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You’re gonna flip

FlipAlbum CD will help you make a digital photo album. Software review hed: You’re gonna flip dek: FlipAlbum CD will help you make a digital photo album.

Anybody who owns a computer of recent vintage probably has lots of digital images, including scanned prints and slides as well as downloaded pictures and clip art from the Internet. Digital cameras are so affordable that more and more computer users are capturing images in purely digital form, producing yet more pictures. I asked my friend Vern how many digital images were on his hard disk and he actually knew: He had 2,546 unique pictures and asked me what he could do with them.

Make albums, I told him. FlipAlbum CD Maker Professional Edition for Windows provides a new twist on categorizing and organizing digital photos. If you have lots of pictures on your hard drive and want to share them with family and friends, you can use FlipAlbum CD Maker to create a digital album. Until now, you had to copy image files onto a CD-R (or CD-RW) disc along with software allowing the recipient to view the photographs. Most browser programs aren’t self-starting and require some user interaction to get them running. Albums made with FlipAlbum CD Maker not only are self-starting, but they also simplify the entire process, from creation to presentation.

FlipAlbum CD Maker accepts BMP, GIF, JPEG, WMF, ICO, PNG, PSD, and TIFF files. Music formats supported include MIDI, WAV, and MP3. Video formats are limited to the Windows-only AVI. When choosing picture files for the album, a Wizard shows the next few steps, but using the program is basically a drag-and-drop operation. Once files are displayed in the Play window, they can be moved around to change the order in which they will be displayed and images can be added or removed. CD Maker is not a photo editor, but it has a Rotate function that lets you place images into their proper orientations. You can adjust the interval between pictures as well as add captions to each photograph. FlipAlbum CD Maker Professional has a 200-file limit per album, and only one album per CD, but I was told this would be increased in future releases.

You can toggle preferences to allow or disallow encryption of pictures. Allowing it means photos can be shown only as an album presentation and can’t be copied, something SOHO users will appreciate. You can also decide whether images in the album can be printed. If you allow it, the Overview-thumbnail views of everything in the album-may also be printed. After you choose the front cover picture, add some tunes, and review the album for changes, you’re ready to write a digital album. FlipAlbum CD Maker doesn’t include any CD-writing software; they expected you to have a CD-R (or RW) drive and software, and to know how to use it.

The 24-page manual is straightforward and easy to follow. It contains pictures and screen shots that will help you produce your first album. At $99.95, the Professional version lets you make 1,000 CDs a year, but if you need more than that, you can purchase the $199 FlipAlbum CD Maker Business Edition.

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