electronic publisher, why it put the King James Bible on cartridge for its Pocket Bookman Dictionary and Thesaurus and the response would probably be, "because we can". In both cases, the questioner would be left wondering why on earth they bothered.

The Pocket Bookman is a slightly bigger than palm-sized gadget which describes itself as a "powerful electronic reference". It comes with The Collins Dictionary and Thesaurus, with a slot in the back for the add-on cartridge reference books from Franklin, such as the King James Bible.

It has clearly-marked function keys and a keyboard on which to type in words to be searched for, which appear on the small visible display. If you spell a word incorrectly it will give you a selection of those that match it most closely. In the dictionary, you can find definitions and synonyms, and keep a list of those words you wanted to be reminded of (which could be useful aids for those having difficulties with basic English grammar and spelling). It has three mildly absorbing word games, and it's particularly handy for use with crossword puzzles, but that's about it.

The Bible operates in much the same vein, though not surprisingly, without the games. It will word search, then give you chapter and verse. It also comes with a footnote service, in addition to the original text, which is there to "clarify the meaning of archaic English words". The display can show only three lines of text at once, so you won't be spending long scanning through The Song of Solomon.

Still, if you want to know how many times the word "mountain" appears in the Bible, this is a quick way of finding out.

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