Karelia's new Mac media browser for the rest of us

Karelia Software releases its iMedia Browser, a small application that lets users browse and retrieve a variety of rich content on their Macs. Even better, it's free.
Written by David Morgenstern, Contributor

[Updated: Oct. 16, 2007 @ 3:59 PM PDT]

Karelia Software on Tuesday released its iMedia Browser, a small, free application that lets users browse a variety of rich content on their Macs and then drag the media files directly into their current working document. The utility currently handles photo, audio, video and bookmark files.

I've been testing the program for several weeks and found that it fit easily into my workflow. This little tool targets the usual suspect folders for your content, such as the Pictures folder or the iPhoto library, as examples. However, you can just drag a folder into its list, saving you from having to dip into the desktop or into Spotlight for content.

Karelia is the maker of Sandvox, a slick and easy-to-use CSS site authoring tool. Dan Wood, the company's founder, is a longtime Mac and OpenStep programmer. Karelia also said that the source code for the media browser framework was now publicly available.

I asked him where iMedia Browser features might go in future versions.

"Well I'd like to keep moving it forward, keeping on par with what Apple provides in their version of the browser, so that it's a familiar interface to users. And we want to incorporate iPhoto events, things like that. We're open to adding more powerful sorting and filtering, which would be nice, as long as the interface is kept simple," Wood said.

Here are a couple of tips about the Karelia iMedia Browser if you decide to download the software:

•There are settings for preferences in two places: firstly, as expected in the Preferences pane under the application menu. However, there's also a tiny italicized "i" that's in the upper right-hand corner of the browser window, as if the tool is a widget. Clicking the letter reveals settings for the icons and one for revealing file names for images.

•The default action of the version I've been is to hide itself when you click into the window of another program. This setting is called Visibility/Hide on Deactivate. To keep the iMedia Browser visible, change the setting to Always Visible.

•Microsoft Word doesn't work with iMedia Browser — yet another reason to use something else. From my testing, it appears that Word doesn't play by the rules and accept the drag information from another application. Word works fine with a drag from the Finder, however.

(Update: Readers report that drag-and-drop from iMedia Browser also doesn't work with the current beta of Word 2008.)

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