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Print Page - EM- 'Is it safe?'

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Software Discussions => Media Pro & Expression Media => Topic started by: billseymour on July 18, 2007, 10:31:14 AM

Title: EM- 'Is it safe?'
Post by: billseymour on July 18, 2007, 10:31:14 AM
Couldn't resist quoting Lawrence Olivier from Marathon Man...

I have started using iView, and registered and downloaded EM today. I am using iView for DAM, and am just now examining EM with test photos.

1. Is EM ready for DAM use, in everyone's opinion? I am quite comfortable with iView at present, and can wait while further product shakedown occurs for EM.

2. I chose 'typical' installation of EM. Perhaps this is a newbie question, but can I later download the 'full' installation (whatever that means)? Also, should I install the 'full' installation right now?

3. Is there an EM User Manual anywhere? I find the EM site long on 'cool looks', and rather short on substance (and ability to contact MS with questions). If someone has the reference to the User Manual, please enter it in this thread.

So far, I find iView extremely easy to use. (As an aside, I am now using two Apple-started apps, iTunes for music and iView, and will likely use a once-Apple app for font management. I mention this because I think the 'ease of use' and straightforwardness of these apps is very appealing- and I'm glad to see these elements appearing in PC applications.)


Title: Re: EM- 'Is it safe?'
Post by: roberte on July 18, 2007, 01:57:47 PM
Hi Bill,

1. No. There are still some bugs in xMedia that will be addressed in the service pack soon. iView MediaPro works.

2. I think there is only one installation at this stage of xMedia. Someone from Microsoft will correct me.

3. The manuals are here ( The Expression Media website is not very friendly for iView users. Information seems hidden and you need to hunt it down. Alfred Steiglitz once said if you want to find it (Gallery 291) you will :).

iView/xMedia is the most user friendly serious DAM app. You can also use it to easily manage your MP3 and fonts.

-- Robert.

Title: Re: EM- 'Is it safe?'
Post by: billseymour on July 18, 2007, 04:47:40 PM
Thanks for the reply. I agree that MS makes finding information on its websites a bit.... challenging.

I will continue with iView for the present.

You also said something of interest to me- font management using iView. I'm not clear how one does this.
Do you create a 'font catalog'? Do the fonts, or some sample of fonts, get represented using iView?  I have been looking at Font Agent Pro (which is the once-Apple mgr I alluded to). Is iView/EM really a true font manager, or a halfway-solution? (Sorry if this is not D-AM, but F(ont)-AM, but relates to iView software).

Thanks for the info. Bill


Title: Re: EM- 'Is it safe?'
Post by: roberte on July 19, 2007, 02:49:15 AM
Hi Bill,

iView can catalog fonts, display them as thumbnails and list properties. Fonts are just like any digital asset so fall under DAM. MP3 files do too. iView can play them like iTunes using the Playlist mode.

iView can be customised to catalog any file type and displays over 100 formats out of the box. I even catalog my document files and websites. iView is not just for photos.

-- Robert.

Title: Re: EM- 'Is it safe?'
Post by: jimHere on July 20, 2007, 02:09:21 PM
...iView can be customised to catalog any file type and displays over 100 formats out of the box. I even catalog my document files and websites. iView is not just for photos...

Which is why it's still the best viewer/cataloger/annotator out there, even if the original team is letting others call the shots.

Title: Re: EM- 'Is it safe?'
Post by: roberte on July 20, 2007, 04:30:45 PM
Hi Jim,

even if the original team is letting others call the shots

That is not what I saw at Microsoft. The original iView team still call the shots along with users like yourself. What Microsoft will do is add more engineering power and QA. What we may lose out on is the frequency of updates. Instead of Yan releasing several small patches from his living room we get less frequent but more featured 'service packs'.

-- Robert.

Title: Re: EM- 'Is it safe?'
Post by: Dierk on July 22, 2007, 11:38:07 PM
'More engineering power and QA' - is that why we got MEM v1 the way it is? And were are the features.

I may be in defeatist mode but in over a year MP/MEM hasn't come far, which does give serious doubts about 'more featured service packs'. As for QA, I do not need to remind you - as somebody who is brave enough to go into detailed testing of MEM - that the current official version of the program [that is MEM v1, even with the newest changes] is not as good as the last version of MP. They might have squashed a lot of bugs on code level but none of them seemed to have any relatioj to user experience, since the bugs on the usgae level are still there. And a few new ones.

The new engineering coming from MS, on which I counted a lot when the switch over was announced, hasn't done anything for the program, yet, except bringing in some new icons. BTW, this is not just a conjecture based upon the fact that some features I had hoped MS can put in, like copying/moving folder, haven't surfaced. It was said so in the past weeks by either the team or somebody having been with them [can't recall the source].

I've never been a big believer in prospective claims. I do like to know people have a perspective - to circumvent the term 'vision' and its connotations -, aims for the short-term, middle-term and long-term future of their product. This is necessary, we do buy a program not just for today's gain, it is an investment into the future. Still, developers tend to come up with vague and concrete claims of what they will put into the program in the future. They do make even concrete plans vague by adding 'WIR' - when it's ready.

There's still hope but other companies having been in the race for as long as iView, companies just now coming to it are all racing while it looks like MS is relying on the steadfastness of iView MediaPro's user base. Next spring will be too late unless others make huge mistakes and MS comes up with a Philosopher's Stone in DAM. Both premises are dubious.

Conclusion: MS do something, do it fast and do it well!

Title: Re: EM- 'Is it safe?'
Post by: roberte on July 23, 2007, 05:06:43 AM
Hi Dierk,

I base my statement on what I saw with my own eyes at Microsoft. The extra staff came on board after the Expression Media 1 debacle so I have high hopes for SP1 and xMedia 2.

MS do something, do it fast and do it well!

Pretty much sums up my parting comments!

-- Robert.

Title: Re: EM- 'Is it safe?'
Post by: peterkrogh on July 23, 2007, 09:01:31 PM
I agree with Robert that meeting with the development team was more reassuring than looking at the black box and wondering what was happening inside.

While it seems hard to understand that an acquisition would take a year to implement, that seems to be what happened.  When they went through all the steps involved in the process, it's understandable how this happens.

That said, there are some smart and dedicated people over there in Redmond, (some of them iView expats) and they will likely have some state-of-the art software to show us before too long.

The more I see these processes close up, the more I understand how software goes out the door in a less than ideal state.  Unfortunate, but true.

(And then there's Marc with ImageIngesterPro.  One guy who can make great software, and improve it at a breakneck pace.)


Title: Re: EM- 'Is it safe?'
Post by: Dierk on July 24, 2007, 12:37:52 AM
Peter, I do not doubt dedication or intelligence of Microsoft and its employees. To the contrary, I have been and am known - particularly with the iView acquisition - as a defender of Microsoft. On a side note: I am known to defend Adobe, too. The trouble with friendship is that real friends have to prod, play advocatus diaboli, and have to be naysayers. A concept obviously hard to grasp for politicians and many, many people.

Now, whatever the specific problems with big corporations or small companies, with acquisitions, or with QC are, they do not matter much to the user. Explanations may excuse but are not in themselves excuses. So, MEM v1 is in almost every aspect a disaster, I think we can agree on that. Even with iView's history of slightly botched new major versions, MEM v1 - over a year in the making*, then touted as 'just a bug fix' - is the worst update I've ever encountered with the exception of Acrobat Pro 8.1. Can the organisational problems involving a company buy-out be used as an excuse for publishing a bad product late? It may explain it ...

If someone asks me to recommend a DAM program, can I seriously tell him to get MEM v1? On promises? Do not get me wrong, I am still using MediaPro 3.1.3 as my main organisational tool, mostly because I am lazy to forego a complete change. And it is still the DAM with the best usability around. Unfortunately it lags behind in several respects [I am on Windows, but the Mac side shares some of the problems and has some of its own]:

- Info and Organise panel cannot be open at the same time [long-standing wish]
- directories in the Organise panel cannot be moved/copied
- back-up of media to DVD is not possible [unless you get ArchiveCreator, dor which the developer includes several scripts to work with MP]
- the use of Windows' Command Line API to hand over file names gives major problems with [some] Helper Applications
- GPS and some other metadata are not retained when creating derivatives [either by Convert image or when building HTML galleries], and that is with a specific checkbox to retain them!
- unchecking signature in the Convert Image dialogue does not always work; and the three-way checkbox [white, checked, grey] makes no sense
- users need to choose the code page for HTML galleries

These are major problems, there's loads of minor improvements I'd like to see, including a sticky Sort on folder level (so that I can sort a directory by Date created, one catalogue set manually and another alphabetically), and a button to quickly sort Catalogue Sets alphabetically, which is often a very good starting point for customising the sort order.

At least the major bug fixes/improvements I list aren't arcane wishes or new ones. Instead of fixing at least one of them, the bug fix release MEM v1 introduced one new major bug [corrected now] and a lot of headaches due to XML namespace changes and such.

iView's team wasn't always the fastest or most thorough around, they held a good balance between time neded for QC and quiick fixing bugs. That is one reason the program was a good choice. This time around neither seemed to have played a role. I cannot see any other reason why the namespace fiasco happened. the selection bug on Windows could happen, it's probably just a small typo introduced coincidentally. But changing XML namespace without giving us an conversion process during installation or afterwards? I mean, isn't that a conceptual error?

Back to my question about recommendations. Anybody familiar with my records knows I use two different ways to answer such a question, either with a very short binary [yes or no] or by trying to show advantages and drawbacks. The former usually only when people ask something like 'Is camera X any good?'. Luckily for Microsoft IDimager and MEM come out relatively even ATM, with MEM leading in ease of use and speed on some tasks. OTOH, IDimager uses open standards, is easy to use if you do not come from another program, has a lot more [interesting] features already implemented - and is much cheaper. It is also much better supported and has more timely and responsive development.

Considering DAM to be a fast growing but essentially very limited market, development speed, support and responsiveness are paramount to stay successful. Marketing power alone does not help if too little comes too late - unless you have the majority of it already. Word is not easily pulled from its throne, as isn't Outlook or Outlook Express [though The Bat! is much better], probably not even Windows. Is MediaPro's/MEM's market share big enough to sit it out? I doubt it.

*Let's not forget that MediaPro v3 had been out some time and everyone was waiting for a major minor update with new functionality and some bad bugs being fixed.

Title: Re: EM- 'Is it safe?'
Post by: peterkrogh on July 24, 2007, 04:24:33 AM
I agree with nearly everything you said, particularly the part about ExMedia going out the door with unacceptable bugs.

My only real point what that there was a lot of time lost in the acquisition, due to the overhead of dismantling iView, moving, staffing up, combing through the code for security problems, and getting the software into a release pipeline.  It looks as though much of that is a one-time hit. 

Now they need to come up with a release that gives people like you a reason to have hope for the program.  I know they understand that.

So much of the success here relies on good implementation of the software.  And in this fast-moving area, everyone seems to have implementation problems, even companies that generally do not, like Adobe and Apple.  Now that these big companies are in the space for real, they need to show that they can do a better job than a few smart guys in a garage.