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Edstate rated on 05 May 2011
[Version 3.0]


edstate reviewed on 11 Feb 2009
I have thousands of fonts, and have been DESPERATELY looking for a powerful, and stable solution for years. Ever since OS9.

First, I must say, the fact that OSX doesn't handle this itself is simply unacceptable. As someone who isn't quite a "power user" but uses many different fonts, in many different programs, for various aspects of my business, the fact that I simply can't have the fonts turn ON when I need them, and OFF when I don't, without mussing up the system fonts (I'm looking at you Helvetica) is simply maddening.

I mean hey, I'm not a programmer, lol, but... how hard can that be?

So I recently decided to try out this program in place of FontExplorerX. I had been using FEX for over a year, but disliked how it needed to always be OPEN to use it's auto activation. I also didn't like FEX's interface that much (personal preference), and most importantly it's handling of duplicate fonts left much to be desired.

So here I am. And here's the review (mostly as compared to FEX):


I like Fusion's simplicity very, very much. It has *most* of the same features as FEX, but just seems, well, cleaner. And since dealing with fonts in Leopard is so damn maddening, imho "simple" is a must-have. It's previews are decent, and Fusion also auto-activates without having to be "on", which is very nice.

Fusions' duplicate finding/handling is better than FEX (imho) because, again, it's simpler. FEX just listed everything that was even close to being a dupe, but Fusion lists either EXACT dupes (by font ID) or NAME dupes, which you can easily click through and decide if you *really* need all those versions of TTArial. Fusion is also more "strict" about possible corrupt fonts, which I like. Overall, it's much easier to keep a tidy, stable collection.


There are a few problems w/ Fusion though, which are regrettable. First of all, although the previews are ok, they're not totally customizable, in that you can't do an ATM-ish "super waterfall" to see a typeface in as many iterations as your screen can hold. Not that big of a deal, but it's weird that neither Fusion, nor FEX, has an ultimately customizable preview (again, how hard can it be?). Also, the "floating preview" is a good idea, but it's not intuitive to turn on. You have to click/hold/drag on this little weird icon to separate the palette, and that's the ONLY way to get it started. If you go to the menu (where you'd think you could turn it on), it's greyed-out. Silly, because it should be launch-able from both places.

Also (and this is a biggie) the auto-activation is not perfect. I'm in the middle of doing a fairly beefy BOOK in InDesign CS3 (probably not the best time to switch font managers, in retrospect), and the book uses, probably, 50 different fonts and their variations. And, although I took the time to make a separate folder, turn on all the fonts TEMPORARILY, and then UPDATE and SAVE my file... for some reason it only SOMETIMES auto-activates the fonts! It's really maddening. What's more, if I go and open Fusion, and then click "TEMPORARILY ACTIVATE" Fusion SAYS they're active, but I still get a "font not found" warning in InDesign for one, or a few of them. So I have to go to Fusion and click the font on, then off, then on again. Jeesh?

Also, when I first installed it, Fusion "detected" that I had another font manager (FEX) managing my fonts, and offered to "take over". So, I clicked "sure!"... but FEX refused to relinquish control, even after several tries. I had to manually take control away from FEX and give it to Fusion. Pretty wimpy, Fusion.

Lastly, and in terms of "stability" when I was using Fusion to tackle my duplicates I stupidly tried to do my entire collection all at once. It found them all, and listed them all... but it was overwhelming. So I (again, stupidly) clicked every font's disclosure triangle so I could see all the variations, and decide from there. Well, Fusion did NOT LIKE THAT AT ALL, and froze up my entire system. So, I had to force-quit. But when I re-opened, the triangles were still open, and the beach ball was already spinning. Again, I force-quit, and restarted... I had to wait about 20 minutes for the ball to stop spinning, and then close the "duplicate search" options at the top. Whew! ...So I decided to search for dupes again, but in smaller batches. Only when I clicked "find font" again, the SAME SEARCH CAME UP, complete with the opened triangles. Yay. ...I ended up having to trash the prefs, and reinstall. Clearly a glitch that needs to be addressed.


Fix the auto-activation NOW. I don't know if it's Adobe's fault or not (it probably is), but it doesn't matter. Fusion needs to auto-activate every, and any font that needs to be opened. End of story. If not, what's the point?

Per the duplicates, Fusion should include in the column choices "# of characters", because sometimes the reason to keep one version over another version is that it's got more glyphs. Oh, and colors should be included.

Neither Fusion of FEX has an UNDO function, which is just stupid. If I delete a font, and it says "are you sure!??!" and I click "yes"... and then realize I'm drunk... I should be given at least ONE undo. Seriously. Guys?

Oh, and the price? Really? If it was bullet-proof I *might* consider it, but otherwise... no f'n way guys.


Not a bad program, and has a lot going for it. But a few minor omissions, and the BIG auto-activation wonkiness is a MAJOR problem.
[Version 13.0.2]

1 Reply


edstate replied on 09 Mar 2009
Just a follow-up:

I actually had to reinstall my system, so I'm in the next 30-day phase of my "new" (achem) demo.


First of all, the auto-activation seems to be working smoothly again. Obviously, whatever went wrong was a symptom of my system, and not SF2. Probably. However, there should be built-in font cache cleaning, and other "troubleshooting" tools built into this program. A lot of other font managers have those, and I don't think it's too much to ask.

That said, I've really been putting SF2 through it's paces, and I can still say that, imho, it's better than FEX and Leopard's own FontBook for all the reasons stated in my review. Especially since my collection (old, and storied) had so many dupes. SF2 is by far the best duplicate-cleaning Font manager out there. And that's a good thing.

I've had a couple of crashes, though, within SF2, where the program kept running, but I got a warning that a component within it had crashed. Which isn't something that happens often with other programs. So that's a bit weird. Also, I've found that although I LIKE the fact that it's such a stickler for only including fonts that are 100% A-OK, I have a sneaking suspicion that it over-indexes on the safe side; because i've had a few sets I KNOW are good, but were rejected. I've heard this stated in other reviews (MacWorld, for instance), so I hope Extensis has taken note.

Also, one last thing: the FOLDER STRUCTURE of SF2 is no bueno. The "smart folders" only work under each "library", as opposed to giving you the option of searching all your fonts, and then being stored under whichever library. Also, you can create sub-folders within a library, but you can't put a smart set into a sub folder. Which is insane. In essence, the folders system will frustrate pretty much anyone who's used to OSX's or Window's file systems. It's pretty limiting. ...and I'm also pretty sure that when you create a new "library", and then drag fonts into it from your master library, SF2 actually COPIES those fonts over, as opposed to merely making them aliases. Which, also, is pretty crazy.

All that said, with all it's warts, SF2 is still a simple and pleasurable way to work, and manage and tame a larger font collection. I sincerely hope they peruse these, and other reviews, to try and make their product even better.
edstate commented on 25 Jan 2009
Also, one thing I've noticed, as observed by others: this version seems to SKIP chapter titles for some reason.

I put in a DVD w/ FIVE 30-minute "episodes" on it, but this version of handbrake only gave me ONE, TWO and FOUR.

[Version 0.9.3]


edstate reviewed on 04 Jan 2009
This upgrade is working for me on DVDs that previously would "suddenly quit" during encoding.

2 minor quibbles:

• Why the .m4v default?
I have a custom setting for H264 MP4 that produces a small, but gorgeous file, that I use on my XBox 360. And while the preset name, and settings are still there, it seems to always want to save the file as an m4v instead of an mp4. I've tried outputting the same file and just changing the extension... which works on my Mac, but not on my 360, which only wants to read .mp4s.

• VLC placement choices!
The piggybacking on VLC seems to be helping w/ my previously un-encodable DVDs, however, the fact that you have to have VLC in your ~/Applications folder is annoying. To keep my Applications folder clean and tidy, I have all of my "video stuff" in a ~/Applications/Video. It would be great if you could simply "point" Handbrake to VLC, wherever you want to keep it in your system.

Other than those two minor quibbles, it seems to be a decent upgrade for me, a "non-power user".
[Version 0.9.3]


edstate reviewed on 19 Aug 2008
First of all, yes, this is a "one trick pony". However, this is a pony that Apple, and iTunes should do a much, much better job with than they do. So... as someone who makes a lot of mixes, burns CDs for people, and listens to a lot of music, $30 isn't so bad.

I LOVED version 1.0, but I dinged the DEV in a review here when 2.0 came out, because of the "turn on soundcheck" function. Apparently when the 4th gen iPods came out, they closed the "loophole" the dev was using, so he had to go that route.

So now this version has come out, and at first I was VERY skeptical about plunking for more $$. However, I downloaded the demo, and.. lo-and-behold... it IS re-built from the ground up. The interface is much improved, and it now has the ability to process many songs at once. Yay. It also produces much better results than 2.0. And while still not perfect, it's still better than iTunes "stock" soundcheck.

A couple of features that need a'implimentin':

• A PAUSE button
• Some way of dealing with "no tag" songs. ...updating the tags in iTunes only fixes a scant few of these. More songs than you'd think do NOT have the proper tags.
• Some way of dealing with iTunes AAC protected songs, and podcasts.

Otherwise, a worthy update. A step forward. Stable, fast, and pretty too.
[Version 3.1.1]


edstate reviewed on 03 Jun 2008
Simply brilliant... A real gift. And a must have.
[Version 0.997]

edstate commented on 17 May 2008
$179 wouldn't be bad if this had been updated sometime in the last few years. Universal Binary, pro favor?
[Version 3.0]

edstate commented on 12 May 2008
This program has a lot of potential, but there is next to ZERO documentation/support for this thing. Sure, you can email the dev, who is darn responsive, but there are little, annoying issues that can creep up, and all you can really do is email the dev. They have a FAQ, but it's hi-and-miss. For sure, a user-supported forum is needed. But at the very least they need a manual of some sort.
[Version 3.34]

edstate commented on 19 Mar 2008
After the 2008 - 002 Security Update I'm now getting an "Apple Script" Error on the Cleaning tasks.
[Version 1.9.4b2]

edstate commented on 26 Jul 2007
I guess I'm the 1-out-of-100 people who can't get this program to work!

Both my computer and my 360 are going through a Linksys Cable/DSL router w/ 4 port switch. And they both connect to the internets just fine.

But I can't seem to get them to "see" each other. I have all my firewalls off on my mac, and don't have any weird programs that could block communication.

I have spent some time on the phone w/ Linksys (which is where my gut tells me the problem is), but the only thing they've had me do was "enable DMZ" and then change my MTU packet size from 1500 to 1400. both of which didn't work.

I've emailed NullRiver and have gotten pretty spotty help. They're trying... I guess. But it's just $25 for them!

I really do think they should host a forum on their site. Because there's really nowhere to get help if you're the lonely 1 out of 100 who it doesn't "magically" work for.

[Version 3.1]

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