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Print Shop Media Manager review:

Print Shop Media Manager

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The Good Trouble-free visual interface; supports most common media file types, such as BMP, GIF, and JPEG; heavy-duty, effective cataloging and searching tools; basic photo-editing capabilities.

The Bad No Internet photo sharing; relies heavily on external utilities for playing movies and music; some bothersome editing delays.

The Bottom Line Although it doesn't deliver a complete audio-video solution, Media Manager is a convenient and efficient virtual file cabinet and gallery for movies, tunes, and photos.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

CNET Editors' Rating

7.0 Overall

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Unless you're meticulous, if you use multiple applications to generate and collect digital photos, music files, and video snippets, you may have a hard time finding these files next time you need them. With Print Shop Media Manager, on the other hand, you may never have that problem again. Courtesy of its simple and convenient interface, Media Manager quickly lets you locate all of the familiar media files in your computer, group them according to your criteria, and even perform basic image editing. Media Manager doesn't offer fast-forward and rewind controls for videos. However, it can help both multimedia experts and amateur hobbyists clean up their acts. Unless you're meticulous, if you use multiple applications to generate and collect digital photos, music files, and video snippets, you may have a hard time finding these files next time you need them. With Print Shop Media Manager, on the other hand, you may never have that problem again. Courtesy of its simple and convenient interface, Media Manager quickly lets you locate all of the familiar media files in your computer, group them according to your criteria, and even perform basic image editing. Media Manager doesn't offer fast-forward and rewind controls for videos. However, it can help both multimedia experts and amateur hobbyists clean up their acts.

Simple and effective
You can't buy Media Manager at your local OfficeMax yet; this new Brøderbund product isn't actually available until July. But once you get your hands on the product, it installs in a few seconds, and its interface is blissfully easy to understand and operate. The main window displays an icon-based toolbar, a pull-down menu system, and a series of four main windows. At the top left, the Folders window displays a Windows Explorer-like list of folders, each of which contains a specific category of media files. To the right, the Instaview windows display thumbnail representations of each file in a selected category. The Attribute section at the top right lets you add searchable information (meta tags) to your multimedia files, and at the bottom right, the Preview screen provides a detailed look at your images and videos. Très simple.

Unlike After Shot, Media Manager doesn't actually rearrange media files on your hard drive. Instead, when you first launch the program, it scans your computer for supported multimedia files, including BMP, GIF, JPEG, PNG, PSD, MP3, AVI, and MPEG. Next, the program organizes the files into three groups of subfolders: All Music, All Images, and All Videos. You can rename and reorganize the subfolders to suit your preferences and even create your own subfolders. And anytime you want, you can rescan for new files; just choose the Scan command from the menu.

Not just a file cabinet
Media Manager offers several other practical perks, including customized slide shows and batch commands that let you simultaneously rename and apply simple image edits to multiple files. Using Media Manager's image editor, you can brighten and darken photos, alter hue and saturation, and add special effects, such as blur and emboss. Sadly, some of those effects, such as Oil Painting, take a long time to manifest. Furthermore, because Media Manager doesn't ship with its own FTP or upload tools, you must turn to other software packages, After Shot or Ofoto, for example, if you want to display and share your photos over the Internet. And though you can play your videos in the program's small preview window, you must use an external multimedia player such as Windows Media Player to fast-forward or rewind a movie. To make this process less annoying, Media Manager links automatically to your currently selected media player whenever you double-click an audio or video file.

Because Brøderbund recently acquired Media Manager from Sanity Software and won't officially release the product until July, the company doesn't yet offer any support for the product. You might, however, find answers on the Sanity Software site. Sanity Software does not support Media Manager via telephone. It does, however, offer e-mail assistance. In our tests, we submitted an inquiry just before noon and received an accurate response just six hours later.

Though it relies on third-party utilities to share photos via the Internet and play music and videos, Media Manager is otherwise an efficient, easy-to-use organizational tool and audio-video gallery. If your media files overwhelm your hard drive like kudzu in a garden, Media Manager will straighten things out in no time.

Whether your media file is a home movie of your latest family vacation or a '50s rock-and-roll tune, Media Manager's intuitive interface will help you put it in its place.

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