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    $292.99 list($329.00)
    1. Rosetta Stone Spanish Level 1
    $292.99 $290.00 list($329.00)
    2. Rosetta Stone French Level 1 &
    $199.99 $149.00 list($289.99)
    3. Final Draft 7
    $292.99 $284.95 list($329.00)
    4. Rosetta Stone German Level 1 &
    $292.99 list($329.00)
    5. Rosetta Stone Chinese Level 1
    $49.21 list($299.99)
    6. MapPoint North American Maps 2004
    $169.99 list($299.95)
    7. Niles Endnote 8.0 Windows
    $32.99 $29.29 list($39.99)
    8. Microsoft Streets and Trips 2005
    $292.99 list($329.00)
    9. Rosetta Stone Italian Level 1
    $94.99 $94.95 list()
    10. Endnote 8 for Students Only
    $194.99 $174.88 list($195.00)
    11. Rosetta Stone Spanish Personal
    $219.99 $165.00 list($249.99)
    12. Final Draft 7/Syd Field's Screenwriting
    $69.99 $48.75 list($74.95)
    13. Microsoft Encarta Reference Library
    $292.99 list($329.00)
    14. Rosetta Stone Russian Level 1
    $292.99 list($329.00)
    15. Rosetta Stone Japanese Level 1
    $263.99 list($329.00)
    16. Rosetta Stone Spanish (Spain)
    $294.88 list($329.00)
    17. Rosetta Stone English Level 1
    $89.99 $43.95 list($99.99)
    18. Microsoft Works Suite 2005 [Money,
    $32.99 list($49.99)
    19. Delorme Mapping Street Atlas USA
    $292.99 list($329.00)
    20. Rosetta Stone Arabic Level 1 &

    1. Rosetta Stone Spanish Level 1 & 2 Personal Edition (Latin America)
    list price: $329.00
    our price: $292.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B000077DD8
    Catlog: Software
    Publisher: Fairfield Language Technologies
    Sales Rank: 236
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Amazon.com Product Description

    Learn a new language with the award-winning method used by the U.S. State Department to train diplomats. Proven effective by NASA astronauts, Peace Corps volunteers, and millions of students worldwide, the Rosetta Stone Language Library teaches new languages faster and easier than ever before.

    We all learn our childhood language by associating new words and phrases with the world around us. The Rosetta Stone method replicates this process by presenting vivid, real-life images to convey the meaning of each new phrase. Instead of translating, memorizing, and studying rules of grammar, you actually learn to think in the new language. Vocabulary and grammar are integrated systematically, leading to everyday proficiency.

    This comprehensive program provides up to 550 hours of mastery instruction in listening comprehension, reading, writing, and speaking. Systematic structure teaches vocabulary and grammar naturally, without lists and drills. Previews, exercises, and tests accompany every lesson, with automated tutorials throughout the program. Graphical speech recognition displays your voiceprint and compares it with native speakers to help improve your pronunciation. (Ages 6 and older) ... Read more

    Reviews (3)

    5-0 out of 5 stars I needed the Rosetta Stone in high school!
    This is an amazing product! I have to preface my comments by stating my biases-I think the best way to learn a language is through immersion lessons in that country (this is how I learned Czech). If that's not possible, then the next best way is with intensive lessons with a great teacher (I don't have a Spanish tutor yet, but I'm going to get one). But for those of us who want to study Spanish on our own every day (I do one lesson a day, which takes me about two hours), the Rosetta Stone is awesome. I've never used any other language software, so I don't know if there are other great programs on the market that are this good, but I doubt it.

    Why is this product so awesome? It's intuitive, fun (isn't that half the battle in learning a language?), interactive, and comprehensive. I'd describe the method as similar to the Berlitz language school method in that you start the lesson and great looking pictures come up on the screen with the words that match each picture (the obvious difference being that the Rosetta Stone does this with great graphics on your PC versus a Berlitz teacher using a picture book). Then the words are spoken so you intuitively learn by making these connections (you need a good headset).

    After you learn the words the lesson goes through the same words, but in 4 different exercises (Listening, Reading, Speaking, & Writing). Over time the words build up to phrases and then to sentences. I really like the creative way the lessons teach each activity while repeating the words/phrases you're learning in a way that's not boring.

    The other thing I'd say is these lessons are fun, which means I'm highly motivated to keep learning (I actually look forward to doing my lessons every day!). I wish the Rosetta Stone had a Czech version when I learned that language because it would've changed my experience from being a grind to being enjoyable.

    I should mention there are a couple of things that annoy me about the software (in the Writing exercise there's not an Auto-scroll function for 2 of the parts, so you have to click on the next picture to advance; also, there's not an easy way to tell what exercises you've completed in the lesson, so I have to write down what I've finished when I take breaks). Although I'd like to see these improvements made, they are relatively trivial compared to the overall brilliance of this product.

    But back to the positives, I've also noticed how mentally exhausted I've been since I started using this program. I had the same feeling the first couple of weeks when I started learning Czech intensively, so this is a good sign my brain is really being stretched by this software.

    Lastly, the Rosetta Stone is very interactive because you have to click on the correct pictures/text or type in the correct spelling as you do the exercises. So, it's easy to stay engaged as you're learning, versus feeling being bored by reading some grammar lesson from a textbook or wasting your time making dull flash cards.

    Based on the excellent progress I've had so far, I'm going to buy either the Italian or French versions from Rosetta Stone next, since for the first time in my life I'm having a blast learning a language and I'm progressing faster than I thought was possible.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great software but has room for improvement.
    The only thing I don't like about this program is that the method does not take into account the fact that people who try to learn another language have amassed a great deal of knowledge before they embark on a new language journey. For example, in my case my thought process is very much efficient if things are explained not only in pictures but also in textual form, particularly the English language. For this reason, the course should have considered the mother tongue of different people, to make the learning process a lot easier and faster. In my case, to overcome this handicap, I downloaded the PDF text file of the English Level 1 and 2 from the Rosetta Stone website to help me grasp words and phrases that are not adequately conveyed by the visual choices of the program. The English version is not the mirror of the Spanish lessons, but it is a great help when one is lost in the occasional inadequacy of the visual examples of the program. An optional translation of the lessons, by way of one toggle switch in the interface, would have been perfect. With the proliferation of MP3 capable CD players in car stereos and other portable devices, Rosetta Stone should also squeeze all the audio lessons contained in its language disks in just one disk (I am very sure this is possible if done in MP3 format), thereby extending the learning process to the car or somewhere when the learner is simply far from the desktop.

    Despite the above, I rate this product as a 5 star, because in less than 3 months of intensive use it helped me attain a very high level of proficiency, which even my Spanish speaking officemates are simply amazed.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Learning A Language With Success
    There is no better program we've found than this. Though skeptical at the onset, we made the purchase. An airport sign advertised promises that seemed unbelievable. Yet months later and through interesting lessons, we've grown much in our knowledge of Spanish grammar and context. Give this one a shot, it doesn't disappoint! ... Read more


    2. Rosetta Stone French Level 1 & 2 Personal Edition
    list price: $329.00
    our price: $292.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B000077DD2
    Catlog: Software
    Publisher: Fairfield Language Technologies
    Sales Rank: 412
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Amazon.com Product Description

    Learn a new language with the award-winning method used by the U.S. State Department to train diplomats. Proven effective by NASA astronauts, Peace Corps volunteers, and millions of students worldwide, the Rosetta Stone Language Library teaches new languages faster and easier than ever before.

    We all learn our childhood language by associating new words and phrases with the world around us. The Rosetta Stone method replicates this process by presenting vivid, real-life images to convey the meaning of each new phrase. Instead of translating, memorizing, and studying rules of grammar, you actually learn to think in the new language. Vocabulary and grammar are integrated systematically, leading to everyday proficiency.

    This comprehensive program provides up to 550 hours of mastery instruction in listening comprehension, reading, writing, and speaking. Systematic structure teaches vocabulary and grammar naturally, without lists or drills. Previews, exercises, and tests accompany every lesson, and there are automated tutorials throughout the program. Graphical speech recognition displays your voiceprint and compares it with the native speaker to help improve your pronunciation. (Ages 6 and older) ... Read more

    Reviews (4)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Blows the competition out of the water!
    Nothing I've seen comes close to this program. It's an entirely different level. But do yourself a favor before shelling out the $300. Go to the rosettastone.com web page and ask for a demo cd. They'll send you a sample with every language they offer included. It gives you a very good sense of what it's all about.

    5-0 out of 5 stars English speaking son in law
    Hi,

    I bought this program because I am married to a French Canadian and we never taught our kids to speak french. The last visit we had with her parents was the straw that broke the camels back for me, so I did a little research, saw that this program was used by NASA, the State Department and the Peace Corps and decided to go ahead and spend more on any one piece of software than I have ever spent before. I couldn't be happier!
    I told the kids, (16 and 14) that I wasn't going to make them use it, it was up to them. Granted, they are probably a little more motivated than most, but the program is fun. I speak a little french, but it is always me translating everything in my head, this program works completely differently than any other that I have ever heard of. There is no english at all, and as you go through you find yourself not translating as much but just answering the questions. Other reviewers have done a better job than I ever will, but my 14 year old figured out the first lesson the first day, and he has never had any french at all. I cannot say enough about it, and if it is the price that is holding you back, all I can say is what is it worth to you to learn french, to learn it faster than you probably could otherwise and to have fun as you are doing it? For me it would be a bargain at twice the price.

    Thanks

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent learning method!
    I have, in the past,purchased every kind of "Learn French" product on the market.Some were good;others lacked real content;some were frankly boring; or some assumed too much about the beginning student.However,the Rosetta Stone method surpasses all of them.In the two days I have been using it,I have learned,and more importantly, retained everything I have studied so far.This is not to say it is easy..but the new words and phrases that are introduced to you make you think and visualize,not just repeat over and over the same phrases/words until you are blind with boredom.Each level includes four different methods of learning,and all of them together equal perfection.When I can comfortably speak/read French on my own,I think I will pursue learning another language..because these programs are so complete and well presented.
    I can't recommend this product enough!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fun to use, very extensive
    The Rosetta Stone language learning system is based on the idea that foreign languages should be learned the same way as children learn their very first language - not by learning words isolated from their content and later putting them into sentences using painfully learned grammar rules, but by direct association of words and sentences with visual images. The Rosetta Stone contains no instructions in your mother tongue. If you bought German, the program communicates with you only in German. The only means which the program uses to explain you the meaning of the foreign words are pictures. You may not understand the meaning of the new word or phrase immediately. However, the program will use this word over and over again, and soon you will get an idea what it means. Remember how parents teach their children to talk, repeating the same thing again and again in different combinations? This is what Rosetta Stone does to you. You do not get a translation - insted, you get an image, an idea, a feeling.

    I purchased French, but all 24 languages supported by Rosetta Stones use the same software and the same or nearly the same structure of lessons and images. The program works as follows. Once you have chosen a lesson out of a list, you have a selection of several modes of learning. In one, the program tells you phrases, and you have to choose one of four pictures which fits the phrase. In another, you see a picture and chose one from four written words/phrases. In the third, you chose the written phrase which matches what you just heard. In the fourth, you see a written word/phrase and match it with one of four phrases read to you by the computer. The program keeps on making new and new combination of the words and phrases for as long as you need to start feeling confident. If you want to practice your writing, Rosetta Stone will offer you either to put together sentences by dragging whole words with a mouse, or will suggest you to type them in from scratch and will correct you mistakes along the way. Finally, another part of the program works on your pronunciation and intonation. It not only records your voice as you repeat after a native speaker, but also provides graphical analysis of the patterns of your speach, thus helping to identify mistakes. This part of the program requires a high quality headset..., a cheap computer microphone will not work.

    This program costs much more than the other programs on the market, but it also has a lot more to offer. Levels 1 and 2 combined contain over 200 units, and each unit may take several hours (depending on your age and language learning ability) to master. A great advantage which helps to make the buying decision is that Rosetta Stone offers a fully functional demo version of the program, which can be downloaded from their web site (rosettastone.com). This demo differs from the real thing in that you can try only 5-6 units out of 210 in any of the languages. This is sufficient to get a very good idea of how you like the program, as well as to understand how the level matches your prior knowledge of this language. Actually, I must say that Level 2 goes pretty far, I was surprised how advanced the sentences were when I opened one of the level 2 units in a language which I learned before.

    In French which I bought each level came on 2 CDs, one with the software, the second one with the language library. Probably as a heritage from 1993, when the disk space was scarce, the program reads language data straight from the CD instead of copying them to hard disk. One has to keep the language library CD in the CD-drive, where it starts spinning every half a minute or so. With a noisy 40x drive it is rather annoying. The program runs on any Windows version after 3.1 (including XP) and on the Mac.

    Besides CDs, the program comes with a manual (how to install and run the program) and a booklet with cirriculum, which contains a list of all words and phrases used in the program. There is no booklet on grammar, and no dictionary because any of these items standard in adult learning would contradict the spirit and the method of The Rosetta Stone. Both the manual and the booklet can be downloaded in PDF format from The Rosetta Stone's web site (another good way to evaluate how much you can expect to learn if you buy the program).

    The developers claim that the program covers 5-year middle/high school program and includes around 2500 words. I had several other language programs in the past, and there is no doubt that Rosetta Stone covers a lot more language than any other program I saw.

    Overall, it is a good learning tool, fun to use. It is not cheap, but if you divide the price by the number of hours of patient instructions which you get from your computer, you will end up with a cost which is way, way lower than any teacher would charge per hour for individual or group lessons. All of us used The Rosetta Stone method of learning between the ages of 1 and 7 and keep on using it when teaching our little ones. The fact that the developer remains in business for over 10 years and keeps getting new awards shows that it is also good for adults. I liked it. Check out the demo version, you probably will like it, too. ... Read more


    3. Final Draft 7
    list price: $289.99
    our price: $199.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0001XNGZ2
    Catlog: Software
    Publisher: Final Draft
    Sales Rank: 186
    Average Customer Review: 2.69 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Features

    • Word processing combined with professional script formatting
    • Designed for writing movie scripts, television episodics, and stage plays
    • Automatically paginates and formats script to industry standards
    • 100-percent cross-platform compatibility; easily import/export files
    • 50+ templates; text to speech, have your script read back to you

    Reviews (16)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Great formatter with poor font rendering.
    As a screenplay formatter Final Draft 7.0 works as well as its predecessors, but still has a rotten font rendering quality. I would have thought that this would the number one priority to attend to at this stage in Final Draft's development cycle.

    That gripe aside - and it's a really significant one - everything else works very smoothly.

    Because of this issue, I would recommend Screenwriter 2000, which does everything that Final Draft can do, and doesn't have any issue with its ability to render fonts cleanly. In addition, screenwriter 2000 has a more useful suite of associated products, notably: Dramatica 4 pro and Storyview 2. The tech backup is superior, too.

    2-0 out of 5 stars If you're a new user, DON'T BUY IT!
    I've used Final Draft since version 5 through version 6, and although it was antiquated and clunky compared to contemporary word processing software, it was at least useable and relatively stable.

    HOWEVER - I recently upgraded to FD7, and it's a mess. It implemented new features in such a way as make them impractical in daily, minute by minute by use, while simultaneously dumping several genuinely useful features from previous versions. It's been through two patches since it was released already, and it's still clunky, bug ridden, crash prone, and less usable in practice than the previous version.

    If you are a first time buyer, I'd recommend delaying your purchase for at least six months till they sort out the bugs (assuming that's possible), or consider buying another of the many products available, e.g. Screenwriter or Sophocles.

    ADDENDUM:

    I'd also recommend you read some of the reviews on this site with a pinch of salt - there are a couple that I would consider suspiciously glowing. There's nothing to stop someone from the manufacturer adding a review, is there...?

    1-0 out of 5 stars Just add words?
    I have to work every day with FD 7 (Mac OSX) as the production company I write for asked me to do so. To cut it short: I have never ever seen a programme with so many bugs and crashes! Unfortunately recent updates have not changed anything. :-(

    3-0 out of 5 stars Weird (on a PC anyway)
    I have a friend who uses the Mac version and swears by it. I purchased the PC version and it's certainly interesting. It behaves like no other text editor I've ever seen. Simple operations like cut and paste become strange exasperating games to see what text Final Draft will actually decide to let you cut and paste. I guess it's trying to keep script elements contiguous--but there are times when you just...want...to move...the damn...WORDS. Final Draft makes the mistake of assuming too much.

    Edit: I hereby redact the rest of my review. I still think the program could use some polish on a PC...but my previous ire was more from ignorance than the program itself. It ain't so bad.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Finished Another First Draft With Final Draft
    I have written or re-written over 30 scripts, both hits and flops, both TV and Feature, with Final Draft. Like most people who have made the mistake of buying Movie Magic Screenwriter, I switched when the program didn't work and they made me angry on the phone. I have never had a problem with my fonts, or tech support, or upgrading or updating. Ever. They even make their own font to make the switch from Mac to Win seamless and it is. The other programs are okay, but not as 'finished', maybe because just about every TV show and Film is made with Final Draft. It really is combat tested. I just bought another copy from amazon.com for my office and both companies are great! ... Read more


    4. Rosetta Stone German Level 1 & 2 Personal Edition
    list price: $329.00
    our price: $292.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B000077DD3
    Catlog: Software
    Publisher: Fairfield Language Technologies
    Sales Rank: 845
    Average Customer Review: 3.75 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Reviews (4)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Decent progam, lousy online support.
    This would definitely be the way to go with this company. I used the online version of this program for over a year and found it to be very helpful. When I ran into technical problems, however, the technical support was virtually non-existing. I had to cancel.

    The price is a bit steep, but the structure of the lessons and the features are very good. Get the CD and don't suffer the incompetent "support."

    3-0 out of 5 stars Learn vocabulary fast
    The Rosetta stone teaches by 'complete immersion'. Using picture context the student asborbs vocabulary with ease. Immediate rewards for correct answers help motivate the learner to keep working. However, there are some weaknesses. First, you need to have a reliable dictionary on hand. There are times that you come to wrong conclusions about word meaning and you must double check with a dictionary. Second, this course is weak in grammar. I recommend a text to demonstrate basic grammatical structures. Last, this software does not give separate phonetic information. you are expected to learn by listening. Certain individuals, based on learning style may want to see phonetic information in print.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The ONLY worthwhile language learning software!
    The Rosetta Stone series of language instruction software is "Pimsleur" level of effectiveness and unfortunately, Pimsleur level cost as well.

    The programs work on a total immersion basis, with no English used at all. There are several types of drills, ones where you hear a word or sentence and pick it out of a group of pictures, another where you read the text of the word and pick out the pictures, etc. There are also typing drills in your language to help you spell (without having to download special fonts), pronounciation drills that allow you to hear a word, speak it to your computer and hear your voice in comparison to the native speaker played back to you.

    This is the first program of it's type I've found where this feature actually works!

    I own both German and Russian 1 and 2. There is a LOT to learn here, especially if you do all the types of drills for each lesson. You learn grammar from inference, such as word endings when the subject is "in" something rather than "on" or "under" it. You see the same endings used, compare them with the pictures and you start to recognize patterns.

    But one of the best things about this software is the user interface. Since it's an immersion program, there's no English used and by it's very nature needs to be intuitive. This is how it should be done. I've used other types of language software that had a klunky, confusing interface with features that didn't work, etc. None of that is the case with the Rosetta Stone software.

    On another note, I switched to Mac about nine months ago and Fairfield Language Technologies sent me out a new Mac OS X systems disc for free, no questions asked. At this price level you'd think this would be commonplace, but it's not. Adobe allowed me to change from PC to OS X when I upgraded from Photoshop 6 to 7, but Macromedia wouldn't and expected me to buy all new software (I didn't). So kudos to FLT for their stellar customer service!

    Is it too expensive? I'd say yes, but this is a serious language learning tool for serious self students, and it's a lot cheaper than classes at the U. The axiom is true with both this and the Pimsleur method tapes; you get what you pay for.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic learning tool for the beginner to intermediate stu
    I would have given the product a 5 star review if it could have found the contents of the Lesson CD I copied to my laptop hard drive. You are forced to use the Lesson CD in the CD drive to work the program.

    The program is a very good learing tool. You learn to hear, read, speak and write in the language. The early lessons at first seem too easy, until you get to the unit that has you type in the words or phrases for the image you are viewing. That's when the learning starts. The advanced lessons will have you typing whole paragraphs.

    Better by far than any Berlitz programs etc. that you commonly find at a computer store.

    You won't truly learn a language until you can write in it. This one gives you a really good start! ... Read more


    5. Rosetta Stone Chinese Level 1 & 2 Personal Edition
    list price: $329.00
    our price: $292.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B000077DCZ
    Catlog: Software
    Publisher: Fairfield Language Technologies
    Sales Rank: 2588
    Average Customer Review: 3.17 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Amazon.com Product Description

    Learn a new language with the award-winning method used by the U.S. State Department to train diplomats. Proven effective by NASA astronauts, Peace Corps volunteers, and millions of students worldwide, the Rosetta Stone Language Library teaches new languages faster and easier than ever before.

    We all learn our childhood language by associating new words and phrases with the world around us. The Rosetta Stone method replicates this process by presenting vivid, real-life images to convey the meaning of each new phrase. Instead of translating, memorizing, and studying rules of grammar, you actually learn to think in the new language. Vocabulary and grammar are integrated systematically, leading to everyday proficiency.

    This comprehensive program provides up to 550 hours of mastery instruction in listening comprehension, reading, writing, and speaking. Systematic structure teaches vocabulary and grammar naturally, without lists or drills. Previews, exercises, and tests accompany every lesson, and there are automated tutorials throughout the program. Graphical speech recognition displays your voiceprint and compares it with the native speaker to help improve your pronunciation. (Ages 6 and older) ... Read more

    Reviews (6)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Good program for memorizing and reviewing
    Every program has some advantages and disadvantages, strengths and weaknesses, so I have found this program most useful for associating words with ideas - after all it does contain 8000 pictures. The complete beginner in Chinese may initially make good progress, but then get stuck because the program doesn't contain any grammatical explanations.

    I have found Pimsleur Chinese better for developing conversational proficiency. Ultimate Mandarin Chinese book and CDs would provide great addition to new learning because that course fills in the gap which deals with some essential grammar that takes out confusion. A little bit of understanding can greatly accelerate one's progress with Chinese.

    Rosetta Stone Chinese has only "pinyin", so if you wish to learn how to read and write Chinese, you'll have to get some other book.

    I do think that Rosetta Stone programs could be greatly improved with at least some basic grammatical explanations. For Chinese, it would also be nice, if the Chinese characters were provided. Nevertheless, in spite of all the missing elements that would be very helpful, I have still found this program very helpful for learning Chinese.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Decent intro to spoken language, not useful for reading
    This is a useful program for getting a basic sense of the sound of the Chinese language. It's based on the immersion model of foreign language learning, which means lots of repetition, visual cues, and no English translations. (You're supposed to make the association between sounds and pictures intuitively.) This makes sense in principle, as it's a bit like the way children learn a first language.

    But if you're interested in learning to read Chinese or understand how the characters work, this won't get you very far, in part because the program doesn't include a Chinese-English dictionary. For this, you might be better off with a good Chinese language textbook and a Chinese text reader / dictionary software package like Clavis Sinica.

    If you want a lesson-based program, though, with tutorials, tests, drills, and lots of pictures, this might be worth trying out, at least in the demo version.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Works well for me
    I use this program in conjunction with a native Chinese tutor. I've been using it for several months. I started with the online version before committing to buying the standalone version.

    In contrast to some other reviewers I find this program to be very good. Some of the points raised by other reviewers are valid, but their importance is blown out of proportion.

    The program allows you to practice listening, reading, typing, and speaking. In "tutorial" mode a variety of exercises are used to help train your memory. Things that you get wrong are covered again later in the tutorial as many times as you need to get them right.

    The lessons are broken down into units. Each unit covers a small number of concepts. The first few units are a bit tough - but this is only because every single word you hear is new. In later units you already know what most of the sentence means and so learning the new words gets easier.

    The software teaches you concepts rather than the word themselves. The meaning of individual words comes from seeing and hearing the words used in different situations. This is an important point to realise as it means you don't have to waste time trying to find every word you come across in a dictionary. An example of this is in the first lesson - you're taught the sentence for "one dog". You don't know at that point that the word "one" is in the sentence, and so you don't actually realise what word is used for "dog" either. The precise meaning of the sentence, and so the learning of the words for "one" and "dog" come once you've progressed a bit further.

    This learning approach isn't what everyone is after. If you want to learn lists of words then this program won't suit you.

    The pronunciation of words is important in Chinese. Every word is pronounced using one of four tones - the same sound pronounced in a different tone is actually a different word in Chinese. This becomes apparent fairly quickly as there are words taught that show this. For example, the word for "horse" and the word for asking a question are both "ma" but with different pronunciations. Having a picture with no horse in it but associated with the sound "ma" should help you realise what's going on. There are many other examples too. The "speaking" component is also very good for practicing tones - visual feedback is given to show whether words have been pronounced correctly.

    In isolation some of the pictures used are initially hard to decipher. However, if you use the "preview" mode before starting a new exercise you'll get to see what the exercise is about and this then makes most of the picture meanings obvious.

    Having a Chinese-English dictionary is a good idea - inevitably you will want to check the precise meanings of some things. You can get a free software one from Euro Asian Software.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Poor instruction
    I am very disappointed in the Rosetta Stone software for Chinese. The principle is to show you pictures, hear a native speaker say what is trying to be portrayed in the picture, do this multiple times, and eventually you'll learn the language. That is, if I keep showing you a picture of an apple and every time I do I say pinguo, you're eventually going to realize that a pinguo is an apple. Seems pretty straight forward, doesn't it?

    The problem is that a number of the pictures cannot be easily deciphered. There are a few pictures that I have no clue whatsoever as to what I am supposed to be identifying. For instance, if I show you a picture of an apple sitting on a plate with a candle besides it and say pinguo, what is the pinguo? The apple? Plate? Candle? There are several times I thought an object was called one thing and then, several units later, I realized I had misinterpreted the pictures. How frustrating! And it's not that bad in the beginning but the further you get into the program, and the longer the sentences, the worse it gets.

    Also, the grammatical structure of the sentences is not covered. There is NO instruction on the Chinese language and in fact, there is NO English at all, accept in the instructions on how to use the software. I quickly realized I needed to buy a Chinese dictionary, which was a tremendous help. Even still, it's nearly impossible to decipher long Chinese sentences without some instruction on it. I found the majority of my time was spent trying to find what each word in the sentence meant. This program needs to have an English option that tells me what each word means. Then I can shut it off and try to engrain it in my head. I should not have to spend 50% of my time with my head stuck in a Chinese dictionary in order to understand what this program is trying to teach me.

    After completing the first disk of the Rosetta Stone, (level one) I have given up on it. I have since then switched to the Pimsleur program. This program is MUCH better than the Rosetta Stone method. It's a CD so there is not visual, which is one thing that was nice with the Rosetta Stone software, but you have an instructor telling you about the grammar and how the word order goes. Additionally, and this is VERY important in speaking Chinese, I spent 5 months going through the first disk of the Rosetta Stone program and did not know HOW important the actual sound of the words meant. Sure, I could hear the different inflections and rising and falling tones in the words, but I just thought that was a Chinese accent. When I switched to the Pimsleur method, the very first lesson spent a great deal of time discussing how important the rising and falling tones made to the meaning of a word. And you are reminded of this fact through out the program. Needless to say, I was a little upset with the Rosetta Stone. Nearly half-a-year of studying under the Rosetta Stone program and I never knew how important the tones were.

    The Rosetta Stone needs to make changes to their program. It is flawed in theory. If good grammar and speaking ability came from only looking and hearing at pictures, and not instruction, kids wouldn't have English classes for 12 years of their life. Rosetta Stone does not provide an instructor to tell you why the word order is the way it is, what a 'measure' word is, that the tones are important and not just a Chinese accent, etcetera. I do not recommend this software. I have found the Pimsleur method much more effective and I was able to speak in simple conversations shortly after I began. I'm not saying Pimsleur's the best because I do not know. But I do know it's better than the Rosetta Stone method.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Excellent approach, but needs adaptation for Chinese
    I will say up front that I have not used this entire CD. I have only done the first lesson from the program, which I downloaded for free from the RosettaStone.com web site.

    The learning style presented in the Rosetta Stone series really is as good as they say it is. I like the direct presentation of the Chinese and the concept, without English text explaining the grammar, usage, and so on. I also like the amount of repetition that is built into the exercises. Somehow that approach seems to place the language deeper into your brain, if that makes sense. The "game" like style is also fun.

    While I was working with it, my one year old son was learning English, and it was quite clear to me that the Rosetta Stone style really is just like a child's first language acquisition. In fact, I felt that working with the program helped me to understand and help my child with his English learning process.

    Although I like this learning style, I think it would be an improvement if there were an accompanying guide showing the meanings in English, Chinese characters, and pinyin. A guide would also come in handy if you wanted to work separately with a tutor. Then you could show the tutor a list of phrases and sentances you know so they could practice them with you. For what you pay for this software, it would be nice.

    I do have one major complaint about the program - it is not adapted to Chinese. From looking at the free downloads of each language of Rosetta Stone, it is clear that exactly the same concepts are taught in the same order in each language. For example, The first four phrases you learn are "a girl", "a boy", "a cat", and "a dog", whether you are learning English or Swahili. The program is not adapted to the languages individually.

    The concept behind the program is that only one new word or phrase is introduced at a time, and the accompanying illustration makes the meaning clear, so your mind can make the association. The problem is that in Chinese the sentance structure can be very different than the Romance languages, causing confusion. For example, in part six of lesson one, you see a picture of a man on a horse accompanied by the sentance "yi ge qi zai ma shang de nan ren". Up till that point you have learned the phrases "A Man," and "A Horse". In the English Rosetta Stone program, the phrase accompanying this picture is "A man on a horse." So clearly, the intention is that you learn the new word "on". But, in the Chinese program the sentance is, literally translated, "A riding located horse top man." So the student is presented with three new words, "riding", "located", and "top," with no clues to figure them out.

    I get the impression that they developed the template of this program to work well for the romance languages, and then just decided to make extra money by having translators translate the sentancesinto umpteen languages, regardless of whether the template works in those other languages.

    I think it would be a mistake for a beginner to try to learn Chinese using only this program - it would be very slow and frustrating. But the program would be very helpful used in conjunction with a class or tutor. I have not seen any similar programs out there that are better designed for Chinese, so it could be that Rosetta Stone is still your best bet if you like the interactive, total-immersion learning style. ... Read more


    6. MapPoint North American Maps 2004
    list price: $299.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00009XFRI
    Catlog: Software
    Publisher: Microsoft
    Sales Rank: 1021
    Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Reviews (5)

    1-0 out of 5 stars $269 for this GARBAGE?
    I wouldn't pay $2.69 let alone $269.00!!!! for this dreadful program. It is NOT user friendly. The data mapping is worthless. This program makes Street Atlas 2004 (mediocre mapping program) look like the best thing since sliced bread.

    Don't waste your money!

    3-0 out of 5 stars Stand-alone only sucks
    For many years, I've used the Microsoft Map feature of Excel. It's a great little tool that only does a few things but served its purpose well, and on occasion even justified using Excel rather than SPSS or some other data-management tool.

    Then came OfficeXP, with an Excel version from which Microsoft has stripped that Mapping tool. Now I have to pay hundreds of dollars and gets lots of data I don't want or need (and could find much of on the web anyway)? No thank you.

    Time to find an alternative...

    4-0 out of 5 stars OK, now that I've been using it...
    If you used Mappoint 2002, you will be very comfortable with 2004 as the interface is identical. The biggest upgrade is the updates to the street maps themselves - although it is still not perfect. I live in a fast-growing suburb of Cincinnati, and Microsoft still missed a major huge street that was actually built in 2002!?! Oh well, it IS Microsoft after all, perfection should not be expected. At least you can't get a virus through this program! I think...

    THE GOOD: Other upgrades/changes include 2002 Census update data, and a whole bunch of new data fields that can be mapped thematically. These are consumer-oriented demographics, like households with internet access, computers, etc. There are a lot of statistics on avg. household expenditures (movies, clothing, furniture, food, etc.) Another nice upgrade is the ability to print maps almost edge-to-edge, getting rid of that stupid huge amount of white space at the bottom that took up 25% of your page real estate. There are more pushpins, and it is supposedly easier to import new pushpins (I have not tried that.)

    THE BAD: Mappoint 2002 had census data projections for 2005; this version has no projections for anything, 2002 is as current as you are going to get. No upgrades that I have been able to see with respect to territory mapping, they still have the same small (and ugly) selection of colors to shade your territories. Data is still mapped at the census tract level or higher - if you need block group level fuggedaboudit. Data import options seem to be unchanged as well.

    THE BOTTOM LINE: If Mappoint 2002 floated your boat, this is a required upgrade just to get updated roads. If the older version didn't have the flexibility or features, you probably should be looking at coughing up the dough for Arcview by ESRI. For a real comprehensive list of all the updates and changes, go to the Mappoint home page on Microsoft's web site.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Ummm
    How exactly has the first reviewer been able to comment on the 2004 version, as it has not been released yet? Anyhow, the previous version is a great product, so hopefully Microsoft didn't mess it up. Easiest to use, and most powerful, off-the-shelf desktop GIS out there. And believe me, I've bought them all...Maptitude, BusinessMap 3 from ESRI, etc. While Mappoint does not have as many customization options, it is MUCH easier to use, and comes bundled with good demographics dataset. Here is hoping that the new version has really updated the streets, freshened the demographics, and has incorporated a web update feature. Users of Arcview, forget about it, this will seem like a joke to you, Arcview is the best (but a real bear to learn).

    5-0 out of 5 stars I found my way there ! Worth EVERY Pennty of price !
    Lets say your lost, and you have your laptop and you have a connection to your digital phone ?

    I found myself absolutely lost the other day driving around Fort Lauderdale, Florida looking for an address of a friend in the area.

    I plugged in my cel phone, fired up my laptop, entered my location and BOOM, a CURRENT map that I could use and direct instructions.

    I have used other programs and services before and found myself at the "Road Closed" intersection or at the exit that no longer was where it was supposed to be.

    With Map Point that does not happen as I can get a current map that has been updated.

    The Update makes it all worth while.

    Best Regards to all, MC - TheStickRules.Com ... Read more


    7. Niles Endnote 8.0 Windows
    list price: $299.95
    our price: $169.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0002ER3GI
    Catlog: Software
    Publisher: Niles Software
    Sales Rank: 825
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Features

    • Essential tool for research, writing, and publishing
    • Create instant bibliographies; organize references and images
    • Build libraries of any size; new reference types and fields
    • Add, edit, and display references in any language
    • Search online bibliographic databases

    8. Microsoft Streets and Trips 2005
    list price: $39.99
    our price: $32.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0002DOEAM
    Catlog: Software
    Publisher: Microsoft
    Sales Rank: 30
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Features

    • All-in-one mapping solution withU.S. and Canadian maps
    • Orient yourself on the road with GPS support
    • Download road construction updates quickly
    • View, add, delete, and rearrange destinations
    • Easily locate points of interest; Pocket PC compatibility

    9. Rosetta Stone Italian Level 1 & 2 Personal Edition
    list price: $329.00
    our price: $292.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B000077DD4
    Catlog: Software
    Publisher: Fairfield Language Technologies
    Sales Rank: 659
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Amazon.com Product Description

    Learn a new language with the award-winning method used by the U.S. State Department to train diplomats. Proven effective by NASA astronauts, Peace Corps volunteers, and millions of students worldwide, the Rosetta Stone Language Library teaches new languages faster and easier than ever before.

    We all learn our childhood language by associating new words and phrases with the world around us. The Rosetta Stone method replicates this process by presenting vivid, real-life images to convey the meaning of each new phrase. Instead of translating, memorizing, and studying rules of grammar, you actually learn to think in the new language. Vocabulary and grammar are integrated systematically, leading to everyday proficiency.

    This comprehensive program provides up to 550 hours of mastery instruction in listening comprehension, reading, writing, and speaking. Systematic structure teaches vocabulary and grammar naturally, without lists or drills. Previews, exercises, and tests accompany every lesson, and there are automated tutorials throughout the program. Graphical speech recognition displays your voiceprint and compares it with the native speaker to help improve your pronunciation. (Ages 6 and older) ... Read more

    Reviews (2)

    4-0 out of 5 stars This is a good start
    I have completed both level 1 and level 2 and I have learned quite alot, but, I cannot yet claim that I speak or write the Italian language fluently. This is a good course, and worth the money if you are very serious about learning Italian, but it is only a good beginning. It will not teach you much about verb conjugation or how to build a proper Italian sentence. Italian is a tough language to learn for the English speaker and it requires a huge amount of study, and many different types of study sources. This course is probably the best of its type available, but as with all of them it can only take you so far.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Awesome Learning Tool!
    I have had some knowledge of the Italian language so I am not a total beginner, but pretty close to it. The reason I purchased this software is that I found myself loosing the little knowledge I had. How this program works is through picture recognition along with coinciding speech. For an example they will show you a picture of a bird in different sequences such as: flying, swimming, and the color of the bird etc... They also show people doing similar actions. By picture recognition, repetitive patterns, and hearing the words, you do learn the language. The pictures do build in a methodical way and eventually you do learn to form the words, and then into sentences. But, there is no explanation in the how and why the grammar works. The word "the" is different in Italian with respect to masculine, feminine, plural, and the program does not explain this aspect of the language. You learn merely by rote imitation. This indeed is how a child learns to speak a language. A nice feature to this software is that the native speaker does speak in a slow pronunciation, in some parts of the program you can really slow the speakers voice down and hear every syllable. The program allows you to record your voice so you can hear your progress. Learning in this way is fun and I do not find my mind wandering. ... Read more


    10. Endnote 8 for Students Only

    our price: $94.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0002FYVB2
    Catlog: Software
    Publisher: ISI RESEARCHSOFT
    Sales Rank: 501
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Features

    • Search bibliographic databases on the Internet
    • Organize references and images in a database
    • Construct paper with built-in manuscript templates
    • Create bibliographies and figure lists instantly
    • Ideal for researchers, scholarly writers, students, and librarians

    11. Rosetta Stone Spanish Personal Edition Level 1 (Latin America)
    list price: $195.00
    our price: $194.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00004YUGL
    Catlog: Software
    Publisher: Fairfield Language Technologies
    Sales Rank: 425
    Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Amazon.com Product Description

    Learn a new language with the award-winning method used by the U.S. State Department to train diplomats. Proven effective by NASA astronauts, Peace Corps volunteers, and millions of students worldwide, the Rosetta Stone Language Library teaches new languages faster and easier than ever before.

    We all learn our childhood language by associating new words and phrases with the world around us. The Rosetta Stone method replicates this process by presenting vivid, real-life images to convey the meaning of each new phrase. Instead of translating, memorizing, and studying rules of grammar, you actually learn to think in the new language. Vocabulary and grammar are integrated systematically, leading to everyday proficiency.

    The Rosetta Stone Level I program offers a comprehensive course of study for beginning learners, leading to intermediate proficiency. The program contains over 3,500 real-life images and phrases in 92 lessons and more than 250 hours of mastery instruction in listening comprehension, reading, speaking, and writing. Systematic structure teaches vocabulary and grammar naturally, without lists and drills. There are reviews, exercises, and tests for every lesson with automated tutorials throughout the program. (Ages 6 and older) ... Read more

    Reviews (10)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The best way to learn
    I have looked at nearly a dozen different Spanish programs, but this program really mimicks the way a native tongue is learned. Any program that says that you can become fluent in a language in 2 months is lying to you. How did you learn your native language? Did your parents give you an English grammar book when you were a baby and have you conjugate verbs? Of course not! You heard your parents, their friends, and relatives speak it to you over and over and over again. Through that, you began to pick up words and phrases and were able to associate them with their meaning. But it took you quite a while didn't it? You weren't speaking your native language 4 months after you were born, were you? But over time you became fluent.

    People who live in other countries usually become fluent in that language in about 6 months to a year, depending on the language. And that's with hearing it 24/7, speaking it, reading it, and having no choice but to understand it. They are immersed in the language. That is what Rosetta Stone is trying to do. It is immersion. You see the picture, see the words, and hear the phrase or words associated with them. And this way, you never forget it. It's much easier to remember that caballo is horse when you have seen a picture of a horse with the word superimposed on that picture while a native speaker is saying it.

    It is going to take a while. There is no such thing as fast-food language. You have to be patient and you have to be dilligent. Repetition in the program is excellent, but the dilligence of the learner is the key to seeing results!

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Most Excelent Program
    The Rosetta Stone product is a wonderful way to learn a language. It uses your intuition to teach you and you can choose whether you want to learn to speak, listen, or read and write. You may advance in one area more quickly than in others and more than one user can keep track of their scores. The ease of the program and the ability to quickly learn the language is wonderful. The only drawback to this program is that it does not start with conversational spanish. It also does not break down the verbs and grammar, etc. The books discuss these things, but you travel through the program and learn the way you would if you were having to hear the language (or read it). I love it and so does my 10 yr old. I am not a natural at languages, but have recommended this program to all of my friends. I also have dealt with the company and found them to be wonderful at tech support and in getting me answers to questions.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Not as good as I was expecting
    This programs is good listening practice,and offers somewhat useful speech practice, and writing practice, but thats about it. There is no grammar practice at all. In Spanish this is critical. Learning verb conjugations are boring, but you simple have to understand them, same with pronouns ect. The Speech practice and writing exercises are simple repeating, and writing the Spanish you hear. This will do little for your ability to speak, because your going to have to translate the English to Spanish in your head, and vis versa. How can you say anything If you don't know for sure what the words and phrases mean.This is the way children learn right. (...). Want to say I want this or I need that, your out of luck, because this program does not show, or explain how. Everything in this course is third person. You get ton's of the boys are jumping, the girls are running ect. If you go to a Spanish speaking country how useful is this going to be? Like your going to strike up a conversation about someone else with a native Spanish speaker? No verb conjucations for I, you, we!!! A small problem considering you will use these verb conjucations at least 70-80% of the time in the present tense.If you get this course you need a dictionary, a verb conj. book, and if you can afford it the pimseur series, or Barron's FSI (IF you don't have the money). After about half way into the course I stopped, because I felt like I was on a vocabulary treadmill, learning new vocabulary words and little else. That's when I orders some good workbooks like Spanish the Easy way, The the practice makes perfect books, and wishing I would have bought these books first, as I use them and the pimsleur course, and put this course on the backburner. Anyway I will say that sadly this course is by far the best software program available for learning languages, but it's lacking and way overpriced for what you will get out of them. If you want to learn how to speak the language this is not the course for you. If you want to work on listening comprehention, and vocabulary building than you may like it.

    2-0 out of 5 stars For those with much time and litte ability
    For those who have never been able to learn a foriegn language this might work. It's tediously repetitive, introducing material at such a slow rate that even the most mentally challenged should find is easy going. Perhaps this explains its popularity in the State Department.
    The pace of the course is so slow though that anyone trying to use this to learn a language at a reasonably rapid rate is going to find it little more than frustrating. After a few hours you will finally be able to put together sentence like 'The men are dancing.' That's absurd. Adults dont'NEED to learn languages like children do. We can learn them much more quickly and more efficiently.
    All of the exercises provide the user with crutches. One is never forced to come up with the phrase in a foriegn language. One merely has to choose from among those provided. The written exercises are merely dictation. The accent reduction exercises are really exercises in pure mimicry. In short the software is very low-powered. There is no fancy AI here. It's really very crude.
    At this price the quality is simply not adequate.
    So that reduces the demographic for this product to mentally challenged individuals with a great deal of liesure time, and a great deal of money. If you fit into that category, you might give this a try. Otherwise find something faster, cheaper, better.

    5-0 out of 5 stars My Favorite
    I have purchased several different Spanish training courses but the Rosetta Stone is the one that I spend the most time with. I think the program does a fine job of synthesizing the natural process by which all humans learn their native languages. The price is a bit steep, but after working with level one for quite some time I went ahead and purchased level two as well. I figured that based on how much use I'm getting out of it, the money spent on The Rosetta Stone was money well spent. ... Read more


    12. Final Draft 7/Syd Field's Screenwriting Workshop DVD Bundle
    list price: $249.99
    our price: $219.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0001XNKP8
    Catlog: Software
    Publisher: Final Draft
    Sales Rank: 332
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Features

    • Word processing combined with professional script formatting
    • Designed for writing movie scripts, television episodics, and stage plays
    • Automatically paginates and formats script to industry standards
    • 50+ templates; text to speech, have your script read back to you
    • Syd Field's Screenwriting Workshop DVD for all skill levels included

    Reviews (1)

    5-0 out of 5 stars What They Write With & How To Do IT!!
    Okay, so I found out that Final Draft is the Industry Standard in Tinsel Town. Great. I'll buy one. Check out who uses it on their website. Wow! But the software alone doesn't tell us, say, what goes where and why in a screenplay. It just lays there, blank, with blinking cursor... waiting for some brilliance to be entered by me. Enter Syd Field. I have his books on screenwriting and, although the DVD is a little 'talking head'-like, it did make me understand more about the craft of screenwriting, like plot, story structure, action points and character arcs - the things that make up a really great movie. Take notes while watching the DVD! It made me better and less insecure about taking the movie idea out of my head and Final Draft is a cool tool that formats for you and types things you type alot for you. An excellent combination!! Highly recommend. ... Read more


    13. Microsoft Encarta Reference Library Premium 2005 DVD
    list price: $74.95
    our price: $69.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00027TJCG
    Catlog: Software
    Publisher: Microsoft
    Sales Rank: 87
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Features

    • Complete learning resource for home or school use
    • Multimedia encyclopedia and feature-rich reference tools
    • Explore science, history, cultures, geography, art, and more
    • Encarta dictionary, thesaurus, and translation dictionaries
    • Designed for students as young as 7 years old

    Reviews (1)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Encarta versus Britannica
    I have bought both Encarta and Britannica for years (EB in printed edition too: 32 volumes, 32.000 pages). This is my opinion in brief: Encarta is excellent in all aspects, but Britannica's authoritative text (sometimes outdated) makes interesting to buy both.
    TEXT: Britannica is a superb encyclopedia of text (not in visual aid) since 1768 (you know: an article by Einstein and so on...). Contents in electronic version differs from printed encyclopedia (very large articles have been shortened). Britannica claims that it has more entries that Encarta, but this is a joke: articles like "Mexico" are only one (with a lot of subdivisions) in Encarta, while in Britannica subdivisions are unconnected, and you must "jump" from one subdivision to another, which is slow and very annoying, especially if you want to copy it in "WORD". Very often, the text is not updated.
    In the other hand, Encarta's text is not bad at all. Most articles have the name of their contributors and their professions, works...: They are not "John Doe". You can find large fragments of literary works, literature guides, a lot of sidebars and thousands of quotations. "Encarta Africana" is included. The Pop-Up (double clicking a word) Dictionary and Thesaurus has sound for correct pronunciation (by the way, it can read aloud, with a robotic and ugly voice, a whole article). The "Translation Dictionaries" to Spanish, French, German and Italian must be improved, because they are minimal. It gives you a lot of "Internet links", even if you are not connected. With Britannica you must be "on-line" and it searches in an EB Web page.
    In theory you can update Britannica over the Internet free for a year quarterly (4 times), but this does not work. Encarta can be updated free EVERY WEEK with new articles and additions or corrections to the old ones (until October 2005). With Encarta updating really works. Technologically is amazing to see the changes in old items.
    ATLAS Britannica has not a real atlas; only a worlds map whose maximum detail are the States of USA. Statistics are very poor. Encarta's Atlas is like another encyclopedia, with a great detail (1 inch = 10 miles all over the world) and 20 varieties of atlas presentations (statistical ones can be counted by dozens). If you look at a geographical article (city, river...) you can see in a corner where it is placed and, with only a click, open the Atlas. In articles of cities, if you are on-line, you can see in another corner the weather of this place in that moment. If it is a USA place, you can read the latest news.
    MULTIMEDIA: They say that "serious" or "adult" readers do not care about "pictures"; that multimedia is only for kids. I do not agree, because I think that, sometimes, "A picture is worth a thousand words". Works of art, anatomy, historical maps, diagrams... Encarta devastates Britannica with a lot of photos, paintings, drawings, charts & tables, animations, interactivities, videos, music and sounds, pictures, 2-D and 3-D virtual tours, 360-degrees views, timeline, games... It is not only the quantity and quality. It is the easy access you have to all the multimedia, and that text and multimedia are fully integrated. Britannica is not really multimedia. It has photos and videos, but they make the program slow and sluggish. They should edit an alternative version with only text, as they did with the first edition in 1995. It performed fast and easy in old computers.
    INTERFACE AND PERFORMANCE: This is the worst side of Britannica. With Encarta you only have to type a word or the beginning of a word to see all the articles and multimedia that contain it. If Encarta does not find anything, it gives you automatically alternative spellings. Even if you write the name of a small village lost in any country, you see it in the atlas. If you need to copy text or pictures, the integration with Microsoft WORD is perfect. It has additional ways to find content, including subject or multimedia browsing, "related articles" and the standard A-Z method. The "Research Organizer" is very helpful too. Encarta's TEXT FONT is very clear (Britannica's...) and you can choose 3 sizes.
    Navigating with Britannica is disappointing. I will only give you an example: if you do not know the exact and correct spelling of a name or word, it does not help you with similar spellings (unless you open a window and "battle" with it). As I said before, the program's performance speed is very slow and sluggish, and it must be dramatically improved. To go "back and forward" you do not find any icon and you need to open a "menu".... One "pro" for Britannica: they say it works with Macintosh.
    INTERNATIONAL EDITIONS: Encarta has a lot in different languages. The four I utilize (United Kingdom, Spanish, French and Italian ones) are adaptations of USA version, which is necessary talking about History, Geography, Literature and other topics. The MISERABLE thing is that articles that equally concern any human being (Health, Mathematics and the rest of Sciences) are a VERY RESUMED translation of USA edition that is, of course, the best of all. Why Microsoft follows such a policy? I think this is MISERABLE in all the meanings of the word.
    I repeat my modest piece of advice: Encarta is excellent in all aspects, but Britannica's authoritative text (sometimes outdated) make interesting to buy both. ... Read more


    14. Rosetta Stone Russian Level 1 & 2 Personal Edition
    list price: $329.00
    our price: $292.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B000077DD7
    Catlog: Software
    Publisher: Fairfield Language Technologies
    Sales Rank: 994
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Amazon.com Product Description

    Learn a new language with the award-winning method used by the U.S. State Department to train diplomats. Proven effective by NASA astronauts, Peace Corps volunteers, and millions of students worldwide, the Rosetta Stone Language Library teaches new languages faster and easier than ever before.

    We all learn our childhood language by associating new words and phrases with the world around us. The Rosetta Stone method replicates this process by presenting vivid, real-life images to convey the meaning of each new phrase. Instead of translating, memorizing, and studying rules of grammar, you actually learn to think in the new language. Vocabulary and grammar are integrated systematically, leading to everyday proficiency.

    This comprehensive program provides up to 550 hours of mastery instruction in listening comprehension, reading, writing, and speaking. Systematic structure teaches vocabulary and grammar naturally, without lists or drills. Previews, exercises, and tests accompany every lesson, and there are automated tutorials throughout the program. Graphical speech recognition displays your voiceprint and compares it with the native speaker to help improve your pronunciation. (Ages 6 and older) ... Read more

    Reviews (2)

    4-0 out of 5 stars This is great but too expensive

    I gave this 4 stars instead of 5 because I think some of the vocabulary you have to learn wasn't well chosen, for example the parts about cowboys and also there are some tools I don't even know the names of in English. Also you learn numbers kind of haphazardly. The vocabulary is repeated in subsequent lessons instead of being all new in each lesson. I guess that is ok but since you can review the old lessons anyway if I were buying this I would want as much as I could get for the money. The lessons are easy, most of the lessons are beginning, not intermediate, with short sentences or just words. But occasionally you come across some harder lessons.
    This is good if what you need is listening and speaking practice. You can always get a grammar book at the library. I am currently trying the online version and so far I like it just fine. I wouldn't mind having my own copy but it is a little too expensive for me.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The ONLY worthwhile language learning software.
    The Rosetta Stone series of language instruction software is "Pimsleur" level of effectiveness and unfortunately, Pimsleur level cost as well.

    The programs work on a total immersion basis, with no English used at all. There are several types of drills, ones where you hear a word or sentence and pick it out of a group of pictures, another where you read the text of the word and pick out the pictures, etc. There are also typing drills in your language to help you spell (without having to download special fonts), pronounciation drills that allow you to hear a word, speak it to your computer and hear your voice in comparison to the native speaker played back to you.

    This is the first program of it's type I've found where this feature actually works!

    I own both German and Russian 1 and 2. There is a LOT to learn here, especially if you do all the types of drills for each lesson. You learn grammar from inference, such as word endings when the subject is "in" something rather than "on" or "under" it. You see the same endings used, compare them with the pictures and you start to recognize patterns.

    But one of the best things about this software is the user interface. Since it's an immersion program, there's no English used and by it's very nature needs to be intuitive. This is how it should be done. I've used other types of language software that had a klunky, confusing interface with features that didn't work, etc. None of that is the case with the Rosetta Stone software.

    On another note, I switched to Mac about nine months ago and Fairfield Language Technologies sent me out a new Mac OS X systems disc for free, no questions asked. At this price level you'd think this would be commonplace, but it's not. Adobe allowed me to change from PC to OS X when I upgraded from Photoshop 6 to 7, but Macromedia wouldn't and expected me to buy all new software (I didn't). So kudos to FLT for their stellar customer service!

    Is it too expensive? I'd say yes, but this is a serious language learning tool for serious self students, and it's a lot cheaper than classes at the U. The axiom is true with both this and the Pimsleur method tapes; you get what you pay for. ... Read more


    15. Rosetta Stone Japanese Level 1 & 2 Personal Edition
    list price: $329.00
    our price: $292.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B000077DD5
    Catlog: Software
    Publisher: Fairfield Language Technologies
    Sales Rank: 873
    Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Amazon.com Product Description

    Learn a new language with the award-winning method used by the U.S. State Department to train diplomats. Proven effective by NASA astronauts, Peace Corps volunteers, and millions of students worldwide, the Rosetta Stone Language Library teaches new languages faster and easier than ever before.

    We all learn our childhood language by associating new words and phrases with the world around us. The Rosetta Stone method replicates this process by presenting vivid, real-life images to convey the meaning of each new phrase. Instead of translating, memorizing, and studying rules of grammar, you actually learn to think in the new language. Vocabulary and grammar are integrated systematically, leading to everyday proficiency.

    This comprehensive program provides up to 550 hours of mastery instruction in listening comprehension, reading, writing, and speaking. Systematic structure teaches vocabulary and grammar naturally, without lists or drills. Previews, exercises, and tests accompany every lesson, and there are automated tutorials throughout the program. Graphical speech recognition displays your voiceprint and compares it with the native speaker to help improve your pronunciation. (Ages 6 and older) ... Read more

    Reviews (3)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Four stars BUT....
    A high quality, effective interactive learning system. Two complaints:

    1) No obvious explanation of grammar. It took me forever to figure out what various particples and other "connectors" meant. If figured this out in an hour at a Japanese class and I am much the better for it.

    2) Romaji (spelling Japanese words phonetically with roman/english letters) is a waste. There are differing opinions on this. But my suggestion is to go through the comphrehension and speaking exercises, skip the word recognition and spelling exercises, and supplement the writing with a good book on Kanji and the Kana. Think about it, would a Chinese try to learn German by first trying to spell out all the German words with Kanji? Well, duh...

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fairfield Technologies will send out OS X disks
    I had initially reviewed this software more negatively because of the software being shipped with disks for the old Mac system. However, now Fairfield Technologies will replace the disks with new OS X disks, for free, even internationally.

    Good product, and amazing service.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great product (as long as you like the immersion approach)
    This software is designed around the immersion approach to learning languages. A drill will show you a picture of an apple, and you'll see the word spelled out while a narrator gives the pronunciation. At various points in the drills, you will have the chance to read the Japanese word for apple, use your logic and language skills to pick the picture for apple after hearing the word in Japanese, and more. Its target audience is the self-motivated learner who's serious about learning and mastering basic Japanese over a 1-2 year period. Anyone looking for a quick and useful phrases for a short visit to Japan should use the Rosetta Stone Explorer or Traveller programs instead of this set. That said, using the Rosetta Stone is a lot cheaper than a plane ticket to Japan, or the tuition fees at intense summer Japanese courses at various universities around the US. If you master all the drills and vocabulary in the program, you will be well equipped to go to Japan, and to continue learning the language in an immersion environment.

    The student who has headphones and microphone attached to his or her PC will be able to take advantage of all the listening, reading, speaking and writing drills in the program. Users can switch back and forth between the romanized, hiragana and kanji scripts.

    Your Japanese teacher may not have the time (or patience) to give you individualized, repetitive drills. That's not a problem with this program - you can practice all you like and the program will never get tired of you! As such, the program is a good supplement for people formally enrolled in a class.

    For the student who dislikes the immersion approach and prefers to learn Japanese scripts and grammar before tackling any listening or reading, I recommend the Power Japanese and Kanji Moments programs from Bayware software.

    Once you have completed the Rosetta Stone programs, you will still need some formal study of grammar, but this program covers basic principles like the subject-object-verb order characteristic of Japanese, and basic verb forms.

    I used the online version of RS Japanese, and was extremely happy with it, but only because I have very high-speed internet access. Once my use license expired, I could no longer access the programs. If I had the CDs, I'd always be able to refer to the program later. Take your pick based on your own personal convenience.

    I liked my RS Japanese experience so much, that I took the plunge and bought the Level 1 Korean edition on CD. ... Read more


    16. Rosetta Stone Spanish (Spain) Levels I & II Personal Edition
    list price: $329.00
    our price: $263.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0001MBCGS
    Catlog: Software
    Publisher: Fairfield Language Technologies
    Sales Rank: 1015
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Features

    • Program selected by U.S. State Department, Peace Corps, NASA
    • 8000+ real-life color pictures and phrases spoken by native speakers
    • Develops listening comprehension, reading, speaking, writing
    • Previews, tests, and automated tutorials for extra help where needed
    • 12 activities in each of 210 lessons; for ages 6 and older

    17. Rosetta Stone English Level 1 & 2 Personal Edition
    list price: $329.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B000077DD1
    Catlog: Software
    Publisher: Fairfield Language Technologies
    Sales Rank: 1231
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Amazon.com Product Description

    Learn a new language with the award-winning method used by the U.S. State Department to train diplomats. Proven effective by NASA astronauts, Peace Corps volunteers, and millions of students worldwide, the Rosetta Stone Language Library teaches new languages faster and easier than ever before.

    We all learn our childhood language by associating new words and phrases with the world around us. The Rosetta Stone method replicates this process by presenting vivid, real-life images to convey the meaning of each new phrase. Instead of translating, memorizing, and studying rules of grammar, you actually learn to think in the new language. Vocabulary and grammar are integrated systematically, leading to everyday proficiency.

    This comprehensive program provides up to 550 hours of mastery instruction in listening comprehension, reading, writing, and speaking. Systematic structure teaches vocabulary and grammar naturally, without lists or drills. Previews, exercises, and tests accompany every lesson, and there are automated tutorials throughout the program. Graphical speech recognition displays your voiceprint and compares it with the native speaker to help improve your pronunciation. (Ages 6 and older) ... Read more

    Reviews (1)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Rosetta sends you on the way
    I found the Rosetta Stone Method effective to get me on the way to learn the language I needed: Russian. It was the very key break-thru element in my attempts to learn it. I would never had have success without it.

    It distinguishes itself very favorably from any other computer-based language training, in that it really sends one on the way, and keeps one there thru the first, always troublesome steps.

    However be informed, that it is not self-sufficient. You need a grammar, a dictionary, a good understanding of language structures (i.e. the grammatics of your own or another indogerman language), and more material. I took a lot of text and audio (internet radio) from the internet. I used also other audio/textbook courses to get more volume and substance. Even Mickey Mouse and some pre-school children books in the target language have been helpful. This mix made it sufficient, with Rosetta as the key driving element.

    Rosetta Stone does not tell you about these, but the implicit assumption is that of accompanying a teached course. Like the NASA astronauts had, evidently. They were not on their own. ... Read more


    18. Microsoft Works Suite 2005 [Money, Encarta, Picture It, Streets & Trips, Word 2002]
    list price: $99.99
    our price: $89.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0002KQOP8
    Catlog: Software
    Publisher: Microsoft Software
    Sales Rank: 446
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Features

    • Write like a professional with Word 2002
    • Get up and go with Streets & Trips 2005
    • Edit and organize your photos with Picture It! Premium 10
    • Explore the world with Encarta Encyclopedia Standard 2005
    • Get those finances in order with Money Standard 2005

    19. Delorme Mapping Street Atlas USA 2005
    list price: $49.99
    our price: $32.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0002IP3KM
    Catlog: Software
    Publisher: Delorme Mapping
    Sales Rank: 252
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Features

    • Updated maps showing all highways, local routes, borders and exits in the U.S.
    • Instant routing finds the fastest way to get to any destination
    • Powerful search engine with multile zoom levels, for close-up looks at the roads you'll travel
    • Millions of searchable points of interest -- from the newest restaurants to the closest gas stations
    • Add your own notes and recommendations to maps

    20. Rosetta Stone Arabic Level 1 & 2 Personal Edition
    list price: $329.00
    our price: $292.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B000077DCY
    Catlog: Software
    Publisher: Fairfield Language Technologies
    Sales Rank: 1876
    Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Amazon.com Product Description

    Learn a new language with the award-winning method used by the U.S. State Department to train diplomats. Proven effective by NASA astronauts, Peace Corps volunteers, and millions of students worldwide, the Rosetta Stone Language Library teaches new languages faster and easier than ever before.

    We all learn our childhood language by associating new words and phrases with the world around us. The Rosetta Stone method replicates this process by presenting vivid, real-life images to convey the meaning of each new phrase. Instead of translating, memorizing, and studying rules of grammar, you actually learn to think in the new language. Vocabulary and grammar are integrated systematically, leading to everyday proficiency.

    This comprehensive program provides up to 550 hours of mastery instruction in listening comprehension, reading, writing, and speaking. Systematic structure teaches vocabulary and grammar naturally, without lists or drills. Previews, exercises, and tests accompany every lesson, and there are automated tutorials throughout the program. Graphical speech recognition displays your voiceprint and compares it with the native speaker to help improve your pronunciation. (Ages 6 and older) ... Read more

    Reviews (3)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Good vocabulary builder and refresher, not for serious study
    I am actually reviewing the online version from Rosetta Stone Online, which makes the full Level I and II versions available by subscription.

    Each section consists of a series of Listening, Reading/Listening, Speaking, and Reading exercises. The full version of this software consists of 19 units of 10-12 sections each.

    In each exercise, you are given a series of activities consisting of a choice of four pictures and/or pieces of text and/or spoken dialogues (depending on which type of activity it is), and you must choose the correct picture/text/dialogue from the cues.

    The exercises are very simple, suitable for children or for quick reviews. If you are new to Arabic, or refreshing your skills after a long period of disuse, the repetition will be useful in building your vocabulary (back) up. You are fed bits of grammar incrementally with each new unit. You start with simply identifying various people and objects, and then add a few adjectives, and then add a few verbs so you are recognizing simple sentences such as "The boy drinks some milk" or "The bird flies" or "This car is not red, it is white," etc. Each unit adds more pieces of grammar and more vocabulary, building up to more complex sentences, different verb tenses, and so on.

    However, that is as far as it can take you. Diligently practicing all the exercises should expand your vocabulary and give you basic grammatical skills in Arabic. It will not bring you to the point of being able to carry on a meaningful conversation (unless your conversations are confined to describing objects and pointing at various people and animals and stating what they are doing), nor will it enable you to, say, read a newspaper.

    For self-study, this software makes a good supplement to more robust texts and tapes. Don't expect it to bring you up to full proficiency. If you want to do more than recognize simple sentences and learn a lot of "everyday vocabulary," Rosetta Stone is insufficient. However, I do recommend it for the crucial repetition and "training your ear" that every language student needs, especially those doing self-study, if you are at a low to moderate proficiency level.

    It is important to note that the text is entirely in Arabic script. You must be able to read Arabic before you can practice anything but the listening exercises. (Get a good book on Arabic script and learn it -- it's not that difficult, a serious student should be able to read the script fairly proficiently within a week.) Also, there are no English translations at all. This is not a bad thing -- the way the information is presented, you are expected to pick up the meaning as you go along, and if you practice the exercises seriously, you will. Just be aware that this software is based on the Audio-Lingual method, so you will find no glossaries or explanations of grammar.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Liked it but it needs a lot of patience and head scratching.
    I bought the Rosetta Stone Explorer Arabic course and got through it with some difficulty (but it was fun for the most part).

    I have lived and worked in Saudi Arabia and have studied the language and writing so I knew a little bit already. I found that several times it was difficult to determine the gender or ages of the people in the pictures. I also found that the small display (at least half the size of my laptop screen made it more difficult to see the pictures especially if the arabic script is on top of it. It would be helpful also if the Arabic script were larger. I would have liked to see a translation of the Arabic words into English as a way to clear up any confusion that does arise often. It would have been ok to rely primarily on the method that Rosetta Stone uses as long as you can look up the words in question. It would have been really super to be able to point and click on the Arabic script or on the specific images in the picture to get a translation.

    It takes a lot of concentration to look at the pictures and try to associate the spoken or printed arabic words to just what is meant to be conveyed in the pictures. Often you have to go back and forth between two or more different pictures to see what is common to the Arabic words being spoken/written. The words are written only in Arabic script and unless you know that Arabic is written from right to left and know what the characters represent you can forget about associating the printed word to any meaning.

    Finally, despite the relatively high price for the more advanced Level 1 and Level 2 courses I did enjoy the "Explorers" course and will probably buy them anyway. But first, I want to buy the Transparent Language Arabic course which is considerably cheaper. I also bought the Transparent Languages "101 Languages of the World" course which is the inexpensive intoduction to Transparent Languages more expensive and more in depth course which is much cheaper than Rosetta Stone. It also has immediate translations and a lot of other teaching methods that I find very good.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Good with other resources, but can't stand on its own
    I've been using a number of different language software programs as research for a thesis. I've enjoyed using the Rosetta Stone software to study German, Arabic and Japanese. I have lived in Japan and I had studied Japanese for a number of years before I came across this software. It was my first time studying German and Arabic.

    My biggest problem with Rosetta Stone software comes from the complete lack of any explanation of the basics of the target language. The theory here is that you will learn the language as a child does by seeing pictures, hearing the words and making the connection. This idea in practice can be a lot of fun and you should be able to pick up some vocabulary and sentence structures in a very short time (as long as the language uses an English alphabet). However, without a few basic pointers on the writing systems of languages like Japanese and Arabic, good luck figuring anything out. For example, if you did not know that Arabic is written and read from right to left with the letters joined together as in cursive English, you stand little hope of ever being able to break words and phrases down into the 28 Arabic alphabet's characters. It wasn't until I went to another source outside the Rosetta Stone software that I realised my massive error in trying to decipher the most basic script. This could have easily been avoided had the software offered a few pages of explanation, or even just the alphabet itself spelled out with English letter approximate equivalents and an arrow pointing from right to left. And Japanese? The same problem times 3 (the number of written character styles in Japanese) and just as confusing.

    Final review then? The Rosetta Stone software by itself can be quite useful as long as you are after listening and speaking skills only AND you don't think you'll ever need to see and read the word as you hear it. However, if you were hoping to learn reading and writing in a target language that uses a writing system other than the English alphabet, be prepared to go hunting for additional resources as a primer before you start banging your head against this Stone. After an hour or so of basic tutorial from an Arabic alphabet website, I got back on track with Rosetta, but I was quite annoyed that I ever had to make that extra journey in the first place. A company should not try to claim that its software is an all encompassing program if it falls so far short of just that from the get go. ... Read more


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