Review of All About Pumps by Bob Sand, September, 1998 -- Berkeley PC User's Group

All About Pumps -- Educational Software Review

Review in Berkeley PC User Group Newsletter, September, 1998.

Reviewed by Bob Sand

Reprinted in its entirety by permission of the author and the BPCUG.

ALL ABOUT PUMPS, version 3.5
Animated Software Co.,
Russell D. Hoffman, owner/chief programmer

All About Pumps was a pleasant surprise. It's a tutorial which lives up to its name, and trades entertainment for high interest facts and well done graphics. Hoffman obviously loves his subject, and manages to convey engineering significance while skirting the math.

There's always a special satisfaction to learning when you can get the big picture, along with the details. All About Pumps includes animated drawings, well chosen photographs along with text. The result is pure and good education.

The tutorial is nicely divided, self explanatory, navigated mostly with the enter and up/down keys, no mouse required. Along with the range of pump types, there are some historical pictures and animated drawing explanations. You can see how an oil-well sucker pump can lift fluid from nearly 10,000 ft, as well as Dutch pump buildings from the 1800's reclaiming land behind dykes.

Most impressive is a well chosen series of color photos covering the mammoth centrifugal pumps at the California Aqueduct's Edmonston Pumping Station. Each of these 4-stage pumps is driven by an 80,000 Horsepower electric motor, and there are 14 of them at Edmonston, alone. Wow! (I wonder who pays the power bill.)

After learning all about centrifugal, positive displacement, diaphragm, piston, screw, propeller pumps, you'll find a shareware extra on the CD called The Heart: The Engine of Life. Again, this is another animated learning tutorial, and you can especially appreciate all the facts about this remarkable pump in light of the prior course.

From the Readme file, I noted that the CD contains 250 Megabytes of high resolution TIFF files. The program, originating in DOS in 1984, has been much updated, but it will still run on a 386 machine with minimum memory. I didn't bother with any installation. On my MMX Pentium, it easily ran from the CD in Win95, by double-clicking either the only .bat or .exe file. The instruction sheets (no Manual) put emphasis on installation help. You could also call the 800 number, visit, or email if you have problems. I get the impression that this program is designed to run on a wide variety of PCs, and is well supported.

For years, I've read about declining educational achievement, despite the proliferation of computers at schools. You'd think that formal courses could be available as one or more CD's. I guess that's not a wide-spread occurrence-yet; after all, we're only in the 20th century.

Summarizing, if Mr. Hoffman produced another tutorial, I would be delighted to review it.

-Bob Sand,

This review was first published in the Berkeley PC User Group Newsletter, September, 1998. Reprinted by permission of the author and BPCUG.

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