The folks at
use Macs to create their Mediashare products and service that let you build online photo and video albums. Heck, they even feel their stuff looks better on Apple systems.
(For those new to the column, Forward Migration is our term for companies moving from Wintel machines to Macs — or at least adding or increasing the number of Macs they use. A Forward Migration Kit is an overview of Mac OS products for a particular occupation, such as photography, optometry, etc.)
Mediashare members can share their personal photo, video and sound files with friends and family over the Internet. It offers customizable albums replete with album templates. Members can create as many albums as they would like and each album is accessible from a single web address (such as dsellers.neptune.com).
“We’re totally Mac development,” Craig Fox, Neptune’s VP of product development, told MacCentral. “We even use Virtual PC from Connectix for Windows testing.”
Mediashare albums consist of large photos, motion, and stylistic graphics that correspond with a chosen theme, such as sports, travel, and holidays. They sport a full screen user interface with large buttons and simple navigation.
Mediashare members place their own photos, videos, and music into their albums. Once uploaded, members can manipulate the size, position, and rotation of their photos. When uploading sound files, members can use either music or voice tracks. For video, the most popular formats and sizes are supported.
“Mediashare is really focused on the composition of photo albums for members,” Fox said. “We’ve done a lot of the thinking and planning for you, so you can quickly make something you’re proud of without feeling you’ve got to be a desktop publisher.”
If a member can’t produce an effect they want using his own media files, Mediashare provides photo, video and sound libraries. Many created albums that have buttons that trigger motion, bringing new images into the user interface. This type of interactivity separates Mediashare albums from other static sites, according to Fox.
Album templates let members write captions to accompany their photos. They can further describe albums by typing a full description. Captions and descriptions are dynamically added into the user interface in real time.
The sophistication and ease-of-use makes the Mac a preferable platform for using and viewing Neptune content.
“Digital video is still very difficult for Windows users,” Fox said. “Our products are simply better for Mac users. For example, we really had to mess around with Windows Media video to make it look good.”
Mediashare Pro includes an unlimited number of photo and video albums; a personal Web address; an album creation tool; a guestbook to see who’s visited your albums; 25 MB of storage for your photos, videos, and music; and expandable storage up to 1 GB. To use the service you pay a membership fee. Only folks who are publishing their content have to pay; friends and family can view any Mediashare album for free.
The Mediashare Standard membership is US$6.95 per month for up to 25 MB of storage. The Mediashare Gold membership is $9.95 monthly for up to 100 MB storage.
Mediashare offers more features than iPhoto and iMovie tools, Fox said. And its users are perhaps more Web savvy than those who solely use Apple’s tools, he added.
Currently, Mediashare is targeted to user of the traditional Mac operating system. But with Mac OS X revving up full throttle, that will change.
“We’re deep into Mac OS X right now,” Fox said. “We developed all our stuff for Mac OS 9.x with little Mac OS X testing at the time, but we’ve found no compatibility issues. As a company in a phase of shifting from Mac OS 9.x to Mac OS X, it’s been a bit tricky as some applications, such as Flash, aren’t yet Mac OS X native. Balancing it all is tricky, but we’ve ordered new products — such as VPC and Adobe’s After Effects — that are Mac OS X savvy, so we’re working on it.”
For Mac OS X to upload photos, videos, and music into your Mediashare account, the Shockwave Player from Macromedia is required. Last week the native version of the Shockwave Player was finally released. However a huge number of Director Extras that are used for authoring have yet to become OS X native. Due to this fact in order to upload successfully users still need to run Internet Explorer or Netscape in Classic mode, Fox said. Extras developers have estimated that many Extras will become native in the next few months, he added.
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