Both programs burn DVDs as well as CDs, if your computer has a combination CD/DVD burner.
Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously available online since 1983

T e c h n o f i l e
Fireman for Windows and Dragon Burn for Mac make disk burning a pleasure

July 8, 2007

By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2007, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2007, The Post-Standard

   Windows PCs and Apple Macs don't need extra software to burn CDs. Disk burning is built into the way each computer works.
   I suppose this is a good idea. But in fact it won't be such a grand thing until Microsoft and Apple try harder. For example, disk burning on the Mac is about as simple as it could get, but you won't find an easy way to burn a rewritable CD-RW disk. And the built-in CD burning in Windows XP might not work at all if you're unlucky enough to be using an older PC that you've upgraded to XP.
   The solution is easy. You add a disk-burning program to your Windows PC or Mac. The downside, of course, is that you're paying extra for something Microsoft or Apple should have done right in the first place. But when you consider the cost , you'll find that the two programs I'm reviewing cost only $5 to $10 a year over the useful life of your computer.
   The Windows software I recommend is Fireman 3.0, from Honest Technology at www.honestech.com. It costs $19. The Mac software is Dragon Burn 4, from NTI (New Tech Infosystems) at www.ntius.com. It's $39.99.
   Both programs burn DVDs as well as CDs, if your computer has a combination CD/DVD burner. You can easily create audio CDs, MP3 CDs, data CDs, video CDs (VCDs), video DVDs, slideshow DVDs and data DVDs. (Data CDs and DVDs are disks that store files, as you might make for backups.)
   On Windows, Fireman 3.0 turned out to be an outstanding way to make DVDs out of video downloads and files from digital cameras. Many digital cameras -- even inexpensive ones -- are able to take videos as well as still pictures. Turning those videos into DVDs is a great way to keep them handy for viewing at any time.
   And it's a great way to share videos with the family. If you give them a DVD, family members will surely be able to play the videos. If you try sending them the raw video from your camera, either the video file will be too big to send by e-mail or the folks who get it might not be able to play the "foreign" file.
   Dragon Burn 4, the Mac program, is the latest version of software I've used on my Macs for years. I use Dragon Burn 4 for all my data CDs and data DVDs and for some of my audio and MP3 CDs. It's able to burn the same data to more than one burner at a time -- great for anyone who makes disks for a club or organization -- and it can do that while you are performing other tasks on your Mac.
   But I doubt that even Dragon Burn's engineers expect users to choose Dragon Burn to make video DVDs. That function is handled extraordinarily well by iDVD, the video DVD software that comes with all new Macs. Dragon Burn is faster at making video DVDs and can make VCDs, something iDVD can't do, but iDVD is simply superb at this sort of thing.
   You can download a free trial version of Dragon Burn 4 from the NTI Web site, and you can get a Fireman 3.0 trial version from http://www.honestech.com/main/support_trial_1b.asp?p_id=119.