Advice for Not Looking Stupid and Print Explosion 3.0 Review

| Computing with Bifocals

I recently had another birthday and I have now officially turned into a grump.? I swear, no one pays attention to what they read any more.?

Here is a real example.

A man wrote a note to an Internet Mac support forum asking for help.? He wrote "My daughter e-mailed me some photos.? Most of them have a terrible glare on the eyeglasses.? Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I can remove the glare?"

The first respondent said "If you had taken the pictures properly in the first place you wouldnit be having this problem now."? He then proceeded to write a five paragraph dissertation about how the first man should have taken the pictures.

The second respondent said "You can take the red eye out easily if you use the red eye feature of iPhoto."

I just sat there with my mouth hanging open and said "huh?"? Did they read the same question that I read?? Here is where my grump comes in.? I think all these problems started when the public education system stopped teaching kids how to diagram sentences.??

Think about it for a minute.? When you had to deconstruct a sentence you had to learn to really understand what it said.? I see this kind of thing over and over and people actually get into shouting matches in Internet exchanges because they donit listen to (read) what each other is saying.? (One "shouts" on the Internet when one types in all capital letters.)

I am hereby declaring this the official "Read That Sentence Again Before You Start Giving Advice That Makes You Look Stupid" week.? Of course, it doesnit exactly fit on a T-shirt or a bumper sticker, but I still think it is a good idea.

OK, I feel much better now.? On to something more productive.


Back in 1999, I reviewed a program called Print Explosion Deluxe?.? (Boy, time flies when you are having fun).? This past week I was asked to review an updated version, and I was interested to see how it had changed.? I must admit that since I moved from OS 9 to OS X I have not used Print Explosion.?

Now in case you are thinking that a week is not enough time to really try out an app I must say to you au contraire.? This is late October and as any regular reader of this column knows, I tend to obsess just a bit about getting ready for the holidays on time (OK, OK, early).? Just as the copy of Print Explosion 3.0 arrived I was ready to start designing my holiday cards.? By the time I had my cards designed to my satisfaction, I had given Print Explosion 3.0 a thorough test.

For the past 4 years I have painted a specific picture to be used on my cards and then designed a card around the picture.? The whole thing, of course, is designed and printed on my Mac.? A warning up front though.? It cost more money to create your holiday cards this way than it does to go out and buy a box of cards.


Application:
Print Explosion Deluxe? 3.0
Developer:
NOVA Development Corporation
Available Formats:
CD-ROM; DVD
Price:
U.S. $49.95? (U.S. $34.99 after rebate from Amazon.com)
System Requirements:
Mac OS X 10.2 or later, PowerPC G3 or faster (or Intel Core processor), 512 MB of RAM, DVD or CD-ROM Drive
Uses:
Create greeting cards, business cards, calendars, certificates, envelopes, invitations, letterheads and fax sheets, postcards, scrapbook pages, CD/DVD labels and personalized T-shirts.
Customer Support:
Product includes a printed manual and an Internet Tutorial that covers Customizing a Greeting Card; Making scrapbook Pages; Creating a CD/DVD Label; and Personalizing T-Shirts.? There is also a traditional Help menu and a Tips and Shortcuts section.

Items of Note

  • It is easy to use.
  • The instructions are easy to follow
  • The application contains 13,000 ready made designs for creating projects.
  • There are over 100,000 graphics and 900 fonts.
  • You can import from your iPhoto library.? Once you have your project open, select Insert > Graphic > iPhoto.
  • If you choose to make a banner you will either have to paste or tape your pages together or save them on a thumb drive or a CD and take them to a printer to have them printed, unless you have the capability of printing an item at least 22 inches long.? However, this version of the application does allow you to adjust the size of a banner.? To do so select File > Document Setup.? The application adjusts the parameters so that the stay in proportion.
  • You can print CD labels with iTunes playlists.? Obviously you have to have at least one play list designated before you can make this work.? The application is set up to use Avery label 5824.? You select an existing design or start from scratch to create a background.? Then select Insert > Playlist > your playlist of choice.? The application will throw in the list of song titles, the name of the Playlist as you have titled it, and the name of the artist.? You can delete any of these elements or move them around or change them.? This is a cool edition to the application.
  • You can use mail merge to automatically personalize and send greeting cards to people in your Mac Address Book.

The best improvement as far as I am concerned is a relatively small change that has been made to the card design set up.? The application has always offered the ability to switch back and forth between the four sides of a card.? However, it was not previously possible to see all four sides at once in a pop out window as it is now.? The following example shows this nicely.? First of all, you can easily switch between sides with a click of the mouse.? Secondly, you can get a good visual overview of how your card looks as a whole element.

Work Sheet for Design of a Greeting Card

Print Explosion Deluxe 3.0 is a relatively inexpensive application that is easy to use for beginners or anyone else.? Artists have plenty of opportunity to create from scratch.? Those who want some help have plenty of designs to help them get started.? With the addition of the scrapbook and CD/DVD elements the application has increased itis utility for the average Mac user.? This is an application that you might want to treat yourself with.

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