Sunday, April 18, 2004

Whining about software.

Finally bought a replacement battery for my ancient Nokia mobile phone. (It was, like, a year and a half old, if you can believe!) It had gotten to the point that the battery would hold less than a minute of charge. Thus the phone was only usable when plugged into a real power source, like a car or the wall. I'm excited, in a lame sort of way, for it to be useful again.

Also bought an external (USB/FireWire) DVD writer to make it easier to back up our growing archive of digital pictures. Once I'd made several backups, I started playing with the bundled software. Included is MyDVD 4.5, which lets you make simple video DVDs with video or digital pictures.

I decided that a DVD with hierarchical, chronological slideshows of digital pictures would be a nice thing to inflict on relatives, and so I set to making one. It didn't take long for me to get really frustrated.

MyDVD is decent, but it has one serious flaw that makes it painful to use. To import images for a slideshow, it presents a standard Windows file selection dialog. If you want your slideshow to have more than one image (which you probably do), you have to use shift or control to select multiple files.
When you do that, though, the files appear in the slideshow in seeminly random order. So once they're imported, you try to drag them around to rearrange them within the slideshow. And if you make the mistake of selecting multiple images and dragging them at once, they appear in, again, seemingly random order.
So you have no choice but to import the files one by one, which is impossibly tedious, or else import them as a group and then rearrange them one by one, which is only slightly less tedious.
To be fair, the DVDs it generates look great. The menus can have animated backgrounds, and you can use your own background music on the menus and the slideshows. If I had a way to digitize our existing home movies, it would be easy to include those as well. So it's a neat little program.
They just really need to fix multiple selection. Maybe they have, in more recent versions.

1 comment:

  1. Tom,
    Karie and I recently changed to a new cellular company. Since we had the same phones as you, and they are now gatering dust in the extra electronics bin, I can send them to you and you can have 2 extra batteries, and loads of spare phone parts incase you decide to drop your phone, or say, throw it at a snake.
    Also, give me a ring, I have several DVD authoring packages you can have if you want to dump MyDVD, all of which are a bit better than it.