The Kleper Report on Digital Publishing - Issue 5.4 July/August 2000


Issue 5.4 July/August 2000

This issue of KDP is sponsored by:

Contents


Feature Review: DataMerge (MAC/WIN)

Personalization is the process of adding one or more elements of variable information, which pertain to an individual, business enterprise, or organization, into a printed or graphically displayed document. This variable data minimally consists of the recipient's name, and may include certain other details that serve to confirm that the composition was produced for one, and only one, person or entity. Personalization is used to produce mundane things such as billing statements and insurance policies, and sophisticated things such as targeted marketing materials, including city guides and shopping catalogs.

Personalization has its roots in the mail-merge functions that remain a part of virtually all word processing programs. A user of one of these programs can define variables within a document that will be replaced with data from an auxiliary file during the print-out operation. The auxiliary file, which must be prepared in a compatible format, contains the data that will be merged with the fixed composition contained within the template document. Documents that are used for this purpose are often called "boilerplate," because they are reproduced with the bulk of the information remaining constant, but with significant variable information added to each copy.

Unlike simple mail merge functions, personalization, in the form of variable data printing, requires a degree of sophistication, both in the manner in which the variable information is composed within the template document, and the way in which it is output for printing. The process of variable data printing requires that:

* The template, containing the elements that are common to all pages in a given document, can accommodate variability in the length of text associated with any of the database fields. For example, a database field might contain a product description composed of just a few lines in one case, but several paragraphs in another. There must be some means of having the layout self-adjust so that copy is never cut off or overrun, or so that large empty spaces are not introduced.

* Graphics and photographs are properly positioned, and resized, on-the-fly, so that they occupy the amount of space allotted by the designer.

Personalization is a form of database publishing. Database publishing is a process that combines variable data derived from a database, with an electronic document template that has been composed in a page layout application. It merges the power and flexibility of the two:

* The database serves as a repository of one or more sets of information, from which specific contents, both textual and graphic, can be extracted at any given time. The database has the strength of data selection and organization.

* The page layout program contains the document design and the fixed text and graphics that will be common to all of the output for a given job. The page layout program has the strength of design and presentation control.

The automated high-speed printing that is possible with print on-demand technology is a natural partner for the personalization process.

In order for database information to reach a page layout program, and to be integrated intelligently into a template, some intermediary or middleware software must be used. Such programs, which reside within the host page layout application, are usually in the form of an addition, plug-in, or program extension. This middleware adds new features to the host, and essentially becomes a part of it. A good example of such middleware is DataMerge.*
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*Meadows Information Systems, 1305 Remington Road, Suite G, Schaumburg, IL 60173, 847 882-8202, http://www.meadowsinfo.com, e-mail: meadows@meadowsinfo.com, fax: 847 882-9494. DataMerge supports all PostScript printers, and has special features for variable data digital printers, including the Xeikon PrintStreamer and Xerox VIPP. These special drivers are available separately and at extra cost.

DataMerge. According to the DataMerge manual, "The product allows you to link any text range or any picture box in a Quark document to any external database of information. Information is read from the database records and used to populate the individual fields to create customized QuarkXPress layouts and perform advanced assembly of virtually any type of templated layout."*
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*DataMerge: The Variable-Data Xtension for QuarkXPress User Manual, Meadows Information Systems, Inc., 1998, Schaumburg, IL.

DataMerge works with tab or comma-delimited ASCII text files that are generated from virtually any kind of database or spreadsheet application originating on a Macintosh, PC or UNIX system. No special preparation or modification of the file is necessary.

The main objective of DataMerge is to serve as an intermediary, linking the contents of the database file to particular layout elements in the QuarkXPress document. This is accomplished through the use of a Database Definition (DDF). The Database Definition provides details on how the database file is constructed, including the number of fields, the delimiting character, and the field names. The DDF is defined by selecting DataMerge>Setup>Database Definitions. The definition is given a name, and is then linked to the actual database file as a consequence of selecting Quick Setup. After this is done, the user can see, and verify, the field names, the field delimiter, and the type of computer system that created it. This information is determined automatically by DataMerge, although it can be modified by the user if necessary.

The DDF consists of the set of Variable Links that will connect the database fields in the external file to text and picture boxes in the QuarkXPress page layout. The definitions can be edited, if necessary, by selecting the Edit option from the DDF window. The Variable Links can be edited to add a prefix or suffix string, or to indicate the positioning of a picture file inside a picture box. Variable Links that are associated with text boxes can be specified to use QuarkXPress filters, which support the use of mnemonic coding in the incoming text stream. Codes can be added, for example, to change the color of text, or any number of typographic parameters. In addition, the user can specify in the editing window that empty fields are to be deleted, so that they do not create blank spaces in the output.

Variable Links. Variable Links are of two kinds, those assigned to text, called Variable Text Links, and those assigned to pictures, called Variable Picture Links. These links are established automatically during the database definition process, and can, if necessary, be redefined, so that a particular link points to a different field in the database file.

A Variable Link can assume a number of parameters that will determine how it behaves during the merge process. These include:

* Prefix and Suffix: Up to 63 characters can be added to the beginning or end of either a text or picture Variable Link. In the case of a text link, a string of characters, such as "Season's Greetings," can be added to a name field, so that each name is preceded by that salutation. In the case of a picture link, a file extension, such as ".TIFF" or ".JPEG" might be added to supplement file names that lack such a suffix.
* Empty Link: The Empty Link option specifies how a record field will be handled if it contains no data. There are three options:
Flag: An error string, as specified in the DataMerge Preferences, will be inserted.
Ignore: The link will be left as it is.
Delete: The link will be eliminated. If it is a picture link, the entire picture box will be deleted.

The DataMerge Palette. The Variable Links must be assigned to elements in the QuarkXPress layout, so that DataMerge knows where to place them. This is accomplished by using the DataMerge Palette. The user selects the text or graphic element in the layout and then assigns the appropriate Variable Link to it. This is the critical operation that associates the database fields to the layout template.

The associated variable links are interactive, so that clicking on a link in the page layout will result in the display of the link in the DataMerge Palette. Links can be broken by clicking the Remove button, and reassigned, or assigned to multiple elements in the layout.

Before a merge is executed, it is usually tested to ensure that it is correct. This is done by selecting DataMerge>Merge…, selecting the Test Merge Current Document option, and Start Merge.

The merge process takes the page layout template and combines it with each selected database record to produce a new document. Each new document consists of the static elements of the template and the variable data from the database. DataMerge provides the user with a report that lists the names of the processed files (the template name with sequential numbers affixed) and their status. Forms Caching. In the case of most printers, each document page is formed from the merger of the template and database elements, RIPed, and printed. What is inefficient about this process is the fact that the template components are the same on each and every document, but are reconstructed again and again nonetheless. This is very inefficient and results in extending the output processing time.

Although the printing process is inefficient, it is the way that most printers function. Meadows suggests that one method of circumventing the problem is by first printing the documents with only the fixed template elements, and then reloading the output and printing it a second time with only the variable data elements. This reduces the overall printing time and can be accomplished using the DataMerge FormPrint feature in the Print section of the DataMerge window.

The most efficient printing is accomplished with PostScript printers that incorporate "forms caching" capability. These printers can store the fixed template elements in memory and use them in combination with the variable data stream. The printer essentially uses the stored form, which is called by the vendor-supplied PPD (Adobe PostScript Printer Description)as a background image which it combines with the database data to generate a composite print.

The high-volume production of variable data printing is performed by sophisticated digital printing presses, such as the Xeikon DCP 500 line, with a web speed of 24 ft/min. The operator maintains control of the press through a digital front-end console, which manages the flow of jobs, press set-up and operation, and other functions.

Intelligent Processing. One of the most significant problems with variable data printing is, ironically, the very fact that the data is variable, and therefore somewhat unpredictable. If all of the record fields in a database are of uniform length, then designing a template that will accommodate them is straightforward. However, this is usually not the case. This means that there will be instances when database content will not fit into the boxes that have been created to hold it, resulting in missing or ill-fitting data on the printed pieces.

DataMerge approaches the problem of handling overset text box conditions in two ways. First, the user can do a test merge to determine the longest line in each database field. When this has been done, the user simply modifies the Quark text boxes to accommodate the longest lines, and can thus be assured that there will be no overset conditions. Second, the user can utilize the CopyFit Xtension, which is included with the DataMerge package. CopyFit automatically "tightens" the contents of a text box to make it fit using parameters that the user sets. The parameters are only applied in situations where an overset condition exists.

Step and Repeat. Page elements that have been linked to a database file can be replicated, so that they appear multiple times on a page. This is useful if the output must be produced in quantity, such as in the case of producing business cards. This is accomplished by selecting the elements to be replicated and using Quark's Step and Repeat option in the Item menu. The user need only indicate the number of replicates, and the horizontal and vertical offset distances. If this is all that is done, a single record will be reproduced repeatedly on each page. The user can also sequence the links, so that different records will appear in each replicate, rather than the same one repeatedly.

Contact: Meadows Information Systems, 1305 Remington Road, Suite G, Schaumburg, IL 60173, 847 882-8202, http://www.meadowsinfo.com, e-mail: meadows@meadowsinfo.com, fax: 847 882-9494.



DTP Reviews

Adobe InDesign 1.5 (MAC/WIN)
Adobe InDesign 1.5 extends the functionality of this next-generation digital publishing program with over 70 new features and enhancements. Users can import native Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop files, as well as pages from PDFs, and maintain the alpha channel information in the process.

Key new features include: Text on a Path, with control over typographic parameters such as tracking and kerning; a new Pencil tool to draw freeform paths, and new erase and smooth tools to modify them; a new Free Transform tool; enhanced Text Wrap for EPS and PDF files; a new Eyedropper tool for copying element attributes; Printer and PDF Export Styles for ensuring consistent output; page-level trapping, as well as a choice between built-in trapping and Adobe in-RIP trapping; a Show Font Usage window that identifies missing fonts even if they are in an EPS or PDF file; a Configure Plug-ins window that lets the user select which plug-ins will be used for a particular work session; improved image display options including an Optimized Image option that reduces an image to a size that can be held in RAM yet display adequately (the display of each image can be set independently); a new File Linking process wherein links are checked when a job is opened, and individual links can be respecified to different file types and names; Vertical Justification to quickly and accurately copyfit text within a frame; and much more.

InDesign does provide a rich design and composition environment worthy of the Adobe name. It is also supported by an active third-party plug-in development community that has developed many sophisticated add-ins. With this version, InDesign becomes a very serious contender for producing high-quality published materials, quickly, flexibly and efficiently. Anyone producing pages with a competing product should look at it closely. $699

Contact: Adobe Systems Inc., 345 Park Ave., San Jose, CA 95110-2704, 408 536-6000, WWW: http://www.adobe.com, fax: 408 537-6000.


Sooy Type Foundry Collection (MAC/WIN)
The Sooy Type Foundry Collection consists of a number of contemporary designs, some of which are licensed by Adobe (VerveMM), ITC (ITC Coventry), EyeWire (Eclectics One, Two and Three, Veritas, and Verve) and Garage Fonts (Benderhead), and all of which are designed by Brian Sooy. Each font is sold with a license for five users and one output device, extendable at additional cost. Special pricing is provided to service bureaus. Among the fonts in this collection are:

* Verve. Verve is a condensed multiple master typeface that is available as a 7-weight family (Extra Light, Light, Regular, Semibold, Bold, Black, Extra Black). It was created with the intent to fulfill the need for an elegant yet simple typeface for the new millennium. The face is recommended for packaging, books, CD covers and Web page design. $85 per weight

* BenderHead. BenderHead is a grunge font, typified by its coarse informal cut. Its design looks somewhat like a cross between dot matrix and OCR characters, with highly emphasized vertical strokes. It is appropriate for messages geared toward young audiences, and for information representing counter-culture views. $39

* Veritas. Veritas is a cleanly-cut classic roman typeface family that has been created to accommodate page designs in which space is limited. The tightly-fitting characters do not compromise readability nor aesthetics, and fit comfortably, even in narrow columns. The typeface is available both as a multiple master and conventional typeface family. $150

* Eclectics. Eclectics is a set of three icon-based character sets, each priced separately. Eclectics One contains a large set of dingbats that can be composed as borders and frames or used individually. Of historical note is the fact that this was the first type font to include the recycle symbol. Eclectics Two is a set of 150 characters, and defies classification. The character set includes a complete upper case font, a series of expressive facial icons, a set of alarm clocks, and more. Eclectics Three contains characters that would commonly be used for composing print-based registration forms, and features ballot-boxes and line segments, arrows, various forms of time indication, and much more. $45

* Chevron. Chevron is an ultra condensed design that is appropriate for movie posters, book covers, advertisements, and any situation where space is at a premium. $45

Brain Sooy & Co. also provides custom typeface design services for corporate identification programs, publications, and other purposes.

Contact: Brian Sooy & Co., 158 Cleveland St., Elyria, OH 44035, 440 322-5142, http://www.bsooy.com, e-mail: brian@bsooy.com, fax: 440 322-5108.



Productivity Reviews

Nag (MAC)
Nag is a notification and reminder utility that is useful for setting alert messages that will be displayed at future times. Each reminder consists of a name for the reminder, the reminder itself, the date or days (for example, each week at the same time) to be reminded, and the time. A reminder can also be attached to a script, such as an AppleScript, that will be launched when the reminder comes due.

A component of the program is Nag Notifier, which is a faceless background application that is stored in the Extensions folder. Its purpose is to display reminders even when the Nag application is not running. $10 shareware

Contact: Chaotic Software, Ltd., PO Box 3387, Saratoga, CA 95070, http://www.chaoticsoftware.com, e-mail: support@chaoticsoftware.com.


QuicKeys 5.0 (MAC)
QuicKeys 5.0 continues the QuicKeys tradition as one of the most useful productivity enhancements ever made for the Macintosh (also available for Windows). QuicKeys 5.0 makes it possible to easily automate routine and repetitive tasks, saved as \"shortcuts,\" and implement them through \"triggers.\" The program provides a powerful interface that makes it possible to record keystrokes and mouse clicks (shortcuts), and then play them back using hot keys, speech and toolbars triggers. QuicKey shortcuts can also be scheduled to occur automatically at scheduled times. Digital publishers can record frequently-used text passages, multiple program launch sequences, complex application procedures, and much more. Creative individuals can easily customize and control their computer in an unlimited number of ways.

QuicKeys shortcuts can be accessed using a toolbar that can appear in any application, and provide a visual trigger that is activated with a mouse click. In production environments, sophisticated shortcuts can be produced by highly technical staff, and then shared with line workers and others. $99.95

Contact: CE Software, 1801 Industrial Circle, POB 65580, West Des Moines, IA 50265, 515 221-1801, 800 523-7638, http://www.cesoft.com, e-mail: sales@cesoft.com, fax: 515 221-2694.


DateView 2.6 (MAC)
DateView 2.6 is a time management application that makes it easy to enter and schedule events, and then view them on the Macintosh screen or on paper. The program provides extensive flexibility in the manner in which a schedule can be viewed...by day, week, or month; or categorized and prioritized by appointments and events.

The program includes an extensive reminder system wherein reminders can be attached to any calendar item. The reminders can be set to occur at any interval before the event, and to repeat automatically at any frequency, such as every Monday at 10 a.m.

The To-Do list feature associates a list of items to accomplish along with a given date. The user can check off the items as they are completed. Any uncompleted items are automatically carried over to the next day. In addition any item on a To-Do list can be dragged to any day. $49.95

Contact: Prairie Group, Inc., POB 65820, West Des Moines, IA 50265, 515 225-3750, 800 346-5392, http://www.prgrsoft.com, e-mail: sales@prgrsoft.com, fax: 515 225-2422.



Addition / Extension Reviews

LensDoc Filter (MAC/WIN)
LensDoc filter is a Photoshop compatible plug-in that provides the potential to correct or \"doctor\" images that suffer from distortions that have been formed from lens aberrations or picture-taker errors. It can correct image problems identified as barreling, pinchushioning, perspective, and rotation, yet maintain the overall quality of the image.

The filter has been engineered on the basis of testing over 100 lens and focal length combinations. This was done to derive a set of fundamental image flaw characteristics that are most applicable to the picture-taking process. Rather than apply a set of simple algorithms, LensDoc has been finely tuned to address real-world imaging problems that are likely to befall most digital photographers.

The filter has two modes, Novice and Expert. In the Novice mode the user simply moves guide buttons to indicate the proper appearance for the characteristic element of the image. For example, if tall, straight items at the left and right sides of an image captured with a zoom lens appear to be barrelled or bowed, the user simply positions the guide buttons along the edge of such an item, and presses the "Correct" button. The image distortion is removed, and the picture appears "normal." Other types of image distortions are removed just as easily. The Expert mode provides additional controls for fine-tuning the correction process and dealing with the specific details of the image.

This is one Photoshop filter that is useful for every digital photographer, and essential for those who routinely use zoom and wide angle lenses. $69

Contact: Andromeda Software, Inc., 699 Hampshire Road, Ste. 109, Thousand Oaks, CA 91361, 805 379-4109, 800 547-0055, fax: 805 379-5253.


BorisFX 4.0 (MAC/WIN)
BorisFX 4.0 is a 3D and effects plug-in that works seamlessly with non-linear editing applications, such as Adobe Premiere, Avid (Symphony, Media Composer XL, Xpress, and MCXpress), Ulead Media Studio Pro, and others. It is recognized by over 15,000 users worldwide, as the fastest and easiest way to animate multi layered video tracks. It does so by using 3D transforms and shape distortions with soft drop shadows and lighting controls; Bezier animation graphs for precise motion with easy in/out control; animated blurs, particles and keyers for sophisticated effects; and multi-processor support for accelerated rendering.

BorisFX 4.0 is entirely software-based, yet provides many special effects, such as 3D page turns, spheres and multi-faced cube shapes, that are usually associated with hardware-based digital video editing systems. $695

Contact: Artel Software, Inc., 381 Congress St., Boston, MA 02210-1853, 617 451-9900, 888 77BORIS, http://www.artelsoft.com, fax: 617 451-9916.


Scrapbook Effects (MAC/WIN)
Scrapbook Effects is a set of Actions for Photoshop 5.0 and 5.5 that provide 26 special effects that convert target photos into sophisticated forms. The Actions automate the production of complex photographic effects, such as the addition of picture corners; the conversion into a sepia print; and the application of an image onto a textured surface, such as a ceramic tile. $19.95

Contact: Softedge Distributors, 37 Plaistow Road, Unit 7, Suite 121, Plaistow, NH 03865, 800 363-7709, 603 382-4389, fax: 603 382-9353.


Vector Studio (MAC/WIN)
Vector Studio is a set of six Adobe Illustrator 8 or 9 plug-ins that provide exceptional capabilities. The suite includes Envelope Mesh, which is used to reshape text or artwork to conform to a prescribed outline; Morph Brushes, which consists of seven customizable brushes that interact with existing shapes causing them to change in response to the proximity of the brush; Selection Hat which is a palette that stores and recalls sets of selections, making it easy to access complex selections at any time; Gradient Factory which is used to create and save gradient textures and apply them to given objects with a single mouse click; Gradient Textures which is a palette containing a set of resolution-independent textures that can be modified using a variety of controls, and then applied to any object; and GlassWorks which is a set of glass lens-like filters that can be applied over any object to achieve photographic effects. $129.95 (individual plug-ins are available separately, $39.95 to $59.95 each)

Contact: Virtual Mirror Corp., 4040 Civic Center Dr., Suite 200, San Rafael, CA 94903, 415 472-3359, http://www.virtualmirror.com.


SilverFast Ai Version 5 (MAC/WIN)
SilverFast Ai Version 5, the latest version of this popular scanning plug-in for Adobe Photoshop, incorporates many new features. It builds upon its reputation of providing a 100% reliable preview of the image color rendering in Photoshop as will appear in the final image. This capability has been enhanced with a CMYK-proof preview wherein the user can check single separation channels on the scanner preview, and interrogate them with up to four densitometric points to determine color output values.

The user interface is dual-level, with an easy-to-use interface for the novice, and an advanced interface for the professional.

The program provides greater control and a greater degree of user feedback through the use of real-time correction tools. Adjustment of brightness, for example, whether accomplished through the slider or the curve tool, is immediate, allowing the user to see setting changes right away, and make further changes as necessary without repetitively opening and closing the tool.

Color correction, such as changing the color of a man's shirt, or a car's chassis is accomplished by simply selecting the color to replace, and then using the color wheel or sliders to select the replacement color. Simple masking can be executed by encircling the object or area in which the color correction is to be applied, and using the aforementioned color correction process.

SilverFast Ai Version 5 is unique in that it is the first scan software application to incorporate raw-data compression, with up to 48 bit color retaining the full dynamic range of the scanner. This lossless archive format has a compression factor of between 10 and 20, providing no visible loss of image quality when printing. Another unique capability is Multi-Sampling, a scientific procedure that eliminates noise in the dark areas of a scan. Pricing is based on the scanner model, ranging from $93 to $2715.

Contact: LaserSoft Imaging, Inc., 5350 Gulf of Mexico Dr., Longboat Key, FL 34228, 941 383-7496, http://www.silverfast.com, http://www.LaserSoftInt.com, e-mail: LaserSoft@earthlink.net, fax: 941 387-7574.



CD-ROM Reviews

JAM for Macintosh (MAC)
JAM for Macintosh is a sophisticated application for producing Red Book-compliant audio CD image files. The Red Book specifies an audio format of 16 bit/44.1 kHz, stereo, meaning that each sample is equivalent to 4 bytes (16 bits = 2 bytes per channel), and one second of audio consists of 44,100 samples.

JAM supports the production of commercial-quality CDs composed of SDII (Sound Designer II), AIFF, or WAV files, which can be dragged and dropped easily into the program. The program supports nondestructive editing, meaning that changes to a track, such as increasing its volume, does not affect the original data.

Although not all CD recorders support it, JAM can produce discs using the Disc-at-Once recording method, wherein the entire CD is recorded in a single pass without turning off the laser. This is advantageous because no run-out sectors are produced, providing the flexibility to make the pause between tracks any length required (or conversely to have the songs run together). In addition, commerical CD replicators usually require a Disc-at-Once master, since the presence of run-out sectors are often misinterpreted as errors.

JAM includes Peak LE, a limited version of the comprehensive sound editing software from BIAS. Peak LE makes it possible to apply advanced editing processes to each track, such as independently setting the volume for each track and channel.

JAM provides easy controls for changing the order of the tracks, modifying the track pause, and applying various audio techniques such as crossfades and trims. The program makes it possible to produce professional master audio CDs using standard equipment. $199

Contact: Adaptec Inc., 691 South Milpitas Blvd., Milpitas, CA 95035, 408 957-6638, http://www.adaptec.com, fax: 408 957-6666.



Internet Reviews

NetBarrier 1.5.1 (MAC)
NetBarrier 1.5.1 is an integrated network security application that guards against intrusions initiated either though the Internet or a local AppleTalk network. It works by filtering the data that enters and leaves the computer, providing warnings if any suspicious activity is detected. Without the use of NetBarrier, computer break-ins can go completely undetected until they result in obvious damage, or the data taken from a computer is used unlawfully to the detriment of its owner.

The program protects through three specific methodologies. First is the personal firewall, which filters data traffic according to both default and custom rules. Second is Antivandal, which monitors for signs of intrusion, and if detected, stops it and alerts the computer owner, either with a sound and a message, or by sending an e-mail. It also records the address of the intruder and blocks them from returning. Third is the Filter, which can be applied to protect any documents that contain particular information, such as passwords, credit card numbers, etc. It both stops documents of this kind from being sent unwittingly by the user, and from being taken by a hacker.

NetBarrier maintains a Log that shows all of the activity that it has recognized. This includes its own startup, any alerts that it sends, any firewall rules that have been violated, all connections to networks or the Internet, any attempts of stop list addresses to connect, and more.

The Firewall panel includes two sets of gauges that show the amount of data coming in, and going out, of the computer. Each gauge shows both a visual and numeric read-out. The visual indicator is a relative measurement, while the numeric indicators show the current throughput per second and the total amount. The gauges monitor Web, FTP, Mail, Other, IP, and AppleTalk activity. $74.95

Contact: Intego, Inc., 6301 Collins Avenue, Suite 1806, Miami, FL 33141, 305 868-7920, http://www.intego.com, e-mail: info@intego.com, fax: 305 868-7938.


Lasso Studio for Dreamweaver (MAC/WIN)
Lasso Studio for Dreamweaver is an easy-to-use solution for constructing database-driven Web sites. Supported databases include SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, Access, 4D, FileMaker Pro, Sybase, Informix, and others. The software makes it possible for the beginner to Web-enable databases within minutes of installation by using the Lasso Studio Configuration Wizard. Database-linked Web forms can be developed quickly using the Lasso Studio Form Builder.

Lasso installs within Dreamweaver as object palettes, representing Lasso tags that are grouped by function and category. The objects can be dragged and dropped onto a Dreamweaver layout. Thereafter the tag's attributes are edited in the Lasso Studio Property Inspectors and Lasso Studio Tag Editors.

A 30-day evaluation version of Lasso Studio for Dreamweaver is available at http://www.blueworld.com/download/. A 30-day trial version of Dreamweaver is available at http://www.macromedia.com/software/dreamweaver/. $349 boxed, $299 for the electronic download.

Contact: Blue World Communications, 10900 NE 8th St., Suite 1525, Bellevue, WA 98004, 425 646-0288, http://http://www.blueworld.com/lasso/, email: sales@blueworld.com, fax: 425 646-0236.


Dreamweaver 3.0 (MAC/WIN)
Dreamweaver 3.0 is a leading Web site design and development application built on the foundation of "roundtrip HTML," which makes it possible to use a visual editor to produce fully compliant HTML code. Users can alternate between a visual or code view of the same Web page at any time.

Dreamweaver 3.0 introduces a History Palette which lets the user move forward or backward through their actions. From the palette users can see an exact listing of their workflow. Users also have the option of saving a history, or a series of steps, as an encapsulated JavaScript, which can be edited independently.

A problem inherent in Microsoft Word files is now addressed in Dreamweaver. Word files that are saved in HTML format are characteristically three to five times larger than files produced with hand-coding, and they are viewable only by using MS Internet Explorer. Users can use the new "Clean Up Word HTML" option when importing Word files to remove Microsoft-specific styles and XML tags. Dreamweaver also simplifies the importation of Microsoft Excel or Access files with the introduction of the Tabular Data Object, which easily integrates tabular data directly into an HTML table.

Dreamweaver innovated with the dual view of an HTML page in both visual and code forms. Version 3.0 introduces the Quick Tag Editor, which works from the visual view, providing instant access the underlying HTML code for each page object, and supporting its real-time editing.

In recognition of the fact that most Web page design involves two or more people, and must conform to some form of digital workflow, Dreamweaver 3.0 adds Design Notes. Design Notes, which are stored as an XML document, separate from the HTML (so it doesn't add to the size of the source files), are used to contain comments that need to be shared among team members. A history of all comments is maintained for reference and record keeping.

Dreamweaver is tightly integrated with Macromedia Fireworks, such that users can launch and edit any Dreamweaver graphic in Fireworks. All Fireworks' behaviors are recognized as native Dreamweaver behaviors, and graphics created in Fireworks can be exported as library items directly to a Dreamweaver library (which holds items that are used frequently).

In what has been called \"one of the most innovative features in software history,\" Macromedia has added an Extensible Menu feature. Based on XML, it provides direct access to the user to modify the menu name, keyboard shortcut, and actual call to the Dreamweaver DOM for every single menu option in the application. This means that users can customize their interface, either for individual preferences, or for departments, clients, or specific types of users, such as content input specialists.

One of the most requested new features in the program is the Site Management and Synchronization option. This feature lets a user synchronize a remote site with a local version of the site, comparing files at both locations, and then copying the files to the right location, based on the direction selected by the user. Before the synchronization begins the user is presented with a detailed list of files that will be copied, and they can override individual actions as needed. In the process, orphaned files are removed. $299

Contact: Macromedia, Inc., 600 Townsend, San Francisco, CA 94103, 415 252-2000, 800 326-2128, http://www.macromedia.com, e-mail: info@macromedia.com, fax: 415 626-0554.



Utility Reviews

ACDSee for Mac (MAC)
ACDSee for Mac is a versatile, and very fast, digital asset preview program that supports over 40 popular file formats. Images can be viewed, printed, searched, and managed quickly and flexibly. Multimedia files, including MPEGs and MP3s, can also be previewed. Image files can be converted and output in any of ten common image formats (gif, jpeg, tga, tiff, psp, photoshop, sgi, macpaint, quicktime, and bmp), and can be displayed in slide show format or utilized as desktop pictures. $29.95

Contact: ACD Systems (US), 800 819-2207, 2201 North Collins, #100, Arlington, TX 76011; ACD Systems (Canada), POB 730, Victoria, BC V8W 2P9, 250 382-5828, http://www.acdsystems.com, fax: 250 544-0291.


Radialogic Storage Master (MAC)
Radialogic Storage Master is a hard drive management utility that supports all four of the Macintosh's external buses: FireWire, USB, SCSI and ATA. It allows the user to format and partition their drive in any number of partitions, of any size, and in any format. In addition to fixed drives, it can format and partition CD, CD-ROM, CD-R, CD-RW, MO, DVD, DVD-RAM, Zip, Jaz, Orb, LS-120 (Super Disk), and DVD-ROM. It supports HFS, HFS+, DOS (FAT 16, FAT 32), Linux, and UDF partition types. Utilities are included for password protection, encryption (four levels up to 128-bit), media verification, mounting and unmounting partitions, volume attribute settings, drive attribute changes, and drive performance testing. $89.95

Contact: Radialogic, 4725 First Street, Suite 270, Pleasanton, CA 94566, 925 426-6100, http://www.radialogic.com, fax: 925 426-6101.


RAM Doubler 9 (MAC)
RAM Doubler 9 is a utility that can effectively double or triple the amount of available computer memory in a given Macintosh, up to a total of 240 MB. The program optimizes the management of the physical RAM making it possible to run more applications, and avoid out-of-memory situations. It is cheaper, often as effective, and much easier to install than RAM. $49

Contact: Connectix, 2655 Campus Dr., San Mateo, CA 94403, 800 950-5880, 415 571-5100, Internet: cards@connectix.com, http://www.connectix.com, faxback: 800 571-7558, fax: 415 571-5195.


CopyAgent (MAC)
CopyAgent is a utility that speeds and streamlines routine file copying and backups. Backups can be scheduled and performed automatically and unattended. The user selects what will be copied, where it will be copied, how, and when. If the user is using the Macintosh while the copy takes place, the process is performed in the background so that the user can continue to work. The progress of the copy session is displayed in the copy dialog box, which monitors the copy progress.

The copying process can be executed in any of three ways. A normal backup copies all files from the source to the destination. A SmartReplace copies only the files that are new or that have changed. Finally, Synchronize, synchronizes the source and destination so that they are alike. Secure data can also be deleted so that it can not be recovered with disk utility software.

CopyAgent also includes TurboKeys, a utility that makes it possible to access pull-down menus through key combinations rather than the mouse. It can also be used to program routine operations, and to store frequently-used strings of text. $39

Contact: Connectix, 2655 Campus Dr., San Mateo, CA 94403, 800 950-5880, 415 571-5100, Internet: cards@connectix.com, http://www.connectix.com, faxback: 800 571-7558, fax: 415 571-5195.


Web Devil (MAC)
Web Devil is a utility program that makes it possible to copy any or all of the content of a given Web site for off-line viewing. The user can capture all site components, including text content and HTML, images, backgrounds, JavaScript, etc. The easy-to-use interface allows the user to selectively download only those components, and only those levels, that are needed.

The process is initiated by entering a URL in the Web Devil window, and clicking "Suck Web Page." The target page is copied along with all links to that page. The user has several options, such as following links on successive pages, or turning off image downloading.

As a session is started it results in the display of a progress indicator. The indicator gives an approximation of how many links remain in the download. This number can go up or down, since the downloading process can reveal more HTML links which will be followed if so instructed. The depth of the site copy process is specified in "levels." The initial page is level 1. If it contains five links, then there would be five links on level 1, and the program would follow those five. If each of the five pages contains ten links, then those 50 links would comprise level 2, and so on. The program is capable of following all links on a site, even if they lead to other servers. This can lead to enormous downloads. Fortunately, the Download Preferences options provides adequate controls. $34.95 shareware

Contact: Chaotic Software, Ltd., PO Box 3387, Saratoga, CA 95070, http://www.chaoticsoftware.com, e-mail: support@chaoticsoftware.com.


Mac Army Knife (MAC)
Mac Army Knife is a collection of narrow-purpose utilities that meet the needs of developers as well as general Macintosh users. Each mini-utility in the collection provides a single function, such as quitting all open applications, rebuilding the desktop, viewing pictures, or locking the system. The software continues to evolve and incorporate new features, and therefore users, and prospective users, should preview the program regularly. $20 shareware

Contact: Chaotic Software, Ltd., PO Box 3387, Saratoga, CA 95070, http://www.chaoticsoftware.com, e-mail: support@chaoticsoftware.com.


DiskTop (MAC)
DiskTop is a utility that provides a comprehensive view of all stored files on a given system. The user can find files based on any attribute, and then execute a variety of file management tasks, such as copy, move, delete, launch, and rename. A DiskTop window can be built for up to ten independent views of information held on a user's hard drive.

The program also incorporates DT Launch, a pull-down menu containing the names of the user's most frequently accessed files. The list can be modified as needed.

Expert users can make invisible files visible, or visible files invisible, and set the attributes of any file. In addition, the user can Shutdown or Restart the computer directly from the DiskTop interface. $49.95

Contact: Prairie Group, Inc., POB 65820, West Des Moines, IA 50265, 515 225-3750, 800 346-5392, http://www.prgrsoft.com, e-mail: sales@prgrsoft.com, fax: 515 225-2422.


My Privacy (MAC)
My Privacy is database utility in the form of a password manager that provides military strength encryption for protecting sensitive information such as web site passwords, credit card numbers, e-mail account passwords, PINs, software license numbers, bank account numbers, private telephone numbers and addresses, and more. The program offers 11 categories in which to file confidential data. The program uses the Blowfish algorithm which provides 448-bit encryption, and has never been broken. There are actually more possible keys to check in the Blowfish algorithm than there are atoms in our galaxy!

Although there may be certain U.S. export restrictions on cryptography, My Privacy, which was developed in Germany, and is marketed there, is not subject to any government oversight. The German government imposes no restrictions on cryptography and does not require that software developers implement back doors or use a key recovery escrow.

Although My Privacy can store all of a user's confidential information in one place, it can be accessed from any other Macintosh application with a single mouse click, through the use of a shortcut (in the Apple Menu). All that is necessary to access the information is the single password that the user has selected. However, if, the user forgets that password there is no way at all to gain access to the data.

As a database, My Privacy supports multiple users, so family members, for example, can each have their own password-protected file. $19.95

Contact: Voget Selbach Entertainment, Reuterweg 71, D-53332 Bornheim, Germany, http://vse-online.com.


SuperGIF (MAC/WIN)
SuperGIF is a utility that effectively reduces the size of GIF images and animations through a simple drag and drop interface. It does so without changing the visual integrity of the image, i.e. it is visually lossless. The user does not require any special knowledge regarding the factors that influence the quality of GIF format images, and does not need to be involved in staging the optimization process. The program is even effective on images that have been optimized using other software. $29.95

Contact: Boxtop Software, Inc., One Research Blvd., Suite 201, Starkville, MS 39759, 800 257-6954, 601 323-6436, http://www.boxtopsoft.com, e-mail: info@boxtopsoft.com, fax: 601 324-7352.


SoftMac 2000 (WIN )
SoftMac 2000 is the fastest Apple Macintosh 68040 software emulator for Microsoft Windows, and the first Macintosh emulator to be optimized for Windows 2000. The software provides the means for PC users to run Macintosh software directly from Macintosh formatted media, including HD floppy disks, CD-ROMs, Zip disks, and Macintosh SCSI hard drives.

The emulator is fully multi-tasking and runs along side the host PC OS (Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT, or Windows 2000).

SoftMac 2000 is entirely software-based, however running it requires that the host computer has Macintosh ROMs installed. This can be accomplished by purchasing a ROM card from Emulators Inc., either with or without ROMs; and if stripped, populating it with ROMs from an old 680x0 Macintosh, or obtaining the ROMs from a third-party. Alternately, owners of a 680x0 Macintosh can make a ROM image that can be copied to the host. The application also needs a copy of the Macintosh OS. Older versions of the OS are available at the Apple website, however newer versions must be purchased. SoftMac only supports up to Mac OS 8.1. $99.95

Contact: Emulators Inc., 14150 NE 20th Street, Suite 302, Bellevue, WA 98007, 206-236-0540, http://www.emulators.com, e-mail: info@emulators.com, fax: 206-236-0257.


Cambio (WIN )
Cambio is an advanced text mining application that can give structure, in the form of data tables, to raw, irregular text files. The program's sophisticated capabilities allow it to work with live text feeds, parse XML documents, extract data from Internet sites and text files, and mine data from a variety of other sources.

The process of deploying Cambio begins with a sample report file of some kind that is generated from the data source. It may be in ASCII or EBCDIC. The report is opened in Cambio where it is examined, in order to locate the kind of information that Cambio will be instructed to mine. The structure, composed of patterns and rules, is defined, and the target data is identified. The user then defines what is to be done with the collected data. From the definition, the program is able to build the script file that will be run to extract the data. The script is run as a proofing operation, and the data is displayed in the data browser in grid format. If it does not appear as needed, the user can redefine various aspects until it is correct. Clicking the Run Script button then activates the script and saves the data either in a file or a table.

Cambio incorporates scripts that execute targeted visual pattern recognition to accomplish specific tasks. The user-specified session settings are translated into a program file in the Data Junction eXtraction Language (DJXL). Through the use of DJXL, a line oriented programming language developed for use in Cambio, developers can create custom scripts that can be used with either Data Junction or DJEngine. $695 for the Professional Edition, $1295 for the Enterprise Edition (single user pricing).

Contact: Data Junction Corporation, 2201 Northland Drive, Austin, TX 78756, 800 580-4411, 512 459-1308, http://www.datajunction.com, fax: 512 467-1331.


Data Junction (WIN )
Data Junction is the most popular and honored data transformation tool available. It is used by more than 80 percent of the Fortune 500 companies, translating data from any source to any target.

The program utilizes a visual design interface, with drag and drop simplicity, for the rapid building and testing of data integration models. The models work with hundreds of data formats and software applications. A model is constructed of flow-chart symbols that can be linked in a virtually infinite number of ways, with conditional flow controls integrated within each process.

Simply put, the process has three parts. First the user defines the source file by either typing in the file name or providing the access parameters for a database. Second the output file is defined by file type, name, and data types. In this process there are many options, such as appending or updating records to an existing file or table. Third is the definition of how the processed data is to appear, and how the input fields will be related to the output fields.

Data Junction can perform an impressive set of functions to both live data and metadata. Some of these functions are sort; parse; aggregate; filter; map; clean and scrub; change data types; add, delete, rearrange, split or concatenate fields; parse and select substrings; pad or truncate data fields; clean address fields; define external table look-ups; and many more. $599 for the Personal Edition, $1195 for the Professional Edition, and $2395 for the Enterprise Edition (all single user prices).

Contact: Data Junction Corporation, 2201 Northland Drive, Austin, TX 78756, 800 580-4411, 512 459-1308, http://www.datajunction.com, fax: 512 467-1331.


DJEngine (WIN )
DJEngine is a 32-bit data conversion engine that is at the core of Data Junction Corporation's Data Junction product. The engine has been stripped of its user interface so that it is optimized for speed. It is deployed in environments where regular data conversions are initiated on a regular schedule.

The actual scripts that are used to drive DJEngine must be developed using Data Junction's visual interface. The scripts are saved as portable files and executed by DJEngine either through the command line or by a callable API. $1150 for the Professional Edition, and $2200 for the Enterprise Edition (single user pricing).

Contact: Data Junction Corporation, 2201 Northland Drive, Austin, TX 78756, 800 580-4411, 512 459-1308, http://www.datajunction.com, fax: 512 467-1331.



Multimedia Reviews

Inspire 3D (MAC/WIN)
Inspire 3D is a sophisticated yet surprisingly easy-to-use photorealistic 3D graphics application, supporting 24-bit color and real-time image manipulation. It uses a rendering engine based on LightWave 3D, which has been a favorite among Hollywood designers. The program produces output for print, multimedia (animations), and Web visuals.

The program, which supports 16 image formats and seven 3D file formats, is compatible with the tools that are commonly used by digital imaging professionals, including Photoshop, Illustrator, Freehand, Director, and QuarkXPress. Inspire 3D maintains compatibility with Photoshop plug-ins, further enhancing their usefulness together. In addition, the program can be used to composite 2D and 3D images, with layers for print or animation projects. Digital photos or video frames can be imported, and Front Projection mapping can be applied to 3D elements to produce realistic cast shadows on the imported background.

The package includes a library of over 1600 graphic elements as well as a full on-screen tutorial. $495

Contact: NewTek, 8200 IH-10 West, Suite 900, San Antonio, TX 78230, 800 862-7837, 210 370-8000, http://www.newtek.com, e-mail: sales@newtek.com, fax: 210 370-8001.


Extensis Portfolio 5.0 (MAC/WIN)
Extensis Portfolio 5.0 is a digital asset management (DAM) solution that functions in a standalone, peer-to-peer, or client (with use of the Portfolio Server) mode. It is the only DAM product that is scalable from a single user to a global organization. The program is an excellent solution for the digital publishers who need to organize, catalog, share, and distribute digital assets in a production environment.

Portfolio catalogs consist of a variety of digital media formats, including images, sounds, movies, and other documents. Files can be dragged onto Portfolio for immediate cataloging, or can be imported from within the program. Users maintain immediate and direct access to their cataloged files, and can drag thumbnails directly into layout applications, such as QuarkXPress, to copy and place them.

Unlike many other products that are provided with static database fields, Portfolio supports an unlimited number of custom fields that users can add to provide the most usable metadata to their files. They can also add any combination of keywords, and can search on any combination of fields and keywords. In addition, users can search for words that appear inside graphical documents, and can group files into hierarchical categories that reflect the way in which they work, such as jobs, clients, or other groupings.

Portfolio has unique features that integrate it into the digital workflow. It can be scripted with either AppleScript or Visual Basic to automate repetitive tasks, such as publishing selected content from databases, or automatically filling QuarkXPress templates with images and text from a Portfolio catalog. In addition, its library of file translators ensure that almost any file type can be viewed without needing the original application.

Portfolio 5.0 features PortWeb, which is a Web Server plug-in that makes it possible to publish Portfolio catalogs to the Web, so that anyone, anywhere can search them using a standard browser. Catalog entries can contain a clickable URL field so that users can use the hyperlinks to go to another location on the Internet. Users also have the option to export Portfolio galleries, either as they appear on the screen, or using custom HTML templates.

Other features new in this version are: Multipage Previews of multiple page documents, such as Adobe Acrobat PDF files; optional connectivity with SQL databases; Cross-catalog Searching of multiple Portfolio catalogs; reading and embedding of Digimarc(™) digital watermarks in supported image formats; an improved dockable Palette Interface which provides easier access to options previously available only from submenus and dialogs; automatic mapping of embedded image data that is imported as part of the digital asset, a practice that is commonly used with news wire service photos; the optional addition of a custom Splash Screen, showing a company logo or project title, that appears when a catalog is opened; improved Slideshow options which include copying, moving, renaming, or deleting original files inside the slideshow; and a Disk Preview option that allows the user to capture a full-sized image when items are catalogued, so that the asset can be previewed in detail, even when the original image is off-line. $199.95

Contact: Creative Pro.com, Extensis Products Group, 1800 S.W. First Ave., Suite 500, Portland, OR 97201, 800 796-9798, 503 274-2020, http://www.creativepro.com, http://www.extensis.com, fax: 503 274-0530.


FontLab 3.0 (MAC/WIN)
FontLab 3.0 is a full-featured, professional font design application that provides a flexible, visual glyph creation environment. It can be used both to create new, or edit existing, PostScript Type 1 and TrueType fonts. Individual characters can be added, removed, or changed from any font. In addition, the program provides support for producing Multiple Master fonts with up to four axes. The user is provided with a rich palette of image creation tools, and a fully customizable layout window with a precision grid and fully adjustable guidelines.

In the Font Editing window the overall view of a font, either existing or in process, is displayed as a series of thumbnail images, arranged in rows and columns, and identified by name, number, or Unicode symbol number. The user double-clicks on a glyph and it is opened in the Glyph Editing window.

The tool set includes: Draw, Erase, VectorPaint, Rotate, Mirror, Skew, Scale, Zoom, Composite, Set Startpoint, Insert Node, Remove Overlap, Merge Contours, Subtract Contours, Intersect Contours, Interpolate, Envelope, Approximate, TrueType Hinting, Type 1 Hinting, Snap to Guides, Check Connections, Nodes at Extremes, Meter, and Undo. Some of the tools will be familiar to those who have used high-end illustration programs.

Font naming and identification information is entered in the Font Information menu, wherein the font names, style, embedding permissions, copyright, and other criteria are entered. The program is capable of automatically deriving the necessary field entries, using proper naming conventions, from a minimum of input.

The user can open more than one font at a time, and can copy and paste, or drag and drop, characters from one to the other. This is capability can be used to rearrange a character repertoire, or to add a special character, like a company logo, to one or more existing fonts.

In addition to the capability of automatically generating style variations, the program provides a series of more than 25 transformation filters that can be applied to a single character up to an entire font character set. These include such effects as 3D extrusion and College, which creates an outline/inline effect similar to varsity lettering.

Other major features include: automatic hinting; automatic or manual kerning; VectorPaint tools for painting in the vector-based design environment; 101 levels of undo/redo; import and export of individual glyphs in EPS format; importation and rescaling of bitmap images to serve as background templates for tracing; sample printing of individual characters or complete fonts; and much more. $399

Contact: FontLab Ltd., Box 465, Millersville, MD 21108, 812 327-3129, http://www.fontlab.com, e-mail: info@fontlab.com, fax: 812 327-3129.


Fireworks 3 (MAC/WIN)
Fireworks 3 is a mature and powerful application for the creation, manipulation and optimization of Web graphics. It handles the normal Web graphic workflow which consists of image slicing, image map creation, animations, and the production of JavaScript rollovers. In Fireworks, all graphics remain editable all of the time. Although it is tightly integrated with Macromedia Dreamweaver, to provide direct editing of graphics composed in Web documents (in a process referred to as \"Visual Roundtrip Editing\"), it can also export customized HTML code for GoLive, FrontPage, and other Web page editors.

The close integration with Dreamweaver 3 provides several valuable benefits. First, from within Dreamweaver the user need only click on a graphic to launch Fireworks and directly edit or optimize the graphic. Second, the JavaScript created in Fireworks is in a form that is editable as native Dreamweaver code. Third, sliced and assembled graphics from Fireworks can be imported into Dreamweaver, with associated HTML, by using the Insert Fireworks command. The graphics and HTML are automatically placed in the proper place, and the associated links are automatically updated.

Fireworks 3 is completely JavaScriptable, meaning that users can create Commands that can be used to automate all or part of their digital workflow. Scripts can be created within Dreamweaver that will drive Fireworks operations. Each action that is executed in the program can be saved in the History palette and reused, to automate sophisticated design sequences. This reduces redundant tasks to a single step, and reduces both operator errors and production time.

Fireworks graphics can be composed of bitmap or vector elements, or both. Existing graphics can be imported from several sources, including digital cameras, scanners, and graphics applications, including Photoshop, Illustrator, or FreeHand. The imported Photoshop files retain their layers, with text and effects layers still editable. Bitmap images can also be color-corrected, with real-time control over brightness/contrast, levels/curves, and hue/saturation. FreeHand and Illustrator files are imported with complete editability. Frequently used graphics can be stored in the Symbol Library, and dragged and dropped into place as needed.

Frame-based GIF or Flash animations can be created using a sophisticated animation environment incorporating onion-skinning and tweening.

Other features include: The use of Photoshop compatible filters; gamma preview between Macintosh and Windows; fast button creation using the Button Creator and link wizard; the use of both GIF and JPEG graphics in a single sliced graphic; a WYSIWYG graphics viewing window with up to four simultaneous views; the Export to Size wizard which helps to automatically reduce files to a target size; a new Lossy GIF compression option; Live Effects, with are the application of filters which automatically update as changes are made to its associated object; a powerful Find & Replace option that can update text, font, URL or color across a single file or an entire site; custom and packaged Graphic and Text Styles that can be applied instantly for consistency (over 300 Styles are included); a URL Manager to load, edit, save and manage URLs so that they can be applied with a single click; and more. $199

Contact: Macromedia, Inc., 600 Townsend, San Francisco, CA 94103, 415 252-2000, 800 326-2128, http://www.macromedia.com, e-mail: info@macromedia.com, fax: 415 626-0554.


e-Picture Pro (MAC/WIN)
e-Picture Pro (formerly e-Picture, see our review) is a professional web design application for the production of animations, such as those used in banner advertising. The program uses its proprietary graphics engine to provide the advantages of both bitmap and vector graphics together. The user can draw editable, scalable vector objects to which he or she can apply special effects and photographic filters. Even after the effects have been applied, the objects remain editable. In addition, e-Picture Pro is the only application of tis kind that can import, create and manipulate 3D images and 3D text.

The process of creating motion effects is executed by simply changing or editing one or more of an object's properties over time. These properties include an object's size, position, shape, orientation, color, opacity, filters and special effects. The most simple animation is created by defining an object's initial location (or other property) and its final location (or other property). e-Picture Pro automatically generates all of the in-between states, in real-time.

The program can import native Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and QuickTime files, and export as animated GIF, Flash, SVG, QuickTime, Microsoft Windows Media Format, or RealVideo.

An e-Picture Pro project begins with the creation of a new document. The program provides templates in standard banner sizes, or the user can specify a custom pixel width and height. They can also create new templates, or edit or delete old templates. During this initial phase, the user also specifies the background as transparent, white, or custom. Acceptance of the new document results in the display of the untitled document window which consists of the canvas area (as defined by the pixel dimensions) surrounded on all sides by a gray area representing the overscan, or out-of image areas. The overscan is used to position objects as they enter of leave the viewable area.

The e-Picture Pro toolbox panel provides a complete complement of image creation and editing tools, for both bitmap and vector. Attributes assigned to the tools, and to individual objects, are controlled in the Inspector Panel. These settings may be changed at any time, and the effects of the changes appear immediately, in real-time.

Each object in a given project is maintained as an independent element, and occupies a line in the Objects Panel. As an object is created, it is named according to the tool that was used to create it, and is listed in the Objects Panel. The user can assign meaningful names to each object to simplify their identification and processing.

Objects can also be assigned to one or more layers. Layers are managed in the Layer Panel, and are useful for grouping objects, isolating effects, applying filters, and accomplishing sophisticated compositing.

At the heart of the program is the Animation window, which shows a timeline, and lists the objects in the project, animation controls, and more. Animating a particular object is simple. The user selects the first frame of the animation from the numbered increments at the top of the Animation window. Next he or she selects the last frame of the animation sequence and modifies one or more of the object's properties. Each of these two frames, signifying the two states of the animation are called "key frames." When the animation is played, e-Picture Pro interpolates the values for each attribute and produces ("tweens") a smooth animation. Multiple controls are available to control the frame duration, the length of the animation, the shape of the object's path, the relative speed of the object as it moves, and more.

One of the program's most innovative tools is Image Slicing. This tool is used to draw a rectangular area around objects to map out areas that will be exported as separate images. It can be used to separate static and animated areas from a given object with the objective of creating a sliced object that will have a reduced download time. The tool is also used to create JavaScript rollover buttons and images. $199

Contact: BeatWare, 1779 Woodside Road, Suite 200, Redwood City, CA 94061, 650 556-7906, http://www.beatware.com, fax: 650 556-7902.


Adobe Illustrator 9 (MAC/WIN)
Adobe Illustrator 9 extends its capabilities further into the realm of Web publishing. It does so with many innovations, including support for Flash (SWF) and the new Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) standard, both of which produce high quality graphics and fonts, yet are characterized by the compact file sizes that they generate. Of special interest to digital publishers is the fact that SVG supports Type 1 and TrueType fonts, SML, Cascading Style Sheets, interactive actions, and dynamic HTML animation.

Because vector graphics, such as SVG, will be rasterized in order to appear in a Web browser, Illustrator now provides a Pixel Preview mode. This mode shows the precise location of each pixel, providing the designer with absolute control.

Illustrator 9 helps to blur the boundary between vector and raster imaging with new effects, including drop shadows and glows. Despite their raster appearance, the type and objects to which they are applied remain fully editable.

Several new features help to improve design flexibility and productivity. The Release to Layers command, for example, lets the user take all selected objects on one layer and distribute them onto separate, individual layers. This is especially useful for building Web animation sequences. The Transparency palette provides the capability to apply varying degrees of transparency to type, or to bitmap or vector objects. The new Opacity masks and Layer Clipping masks make it possible to hide or reveal defined areas of a project by creating shapes that are applied and manipulated. The new Styles palette allows the user to save sets of appearance attributes that can be applied to any number of graphic objects or type. The styles can be saved, and can be edited. Styles are nondestructive, and permit the continued editing of the objects that they are linked to. As objects are edited, any new attributes are reflected in their style definitions.

A significant change to Illustrator is the incorporation of PDF as its native file format. The program still saves with the .ai file extension, and can still open and save in legacy versions, but can now roundtrip PDF without losing any file contents. Adobe promises that future versions of Acrobat Reader will be able to open, view, and print native Illustrator files.

It has been an Adobe design goal to closely integrate all of its professional products so that they work together seamlessly. This has been done with a common look and feel for menus, toolboxes, palettes and keyboard shortcuts. In addition, it is now possible to retain Photoshop masks, blending modes, and transparency, and to convert layers to separate Illustrator objects. Illustrator files that open in Photoshop can retain their layers, opacity masks, transparency, blending modes, and editable type. Illustrator files can also be placed directly in GoLive 5 and LiveMotion. In terms of integration with other applications, Illustrator has expanded its list of file format support for opening, placing, saving and exporting files. $399

Contact: Adobe Systems Inc., 345 Park Ave., San Jose, CA 95110-2704, 408 536-6000, WWW: http://www.adobe.com, fax: 408 537-6000.



Networking Reviews

Timbuktu Pro 2000 (MAC/WIN)
Timbuktu Pro 2000 is the newest version of a family of remote control applications that are first-in-class examples of how computer collaboration and file interchange should be conducted. The main purpose of the program is the remote control of another computer from within a window on the host computer. It may be Mac-to-Mac, Windows-to-Windows, Mac-to-Windows, or Windows-to-Mac. Virtually any operation that can be done at the remote computer can be executed from the local host. In addition, files can be exchanged easily between the systems using a simple interface. The main options for conducting a Timbuktu Pro 2000 session are Send, Exchange, Observe, Chat, Notify, Intercom, or Control.

The software is invaluable in a digital publishing environment for several reasons:

* A user can demonstrate to a co-worker how to use a particular aspect of a software application, or take control of a colleague's computer to execute a particular function for them.
* Computer problems can be examined and diagnosed from any location, making it possible for a technical support group to support off-site users, or conversely, for the support person or team to be off-site.
* Users can easily exchange files with no concern for the distance between the systems.
* Digital assets do not need to be duplicated at multiple locations since they can be accessed from anywhere.
* Users can converse, via an intercom function, or keyboard chat, to clarify job instructions or procedures.
* Third-party providers, contractors, at-home workers, cottage workers, part-timers, tele-commuters, and other off-site workers can share their computers with production workers who are in-house. Connections can be initiated through virtually any communications channel, including dial-up. DSL, RAS, LAN, WAN, or the Internet.
* Web developers can connect and control their Web server from anywhere, and easy move files to it. Server administration is simplified since the administrator can access it from anywhere in the world.
* Access to a Timbuktu-enabled computer can be controlled with a range of security options including secure screen blanking, password encryption, user level defined access privileges, password aging, event logging, master password protection, and more.

Significant new features in Timbuktu Pro 2000 include an Internet Locator, which is hosted 24 hours a day by Netopia. It makes it possible to locate other Timbuktu users who are assigned dynamic IP addresses by their ISP. It does so by matching their e-mail address to their TCP/IP address in real-time. Users can also be located through the support of LDAP directory services. Twin pack price $189.95.

Contact: Netopia, Inc., 2470 Mariner Square Loop, Alameda, CA 94501, 510 814-5100, http://www.netopia.com, fax: 510 814-5020.



Digital Imaging Reviews

Studio Artist 1.5 (MAC)
Studio Artist 1.5 provides several innovations over the initial release of "the world's first graphics synthesizer" (see our review http://www.printerport.com/kdp/issues/v5n1.html#Studio%20Artist%20(MAC)). First among its list of enhancements is editable keyframe timeline animation for all of the different features that are available in the program. Every editable parameter in the program, of which there are hundreds, can be animated over time.

New too is the Texture Synthesizer, providing improved image and movie morphing capabilities, and new resolution independent core effects. It is based on a sophisticated texture generator with integral effects processing and extensive modulation capabilities. In combination with the Paint Synthesizer, Image Processing Operations, and Image Warping and Morphing, the user can create an unlimited number of visual effects for painting on 2D canvases or within video sequences.

Also new are 3D paint lighting and materials modeling controls (to control the visual appearance of real world art materials), new colorization and dynamic brush texture options, new movie brush capabilities, intelligent auto-regionalization, full support for pen tilt recording in paint action sequences, and new gradient effects.

The upgrade is a free, via email, to registered Studio Artist users. $329

Contact: Synthetik Software, Inc., 30 Sheridan St., San Francisco, CA 94103, 888 808-4188, 415 864-6582, http://www.synthetik.com, fax: 415 854-0433.



Entertainment Reviews

MP3 Rage (MAC)
MP3 Rage is a versatile tool for acquiring and managing MP3 music files. The program consists of a search component called Ragester, which supports the use of the Napster music sharing system, and allows the user to locate music based on the artist, album, title, or keyword. Songs can be played back directly in the program, and can be converted into AIFF format for burning on CD media.

The program supports all currently available ID3 tag formats. The ID3 tag is a 128-byte data string that is attached to an MP3 title to identify it by title, artist, album, year, genre and a comment field. MP3 Rage makes it possible to edit these fields and to do so easily through batch processing. $24.95 shareware

Contact: Chaotic Software, Ltd., PO Box 3387, Saratoga, CA 95070, http://www.chaoticsoftware.com, e-mail: support@chaoticsoftware.com.



Miscellaneous News and Reviews

CardCondo (ALL)
CardCondo is a small, rugged plastic holder for carrying four MultiMediaCards or SD memory cards. It is one of the first solutions for storing these tiny cards and taking them into the field. The cut-out design, into which the media cards are slid, lets the top surface of the card show through, while protecting the contact side. The card contents can be written on a label, and the card can be carried in a pocket or can be worn around the neck. $5 each, with large quantity discounts available.

Contact: PC Card Packaging, Inc., 386 South St., Pittsfield, MA 01201, 800 807-2269, 413 442-1798, http://www.pccardpkg.com, e-mail: sales@pccardpkg.com, fax: 413 442-1151.


CalendarMaker (MAC)
CalendarMaker is a specialty output application that can be used to produce presentation quality calendars for any month or year, in the past, present, or future. More than 50 modifiable templates, covering a wide variety of formats, from a daily agenda to a monthly activity schedule, can be produced. The standard 8.5\" x 11\" format can be resized to layouts ranging from 3" x 3" to 113" x 113". Calendars can be composed to run from Sunday to Saturday, Monday to Sunday, or Monday to Friday.

Calendar events can be indicated with text and graphics. A library of graphics is provided, and users can modify them using the graphic tool set that is included. In addition, the user can import graphics from other programs, image collections, digital cameras, or the Internet.

Users can enter recurring and multiple day events, and can use the program's "find" command to locate appointments and other obligations. In addition, floating notes can be composed to emphasize certain events or a given span of time. $59.95

Contact: Prairie Group, Inc., POB 65820, West Des Moines, IA 50265, 515 225-3750, 800 346-5392, http://www.prgrsoft.com, e-mail: sales@prgrsoft.com, fax: 515 225-2422.


MacHack 15 CD (MAC)
MacHack 15 CD is a collection of 85 hacks from the MacHack 2000 conference, along with papers, presentations, and still and motion images. The hacks include source code, and in some cases, descriptive text. Hacks range from the truly weird to the potentially useful. $19.95 plus $5 postage in the U.S., $15 postage outside the U.S.

Contact: Expotech,1264 Bedford Road, Grosse Point Park, MI 48230, 313 882-1824, http://www.machack.com.



Book Reviews

Sams Teach Yourself Macromedia Dreamweaver 3 in 24 Hours
Bruce, Betsy

A hands-on guide to Macromedia Dreamweaver 3 composed of 24 one-hour lessons. The lessons cover the basic operation and use of the program and are enhanced with selected tips, notes, and cautions. The author, an accomplished trainer, uses numerous illustrations and insights.

Available for on-line ordering at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=thekleperreporto&path=ISBN%3D0672318830

0672318830 431 pp. $24.99

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


Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide
Meyer, Eric A.

With the growing acceptance of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and their corresponding implementation in popular browsers, all Web page developers would be well-served by learning about the benefits of this technology. The author describes Cascading Style Sheets as "a standard way to separate a document's structure from its presentation. This sounds very abstract, but the benefits are quite surprising and profound."

The entire first chapter of the book is available on-line at: http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/css/chapter/ch01.html

The author's top ten list of useful CSS tips is available at: http://www.oreilly.com/news/csstop10_0500.html

Available for on-line ordering at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=thekleperreporto&path=ISBN%3D1565926226

1565926226 496 pp. $34.95

Contact: O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., 103 Morris St., Suite A, Sebastopol, CA 95472, 800 998-9938, 707 829-0515, http://www.oreilly.com, e-mail: info@oreilly.com, fax: 707 829-0104.


Complete Idiot's Guide to Starting an Online Business, The
Fiore, Frank

A no-nonsense approach to learning the basic steps involved in setting-up a commercial enterprise on the World Wide Web. The author, himself an accomplished eCommerce marketer and consultant, shows how to start and operate an on-line business.

Available for on-line ordering at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=thekleperreporto&path=ISBN%3D0789721937

0789721937 345 pp. $18.95

Contact: Alpha, 201 W. 103rd St., Indianapolis, IN 46290.


Easy iMac, Second Edition
Lee, Lisa

A highly-colorful and graphic guide to the Apple iMac which covers all of the essential operations that would be of interest to a new user. This visual guide shows detailed screens presenting the step-by-step processes that are fundamental to each operation. The text is concise and to-the-point.

Available for on-line ordering at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=thekleperreporto&path=ISBN%3D0789723395

0789723395 282 pp. $19.99

Contact: Que Corporation, 11711 North College Ave., Carmel, IN 46032, http://www.quecorp.com.


Sams Teach Yourself Web Publishing with HTML 4 in 21 Days, Second Edition
Lemay, Laura

A weighty tome consisting of exercises covering the complete Web publishing process. Major sections include: An introduction to HTML; Creating simple Web pages; Web graphics; Style sheets, tables, and frames; Multimedia and Java applets; Imagemaps and forms; JavaScript and Dynamic HTML; Designing effective Web pages; Going live on the Web; Setting up and administering the Web server; and more.

The accompanying cross-platform CD-ROM includes authoring tools, Web site maintenance utilities, graphics and multimedia creation and editing tools, and source code from the book.

Available for on-line ordering at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=thekleperreporto&path=ISBN%3D0672318385

0672318385 1191 pp. $49.99

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


Short Order Adobe InDesign 1.5
Sokol, Patti D.

This is the book for InDesign 1.5 users who need to get up-to-speed quickly. It was written with the objective of covering the practical use of InDesign in a production environment, with clear and visual instructions for accomplishing very specific tasks within the program. Each task, such as "Dragging Images from Illustrator," has a brief introduction, a step-by-step listing of instructions, a visual representation of the process, and supplementary notes or tips.

Available for on-line ordering at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=thekleperreporto&path=ISBN%3D0789720981

0789720981 365 pp. $19.99

Contact: Hayden Books, 4300 West 62nd St., Indianapolis, IN 46268



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