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To:, From: Jonathan Reiser <>
Subject: [E36M3] 30 Years of The Roundel from Bentley Publushing - Reactions to Buying It
Date: Wed, 09 Feb 2000 22:55:47 -0800

Even after being a BMW owner for over 7 years now (and very much a BMW = enthusiast) I had always put off signing up for membership to the BMW = CCA. Several months ago I finally got off my lazy tail and signed up. = This is primarily due to the ease at which one can do this now on the = BMWCCA website. Well, a little after that I saw an advertisement for = "30 Years of the Roundel on CD". Great! I thought to myself. Now I can = make up for those seven years of missed issues all in one whack and just = get every issue ever made - and all on CD! I went onto the bentley = publishing web site, looked at screen shots etc. I even requested = feedback from others on the list before plunking down my $129.99 plus = shipping for the 7 CD set. I made the decision and ordered the = collection from Bentley Publishing's web site. I even paid the extra = $30.00 for UPS Second Day Air as I was quite enthusiastic about getting = my hands on it.

Like clockwork, two days later I came home to find a little FedEx (dunno = why they say UPS on the site) box sitting in front of my door. I picked = it up, saw "Bentley Publishing" on the "from" line, unlocked the front = door and headed straight for my primary workstation. Being that I work = in the technology industry and that I am just an overall geek, I have = quite a collection of machines hanging off of a 100Megabit Switched = Ethernet LAN which runs through my house. My primary computer is a = Pentium III 750mhz, 256Mb of 133mhz ram, and about 80 gigs of storage = between three hard drives. I also have a 50X CD-ROM, a 10X-DVD and an = 8X CDR drive. - This information will be important later in the post. I = get to the machine, open the FedEx box, take out the CDs, take a look at = it.... "Hmm.... this looks pretty cool!" There are 7 CDs with issues = of the Roundel on it and an 8th CD which has the installation program. = I pop in CD8 and run the install program. After the installation has = completed, it asks if I want to install the latest versions of Internet = Explorer or Netscape Navigator. I skipped that step as I already had = the latest versions of both and launch the program. So far, so good and = I am a happy Bentley customer.

The thing loads up IE5, and launches the main screen for Roundel. Okay = we're in business. I grab a Raspberry Snapple - my usual beverage of = choice and proceed to dig into the program a bit. I click on the tab at = the top of the screen for "Search", then I wait.... and I wait.... and I = wait..... Oh, here it comes... I type in whatever comes to mind "E30 = M3" and click search. Then I wait..... and I wait..... and I wait..... = It comes back with a list of hits... perhaps four of the 30 or so it = returned had anything to do with an E30 M3... Whatever I think and = click on the one that looks to match what I wanted..... and I wait = again.... "Enter CD 4 and Click OK", I open up the little binder it came = with and I put CD4 into my 50X CD-ROM drive..... then I wait again.... = for a minute or two..... and it shows up in plain text. Well, I am a = visual kinda person so I click on the option to show the page layouts = form the original magazine.... Hmmm... these are so poorly scanned to = be almost not legible. This is disappointing. I click to see the next = page and I wait more.....

At this point, I am really frustrated with the speed at which I am = accessing this information and decide the best way to go would be to = copy the info to my hard drive and access it from there considering I = have a completely blank 7200RPM 27.3 GIG drive w/ a 2 meg buffer. I = open up the little Installation booklet that came with it to see if = there is anything you have to do to point it to look for the info on the = HDD as opposed to looking for it from the CD.... and this is what I = read in the booklet:

Under the section "License Agreement" it says (and I quote):


  • Except as permitted by the Program, copy the Program onto a hard drive = or other device and must run the Program from the CD-ROM (although the = Program itself may copy a portion of the Program onto your hard drive in = order to run more efficiently),"

The end result of this is that they don't have provisions for running = the software from your hard drive. Now some of you may be asking = yourselves "Why is this putz ranting on about this?" Well let me tell = ya, running this program and accessing information with the "Program" = that comes with $129.00, 30 Years of Roundel is sort of like trying to = surf the web with a 300 baud modem. It is so incredibly dog slow as to = be so frustrating one basically discontinues its use.

Although I think the concept of being able to read all of the roundel = issues on my PC is a great one, the reality is that this collection is = so poorly scanned it is difficult to read (don't get me started on = trying to browse the covers which are impossible to make out). Also, = the inability for one to copy portions of it to their drive makes it = intolerably slow to use. I don't quite understand what the folks who = put this together were thinking. Does being able to run it from my PC = somehow make it easier to pirate it? I think not, anyone heard of a CDR = drive?? If the interface was written with any efficiency the CD-ROM = thing would be tolerable, but it was extremely poorly written and the = search engines are incapable of returning the correct records....

I wouldn't recommend this to anyone and I intend on returning it....

Jonathan Reiser

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