Software Review: Watson

Karelia Software
$29 single license, $39 household license

Karelia Software's Watson is one of my favorite applications for OS X. For the uninitiated, Watson is a collection of web services that gives you instant access to movie, TV, and phone listings, weather, Zip codes, currency exchange, stock and package tracking, and even PriceGrabber price comparisons. Watson's elegant, easy-to-use interface makes web browsers seem clunky in comparison.

Recently Sherlock 3 appropriated Watsonís look and feel, and several of its functions. So why buy Watson for $29 ($39 for a household license) when Sherlock 3 comes bundled with Mac OS X v. 10.2? Because itís that much better. Watson offers twice as many tools; nineteen to Sherlock 3's ten, not counting contributed tools like Epicurious recipes, Newsblaster (news headlines), and baseball and football scores.

Where tool functions are duplicated, as in movie listings or translation, Watsonís version is superior. Take movie listings, for example. Sherlock 3 canít be customized, and displays ten theaters from Hancock to Calicoon, theaters I'll never go to and am not interested in. Watsonís movie listings let you limit the distance and number of theaters listed. Iíve set mine to display just the Oneonta Theater 1&2 and Southside Oneonta Mall.

But wait, thereís more. Watsonís movie listings include a button that lets you add the movie showing of your choice to your iCal calendar. What better way to cut through the confusion of multi-plex movie schedules? Watsonís TV listings also have the iCal button; shift-clicking adds the show to iCal as a weekly event. Once in iCal, set your reminder alarms to help stay on top of watching or taping your favorite shows.

Watsonís reference tool is equally robust, putting sources from Rogetís Thesaurus and Bartlettís Quotations to Bulfinchís Mythology and Oxford Shakespeare at your fingertips. Oh yes, you get a dictionary and several encyclopedias too.

Along with Appleís iLife applications (iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie and iDVD) and the Safari web browser, Watson is one of the best reasons I can think of for making the move to OS X.

Watson can be downloaded for a free two week trial at:

Elsa Travisano

Copyright ©2003 by Elsa Travisano. This article appeared in the April 2003 issue of Newsbreak, the newsletter of MUG ONE - Macintosh User Group of Oneonta, NY.