Memories. They’re like the corners of your mind, if the famous song is to be believed. Some you remember, some you forget, and some you wish you could forget. Yes, we know all about that incident (we’ve been reviewing e-mail sniffing programs on the side). But don’t worry, your secret’s safe: we won’t tell.
For the stuff you’re proud of, however, using a scrapbook is one way to ensure those fond recollections don’t get too hazy. And a virtual scrapbook means you can do so without covering your dining table in glue.
Avanquest reckons that its latest Scrapbook Factory is the number one program in the business. It’s certainly well featured, coming equipped with an impressive range of templates; some 6000 in fact, backed up by a wedge of clipart. There are several thousand different themed scrapbooks on topics such as education (first day at school), hobbies (stamp collecting and scouts), pets and so forth.
The remaining templates are other craft related projects, allowing you to put together calendars, journals, greetings cards and other bits and bobs. The designs are reasonably professional, although there is an American bias: football refers to the gridiron, for example.
Scrapbook Deluxe also scores points for its user friendly nature. Adding clipart or a photo is simply a matter of browsing the hard drive and dragging and dropping it onto the work area. When working on a project, standard desktop publishing controls apply, with the usual pull handles for resizing and so forth.
Items are automatically layered on the page as you paste them in, and it’s easy to move any graphic backwards and forwards within the layers. There’s a useful spread of options on the right click menu, allowing the user to lighten up text, for example, or perform an on the spot spell-check.
You can really go to town on text with an effects panel that grants access to all sorts of funky fluorescent and wavy fonts, and there’s a built in photo editor too. Along with basic brightness/ contrast/ colour adjustment, this also has some slightly more advanced features such as a red-eye reducer, scratch remover and set of special effects filters. However, the scratch reduction tool is just a simple brush that blurs the image and the filters aren’t very useful (some are serviceable, but many produce fairly poor results).
Once a project is finished, the package gives you the choice of printing, burning direct to a CD, publishing to HTML or exporting to a PDF file. You couldn’t ask for much more than that, really, and storing your memories away on a disc certainly beats trying to source acid- and lignin-free paper that won’t decay in a box in your attic.