To: Bill Venables <>,
Subject: Re: CD ROMs
Date: Wed, 24 Jan 1996 14:38:27 GMT+10

The Webster publication of Australian Birds is available and is good! 
It is done bythte Australain Museum and based on theri book series on 
the Aus Fauna. The CD has video clips, calls and high quality photos -
all reproduce very well on the computer (I have a 486-sx 33 with 
only a double-speed CDrom player) 
- you have the option of running them solely of the CD-rom or it can 
install part of the info on the hard drive which speeds things up a 
lot.  I run it off the CD only and it is fine, I am particuallry 
impressed by the videos (of which there are a few dozen - each maybe 
20 secs long or so) which are very smooth and not jerky at all and 
with good resolution - I thought thye'd be really grainy and jerky.
    There are distribution maps, general info on each species and 
what I reckon is a really great feature, a taxonomic guide to each 
species which explains the feature of each step of its taxonomy ie 
the family features, genus features and so on. There are also 
rainfall and habitat maps for Aust in general which can be overlaid 
on the distribution maps! Really neat!
    The biggest disappointment is that there ae calls for only a 
hundred or so species, even the older Simpson and Day CDROM had about 
300 calls or more so I am not quite sure why this was - if it was a 
space problem I would rather have seen less videos and more calls. 
There are lots of good little options you can play around with and 
search it lots of ways and there are set 'tours' which take you thru 
different habitats, groups of birds etc.
    All in all it is really good and Iknow several people with it and 
all have been really happy. There are also volumes on Aust mammal, 
reptiles (lizards and snakes), and frogs and all are ofthe same 
standard and format - except the others don't ahve calls which would 
have been terrific for the frogs in particular,
The best news is the price! Individually boxed they were about $50-60 
each I think, but Harvey Norman (do they have HNorman outside of Vic?) 
had the whole lot plus very good ones on Great Barrier Reef; 
Australia; and one on Windows 95 - so a total of 6 CDroms for 
only $60! (I just counted that and it makes it 7 cdroms, one of them 
msut ahve both titles on one - must be all the herps on one).
    I don't know why they had them all so cheap when they were still 
selling the individual titles for the same amount right next to the 6-
pack but who cares! They were exactly the same not a share-ware 
version or anything and half of the department here went out and 
snaffled them -as far as I know there are still heaps left.
    So it looks like you can be pleasantly surprised at least once in 
your life! Head on down and grab it.

Sean Pywell.

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