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Microsoft cancels Encarta

On hearing this news I realized that I had never used Encarta. I went to see it before it disappeared and WOW was I surprised! It’s like someone ran the old 600 meg CD-ROM version of Encyclopedia Britannica through a Perl script to turn each article into HTML, uploaded it to a cheap web hosting site, and put up adverts.

Searching for “limoncelli” and “limoncello” turned up nothing. The “did you mean?” suggestions sucked.

So I search for “Pascal” and got the choice between “Pascal, Blaise”, “Pascal (computer)” and a few others. The article about Blaise was, well, fairly plain. It was exactly what I would expect in a high school encyclopedia... boring, short, non-controversial and out-of-date. No links to web sites, even out-dated ones. No passion for the subject. Oh, and the layout of the site and the IN YOUR FACE advertisement format looks like they hired the guy that did the original MySpace.

Compared to Wikipedia’s clean format, in-depth information, and very current links and pointers, Encarta looks very, um, “1996”.

Nothing makes you appreciate Wikipedia like a reminder of how anemic encyclopedias used to be.

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It *is* very 1996. I had Encarta on my first or second computer and it was pretty mediocre back then.

More like they took the 1993 Funk and Wagnels encyclopedia and ran it through a script. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Encarta

Anyone remember Funk and Wagnels, sold mostly through grocery stores. "This week only: Volume 'W' is just $2 with any purchase!"

Anyone remember Funk and Wagnels,

Yup! Had a set of those as a kid, back in the 70s.

Also, I don't know if you know this but you're very close to the truth. From Wikipedia (at least, as far as Wikipedia can be believed, which is also often problematic):
Following the first multimedia Academic American Encyclopedia, Microsoft initiated Encarta by purchasing non-exclusive rights to the Funk & Wagnalls Encyclopedia, incorporating it into its first edition in 1993. (Funk & Wagnalls continued to publish revised editions for several years independently of Encarta, but then ceased printing in the late 1990s.) Funk & Wagnalls had been a third-tier encyclopedia available at cut rates in grocery stores, where volumes were sold individually as well as in one collected set. The name Encarta was created for Microsoft by an advertising agency, which decided that it sounded better than Funk & Wagnalls.

The name Encarta was created for Microsoft by an advertising agency, which decided that it sounded better than Funk & Wagnalls.

But that's the Microsoft way! Buy the cheapest schlock available, re-label it, and hope most people will find it "good enough."

Which is more depressing, that they (and other corporations) do this, or that people buy it?

Buy the cheapest schlock available, re-label it, and hope most people will find it "good enough."

Hey, it worked with QDOS....

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