Revised 12/29/02 - Read expert review at epinions.com"/>
Pros: Offers methodology for creating most types of Compact Disks.
Cons: Not much is really new
Away with the Christmas Spirit, Amen! In a holiday fit of irrational exuberance; I heard of and acquired some software that I thought would allow my DVD Player, a Sony DVP-NS315 to play our graphics image files (*.jpeg or *.jpg format) to our TV. My misconception stemmed from the ease with which digital cameras can display images via an NTSC Video output. If a little camera could do it; why not expect the same from one of those new-fangled DVD players? Archived image files were another matter. These had to be copied from the PC Hard Drive to a CompactFlash card, the card inserted into a Digital Camera, then 'played' to the TV through our VCR.
When I found a copy of this program, the package ad copy assured me that "...Slide Shows of images could be done." So I took a copy home on December 24, 2002. After reading the introduction to "Nero Burns ROM 5.5 I found that the software package would not do this because we only have a CD-R/RW Drive on our PC. It appeared that I needed to create DVD Disc copies of my image files. Also, the program could NOT handle Kodak PhotoDisk images (*.tiff format, I believe). Lacking a DVD Recorder, I concluded that this was a waste of time and I returned the software the day after Christmas.
Epinionator "NC10" was kind enough to suggest some ideas that resulted in a R/W of this review.
Since 1986, when an employer required me to have one and to use it at home, we have owned four Personal Computers. Beginning with the IBM-XT, we progressed through the more powerful 286/386sx Overdrive, missed the 486x althogether, and Pentium 90/200 overdrive. The latter was replaced in 2001 by a HP Pavilion 7920 900MHZ. We have accumulated software that has been brought forward with each replacement; some software is automatically included in a PC Package. Thus, we have MS Office 97, Lotus 1-2-3 Version 5 and a copy of Adobe Photoshop 4.0 in our collection. These 'obsolescent' programs work quite well with a new Operating System - Windows Me, that came with the HP 7020.
Software purchased but no longer used includes WinFax, WinZip, and WordPerfect.
A novelty for us at the time, a CD-R drive was purchased and installed, by me, on the Pentium 90 system in 1986. The HP drive was a SCSI device, an Adaptec 2940 SCSI interface board allowed us to add an HP 5100 Photo Scanner. The CD-R drive went to the PC Heaven when we discarded the Pentium 90. We still have the Photo Scanner.
The new (2001) HP 7920 came with a CD-R/RW drive, an 8x4x32x device made by Mitsumi. That RW option is handy and works well for us. Our PC does not contain DVD Drive nor a DVD Recorder Drive.
New software programs that we have retained and use include a paid copy of GlobalScape Cute FTP which has allowed us to create and publish web pages. I could not figure out how to use MS Frontpage for publishing although I could use the Edit function. Too much automation.
What's New, Revisited
The last new thing I bought for the old PC was a new PC. The old one was not worth fixing. That happened a year ago last July; which means our PC is obsolescent and that I should drop the mess into a dumpster.
NEW Technology Available - for a price, of course
As we all know, from the "Andromeda Strain", lasers are dangerous. So, we allow manufacturers to put lasers inside what looks like a "hard drive" with a drawer. Into this drawer, we place a flat and shiny disk called a Compact Disk (CD). A CD can be filled with information, usually by someone else, or a bunch of information can be put onto a disk by a PC owner. We do this and we are happy.
Let us examine the technology for a moment. Somewhere inside a typical digital camera is a tiny program on a bit of silicon that can transfer those *.jpeg files to a TV. So, is it asking too much to get a less stupid playback device (too complex to describe) that can do the same thing? Something like a CD? Or, maybe something more versatile - called (father, forgive them) DVD (diverse video disk) Or is it perverse? PVD? Maybe someone has already thought of this useful idea - using the power of DVD to 'present' some dumb home snapshots of "Dismal Land" or the last vacation ... to an unsuspecting and innocent audience of one or more. I inquired of local experts and Epinionators and thus heard for the first time of......
TA-DA Enter "Nero Burns Rome"
The general consensus was that I could view *.Jaypeg files on my TeeVee (cousin of above) if only I were anointed with the latest in software from some mysterious source. Already, you comprehend, we have the elements of a conspiracy, a really Bad Government Leader's name, that leader endorsing a 'new' bit of technology, a mean and small minded manufacturer in America trying to hog the profits, a sensational form of relief from some off-shore source; all the elements of an INFOMERCIAL are here. We also have the worst case of GEEKOLOGY on earth. We have Burners, CeeDees, CD Burners, Flash Memory, CD ROM, CD R/W, CD R/W , (or is it "-"?), CD Data, DeeVeeDee, Music CeeDees, *.mpeg files, things that make *.mpeg files, a host of file types, all in all a true saving of the earth. Here, is another cutting edge product that will save us. But, one might say: "From What". "From whom", or "What was the question?" What, exactly, are we getting that we need so badly?
DETAILS - Or, How We're Going to Save You!
Nero Burns Rome, er, Nero Burns ROM, er...What? This cute title is the very latest software package, Version Five Point Five, that will allow a PC owner to create stuff using those beautiful shiny CD Disks (or is it Discs?). After a frantic search, a copy of "Nero Burns ROM Version 5.5" was located at the local Office Depot. The shrink wrap package touts the ability to capture and store information on a host of different formats, including Music, Raw Data, Movies, etc. The copy included a claim that one could create slide show presentations of graphics files. I already knew that "Nero" was an Adaptec Killer, thanks to some epinionations I had read.
OK, that's for me. "Thank You Sir, that'll be $79.99 plus tax". Huh? Wadabout those $42 specials? This was the second step on the road leading to the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Respect, even reverence imbued me as I stumbled to my Ford Ranger. I had gone to Office Depot to look for some shelving and picked up two sets that looked promising and seemed to justify the trip. Total cost for the shelves was $98 Tax
The Awful TRUTH
Next day being Christmas, our Son called up to wish us well and he did so. I mentioned that I had a copy of "Nero...5.5" and what I intended to do with it. "Hey, that's what I used to make up that CeeDee I gave you!" That, dear reader, was step 3 and the fires of hell were being stoked for me. My son did not know that one could make *.jpg files play through a DVD Player. That was very ominous.
So, the grand opening took place a few minutes after he hung up. The box contained an Introduction Booklet that led me step-by-step through the process of creating a Data Disc from a Blank Disc. Then, it led me through the process of copying someone else's music. Royalties were mentioned. Then, it told me these were only two of many kinds of disc I could create. For the others and for more details, "...see our user manual..." Huh? (Step 4) Rummage through the box again, found a device for pressing circular labels on new CeeDees, a shrink wrapped jewel box containing a CD copy of "Nero", no manual. No clue that they meant they had put the manual on the CD. The only thing that was added to the booklet was the same stuff in five more languages. So, that was the "New, in Version 5.5?" The room was heating up and the oven doors were being opened.
Did It Work?.
Maybe. I'll simply take the word of all those experts who misled me. Here, again, is a product one needs to know through and through before reading the manual - if you can find one, that is. The very concept of Version 5.5 is an adequate warning that all is not well at Headquarters (somewhere in Germany). The handbook mentioned several download files that looked promising but I will leave that path to perdition to persons more brave than I am. The jargon (geekology) is enough to make one cry with frustration. "Nero" is complex and capable but I was not convinced that it could do what I wanted. As for the creation of CD-R and CD-R/W; those concepts are familiar to me from my experiences with Adaptec CD Creator.
Overall, I found nothing new here. The file interface is very similar in concept to the one I use in Cute FTP and, for that matter, Adaptec's CD Creator. So, that is not what inhibited me. But I expected much more for MY $80! Which I promptly got back.
For those of you in my predicament; not being able to spend endless hours experimenting with and 'networking' about a new product like this one; it is still buyer beware.
As to which is better, I think it might be a tie between Adaptec and "Ahead" - both have worked to improve their software packages. I am witness to the improvements within the Adaptec program since 1996. It is now very intuitive and nearly free of Jargon.
I am of the conviction that a PC must be a tool for human use; not a device to control human beings. Thus, I am very severely critical of 'innovations'; especially by Microsoft. My first conclusion on "NERO" was that it is just another effort to turn a profit.
Thanks to NC10:
I now realize that "AHEAD" is just that. The company offers a trial downloadable version of "NERO Burns ROM" - the same policy practiced by "GlobalScape" in their Cute FTP (and Cute HTM). Surely, this is a good faith sales effort; I have 'upped' my opinion to "Average" and changed my recommendation to "Yes" - I would recommend anyone to try this new product. In fact, do that before buying it.