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Cenocre reviewed on 20 Sep 2011
Having used Quark and hated the company for over 20 years, I have been looking for YEARS for a good replacement for the few simple projects that I now do each year.

I tried Swift Publisher (lousy interface), MultiAd Creator Desktop (quite good, but the idiotic company discontinued it), and Scribus (sucks, but should be great).

iStudio Publisher is FINALLY it. It has a few quirky ways of doing things, but it is clean, intelligent, and stable. And, the price is great.
[Version 1.1.8]

Cenocre rated on 09 Jan 2011
[Version 2.6.7]


Cenocre reviewed on 07 Jan 2011
I really want to like this program as Art Text can do really great things. I will continue to use it, but the interface and work flow are very defective.

Parts of the interface are utterly idiotic (understatement). For example, almost 100% of the time when you create something and then go to the Category menu MERELY TO EXAMINE OTHER OPTIONS your carefully crafted creation gets altered. Then when you go back to the original category, the changes usually don't revert to your previous choice so you have to hunt through the palettes to find your old selection.

The layout is awkward, where you can't hide layers, you have to go through two different windows simply to change any text characteristic, and objects can't be edited directly (so it's not truly WYSIWYG). The Panels (palettes) are stuck to the main window and cannot be resized so they are often in the way or too small.

There are MANY other inconveniences such as where multiple steps are required where other programs only require one and where changes on the screen are not what they logically appear to be.

I copied some gold text with a gradient and made a new layer. Absurdly, new layers automatically put in content which alternates between blue text and a solid blue rounded rectangle. So, I pasted in the gold text and the program changed it to solid blue. This is idiotic behavior.

Strangest of all this is a graphics program that does not work with multiple monitors. All of the program resides on the main monitor so it is crowded with overlapping windows while your secondary monitor just sits there will totally wasted space. Doesn't BeLight realize that it is people doing graphics who have one of the biggest needs for multiple monitors?
[Version 2.3.2]

1 Reply


Cenocre replied on 18 Jan 2011
Update: Turns out that it does work with multiple monitors in most arrangements, just not the one I have where a big monitor is above a laptop screen containing the menu bar. All other programs work fine with this arrangement. Strange.

Also, it turns out that you can hide layers, IF you just happen upon the layers palette. In this inconsistent interface there are multiple menus for layers that are almost the same, but with subtly different choices. If you find the rather obscure Layers popup menu, you'll find a choice for the Layers palette. Why is this not in the menubar menu? Ah, but it is, just way down and in a different menu!

The layers palette is actually nice and clear and a separate floating window. I wish the rest of the interface were like this.

There are many other aspects of this program's behavior and interface that make it hard to use and the more I use it the more I dislike it. It is missing such rational conventions such as restricting the dragging of objects to a straight line when the Shift key is depressed. The only way to move in a straight line is to hold down the arrow keys and wait and wait.

Doing things differently is great when improving on convention, In this case, it is just a big annoyance. So, I would give this program five stars for what it can create, but only one star for the interface.

Cenocre reviewed on 14 Jul 2010
This is really good software, just look at the great reviews. You rarely see such universally positive accolades. It is powerful, well laid out and easy to figure out without using the manual. I have used and despised Quark and their attitude since the very beginning and have used PageMaker, Swift, Scribus and others, but keep coming back to this MultiAd even though it has been discontinued.

But, there is one HUGE problem, the developer was astoundlingly clueless in knowing that they had a BIG winner on their hands. For the price they had absolutely no competition! They came from the newspaper and corporate market and had no idea how to sell in the consumer market. So, instead of working it, they basically gave up as soon as they started. It's really sad as this could be really popular.

I hope they come to their senses and bring out a Desktop version of the new MultiAd. For professionals I full recommend you buy their pro version as it is still a great deal, but for those of us who only occasionally need DTP and so buying a $500 is absurd, I suggest that you push MultiAd to bring this product back to life. It fully deserves it. Please call them.
[Version 7.0.5]


Cenocre reviewed on 13 Jul 2010
I really wanted to like this program, but now have mostly disdain for it. At first, it looked pretty good - nice logo decent layout, but it all went waaaaaay downhill from there. At first, it needed GhostScript to import EPS and PDF. Just try to find an easy to install version of GhostScript. Most versions are a pain to install, having to run UNIX scripts and finding out that additional pieces are needed part way through the install forcing one to start over. Finally, I finally found an easy Mac version, but why in the hell wasn't it mentioned at the various websites for GhostScript and Scribus!

Next, I TRIED to install templates. They were easy to find, but the instructions were either missing, utterly cryptic, or wrong. This is a classic case of open source assuming that everyone is a UNIX or LINUX geek. After lots of research and trials, I gave up.

So, I just tried to create my own document from scratch and almost immediately got the error, 'The application "pdflatex --interaction nonstopmode" failed to start! Please check the path:' Huh?

Continuing on, I found that the interface was stunning stupid for some tasks, especially related to text. It is incredible that you have to change the text's characteristics in a one window and then go back to the main window to see the effect.

I'm a programmer and run web servers so I am somewhat used to the "logic" and assumptions of the open source and UNIX world. And, I've used Quark since it's intro, Pagemaker, MultiAd Creator, and other DTP programs and have rarely needed to consult their manuals and am very schooled on DTP. I found Scribus to be unnecessarily difficult and illogical. Scribus should and could be a great product and it appears to be very comprehensive, but it need LOTS of help to make it rationally easy to install and use for even the above average user.

A lot of good work has gone into Scribus. I hope that they end up making it a great competitor to Quark. For now I will stick with the surprisingly good MultiAd Creator.
[Version 1.3.7]


Cenocre reviewed on 06 Jun 2010
Wow. Hard to comprehend these bad reviews. I have been using Spell Catcher for over 20 years (since it's earliest days when named Thunder), and consider it to be one of the most essential pieces of software on my Macs. It is one of the few pieces of software that I recommend it to my clients.

It seems that some of the bad reviews are by people who don't understand the program. It is not just a spell checker!! It also allows you to type in shorthand with auto expansion, records keystrokes (which has saved my butt numerous times), and has easy to access references.

The spell check is much better than Apple's as it has MANY more features. However, it is the shorthand is in constant use by me and I fly though writing emails, writing code, CSS, and HTML as all I have to do is type a few characters and Spell Catcher finishes it for me.

As for CPU usage, most of the time it shows up as 0.0% in Activity Monitor. It will jump momentarily to something like 1.5% very briefly when doing a check. That is fine performance.
[Version 10.3.5]


cenocre reviewed on 29 May 2009
It works consistently and is stable and is fine if all you do is scan one or two normal paper sizes. Otherwise, this software is unacceptable in its flaws and has an unnecessarily complex interface. They could do everything in one clean panel rather than having around a half dozen. It seems like the software developers have not studied how people actually use the scanner and software.

When using various paper sizes, especially automatic paper sizes, it is awful. It won't even scan a normal business size check correctly. Visioneer Paperport had MUCH better size detection nearly 20 years ago!!!!!! Why can't Fujitsu keep up with old technology? Bizarrely, auto does not really match your paper size. It just goes to the nearest preset size and rather than match the size or go bigger, it will often go to a smaller size and crop off part of your document causing you to lose data. This is completely stupid on the part of the software developers. Extra white space is better than losing data.

If Paperport were still Mac compatible I would use it in a heartbeat as the interface and features are far easier and superior. Unfortunately, the Fujitsu is the best scanner for the Mac and this lousy software is what comes with it.
[Version 2.2L11]

cenocre commented on 20 Mar 2009
Update to my previous review.

The tech support for Abyss is great!! With the very reasonably priced Pro version, you get priority support. They actually read your questions and give reasonable and quick answers even for complex issues.

After wasting years of my life with open source products such as Apache where you search in forum after forum for months only to get numerous stupid and wrong answers especially when dealing with utterly absurd mod_rewrite and, after dealing with the big companies such as Adobe, Epson, Apple, Micro$oft, Comcast, etc where the techs often times know little and deny obvious bugs, dealing with Aprelium is a breath of fresh air.

I now recommend dealing mostly with small companies that make great products such as ProVue (makes the great database Panorama), HindSight (photo business software), Aprelium, etc. You often get MUCH better products, better support, and surprisingly longer life products. ProVue made the second piece of software for the Mac and it is still around.

Buy small and buy quality as it will save time and money (even over the "free" products). As an added bonus you can often get features added to the products based on your own suggestions!
[Version 2.6]


cenocre reviewed on 05 Feb 2009
Positive: Powerful and very versatile. It has a great diversity of monitoring choices.

Negative: Not at all obvious. The good stuff is hidden. Desperately needs a GUI redesign and window reorganization! It has maps and pictures, but so what. Many of the great features are anything but obvious and even when you discover a feature accidentally after lots of searching around, it is not obvious what you are actually setting up.
[Version 5.0.8b5]


cenocre reviewed on 11 Oct 2008
Been using Abyss for years now in a commercial web hosting environment and it has been PERFECTLY stable. Things that take Apache down are barely a blip for Abyss.

We are about move all of our servers from Apache to Abyss. Apache is like Windoze - popular, but hard to figure out why as it is so bloated and awkward.

Abyss beats Apache in:

Simplicity (in a different universe)
Ease of configuration
Login and consistency of interface and configuring
Speed of setup
Tolerance of errors in configuration
User choice - can put it on any volume and quickly migrate it to another server
Support - quick and generally accurate answers from a single source
Cost - Yes, Apache is supposedly free and Abyss costs a little for the , but if you measure cost of the time involved with each product, you will save LOTS of time with Abyss.

Abyss is not perfect, but the company Aprelium listens to users and continues to improve the product. There a just a few features that are missing. And, while their documentation covers just about everything and is VERY accessible, it definitely could use some help as it makes far too many assumptions about the user's knowledge. It needs better BASIC explanations as it sometimes states the obvious while missing the not obvious aspects of a feature and the reason for the feature.
[Version 2.5]

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