Archive for the ‘Software’ Category

Apple Safari 3 for Windows (beta)

iulie 3, 2007 Lasă un comentariu


As on the Mac platform, Safari is an attractive and fast browser, but certain ease-of-use browsing items that Windows users have come to expect either aren’t present or, in some cases, aren’t turned on by default.

Fairly fast. Finally gives Windows fans their own Apple browser.Some popular features not set on by default. Few add-ins.


Apple Computer Inc.


Safari 3 for Windows beta is a good browser, but not a great or terribly innovative one. Many people have been asking me why Apple is even bothering to spoil a good thing by opening up this will-run-on-Windows can of worms anyway. The answer is simple: survival.It’s looking more likely every day that the future of software is on the Web (and off it) with browsers as the gatekeepers. Mozilla and Google have been building platforms and applications that will work both online and off. And we’ve heard plenty of talk about offerings such as Google’s Apps for Your Domain usurping—or at the very least eroding—Microsoft’s office-productivity hegemony.

That, I believe, is where Safari for Windows comes in. I see it as the prelude to an Apple play for some of the still-lucrative software business and segment of the Web economy that Microsoft holds. Though the browser in its current form isn’t really anything to write home about, the future could be rosy, depending on how Apple proceeds. To get momentum, though, the company would have to roll out some truly exciting features (and prevent any major security breaches due to browser vulnerabilities). Conceivably, introducing such features could put Safari into competition with Firefox and Internet Explorer—although that’s a tall order. Opera, for example, is a phenomenal browser—superior in some ways to all three of these competitors—yet despite that and barrels of laudatory ink, the Norwegian import’s U.S. market share hovers at less than 2 percent.

By Davis D. Janowski




Adobe Photoshop CS3

mai 18, 2007 3 comentarii


Adobe Photoshop CS3 offers some killer new features, such as non-destructive filtering, a newly flexible interface, excellent monochrome conversion, and terrific cloning enhancements. Photoshop remains the best option for getting anything done in the field of computer graphics.Nondestructive filtering; outstanding animation features; overhauled interface; increased platform support; myriad excellent new features and tools.Weak interface support for two-monitor setups; a little feature bloat.

Type: Business, Personal, Professional

Free: No

OS Compatibility: Windows Vista, Windows XP, Mac OS

Notes: Price: Standard version $649; Extended version $999; upgrade to Extended $349; upgrade to Standard $199 8)



Just about anyone who’s serious about using a computer as an art tool has Photoshop, or wishes to have it. This 800-pound graphical gorilla has been tooling up for a refresh for quite some time now, and the early signs were quite good, as my review of the beta showed. With Photoshop CS3, Adobe has delivered on that early promise—and then some.The public beta version of Photoshop CS3 may have revealed most of the program’s new features to registered users, but Adobe still held a card up its sleeve. Little did we know, then, that the beta represented only one of the two versions of Photoshop CS3 now shipping. The beta I reviewed was of the Standard version of Photoshop CS3; it costs $649 ($50 more than version CS2, but a return to the price of version CS). An additional $350 gets you Photoshop CS3 Extended, with everything included in the Standard version plus major new tools for animators, medical professionals, and scientists.

The Extended version is found in four of the six permutations of Creative Suite 3, those being the Design Premium, Web Premium, Production Premium, and Master Collection. The Standard version of Photoshop CS3 is bundled only in the Design Standard; Web Standard users get no Photoshop at all, having to rely on Fireworks CS3 instead.

I tested Photoshop CS3 (Extended and Standard) in Vista, in Win XP, and on Mac OS X 10.4. The program performed well on all platforms, but MacIntel users will experience the greatest leap in speed, because of the software’s Universal Binary status



Adobe Fireworks CS3

mai 18, 2007 2 comentarii


Fireworks has found a much-deserved place in CS3. Adobe has made significant steps toward integrating the app with rest of its suite and has added some tools to enhance its usefulness as a prototype builder for Web sites.Strong Photoshop and Illustrator integration. Multipage support. Nine-slice scaling.Interface not updated. No Windows Vista-style rich symbols.

Price $274.00 – $339.00

Rewiev When Adobe acquired Macromedia, most observers correctly predicted that Adobe GoLive would be replaced in the Creative Suite lineup by Dreamweaver, and that Adobe Illustrator would similarly prevail over Macromedia FreeHand. The fate of Macromedia’s Web-image optimizer Fireworks, however, was a question mark. As things have shaken out, Adobe’s competing app, ImageReady, has vanished completely. That left the door open for Fireworks, and Adobe further broadened the appeal of the former Macromedia app by refocusing it as a Web-site and Web-app prototype builder. You can use it to do the graphic design and layout that goes into creating a complicated Web site—the sort of thing you’ll want to do before you move on to Dreamweaver. As a result, Fireworks CS3 has become an important part of the new Creative Suite. You can find it in the Web Premium, Web Standard, and Master Collection editions. I tested Fireworks CS3 in Vista, Windows XP, and on an Intel-based Mac. To earn that spot in the Creative Suite, Adobe first had to teach Fireworks how to play nice with Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, and it’s succeeded there very well. Fireworks now opens the native file formats of both applications, preserving things such as layers, names, layer groups, blending modes, and transparency. Better still, it not only preserves Photoshop’s layer styles, it also lets you apply them within Fireworks. One complaint: Fireworks doesn’t share the new docked palette interface that I like so much in the new Photoshop and Illustrator. I wish it did, both for consistency’s sake and because that’s a very useful enhancement.

Fireworks’ strongest new prototyping ability is its true support for multipage documents. The pages can vary in pixel dimensions, you can create links between pages, and you can even share layers across multiple pages. I’m glad to see this feature, which is a huge improvement over the clunky old workaround of using frames to create a crude approximation of multipage support.

The new Common Library is a repository for Fireworks’ rich symbols—design and interface components for Web-site designs that you can edit and reuse. It’s easy to add symbols to the Library, where they can be reused and even shared among coworkers for consistent design. Included in the prebuilt rich symbols that ship with the program are graphics and buttons in the style of Windows XP and Mac OS X. I was disappointed that it doesn’t ship with those for Windows Vista, however.

Another of Firework’s great new content creation tools is the ingenious new nine-slice scaling feature. What is nine-slice scaling, you ask? It’s a solution to a common problem. In general, without this ability, if you take a rounded rectangle button and scale it horizontally, you stretch every part of the button equally, and the rounded corners will be unattractively out of proportion. Nine-slice scaling cuts objects into a grid of nine squares, which lets you manipulate individual „slices” of the image, such as the parts that fall in the slices that run from 1 to 9 on a number pad. You can specify which slices are allowed to stretch and which should stay frozen. If you stretch horizontally, only the slice made up of the central vertical squares (corresponding to keys 2, 5, and 8) stretches. The other squares don’t and therefore retain their original proportions. If you’re having trouble visualizing this, check out this visual explanation on Adobe’s site. This nifty feature shows up in Illustrator CS3 as well.

Adobe Fireworks isn’t the sort of program that’s designed to „wow” you with knockout features. It’s much more utilitarian in nature, and given its integration with the rest of the CS3 apps, it probably makes more sense to buy Fireworks as a part of the Creative Suite than to buy it on its own. Either way you purchase it, however, I’m sure you’ll agree that Adobe continues to impress with this useful and impressive tool.

By Galen Fott


Avira AntiVir Premium Security Suite

Avira’s security suite costs almost as much as the Norton and ZoneAlarm suites, but although its got a good AV engine, the suite is far less polished. Its firewall asks too many questions; its real-time antispyware yammers incessantly and can be annoyingly obtrusive; and its awkward spam protection mismarks valid mail.Does a good job of keeping spyware out of a clean system and reasonably good job of cleaning up infested systems. Firewall resists malware-style attack. Good at virus detec-tion.Real-time antispyware is annoyingly ineffective if malware is running. No easy way to whitelist e-mail correspondents. Firewall pops up numerous program control confirmation queries.

Type: Business, Personal, Professional

Free: No

OS Compatibility: Windows Vista, Windows XP


Fans of Avira’s free AntiVir PersonalEdition Classic antivirus take note: Avira also offers a full security suite. Called Avira AntiVir Premium Security Suite, it includes antivirus, spyware protection, antispam, and a personal firewall. The suite’s not free, though, and it isn’t as polished as Norton Internet Security or ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite, despite the fact that it costs about the same.

Price $52.09