Customer Review

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not for beginners, audio not compatible with iPod or players, 2 Jan. 2010
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This review is from: Ahlan wa Sahlan: Functional Modern Standard Arabic for Beginners (with DVD and CD) (Book DVD & CD) (Hardcover)
The effort and care put into the creation of the MP3 CD (it is not an Audio CD as a music CD by the way) is literally rubbish, a dog's job from execution to packaging.

Firstly, it is not because the files are in MP3 format that make them ready to use on a iPod. In order for a bunch of MP3 files to be useful and easy to store, find and manage in a player, the publisher (Yale University Press) MUST put some effort to properly tag the MP3s with the following id3 information:

- the freaking name of the album
- the freaking name of the artist (author)
- the freaking TITLE of the track
- the freaking NUMBER of the freaking track

If this information is not provided, the MP3 player won't be able to sort the tracks into albums, sort the order of them against each other and won't display the collection of MP3s in an order that will make sense to humans.

Now multiply the lazy job of Yale University Press by 240 tracks and what you have is a massive mess hindering any attempt for productive learning as you will spend more time trying to find the badly recorded tracks than listening to their crackling, noisy and annoying sound when they are needed.

The geniuses at Yale went a step further to make things even more difficult for us. If it is not enough to completely ignore ID3 tagging, they named the files in the following format:

[track number] [Lesson number (which is from 1 to 24)] [Lesson name] [page number].

Well done Yale, except that by putting the track number before the lesson number you make all the files that start with a track number to bunch up together on an iPod playlist, for example:

...01 - Lesson one - Blah blah - p. 01
01 - Lesson two - Blah blah - p. 21
01 - Lesson three - Blah blah - p. 31
02 - Lesson one - Blah blah - p. 03
02 - Lesson two - Blah blah - p. 23
02 - Lesson three - Blah blah - p. 33
03 - Lesson one - Blah blah - p. 05
03 - Lesson two - Blah blah - p. 25
03 - Lesson three - Blah blah - p. 35...

Oh well, unless you are willing and know how to spend a few hours adding this information manually to 240+ tracks so that the files are organised on an MP3 player such as the iPod, or unless you are going to use the files as they are straight from the CD on a computer but not on iTunes, Winamp or a software that needs ID3 tags to organise tracks, this book will be utterly useless and your learning experience painful and frustrating.

About the book itself, you will need to learn the alphabet before (this is standard and not a fault of the book, I recommend Alif Baa, Georgetown University (Alif Baa with DVDs: Introduction to Arabic Letters and Sounds)) nevertheless I have some concerns with regards to its pace and would not recommend it for beginning self-learners until they have done a couple of other books before.
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Location: UK

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