Er...somethin' like that.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Webcomic Viewers on Mac OS X

For the longest time, I was a faithful user of Steve Saxon's iComic 3.0. It worked great to get all of the comics I like- Dilbert, Garfield, Foxtrot, and Penny Arcade. But alas, with the arrival of Tiger came iComic crashing on startup nine times out of ten. Oh, but Steve announced that he was working on a new spiffy version of iComic that worked with Apple's new buzzword-thy Dashboard environment. So I pulled down a copy of that and installed it. It worked okay, albeit quite slow. It even recognized the vast archives I had amassed. But then I began adding all of my comics to my Dashboard and I noticed one slight problem- there's no way to consolidate multiple comics into one copy of the widget, or to collapse the copies of the widget to make them smaller. So with just the 4 comics I currently read (not counting ones I want to pick up, like Ctrl-Alt-Delete), my screen is well past completely full. And unless someone out there wants to give me a Dell 2405FPW as a late Christmas present, that's not terribly practical. So iComic is out.
I remembered another piece of software, Spiny Software's Comictastic. I'd used it to mass-download the archives of Garfield back when uComics had the entire Garfield collection (back to 1978!) up for the Garfield movie. But I'd dumped the resulting files into iComic because, well, iComic was free and Comictastic was $15. I downloaded a fresh copy of Comictastic and tried it out. Hey, this is really nice! Well worth the shareware fee! Now I just have to....damn. Between the version of Comictastic I used and 2.3.1, the latest version, Jan changed the comic cache format from an iComic-like folder of date-named JPEGs and GIFs to a folder of .ctcache files...packages that include the comic image file and a bunch of other extraneous data related to the strip. So close and yet so far!
So here's the deal, Comictastic folks: give us back the old cache format (it can stay in the new location, but back to the old "folder full of image files" way of storing it) or, better yet, code in an option to either have the extra information or not, and I'll gladly buy a license code for twice your asking price.
Alternative idea: iComic is now open source. iComic stores its' extra data inside the image file's EXIF data. Pick apart how they did that and get the best of both worlds.

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