The Kleper Report on Digital Publishing - Issue 9.3 May / June 2004

Issue 9.3 May / June 2004


Additions/Extensions Reviews

DIGITAL SHO is an Adobe Photoshop plug-in which provides remarkable image enhancement capabilities by optimizing the contrast and exposure of images to uncover hidden details in the highlight and shadow areas. It works with images from any source, including digital cameras, flatbed/film scanners, Picture CDs, and the Internet.

The plug-in provides the user with the option of using automatic or manual effects controls. The software is capable of revealing details in over- and under-exposed areas, and compensate for exposure problems such as backlit subjects, uneven flash illumination, harsh lighting, graduations of dark and light image areas, and more. The user controls include separate sliders for highlights and shadows, and overall color saturation. The user can also specify details about the image source, such as film or digital, in order to optimize the plug-in's capacity to maximize the quality of the image. $99.95

Contact: Kodak Austin Development Center, formerly Applied Science Fiction, 8920 Business Bark Drive, Austin, TX 78759, 512 651-6200,, fax: 512 651-6205.

Digital GEM (MAC/WIN)
Digital GEM is an Adobe Photoshop plug-in which enables digital image manipulators to reduce or eliminate image noise which occurs from high-speed film grain, adverse lighting conditions, scanner/digital camera CCD noise, or image enlargement. The plug-in's algorithms are capable of isolating and managing the image noise/grain in both the highlights and shadows without significantly diminishing the detail in the image. Users can also produce a soft-focus effect ,and image sharpening that is visually better than the standard "unsharp mask" processes. The plug-in also removes or reduces line screen patterns from flatbed scans and JPEG image artifacts. $79.95

Contact: Kodak Austin Development Center, formerly Applied Science Fiction, 8920 Business Bark Drive, Austin, TX 78759, 512 651-6200,, fax: 512 651-6205.

Instruction/Learning Reviews

AppleScript Training CD-ROM (MAC/WIN)
AppleScript Training CD-ROM contains six hours and 97 lessons that cover the fundamentals of the entire AppleScript scripting language. The lessons are presented by Ben Waldie, an AppleScript expert who uses the scripting language frequently on his job, and shows examples of real-life applications that are impressive, and demonstrate the sophisticated automation that AppleScript can provide.

Like all VTC training programs, this one runs in an easy-to-use player environment. The lessons are provided with audio and screen animations, so that the user can actually see what Mr. Waldie is explaining. Users can quickly go to any of the lessons, and pause or repeat as necessary. The lessons are short, and can be viewed in sequence, as one would the first time, or played individually for review. The user can also stop the presentations at any time and try the examples on their own Macintosh computer.

The lessons begin with a description of AppleScript, how it is used, and its basic operations. They proceed logically, so that the user builds upon each completed lesson. The first 19 lessons are available for free viewing on-line at, where the entire listing of the CD contents can be seen.

AppleScript is a very powerful tool that, unfortunately, is vastly underutilized. It provides digital publishers, and others, with very useful tools for increasing productivity and accuracy. This training program is better than a book, because users can see and hear explanations of each aspect of AppleScript use; and better than a seminar, since the user can proceed at their own rate, review as many times as they please, and refresh their memory when needed. $99.95

Contact: VTC, 46 South Loudoun Street, Winchester, VA 22601, (540) 545 8060,, email:

AppleScript Studio Training CD-ROM (MAC/WIN)
AppleScript Studio Training CD-ROM is a complete classroom experience provided in digital format. The instructor, Jesse Feiler, presents over 100 lessons, spanning seven hours of narrated QuickTime movies. The lessons, presented in VTC's flexible player environment, enables the user to play, pause, and repeat any lesson at any time.

AppleScript Studio is a set of applications (Interface Builder and Project Builder) that provides the AppleScript user with the capability to add sophisticated interfaces to their scripts. The combination of AppleScript and the Apple Aqua interface, results in the potential to create applications that have the complexity and professional appearance of those written in a programming language. Digital publishers will find this capability of great value in applying it both to automate internal publishing workflows, and to simplify the file submission processes for their clients.

The first 25 of the lessons are available for free viewing at The remainder of the CD contents is also listed at the Web site. Viewing these movies will likely convince anyone interested in AppleScript to purchase the CD. In addition, VTC has other AppleScript-related titles. $99.95

Contact: VTC, 46 South Loudoun Street, Winchester, VA 22601, (540) 545 8060,, email:

Utility Reviews

TypeRecorder X 2.1 (MAC)
TypeRecorder X 2.1 is a utility that captures all keyboarding activity in a daily log file. This archive information can be invaluable in the event of a system crash, power failure, or other unforeseen calamity. It also stores data that was inadvertently erased or deleted, or accidentally modified. In addition to recording the text, it records the name of the application, and the time. This capability can be invaluable to a digital publisher in recovering lost or misplaced work. A year's worth of entries is stored in about five to ten megabytes and can be searched quickly. The program works on a system level and records everything that is typed on the computer, regardless of who is logged in. The program administrator can set a password and control other elements of the configuration, such as where the data directory is stored and if the data files are encrypted. The program does not show up in the Applications list and therefore can run under a stealth mode. $34.99

Contact: Rampell Software,

Database Reviews

ChartMaker Pro (MAC/WIN)
ChartMaker Pro is a tool for use in FileMaker that enables the creation of several chart types (horizontal bar charts, vertical bar charts, pie charts, 3D column charts, line charts, Gantt charts, scatter charts, and function charts) through the use of FileMaker's built-in features, rather than plug-ins or external applications. The use of the techniques is provided without licensing restrictions, and chart-laden databases can be distributed with no further payments. $39.95

Contact:, 15 High Bluff, Laguna Niguel, CA 92677,, e-mail:, fax: 949-606-9611.

Digital Video Reviews

VideoClix (MAC)
VideoClix is a video authoring application that provides the means to create sophisticated advertising, educational, and entertainment messages that incorporate Apple QuickTime, QTVR, and HTML. Within a browser window, from a DVD or CD-ROM, or from a kiosk, the user can click on a region of a VideoClix-enabled video and have a related window display collateral information, such as product details, etc. The program also supports on-line purchase, so that viewers can buy products.

The program works with clicks and drags, and does not require the use of a scripting language. Among its additional features are the capability to link to a database; the lack of a need for a browser plug-in on the client side; and the importation of QuickTime, AVI, MPEG, Flash, and DV. A free demo version is available at $199

Contact: eline Technologies Inc., 301-1395 Beach Ave., Vancouver, British Columbia, V6E 1V7, Canada, 604 688-8889,, fax: 630 604-0746.

SheerVideo¬ Pro (MAC/WIN)
SheerVideo¬ Pro is a nondestructive software video codec created for the production and archival of professional film and video. It doubles both the capacity and speed of storage and transmission devices while encoding and decoding on-the-fly with perfect fidelity. The codec is rated 50 times faster than any other lossless codec and four times faster than any high-quality lossy codec. It is currently rated as the fastest video codec in the world, and is among the most powerful nondestructive codecs in existence for real-world data, and is the only perfect-fidelity codec that compresses native video (Y'CbCr[A]) formats. Yet, unlike image-degrading codecs such as DV, JPEG, MPEG, and even DigiBeta, SheerVideo preserves every single bit of information, so that the restored image is always bit-for-bit identical to the original uncompressed image. This means that users can transmit uncompressed-quality video in half of the time over half of the bandwidth, and store it in half the time in half the space. $149

Contact: BitJazz Inc., P.O. Box 570, San Geronimo, CA 94963-0570, 415 642-4829,, e-mail:, fax: 415 642-4839.

Productivity Reviews

Smart Alarms X (MAC)
Smart Alarms X is an application that provides an easy-to-use interface for entering and managing up to 1600 reminders. Each reminder can consist of a text message, a reminder alarm date and time, an advance warning alarm, a recurring interval, a priority, and a sound. The program is very handy for setting reminders to handle the myriad of details associated with the digital publishing process. $69

Contact: JAM Software, 1, 3-5 Foster St., Leichhardt 2040, Sydney, N.S.W. Australia,, e-mail:

DTP Reviews

FontTwister (WIN )
FontTwister provides an easy-to-use interface to convert text into special effects typography suitable for illustration, multimedia and Web layout. The program provides more than 50 styles that have been professionally designed. The user enters text, selects a typeface, size, and style, and adjusts the intercharacter/interline spacing, and angle. The text and background can be independently filled with a color, gradient, or texture. The text can be deformed by moving, stretching, compressing, rotating or shearing. The user can also draw the text shape they require. The text outline can be applied from several predrawn options, and its size, coarseness and design can be adjusted. Three-dimensional effects can be applied using the 3D Bevel, with controls over all aspects of the bevel (height, size, and profile). The Shadow options include color, transparency, blur and position. Finally, the Frame options support the application of a frames with selectable color, frame thickness and corner count. $39

Contact: A. & M. Neuber GbR, Postfach 11 05 25, D-06019╩Halle, Germany,, email:, fax: +49-700-11 777 000.

MLayout (MAC)
MLayout is a unique page layout program that utilizes XML in order to separate document content from its page appearance, or design. The program uses "Models" or templates which specify parameters such as style sheets, headers, rules, and master pages, which are used as containers into which XML content is introduced. The user can easily try the same content in any number of models. The process is called "Layout Modeling."

In order to accommodate publications which contain numerous images, the program incorporates a technology called Grouped Image Management (GIM), which supports the dynamic layout of images based on similiar characteristics, such as size, kind, attributes, etc.

The program works in concert with SoftMagic's SendStory, which is used to create XML-tagged data. The pages created in the program can be used either on the Web or for print publishing, and can be exported as PDF, JPEG, TIFF, and other file formats. $299

Contact: SoftMagic, 5F, Han ChungAng B/D, Yoksam-dong, Kangnam-gu, Seoul, 135-080, Korea, 82.2.558.0222,, e-mail:, fax: 82.2.569.2103.

Fonts/Font Management

Font Pilot 1.3.1 (MAC)
Font Pilot 1.3.1 is handy utility for listing and displaying every installed Macintosh font. The program also shows the full font character complement, and an interactive text box in which the user can experiment with styles, colors, sizes and, of course, typeface. $15.95

Contact: Koingo Software Canada,, e-mail:

E+F & Nick's Fonts (MAC/WIN)
Several new fonts from E+F and Nick's Fonts have been added to From E+F they include Autograph Script ($35), a stylized brush stoke design with a fresh neat appearance; Ballantines Script ($35), an elegant formal script suitable for fancy applications; and Worchester Regular ($35) available in a family of weights and variations, a classic design worthy of Fred Goudy. Nick's Fonts has released Londonderry Air ($25), a highly stylized art deco design; Monte Carlo Script ($25), a light, flowing design suitable for formal and informal applications; and Whoopee Cushion ($25), an inflated, slightly tipsy design.

Contact: Agfa Monotype Corporation, 200 Ballardvale Street, Wilmington, MA 01887-1069, 800 424-8973 x7201,, e-mail:

Networking Reviews

Keyspan USB Server (MAC/WIN)
The Keyspan USB Server is a small device that provides a major network benefit: the capability to share USB printers and scanners and multi-function printers over a Local Area Network. This capability enables all of the Macintosh and Windows clients to share expensive resources and avoid the need to duplicate devices unnecessarily. The Keyspan USB Server consists of four full-speed ports (12 Mbps) with a full 500mA power to each. It connects to an Ethernet network with RJ45, has 10/100 autosensing, and IP addressing (static, DHCP, and Rendezvous), and makes the USB devices that are plugged into it visible to the network's clients. The device may also be plugged into the wired part of a WI-Fi network, allowing wireless access to USB peripherals.

Any client on the network may use a USB device that is connected to the USB Server on a "one at a time" basis. The server may also be configured to limit access. Running the Server application displays a list of the connected USB devices and their availability. A user may subscribe to any device which lists an open subscription. When a user disconnects from a device, or shuts down, their subscription becomes available to others. $129

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

Internet Reviews

SpamSieve (MAC)
SpamSieve is a spam filtering application that uses Bayesian processing to learn the nature of a user's spam, and then block it. It becomes better over time, and integrates with a number of popular e-mail clients, including Apple Mail, Emailer, Entourage, Eudora, Mailsmith (in which it is bundled), Outlook Express, PowerMail, and others. The application marks suspect spam, but does not delete it. In addition to marking likely spam, it maintains a whitelist to ensure that certain senders and mailing lists are never mistaken for spam. The program maintains statistics so that it reports on its accuracy and records the number of good and spam messages that are received, and how these numbers vary over time. $25

Contact: Michael Tsai,, e-mail:

Contribute 2 (MAC/WIN)
Contribute 2 is one of the first applications that enables qualified Web site users, either individuals or teams, to easily update, add and publish information without the need for HTML, nor the cumbersome process of using an off-line editor. The program frees users from the conventional, burdensome process of changing site content, providing an easy-to-use interface that gives a user direct and immediate access to Web pages, and the simple tools for editing their contents. The program is amazing and provides immediate and sustained productivity.

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

The Windows version includes FlashPaper capability by which a user can convert any printable document into a compact, fast-loading Flash file that can be embedded as a part of any Web page. $99

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

Advanced Web Ranking 2.6 (MAC/WIN/UNIX)
Advanced Web Ranking 2.6 is a useful tool for checking and tracking the position of a Web site on all of the major Internet search engines. The application eliminates the time-consuming process of manually checking Web rankings, and then comparing them over time. It can monitor the upward or downward positioning of Web ranking on over 200 search engines quickly and efficiently, and provide the data in both graphical and tabular reports. Users can study their own rankings and those of their competitors. Reports can be generated and e-mailed automatically on a preset schedule so that users can have a ranking report delivered to them daily. Various types of reports, containing such statistics as Current Rank and Top Sites, can be generated in PDF, HTML, Excel, XML, or Text).

The process of conducting a ranking session is easy, and involves making selections and filling in data in a wizard-like series of screens. Each search, or project, can be maintained separately, and run as needed. The Professional edition, with printable reports and scheduled automatic updates is $99, the Standard edition is $49.

Contact: Caphyon LLC, 2017 California St., Suite 1b, Mountain View, CA 94040, 800 903-4152,

Digital Imaging Reviews

Pixer (Palm OS)
Pixer enables wireless Palm OS and Pocket PC handheld users to send and receive picture and photo messages to any e-mail address or MMS-capable phone or Pixer-powered PDA. Users can select from a variety of template messages or create text or handwritten messages to accompany their photos. Users can annotate photos using a variety of drawing tools. The program provides for a free, easy-to-establish account at $29.95

Contact: Electric Pocket Limited, Vauxhall Cottage, Vauxhall Road, Chepstow, UK NP16 5PX,

VueScan Pro 8.0.9 (MAC/WIN/LINUX)
VueScan Pro 8.0.9 is an application that enables the control and manipulation of images from scanners, of particular interest, scanners that have been orphaned by newer versions of the OS, such as the move from Mac OS 9 to OS X. To its credit, the software can also support just about every scanner on the market. This review was conducted using an HP ScanJet 6300 with an ADF (auto document feeder), that had not been used for years since HP had not updated the drivers for Mac OS X. The software installed in seconds and immediately recognized the scanner, and displayed its model in a small window of its interface. Simply amazing! Furthermore the software controlled the scanner correctly each and every time that new settings were executed. How often does that happen?

Unlike other scanner software that operates inside an image manipulation program using a TWAIN interface, VueScan is a standalone application which supports the movement of scanned images to a number of user-selectable locations, such as Photoshop. The Professional version provides just about every conceivable scanning option, including batch processing of pages placed in the ADF.

Most scanner software is limited to setting color depth, resolution, and image size, but VueScan provides options for removing dust, scratches, and fingerprints; improving color fidelity; and restoring faded colors. The software also supports saving images, from scans or files, in RAW file format. RAW saves an image at the highest resolution of the scanner, with data captured directly from the scanner's sensor. A file saved in RAW format can be reopened in VueScan, and reprocessed using any color correction or image enhancement options. For these reasons, RAW files are preferred for image archiving. Since RAW is a standard TIFF file, it can also be opened in compatible image manipulation programs, such as Photoshop.

The standard VueScan workflow is simple and direct. First the user places the image on the scanner bed. Second, he or she presses the Preview button, which initiates a rapid scan of the image. Clicking and dragging the mouse over the preview enables the user to select a cropped area. Third, and last, the Scan button is selected and the image is saved. After scanning is complete the image will appear automatically in the default image viewing or editing program if selected. Transparencies can also be reproduced with professional results using a simple procedure in which the orange mask on 35mm film is removed.

Another professional feature is support for ICC profiles, which enable the successful mapping of color spaces between dissimilar devices. Profile technology helps to ensure that the scanned image looks the best that it can when translated into the color space of the printer. In order to generate ICC profiles, the program can process a standard IT8 target to calibrate a user's scanner and printer. $79.95

Contact: Hamrick Software, 4025 E. Chandler Blvd., Suite 70-F16, Phoenix, AZ 85048,

Book Reviews

Absolute Beginner's Guide to Networking
Habraken, Joe

A book devoted to the essentials of networking, including peer-to-peer and server-based.

Available for on-line ordering at

0789729113 482 pp. $18.95

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

AppleScript: The Definitive Guide
Neuburg, Matt

Finally, what may truly be the "definitive guide" to Apple's powerful OS scripting language. The author has finely crafted a tour of AppleScript with many instructive stops along the way. The trip is well worthwhile.

Available for on-line ordering at

0596005571 453 pp. $39.95

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

Digital Photography Pocket Guide
Story, Derrick

The author has crammed all of the essential information necessary to take good digital photos in a variety of environments.

Available for on-line ordering at

0596004540 144 pp. $14.95

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

Digital Video Pocket Guide
Story, Derrick

In a size no larger than the profile of most compact digital video recorders, the author has amassed a storehouse of information related to all aspects of the DV recording process, from identifying parts of the camera, to planning for transfer to a computer.

Available for on-line ordering at

059600537 113 pp. $14.95

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

How to Do Everything with iLife '04
Hart-Davis, Guy

An all-in-one guide to the applications that comprise Apple iLife '04: iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, and GarageBand. The reader is led through the processes necessary to master the most popular features of each software program. In addition to the dozens of illustrations, the author provides many insightful tips and how-to suggestions.

Available for on-line ordering at

0072232056 480 pp. $24.99

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

iMovie 3 & iDVD: The Missing Manual
Pogue, David

Like other books in this series, it is the book that should have been shipped with the software. Complete, in-depth, and well-presented, it covers the complete gamut of operations necessary for recording video, editing it into a final form, and then transferring it to DVD.

Available for on-line ordering at

0596005075 456 pp. $24.95

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

Mac Panther Bible, 9th Edition, The
England, et al

The most complete, and likely the most useful single volume ever published about the Apple Macintosh. The team of expert authors cover the whole of the Macintosh universe, including major topic areas such as the system software, storage, printing, peripherals, troubleshooting, productivity and creativity applications, networking, and much more. Readers also get a sense of the twenty-year history of the Macintosh, written by those who lived through the various changes.

Available for on-line ordering at

0321213491 1028 pp. $34.99

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

PERL and CGI for the World Wide Web: Visual QuickStart Guide
Castro, Elizabeth

An intensive, yet easy-to-follow treatment of the use of PERL an CGI scripting to apply interactivity to Web pages. The author distills a complex process into smaller parts that are more digestible.

Available for on-line ordering at

020135358X 272 pp. $18.99

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

Photoshop CS: The Art of Photographing Women
Ames, Kevin

The author shares his award-winning secrets of photographing glamorous women and manipulating their digital images to produce professional quality fashion photographs. This full-color guide clearly shows how experts remove blemishes, smooth wrinkles, correct skin tones, and sculpt bodies. The book provides a fascinating look into the world of the professional digital photographer.

Available for on-line ordering at

0764543180 p368 p. $34.99

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

Real World Scanning & Halftones, Third Edition
Blatner, David; Conrad Chavez, Glenn Fleishman, Steve Roth

This book should be the standard textbook for professional scanning methods and techniques. It is thorough, in-depth, and terrifically well presented, with lavish use of color and illustrations. The authors cover the complete scanning workflow, from the original copy, through the preparation of the scanning device and its host-bound software, to the saving of the image. Precise instructions are presented for scanning for prepress, the Web, video, color photo printers, and office applications. Extensive information is provided regarding image correction techniques and procedures for storing images. Eleven chapters are devoted to the creation and reproduction of halftones.

Available for on-line ordering at

0321241320 334 pp. $39.99

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

Robin Williams Mac OS X Book Panther Edition, The
Williams, Robin; John Tollett

Clearly written and profusely illustrated, the authors have written a complete guide to the Apple Macintosh Panther operating system. The chapters are well-organized, logically arranged, and neatly presented. The authors begin with a tutorial to familiarize the reader with the basic computer operations. They then cover basic and advanced operations, the Internet and networking, and conclude with ports and peripherals, the use of the Classic Environment, and an explanation of where previous features are now to be found. Each chapter includes a quiz (with answers provided).

Available for on-line ordering at

0321232968 712 pp. $29.99

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

Windows XP Pocket Reference
Karp, David A.

A very handy, compact guide to the workings of Microsoft Windows XP. Major topics include the basics of the OS, tips and shortcuts, the Registry, commands, and security concerns.

Available for on-line ordering at

0596004257 181 pp. $12.95

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

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