Issue: 7.5 (July/August 2009)
Author: Dave Mancuso
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 3,875
Starting Page Number: 12
RBD Number: 7506
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IN BRIEF Product Stimulus 4.5 for Mac OS X Manufacturer Electric Butterfly Price $19.95 USD (current sale $9.95 USD) Contact Info http://ebutterfly.com Pros Manages all media in one place, clean and clear design, wide file format support, low price Cons Mac OS X only
Stimulus is a new revision of the Stimulus media organization tool for Windows. Newly developed and revised for Mac OS X, it's published by Electric Butterfly, known for HelpLogic and other REALbasic applications. Stimulus takes a simple approach to pictures, audio, and video files. It puts them all in one place so that you can organize things by categories, favorites, or folders.
Stimulus is a drag install, so copying the program to my Applications folder from the disk image file was all I needed to do to get started. Once I launched the program, it automatically scanned my Desktop and presented all media files in the Desktop folder. The interface is a two panel design (three if you count the detail pane in the lower left corner). Thumbnails are placed on the left, and the viewer window is on the right. Pictures are displayed in the viewer window at 100% resolution, and videos automatically played in the viewer window when displayed, as did audio files. Controls were easily understandable.
After playing with the application for a bit, I wanted to see how to use Favorites, Folders, and other features of Stimulus. The Help system contains the full user guide, so I browsed through it. It was clear and succinct -- most questions I had were easily found and answered in the Help system.
First, I wanted to know how much trouble I could get into while organizing my files. The browse window in Stimulus is where you can create folders and move or delete files and folders. The folders are created on your hard drive, so if you created a folder on your Desktop, it'll be there when you leave the program. If you use Stimulus to move a file onto a folder or delete the folder, this happens on your hard drive. Deletion removes the file from your hard drive, so it's important to know when you're organizing your media in Stimulus.
Conversely, image editing is nondestructive. Stimulus provides filters for your images and other simple editing tools. Once you edit your photo, you need to use the Export Image command to save your changes. The original file is never altered, which is nice to know.
Favorites are where Stimulus shows its main value. You create Favorite categories, and then organize your media files into Favorite items in each category. You can only assign one category at a time to each Favorite Item, so it would be nice to see future versions of Stimulus allow tagging by multiple Favorite Categories.
Finally, Stimulus' slide show feature plays the images in your currently browsed folder or Favorite category. The slide show displays in the main viewing pane. This is nice to have, and I'd love to see full screen viewing in future versions for an even better enhancement.
The only downside to Stimulus is the disappearance of the Windows version. I assume that sales didn't support further development on the Windows platform. Regardless, it's good to see this kind of an application on Mac OS X. It fills a definite need for media file organization at an extremely affordable price.
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