Learn Mandarin – ad in National Geographic?

Hi, two part question:

Has anyone learned Mandarin via CD-ROMs? No class instruction. Can one actually do that and do authentic chinese people actually understand you without problems?

Does someone have experience using that ‘learn languages’ program, the ad which is always in National Geographic (sorry don’t remember the name of the ad)? Is it worth the money? Does anyone know the name of the company of the ad which I am talking about?

thanks in advance

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