Reviews In Brief
iLife Voice Solution
Why fool with menus and buttons when you could just tell your Mac what to do? That's the idea behind MacSpeech's iLife Voice Solution ScriptPaks, premade scripts that enhance the command-and-control abilities of iListen 1.5.2 (mm; January 2003). This set of OS X ScriptPaks is compatible with Apple's iLife applications, including iDVD 3, iMovie 3, iPhoto 2, and iTunes 4.
iListen ships with almost no application-specific tricks; this ScriptPak bundle (you can also buy individual ScriptPaks for $10 each) adds 63 new commands to iTunes, 51 to iPhoto, 39 to iMovie, and 37 to iDVD. The iTunes scripts work particularly well. Say "Play this song" or "Fast-forward this song" to control the music. (If you have a lot of trouble with unresponsive commands, make sure System Preferences: Universal Access: Enable Access For Assistive Devices is turned on.)
Not all the commands for other applications are useful (how many times will you use the "Register this application" command?), though most will save you trips to menus. But the ScriptPaks don't include commands for launching programs, with the exception of iTunes.
On the whole, these ScriptPaks are a handy, inexpensive enhancement to iListen for anyone who uses Apple's iLife apps regularly. -- Scholle Sawyer McFarland
OakTree Software's Accordance 5.5c lets you perform a wide variety of information-rich searches of biblical materials.
Although Accordance offers tools for serious scholars of Judeo-Christian texts, it's simple and flexible enough for a novice Bible student to use. The interface has a search window that lets you select a specific edition of the Bible, search by keyword or verse, add accompanying phrases around search results, and customize searching with complex Boolean queries. A toolbar at the top gives you access to auxiliary research tools, such as Greek texts, Hebrew texts, scholarly references, and Bible study guides. It's amazing how many different resources are accessible from a relatively small toolbar.
In addition to simple searches for keyword or verse, Accordance lets you set up parallel searches, save searches and search results, make notes, and add hypertext links to specific citations.
Anyone who's interested in studying the Bible would do well to invest in Accordance. -- Lisa Schmeiser
If you have a large collection of fonts that sometimes causes trouble, a house call from Morrison SoftDesign's FontDoctor 5.5.1 can cure what ails you. This utility searches local and networked drives for damaged or incomplete fonts. Once FontDoctor finishes its search (which can take a while, depending on your search parameters), it repairs the fonts and generates reports that pinpoint problems and offer solutions.
FontDoctor organizes your fonts, too. Say you have different styles of one typeface scattered throughout several job folders. FontDoctor can move all those styles into one folder, so it's easier for you to track your assets. New to version 5.5 is the Move Fonts window, which lets you move and copy fonts between font suitcases.
Furthermore, FontDoctor's Inspect Fonts feature displays all the glyphs in one font at a glance. You can also print a sample page that shows that font's alphabetical characters in several type sizes.
FontDoctor is an industry standard for good reason: it knows how to diagnose and treat problems, and it helps maintain a healthy font collection. -- Terri Stone
Marine Aquarium 2.0
After I loaded Prolific Publishing's Marine Aquarium 2.0 on my computer, my LCD looked almost as if someone had transformed it into a sleek and stylish MacQuarium. The fish, coral formations, algae, and other aquarium elements were smoothly rendered and realistic: the mobile inhabitants turned in a 3-D motion, and everything cast subtle shadows and reflected light. Should your conscience keep you from running a bootlegged copy of Finding Nemo on your Mac, this is a decent substitute for cinematic computer-generated clownfish.
If you're running Marine Aquarium on OS X, it appears as an option in the Screen Effects panel of System Preferences and offers almost complete customization: you can choose the fish that inhabit your monitor, and a Fish Info window gives helpful tidbits about each. You can also determine how often "night" falls, during which the virtual aquarium light goes out and the fish move in silhouette on an eerie blue background. We tested Marine Aquarium 2.0 on a 1GHz 15-inch PowerBook G4 running OS X 10.2.6 (it also runs on OS 9). Performance may vary based on your system configuration; however, you can choose to economize on video memory or run the program at a specified number of frames per second. -- Jennifer Berger