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You are about to start playing with a CD-ROM that has fairly extraordinary content. As of this writing it includes fifty UNENCRYPTED novels in several formats, the three Bahzell Bahnakson novels, ten Honor Harrington Novels, 3 Honor Harrington Anthologies and 37 novels by friends of Honor, and by the time of distribution it may well contain more. (More than fifty novels for free—and with no stupid codes to work around. Think of that.) The reason for the plethora of formats is to try to please the people who want to read the novels on their Palm Pilots or other text-specialized palm-sized devices. There are also Rich Text Format versions of all the novels, which can be read by several applications — including Wordpad, MS Word and most word processors — and .doc files, which are MS Word specific. (For RTF, in Microsoft Word: use the Open command, then log onto your “Honorverse” CD-ROM, specify .rtf format, load the file: [FileOpen, log onto Honorverse disk, click on Rich Text Format extension on drop-down menu] double-click on the file you want.]

All this is simple as pie for any computer geek, but if you become confused, try visiting Baen.com (just click on Baen.Com on the opening screen of the CD) for the precise info you need. (Note that for the disk to work properly you need to have your computer logged on to the Internet [World Wide Web], because several of the options assume that you are currently connected, and indeed will try to log you on if you are not.) Log on to the Bar (Click "Bar" assuming you have successfully loaded this CD ROM — otherwise, follow the directions from the main Baen.com web page) and go to the topic “CD-ROM.” Leave a query, and some Barfly will probably be delighted to help you.

The CD-ROM is strictly standard in its use of file structures and so forth, and when you insert it into your machine it will autorun — that is, run automatically. You will be faced with a screen full of options. The most important one is the list of Weber titles to the left. You are given the option of “downloading” the titles in several formats. For those of you who have Microsoft Word installed, the RTF format is best. (Honestly, this is a debatable point, but hey, I’m writing this and that’s what I think. Arnold Bailey, Baen.com’s Webmaster and CD-ROM designer, disagrees, but he thinks everything is so self-evident we don’t even need this orientation.) All others who do not want to use Palm Pilots or some such are advised to stick to the Internet browser format (html). The browser option is pretty bulletproof, and will allow you to read the manuscript on-screen with minimal fuss in the font color, style and size you prefer.

On the other hand, if you want to play with the disk and files, the structure is standard. Take any file manager that can handle CD-ROMs, including Microsoft Windows Explorer, and you can examine the CD’s contents to your heart’s delight. The sound samples are all MP3, and the pictures are all JPG extensions. You almost certainly have sound (Microsoft’s Media Player or Quicktime) and image-display software (Microsoft Photo Editor, Adobe Photoshop, Internet Explorer, Apple's "Preview") that will handle the extensions.

Remember, there is nothing mysterious about the disk; if you are having trouble, your neighborhood guru can probably help you out, but she’ll be dreadfully condescending about it. All content files remain functional after they have been moved to your hard drive. Enjoy.

Jim Baen

PS When you grow tired of this disk come visit WebScriptions.net where there are hundreds more eBooks from your favorite Baen authors