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on March 27, 2008
This program is MUCH IMPROVED! If you'll see my review of Mavis Beacon 17 I believe it was, you can see where I pointed out this programs flaws. However, these have all been resolved and this program has become satisfactory in every way in my opinion.
Mavis Beacon 20 (I have only tried the platinum edition) also has a new practice feature which I haven't found anywhere else, where you can choose from a huge selection of articles where you just type right along with the text while the text you type appears in the lines in between the text to type (no looking halfway down the screen to see mistakes), errors appear in red and make a little noise to let you know that they have occurred. This is a great practicing tool for after you learn all the keys and want to stay sharp. I should also add that these articles are legitimate or legitimate style articles that are actually interesting and fun to type (such as outtakes from Ben Franklin's biography, to scientific articles, many topics) unlike those boring, fake ones that usually are in place on typing programs (which make you feel like you're back in elementary school) and you can even import your own text.
This has really been turned into a very fine program and out of all the programs out there (I've tried alot of them) this one without question gets the highest recommendation. All features have become very practical and user friendly. There's also a ten key learning portion of the program (as with the older versions as well) The interface also has been spiffed up very nicely with pleasing graphics a whole array of new and actually fun games. Bravo to Broderbund for setting the bar to new heights in this program.

---------------UPDATE------------------

I've got to admit, I learned all of the keys typing on mavis beacon 17, but I doubt that it's any harder on MB 20. The main thing that was really lacking on MB 17 (besides being a junky program) was that you couldn't repeat lessons, which you can now do on MB 20. If you're looking for a program with no small glitches but is much more boring and with less features, then you should look into TypingMaster Pro which you can demo, which is a fine program by the way and If MB is too difficult for you then TypingMaster teaches two keys at a time, however I can't remember how many MB would jump up at a time, however you could always just repeat lessons until you get it. Overall if I was having to spend money on something that I was planning to use for a long time, I would pick Mavis Beacon any day simply because of the practice feature, which I use EVERYDAY. On any other program, after you've learned all the keys, the only thing you can do to practice is to take the final tests over and over again. Unless you go right into a daily regimine of heavy typing, then you will get rusty real fast and this feature makes for an easy and interesting way to stay sharp. You can try a flash demo of MB 20 from their web site. Also, There's an annoying feature on mavis beacon where a hand is displayed on the screen typing the keys as you type, this can be turned off in the options. If you look, there's actually not a whole lot out there to choose from when it comes to typing programs, but I've tried about every one I could find, and this would easily be my choice. If people who don't like it find a more useful program, then they should list it in the comments for this review. I'll finish by saying that TypingMaster might be a little easier to learn on, but I own both of them and still use MB everyday and deleted TypingMaster off of my computer a long time ago. It may all depend on how you want to use it.

---------------UPDATE------------------

The lessons plan showing how many new keys per lesson can be viewed in the screenshots shown above on this page.
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on May 12, 2008
I purchased this about two weeks ago, planning to finally learn to touchtype. Perhaps this is the best package out there, but I am quite disappointed with it. The lessons start off comfortably, with a introdution to the resting position keys, followed by drills using those keys. But on my copy of the program, after introducing the first two keys that are not directly under the resting position (the "e" and "i"), the lessons and drills jump to a much more advanced level - requiring the use of many letters not introduced yet. Perhaps my package is uniquely buggy, but since there's no customer service at Broderbund's website, I'll never know.

For a package that's at version 20, I'm very disappointed.
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on May 14, 2008
As a previous review stated, the product stops teaching one keys after E and I. Apparently it was never tested by anyone at the beginner level.

There is no easy way to report this to the publisher as well.

Very disappointing.
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on October 13, 2009
How could Broderbund, a company that has been in business for quite some time, release a hugely buggy software without testing? I am not talking about some hard to find bug. I am talking that if you start learning the lesson as a beginning user, you can only go as far as learning the 'e' and 'i' keys. What is that? After that, the sequence of lessons gets totally messed up. Broderbund's support website acknowledges the problem but offered no patch. Their workaround fails too. There is also another bug. It says that the next lesson will be so and so, but the next lesson winds up being something else.

I contacted Broderbund yesterday (2009.10.11) and so far no response. True, their support email does state to allow 48 business hours for a response. Let us translate that into human speak. 48 business hours means well over a week, 6 business days. I would expect even better response time from a single person software company just starting off, not a well known software company, whose software sells in real stores.

--

2009.10.21 Update: I finally received a response after about nine days to my original complaint. Here is the reposne that I received from Broderbund Software:

"Thank you for contacting Broderbund Software, brought to you by Encore.

We apologize for the delay in responding to your email. We are experiencing a higher than usual number of emails. Because your email exceeds 2 business days, we are closing your email case. If you have not received a suffient response and still require our assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us."

Nice people. He? What does 'Because your email exceeds 2 business days' mean anyways? Are they saying that because they did not respond to my original email in over nine days, that they will close my email ticket.

What a cool concept. They get money, have a non-working product, provide no support of any kind, and collect money. Furthermore, they ship buggy software to stores for other people to buy.

Score: Pathetic, truly pathetic.
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on May 29, 2008
This version of Ms. Beacon's software makes typing even more enjoyable to learn. It is really adaptive to how well you can type - it picked up that I was an intermediate typist after a few lessons - you can't con Ms. Beacon it seems.
A few points are
1)It would be preferable if you could customize this software to eliminate some types of lessons - for example I want to touch type letters and numbers but not the minor punctuation keys like brackets -
2)The import facility is great up to a point but when you add the text from internet sources it tends to add weird hypertext characters which are annoying as you want just to type text.
3)The games are basic and not very challenging - I enjoyed a game called typing of the dead which pushes my touch typing to the limit - I wish Ms. Beacon would incorporate something like this or typer shark deluxe.

Overall however apart from these few minor points the software does what it says on the box teach you to type which is what it is intended to do. There are not many typing programs of this quality on the market and she is still the standard bearer.
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on February 19, 2009
I had an earlier version of Mavis Teaches Typing which was misplaced. Then I purchased the newer Platinum 20. I like the new format but the lessons are out of sequence. I wrote the company about this but never received an answer. This is a lousy product for a beginner since it is obvious the product was never checked by anyone competent. DO NOT BUY THIS VERSION!!!
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on April 14, 2010
WPM (words per minute) and KPM (keys per minute) Statistics Tracking is BUG RIDDEN!

Most people may not run into the software bug that is a KNOWN ISSUE with Broderbund. That's because it won't reveal itself until you've invested 7 hours of time into the product. Both of my kids have run into this problem as their progress gets tracked by Mavis Beacon. As they approach the seventh (7th) hour of time invested into the product, all of their WPM and KPM statistics get flipped to a negative number. For instance, if my daughter is approaching 75 WPM typing while going through the guided lesson plan, around the 7th hour of classroom instruction, her test results will show all of her scores and progress as a negative number. Now she is at -75 WPM typing. From this point on, she has to work from (negative) -75 WPM back to up to zero which throws all of her stats off. This is really aggravating for me as a parent since we have set goals that have real dollar amounts tied to them if she achieves them. Heart breaking for her.

If my son is shooting for a goal of 200 KPM for ten (10) key, and on or about the seventh hour of time invested he reaches what should be 175 KPM, the stats magically flip to a negative number. Now he has to work up from (negative) -175 KPM which messes up everything that we have been tracking.

This problem exists for both the typing WPM stats and the ten (10) key KPM. What really frosts me is when I called Broderbund, they were aware of the issue and basically told me too bad. No fix in the works and no chance to get my money back. I offered to work with their support team to which they took me up on the offer. I generated statistics about my kids laptops and emailed them to the engineers at Broderbund. After a long wait period, I called again only to be told sorry, we can't help you. It is what it is.

Here is my case number is you want to look it up.
support@broderbund.com Case Number 00096750, ref:00D8LhUC.50088ZVOV:ref
For the product Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing Platinum 20 651600

The case engineer, Rober H. asked me to run a DxDiag on the laptops that were having the problem. That was the extent of his request and help to me.

Basically, this company is prepared to put out a buggy product with known issues and not do anything for the customer who discovers it. I know I can't recover the 28 hours of instruction time both my kids invested into this product. They both tried starting all over twice, same result each time, but this company should have a better response to their customers than, "Sorry, go pound sand".
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on December 13, 2008
I knew this would teach me to type, but at 32 years old I thought it would take me a long time to learn to type without looking. I went from 0-40 in a week and a half. I think that's fast.
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on April 9, 2010
Hugely disappointing product for a beginner. Sequence of lessons lost early on. Lessons and quizzes quickly jumped to a more advanced level requiring familiarity with keys not yet introduced. e-mail support from Broderbund proved entirely unhelpful as they failed to address the problem. Online customer reviews were identifying this problem in 2008 and it has not been resolved. Should Amazon still be marketing this product which is not fit for purpose for a beginner?
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on May 5, 2008
This program offers the basic features that you'd expect from most any typing training program within the last 5-10 years, but offers little else that's impressive.

It has a heavy list of glaring flaws, however, as there are very obvious format flaws in some of the lessons (no spaces after the end of some sentences, etc). The options you choose such as double-spacing after the end of sentences sometimes don't carry over, and never do with games. There are also graphical bugs with the strike-through style option of typing that cause words in later lessons to be offset, replaced, or disappear.

[..]
0Comment|21 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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