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Jewish World Review
Feb. 16, 2007
/ 28 Shevat, 5767
New “Toast” Bows in Media Mix
Nothing is simple these days, particularly when it comes to media: video
blends with photos, accompanied by music, and is then locked into slide
shows, or loaded onto portable players, or played back in the living room
as the 21st Century doppelganger of those hoary "look-at-my-vacation" 35MM
Putting everything together seems daunting, even for users of the
oh-so-media-friendly Apple Macintosh. The iTunes program found on
just about every Mac these days can only go so far, as can its "cousins,"
iPhoto and iMovie . You can do a lot with these programs, but
preparing a simple "mix" of all media can be a tad daunting if you need to
move between all three.
One part of the answer, could well be found in the recent release of Toast
8 Titanium, a $99 piece of media wizardry released by the Roxio unit of
Sonic Solutions (www.roxio.com). Toast is a name that's almost legendary
among Mac users for its ease in letting you create a CD, DVD, and, now, a
Blu-ray , high-definition, high capacity disc, of just about
anything you've got on your computer: last week's episode of Law & Order,
your cousin's drive-thru Vegas wedding video, those slides from your trip
to Lithuania's Rasos (midsummer) festival, all your 1970s vinyl translated
to computer files - whatever.
This latest version of Toast shows that the software is, hardly, "toast"
in the slang sense: it's up-to-date and thoroughly useful, save for one
"speed bump" which is decidedly not Roxio's fault, of which more in a
For now, let's start with some basics: You've got some television shows on
your computer thanks to the EyeTV Mac-based recorder, or on your
TiVO video recorder which is networked to the Mac. Either way,
Toast 8 can transfer these to appropriate DVD discs, or convert them for
use on an iPod or Sony PSP device. That's neat, especially when you
video-recording hard drives start to fill up. According to the program's
manual, a blank DVD can hold between two and five hours of video. Tracking
recording progress isn't difficult: once the program starts recording, a
progress bar is shown both in the program window and the system icon
visible in the system "dock" of program icons.
Similar creating processes exist for data discs, which can back up a hard
drive's contents, or for photo albums (just how many snaps can I get on a
DVD?), and for moving the aforementioned old vinyl platters into modern
times (get the right "patch" or connecting cables to run from your
turntable to the computer).
In short, as you might be able to guess, there's a world of possibility
here that is waiting for the right person to come along and use. Apart
from Apple's multimedia programs, Toast 8 offers a lot in the way of
melding and making multimedia recordings that can be truly useful. In some
sense, it's a "precursor" program to Apple's applications, creating the
kind of media that, for example, can be used in a presentation with
Keynote, Apple's answer to Microsoft PowerPoint, or with PowerPoint
But there's more. Because this software offers a bridge among several
formats - you can create video in 13 different formats, for example - it's
possible to go from Mac to PC platforms, and back, without too much
hassle. And because it works with several multimedia types, blending items
I mentioned a drawback before, and it's this: you cannot use Toast 8 to
create discs containing music purchased through Apple's iTunes
online music store; that can only be done with the firm's iTunes software.
Perhaps that can change in the future.
Since Toast 8 seems to have a wide range of possibilities, this limitation
is an annoyance and not a deal-breaker. If you work with media, and a Mac,
you'll want this program, and be glad you have it.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
JWR contributor Mark Kellner has reported on technology for industry newspapers and magazines since 1983, and has been the computer columnist for The Washington Times since 1991.Comment by clicking here.
© 2007, News World Communications, Inc. Reprinted with permission of The Washington Times. Visit the paper at http://www.washingtontimes.com