Using Rosetta Stone French (v.3) on a Mac iBook G4 (10.3.9). Using home school addition. Have used it for last 6 weeks.
In spite of the cost, the awkward port from Windows and difficult network set up, it's still best of class for learning a foreign language.
Powerful, detailed and complicated: those are the adjectives I would use to describe this program. If you want to learn the language, then this program systemically teaches it to you. It keeps record of your progress, gives tests and records your grades. It treats you as if you are a student in a classroom. Additional workbook, study guide and included microphone headset supplement the visual and audio CD disk. But having said all this, there are some things I wish as a Mac user that I would have known.
The set-up of the program is SO non-intuitive and non-mac like. This includes installation of the application and its MANY helper files needed to run in the background with the main program disk. In my former life, I was an Apple System engineer, so I am no stranger to the Mac and networks setups. But even this installation caused me to eventually have to call Rosetta's technical support for instruction. This is partially due to my complicated home network set up (I've got multiple Macs with multiple (non-Mac) Routers that work as Access Points and bridges), and partially because of the complexity of installation of the program itself. This is definitely NOT a "drag-and-drop", or "double click to un- compress" or even "double click and follow the step by step instruction" type of experience. It is "multi-step, enter by hand, enter in data and information" type of installation process.
That is what is most disappointing to me. This is a BAD PORT of a PC program. They did nothing to make the program conform to Apple program standards. This means there are many helper files (20 something??!!!) in various folders. There is a network component that HAS TO run in the background for the main language program to run. This means you have to always first launch this secondary program (or leaving it running all the time). If you run on a network (like I do), you have to assign the computer's IP address that the program is running on (can't use the default, non-network IP given by the setup program). If your computer ever is assigned a different IP address locally by your router (power goes out, etc), then you will have to make some changes or this network helper file will not launch, and therefore, the language program will not either.
Getting to the place to even begin to first use the program is a tedious and complicated process. Another helper program that keeps track of the students progress must also first be set up. The "teacher's" name, access settings, the "student's" name(s) and their access privileges must first be established. ALL THIS IS DONE AWKWARDLY AND IN AN IBM 90'S INTERFACE. Constant referring to the user guide is necessary. There is no way some one could figure out what to do by only looking at the screens.
And this is the main criticism of the program, this clunky interface, non-intuitive layout of material is the same throughout the entire presentation of the language program. The program's strengh--the detailed comprehensive, multi-media presentation of material--is also it's greatest weakness. It's hard to follow where you are, where to go, what stage you are in, how much further you have to go on any given unit, lesson or session. The implementation of more than one user account and switching between the two is counter intuitive as well.
My 16 year old daughter, is now working her way through the program and has used it enough now to understand how to advance though it. But it was a slow start. She is enjoying the program and is learning the language of her love, and I have no doubt this program is a great help, I just wish more effort and forethought was given to making it more elegant in its presentation. Basically this looks to me like a 90's program in desperate need of a face lift. While calling the toll-free tech support and talking with a couple of different individuals, you quickly come to understand these people don't fully understand the Mac. The first individual had to pass me on once he discovered my Mac issues. The second was very polite and patient and we finally got my set up to work. But it wasn't easy for them since I was on a Mac. And I bet if you call you will get the same two people, They are, after all, not a help desk, but a language learning software company.
OK, so that's it. I hope this review was helpful. I've tried to share my experience for other Mac users so they know more of what to expect before they buy the program. A program that has (from my research) no other comparison as far as best in class for learning a foreign language, but a program that--in it's implementation and presentation as far as on Macintosh computers is concerned--leaves a lot to me desired.