Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Wednesday 8/10/2003Readers with long memories may remember the launch in 1993 of Microsoft Encrata, the multimedia encyclopedia to end all multimedia encyclopdiae. Although MS hasn't seen fit to celebrate its precocious offspring's tenth birthday -- shame!

Wednesday 8/10/2003
Readers with long memories may remember the launch in 1993 of Microsoft Encrata, the multimedia encyclopedia to end all multimedia encyclopdiae. Although MS hasn't seen fit to celebrate its precocious offspring's tenth birthday -- shame! -- it has continued to enhance, upgrade and update the product. You can now get a DVD version with absolutely splendid audio, video and text.

The updating is particularly impressive. Less than a month ago, Cambridge researchers showed that you can recognise words even if the middles are scrambled, provided only that the start and end letter are properly placed. Microsoft has not only received this intelligence and taken it on board, but has already made it part of the marketing push for that top-end DVD version. Eager purchasers keen to experience the cutting-edge in reference material are invited to check out the Amazon page   paying close attention to the product name on the "back of the box" picture. (Thanks to the excellent Captain Blue on Cix for pointing this out.)

Of course, like any good work of knowledge it leaves you wanting to know more. Which graphics package was used to create the artwork, and where can we get the -- clearly very advanced -- spelling checker that was used to proof it? Is it a Microsoft product, and if so can we expect to have similar functionality in all future releases of Offcie?

[That's enough heavy-handed sarcasm. I have to fix your spelling mistakes -- except of course in this piece, where it was more fun to leave them in. -Ed]

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