article photography software review

WIC Codec to display and decode RAW photos – .CR2 .NEF .DNG….

What is a WIC codec ? it is the acronym for Windows Imaging Component. It has been introduced in Windows XP service pack 3, and by default in Vista and 7. It is an interface definition ( and SDK ) to “add” to Windows the ability to read and write ( Codec means Co-der and Dec-oder ) new image format.
It is something more and more popular with the new DSLR digital camera and the “pro” format RAW format ( .CR2 for Canon , .NEF for Nikon, .DNG for Adobe, and much more other formats for Sony, Minolta, Mamya.
If you have the correct WIC codec installed, you are able to see the raw files in explorer, but also in any compatible client using a WIC interface, such VSO Photo Gallery, Windows Live Photo Gallery, Windows Media Center, and more… so finally it allows the computer to understand how to display new and proprietary photo format. By the way, can you imagine the famous Picasa still can’t read supported WIC format ? Picasa is still using DCRAW which is a nice library to read RAW photo but unfornutly the color and speed isn’t as good as genuine WIC codec when it is delivered by digital camera manufacturors.

Thats all the problem, Canon ( I m a Canon user so I don’t know very well for the other manufacturors ) is quite often late to update the software part, forcing any new digital camera buyers to use the software delivered as a bundle with the camera. It is just software !!! but for unknown reason, they are quite slow to update the required drivers and .. that’s not all…

Let’s talk about x64 bits version of WIC codec, and you will find Digital Manufacturors are really hardware oriented. Is there a solution…. hopefully there is one now, that I want to share today :

It is a all-in-one, hassle-free solution to support all the major RAW files with one package, even if you are using mainly only .CR2 or .NEF you can consider this option as you could tune some options that the original manufacturor doesn’t allow to do. You need to know the .RAW files often contains 1 to 3 differents thumbnails size and a copy of the raw files as an embedded jpeg version ( using the default settings of the digital camera for the white balance, sharpness, creative mode ). Using that file stream you can greatly speed up the display of the raw files within Windows Explorer and see thumbnails of raw , as you are used to watch .jpeg or bitmap files. It is one of the only solution to get your raw files supported with x64bits edition of Windows !

Not only FastPictureViewer is providing support for x64 bits version that the original manufacturors don’t want to do, but it offers to any users the best performance, and extra features. A must have !

This codec offers a few other options and the development is going fast to implement new features, for example it will have a better and more accurate rendering than Windows internal codec itself, by rotating the picture correctly, or removing the black bar which adjust the size of the thumbnail to the regular aspect ratio of the windows thumbnails.

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New DVDFab web site, better navigation and release of v7 suite of software

dvdfab 7 web site DVDFab has published a new web site, with a lot of very good idea to make the update to the newest practice to promote your activity. The web site is using now lighter color, and navigation has been greatly improved so you can easily find the software you need. That’s new web version is also pushing public the new DVDFab v7 which has new engine to backup or rip DVD but also Blu-ray disc. That’s one of the most convenient software available to convert a Blu-ray to MKV, or to backup from a BD25 or BD50 to a BD9 ( a blu-ray / AVCDHD structure but burnt to a DVD9 or DVD5 ). In such case, I recommand to downscale to 720p the resolution, but it works and the quality is pretty good.

Visit the new

Translation could be improved for French, I already mentioned it to the CEO of DVDFab ( as I m french I could easily see it wasn’t translated by native french person, or at least a person which could do the best optimisation for SEO and SEM with french search engine. At least, I can’t blame the update of the full web site, it was required, and I think it is already a good job.

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New ImgBurn version turns adware… so what is the problem ?

On my spare time, I was planning to write an in-deep article about if adding a sponsor ( toolbars, new browser, additionnal offers ) is a good or a bad thing to consider when you are a software publisher. It’s a very sensitive topic for me, because I left ( or have been fired depending on who is telling the story ) VSO-Software, because I dare to try to include the Ask and Conduit toolbar in ConvertXtoDVD, VSO Image Resizer…
When I read the articles about ImgBurn turning adware I was pretty shocked actually, and want to give another point of view, the small publishers one.

Articles sample :
Ghacks :

What is the deal ?
Several companies, such Google, Yahoo, Ask, EBay, Conduit and other search engines, contacts the popular software publishers to offer them commission in exchange of bundling their toolbar or link to services in the installation script of their product.
The same way some websites are including Google Adsense to get some extra cash ( and sometimes it’s their only source of revenue ), the software publishers are considered as a great source of prescription and diffusion for “Adwares”
Is a search engine toolbar an adware ? .. some providers abused, and indeed, you can always think getting your search information is a spy-mode, but dont be naive, you don’t need an extra tool installed to get a lot of information about your browsing habits. I m not a paranoid guy… it is maybe a problem and explanation about why I don’t see evil at every street corner.
The industry rules about defining an adware is : installation without consent of the user, unexplained activity and task description of the added tool, and difficult control on the uninstallation process. There are really strict rules to enter any big program, and when you see Adobe, Nero and some other bigs companies are bundling these too, you can wonder if they are stupid or not, and if they aren’t aware of what they are doing. Is anyone is posting a news to remind Apple is trying to promote Safari as a browser when you install Itunes ? no.. because it’s Apple !

Let’s come back to the ImgBurn case… is it a big company ? no … a single guy doing a great jobs since years and which deserve the loyalty of any ImgBurn users.
ImgBurn is a free software to burn files , iso images to CD / DVD / Blu-ray disc with a elegant a simple interface. It is a popular software and a reference as you can change a lot of options such hardware layer access. Up to know, I guess the only income of his author is the advertisement areas¬†placed on his web site ( Alexa Ranking Top 15000 ), but as any software involving hardware and burning disc, it is a kind of investissement, you need to buy new burners, blank DVD, deals with a lot of support, and for something free as donation isn’t effective if you don’t force users to do that. Actually, most people are aware of what will happen, and I can certified that more than 90% of users will turn off the installation of the adware package, whatever if it is checked ON or OFF by default. the 10% ( actually it could be as low as 3% to 8% )¬†of people which accepts the toolbar or sponsor, are doing it by real choice or because they didn’t pay any attention of the additionnal step installing the extra program.

So stop blaming small software editor to try to make money, because I guess you are happy to have a monthly income for your work too… just my 2 cents.