The Kleper Report on Digital Publishing - Issue 11.1 January / February 2006


Issue 11.1 January / February 2006

Contents

Productivity Reviews

You Control: Desktops 1.0 (MAC)
You Control: Desktops 1.0 is a utility application that enables the user to have an unlimited number of workspaces, each of which can be set up to for a specific purpose or task. The user can quickly and easily switch between them, assign them names, and utilize a different background image on each. An animated view of the switching process can be seen at
http://www.yousoftware.com/desktops/. There are eight different screen switching transitions to select from. Users can move from desktop to desktop using a hotkey, moving the mouse from edge to edge, or selecting from the Palette View or Menu View.

Windows can be dragged from one desktop to another, and specific applications can be assigned to specific workspaces. The program is a real time-saver and productivity booster. $29.95

Contact: You Software, Inc., 111 S.W. Fifth Ave., Suite 2260, Portland, OR 97204, 800 968-2968 (1-800-you-2-you), 503 973-6060, http://www.yousoftware.com, fax: 503 973-5050.



Internet Reviews

Picture Patrol (MAC/WIN)
Picture Patrol is a utility that will search Usenet newsgroups and automatically download free pictures that are contained within selected newsgroups. Newsgroups, of which there are tens of thousands, devoted to very specific interests, often contain large numbers of pictures. These pictures are usually displayed, one at a time, using a newsreader. Picture Patrol enables the user to select an unlimited number of newsgroups from which to decode attached pictures and save them to a user-selected directory on their computer. The software handily groups the images by date and newsgroup. $19

Contact: Brainchild, Geulstraat 5, 8303 JA Emmeloord, the Netherlands, +31 (527) 24 35 41, http://www.picturepatrol.com, e-mail: info@brainchild.nl, fax: +31 (527) 24 34 62.


theConcept (MAC)
theConcept is an application that works through a users' choice of search engine to uncover meaning from multiple pages of search results. The program analyzes search results, categorizing them into key words and phrases that serve to focus on the meaning that most closely aligns with the user's intent. In addition to providing data mining and summarization from a Web search, the program can be fed files from the user's own computer. $39.95

Contact: Mesa Dynamics,LLC, http://www.mesadynamics.com, e-mail: info@mesadynamics.com.


Simon 2.1.1 (MAC)
Simon 2.1.1 is a utility that can be used to monitor Web sites to determine if there have been changes or failures. This capability is especially important for Web site administrators who are providing mission critical services, such as conducting electronic commerce, or providing on-line services for customers or clients that require continuous up-time. Users can elect to be notified by e-mail, sound or speech alerts, or other means if a server is down, and for how long.

In addition to its vital service of providing tracking of one's own Web site and servers, it can be used to monitor any site, noting changes in a blog, arrival of Web mail, additions to a news or entertainment site, and many other common uses. Using the Smart Change Detection, the program can be tuned to ignore banners, and focus on particular types of changes, such as the lead headline on a news site.

The Simon Monitor window provides a quick view of site status, providing color indicators that display up-time and other site-related statistics.

The kinds of tests that Simon performs can be set using several built-in application services. These include: Application (to test if an application is present, or running); DNS (to query a domain name server to check that a domain is visible); FTP (to locate a file on an FTP server); Incoming Mail (IMAP/POP), (to check for new messages on an IMAP or POP server); Outcoming Mail (SMTP), (to ensure that mail is available via an SMTP server); Ping (to check a server for responsiveness); SSH (to converse using a remote secure shell session); Web (HTTP), (to check a Web site for failures or changes).

Simon pricing is based on the number of sites that it monitors. Basic, $29.95; Standard, $59.95; Enterprise, $195.00.

Contact: Dejal Systems, LLC, http://www.dejal.com, e-mail: info@dejal.com.



File Transfer/Processing Reviews

CanOpener (MAC/WIN)
CanOpener is truly one of the most essential applications that a digital publisher can own. It provides the critical service of extracting the contents of any file, including text, icons, PICS and more. It is a safety net that can provide access to the contents of old, non-compatible, and even damaged files. Furthermore, the program allows viewing the contents of a virus infected file without launching the virus.

The program contains a set of text filters that simplifies and speeds the extraction of names, phone numbers, URLs, and e-mail, Web and IP addresses. Users can quickly strip HTML coding and remove carriage returns and blank spaces from text passages. Customized searches can be launched to grab text containing specific content, such as numbers or dollar signs.

CanOpener 1.0 for Windows is $39; CanOpener 5.0 for Mac OSX is $65.

Contact: Abbott Systems Inc., 62 Mountain Road, Pleasantville, NY 10570, 914-747-3116, 800 552-9157, http://www.abbottsys.com, e-mail: info@abbottsys.com, fax: 914 747-9115.


iPassepartout (MAC)
iPassepartout is a handy utility for inspecting the content of virtually any kind of file by either dragging a file or folder onto it, or by searching for files. Once files are open, the program can perform several special operations, such as exporting all of the images.

Among the most significant features are: searching for content, filename, date, kind, within filePackages; read/select/copy/drag text; see/crop/copy/drag images; play/select/copy audio files; play/select/copy movie files; read/display HTML and PDF documents; export images changing size, format, resolution, with several naming kinds; apply a watermark to the exported images; and more. $35 (a lite version, which works with text only is $20).

Contact: Softobe, http://www.softobe.com, e-mail: info@softobe.com.



File Management Reviews

FoldersSynchronizer 3.5.4 (MAC)
FoldersSynchonizer 3.5.4, as the name implies, synchronizes and backs-up files, folders, and disks. During the synchronization process, the newest entries from each set of folders will be copied. During the process only the files that are different will be copied, others will remain unchanged, and no files are deleted. During a back-up, the destination folder receives the newest file entries, and the source folder remains unchanged. The back-up can be executed as "incremental" (default) wherein no items are deleted, or as "exact," where in items no longer in the source folder are deleted from the target folder.

Among the significant features of the program are: producing a bootable Mac OSX boot disk from the original; automounting volumes; scheduling sessions using the timer list; executing multiple synchronizations/back-ups in a single session; copying invisible files and folders; and much more. $20

Contact: Softobe, http://www.softobe.com, e-mail: info@softobe.com.



Digital Imaging Reviews

MAGIX Photostory on CD & DVD 4 (WIN )
MAGIX Photostory on CD & DVD 4 can transform still images into multimedia slideshows replete with special effects, fades, and sounds. Completed slideshows can be burned to CD or DVD and viewed on any computer or television screen. Ten styles are provided for the automatic creation of movie-type themes.

The workflow has been reduced to three easy steps. First the user imports their images. Second they edit them, fixing images if necessary, and adding transitions, zooms, music, and text. Third they burn them to media.

Images in need of correction can be salvaged using the Optimization Feature which can remove "red eye," adjust color and exposure, set white balance, restore image, and more. The Automatic Warning System helps to ensure that blurred photos are not used. In addition to committing images to CD/DVD, the user can upload slideshows to the free MAGIX Online Photo Album, directly from the software. Online slideshows can be viewed in fullscreen with music. Viewers have the option of ordering photo imprinted items, such as t-shirts, calendars, and mugs, from the website, and users can order them directly from within the software.

Other unique features include: Automatic Effects produced using the Task Assistant; creation of panoramas using drag and drop; scratch, crack, and blotch removal; artistic effects (pencil sketch, caricatures, oil paintings, etc.); output to VHS tape; support for narration; virtual camera pans; title generator with 30 templates; support for double-layer DVD; and more. $39.99

Contact: Magix, 1680 Michigan Ave., Suite 900, Miami Beach, FL 33139, 888-326-2449, http://www.magix.com, e-mail: us-info@magix.net.


Shoebox 1.2 (MAC)
Shoebox 1.2 is an image management application that enables users to easily add photos to categories and assign keywords which make it fast and convenient to find images based on their associated criteria. Users can create an unlimited number of categories with an unlimited number of keywords.

The descriptive labels can also be downloaded in sets, such as colors, and holidays, from the KavaSoft Web site (http://www.kavasoft.com/Shoebox/categories/). Users are also encouraged to share their categories by sending them to KavaSoft. The process is similar to the massive keyword structure formed by the IPTC (International Press Telecommunications Council) to categorize pictures used in newspapers worldwide (http://www.iptc.org).

Once the categories and their keywords are input, they can be assigned to individual and groups of images by simply selecting the pictures, in the middle of the screen, and clicking on the + (plus) sign to the left of the category or word. Any number of categories and keywords can be assigned in this way using the list that appears on the left of the Shoebox main screen. On the right of the screen is the Info list showing the technical details of the photo and the keywords that have been assigned. Any incorrect keywords can be removed by clicking on the - (minus)sign.

The program uses Knowledge Base technology to categorize images based on who, what, where, and when. It knows that green is a color, because it is listed in the color category, and that Macintosh is a computer, because it is listed in the computer category. The more information that the user inputs, the more precise searches that can be achieved. The information that is assigned using Shoebox can also be utilized by Spotlight, making it possible to search directly from the Spotlight menu, as well as from Shoebox.

Digital publishers will appreciate that Shoebox can import photos and categories from Canto Cumulus.

The program is available in two versions: Shoebox Express ($29.99) for consumers, with support for up to 10,000 images, and Shoebox Pro ($79.99) for digital publishers.

Contact: KavaSoft, http://www.kavasoft.com, e-mail: info@kavasoft.com.



Hardware Reviews

ADS Tech Mini Drive Kit (MAC/WIN)
The ADS Tech Mini Drive Kit is a compact, stylish enclosure that enables a computer user to convert an IDE Ultra DMA 33/66 or ATA-100/133 hard drive into a portable external USB 2.0 drive (which is also USB 1.1 compatible). The drive is especially designed to be compatible with the Macintosh Mini having the same form factor and size (6.5 inches square and 2 inches high); small, low-profile, stackable and composed of sturdy aluminum. The case includes a micro-slot for security, which is compatible with Kensington and Anchor Pad locks.

Installation takes just minutes, and consists of removing four screws from the bottom of the case, setting the jumpers on the user-supplied drive to "slave," plugging in the controller ribbon cable, plugging in the power connector, securing the drive with four screws, then reassembling the two parts of the case. The drive is now ready to connect to a USB 2.0 port. The total operation took us about ten minutes.

Digital publishers will appreciate this storage option for several reasons. First, it is ultra compact, barely larger than the drive it encloses. Second, it is portable, easily moved between systems or packed for transport to a remote site. Third, it is a very affordable solution for taking advantage of the falling prices of internal hard drives, which have dropped to less than fifty cents per gigabyte. Fourth, it provides an easy-to-use backup solution, which every publisher must have. Fifth, it is trim and attractive.

The drive kit includes InTech Utilities for Mac and PC. The software supports ADS Tech's Simple Touch Backup Button, which is located on the back of the drive housing. The Backup procedure supports automatic or manual backups of individual files or entire folders. $59.99

Contact: ADS Technologies, 12627 Hidden Creek Way, Cerritos, CA 90703, 800 888-5244, 562 926-1928, http://www.adstech.com, fax: 562 926-0518.



Fonts/Font Management

Typeset 3.0.2 (MAC)
Typeset 3 is a font viewing utility that enables the digital publisher to locate the font or fonts that are appropriate for a given project or design. The user can quickly organize their fonts and display them in a given size, color, and specimen text, with selected favorite fonts in appearing proximity. A fly-out side panel displays specific information about each font, including its version, source, copyright, encoding, etc.

The program can display any font, whether it is installed or not. Uninstalled fonts can be viewed by dragging a single font, or a folder of fonts onto Typeset.

Font searching is very fast, and targeted fonts can simply be dragged out of the Typeset window and onto the Finder desktop. The Font Identifier window enables users to paste in a sample of font characters and immediately identify the name of the font. $12.95

Contact: Waterfall Software, http://www.waterfallsw.com, e-mail: company@waterfallsw.com.


Veenix® Design & Type Tools (MAC)
Veenix® Design & Type Tools are a diverse and useful set of tools that are of particular benefit to digital publishers, artists and designers, illustrators and photographers, and other specialists in the creative arts. The tools consist of the following:

• Proportion Calculator, which can be used to scale values or to resize values.
• Measurement Conversions, which is used for handling units in pixels, points, picas, millimeters, and centimenters.
• Color Grabber, which can display the RGB/HEX and nearest Web Safe color values of any screen location selected using the mouse.
• Color Explorer, which displays six randomly generated RGB or Web Safe color blocks, which can be copied to the Clipboard.
• Visual Font List Database Window, which displays installed fonts in their typeface, and identifies each by type, such as TT = TrueType. Fonts can be added/removed, activated/deactivated, categorized, etc. Fonts can also be printed on attractive type specimen sheets.
• Font Character Set Charts, which displays the complete character complement of a particular typeface.
• Print Type Book, which enables the user to print all fonts in the Veenix database. The specimens can be printed either "Full Page,", or "Single Line," with ten fonts per page.
• Font Sample Window, which displays a selected font's alpha-numeric character set in both upper and lower case.
• Font Measurements Window, which shows information about the imaging dimensions of the font, including baseline position, font ascent, descent, leading, etc.
• Font Comparison Window, which supports the comparison of multiple fonts.
• Screen Grab Tools, which enables the user to capture all or part of a screen and send it to the Clipboard, a file, the printer, an e-mail message, or to iTunes Artwork.

A single user license is $49.95; a 5 user license is $159.95; and a site license is $299.95.

Contact: Veenix, http://www.veenix.com, e-mail: info@veenix.com.



Word Processing Reviews

TopXNotes (MAC)
TopXNotes is the twenty-first century replacement for Apple's NotePad desk accessory, a remnant of Mac OS 9. The NotePad was a very handy little application that was always accessible for holding the myriad of text snippets that normally accumulate while working. It has been missed, and no suitable replacement has been available…until now. TopXNotes goes far beyond NotePad, providing, first and foremost, a readily available space to compose and store notes.

TopXNotes provides a floating palette (QuickNotes) that offers direct access to the user's top ten stored notes. The notes interface is easy to use and provides a window in which notes can be quickly generated as well as displayed. The NoteOrganizer is a master table of the contents of all notes that can be displayed by name or category. Notes can be displayed in multiple views, with independent scrolling. Notes can be defined as Templates, composed of predefined elements, with structured text, and composed with text and note color, font, etc. The supplied set of ten templates support Financial Accounts, Web Accounts, Serial Numbers, etc.

Of special interest to digital publishers is the fact that notes can be exported either as plain ASCII text or RTF, retaining formatting. In addition, FTP, Web, and e-mail links are recognized automatically, and can be clicked to access the target. Finally, notes can be protected through encryption, protecting sensitive information. $24.95

Contact: Tropical Software, 462 Sturdivant Ave., Atlantic Beach, FL 32233, 904 249-4292, http://www.tropic4.com, fax: 904 249-4420.



Image Collection Reviews

Beholder (MAC)
Beholder is an application that simplifies the process of finding images on any source page or home directory on the Internet. By entering one or more search words, the Beholder contact sheet populates with a found set of images. The user can display their source pages and other link details, and download them for specific purposes. $19.95

Contact: Mesa Dynamics, http://www.mesadynamics.com, e-mail: info@mesadynamics.com.



Digital Audio

Sound Studio 3 (MAC)
Sound Studio 3 is an impressive digital audio application that enables the user to record and edit high-quality sound. Users can work with existing audio, improving its quality, editing its length, and adding digital effects. The program both imports and exports in all major file formats as well as supports direct recording from any audio input source, including vinyl record players and tape recorders and players. Digital publishers will find the application invaluable for editing video sound tracks, producing voice-overs and narration, and producing podcasts.

The program supports multi-tracks, enabling the user to layer stereo sound, in 24-bit/96 kHz sample quality, (in either stereo or mono). The user can set Cue Points with text labels, and accurately apply time units for video and film. Among the effects that are provided are: Dynamics (Compressor, Expander, and Noise Gate); Equalization (Graphic EQ, Low Pass Filter, and High Pass Filter); Delay (Chorus, Flanger, Echo, and Reverb); Volume (Amplify, Fade In/Out/Special, and Normalize); Repair (Interpolate, Silence, DC Offset, and Swap Channels); and many more. The interface is easy to use, and the results are professional. $79.95

Contact: Freeverse Software, 447 West 24th St., New York, NY 10011, 212 929-3549, http://news.freeverse.com/, e-mail: info@freeverse.com, fax: 212 647-0562.



Digital Video Reviews

VideoCue 2 Pro (MAC)
VideoCue 2 Pro is one of those rare programs that reminds us of how empowering a computer program can be. The application enables a user to produce professional-looking video presentations, in the form of QuickTime movies, with ease and grace. It is essentially, a personal TV studio. The output is movies that can be used for news reporting, instruction and education, business reports, and more, as well as the emerging fields of videoblogging and podcasting. The program is elegant in its ease of use and overwhelming in its capabilities.

Part of the beauty of the software is its simplicity. The user types in their script in the Text Area, which is the largest portion of the screen. The text serves as a natural timeline for the placement of digital assets, such as movies, still images, and music, which will appear, or be heard, as the text scrolls by. The text serves as a teleprompter when the production is executed, and as it is read, the assets associated with the text position will be activated, and appear as composed. The user can control the font and font size of the scrolling text for ease of reading.

The user assembles the component parts of the presentation in the Media List window, adding or removing assets by using the plus and minus buttons below it, or dragging and dropping them directly from the Finder.

The user selects a camera, having chosen it as a Configured Device from the Edit Menu. The program supports multiple cameras, so that one can be aimed at the presenter, and another at an object or other view. The camera appears as an object in the Media List, and when it is dragged to the Storyboard, which has up to three tracks to the right of the Text Area, the camera will display its image in the Preview Window. Multiple cameras are represented by multiple objects, which can be composed in the Storyboard.

The Storyboard tracks consist of three layers: Title, Foreground, and Normal. The layers stack from left to right, with the leftmost track at the top. Through the use of the layers the user can set the camera as the rightmost, an image to appear resized or reoriented picture-in-picture, in the middle layer; and a title to display across the bottom of the screen, positioned on the left track. As the teleprompter moves past the layers it displays them, and keeps them displayed until it encounters other assets to replace them. An asset can be cancelled by inserting a Blank media asset, which is a default asset type that appears in the Media List.

The user can Edit assets, scaling or rotating, setting their opacity, setting the volume level (if the asset is a movie or audio clip), and applying a matte (heart-shaped, star-shaped, cloud-shaped, etc.). Any image that has an alpha channel (transparency) can be used as a matte.

Transitions between assets are handled very simply. The user clicks on the asset, and selects a transition from the Transition dialog. Transitions usually work between adjacent assets, however a transition can fade out by adding a Blank asset after it.

When the default transition of Smooth is used, the user can control the Motion of how the media asset enters and leaves the presentation. This is set in the Motion dialog box and has options for the screen location where the asset enters and departs, and the manner in which it does so (fade in/out, scale in/out, spin in/out, and decelerate in/accelerate out).

The user can rehearse their presentation by pressing the play arrow beneath the Preview Window. The teleprompter highlights the text that the user reads and simultaneously the appropriate assets are displayed on screen, or if they are audio only, they are played. The speed of the teleprompter can be adjusted using the Speed control located under the Preview Window. The user can stop the rehearsal at any time by pressing the Stop button, or can stop the teleprompter by pressing the spacebar. By so doing the user can ad-lib or go "off script" while continuing with the presentation. When the presentation is ready, the user presses the Record button. When recording is complete the Publish dialog is presented, and the user determines how and where to save the movie. The program provides options for setting Encoder Presets for video and audio.

The text that has been composed in the Text Area, and which is read by the presenter, is embedded as a secondary track in the QuickTime movie, and can be toggled on or off. This is especially useful for viewers who are hearing impaired, or who have difficulty understanding the speech of the presenter.

The program has many sophisticated features that provide the presentation producer with considerable flexibility and options for creativity. Among them are Chroma Key (Green/Blue Screen), which allows the user to select a background color to remove and substitute an image, in the same way that a TV weather forecaster is able to appear in front of a weather map. $89.99

Contact: Vara Software Limited, P.O. Box 5636, BH14 8ZU, UK, http://www.varasoftware.com.



Additions/Extensions Reviews

Exposure (MAC)
Exposure is a Photoshop compatible plug-in that enables digital publishers to simulate the look of real world film stocks, both color and black and white, producing images with characteristic color, contrast, and grain. It provides both presets, that accurately resemble dozens of film types, such as Ilford® 3200 Delta and Kodak Ektachrome 100G, and precision exposure controls, to produce professional-looking replicates of original images.

Perhaps the plug-in's most remarkable control is its handling of grain. Unlike most programs which add grain as overall harsh image noise, Exposure provides the user with precise controls to set the size, shape, and color of film grain, applying it independently to shadows, mid-tones, and highlights. The software engineers at Alien Skin Software took microphotographs of many grain types and wrote algorithms that reflect their behaviors.

Digital photographers will experience improved workflows, extending the warming/cooling, curve editing, sharpening and toning controls provided in the host program. They will gain increased control over their images by applying tools that reflect the ways in which film responds to light.

Film stock settings were determined by actually shooting test images both with a wide variety of films and with a Canon 20D digital camera. A variety of image types, such as test targets, and scenes with flesh tones and colorful natural objects, were captured. Differences between the images were analyzed, and settings were calculated to accurately simulate the film characteristics. Discontinued film types, such as GAF 500 and Ektachrome EES, were profiled by using archival photos and carefully determining appropriate Exposure settings. The application of the settings can be quite stunning, and are likely to impress serious photographers who will relish the opportunity to experiment with the settings and express their own creativity.

The color-to-black-and-white conversion in Exposure is based upon settings taken directly from film manufacturers' data sheets. Exposure uses a channel mixer to make the conversion from color to grayscale, using controls to simulate the application of a color filter. The channel mixer includes a check box to Equalize Channels so that the channel sliders always add up to 100%, maintaining the brightness of the original.

Professional photographers will delight in the Special Effects Settings which mimic cross processing (processing slide film as negative film or negative film as slide film), push processing (over-developing intentionally underexposed film to sacrifice detail for increased contrast and more noticeable grain), and lomo effects (based on the cheap Russian Lomo Kompakt Automat camera).

The user interface provides a helpful split screen preview that lets the user select a portion of the image and then have the preview divided with half the original image and half the filtered image. The split can be applied horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. $199

Contact: Alien Skin Software, LLC, 1111 Haynes St., Ste Zero, Raleigh, NC 27604, 919 832-4124, http://www.alienskin.com, e-mail: alien-skinfo@alienskin.com, fax: 919 832-4065.


AV Bros. Puzzle Pro 2.0 (MAC/WIN)
AV Bros. Puzzle Pro 2.0 is a Photoshop-compatible plug-in that enables the user to apply the most photorealistic and alterable jig-saw puzzle effect obtainable. The user has absolute control over each puzzle shape, and precise control over each aspect of the splitter...its thickness, knot shape and position, etc. The interface provides easy real-time control over the appearance of the puzzle overlay, allowing the user to obtain the exact results required. Digital publishers in need of such an effect are certain to be impressed by this elegant feat of programming. Several dazzling examples can be seen at
http://www.avbros.com/english/gallery.html. $49.95

Contact: AV Bros., 10/8 Aminah Street, Petah Tuqwa 49278, Israel, +972 5 520 5774, http://www.avbros.com, fax: +972 3 904 1872.


AV Bros. Page Curl PRO 2.1 (MAC/WIN)
AV Bros. Page Curl PRO 2.1 is a Photoshop-compatible plug-in that provides exceptional control over the generation of a page curl or page fold effect. The user can apply significant manipulations to the effect and the overall image, adjusting each setting with precision while seeing its affect in real-time.

Users can achieve photorealistic page turns and folds, including multiple bends. The revealed side of the image can be specified, either to be itself, another image, or a solid color. The direction and extent of the fold can be set, as can bump maps and lighting. The settings for a particular page bend effect can be saved and reloaded for future use. Stellar examples of what can be achieved can be viewed at http://www.avbros.com/english/gallery.html. This is the single best plug-in for anyone in need of a page curl or bend effect. $49.95

Contact: AV Bros., 10/8 Aminah Street, Petah Tuqwa 49278, Israel, +972 5 520 5774, http://www.avbros.com, fax: +972 3 904 1872.


Fluid Mask (MAC/WIN)
Fluid Mask is an Adobe Photoshop plug-in that incorporates a new technology called the Image Information Layer (IIL), to produce what is considered the next-generation cut-out tool. The IIL is composed of data consisting of boundary, texture and color information that is part of the image. Vertus cites several advantages of this technology, the most significant of which are that it smoothly separates edges and color transitions, differentiates between hard and soft edges, and blending and masking are co-synchronous. This process also works with less data so that large images can be processed faster.

The Fluid Mask tool set is very powerful, and a non-complex professional cut-out can be created in fewer than 30 seconds. The One-Mask capability provides a "one-click" method of accurate cut-outs. The user paints the areas to Keep or Delete and the program then Auto-Fills the remaining two masks and cuts the object out.

The program presents three view tabs, one for the image source, one for the workspace, and one for output. The Workspace view shows the IIL, and is the area in which masks are applied. Masks are used to delete areas (shown in red), retain areas (shown in green), and deal with complex areas and objects that have relatively undefined edges such as hair and soft edges (shown in blue). The Tool Set is very rich, providing specialized pencils, brushes and mask application implements. Most of the tools have fine adjustments with multiple options.

The Navigator panel is used to zoom and move around the image quickly. The Image Information Layer tool offers fine tuning of mask selections and the option to adjust the workspace resolution. When working on large images the resolution can be reduced to increase the processing speed.

Fluid Mask is the most competent masking solution that we have seen. Free on-line tutorials are available at http://www.vertustech.com/fm_tutorials.htm, where readers can see how powerful a tool it is. A free trial version is available at http://www.vertustech.com/fm_freetrial.htm, with every one in fifty downloads resulting in a completely free copy. $249

Contact: Vertus, 115 East 23rd Street, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10010, http://www.vertustech.com, e-mail: hello@vertustech.com.



Book Reviews

Adobe Creative Suite 2 Bible
Padova, Ted; Kelly L. Murdock

It takes a book of this size to adequately cover the broad range of capabilities found in Adobe's Creative Suite 2 (Adobe Bridge, Photoshop CS2, Illustrator CS2, InDesign CS2, GoLive CS2, Acrobat Professional 7, and Version Cue CS2).

The book does not deal with each application individually, rather it provides an integrated approach, dealing with groups of capabilities that are common to two or more applications, such as the use of type, and the editing of objects. A workflow scheme, which is how production workers apply the software, is very much in evidence.

The book includes several chapters on the distribution of files, documents, and publications that have been produced using CS2. It is an excellent reference book, one that digital publishers will want to have within easy reach.

Available for on-line ordering at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=thekleperreporto&path=ISBN%3D0471754765

0471754765 1266 pp. $44.99

Contact: Wiley, Professional/Trade Group, 111 River St., Hoboken, NJ 07030, http://www.wiley.com.


Adobe Creative Suite 2 Workflow
Alspach, Jennifer; Shari Nakano, Steve Samson

The first book to tackle the application of Adobe's sophisticated Creative Suite 2 from the perspective of a production workflow. CS2 bundles full versions of Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat, InDesign, and GoLive, applications that are designed to work together, leveraging the strength of each to intensify the effectiveness of the whole. The authors provide step-by-step exercises that clearly show how the software can work synergistically. The full-color book provides a complete overview of each application as well as advice on when, why, and how to use them. Each CS2 application is supported with a list of the top 15 "How to..." instructions for accomplishing essential tasks.

The first chapter, "Bridge and Version Cue: The Hub for Creative Suite 2," is available online at: http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/adobecs2work/chapter/index.html.

Available for on-line ordering at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=thekleperreporto&path=ISBN%3Dxx

0596102364 640 pp. $49.95

Contact: Paraglyph Press, 1238 East Cambridge Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85006, 602 749-8787, http://www.paraglyphpress.com, fax: 602 388-8192.


Adobe Photoshop CS2 Visual Encyclopedia
Romaniello, Stephen

Wow! What a helpful book. The first part shows every Photoshop CS2 tool, and how to use it. The second part shows the step-by-step procedures for completing more than 130 of the most relevant tasks and techniques. All of entries are in full-color and arranged alphabetically. Visual learners will be delighted with this excellent reference. More software applications should have guides such as this.

Available for on-line ordering at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=thekleperreporto&path=ISBN%3D0764598600

0764598600 416 pp. $39.99

Contact: Wiley, Professional/Trade Group, 111 River St., Hoboken, NJ 07030, http://www.wiley.com.


Analyzing Business Data with Excel
Knight, Gerald

The author shows readers how to utilize Microsoft Excel to deal with daily business problems. Clear illustrations are provided to harness Excel's programming and statistical capabilities to support common business challenges.

Available for on-line ordering at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=thekleperreporto&path=ISBN%3D0596100736

0596100736 248 pp. $39.99

Contact: O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., 1005 Gravenstein Highway North, Sebastopol, CA 95472, 800 998-9938, 707 829-0515, http://www.oreilly.com, e-mail: info@oreilly.com, fax: 707 829-0104.


AppleScript: The Definitive Guide, 2nd Edition
Neuburg, Matt

Digital publishers who work with Macintosh computers can automate many publishing tasks through the use of AppleScript. The author leads the reader through the basics of AppleScripting, providing many examples of how AppleScript can be used effectively. Advanced topics include using AppleScript with Unix scripting, building applications and Automator actions using AppleScript Studio, and much more.

Available for on-line ordering at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=thekleperreporto&path=ISBN%3D0596102119

0596102119 592 pp. $39.99

Contact: O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., 1005 Gravenstein Highway North, Sebastopol, CA 95472, 800 998-9938, 707 829-0515, http://www.oreilly.com, e-mail: info@oreilly.com, fax: 707 829-0104.


Complete Reference C# 2.0, The
Schildt, Herbert

The author, billed as "the world's leading programming author," has written a complete guide to C# 2.0, Microsoft's programming language for .NET development. The indexed handbook provides readers with in-depth explanations of all aspects of the language, along with hundreds of examples, expert tips, and clear descriptions.

Available for on-line ordering at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=thekleperreporto&path=ISBN%3D0072262095

0072262095 890 pp. $59.99

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


Degunking Your Home
Ballew, Joli

This is the practical, hands-on guide for cleaning and organizing every room in the house. Digital publishers will also find ideas that they can apply to their workspaces and general work environments. The author, an organization specialist, provides some quick degunking sheets that can be followed whenever time permits. Chapters cover the obvious cleaning strategies to more sophisticated aspects of achieving an organized life. Work-at-home publishers will likely find that an organized environment will lead to greater productivity and job satisfaction.

Available for on-line ordering at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=thekleperreporto&path=ISBN%3D1933097116

1933097116 244 pp. $19.99

Contact: Paraglyph Press, 1238 East Cambridge Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85006, 602 749-8787, http://www.paraglyphpress.com, fax: 602 388-8192.


Digital Art Photography for Dummies
Bamberg, Matthew

The author takes readers with basic digital photo skills and demonstrates how to produce gallery-quality art prints. The more than 300 full-color photos illustrate the processes of capturing images, enhancing them through the use of Photoshop and other creative tools, and reproducing them for matting and framing.

Available for on-line ordering at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=thekleperreporto&path=ISBN%3D0764598015

0764598015 370 pp. $34.99

Contact: Wiley, Professional/Trade Group, 111 River St., Hoboken, NJ 07030, http://www.wiley.com.


FileMaker Pro 8 Bible
Cohen, Dennis R.; Steven A. Schwartz

The ultimate user guide to the popular FileMaker database application. The authors have done a superb job of covering the program completely, arranging the massive volume of text so that readers can easily locate specific information.

The book begins with the fundamentals of databases, and the creation of a FileMaker database. It follows with a broad view of the program, with numerous tips, step-by-step procedures, and screen examples.

The accompanying cross-platform CD-ROM includes a trial version of FileMaker Pro 8, files and databases from the book, and third party shareware and trial versions of FileMaker plug-ins and tools.

Available for on-line ordering at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=thekleperreporto&path=ISBN%3D0471777080

0471777080 902 pp. $44.99

Contact: Wiley, Professional/Trade Group, 111 River St., Hoboken, NJ 07030, http://www.wiley.com.


Google Advertising Tools
Davis, Harold

A comprehensive guide to making money on the Internet through the use of the Google AdWords and AdSense services. The author shows how to incorporate Google services to generate revenue through site traffic and search engine placement. Readers can learn how to integrate AdWords with their application database and inventory systems.

Available for on-line ordering at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=thekleperreporto&path=ISBN%3D0596101082

0596101082 353 pp. $29.99

Contact: O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., 1005 Gravenstein Highway North, Sebastopol, CA 95472, 800 998-9938, 707 829-0515, http://www.oreilly.com, e-mail: info@oreilly.com, fax: 707 829-0104.


Google Maps Hacks
Gibson, Rich; Schuyler Erle

A complete guide to the varied features of Google Maps. The authors provide 60 innovative mapping projects that show how developers can add customized features to their maps. Among the hacks are examining patterns of criminal activity, tracking storm reporting, tracking the International Space Station, and many more.

Available for on-line ordering at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=thekleperreporto&path=ISBN%3D0596101619

0596101619 366 pp. $29.99

Contact: O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., 1005 Gravenstein Highway North, Sebastopol, CA 95472, 800 998-9938, 707 829-0515, http://www.oreilly.com, e-mail: info@oreilly.com, fax: 707 829-0104.


InDesign Effects Book, The
LoCascio, Ted

A book dedicated to the special design effects that can be produced within Adobe InDesign CS and CS2. Among the effects are 3D, shadows, text wraps, blends, transparency, feathering, custom gradients, glows, skews, and more. Serious InDesign users should be familiar with all of these effects, and skilled at applying them.

Available for on-line ordering at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=thekleperreporto&path=ISBN%3D0782144454

0782144454 260 pp. $29.99

Contact: Sybex 2021 Challenger Drive, #100 Alameda, CA 94501


Linux Administration: A Beginner's Guide. Fourth Edition
Shah, Steve; Wale Soyinka

The ultimate guide for a Linux administrator. The authors provides clear instructions for setting-up, configuring, managing, and troubleshooting all popular forms of Linux.

Available for on-line ordering at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=thekleperreporto&path=ISBN%3D0072262591

0072262591 618 $39.99

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


Looking Good in Print, 6th Edition
Parker, Roger C.

Hailed as the "definitive source for desktop publishing," the author has updated this classic with more design techniques that reflect contemporary standards. The book, which first appeared more than 15 years ago, has become one of the leading texts for students and working professionals who design on the desktop. Among the new content is advise on how to design print documents for on-line reading, which should be of particular interest to digital publishers.

Available for on-line ordering at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=thekleperreporto&path=ISBN%3D193309706X

193309706X 328 pp. $29.99

Contact: Paraglyph Press, 1238 East Cambridge Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85006, 602 749-8787, http://www.paraglyphpress.com, fax: 602 388-8192.


Mac OS X Tiger Simplified
Tejkowski, Erick

Here is a book that lives up to its claim of being "the easiest guide ever to Mac OS X Tiger." The book is composed of self-contained, two-page spreads that clearly demonstrate, step-by-step, how to accomplish a specific operating system task. The reader is led by an unintimidating character named "Chip," who provides easy to follow instructions and colorful screen examples.

The twelve chapters cover all of the essential operating system functions, from Mastering the Finder to Troubleshooting.

Available for on-line ordering at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=thekleperreporto&path=ISBN%3D0764599992

0764599992 228 pp. $24.99

Contact: Wiley, Professional/Trade Group, 111 River St., Hoboken, NJ 07030, http://www.wiley.com.


PCs: The Missing Manual
Rathbone, Andy

A practical down-to-earth guide to getting things done using a PC. The author, who has written "Windows for Dummies," is especially well-qualified to show readers how to perform dozens of necessary tasks that are essential to getting the most from a personal computer experience. Among the step-by-step tasks are computer upgrading, installing memory, moving files from an old PC to a new one, setting up auto back-up, and more.

Available for on-line ordering at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=thekleperreporto&path=ISBN%3D0596100930

0596100930 597 pp. $24.95

Contact: O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., 1005 Gravenstein Highway North, Sebastopol, CA 95472, 800 998-9938, 707 829-0515, http://www.oreilly.com, e-mail: info@oreilly.com, fax: 707 829-0104.


Photoshop CS2 Before & After Makeovers
Tally, Taz

Legendary Photoshop expert, Taz Tally, shows dramatic before and after examples of images that have undergone significant intervention to render them dramatically improved. He shows, step-by-step, and in great detail, how to change dimensions, enhance exposure, correct color, control composition, change color mode, and repurpose images. The processes are fascinating, and provide a real insight into how expert image artists work.

The author maintains a companion Web site at http://www.wiley.com/go/makeovers with example files and bonus chapters.

Available for on-line ordering at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=thekleperreporto&path=ISBN%3D047174901X

047174901X 374 pp. $29.99

Contact: Wiley, Professional/Trade Group, 111 River St., Hoboken, NJ 07030, http://www.wiley.com.


Photoshop for Right-Brainers, The Art of Photo Manipulation, Second Edition
Ward, Al

A fascinating book filled with dozens of projects, each showing the complete production process in a series of multiple full-color photos, and explaining in detail the steps involved in creating professional imaging results. The author is a digital artist of renown, with several Photoshop books to his credit. Readers can follow along on their computers and produce the same results shown in the book.

The book includes a CD-ROM with more than 400 Photoshop actions written by the author, images and project files from the book, and an assortment of stock images.

Available for on-line ordering at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=thekleperreporto&path=ISBN%3D0782144306

0782144306 334 pp. $39.99

Contact: Sybex 2021 Challenger Drive, #100 Alameda, CA 94501


Podcasting Pocket Guide
McElhearn, Kirk; Richard Giles, Jack D. Herrington

This compact book leads the reader through the entire process of podcasting, from finding, subscribing, and listening; to creating, recording, and editing. Readers will learn what constitutes a good podcast, and how to create one. The authors also include complete details about 30 podcasts that they consider to be exemplary.

Available for on-line ordering at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=thekleperreporto&path=ISBN%3D0596102305

0596102305 99 pp. $9.95

Contact: O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., 1005 Gravenstein Highway North, Sebastopol, CA 95472, 800 998-9938, 707 829-0515, http://www.oreilly.com, e-mail: info@oreilly.com, fax: 707 829-0104.


QuickBooks 2006: The Missing Manual
Biafore, Bonnie

This is the book that most QuickBooks users will find invaluable. It is full of step-by-step instructions for working with most aspects of the software, with the goal of saving time and money.

Available for on-line ordering at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=thekleperreporto&path=ISBN%3D0596101848

0596101848 623 pp. $29.99

Contact: O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., 1005 Gravenstein Highway North, Sebastopol, CA 95472, 800 998-9938, 707 829-0515, http://www.oreilly.com, e-mail: info@oreilly.com, fax: 707 829-0104.


RFID Essentials
Glover, Bill; Himanshu Bhatt

Perhaps the single most complete book on the subject of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). These Sun Computer employees have written the book that they would have liked to read when they began their research on RFID. What they have effectively done is demystify the technology, and provide the information that a solution architect needs to define a working system.

The major topics include RFID tags and protocols, readers, middleware, security and privacy, device management, and system architecture.

The complete text of the first chapter, "An Introduction to RFID," is available online at: http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/rfid/chapter/index.html.

Available for on-line ordering at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=thekleperreporto&path=ISBN%3D0596009445

0596009445 260 pp. $39.99

Contact: O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., 1005 Gravenstein Highway North, Sebastopol, CA 95472, 800 998-9938, 707 829-0515, http://www.oreilly.com, e-mail: info@oreilly.com, fax: 707 829-0104.


RFID Toys
Graafstra, Amal

A guide to applying RFID technology for 11 useful and amusing projects, such as a door lock, electronic safe, and object locator. The author provides a tool and parts list for each project as well as complete step-by-step instructions.

The software and source code for many of the projects is available on the companion Web site: http://www.wiley.com/go/extremetech.

A sample excerpt can be found at http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-0471771961.html.

Available for on-line ordering at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=thekleperreporto&path=ISBN%3D0471771961

0471771961 320 pp. $24.99

Contact: Wiley, Professional/Trade Group, 111 River St., Hoboken, NJ 07030, http://www.wiley.com.


Running Mac OS X Tiger
Davidson, James Duncan; Jason Deraleau

This is the guide for the advanced Macintosh user who seeks to gain more benefits from OS X Tiger. The authors lead the reader through the processes required to customize operations, adjust preferences, and access the hidden features that are generally undocumented.

Available for on-line ordering at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=thekleperreporto&path=ISBN%3D0596009135

0596009135 400 pp. $39.95

Contact: O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., 1005 Gravenstein Highway North, Sebastopol, CA 95472, 800 998-9938, 707 829-0515, http://www.oreilly.com, e-mail: info@oreilly.com, fax: 707 829-0104.


SAP R/3 Handbook, Third Edition
Hernandex, Jose A.; Jim Keogh, Franklin Foster Martinez

This comprehensive handbook covers all of the essential information necessary to install, implement, operate, and support SAP.

Available for on-line ordering at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=thekleperreporto&path=ISBN%3D0072257164

0072257164 606 pp. $69.99

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


Skype Hacks
Sheppard, Andrew

Skype, a web-based replacement for the telephone network, has developed into a technology that the author describes as "limited only by your imagination." He has documented 100 hacks that can make the reader a more savvy Skype user. Hacks include such things as maximizing savings, finding alternatives for 911 and 411 service, integrating Skype into web pages, replacing your home phone system with Skype, and many more. Sample hacks are available at http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/skypehks/.

Available for on-line ordering at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=thekleperreporto&path=ISBN%3D0596101899

0596101899 321 pp. $24.95

Contact: O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., 1005 Gravenstein Highway North, Sebastopol, CA 95472, 800 998-9938, 707 829-0515, http://www.oreilly.com, e-mail: info@oreilly.com, fax: 707 829-0104.


SQL Cookbook
Molinaro, Anthony

The author, an expert SQL developer, provides more than 200 recipes for applying SQL queries. He covers many critical topics including window functions, summarizing data into buckets, walking a string, creating histograms, and more. Readers who know the essential elements of SQL are likely to benefit from this helpful resource.

Available for on-line ordering at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=thekleperreporto&path=ISBN%3D0596009763

0596009763 595 pp. #39.95

Contact: O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., 1005 Gravenstein Highway North, Sebastopol, CA 95472, 800 998-9938, 707 829-0515, http://www.oreilly.com, e-mail: info@oreilly.com, fax: 707 829-0104.


Teach Yourself Visually: Digital Photography, 3rd Edition
Huss, Dave; Lynette Kent

The perfect book for the visual learner, which many digital photographers may be. Each of the more than 125 two-page spreads is devoted to a specific digital photography task. The tasks are arranged by chapters with such useful topics as Understanding Digital Photography, Controlling Exposure and Focal Length, and Enhancing Photos.

The exceptionally colorful and visually compelling layout and illustrations are supported by clear and concise text, step-by-step instructions, interesting sidebars, and more.

Available for on-line ordering at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=thekleperreporto&path=ISBN%3D0764599410

0764599410 293 pp. $24.99

Contact: Wiley, Professional/Trade Group, 111 River St., Hoboken, NJ 07030, http://www.wiley.com


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