Review: iView 2.6.1
Product Information Requirements
Script Software International
Voice: (916) 546-9005
System 7.5 or higher and QuickTime 2.5 recommended
1 MB RAM min., 4 MB preferred
GIF, JPEG, PICT, Photoshop, Silicon Graphics, QuickTime Image and MacPaint images are supported through the native application. QuickTime offers additional support. Uncompressed TIFF, Macintosh EPS, Movies, clippings, StartupScreens, and Windows BMP/DIBShortcuts are supported through the XTND System. XTND and its translators are included with the application.
Photoshop files with complex layer/channel arrangements are not supported.
Organize and retrieve your image files with IView!
”You know, it really pays to register your shareware!” That’s what I was thinking as I test “drove” Script Software’s new shareware utility, IView. Julian Miller, the person responsible for bringing me one of my favorite shareware tools, CopyPaste (see the review in ATPM 2.12), recently sent me an e-mail to which the inaugural version of IView was attached. He appreciated the review of CopyPaste and I appreciated the update about Script’s new shareware products (IView is one of several shareware applications that debuted the same week).
Anyone with floppies, Zip disks, hard drives or tapes containing image files will find IView an indispensable tool for cataloging and retrieving them. Me? Well, as a scientist, I generate data. As a molecular biologist, I generate visual data. Anyone watch the OJ Simpson trial while the DNA evidence was being presented? Well, I understood it. I even anticipated most of the arguments made by both defense and prosecution (anyone wishing to know my opinion about his guilt or innocence can e-mail me). Those images are similar to the data I deal with on an everyday basis.
Anyway, as experiments progress, the data evolve. Images are modified, but the previous versions need to be saved. Sometimes, it is very helpful to go back and review results from a historical perspective. One of my challenges is that my office computer has a 250 MB hard drive (I’m hoping to be awarded grant funding to buy a new one, but so far, the money hasn’t come through). This means that image files are archived on floppies, Zip disks, etc. and not always as well-organized as I’d like (those 2 x2" labels only hold so much room for descriptions).
What inevitably happens is that when I sit down to write a manuscript, grant, or prepare a talk, I spend loads of time searching for images. Now, I use IView to create catalogs of image files that pertain to a single project. The catalogs contain far more information about the image files than disk labels and don’t take up much hard drive space (the image file itself can reside on an unmounted volume). IView will tell you where the original file “lives.”
OK, you’ve decided to catalog your images and you’ve installed IView, now what?
Simple, really. You just drag a disk’s icon (even the hard drive’s icon!) over the IView icon (or alias) and IView begins cataloging all the image files it finds on the disk. Admittedly, if you drag and drop the icon of a sizable hard drive, Zip disk, tape or CD-ROM, it’ll take awhile for IView to find and catalog every image file. However, folder or file icons can be “D&D’d,” too (Files? Why files? Because some files, like desktop publishing documents, contain multiple images that you might wish to catalog.)
Here’s how I created a catalog from a folder containing files I used to make slides for a recent presentation:
First, I dragged the folder over the IView icon. IView defaults to the “Info” window when it presents a catalog:
However, you can view catalog entries as thumbnail sketches:
You can view individual images within the standard IView window:
Or, start a slide show which displays images against a black background one by one on your screen:
The best part is that the catalog file is a mere 34K, while the sum of the image files (stored on Zip disk) is >300K!
Image files can be appended to existing catalogs, which is very handy for storing variations on a theme or updates to older image files (even files that reside on different disks can be referenced in a single catalog). Catalog entries can be deleted without harming the original, because the catalog entry is just a reference to the file (you can delete the original file using “Option-Delete,” but this feature is controlled via the Preferences). Catalog entries can also be exported or copied to other catalogs, so a single image file can be referenced in multiple catalogs for convenient cross-referencing.
IView will store keywords and comments in the entries, which are searchable via the filter window:
In one of my catalogs, I keep all my files pertaining to another research project: the AUF1 gene. However, there are different categories of images. Some are maps of where restriction enzymes cut the genomic DNA. Some are comparisons with other related genes: human and cross-species. Still others highlight certain structural motifs. Keywords help me quickly locate only the type files I need at that moment. Comments contain dates (which may or may not correspond to the creation or modification dates of the file itself) or other notations, so I can find images made at different points in the project.
There are some improvements left to made to IView. But, from first-hand experience, I know Script Software to be quick to implement users’ suggestions. I honestly don’t think a month had passed between my review of CopyPaste (in which I noted that the Floating Palette was difficult to close if it overlapped any open window) and the arrival, by e-mail, of a new version into which my suggestion had been incorporated. Of course, I may not have been the first to suggest that change, but nevertheless, I was duly impressed with the response.
So here’s my wish list for IView. It would be nice if the “Shift-Click” option were implemented to select multiple files (for deleting, for writing a common keyword, etc.). Now, all you ATPM readers who register IView can see for yourselves the response time of the kind folks at Script Software. I’m willing to bet you won’t be disappointed.