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$199.99 $149.00 list($289.99)
1. Final Draft 7
$219.99 $165.00 list($249.99)
2. Final Draft 7/Syd Field's Screenwriting
Too low to display list($59.99)
3. eMedia Guitar Method Version 3
$426.99 list($599.00)
4. Sibelius 3 Professional Edition
$146.99 $139.00 list($249.99)
5. Movie Magic Screenwriter
$274.99 $269.88 list($349.99)
6. Final Draft 7/Final Draft AV2
Too low to display list($99.99)
7. Apple GarageBand Jam Pack 4: Symphony
Too low to display list($59.99)
8. eMedia Piano and Keyboard Method
$189.99 $148.95 list($269.99)
9. Dramatica Pro 4
$72.99 list($99.99)
10. 3D Home Architect Design Suite
$74.99 $39.88 list($79.99)
11. Allume StuffIt Deluxe 9.0 (Mac)
$34.99 list($59.99)
12. Writer's Dreamkit 4
Too low to display $46.95 list($59.99)
13. eMedia Intermediate Guitar Method
$87.99 $80.00 list($99.95)
14. MicroSpot Interiors (Mac)
$34.99 list($39.99)
15. Route 66 Route USA 2004 (Mac)
Too low to display $29.94 list($49.99)
16. Apple iLife '04
$79.99 $74.83
17. Route 66 Route Europe 2004 (Mac)
$94.99 $89.81 list($119.99)
18. Movie Magic Contracts
$25.99 $24.95 list($29.94)
19. eMedia Blues Guitar Legends
$29.99 $22.50
20. Kyoto Gardens

1. Final Draft 7
list price: $289.99
our price: $199.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0001XNGZ2
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Final Draft
Sales Rank: 186
Average Customer Review: 2.69 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Features

  • Word processing combined with professional script formatting
  • Designed for writing movie scripts, television episodics, and stage plays
  • Automatically paginates and formats script to industry standards
  • 100-percent cross-platform compatibility; easily import/export files
  • 50+ templates; text to speech, have your script read back to you

Reviews (16)

3-0 out of 5 stars Great formatter with poor font rendering.
As a screenplay formatter Final Draft 7.0 works as well as its predecessors, but still has a rotten font rendering quality. I would have thought that this would the number one priority to attend to at this stage in Final Draft's development cycle.

That gripe aside - and it's a really significant one - everything else works very smoothly.

Because of this issue, I would recommend Screenwriter 2000, which does everything that Final Draft can do, and doesn't have any issue with its ability to render fonts cleanly. In addition, screenwriter 2000 has a more useful suite of associated products, notably: Dramatica 4 pro and Storyview 2. The tech backup is superior, too.

2-0 out of 5 stars If you're a new user, DON'T BUY IT!
I've used Final Draft since version 5 through version 6, and although it was antiquated and clunky compared to contemporary word processing software, it was at least useable and relatively stable.

HOWEVER - I recently upgraded to FD7, and it's a mess. It implemented new features in such a way as make them impractical in daily, minute by minute by use, while simultaneously dumping several genuinely useful features from previous versions. It's been through two patches since it was released already, and it's still clunky, bug ridden, crash prone, and less usable in practice than the previous version.

If you are a first time buyer, I'd recommend delaying your purchase for at least six months till they sort out the bugs (assuming that's possible), or consider buying another of the many products available, e.g. Screenwriter or Sophocles.

ADDENDUM:

I'd also recommend you read some of the reviews on this site with a pinch of salt - there are a couple that I would consider suspiciously glowing. There's nothing to stop someone from the manufacturer adding a review, is there...?

1-0 out of 5 stars Just add words?
I have to work every day with FD 7 (Mac OSX) as the production company I write for asked me to do so. To cut it short: I have never ever seen a programme with so many bugs and crashes! Unfortunately recent updates have not changed anything. :-(

3-0 out of 5 stars Weird (on a PC anyway)
I have a friend who uses the Mac version and swears by it. I purchased the PC version and it's certainly interesting. It behaves like no other text editor I've ever seen. Simple operations like cut and paste become strange exasperating games to see what text Final Draft will actually decide to let you cut and paste. I guess it's trying to keep script elements contiguous--but there are times when you just...want...to move...the damn...WORDS. Final Draft makes the mistake of assuming too much.

Edit: I hereby redact the rest of my review. I still think the program could use some polish on a PC...but my previous ire was more from ignorance than the program itself. It ain't so bad.

5-0 out of 5 stars Finished Another First Draft With Final Draft
I have written or re-written over 30 scripts, both hits and flops, both TV and Feature, with Final Draft. Like most people who have made the mistake of buying Movie Magic Screenwriter, I switched when the program didn't work and they made me angry on the phone. I have never had a problem with my fonts, or tech support, or upgrading or updating. Ever. They even make their own font to make the switch from Mac to Win seamless and it is. The other programs are okay, but not as 'finished', maybe because just about every TV show and Film is made with Final Draft. It really is combat tested. I just bought another copy from amazon.com for my office and both companies are great! ... Read more


2. Final Draft 7/Syd Field's Screenwriting Workshop DVD Bundle
list price: $249.99
our price: $219.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0001XNKP8
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Final Draft
Sales Rank: 332
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Features

  • Word processing combined with professional script formatting
  • Designed for writing movie scripts, television episodics, and stage plays
  • Automatically paginates and formats script to industry standards
  • 50+ templates; text to speech, have your script read back to you
  • Syd Field's Screenwriting Workshop DVD for all skill levels included

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars What They Write With & How To Do IT!!
Okay, so I found out that Final Draft is the Industry Standard in Tinsel Town. Great. I'll buy one. Check out who uses it on their website. Wow! But the software alone doesn't tell us, say, what goes where and why in a screenplay. It just lays there, blank, with blinking cursor... waiting for some brilliance to be entered by me. Enter Syd Field. I have his books on screenwriting and, although the DVD is a little 'talking head'-like, it did make me understand more about the craft of screenwriting, like plot, story structure, action points and character arcs - the things that make up a really great movie. Take notes while watching the DVD! It made me better and less insecure about taking the movie idea out of my head and Final Draft is a cool tool that formats for you and types things you type alot for you. An excellent combination!! Highly recommend. ... Read more


3. eMedia Guitar Method Version 3
list price: $59.99
our price: Too low to display
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0000X63JE
Catlog: Software
Publisher: eMedia
Sales Rank: 75
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Features

  • Learn chord strumming, playing melodies, and fingerpicking
  • 160+ comprehensive lessons, plus new modern rock chapter
  • 50+ videos including split-screens and close-ups of both hands
  • 70+ songs; artists include Bob Dylan, Steve Miller, and more
  • Automatic tuner, metronome, and 250-chord dictionary

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A must have for beginner guitar players!!
If you are a beginner guitar player and are frustrated with your lack of progression, this product is a must have. It is a progressive program, starting with the basics such as; tuning a guitar, replacing strings on a guitar, and even how to hold the guitar. The lessons then move into your first couple of chords and basic folk songs which use those chords. Learning is by repitition and continually building on what you've already learned. You may feel a little silly playing songs like "She'll be comin' around the mountain" and "Oh-suzanna" but you'll soon see the benefit of these simple songs when you can suddenly make smooth chord transitions, which will of course help you later with the more complex lessons and songs. The best thing I've found about this program is that you move at your own pace. If you're having problems with a particular lesson or a certain chord transition, you can continue working on it until you're ready to move on. You can even go back and review any lesson you want. This is especially handy if you've had a break between practice sessions and it's been a while since you picked up your guitar. Also, after each chapter, the program gives you a list of popular songs which you should be capable of playing using the chords and techniques you've learned up to that point in the lessons. The program also has a very useful chord dictionary, metronome, and animated fretboard to follow along with during a song. Even if you don't even know what a fretboard is... even if you don't know a single chord... if you just picked up a guitar for your first time and haven't the slightest idea where to start...THIS PROGRAM WILL HELP!!! ... Read more


4. Sibelius 3 Professional Edition
list price: $599.00
our price: $426.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00018TKAW
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Sibelius Software Ltd.
Sales Rank: 1272
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Features

  • Software for writing, playing, printing, and publishing music notation
  • Scan in printed music; high-quality sounds for playback
  • Saves time; elegant and intuitive; school feature sets
  • Publish music world-wide or create personal CDs and MP3s
  • Designed for students, educators, and professional composers

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Powerful Yet Easy to Learn
I have always written music the old-fashioned paper-and-pencil way and have never been capable of producing a fair copy in ink. So in order to give a more permanent form to some dreadful music I've accumulated in notebook sketches -- my aural communication to the ages -- I've been looking into music notation software. I ended up buying Sibelius 3.1, although Finale 2004 was also a strong contender and I downloaded the demo versions for both. Finale has a reputation of being difficult to learn and use, so I decided on Sibelius.

After just two days -- about twelve hours using the program -- I have mastered it to the point of being able to do cross-staff beaming and other moderately "advanced" things. It is essential to know how to select passages and input notes, but this is well explained in the clear and comprehensive User Manual and once you get this far, the rest pretty much falls into place.

The screen is attractive and uncluttered, with a large useful workspace. That the program is very well-designed is clear from the start, and as you use it and encounter inevitable problems (such as not enough space for an inserted clef, reshaping of ties, etc.) you will really appreciate the ability of the program to recover from errors in an intuitive way. Sibelius just has a way of "doing the right thing", which from a programming perspective is very difficult to achieve. And once you have discovered the joys of copying (which depends on a mastery of selection), you will find you can create fair copies even faster than you could write out a sketch using pencil and paper.

Highly recommended!

5-0 out of 5 stars Software for the common/professional musician
My background is in both arranging and composing and playing professionally here in the New Mexico area. Having used both of the top music software's for the last few years I find that when I have to do a project for profit, I always use Sibelius.
Both programs perform equally well, but Sibelius is by far the easiest and most logical to learn and use. The learning curve is very shallow. Everything is very intuitive and easy to find. The use of hot keys and simple, logical key presses and not the mouse make this program quick and through. You do not have to spend time going from menu to menu to find what you need. It can do everything I have ever needed in the way of arranging and composing. From Big Band Jazz to Orchestral works, it is all there. The finished printed work is beautiful to behold. I would highly recommend Sibelius to anyone who wants to get started producing work right away. The latest Sibelius V.3.1 is probably the most advanced product I have found. I have recommended it highly to all my musicians friends, and I have made many converts to Sibelius.

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply the best !
My musical world literally changed overnight when I purchased Sibelius version 2. I no longer had to worry about how to work the 'tool', as it was not in the way of my creativity! Everything was intuitive and user friendly. I soon composed many original tunes and received a nice publishing contract. I recently upgrade to 3.0, and wow! I love the Kontact player for realistic sounds, and I often use the score-to-audio wav file feature. I can compose and record to CD in minutes. Hard to believe they could improve this product any more. I highly recommend it to any musician or composer. By the way, the layout and user interface is very pleasing to the eye, and the program is just plain fun to use!

5-0 out of 5 stars Sibelius continues to score points
Sibelius has done a first rate job with this most recent version of their flagship notation application, managing to keep the program extremely user friendly, while incorporating some powerful new features.

The first thing you notice about this program is how *good* Sibelius looks on screen. Visually uncluttered and graphically smart, with a large, clean workspace. The New Score wizard has been completely overhauled, and the redesigned Instruments dialog allows one to re-sort staves, or add and delete instruments on the fly.

The new Focus On Staves feature is also extremely powerful, allowing one to view a subset of staves for more detail.

As to user friendliness, Sibelius 3 reminds me a lot of other well designed power applications which are very easy to do basic things with, and yet, provide a lot of depth and power under the hood when you are ready for it.

If you are a professional engraver, there are some things you will probably still miss in Sibelius, for instance, you still can't create complex bar numbering schemes which include visible multimeasure rest ranges. Also, selection and manipulation of bar numbers on the page in general needs some improvement. (for instance, you can't select multiple bar numbers and move them as a group).

However, based on the quantum leap in features and quality between versions 1, 2, and 3 of Sibelius, it's likely power users won't have long to wait for some of the more pro-specialized or esoteric features that are currently missing. For the majority of users, Sibelius is much easier to use right out of the box than its nearest competitor, Finale, offering excellent printed output and great playback with much less effort.

Add the host of new features in version 3 to an already extremely user friendly notation package, and Sibelius adds up to an excellent software choice for anyone composing or arranging printed music.

5-0 out of 5 stars It Just Keeps Getting Better~!
I upgraded from Sibelius 2 to version 3, and I'm SO thrilled with all of the new features!! No other notation software is taking the advancements in musical technology as seriously as Sibelius. My scores not only LOOK good, but they sound AMAZING. It's just wonderful.
All of the little fixes are great in this version, and I love some of the new plug-ins.
It's 100% stable in both platforms, too~!
My co-workers and I completed two large shows using Sibelius 3 (on both platforms) during the first week of it's release, and we had NO problems at all.
I could go on and on about how wonderful this program is...
If you're a first-time buyer, don't hesitate. It's one of those programs that doesn't take much time to learn, and once you get the very basics, everything falls right into place. You can guess your way through it, pretty much. It's really fun - you're bound to have one of those "wow" moments when you ask the program to do something for the first time, and you just guess, and it does it.
Perspective "power users" or professional users like myself: If you're using anything other than Sibelius for musical notation, you really should start thinking about your future.
Finale users... I'm SO sorry... Amazon only has 7 copies of Sibelius 3 left, so you better purchase NOW~! ... Read more


5. Movie Magic Screenwriter
list price: $249.99
our price: $146.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00005V7FW
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Write Brothers
Sales Rank: 689
Average Customer Review: 3.86 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Reviews (7)

1-0 out of 5 stars Sorry... Final Draft is better... NOT Buggy
I tried this and Final Draft side by side while evaluating what to buy. Final Draft is just less buggy and more professional.

Movie Magic pops the cursor around the screen after an operation. It also has these windows 3.1 looking interface windows. The speech system is too dependent on windows and not self contained like Final Draft.

True, there is more customization with Movie Magic... but I like Final Draft MUCH better. Run them next to each other and u will see.

Mike

5-0 out of 5 stars Professional's tool
I am both a working screenwriter and script supervisor. I use Movie Magic Screenwriter for both those jobs. Its an excellent, straight-forward, and cleanly built program for formating and writing professionally styled scripts.

Compared to Final Draft Movie Magic's formatting simply looks cleaner - with more accurate and useful spacing, sluglines, and transitions - and is far easier to use. Now this doesn't mean it will teach you how to write or what to write, but it does mean what you do write will at least look good.

Minor problems I've had and things that could change for the better...Screenwriter is a tad unstable with Windows XP and occasionally crashes at start-up (although I have yet to lose a file because of that). Some of the production tools - like scene numbering and CONTINUEDs - are buried deep in the program and not the least bit easy to get to. Also they still have annoying and non-standard formatting in there sluglines and transitions. For instance you can select Continuous and Moments Later for a time portion of your slugline. Any oen that works in production knows that there is no Continuous or Moments Later. Simply either DAY or NIGHT. For transitions they still have CUT TO which is no longer used.

Aside from those minor things Movie Magic is an excellent script writing program.

3-0 out of 5 stars not as easy as they make it sound!
I am just getting started using the program so I can not yet judge the overall product. I can tell you that the product description said: just load the software and you will be writing scripts in minutes regardless if you are a first timer or a pro.

That is a stretch. I had to get a tech guy to load the program and then it really is not walking me through the "how to" part of script writing.

Just be prepared to spend some time at the beginning.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good script writing software.
For years, I used to use Microsoft Word to develop all of my scripts in. While it could be done, it wasn't the best nor the easiest way to do it. I had always put off buying specialized software to do something that but the problem is that I spent more time formatting and paginating my scripts than I did writing.

Finally, I decided to break down and buy scripting software. But before deciding on which one to buy I did a little research on the titles that were currently available. I wanted to make sure I got the best product for the right price. What ultimatly sold me on Movie Magic Screenwriter 2000 was that both the Writers' Guild of America and Project Greenlight both recommend this software.

One of the claims made by the software company is the ability to get up and running right out of the box. I found this to be--for the most part--true. Upon receiving my copy, I was entering my first script in about 30 minutes (including installation time). There are some things that you may need to know, but the software company was intuitive enough to add booklets that contain this information in it so that you didn't have to hunt through the manual.

There are also a nice collection of templates included with the software that allows you to write for both movie and television (like I do). The templates for the TV shows comes in many different flavors (Sci-fi, sit-coms, dramas, etc.) and are even set up in the format used by several different shows.

What I especially appreciated was the fact that Screenwriter 2000 kept track of the names of my characters. I used to have to do this on scratch pads and Post-It notes or I would have to read back in the script to find a name. In Screenwriter 2000, I can call up a list of names to find the one I'm looking for. I'm able to do the same thing with scene heading, so I can keep my scenes in a consistant format.

Since I post some of my work on Zoetrope.com for review by other writers, the fact that I can create an Adobe file (.pdf format) was also of importance to me. While I could use a translation program to turn my Word document into an Adobe file, such translators have their problem and don't always retain the format that you created. With Screenwriter 2000, my Adobe documents come out looking the same as the original file. But this feature wasn't as intuitive as I had thought it would be. I was expecting this feature to be a part of the file exporting system. Instead, it's part of the print function. (You "print" a .pdf file.)

While there are a lot of pros about the software, there were also several cons, which is why I only rated it four stars. One is that this software is set up to installed on both the Mac and the PC from the same box. Becuase of that, they designed the user manual to address both opperating systems by printing it as a flip book. (One side has the instructions for the PC--flip the book over--the other side has the instructions for the Mac.) This means that the index is in the center. If you use an index as often as I do, plan on placing a bookmark there.

Another problem is that not all of the features available to the PC user is available to the Mac user. As of this review, only one feature--the Storyboard Linking--was not available on the Mac. However, this should be of little consiquence to the average user (unless you're a professional writer in Hollywood with a Mac).

Finally, one feature that was touted to me time and again was the voice readback capability. By using a Text-to-Speech engine, you can have your script read back to you, even to the point of assigning different voices to the different characters. It took a little effort to get this feature working on my PC, and when I did it sounded like a room full of Stephen Hawkings reading my screenplay.

Still, as softwares goes, this is possibly the best product out on the market.

5-0 out of 5 stars Makes the act of film creation a breeze
I've been using this product for about a year and it's about as easy as a program like this gets without sacrificing its professional end product. It's a cinch to learn, with easy fast-keys, a WORD-like interface, and a ton of features you may never get to. Great for plays, video game scenario building, etc., but its strength clearly lies in screenplay creation. All I have to do is think of the story I want to tell, know a few choice commands, and I'm flying with this program.

Great paper tutorial and a reasonable price for this type of program. ... Read more


6. Final Draft 7/Final Draft AV2 "Scriptwriter's Suite"
list price: $349.99
our price: $274.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0001XNKOY
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Final Draft
Sales Rank: 2264
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

7. Apple GarageBand Jam Pack 4: Symphony Orchestra (Mac)
list price: $99.99
our price: Too low to display
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0007GCYC4
Catlog: Software
Manufacturer: Apple Computer
Sales Rank: 1297
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Product Description

With the newest member of the Jam Pack family you can conduct your own orchestra with new sounds for GarageBand, Logic, and Soundtrack. Create lush symphonic music with this collection of software instruments and loops, including strings, brass, woodwinds, percussion, piano, and more. From classical compositions to Hollywood-style scores to rock and hip-hop textures, with Jam Pack 4: Symphony Orchestra, you are the conductor.

(Jam Pack 4: Symphony Orchestra does not require Jam Pack 1, 2, or 3)

Features:

  • Over 2000 Apple Loops:Build orchestral themes using over 2000 prerecorded loops in different styles and tempos, including symphonic, chamber, and solo performances. Or use loops individually to enhance songs in any genre.
  • Strings:Conduct an orchestral string section including first and second violins, violas, cellos, and double basses. Control the dynamics and expression of each instrument, as well as articulations such as staccato, tremolo, and trills.
  • Brass and Woodwinds:Arrange woodwind and brass sections with flutes, oboes, French horns, trumpets, trombones, tubas, and more. Play solo instruments or entire sections for a fuller sound. You can even control the playing style of individual instruments.
  • Keyboards and Percussion:Play new keyboards, including full church organs, a Steinway Piano, and harpsichord. Or enhance your song using a wide selection of pitched and unpitched percussion instruments including timpani, bells, gongs, celesta, xylophone, marimba, and more.
... Read more

Features

  • Compatible with Logic Express 7, Logic Pro 7, and Soundtrack
  • Software instruments and loops for creating lush symphonic music
  • Strings, brass, woodwinds, percussion, piano, and more
  • Over 2,000 pre-recorded Apple loops in different styles and tempos
  • From classical compositions to Hollywood-style scores to hip-hop textures

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars garageband
This is so cool! I really recommend it. It is so fun to make your own music with this program. It has all kinds of genres and all kinds of instruments. When you start making a song it is so fun that you can't stop. This a really fun passtime.
... Read more


8. eMedia Piano and Keyboard Method Volume 1
list price: $59.99
our price: Too low to display
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0000C4M1W
Catlog: Software
Publisher: eMedia
Sales Rank: 146
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Features

  • Powerful piano learning toolset
  • Interactive feedback when using MIDI-connected keyboard
  • Over 300 step-by-step lessons with 70 video demonstrations
  • Develop sight reading, ear training, finger technique and more
  • Over 100 songs included

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great product
I was completely new to music when I bought this set (CD-ROM and keyboard). I think it is great. It walks you through the basics and when you start playing the music has numbers on it that match up to your fingers (1-5) so you can play as you get the hang of reading music. Gradually they remove some of the numbers so your music reading skills improve.

The software grades your playing with a percentage score, and gives you details on your errors (if you want them).

Also, it includes short videos of a person playing piano so you can see proper posture and such. Each song comes with (optional) accompaniment, which can make it funner to play (especially with the simple songs).

The keyboard that comes with it (optional) has a solid feel, and is touch-sensitive (pressing harder plays louder). The keyboard plugs into the joystick port (probably on your sound card).

5-0 out of 5 stars quality product
I got this product yesterday and started to learn by it.
after browsing it and using it for the first 17 lessons this is my impression.
what you get in this product is 100% of quality content and less emphasize on look and graphics.
and if you want to learn playing the keyboard, so the quality of the teaching is more important then other features.

the teacher leading the instruction process using video clips and audio tracks, is Irma Justicia MA which is a experienced piano teacher.
after 17 lessons i fell in love with her .it feels just lilke i'm in a real lesson with her.
for my non proffesinal impression this product is good for absolute beginners to the intermediate level.
it is also said on the product that it is volume 1 so probably they are going to issue more products in this piano keyboard line just as they done with the guitar.

cause of the simplicity of the graphics you can use it on any computer,old and new.
but still you get many sophisticated features like interactive feedback using midi cable.

for summary ...GOOD WORK. ... Read more


9. Dramatica Pro 4
list price: $269.99
our price: $189.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00004TYCR
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Write Brothers
Sales Rank: 1538
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com Review

Aspiring and seasoned writers take note: gone are the days of handwritten note cards, extensive plot revisions, and hand cramps. Dramatica Pro promises to be your writing coach, your secretary, your guide, and even your therapist as you develop sharp, focused storylines together.

Getting started in Dramatica Pro as a beginning user is intuitive and easy. In the StoryGuide segment, there are three levels of story forming, and we tried out the most advanced (which is estimated to take three to four days of work). Dramatica Pro comes with 32,768 potential "storyforms," all of which incorporate structural, thematic, and dynamic elements of your story. After answering about a dozen of the multiple-choice Dramatica Query System questions, we were able to decide on one storyform. For those that choose not to pursue the multiple-choice route, there is also the Story Engine, which allows for a more holistic and freeform method of sketching out your basic story.

One thing you'll notice right off is the unique language of Dramatica Pro. While many terms--motivation, pursuit, antagonist--will be familiar to most writers, there are a number of terms that are used in specific relation to Dramatica Pro's capabilities. Fortunately, at each stage of the story-creation process, there are a number of help buttons (such as Explain, Theory, Usage, and Context) that provide further definition of terms and their usage. And after a few sessions, we found ourselves thinking about "signposts," "journeys," the four "throughlines," and other features that bring a story into focus.

Dramatica Pro's main desktop is the portal for allstory-building activity. Its 12 tiles present users with options for developing just about every aspect, from character creation and polishing, to plot-progression charts and reports on your progress and story. Because Dramatica Pro does not try to be a word processing application, every nook and cranny is filled with developmental prowess to help hone your skills while discovering your story.

One aspect of the application that we appreciated was the opportunity for writer growth. After becoming familiar with the application's interface, we were able to use Dramatica Pro's Story Engine and Story Points to access our story's "master controls" without all the exposition and explanation. Also, Dramatica Pro offers a Brainstorming command that allows the program to intelligently tweak your storyform into something new should you experience writer's block.

Overall, Dramatica Pro is a great resource for writers. By enabling you to focus more on your stories and less on the mechanics of storytelling, you'll feel empowered to try new things and explore your creativity. --Emilie Dirks ... Read more

Reviews (21)

5-0 out of 5 stars A very sophisticated approach to story development
Dramatica provides a tool to use the most sophisticated story model ever developed. The dramatica model is surprisingly general and adds quite a bit of force to your story without constricting creative freedom. Some structures, like a ladder, provide more freedom, not less, and Dramatica's structure is like that.

If the idea of following the dramatica story model still seems formulaic to you, you are free to tweak it or change it as much as you want, or even use it's best ideas to form your own model. The point is that a sophisticated model produces a sophisticated story.

The software is actually quite easy to use. The hard part is learning the model, because it is quite sophisticated. It will take a few weeks to get it, and probably a couple of tries to make it really work well for you. You can also get help from the community of dramatica users on the internet, who are supportive and friendly.

If you're the kind of author to employ both a creative and analytical side to your craft, you will learn to love this tool. You'll hate how hard it makes you work, exploring every nook and cranny of your story in new ways, but you'll love the result as it pushes you into forming characters and plot rich with dramatic tension, thematic development, and thorough development of your story.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very useful tool.
Dramatica is a way to organise your thoughts about theme, plot-theme, and characters into a story form as opposed to something that isn't.

Using its own terminology allied to templates, the user is required to fill in a set of questionnaires, which act as the input from which their story is distilled. This can be amended at will if the user feels that they are being too boxed in.

The end result is more easily managed than stacks of cards and papers. It can also be easily shared with other Dramatica users by distributing files across the internet to each other (given that version sync isn't an issue).

It's like having a collaborator in front of you all the time - if needed - with regard to the structure, but won't be of any help with poor prose, prose-style, bad dialogue, lack of motivation or any other essential aspects that the writer would need to know about. A badly written story, which is bang-on structurally, as far as Dramatica is concerned, is not a useful end product. In other words, the user would need to be a decent writer in the first place, using Dramatica as a tool to refine and focus their work, and not regard it an easy way out. It's not.

So bearing that in mind, Dramatica shouldn't disappoint so long as the user is prepared for the discipline of story writing, in its strictest sense.

3-0 out of 5 stars I have seen better!!!!
This program is ok. But FictionMaster better for pro's and WritePro is better for newcomers. I can't understand why Amazon doesn't seem to have either (try writepro.com for both.). Both have won alot of praise from both computer pros, and writting pros. And the Software is done by a real pro writer, one of the finest writing teachers around, Sol Stein. I have taken some of his workshops. He teaches the pros.

5-0 out of 5 stars Gets me where me needs to be.
Noticing that quite a few contemporary made-for-TV movies have a distinctive and polished intricacy, suggested this was probably to do with Dramatica, that I had noticed a friend using for a novel-cum-screenplay. So I read the comprehensive manual from her installation, and concluded that this was a good way for me to go, too.

Progress was slow to begin with, mostly because one needs to be patient and go through it all, ( a few times) in good order, to avoid getting mightily confused, since a great deal of the explanation is often another way to convey what is already known - sort of - from many other sources. So it needs to be taken all as a piece to make satisfactory progress.

Which makes sense, because the Dramatica application is a self-contained system, with its own terminology, which responds to your accurate and considered input to a set of inter-related questions about the characters, plot, motivations, outcomes, etc. The accuracy of your answers is an important to the result, so clear thinking has to be applied.

I'm far from hero status with Dramatica, but have found its use to be extremely helpful because it makes me THINK about what I am writing about. It doesn't write the piece for me, or box me in, in any way, as others have suggested it does.

In conclusion, I am very satisfied with Dramatica and how it has improved my writing. It's also good to be able to discuss and share files with other users ( internationally), who are all pretty much on the same wavelength, which avoids/minimises having to navigate different terminologies and approaches.

5-0 out of 5 stars Ahead of the curve.
Having worked with, and studied the Dramatica theory of story development, and also looked at and read a few of the examples it is based on, it seems to me that Dramatica 4 is a product somewhat ahead of itself.

By this I mean, that to convey the principles of Dramatica the prior art examples are either too archetypical with no real requirement for the use of Dramatica by those who intend writing such archetypes, or are too flawed so that they do Dramatica no favours due to them being little more than the nearest point of common reference.

But by treating Dramatica as a philosophy and an abstraction, and not using it to see how prior art can be aligned to its principles, one can quickly see how Dramatica will enable the writer to create stories and forms hitherto unattainable, simply because the organisation of the story's elements and form would have been too difficult to keep track of.

Therefore, in order to get the desired results from using Dramatica, the user has to gain expertise in the way of defining and structuring a story's elements with Dramatica, and not be trying to defend the outcome on prior art which is a close call. This is the hard part to Dramatica, since ideal prior art probably doesn't exist, from which to refer, except for the possibility of future works skilfully created with Dramatica.

Now there's a chicken or the egg paradox. ... Read more


10. 3D Home Architect Design Suite Deluxe 6
list price: $99.99
our price: $72.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0001GU88M
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Broderbund
Sales Rank: 1546
Average Customer Review: 2.4 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Features

  • Fully integrated home and landscape design tools
  • Ideal for new homes, remodeling projects, and landscape design
  • Create ready-to-build plans; unlimited custom design options
  • Visualize your project in bold 3D; new 2D designer's view
  • Convenient wizards and tutorials; user-friendly tabbed interface

Reviews (10)

4-0 out of 5 stars CAD that's fun? That's crazy!
I'm adding a room to my home, and wanted to play around with some design ideas before contacting a professional. I've tried a few cheap CAD applications and finally bit the bullet and purchased 3D Home Architect 6. This software is by far the best I've used. It's helping to visualize exactly what I want, and teaching me a few things about architecture as well. On top of that - it's fun! (My wife is starting to think that she's a '3D Home widow' because it's such a pleasure drafting with 3D Home Architect...)

This is a must for anyone serious about designing plans for their home.

1-0 out of 5 stars Don't buy this unless you want to design a box with windows
I upgraded to this program assuming that the new roof tools and better wall angles would allow me to design the simple modern concrete home with loft that I was interested in creating. NOT SO, especially in terms of the roof option. Try designing a simple A-frame like structure and the roof wizard continually creates a roof with 4 surfaces instead of two..And where did all the furniture and ability to create fences and patio's with a click go? They were in the earlier version. This one is actually stripped down for more money!

About the only thing that is better is the ability to scan in a floor plan....but why do that when the program keeps adding the same boring roof line. There is also no way to design a round room, something I really wanted and I shudder to think what the program would do with the roof if you could.

1-0 out of 5 stars Welcome to Frustration
I have spent the better part of the day trying to download this program from Broderbund's site, only to have their server reset itself, twice. The second time, I had almost 25% downloaded before I was kicked off, and it only took nine hours! Gee, at that rate, I can only imagine how long it would take to actually use the software if I were able to download it! And this was for the "free" trial. Needless to say, I certainly won't be wasting any money towards the purchase, especially after reading all the other reviews. Trust me, I have been staring at the computer screen for hours, and have read every review of every software type for this sort of application. I am convinced that I would be better off spending less and buying an older version prior to 5, or trying the latest Chief Architect software, since it seems they designed the prior versions of 3DHA. Even some of the other programs, such as IMSI's Floor Plan 3D, or the Punch programs are looking better than this, which has been an aggravation, to say the least. What good is it to offer a free trial if it can't be downloaded and viewed? Had it worked, they may have gotten a sale. I guess I should be thankful that it did't; I believe their failure to deliver saved me money and even more irritation.

5-0 out of 5 stars GREAT UPGRADE TO PREVIOUS VERSIONS
I've seen some of the reviews on this forum. They range from very bad ones to excellent remarks. The last one from "A Software used from Seattle" is exagerated and obviously he did not take the time to read the manual. When you render a 3D image with the 3DTrueView option, the BMP file with this image is saved in the "Samples" Directory under "Program Files/3D Home Architect/Design Suite Deluxe6/Samples". Also, if all you want is a snapshot of the 3D image on the screen, you can press the Alt key, hold it and press "Print Screen" on your keyboard, then you simply "Edit-Paste" the image into Word, excel, etc.

Now to the review part:

RESULTING IMAGE
I've used Punch AS3000 extensively, and while the rendering of shadows is much faster than with 3D Home Architect, AS3000 lacks the ray-tracing engine therefore cannot render surfaces that reflect such as mirrors, glossy marble, etc.
The resulting images from 3DHA Design Suite are VERY, VERY close to a photograph. The ones from AS3000 tend to look Dull because of the lack of reflective surface support.

Also, 3DHA allows for many different views, 2D with textures, 3D from top view, real-time editing in 3D of the location of objects, etc.

FLEXIBILITY OF THE TOOLS
First of all, Punch's software is VERY limited in the configuration of items such as Doors, Windows, Kitchen Cabinets, Fences, Stairs, and all pre-loaded objects in general.
3DHA has all the dimensions and features of each object available for change.

Punch AS3000 offers a built-in 3D object editor but cannot import popular industry-standard formats such as 3DS files, whereas 3DHA does, giving access to thousands of free objects available on the WEB.

Textures are all pre-defined on Punch AS3000, meaning you cannot easily (without messing with file sizes, pixel counts, directories, etc.) add textures. On 3DHA you can add a texture from a BMP file with a few clicks and apply to object on the screen. Also, Objects have their surface groupings defined so you can for example, change the color of the wood of a Sofa without going leg-by-leg.

3DHA can also export to DXF AND 3DS, allowing your design to be used / rendered on industrial / professional level software. Punch AS3000 can only export to VRLM in 3D and to DXF on 2D.

I sincerily believe 3DHA is a more professional software (actually it is a down-sized version of a professional package from CADSOFT).

This is to me the best VALUE for the $99 retail price.

Marco.

1-0 out of 5 stars Buyer Beware!
This product is so bad, it's insulting.

I'm not even going to mention how bad the user interface is (aggravatingly so), or how you can't simply rotate your 3D view (without getting it into some bizarre orientation), or how you can't attach objects (clocks, pictures) to a wall (they float around and change position when you change your view), or how you have to use the VERY unintuitive tools they give you (no semblance of any type of standard), or how many times the product crashes (I can't count that high).

No, those are the least of this product's problems.

What I am going to mention is how cheated I feel that "3D Home Architect Design Suite Deluxe 6" DOES NOT ALLOW YOU TO EXPORT YOUR 3D VIEW! This means you cannot include your 3D view in a Word document, or email it to someone. JPG, BMP, etc. formats are reserved for the 2D view only! All you can do is print it - not to a file, but only to the printer!

Excuse, me? What good is that? The whole selling point is that it's 3D! Hello? Anybody home at Broderbund? Do these people even use their own product? Are you telling me I spent $100 only to be forced to print my images out on paper, just to scan them back in, and then email them, with each looking like a blurred copy of a copy of a copy? Tell me this is a joke product! I've looked all over the box, but can't find the fine print: "Sorry, sucker! We KNOW what you want to do with this product, but we've engineered it precisely SO YOU CAN'T DO IT! BWA HA HA!"

C'mon, Amazon. Allow us to assign 0 stars.
This is one time I'm getting my money back. ... Read more


11. Allume StuffIt Deluxe 9.0 (Mac)
list price: $79.99
our price: $74.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0002YF46Y
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Aladdin Systems, Inc.
Sales Rank: 2259
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Features

  • Complete information-management toolkit with over a dozen new features
  • Flexibility and speed in accessing and compressing information
  • Securely store data in space-saving archives; safely send information
  • Automatically schedule backups, burn to CD/DVD, upload files, and more
  • Create .zip, StuffIt, and .tar archives from one convenient location

12. Writer's Dreamkit 4
list price: $59.99
our price: $34.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00004TYC7
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Write Brothers
Sales Rank: 273
Average Customer Review: 3.05 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com Review

If you're looking for a writing package that provides guidance but isn't overbearing, the Writer's DreamKit package from Dramatica is a great solution. This package is targeted at beginning to intermediate writers, and attempts to get you involved in working out the mechanics of your story before you even begin writing it.

You'll get started with the StoryGuide: the central location for establishing your "storyform" and structure. You can work with the StoryGuide either directly or by creating scenes, but either way, the creative work done in this portion will be tracked and available in all other parts of the application. For the fastest route, you can start with one of three structure templates: novel, screenplay, or short story. In these templates, the essential characters are already created. Using these in conjunction with the StoryGuide gives a writer both efficiency and flexibility.

One of the strongest features of the StoryGuide, however, is the Dramatica Query System. This system offers aquestion and answer approach to storyforming, and allows you to focus on one element, relationship, or idea at a time. In the DQS, the questions may be very straightforward or somewhat indirect; regardless, newer writers will appreciate the help buttons that appear for each question, offering an explanation, the theory behind the question, usage, illustrations, definitions, context, and story examples.

If aquestion and answer bombardment or too much structure is not your thing, you can find relief in the Story Engine, which offers a more holistic and freeform approach to identifying your storyform. The Story Engine does lack help, which makes it more suitable for experienced users, and also looks somewhat daunting on the first few uses. However, it also is the quickest way to get to your underlying structure.

While the Writer's DreamKit is somewhat linear in progression, there are many opportunities to diverge from the standard path. You can create characters, one of the most enjoyable parts of the creative process, at any time. You'll do more than just assign a name and a few stock attributes: you'll build your people from scratch (or from a template) and instill in them the complex characteristics that will guide them through your story.

If you've never taken a creative writing class or are looking to refresh your skills, the Writer's DreamKit definitely offers a great foundation for structuring your story. However, it's still up to you to write your great American novel or the next box office hit. --Emilie Dirks ... Read more

Reviews (21)

5-0 out of 5 stars If you're serious about writing then this is for you!
I've been writing for a while now, and am enrolled in a correspondence course, and although I am learning a lot, this Dreamkit helped me so much more than I could have imagined! It is easy to use, and helps you see where your story is going, and where it needs work. It takes the guess work out of your story. I highly recommend this to anyone who is serious about their writing! The templates are easy to use and understand. The Query system takes you through some questions about your plot, characters and scene structure and helps you consider things you may not have thought of. It shows you your beginning, middle, and end, so that you can get to writing your story faster. It even has a character builder, so you can visualize your characters. The Dreamkit will not write your story for you, but it is of imense help. Move over Writer's Block! The users manual is a bit vague, but half the fun of this was in finding all the goodies on my own! It is fun and easy to use. It is money well spent!!

1-0 out of 5 stars Stressful and irritating format
I found that this program did not help me at all. The format is very irritating and confusing. It is hard to learn to use it and I am a professional computer programmer. Once I did learn it, I found thhere is not much there. It is very limiting and in many ways stifles creative flow.

I would reccomend trying Storycraft instead, which I found to be helpful and user intuitive.

1-0 out of 5 stars Just sit down and write.
Want to waste a lot of time when you could be writing your masterpiece? Buy this "program". Face the facts: There simply is no software that's going to write a book for you or anyone else, including me. I screwed around for several days with this thing. Then I got the final print out of "how" I should write my novel. It was impossible for me to follow the "guidelines" provided. They simply did not pertain to the way I wanted to write my story. I tried to imagine some of my favorite books having been written using the generic guidelines the program produced. It assumes that all fiction novel writing is generic and takes the form that the producer of the program dictates. I feel that each and every successful fiction writer has their own individual writing traits and point of view on how they themselves (not F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Mark Twain, John Grisham, etc, etc) should produce a work of art. JUST WRITE! Don't give up. That's my free advice and it's worth more than anything this software has to offer.

2-0 out of 5 stars Waste of money
When I first ordered the product I couldn't wait for it to come in the mail, but after receiving it I must say I am disappointed. I am a beginner and I have purchased three books on writing and was very pleased with all three of them. So with a brand new Dell computer with a matching laptop, reference books, a good dictionary, and good old microsoft word I was as ready as ready could be to begin my novel. I think I let the word template rope me into this product. I thought a template was a formatted blank form that would get me started and I found this product very confusing and mind boggling. I do not want to discourage anyone from purchasing it but if I had it to do again I would not have made the purchase, however I am thankful that I did not pay a whole lot for it and I will just have to chalk it up to a loss. I have thought about looking into purchasing another product such as this one but why get burned a second time. I think I will stick to the guide books, microsoft word, and my imagination and who knows, perhaps in the future this product may help me but for now I am rather disappointed. I could have made my own template with the books I had purchased. This product was a waste of time and money in my opinion. I didn't expect it to write my novel for me but to do like it said and hold my hand and guide me thorough with a "template".

3-0 out of 5 stars a little stressful
I think I would have been very pleased with this product except for a problem that developed on my computer after I installed the software. I have windows xp and after I installed the software a serious error occured on my computer. I had never had a problem with my computer before I installed it. ... Read more


13. eMedia Intermediate Guitar Method
list price: $59.99
our price: Too low to display
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0000696OH
Catlog: Software
Publisher: eMedia
Sales Rank: 443
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com Review

With its latest package, eMedia goes beyond the drills and tutorials of its earlier eMedia Guitar Method, instead targeting players who already have a familiarity with their instrument. Song-based and fully interactive, eMedia Intermediate Guitar Method covers a lot of ground in its single CD and thus just skims the surface of some topics. It also seems a bit lackluster when compared to Voyetra's exciting, rock and roll-inspired Teach Me Guitar Deluxe. Nevertheless, the program offers a barrage of mid-level and advanced chording, soloing, and picking techniques that should assist any student who seeks to become a more knowledgeable and skillful guitarist.

Divided into six categories--left-hand techniques, barre chords, strumming styles, scales, solos, and fingerstyle guitar--the program delivers no less than 175 individual lessons and 41 appendices featuring most every popular musical scale in both open and closed fingering patterns, and a handy virtual chord dictionary. Most lessons allow you to adjust the speed of the music to suit your personal preference and loop certain sections for repetitive replay. Several sessions also offer optional narratives and video, though the narratives are too abbreviated to be truly informative and the video snippets, where veteran instructor Kevin Garry offers personal advice on certain techniques, are equally condensed and confined to a small window.

eMedia has provided several additional perks to make your job a bit easier, including an integrated metronome to help keep the beat, an optional tablature display for those who can't read musical notation, and an animated fretboard that graphically demonstrates each lesson's fingering positions in both left- and right-handed formats. The program's tuner isn't quite so impressive, behaving just as erratically as most computer tuners, and certainly not a replacement for a handheld digital or quartz unit. A small but serviceable audio recorder allows you to build a library of your own efforts and even jam along with self-penned arrangements.

The program concerns itself more with clean and semi-clean acoustic and electric guitar rather than heavily distorted hard rock. A valuable but curious assortment of songs dominates its many lessons, in particular Grand Funk Railroad's mysterious "I'm Your Captain/Closer to Home," The Grateful Dead's "Touch of Grey," and Jim Croce's exquisite "Time in a Bottle." Several complex classical pieces end the proceedings, culminating in the celebrated but extremely demanding arpeggio masterpiece "Romanza." It should be noted that although none of the selections are original recordings, all are capably translated and played.

Although eMedia Intermediate Guitar Method isn't especially high-spirited, it does offer a deluge of material that will ultimately benefit any guitarist with the talent and the drive to successfully take it on. With a ton of challenging musical passages and cool licks, some nifty utilities, and plenty of guitar exploration, it is recommended to novice players with virtuoso desires. --Gordon Goble ... Read more

Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars Teacher-in-a-box
I wasn't sure how this would work out, but at the price, the eMedia Guitar method offered a lot more than the books and CD's or DVD's in the local music store.

Features I really like:

Animated Fretboard diagram: How to place your fingers for chords and notes.

Chord Dictionary: Important for playing music--chords are the basis.

Metronome: Nice to have, I find metronomes annoying but they do bring your speed up as you practice.

Guitars and Their Parts: and what might be wrong with your.

Reading Chord Charts, Tablature, Notation: It's important to know how to read a chord chart, but musical notation, the backbone of all music, is not ignored. I think one should read music, so if you don't, you are encouraged to learn here.

The lessons for chords start small--one finger (like a G7), two fingers, three, and up to the tough ones with four or barred. This is rather how I learned because I learned guitar by first playing a ukelele! (The tuning of the last four strings is the same on a guitar and uke.) You are a lot less likely to suffer frustration and sore fingers if you can play a tune or two with a two-finger chord. You just don't strum the entire set of strings at first.

The strumming techniques include good video of the up and down method of the blues, and there is a section on blues guitar style, of which I was most interested.

For the money, hardly a risk. Find a good starter guitar and give it a try.

4-0 out of 5 stars John Nemerovski Software Review
I have been playing and teaching beginner and intermediate level guitar for over 40 years. Learning this instrument is easy for most people who practice regularly.

Music students pay $-$$ per guitar lesson, and a lot of that money covers instruction and repetition that self-starters and motivated self-learners don't need to spend. At under $$ US for comprehensive instructional and reference material, eMedia Intermediate Guitar Method provides exceptional value for these students.

I remember being lukewarm to positive in my appraisal of Volume One, the beginner CD in this series. It has been revised since then. If it's as good as this Intermediate CD (Volume Two), beginners now have a much better chance of learning from scratch.

From my first encounter with eMedia Intermediate Guitar Method (abbreviated as "IGM"), the experience has consistently been positive. Installation of the cross-platform CD's software takes only a minute or two. Initial 23 pages of sensible, thorough Introduction and Tips cover all necessary instructions, commands, and options, including well-written and illustrated:

Animated Fretboard diagram

explanation of the Chord Dictionary and Metronome

description of Guitars and Their Parts, including holding, stringing, and tuning

details on Reading Chord Charts, plus Tablature and Music Notation.

Once students are "Ready to Take It to the Next Level" the lessons begin with straightforward left-hand melody techniques. Subsequent topics include barre chords, right hand strumming styles, "Using Scales and Building Chords," plus solo and fingerstyle methodology.

One set of icons on the page of each song or exercise takes you directly to spoken short descriptions of a song's history, or pithy comments such as "Use a pick so your fingers don't fall off." A different icon launches the Animated Fretboard's display, playing the song or exercise while fret numbers display simultaneously with a running presentation of the notation or tablature for the piece. Very impressive, all of it, and not nearly as complicated as it appears from reading the above paragraph.

Navigational arrows lower right easily take you forward or back one page, and the Tools and Goto menus at top offers complete navigation throughout the entire application, including:

Scale Directory and audio enhanced Chord Dictionary (REALLY GOOD!)

Tuner and Metronome

Self-recording feature.

Additional observations:

1. Set your screen resolution to one higher than 800x600 for best viewing.

2. The IGM's CD responds quickly and quietly when playing its instructional QuickTime sound and picture files.

3. A special icon launches short QuickTime movies in which a very competent guitarist demonstrates the techniques0 with close-up camera on the active hand.

4. Colored live embedded links take you directly to related chapters, if desired. (Is there a way to jump right back? I can't figure that out.)

5. Special mentions of differences between electric guitars and acoustic instruments are given, when appropriate.

Instruction is segmented logically, with high-quality attention to detail. I plan to begin using the IGM software, movies, and sound files immediately with my students. Its cost is a bargain for the reference features alone.

If you know your way around the guitar and want to "Take It to the Next Level," IGM is easy to recommend. When all your prior instruction has come from a human teacher, the comprehension curve for this multimedia application will seem steep at first. Remember that repetition is your friend, music students. Take your time, practice a lot, and you'll be glad you purchased eMedia Intermediate Guitar Method.

Nemo's MyMac.com "Q/D/S/V Standard" for all product reviews:

Q = QUALITY, including ease of installation, performance, stability, and general happy relationship with everything on my system;

D = DOCUMENTATION, both printed and electronic, plus appropriate website material;

S = SUPPORT, in the form of email, phone, and web updates;

V = VALUE, which includes both original cost and subsequent expenses.

Depending upon previous instruction and self-teaching skills of guitar student, our rating is:

4 out of 5
A very decent product. Worth the time and investment, but look for competing products.
- TO -
BR> Fantastic products! Well worth your money and investment. The best of its kind.
John Nemerovski

5-0 out of 5 stars Great approach to lead guitar!
When you think of guitar heroes you think of their lead guitar prowess. This awesome guitar CD-ROM does an amazing job of teaching lead guitar through a ton of scales, techniques and licks. After each scale, you'll get some lick or song to practice with. There are even some fully transcribed solos by Hendrix and Clapton. The coolest thing about Emedia is their animated guitar neck that plays all the songs. It shows bend and lets you slow the songs down. There is also a lot on rhythm guitar techniques.

5-0 out of 5 stars Overhauled version of Guitar Method 2 rocks!
I'm a fan of eMedia. In the 2 years I've owned a guitar I tried to teach myself how to play time after time only to end with frustration. Being in college I'm too cheap to buy lessons and too busy to sit down at a scheduled time. I picked up eMedia's Guitar Method to get the basics of playing down, and after only 4 months of playing I'm finally ready for Intermediate Guitar Method.

Intermediate Guitar Method is incredible! Unlike Guitar Method 2 it has an animated fretboard just like in GM1. It has also expanded it's lesson library from 85 to 175 lessons. It has an expanded chord dictionary with over 1,000 chords providing sound for each chord (a huge step up from GM1's 250 chord dictionary). What I didn't like about GM1 was that it seemed to focus on using the acoustic guitar. Many of the recordings (Clapton, Hendrix) in IGM are played with an electric, which offers a nice balance between the two. The techniques that are learned in IGM are advanced, but I'm convinced that there is no other software available that will make them easier to learn or more enjoyable to play. ... Read more


14. MicroSpot Interiors (Mac)
list price: $99.95
our price: $87.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0006VC3VW
Catlog: Software
Manufacturer: MICROSPOT LTD
Sales Rank: 2300
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Features

  • Create a complete room layout -Draw 3-D walls with proper thickness and height as easily as you can draw a single line
  • Place object simply, anywhere along your plan -- just drag it and drop it
  • Select from a huge assortment of doors, windows, furniture, and cabinets included in the object library
  • Use basic drag-and-drop actions to apply the right colors and textures to your new interior
  • Easy, intuitive interface for applying textures to objects

15. Route 66 Route USA 2004 (Mac)
list price: $39.99
our price: $34.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00013MS7O
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Route 66
Sales Rank: 477
Average Customer Review: 2.39 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Features

  • Door-to-door route planning for the United States and Canada
  • Over 7,300,000 miles of road; 4,000,000+ points of interest
  • Over 6,500,000 streets; 75,000,000+ house numbers
  • GPS-compatible; new up-to-date maps
  • Multi-lingual user interface including Spanish

Reviews (18)

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Product With Some Need For Improvements
This product isn't perfect, but it's quite good considering this is the first time I've seen it and could not find any mapping software for OS X a year ago.

The interface is a little strange, but once you get used to it, it seems fine.

The detail of the maps seems very good, although some out-of-the-way small towns (with a few hundred people) may have little to no detail. It did, however, find two addresses that Yahoo Maps and MS Streets had no record of, which I thought was impressive.

One thing that most mapping software is horrible at is printing options -- the options for Route 66 I thought were very good.

The redraw speed while *scrolling* (not zooming in/out) was a little slow and could probably be easily fixed with an update that cached surrounding map details better. No matter how much detail I had turned on or what my zoom level was, it never took more than 1.5 seconds to redraw while scrolling. This may depend on how fast your computer is and how much memory you have -- I have 1.1gb of RAM and Route 66 was using 212mb according to "top" (command line resource reporter).

The GPS compatibility is nice, but haven't tried it yet -- I need to find a USB cable for my eMap GPS.

This software is very much worth supporting since I know of no other mapping software for the Mac currently and this software costs $35-$40. In my opinion, it's worth every penny of the $40 I paid for it.

1-0 out of 5 stars 3 thumbs down
i was a user of MS streets and trips, and belive that it was the one thing MS did correctly and i am shocked to say that not only is the mac competition (RT66) lacking, but simply not worth using. RT66 makers should be ashamed and do not deserve to be among mac and its usual integrity.

2-0 out of 5 stars Pretty awful...
I recently switched to Mac from PC and so I'm coming from a background of MS Streets and Trips, and Autroute.

In comparison to the MS offerings, the Rt66 product are, well, kind of a joke. I purchased both the US and European versions (they're the only game in town for Mac.)

The maps are drawn (slowly) in such a way that they are quite unclear. They are also kind of incomplete. It couldn't find my old house (11 years old) only the street. It doesn't even know the 4 year old subdivision I live in exists.

Smaller towns are really hard to find. I searched for Carrie, Idaho (near Sun Valley) and the search engine came up empty. So I scrolled over to where I know it is and finally found the name of the town spread out over a general area and superimposed with another word in the same font.

From an overview position on the map, there was no indication at all where exactly the town was. I knew, though, so I zoomed in on the area. It took until I was at a 2000 foot distance before the streets began showing up. Street names didn't appear until 500 feet. If that doesn't mean anything to you, think about reading a map with your nose an inch from it.

So, in a nutshell, if you know exactly where a town is and are familiar with all the streets, you may be able to find it on their map. How useful...

How did MS Streets do? It found Carrie immediately, displayed it clearly, and showed all the streets from an impressive distance.

Overall, a pretty dismal product. I'm looking into a Windows emulator to allow me to run Streets and Autoroute, but I'm guessing that it'll be too much trouble and I'll just suffer with these. If anyone out there is a programmer--here's a nice opportunity for you...

2-0 out of 5 stars Mediocre
I bought this software because, well, it was the only one available for OS X. This is beta stage software at best - it doesn't tend to crash, but the UI is really poor. It is as if 12 different people wrote different pieces of the program and then tried to cobble them together. Nothing is very intuitive, and things that should be simple are cumbersome. The routes are sometimes often adequate, but not infrequently poor choices or just wrong. For instance, I tried to plot a route from Durham to Salisbury, MD. I had a nearly impossible time 'forcing' it to choose the most logical/shortest/fastest route. It continually tried to send me 100 mi. out of my way. Even when I roadblocked all of the roads it wanted to send me on, it sent me 250 mi out of my way rather than the most direct route.
I hope this software improves. If the company is motivated, it could be the basis for a really good program. However, any company that would put something this haphazard on the market with almost a complete lack of documentation AND no competition is unlikely to put much effort into this. After all, why should they?

In summary, if you need a map program for your mac that has a lot of points of interest, a good database of roads (although poor search engine), GPS input capabilities, doesn't require a CD in the drive, and 35 bucks doesn't seem like too much for slow, unintuitive, occasionally counterintuitive information and interface, go for it.

3-0 out of 5 stars Printing problems!
I must concur with the previous review. The mapping software is really quite good and shows much promise; but there is a major bug in the software. It will *not* print directions - only an overview map of your trip! Very odd. I thought this might be a problem unique to my G4 Powerbook, but I encountered the exact same problem on a desktop and another more up to date Powerbook.

Again, to echo the other reviewer: Route 66 software is on the right track, but this piece of software is *certainly* not past a beta testing stage and shouldn't be offered as a fully functioning, full-priced product.

If and when they iron out the kinks, they'll be cooking with gas. ... Read more


16. Apple iLife '04
list price: $49.99
our price: Too low to display
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0001ACK2K
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Apple
Sales Rank: 115
Average Customer Review: 4.18 out of 5 stars
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Features

  • Includes iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, and GarageBand music application
  • Use iLife to have more fun with digital media
  • Easily create professional-quality slideshows, music, movies, and DVDs
  • Seamless integration--iLife applications work together better than ever before
  • Single installer that updates all existing iLife applications

Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars I would have preferred an upgrade option, but...
The latest update to "your digital lifestyle" is a great one. iMovie includes more options for editing and adding titles. iDVD adds more great themes, easier interfacing with iMovie, and ups the final production minutes from 90 to 120. iTunes is a free download anyway (cause Apple makes money through the iTunes Music Store. iPhoto, to be honest, I don't play with a whole lot because I already use PhotoShop, ImageReady and Fireworks.

Then, there is GarageBand. It may not be the most necessary piece of software ever, but it certainly is the coolest. I managed to create a short song in less than an hour. Me! I can't make music with anything resembling an instrument. Apparently though, I can produce music. The ease with which the program works is astounding. Adding new loops is as easy as click and drag.

The minor complaint here, at full screen GarageBand eats memory. My iBook starts to scream in pain when I open the program. On a G5 or my G4 iMac it works great though. You can ease the memory requirements by using less screen space for the program, but it only eases the issues, doesn't resolve it.

Also, considering that Apple just made us buy the program to begin with last year, an upgrade option for those of us who did would be nice. At least they kept it at a fairly reasonable price though.

5-0 out of 5 stars Buy it for Garage Band alone.
I won't even talk about the other iLife apps. Good though they are, the real story of iLife '04 is Garage Band. It is a powerful, easy-to-use non-linear audio editor. Now, it won't be all things to all people. It is primarily designed as a loop-based music creation system. However, you can add non-software instruments (including vocals) as well, filtering them through various effects, including several adjustable guitar amp modelers. The results--for the price--are absolutely astounding.

This program is to music creation what PageMaker was to desktop publishing, lo those many years ago. Unfortunately, that means that everyone with a Mac will now become a 'composer,' but that sort of power-to-the-people freedom is great, in my opinion.

Important note: if you buy it, make sure you immediately install the Garage Band update (version 1.0.1?), which is available at the Apple site. It clears up several issues in the initial release.

One other important note: This program is a total resource hog! You need a fast G4 or G5 processor and at least 512MB of RAM. It also helps if you have a faster hard drive.

(By the way, to the other reviewer who couldn't rename tracks: sure you can. Simply click on the instrument in question, click the "I" button and choose "save instrument." This allows you to rename the track. You can even rename regions within a track. Click on the region and rename it in the name window in the lower left-hand corner of the main window.)

5-0 out of 5 stars Make your personal computer be a personal compter!
Computers are wonderful tools that have greatly changed just how we do just about everything. Apple iLife software continues this tradition. I have used both Mac and PC computers. I have also used software written for both. There is nothing easier or more intuitive than Apple iLife. It is not the most powerful software. For $400-$600 you can by professional grade software that will blow the socks of iLife. However, for the average "Joe" there is nothing better. It doesn't take a lot of computer savvy. iLife does most of the work for you - and quickly. Other software we have used for loading pictures is slow, hard to manage and less desirable in many ways. I used this software at my sister-in-laws wedding. In no time at all I had a wonderful slide show set to music for everyone to watch. Doing all this work on a PowerBook G4 15" laptop allowed me to later show my father-in-law what he missed due to some health issues.

With iLife, you can edit your pictures. You can order copies with just a click of a button. With just another click, you can e-mail them to anyone in your e-mail address book. Another click you can post them on a web-sight for your friends to see. For example, we recently moved to a new state. I posted a slide show of our new home for all our old friends to see. We had over 60 different friends view the web sight. Can you image the cost of making prints for all those people? In addition, you can set your pictures, web sights to your favorite music in iTunes.

Speaking of iTunes, I love music - always have. If you like to listen to music, make your own recordings of your favorite tunes you will love iTunes. Plus, iTunes makes it easier and more affordable to buy music. I don't understand why the music industry continues to over-price their CD's but they do. And who can afford to buy an entire CD for just two or three songs. Now, with iTunes you can buy only the songs you want from a particular CD. Once down loaded, you can arrange them in any order you want, burn them on your own CD or hook your Mac to your home stereo and listen through you speakers. In addition, whatever music you have in iTunes is easily used in iPhoto, iDVD or the other applications iLife opens for you. You will not be disappointed with iLife unless you desire to spend tons of money for three or four different software programs that will not work together as seamlessly as iLife.

5-0 out of 5 stars ...what you've all been waiting for...
Face it. Most of those interested really want Garageband above all. That being the main program I use from iLife, I'll review it.

Garageband is the Final Cut Pro of Music. It's excellent for musically talented and musically challenged.

No need to worry about beats or anythin', because Garageband makes any and all set loops go together with ease.

Disregard the review by a fellow who claims it is a program for kids and idiots who want to show everyone else their noise. It IS a very sophisticated music editor while remaining simplistic and fun to use. I spent hours mixing and matching endlessly. The possibilities are infinite.

The "drag and drop" style of operating masks movie-editor Final Cut Pro, also available here at Amazon. It's an easy to learn, easy to use tool that most people will love.

I recommend, that, if you planned on buying iLife '04 solely for Garageband, then by all means, do so. I really think that if you love music and you love making it, regardless of playing an instrument, that you will adore this product.

5-0 out of 5 stars Another Apple hit... well worth the price.
The iLife suite has been completely revised for the new iLife '04 release. In this review, I'll list some of the improved features.

iDVD received a nice update with some new themes and other small features. I wasn't incredibly impressed by this particular update, but that's because I rarely use the application. Not a major interface overhaul, but some nice updates.

iMovie has been significantly sped up along with an improved interface and new transitions, effects, and more. You'll quickly notice all the new features in this update if you use iMovie frequently.

iTunes has been updated, but you can simply download the update... you don't need to buy the suite to get the newest version of iTunes.

iPhoto previously suffered from extreme performance issues before this revision... if you had a large amount of images in the database there would be a large slowdown, but this revision fixes that issue. It allows you to rate photos 1-5 stars, which is handy but not a necessary feature. Another nice new feature is the ability to create "smart albums" like "smart playlists" on iTunes... you can make albums that only contain, say, five-star pictures containing the phrases "Katie" and "1st Birthday" with little effort.

And, finally, the application that almost everyone is buying this for... GarageBand. GarageBand is Apple's new music editing program. It's a music mixing application that allows you to record songs on your Mac.

GarageBand has a nice variety of realistic-sounding musical instruments which can be played using a MIDI keyboard or guitar plugged into your Macintosh. You can then add effects, use amplifiers, and so much more.

If you don't know how to play any instruments, GarageBand also includes a wide variety of amazing-sounding loops for use in your songs. Not only are they nice for people who can't play any instruments, but they're nice if you're in a band and you want to hear how a song sounds but your drummer isn't there to play a drum track.

GarageBand lacks a few features that would make it a professional music creation title... the ability to change the tempo throughout the song instead of using just one for the whole song would be nice; but one could even run a small professional band on this program if they had to.

I can count the number of times I've completely crashed my Mac on one hand, but it did crash (not a kernel panic, just a crash) during the install. After a restart, all worked well again.

Another thing to note with this software title is that while it does work on *most* Macs, GarageBand and iDVD require a G4 or better, at *least* 256MB of RAM, and a DVD player to use the install DVD. Actually, you can install GarageBand on a 600MHz (or higher) Mac with a DVD drive, but you can't use software instruments then.

All in all, a nice package, and worth the price. ... Read more


17. Route 66 Route Europe 2004 (Mac)
list price: $79.99
our price: $79.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00013MS7E
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Route 66
Sales Rank: 4880
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Features

  • Door-to-door route planning for Western Europe
  • Over 2,700,000 miles of road; 700,000+ points of interest
  • Over 4,750,000 streets; 54,000,000+ house numbers
  • GPS-compatible; up-to-date maps and traffic information
  • Multi-lingual user interface including Spanish

18. Movie Magic Contracts
list price: $119.99
our price: $94.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000055ZO2
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Write Brothers
Sales Rank: 1442
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19. eMedia Blues Guitar Legends
list price: $29.94
our price: $25.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000051SGQ
Catlog: Software
Publisher: eMedia
Sales Rank: 887
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com Review

The word innovative can often be a hackneyed term to describeeye-catching software design. But in the case of eMedia's Blues Guitar Legends,the word is truly apt. The rock cognoscenti here at Amazon.com's music-softwareevaluation division are really starting to love eMedia's guitar instructionseries. Quite simply, we've seen nothing like their products before, andapparently we're in the majority, judging by the popularity of the Seattle-basedcompany's other titles, like Guitar Methods 1 and 2.

For those who want to learn blues-style guitar playing--which should be anyguitarist interested in the roots of pop music--you can do no better than BluesGuitar Legends Vol. 1. Picture buying an audio CD of 10 of the greatest bluessongs of all time, but instead of getting just the songs on disk, you alsoreceive a comprehensive, visually rich system for learning those songs. Throw incommon information about guitar tuning, song notation, and biographical data onthe artists, and you've got eMedia's Blues Guitar Legends.

Upon launching the program, a content window pops up with pictures of nine bluesartists--including Muddy Waters, B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, and Stevie RayVaughn--and one band, the Allman Brothers. Roll your mouse over the picture andhear a quick sample of a song, one of many little details we love about thisprogram. If you're just starting out, you can click on the Intro icon to get anoverview of the software, its icons, and their functions. Learn fingerpositions, how to read chord charts, and how to tune your guitar using thebuilt-in tuner. Go back to the content window and click on an artist to launch asong. Have your guitar ready, because now the fun begins.

As the song is playing, you'll view the heart of eMedia's system--the animatedfretboard--and the notation window containing the musical score of the guitarparts in the song. The animated fretboard is simply one of the coolest featuresyou'll find in instruction software. It's a top-down view of a guitar neck, withchord and finger patterns that change, or play, as the song plays. You canactually watch how the fingers slide, bend the string, and use vibrato. B.B.King's trademark butterfly tremolo technique is dutifully re-created, as is DuaneAllman's legendary slide style.

You can slow down the tempo of the song, loop sections, change between lead andchord parts, record yourself playing, and even sing along to the lyrics if youwant. Practically the only thing you can'tdo is stop to ask Muddy Waters a question, but with this software, you won'thave to. You'll be speaking his language soon enough.

Most of all, you'll have a lot of fun with Blues Guitar Legends. And you justmight spare yourself years of a hard-living, freight-train-catching bluesman'slifestyle. --John Bosch ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Mesmerizing!
There is simply no better way to learn these songs. You can isolate different sections of the music and loop them over and over (both the audio and the tab/notation). You can even slow it down. The animated fretboard is also very cool. It plays the notes in time with the music. It even bends the notes. I only wish they'd make more.

2-0 out of 5 stars Poor user interface, technical problems
I spent about an hour getting this to work correctly. I am disappointed with the interface and the lack of lesson information. Not a bad product but there are better guitar programs for sure

4-0 out of 5 stars Great fun but not for beginners
This is a wonderful CDRom. The songs are mighty enjoyable, and eMedia lets you see exactly how the blues greats created the toe-tapping music that they did. But be warned: learning to play these songs using the eMedia system isn't for rank beginners. I'm a classical guitar player with over a decade of playing experience, and I had to slow the songs to less than half their speed to even have a fighting chance of keeping up. You're expected to already know some blues techniques and have some accessories (e.g. a glass slide). Eventually, I know I'll get the hang of these songs and have a great time. But it's gonna take practice, practice, practice.

5-0 out of 5 stars Play blues like a pro
I picked up Blues Guitar Legend because of the great songs by Stevie Ray Vaughan and BB King. When I saw the animated fretboard I was blow away. Bends, slide and vibroto make this feature very cool. The multi speed option made learning the songs very easy. I highly recomend picking this one up. ... Read more


20. Kyoto Gardens
list price: $29.99
our price: $29.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00005OA4V
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Mercury Software Japan Inc
Sales Rank: 351
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com Product Description

Kyoto Gardens: A Virtual Stroll Through Zen Landscapes utilizes Apple Computer's QuickTime VR technology to "walk through" 24 of Kyoto's most renowned gardens. A seamless panorama of wood, sand, and stone lets users experience Japanese garden design and the world of Zen firsthand. Maps, slides, screensavers, essays, history, and aesthetics are brought together in a truly interactive cybernetic journey. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding piece of work!
This is something else. Beautifully presented and perfectly matched to music (if you switch it on). After seeing the gardens for myself, I can say the photos chosen brilliantly represent the "feel" of the gardens. The insightful essays discuss all aspects of the gardens, their history and design. A visual masterpiece.

The computer interface needs very slight work but is very well produced. Such a slight mark on an otherwise perfect experience.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful!
This does allow you to look through 24 gardens in the 360-degree viewpoint, with the full-circle perspectives from several other vantage points within each garden, so there more than 24 "Viewings". You can also explore the images through the program or simply through a photo browser. You will find litte things you missed, so look through it more than once!. I've also used several of the pictures as my wallpaper.

It's pretty pricey anywhere but Amazon, so if you are looking to buy it, Amazon's the place to go!

5-0 out of 5 stars Kyoto Gardens: A virtual stroll through Zen Landscapes
This title, in brief, allows users to 'walk through' (360 degree viewing) 24 of Kyoto's most famous Zen Gardens. It includes cross-platform (Windows & Mac) QuickTime 'walk throughs' of the gardens, accompanied by detailed notes on the history and design features of the gardens, a 150 plate photo collection and 5 essays by well known scholars on Zen and landscape gardening. Defintely worth a look! ... Read more


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