Stories by Frith Breitzer

A Little Elphin Magic?

SAN FRANCISCO (07/05/2000) - If big things come in small packages, then Canon
Inc. (800/652-2666, http://www.powershot.com) must be hoping for a hit of
Lilliputian proportions with its PowerShot S100 Digital Elph camera. Modeled
after the company's popular Elph line of traditional film cameras, this digital
version packs 2.1 megapixels into a tiny device that fits in the palm of your
hand. The digital Elph sports a 2x optical zoom lens, a 4x digital zoom, and a
1.5-inch LCD monitor. But one sizable problem for the 3.4-inch-long camera
could be its small CCD, which even Canon's 2.1-megapixel PowerShot S10 dwarfs.
That could give the US$599 Elph difficulty in producing sharp images. Still,
Canon expects big things from its latest Elph, especially among consumers who
earlier gave digital cameras short shrift.

Here Today, Still Here Tomorrow

Pictures of an event shouldn't fade long before your memories do. But print out a photo of your cousin's wedding on a desktop ink-jet printer, and chances are not much of the image may remain after a year.

Product Watch

Object of Affection: Talk about slashing prices. Apple Computer INc. (800/ 692-7753, http://www.apple.com) has reduced the cost of its WebObjects application server software to US$699 -- and that includes development tools and an unlimited usage license for one server. The previous price? A mere $50,000. WebObjects 5, which will include Java support, is scheduled for release later this year.

Judging E-books by Their Covers

Talk about your horror stories-when Stephen King released his first electronic-only book, Riding the Bullet, he couldn't read it on his own computer. Riding the Bullet was originally released in handheld-only format and in PC-only format, for such programs as Glassbook Inc.'s (781/434-2000, http://www.glassbook.com) Glassbook Reader. Mac users, such as King, were locked out of reading the story.

Product Watch

What's in Store for anyone who's ever wanted to get into e-commerce but is paralyzed at the thought of building a site from the ground up, Smith Micro (858/ 675-1106, http://www.smithmicro.com) offers Web Catalog 4.0. The $3,495 software that shipped in May lets users build customized e-business sites without having to monkey with HTML.

MetaCreations Drops the Other Shoe

For MetaCreations Corp. fans who've waited to hear what would become of their favorite programs, the suspense is over. But now the real waiting begins. Corel Corp. (800/772-6735, www.corel.com) and Adobe Systems Inc. (800/833-6687, www .adobe.com) have walked away with most of the graphics applications that MetaCreations planned to sell, leaving Mac users to wonder if all of the programs have found Mac-friendly homes.

Adobe Puts It All Together

With Adobe Systems Inc.'s (800/833-6687, http://www.adobe.com) latest versions of Illustrator and GoLive, users will find that the company's applications have more in common than ever before.

iBook - More Power, Same Pretty Face

Those of you who held off purchasing an iBook until Apple Computer Inc. resolved the original model's problems should get your wallets ready: beefed-up RAM and increased hard-disk space make Apple's latest portables more than just pretty faces. Both the iBook and the iBook Special Edition (SE) offer a more reasonable 64MB of RAM (expandable to 320MB)-double the skimpy 32MB that subjected the 1999 iBook to crashes and other problems. And if you thought the original iBook's 3GB hard disk seemed cramped, you'll be pleased to know that the 2000 models offer twice the space.

A Friendlier Linux?

For the past few years, Linux proponents have trumpeted the merits of their grassroots, Unix-like operating system. It's free, it's fast, and because it enjoys broad support among programmers, bugs are easy to fix. But Linux's command-line interface may have put off many power users, keeping the operating system from gaining wider acceptance.

Product Watch

Print It Pretty: Hewlett-Packard Co. (800/552-8500, www.hp.com) has given graphics professionals more printers to choose from with its release of the HP Color LaserJet 8550 printer series. The new printer line includes the 8550GN, aimed at the graphics market. The 8550GN features 11-by-17-inch full-bleed printing, automatic Pantone color calibration, a 300MHz processor, and 128MB of RAM. Prices for the new printers start at $4,500, with the 8550GN retailing for around $8,500.

Flash with Substance

One problem with Macromedia Inc. Flash animations is that they're often all flash and little substance. With such power-animation, video, still images, and sound-under your control in one program, it's tempting to add so much to your Web design that you end up obscuring your message. Artist Hillman Curtis, former art director at Macromedia, does just the opposite. His goal is to communicate effectively using motion graphics.

Photo Printing Comes Home

More-powerful cameras have brought the digital photo market into focus. Some recently introduced printers that cater to digital shutterbugs may push the digital photo business to the next level.

InDesign Update in Store

Designers who balked at buying Adobe Systems Inc.'s InDesign 1.0 may have a new incentive to give the program a shot. The upcoming InDesign 1.5 boasts new features and improvements requested by customers. Adobe says the upgrade streamlines prepress and printing workflow.

Inner Beauty

Ever since Steve Jobs returned to Apple Computer Inc., we've come to expect drama when the company introduces new products, whether they're colorful and cuddly iMacs or shocking-blue Power Macs. But sometimes the most-dramatic changes don't have to do with a flashy appearance -- they're all about what's inside.

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