February 19th, 2004 • 1:33 am
Ever since I have owned a digital camera, I have felt the need to use a powerful piece of software for managing my thousands of digital pictures. The early versions of Apple’s iPhoto were woefully inadequate in that respect. The performance levels were just unacceptably slow. I hear that things are better in iPhoto 4, but I have yet to get my copy of the product.
I need a piece of software that not only performs well even with thousands of pictures, but also can work with existing picture files rather than create a duplicate of each imported picture in its one pictures folder, as iPhoto does. (iTunes doesn’t do that with music files unless you specifically check the corresponding setting. Why can’t iPhoto do the same?)
And I need a piece of software that preserves all the textual information that’s included in every digital picture (the so-called “EXIF” header).
For all this (and much more), I have been a regular user of iView Media Pro. When I first bought the product a couple of years ago, the performance of the software was miles ahead of iPhoto on equivalent hardware. Since then, I have upgraded to a dual 1.25 GHz G4, and performance continues to be excellent. There’s nothing more pleasant than being able to browse a catalog of thousands of pictures in a cinch. That’s one of the main benefits of going digital!
All this being said, I must say that I am quite disappointed in the recent 2.0 version of iView Media Pro. First of all, the upgrade price was pretty steep (something like $150 CDN). Then, in my experience, the new version turns out to be much less stable than the old one. More often than not, the application just crashes right in the middle of a picture importing session. And I can’t even find any trace of the crash in the Crash Reporter logs! I end up using Mac OS X’s Image Capture instead, and then importing the pictures as files already located on the hard drive. Still, that was something that used to work just fine in iView Media Pro 1.x.
Then there is the issue of CPU usage. As I said, I have a dual 1.25 GHz G4, so I don’t always notice performance issues that might be more apparent on slower machines. There are reports on the user forum that the application is actually slower than the 1.x version, but I haven’t really noticed any difference myself. What I have noticed, however, is that, whenever iView Media Pro 2.0 is running in the background, even when it’s not supposed to be doing anything, there are peaks of CPU activity that can be seen in Mac OS X’s Activity Monitor every few seconds.
I emailed the iView Multimedia staff about it, and here’s the response I got:
there are automatic checks being carried out by MediaPro and that would account for the CPU activity. I have suggested that we include an option to disable these checks but at the moment that has not been adopted and I’m not sure that it will.
Sorry I can’t help.
Oh dear. So it is an issue, they are aware of it, and they can’t do anything about it? Yeah right. I have no idea what these “checks” are, but I don’t see why they couldn’t be turned off when the application is sitting in the background doing nothing. To me, it’s clearly a case of engineers not listening to what the users have to say. And it’s quite shameful that the tech support staff would give me such an answer. (I’ve told them as much in my final reply.)
Based on what I have read on the user forum, I am not the only one who’s rather disappointed in the new version, especially considering how much we paid for it.
Apparently, there are many features missing in 2.0 that were there in 1.x. (The features mentioned are not features that I normally use, so I am not sure.) There is grumbling about the fact that this appears to be due to the fact that iView Multimedia moved to a cross-platform approach, with the Windows and Mac versions being based on the same basic code. iView MM claims to be working hard to restore the missing features, but, from the point of view of the user, they shouldn’t have been missing in the first place.
iView MM will certainly have to work much harder if they want me to fork out any kind of money for the next upgrade! In the mean time, I might give iPhoto 4 a try, in spite of its remaining flaws… But when the money involved is in the hundreds, a software purchase is a long-term investment. I don’t mind paying small amounts for incremental upgrades, but this is going a bit too far, especially in light of the several problems that have surfaced in the new version.