October 16th, 2005 • 4:47 pm
The reason I chose this product when I was looking for a replacement for iPhoto can be summed up in a single word: performance. Where older versions of iPhoto (I haven’t seriously tried the most recent ones) would start choking as soon as my photo collection grew to two or three thousand pictures, iView Media Pro remained perfectly usable with four, five, six, etc. thousand pictures.
It was also able to produce HTML slide shows of various collections of pictures, with far more flexibility than iPhoto and the .Mac service.
I have been quite disappointed with the evolution of the product in recent years, however. For one thing, the price has crept up significantly. The 2.0 upgrade was a major disappointment in that the focus appeared to be on bringing the Windows version to feature parity, removing some features from the Mac version in the process. And there were significant problems with performance—one of the key benefits of iView Media Pro over a consumer-level tool such as iPhoto—which were reduced in subsequent updates, but not completely eliminated. (I also still find the interface significantly sluggish in Mac OS X 10.4 compared to what it used to be in 10.3.)
But the reason I am including it in the Anti-Aliasing Hall of Shame is that iView appear to have no interest in embracing Quartz font smoothing. It is used in the interface elements that are controlled by Mac OS X, of course. But it is not used at all in the interface elements that are specific to iView Media Pro.
Worse still: As far as I can tell, the software does not use any anti-aliasing at all—not even the old (admittedly rather poor) anti-aliasing from the classic Mac OS. Consider the following screen shot:
As you can see, the “Thumbnail” tab heading has proper font smoothing, as does the file path underneath it. But the file name underneath the actual thumbnail has no anti-aliasing. It’s in the exact same font (Lucida Sans, 10 pt), but it a plain bitmap version of the font, which takes you straight back to the classic Mac OS circa version 7.
The same problem applies to the left-hand side pane, which has two modes (“Info” and “Organize”). In both modes, the font used is Geneva 9 pt without any font smoothing—and, as far as I can tell, there is no way to change that font:
In Mac OS X 10.4, this is positively anachronistic. I don’t think I have any other application that still doesn’t support at least some form of font smoothing, and still forces you to use Geneva 9 pt.
Finally, in areas where iView Media Pro does use font smoothing, such as its various dialog boxes, they haven’t implemented it properly, and it suffers from the usual ugly white smears, which are particularly visible with a darker selection colour:
With the price that iView charge for this product, they certainly could afford to implement Quartz font smoothing properly!