The Kleper Report on Digital Publishing - Issue 11.2 March / April 2006

Issue 11.2 March / April 2006


Multimedia/Graphics Reviews

The LogoCreator version 5 (MAC/WIN)
The LogoCreator version 5 simplifies and streamlines the logo creation process by providing a sleek interface and extensive series of logo templates. The software is engaging, seducing novices into the world of graphic design by providing powerful yet easy to use tools, and unleashing the creativity of professionals by providing quick access to simple controls that result in major graphic modifications.

Users start by selecting a generic template that has the general design elements they need, and then use the various interface modes to modify it to meet their custom requirements. In addition to logos, the program supports the creation of graphics for virtually any need, for either printed or on-screen use.

The LogoCreator workflow consists of these steps:
• Select a template that embodies the general look that is required. Several accessory logo sets are available to suit specific needs such as real estate, sports, travel and leisure, etc.
• The various elements in a template can be modified in a wide variety of ways, such as resizing and moving the individual elements, changing the logo text and font (there are over 50 fonts provided), colorizing elements and text, adding gradients, adding shadows, and more.
• Additional objects can be added from the object library, or existing objects can be swapped out. Users can add their own images, clipart, or photos by importing them using the File menu and selecting Import.
• A slogan or tagline can be added by using the built-in Slogan and Tagline generator which includes over 500 predefined slogans.
• Finished logos are exported as JPEG, PNG, transparent GIF, PDF, or as 300 dpi TIFF or BMP for print.

The results are impressive, and users can quickly and easily create several variations of each basic design. Each logo version is $39.95, or $189.95 for the MEGA Pak which includes all of the logo sets: Corporate, Entertainment, Business Mascot, Real Estate, Spiritual, Sports, and Travel and Leisure.

Contact: Laughingbird Productions, 476 Avenida Valencia, Camarillo, CA 93012,, e-mail:

Font Editing

Fontographer 4.7 (MAC/WIN)
Fontographer 4.7 is the grandfather of font design and editing, dating back to its introduction by Altsys in 1985, and its further development by Macromedia. The program has been used extensively to create and produce digital fonts and character variations by professional type designers, graphic designers, and typographers. It provides desktop access to the production of PC/Mac Type 1, PC/Mac TrueType, and EPS (Mac only), with up to 4095 characters in the Windows version and 8192 in the Macintosh version. It remains one of the most powerful and ultimately useful type applications available and should be considered as a worthwhile investment by serious digital publishers.

The program is not only useful for creating new font empowers end-users to add special characters to existing fonts, such as symbols, fractions, company logos, and more. Users can modify existing characters, adding accents, modifying character weight, and even blending two fonts into an entirely new third font.

The program includes a complete arsenal of tools that can be used to create a font from scratch, or make precise edits to existing characters. Characters can be viewed either with the control points and Bezier controls, or in preview, showing how they will print. The user can control kerning, all aspects of characterfit, and hinting, long an essential element of good typography.

In addition to outputting a new or modified design in a choice of formats, the user can generate a key map which shows the location of each glyph (individual typographic element). Demo versions of the program are available at $349

Contact: Fontlab Ltd., 136 East 8th St, PMB 230, Port Angeles, WA 98362, 509 272-3260,, e-mail:

File Transfer/Processing Reviews

Migo Professional (WIN )
Migo Professional is software that installs on USB drives or memory cards and enables traveling professionals who use Microsoft Exchange to access their desktop, mission-critical data, and computer settings from any computer that they may encounter. They will find, upon using the Migo software that their calendar, Exchange-based e-mail, and other important data will be synchronized and up-to-date.

When traveling it is essential to have access to e-mail, and equally important to have copies of all messages that have been sent and received. With the use of Migo Professional, the user has access to that mail, both while away, and through synchronization upon return, when the user again uses their main PC.

Other data that Migo Professional maintains includes Internet settings (IE favorites, browsing history, and cookies), files and folders (those that the user has determined to be important), and desktop settings (icons, shortcuts, etc.). A demo of the Migo log-in process can be seen at $49.99

Contact: Migo Software, Inc., 555 Twin Dolphin Drive, Suite 650, Redwood City, CA 94065, 650 232-2600,, e-mail:, fax: 650 232-2699.

FlightCheck 5 Designer (MAC/WIN)
FlightCheck 5 Designer is a version of Markzware's FlightCheck Professional that enables designers and page layout professionals to preflight their files prior to submitting them for output. Although the version is not the full FlightCheck Pro implementation, it does support OpenType, TrueType and Adobe Type 1 fonts, check for colors and images, and interrogate a wide variety of native applications, including Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Publisher, as well as Adobe CS2, QuarkXPress 6, and others. The program is very competent at red-flagging most of the flaws that would keep a document from outputting properly. Finding and correcting errors early is beneficial since it becomes considerably more expensive to make corrections as jobs advance through a workflow. FlightCheck Designer allows designers, art directors, and others, to establish a design policy and production specifications for customer jobs, and ensure that those criteria are adhered to. $199

Contact: Markzware, 1805 E. Dyer Road, Suite #101, Santa Ana, CA 92705, 949 756-5100, 800-300-3532,, email:, fax: 949 756-5108.

FlightCheck Studio for InDesign Mac (MAC/WIN)
FlightCheck Studio for InDesign Mac is a version of Markzware's FlightCheck Professional that enables designers and page layout professionals to preflight their files in realtime, while they are in the InDesign page creation application (a version is available for QuarkXPress), and at any time prior to submitting a document for output. The designer, art director, or other creative talent establishes a set of specifications, called the "Policies" that define what is acceptable in the document. Any deviation from the policy is reported as a problem, which can be corrected immediately. The user can set a password to protect policies from being modified by others.

The FlightCheck Studio plug-in appears in InDesign as a floating, resizable palette with a toolbar across the top. The application automatically checks documents as they are opened and as they are saved, and at any time that the Check Tool is selected. The Fix Tool is used to initiate the automatic repair process, and the Report Tool provides access to the listing of flagged items that do not conform to the policy. The Prefs Tool provides a series of checkboxes that signify the events that the program is to monitor. Several other tools are used to control the appearance of warnings and flags. The program is intelligent enough to recognize problems that exist in items not specified in a policy, and alert the user.

Digital publishers should appreciate that having the preflight function active as the document is being created can help to eliminate problems later in the workflow, where they are more expensive to correct. This functionality is a great boon to productivity and to ensuring that jobs consistently conform to house style. It also serves to constantly monitor the designer and make them aware of errors as they make them. This will, over time help the designer to avoid errors, and therefore be more efficient. $199

Contact: Markzware, 1805 E. Dyer Road, Suite #101, Santa Ana, CA 92705, 949 756-5100, 800-300-3532,, email:, fax: 949 756-5108.

Utility Reviews

File Juicer (MAC)
File Juicer is a small utility program that can extract a variety of files from a given source file. For example, drop an InDesign file onto the File Juicer window and it will pull out all of the various files that it recognizes. These include: JPEG, PNG, GIF, PDF, BMP, WMF, EMF, PICT, TIFF, HTML, WAV, AVI, MOV, MPEG, WMV, MP3, MP4, AU, AIFF, Flash, and Zip. Files can also be "juiced" by dragging them to the File Juicer Dock icon, opening them from the File->Open ... menu, or from the Finder by using the contextual menu.

This utility can be invaluable to digital publishers who might encounter files that they can not open in a given application. File Juicer may be able to extract the component parts and save them. Shareware, $8.

Contact: Echo One, Rosenfeldt 40, 3600 Frederikssund, Denmark, +45 47383921,, e-mail:

Amnesty Widget Browser 1.0 (MAC)
Amnesty Widget Browser 1.0 is a useful utility that enables Macintosh Panther and Tiger users to use Dashboard widgets directly on their desktop rather than using the Dashboard icon in the Dock, and having widgets captive within their own environment. Through the use of a convenient icon in the system menu bar users can easily access each widget. Although it may seem somewhat inconsequential, freeing widgets for use on the desktop can make a significant difference in their usefulness, and the way in which the user works with their computer. Definitely worth a look. A free 30-day trial version is available at $19.95

Contact: Mesa Dynamics, LLC,, e-mail:

Trapeze 1.3.1 (MAC)
Trapeze 1.3.1 is a utility that enables users to extract easily the text from any PDF file. Simply by dragging-and-dropping PDF files onto the Trapeze icon users can extract editable HTML, RTF, or plain ASCII text. The user maintains control over how the text is extracted, selecting options for such considerations as paragraph rewrapping, page break marking, and space stripping. Digital publishers will appreciate the program's functionality and usefulness. A trial version is available at $29.95

Contact: Mesa Dynamics, LLC,, e-mail:

Iconizer Pro 3.0.5 (MAC)
Iconizer Pro 3.0.5 is a utility that can easily produce a set of 32-bit icons from any picture. A target picture is selected, a destination folder is specified, and the user presses the Iconize button to produce the icons. The icons can be used as backgrounds for any kind of window, and are often used to provide a large image for a CD-ROM. Target images can be PICT, TIFF, JPEG, PDF, GIF, or Photoshop PSD.

The workflow for creating a background image in a window composed of icons requires first that the user create a new folder, set its view "as Icons," and set the icon size of the folder to 32 x 32, from the View Options window. The icons are created in the program using this new folder as the destination. $15

Contact: Narattaphol Charoenphandhu Products,, e-mail:

Spring Cleaning 8.0 (MAC)
Spring Cleaning 8.0 is the ultimate Macintosh system maintenance utility, providing functions that can keep a Mac operating at an optimum level. Users can protect their privacy by removing Internet tracks, history files, Web Cache, and cookies; and recover disc space by removing redundant and duplicate files.

The program has a long history of providing a plethora of tools that work to maintain the performance of a Macintosh. This version introduces several new tools that further extend the control that a user can exercise to keep their computer fit and trim, and manage its contents more effectively and efficiently. These include:

• Music Finder™ which enables a user to locate music files and import them into iTunes or burn them onto a CD-ROM.
• Image Finder™ which provides an easy way to find and organize digital images and import them into iPhoto.
• Archive Finder™ which simplifies the process of finding archived files and folders.
• Widget Finder™ which makes it possible to find errant widgets and disable or remove them.
• Universal Slimmer™ which locates Universal code and removes the PowerPC or Intel code which is not needed.
• Disk Image Finder™ which finds used disk images that are no longer needed.
• Choose™ which enables users to navigate and organize volumes, files, and folders and apply actions to them.

In addition to the impressive arsenal of system maintenance tools, Spring Cleaning remains the number one Uninstaller for the Macintosh. $49.99

Contact: Allume Systems Inc., 245 Westridge Dr., Watsonville, CA 95076, 800, 732-8881, 831 761-6200, ,, e-mail:, fax: 831 761-6206.

Folder Icon X 2.1.5 (MAC)
Folder Icon X 2.1.5 is a small utility program that provides a simple interface for creating custom folder icons for Macintosh OS X. The user can easily combine a folder image with an icon image of any kind (including photos), positioning, resizing, cropping and distorting the icon on the folder, and then saving it as either an icon or .icns document. The output from the program has a 32-bit color depth and a size of 128 x 128. $15

Contact: Narattaphol Charoenphandhu Products,, e-mail:

Bar Code Pro Version 6.0 (MAC/WIN)
Bar Code Pro Version 6.0 is the single source solution for producing bar code graphics of all kinds. The software can produce technically accurate bar codes that conform to industry standards for bar sizes and spaces, check-digits, etc. The easy-to-use interfaces provides immediate access to:
• Preferences, which sets the output format (EPS, PICT, PDF), measurement unit, file name, and sound (optional).
• Symbol, which provides access to the symbology and variations.
• Text, to access the Text dialog with access to the font, size, alignment, and other specifications.
• Additional Text, which provides access to an additional line of text to specify price, item number, or description.
• Color, which controls the color of the bars/text, and spaces/quiet zones, set as spot or process, using RGB, HSL, or CMYK (with percentages set numerically or by using sliders).
• Serialization, which provides access to settings that enable the creation of a series of bar codes.
• Information, which displays the detailed data concerning the bar code along with a preview of the code itself.
• Save, which obviously saves the data as a graphic file. $399.95

Contact: SNX, 692 10th St., Brooklyn NY 11215, 718 499-6293,, fax: (718) 768-3997.

Smart Folders (MAC)
Smart Folders is a very handy utility that enables the user to quickly find files on the basis of very detailed criteria, and have aliases of the files gathered into a single folder that will continue to gather files as new files meet the search criteria. This application makes it easy to keep all files of a particular kind, or related to a particular purpose, to reside in a single place. The interface is simple and easy-to-use, and the search process is fast and efficient. $9.95

Contact: Rage Software, 1027 Finch W, Suite 5-30063, Downsview, Ontario, M3J 2C0, Canada,, e-mail:, fax: 772 619-7703.

File Management Reviews

zsDuplicateHunter Pro (MAC/WIN/LINUX)
zsDuplicateHunter Pro is a file management and maintenance program that enables the user to easily find duplicate files of many kinds (text, image, music, etc.) and safely remove the duplicates. The process of removing duplicates not only frees space on a user's hard drive, but increases the speed by which searches, back-ups, and other operations can be accomplished. Maintaining duplicates also introduces the possibility of confusing versions and working on the wrong files.

Users are able to group files by name, size, checksum, digest, path, extension, and/or timestamp. Users can also search within compressed Zip files.

Once duplicates have been uncovered, the user can elect to delete by selected files, all duplicates of a file, all duplicates except the newest, all duplicates except the oldest, keep files in this folder, delete duplicates elsewhere, delete all files in this folder which have duplicates, and delete all duplicates except the first. As a safeguard, users can also delete files to a backup folder. The results of a session can be saved in HTML and XML file formats. Sessions can even be saved and reloaded. $39.95

Contact: Zizasoft, 21684 Swale Ave., Parker, CO 80138, 303 638-9235,, e-mail:, fax: 720 862-2089.

zsCompare 2.42 (MAC/WIN)
zsCompare 2.42 is a very competent and reliable application that enables the user "to manually or automatically compare and synchronize files, folders, zip files, and jar files between local directories or networked computers." The contents of text files can be can be compared line by line, and then merged into a single file that includes only the required changes. Text can also be compared from manually typed in sources, or by copying it from Word, Excel, or PDF origins. In addition, the program has the capability to find and remove duplicate files.

Digital publishers will find these functions of great value, and the software should be considered as a part of their typical production workflows. The application can help to insure that all members of a workgroup are working with the same data, and that all computers have been accurately backed-up. $35

Contact: Zizasoft, 21684 Swale Ave., Parker, CO 80138, 303 638-9235,, e-mail:, fax: 720 862-2089.

Digital Imaging Reviews

Adobe Photoshop Elements 4.0 (MAC/WIN)
Adobe Photoshop Elements 4.0 adds several new impressive features that improve the user's capability to manage, edit, and use their digital images.

One of the most useful additions is the Adobe Bridge for Photoshop Elements, fashioned after the image and file organizer which is now a part of the Adobe Creative Suite 2. The Bridge enables the user to find, manage, sort, and organize all of their images and files using a single interface. In the Bridge users can rank and label images and display them in a filmstrip or slideshow format.

The software is aimed at the consumer market, specifically to provide users with easy-to-apply tools and processes to correct image flaws and improve image quality. These include the:
• Red Eye Fix Auto button, to remove the red eye effect, which is often caused by the camera flash reflecting from the subject's retina.
• Magic Selection Brush which can be used to quickly select target areas of an image, such as a car or building, without the need to use the slow and difficult process of manually outlining the objects.
• Improved Crop tool that automatically conforms to the aspect ratio of the original photo. Users can also use the Reverse Aspect Ratio button to change the crop ratio from landscape to portrait or vice versa.
• Quick Fix Interface consisting of several buttons that apply instant image corrections, such as color, lighting, and sharpening, and some of which include slider controls for precision adjustments.
• Adjust Color for Skin Tone enhancement to create a more realistic skin coloring effect.
• Straighten Tool which simplifies the process of bringing a crooked image back into line.
• Spot Healing and the Healing Brushes that provide immediate removal of flaws simply by clicking on the target area. These brushes make it a quick and easy process to remove dust, scratches, wrinkles, scars, and entire objects.

Many newer digital cameras enable the user to shoot images in Camera Raw format, providing images with significantly more image data. These images are comparable to film negatives, and offer the user significantly more control over the adjustment of the image, leaving the digital "negative" in its original state. Photoshop Elements 4.0 now supports Camera Raw, with a complete interface that provides control of RGB values, color depth, white balance, shadows and highlights, and more. Raw images can be saved in the new universal DNG file format.

Users who gang photos on their flat-bed scanner, and routinely find that the photos have shifted, and are no longer straight, will appreciate the new Divide Scanned Photos feature. This option automatically recognizes multiple scanned images, crops them along their logical edges, straightens them, and then opens each one in a separate window named for the original image and appended with "copy" and a successive number.

Image compositing, something that has been both an art and a craft, has been simplified using the new Magic Extractor, which consists of using the Foreground Brush to identify the foreground, and Background Brush, to identify the background, resulting in the separation of an object from its background. The object can then be composited with another image.

The Cookie Cutter tool enables users to crop images using unusual shapes. The user has control over the shape selection, size, and proportions.

Other interesting capabilities include font preview in the enhanced Font menu; reducing photo noise and JPEG artifacts; applying any of several artistic image filters from the Filter Gallery; and much more.

Edited and processed images can be printed locally on the users' printer, printed in a choice of several space-saving layouts, or sent on-line for professional printing. Images can also be e-mailed directly from the application, or saved in an on-line Web Photo Gallery. All in all, this update provides useful, practical, and productive capabilities at a very reasonable price. Mac, $89.99, Windows, $99.99.

Contact: Adobe Systems Inc., 345 Park Ave., San Jose, CA 95110-2704, 408 536-6000,, fax: 408 537-6000.

Hardware Reviews

IOGEAR USB Multi-Function Print Server (WIN )
The IOGEAR USB Multi-Function Print Server is a small device that enables users who are connected on a SOHO (small office, home office) or SMB (small, medium sized business) network to share a single multi-function (MF) USB printer with printing, scanning, and faxing capabilities. Users can perform all of the functions that are inherent in the single MF device. Digital publishers can share these functions rather than duplicate them by purchasing several such devices. The print server is the more efficient and cost-effective method of working.

The palm-size device provides two-way communication, informing users of the status, in realtime, of the ink or toner levels, as well as progress reports on faxes that are being sent or received. The print server can be connected to a wireless router, in which case it becomes a Wide Local Area Network (WLAN) device, serving all networked computers wirelessly.

Control, configuration, and monitoring of the multi-function device, through the print server, is managed with a Web browser interface. The Print Server comes with a three year limited warranty. $99.95

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

Digital Asset Management

Extensis Portfolio 8.0 (MAC/WIN)
Extensis Portfolio 8 is an affordable, yet powerful, digital asset management (DAM) system that simplifies the process of storing, managing, organizing, and accessing digital assets of several kinds.

Portfolio assets are contained in catalogs, which can be composed of digital images, graphics, and other elements. A subset of a catalog is called a gallery. The process of adding assets to a Portfolio catalog is as simple as selecting the folder or volume that contains them. Instant Cataloging makes it possible to add metadata as the assets are being added to the catalog.

Portfolio utilizes a time-saving feature called AutoSync, which automates the process of keeping client and server file and folder structures synchronized. In this way, the user is assured that all files that have been added, moved, deleted, or renamed are properly reflected within the Portfolio interface.

The architects of Portfolio have given considerable thought to DAM workflow, and recognize that assets are often required while the user is working in another application, such as Adobe InDesign or Microsoft PowerPoint. For this reason, the patented Portfolio Express palette is provided. This floating palette is available from any application, and enables the user to access images quickly, for insertion in any active application. The Portfolio Express palette is available even if the Portfolio client application is not active.

The single user version of Portfolio Client is the basic entree into the Portfolio product suite, which includes Portfolio Server (to support multiple users), Portfolio NetPublish (to publish fully-featured websites), and Portfolio SQL Connect (to use Portfolio catalogs as standard SQL databases). The Client version includes improved cataloging speed, custom sort ordering, flexible gallery access, compatibility with Adobe Bridge rating and label fields, and more.

The process of adding assets to a catalog is very simple. The user defines a new catalog (File>New) and saves it. The Add button on the Portfolio toolbar is pressed, and the user navigates to the location of the targeted assets. Before the assets are processed into the catalog, the user has several options from which to choose regarding how the program will store the information about the files. Among the options are batch renaming files, inserting descriptive text about each file, adding keywords, etc. These options can be retained as presets, for processing similar assets in the future.

Cataloged files are retrieved using the QuickFind box, into which a word or phrase is typed. The Find command provides more advanced forms of searching, supporting up to five lines of search criteria. Users can manage assets for particular clients or projects by displaying them in one or more galleries, which are catalog subsets, created from the Gallery menu (Gallery>New). Searches can also be saved as Smart Galleries, using the results of a search as the contents for the gallery.

Cataloged items can be published to the Web using the Create Webpages feature, producing a static on-line catalog. $199.95

Contact: Extensis Inc., 1800 S.W. First Ave., Suite 500, Portland, OR 97201, 800 796-9798, 503 274-2020,,, fax: 503 274-0530.

Networking Reviews

Net Tool Box 3.1 (MAC)
Net Tool Box 3.1 is a suite of 20 networking utilities provided in a single interface. It provides network administrators and others with a single control center for monitoring several network-related functions and activities. These include:
• Mapper, to view the geographic location of almost any IP address. Note that the Caida NetGeo database, which is required for Mapper is no longer updated, and may yield out-dated results.
• Ping Tools, to check for network connectivity and throughput. It shows response times.
• DNS Tools, to view DNS data for a particular domain by inputting either the IP address or name.
• IP Terminals, to communicate with local and remote hosts over TCP, UDP, and SSL.
• HTTP Tool, to view the hidden headers and cookies on a given Web site.
• Traceroute, to view the route that any packet will take between the local and remote hosts.
• Port Scanners, to interrogate a host or many hosts to determine what is open.
• Netstat, to view the open connections on the local computer.
• Traffic Watchers, to view the actual transferred data between various computers on the local network.
• Rendezvous Tools, to view the services that are being broadcast on the local network, and to enable the user to broadcast their own.
• Network Interfaces, enables the user to view all of the active interfaces running on their computer, and their properties. $35

Fonts/Font Management

Suitcase Fusion 12.0.1 (MAC)
Suitcase Fusion 12.0.1 is the fusion of Suitcase X1 and Font Reserve 3. Font Reserve has been a favorite of creative professionals, and has been acclaimed for its user interface and for its superiority in the areas of font security and integrity. Suitcase has been among the top selling font managers for both professional and consumer users, lauded for its ease of use. The combination of these products has produced a world-class font management application.

A key feature of the program is Font Sense™, a plug-in technology that transparently manages the exact fonts used in a document, identifying, locating, and activating them to ensure font fidelity. The technology creates unique font identifiers for each font, even those with the same name, guaranteeing that the program will correctly activate the exact version of a particular font. For trade professionals, this capability provides the highest level of confidence that fonts will correctly appear in key applications such as Adobe InDesign, Adobe Ilustrator, and QuarkXPress.

The program utilizes the Font Vault, a repository for fonts that is itself a database, maintaining fonts reliably, and free of version and naming conflicts. The vault provides a single storage area for fonts, unlike many workflows that distribute fonts for various jobs and clients in a variety of folders and a variety of locations. As fonts are loaded into the vault they are separated from their suitcases, allowing the user to activate fonts on a typeface level basis. The user decides if the fonts will be moved into the vault; or copied there, leaving the fonts in their original locations. The database structure enables users to search for fonts on the basis of various criteria, such as keywords, font classification, or foundry. The database contains very detailed information about every font, including such fields as PostScript Name, Version, Outline Size, and Type (PostScript, TrueType, OpenType).

Fonts are added using a drag-and-drop browser, or through a menu selection, after which they appear in the application window, where they can be activated or deactivated, and previewed and printed in a variety of layouts. Fonts can be selected individually, as separate entities from their suitcases, and can be grouped in sets that relate to projects, customers, styles, or any other categorization that is required. Fonts can also be activated temporarily so that they will not be activated upon reboot.

The program comes with a complimentary copy of Morrison Software's Font Doctor 7, which detects and repairs corrupt fonts. $99.95

Contact: Extensis Inc., 1800 S.W. First Ave., Suite 500, Portland, OR 97201, 800 796-9798, 503 274-2020,,, fax: 503 274-0530.

Specialized Output Reviews

Aquazone Seven Seas Deluxe (MAC/WIN)
Aquazone Seven Seas Deluxe redefines the meaning of photorealistic, providing a highly life-like virtual aquarium screen saver. The user can select from a variety of backgrounds and 20 different tanks. Up to 40 different species of jellyfish, sea turtles, nautili, and other denizens of the deep can be selected, in the quantities specified by the user.

Users can interact with the fish in several ways. They can activate the Fish Cam, following the paths of favorite fish as they swim, feed, and interact with other fish. They can "feed" the fish, and see how fish react to the food, which slowly settles to the bottom of the tank. And finally, they can "tap" on the glass and observe the movements of the fish nearby. Additional fish collections are available at extra cost. $24.99

Contact: Allume Systems Inc., 245 Westridge Dr., Watsonville, CA 95076, 800, 732-8881, 831 761-6200, ,, e-mail:, fax: 831 761-6206.

Ultimate Pen (MAC)
Ultimate Pen is a valuable application for digital publishers, instructors, trainers, and others who deal with technical documentation, or on-screen instruction. The program enables the user to write and draw directly on the screen, on a transparent layer, making it possible to add arrows, highlight areas of the screen, and add annotation.

The application can be launched with a user-defined hot key, making it available at any time. A floating palette lets users select the pen, a color, an eraser (for selective deletions), square and circular frames and fills, lines, and text. The entire contents of the Ultimate Pen layer can be removed by selecting the Erase button. The Marquee Selection can be used to save any portion of the display or to move around the pen marks. The Preferences let the user set such things as the opacity of the "ink," the width of the stroke, and the active font.

The user can quickly switch from making marks with the program to accessing the program immediately below it (or any other), by clicking on the "Click-Through" button.

Any part of the screen can be saved by using a marquee selection, or the entire screen can be captured. This capability makes the program highly useful for creating documentation, for print or digital uses.

A free trial version, providing up to 40 launches or use on up to 20 days (whichever comes first) is available at $19.95

Contact: Snowmint Creative Solutions LLC, 656 Maple Street NE, Spring Lake Park, MN 55432-1118,

Apple iLife '06 (MAC)
iLife '06, Apple's most ambitious upgrade to its digital lifestyle suite, enables virtually any Macintosh user to enter the realm of digital publishing√Čeasily, and with professional-quality results. Apple, which led the desktop publishing revolution, and demystified the process of print publishing, has now provided the tools to allow almost anyone to publish rich content to the Web, to DVD, or to an iPod.

iLife '06 is a suite of five applications that work together seamlessly, and empower a user not only to make the most of their creativity, but to share it easily and with professional results. What Apple has done is a monumental achievement, providing an elegantly simple and engaging collection of programs that can produce remarkably high quality output. The programs are iPhoto 6, iWeb, GarageBand 3, iMovie HD 6, and iDVD 6.

Although it was not designed as a digital asset management system, iPhoto 6 simplifies the process of importing, organizing, managing, optimizing, and publishing digital photographs. The program handles the entire lifecycle of digital images, from their extraction out of a camera or memory card, to their use in videos, on Web sites, in any number of computer projects, and as published end-products and prints.

iPhoto 6 can handle up to 250,000 images, more than most professionals, no less consumers, are likely to need to access, and provides two unique methods of publishing selected images. First is the output to print, in the form of professionally printed books, calendars, and greeting cards. The user simply selects the photos they would like to use, and then selects the form they would like them to take. Thereafter the process is as simple as it can be. Apple provides a selection of beautifully designed themes into which the picture or pictures are dragged and dropped. The entire process is visual and point-and-click, and the electronic commerce is just as easily accomplished using Apple's One-Click purchasing.

Second is a technology new to iPhoto '06, a new publishing medium called Photocasting. Photocasting enables an iPhoto user to publish photo albums that anyone can subscribe to. When photos are added to a published album, subscribers automatically receive the new images within iPhoto 6, or through the use of any RSS reader, on a Macintosh or a PC.

Pictures can also be published directly to the Web using iWeb, a new option accessible from iPhoto 6, and from its own desktop icon. Using iWeb's attractive templates a user can create a visually stunning Web site quickly, composing photos from iPhoto, movies from iMovie, and playlists from iTunes. The application makes it possible for anyone to publish a compelling Web site, replete with a blog, podcast, visitor counter, e-mail button, and much more. As the user adds content and pages to the site, iWeb keeps track and automatically updates the navigation menu. The publishing process is transparent using a .Mac account, or the content can be saved to a folder and FTP'ed to any site that the user owns.

Still images from iPhoto can also be used in iMovie HD 6, which provides the best digital video editing experience available. iMovie HD 6 now provides Apple-designed motion graphics which support the inclusion of user-produced videos and photos into professionally composited and animated themes, many of which are coordinated with iDVD 6 themes and iPhoto 6 books and slideshows, providing a consistent look.

iMovie HD 6 titling has been improved to provide higher-quality, smoother text, along with more control over text effects. Sound control has also been enhanced, giving the user the means to reduce background noise, and improve the clarity of a soundtrack. Multiple projects can now be opened simultaneously, and audio and video clips can be dragged and dropped between them.

In addition to the many output formats that iMovie previously provided, version 6 supports the creation of video podcasts for use on the Web, and for content for iPod video players, which require H.264 compression.

Audio podcasts can be created inside GarageBand 3. The program provides a complete studio environment for recording voice(s) directly, adding sound effects, jingles, and other audio enhancements. GarageBand 3 itself provides a complete digitized orchestra of musical instruments that can be used to score iMovies and to add sound effects in precise sync with the on-screen activity.

Completed iMovies can be published as finished DVDs using iDVD 6. The process has been simplified with the addition of Magic iDVD, wherein the user simply selects a theme and their movies and photos, and iDVD automatically creates a finished DVD ready for burning or further editing. Version 6 provides ten new iDVD themes in both widescreen (16:9) and standard (4:3) screen format.

Apple provides the tools for creative expression. All that is necessary is imagination. $79

Contact: Apple Computer, Inc., 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino, CA 95014-2084, 800-MY-APPLE,

Image Collection Reviews

Official Signs & Icons 2 (MAC/WIN)
Official Signs & Icons 2 is a world-class collection of universally recognized signs and icons classified into eleven categories. The 4,811 EPS symbols, provided on a Mac or PC CD-ROM, are presented in a beautifully printed 240-page hard-bound book, with many collections in color. The design reference represents a monumental effort by designer Mies Hora, president of Ultimate Symbol Inc., who has carefully and painstakingly researched and evaluated the symbols for their clarity, universal understanding, and design integrity.

The book and CD represents a collaboration with design organizations around the world, and has resulted in a reliable reference collection for design, sign creation, and electronic labeling. The standard symbol sets, which have been designed by internationally recognized designers for such impressive organizations as the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), the Society for Environmental Graphic Design (SEGD), and others, includes:

Vol. 1: Highway Signs I: U.S. (MUTCD) Vol. 2: Highway Signs II: International (UNCRT) Vol. 3: Symbol Signs: Recreation (SEGD) Vol. 4: Symbol Signs: Transport I (AIGA/DOT) Vol. 5: Symbol Signs: Transport II (TCRP/DOT) Vol. 6: Hospitality Symbol Signs System (APEC) Vol. 7: Safety Symbols Labeling (DOT/ANSI/ISO) Vol. 8: International Icons I: Electronic Labeling (ISO /IEC/JEITA) Vol. 9: International Icons II: Mechanical Labeling (ISO / IEC) Vol. 10: Signals Braille (ADA) Vol. 11: Meteorological Symbols (WMO)

The book and CD-ROM bring together the largest collection of sign graphics ever; one that every digital publisher should seriously consider as an essential part of their graphics library. All of the image files are not only ready to use for printers, signmakers, and vinyl-cutters, but are fully editable in almost any vector drawing program. Complete background information and technical application instructions are provided. $249.95 for the book and CD-ROM; $49.95 for the book alone; and $199.95 for the CD-ROM alone. ISBN 0-9769513-0-4.

Contact: Ultimate Symbol Inc., 31 Wilderness Drive, Stony Point, NY 10980, 845 942-0003, 800 611-4761,, e-mail:, fax: 845 942-0004.

Digital Audio

Podcast Maker 1.2.1 (MAC)
Podcast Maker 1.2.1 is a complete podcasting application that enables virtually anyone to create a full-featured podcast, ready for publication. The publishing process is as simple as it can possibly be...a recorded podcast program is simply dragged and dropped into the content window. Content formats include mp3, m4a, mov, mp4, m4v, and pdf. The user adds in a descriptive text, a choice of category, and a photo or graphic image to be used as cover art.

Podcasts can be composed as simple, single audio file issues, or more sophisticated, with chapters and links. Live links enable listeners to access Web-based content. The program provides three modes: Basic, Detail, and Preview, all of which do exactly what one would expect. The Publish button enables the user to quickly publish their podcast, and using the iTunes Music Store, make it available for subscription using RSS...all without coding or complexity. Podcasts can be published to a .Mac account, or if the user has other Web hosting, they can use FTP or SFTP.

A three minute video tutorial is available at $29.95

Contact: Potion Factory, P.O. Box 741327, Los Angeles, CA 90004,, e-mail:, fax: 213 251-0059.

Roadmaster VRFM9 (ALL)
The Roadmaster VRFM9, is an exceptional device for broadcasting music through a car stereo audio system. The plethora of inexpensive digital storage media, in the form of SD cards and USB memory key (thumb drive), while providing the digital publisher with readily available devices for transporting digital projects easily and quickly can also be used for this purpose. Those same storage media can be used to store music and other audio programs, such as podcasts, for play while on the road. The VRFM9 is an FM modulator that plugs into a 12v car cigarette lighter socket. The Roadmaster converts the audio signals into an FM signal that is transmitted as high-quality audio through an unused FM frequency on the car's audio system. It has slots to accommodate SD cards and USB memory keys.

In addition to supporting the use of removable media, the Roadmaster VFM9 can connect to a variety of audio devices, including MP3 players, such as iPod, WMA, and CD and DVD players, making it the most versatile device of its kind on the market. An LCD display provides a read-out of each song along with ID3 tag data showing the artist, album, and genre, if the tag information is present. The pivoting head makes it easy to adjust the line of sight, and the simple control panel makes selections effortless. A three foot audio cable is included for connecting music playing devices and movie audio, wirelessly through the car stereo system. The VRFM9, the top of the line is priced at $69.99. Other models, with fewer features, begin at $19.99.

Contact: Roadmaster Corp., 41 James Way, Eatontown, NJ 07794, 800.445.1797, 732 542-8400, http://

Digital Video Reviews

PYRO A/V Link is a combination hardware and software package that supports the capture of any analog video source and its conversion to high quality digital video (DV) format. Connecting via FireWire/1394, the DV video converter box supports the bi-directional transfer of video data, from analog to digital, and from digital to analog. Converted video can then be edited using the bundled Adobe Premiere Elements or any of the following: Avid XpressDV 3+, 4.x; Adobe Premiere 6.x; Adobe Premiere Pro; Vegas Video; Ulead VideoStudio 7+ or higher; Ulead DVD MovieFactory; Pinnacle Studio 8 & 9; Apple iMovie; Apple Final Cut Xpress; Apple Final Cut Pro; Roxio Easy Media 7 or higher; Roxio Video Wave 7 or higher; In-Sync Razor Video Editing; Magix Movie Edit Pro; and Arcsoft Showbiz.

Digital publishers are likely to have a collection of VHS tapes and other analog video that they need to convert into digital form, either to archive or to put it to use it in new projects. Not only can the technology that supports old media formats become obsolete, the media itself can degrade and deteriorate. The digital format affords exceptional latitude in editing, and can be burned onto DVD for long-term storage. An analog camcorder or VCR can be connected easily to the Link box using the supplied cables. The process is fast and easy to accomplish.

The PYRO A/V Link box has analog and digital inputs on the front, as well as power and analog indicators. The back of the box has analog and digital outputs. Although the box is usually attached between an analog video device, such as a VCR, and a computer, it can be used to connect two devices directly, bypassing a computer.

After converting and editing video users can burn their work to a DVD or video CD, or convert it back to analog, recording it to a VCR tape.

Package contents includes the PYRO A/V Link device, 6 ft. RCA A/V cable (red, yellow, white), 6 ft. S-Video cable (4 pin Din), 6 ft. 6 pin to 6 pin 1394 cable, 6 ft. 4 pin to 4 pin 1394 cable, power supply, and Adobe Premiere Elements for Windows. $199.99

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

MAGIX Movie Edit Pro 11 (WIN )
MAGIX Movie Edit Pro 11 is an advanced feature video editing application that is priced for the consumer market but is fully featured for semi-professionals. Despite its surround sound and High Definition support, it remains amazingly easy to use, providing editing wizards, automatic scene recognition, and chapter markers.

Utilizing up to 16 video tracks, users can perform the entire digital video workflow, from capture, to edit, to output, to sharing. Output can be to DVD, Video-CD, Super-Video-CD, CD-R, VHS, or to the Web. A library of 1,400 templates, 3D effects, fades, and titles is included. Among the more significant new features are an Anti-shake Filter, to reduce unstable images; an integrated Sound Restoration capability, to dehiss and enhance sound; a Scene Overview Mode, to view and sort scenes easily; multi-monitor support via real-time TV preview (requires additional hardware); and much more. This package rates as a best buy for consumer video editing and publishing. $59.99

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

GeeThree Slick Caption (MAC)
GeeThree Slick Caption is an application for Apple iMovie, Final Cut Express, and Final Cut Pro that simplifies the process of adding high-quality captions to a DV movie. Users create the captions in a text editing program producing a plain text file that is imported into Slick Caption, or captions can be typed in directly.

The workflow requires that the user select the target video, and then the caption text file. A preview screen then appears which lets the user select the font, size, style (bold or italic), and color (both text and background), and see the first caption over the first frame of the video with the selected options applied. When the settings are acceptable the user clicks "OK," and moves to the main caption window.

The Slick Caption main window is split in two, with the captions on the right, and the video preview on the left. The video is controlled with "Play" and "Rewind" buttons, located directly below it. Clicking on the Caption button starts the caption recording process, which can be stopped by clicking the button again (now that it has been changed to a square stop button). Adding the captions is accomplished by simply tapping either the spacebar or the Enter key. Each tap adds a caption. The process is continued until the video clip is finished.

Captions appear as markers along the timeline at the bottom of the screen. The markers can be dragged to align errant captions with the dialog, and to adjust the time that the caption appears on the screen. The completed video is exported with the captions. $49.95

Contact:, 261 Hamilton Ave. #311, Palo Alto, CA 94301, 650 328-2359,, e-mail:, fax: 650 328-8092.

KeyWebX (MAC)
KeyCamX 2.1 is a low-cost webcam utility that provides significant capabilities. It is the sort of application that should be bundled with webcams, such as Apple's iSight. Working with any QuickTime-compatible FireWire or USB camera, the program can capture images from a webcam or DV camcorder, and store them on the user's local hard drive, an FTP server, or an iDisk.

The program also provides a security function wherein motion detection can be set, with varying levels of sensitivity. When motion is detected, the program can play an audio file, or launch an AppleScript. Sample AppleScripts are provided, including one that can be modified to send an e-mail to the user (or anyone else), each time that the motion detector is tripped. The e-mail contains the picture that was captured, along with an optional time/date stamp. Shareware, $10.

Contact: KeyCamX,, e-mail:

BluffTitler DX9 version 3.0 (WIN )
BluffTitler DX9 version 3.0 produces broadcast-quality animated 3D titles in realtime, without rendering. The software depends on Microsoft's DirectX9 technology and 3D hardware acceleration, and can be used with any video editing software, including Adobe Premiere, Canopus EDIUS, Magix Video, Microsoft MovieMaker, and many others.

The program makes use of any TrueType font, applying a wide variety of bevel styles and texture options. The user can composite still or moving images as backgrounds, animated design elements, or morphed into a variety of animated 3D shapes. An unlimited number of independent layers can be created and animated independently. The program's particle layer can be used to create special effects such as fire, explosions, smoke, fireworks, dripping ooze, rain and snow. The particles can be attached to 3D text objects so that the effects appear to be emitted from the text itself.

Simulated physics can be applied to animations to simulate text that bounces, pumps, speeds up or slows down. The program includes extreme text effects such as hairy, spiked and exploding text, and the "VJ mode" enables the user to control text effects from a MIDI keyboard for live performances. Several BluffTitler examples, as well as a 20 minute video tutorial are available on the company's Web site. $50 (approximately)

Contact: Outerspace Software, postbus 12441, 1100 AK Amsterdam the Netherlands, +31(0)20 6096852,, e-mail:

FrameVault (MAC)
FrameVault is a digital asset management system designed for playing, organizing, managing, delivering, and distributing digital video assets. It provides a single-window environment in which to place QuickTime-compatible video clips and organize them into playlists and libraries for convenient access.

Clip assets are added to the application by being dragged and dropped onto the FrameVault interface, where they appear in a list on the bottom of the screen. Each clip can be selected and previewed in the main area of the window. A unique capability is the Fullscreen mode, where in clips can be played on multiple monitors as if they were one large screen. Clips can be dragged onto playlist names where they can be organized into a chapter-based movie, which can be exported in various forms, including export to external devices, such as camcorders. Playlists can be added to libraries, the highest level of the organizational hierarchy. Libraries and playlists can be exported as FrameVault Archives that are portable, and can be opened by non-Macintosh computers. On such systems the archive files appear in directory format. $75

Contact: Einstein's Legacy,, e-mail:

iGlasses (MAC)
iGlasses is a utility for use with the Apple iSight camera that uses advanced image processing to provide improved imaging in low light and no light environments. The presets can be set to the following: Standard (factory settings), Extra Bright (for darker than normal situations), Super Bright (for dark rooms), Enhanced (sharper image with deeper colors), Black & White, Sepia, Crazy Colors (cycles through the rainbow), Night Vision (for total darkness), and Macro Focus (for close-ups). Users can also turn their images upside down, or mirror them, to correct for images that are recorded with the camera upside down or reflected in a mirror. $8

Additions/Extensions Reviews

Slick Volume 9 (MAC)
Slick Volume 9 is a collection of more than 100 plug-ins for Apple iMovie. Over 70 of the plug-ins are entertaining 3D transitions, including cube tumble, flying tiles, and turnstile. Fusion Factory is a plug-in environment in which the user can create directional dissolves, blends, and mixes. The Object Wipes plug-in provides the user with a variety of objects that can move across the screen and serve as the edge for a wipe transition. The Travel Log can provide a trail of a trip across a map with control over the color and style of the trail, and the vehicle used for the trip.

The PDF Scroll plug-in can be used to scroll a PDF file of any number of pages, and the PDF Slide Show plug-in enables the user to display each PDF page as a slide. The Place Text II plug-in lets the user precisely place titles, with control over the alignment, linespacing, and screen position.

Full motion examples of all of the effects can be seen at Download for $49.95

Contact:, 261 Hamilton Ave. #311, Palo Alto, CA 94301, 650 328-2359,, e-mail:, fax: 650 328-8092.

Slick Volume 10 (MAC)
Slick Volume 10 is a collection of advanced, professional tools for Apple iMovie. With this collection the user can make precise color adjustments (Color Tuner, Variations); apply a wide variety of lighting effects (Lighting Studio); switch between four video sources (Multi-Camera); provide multiple views of the same clip, or compose multiple tracks (Multi-Track, Multi-View); scale and crop clips (Scale and Crop, Picture in Picture Plus); compose a video wall of multiple clips in a choice of several layouts (Motion Wall Plus); straighten crooked video (Straighten, Skew and Distort); plus apply over 60 fascinating transitions. Full motion examples of all of the goodies in this collection can be viewed at Download for $49.95

Contact:, 261 Hamilton Ave. #311, Palo Alto, CA 94301, 650 328-2359,, e-mail:, fax: 650 328-8092.

FocalBlade (MAC/WIN)
FocalBlade is a Photoshop-compatible plug-in that enables the user to apply five different methods of sharpening to images for use in print or on-screen display. The plug-in can be applied to 8-bit and 16-bit RGB and grayscale images. The user interface provides considerable control of the sharpening process, and can be applied using automatic, semi-automatic, and manual modes. In addition to sharpening it encompasses options for creating blur, glow, and soft focus effects.

Among its refinements is a feature to sample a particularly important image area and apply an optimal sharpness setting to this area. The degree of sharpening can be assessed through the use of the Split View modes, of which there are several. Use of these modes permits the user to compare various degrees of sharpening to the original image. Among the manual controls are independent Sharpen and Radius sliders, a Soften slider, Halo and Shadow/Highlight Fix sliders, as well as several masking options and a Glow feature.

FocalBlade stands out from other sharpening methods in that it does not leave unattractive artifacts and noise, and allows the user to experiment without damaging the image. Some stunning examples of images that have been significantly improved using the plug-in can be seen at A demo version can be downloaded at $49.95

Contact: The Plugin Site, Harald Heim, Tucholskystr. 120, 90471 Nurnberg, Germany, 49 911 868516,, e-mail:

Book Reviews

Absolute Beginner's Guide to Podcasting
Colombo, George; Curtis Franklin, Jr.

A useful quick guide to the process of planning, producing, distributing, and promoting successful podcasts. The authors cover many of the technical, commercial, and legal considerations of podcast publishing.

Available for on-line ordering at

0789734559 240 pp. $21.99

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

Apple Pro Training Series: Advanced Editing Techniques in Final Cut Pro 5
Wohl, Michael

The Apple-certified training course for Final Cut Pro 5 that provides more than 40 hours of instruction. The author provides 6-hours of raw footage on two DVD-9 discs that is used to learn advanced editing techniques involving dialogue, action, comedy, chases, fights, interviews, documentaries, music videos, and multi-camera projects, as well as a comprehensive audio mix.

The author integrates the sample footage with lessons in which readers learn how to accomplish certain advanced editing techniques. The use of the footage helps the reader to understand not only how to perform the target skill, but to see in what instance it is necessary.

Available for on-line ordering at

032133549X 636 pp. $49.99

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

Build Your Own Standards Compliant Website using Dreamweaver 8
Andrew, Rachel

An excellent guide to learning what standards compliance is all about, and then applying the features of Dreamweaver 8 to build websites that meet those criteria. The author provides numerous screen shots to support the process of guiding readers on ensuring that their sites will be accessible to all visitors, and will be compatible with browsers on all platforms.

Available for on-line ordering at

0975240234 335 pp. $39.95

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

Digital Audio Essentials
Fries, Bruce; Marty Fries

The complete and definitive guide to every aspect of digital music, covering music download and sharing, conversion of LPs and tapes, recording and ripping music to a hard drive or CD, moving music to an MP3 player, organizing digital music collections, editing audio defects, and more.

Available for on-line ordering at

0596008562 357 pp. $34.95

Contact: SitePoint Pty. Ltd., 424 Smith Street Collingwood, VIC Australia 3066,, e-mail: In the U.S.A.: O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., 1005 Gravenstein Highway North, Sebastopol, CA 95472, 800 998-9938, 707 829-0515,, e-mail:, fax: 707 829-0104.

Digital Photography QuickSteps
Sahlin, Doug

This attractive, full-color book vividly illustrates the step-by-step procedures to accomplish dozens of digital photo-related effects. Each chapter contains instructions for completing common yet essential tasks, along with tips, cautions, and bonus materials.

Available for on-line ordering at

0072258616 222 pp. $16.99

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

Don't Click on the Blue E! Switching to Firefox
Granneman, Scott

The author, a firm believer that Firefox is the best Web browser available, provides insight into what makes this software superior, and how it a better choice than Internet Explorer on a number of levels.

Two sample excerpts, "Counteracting Web Annoyances" and "Safety and Security," can be found on-line at:

Available for on-line ordering at

0596009399 287 pp. $19.95

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

Dreamweaver 8 Design and Construction
Campbell, Marc

The author, a master Web architect, provides a practical, hands-on guide to using Macromedia Dreamweaver 8 as the major software tool for building a well-organized Web site. He shows how Dreamweaver can be used to construct the skeleton for a site that embodies an attractive interface, a usable layout, and a logical navigation system. Numerous screen captures, illustrations, and sample layouts are used to show procedures and techniques.

Available for on-line ordering at

0596101635 312 pp. $39.99

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

Dreamweaver 8 for Dummies
Warner, Janine

An excellent introduction to using Macromedia Dreamweaver 8 to energize Web sites with dynamic effects and the implementation of Shockwave® and Flash®. The author, who has written all of the Dreamweaver for Dummies books in the series, has expanded the book to include interactive database capabilities. Major content includes how to set up the program; maintaining a site; adding graphics; using frames; implementing cascading style sheets; using CSS layouts, DHTML, and Behaviors; using forms; working with dynamic content; and much more.

Available for on-line ordering at

0764596497 424 pp. $24.99

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

Dreamweaver 8: The Missing Manual
McFarland, David Sawyer

What may be the single most impressive and useful book on Dreamweaver 8 on the market. True to its name, the book is the manual that should have been included in the box with the Dreamweaver 8 software.

The author provides clear, easy-to-follow, step-by-step tutorials that show readers how to construct a contemporary commercial Web site, replete with forms, Flash buttons, and dynamic databases. The book is useful both as a text and a reference, and should be considered as a prerequisite when contemplating the purchase of the software.

Available for on-line ordering at

0596100566 936 pp. $44.95

Contact: SitePoint Pty. Ltd., 424 Smith Street Collingwood, VIC Australia 3066,, e-mail: In the U.S.A.: O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., 1005 Gravenstein Highway North, Sebastopol, CA 95472, 800 998-9938, 707 829-0515,, e-mail:, fax: 707 829-0104.

Easy Creating CDs & DVDs, Second Edition
Bunzel, Tom

A full-color, illustrated, step-by-step guide to burning CDs and DVDs. The author covers the common uses of burning: music, video, and data archiving. Instructions are provided for the use of three popular burn programs, and the accompanying CD-ROM includes a copy of Easy Media Creator Basic VCD Edition 7.

Available for on-line ordering at

0789733455 241 pp. $19.99

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

Fire the Phone Company: A Handy Guide to Voice Over IP
Field, Dave

A useful guide for anyone considering replacing or adding to their traditional phone company service. The author provides details on setting up a VOIP home set-up that is secure and reliable, and selecting a free or subscription service.

Available for on-line ordering at

0321384865 181 pp. $24.99

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

Fixing PowerPoint Annoyances
Swinford, Echo

PowerPoint is the most popular presentation application available, and it is estimated that over 30 million PowerPoint presentations are given every day. All too many of them are problematic, with fonts that are too small, colors that have insufficient contrast, and dozens of other faults that leave audiences alienated and confused. In this book the author, a seasoned PowerPoint professional, provides a jam-packed collection of tips, tricks, and tested solutions for using PowerPoint most efficiently, and communicating ideas most effectively.

Purchasers of the book get free 45-day access to the digital edition through Safari.

Available for on-line ordering at

0596100043 326 pp. $19.99

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

Fixing Windows XP Annoyances
Karp, David A.

A densely packed volume addressing the most annoying problems plaguing Windows XP users. The author provides tips, tricks, workarounds, and fixes covering these general topics: Setup and Hardware, Windows Interface, Windows Explorer, Multimedia, Web and Email, and Wireless and Home Networking. Over 100 bonus downloads are included.

Available for on-line ordering at

0596100531 239 pp. $19.99

Contact: SitePoint Pty. Ltd., 424 Smith Street Collingwood, VIC Australia 3066,, e-mail: In the U.S.A.: O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., 1005 Gravenstein Highway North, Sebastopol, CA 95472, 800 998-9938, 707 829-0515,, e-mail:, fax: 707 829-0104.

Getting Started with Aperture: Apple Pro Training Series
McGechie, Estelle

The author provides a series of quick-learn lessons composed of concise text and many full-color screen illustrations that deal with Apple Aperture's capabilities to manage, edit and retouch, and display and publish digital photographs. The tutorials are based on those provided in PDF format with the actual software, and have been expanded and, of course, provided in print form.

Available for on-line ordering at

0321422759 223 pp. $34.99

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

Google: The Missing Manual, Second Edition
Milstein, Sarah; J. D. Biersdorfer, Matthew MacDonald

A valuable guide to getting the most meaningful and useful responses from Google searches. The authors provide professional, expert advice for getting the most from Google, from searching and Gmail, to making money from AdSense and achieving a higher level Google presence.

Available for on-line ordering at

0596100191 464 pp. $24.99

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

Head Rush Ajax
McLaughlin, Brett

Ajax enables asynchronous programming which fortifies and invigorates Web sites with improved responsiveness. The author has provided an engaging presentation for experienced Web designers and programmers that smoothes the learning process by using a visually rich layout format designed as brain food. Like other books in the Head Rush series, this one delivers Ajax technology as a booster shot that inoculates the reader with a healthy dose of stick-to-the-neuron information.

Available for on-line ordering at

0596102259 413 pp. $39.99

Contact: SitePoint Pty. Ltd., 424 Smith Street Collingwood, VIC Australia 3066,, e-mail: In the U.S.A.: O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., 1005 Gravenstein Highway North, Sebastopol, CA 95472, 800 998-9938, 707 829-0515,, e-mail:, fax: 707 829-0104.

How Digital Photography Works
White, Ron; Timothy Edward Downs

A very fascinating expose of the digital photographic process, illustrated clearly in full-color, and explained in concise and easy-to-understand text. The major sections cover: Getting to Know Digital Cameras, How Digital Cameras Capture Images, How the Digital Darkroom Works, and How Digital Print-making Works. Even seasoned professionals are likely to learn something new, or see what they think they know in a completely different way.

Available for on-line ordering at

0789733099 176 pp. $29.99

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

InDesign Ideabook, The
Green, Chuck

Here is book of inspired designs by the very talented Chuck Green. The book lists more than 300 ready-to-modify layouts, categorized in the following groups: advertisements; books and booklets; brochures; business and rotary cards; calendars and forms; cards, invitations, and notes; catalogs and product sheets; certificates; correspondence and messages; direct mail and postcards, flyers, folders and binders; labels and tags; newsletters; packaging; posters and signs; presentations and publicity; promotional materials; and reports and proposals.

The accompanying cross-platform CD-ROM includes all of the layout files, ready for the user to substitute their fonts, clipart, and copy. Any design can be used as a starting point for a completely new design. The layouts are highly detailed, and many contain multiple pages with all of the various components of a particular design type. Most of the files have an associated Style Palette, so that the user can easily change the formatting of the entire job quickly.

The book shows samples of all of the layouts, along with size, number of pages, suggested stock, and folding and binding details (if any). This is a great way to amass an entire library of ready-to-go designs.

Available for on-line ordering at

09669587656 256 pp. $59.95

Contact: Logic Arts Corporation, 11475 Chikahominy Beach Dr., Glen Allen, VA 23060-9813, 804 266-7996,, fax: 804 266-7990.

Macromedia Dreamweaver 8 Visual Encyclopedia
Cavanaugh, Kim; Sheri German

The authors have created an encyclopedia for Dreamweaver 8 users, divided into two sections: Tools and Techniques. Each tool and technique is indexed, and fully explained in full-color. The book covers every Dreamweaver tool, and provides step-by-step instructions for more than 140 tasks and techniques composed in multipage spreads, and enhanced with expert tips and suggestions. The book is both a useful reference manual and a instructive text for learning the capabilities of the program.

Available for on-line ordering at

0471751766 468 pp. $39.99

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

Macromedia Studio 8 All-in-One Desk Reference for Dummies
Dean, Damon; Andy Cowitt

This reference text is composed of seven separate books, each devoted, at least in part, to one application from the Macromedia Studio 8 suite. This includes the following manuals for creating sophisticated, interactive Web sites: Building Web Sites, Dreamweaver® 8, Fireworks® 8, Flash® 8, Contribute™ 3, Freehand ® MX, and ColdFusion® MX7 Development Edition.

Available for on-line ordering at

076459690X 858 pp. $34.99

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

Making Meaning
Diller, Steve; Nathan Shedroff, Darrel Rhea

This book, subtitled, How Successful Businesses Deliver Meaningful Customer Experiences, provides a clear message, namely that relevant customer encounters are the key to business success. With the use of real-world examples, the authors provide an action plan that readers can implement to become meaning-centric.

Available for on-line ordering at

0321374096 146 pp. $24.99

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

Master Visually® Macromedia® Dreamweaver® 8 and Flash® 8
Etheridge, Denise; Janet Valade

Here is the book that both shows and tells. With over 300 two-page spreads, each devoted to a "how to" perform a necessary task in Dreamweaver and Flash, the reader will easily find clear, well-illustrated instructions on the procedures to master the operation of these two Web-based technologies.

The accompanying cross-platform CD-ROM contains trial versions of Macromedia Dreamweaver 8, Flash 8, and Fireworks 8, as well as the sample files used in the book. In addition, the book is provided in PDF format as a portable reference.

Available for on-line ordering at

0471776181 650 pp. $34.99

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

Mind Performance Hacks
Hale-Evans, Ron

The author provides 75 exercises to sharpen and hone the reader's brain. He calls it "a course in martial arts for the mind." The exercises, most of which can be done with nothing more than the reader's brain, and maybe a paper and pen, can aid in improving one's memory, result in performing complex mathematical calculations, stimulate new brainstorming methods, help to communicate in more creative and effective ways, and much more.

Available for on-line ordering at

0596101538 308 pp. $24.99

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

PageMaker Ideabook, The
Green, Chuck

Designer Chuck Green has put together an encyclopedia of useful layouts, arranged in categories, and provided on a cross-platform CD-ROM. The pages of the book show specimens of each layout along with their specifications. The user can use the designs as they are, adding their own copy, or making any modifications they please. Each design has an associated Style Palette for making global changes to the font, size, indents, etc.

The book provides inspiration to experienced PageMaker users, and hope to PageMaker novices.

Available for on-line ordering at

0966958748 258 pp. $59.95

Contact: Logic Arts Corporation, 11475 Chikahominy Beach Dr., Glen Allen, VA 23060-9813, 804 266-7996,, fax: 804 266-7990.

Photoshop and Painter Artist Tablet Book, The
Threinen-Pendarvis, Cher

The author, who is an accomplished award-winning artist, shows and explains how to use Adobe Photoshop, Corel Painter, and a pressure-sensitive tablet to produce various artistic effects. Through the use of her own projects, the author suggests how to set up a digital studio, learn the basics of the software and tablet, and hone fundamental skills to achieve artistic competency. The colorful pages are a delight to view.

Available for on-line ordering at

0321168917 237 pp. $44.99

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

Photoshop CS2 RAW
Mikkel Aaland

The RAW digital format has emerged as the best possible format for serious professional digital photographers. As it gains in popularity, photographers must become educated as to the flexibility and control that editing RAW digital images affords the user. Photographer Mikkel Aaland, a digital photo pioneer provides expert instruction in this important book. He shares the secrets of when it is advisable to shoot RAW,and when it is not; how to automate RAW capture and processing; gaining optimal tonal control and color; how to save and archive DNG files; and more.

Available for on-line ordering at

0596008511 232 pp. $34.99

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

Photoshop Elements 4 Solutions: The Art of Digital Photography
Aaland, Mikkel

This full-color how-to book by award-winning photographer Mikkel Aaland, shows readers how to apply Photoshop Elements 4 tools and features to transform digital photographs into high-quality images. The philosophy of Mr. Aaland is that readers need to evaluate images not for what they are, but for what they can become.

A companion website provides dozens of photos and practice files.

Available for on-line ordering at

0782144462 281 pp. $29.99

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

Photoshop Fine Art Effects Cookbook
Beardsworth, John

A collection of 62 creative recipes for transforming images into masterpieces worthy of the most expert photographer, printmaker, or painter. The recipes provide step-by-step instructions for converting everyday images through the use of Adobe Photoshop CS2. Among the effects that can be achieved are Daguerreotypes, cyanotypes, stop-motion photos, cross-processed images, Polariod transfers, and infrared effects. Users will also be able to reproduce the styles of Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Hokusai, Monet, Picasso, Dali, Warhol, Weston, Adams, Uelsmann, and Hockney.

Available for on-line ordering at

0596100620 176 pp. $29.99

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

QuarkXPress Ideabook, The
Green, Chuck

Here is a library of more than 300 professional design templates covering a vast array of layouts, from advertisements to reports. The templates are provided on a cross-platform CD-ROM, ready to use or to be modified. The user can easily locate an appropriate layout from the hundreds shown in miniature on the printed pages. Each entry has a title, a reference number, a description, an image, and a list of job specifications.

The book is a highly useful reference that will stimulate the creative juices of professional designers and serve as a safety net for QuarkXPress novices.

Available for on-line ordering at

0966958764 258 pp. $59.95

Contact: Logic Arts Corporation, 11475 Chikahominy Beach Dr., Glen Allen, VA 23060-9813, 804 266-7996,, fax: 804 266-7990.

Repairing and Upgrading Your PC
Thompson, Robert Bruce; Barbara Fritchman Thompson

The complete guide to repairing, upgrading, troubleshooting and maintaining a personal computer. Major sections include: hand and software tools; cleaning; motherboard maintenance and replacement; processor replacement; memory installation; hard drive interfaces, drive installation, and drive troubleshooting; optical drives; video card installation and troubleshooting; troubleshooting display problems; audio problems; input devices; wireless networking; power supplies; and more.

The full-color photos clearly depict the parts and operations described in the text. The authors provide numerous tips and suggestions throughout the book, often with personal observations and experiences, and sometimes with a bit of humor.

Available for on-line ordering at

059600866X 447 pp. $34.99

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

Small Websites, Great Results
Addison, Doug

A practical guide to approaching the design of websites that will be both efficient and effective. The author maintains that small, lean websites are the coming trend since they make the best use of resources, and are most time-responsive to visitors.

The author has written the book around two central tenants: first, that the key to a successful site is simplicity; and second, that quality is always more important than size. Among the most useful chapters are: Tips and Techniques for Content and Functionality that Users Love, Strategies for Turning Visitors into Customers, and Getting What You Need from your Web Designer.

Available for on-line ordering at

1932111905 279 pp. $29.99

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

Take Control of Switching to the Mac
Knaster, Scott

Macintosh expert Scott Knaster leads the Windows user through the world of the Apple Macintosh, telling and showing what is different, and how to make the transition painlessly and successfully. Readers are shown the Macintosh basics, and how the Operating System differs from Windows. All of the essential tasks, such as printing, networking, and application management are covered. The book is an excellent, straight-forward, guide to making the change from Windows to Macintosh.

Available for on-line ordering at

1933671041 92 pp. $10

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

Teach Yourself Visually Adobe Photoshop Elements 4
Wooldridge, Mike and Linda

The authors provide more than 150 full-color, two-page spreads, detailing the step-by-step operations involved in accomplishing Photoshop Elements 4 tasks that commonly challenge users.

The design and layout are inviting, and serve to make the lessons non-threatening and approachable. The reader can see how their screen should appear following the hand-holding instructions.

Available for on-line ordering at

0471777978 324 pp. $24.99

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

Teach Yourself Visually: Macromedia Dreamweaver 8
Warner, Janine

This book is perfect for the visual learner who wants to learn the fundamental operation of Macromedia Dreamweaver 8. The author provides more than 120 two-page spreads, each with colorful screen shots and step-by-step instructions. The reader is led through the process of performing the essential tasks that can result in mastery of the software.

Available for on-line ordering at

0764599984 304 pp. $24.99

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

The End of Sofware: Transforming Your Business for the On Demand Future
Chou, Timothy

The author makes the strong case for the use of software as a utility, provided on-demand. This approach is a radical departure from the present system, but the author maintains that it is not a question of if, but of when.

Available for on-line ordering at

0672326981 170 pp. $24.99

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

Top 100 Simplified Tips & Tricks Adobe Photoshop Elements 4
Wooldridge, Mike and Linda

This book provides Photoshop Elements 4 users with step-by-step, full-color instructions on accomplishing 100 tasks that reveal insider tricks and secrets to make the user more productive and efficient. The sleek page design, concise text, and clear, colorful screen images, all serve to make learning and doing a painless process.

Available for on-line ordering at

0471777986 229 pp. $19.99

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

Using Microsoft Office 2003 Student-Teacher Edition, Special Edition
Bott, Ed; Woody Leonhard

A complete reference to the applications in the Office 2003 suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook) presented in a well-organized, thumb-tabbed edition. The authors provide useful insight into both the common and uncommon tasks to which the software is applied. The examples, tips, cautions, and other forms of guidance make this an excellent choice for both learning the applications and finding specific information to accomplish particular functions.

Available for on-line ordering at

0789734664 902 pp. $29.99

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

Visual QuickProject: Creating Pages with iWork
Morris, David

A small uncomplicated, yet smartly designed, guide to creating a letterhead, flyer, and newsletter template using Apple Pages. Each operation is clearly illustrated in color, and with a minimum of text. The author leads the reader through the creative process step-by-step.

Available for on-line ordering at

0321357558 129 pp. $12.99

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

Window Seat
Julieanne Kost

A stunning collection of more than 150 images taken through the window seat of airplanes in which Julieanne Kost was a passenger. As a Senior Digital Imaging Evangelist for Adobe, Kost flies more than 200 days per year, and archives her trips by capturing images of the air, water, earth, light and shadow that is on the other side of her airplane seat window. The book is wrapped around the author's philosophy on creativity, as well as her compulsion to teach the reader about capturing, managing, processing, and editing images using Adobe Camera RAW and Photoshop CS2. An interesting book to read on your next flight, or to grab your imagination while on the ground.

Available for on-line ordering at

0596100833 152 pp. $39.99

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

Word Hacks
Savikas, Andrew

The author provides entree into the hidden and mysterious world of Microsoft Word, revealing interesting ways to customize, program, and automate the program for increased productivity and user satisfaction.

Among the hacks are instructions for modifying menus and toolbars to create custom workspaces; automating redundant editing chores with new, robust tools; creating PDFs without buying the full version of Adobe Acrobat; controlling and programing Word from Perl, Phython, and Ruby, as well as other Microsoft Office applications; and more.

A number of sample hacks are available at no cost on-line at:

Available for on-line ordering at

0596004931 372 pp. $24.95

Contact: SitePoint Pty. Ltd., 424 Smith Street Collingwood, VIC Australia 3066,, e-mail: In the U.S.A.: O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., 1005 Gravenstein Highway North, Sebastopol, CA 95472, 800 998-9938, 707 829-0515,, e-mail:, fax: 707 829-0104.

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