What’s wrong with Adobe Photoshop Elements 9?

Not much. It’s almost perfect.

I teach Photoshop Elements. I have used every version for Macintosh and Windows from 1 through 9. I am very familiar with this excellent application for editing and enhancing digital images.

Adobe tweaks each incremental upgrade to Photoshop Elements, or PSE, to improve the user experience and to stimulate sales of a software product that was just fine in the previous release. Most of the major features of PSE9 were in place in the landmark version 1, which indicates there is much to applaud about PSE during its entire life cycle.

For its modest price, PSE has exceptional value. Only a tiny percentage of amateurs require the robust professional and costly experience of “real” Photoshop CS, currently in version CS5.

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Toast 11

On March 9, 2011, in Features, First Look, by Mark Sealey
Toast 11 Titanium from Roxio

Toast 11 Titanium from Roxio

Roxio’s Toast began as a simple way to burn optical media, CDs then DVDs; it slowly became the preferred way to do so until Apple built more reliable such functionality into its operating systems. Then, for a number of its iterations, Toast somewhat lost its way; it failed to offer features compelling enough that all but the most demanding (and loyal) users to choose it over Apple’s way of doing things and that of a clutch of decent shareware apps which met most people’s needs. The last two versions of Toast, however, have changed things. Now Toast 11 Titanium introduces a number of new features; and it works in ways that make it once again stand out. Toast 11 includes (from its Extras menu) the other apps, Disc Cover 3 RE, DiscCatalogMaker RE, Get Backup 2 RE, Mac2TiVo and TiVo Transfer and a new version of Spin Doctor (formerly CD Spin Doctor), but not Streamer.

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Review – Popcorn 4

On May 26, 2010, in Macintosh, Review, by Rich Lefko

Popcorn 4
Company: Roxio

Price: $49.99 USD
http://www.roxio.com/

Today we’ll take a look at the latest iteration of Popcorn from Roxio, version 4. Popcorn is a movie compression and conversion utility program.

I plan to focus in on what is new in this version. Let’s discuss the weakest part of Popcorn, and get that off the table. Popcorn will NOT decrypt an encrypted DVD, nor will any of the features of Popcorn work with any commercial DVD. The program works fine with the DVDs you create. If you plan to use the software with commercial DVDs, you will have to use another program to “rip” them first.

The strongest feature of Popcorn is its ability to compress your extracted video to fit on a blank 4.7 GB single sided DVD or a 8.5 GB dual layer DVD. Popcorn gives you the option of removing extraneous files from your ripped commercial DVD file, like extra scenes, special features, and foreign language soundtracks. Trimming your video down allows Popcorn to use less compression when burning your new DVD, and less compression means a better looking video.

Popcorn allows you to convert to many different formats:

Popcorn 4 from Roxio does a bunch of wonderful things, but wouldn’t it be nice if you could speed up some of what it does. Well, you can. Popcorn 4 supports using the elgato turbo.264 or the newer turbo.264 HD devices which can speed up the Popcorn compression process.

Video encoding demands a sizable chunk of your system resources but the elgato turbo devices take that load off your system by performing most of the processing within the units themselves. Go to <http://www.elgato.com> for more information. The turbo.264 units are simple to use with Popcorn. In the lower right hand corner of the Popcorn burn screen you can see a “Got elgato turbo.264?” message.

After you plug your turbo device into a USB port, that message will change to “Powered by elgato turbo.264,” with a pulsating series of animated dots that show the device is being used.

When using Popcorn, the turbo device does not require the elgato software. Plug it into a USB port on your Mac and Popcorn will recognize it and use it.

How did it work?
I tried a simple conversion of a 588 MB QuickTime movie file to mpeg4 format. Without the turbo, the process took one hour and forty minutes. With the elgato turbo.264 HD device plugged in, the same conversion took one hour and thirty five minutes. Not much savings there. Just for fun, I launched the elgato turbo software and tried the same conversion. That process took ten minutes.

At this point, I thought perhaps Popcorn doesn’t just do simple conversions very efficiently.

I loaded a ripped video_ts movie file and asked Popcorn 4 to convert the movie to Apple TV format. Without the turbo device, the process took fifty two minutes. I converted the same file with the elgato device plugged in and it took thirty three minutes. A savings of nineteen minutes, or 36% faster.

This was a much better result. All of this is based on a variety of factors that include: the processor speed of your Mac (I have a 2009 Mac Pro), the length and complexity of the source video, the size of the file, and the amount of compression needed for the end result format. Your mileage may vary.

I believe using the elgato device is a plus, and while I didn’t get amazing results, you might get amazing results, based on your hardware and what video you are compressing.

New in this version of Popcorn is the ability to extract video or music and convert to any format including Flash. Not sure how many people want to convert to Flash nowadays, but Popcorn can do it. You can stream video from your Mac to your TiVo DVR. A shame Popcorn won’t stream to my Apple TV. You can now schedule video conversions to run when you’re away from your computer and you can publish converted video directly to YouTube.

Conclusions:
I have always enjoyed Popcorn’s ease of use. The program is fairly simple to use with many conversion options. I really dislike having to use another application to rip the DVDs I own for my use. I wish the good folks at Roxio would move beyond this restriction. There are applications out there that will rip and re-encode your DVD like DVD Remaster from MetaKine. If you have kids, you know how poorly they treat DVDs. To protect your investment in your DVDs, software like Popcorn is essential for making extra copies of the DVDs you own.

MyMac Review Rating: 7 out of 10

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Toast 9 Titanium – Review

On November 26, 2008, in Macintosh, Review, by Mark Sealey

Toast 9 Titanium
Company: Roxio

Price: Single license: $99.99
Upgrade from previous versions $79.99 after $20 mail-in rebate
http://www.roxio.com/

Roxio’s Toast has long been the software of choice for reliable and flexible CD and DVD burning on Mac and PC. In recent years Roxio has slowly and steadily added features, generally made improvements to the working of the product and changed the interface of the software… it isn’t entirely Mac-like – not that it is in any way off-putting.

Now Toast 9 Titanium (releases 9.02, 9.03 and the current 9.04 were used to prepare this review) has added several new functions which keep pace with developments in optical media technology. By and large the product can still be recommended as the market leader in its field. There are other apps – not least Apple’s iDVD – which will allow sophisticated management and burning of CDs and DVDs. But Toast’s multiplicity of features sets it apart.

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Roxio Toast 8 Titanium
Review

On April 12, 2007, in Macintosh, Review, by Russ Walkowich



Roxio Toast 8 Titanium
Company: Roxio

Price: $79.99 ($59.99 with $20 mail-in rebate)
Previous owners can upgrade for $59.99 (provided you have a copy of Toast 7, Jam 6 or Popcorn 1 on your computer)

http://www.roxio.com

The last time I used Toast was version 4.2 and I was pleased with it then. Checking out Toast 8 is like going back home after being away for a long time. It’s nice to settle back down with something that’s familiar and doesn’t cause problems. While changes have been made, they’re good changes and one will readily adapt to them rather quickly.

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MyMac Podcast #120
Apple Store Event

On March 12, 2007, in Podcast, by The MyMac Podcast


Download the show here
This, our 120th weekly podcast episode, was recorded live at the Apple Store. Tim and Chad give away a ton of software and hardware during the events Apple Quiz. We also interview Dan Knight, publisher of LowEndMac.com, as well as Joel Mueller from MacUpdate.com. Plus we announce the winners of our home contest. All that, plus a special moment at the end of the show.

This podcast is sponsored by
Microsoft
Roxio
Wiley Publishing
Other World Computing
Griffin Technologies
McGraw-Hill Publishing
Kavasoft

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MyMac Podcast #100
Live from the Apple Store

On September 26, 2006, in Podcast, by The MyMac Podcast



Download the show here

The MyMac.com Podcast celebrates our 100th podcast by recording a live show at the Apple Store in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Guy Serle flies in from Virginia to co-host the show with Tim Robertson, and they gave away over $1,750 worth of Macintosh and iPod gear. Also, what does it mean to be a Mac user? Find out what some of our past podcast guests and MyMac.com writers think it means on this show.

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MyMac.com Podcast 97

On September 7, 2006, in Podcast, by The MyMac Podcast


Download the show here
Tim and Chad talk up the new iMacs, Mac mini, and reveal the $1,750 worth of free Mac gear to be given away on the 100th podcast.

Leave audio feedback by calling 801-938-5559

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The Boom Box from Roxio
Review

On August 9, 2005, in Review, by Owen Rubin



The Boom Box
Company: Roxio

Price: $49.95
http://www.roxio.com

Listening to music is no longer a passive activity. Sure, you have your iPod, and you have a lot of music on your Macintosh, but just how do you decide what to transfer to your new iPod shuffle, or which songs go onto your iPod from your large collection? And what about all those old vinyl LPs and cassette tapes that you are just dying to listen to on your MP-3 player? If you are like me, you may also often listen to streaming Internet radio stations on your computer, but wouldn’t it be great if you could record them and listen to them later on your iPod? Time to take control of your music and listening, and Roxio is here to help you.

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Toast Titanium 6 With JAM
Review

On September 13, 2004, in Review, by Owen Rubin

Is That Toast Burning?
Toast Titanium 6 With JAM.
Company: Roxio
(Winner of the 2004 Macworld Best of Show awards)
Price: $169.95 retail
Upgrade from Toast 6 Titanium: $89.95
JAM 6 Only: $89.95

Years ago, if you said Macintosh and Toast in the same breath, I would think of Berkeley Systems Flying Toasters screen savers.

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Toast 6 Titanium
Review

On February 2, 2004, in Review, by David Weeks

 

Toast 6 Titanium
Company: Roxio, Inc.
Price: US $99.95

http://www.roxio.com

Roxio’s Toast CD burning application has been the 800 lb. gorilla in its field for a number of years. Toast 6 Titanium is the newest revision; let’s see if the 800 lb. gorilla is getting stronger and better, or just fatter.

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Toast Titanium with Jam
Review

On February 5, 2003, in Review, by John Nemerovski

Toast Titanium with Jam
OS X Compatible

Company: Roxio
Price: $199.95
http://www.roxio.com

For Toast 5 Titanium owners, Jam upgrade is $99 for boxed version, $69 as downloadable, which does not include Peak LE. Check Roxio’s web store for current promotions and rebates.


Let’s get a couple of things straight from the outset.

Roxio’s Toast (either Titanium or Lite edition) is some of the very best software created ever for the Macintosh, period. It works almost effortlessly to burn music and data CDs. This application is indispensable both to Nemo and Weeks, for our professional and personal work and pleasure. We give Toast a rousing FIVE MAC MICE out of five, and applaud Roxio for its ongoing support of the Mac OS and community.

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Life at the Expo, The Prequel
MWSF ’03

On January 14, 2003, in Macworld Expo, by David Weeks

NEMO STRATEGY

On December 4 Nemo received an email PR announcement from Formac for a private offsite viewing of their new line of digital video and display products. The swanky W Hotel, across the street from Moscone Convention Center, was the designated location. Nemo had been trying to obtain review units from Formac for a year without success, and this was a real opportunity.

One week later email solicitations for Macworld PR meetings arrived from Maxtor, E-Book Systems, and Intego, followed several days later by requests from Exabyte, Macromedia, Aladdin, Roxio, Iomega, SmithMicro, Alias/Wavefront, eMedia, Sybex, Other World Computing, LaCie, Olympus, Peachpit, H-P, ProSoft and O’Reilly.

During Nemo’s first Macworld, in 2001, he ran around Moscone Center like a crazy person, conversing here and there and writing up the experiences in an ongoing manic conversation with our readers. At the 2002 conference Weeks+Nemo delivered an intense combined diary and essay of their days at Macworld, complete with pictures of varying quantity.

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