The Multimedia Yearbook
Here’s a cute idea: The Multimedia Yearbook from Jasmine Multimedia. Buy one for Mom, Dad, Grandma, Bud, and Sis. Each CD-ROM brings you highlights from your special year (e.g., the year of your birth) – a kind of personal mini-reference work. Here’s how ours worked. You’re in Times Square, crossroads of the world. The year is 1945. Choose Movies, the Newsstand, or the Arcade. From the Newsstand, you can browse through “magazines” with data on Births, Obituaries, World Leaders, Books, Movies, Theater, Science, Economics, etc. Try Obituaries. You’ll find five: Theodore Dreiser, Ernie Pyle, George Patton, John McCormack, and Jerome Kern, but not Franklin D. Roosevelt. Nor will you find him under World Leaders. Harry S. Truman is listed as President. Okay. Try the Movie Theater. From the newsreels you’ll find out FDR died in April. Shouldn’t that be in the Obits, or shouldn’t he be listed for part of 1945 as President under World Leaders? After all, Adolph Hitler is listed as the German leader, but he died in 1945. The Arcade lets you take a shot at answering trivia questions that you presumably know something about after spending time in the news section. Here’s one: What was the population of the U.S. in 1945 – 133.4 m., 123.2 m., or 143.4 m.? Since none of the choices is the same number we got under Economic facts (140,468,000), we’ll guess 143.4. Wrong! But, the program won’t tell you what it considers the right answer. And if Harry Truman is President in the News section, how come he’s the Vice President in this section? Since the newsreel begins with the Warsaw uprising (surely that wasn’t 1945?), what do you expect? The Multimedia Yearbook for 1945 is a mess. Maybe other years are better but, for $12.95 plus $5.95 S & H as advertised on the disc, we’ll pass.
– March 1996