Put your slide show online -- free!

If you're tired of boring your neighbours with holiday slide shows, why not impress them with your fascinating grasp of technology? A new service from Mslide.com helps you convert your static pictures to a musical, streaming slide show on the Web.

First, you'll need the G2 Player from Real Networks to view your slide show, which is called an Mslide after you've gone through the process. Thankfully, I already have this helper application, but it can be a bit of a hassle for potential viewers who need to download the file at just over 3MB (minimum).

To start work on your show, register with the Mslide.com site, then pick a category (baby, holiday or travel, for instance). Each category has its own page where visitors can find your Mslide.

Then browse through a selection of music, including sound tracks and greatest hits albums from the last few decades. All of the musical selections are, conveniently, for sale at Amazon.com.

Next you'll pick at least 15 photos from your hard drive (25 maximum), and click a button to upload them. Once Mslide accepts your images, a successful upload message displays in your browser. Your Mslide could take up to 24 hours to be completed; once it's finished, you'll receive a notice by e-mail.

Simple but rigid

In creating my show, the only problem I encountered was an extended wait for the file to be created, due to server problems with the service. The help section on the site could offer more detail, but the service's tech support quickly answered the questions I sent by e-mail.

My presentation looked and sounded quite good. Images were well cropped, even though I used photos of different sizes and shapes to see how the service would cope.

I have just two complaints: while the service is quite easy to use, it's not very customisable. I would prefer to have some control over which songs play over each slide. The music sometimes changes before the slide does, which creates an odd effect.

More irritating is the wait for a commercial to finish before your Mslide begins. My show was preceded by a spot for Sun Microsystems that lasted about ten seconds. Of course, nobody said this was a free lunch, just a free slide show.

For pure flash, the service trumps Internet postcards and MIDI grams. And as easy interfaces go, Mslide.com is a hit.

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Paul Heltzel

PC World

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