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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Ebooks, PDF's or Downloads » » Ultimate Sphinx from Conjuring Arts (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

nooner
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My copy of Ultimate Sphinx from Conjuring Arts arrived yesterday. I'm not going to review the magazine itself, just the other aspects of the product.

Intro:
I've already spent about 6 hours searching/reading/browsing this amazing product and cannot believe it only cost me $50. For a year now I have been able to browse Sphinx with my Ask Alexander subscription. The Ultimate Sphinx is basically the same thing as Ask Alexander (using the same scans) except that you have all the documents on your local computer so it is incredibly fast and easy to find what you want.

What comes with it:
The product ships with a double sided DVD which contains a 54 large PDF files + a few other files to support the searching. There is also a Ultimate Sphinx Introduction file on the DVD to explain the best way to browse the archive. It suggests that you copy all the files on the double sided DVD to your local drive and then open the index file to search the archives...and they are right...this makes it incredibly fast to use the archive.

How to use:
The magazine scans are PDF files so you need Adobe Acrobat Reader or some other reader to view them. In order to use the indexed search you do have Acrobat Reader installed as it leverages the indexing/searching capabilities of that product.

Quality of the PDFs:
The magazine scans are clean and very readable...the scanned source material is in very good shape. The scans are in color, but there is very little color in the original magazine so you are mostly looking at black on white anyway.

Search Tool:
The searching/indexing is the thing that really makes this product a steal at $50. You just enter something like "Max Malini" and click Search. After a brief pause the tool lets me know not only which PDF files it was found it but gives me a brief snippet of the text line it is used in so I have some context about how my search is used in that issue. Clicking on a search result loads the appropriate PDF file and takes you directly to the page with the search results highlighted on the page. This search isn't radically different from other search tools, but because the files are stored locally on your desktop it is incredibly fast to use and jump between different search results. A search for "erdnase" takes 7 seconds on my PC (could be faster or slower for you depending on your hardware) and shows me 188 results.

Verdict:
If you have no access to this magazine right now, order this right now....if you have any interest in magic, you will find something you like in this magazine...it is absolutely massive in size. If you have an Ask Alexander subscription I would pick this up if you want to do anything other than an occasional search in the Sphinx. If you already own a digital copy from somewhere else and you are happy with the indexing/searching of that product, you might be able to give this product a pass. If you own a bound copy of the original (you lucky devil) I think this project will still appeal to you because of the search capability. I'm planning on using this as my go-to item when I need to purchase a gift for a fellow magician. I can't imagine anyone not loving their own copy of this historically important publication. At $50, this is a steal in my opinion.
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