NovaMind Software has just announced the immediate availability of Merlin 2.6, which includes web publishing capabilities so that others can collaborate remotely on project management tasks, regardless of the operating system they are using.
The Merlin 2.6 features a Web Sharing module, where users can publish project files over the Web as either live HTML documents that can be edited with other users over the Web, or as a static HTML page to share with other members of a project team.
This feature allows users not on a Mac OS X operating system to use Merlin and its remote-access capabilities. By publishing project files using the Merlin application and the aforementioned Web Module, PC users can work on access the files using their Web browser.
For more information on this software system, please visit http://www.novamind.com.
An article at tgdaily.com is reporting that Microsoft is introducing its Microsoft Office Suite on a subscription model, rather than the software package the company now markets. The premise of this model is that Microsoft is predicting that less and less people will actually own a copy of the Microsoft Office suite, and will instead rent it out from the company on a month-by-month basis.
The subscription offering is called “Equipt” and includes Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007 – with the latest versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Windows Live OneCare, according to the article. Software updates are also included in the subscription so you will always have the most up-to-date version of the programs. The entire subscription is going for $69.99 a year.
My experiences with productivity suites have, for the most part, been positive. I’ve spent hours with Adobe’s Creative Suite, Apple’s Final Cut Suite, and several other multi-application bundles and walked away a satisfied customer. The success of these best-selling software suites is largely dependent on one immensely important factor: integration.
Cyberlink Software, it appears, didn’t get the memo.
Their newest product DVD Suite Ultra version 6 is billed as an unbeatable collection of DVD-based applications. The suite includes applications designed for video editing, burning and backup production, movie playback, and label printing, but performs these tasks without any sense of direction or coherence.
It seems that Cyberlink has simply bundled a handful of their applications together and called it a suite. Each piece of software acts as its own individual entity, with individual menu bars, UI’s, and keyboard commands. The spastic nature of the differing interfaces is incredibly frustrating. Moving from application to application is clunky and counterintuitive.
I installed DVD Suite Ultra on a top-of-the-line Vista-based laptop, whose specs far exceeded Cyberlink’s recommendations. Needless to say, it was one of the strangest installation processes I’ve ever experienced. After surpassing Microsoft’s incessantly redundant “Allow” or “Deny” installation messages, the process began, but instead of installing software, it decided to start an uninstall process for software I’d never installed. I watched in disbelief as several uninstall processes ran lethargically for 15 minutes, hogging my systems resources. After 40 painfully long minutes, DVD Suite Ultra was successfully installed.
The suite works through a handy little task-based launcher. If you want to burn a backup DVD, or do some video editing, clicking on the accompanying task launches the appropriate application. It’s pretty effective for beginners, as it highlights a programs capabilities without any prior knowledge, making the initial learning curve relatively flat. When the program launches, though, users are forced to familiarize themselves with badly-designed interfaces. One application, MediaShow, looked like one of those over-the-top Windows Media skins where nothing is labeled correctly. Yikes.
The video-editing component PowerDirector is a simple program centred around the timeline format common to most editing applications. It’s pretty obvious that Cyberlink looked to the simplicity of Apple’s iLife suite for their inspiration, but they managed to mimic with little success.
PowerDirector is bundled with several pre-made transitions and video effects, but they all have a distinctly mid-90’s music video cheese factor to them. These presets can’t match Apple’s professionally designed templates in iMovie. I was impressed with the rendering speed of effects, though; they rendered over my clips almost instantaneously. My first two attempts to render a finished video into an .AVI caused the program to lock up and crash.
Something even more troubling happened when I tried to export my project as an iPod video file. “Your version of DVD suite needs to be upgraded to perform this export” read the popup. This came as a surprise, especially since I was using the Cyberlink’s most expensive and complete software suite.
As a whole, DVD Suite Ultra is nothing more than a textbook example of a software collection that does many things but does none of them well. The lack of uniformity in the interfaces is crippling. If you’re looking for productivity software, you’re better off with products from Adobe and Apple.
Parallels, a software company that specializes in compatibility software for Macs, has just released the latest version of it’s Desktop software. Parallels Desktop build 5600 provides full support for Windows Vista SP1, Windows XP SP3, and provides increased compatibility with MacBook Air. By using the Parallels software, Windows programs can be run on a Mac without rebooting the computer.
Some other major features of the Parallels Desktop build 5600 include improvements in the Shared Folder software, such as faster file transfer speed and the ability to share files and folders between removable drives. There have also been smaller improvements in the bug fixing capabilities and overall performance of the software.
The Parallels Desktop update is free to all current Parallels users. Users can get the update via Parallels Desktop auto-updater, or download it from http://www.parallels.com/products/desktop.
TweakerSoft has announced VectorDesigner 1.0.0, a resolution independent vector graphics application exclusively for Mac OS X.
VectorDesigner is built for vector drawings, diagrams and illustrations, raster image handling, filtering and color correction. It targets users looking to create vector artwork, such as posters, brochures, stickers, logos, web design, tshirt production and more.
The software works using Mac OS X technologies such as Quartz and CoreImage.
Tools include: smart shapes, rectangles, ovals, rounded rectangles, polygons, stars, bezier creation and editing, as well as raster to bezier conversion.
Download link: http://tweakersoft.com/vectordesigner/
* Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) 10.5 (Leopard) recommended
* Universal Binary for PowerPC & Intel
* G4, G5 or Intel Processor
* 900 Mhz or faster
* 512 MB Memory or higher
* 8.9 MB Hard Drive space
* Some features require Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard)