Curse you, Kalmbach, You ate my sleep!

or why I plan to sue Kalmbach Publishing for all my lost sleep…

Trains - The Complete Collection 1940-2010 DVD

Trains - The Complete Collection 1940-2010 DVD

As if I didn’t have enough stuff to keep me away from actually working on my model railroad.  Now you do this?  You give me 70 YEARS of Trains magazine on DVD.  Oh sure, make it so that I can copy the whole kit and caboodle to my hard drive and have instant access to EVERY issue of TRAINS ever printed.

Did you really want me to actually stop working on my railroad just to read those old issues from the 40s?  Is that what you wanted?  Well, it worked, OK.  Are you happy now?

Seriously folks, this set of 70 years of Trains magazines is the absolute dream come true for research, reference and just plain fun.  Reading the old articles from the 40’s and 50’s brings me back to those days when I was… oh jeez, I was born in 64…

One caveat with this collection though.  It works pretty flawlessly on my PeeCee, but my main machine is a Mac and the Mac version seems to be an afterthought.  It is slow, clunky, the screen doesn’t update and it does not print at all.  Rather annoying, but since my PeeCee is a pretty stout machine anyhow, it’s ok.

I do recommend having AT LEAST the minimums to run this.  Any modern computer (6months- 1 year old) should hack it, but I have an 8 core 16GB memory machine.  It positively screams, lightning fast.  But since this collection is search intensive, it might bog down on some machines.  It’s still way worth the $150 though!!  The joy of reading articles from the luminaries of rail-fanning is worth the price alone.

The initial load takes a long time, but it is copying approx 17GB of data to your machine.  After that you are presented with a glorious screen of all the covers of every TRAINS magazine ever printed.  You can just double click any cover and start reading that issue.  Tons of fun, and the basis for my 500 bazillion dollar lawsuit based on lack of sleep.

Where it gets really fun is when you start searching for things.  Click on the search tab and go for it.  Search for items of interest and go exploring.  The search engine allows you to search title, keyword and railroad by default, or you can add in the FULL TEXT.  I haven’t done this yet, but I’ll bet it will take a while to search 60,000 pages of text.  You can also specify a year range and/or a certain Department.  I love the “ABCs of Railroading” articles so I just searched for all of those and lost an entire afternoon.  (Another part of my lawsuit!)

Oh, and when you do find a fun article, you can click the little heart icon (cuz you love it) and it is added to your favorite list.  Now you can access that article again easily by bringing up the favorite list.  Very handy!

And for even more fun…  when you find the answer to that burning, nagging issue that was brought up at the club last year and still isn’t settled, you can print out the proof that you’re right and hand to those rivet-counting yahoos and show them!  HUZZAH!

So, is it worth $150 – You betcha (unless you only have a Mac, then wait for them to fix it.)  Is it perfect, not really, but darned close.  There is a patch out on the Kalmbach website to address an issue with the Favorite screen.  Are some of the older issues a bit hard to read, yes… but you can zoom pretty close in and read to your heart’s content.  The tools are very handy in the reader itself.

Is it an indicator of things to come… I damn sure hope so.  The day they announce that they are doing this for every issue of model railroader magazine, I will fly to Kalmbach’s building and stand outside waiting for my copy.  It’s just that good!

Run, don’t walk and get you a copy!!

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