MacInTouch Reader Reports

Applications: Graphics

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Jul. 21, 2010

item.118104

John Holland

I agree! Canvas is by far the best drawing program - ever! I have used it for years since it came out. I don't understand why it is no longer being updated for the original platform, Mac.

Jul. 22, 2010

item.118171

Gregory Tetrault

John Holland said:

"I agree! Canvas is by far the best drawing program - ever! I have used it for years since it came out. I don't understand why it is no longer being updated for the original platform, Mac."

Canvas followed the same pattern as numerous other dead Mac products. In the late 1980s Deneba wrote Canvas (as a desk accessory!) and then UltraPaint as Mac-only applications. Canvas became more advanced and soon surpassed MacDraw. It eventually acquired most of the painting tools from UltraPaint. Canvas steadily improved throughout the 1990s, adding more features, better image editing, better page layout and typography controls, and CDs full of clip art and fonts.

Then, the bug bit: the developers got bored with incrementally improving Canvas for the Mac market, and they decided to write a Windows version (an easier task since Windows 3.1 had copied much of System 6's interface). Deneba devoted nearly all its resources to the new Windows version, and then code-ported that version into Canvas 8 for the Mac. Not surprisingly, it was a debacle. The interface was different, functionality decreased, speed decreased, bugs were rampant, and Mac users screamed bloody murder. (This is very similar to what happened with Microsoft Word.) Deneba learned a lesson from that sorry event, and Canvas 9 (released after ACD bought Deneba) was a substantial improvement.

Deneba was bought by ACD because of the potential of strong sales of Canvas to Windows users. Canvas X development was completed, but ACD did little to advertise it. ACD's support for Canvas X was mediocre, and it was slow to fix bugs. ACD sold lots of upgrades to Canvas X as Mac users switched to OS X, but, because of the minimal advertising and poor support, there were few new Mac customers. That, naturally, justified ACD's decision to drop Canvas for the Macintosh and add it to the long list of great applications that were abandoned by their developers.

Jul. 23, 2010

item.118209

Michael Fussell

As a Canvas user since version 1, I concur with the comments that Canvas is a very useful and unique program. We use Canvas as our CAD program often using photos and vector drawing together on the same drawing sheet to produce design drawings for a large variety of new building and remodel projects. While extremely disappointing to have the developers abandon the Mac version completely, it is infuriating that they will not sell it to someone who will develop it. I cannot understand running an asset into the ground and making it worthless rather than selling (the Mac version) it and getting some money for it.

Ironically, Canvas X for the Mac has the least bugs in it today running under Rosetta on OSX Snow Leopard. Canvas runs better for us under Snow Leopard than even Leopard and much better than Tiger. As long as Rosetta is available, it would not take much work to fix some outstanding bugs, clean up a few issues, and return the program to service. I constantly look for a replacement and there really is not anything available. The closest is probably Adobe Illustrator + some graphics manipulation program.

item.118216

Frank Parth

I think there was something else going on with Canvas also. Except for those of us who are artists or professional illustrators, I think most of us just wanted something that gave great results and was easy to use.

From that approach, the best version of Canvas was 3.5. It was highly versatile and still intuitively obvious to use. The next version of Canvas I remember was 5.0 (I don't think there ever was a 4.0 version). But the new version was radically different. Deneba decided to upscale Canvas and compete with Adobe Illustrator and the other high-end tools.

In the process, the software became complex and was no longer intuitively obvious. Deneba changed the market they were going after and lost their direction.

I've moved to Omnigraffle. It does what I usually want it to do; unfortunately it's anything but intuitively obvious to use. I have to relearn how to do even basic things every time I open it (PITA). This keeps me from using it more and has caused me to examine other simple drawing tools such as EasyDraw.

item.118230

David Slone

As one who bought Canvas 2.1, and every proffered upgrade, I agree with John Holland, and consider it to be the best overall drawing program. I appreciate Gregory Tetrault's history. I was still on Mac OS 9 when I got Canvas 8, and it was too slow to use. The one feature that I needed once was that it supported the old MacPaint bitmap patterns that had disappeared from previous upgraded versions of Canvas.

Despite ACD's shameful neglect, I don't consider Canvas to be a "dead Mac product" since it has remained viable to this date.

When I got a new MacBook Pro in 2008, my biggest fear was that Leopard would break Canvas. Canvas actually runs better on Leopard than it did on Tiger. Fortunately almost all crashes under Tiger followed immediately on saving a document. The posts tells me that Canvas also runs fine on Snow Leopard.

Often referred to as the Swiss Army knife of the graphics world, Canvas's ability to handle all tasks exceeds my relative modest requirements. I use it primarily for patent drawings and room and furniture plans. I did do a wedding invitation once that turned out very well.

Experts will, or course, quibble, but when I was first looking for a drawing program in 1991, Illustrator couldn't handle multi-page documents (I believe that is still the case).

I do relatively simple stuff in it, but when I draw a room plan, it is great to be able to put dimensions on it. The ability to do vector and image editing in the same document has come in very handy when I want to edit scanned sheet music, for example.

I have bought other drawing programs, and while they seem like very good programs, I am not up for the learning curve. I use them for specific tasks. For example, OmniGraffle Pro does a credible job of opening Visio files, and Intaglio does a good job of importing ClarisDraw and MacDraw files.

Jan. 31, 2011

item.128713

Adrian Goldman

It's about time to ask this question again: comments on drawing programs? (other than the outrageously-priced Adobe products)? I have Intaglio - which is OK but not great and hasn't been updated in the three years since I bought it; I have looked at ZeusDraw (not updated since 2009) and EazyDraw, and neither have overwhelmed me.

It would be nice if Canvas came back for the Mac platform, but I assume we can forget about that.

Feb. 1, 2011

item.128726

Jack Wenrick

I loved Canvas up through V3.5.x

Then all H... broke loose when the came out with V5 and beyond.

V3 had some neat (but basic) drawing tools which made it an excellent resource for room layouts, maps, annotations, etc. I loved the layers support. It did just what I needed, and did that very well.

But V3 only ran in Classic mode which Snow Leopard no longer supports.

Boy, would I love to see Canvas V3 come back as an app that would run under Snow Leopard. I found it invaluable.

item.128729

MacInTouch Reader

For $15 at the App store EazyDraw is a "best buy" - a vector drawing package with outstanding technical support from Dave, the author of the software. I use it to exchange drawings via pdf with anyone using a CAD package.

item.128746

Chris Long

This looks good:

http://www.bohemiancoding.com/sketch

item.128756

Bill B

Looks like SVG (scalable vector graphics) is making progress. I was reminded of it when looking at a new and promising web editor, BlueGriffon. Here are some links.

Stand alone editor: SVG-edit.

Web editor: bluegriffon.

item.128777

Steven Klein

I was a big fan of MacDraw, especially MacDraw II, and once kept an old PowerMac 6100 with OS 9 around just for that app.

Now I use WouldjaDraw. It's good enough for my (admittedly humble) needs.

The last update was a year ago. The developer seems more focused on iOS apps these days.

item.128778

Ted Silveira

Adrian Goldman said:

"I have Intaglio - which is OK but not great and hasn't been updated in the three years since I bought it..."

Intalgio was last updated in April 2010 (to 3.1 and then 3.1.2), just under one year ago.

item.128782

Ira Lansing

I can't speak to your personal needs, but EazyDraw is now available through the App Store for $14.95! It is easily worth that much.

The only difference between this and the $95+ version through other sources is that the App Store edition can not import PICT files. According to the developer's web site, the "other" version will soon lose this capability as well (something to do with 32- versus 64-bit?). Also, the App Store version is 64-bit and blindingly fast.

Feb. 2, 2011

item.128800

Robin Lake

I went to the Mac App Store to purchase a license for EazyDraw. It recognized that I had installed the unpaid, unlicensed version and didn't seem to want to sell me one.

item.128803

Raymond Thompson

There is a company, Dassault Systems, the maker of SolidWorks for the PC that is a high end 3D CAD program. This company now makes a new 2D program called DraftSight that is both free and for the Mac and PC. This is their clone of Autocad. It reads and writes Autocad files and works just like Autocad including all of the typed commands. It is currently in Beta but I have not found any problems. You can find it [here].

Take a look.

item.128851

Art Hicks

Like several others, I really liked MacDraw back in the day. Now I favor EazyDraw, which has good features and a good price as well.
Regards

Feb. 3, 2011

item.128886

MacInTouch Reader

I've used EazyDraw for years to do occasional complex drawings. They range from architectural floor plans, lot plans and contractor project layouts.

My hobbies are ham radio and robotics. Electronic schematics and mechanical drawings are quite easy with EazyDraw. In addition EazyDraw can layer scanned drawings and pictures to assist in creating drawings.

On the PC I prefer Vizio. But I cannot imagine spending my productive time with the operating system it runs on. I'm firmly in the Mac camp. I used to use Canvas but it wasn't properly kept up and now it's no comparison to EazyDraw.

Just my thoughts and experience. No endorsement offered or intended.

item.128895

Russ Brown

I also missed MacDraw until I discovered Intaglio which has the same intuitive feel. Support has been great. I have used it to design a control panel in a nuclear reactor main control room, initial screen designs for a heavy water system. With Emerson's DeltaV Distributed Control System running in Parallels, I made a common folder and used Intaglio to design all the graphic symbology. I suggest trying the free trial copy. (I just bought the iPad version.)

item.128901

Matt Neuburg

Re:

Intaglio - which is OK but not great and hasn't been updated in the three years since I bought it

There was an update yesterday, actually.

item.128903

Gary Johnson

As another long-term Macdraw user, I finally settled on Intaglio as my main drawing application. Familiar interface, tools that simply work right, wide variety of file types supported (including editing pdf), and a nice price. Highly recommended.

item.128918

Ira Lansing

Robin Lake said:

"I went to the Mac App Store to purchase a license for EazyDraw. It recognized that I had installed the unpaid, unlicensed version and didn't seem to want to sell me one."

Try again and look carefully. I too downloaded the unpaid version directly from the developer so I could try before I buy (not possible on the App Store). I liked it, went to the App store and the downloaded version replaced the original in the location of the original. I no longer had the two versions; just the one from the App Store.

Feb. 4, 2011

item.128938

Bruce De Benedictis

The last time this subject came up, I wondered what ever happened to center lines. They used to be standard for mechanical drawings, but somehow nobody puts them into consumer-level drawing applications. I asked the developer of EazyDraw about them at MacWorld Expo a couple of years ago, but they do not seem to be there. What happened? Are center lines no longer used?

Feb. 5, 2011

item.129119

Ian Blair

Jack Wenrick wrote:

Boy, would I love to see Canvas V3 come back as an app that would run under Snow Leopard. I found it invaluable.

Canvas 3.5.4 works in OS 10.6 inside Sheepshaver. Apart from the menus, which behave strangely, everything seems to work.

item.129121

Dave Mattson

In EazyDraw: Center Line, the check box in Graphic Details drawer - just check the box and one is automatically added, the icon for the button is the "C" with a dot.

Feb. 7, 2011

item.129203

Jen Cluse

Jack Wenrick replied to Ian Blair's comment:

Boy, would I love to see Canvas V3 come back . . .

Canvas 3.5.4 works in OS 10.6 inside Sheepshaver. Apart from the menus, which behave strangely, everything seems to work.

Jack, as far as I know, this is a problem with Canvas 3, not Sheepshaver directly. Canvas menu's were messed up by changes in System 8, and the problem wasn't fixed. SS can run 7.5.2 through 9.0.4, though it needs the image of an Old World ROM to run Mac OS 8.1 or below, and I haven't attempted that yet. Perhaps someone here has and could offer a brief tutorial on doing so, after they confirm that Canvas 3.5.x menus are good back in 7.5.2 running in Sheepshaver?

And yes, even though I used & loved Canvas, Intaglio has some really excellent tools, which make quick graphics easy, especially the always-on items-alignment lines. As you move an item, the alignment lines appear, and flick from the current possible alignment with another item, to the next possible horizontal and/or vertical alignment as you pass the next item. Easier to see in action than to explain, it speeds laying out dramatically.

The only improvement I could suggest to the Intaglio developer would be for s/he/they to add the ability to read all those hundreds of precious old Canvas files; then we could drop this conversation :)

Feb. 8, 2011

item.129219

Rick Granick

To quote Jen Cluse:

The only improvement I could suggest to the Intaglio developer would be for s/he/they to add the ability to read all those hundreds of precious old Canvas files; then we could drop this conversation :)

I know this will elicit a lot of laughs (or groans), but I would add requesting the ability to read old Aldus Superpaint and AppleWorks draw files. ;-) (I still use AppleWorks as well as Intaglio.)

item.129228

Lawrence Rhodes

Jen Cluse said,

"Jack, as far as I know, this is a problem with Canvas 3, not Sheepshaver directly. Canvas menus were messed up by changes in System 8, and the problem wasn't fixed."

The menu glitches in OS 8 were fixed by the Canvas 3.5.5 updater in 1997. Canvas 3.5.5 runs very well in OS 9 and Classic; it's one of the reasons I'm still on Tiger. The updater works only on a Canvas 3.5.4 installation from floppies, not on 3.5.3 updated to 3.5.4 (there may be a fixed updater, but I think it was emailed and never posted). I've also heard of Canvas 3.5.6, but I vaguely recall that it had no important fixes (?).

All versions of Canvas 3.5 expired on August 31, 2004 because of an error in the code that applied a license to a demo version. When asked about this via many saliva-filled emails, Deneba discovered that they had lost (!) the Canvas 3.5 source code -- but they gamely developed a binary patch to a resource which extends the expiration date until 2039. Without the source code, however, the much-desired dream of porting Canvas 3.5 to OS X is pretty much impossible.

I own both Intaglio and Eazy Draw, and find the former easier to use though the latter has some impressive capabilities and more frequent updates. Both will import MacDraw and ClarisDraw files but not Canvas 3.5 files, sigh. Finding a more future-proof drawing file format is much more of a tower-of-Babel problem than word-processing formats; anybody have a favorite? PDF? SVG? ODG?

item.129260

Richard Hardy

Canvas 3.5.5 (patched to avoid the expiration bug) also runs very nicely under SheepShaver on a new 6-core Intel Mac Pro. I use this to access very old graphics files that I "Print-To-PDF" in OS 9 and then open in Intaglio - works well, but simply opening old Canvas format files in Intaglio would be much nicer, of course!

Feb. 9, 2011

item.129262

Guenther Fischer

Lawrence Rhodes said:

Canvas 3.5.5 runs very well in OS 9 and Classic; it's one of the reasons I'm still on Tiger. The updater works only on a Canvas 3.5.4 installation from floppies, not on 3.5.3 updated to 3.5.4 (there may be a fixed updater, but I think it was emailed and never posted). I've also heard of Canvas 3.5.6, but I vaguely recall that it had no important fixes (?).

I still have that 3.5.6 updater available. If needed, I can send it.

All versions of Canvas 3.5 expired on August 31, 2004 because of an error in the code that applied a license to a demo version.

I still have the old Deneba patch here, and it worked for me:

Run ResEdit or Resourcer and open the Canvas 3.5.5 application. (resource fork)
Find the 'toly' resource with an id of 1011 and open it.
You should see hexadecimal values '07D4 0008 001F 000C 001E 0000 0001'
Change it to '07F7 000C 001F 000C 001E 0000 0001'
Close/Save the resource change.
Close/Save the resource file/fork.
Canvas 3.5.5 should now run without the warning for another 35 years!

I own both Intaglio and Eazy Draw, and find the former easier to use though the latter has some impressive capabilities and more frequent updates. Both will import MacDraw and ClarisDraw files but not Canvas 3.5 files, sigh.

Unfortunately, this is true for all newer Canvas versions up to Canvas X for Mac and Canvas 12 for Windows. I could import with one of the older versions following up to 3.5, but so much rework was required, that I did not go that path. But exporting from 3.5 as pict files was a good idea.

Last remark: It is a shame, that Canvas X is no longer supported on the Macintosh. It is still one of the best draw/paint app in the market.

item.129268

Gregory Tetrault

Richard Hardy said:

"... simply opening old Canvas format files in Intaglio would be much nicer..."

Despite killing future development of Canvas for Macintosh, ACD Systems refuses to license its document format code to other vendors. Thus, nothing other than Canvas can open a file saved in any of its native formats.

The rationales behind this policy are that the current document format is the same in both the Mac and Windows versions and that licensing the document format code would reduce sales of the Windows version. ACD Systems fails to realize that making Canvas documents importable by other drawing and painting applications would increase its appeal because users wouldn't have to convert documents before sharing with others. (Many of us requested this before Deneba was bought out.)

ACD System makes similar excuses for not selling or licensing Canvas X to another vendor to upgrade and sell. ACD System appears to believe that tens of thousands of Mac users of Canvas are going to buy the latest Windows version and run it under Boot Camp, Parallels Desktop, or VMWare Fusion. ACD System fails to realize that almost all of us are sticking with Canvas X and hoping it will work with Lion and subsequent cats or switching to other OS X applications.

item.129310

Graham Needham

I'm not a heavy drawing user and I have no idea if this fits the bill for people but I came across a news story for this new product yesterday:

http://www.mapdiva.com/artboard/

It's only available on the Mac App Store (so 10.6.6 required) and so no demo version but I'm sure someone here will take the plunge and buy it to try it out (and let us know the results).

Feb. 10, 2011

item.129329

Daniel Vallee

I'm one of the early adopters of MacDraw, and I have used them all: PowerDraw, VectorWorks, Intaglio. I guess I'm settling at last with EazyDraw. Really impressive and the documentation massive. All for 95$ and even less on the App Store.

item.129365

Lawrence Rhodes

For Rick Granick:

EazyDraw does a decent job of importing AppleWorks 6 drawings (filetype CWGR). You can open ClarisWorks 4 and 5 drawings in AppleWorks 6 and resave them if you have older versions. Don't have anything for Aldus Superpaint though.

For Richard Hardy:

Canvas 3.5 drawings import more accurately if you save them from Canvas in EPSF format and import that into Intaglio. The reason is that PrintToPDF is a PICT printer, not a PostScript printer. While it's visually quite accurate, especially if you have the internal resolution set high (in Misc.), PICT lacks the native Bezier curves that PostScript has, so any non-elliptical curves get changed into many short elliptical segments. Also, stroke and fill are better preserved. PDFs produced by distilling a PostScript print file don't have these problems, if you have Acrobat.

I find Intaglio imports EPSF and PDF files more easily and accurately than EazyDraw 3.6.0, for what it's worth.

item.129378

Jen Cluse

A little follow-up to my earlier (poor) recall of the origin of the menu corruption in Canvas, the following from an old record, dug out to check:

Canvas 07: In 7.6.1, Canvas 3.06 menus are crunched by?

The Appearance Control Panel in OS 7.6.1. Disable it and Canvas menus are stable.

Enable Appearance Control Panel and the File, Edit, Object & Layout menus are blank or scrambled when selected, and scrambled when you mouse down into them.

So it is was an older problem than Syst 8.

My fix for the date problem agrees with yours, Guenther Fischer, but in a different format. They work.

My current problem is that I was working in the Middle East in pre-'net days, and we relied on the occasional upgrade being floppy'd (sic) into the country. By the time I returned to an easy-update location, Deneba had disappeared, along with Canvas. A a result, I am stuck at a legal copy of v3.0.6, bought at the San Francisco Mac Expo when passing through about '91/'92.

I have never been able to beg, borrow, hire or steal a copy of 3.5.x

Can anyone point me to a place where a copy might be, 'ahem', purchased?

Feb. 11, 2011

item.129432

Ian Blair

Can anyone point me to a place where a copy might be, 'ahem', purchased?

Google>Abandonware>Mac

item.129433

Michael Fussell

There is a Canvas forum and I believe someone from there can assist you. http://www.wizaerd.com/forum/

Of that genre of Canvas, you need 3.5.6, if I recall. Note that Canvas X works very well for me on OSX10.6.6 so even though the company, stupidly in my opinion, is not supporting the Mac version at all.

Feb. 16, 2011

item.129724

Jen Cluse

Some slow feedback for Ian Blair's pointer to 'AbandonWare' (back on the 11th)

Thanks, Ian (& Michael) for that trip back to nostalgia-land.

Gee Wizz, (computing) life *was simpler then, but heh, we had fun! The sense of achievement we had on mastering what are now relatively simple apps! (That's an 'application' to we grey-haired hangers-on.)

Thanks for the trip - and for all the dead simple apps, that just work.

SheepShaver is getting a bit of a dust-off :)

Feb. 17, 2011

item.129772

Walter Ian Kaye

Jen may find the word 'application' nostalgic, but I can raise her one: I remember my sister insisting her applications folder be named "Applecations". :D

Jul. 13, 2011

item.138813

MacInTouch Reader

In all fairness to Thorston Lemke at LemkeSoft in Germany, he does not work entirely alone. He hired four additional programmers for the massive re-coding of GC to native Cocoa in the new version 7.x from the code mix of the previous versions, and they worked for over a year on that. He should be commended with great praise.

Currently we are in the twilight of the two worlds. While updates for versions 6.7.x have slowed in the Classic-Tiger-Leopard -SL realms with GC working on both PPC and Intel machines there, he is concentrating on maturing the version 7 Intel-only native version with an eye to Lion and the future.

This is why I am holding off updating to version 7.x for now. I still use 6.7.4 and beta 6.7.5 on my two Macs, one a PPC machine the other an Intel. I want them to run the same version of the app, for now, since I move a lot of files back and forth between those machines. GC is my mainstay , even though I have Photoshops. I use Graphic Converter to browse and sort/basic edit/catalogue my images and make extensive us of " Open with..." to send an image from a GC browser to Photoshop for refinement, as needed. GC is the first app I open after a reboot and the last to close before shutdown. I have no use whatsoever for Apple's anemic eclectic iPhoto except as the mandatory (!?!?!) source for iMovie slide show movies... Grrrrr.... and my version 2.2x of Aperture goes unused as well.

Yes, GC version 7.x is still in its adolescence and not quite ready , but it is still a remarkable bit of 3rd party graphics editing. Give it time.

If only Apple and Adobe were so conscientious and supportive of their customers real needs and wants versus the demands of stockholders and the board room to jack up sales apart from providing innovative tools at a reasonable price and supporting them for longer than a few months before shamelessly EOL'ing them. Adobe's current Photoshop and other CS strategy is a smoking gun of corporatism replacing creativity in the market. Apple is in that shady place as well.

Thorston Lemke is still doing what Adobe once did... fabulous customer-driven innovative useful productive image editting. Remember, Photoshop was orignally a Mac-only program.

- just a very satisfied GraphicConverter user since 1996

item.138819

Sterett Prevost

Re: GC's version 7 woes

If I recall correctly, when GC 7 was released, Thorsten also revealed that in order to bring it fully to Cocoa he had to contract the job out to Software Mackiev. As a "dot 0" release, I didn't find it lacking that much, as I understood the missing pieces would be added in as time and programming expertise allowed. So far that has been true, as 7.3 is more full-featured than at first. Another plus is that version 6 still works, if needed. Lemkesoft is a one-man operation, and I find it pleasing that it is as responsive and customer-oriented as it is. I think we need more outfits like this.

Jul. 14, 2011

item.138884

Matt Neuburg

Re:

In all fairness to Thorsten Lemke...

It seems to me that all this discussion of the relative merits of GraphicConverter omits the key point: it's free. Okay, it's not free theoretically, but the fact is that the only penalty for not paying for a registration is a short delay on startup. Thus GraphicConverter is true shareware: you can pay if you want to, but you don't have to. So as long as the new Cocoa version of GraphicConverter seems substandard to you, you get the benefit both of being able to complain and of its free use. Very, very few applications as important and fundamental as GraphicConverter can boast such a generous, honorable policy.

item.138935

Gregory Weston

Sterett Prevost wrote:

"If I recall correctly, when GC 7 was released, Thorsten also revealed that in order to bring it fully to Cocoa he had to contract the job out to Software Mackiev. As a "dot 0" release, I didn't find it lacking that much, as I understood the missing pieces would be added in as time and programming expertise allowed."

I want to reiterate that I am a long-time and continuing fan of both GraphicConvert and Mr. Lemke. But as an illustration of what's frustrating to some of us about 7, here's what I went through this morning trying to file a utility bill I got yesterday. First I scanned; the scanner emits an 8.5x11 color TIFF. The statement's about 3x8 and I want a greyscale PNG. So I double-click the TIFF which I've told OS X should be handled by GC. It opens fine. Now I want to crop so I press Cmd-A to establish a marquee which I'll then shrink down. The contents of the window are replaced with a different document - whatever image file sorts lexically first from the same folder as the TIFF I intended to work on - and then the contents are selected. The file I actually opened? It's now in the trash. This happens sporadically; I can't reproduce it at will but I think it's always after a fresh launch.

So I close the window, drag the file I wanted out of the trash and double-click again. Now I'm able to select. I do my cropping and then press Cmd-Opt-9 to convert to grey.

GC beeps at me. The command hasn't been validated yet. I think this might be a Cocoa bug triggered by the fact that the command is 2 hierarchical menus deep. You have to use the mouse to show the menu to get the command recognized. Not invoke, just show. Thereafter the keyboard command will work fine. This happens every launch.

So now I've got greyscale and it's time to save. I press Cmd-Shift-S and am shown the dialog. I navigate to the folder I want to store it in and start typing the new name. GC has, as long as I can remember, helpfully shown this dialog with the base name selected so you can just type to replace it without wiping out the extension. After I type the first character, the base name becomes selected again, so when I type the second character the first one is wiped out and now instead of my file name being 20110630 it's 0110630 because I forgot about this bug and the resultant need to type the 2 twice. This happens maybe 70% of the time. I think it depends on the specific order I do things in the dialog. Luckily this morning I noticed before I saved.

All of these, and several other issues of varying severity which also still persist, were reported within a week of 7.0 coming out last October. Some are as minor as the arrow cursor for the free rotate command being flipped or numeric inputs showing "0.00" templates when they only accept integers. Others are more major like 1-bit files randomly being opened inverted, or pastes into an image's alpha mask not committing until another edit is done.

item.138888

MacInTouch Reader

We have been using the okay graphing program Prism (v. 4) for our various neuroscience data, and we will have to upgrade it for Lion. Do readers have a better suggestion than Prism for Lion?

Jul. 15, 2011

item.138953

Matt Neuburg

Re. Gregory Weston's note:

The contents of the window are replaced with a different document - whatever image file sorts lexically first from the same folder as the TIFF I intended to work on - and then the contents are selected. The file I actually opened? It's now in the trash.

The problem here is that the default toolbar contains a button "Delete & Next". When you switched back to GraphicConverter by clicking on its window, you accidentally clicked that button. The solution: Customize the toolbar so that that button isn't present; that way, you can't make that mistake.

GC beeps at me. The command hasn't been validated yet. I think this might be a Cocoa bug triggered by the fact that the command is 2 hierarchical menus deep. You have to use the mouse to show the menu to get the command recognized.

It is indeed a Cocoa bug. This is a major issue with hierarchical menus in an application I use all the time: Xcode, written by Apple. Cocoa, too, is written by Apple. So the problem is Apple's fault, not GC's.

item.138962

Dave Turner

A MacInTouch reader is looking for a replacement for Prism for graphing neuroscience data. I suggest looking at DataGraph (http://www.visualdatatools.com/DataGraph/ or the App Store). Although it will likely require some initial effort to learn, it is very flexible (allows extensive control of graph formats and labels). In my experience, the developer responds rapidly to bug reports and feature requests.

Jul. 16, 2011

item.139013

Greg Ibendahl

I've been using DataGraph for the past year or so to do my graphs. DataGraph is really not that hard to learn, but it does require some retraining if you are used to doing graphs in Excel. DataGraph creates its graphs by using an Automator-like approach for each graphical element (legend, each data line or bar, titles, etc). I find this approach very intuitive, and it makes it easy to apply a customized graph to new data.

item.139028

Gregory Weston

Matt Neuburg wrote regarding my GraphicConverter issues:

"The contents of the window are replaced with a different document - whatever image file sorts lexically first from the same folder as the TIFF I intended to work on - and then the contents are selected. The file I actually opened? It's now in the trash."

The problem here is that the default toolbar contains a button "Delete & Next". When you switched back to GraphicConverter by clicking on its window, you accidentally clicked that button. The solution: Customize the toolbar so that that button isn't present; that way, you can't make that mistake."

I thank Matt for taking the time to try to address this, but he's wrong. I didn't mistakenly click on a button, because I didn't click within GC, period. With GC not running, I double-clicked on a TIFF file in Finder. End of mousing. GC launched and came to the foreground with my chosen document open. I pressed Cmd-A. The contents (and title bar) of the window were replaced with a different document. I'm happy he was able to point out the specific behavior that's happening, but I'm not doing anything that should be reasonably expected to invoke it.

item.139047

Ken Bowman

One possible replacement for Prism is Kaleidagraph

http://www.synergy.com/

item.139069

Chris Lucianu

A MacInTouch Reader using GraphPad Prism v.4 for neuroscience data asks about a better suggestion for use under Lion.

First, any specific suggestion pending the official release of Lion would be premature. As with all major system releases, we must brace ourselves for a cycle of incompatibilities, bug fixes, patch releases, updates and upgrades. If recent history is any guide, the onus will befall developers, even though the source of grief may reside with Apple.

Regarding Prism: the main thing is to upgrade to version 5, PDQ. Version 5 is Universal and written in Cocoa.
Alternatives, if any, depend on the particular needs and workflows, so it would be unwise to recommend any software in particular without further information. Especially not before the gory score of the Lion compatibility ordeal is known.
A reliable, if not always up-to-date overview of statistical and graphing software for the Mac platform may be found at http://www.macstats.org/.

From my own experience in statistical counselling, and guided by your current use of Prism, which implies an emphasis on visualisation, I'd like to highlight JMP, Aabel, and R for further consideration.

SAS JMP, currently at version 9, has recently reverted to its roots as a a visually intuitive, Mac-like, fully interactive statistical analysis tool. It comprises a structured hierarchy of analytical platforms, diverse plot options, an innovative Graph Builder for constructing non-standard composite graphs, and a thorough set of experiment designs. The summit of interactive Exploratory Data Analysis on the Mac used to be Data Desk. Since the latter's de facto demise (or prolonged coma at least), JMP has made remarkable strides to recover that territory. The heat generated by massive competition from R helps a lot ☺.

Gigawiz Aabel is chiefly a precision graphing workflow, with a series of statistical analyses thrown in. Its main users are in the environmental and geosciences. Not everyone needs this degree of ready-made versatility in the graphical representation of data. Those who really do may find it indispensable.

R (http://cran.r-project.org) is, of course, the free and open-source 400kg (I'm metric, sorry) gorilla of scientific statistics. The R ecosystem is exploding, with bioinformatics soaring and fresh packages being continually developed for every conceivable field (although genetics and genomics are massively represented, whereas generic neurosciences are quite inconspicuous). A key place to start, even if the learning curve is a bit steep at first. Essential skills to be acquired. With packages like ggplot2, R visualisation is taking off in a big way.

Jul. 18, 2011

item.139098

Matt Neuburg

Re:

I'm happy he was able to point out the specific behavior that's happening, but I'm not doing anything that should be reasonably expected to invoke it

Nevertheless, I believe that doing what I suggested (removing that command from the toolbar) will prevent this from ever happening again, which is the desired result.

item.139125

Davide Guarisco

Re: Data analysis and plotting software

Chris Lucianu has some good suggestions.

I want to add pro Fit ($95, http://www.quansoft.com/) to his list. Having been a heavy pro Fit user for over 15 years, I find it the superior alternative and the best compromise between quality of the plots, versatility, power, and cost. The application is of very high quality, very Mac-like, and the developers are very responsive. Recently they incorporated the ability to use Python scripting, which greatly expands the scope of the available tools for numerical computations. It is Mac-only.

Igor Pro ($595, http://www.wavemetrics.com/) is a cross-platform app with a similar philosophy and a stellar reputation as well.

While I use JMP, I strongly dislike it. Not only is the Mac port ugly, it's the inflexible nature of the application that I find very limiting. It is also very costly.

I am not affiliated with any of the companies making the products I mentioned.

Jul. 19, 2011

item.139188

Robin Lake

Re:

"While I use JMP, I strongly dislike it. Not only is the Mac port ugly, it's the inflexible nature of the application that I find very limiting. It is also very costly."

I use JMP extensively. It has a wide variety of alternatives for plotting, analyzing, and visualizing complex datasets. When developing algorithms/methods for applications where no prior methods exist, JMP has been a machete for hacking thru the data jungle, offering lots of alternative paths to explore on the way to a meaningful interpretation.

Jul. 20, 2011

item.139277

Chris Lucianu

Davide Guarisco is right in calling JMP costly; for normal users outside the educational framework, it is. Colleges and universities may have it site-licensed. Another interesting possibility is a 6- or 12-months time-limited individual student (or faculty) license. A 12-months license cost about 50 USD or 35 EUR.

As for JMP being ugly: taste is subjective, but I think most Mac users can agree upon what a well-written Mac user interface should look like. So yes, several previous JMP versions were ugly. And buggy as hell. It felt like JMP had gone the way of Excel, and PowerPoint, and Canvas, and a couple of other applications: starting out as a genuine Mac highlight, migrating in time to Windows, wilting on the Mac or being replaced by an ugly port. I wrote in my brief description that JMP 9 had reverted to its roots. Having used JMP since v.2, I consider versions beyond 5 a downfall. I spent more time in version 7 writing bug reports than using it. Version 8 was usable. JMP 9 is the first version I can again endorse and recommend on the Mac.

Igor and KaleidaGraph: I expected they would get loads of recommendations from other readers, so I left them out. Of course, both are lab staples. And I'm glad to see Davide recommend pro Fit: the kind of software that does one big thing, and does it exceedingly well. Peerless.

item.139290

Gregory Tetrault

Robin Lake said:

"I use JMP extensively. It has a wide variety of alternatives for plotting, analyzing, and visualizing complex datasets. When developing algorithms/methods for applications where no prior methods exist, JMP has been a machete for hacking thru the data jungle, offering lots of alternative paths to explore on the way to a meaningful interpretation."

JMP was designed for exploring data and finding patterns or relationships. It's good at that. It is lousy as a standard statistics program and does not have half the power and features of the old StatView application. Try using JMP for multiple anova, survival curves, nonparametric statistics on categorical data, and quality control charts with rule-based identification of outliers. Those tasks will be impossible or difficult with JMP.

Jul. 21, 2011

item.139432

Art Busbey

Another product to consider is the excellent, though long in the tooth, Aabel from Gigawiz (at version 3). It has excellent graphics (including some very unusual charts) with a great assortment of sophisticated statistics, including some heavy duty multivariate statistics. I use it in classes here and the students (and I) love it.

item.139444

Mike von Gonten

I've used DeltaGraph for what seems like 15 years, and find it does everything I need for Journal quality graphs, modeling, etc. Not a classical stat package, but it does what I need it to do.

The package I truly miss is the old MacSpin app. Did wonderful things for visualizing relationships between variables, even torturously non-linear ones. A real loss to numbers guys.

Aug. 16, 2011

item.141891

Jean-Paul Thalmann

I also have used Canvas 3 for years and this was the almost perfect tool for technical illustration.

I can still use my patched version of Canvas 3.5.5 (wich became 3.5.6 after patching) on an "old" OSX under Classic, and I hoped to use it also with SheepShaver, which I installed for this purpose only on my new OSX 10.6.8.
Unfortunately, upon launching I get the message "There is not enough memory to open Canvas 3.5.6 (zero K needed, 1,844,326K available)" (sic!!).

Since somebody seems to have succeeded with the same configuration I am presently using, I'd be grateful for any help and information.
Thanks in advance!

Aug. 17, 2011

item.141989

Richard Drushel

Re: the 0K available error for Canvas 3.5.x in Sheepshaver:

Canvas needs to live on a Sheepshaver boot disk image in order to run correctly; it won't work from the Unix disk (i.e., the shared Mac OS X folder, which is where I presume you have your Canvas folder). Just copy the Canvas application folder to the boot disk image somewhere (e.g., in the Applications folder), and run it from there. Some other programs also give interesting (fatal) error messages if run from the Unix disk (e.g., Sigmaplot 4.1.4), but are okay on a Sheepshaver boot disk.

Oct. 8, 2011

item.144829

Ben Levi

I'm looking for Mac/Intel-based 3D Fractal software. Are there any good packages out there? Freeware?

Oct. 10, 2011

item.144929

David Rubright

Ben Levi wrote:

I'm looking for Mac/Intel-based 3D Fractal software. Are there any good packages out there? Freeware?<

Artmatic is a nice one. http://www.uisoftware.com/

Pricy but is highly adjustable.

I believe they have an educational price.

Dec. 15, 2011

item.148880

G Spain

I have several instructors who have multiple x-ray CDs from the hospital and other x-ray labs that we need to play on a Mac. Does anyone know of any software that does this??

item.148915

Peter Neame

To G Spain regarding X-rays: most radiology disks have DICOM files on them. Osirix is the program you want. Free and outstanding

Dec. 16, 2011

item.148935

J wallis

Re:

multiple x-ray CDs from the hospital

Best bet for a medical image viewer that runs on a Mac would be OsiriX
  http://www.osirix-viewer.com/

I believe the basic version is free.

item.148951

MacInTouch Reader

Ditto on Osirix. That's what I used to see my x-rays - works really, really well. And it's free.

item.148952

Tony Ochoa

Re: G Spain

"I have several instructors who have multiple x-ray CDs"

I recently bumped into this when a co-worker brought in a CD with her son's spinal exam images. Instead of booting the office PC, just for giggles I ran the CD's installer in Crossover for Mac. Not a minute later I was screen capturing the results and printing them out for her. The CD's software perfectly, there was no Win required, and you can get a free demo online.

Going the no cost route, you could also use the WINE project. But Crossover wraps that up very neatly in a great little app.

  http://www.codeweavers.com/products/crossover/

  http://sourceforge.net/projects/wine/files/Source/

item.148960

David Andrews

My wife is a veterinarian; we use this to view DICOM images:
  http://www.osirix-viewer.com/Downloads.html

DICOM contains additional information as well as the image, if you only need to view the image I seem to recall that whilst GraphicConvertor would open DICOM files it did not show the associated medical record etc. The version we had would only show the image, but maybe that's changed:
  http://www.lemkesoft.com/

item.148958

Dale Hartlieb

DICOM X-Ray images can also be read with Graphic Converter.

Apr. 10, 2012

item.155607

MacInTouch Reader

Is there a relatively inexpensive/easy-to-use CAD or vector drawing app that can simulate freehand sketch lines?

We're looking for an app that can create conceptual plan views of buildings and spaces, but the lines need to appear hand drawn: that is, a little wiggly rather than straight, with line intersections that overlap slightly for that "napkin sketch" look.

Any suggestions?

item.155614

MacInTouch Reader

Vectorworks is not particularly inexpensive but it is easy to use and a very competent CAD package. It is able to apply a "sketch" render style to different objects. They have some default sketch styles ("careful," "rough," etc) but you can completely customize as well. You can also apply sketch styles arbitrarily to any one element, class or the entire drawing. We find it very helpful to be able to apply a sketch style when we want a drawing or detail to not appear finished.

Apr. 11, 2012

item.155618

Thom Pratt

PowerCADD from engsw.com has a tool called 'squiggle' that does exactly that. Full control on the degree of squiggle too.

May not fall under your version of inexpensive, but for a CAD program, it's pretty intuitive.

item.155623

Rick Granick

While on this topic, I am also looking for a relatively inexpensive/easy-to-use CAD or vector drawing app, that can save files in the dxf format. Any suggestions?

Thanks.

item.155630

Jeff Phillips

Re:

Is there a relatively inexpensive/easy-to-use CAD or vector drawing app that can simulate freehand sketch lines?

Sounds like you've just described Google SketchUp: (http://sketchup.google.com/)

item.155652

Adam Bezark

Thanks to your reader for the quick response about VectorWorks. Yes, it looks like a great product that does exactly what I asked; but with prices starting at $1700 (and heading up toward $3000), it's overkill for our casual needs. Are there other apps that can create similar "sketch" effects at a more affordable price?

item.155673

MacInTouch Reader

Google's Sketchup does this very well in an intuitive surface-modeling program. There's a free version, but you would need the pro version to be able to import more CAD files such as DWG.

http://www.sketchup.com

If you're looking to post-process a rendering from a CAD/BIM application, then take a look at Piranesi. It's best described as Photoshop for CAD because it recognizes depth in a rendering and can adjust/scale trees, people, materials, etc. correctly with the perspective.

http://www.piranesi.co.uk/

Good luck.

item.155695

MacInTouch Reader

Thanks for the continuing feedback. These apps are still kind of overkill for our needs.

Let's shift the subject from full CAD and 3D packages to vector graphics and diagramming programs like OmniGraffle. Can any of these apps create a squiggly/sketch line to simulate freehand drawing? (OmniGraffle can't - that's where our search began.)

We'd like to be able to create simple "bubble diagrams" on the computer that look as if they were drawn by hand (by an artist with good line control). These diagrams can be very helpful in explaining a "pre-concept" to clients before getting into the actual architectural/master planning design.

Apr. 12, 2012

item.155696

M Young

I went through the process of looking into CAD programs last year and decided on ViaCAD. I went with the Pro version but other versions are less expensive. I had never used CAD before (I was still using a drawing board at the time), but it didn't take me too long to get up to speed and design a fairly complex system. The video tutorials were very helpful. The Mac interface is not the greatest, but it is much better than some of the other CAD programs that look like a mess to me. I don't know too much about freehand sketching, as I don't use that capability.

item.155711

Randall Voth

For sketching, how about trying a pencil and paper (remember those?) Scan in the results and it looks just like you drew it with a pencil!

And now for little bit of commentary: I find that whenever I'm stuck for an idea I get out my beautiful Parker Duofold fountain pen and a bottle of ink. Instantly my block is gone and I solve the problem. This goes for writing a book, music or designing furniture. ...

item.155718

Raymond Thompson

Dassault Systemes, the company that makes SolidWorks 3D program for PC's, makes a program call DraftSight which is a 2D CAD drafting program. This program reads and writes DWG files as it tries to be an Autocad clone. It is free and for the Mac as well. I have been using it for over a year now and it works well. You can find it at:
  http://www.3ds.com/products/draftsight/overview/

item.155727

MacInTouch Reader

Another possibililty for inexpensive CAD software is DraftSight from Dassault Systemes (the SolidWorks guys). They have licensed Graebert's ARES software and are giving it away for free to individuals. If you're looking for something that works a lot like AutoCAD, this may be the next best thing. Runs on Mac/Win/Linux.
  http://www.3ds.com/products/draftsight/free-cad-software/

I looked at it a bit and decided it was too much like AutoCAD for my taste. I'm staying with Ashlar's Graphite for my 2D CAD work. It's not free, but I can get my work done much faster than with those other programs.

Ashlar does have one month and one year licenses if you don't need their products for long and they introduced a special deal for people out of work or changing jobs. You can get details on their web site.
  http://www.ashlar.com

item.155734

Neal Tobochnik

How about Easydraw?

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