The Kleper Report on Digital Publishing
Issue 10.4     July / August 2005


Entertainment Reviews

Desktop Poet (MAC)
Desktop Poet is the computer version of the magnetic refrigerator poetry game. It provides some diversion from the stress of digital publishing production. The program provides control over the available words (free word lists are available for download and users can create and share their own), and finished poems can be exported as JPEG, TIFF, or HTML. A virtual refrigerator is provided along with a set of textured backgrounds for assembling poems. $19.95 ($14.95 download)

Contact: Mariner Software, Inc., 401 North 3rd Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55401, 612 529-3770, fax: 612-529-3775.

Additions/Extensions Reviews

Texture Anarchy (MAC/WIN)
Texture Anarchy is a plug-in suite for Adobe Photoshop and compatible applications that consists of three incredibly versatile filters that can be used to produce attractive, seamless, procedural textures.

In addition to broad expanses of textured area for backgrounds and other graphic treatments, the filters can be used to create frames around photographs or other digital images; apply textures to text; and more.

The filters are presented as a series of three rooms, with movement to each successive room providing more intricate detail. In the Main Room the basic texture is created. It is edited in the next room, the Layout Editor Room where the user can make modifications. Finally, in the Deep Noise Room, the user can "make materials for the materials." $129

Contact: Digital Anarchy, 218 Cordova Ave., San Francisco, CA 94112, 415 586-8434,, e-mail:, fax: 415 358-4874.

Power Retouche plug-ins (MAC/WIN)
Power Retouche plug-ins are a series of specialty filters for Adobe Photoshop and compatible applications that provide full 16 bit, 48 bit, and 64 bit support. The collection of filters either extend and simplify operations that can be executed in Photoshop, or provide totally novel and useful capabilities. These plug-ins include:

* Toned Photos: Provides tonal adjustments and the choice of nine preset tones including Sepia, Van Dyck, and Silver Gelatin. $54 

* Dynamic Range Compression: Allows a full range of dynamic range control including black point, offset, shadow depth, saturation, and more. $65 

* Black & White Studio: Offers complete control over the conversion of color to black and white. The user can use light sensitivity of conventional professional films, like Tri-X, or create their own sensitivity curves. Many options, such as color filters, zone adjustments, and more, are provided. $75 

* Lens Distortion Correction: Barreling and pincushion distortions can be removed from images photographed with tele, wide-angle, panorama, and other lens types. $65 

* Soft-Filter: Simulates the effect of a real lens soft-filter, with control over strength and spread. $32 

* Sharpness: Provides a sharpness editor to control edges and blur of selected colors, hues, or shades. Anti-aliasing can be applied optionally. $54 

* Black Definition: Controls black in photos and graphics as if it were a color channel. It can be used to increase photo definition. $32 

* Radial Density Correction: Corrects the radial exposure and radial brightness independently. $32 

* Contrast Editor: Sliders control the black-white contrast and midtones. $32 

* Exposure Correction: Corrects for over- or under-exposed images, in either the entire image or selected areas. $32 

* Color Correction: Used to correct color or remove a colorcast. The user can select a color, hue and/or brightness-range and change it in any way. $32 

* White-Balance Correction: This filter 's auto-mode calibrates the correct color filter for any lightsource. $32 

* Saturation Editor: Edits the color saturation preserving all colors, hues, tonal variations and shades. $32 

* Noise Filter: Provides five methods to filter noise in digital images while preserving image details. $54 

* Anti-Aliasing: Used to reduce edge roughness and jagged edges. $32 

* Edgeline Drawing: Converts photos and images to line-drawings, emulating toneline lith film. $32 

* Posterizer: Produces posterized images of any number of levels with independent control over color hues and values. $32 

* Transparency Editor: Provides control over transparency to produce transparent backgrounds and masks. $32 

* Brightness Editor: Enables control of brightness while preserving full color. Free with demo download.

Detailed tutorials are provided for each plug-in. The entire collection is $175.

Contact: Power Retouche, Bolandsvej 1, 1mf, DK-2100, Copenhagen East, Denmark, 45 39205921,, e-mail:

Eye Candy 5: Nature (MAC/WIN)
Eye Candy 5: Nature is a suite of ten filters for Photoshop that enable users to add effects of nature, including fire, smoke, rust, snow, ice, and others, to digital images. The filters produce professional, realistic effects that appear on their own layer, enabling the user to easily view, edit, or remove the effects without modifying the original layer.

The filters work with 16-bit images, and are provided with over 500 presets. The user has complete control over each filter, using either slider or numeric settings. $99

Contact: Alien Skin Software, LLC, 1111 Haynes St., Ste Zero, Raleigh, NC 27604, 919 832-4124,, e-mail:, fax: 919 832-4065.

nik Sharpener Pro 2.0 Complete Edition (MAC/WIN)
nik Sharpener Pro 2.0 Complete Edition is an Adobe Photoshop compatible plug-in which goes beyond the native sharpening capability of the image editing program. Photoshop provides control of radius, amount, and threshold values, settings that are not easily understood by most users. nik Sharpener Pro 2.0 uses terms familiar to photographers: image resolution, viewing distance, paper type, and printer resolution. The plug-in applies the optimum sharpening based on how the image will be output and displayed.

The plug-in provides an easy-to-use interface for selecting how the image will be used (inkjet (Canon, HP, Epson, Lexmark, generic), Fuji Pictrography, Lab Photographic, Halftone, Display, Photographic & Dye Sub, and RAW Presharpening). Selection of one of the options from the floating palette listing, opens the image in the tool window. Here the user sets the image width, height, viewing distance, paper type, printer resolution, as well as optional settings. The Advanced Menu presents a set of five slider controls, each containing a color. Colors from the image can be assigned to each slider, and moving the slider increases or decreases the amount of sharpening to that color and colors close to its color space. The Overlay Mode shows two overlays which indicate the opacity of the quick masks, and a representation of the degree of sharpening produced through use of the Advanced Menu.

After the settings have been made and applied, the user can use a choice of Photoshop brushes to selectively add or remove sharpening in areas needing attention.

This plug-in is undoubtedly the best in class solution for image sharpening. The nik Sharpener Pro 2.0 Inkjet Edition does not include the high-end output options, and sells for $169.95. The Complete Edition, for professional photographers, described here is $329.95.

Contact: nik multimedia, Inc., 7580 Metropolitan Dr., Suite 208, San Diego, CA 92108, 619 725-3150,, fax: 619 725-3151.

Eye Candy 5: Impact (MAC/WIN)
Eye Candy 5: Impact is a collection of ten stunning Photoshop filters each of which provides its own environment, presets and controls for producing professional effects of the following kinds: Backlight, Bevel, Brushed Metal, Chrome, Extrude, Glass, Gradient Glow, Motion Trail, Perspective Shadow, and Super Star. If a user were to purchase only one collection of special effects, this would be the best all around choice.

The filters are appropriate for both print and on-screen uses, with photorealistic output. The effects can be applied to separate layers thus allowing for them to be viewed, edited, or turned off. They can be used with 16-bit and CMYK images, producing smooth transitions and accurately reproduced colors. Unlimited undo and redo ensures that the user can select exactly the right effect for each filter. Examples of the effects can be seen at $99

Contact: Alien Skin Software, LLC, 1111 Haynes St., Ste Zero, Raleigh, NC 27604, 919 832-4124,, e-mail:, fax: 919 832-4065.

Instruction/Learning Reviews

Mac OS X Disc 1: The Basics (MAC)
Mac OS X Disc 1: The Basics, is the first in a series of training programs for learning how to use the Macintosh operating system. The presentation style is very informal, and consists mainly of discussions between Macintosh experts Bob LeVitus (aka Dr. Mac), Any Ihnatko, Shawn King, and John Welch with animations and screen shots showing what they are talking about.

This disc covers the essentials of OS X: The Dock, mouse, differences from OS 9, system preferences, The Finder, printing, folder structure, Internet set-up, basic maintenance, home networking, Web resources, and more.

The DVD plays either on a standard DVD player or on a Mac with a DVD drive. The disc contains four hours of training and 16 15-minute lessons. $39.99

Contact: TackyShirt Technical Training,

Mastering Photoshop CS (MAC/WIN)
Mastering Photoshop CS is a packaged training program of 14 lessons, for beginners (or as a reference tool for pros) that can be used either in learning or demo modes. The publisher claims that learning is 20x faster than learning from a book. Main topics include an intro to Photoshop CS, File Browser, automated features, basic retouching and repair, selection tools, layers, masks and channels, paths and shapes, color management, and more. Lessons can be previewed on-line at The software features keyword searching to find topics, and free lifetime upgrades. $39.99

Contact: Magic Media, Inc., 31031-B Huntwood Ave., Hayward, CA 94544, 510 489-1238,, fax: 510 489-8868.

CD-ROM Reviews

JewelCase Illustrator (MAC)
JewelCase Illustrator provides a full-featured environment for creating CD/DVD jewel case labels. The program enables the user to add photos and illustrations, and produce tray liners, labels, and single and two-page booklets. Using drag-and-drop users can quickly produce a listing of any volume's contents. Tools are provided to customize the designs, with control over type size, linespacing, tracking, alignment, style, and color. Crop marks are produced to make trimming output easy and accurate. $30

Contact: Blue Line Studios, Hueningerst 18, CH-4056 Basel, Switzerland, ++41 61 322 3555,, e-mail:, fax: ++41 61 322 3555.

Fonts/Font Management

FontLab 4.6 (MAC/WIN)
FontLab 4.6 is a full-featured font editor for the professional creation of Type 1, TrueType, Multiple Master, and OpenType fonts. This is the application routinely used by commercial font foundries, professional type designers, and typographers for both the creation and modification of type fonts. It is very sophisticated, as evidenced by the exquisite fonts produced by users, and by its 700+ page manual.

The program provides the means for creating intricate designs, including a complete set of specialized tools which includes such esoteric capabilities as VectorPaint, Interpolate, Remove Overlap, and Merge/Subtract/Intersect Contours. A completed font design can be modified, using filters, to produce easily, a number of design variations, such as bold and outline, and to add hints automatically.

Among its impressive list of features is the Autogeneration of basic OpenType features for Type 1 fonts; seamless exchange of EPS files from Adobe Illustrator; creation of a new font by blending two source fonts; generation of a new glyph from composite characters; creation and hinting of Multiple Master TrueType fonts; and much more. Demo versions can be downloaded at $549

Contact: FontLab Ltd., Box 465, Millersville, MD 21108, 877-FONTLAB, 509 272-3260,, e-mail:, fax: 509 272-3260.

FontCard (MAC)
FontCard is a small modification to the Mac OS (haxie) that enables the display of the actual font in Carbon and Cocoa Font menus, along with an indication of the font format (PostScript, TrueType, OpenType, etc.). The user controls the application from a Preference Pane form in the System Preferences. The capability to recognize instantly fonts in this manner is a requirement for time-conscious digital publishers. $17

Contact: Unsanity LLC, 1071 East 100 South, Suite D-6, St. George, UT 84770, 435 986-0021,, e-mail:, fax: 435 986-8132.

SigMaker (MAC/WIN)
SigMaker is a simple utility that produces a result that is very difficult to achieve through any other method. A user can add their signature, logo, or other scanned image to any TrueType font. The user creates their special character or image as a TIFF, PICT or may be drawn my hand and scanned, or created in any program that can emit the required file format.

The user begins by selecting the TrueType font that will be modified. They then open their image file and make any necessary modifications, including cropping. They then select the character code that will be used to identify the image. The imported image is resized to fit with other characters in the font. When that has been done satisfactorily, the font is renamed and ready to use. The program interface provides six buttons which follow this workflow. $29.95

Contact: FontLab Ltd., Box 465, Millersville, MD 21108, 877-FONTLAB, 509 272-3260,, e-mail:, fax: 509 272-3260.

DTP Reviews

Swift Publisher (MAC)
Swift Publisher is a surprisingly capable and full-featured desktop publishing program for the money. Its sleek interface belies the sophistication of the documents and printed materials of all kinds that can be designed and output. Novices, for whom the program was created, will appreciate the 60+ professionally designed templates from which they can choose to begin their creation of newsletters, brochures, flyers, etc. Upon start-up the user is presented with the Swift Publisher Assistant, from which they can select designs from a listing of categories. The templates can be modified easily to meet the needs of the user. Users can also create their own templates, or begin from a blank layout.

The program, provided on two CDs, includes 23,000+ pieces of clipart, categorized into classifications of general interest, such as Animals, Borders, Business & Office, Computers, People, Transportation, and 28 others. The images are very appealing, and lend a professional touch to printed output.

Despite its low cost, the package provides many advanced publishing capabilities, such as drop shadows, run-arounds, text flow, object alignment and distribution, cropping, page numbering, image masking, layers (foreground and background), spell-checking, text/paragraph styles, transparency, and more. Files can printed or output as TIFF, JPEG, or PDF. Complete product information is available at $39.95

Contact: BeLight Software, +380 48 738-58-40, Melnitskaya 28, of. 307, Odessa 65005 Ukraine,, e-mail:, fax: +380 48 738-58-40.

Internet Reviews

Contribute 3 (MAC/WIN)
Contribute 3 enables authorized users of a Web site to make changes/additions/deletions as easily as editing a page in a word processor. This program can literally change the dynamic in any organization by empowering those without technical expertise to make content modifications without relying on a Web master or other member of the IT staff.

The program workflow is compatible with what would be expected in any closed-loop editing cycle. The user browses to a target Web page (Contribute acts like a Web browser), clicks the Contribute Edit button, and is presented with an editable version of the page upon which they can make changes. The user then has the option of sending a draft of the page to another user for comment prior to publication. After the changes are complete and optionally, approved, clicking on the Contribute Publish button posts the modified page to the Web where it becomes accessible to the world immediately. Not only is this workflow faster, but it moves the publishing process back, closer to the source of the content creation.

In addition to modifying existing Web pages, users can create new pages, create links to other Web pages and other files, and add text, images, movies, and tables. A built-in image editor is provided for resizing and cropping images. In the Windows version users can add MS Word and Excel content directly into a page. Any printable document can also be converted into Macromedia FlashPaper (SWF) or PDF format for direct viewing on a Web page. The workflow also works with Macromedia Dreamweaver, supporting the transfer of pages in need of more complex modifications. Directions for accomplishing most Contribute actions are readily available in the "How Do I..." panel on the screen.

Among the more interesting features of the program are its built-in e-commerce PayPal Merchant Tools through which a user can add a payment button to their pages easily and accept credit cards with no set-up nor monthly fees...only transaction fees. The wizard-based system also supports adding Buy Now and Shopping Cart functions. $149

Contact: Macromedia, Inc., 600 Townsend, San Francisco, CA 94103, 415 252-2000, 800 326-2128,, e-mail:, fax: 415 626-0554.

Digital Audio

Music Maker 10 deLuxe (WIN )
Music Maker 10 deLuxe is quite a box of musical potential! The feature set is extensive, and provides even a novice music maker with powerful tools for creating sophisticated musical pieces, clips, and effects. This tenth anniversary edition of the software adds some remarkable new capabilities including the Remix Maker, which can identify the beat of an inserted CD and automatically create a remix in one of four styles; Vintage Effects Suite, is a library of effects that has been enlarged to include four new virtual reproductions of analog effects; Little Virtual Drummer, which provides a complete drum kit featuring a "humanize" effect for creating realistic sound quality; and New Task Assistant, which provides concise videos to assist with using the program's capabilities.

The program supports live recording, with effects. Users can export their musical creations in a wide variety of file formats, and burn them to either CD or DVD. $59.99 for the boxed edition, $34.99 for the download.

Contact: Magix, 1680 Michigan Ave., Suite 900, Miami Beach, FL 33139, 888-326-2449,, e-mail:

MP3 Maker 10 deLuxe (WIN )
MP3 Maker 10 deLuxe is a complete music management system that enables the user to take their music with them on compatible portable devices. In addition to the ubiquitous MP3 file format, the program can encode, decode, and burn OGG Vorbis, WMA, WAV, AAC, and MP3PRO.

The program has a broad base of capabilities which includes conversion of LPs and cassettes; restoration of damaged music files; an Auto DJ feature which creates artistic mixes based on the beat of songs; recording (and scheduling) or any of over 2500 Internet radio stations; auto back-up to archive an entire music collection on disc; conversion of MP3s to CD format; music editing workshop to add transitions and effects; recording from any external source; printing of jewel case covers and disc labels; and more. $29.99

Contact: Magix, 1680 Michigan Ave., Suite 900, Miami Beach, FL 33139, 888-326-2449,, e-mail:

Printing Reviews

Mail Factory Version 2 (MAC)
Mail Factory Version 2 is full-featured addressing and labeling application that can process addresses from almost any database source, enable the user to layout and design an attractive presentation, and print on envelopes and label stock.

The program not only provides a rich design environment, but assists the user in complying with U.S. Postal Service guidelines for complying with automation rate requirements, which result in significant savings.

Among the more significant features of the program are: the "3-Step Assistant" for rapid label production; 15 predefined address templates and the option for user-created templates; 700+ clipart images; 100 image masks; 100 handling labels (such as "Fragile," and "Do Not Bend") and over 40 built-in designs; image manipulations consisting of transparency, color tinting, cropping, tiling, and rotation; preview and use of iPhoto images; Internet image search via Google; UPSPS, POSTNET, Canada Post, and Royal Mail barcodes; correct address formats for more than 50 countries; support for Dymo LabelWriter (others to follow); advanced merge printing options; control over which labels to print on a sheet; and more.

The Home Edition is $19.95. Trial versions are available at The full professional version, as described, is $39.95.

Contact: BeLight Software, +380 48 738-58-40, Melnitskaya 28, of. 307, Odessa 65005 Ukraine,, e-mail:, fax: +380 48 738-58-40.

Storage Device & Media Reviews

VolumeWorks (MAC)
VolumeWorks is the first utility for Mac OS X that enables users to resize, add or remove partitions, or consolidate empty disk space on almost any kind of hard drive (ATA, FireWire, SCSI, USB, etc.) without erasing the contents of the drive. This is the most flexible and convenient way to manage partitions, and do so "on-the-fly."

The program is intelligent enough to recognize if the new partition needs to be defragmented, and provides the means to do so.

The interface provides easy and direct management of adding or deleting partitions, hiding or revealing partitions, shifting volumes without erasing them, and resizing (expanding or shrinking) partitions without the need to erase the volume. $59.95

Contact: SubRosaSoft Ltd.,, e-mail:

Drive Genius (MAC)
Drive Genius provides a broad array of disk maintenance, management, and optimization capabilities that are unparalleled in any other product of its kind. It is the best in class in this category competing against Symantec Norton Utilities, Micromat's TechTool 4, and Alsoft's DiskWarrior.

The program serves to keep hard drives running reliably, and to provide the user with options for maintaining their data in a form to suit their workflow.

The capabilities of the software are best expressed by the major categories that they address. Partition capabilities include resizing volumes on-the-fly without reformatting; shifting volumes; adding and deleting a volume; and hiding and revealing volumes. Duplicate/backup capabilities include device cloning; cloning Windows, TiVo, and Linus drives; cloning volumes; device/volume back-up to image; bad block recovery/cloning; and fault tolerant back-up. Initialize capabilities include high level OS X formatting to initialize drives, add custom drive icons, and partition for block devices. Shred capabilities include the secure removal of data on either a volume or a drive. Preventive Maintenance capabilities include media scan, checking drive mechanisms, long term read/write integrity testing, and enable/disable volume journaling.

Perhaps most critical to users are the repair capabilities, which are most important after a problem has occurred. These include disk structure repair; test volume structure; directory rebuild; and fixing volume headers, volume bit maps, and permissions. $99

Contact: Prosoft Engineering Inc., 4725 First St., Suite 270, Pleasanton, CA 94566, 866 428-3282,

Roxio Popcorn ()
Roxio Popcorn is a specialized program for creating copies of personal, non-encrypted DVDs. The program uses the Toast burner which has a splendid ten year track record of reliably burning CDs and DVDs.

The program can accurately compress the contents of a 9 GB DVD onto a 4.7 GB DVD resulting in a slight degradation in the video quality, but none in the audio. The user has complete control over what gets copied, from the entire disc, to individual disc components, with settings for the quality and compression of the copy. $49.95

Contact: Roxio, Inc., 455 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95050, 408 367-3100,

Toast 7 Titanium (MAC)
Toast 7 Titanium is the most feature-packed, all-inclusive, and ultimately capable CD and DVD burning software available for the Macintosh, and perhaps, for any computer. It would be difficult to determine what the software lacks, or what could be improved. The application seems to do it all.

Toast maintains its easy-to-use interface, with one-click access to Data, Audio, Video, or Copy options. Despite the wide range of burning options, the software is neither burdensome nor complex.

Toast has a well-deserved reputation for reliability, which this version maintains, and enhances. It also simplifies the process of burning multimedia content by integrating with Apple iLife applications, providing direct access to iTunes music, iMovie projects, iPhoto images, and more.

Large files that do not fit on a single CD or DVD, can now be copied onto multiple discs using the data spanning feature. The spanned data can be restored using the Restore tool, which is included.

Over 50 hours of music, in rich Dolby sound, can be burned onto a single DVD, along with on-screen TV navigational menus, and automatic "SmartLists" and shuffle play.

Toast enables users to compress and back-up an entire 9 GB dual-layer DVD to a standard 4.7 GB DVD, with little video quality degradation. The user can also elect to extract selected elements from a DVD, such as the main movie. Toast can also convert DivX to DVD so that movies can be viewed from a home DVD player rather than a computer screen. Toast is also the only Macintosh disc burning solution that can create HD discs from iMovie HD and Final Cut HD. Slide images can also be rendered in HD slideshows with collages, motion effects, transitions, titles and background soundtracks.

In addition to capturing extant media to disc, Toast can record digital video directly from a camcorder, or with the included CD Spin Doctor Desktop Recorder Dashboard widget, record live audio from any analog source.

Other impressive features of this new version include: the easy application of custom disc icons and backgrounds; scheduled automatic back-ups to disc or network storage; burning from the desktop using Toast It(tm); creation of virtual image drives on the desktop; conversion of audio files to OGG, FLAC, ACC and more; digital restoration of vinyl LPs and tapes with track editing, noise reduction, and sound enhancement; disc label, insert, and case cover personalization capabilities; conversion of video files to DivX, 3GPP, H.264, iTunes and more for viewing on portable players, cell phones, or PlayStation units; and more.

The Toast 7 Titanium package also includes CD Spin Doctor, Motion Pictures HD slideshow software, Deja Vu back-up software, and Discus RE labeling software. $99.95

Contact: Roxio, Inc., 455 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95050, 408 367-3100,

DVD-R with VideoGard (MAC/WIN)
Verbatim DVD-R media with VideoGard provides up to 40 times the scratch resistance of standard media. The discs also use longlife AZO recording dye which combines with the surface protection to merit a limited lifetime warranty. The discs, which can be recorded at up to 8x speed, can record up to 120 minutes of video, or hold up to 4.7 GB of data. The discs have a street price of about $1 each in quantities as low as ten.

Contact: Verbatim Corporation, 1200 West W.T. Harris Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28262, 800 421-4188, 704 547-6500,, fax: 704 547-6609.

Hardware Reviews

USB2.0 SimpleTouch HDKit (MAC/WIN)
USB2.0 SimpleTouch HDKit from ADS Tech provides a really simple way either to convert a 3.5" internal drive to USB 2.0 (or USB 1.1 compatible), or to inexpensively add an external drive, quickly and easily. The enclosure is also compatible with internal CD/DVD drives.

We purchased an inexpensive Western Digital 320Gb internal drive and had it installed and mounted on one of our Macintosh desktops in fewer than 20 minutes. The process simply involves setting a jumper our set-up none was needed, plugging in the ribbon and power cables, then securing the drive to the case with four screws, and replacing the enclosure cover, also with four screws. We were delighted with the ease by which the entire operation was executed.

For the Mac, no formatting software is required. Just plug it in and the Macintosh Disk Utility appears, the disk is formatted, and in just minutes is ready to use. Formatting for Windows requires right clicking on My Computer, clicking on Manage, then Disk Management, and selecting the new disc.

Universal one button backup software, called TouchBack, for both Macintosh and Windows is included on a CD. The software can be activated by a predefined key or by pressing the SimpleTouch BackUp Button on the rear of the drive enclosure. The software can be configured to start up applications or backup selected files.

The unit supports hard drives of any size, with 48-bit addressing for ATA-6 large hard drives, ATA - IDE, Ultra DMA 33/66 or ATA-100/133, or ATAPI-CD-ROM, CD-RW, DVD, or DVD-R. $129

Contact: ADS Technologies, 12627 Hidden Creek Way, Cerritos, CA 90703,Ê800 888-5244, 562 926-1928,, fax: 562 926-0518.

Keyspan Express Remote (MAC/WIN)
Keyspan Express Remote is a dual function remote that can be used in either of two ways. First, it can be connected to the USB port of a Mac or Windows computer to control remotely any audio or video media player, or a presentation application, such as Keynote or PowerPoint. Second, it can be used with Apple AirPort Express to control music being streamed from iTunes to a stereo or powered speakers.

The infrared remote, which transmits signals up to 40 feet, features 17 buttons that can be mapped to a variety of applications using a simple control panel.

As a frequent presenter, I have used it often, and find it invaluable. $59.99

Contact: Keyspan, a division of InnoSys, Inc., 3095 Richmond Parkway, Suite 207, Richmond, CA 94806, 510 222-0131,, e-mail:, fax: 510 222-0323.

radioSHARK is an AM-FM desktop radio that connects to either a Macintosh or PC using a USB connection. This sleek 7" device, shaped like a shark fin, is provided with fully-functional software controls that make this radio like no other. The radioSHARK is, in fact, to radio, what TiVo is to television. The user has total control over tuning (with a "seek" button), equalization (choice of many presets (i.e. voice, deep bass, etc.) or manual control), and recording. The user can pause and review live radio, and record radio for replay, bypassing commercials, and ultimately transferring programs and music to an iPod, or just retaining it for replay on the computer. This system enables users to listen to any radio broadcast when they want, and schedule recording to capture any broadcast that they wish. This is radio nirvana!

The radio takes advantage of whatever speaker system is connected to the host computer, and because it is digitally recorded, the user can control the sound quality.

The radioSHARK device LEDs are blue during normal operation, and red when recording is taking place. The hardware, like the software, is elegant. Although you may have never considered adding radio functionality to your computer, this is the device that will change your mind. $70

Contact: Griffin Technology, Inc., 1619 Elm Hill Pike, Nashville, TN 37210, 615 399-7000,, e-mail:, fax: 615 399-8041.

USB Laser Mouse (MAC/WIN)
The IOGEAR USB Laser Mouse is unique in the crowded field of input devices due to its high-resolution tracking power, which is 30 times that of traditional optical mice. The mouse, which tracks at 1600 dpi, provides greater accuracy using advanced Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Laser (VCSEL) technology, which substitutes a laser for the usual red LED light source. The tracking electronics are so good that the mouse can be used on almost any surface, even glass. This tracking advantage is especially significant for those who travel frequently and encounter a variety of work surfaces which are incompatible with LED optical mice.

Digital publishers will appreciate that the mouse uses little desktop real estate, and responds to the smallest hand movements. The mouse, backed by a three year limited warranty, has five buttons, including the Instant Access button for immediate access to frequently used applications and menu choices (supported by accompanying software), and side-buttons for moving back and forth between Web pages. $39.95

Contact: ATEN Technology, Inc., IOGEAR, 23 Hubble Dr., Irvine, CA 92618, 866-9-IOGEAR (866-946-4327), 949-453-8782,, fax: 949-453-8785.

File Transfer/Processing Reviews

PodLock (MAC)
PodLock is a utility that enables iPod users to manage data stored on their iPod. Users can defragment their iPod disks to optimize data (and song) retrieval; back-up and restore data (other than music) from the iPod to the Macintosh; and hide data files on the iPod so that they can be viewed only with a password. $39.97

Contact: Micromat, 1055 W. College Ave., #333, Santa Rosa, CA 95401-6504, 707 566-3831,, fax: 707 566-3871.

Utility Reviews

Serene Saver (MAC)
Serene Saver is a novel and strikingly beautiful screen saver and desktop application that provides for the display of a full-motion video in place of a staid, static, still image. The addition of motion video to the computer desktop adds a new dimension to a computer display, making it look like a window on a calming scene of the user's choice.

Considering the constant stress and looming deadlines that digital publishers must deal with daily, this application provides a visual escape...a direct route to a mountain stream, tropical ocean, or other destination of relaxation and serenity.

The application comes with 26 scenes, a number which is likely to grow as users submit their own scenes. As new scenes become available, they can be downloaded automatically for free, for the life of the application. The interface provides an easy way to select scenes, and set or turn off the accompanying audio. A ten-day trial download is available at $29.95 for a single computer, $49.95 for up to five computers.

Contact: Serene Saver,

FileSalvage (MAC)
FileSalvage is an invaluable resource for recovering files that have been mistakenly deleted or have become unreadable due to media failure. The easy-to-use interface is used to recover over 60 different file types from any kind of media that can be read by a Macintosh, including hard drives, scratched CDs, memory cards, and USB key drives. It can even recover files for a reformatted drive. Users see a list of files that can be recovered, and they can preview them before executing the recovery. This is one of the tools that digital publishers should have available in their arsenal when the need occurs...and it too often does. $89.95

Contact: SubRosaSoft Ltd.,, e-mail:

CopyCatX II (MAC)
CopyCatX II is an easy-to-use utility to create clones of any Mac OS X volume or drive. Unlike other copy utilities which copy file-by-file, CopyCatX II copies device-to-device producing identical copies. It is used when users need to upgrade to a larger hard drive, or when an iPod user upgrades to a new, larger iPod.

In testing against competitive utilities, CopyCatX II proved to be the fastest.

The interface consists basically of selecting the source and target volumes or devices. PC, Tivo, and Linux hard drives can also be cloned.

The application is ideal for IT managers who need to deploy many copies of a hard drive, or need to archive a drive, or for forensics specialists who need to clone drives for investigation and leave the original untouched. If the need exists to clone a drive, this is best solution we've seen. $59.95

Contact: SubRosaSoft Ltd.,, e-mail:

Labels X (MAC)
Labels X is a small modification to the Mac OS (haxie) that enables the user to apply color tints to folders or files. The program adds a "Label" column to the Finder list view for sorting. It includes a Preference Pane for changing label names and colors. $10

Contact: Unsanity LLC, 1071 East 100 South, Suite D-6, St. George, UT 84770, 435 986-0021,, e-mail:, fax: 435 986-8132.

Mighty Mouse (MAC)
Mighty Mouse is a small modification to the Mac OS (haxie) that enables the user to customize system cursors in the following styles: arrow, i-beam, alias, copy, move and the wait cursor. The cursors can be animated and displayed larger or smaller. Users can create their own cursors as well as download those made by other users. Windows XP compatible cursors can be imported. $10

Contact: Unsanity LLC, 1071 East 100 South, Suite D-6, St. George, UT 84770, 435 986-0021,, e-mail:, fax: 435 986-8132.

FruitMenu (MAC)
FruitMenu is a small modification to the Mac OS (haxie) that enables the user to customize the Apple Menu and contextual menus with the following features: launch apps and shell scripts from the Apple Menu and contextual menus; assign hotkeys to menu items; put folders and files in menus; access individual System Preferences from a submenu; see the computer's IP Address in the Apple or contextual menu; open any document with a user-selected application with a contextual menu; preview graphics in a menu; reveal and Get Info on files within an Apple or contextual menu; and more. $10

Contact: Unsanity LLC, 1071 East 100 South, Suite D-6, St. George, UT 84770, 435 986-0021,, e-mail:, fax: 435 986-8132.

MenuMaster (MAC)
MenuMaster is a small modification to the Mac OS (haxie) that enables the user to change or remove an application's menu shortcut keys. $10

Contact: Unsanity LLC, 1071 East 100 South, Suite D-6, St. George, UT 84770, 435 986-0021,, e-mail:, fax: 435 986-8132.

ShapeShifter (MAC)
ShapeShifter is a small modification to the Mac OS (haxie) that enables the user to change the entire look of a Macintosh using a variety of "themes." The entire operating system, its windows, menus, apps, buttons, are all changed; easily, quickly, and safely. Themes can be previewed before applying them, and there are many on-line sources for additional themes. $20

Contact: Unsanity LLC, 1071 East 100 South, Suite D-6, St. George, UT 84770, 435 986-0021,, e-mail:, fax: 435 986-8132.

WindowShade (MAC)
WindowShade is a small modification to the Mac OS (haxie) that enables the user to add new options to the behavior of windows. Users can reduce a window to a tiny strip showing its name, minimize the window in place so that it is very small yet still showing its contents, make the window transparent so that things under it can be seen, or minimize the window to the Dock. $10

Contact: Unsanity LLC, 1071 East 100 South, Suite D-6, St. George, UT 84770, 435 986-0021,, e-mail:, fax: 435 986-8132.

Sleep Monitor 2 (MAC)
Sleep Monitor 2 provides an attractive longitudinal chart for tracking the power use of a Macintosh. The charts show the hours that the computer was in use, asleep, and switched off. Laptop users can also keep track of battery levels, charging state, and more. $24.50

Contact: Dragon Systems Software Ltd. (DssW), 3rd Floor Suite, 41-43 Broad Street, Hereford, Herefordshire, HR4 9AR, United Kingdom, +44 870 1640068,, e-mail:, fax: 0870 1640068.

Productivity Reviews

NoteBook 2.0 (MAC)
NoteBook 2.0 is an extraordinary application for entering, organizing, annotating, and sharing virtually any kind of information using an outline interface. Notebooks look like traditional paper notebooks, with a cover, lined pages, and tabs. The user can design a cover, have unlimited pages and tabs, and enter any text (from virtually any source using Mac OS X Services), most multimedia objects (QT movies, digital images, sounds, etc.), and have the program automatically generate a table of contents and an interactive index. The Super-Find feature provides a highly refined interface to locate virtually anything, using a wide range of options.

Notebooks can be exported and shared with other NoteBook users, or can be exported as HTML to be shared with anyone. An interesting tour of the program's features can be taken at $49.95

Contact: Circus Ponies Software, Inc., P.O. Box 31417, San Francisco, CA 94131-0147, 415 695-3100,, e-mail:

Curio Professional (MAC)
Curio Professional is the ultimate thought processor, idea manager and brainstorming tool. It redefines the software category, and deserves the attention of anyone who has a need to gather, organize, and synthesize information of any kind, for any purpose.

The program provides a vastly rich environment in which to enter freely any kind of data: text, image, line art, audio, video, Web links, even direct links to application-specific files, such as Photoshop and Word. Within the pages of a Curio project the user can type, paste, drag-and-drop, or import virtually any kind of digital asset known, and then organize them with the freedom usually reserved for a page layout program.

The program includes, among its long list of capabilities, a built-in Web browser, called Sleuth, which comes with its own list of search engines, but can flexibly go anywhere. Information and other assets found using Sleuth can be moved easily into a Curio workspace.

The program is available in four editions: Basic ($39), Home ($79), K-12 ($65), and Professional ($129). A 15-day trial version, which is well worth looking at, is available at

Contact: Zengobi, Inc., 300 Lake Boone Trail, Raleigh, NC 27608-1024,, e-mail:

Word Processing Reviews

Mariner Write and Calc (MAC)
Mariner Write is an easy-to-use alternative to Microsoft Word, with the capability to both open and edit Word files. The program has many expected features and will suffice for anyone looking for a lower priced alternative to MS Word. $79.95

Mariner Calc is a spreadsheet program that can open Microsoft Excel files, and create sheets as large as 32,000 rows by 32,000 columns. It has many features, including 140 built-in functions. $79.95

Mariner Write and Calc are available in a boxed edition for $139.95.

Contact: Mariner Software, Inc., 401 North 3rd Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55401, 612 529-3770, fax: 612-529-3775.

MacJournal (MAC)
MacJournal is a unique program that was designed for the specialized input of information in journal format. As such, the program is ideally suited for blogging, and, in fact supports the direct uploading of journal entries to sites supported by Blogger, LiveJournal, Movable Type, and WordPress. Entries can also be exported as HTML, or in MS Word, RTF, or other common formats. The program has a full complement of tools unique to its objective. $29.95

Contact: Mariner Software, Inc., 401 North 3rd Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55401, 612 529-3770, fax: 612-529-3775.

Digital Imaging Reviews

Print Craft Pro Fills (MAC/WIN)
Print Craft Pro Fills are a set of six CD-ROMs each with a different collection of graphically themed images appropriate for sign and vehicle graphics. Each disc has dozens of professional high-resolution images in .tiff and .jpg formats. The images can be used with virtually any graphics or image editing program to produce visually stunning designs.

This collection, which is one of several available from Aurora Graphics, consists of the following CDs: Diamond Plate (12 wood fills, 4 water fills, 6 rock fills, 6 hardware bolts, 6 brick fills, 9 diamond plate, 18 barbed wire); Flame Fills (7 cow hide fills, 1 tiger hide fill, 10 flame fills, 4 hardware fills, 9 lightning fills, 11 sunset fills, 11 stucco fills); Engine Turn (11 camo fills, 20 engine turn, 6 grass fills, 2 hair fills, 2 hardware fills, 2 leaf fills, 7 stone fills, 2 concrete fills); Alien Surface (large stone fills, small stone fills, alien surface, plasma fills, alien head bolts); Carbon Fiber (14 brushed metal, 16 carbon fiber, 6 flower fills, 6 hardware bolt, 7 horizon sky, 6 cloudy sky); and Storm Clouds (10 alien sky fills, 2 phillips head, 6 honeycomb fills, 7 nuke clouds fills, 7 lightening fills, 9 sun up fills, 11 storm cloud fills). Samples of the images can be viewed at $495 plus shipping.

Contact: Aurora Graphics, Inc., 2229 Harborlight, Wichita, KS 67204, 316 838-2000,, fax: 316 832-1652.

Picture Rescue (MAC)
Picture Rescue is a digital picture recovery utility that simply, but effectively, accesses deleted or corrupted images from digital cameras or reformatted removable media. The user just selects the source, and a display of recoverable images appears. The user then selects those images that need to be recovered. $59

Contact: Prosoft Engineering Inc., 4725 First St., Suite 270, Pleasanton, CA 94566, 866 428-3282,

Book Reviews

Adobe Acrobat 7 PDF Bible
Padova, Ted

Ted Padova has produced a valuable tome covering virtually every aspect of Adobe Acrobat 7. Among the topics, which are presented with numerous screen captures, are: a description of Acrobat and PDF; Acrobat viewers; viewing and navigating in Adobe Acrobat Professional; searching PDFs; converting documents to PDF; editing PDFs; PDF review and mark-up; implementing multimedia; security and authentication; and publishing to the Web, eBooks, and to print. The book is an excellent resource that is organized for easy retrieval of specific information.

Available for on-line ordering at

0764583786 896 pp. $39.99

Contact: Wiley, Professional/Trade Group, 111 River St., Hoboken, NJ 07030,

eBay Power Seller Secrets
Schepp, Debra; Brad Schepp, Michael Kaiser

The authors have prepared the essential insiders' guide to the process of starting and maintaining a successful eBay business. Every significant detail of eBay operation is covered, and its significance is explained clearly. If only one eBay book is purchased, this would be the one.

Available for on-line ordering at

0072258691 385 pp. $24.99

Contact: Osborne McGraw-Hill, 2100 Powell St., 10th Floor, Emeryville, CA 94608, 510 549-6600,, fax: 510 549-6603.

How to Wow: Photoshop for the Web
Kabili, Jan; Colin Smith

This is the book that can be used to electrify and dazzle a home page or website. These professional techniques, presented with full-color illustrations and clear explanations, provide the reader with all of the necessary ingredients to transform their users' Internet experience. The book is divided into four sections: Navigation, Animation, Automation, and Sites that Wow! The projects in the book are presented on the accompanying cross-platform CD-ROM.

Available for on-line ordering at

032130330X 194 pp. $39.99

Contact: Peachpit Press, 1249 8th St., Berkeley, CA 94710, 800 283-9444,, fax: 510 524-2221.

Macromedia Contribute 3 for Windows & Macintosh Visual QuickStart Guide
Negrino, Tom

The Peachpit Visual QuickStart Guide to Macromedia Contribute 3 contains the step-by-step instructions for installing and using the application, presented in simple language, and with numerous screen captures. The chapters include the process of building Web pages, editing page content, working with images and links, creating tables, using Dreamweaver templates, working with external documents, administering the site, and customizing the application.

Available for on-line ordering at

0321267885 266 pp. $21.99

Contact: Peachpit Press, 1249 8th St., Berkeley, CA 94710, 800 283-9444,, fax: 510 524-2221.

Macromedia Contribute 3 in a Snap
Averill-Snell, Ned

An excellent reference for anyone learning or presently using Macromedia Contribute 3. The author has neatly and logically arranged the book to provide easy access to instructions to execute just about any of the application's capabilities.

Available for on-line ordering at

0672325160 245 pp. $19.99

Contact: Sams, 201 West 103rd St., Indianapolis, IN 46290.

PHP, MySQL and Apache
Meloni, Julie C.

A specialized book that instructs on the integration of PHP, MySQL, and Apache to create dynamic, interactive websites and applications. The step-by-step instructions for each lesson are presented with increasing complexity, each based on those that preceeded it.

The accompanying cross-platform CD-ROM contains software starter kits for Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux.

Available for on-line ordering at

0672327252 619 pp. $34.99

Contact: Que Corporation, 11711 North College Ave., Carmel, IN 46032,

Roadmap to Macromedia Contribute
Lowery, Joseph

The author provides the reader with access to a live site wherein the reader can complete the 50+ tutorials that support virtually every aspect of using Macromedia Contribute.

Available for on-line ordering at

0735713499 321 pp. $25

Contact: Macromedia Press, 2414 Sixth St., Berkeley, CA 94710

Take Control of Mac OS X Backups, v1.1
Kissell, Joe

One of the first of a series of ebooks directed toward a specific Macintosh-oriented topic. The book is in PDF format, and benefits from the navigation tools in Acrobat.

The author covers all of the options for backing up data on a Macintosh with clarity; and more than adequate detail, without overwhelming the reader. The book is an excellent guide for digital publishers who must protect their data at all costs. The book is an excellent value at only $10.

Although we received the book months ago, when we opened it we were pleased to learn, via a button on the first page, that the book had been upgraded, with new information, to version 1.1. Clicking the button resulted in an automatic download of the revised book. This is yet another benefit of electronic text over static print.

Available for on-line ordering at

B0009WUVCQ 103 pp. $10

Contact: Take Control Ebooks, 402 323-6692,, Fax: 402-323-6691.

The Zen of CSS Design
Shea, Dave; Molly E. Holzschlag

This book is based on the CSS Zen Garden ( created by Dave Shea as a means of taking an HTML file and inviting graphic designers to apply CSS to create an entirely new look for the content. The book contains 36 of the designs from the site revealing how they were produced, and tips, hacks, and secrets of the professionals.

Available for on-line ordering at

0321303474 296 pp. $39.99

Contact: New Riders Publishing, 201 West 103rd St., Indianapolis, IN 46290.

Using Microsoft Windows XP Professional, Third Edition
Cowart, Robert; Brian Knittel

This is the everything book, the single volume resource for the serious Microsoft XP Pro user. In addition to covering every significant element of the operating system in the book, the accompanying CD-ROM contains 45 minutes of video training by the authors, produced by

Available for on-line ordering at

0789732807 1402 pp. $49.99

Contact: Que Corporation, 11711 North College Ave., Carmel, IN 46032,

Visual QuickProject: Creating a Database in FileMaker Pro
Schwartz, Steve

This book provides a hands-on experience for the novice FileMaker Pro user, enabling them to produce a Destination Report to keep track of mileage for IRS reporting. Each step is broken down into its most basic parts and presented the many illustrations and a minimum of text. The project is easily accomplished and can provide the reader with the confidence to tackle more complex database tasks.

Available for on-line ordering at

0321321219 140 pp. $12.99

Visual QuickProject: Publishing a Blog with Blogger
Castro, Elizabeth

This project-specific book shows the step-by-step process of creating and maintaining a blog using Google's online Blogger software.

Available for on-line ordering at

0321321235 127 pp. $12.99

Contact: Peachpit Press, 1249 8th St., Berkeley, CA 94710, 800 283-9444,, fax: 510 524-2221.

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