There are few cross platform Mac and Windows applications that I truly enjoy. One of them is the free JAlbum, which creates photo albums.
Another, and a favorite, is Stimulus, a digital media manager, Mac and Windows. The Mac version is very good, though competition is fierce among media browsers.
Think about what’s really happening on the Mac (or your Windows PC; same event). Files. We’ve got hard drives that are huge, getting bigger.
And we have mountains of files for those hard drives.
Files? What kinds of files. For the average user, there’s more files on their Macs or PCs than ever. Music files by the hundreds, sometimes thousands.
Digital photos increase by dozens with every outing of the digital camera for an event or family gathering. Jack and I have over 7,000 photos in iPhoto already. What will it be in another year or two?
What’s worse, we don’t really throw files away anymore. Remember when you had to “clean out” your hard drive to fill up space? Those days, for most of us, are gone.
While iPhoto and iTunes let you store digital photos (and some media files) and digital audio and video files in Mac OS X’s respective Pictures and Music folders, what about all those other files?
Other files? Yes. On our three Macs, Jack and I have hundreds of other files; media files. Videos. Audio files. Graphic images.
These are all the files that don’t sit in iPhoto or iTunes, but they don’t get thrown away, either.
So, the problem is managing all those files; keeping track of them, organizing them, and, importantly, making them easy to view, hear, retrieve.
Enter a bunch of file viewers for the Mac. The one I like the most is Stimulus, from eButterfly.
My first thought was, “Oh no, another media browser for the Mac.” How many of those are there? Stimulus for Mac caught my eye because of the familiar layout.
Left column list for organizing files, right column display of files. What kind of files? Almost everything we collect and are afraid to throw away. The list is extensive.
Graphic images range from the standard JPEG, GIF, PICT (does anyone still use PICT?), to PNG, TIFF, BMP, Targa, and even Photoshop files.
Remarkably, there’s a bigger list of supported audio files. All the iTunes formats are there, including M4A and M4P (both are AAC), the standard MP3, MP2, AIFF, WAV, MIDI, etc.
Video file management covers the basics, including anything QuickTime, QTVR, MPEG, MPEG-4, Flash, and AVI.
Since we’re not throwing away files to save disk space (most of us, anyway), then organizing those files is an important, and time consuming challenge.
What I like about Stimulus is the ability to display and search. And thumbnails. And price. And detailed information.
Stimulus is familiar. Like iPhoto and iTunes, you’ll see the familiar left hand column list of files, and the right column display.
Thumbnails can be scaled quickly so you can view many files at the same time. Click on a file, regardless of graphic, audio, video, and Stimulus gives you detailed property information.
Set up a slide show with select and click, scale an image, rotate, add to favorites, and zoom in or out.
If our Macs are truly a digital hub, it’s important to be able to see what we’re collecting on that hub. If you’re like me, you collect nearly everything, and throw precious little away.
Stimulus helps manage what we keep. Among other viewers and managers, Media Central is free, though limited in features.
The popular and capable iView Media costs more than Stimulus, but hasn’t been upgraded in nearly a year. More features found in iView Media Pro will cost you $200. Stimulus is $20. As always, you can download and try out for free.
What Jack and I appreciate about Stimulus is the cross-platform capability; Mac and Windows, as we have a PC we try to keep updated and running (it’s a challenge). Stimulus isn’t a universal binary yet, but should run fine on Mac OS X on Intel Macs.
What about you? What do you use to manage your digital files; photos, images, graphics, audio, video, movies?