Tag Archives: software review

Song Scrubber Showdown Updated

I have added a few more screen shots and additional comments to the original showdown posting. You can find it here:

https://mgrego2.wordpress.com/2010/04/16/song-scrubber-showdown/

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Pollux vs. TuneUp Update

So, you’ve been sitting there on pins and needles, checking the site on breaks, gnashing your teeth when you weren’t on break…

I know this because my web page views have spiked at eight and how many breaks can the two of you possibly have?

The refrain that pounded in your brain was, “I wonder where mgrego2 is with his comparison of the song scrubbers? Oh, yeah, and what about global warming/non-warming/rain/not-rain/snow/not-snow?”

Did your brain see the end of that last sentence as snot-now?

Anyway, the work continues and I’ll share some thoughts.

I have continued to work with CoverScout, Pollux, and TuneUp. SongGenie? Nope. SongGenie can kiss me in places no mortal has ever seen. It is dead to me.

I bit the bullet and picked up TuneUp while I could get the discount. Then, I started comparing TuneUp and Pollux some more. No tables or charts this time.

My process was to switch iTunes to the mode where you view albums in a grid. I would select an album and then have Pollux identify it. If I didn’t like the results, I would undo them and then drag the album to TuneUp. If I thought they were OK, I would still drag the album to TuneUp and compare. The result is that none of these programs are flawless. It is clear that TuneUp remains more accurate than Pollux and, based on my limited experience with SongGenie, more accurate than SongGenie. My confidence in TuneUp has gotten to the point that I use it as my baseline for the other programs; It continues to pull up results that are more accurate than Pollux. And, it gives multiple cover art options, as opposed to the one cover you get with Pollux. However, to the credit of Pollux, TuneUp doesn’t provide an “Oh Shit” button and Pollux does. Of course, there is the possibility to save the results one at a time, rather than all at once, so maybe you should have been more careful before hitting the “Save All” button in TuneUp. The bottom line is that TuneUp isn’t perfect either. Software is written by peeps and peeps ain’t perfect.

My experience was that Pollux is generally correct. However, it was wrong often enough to make me a little uncomfortable. TuneUp pulled up better art work, provided better genre tagging, and was much faster. CoverScout? It actually has turned out to be useful as a means of finding BETTER cover art. When you select an album in CoverScout, it tells you the current size in pixels and shows what it looks like. It then finds other art work. I found that I could, based on the star rating that CoverScout provides, grab better art work than any covers that are at 150×200, 200×240, or whatever. So, it has actually served its purpose. Would I spend the asking price for that functionality? Hell no. And, it should be noted that I cleaned out the CoverScout directory after generating the chart. It’s now back up to 663 MB. There IS something that grows faster than my gut.

So far, TuneUp is maintaining its edge. I could live with Pollux but the genre tagging sucks and I would never feel fully confident in the results I’m getting. If it were my money, and it was, I would go for TuneUp. Since I own them all, I’ll probably continue to pull up CoverScout whenever I’m not happy with the cover art (but then, only when I’m confident that the cover art I currently have is correct but suboptimal). I will use TuneUp for the heavy lifting and then switch to Pollux to snag my lyrics. I mean, really, for years I was singing things for “Blinded by the Light” that were just plain WRONG!!!!!!!!

I’d be very interested in seeing the opinions of others.


Genre Tagging — Pollux vs. TuneUp

Maybe I’m more anal than I thought. Since putting the song scrubber comparison together, the genre tagging has begun to eat at me more. I mean, if you ever want to take advantage of Smart Playlists, it would be helpful to have decent genre tagging, right? Trying to evoke a certain mood is going to fail miserably if the bulk of your tags are the same general value! With that in mind, I decided to put together a table that compares the tagging produced by Pollux and TuneUp. What you’ll see is that Pollux is, for the most part, very generic. TuneUp, on the other hand might be too granular.

Below is the table. I tried to cross a variety of genres to give a representative sampling of the tagging that takes place. My process was:

  1. If the song already has a genre, clear it.
  2. Use Pollux to update the tags.
  3. Record the value from Pollux.
  4. Undo the tag update in Pollux.
  5. Drag the song into TuneUp.
  6. Record the value from TuneUp.

You can be the judge for yourself. For me, erring on the side of too granular seems more useful.

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Update

Apparently, the EYES of TuneUp is everywhere! Tiffany from TuneUp Media posted a comment that linked to a method for controlling the level of genre tagging in TuneUp. I have looked for similar functionality in Pollux but don’t find it. For the record, it is under preferences.

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If you right-click on the TuneUp window, you get a pop-up that allows you to set preferences. Under the “Clean” tag you’ll see that there are three levels of genre assignment. Although it isn’t clear how the levels are determined, you can certainly loosen up (or tighten down) the number of genres available from Level 2 (the level at which the above table was generated). Thanks, Tiffany!


ConceptDraw Office — Some Negatives

I’ve already gone on record as really liking ConceptOffice (especially the combination of Project and MindMap). However, there are a few annoying shortcomings:

– On a Windows PC, it can be a resource hog. My laptop will occasionally crawl to a near stop. This may be due to the fact that my main file has 12 projects and a master project that combines them all (of course, on the Mac, this is not an issue at all).

– On a Mac, you cannot export to Excel or Numbers.

– Although you can combine multiple projects, shared resources are treated as separate instances. I have found no way to summarize resource usage across the multiple projects without pulling a report into Excel and doing a lot of manipulating.

– There aren’t enough fields available on the resource sheet and I haven’t been able to find a way to add them. It would be nice to be able to classify tasks and then summarize or cost by task type. It would also be nice to have fields for resource cost AND resource billing rate so that margins can be calculated.


ConceptDraw Office

When I first got out of college, I worked for a company that allowed me to have a Mac. The Mac SE was my favorite tool. Back then, just after we moved from chiseling tablets, the Mac had a program called HyperCard. It was an interesting program with its own coding language. I used it to create an MRP system (material requirements planning). The system allowed us to track inventories, production requirements, purchase orders, and so forth. It even gave us graphs of expected inventory levels. It was much better than the $50,000 system that my company had purchased (running on DEC…ever heard of it?).

When I moved to IT, I began managing PC’s also. A co-worker and I had moved the HyperCard system to Excel. We found out something very unfortunate. Although I could attach a modem to a Mac and have it working in less than a half hour (versus the four hours plus it would take to put a modem into a PC), our MRP macros ran at least 4 times faster on the 486 PC running Excel than they did on the Mac. This, unfortunately, was the beginning of the end of my Mac experience.

After that, I found myself in positions where the Mac wasn’t an option. My employers were so locked into the PC world that a Mac was out of the question. This year, I decided that if they upgraded the graphics on the iMac, I would buy one for myself. In the spring, they did exactly that. With some trepidation, I ordered my 3.06 Ghz iMac.

Wow. Suddenly, after 14 years, I enjoyed using a computer again. Using Fusion, I was able to put XP on my iMac but I rarely found a reason to use it. Then, one day, I realized that I hated using my Dell laptop for work. Since I have to produce project plans for my clients, I began looking around for a Mac product that would allow me to create the project plans I needed and yet provide them to all the Windows users with whom I worked.

After some searching, I found ConceptDraw Office. I loaded it onto my Mac and immediately fell in love. The product allowed me to mind map my projects, then convert them into project plans that could be exported to MS Project, then produce dashboard-style status reports that could be exported to MS Powerpoint or Visio.

This is a great product. Before finding it, I had been using FreeMind to create mind maps. There is absolutely nothing wrong with FreeMind; it’s a great product and the price is right. However, it didn’t provide the links into project management like ConceptDraw Office did. As I looked into it, I realized that ConceptDraw Office would be considerably cheaper than what I currently use (MindGenius, MS Project, Visio). We’re talking $499 vs. $940. Plus, the integration is better and ConceptDraw exports to all the necessary products.

Additionally, I found out that purchasing a license from CS Odessa actually means that you can install the product on three PC’s, regardless of OS. This means that I could use it on my XP laptop for work and also install it on my iMac to use while working from home.

Although the PC version isn’t as user friendly as the Mac version, it actually seems more stable. In both versions, it’s an excellent product. If you are comfortable using mind maps, need to produce project plans, and would like more attractive updates for your “customers,” you should definitely look into ConceptDraw Office.

http://www.conceptdraw.com


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