Volume 2, Number 14 14 July 2000

Copyright 2000, The Imaging Resource. All rights reserved.

Welcome to the 22nd edition of the Imaging Resource Newsletter. If this issue seems more magical than most, blame the Hogwart influence. We've got the magic of flash modes, the black art of SCSI, how to cast a summer spell over the kids with macro mode, and a review that should make you smile. And it's all true. With us, you're not just imagining it, your imaging it.


This issue of The Imaging Resource News is sponsored in part by the following companies. Please tell them you saw their ad here. And now a word from our sponsors:
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Feature: Watch & Smile -- Gameboy Meets Photoshop

It looks like a game, but it isn't. It has some of the most powerful image retouching algorithms ever harnessed at its disposal, but it isn't intimidating. It's rough enough that it may not make you smile, but you'll want to keep an eye on Binuscan's Watch & Smile for Windows or Macintosh.

Binuscan has wrapped its professional color correction software in a fun interface that resembles a remote control (or two). And priced it at a reasonable $90 (although we've got a deal for you).

There's no menu bar. No File Edit business. No Save As. No Quit, either. We haven't been this lost at sea since Myst. The printed documentation helps you get your bearings (and is duplicated in HTML-based documentation), but finding the simplest things can be frustrating.

But the rewards are astounding. Unsurpassed automatic color correction, enlargements that do not break up flesh tones, color editing without the need for masks.

Of course with that sort of ambition, you'd better bring a pretty powerful system to the party. Watch & Smile may have a playful interface but it's all business under the hood.


The standard install uses roughly 140 megabytes of disk space (a minimal installation uses 17 megabytes) and wants 32 megabytes of free RAM. The player (which you can distribute with your Watch & Smile format presentations) uses 26 megabytes of free RAM. If you're running Photoshop that's not going to scare you, but if you've been playing with $50 software, you may be surprised by the high (even professional level) requirements.

QuickTime is required on both platforms.

If your machine was built within the last year or two, you're not going to complain. But while Watch & Smile will run on older equipment, it will run so slowly you'll quickly become weary of waiting. It needs a Pentium 166 running Windows 95/98/NT or a Power Mac (but a G3 is recommended).

You'll also become disoriented. The tools are intended to give you feedback in real time. As you zoom, the zoom tool tells you what percent of the original you are looking at while it redraws the image. Unfortunately, redrawing can take so long on an otherwise spry old system that the percentage isn't updating in any useful way.


Watch & Smile uses an installer (no simple drag and drop). Files were copied correctly but when we restarted on the Mac, an AppleScript application in the Startup Folder couldn't do its job (it was looking for a French version of something to remap extensions) and that brought the show to a stop. After we removed the AppleScript, we were able to run the program without a problem.

Harbinger or things to come.

We had a number of problems with Watch & Smile -- and we might have ended the review right here because of them. But Binuscan's technical support responded to our reports by duplicating our setup, confirming the problems and promising to develop fixes. We'll let you know what happens.

Frankly, the unique interface makes it tough for a user to diagnose problems and must represent an enormous overhead for the programmers. The online FAQ didn't address any of our issues, but tech support confirmed them within a day.

So we're giving Binuscan a little leeway for Watch & Smile. You may or may not experience problems, but Binscan was responsive to ours -- and that's worth a little latitude.


The startup screen will stare at you until you click on it. Then you get an animated sequence that zooms in on a television screen (your work area), puts some snow on the telly and then a test pattern (with sound effects) before drawing the rest of the tools used in the interface.

This is an important introduction to what you are about to experience. Simply put, this isn't your ordinary image editor. It's a presentation tool. You'll actually be building presentations, not simply editing images.

You can edit images (importing them, working on them and exporting them) but it isn't as easy as opening something in Paint Shop Pro, fiddling around and saving.


You need a guided tour. Chain yourself to the guide.

The monitor-within-a-monitor is where your image will be displayed as you work on it. Just above that is a film strip where you'll store your final images (or scenes in Watch & Smile language), however many you like. You can add sound that will be recorded with MP3 compression. Watch & Smile provides a player for Windows and Mac OS so you can distribute these filmstrips in Watch & Smile's native format. The films can also be exported as QuickTime movies.

To the left of the monitor is a remote control and on the monitor along the bottom are a few more controls (including a power button, which is how you quit the program). Some tools open another remote control on the right.

Watch & Smile saves for you as you make changes using what it calls "active streaming technology." You just busy yourself with creating and exporting films.


Films consist of up to 99 channels on the Watch & Smile television. Think of it as having 99 VCRs hooked up to record whatever you like. You change channels, you change films.

The films can contain up to 255 scenes, each of which can contain up to 20 objects: pictures, text or video. You have control of the length of time each scene is on the screen (unlike a slide show which shows everything for the same amount of time) and you have a choice of 16 transitions (wipes, dissolves, etc.), too. Very neat.

So how would you do a presentation of a dozen or so photos from, say, Aunt Pendergast's 123rd birthday party?

Channel 1, of course. Scene 1. Let's load an image from a folder on your hard disk (this is also where you'd pull in a scan or an image from a PhotoCD). Click on the Photo button on the remote control (or double click on the film strip at Scene 1). Twain, File or PhotoCD? Uh, File. Standard or Native? Uh, Standard. Watch & Smile reads quite a few formats including JPEG, TIFF, BMP, PICT, PCD, PSD, PCX, PNG, TGA, DCX or GIF.

Takes a while to load. Watch & Smile is actually copying your JPEG to its working directory as a TIFF. See the little fluorescent progress bar: once for your JPEG, and again for the TIFF. But not an ordinary TIFF.

Your original, by the way, is never touched. Watch & Smile is very careful about altering originals; it doesn't. Even, in fact, what you see on the screen is merely calculated by Watch & Smile from the TIFF (which are all in the Images folder of the current Job).

It's a special kind of TIFF that Watch & Smile calls a "pyramidal" image. The images you see are created from the pyramidal TIFF on the fly. If you're zooming in on just 10 percent of your image, that's all that's calculated. Something like this is used by Live Picture, but Binuscan told us they are not identical.

But they are indeed TIFFs (although we couldn't open them in our favorite slide show software, Binuscan claims they can be opened in other image editing programs). Our test images were all under 75K. The Watch & Smile TIFFs were almost all 682K.

To load the next image, click on the next scene (or the arrow to move to the next scene) and click on Photo again. There's no way to load your whole directory at once.

The progress bar keeps you apprised of the file copying progress and a small filename is displayed after it's been copied. There's a slight delay when you move to the next scene as Watch & Smile writes the TIFF to disk.

It takes a while to build a film, as you can see. So how easy is it to work with the images, once (or as) you've got them assembled into a Job?


We didn't like it at first, but sometimes we're Big Time Whiners. We wanted our menu bar, we wanted our magic wand, we wanted our marque selection tools. But like any other whiner, eventually the whining wore us out and we got down to business.

Surprisingly, everything we needed was there and pretty easy to use. We just had to find it.

A few things are worth reviews of their own:

That's all very nice, but you probably want to know what idiots we looked like stumbling around the remote control interface. OK, here you go:


The advanced tools were exceptional. Two were, unfortunately, the source of our tech support query. They worked once (so we know what we're missing).


Now let's just say you manage to put together a few scenes into your Aunt Pendergast's 123rd birthday film and add a sound track from your bootleg recording of the kid next door on drums (or maybe just your own voice-over). Yep, now we can walk on the moon and do voice-overs on slide shows. Sound is recorded and exported using MP3 compression.

And it's pretty easy to add a caption or text to any image.

You can export your presentation of Aunt Pendergast's party in either QuickTime or Watch & Smile format. A Watch & Smile Player is included for both Macintosh and Windows, so you can easily distribute your creations.


Binuscan is not a new company. Jean-Marie Binucci founded the company in 1989 out of frustration with desktop scanning and color separation technology. His solution, RECO (REbuilding COlors) technology, became the engine driving desktop scanners (Umax), Kodak Pro Master Photo CD and Polaroid transparency scanners through PhotoPerfect and ColorPro. Watch & Smile is Binuscan's first consumer product.


Somewhere along the line we got the ridiculous idea that software isn't supposed to crash. It colors our whole approach to reviewing the stuff and marks us indelibly as a Muggle, I suppose.

The truth, as any kid can tell you, is that if you want to get to the next level, you need more lives. And if things come to a screeching halt, bubba, you're just dead and have to start over.

Watch & Smile did not, in fact, crash our system. We were able to force the program to quit when it stopped paying attention to our mouse clicks and try again like any other video game.

And once we accepted its personality, we actually had some fun. Particularly when we realized how many quarters we were saving.


You can save a few quarters, too. Binuscan is offering Imaging Resource readers a discount on Watch & Smile from $89 to $49 (plus shipping and sales tax). To order, contact Binuscan, Inc., 437 Ward Avenue, Suite 101; Mamaroneck, NY 10543; voice (914) 381-3780; [email protected]; And tell them we sent you.

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New on the Site

The elves are at work on the Imaging Resource Web site infrastructure. One task keeping them busy is setting up links to our expanded software reviews (ProJPEG and soon QPict and Watch & Smile) where you can see some screen shots and sample output.
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Beginners Flash: Who Set Harry on Auto Flash?

If you've got a digicam, you are no Muggle, the magically-challenged inhabitants of Harry Potter's world. Why? Because you, like Harry, have a thunderbolt.

Harry got his on his forehead when, as an infant, he vanquished the evil You-Know-Who. You get yours in your status display to help you set your flash options. Both forces against darkness, but yours recycles faster.

It also has some handy options.

Auto Flash

The mode with which you are no doubt most familiar fires the flash whenever the meter decides there isn't enough light to make an exposure with the lens wide open and the shutter as slow as it will go. Auto flash is so handy it's probably the default setting on your digicam.

It can rob you of some beautiful low-light shots, however (as we've pointed out previously). And it can be very unwelcome in light-controlled environments like theaters and museums.

Red-Eye Reduction

Cameras that sport onboard flash often include a red-eye reduction mode. In low-light situations firing a flash into wide-open pupils illuminates the back of the eye, causing a You-Know-Who-like red stare. To reduce the effect, the flash can be fired rapidly a few times before the shutter is opened to trick those dilated pupils into contracting.

No Flash

To be a good citizen, you have to have control of your magic and that means not using it sometimes. Turning off the flash will force your camera to take the shot with available light.

Slow Synch

A flash exposure is different from an available light exposure. We owe the difference to Harold Edgerton, the MIT professor who invented the strobe to take stop-action photographs. By developing a source of illumination that "flashed" on and off more quickly than a shutter, he was able to capture a hummingbird in flight, the corona of a drop of milk and bullets on impact.

When you shoot with flash, the room can be entirely dark. It doesn't matter because the strobe provides not only the illumination but the exposure. It is quicker than your shutter.

But slow synch can combine a bit of natural light exposure with the strobe. It simply leaves the shutter open longer than the strobe needs to fire. And that can add a background to your image.

You don't have to go to Hogwart's with Harry to learn how to use your flash settings. But they are powerful magic.

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Advanced Mode: The Black Art of SCSI

Despite the advent of USB and FireWire, the widely-abused SCSI or small computer system interface is still with us. Often cursed as a black art, it has the infuriating capacity to sometimes work when it shouldn't and defy common sense when it isn't working.

You may find yourself buying a slide scanner, hard drive or removable media that requires you to build a SCSI chain one of these days, so we thought we'd succinctly list the rules here for reference. It isn't a black art, at all, as you'll see.

Well, not much of one.

Until recently Macintosh came with built-in SCSI support. In fact, the internal hard drive was SCSI. With PCI interfaces and lower-cost drive interfaces, most PCs (including Macs) sold today don't include SCSI. But with a PCI card you can easily add the feature.

Our recommendation is to ask the manufacturer of the SCSI device you are buying which card they recommend for their device (they test them). Lacking a recommendation from them, contact Adaptec at and ask them for a recommendation.

The basic rules are pretty simple:

  1. Daisy chain devices together. Which means to connect them to each other one after the other. There isn't any other way, actually.

  2. Use a unique SCSI ID for each device in the chain. Addresses 0 to 6 are safe; 7 is often reserved for your computer; and 8 through 15 are used only in fast/wide SCSI chains.

  3. Terminate the first and last device in the chain. The first device may be your (already terminated) internal hard drive, not the first device you attach to your computer. (We've got more to say about termination below.)

  4. Do not build a SCSI chain (including the hidden, internal cables) longer than 19.6 feet (or 6 meters).

Observe those rules and you'll be (way) ahead of the pack, but there are a few other important points to keep in mind:

  1. Length matters. Included in that 19.6 feet (or 6 meters) limit is the internal ribbon cable most SCSI devices contain. Count an extra foot (to keep the math simple) for internal cable of each device on your chain. And use the shortest length external cables that are practical for your setup.

  2. Cable quality matters. Yes, you can build a SCSI chain with ribbon cable. But if you want a reliable chain, buy double shielded (foil and braid), thick cables. Don't kink them, don't force them into pretzels. Let them lie unstressed. The longer the chain, the more important quality cables become.

  3. SCSI IDs are forgotten as soon as they are set. So document them to avoid a conflict. We go a step further, adhering to a numbering scheme. Internal drives are SCSI ID 0, all our scanners are ID 4, all our CD-ROM drives are ID 3, all our removables are ID 5, and our tape drives are ID 6. That makes it easy to swap them from one system to another, or build a temporary chain on the road.

  4. Termination matters. Very short SCSI chains (under 18 inches) perform without problems with just one end of the chain terminated, but otherwise you want to terminate both ends of the chain. And if your chain exceeds 10 feet run, it may be necessary to add a third terminator at the 10-foot point. Terminators are there to eliminate signal noise, improving throughput.

Terminators are a tangled subject all by themselves. Here are some key points:

  1. Terminators can be active or passive. Active terminators are highly preferred (and required for wide or ultra SCSI). Passive terminators use a resistor pack to minimize signal echo at the end of the cable, passively translating the supplied +5 volts to a reasonably correct voltage and impedance. The catch with passive terminators is that the voltage/impedance combination isn't ideal. Active terminators use a voltage regulator and lower-impedance resistors to get a much better match to what the SCSI cabling actually wants to see. Some even "actively" clip signal overshoots for further improved signal quality.

  2. Terminators come in three forms: resistor packs, blocks and logic board plugs. You'll find resistor packs (also known as SIPs) on hard drives, blocks on the SCSI ports of devices and plugs only in motherboard slots for onboard SCSI drives. They all do the same job, just in different places on the chain.

  3. Block terminators can have pass-through connectors or not.

Sometimes your chain may be compromised by a particular device in the chain. Our favorite example of this is Umax scanners.

A jumper on the logic board of Umax SCSI scanners is set at the factory to defeat active termination. So no matter what you do outside the box, you can't enable active termination. On a scanner that seems suicidal but the cure is simple enough. Just slide out the logic board after removing the retaining screws, find the green jumper nearest the SCSI port, switch it from the two posts in the Off position to the two in the On position. Visit for the details (and photos).

If you run into trouble with a SCSI chain, the time-honored method of trouble-shooting is to isolate the devices. Start with just your first device attached. If that works, add another. Until you run into the problem again. Try switching that last cable, or moving the device up the chain, or connecting just that device.

To help diagnose SCSI phenomena we use a special active terminator with LEDs to indicate whether termination power is on, if the attached device has been selected, if the target has requested a response from the host and if the host is responding to the target. Granite Digital at sells one such called SCSIVue Terminator. They're also an excellent source for cabling.

Follow the rules and you'll be able to build a reliable, problem-free SCSI chain. Without casting any spells.

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Just for Fun: The Summer Games

You don't have to go to Australia this summer to feast on Olympian competition. Here's a game you can play with your digicam to keep the kids amused.

The fun survives no matter which rules you throw out. But we're going to lay down a few rules so when the XDL (X-Digicam League) tries to cut us out of their multi-billion dollar television contract we have a leg to stand on. Besides, without rules there would be no fights and without fights there would be no need for supervision. And kids love rules. Right?

Oh, but first: the object of the game. Well, it's a little like Photo Charades. One "team" takes pictures. The other guesses what the pictures are.

Give Team One about 10 minutes to roam the premises (they can't disassemble too many things in 10 minutes) and shoot a dozen pictures. Or just 10 minutes. Or just a dozen shots.

But here's where the fun comes in: set the camera in macro mode. And tell them it won't count if the shots aren't in focus.

It is devilishly difficult to identify macro shots. But you've got devils, so they have a fighting chance.

When they're done, just plug the camera into the television and set the camera on slide show (or show the images manually).

Some musically inclined relative can hum the Jeopardy timeout tune or you can invent some other clever limit besides Utter Frustration (crying "Uncle" works fine). Usually the photographers can't help squeal the answer.

Make sure there's a prize. Extra marshmellows on the grill. Uncle Fizbert's Mercedes. Anything will do. But acumen must be rewarded.

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Dave's Deals

Trial downloads of the (excellent) PhotoGenetics imaging program are still available. If you decide to purchase PhotoGenetics, be sure to come back through this URL ( to receive the special $5-off deal for Imaging Resource readers!

Whiteboard Photo, available directly from the Pixid Web site at, is available for Imaging Resource readers at $20 off the usual $99.95 list price, for a net of only $79.95 at only. See our review at on the Web site.

Download the latest Mac OS version of QPict from and send an email to [email protected] titled "July QPict Contest" with your full name in the body of the message and the first item in the Scripts menu (to prove you've got it). We'll pick 10 winners at random by the end of July.

Binuscan is offering Imaging Resource readers a discount on Watch & Smile from $89 to $49 (plus shipping and sales tax). To order, contact Binuscan, Inc., 437 Ward Avenue, Suite 101; Mamaroneck, NY 10543; voice (914) 381-3780; [email protected];

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We Have Mail

You can email us at [email protected].

RE: Canon Pro70 for $499

Oldie but goody. Amazon at has the best price I've seen on the Pro70.

-- Daniel Lauring

(Thanks for the tip, Daniel! Unfortunately, it looks like they are out of stock already. -- Editor)

RE: DiNatale Class

Is there a Web site to find out more information on the [Olympus] class that Robert is teaching?

-- Inquiring Minds

(Sure -- and sorry about that; we should have known Inquiring Minds want to know that kind of thing): or call (800) 622-6372 ext. 6161. -- Editor)

RE: Getting That Middle Layer

I loved the article on generating anaglyphs. I am raising eyebrows at home and at work. But I am only raising them one layer! I was able to adapt the instructions to Paint Shop Pro and can get a foreground image to really stand out. But the directions for getting a middle layer completely lost me! Sounds like you need to have two red channels (one offset left, one offset right)? I would very much appreciate any clarification on how to do this -- especially for a Paint Shop Pro user.

Your Web site and newsletter are absolutely first rate!

-- Dr. Richard K. Clements

(Thanks for very much the kind words -- and congratulations on following that laborious text description to the bitter end! Very glad to hear you were able to make sense of it in Paint Shop Pro, too. We tried not to be too application specific.... But we did run out of room when it came time to explain three levels of depth.... In an RGB image you only get one red channel. What you put in it is the trick.... You got the foreground by shifting everything 6 pixels one way and then restoring the foreground from the unshifted version of the channel.... To do three levels, do the same thing, but paint the middleground (not the foreground) from that -6 pixel shift.... Then duplicate the original image, open it as "Untitled" and offset that red channel 6 pixels. Revert to RGB and save it as Untitled.foreground -- you'll want to clone the foreground from this separate image using a rubber stamp or clone tool.... Align the two images so you can see what you want in the foreground in both. Set your cloning tool to reference Untitled.foreground by clicking at a precise, repeatable spot in Untitled.foreground.... Move to the working 3D image and click to begin cloning in that same, exact spot. You should be painting the 6 pixel shift (and foreground image) in the red layer of the 3D image. -- Editor)

RE: Fireworks

Thanks for the great tips on shooting fireworks. Unfortunately, I read them after the 4th, so I wound up with a series of postage stamp dandelions. Next year!

-- R Lavine

(No problem. Check out our article on how to shoot a dandelion! -- Editor)
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Editor's Notes

FlashPoint at announced it plans to release Digita Post, software to email photos from cameras using the Digita OS through a cell phone, in September for $199. After selecting the photos to email, you can attach text or sound messages (if your camera has a microphone). Then, with the camera attached by cable to a cell phone, a simple click transmit them as an email message with an attached JPEG. Sounds are sent as attached WAVs.

Lockimage announced the release of Lockimage Pro v1.03, its image encryption software program. Principle of Lockimage, Ray Meyer, explained how Lockimage Pro is different from other encryption software, "Lockimage Pro v1.03 encryption is unique in that no password or keys are required. Once images are encrypted, using one button, they are secure and can be viewed safely by anyone using the Lockimage Pro Viewer. It allows distribution of images to potential purchasers for evaluation, without worrying that they will be used without your permission. The images cannot be altered, screen grabbed or manipulated they can only be viewed. Photographers, artists, designers and users of digital cameras, in fact, anyone who needs to share their images can now do so."

Canto has released the Cumulus Filter for Kodak DCS Cameras. The filter, an option to the entire Cumulus product line, helps more efficiently manage images taken by Kodak DCS cameras, automatically cataloging all camera settings and other important metadata together with the image. Even the camera´s voice annotations can be cataloged. The Cumulus Filter for Kodak DCS Cameras is free at

Beginning July 1, 2000 Nikon at is offering a $75 rebate on the Coolpix 800, 2.11 megapixel, 2x Zoom-Nikkor camera, currently priced at $599 MSRP. Nikon has also extended the $100 rebate on its Coolpix 950 2.11 megapixel, 3x optical Zoom-Nikkor lens digital camera, currently priced at $899 MSRP. The rebates are effective July 1, 2000 and end Sept. 30, 2000.

Watch free on the Internet at as 16 nations build and occupy the International Space Station in Earth orbit. Still and video images will be broadcast from the Russian Service Module of the Space Station to, sponsored by Kodak. The participating partners, Russian Aviation and Space Agency and RSC Energia, will deliver, manage and operate cameras inside and outside the Russian Service Module of the ISS. The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration will transport via shuttle a Kodak DCS 460 digital camera and accessories to the ISS. In return, NASA will use the data and images to assist the agency mission operations team. Dreamtime, a multimedia corporation, will manage and operate in association with Globus Space, a Texas corporation that has the contractual rights with the Russian partners. Currently scheduled for a July 12th launch, the Service Module will serve as the living quarters, power supply, flight control and source of propulsion during construction of the Space Station. After the Service Module or "Zvezda" is operational, the Web site will become active.

PhotoWorks and Visioneer said they plan to enable customers to easily scan digital images with a touch of a button directly into the PhotoWorks' online consumer photo archive. "The majority of images on photo-sharing sites today originate from home scanners," said Gary Christophersen, PhotoWorks president and CEO. "Our relationship with Visioneer makes the process of scanning photos and using online photo services such as sharing, albuming and online reprints extremely simple. PhotoWorks has always valued ease-of-use, which Visioneer has clearly built a reputation around, and we look forward to delivering joint services very soon."

The Hubble Heritage Project at sees the Hubble Space Telescope as a tool for extending human vision, one that is capable of building a bridge between the endeavors of scientists and the public. By emphasizing compelling HST images distilled from scientific data, they hope to pique curiosity about our astrophysical understanding of the universe we all inhabit. On the first Thursday of each month they plan to exhibit, at the Web site gallery, one additional picture distilled from HST exposures. Take a peek.

Epson made an interesting announcement about print stability: "We have received a few inquiries regarding an orange color shift on our Premium Glossy Photo Paper. This color shift is due to the exposure of the unprotected print to some atmospheric contaminants, specifically high concentrations of ozone. This shift is not caused by exposure to light.

The company recommends "prints be placed in a glass frame, stored in a photo album, or inserted in a protective sleeve after printing. If you are experiencing this kind of color shift and for some reason cannot protect the print, Epson Matte Paper-Heavy weight and Epson's Photo Paper offer much more resistance to these atmospheric contaminants."

Microtech has introduced the ZiO!, a small media reader to transfer digital pictures, music or other data to and from a digital camera, video recorder, MP3 player, or cell phone to a USB-equipped Mac or PC. Just insert the appropriate memory card and plug ZiO! into the USB port on your notebook or desktop computer. The computer will instantly recognize the card, allowing quick and easy data transfer. For systems with a USB port in the rear, a 1-meter extension cable is included. Available for MultiMedia/Secure Digital, SmartMedia, and CompactFlash including the IBM Microdrive. For more information call (800) 626-4276.

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That's it for now, but look for our next issue in about two weeks. Meanwhile, visit our site for the latest news, reviews, or to have your questions answered in our free discussion forum. Here are the links to our most popular pages:

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Happy snapping!

Mike Pasini, Editor
[email protected]
Dave Etchells, Publisher
[email protected]

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