The Kleper Report on Digital Publishing - Issue 4.2 March / April 1999

The Kleper Report on Digital Publishing
Issue 4.2 March / April 1999

This issue of KDP is sponsored by:


Feature: Digital Workflow

Digital Workflow

Digital publishing production is a multiple-step manufacturing process. It can lead to the printing of a book or other ink-on-paper (or toner-on-substrate) product, the pressing of an interactive multimedia CD-ROM, the distribution of an electronic document, or the posting of information on a Web site. The flexible nature of the process, which comes about as a consequence of digital storage, has redefined the notion of publishing workflow. R.R. Donnelley, the world's largest commercial printer calls the process preceding output as ""pre-media."" What would have been described previously as ""pre-press"" is now the set of functions which are preliminary to the production of several possible, and repackagable, products.

In conventional, analog, or semi-digital workflow, each information element may take on multiple forms as it moves through the production process. A photographic print, for example, which exists in a physical analog form, will need to be scanned (to convert from analog-to-digital), manipulated (for quality and/or content), and saved in a compatible format, and appropriate file size. It will then be combined with other page elements, usually in a digital page layout environment. The composed page may be printed on plain paper for proofreading or client approval. After all approvals have been received, a page that is destined for the press may be imaged on film, stripped on a carrier sheet, contacted to a plate, printed on a press, and finished using a variety of bindery equipment. Alternately, the digital page may be imaged directly to a plate (CTP, computer-to-plate), or directly to a digital press. The most direct route is usually the fastest, and the elimination of any production step will result in the saving of both time and money (labor and materials). Maintaining all components of all publishing jobs in a digital format provides many benefits.

When every element of a publishing project is in a digital format there is a more fluid relationship between each stage of production. Throughout its production, a digital publishing project need not take on an analog or real-world form, which would subject it to all of the maladies of the physical world: mishandling, dust, dirt, fingerprints, scratches, tears, coffee spills, improper processing, out-of-date or depleted chemicals and materials, loss, misfiling, courier delays, etc. In addition, there is no need for production to stop, while files are physically moved, or individuals search for their location. This, however, is not to suggest that the digital world is perfect.

The all-digital workflow model has been implemented widely, and is likely to become the norm. It is being applied in one form or another in print, multimedia, electronic document, and Web production environments of all kinds and sizes. It is the digital workflow that forms the nervous system which connects devices in the production cycle to produce predictable, repeatable results. A well-planned and functioning digital workflow is essential for production efficiency.

In this issue we look at two products that help to manage workflow: Luminous OPEN and Markzware MarkzScout.

Productivity Reviews

L&H Voice Xpress Professional, Version 2.0 (WIN )

L&H Voice Xpress Professional, Version 2.0, winner of the PC Computing magazine 1998 Most Valuable Product (MVP) award, is a second generation voice input product for users of Microsoft Office and other Windows programs. The program, which supports an active vocabulary of up to 30,000 words (plus another 30,000 user-entered words), supports the use of conversational speech both to dictate to, and to control, most Widows-based applications. The program is rated at voice processing speeds of up to 140 words per minute, and accuracy levels of up to 95% or greater, and replaces mouse clicks and key stroke sequences with single voice commands.

The program includes a "Talk & Go" feature that makes it possible for users of hand-held digital dictation devices to import their voice dictation and have it processed by Voice Xpress Professional. Furthermore, if the user finds it necessary to use another computer that has the software installed, he or she can transfer their voice profile, so that they can use the program no matter where they may be. The package includes a noise-canceling headset with microphone. $149.99

Contact: Lernout & Hauspie, 52 Third Ave., Burlington, MA 01803, 781 203-5000,, fax: 781 238-0986.

Monster Commands (MAC/WIN)

Monster Commands is a self-instruction program for learning the keyboard shortcuts associated with the applications contained in the Microsoft Office suite for both Macintosh and PC. The use of key commands is much faster than using the mouse to make menu selections. Even small increments of time saved over prolonged periods can result in significant productivity gains. The program uses a game scenario wherein customers in a waiting room heckle and morph into monsters if the player is too slow or responds incorrectly. The player must input the correct keyboard shortcut in response to commands which are displayed on the screen.

Keystroke charts for several applications are included in PDF format. The key sequences are logically arranged and clearly show the impressive number of functions and operations that can be controlled using the keyboard. The charts can be printed out and used for study or reference. $29.95

Contact: AdOut Advanced Productivity Solutions, 5990 Sepulveda Blvd., #100, Van Nuys, CA 91411, 888 593-5400,, fax: 818 780-4567

Key Commando (MAC/WIN)

Key Commando is a learning program in a game format that has been shown to improve productivity by teaching and reinforcing the use of keyboard shortcuts in place of mouse movements and menu selections. The program introduces and tests desktop publishing-related programs, including QuarkXPress 3 and 4, Adobe Illustrator 7 and 8, Adobe Photoshop 4 and 5, Multi-Ad Creator 4 and Creator 2 (Mac only), Microsoft Windows (PC only), and Mac OS 8.5 (Mac only). As play continues the user has less time to respond, and the requests become more complex. If an incorrect response is input, the correct key-sequence is displayed.

The CD-ROM includes a collection of keystroke sequence charts for the most popular applications. These provide a complete and useful desktop reference. $29.95

Contact: AdOut Advanced Productivity Solutions, 5990 Sepulveda Blvd., #100, Van Nuys, CA 91411, 888 593-5400,, fax: 818 780-4567


Jot is a handwriting recognition system for the Palm OS and HP Palm computer. The Jot handwriting system is easy to learn, and is designed for speed and accuracy. On the PalmPilot it can be used in place of the native handwriting recognition system...on the HPC it adds handwriting recognition capability.

The HPC version provides macro capability, providing the user with the option of assigning text strings of up to 1024 characters to a single defined gesture. The software is easy to install and use and is well-worth its modest cost. $29

Contact: Communication Intelligence Corporation, 275 Shoreline Drive, Redwood Shores, CA 94065, 650-802-7888,, e-mail:, fax: 650-802-7777

QuicKeys for Windows (WIN )

QuicKeys for Windows is the PC version of the venerable Macintosh program that has been around for many years. The program makes it possible to automate and customize the computer operating environment by allowing the user to record and playback keystrokes and mouse-clicks. Almost any task can be automated, and the program includes several set-up wizards to automate many common procedures and processes. Playback can be accomplished through user-defined hot keys, or by using the QuicKeys toolbars. Productivity tools are included for programs such as Eudora Pro, and Web integration is provided for popular browsers. $49

Contact: CE Software, 1801 Industrial Circle, POB 65580, West Des Moines, IA 50265, 515 221-1801, 800 523-7638,, e-mail:, fax: 515 221-2694.


ACTION GoMac provides an MS Windows-style task bar which gives the user instant access, via program icons, of all currently running programs. It can also be used to launch programs, switch applications, open files using drag and drop convenience, Get Info on running programs, bookmark Internet sites, and more. $39.95

Contact: Power On Software, 2046 Lakewood Road SW, Sherrodsville, OH 44675, 800 797-7382, 612 317-0344,, e-mail:, fax: 330 735-3136.

Luminous OPEN 1.1.1 (MAC)

Luminous OPEN (Open Production ENvironment) 1.1.1 is a useful tool for automating parts of the digital production workflow.

OPEN is appropriate for high-volume, digital production environments in all phases of digital publishing, including electronic prepress, commercial printing, multimedia production, and Web publishing. It can perform repetitious, yet complex, production sequences, such as:

* Performing large batch file conversions and file translations. * Transferring files from one production area to another; or from production to the client, to an archive repository, to a Web server, or other destination. * Managing an image database by generating high- and low-resolution images, adding keywords, and maintaining usage statistics. * Performing pagination through the use of template-driven layouts. * Delivering files that have undergone processing-intensive operations, to a specified server location. * Applying trapping, imposition and color separation to PostScript files.

OPEN provides a flexible workspace in which individual production task sequences, which involve off-the-shelf software products, such as Adobe Photoshop and QuarkXPress, can be constructed. These task sequences, which are called Pipelines, can be launched to run unattended, or with any of the following options:

* Pause for manual intervention. Manually performed tasks can be included along with automated tasks. The Pipeline will pause a job at any point in which the operator must intervene to interact with the file. * Pause for approval. Checkpoints can be programmed so that a job will not proceed between automated tasks until it has been inspected and approved. * Manage job status and sequence. Once jobs have been entered in an OPEN Pipeline, the operator has control to prioritize, hold, or remove them from the queue. * Vary task sequence. The various task sequences that have been defined for a given Pipeline can be rearranged (as opposed to building a completely new Pipeline). * Consolidate workflow. Individual Pipelines can be linked to other Pipelines to form a longer workflow sequence.

OPEN works with a wide range of production software supporting print, multimedia, and Internet publishing, both for the Macintosh and Windows NT operating systems. It is available in two versions, one which supports full network access, and one which serves a single user.

Pipelines range in complexity from simple single-task operations, to complex multiple-task, multiple-application sequences, involving sophisticated scripting. They hold the potential to become a valuable part of an organization's technical resources, since they can be retained for reuse, modified and refined easily, and shared with everyone involved in the workflow.

Pipeline Use. The use of a Pipeline is quite simple, and although it may require technical sophistication to build a complex Pipeline, it requires minimum technical skill to use one. This means that less-skilled workers can be employed to accomplish task sequences that would otherwise require highly-skilled, or higher-skilled workers.

Files can enter a Pipeline in one of three ways: first a hot folder may be defined, wherein the user simply drops the source files into it. Folders can be labelled with clear indications of the operations that they will initiate, such as ""Convert for Web,"" ""Process to catalog specs.,"" or ""Trap, Impose & Separate."" Second, the Pipeline may be defined as a target printer, which the user selects from the Macintosh Chooser. The user then essentially ""prints"" the file to the Pipeline. Third, files can be dragged and dropped to the Pipeline in the OPEN Environment window. In any case, the processed files which exit a Pipeline will either appear in a designated target folder, or be sent to a target device for output.

How to Build a Pipeline. In order to build a Pipeline the user must have a clear understanding of the operations of which it will be composed. Although the user may have a mental picture of that process, it is advisable to sketch-out, or build the workflow using a flowchart program. The actual Pipeline construction begins with the definition of the Pipeline name, and the specifications which will determine how files will be input, and where they will reside, or be sent, after processing. The user then clicks on the appropriate application icon in the Environment window, one at a time, and loads them into sequential positions on the Pipeline. Multiple applications may be used, or single applications may be used multiple times, either in succession or interspersed, if those applications must perform multiple tasks. A default set of icons is included with the program, and the user can add additional OPEN-aware applications.

Pipelines may be linked together so that the output of one Pipeline becomes the input for the next. In this way very specific tasks can be combined to produce a more complete workflow sequence.

In order to use a Pipeline it must be activated and brought on-line, which is accomplished by selecting ""Activate Pipeline and Bring On-Line"" from the Environment menu. The OPEN application includes what is termed a ""Managing Application"" called Pager, that can be used to receive messages as files pass through a Pipeline. Through the use of Pager the user receives real-time reports on the workflows that they need to monitor.

Scripting. The main function of OPEN is to provide an environment wherein specific application tasks can be linked together, to automate the movement of digital files. AppleScript, which was released with Mac OS 7.5, provides a similar capability: it supports control over certain commands and objects within Macintosh applications which are ""scriptable."" AppleScript can be used with OPEN to produce very sophisticated, automated workflows.

Any scriptable application can be made OPEN Aware by their developer. This is done when the developer provides an OPEN configuration file. This is not a requirement, however, since OPEN can use AppleScripts directly within a Pipeline. In such a case the generic AppleScript icon is used in place of an application's own icon. $795

Contact: Luminous Technology Corporation, 316 Occidental Ave. South, Suite 200, Seattle, WA 98104-2874, 800 685-6736, 206 689-6700,, fax: 206 689-6701.

Preflight Pro 2.1 (MAC)

Preflight Pro 2.1 provides extensive file inspection and analysis for the purpose of ensuring that digital publishing files, in many standard formats, are ready for output. The program supports the flightchecking of application files produced in QuarkXPress, PageMaker, Photoshop, Illustrator, Freehand EPS, Multi-Ad Creator 2, and Acrobat. Among the kinds of errors that can be identified are missing fonts and images, incorrect color modes, incorrect image resolution, incorrect trapping specifications, etc.

The program incorporates a useful "Pilot" capability that takes the user directly to any identified errors in the host application itself. The user can then make the correction and have the Pilot move to the next error. After all errors have been corrected, the program's Collection option can be used to gather all fonts, images, and other components.

This version adds PDF inspection, making it an essential tool in any PDF-based workflow. The program locates potential PDF problems, and then opens the file, and highlights the offensive text or picture, so that the user can take the necessary corrective action.

Preflighting can be initiated automatically by defining hot folders which inspect batches of files, and then move them to either a Pass or Fail folder.

Another new feature is lockable, password-protected Preflight Pro profiles. This feature supports the integrity of customized profiles that are created for specific digital workflows. Users can ensure that valuable profile information is not changed or pampered with. $399.95

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

Typing Instructor Deluxe Edition (WIN )

Typing Instructor Deluxe Edition provides both interactive games and a customizable learning plan to provide progressive keyboard skill-building. The games element has been expanded from five to seven within the program's Virtual Adventures Arcade. The Magazine Rack, has excerpts from over 300 sources covering a wide variety of subjects. Other features include 20 different types of background music, an inviting user-interface, and a guided tour. New users undergo an evaluation, afterwhich the program selects the appropriate lesson and test track. The program is supported by a dedicated Web site which provides new practice texts, lessons and tests. $29.95

Contact: Individual Software Inc., 4255 Hopyard Road, Building 2, Pleasanton, CA 94588, 800 822-3522, 800 331-3313, 510 734-6767, 800 822-3522,, fax: 510 734-8337.

Professor Teaches Microsoft Office 97 (WIN )

Professor Teaches Microsoft Office 97 is a comprehensive computer-based training tool covering the suite of applications found in Microsoft Office 97: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access and Outlook. The CD contains lessons, exercises, practice sessions and quizzes that help the new user acquire and enhance their skills. $19.95

Contact: Individual Software Inc., 4255 Hopyard Road, Building 2, Pleasanton, CA 94588, 800 822-3522, 800 331-3313, 510 734-6767, 800 822-3522,, fax: 510 734-8337.

MarkzScout (MAC)

MarkzScout is one of the first prepress workflow solutions for the automatic processing of digital files. Despite its sophistication, it uses a simple, easy-to-use interface which is composed of three basic components. First are the hot folders, which are used to begin a process, hold files during intermediate processes, and store processed files. Second are the Checkpoints, where document contents are compared against a single rule, and routed, based on a pass/fail criterion. The program ships with 300 pre-configured rules, and the user can create new rules by using a simple scripting language. Third is an Actionpoint, which is the execution of a function of varying complexity.

The three types of MarkzScout components are assembled visually, in layout form, with links forming a sequence, and two or more sequences connected by additional links. The layouts, which form a workflow, can be used repeatedly for performing a specific task. The files which enter a sequence can, for example, be interrogated in regard to such preflight considerations as the use of RGB colors, missing fonts, and incorrect image resolutions. A batch of 2000 images could be sorted on the basis of almost any file criteria, such as separating all of the RGB images to a single hot folder.

MarkzScout layouts can be used to perform operations associated with several popular applications, including QuarkXPress, PageMaker, Photoshop, Illustrator, FrameMaker, Creator, PDF, PostScript, HTML, XML, and SGML. It also supports several formats, including Windows EXE, BMP, Scitex CT, EPS, PICT, JPEG, RGB, CMYK, TIFF, grayscale, bitmap, LZW, and several more. Pricing has not been announced.

Contact: Markzware, 1805 E. Dyer Road, Suite #101, Santa Ana, CA 92705, 714-756-5100, 800-300-3532,, email:, fax: 714-756-5108.

InScribe (WIN CE)

InScribe is a small (60KB) program that provides an alternative text entry method for handheld PCs running Windows CE 1.0 or 2.0. It provides a configurable matrix displaying a character set that is accessed by dragging the stylus from character to character. The program can sense when the target character has been reached. The input rate is comparable to normal writing speed. Support is provided for special characters and symbols. A free 30-day trail version is available. $39

Contact: Ilium Software, 3759 Prospect, Ann Arbor, MI 48105, 888 632-5388, 734 973 973-9388,, e-mail:, fax: 734 973-2640

Addition / Extension Reviews

Sonar TOC 3.1 (MAC)

Sonar TOC 3.1 is an Xtension for QuarkXPress that supports the generation of professional-quality tables of contents. It can read and interpret QuarkXPress style sheets to produce multi-level tables of contents in seconds. $99.95

Contact: Virginia Systems, Inc., 5509 West Bay Court, Midlothian, VA 23112, 804 739-3200,, e-mail:, fax: 804 739-8376.

MarkzTools III (MAC)

MarkzTools III is an XTension for QuarkXPress which is comprised of seven modules which essentially assist in the production of dependable QXP documents. The modules are:

1. The Conversion Module, which supports the opening and conversion of higher version documents within a lower version copy of QuarkXPress. 2. The Salvage Module, which can recover and fix badly damaged documents which result from errors such as "Bad File Format," "Out of Memory," "End of File" and so on. 3. The Verification Module, which supports the testing of saved documents to ensure their integrity. 4. The Safety Save Module, which supports the saving of a temporary copy of a new document prior to saving it normally. This provides a safeguard should the system go down due to powerloss or another catastrophic event. 5. The Scavenge Text Module, which supports the extraction of text stories from a document file. This option can be useful as a last resort, to remove the text from a file that can not be opened in any other way. 6. The Version Keeper Module, which monitors situations in which the user is about to save a lower version document up to a higher version. 7. The Gray Previews Module, which supports the conversion of picture previews into gray placeholders. This serves to reduce the size of a file until it is finalized. Picture replacement is easily accomplished when needed. $199

Contact: Markzware, 1805 E. Dyer Road, Suite #101, Santa Ana, CA 92705, 714-756-5100, 800-300-3532,, email:, fax: 714-756-5108.

Effecto-O-Matic (MAC/WIN)

Effecto-O-Matic is a collection of Photoshop 4 or 5 Actions for the production of over 50 special imaging effects. Actions are automated, or semi-automated, Photoshop procedures. Effecto-O-Matic provides Actions which are totally automatic, and those which pause to await operator input. They may act on an existing image or work on a blank, open file. Among the eye-catching effects are Metaloid, Acid Wash, Marble, Brick, Puzzle, Oil Swirl, Madras, Splash, Tie Dye, Concrete, and many more. Dazzling results can be achieved in seconds. $89.95

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

Image Collection Reviews

PhotoAlto Crowds, Volume 14 (MAC/WIN)

PhotoAlto Crowds, Volume 14 is one of dozens of new image collections from France. Each volume represents the work of a single photographer, and therefore maintains a certain style and thematic integrity. Volumes consist of a single CD-ROM containing 120 photos in A4 format, RGB-TIFF/JPEG, and two resolutions: 300 ppi and 75 ppi. The images are drum scanned using professional high-end equipment.

The royalty-free license includes the right to use the images in any media format. This includes advertising, multimedia, Web-site authoring, magazines, publishing, audiovisual media, video, presentations, and even retail products, such as postcards, calendars, and T-shirts.

Each volume includes an image guide which has a brief biography of the photographer and color pictures of each image identified by code number. The crowds disc, by photographer Frederic Cirou, is said to be very popular in Europe, and somewhat unique among image collections. Scenes include crowds of all sizes, people of all ages, blurred people in motion, images of feet and shoes on the go, people waiting, people staring, people looking up, people at play, people seated, people densely packed, people loosely packed, people at events, people on stairs, etc.

More than 4000 photos are available on the Web in low resolution, for use in layouts. $299

Contact: PhotoAlto, c/o Phil's Fonts, Inc., 14605 Sturtevant Road, Silver Spring, MD 20905, 301 879-0601, 800 424-2977,, fax: 301 879-0606.

PhotoAlto From A to Z, Volume 22 (MAC/WIN)

PhotoAlto From A to Z, Volume 22 presents the work of photographer Isabelle Rozenbaum in the form of 120 A4 size, RGB-TIFF/JPEG images in 300 ppi and 75 ppi. The collection of professionally-scanned, royalty-free images, shows the application of individual letters of the alphabet on walls, fascades, buildings, sidewalks, streets, and other surfaces found in any city.

The royalty-free license includes the right to use the images in any media format. This includes advertising, multimedia, Web-site authoring, magazines, publishing, audiovisual media, video, presentations, and even retail products, such as postcards, calendars, and T-shirts. $299

Contact: PhotoAlto, c/o Phil's Fonts, Inc., 14605 Sturtevant Road, Silver Spring, MD 20905, 301 879-0601, 800 424-2977,, fax: 301 879-0606.

PhotoAlto Objects, Volume 27 (MAC/WIN)

PhotoAlto Objects, Volume 27, photographed by Phillipe Ughetto, is a handsome collection of common everyday objects. The 120 professionally drum-scanned images are presented on a single CD-ROM in A4 size, RGB-TIFF/JPEG at 300 ppi and 75 ppi.

The royalty-free license includes the right to use the images in any media format. This includes advertising, multimedia, Web-site authoring, magazines, publishing, audiovisual media, video, presentations, and even retail products, such as postcards, calendars, and T-shirts.

The objects, which are printed and numbered in the accompanying image guide, show such items as a toothbrush, drinking glasses, baby bottle, chess pieces, dice, puzzle pieces, keys, a coffee cup, a sewing machine, clothes hangers, empty bottles, an iron, dishes, a scale, a book, a typewriter, a razor, a wine bottle, a glass of wine, an hourglass, sugar cubes, a calculator, an alarm clock, a cell phone, cigarettes, drafting equipment, a globe, a lock, a spring, a CD, a lit match, a watering can, a brush, a mug of beer, a watch, a water facet, a telephone, a hammer, a pen, a television, a laptop computer, a scissors, gloves, a level, a teddy bear, paint brushes, a doll, eggs, corks, soap, syringes, pots, and more. Many of the images have a soft, stylized look. $299

Contact: PhotoAlto, c/o Phil's Fonts, Inc., 14605 Sturtevant Road, Silver Spring, MD 20905, 301 879-0601, 800 424-2977,, fax: 301 879-0606.

Busy People 11 (MAC/WIN)

Busy People 11 is one of 22 new titles introduced in this growing collection of 72 discs, now totalling over 9000 images. The royalty-free license provides a "pay once, use forever" policy. The purchaser of a high-resolution volume can use the images in any advertising or editorial use, such as in a book or on a CD cover or other form of packaging. If the image will be reproduced for resale in amounts exceeding 100,000, then an inexpensive upgrade license is required.

The disc contains 150 CMYK 35MB images with clipping paths. The images show men and woman in a variety of poses, in all sorts of dress, representing many professions and activities, and photographed from a variety of perspectives. $249.99

Contact: Stockbyte, World Scanning Centre, Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland, 800 660-9262,, e-mail:, fax: 800 897-9574.

MasterClips 1,000,001 Macintosh (MAC)

MasterClips 1,000,001 Macintosh may be the largest, and probably the most affordable, collection of high-quality general subject images available anywhere. The package contains dozens of CDs holding vector images, digital photos, clip art, Web images, fine art reproductions and more, totalling more than 400,000 images. The remaining 600,000+ images are available online at A one-year subscription to the online service is included. Incidently, IMSI recently acquired Zedcor, the publisher of ArtToday. A normal subscription to the online service, with unlimited access, is $29.95/yr.

The package includes a clip art editor and a full-color catalog. Quite a bargain at $149.95

Contact: IMSI, 1895 Francisco Blvd. East, San Rafael, CA 94901-5506, 415 257-3000,, fax: 415 257-3565.

CD-ROM Reviews

VTC Dreamweaver 1.2 (MAC/WIN)

VTC Dreamweaver 1.2 is an interactive CD-ROM-based training program for Macromedia's popular Web authoring program. The user controls the order and pace of a series of QuickTime movies that are organized into three general areas. The 6.5 hours of narrated movies clearly demonstrate the processes required to perform all of the major operations required in using the program. Topics cover the composition of text, images, links, tables, forms, etc. The user is shown how to use layers, style sheets, and dynamic HTML technologies.

The training program includes suggestions and tips for managing a site, and placing and removing pages. It also introduces several advanced topics, including Java, Shockwave, Aftershock, ActiveX, and many more. The package is certainly one of the quickest ways to get up-to-speed on the operation of Dreamweaver. $99.95

Contact: VTC, 2328E Walsh Ave., Santa Clara, CA 95051, 408 492-1051, 888-TRAIN-CD,, email:

O'Reilly Utilities­Quick Solutions for Windows 98 Annoyances (WIN )

O'Reilly Utilities­Quick Solutions for Windows 98 Annoyances is the stand-alone companion software for the Windows 98 Annoyances book by David A. Karp. The CD contains numerous automated, point-and-click features which fine-tune system performance and provide Windows 98 users with more control over their desktops, browsers, and files and folders, without having to manually tamper with the Windows Registry. $39.95

Contact: O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., 103 Morris St., Suite A, Sebastopol, CA 95472.

Internet Reviews

The Ultimate Online Photo Gallery Software Version 2.0 (WIN )

The Ultimate Online Photo Gallery Software Version 2.0 is a wizard-based utility for the rapid creation and publishing of digital photos on the Web. It produces two types of photo gallery pages, each composed of thumbnail images, that when clicked, reveal the full-size image. The program automatically applies compression, making the images accessible via modem connections. $20

Contact: TriVista Technologies, Inc., 1444 N. Farnsworth Ave., Aurora, IL 60505, 630 820-5750,, e-mail:, fax: 630 585-1903.

webSavant (MAC/WIN)

webSavant is a set of four CD-ROMs containing a complete multimedia Web publishing course, presented by a Web publishing professional. The content is presented as a series of QuickTime movies, each with user-controls for forward, rewind, pause, and a slider bar for quick forward or reverse movement. The instructor provides a complete explanation of what he is doing, and why he is doing it. At the completion of each movie a brief summary containing the key points is presented.

The user can jump between the 11 hours of tutorial movies if desired, and as appropriate for their skill level. The user can also access an index which can be used to go immediately to the discussion of that topic. Among the topics contained in the 18 chapters are: Basic HTML, Basic Page Layout, Graphics in HTML, Hyperlinks, HTML Colors, Tables, Frames, Forms, Creating Web Graphics, Web Page Design Tips, Getting Your Site Online, Web Video, Web Audio, JavaScript, CGI Scripts, Publishing PDF Files, and Macromedia Flash. Each of the topics is divided into sub-topics, providing 130 individual lessons.

In the course of viewing the tutorial movies the user will also learn how to use many software tools that are necessary for Web site construction and management. These include: BBEdit, Better Telnet, ConvertMachine, DeBabilizer, Fetch, Flash, GifBuilder, GraphicConverter, Mapedit, MoviePlayer, MPecker Encoder, MPEG Exporter, Photoshop, RealEncoder, SoundAPP, and more. A free demo disc is available. $199.95

Contact: Savant Interactive, Inc., 3540 N. Southport, Suite 383, Chicago, IL 60657, 773 975-2460,, e-mail:, fax: 773 975-2051.

ImageStyler 1.0 (MAC/WIN)

ImageStyler 1.0 is a Web graphics application that supports the Web designer who requires a graphically seductive online appearance, and seeks a creative environment replete with powerful graphic tools. It provides easy-to-use tools which, in many cases, were heretofore reserved for the experienced professional who could afford a variety of high-end tools and utilities. ImageStyler is the first among a new generation of Web publishing production tools to deskill processes that were either difficult to accomplish, required advanced coding knowledge, or were excessively time-consuming.

A good example of one of ImageStyler's high-end capabilities is the process of creating a rollover effect. A rollover, which changes the appearance of a graphic, such as a button, when a user's mouse is rolled over it, usually requires the creation of JavaScript code. ImageStyler simply requires the user to indicate the appearance of the graphic in both its normal and rollover state, and then creates the necessary code automatically and transparently.

ImageStyler is a sophisticated environment for creating graphical styles that can be applied to Web site design in the form of buttons, panels, backgrounds, or other objects. Each object can be created in up to five layers, with attributes controlling color, gradient, opacity, distortion effects, 3D effects, and so on. Text can be applied over the objects, and URLs can be assigned. Over 100 professionally designed styles are provided.

ImageStyler objects are vector-based, and can be manipulated indefinitely, replacing one imported image with another, or replacing one shape with another. Experimentation and discovery are key features of this delightfully creative Web production environment. A particularly useful capability is the graphical alias which can be applied to multiple objects. A change in the master object results in similar changes to all of the related graphics. Similiarly, the look of an object can be replicated easily by copying and pasting the attributes or styles from one object to another.

A unique capability of the program is the Batch HTML Replacement feature. ImageStyler can update a batch of Web pages, replacing H1-H6 or class tagged text with impressive graphic effects. This is accomplished by creating a graphical template for each H1-H6 tag that they want to replace. The program then batch-applies the template, generates JavaScript rollover effects and imagemaps, and updates the Web pages.

Although it was not specifically designed to be a Web authoring program, entire Web sites can be developed from within the application. The user can make complex imagemaps easily, and can see a browser preview of the entire project at any time. $129

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

LighteningDraw/WEB 1.1.1 (MAC)

LighteningDraw/WEB 1.1.1 is a program for creating compact QuickTime 3.0 vector-based Web graphics, such as illustrations, banners, backgrounds, buttons, and other graphical elements. In addition to providing scalability, vector-based graphics are considerably smaller, resulting in faster download and therefore faster page display in the users' browser. A typical GIF graphic, for example, that required 72.4K, would require only 13.4K if produced in LighteningDraw/WEB.

In addition to smaller size, vector-based graphics retain their smooth edges at any scale. They also include transparency, 32-color gradient effects, interlacing and dithering. Although LighteningDraw/WEB was designed to produce vector graphics it can also output in GIF, JPEG and PICT formats.

LighteningDraw/WEB is a complete creative environment consisting of several familiar tools, including the pen, brush, multigon, star, reshaper, and tools for Bezier curve editing and masking. Several special effects are available, including the capability to merge, overlap, cut out, subtract, bloat, contract, roughen, twirl, and simplify. There are sophisticated typographic capabilities included as well, such as the "convert text to shape"; the use of Adobe Multiple Master fonts, TrueType and Type 1 "intelligent" fonts, and the user's existing fonts; optical alignment; hanging punctuation; text editing in any view; and more.

Users can import existing illustrations in Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, PICT, or EPS formats, and create documents as large as 10,000 square inches in size. A 30-day trail version is available at no cost. $99

Contact: Lari Software Inc., 207 South Elliott Road, Suite 203, Chapel Hill, NC 27514, 800 933-7303, 919 968-0701,, e-mail:, fax: 919 968-0801.

Dreamweaver 2.0 (MAC/WIN)

Dreamweaver 2.0 is the second-generation of Macromedia's popular Web authoring application. Known for its "Roundtrip HTML" capability, and dual HTML code/WYSIWYG environments, the program adds several significant improvements.

Among the most useful new features are: templates for faster Web site development; the capability to create a visual, hierarchical site map; simplified link creation through drag and drop, and direct file pointing; link management tools to maintain up-to-date links; global search and replace (including HTML-aware searching); the use of layers to create complex page designs that can be converted into HTML tables; identification and use of any color on the desktop, with conversion into its nearest Web-safe color; use of a tracing image as a template guide for building a page; table sorting, either numerically or alphabetically; and more.

Despite the addition of dozens of new features, the program maintains its reputation as an easy-to-use, yet powerful, Web site authoring and management tool. $299

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

Macromedia Shockwave Flash 3 (MAC)

Macromedia Shockwave Flash 3 is a program for supporting its namesake Web standard for vector graphics and animation. Flash graphics are vector-based, and therefore embody the desirable Web qualities of being smooth, scalable, and small in file size.

The program environment supports the creation of static graphics, animations, and morphs, with control over transparency, opacity, color, gradient and other variables. Any graphic can be converted into a button, or other page element. The Flash Library contains ready-to-use button interactions, freeing the user from creating their own scripts. In addition, sound effects, music, voice-overs, and other audio elements can be synchronized to flash components.

The Flash 3 environment has been created for the production of timeline-based animations, using either tweening or cell-based frame production. All of the necessary tools, controls and options are available for producing very sophisticated and professional results. $299

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

Internet/Intranet DesignShop Gold (WIN )

Internet/Intranet DesignShop Gold is an integrated package which combines a Web site manager, graphic layout navigator, navigation bar generator, CGI Script generator, image editor, graph generator (over 25 graph types), clip art library (over 45,000 images), digital picture frame editor, multimedia image cataloger, and template library (over 60 templates). All-in-all quite a bundle of programs and images.

Web developers will appreciate the expansive feature set which extends into the realm of desktop publishing, with personal publishing tools for creating posters, certificates, and other printed items. $99

Contact: Boomerang Software, Inc., 90 Concord Ave., Belmont, MA 02178, 617 489-3000,,, fax: 617 489-1486.

VersaCheck Web Commerce 1.0 (WIN )

VersaCheck Web Commerce 1.0 is an application that supports the creation of commerce-enabled Web sites by non-experts. It creates Web storefront sites that can process orders and payments with security and reliability.

The program provides a Wizard-based interface, eliminating the need for coding, scripting or programming. Users can customize their sites with their own graphics, logos, and product and pricing information. The resulting site supports customer ordering through simple mouse clicks, showing order totals and other information related to the transaction. $49.95

Contact: mips, Dataline America, Inc., 13240 Evening Creek Dr., Suite 311, San Diego, CA 92128, 619 679-4070,, fax: 619 679-4073.

Headline Studio 1.0 (MAC/WIN)

Headline Studio 1.0 is an exceptionally easy-to-use program for the creation of broadcast-quality animated Web advertising banners. Users can complete an introductory tutorial in a matter of minutes, and then begin to produce eye-catching animated GIFs immediately.

Unlike other programs, users can produce animations, and then set the frame rate. They can easily apply professional video effects, such as walk-ins, dissolves and fades to text and images. Other features are unlimited undo; Web-safe color palettes; and a Split command to divide text into individual characters, words, or lines. Each separately controlled object can have an interior and drop shadow, and the assignment of properties which affect opacity, blur, motion blur, motion blur angle, tracking and leading. Capabilities that were either not available, or which required multiple programs, are now available in one attractive desktop environment.

The program is the first by MetaCreations to be sold directly on the Web. The on-line price is $169. The boxed version is $199.

Contact: MetaCreations, Inc., 6303 Carpinteria Ave., Carpinteria, CA 93013, 805 566-6200,, e-mail:, fax: 805 566-6385.

WebPainter 3.0 (MAC/WIN)

WebPainter 3.0 is an application for producing animated GIFs. We've had high praise for previous versions, and this one lives up to that reputation.

New to this version are: auto-transitions and SMPTE special effects; support for QuickTime filters, such as blur, emboss, and sharpen; tools for bitmap and vector elements; support for multiple image layers; Vector Image Library for fast image access; creation of highly optimized Web-ready content; bundled library of over 1000 animations; Photoshop plug-in support (Mac only); bundled copy of Apple QuickTime 3 Pro; and more. $89.95

Contact: Totally Hip Software Inc., 1224 Hamilton St., Vancouver, BC CN, V6B 2S8, (888) 8THEHIP, 604 685-6525,, e-mail:, fax: 604 685-4057

LiveStage 1.0 (MAC)

LiveStage 1.0, which earned the Macworld 1999 Best of Show, provides a creative environment for producing very compact, cross-platform, interactive Web media. Content can be created for banner ads, games, education and training, and attention-getting animated graphics. The viewer does not need any plug-ins or special player software.

The program has been described as providing the capability to convert a Web site into an "interactive improvisational theatre." Users can combine bitmap and vector graphics and animations with sound and interactivity. It uses the QScript QuickTime scripting language, providing access to the capabilities of QuickTime Wired Sprites. This gives the user control over 3D, VR and other QT media. In addition to publishing on the Web, the interactive movies can be used in any program that supports QT movies, including Acrobat PDF files and Microsoft PowerPoint.

The package includes a collection of royalty-free animations, sample scripts, and completed projects. The Totally Hip Web site has many samples that can experienced at any time. $199.95

Contact: Totally Hip Software Inc., 1224 Hamilton St., Vancouver, BC CN, V6B 2S8, (888) 8THEHIP, 604 685-6525,, e-mail:, fax: 604 685-4057.

Utility Reviews

Express Assist version 2.0 (WIN )

Express Assist version 2.0 is a one-button utility program for the Windows version of MS Outlook Express. It provides several e-mail management features, such as the capability to easily move any number of e-mail folders from a desktop computer to a laptop, and back again, or to create compressed backups of e-mail folders for archiving purposes. $29.95

Contact: Seem Software, 295 Adams Blvd., Farmingdale, NY 11735, 516 756-7411, 888 279-3939,, fax: 516 753-0877.

CanOpener for Windows 1.0 (WIN )

CanOpener for Windows 1.0 is the first PC version of a popular Macintosh program that has been available for ten years. CanOpener is an indispensable program for accessing the contents of virtually any kind of file. Text can be extracted, in flexible ways, from word processing, desktop publishing, and other kinds of files which are either no longer available, were created with incompatible program versions, or are simply not installed on a given system.

The program provides special-purpose filters for processing text in unique and useful ways, such as extracting URLs, or phone numbers. Users can also strip out unwanted HTML coding from Web page source files, as well as selected characters and commands, such as extra spaces and Carriage Returns.

In addition to text, any file contents, including graphics and sounds, can be saved for use in other applications. The program is particularly useful to desktop publishers whose files are typicallly composed of content from several separate sources. Even when the source application is available, CanOpener provides a simple and direct path to a composite file's contents. $39

Contact: Abbott Systems Inc., 62 Mountain Road, Pleasantville, NY 10570, 914-747-3116, 800 552-9157,,, fax: 914 747-9115.

ClipMate version 5.0 (WIN )

ClipMate version 5.0 is a flexible utility that converts the standard Windows clipboard into a useful storage management system for graphics and text. Anything copied to the clipboard can be stored in user-defined collections, retained for later use, and accessed using flexible search features. The new ClipMate Explorer, which uses an interface similar to Microsoft Explorer, can be used to organize, view and edit clips.

Clips can moved between collections, or between the collections and open applications, using drag and drop. Text and graphics can also be exported, either individually or in batches.

ClipMate, rated the "Best Utility of 1997" by the Shareware Industry Awards Foundation, provides new capabilities related to the Web. Web pages can be saved, and then viewed without a browser or other program, and without being reconnected to the Internet. Web page URLs can be launched from ClipMate and displayed directly in the user's browser. Any data copied from the Internet is stored with page data indicating its exact path. $25

Contact: Thornsoft Development, POB 26263, Rochester, NY 14626, 716 352-4223,, e-mail:, fax: 716 352-7847.


QuickNotes is a utility program that adds digital ink capability to either the Palm Pilot or Hewlett-Packard HPC palm computer. With QuickNotes installed the user can use the stylus to draw or write using a variety of pen widths, and save their drawings for reference, printing, e-mailing, or transfer to a desktop computer. Tools are provided for drawing, erasing, selecting areas, and magnifying. Pages can be saved in user-defined categories. $39

Contact: Communication Intelligence Corporation, 275 Shoreline Drive, Redwood Shores, CA 94065, 650-802-7888,, e-mail:, fax: 650-802-7777

Virtual PC Windows 98 Version (MAC)

Virtual PC Windows 98 Version is the latest implementation of an MS Windows environment running on a Macintosh desktop. Connectix has done a superb job of emulating every aspect of the Pentium MMX PC system, with a speed increase of up to 40% over the original version. Although this particular package supports Windows 98, the Connectix Virtual PC engine supports MS-DOS, IBM OS/2, Windows 95, and Windows NT as well (with separate purchase of each of those operating systems).

Virtual PC is a very good solution for those digital publishers who have an occasional need to run a PC-only application, flightcheck certain PC jobs from clients, or access the Internet through a PC browser. The program uses the Macintosh memory, hard drive, printer, CD-ROM, modem and other peripherals transparently. The installation is easy, and more importantly, the user can move information flexibly between the two operating systems using drag and drop, and shared disk resources.

The package includes a full licensed version of MS Windows 98 with Sound Blaster Pro support, Internet and modem support, Ethernet networking support, DirectX for gaming, and display resolutions of up to 1600 x 1200 in millions of colors. $189.95

Contact: Connectix, 2655 Campus Dr., San Mateo, CA 94403, 800 950-5880, 415 571-5100, Internet:,, faxback: 800 571-7558, fax: 415 571-5195.

Sonar Bookends (MAC)

Sonar Bookends is a comprehensive index generator for preparing professional indices for programs such as PageMaker, QuarkXPress, FrameMaker, Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, and other popular applications. It can be used to post-process a completed document, and prepare an index following the specifications that are defined by the user. It can process a single file or all files in a folder, and intelligently process proper names, placing them in the last name, first name order. $195

ACTION Space Doctor (MAC)

ACTION Space Doctor is a handy utility that provides Macintosh users who switch to HFS+, an easy, fast and safe way to convert their storage media. Conversion to HFS+ generally requires that hard drives are reformatted, however Space Doctor can make the conversion without such a drastic action. $29.95

Contact: Power On Software, 2046 Lakewood Road SW, Sherrodsville, OH 44675, 800 797-7382, 612 317-0344,, e-mail:, fax: 330 735-3136.


EZ-PDF is a utility that assists users with the correct configuration and use of Adobe Acrobat Distiller. It integrates into the Macintosh operating system, providing PDF output options from any Print dialog box. Users essentially print to one of EZ-PDF's printers, each of which is optimized for a particular purpose. This action begins a series of events which starts with the creation of a PostScript file, the launch of Acrobat Distiller, and the selection of a predefined PDF Style, which correlates to the selected EZ-PDF printer. The user has the option of embedding Job Ticket information in the PDF. Job tickets are compatible with Adobe's PostScript Extreme and Agfa's Apogee systems. With the use of AppleScript the user can automatically forward a PDF file to a remote site, or e-mail it to a customer. The program ships with a set of AppleScripts, and the user can, of course, create their own.

The user can customize PDF production through the use of the EZ-PDF wizard interface, which makes it easy to create new EZ-PDF printers, PDF styles (composed of Distiller Job options), and Job Tickets. Pre-configured, password-protected EZ-PDF printers can be deployed to customer sites which use EZ-PDF in order to control the PDFs that they will produce. $79

Contact: Acquired Knowledge Inc., 3655 Nobel Dr., Suite 380, San Diego, CA 92122, 619 587-4668, 800 482-1252,, fax: 619 587-4669.

TextSpresso 1.0 (MAC)

TextSpresso 1.0 is a professional text cleaning tool which includes 83 filters for preparing text for a wide variety of purposes. Digital publishers will appreciate quick and easy text conversion between Macintosh and PC, with the preservation of special characters; text reformatting for print, and more. The Text-to-Print filter removes excess space around carriage returns, soft wraps text, converts hyphens to En and Em dashes, strips excess space from around dashes and tabs, converts dumb quotes to smart quotes, corrects apostrophes for years, corrects inch/foot marks, and creates both ellipsis and ligatures.

The program can work within any Macintosh application. The user simply selects the target text, hits a Hot Key or moves to a Hot Corner, and selects the appropriate filter. Hot Keys can also be assigned to particular filters, thereby reducing the process to only two steps.

Groups of files can be batch-processed, and any file can be processed using the built-in MultiFilters. MultiFilters are sets of filters combined for particular purposes, such as Internet text cleaning, preparing text for publishing, processing text to HTML, and more. All of the filters are multi-threaded, meaning that other tasks can be performed simultaneously. Although processing is very fast, the user can, if necessary, pause, resume, or stop a running filter. $29

Contact: Taylor Design, 8172 Palm #1729, Oak Hills, CA,, e-mail:

Multimedia Reviews

Picture It! 99 (WIN )

Picture It! 99 is a consumer photo-editing application that provides an integrated set of digital imaging functions for home and small-business users. The program provides both image editing functions, such as fixing scratches, and image manipulation projects, such as including photos on calendars, business cards, and in e-mail postcards (with sound).

This new version of the program introduces several improvements, such as the Quick Touchup 60-second photo-lab solution; the Clone brush; Touchup Painting, to paint on brightness, contrast, tint, color, etc., to easily hand-tint black-and-white photos, etc.; Special Effects to emphasize an object or background, distort an image, add artistic effects, swap bodies, etc.; Add Textual Personalization with dozens of fonts, fills, shapes, colors, textures, and edge-effects; Cut Out Objects, to remove, isolate or highlight objects by using the edge detection tool; and Old to New, to automatically restore an image to its original quality.

Two CDs with over 1000 professional-quality images and templates are included. The Save to Web Wizard simplifies the process of preparing images or a project for Web publishing. Users can also easily upload their images to either the Kodak PhotoNet or Fujifilm.Net and order standard photographic prints. The Print All Pictures option gangs the maximum number of images, no matter their size or orientation, onto a single page, in order to get the most out of expensive, coated inkjet paper. $54.95

Contact: Microsoft Corp., One Microsoft Way, Redmond, WA 98052-6399, 206 882-8080, WWW:, fax: 206 93MSFAX.

Portfolio 4.0 (MAC/WIN)

Portfolio 4.0 is the latest version of one of the first digital asset management applications. Digital asset management systems are among the best investments that digital publishers can make, providing a return on investment of 8:1 to 14:1 (Source: Gistics).

In its mature state, Portfolio now provides the features and vigor to support enterprise-wide asset support, as well as serve as a self-contained application for individual use. This scalable capability makes the product useful for workgroups and individual users.

Like all digital asset management (DAM) applications, Portfolio supports the storage and retrieval of most kinds of digital asset components. Unlike some competing products it provides for the addition of unlimited database fields, making it possible to customize Portfolio catalogs to accommodate virtually any kind of workflow or production environment.

The user has several options in terms of how the catalogs and galleries are viewed. These include the list, thumbnail, and record layout, each displayed with the users' choice of fields. A new field type is the URL link, which lets the user create a link from a thumbnail image to a location on the Internet. Conversely, the user can create custom Web pages composed of Portfolio galleries, with all HTML code generated automatically.

Customized procedures can be scripted, using either AppleScript or Visual Basic, to automate a process, such as the placement of images into a layout. Scripts may be maintained, edited, and shared with other Portfolio users. $199.95

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

Kai's Photo Soap 2 (MAC/WIN)

Kai's Photo Soap 2 builds upon its core strength of providing easy image clean-up tools with new functionality for publishing picture albums on the Web. The program provides easy procedures for importing images, placing them into the user's choice of album style, adding titles and captions, and generating the files and HTML necessary for publishing on the Internet. The process is smooth, effortless, and elegant. The result is an attractive multi-page picture album with built-in navigation. The program takes care of all of the production components, including the application of compression. Images in the album can be clicked-on to reveal the full-size image. Although this product is aimed at the consumer market, few professionals could produce such impressive results so quickly. $49.95

Contact: MetaCreations, Inc., 6303 Carpinteria Ave., Carpinteria, CA 93013, 805 566-6200,, e-mail:, fax: 805 566-6385.

Adobe Illustrator 8.0 (MAC/WIN)

Illustrator 8.0 is the latest version of Adobe's award-winning illustration program. Version 8.0, like other Adobe products, has been given an interface tune-up to make it similar, in appearance and performance, to other Adobe products. A common interface makes it easier for the user to be productive in any of the applications which share icons, menus, palettes, key-commands and overall functionality. Two examples of the over 100 interface improvements are the Actions and Navigator palettes, which have been borrowed from Adobe Photoshop. These useful capabilities, which let the user record and reapply a series of Actions, and quickly move about the page, at any magnification (up to 6400%), are now available in the vector illustration environment of Illustrator, as well as the bitmap image environment of Photoshop.

There are several new or expanded features, including: file import filters to support the use of any Illustrator, EPS, PDF (one page at a time), Photoshop (2.5-5.0), Macromedia FreeHand (5.0, 5.5, 7.0), CorelDRAW! (5.0, 6.0, 7.0), DXF, GIF89a, JPEG, TIFF, and many more file types; a Links palette to maintain and manage information related to linked files, useful ultimately to ensure that all necessary files are provided to a service bureau; Smart guides capability to help align, transform, and create objects and paths with increased control and precision; enhanced eyedropper/paint bucket tools that can sample text attributes and apply them to other text; Live blends that can be applied along an editable path and be moved, deleted, resized, or transformed; and the Free Transform tool which incorporates scaling, skewing, rotating, and reflecting in one tool.

Among the many new tools are: the Art brush (along with a library of clip art), that can transform artwork into a form that can be drawn repeatedly along a path; the Scatter brush (with Scatter brush image libraries of flowers, leaves, balloons, etc.) that can transform artwork into a form that can be dispersed (with controlled precision) along a path; the Gradient mesh tool (which has been lauded as the most inventive new Illustrator tool), supports the blending of multiple colors, in multiple directions, within a single object, to generate shading effects more typical of a bitmap painting program; improved Calligraphic brushes with the option of fixed, random, or varied widths and the creation of paths rather than filled shapes (for easier editing); the Photo Crosshatch filter (note that Illustrator supports all Photoshop filter plug-ins) that can be applied to scanned photographs to convert them into textured sketches similar to those which appear in the Wall Street Journal; and the new Pencil tool which in addition to providing free-hand drawing, lets the user reshape a selected path by merely drawing a new line in proximity to the section that they want to change.

In addition to tools which provide new capabilities, the program incorporates new functionality which provides enhanced productivity. In this category are the capability to: copy and paste Illustrator paths directly into Photoshop; open CAD files directly; and export Illustrator layers directly to Photoshop. This upgrade (upgrade price, $129) is significant and should be considered by every Illustrator user as well as those using competing products. $375

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

ImageAXS Pro 4.0 (MAC/WIN)

ImageAXS Pro 4.0 is a cross-platform digital asset management application that supports the storage and retrieval of more than 40 image, sound, movie, and other file types.

A unique feature of the program (Macintosh version only) is the capability to generate cross-platform read-only electronic mini-albums using the E-Zcard export feature. These mini-albums can be sent through e-mail or on disk, and provide the receiver with the capability to preview digital assets, but protect the asset owner since the receiver can not copy or otherwise use the elements.

The major purpose of a digital asset management system is, of course, locating publishing components so that they can be considered for use. A virtually unlimited number of keywords can be entered for each media asset improving the odds that assets will be located regardless of who may be doing the search.

ImageAXS Pro is compatible with ODBC-compliant applications and databases, providing more than 100 fields of descriptive information. Each field can be defined by type, length, placement, label, and other attributes.

Assets are displayed with thumbnail previews, which when double-clicked, reveal the full-size image. Multiple images can be opened simultaneously for side-by-side comparison.

Selected assets can be prepared for publishing on the Web automatically, generating all of the HTML code necessary to post the pages and make the assets available, and searchable, from any Web browser.

Some of the highlights of the feature set are: direct acquisition from digital cameras, audio and video sources, scanners, and removable media; multimedia file management of assets stored either on- or off-line; instant access to any available image editing application; and a duplicate image filter. $199.95

Contact: Digital Arts & Sciences, 1301 Marina Village Parkway, Alameda, CA 94501, 510 814-7200,, e-mail:, fax: 510 814-6100.

Canvas 6.0 (MAC/WIN)

Canvas 6.0, which has over 300 new features, introduces a new technology called SpriteLayers. SpriteLayers is an innovative cross-platform technology that is exclusive to Deneba Canvas, the precision illustration and bitmap editing program introduced in the mid-1980's. The SpriteLayers feature is significant since it combines the capabilities of vector and bitmap graphics in one program, producing effects which are not possible within a single graphics-type environment.

SpriteLayers provides control over the transparency of any object­vector, bitmap, or text. There are four types of transparency effects:

1. Overall opacity. Any object's opacity level can be set, from 0% to 100%. This feature selectively reveals whatever is under the active layer. The opacity control can be used with, or independent of, nine transfer modes, such as Multiply, Lighten, Darken, etc. Both of these effects can be used with any of the other transparency effects.

2. Vector transparency gradient. Interactive tools are provided for the application of directional, radial, or elliptical transparency fades to any object. This feature can be used to create vignettes, cutaways and dissolves, or to blend graphic objects together.

3. Vector mask. A vector, raster, or combination of the two can be ""attached"" to another object as a transparency map. The transparency map masks its transparency based on the lightness and darkness levels of the masking object colors, and will even represent complex pattern fills and textures.

4. Channel mask. A pixel-based transparency mask can be applied to any object type, and painting tools can be used to selectively reveal any part of the underlying graphic. This feature provides up to 256 levels of transparency.

The SpriteLayer technology introduces the capability ""to add paint-like effects to vector objects and text, and combine them in ways that make the boundaries between technologies disappear."" Practical applications, which are difficult or impossible in other programs, include the creation of cutaways for technical drawings; the multi-layer construction of anatomical models (showing or hiding detail as appropriate); and the process of adding symbols, markers, icons, indicia, and color highlights to scanned-in maps and drawings.

The flexibility of SpriteLayers technology is supported by a wide variety of import and export filters which address the following file formats: PDF, Photoshop (including the importation of layers), TIFF, EPS, DCS, GIF89a, JPEG, Kodak Photo CD, PNG, PICT, QuickTime, QuickDraw 3D, CGM, DXF, IGES, TARGA, CorelDRAW, Micrografx Designer, WPG, PCX, WMF, BMP, RTF, and HPGL.

Among the other significant new features appearing in Canvas 6.0 are a new guides layer with magnetic snap; a fillet path editing option for precise round corner editing; a Transform palette with instant numeric control over the size, rotation, location, and scale of any object; an Offset Path effect that lets users make multiple copies of paths either inside or outside the original; and many more.

The program also includes 30,000 clip art illustrations, and 2,450 URW TrueType and PostScript Type 1 fonts. To their credit Deneba includes a 30-minute training video to help new users get up to speed quickly. A two-part video training series is available at additional cost. $375

Contact: Deneba Software, 7400 SW 87th Ave., Miami, FL 33173, 305 596-5644, 800-6-CANVAS,, e-mail:, fax: 305 273-9069.

Entertainment Reviews

Connectix Virtual Game Station (MAC)

Connectix Virtual Game Station is an amazing example of software engineering from the company best known for Virtual PC, a program which provides PC emulation on a Macintosh. Connectix Virtual Game Station enables Macintosh G3 users to run many popular PlayStation games directly on their computers, with ready-to-use support for the keyboard and mouse. It also supports most USB and ADB game controllers, such as game pads and joysticks, that support Apple's input sprockets. A special Web site with related information is available at $49

Contact: Connectix, 2655 Campus Dr., San Mateo, CA 94403, 800 950-5880, 415 571-5100, Internet:,, faxback: 800 571-7558, fax: 415 571-5195.

Book Reviews

Red Hat Linux Unleased, Third Edition

Pitts, David; Bill Ball

A complete guide to installing, configuring and using Red Hat Linux 5.2. The accompanying two-disc CD-ROM set includes a complete copy of Red Hat Linux 5.2 as well as over 1000 software tools for system administration, development, and other purposes.

Available for on-line ordering at

0-672-31410-X 1020 pp. $39.99

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

Windows Networking Basics

Gregg, Kenneth

A practical guide to the use of Windows-based computers in a client-server environment. Topics include how to determine network needs, which network topology to use, network protocols, network operating systems, network administration, security issues, troubleshooting, and network optimization. The author also covers Windows 98.

Available for on-line ordering at

0-7645-3214-6 483 pp. $24.99

Contact: IDG Books Worldwide, Inc., 155 Bovet Road, Suite 610, San Mateo, CA 94402, 800 762-2974,

On-Demand & Digital Printing Primer

Fenton, Howard M.

A handy guide to the essential elements of short-run on-demand digital printing. The author introduces the benefits of targeted marketing through personalization and customization, and shows dozens of real-world applications.

Available for on-line ordering at

0-88362-219-X 106 pp. $25

Contact: GATF Press, 200 Deer Run Road, Swickley, PA 15143-2600.

On-Demand Printing: The Revolution in Digital and Customized Printing

Fenton, Howard M; Frank Romano

Easily the most complete and authoritative book covering every aspect of on-demand printing. The authors provide an exhaustive study of the market, the devices, the applications, and the potential impact of on-demand printing. The text is supported with up-to-date industry statistics and dozens of real-world examples. All known delivery systems, including high-speed copiers, digital duplicators, digital presses, and on-line services are covered in detail, and with illustrations. This is easily the single most valuable book on the subject.

Available for on-line ordering at

0-88362-194-0 308 pp. $65

Contact: GATF Press, 200 Deer Run Road, Swickley, PA 15143-2600.

Linux for Dummies

Hughes, Phil

An easy-to-follow guide to the LINUX operating system. It includes all common commands along with sample code. The comb binding and small size make it a very handy reference to keep close at hand.

Available for on-line ordering at

0-7645-0302-2 208 pp. $14.99

Contact: IDG Books Worldwide, Inc., 155 Bovet Road, Suite 610, San Mateo, CA 94402, 800 762-2974,

Visual QuickStart Guide: JavaScript for the World Wide Web

Negrino, Tom; Dori Smith

A visual guide to learning the capabilities and applications of JavaScript. It serves both as a reference and a tutorial, with concise, focused lessons. The text is supported with dozens of clear illustrations.

Available for on-line ordering at

0-201-69648-7 195 pp. $17.95

Contact: Peachpit Press, 1249 Eighth St., Berkeley, CA 94710, 510 524-2178, 800 283-9444,, fax: 510 524-2221.

Visual QuickStart Guide: NetObjects Fusion 2 for Windows & Macintosh

Hall, Gillian; Mark Wheeler

The most structured, visual, step-by-step book available for learning the use and operation of NetObjects Fusion 2. The authors provide clear instructions for producing most of the elements associated with using the program to produce a complete Web site. The book can be used either as an instructional text or as a handy reference.

Available for on-line ordering at

0-201-69658-4 263 pp. $18.95

Contact: Peachpit Press, 1249 Eighth St., Berkeley, CA 94710, 510 524-2178, 800 283-9444,, fax: 510 524-2221.

Microsoft Windows 98 Field Guide

Nelson, Stephen

The essential elements of Microsoft Windows 98 arranged in alphabetical order, with step-by-step instructions for common operations. A special troubleshooting section provides solutions to oft-encountered problems.

Available for on-line ordering at

1-57231-684-5 208 pp. $12.99

Contact: Microsoft Press, POB 3019, Bothell, WA 98041-9910

Mac OS 8.5 for Dummies

LeVitus, Bob

A handy guide both for experienced Macintosh users and those new to the operating system. The author provides a detailed look at all aspects of the OS, with emphasis on what is new in this version. Many useful tips and suggestions are presented for getting the optimum performance from a Macintosh running OS 8.5.

Available for on-line ordering at

0-7645-0397-9 404 pp. $19.99

Contact: IDG Books Worldwide, Inc., 155 Bovet Road, Suite 610, San Mateo, CA 94402, 800 762-2974,

Lingo in a Nutshell

Epstein, Bruce A.

This book is a useful guide both for new and experienced Director Lingo programmers. It presents and explores the syntax, structure and commands of the language, and provides numerous programming examples. Among its features are: a complete Lingo Keyword Summary; a list of all of the enumerated types for every Lingo command; coverage of the Director.INI and Lingo.INI files; coverage of the new Lingo for the Flash Asset, QuickTime 3 Asset; and CustomCursor Xtras; coverage of the Lingo Symbol Table; and much more.

Available for on-line ordering at

1-56592-493-2 609 pp. $19.95

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

AppleScript for the Internet, Visual QuickStart Guide

Wilde, Ethan

An easy way to get up to speed quickly with the use of AppleScript. The author shows the basics of AppleScripting and its applications for scripting Internet operations.

Available for on-line ordering at

0-201-35359-8 339 pp. $17.95

Contact: Peachpit Press, 1249 Eighth St., Berkeley, CA 94710, 510 524-2178, 800 283-9444,, fax: 510 524-2221.

QuarkXPress Book, The

Blatner, David

An in-depth guide to every significant feature of QuarkXPress 4.0 for Macintosh and Windows. Major topics include: Learning the program in just 30 minutes, Basic Operations, Trade Tools, Document Construction, Word Processing, Type and Typography, Copy Flow, Long Documents, Picture Usage, Fine-Tuning Images, Text and Graphics, Color, Printing, Taking QXP On-line, Color Management, Macintosh vs. Windows, XTensions and Resources, Scripting, XPress Tags, and more. The book is supported with a members-only Web site.

Available for on-line ordering at

0-201-69695-9 909 pp. $34.95

Contact: Peachpit Press, 1249 Eighth St., Berkeley, CA 94710, 510 524-2178, 800 283-9444,, fax: 510 524-2221.

Macworld PageMaker 6.5 Bible

Harrel, William; Craig Danuloff

A complete guide to the use of Adobe PageMaker 6.5 for Macintosh. The author shows, with a profusion of illustrations, how to compose content-rich publications using virtually all of PageMaker's capabilities. Several hands-on projects, with step-by-step instructions, clearly show how to accomplish both basic and advanced page construction techniques for print and Web publishing. The accompanying CD-ROM includes a trial version of PageMaker 6.5, clip art and digital photos, and files related to the in-book exercises.

Available for on-line ordering at

0-7645-4021-1 636 pp. $39.99

Contact: IDG Books Worldwide, Inc., 155 Bovet Road, Suite 610, San Mateo, CA 94402, 800 762-2974,

QuarkXPress for Windows 4, Visual QuickStart Guide

Weinmann, Elaine

A concise, highly illustrated guide to using QuarkXPress 4.0. In the QuickStart guide tradition it compresses tedious explanations into short, to-the-point summaries. It serves both to bring a new user up-to-speed quickly, and as a quick reference source for experienced users. Topics cover everything from starting up the program to producing output.

Available for on-line ordering at

0-201-69699-1 345 pp. $18.95

Contact: Peachpit Press, 1249 Eighth St., Berkeley, CA 94710, 510 524-2178, 800 283-9444,, fax: 510 524-2221.

Adobe Photoshop 5.0 Productivity Kit

Adobe Press

A cross-platform real-world guide to the use of Adobe Photoshop 5.0 for professional production. The book/CD combination consists of 26 projects, presented step-by-step, providing users with instruction in the production of a wide variety of professional image manipulation and production techniques and processes. Example projects are: Creating a Masthead for a Newsletter, Batch-Processing Images for Print and the Web, Creating an Ad for the Yellow Pages, Using Layers to Animate a Web Banner, Creating Buttons for the Web, and many more.

Available for on-line ordering at

1-56830-464-1 181 pp. $39.99

Contact: Adobe Press, Prentice Hall, 113 Sylvan Ave., Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632

Sams Teach Yourself Visual Basic 6 in 10 Minutes

Mauer, Lowell; et al.

A short guide to Visual Basic 6 presenting quick steps through the use of several 10-minute lessons. Lessons include: how to connect to a database, how to create and use menus, how to read and save data to files, and much more.

Available for on-line ordering at

0-672-31458-4 218 pp. $12.99

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

Flash 3! Creative Web Animation

Plant, Darrel

An in-depth guide to the use of Macromedia Flash 3, a program used to produce Web animations. The author begins with a tour of the program and proceeds with information about file importation, drawing, overlays and symbols, animation, layers, scenes and actions, sound, movie production, and more. The book includes several examples, as well as a cross-platform CD-ROM containing exercises from the book and trial versions of several Macromedia applications.

Available for on-line ordering at

0-201-35368-7 340 pp. $29.99

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

Macintosh Bible 7th Edition, The

Aker, Sharon Zardetto

Undoubtedly the most complete and authoritative guide to the use of the Apple Macintosh computer. It is acknowledged as the most popular Macintosh book, with over one million copies in print. The book provides current information, as well as useful tips, techniques and procedures. Readers are also provided with access to a readers-only companion Web site with free updates, additions, product reviews and links to associated sites.

Available for on-line ordering at

0-201-87483-0 1024 pp. $34.99

Contact: Peachpit Press, 1249 Eighth St., Berkeley, CA 94710, 510 524-2178, 800 283-9444,, fax: 510 524-2221.

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Copyright and Distribution Information

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