The Complete National Geographic

An example of some text, acceptable
If you’re thinking of buying a copy of the Complete National Geographic but are weary of having to run it under wine, despair no more. It’s written in Adobe Air and runs acceptably well. I used wine to install it so I could get at the air package inside, but it turns out NGM is nice and provided us with a handy download for the viewer. I couldn’t get it to run without unpacking it, something about an API version mismatch (originally I repacked it with the correct settings but that’s overkill). You can just unzip it in its own directory and run it with something like: /opt/AIR-SDK/bin/adl -nodebug /opt/AIR-apps/CNGViewer/META-INF/AIR/application.xml /opt/AIR-apps/CNGViewer &> /dev/null. Note that as with most Adobe technologies on Linux it’s needlessly CPU intensive, it pegs my CPU at 100% regardless of what frequency it’s set at.
An example of a picture, lots of jpeg artifacts

As for the content itself, it’s fun; I specially like how many of the more interesting articles are organized into reading lists. My main complaint is that they used jpeg to compress the images and did so at really high compression leading to lots of artifacts. Looking at a page that has a black background can be painful. Which is a bit of a shame as one of the greatest things about NGM is the high quality of the photographs and printing. The viewer also has way too many needless animations and there’s sadly no way to disable them. So I wouldn’t mind knowing the file formats involved, an app for the n900 or more importantly a viewer that just does its job and gets out of the way would be great.

96 Responses to “The Complete National Geographic”

  1. Pete says:

    Does your GeoBrowse work on Linux? My CNG says “Geobrows is not online”. I am, of course, connected to the Internet and other things are working.

    Ubuntu 9.10


  2. Andrei says:

    Doesn’t seem to work for me either. Might be worth filing some sort of support ticket.

  3. Andre says:

    What file format are the actual magazines in? I have previously bought other magazine collections on CD-ROM and today I can no longer use them due to OS API changes. If they are in some semi-open/open format, such as PDF, then it could convince me to purchase the collection.

  4. Horst says:

    Look at this site here,
    There you’ll find a description how to install CNG on Linux without wine.

  5. Bob says:

    The cng files are all jpegs, XOR’d bitwise with 239 If anyone wants to hack up a viewer, feel free

  6. Andrei says:

    Cool! Thanks Bob.

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  9. James Keeline says:

    I bought the CD-ROM version that includes issues from 1888 through the end of 1999. Fortunately, the image files on these discs is JPG.

    The naming convention can be interpreted with a little study. The last two digits of the year and a letter are part of the folder name (A=January, L=December). The image file names have the page numbers in the name.

    Getting the National Geographic Index can help to find articles of interest.

    As an owner (full price) of the CD-ROMS, I think it is only fair (and legal) that I have access to the merchandise I purchased.

    Shame on National Geographic for making poor-quality scans, charging a high price, having a poor-performing interface, and then dropping the ball for any 21st Century operating systems.

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