Editing Your Photos
At this point, Resco Photo Viewer leaves the
competition further behind.
When viewing a picture, the action bar offers
single-photo and editing-related functions. This toolbar permits
users to open files, go to favorite folders/files, initiate a slideshow,
rotate the displayed picture, edit the picture, record or play
an attached sound note, add or read a text note about it, annotate
the photo itself, and obtain detailed information about the file.
Although this bar can be hidden, I left it up most of the time
because it proved so handy.
Resco takes PDA image viewing to a new level
with bilinear interpolation. This kicks in when you zoom a picture
below 100%. It smoothes the result so that details that would normally
be lost when reducing an image remain discernable. Text and complex
images especially show the benefits of this approach. Your eyes
will easily see the difference that this technology makes.
Using the menus, Photo Viewer will even save
files as your Today background image. It will also convert images
to JPEG, BMP, or PNG format, and even preserve the EXIF information
in the process. JPEG image quality may be specified to control
You can annotate or otherwise draw on your photos.
Tap on the drawing icon and Photo Viewer displays the drawing toolbar.
Lines, rectangles, ovals, and text may be added to graphics. Line
and background colors may also set. Thus you may emphasize parts
of a picture or add an explanation right on it. For example, the
screenshot depicts the Rand Corporation's 1954 guess at what a
home computer might look like in the year 2004, opining that the
teletype interface and FORTRAN language would make it easy to use.
I've annotated a comment about the "steering" wheel.
Tapping on the edit tool changes the action bar to one that
accesses more complex functions. From left to right, these include
the core image-appearance properties, resizing, cropping, and rotations.
As holds true for other editing bars, the blue check saves the
changes and the red 'X' cancels them. Upon saving the changes,
Photo Viewer offers to save the file under a different name if
you do not wish to overwrite the original picture. Edited pictures
may be saved in JPG, PNG and BMP formats. Again, the quality level
may be set for JPG images, which lets you balance file size vs.
The resizing screen simply offers a percentage change in size,
direct pixel-size specification, or a user-preset size. It couldn't
be simpler. Cropping is equally simple. Just tap at your starting
point, and then drag across to your end point. Tap inside the cropped
area so finish the crop. I routinely use Photo Viewer to resize
screen captures for all my PPC software reviews. Usually images
look better reduced in Photo Viewer than when I use any of my desktop
The picture brightness, contrast, and gamma correction may be
adjusted. Just select the item on the bottom toolbar that you wish
to change, and then move the slider to change it. Access this capability
by tapping the far left icon of the editing toolbar.
Again, Resco goes well beyond the basics here. They furnish a desktop
program, Album Generator, to format, create, save, and transfer
photo albums to your handheld.
Resco constructed the desktop program as a wizard to lead users
through the process. The first screen offers a list of common tasks
to perform: opening an existing photo album, PowerPoint presentation,
individual images, or browse your PC for images.
Opening individual images brings up the illustrated screen. Album
Generator thus facilitates reformatting images to suit the target
platform. Changes available include resizing, rotation, brightness,
contrast, gamma, and color depth. Add files one at a time while
customizing each, or apply existing changes to all listed images.
Resco makes a difficult and time consuming task both simple and
If that's not enough, Resco allows you to add MP3 tracks and picture
transition effects to slideshows. This kind of capability normally
requires a heavy-duty desktop program. Adding music to a themed
slideshow combines the two most powerful mediums for moving audiences
Resco dramatically simplified converting a PowerPoint presentation
for viewing on a handheld. Simply select a presentation and Album
Generator will convert all the slides to JPEGs in a few minutes.
Upon completing that task, the Optimize Images screen appears whereupon
you can customize the presentation to suit your desires. The quickest
approach entails tailoring one slide to the intended medium, then
click on Apply Settings to All Images. I converted a 19-slide presentation
with Master Slide elements, full background, and slide transitions,
and optimized it for VGA. The PowerPoint version weighed in at
about 1.1MB, and the Resco created the output at almost exactly
the same file size with JPEG quality set to 95%. The resultant
slide show came out perfect, including the slide transitions. Amazing!
If desired, Resco Album Generator will save converted PowerPoint
presentations as separate JPG files rather than an as one slideshow
file. This can be handy for reordering, down-selecting, or adding
slides or images on your PDA.
Video Player Too?
Oh yes, Photo Viewer plays MPEG 1 videos as well.
Videos may be set to play automatically upon loading if desired.
The action toolbar for videos offers appropriate tasks. In addition
to the standard control functions, you may also increase the video
to full screen and obtain detailed file information.
I tested the video play with a high-quality test video called
Chosen with Clive Owen which we use for benchmarking at MobileTechReview.
The clip was encoded at 320x144 pixels, 16-bit color, 24 frames/sec,
and 240 Kbits/sec video data rate, and I had it loaded on the CF
card. The video played pretty well, but I could regularly discern
skipped frames. Less aggressive data rates should play fine, though.
Screen Capture Utility
Reviewers and beta testers live and die by screenshots.
Resco's included Capture It! proved incredibly simple and perfectly
reliable. Upon execution, it pops up a dialog window offering to
take an immediate screenshot or wait 10 seconds in the background.
The latter comes in handy when trying to capture menus and other
transient objects. If you always want it handy, simple assign
it to a hard button.
Upon completion of the capture, the program pops up a screen for
the user to input a file name and location to save the image. The
location is retained for subsequent images. Alternately, Capture
It! may be set to save automatically using successive default names.
By saving images in the default \My Documents\Captures\ folder,
they transfer automatically to your desktop through ActiveSync
along with the rest of your documents.
After saving the file, Capture It! offers to open it for you in
Photo Viewer. This conveniently allows me to immediately resize
images to embed in reviews. I've used this excellent utility for
every one of my PPC software reviews. It always performs perfectly.
So many options, so little time…
It should surprise no one by now that Resco made Photo Viewer highly
configurable. The tabbed options screens allow the user to set
a default folder for Browse Folder, to start with the wizard
or the last pictured viewed, how to load large pictures, setting
the memory cache size for thumbnails, general viewer settings,
how to handle notes and drawings, skin, thumbnail screen details,
slideshow speed and effects, how to handle video previews and
animated GIFs, customize button assignments, and more. I found
the defaults to be well-considered and only changed a few settings.
Resco has again created an application without
peer. Resco Photo Viewer 5.32 performs all functions marvelously
well, and includes lots of useful features. Its simplicity of use
and elegant interface gracefully tap the underlying depth of its
capabilities. From simple image viewing to complex editing, screen
capturing, converting PowerPoint presentations, and creating slide
shows, Photo Viewer stands alone as a uniquely complete package
ready for the novice and professional alike. A good buy at $24.95
retail, it is a steal when purchased along with Resco File Explorer
2005 and Resco Stickies in the $34.95 Resco Utility Pack. Tanker
Bob would not be caught without these gems on his Axim.
Full VGA support
Supports a large selection of image formats
Uses bilateral interpolation to render images at < 100%
Context-sensitive "action" toolbars
Sophisticated image editing
Excellent screen capture utility
Simple photo album creation with desktop image optimizer
Easy PowerPoint conversion
Plays MPEG 1 videos
Makes your lunch (just kidding, so far…)
Some frame skipping in video playback
Not having Photo Viewer on your PPC