Thanks to Barry Ketley for the review sampleThe Warpaint series has been very popular, with some of the early books being reprinted by demand, but now there is a new way to get these great reference books. They can now be had on a CD carrying a pdf (Portable Document Format) file. These are normally associated with Adobe, but there are other programs that can read them, especially if you own a Mac. The layout is exactly the same as that of the books, but you can access them on screen. This has some excellent plus points, these being even more so if, like me, you have trouble reading books and magazines due to illness. The first three books to appear as pdfs are Warpaint Nos 6 (Shackleton), 10 (Wellington) and 12 (Swordfish). The quality of the scans is excellent and they can be magnified more than ten times before any ‘blockiness’ occurs. This is excellent news for readers with vision problems, or if you want to take a closer look at the numerous photographs and profiles. If there is a page you particularly need to use, you can print it, which is great for modelling, since your books can’t get ruined by glue or filler.
The first three CDs simply contain scans of the books, since these titles were not saved electronically. This means that you will not be able use ‘Search’ within
Adobe and other pdf readers, but from Warpaint No. 19 onward the books were created using modern page layout software. This is excellent news for us researchers, as it will save numerous hours of re-reading. If you are a Mac user on the new Tiger system, just a few clicks in Spotlight and you will have your information in seconds.
A tip is not to access the data from the CD, but to copy its content to your hard drive first. You will then find your access times are much quicker. It also keeps your CD use to a minimum, making it last longer. Another plus point will be that the books will be accessible to a larger audience, even blind people. If your computer is set up correctly, available software will enable it to read the text to you; but don’t forget this will be from No. 19 only.
If you are a laptop user you can use your Warpaints at model and air shows, or the local model club, without carrying all the books with you! Of course there is a downside. You can’t read them in the bath, or in bed if you don’t have a laptop, although there is a technology on it’s way, known as ‘plastic paper’, with which you will be able to read such material anywhere!
In the future Guideline Publications will allow purchasers to put several books on one CD, therefore saving even more money, and with DVD technology you could get the whole series, which means I could claim back some of my shelf space. Updating a book has always been a challenge, but with pdf books all you have to do is add an amendment and include it on the CD, no juggling with page layouts and no extra expense in printing a new edition.
Guideline Publications needs a great big pat on the back for this initiative and I am sure it will be very popular, especially at a price of £8.50 per book. All we need to do now is persuade the company to do a pdf version of Scale Aircraft Modelling, oh, and the huge SAM back catalogue!
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