The talk of the baseball world in February was the New York Yankees' controversial signing of Alex Rodriguez. Laughing in the face of the luxury tax, and showing up the Red Sox' John Henry and every other multimillionaire owner without the guts to blast through a mountain to bolster his lineup, George Steinbrenner added an all-time great at the peak of his powers—playing and earning—to a team already loaded with pricey, overpowering talent.
Which leaves the rest of the league to fume and fret over a season many have pronounced over before it's begun. How do you beat a team with All-Stars at eight positions, and MVPs at three?
Naturally, journalists are doing their best to poke holes in these intimations of invincibility: A-Rod is out of position at 3rd base, and Jeter has always been out of position at shortstop; Giambi, Lofton, Brown, and Rivera aren't what they used to be; all those all-star egos can't possibly co-exist. Faced with such a team, writers will repeat these arguments until they believe them. But they know they're grasping at straws.
When Roxio's Chris Taylor and Vito Salvaggio flew out to Madison in late January to demo Easy Media Creator 7, scanning the new Media Creator Home Explorer interface that catalogs all the applications in the new "Digital Media Suite" was enough to make my eyes bug out the way a glance at the new Yankee lineup does. Just as Rodriguez, Jeter, Sheffield, Lofton, Giambi, Matsui, Mussina, or Brown might be (or have been) franchise players on another ballclub, Creator Classic, VideoWave, and PhotoSuite are all viable products in their own right that have been rolled into Creator 7 with their full feature sets intact. VideoWave, for example, acquired from MGI in 2002, sells as a standalone product for $79, and competes in the consumer NLE space with Ulead Video Studio, Pinnacle Studio 9, and ArcSoft ShowBiz. PhotoSuite, a still-image tool newly beefed-up with enticing masking and object selection features, sells on its own for $49.95. And Creator Classic and CD & DVD Creator ship in OEM versions with all manner of CD and DVD recorders and recorder-equipped PCs and often prove to be the only recording tools that purchasers of those drives and PCs ever use.
Never has a consumer product in this space packed so much power and versatility and made it so easy to get to. Which is a key point in and of itself: for application triage, Creator 7 has no peer. Choose an app by name, or from a handy task list, and you're sure to find what you're looking for. With the exception of the (still) disappointingly limited DVD Builder, they are all fine tools, and there are always logical (and usually multiple) ways to navigate between them.
What's more, if it took a Yankees-sized payroll to put these elements together, Roxio certainly hasn't passed those costs on to the user. It's hard to argue with a suite jam-packed with top-notch apps for $99.