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For years now I’ve been scanning my old magazines to create a digital archive and then I take the magazines to the recycling center. That has worked well for every magazine I’ve owned, save one.

National Geographic Magazine

I hesitated with my collection of National Geographic magazines. First, because I have so many. Second, because I can’t bear just recycling such an iconic magazine full of so much imagery and knowledge. Maybe, this is actually my first reason.

National Geographic is a magazine that you pass down or on to younger family members, or others, so that they may also appreciate this incredible content. Like Woody and the gang in Toy Story 3, you don’t just throw them away, you give them to a new loving home.

Many years ago, when CD ROM was all the rage, the NGS (National Geographic Society) came out with a CD ROM version of all the NGS magazines ever printed. At that time shelf space was not scarce in my home, I had plenty. Fast-forward…less shelving space, new attitude.

Now, all I want is alternatives to having paper-based magazines.

I’d kept my eye on this product over the years, it was time to look at it again. This time, there are DVDs and Adobe Air. But, after researching and reading so many negative reviews I was very hesitant about ordering this product. There were 1 star reviews, horror stories about 6 hours worth of installing time, updating Adobe Air nightmares, 60GBs worth of data to install on your computer, etc. I wasn’t feeling good about it. Then, there were the few reviews that expressed how wonderful this product was, but still listing install problems. I’m pretty good with computers, but I don’t look to invite problems into my workflow.

Finally, I read a reviewer explain that he didn’t know what all the fuss was about. That you don’t have to install the whole 60GB data (which is exactly what I didn’t want to have to do). His review explained to just insert the install disc (Disc 1), follow the instructions, you’re done. Then only insert the other discs as needed, when directed by the computer, to review the content (not to install the data on your computer). That was the review I wanted to see. I immediately ordered the product.

Thinking “Here we go” after opening the package, installation took about 10 minutes. That 10 minutes also included opening the packaging, pulling out the contents and picking up the discs to look at them. 🙂

I never saw a dialogue box instructing me to insert any disc other than Disk 1 (install disc) during the install process.

My Adobe Air software was already updated. There was a message about Adobe Air during the installation, but only regarding to update automatically when updates become available. I didn’t bother to check this box. Adobe Air automatically signals me for updates on my computer anyway.

That was all there was to it.

So, what is causing the other users to have such problems?

Platform? Working knowledge of their computer?

Don’t know. But, as you read, installation couldn’t have been more worry-free.

I immediately started making myself familiar with the app and reading the Complete National Geographic. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!!!

Now, the negative.

1. Sometimes you really have to put your face up to the screen to see the tiny text in the application.

2. I wish I could navigate with page thumbnails when reading the content, instead of the navigation arrows. Like I can with my iPad or in an Acrobat file.

Other than that, I am in heaven (or the universe).

The first issue and article that I wanted to reacquaint with was August 1990, Voyage of the Century. Voyager’s images of Saturn and the other planets….fascinating!

Below is a gallery of screenshots of my install process and overall viewing of The Complete National Geographic. And, the magazines? I’ve found a good home for them.  🙂




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5 Responses to The CNG

  1. They’ve always been a mainstay of my education too. The superb photography and the excellent text are beyond compare. Sounds like you’ve found the perfect solution to accessing Nat Geo. Their TV channel is also wonderful.

  2. Mark says:

    I am curious, do they also include the great maps they have now and then? This is another bonus of the printed materials for me.

  3. Chita says:

    Yes, the map supplements that may have come with the issue are included in the DVD set.

  4. Jim says:

    I was hesitant to get this set as well, but when the price at dropped to less than $30 days before Christmas, I jumped in. I’m glad I did, and I am very pleased with the product.

    I wanted to point out that the hours long installation time many point out is related to the option to install the entire collection on your hard drive to avoid swapping out the DVDs. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that copying six DVDs of data (about 45 gigabytes) takes a very long time. On my MacPro 1,1 it took a little less than four hours, but I like that all that wonderful information is a click away without the need to swap out the DVDs.

    Thanks for the article Chita.

  5. Chita says:

    Jim, Yes…
    It is just amazing to have this content at our fingertips!