Woodstock 25th Anniversary CD ROM

Produced by: Time Warner
Price: About $40.00 
Format: Separate Macintosh and Windows versions (rather than a duel platform CD)

Editor's note: I originally wrote this review in 1995, when I first got the program. It was published the year before, which was the 25th anniversary of Woodstock. Since then, the 30 anniversary of Woodstock has come and gone and I haven't heard of a newer version of the CD-ROM. I have recently tried my original copy on the latest computers and it doesn't work any better today than it did when I first got it, and on one computer, it doesn't function at all. The copy I have is the PC version, so I have no idea how well it runs on a Mac. I do not know if they have published a revised version since I got mine.

I was able to get the CD-ROM for about half the usual price, possibility because it is so badly flawed.  I think the problem is that it was not beta tested on different computers before being published. The IBM format requires at least a 386 processor and 8 megabytes of RAM, but even though I was running it on a 486, my copy crashed frequently. The movies didn't work until I installed 12 megabytes. The CD-ROM contains about 9 songs (sorry--none by the Grateful Dead) from Woodstock (with lyrics for about 8 of them) plus various sound bites from the movie. It also contains thumbnail movies, none of which would run when I clicked on them. The movie screen would come up blank and disappear. I was finally able to figure out that I could run them manually, by clicking on them from the disk directory. Although some of them are just clips from the movie, there was also recent (1994) interviews of various people who were somehow involved with Woodstock.

The disk contains many photos from Woodstock, both black and white and color, and most that I had seen before. They are in Macintosh pict format although none of them have .PCT file extensions on the CD. If you copy the photo files to another disk, turn off their read only status and rename them with the PCT extension, you can load them into the Quicktime viewer (that comes on the disk), copy them to the clipboard, paste them into your favorite graphics program and convert them into whatever file format you like. Some of them make good wallpaper for Windows. Deadheads will probably not like the fact that I couldn't find a single photo of any member of the Grateful Dead in all this.

The picture files I liked the most were the 71 Hippie button files (most in color). These contain buttons that say "I am a plainclothes Hippie" and a lot of other 60's slogans I had forgotten about. In PCT format, only about 50 of these files would fit onto one floppy disk, but I converted them all to gif format and got all of them to fit on one disk with room to spare. Unlike the buttons on my web pages, which I made with the paint program that comes with Windows, these are photos of the actual buttons.

In conclusion, the CD ROM has a lot of bugs and I don't think it's worth the full price. Six years later, with today's computers, I have yet to find one that will run the original CD properly. I hope they put out an updated version. If you can find it at a reduced price, it might be fun to have. Be careful that you get the right version for your computer. I had to take the first one back because I didn't notice it was for a Mac. I do strongly recommend the new director's cut of the Woodstock movie, however. Although, it doesn't have any new Grateful Dead footage, it's much improved over the original movie. Plus I dig the obituaries after the credits. Anyone care to review the Mac version?

One last thing: Another CD-ROM has just come out about the Haight-Ashbury. It's produced by Allen Cohen of San Francisco Oracle fame. I know he has also put out a book, which is a reproduction of all the San Francisco Oracles, but the only catch is it costs $700.00 and only three libraries in this country have it. The CD ROM should be at a more popular price. Click here to see the blurb on it. Here's my review of it.

Copyright ©, 1995, 1996, 2001
Colin Pringle