Sunday, April 15, 2012

Victorian Early Church Records DVD

I recently purchased a copy of the new brand new data DVD from Births Deaths & Marriages in Victoria called "Victoria's Early Church Records".  I eagerly put it into the DVD drive on my computer and tried to run it.  A command box flashed up on the screen and closed before I could see anything on it.

My computer is running a 64-bit version of Windows 7, so I tried it on my husband's 32-bit version.  Same thing happened.  I contacted the department who had created the CD and explained I was having trouble and they replied "There is a possibility that the DVD is having problems with the reasonably new operating system.  However it should work on the 32 bit version."  Quite apart from the fact that there is nothing new about Windows 7 (it was released in 2009), I had already told them that it didn't work on the 32-bit version either.  And someone else I knew also had the same problem with the 32-bit version of Windows 7.  Their only response was that we should return the DVD and get a replacement.  But that probably wouldn't work either.

Well I didn't want to give up so I have spent ages figuring out what was happening.  Here is the answer/solution:

1. The file launch.bat that automatically starts up is checking for the pre-requisites.  If there was a problem you will see an HTML page telling you that something is missing.  If you don't see anything then you can assume you have all the prerequisite software.

2. Then navigate to the CD on your computer via Windows explorer (or whichever way you like to navigate).  Go to the directory app.  In it you will find a file called DVDsearchgen.jar which you should double click.  This will start up the application as advertised in the brochure enclosed with the CD.

3. The search works ok, and you can select a record ok to see the details, but when you click the view image button, the image that is displayed is of low resolution, but it is displayed with a weird aspect ratio.  You have to fiddle around with the window to get an image that is at the correct aspect ratio (and therefore looks like legible English) and use the slider on the bottom of the screen to increase the size enough to read it.  You cannot make the window wide enough to see the whole line from the register or you will muck up the aspect ratio again.

4. There appears to be no way to print the image.

So, in summary, I think this is a very badly executed CD, which is disappointing as I waited a long time for it, paid a lot of money for it, and the data in it could be very useful to me.