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Expression Media 2
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Author Topic: Expression Media 2  (Read 17763 times)
ralphpaonessa
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« on: May 12, 2008, 04:43:51 PM »

The silence on recently released Expression Media 2 is deafening.

Has anyone tried it? Is it better or worse than iView MediaPro? Another post (http://thedambook.com/smf/index.php?topic=3264.0) states it has "some bugs" without elaborating.

Ralph Paonessa
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Ralph Paonessa
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Dierk
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« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2008, 11:54:00 PM »

After holding a long time to MediaPro 3.1.3 I changed over to v2 with the public beta; now I am using the release of v2.

Some annoyances and bugs have been taken over from MediaPro, some long asked for improvements have not been implemented, yet, some new bugs have been added. All in all xMedia v2 is not worse than MediaPro v3.x.

Pros:
- much faster light table
- much faster media rendering on-the-fly [no previews saved]
- much ore versatile light table
- light table and main window are concurrently accessible
- image conversion much faster
- multi-threading in many areas, i.e. for importing and rebuilding

Cons:
- very bad toolbar icons
- problem with the EXPO key in xMedia's Preferences registry entry
- xMedia and XMP are a bit like oil and water - not really compatible

Neutral:
- Virtual Earth for geopositioning is a nice addition but it falls short; Microsoft has shown with Pro Photo tools what can/should be done
- while the light table is now multi-monitor, the two major panels are still not
- hierarchical keywords may be a good addition but are on the wrong panel [you'd have to switch between Organise and Info to put in annotations] and seem not to be compatible with normal keywords [hence aren't very useful if you use a large, possibly controlled, vocabulary]


I'd say you can easily go with xMedia v2, it is stable, fast and as robust as iView MediaPro 3.1.3. No more, no less.


PS: you can install both in different directories.
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Dierk

IDimager on Windows XP/SP2; 3.2 GHz, 2 GB RAM, loads of storage space.
Other: Nikon D2x, Nikon D200, Capture NX 2, Adobe Creative Suite 3
ralphpaonessa
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« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2008, 08:16:34 AM »

Cons:
- very bad toolbar icons
- problem with the EXPO key in xMedia's Preferences registry entry
- xMedia and XMP are a bit like oil and water - not really compatible

Thanks for the feeback. With IVMP and prior versions of xMedia, I believe the catalogs were interchangeable? When you say "like oil and water," do you mean that once you convert an IVMP catalog to an XM 2 catalog, you can't go back?

Can you elaborate on the EXPO key problem? (I don't even know what an EXPO key is.) Is it an inconvenience, or can it cause real problems, e.g. lost data, corruption, etc.?

Ralph Paonessa
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Ralph Paonessa
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Dierk
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« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2008, 10:36:10 AM »

Ah, my mistake. It's not about the catalogues, they are more or less interchangeable. Obviously structures not available in MP but in xMedia will not be shown in MP - not a big problem.

No, XMP is the metadata file format developed by Adobe and now widely adopted [in contrast to DNG]. At least with Nikon RAW files - NEF -, for which an official Nikon codec is used, just like the SDK before, xMedia can only read the legacy IPTC fields within the NEF but not accompanying XMP files.

Let me explain the last point a bit further. I use Breeze Downloader Pro to download and pre-annotate photos from memory cards and mobile hard drives or image tanks. The current version of BDP [and perhaps the one before, I forgot] uses XMP to write annotations. When I import my NEFs into xMedia, no or almost no [that changes from photo to photo] annotations are recognised. Luckily I can set BDP to write legacy IPTS, too.

Curiously geocoordinates written by xMedia are not visible to Pro Photo Tools and vice versa.

The EXPO key. That is much more than just an inconvenience, it is a bad bug. I have raised hell about a patch and hope the developers don't just listen to me for arcane wishes [like VE integration]. already during beta I had the problem that two of the three drop-downs in the Convert Images dialogue were empty; I couldn't set compression or colour depth. seems I was the only one, proving I am the only one ever using this dialogue.

A hint by Anita Oakley let me delete the preferences key tree for xMedia 2, which brought back the settings. Further testing showed it was the key labelled EXPO causing the problem. As I was told, it saves the last settings of the dialogue - and this deletes the drop-down menu entries. to remedy that you can delete the EXPO key every time you have closed xMedia or just before opening it. Unfortunately this is not just inconvenient - you could set-up a batch file to do the necessary tasks - but detrimental to the dialogue as it has some further problems. One of them being that the file format is not saved with any of your presets.

I have several presets for several tasks, most of them use JPEG as format but two use TIFF. Now, if I convert an image with, say, my blog/forum preset I have JPEG in the drop-down. If I want a print version later on, I need TIFF. Although I did put in TIFF before saving the print preset, I have to set the file format manually again after having used a JPEG setting. Again: and vice versa. Deleting the EXPO key sets TIFF as default, chosing a JPEG preset and forgetting about the file format glitch you end up with a TIFF instead of a JPEG.

When we are at it, the same dialogue [or presets in it] do not save the options [for which annotations to include with the conversion]. Like other bugs/design decisions this a mere annoyance.

Depending on your needs and wonts these annoyances could well be off-putting. I remember robert Edwards currently recommending against xMedia v2; we two seem to change seats through Microsoft's developmental cycle.

Let me end on a positive note: With the release version of xMedia 2 I have yet to encounter a crash or data corruption. As I wrote, very stable and robust.
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Dierk

IDimager on Windows XP/SP2; 3.2 GHz, 2 GB RAM, loads of storage space.
Other: Nikon D2x, Nikon D200, Capture NX 2, Adobe Creative Suite 3
roberte
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« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2008, 04:37:10 PM »

Hi,

I'd hang off xMedia 2 (or any new release software) right now. There are bugs.

Technically you can only go one way with new Catalogs: iView MediaPro 2 > MediaPro 3 > xMedia 1 > xMedia 2... The database changes and isn't always backward compatible.

XMP is an official spec included with IPTC Core that Adobe helped develop. IPTC Core compliant apps should offer roundtrip metadata with XMP, otherwise they aren't compliant. There is no grey area here either they work or they don't, you can't be half pregnant. If your download/ingest app writes XMP sidecars these are Adobe-centric files that many apps try to be compatible with, e.g. iView, Photo Mechanic, ImageIngester, etc.

-- Robert.
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pburwell
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« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2008, 06:01:21 PM »

Personally, I'd recommend moving to Expression Media 2.

The benefits (notably speed) are much more positive than any of the bugs.  All software has bugs regardless of the version.  It is just a fact of software development.

I've had very little issues and find it much more usable.

Best regards,

Paul
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Kent Larson
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« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2008, 06:38:32 AM »

I've been using EM2 since partway through the beta and I think it's a better than the older iView.  I'm happy to move on at this point.  It's good to see some movement on the product after 18 months of stagnation.
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ralphpaonessa
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« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2008, 10:34:36 AM »

Do iView users have to pay for EM 2, or is it a free upgrade?

I am a registered iView MediaPro user, and long ago I took advantage of Microsoft's offer to obtain a free EM 1 license. I installed the program, tried it, but then went back to iView.

Does this entitle me to EM 2 for free, or do I have to now buy an upgrade?
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Ralph Paonessa
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andris
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« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2008, 03:56:39 PM »

Unfortunately EM1 is as far as you'll get for free on your iView license.

People who actually purchased XM1 can upgrade to XM2 for free, but those of us who came in with iVMP have to do the $99 upgrade.

Note that XM2 isn't actually available for purchase just yet, it's only availalble as a 30 day trial.

http://www.microsoft.com/expression/products/Upgrade.aspx

Andris
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billseymour
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« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2008, 04:54:37 PM »

I am troubled that the iView-EM1 folks (like myself) also need to pay the $99 upgrade to get EM2. This bothers me because EM1 has really not been a 'finished', or 'bug-free', or 'ready-for-prime-time' application at all. EM1 was clearly rushed to market before it was ready. So, many iView-EM1 users have done as I did, which was to stay with iView until EM got squared away.

The $99 upgrade carries the implication that I have been able to fully use and enjoy EM1, and that EM2 is a value-added upgrade which I should pay for. I guess I see things more like this:

I bought iView, and the 'free upgrade' to EM1 was not worth anything to me, since the product was not bug-free. So I did NOT in
fact enjoy full use of EM1. Put another way, what did I get (EM-wise) with my 'buy iView, get EM1'? Answer (for me): I got the use of iView, only- EM1 was not reliable.

Analogy: I buy a car that is going out of production, with offer of 'get the New Car for free!'. I find that the New Car has no tires, so I stick with the iView car. When the New Car v02 is rolled out (with wheels!), I am to pay the upgrade, since I apparently enjoyed the use of the no-tires New Car v01.

If EM2 is the first truly reliable 'EM' product available, then the iView-to-EM crowd should get the first REAL version of EM as their 'buy iView, get EM'.

Not trying to 'sound off' here, just thinking things through.
--Bill
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aniemann
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« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2008, 11:28:58 AM »

XM2 has definately been worthwhile upgrade for us.

We have a large variety of files and iView would always hang and crash when it hit files it didn't like (such as some large tifs etc.). So you had to go through the various folders manually and try to avoid the files that wouldn't import. Building a catalog was painful.

XM2 breezes through no problem now. I can just point at a folder and let 'er rip.

Andy
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ScottBuckel
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« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2008, 01:42:39 PM »

I attended an in house prsentation about branding from a marketing guy today.  I think iView is an example of a great branding, maybe some MBA student should use it as a model for their thesis project.  I am a technical person that has to deal with the reality of equipment and technology so here's a bit of a rant on my part.  Hope i do not offend.

I am amazed at the loyalty of iView users, they speak as if it was a bug free program and then talk about how bad EM1 is.  Personally, I found that EM1 was more stable for me than IVMP3.  Would I have liked to see more, but there are lots of things that I would like to se that I will never get as it is not realistic.  I think it was unfortunate that issues with nVidia drivers and quicktime issues created problems about the same time as many were using EM1 for the first time.   At least they dropped the price of the product.  I also note that I have not hear a rant about how bad the developer of Quicktime has not supported their user base (maybe another great example of a branding!  Wink )

Now I do wish I could send money to another software company as Vista and the new version of Office are driving me crazy.


Scott
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Scott Buckel
Monrovia, CA
billseymour
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« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2008, 06:32:09 AM »

Scott-
To at least explain my own comments further-

I agree completely that iView is/was far from perfect (the 2GB catalog maximum is an obvious example). What I found troubling about the Microsoft acquisition and change to EM was that EM initially presented new, numerous problems right out of the gate. Further, it was difficult to get information on EM (the Microsoft site was very poor, tough to navigate, etc).

I think that iView vs. EM is a 'devil you know rather than a devil you don't know' situation for many. EM and Microsoft's approach to it is still a bit of an unknown. And realistically, there will be a difference between a small company with 1 product to develop and promote, and one of the largest companies in the world, with many products to manage. (Not a knock on MS- just stating a reality).

If you have found EM1 to be stable, that is good information, and I'm glad to hear it. As you and others work with EM2, your feedback will be valuable.
--Bill
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John N
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« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2008, 11:43:07 AM »

So far I'm happy with EM2. My gripe is the way they implemented hierarchical keywording.  This feature was one of the reasons I chose to upgrade from EM1 to EM2.  The hierarchical keyword file is completely separate from the current keyword file and there is no way to move keywords between them.  Any keywords or keyword vocabulary that you may have built or have purchased cannot be transferred into hierarchical keywords, and unlike the old keyword system, you cannot create a text file to load.   If you want to have hierarchical keywords you have to re-type them in one by one.
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aniemann
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« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2008, 10:12:10 PM »

Just found another reason to go to XM2.

We just replaced our network storage that has all the images on it with a newer drive. The old drive was mapped as T:, and the iViewand XM1  catalogs all pointed to the images on T:.  No problems.

Now the new drive is a mirror of the old drive and has been installed in its place. It has been given the same name and IP address and is also mapped to T:.   XM1 refuses to see the images on this new drive!   

XM2 however has no problem with the new drive and everything works fine with it. 

Andy
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