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Bill Elder - September 22, 1998
This is a review of fellow DL member Malcolm Michael's new software Slot Car Tracker version 1.02. This is a high power tool for organizing your HO life. It's EASY and fun to use. If you have 15 cars or 700 cars it can handle them if you can!
As way of background, Malcolm is a commercial software designer residing in Northern California. He is a consummate HO hobbyist who not only collects cars but races as well. I will admit to all that he is a good friend and that I do wish for his software to catch on in the HO world because it is an excellent product. Malcolm is never going to get rich selling this reasonably priced software. But for the price of a slot car let's take a look at what an outstanding bargain is in store for a SCaT purchaser.
First is an absolute wealth of information about your collection. I discovered I could most likely go the rest of my life without buying another Tjet Ford GT in Gulf colors and be just fine. Somehow three snuck into my collection. I also discovered that I need to focus on buying higher quality cars condition wise. Way too many C8's and C7's and too few C9's. Using Slot Car Tracker is giving me valuable guidance about where to take my collecting interests.
Second is a source for insurance and estate matters. None of us likes to think about life's problems, but they can happen. I'm not so sure an insurance adjuster would be impressed with a video of countless toy cars. However combine a video or photographs of a bunch of cars on the shelf with a car by car description and valuation based on solid value guide and other information and a powerful tool is born. That insurance loss adjuster is going to have to cut you a draft that fairly compensates for your loss. Also if your collection is valuable and something should happen to you, Slot Car Tracker leaves behind a valuable tool to avoid rip offs of your loved ones.
Third is solid information for racers. Slot Car tracker breaks down racetracks and allows you to enter results and chassis set ups. We all see 1:1 race teams on TV using data from computers to win races. Now just like the real racers you can track by track, layout by layout, enter data about you tire height, controller used, magnets, etc. You can also enter data about race results and what you would like to do strategy wise next outing.
Fourth is a financial data base for collectors. You enter how much you paid, who you bought from and value of the car. When you sell it you can even keep it in a sold area so you can months later evaluate your sales.
Slot Car Tracker is an easy to use program that organizes an unwieldy slot car collection and provides guidance for the collector. The software provides extensive features for both collector and racer alike. Three choices are provided on the top of the screen: Cars, Models and Raceways. The primary screen of use for the collector is the Cars Screen. Here you can easily enter data as to the type of car (called "Status", either collection, racer, wanted and sold) the model (SG+, 440X2, Tjet, etc.) factory number, body style ( Alfa Romeo, Mustang, etc.), color, condition (C8), condition notes (bent window post) and acquired date.
The beauty is that Slot Tracker pops out options to choose from in many of these areas so you save typing and time!! Loads of body styles and colors pop-up at your command to click and enter. In the adding a new car screen you can even enter how much you paid for your gem and who you got it from. Do you usually buy from just a few sources? No problem, Slot Car tracker allows you to customize your pop-up Source list.
A value screen lets you enter your value source, date of evaluation and what you car is worth compared to a C10 example. The same screen allows you to enter selling price, to whom you sold and date you sold. Is this powerful or what??
For racers you can also add all of the modifications you have made to the car and on a races screen. You can even enter class, track, finish place and date! I'm not so sure I want to remember many of my finishes, but for the occasional good one, you darn right I'm entering it!! I may even write a mini novel in the database about my hard fought victory...
The separate "Notes" screen is a favorite of mine. I love to fill it with childhood memories for some cars. This creates a lasting living legacy that my children could view someday to better understand those cut wheel wells and screw-on AJ's Silicones on that otherwise near mint Charger. Hmm, maybe this will just give them more fodder to conclude Dad was really odd...
With the flick of a key, you can organize your collections several ways after entering your data. The Body Styles tab showed me all those Gulf GT40's. I use the "Wanted" list not only for cars I am after, but for parts I need as well (why did I buy that C9 Maserati that is missing the back bumper??) These lists are nice to print and carry with to slot shows, flea markets or club meets.
There's a wealth more to be said about the benefits of Slot Car Tracker. It is a superior product. What would I change? These are nit picky, but I would have value of the car on the main cars screen. I also would have the condition grade default to one set by me (mine would be C9 for future purchases!!). I can tell you that if you have hundreds of cars it does take some time to enter the data. However, one of the neat things about Slot Car Tracker is that it gets you close to your collection and that is worthwhile.
Once you have your collection entered I have found it to be easy to enter new cars as they come into your world. It is really a joy to get a car in the mail, look it over and enter it. It just feels like it has become one of the family!
This is a highly recommended purchase that will provide hours worth of fun. So take a small break from buying just one slot car and pick up something that can bring your whole collection together. Thanks Malcolm for getting me "on track".
Last Modified: 10-Feb-2006
Copyright © 1998-2006 by Malcolm Michael. All Rights Reserved.