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mswwsm commented on 15 May 2008
I can't give this product any kind of fair review as I can't quite figure out what it's for. If I had to guess, I'd say this -- and the similar Scrivener -- are for writers who may indeed have the prose chops to get the job done but can't get a handle on how to organize longer manuscripts in their heads, and they also like to keep absolutely everything on their Macs.

The Timeline feature I thought would be the most useful -- dates are something I do sometimes flub -- as I expected I'd punch in a scene, give it a date, it would show up on the timeline. Apparently, however, you have to associate scenes with events, and the timeline is then TOO detailed: I don't need to see hours, let alone minutes, but rather just an overview so that I can at a glance see where I probably haven't misdated a significant event having cascading effect on future events, or to which preceding events ultimately arrive. Sometimes, not infrequently, I need to see a span of DECADES all on one line, all at one time, and this seems impossible with the software.

Foremost, StoryMill and Scrivener are not models for how novelists I know actually work. We have various loose "processes", we keep notes, we do research -- not too little research on-the-fly, so to speak -- and we may rough out in a notebook, on an index card, or on the back of the power bill, overarching plot lines, concepts, perhaps brief character sketches, snippets of especially pithy dialogue or metaphor we just have to use, that sort of thing. But everyone I know merely takes something that's been stewing, sits down one morning, or evening, or dead in the middle of night, and begins writing; then we go back and eradicate, illuminate and, well, prevaricate, as required to make the story whole.

I can see how software of this type might be beneficial to those writers -- serial television comes immediately to mind -- who are regular employees, who absolutely Must produce a story, and MUST produce it on a deadline, often using many of the same characters, plot histories, locales and preceding events in developing their plots.

As for aspiring novelists, screenwriters, playwrights, etc., I can't help but advise you'd be far better off just sitting down and writing, ignoring the confusing disorganized mess you may create -- because you CAN -- and WILL, if you stick at it -- develop a process for sorting things out, making sense of disparate parts and gluing them together into a coherent story. The bottom line is, called upon to take 60,000 - 120,000 words or more, vet this draft for grammar, style, continuity errors, etc., it's never going to just wrap up nicely, and it's always going to degrade into a brutal grind at times, whether you write on legal pads with a blunt pencil or with these sorts of computerized writers toolkits. It's never easy, no matter what.
[Version 3.0.2]


mswwsm reviewed on 09 Apr 2008
I'm giving this a main rating and stability rating of 2 just because the uninstall feature works without a hitch. And, man, are you gonna need it.

All the basic and music presets are so destructive they make me want to cry. The only gimmick preset that even sounds remote like what it's simulating is Phone Line.

I can't use my Duet directly with my MacBook Air, no FireWire, so it has to stay on another Mac. I figured if it's not that stunning Apogee sound, maybe a software product could get me similar results as the Creative Xpod without the taking up the USB port.

The Xpod is so much closer to the Duet than this Hear software, you wouldn't believe. This is hideous. I'm not trying to be mean, but does anyone who developed this software know the first thing about audio. God, it's awful. It makes all your audio sound likes it's coming through two tin cans attached by a string, except soup-can hi-fi has better clarity and presence.

Avoid at all costs. For $30 more, the Xpod is *vastly* superior. What you want is a Duet, but if you don't want to spend $500 on an audio processor -- speaking of which, if you don't want to spend the money, don *ever* listen to a Duet in action -- or you have a USB-only on your MB Air, go for the Creative Xpod. Which will also take an external source. Which you can also use completely independent of your Mac with an optional power adapter, an optional power adapter being any USB iPod AC adapter -- you should have a spare lying around by now, or if not, you can just swap it out if you need for the iPod -- or any USB powered hub. Have and old USB 1.1 powered hub? Use that.

I'd day, for even audiophile listeners the Duet restores compressed music to essentially it's old CD-quality self. The Xpod is a great improvement, and if you fiddle with the intensity of frequency enhancer, the "crystallizer", you get even better. Hear is just flat destructive. Effectively knocks about 70 - 100 kpbs off your compression rate.
[Version 1.0]

mswwsm commented on 14 Jan 2008
Um, yeah, even *iChat* will do free SMS within the States. $5 for 50 SMSs is *double* what my giant mega-corporation mobile carrier charges for SMSs over plan allowance.
[Version 2.2.4]

mswwsm commented on 07 Dec 2007
It is good software. It is worth US$13. It is however grossly inappropriate to slam an auto-update that changes the licensing arrangement to a paid-license requirement without significant warnings to that effect.

You know how Apple tells you if you have QT Pro license and upgrade to the newest full revision of QT, they tell you you'll have to buy a new license for the Pro features. Yeah, that.

To do anything less is deceptive and tantamount to consumer fraud.
[Version 4.1]

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