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Vicjoe reviewed on 06 Sep 2010
I agree with the other reviews that this product has a minimalist interface but a robust OCR engine. The issue I had with it is, using the demo, the accuracy was very impressive. Okay, trial period over, time to buy; I paid online, downloaded the paid version (Aug. 28), and upon installing it, got a warning "the disk you chose contains a newer version of the software you are installing. Installing this software will replace a newer version with an older version." Since the trial version would no longer work, I went ahead with the installation (I should have hesitated as in the Installer, a page entitled Important Information only listed up to OS X 10.5, no mention of 10.6). I then launched the application, and proceeded to do a test scan on a book that had worked fine on the trial version. As with the trial, the scan proceeded and put up a window "Document Conversion" showing a progress bar that ended with the notation "Finished. 1 of 1 pages processed" But, the button "Finished" was greyed out so the process essentially ended there; All other menus were greyed out, so I had to quit the program via the Mac utility Activity Monitor. I didn't think to make a note of the trial version, but the (broken) paid version was Part: 718/4 (from the app's About menu, as a Finder Get Info does not include version information).

On the next launch I thought to see if there was an entry for checking for updates, and there was. I downloaded the update, it indicated it was compatible with OS X 10.6 and indeed it did not hang at the "Document Conversion" window; it was now version Part 718/5. I was then able to compare scanning/ocr'ing the same page, same book as I had done with the trial version, and noted that there were a few more errors with the full version. It seems that the trial version was better at automatically de-skewing the page. The full version also felt slower than the trial one.

I wrote ABBYY about this, they did respond and admit the following "FineReader Express for Mac trial was created after the full version of the software was, because there was a high demand from users requesting a trial version, therefore, when you install the full version it shows that is a [sic] older version of the software, but you are running the latest full version of the software." Conclusion: the full version that one pays for, even after using the Update feature, is older and slightly less accurate than the more impressive trial version. I'll continue to check the Update feature (can't set it to auto check, and the Preferences menu entry for all versions [trial, old full and updated full] were greyed out and in fact when reading the manual no mention of Preferences at all. Today, Sept. 6th, I did the manual update check and was advised that "There are no updates currently available for ABBYY FineReader Express Edition for Mac Build 3891." In sum, if you're impressed by the trial version, you may run into some install/use problems with the initial paid download and even a working update is less robust than the trial. Still, after trying 3 other OCR packages, ABBYY FineReader Express for Mac still has a strong edge for accuracy.

vicjoe commented on 15 Apr 2009
The lengthy list of viruses/malware on the developer's page is misleading; there are a number of old viruses for OS 9 and the Classic environment, yet this software only works on Intel machines with Leopard, which of course cannot run the Classic environment.
[Version 1.3.5]


vicjoe reviewed on 12 Apr 2009
(1) This absolute gem works with Leopard (10.5.6 as of this writing).
(2) Though zip and gzip supposedly use the same algorithm (Zempel something-or-other), using gzip GUI Tar consistently makes smaller files, with no apparent speed hit.
(3) Truly a time saver over having to open the Terminal to accomplish an alternative compression to zip; this works fast and slick.
(4) Recommendations for a future version (and ask for some money): (a) a Contextual Menu plugin that offers formats if not compression levels (b) compression levels (fast and bigger, slow and smaller, etc.), could be pre-set in Preferences.

This is a great example of a GUI "wrapper" that is clean, intuitive and in the grand Mac fashion "just works".
[Version 1.2.2]

vicjoe commented on 20 Mar 2006
Here it is almost 4 years since the last review; well, sure the Internet, except for a few exotic functions, has replaced terminal programs, but I predict a resurgence of modems and terminal emulation, once the U.S. Defense Dept. and the corporatocracy implement pending plans that will limit the privacy, scope of and increase the relative cost/benefit of the Internet. As people search for options, it is likely that there will be a resurgence of FidoNet and like alternatives.

ZTerm works fine with OS 10.4.5, even to an external USB modem. I'd say it is at least something to keep around (along with a decent modem), you never know when you may need to use it.
[Version 1.1b7]


vicjoe reviewed on 03 Mar 2006
Newer version exists!! (5.1.6) I don't know about people with Iomega drives, but with a 3rd party LG drive, I have been a completely satisfied user of this sofware for years. When I updated to OS X 10.4.5, I encountered a crash with 5.0.47. I e-mailed tech support, and was immediately sent an entirely new version, 5.1.6, which is solid as a rock.

These people make great software, but are not as adept at keeping their users informed. I couldn't find the 5.1.6 update on their site. If you have a paid copy, it is worth e-mailing them for an update (very quick response), it does so much more than Apple's plain jane burning that I couldn't function without it. Matter of fact, I'd say just buy the current version from the Web and if it doesn't work, ask for the update. Copy one disc to another with no image or scratch file, video CD, bootable CD, incremental sessions, convert AAC to AIFF, burnproof protection, etc., all that good stuff, it is all there, a combination of simplicity and elegance. I generally appreciate Apple's minimalist approach, but when you want to really get down to business with CD/DVD burning, you can't go wrong with Discribe. Disclaimer: I have no business or other association with Charismac Engineering, I just think they write a**kicking software. Don't whine-just buy it!
[Version 5.0.47]

vicjoe commented on 06 Jan 2006
The developer now informs users that this software is "unsupported." Whether it still requires the $15 registration code to exceed the trial number of uses is not clear. Unsupported shareware should revert to freeware.
[Version 1.6.6]

Vicjoe commented on 20 Oct 2005
I was initially charmed by this program, but as a recent late-adopter to OS X (Tiger) I have a slew of Word 2001 documents to import. Mellel couldn't import anything even slightly more complex than a simply formatted page, e.g. all the files I've created as Word stationery, or an 8.5 X 14 landscape with columns document. All these came into Mellel via Import as useless. By contrast the (admittedly slower) NeoOfficeJ handled the same documents just fine.

Conclusion: this application is fast, intuitive and solid, but if one has Word documents of any complexity to import, alas they don't show up even close to the original. I wish the developers the best and will likely revisit this product when version 2.0 comes out.
[Version 1.9.1]

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