Listings Deluxe is a telephone directory database from Pro CD Inc. The 11
CDs include business and residential listings for the US and Canada,
toll-free numbers, a street atlas, zip code finder, Internet directory
and demographic statistics.
System RequirementsMinimum requirements include 386SX running at 25 MHz, 8 Mb RAM, Windows 3.1, MPC compatible 2x CD-ROM drive with MSCDX 2.0, SVGA monitor (640x480x256), 32 Mb of free disk space and a Windows compatible mouse. In order to take full advantage of all the features, it is also necessary to have a Windows compatible printer, modem and an Internet connection.
Test system: these tests were run on a 166 MHz Pentium with 16 Mb RAM, Windows 95, 6x CD-ROM, SVGA monitor set at 800x600x64k and about 500 Mb of free disk space. I am also using an HP Laserjet 4 printer with 2Mb memory and a Galaxy 28.8 Kb modem; my Internet connection is through Connect International.
InstallationEach of the five major components of this product must be installed separately. Full installation on my system used 31.8 Mb of disk space and took about 15 minutes of actual time, however, the process was not without difficulties. As with most installation procedures, a default directory is suggested and you are given the chance to change it if you want. I prefer to install as little as possible in my root directory so I almost never accept the defaults.
Everything proceeded smoothly until I tried to install the Zip Finder. The setup program wanted to know where I had installed the Street Atlas. OK, since I had already installed the Atlas, this was no problem; so I clicked the 'Browse' button and, lo and behold, the Atlas WAS NOT THERE. The Atlas installation procedure told me that it had installed successfully and my disk utilities told me that 10.8 Mb had disappeared somewhere. Searching the disk with the Windows Explorer and File Manager produced no results. Unlike the other components of the application, the Atlas did not install on my 'Start Menu'. I then searched my entire hard drive manually and still did not find it. Only after rebooting did it show up where it was supposed to be and I was able to continue with the installation procedure. I then had to manually install the Atlas to my 'Start Menu'. Because of this glitch, the real time installation took almost TWO HOURS.
If you are using Windows 3.1 or Windows for Workgroups, you may experience any number of strange error messages or be unable to run other 32 bit applications after installation. Some older display drivers are not compatible with Microsoft's WIN32S.DLL. This problem can usually be remedied by deleting WIN32S and then reinstalling Pro CD. This problem has been reported in the documentation but has not been verified because my Windows 3.1 system does not have enough disk space to install this product.
Business and Residential listingsThe Business and Residential feature includes listings for 85 million US residences, 15 million US businesses, 12 million Canadian businesses and residences and 108,000 US toll free numbers. US listings can be searched by name, street, city, state, zip code, phone, MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) or distance from a preset point, for example if you want to find all the banks within one mile of your house.
Additionally, US business listings can be searched using the SIC code (US Standard Industrial Classification). Searches can be narrowed down by using a combination of search parameters. A feature called the 'Tag Manager' allows marking records for inclusion in mailing lists, databases or export to other programs.
Of course, the first thing I had to do to test this program was to look for myself. I entered my last name, city and state and clicked the search button and there I was, along with ten other BIANCHIs in San Antonio; name, street address, phone number, however, because the apartment number was not included, the Zip Plus4 code was wrong. There was no listing for my second number.
The record also included the date of the original source of the information; as with most of the records I looked at, it was from SEPT 1995, almost two years old. Next I tried to access the same record from the opposite direction, I entered the city, state and phone number (without the area code). I got an error message that said the entered area code did not exist in the database. The program was not able to determine the area code from the city information.
There is an auto dialer feature that will dial the phone number of the selected record (requires a modem). This feature works but is somewhat clumsy to use. When you click the 'Dial' button, instead of dialing the number, a dialog is opened showing the selected record and then you have to click the button again.
The auto dialer requires that the modem be setup first. In the modem setup procedure, you need to enter your local area code and all local prefixes so the dialer will be able to recognize if a number is local or long distance. San Antonio has 292 prefixes.
In addition to businesses and residential listings, and although it is not documented, the listings also include:
Searching the SIC index using the keyword 'MILITARY' lists codes for military fields and for hospitals. Searching the database on these codes reveals that neither of these facilities exist in San Antonio.
Street AtlasIn last May's PC Alamode, several street mapping applications were reviewed. Listings Deluxe's Select Street Atlas contains 30 million US street segments that can be displayed or printed at 10 different scales ranging from the full US map down to about 1 square mile. Locations can be searched by street name, city, state, zip code, area code or county.
You can also import lists from other applications. The zip code search does not include Plus4 so cannot locate an individual address but places the marker at the center of the zip code area. An included database contains major businesses or points of interest that can be placed on the map or you can add your own.
Street Atlas lets you mark streets and print the map. This is great when you need to give directions to another person. It does not work very well for other purposes. I wanted a map of Texas counties, since the county lines on the map are not easy to distinguish, I used this feature to highlight them. The line is a wide hatch marked pattern that does not scale with the map, when the map is scaled down to fit on a printed page, the entire state appears to have a hatched fill pattern. Additionally, marking the map to this level of complexity severely slows the system to a crawl when the maps are being redrawn and can lock up the system when the file is trying to load.
Landmarks displayed on the map are labeled in italics fonts on the screen, but come out completely unreadable when printed. According to the Troubleshooting Guide, this is caused by an incompatibility with the printer drivers. The recommended solution is to install a more generic printer driver. When I followed this advice, the labels printed correctly but my printer was totally overwhelmed and choked after printing only about the top 20% of the page.
Internet DirectoryThe Internet Directory contains 450,000 Internet addresses worldwide that can be searched by name, WWW address or SIC and can be filtered by street, city, state, zip code or phone number. You can find a web address for any listed company, or you can search in reverse; if you already know the web address, you can find out who it belongs to. Street address and phone numbers are listed only for US and Canadian sites.
When you have located what you are looking for, clicking a button will connect you to the selected web or FTP site. This button will launch your browser and load your home page and then it falls asleep, it will wait 2-3 minutes before attempting to connect to the requested site. It will not, however, establish the connection, you must already be online. If your browser is already open, it works a little faster but will still wait before trying to connect and does not open the browser window.
About half the sites I tested either no longer exist or have been moved to a different address and I was unable to make the connection.
Demographic BrowserThe Demographic Browser has 35 million US demographic profiles organized by zip code and based on the 1990 Census. Population statistics are broken down by sex, race, age and income within a zip code area.
Zip FinderZip Finder is a database of 55 million US 9 digit zip codes that can be searched by street, city and state. It can also be used to correct and standardize addresses from a database in DBF format. I tested this feature on a copy of a mail list database, into which errors were introduced. Street and city names were converted to upper case as preferred by the Post Office (it can be configured to use mixed case), misspelled streets were corrected, zip codes were corrected and Plus4 added. It also gives the option of adding Carrier Route and Delivery Point information that is required for bulk mailings.
The corrections, however, were not always correct! Plus4 is added only as a separate field, attempting to append the Plus4 to the zip code in the same field resulted in ONLY the Plus4 being included and not the first 5 digits. The city of Fair Oaks Ranch was changed to Boerne, Fair Oaks Ranch was given it own postal designation over a year ago.
According tothe Post Office designations, all 782** zip codes belong to San Antonio. One of our long time members always argues that we have his address wrong, that he does not live in San Antonio, he lives in Windcrest; it's gotten to be a regular ritual that we go through every time he renews his membership. I put 'Windcrest' in his record for this test and the program did not change it.
IntegrationIt is possible to pass data between applications, for example, to select several records from the Business and Residential listing and then mark them on a map in Street Atlas; the Business and Residential has its own limited mapping capabilities but it does not have the degree of accuracy available through Street Atlas.
If you are like most of us and have only one CD-ROM drive, this process can be a major inconvenience; the Business and Residential listings are on 6 CDs and the Atlas on 2. The first step is to select the desired records from the Business and Residential listing; since the disks are divided by region, if you want records from more than one region, this can require several disk changes. Once you have your list selected, it is exported to your hard drive. You must then exit the Business and Residential program, switch to the first Atlas disk and start that program. Then you import the file that was created in the previous step. Importing the file requires switching to the second Atlas disk and once it is imported you must switch back to Atlas disk 1 to generate the map.
ProblemsMany of the problems encountered in the testing of this product have been reported above, some of the other problems that were found include:
RecommendationThis application has some good features. When it comes to a database application, however, all the bells and whistles are meaningless if the data is inaccurate, incomplete, inconsistent or difficult to use. Listings Deluxe suffers from all of these shortcomings.
If you are looking for this type of application, I recommend that you look elsewhere.