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WEDNESDAY AT MACWORLD EXPO

Millennium Expo Opens With Fireworks

By MIKE PASINI
Editor
Imaging Resource Digital Photography Newsletter

SAN FRANCISCO -- Only Apple would have the confidence (or audacity) to greet the Y2K millennium with an expo. And with iCEO Steve Jobs setting off fireworks with his keynote address, the party began on Wednesday with a bang (the 'i' now stands for Internet not interim, he said in announcing his intention to stay at the helm) heard 'round the Internet.

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We'll have a full report on the Expo in our Jan. 14 newsletter, but we'll provide daily notes through the weekend here.

Not only did Jobs have some exciting news for digital photographers, but our first day on the floor of the Expo turned up a number of great bargains.

Jobs at Apple

While Jobs announced new Internet strategies for Apple (including an equity position with Earthlink) and gave the first public viewing of Aqua (Mac OS X's user interface that inherits the iMac's Jujube graphic motif with a dash of Pixar's animation), he gave digital photographers a few things to chew on, too.

Like a drop-and-drop interface to Web file transfers with 20M of free, secure storage on Apple's servers (with a public folder) -- christened the iDisk -- and the ability to build (in 10 minutes) a captioned contact sheet of your uploaded pictures that you can share with anyone on the Web.

Not to mention being able to send what Jobs dubbed iCard personalized greetings via email using either Apple's stock images or your own. Without worrying about attachments.

While a lot of companies are working hard to provide easy photo uploading and sharing, Apple can tap into both its server technology and its client OS to put the Internet on your desktop.

See for yourself under iTools at the revamped www.apple.com.

$100 Digicam

Looking for a starter digicam? IXLA displayed their $99.95 CMOS digicam which comes bundled with Cumulus 5 Lite and Corel Custom Photo editing software.

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The bare bones point-and-shoot has a wide-angle fixed-focus lens (3 feet to infinity), optical viewfinder, and electronic flash. The camera includes 2M internal storage holding about 30 images using a proprietary file format. Images can be converted to JPEG when you transfer them to a computer through either the USB or serial port on the camera using IXLA's Photo Easy Delux software. Four AAs power the camera.

The Digital SuperPro 640 creates 640x480 images with good color and sharpness.

But throw the camera away and you still have a bargain.

The included lite version of Canto Cumulus restricts both the number of catalogs and the number of images in each catalog, but otherwise provides the full features of the single-user version that retails for $100. With Cumulus, images can be archived, cataloged and arranged in slide shows.

Additionally, the Corel Custom Photo software provides essential photo editing tools.

IXLA, which also manufactures the camera, expects to ship in two weeks. Orders can be placed only at www.ixla.com or by calling the company at (800) 881-2966.

Great Photo!

Continuing our bargain hunting, we stumbled across Great Photo! from Software Architects Inc. available for a show special price of $24.95 (regularly $79.95) at http://special.softarch.com (which may not yet be active).

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Using a thumbwheel interface and proprietary technology to enhance brightness and color, the 1.6M image editor provides quick enhancements (tapping the velocity engine of the G4) and comparisons.

Alice Gannon-McKinley, Software Associates marketing communications manager, explained the product was designed to let the user impose their aesthetic judgment on the program rather than vice versa. The program makes no automatic adjustments, relying on you to refine your image by comparing your changes to the original by clicking the Original tab at the bottom of the adjustment dialog box.

You can also bookmark a particular change and continue manipulating the image. You can save the bookmarked version you prefer.

We missed image resizing options and found some aspects of the interface clunky. But it's pretty clean for a version 1.0. The images accompanying this story were all enhanced by the product before being resized in Photoshop.

Software Architects has licensed its technology to OEM manufacturers like Nikon and system integrators for 12 years. A limited-time demo is available at www.softarch.com.

PetiScan

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With a USB interface which also powers the device, a see-through design to facilitate handheld scanning and a form factor NEC describes as "the world's smallest," the PetitScan color scanner weighs in at only 1.3 lbs. and $149.

Under its snap-off lid, it's a 30-bit, single-pass scanner with an optical resolution of 300x600. Bundled software includes Adobe PhotoDeluxe and Presto! PageManager for both Macintosh and Windows.

Small isn't often a virtue in a scanner (since most things you want to scan are not), but the A6 window (8.46x5.51 inches, or half a sheet of paper) of this scanner seems like the absolute minimum. The (big) advantage is that you can take it with you.

For more information visit http://petiscan.nectech.com.













Top 3 photos this month win:

1 $300 Adorama Gift Certificate

2 $200 Adorama Gift Certificate

3 $100 Adorama Gift Certificate