It happens all the time: we're reading something online and either come across a word we don't know or a term we'd like to learn more about. Typically we just open a new browser tab and search in Google, but it turns out that there's an even simpler solution: Dixio Desktop. This clever program lets you get information about any word you encounter--not just online, but in all sorts of documents as well--with just a click of the mouse.
The program requires that users register for a Dixio account, so that was our first step. Once we had logged in, we found the program incredibly easy to use. It ran imperceptibly in the background, only making itself known by the icon in our system tray. To use Dixio, we simply held our mouse over the word we wanted to know more about, held down the Windows key, and clicked. This launched the Dixio Desktop interface, which returned results from several different sources in a tabbed display. For example, the results for the word "candy" included definitions from the Concise Oxford English Dictionary and WordNet, images from the Semantix Visual Dictionary, translations to Spanish (the language we had chosen during setup) from the Semantix English-Spanish Dictionary, and a summary from Wikipedia. The main drawback of the program that we encountered was that you could only select one word at a time to search for; you can't highlight a phrase and then click to search for the whole thing. Fortunately, this is somewhat mitigated by the fact that Dixio Desktop is capable of picking up context; when we clicked on the word "scare" in the phrase "red scare," Dixio still managed to return results related to the red scare. This also works pretty well for celebrity names, but names or phrases that aren't as well known seem problematic. Users can always enter them manually into Dixio's interface, though. The program has an online FAQ that answers common questions, but we found Dixio easy to use without instruction. Overall, we think that Dixio Desktop is a very useful application that can help put information even closer to your fingertips than it already is.