Dennis Globus
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Dennisg reviewed on 03 Nov 2013
I think that in an era where it's common for software publishers to release a few minor updates and a major update every year, it's shocking that a company like Mariner Software hasn't found it necessary to improve its products in years. A good example is Montage, part of this so-called writer's suite of applications. Montage, despite Mariner's assurances that it will support the product, hasn't seen a minor or major revision in over half a decade. Storymill hasn't been touched by the company in over two years. So just know that if you invest money in a Mariner product, that will likely be the last you hear from the company -- until they acquire another software title and expect you to buy that one, too.
[Version 1]


Dennisg reviewed on 30 Nov 2010
Montage is a simple, no-frills screenplay app that does its job with a minimal learning curve. My introduction to it came when I started a new script a couple of weeks ago, and I found it to be a pleasure to use.

One of its features is an auto-complete menu which, in theory, is supposed to present you with a menu of your characters' names when you type the first letter or two. Say, for example, you've got characters by the name of Carl, David, and Christine. When you select the Character style, and type the letter C, you should get a menu that displays both Carl and Christine. Unfortunately, this feature worked for me about 20 percent of the time -- the rest of the time I had to type out the complete name.

I logged onto Mariner's user forum and asked if anyone else was experiencing this problem and, if so, is there a solution. Two days later I received an email from Mariner's tech support telling me that this was the first time they'd heard of the problem -- and would I please send them the file so that they could see if they could duplicate the issue with their systems.

As you can imagine, sending a screenplay to strangers is a scary proposition. It's a proprietary document, and the thought of someone mishandling the file or even stealing an idea is enough to give anyone pause. But I took a deep breath, swallowed hard, and replied to their email with my file attached -- along with a note that requested that the file is "for your eyes only."

A few hours later, I checked back in the forum to see if anyone else had replied to my thread, and lo and behold, there was my file -- attached to a new post that contained the text of my reply email.

As you can imagine, this freaked me out, and I sent Mariner tech support another email asking them what on earth they were thinking by posting my proprietary file for all the world to see. And then I discovered THAT email was posted in the thread.

You can see how unsettling this would be. I told Mariner that they behaved cavalierly with my screenplay, that I had trusted them, and that they had betrayed that trust. Naturally, THAT email appeared in the thread, too. Finally, they explained to me that any email correspondence that begins as a forum thread will append to the original thread. Why, I asked, did you folks request my file and fail to tell me that? I would never have sent my file had I known it would be posted in a public forum.

I ended this situation by asking them to (minimally) notify people that their emails and attachments will appear in the original thread or (better yet) change their system so that emails remain private, as we would expect them to be. Mariner responded by deleting my entire thread, which I assume is how they intend to "deal" with this problem.

I've written two books and a weekly newspaper column with Mariner Write, and I'd begun my most recent screenplay with Montage. I was a very loyal Mariner software user and a long-time fan. But they behaved shamefully at every milestone in this sordid affair. They posted in public a proprietary file, despite my request for careful handling. They have apparently decided that their system of posting email correspondence in a public forum works perfectly well. They see no reason to notify people that their files will be mishandled and their trust abused. And they did what all incompetent companies do: they deleted a public thread that takes issue with how their customers are treated.

Add all this up and you can understand why I'd abandon their products. This company is not to be trusted.
[Version 1.5.4]


dennisg reviewed on 29 Jun 2009
Not sure what all the complaining is about. The label software has always worked perfectly for me from Day 1, starting two years ago, and it continues to be flawless. This latest software update makes creating and saving labels easier than it's ever been -- good thing, because it doesn't seem to find the labels I created with the previous version. That's the only knock against this software I can think of. Otherwise, it takes mere seconds to create new labels. And with the new driver, printing is instantaneous.

4 stars -- instead of 5 -- because I had to spend 45 seconds making a new shipping label.
[Version 8.1]


dennisg reviewed on 14 May 2008
I downloaded the demo version of TapeDeck, and was immediately stunned by its interface which exactly mimics a portable cassette recorder. This, of course, means there's absolutely no learning curve in using TapeDeck, since virtually everyone has experience using cassette recorders. Congrats to the developers for this inspired interface.

My one beef with the software has been resolved by a video they posted on their web site. Like the previous reviewer, my main objective with TapeDeck is to capture a stream of internet radio content. The video showed me how to do that. And as I write this, I'm recording Radio Paradise to one of the "tapes." Just drag the tape to iTunes, plop it onto your iPod, hop on an airplane, and you've got hours of entertainment to distract you from the pathetic lack of legroom, absence of food, and the 3-year-old kicking the back of your seat.

I gave TapeDeck a rating of 5 because it does its job perfectly. For a version 1.0 product, it's well-conceived, intelligently executed, and rock solid. The only thing that could be improved is the necessity to download an ancillary system utility called Soundflower that directs the sound to the TapeDeck application. It would be nice if this capability were built in to TapeDeck instead of requiring a separate download and setup. But it's a very, very small quibble, and takes nothing away from the fact that this program's capability is the answer to my prayers.
[Version 1.0]


dennisg reviewed on 20 Sep 2006
I downloaded this little app yesterday, and have used it fairly extensively for the past 24 hours. This is my first time using an address-book helper, so I can't compare it to any other program -- only on its own merits.

First, let me say that this is the way Apple's Address Book should operate natively. Since it doesn't, programs like BuddyPop will always find a place on the Mac's of people who want address book info close at hand without having to have the app open all the time.

BuddyPop's default hot key wouldn't work for me, so I changed it to control-space, and that seems to be the ticket. Use that hot key, and a little window appears, awaiting your keystrokes. Type in SMITH, hit return, and you get the info for the first Smith in your address book (you can, by the way, define which fields BuddyPop should display). And therein lies BuddyPop's one real flaw. If I type in SMITH, and I've got 17 of them in my address book, I don't want to have to keep hitting the right arrow key in order to cycle through them. What I want instead is a list of all the Smiths so that I can click on the one I want. That's infinitely faster and more efficient.

In my mind, this flaw limits BuddyPop's use for businesses. Say, for example, you want to find contact info for one of your doo-dad suppliers, but can't remember the company name. You could key in SUPPLIER, but you might end up having to cycle through a hundred of them, if you've got that many in your address book, which many businesses will.

This is less of an issue for personal use (where we don't generally use search criteria that applies to a hundred address book entries), although it still exists somewhat.

All in all, I love the way BuddyPop brings my address book info close at hand. My rating indicates how it performs for me, and not how it might perform for a business, which I discussed previously. Obviously, if I used it for my business, I'd rate it considerably lower. But as it stands, it well deserves the high rating I gave it.
[Version 2.5.1]

dennisg commented on 26 Jun 2006
I've been reading about AppZapper for months now, and it always intrigued me. When I saw this latest update (1.6.0), I decided to give it a try. I've got one word to describe my experience so far: wow! This is, quite possibly, the most intuitive, simple to use, and effective utility I've ever seen. Congratulations to the programmers. After one test-zap, I'm hooked.
[Version 1.6.0]


DennisG reviewed on 28 Oct 2005
I'm a huge fan of Radio Paradise, and have always been frustrated that I couldn't listen to it in the car. And then I discovered iFill, one of the simplest and most useful apps on my Mac. Aside from what it does -- which is to take internet radio streams and capture them to directly to your iPod -- the WAY it does it is simple and elegant. It actually works like an Apple app.
[Version 1.08]

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