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Puritan Hard Drive Critique

I am going to write a short review of my experiences with the Puritan Hard Drive from Still Waters Revival Books (SWRB) and included is a short review of several other sites who advertise it on their web sites.
First I want to state that I purchased the Puritan Hard Drive back in March of 2008. This is when it was being offered as a 90 CD collection. I set up a payment plan and began to pay on this until March 2010. As I paid on this collection I would receive weekly updates explaining to me about all the new additions to this set. Once I paid this collection off, I quit receiving any updates, despite my constant attempt to get my name put back on the list for the weekly updates. This sent up red flags and I began to worry that I had been scammed; but a week after SWRB began shipping the hard drive I contacted John Hendryx at Monergism.com and he informed me that they had begun shipping. I also contacted Sermonaudio.com and they contacted SWRB and let them know that I had inquired about the drive (since I had received no updates) and so my name was added to the next shipping list and I received it a few days later.(October 19).
My plans for this drive were to download it into my main desktop. I have a Windows XP desktop with 256 Ram and only 80 Gigs of hard drive space. I certainly was not going to use this because of the limited memory and not enough space. I have a Windows Vista Service Pack 2 laptop with 3 Gigs of memory and 160 Gigs of hard drive space. Again I had plenty of memory, but as you can see, not enough hard drive space. The computer I was going to use their hard drive on, by downloading it into the computer, was my Window Vista Service Pack 1 with 1 Gig of memory and 320 Gigs of hard drive space.
The problem I had was that the program they developed to search their material would run on the lap top and the old Windows XP, but on the Windows Vista Service Pack 1, it would not run. It kept telling me that the program was already open or damaged. So I contacted SWRB and for one day got some assistance from Wayne Elias the software engineer. Immediately red flags went up because I thought that it was peculiar that the main engineer would be assisting me. Most companies, corporations, businesses, who put out a large quantity of products, do not have the main software engineer contact you when something is wrong. Anyway, I was told that I must I have tried to open the wrong file since it did not work. The hard drive came with instructions that even a child could follow and I informed him of such and explained what I opened. He then proceeded to tell me that my computer was reading his program wrong by classifying it as a word perfect file instead of a Film Maker Pro Run Time File.
I received eight emails the same day with Wayne trying to assist me. After this I could get no answer. I contacted Sermonaudio.com because they advertise for them, but unfortunately they would not respond at all. I also contacted John Hendryx at Monergism.com because they also advertise for them and I was plainly told by John Hendryx that it was not his problem. He stated that he only advertises for them and has nothing to do with the software engineering and he could not figure out what I wanted him to do. It is very unfortunate that men or sites who claim to be Christian have not the same professional courtesy as a worldly business of which one might deal with. It is common practice, by all advertisers of any product, to contact the company of which they advertise for, if a consumer has a problem, but can’t get anything done by the manufacturer of the product. Those who advertise for them do not want a bad rap or bad name from a defective product. However, when one deals with individuals within the Christian world, many of them have not the same professional courtesy.
So my problem is still not fixed and here it is December 28; over two months after receiving the Puritan Hard drive.
My next critique of this drive is the fact that for months SWRB advertised that their instructional videos were going to be included in the hard drive itself. But when the final product came out, they instead have them on line. Because of this one fact, this product would be more difficult to use or to figure out by a missionary, who has no Internet connection in a foreign land. What I am saying is that this product was not designed for the missionary who is in a place that has no Internet connection. The instructional videos should have been included with the hard drive.
Secondly this product claims to include Reformed Baptist products. It is true that there are a few books or Mp3’s by Reformed Baptist on this hard drive, but there is nothing that is particularly Baptist on this hard drive. For instance, I have yet to find the 1689 London Baptist Confession. I have found no Mp3’s that argue from a Baptist position. I have listened to the Mp3’s that argue for infant baptism. These include men such as Brian Schwertly, Greg Price, and Matthew McMahon. Their arguments were weak and ridiculous to say the least, especially Matthew McMahon’s accusations against Baptist as being dispensationalist because we do not hold to infant baptism. I use to hold to Scofield’s dispensational theology and what Matthew McMahon describes as being dispensationalism is far from it. I will commend Brian Schwertly for accurately stating that Reformed Baptist came off the Puritan movement and not the Anabaptist movement.
This much stated, I think it to be false advertising to state that this hard drive contains Reformed Baptist materials. After purchasing this drive I had talked to some people on line and found out that Reg Barrow and his bunch were sectarians. In other words they are one sided in their views, so much so that they include no other views into their library.
I had, several years ago, purchased a library called “The Amazing Christian Library” and it contained much of the material that is on the Puritan Hard Drive. Also it contained an entire folder on Baptist materials. This is a balanced view of the Puritan movement. Therefore SWRB ought to change the name of the drive from the “Puritan Hard Drive” to the “Presbyterian Hard Drive” and then it will correctly describe the materials therein.
I want everyone to know that I highly recommend the “Amazing Christian Library” and think that the “Puritan Hard Drive” by SWRB is really a waste of money. I was told by John Hendryx that if I thought that this drive was not missionary friendly, then why not send it back. I answered by saying, “Are you kidding? I didn’t think I would see this drive to begin with. If I send it back, I may never see the money or the drive, seeing that they do not care to make sure it works for their customers.”
Finally I want to say that I tried to check for updates for my Puritan Hard Drive by opening their program file on my laptop and clicking the link that states ‘Software Updates’ and the program took me to a web page of SWRB’s that stated that the page had been removed, name changed, etc… They had a link at the top of that page that stated “PHD KB Software Updates”. In order to check for updates I had to click that link. I have never purchased any software, that has an update link inside the software, that took me to a page that was of no use. It seems to me that someone does not know what they are doing.
I will close this critique for now. I hope and pray that you have not experienced the same complications that I have with this product. If you have, then I feel for you because I know who you have to deal with to clear the complications up.
(I want to state that I know the difficulties of trying to find out information on the net because I have dealt with slow dial-up for years. How much more difficult would it be for the missionary with no Internet?)
Hershel Lee Harvell Jr

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  1. January 16, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    Wow. Sorry you had to go through that, brother. But thank you for posting this.

    You’re absolutely right about the mission field and slow internet speeds too. Our high-speed out in bush Alaska was often slower than most dial-up in the lower 48 states. Having access to some excellent old works via computer would have been excellent for most of the places I spent on the mission field, but if it meant downloading a large file, forget it. Even with the technological advances, the providence of God often continues to keep us with basically a Bible (and a good concordance) and trusting upon him for our supply… especially in a remote, cross-cultural mission field.

    Thanks again and blessings to you.

    jon

    • January 17, 2011 at 3:27 am

      Thank you for your post Brother Jon. I am glad you responded to this critique because it adds weight to what I have said.
      As one that uses dial-up and for the more part this Blackberry, I have been able to see the struggles of a missionary who has limted access to the web. There has been many a time when AT&T was on the fritz and I could not use my Blackberry so I would drive to the local library just to update my site.
      Anyway thanks for the post and God bless you.

  2. Chessie1948
    March 16, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Thank you. You have covered a few of the misrepresentations put out by SWRB. I hope you can follow up as you discover more. People need to know that of the claimed 12,500 resources, only 17% are PDF books and articles. These have scan quality often poorer than one can find free elsewhere using common internet search tools. Most of the resources are MP3 readings of low bitrate and clarity. It’s difficult to get around their poor quality FileMaker software, and there’s no export utility to get at the data and put it into something useful like Microsoft Access. Some of the promised books aren’t there yet, so don’t sell your hard copy library just to buy their hype. You’ll find lots of positive reviews, since anything negative is suppressed or viciously attacked for being unChristian. I find their dishonesty to be decidedly unChristian.

  3. Chessie1948
    March 16, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    I see, in searching for this article, that SWRB seems to be trying to bury your review by stuffing the search engines with a huge volume of their reviews using your. same title. They do indeed have a slick presentation. It fooled me, and I was a systems analyst for 20 years.

    • March 17, 2011 at 7:06 am

      Thank you for your comments. I will be responding to Reg Barrow’s critique of my critique. I will show that he misrepresented what I said in my critque and instead built a strawman argument and attacked that.

      I will also show how many of the other issues I raised, he completely ignored. I hope to have this up by the end of next week.

      Thanks again and God bless.

  4. Chessie1948
    March 17, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    One last point I’d like to mention. I’ll leave it to you to decide if it’s pertinent. No hard feelings if you find it isn’t worth posting.

    SWRB’s count of “resources” is grossly inflated by breaking down most MP3 books and articles into their respective component chapters. Then, there is considerable redundancy between MP3 and PDF resources. These factors make it appear to be the largest set of resources in all of Christendom, which it isn’t.

    We appreciate your work, and all your notes on Facebook.

    • March 17, 2011 at 5:14 pm

      Thank you very much for saying you enjoy my notes on Facebook.

      As for your comment about SWRB making themselves to look as if they have the largest collection of books in Christendom I want to say that I agree.

      I bought the Amazing Christian Library several years before I bought the SWRB Hard Drive. I only gave 297.00 for the Amazing Christian Library and gave 895.00 for the SWRB Hard Drive. The Amazing Christian Library had the same books as SWRB’s drive and then some. The Amazing Christian Library had an entire folder on Baptist doctrines, histories, catechisms, confessions, etc… The Puritan Drive contains nothing particularly Baptist.

      I will respond very soon to Reg Barrows critique. Thank you again for your comment.

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