Sunday, June 16, 2013

The New Kosciuszko Foundation Dictionary CD Is Problematic

In my post on Polish language learning recommendations, I gave high marks to "The New Kosciuszko Foundation Dictionary," a two-volume set.  I do like the book even though it has some omissions of words (but few dictionaries will have all words, and if they do they will be really expensive).  I bought this dictionary at a bookstore in Warsaw and it was a little over 300 złoty (about $100 in US money).

But recently I installed the CD that comes with the book, which purports to be a searchable version of both volumes with some added features.  The problem with the CD is that it displays the wrong character set, as you can see from the following screenshot:
But not only does it display the wrong characters, the support emails in the help file for the program are not operative any more, so good luck getting any support for the problem or for the program in general.  The website has also changed as well.  The help file is fairly sparse and does not even address this problem.  On the Kosciuszko Foundation's site, it is hard to find any email addresses for anybody, and it is doubtful that anyone there is associated with the dictionary.  Still, I have emailed multiple people there about the problem and asked them to forward to the correct person and have not even gotten a response.  This is troubling because perhaps someone has an easy answer and it seems I am simply being ignored.

I ran a compatibility check in Windows (you can do this for any program by right-clicking on the program and choosing it from the menu) for the program, and it goes through a series of questions and tests, then ultimately states that the program is incompatible, with no further details.  And I've tried running it in emulation modes for previous versions of Windows, and have gotten no better results.  And there doesn't seem to be any information on this through any internet searches.

I guess my next step will be to see if there is some sort of emulation window (free, hopefully) I can run this program in to get the right characters.  I have also experimented with changing to different character sets in Windows and that doesn't help either.  Really, I don't want to globally change my character set because other programs and files are running fine, but I thought I would at least try.

So my recommendation at this point is that the books are good, but the CD leaves something to be desired.

UPDATE:  The president of the Kosciuszko Foundation emailed me today and indicated that the company who they partnered with to make the CD has gone out of business, and as soon as they can raise the money to fix the problems with the CD, they will make it right with all the customers who purchased the original ones.  So it is somewhat gratifying that (hopefully) they will at some point correct the problem.

UPDATE:  Five months later (November 2013), there appears to have been no further attempt to fix this problem or put out any information to offer either any solution, or any progress toward a solution.  The CD is a lemon, and customer service is nonexistent.  However, the dictionary itself is solid.

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