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Minolta Messenger Software Worth a Thousand Words
By Mike Pasini, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, March 3, 2003 - 21:42 EST)

With Minolta's DiMAGE Messenger, you can annotate images, passing them along for further comment.

LAS VEGAS -- Minolta Corporation today launched a new Windows imaging software product targeted at sellers and buyers on auction Web sites, law enforcement agencies, real estate agents, educators and others who communicate with images. DiMAGE Messenger allows users to associate written text to specific portions of digital images, share the combination with others via email or printed copy, and invite related comments to be added from the receiver.

In the screen shot above, a prehistoric digicam is being offered at auction. The lens has been marked with a red rectangle and a comment ("The lens is in pristine condition.") associated with the lens. It's the second comment, as you can see from the list in the top right panel. The buttons alongside the comments have been enlarged and overlaid on the screen shot to highlight the available commands.

Printed Messenger files show the whole image as well as the individually marked segments captioned with the associated comments.

"I think it's a pretty cool program," Imaging Resource's Dave Etchells confided, "but Minolta has an uphill battle to get people to adopt it. For certain communities and applications though, it meets a need that nothing else serves right now. I can see it documenting insurance claims, real estate marketing, electronic instruction manuals and documentation, law enforcement, etc."

To encourage adoption, Minolta is offering a free trial download.

Dave said he's going to play with Messenger in the next couple of weeks, possibly incorporating it into his camera reviews to document control functions, for example. Stay tuned!

Original Source Press Release:

Minolta Introduces DiMAGE Messenger Software

New PC software program allows users to communicate with Images and Words
in a way never before possible

LAS VEGAS, NV (March 1, 2003) -- Minolta Corporation announces today an exciting new digital imaging software product that is ideal for sellers and buyers on auction Web sites, law enforcement agencies, real estate agents, educators and more. Minolta's new DiMAGE Messenger software program allows users to connect written text to specific portions of digital images, share the combination with others via e-mail or printed copy, and invite related comments to be added from the receiver ? all in just a few, simple steps.

With Minolta's DiMAGE Messenger software program, users who need to communicate with words and pictures can, for the first time, easily share images, ideas, comments, etc., with the time, date, and name of person making the comment displayed and linked to the corresponding marked portion of a digital image. Priced at under $30* for a downloadable version available at www.dimagemessenger.com, Minolta DiMAGE Messenger is easily within reach of all PC owners.

"People say that 'a picture is worth 1,000 words,'" said Jon Sienkiewicz, vice president of marketing for Minolta Corporation's Consumer Products Group. "But we say, 'We give you both.'"

The GUI (Graphical User Interface) of the DiMAGE Messenger software application opens into three panes. An image is loaded at top, left. Text is entered in the pane below the image. When the user draws a box to isolate the specific image portion that corresponds to the text and clicks "add", the text automatically reappears in the right-hand pane. By dragging the mouse cursor over the text, the box that was drawn onto the image reappears. By placing a checkmark in front of the text, the image inside the drawn box is enlarged to fill the image pane, showing details clearly.

The DiMAGE Messenger files can be printed to show the original image with the detailed image sections arranged in up to three columns and the corresponding text beneath each. The boxes drawn by the user to identify the image sections are color-coded. Color matching is available for accurate monitor and printer reproduction.

These annotated images can be sent to others via e-mail from within the application by selecting the "mail" button from the command program's menu. A trial version of DiMAGE Messenger can be attached to the e-mail automatically, if desired. The recipient can enjoy all functions of the software during the 14-day trial period and obtain a software license key to register a fully active version. After 14 days the trial version reverts to become a reader if it has not been validated. The reader will allow the user to open and read images and comments, but it does not allow additional comments to be added or edited.

Minolta DiMAGE Messenger software is an ideal communication tool. Home users will enjoy adding linked text to family albums, documenting personal possessions and organizing many details of their daily lives such as creating their own digital recipe files. The application is ideal for all persons who need to communicate by looking at and working with images and exchanging written words about the elemental contents of those images ? and is especially useful when significant distances separate two or more people. Other examples of highly suitable applications include identifying individuals in group photos, communicating with designers and consultants, and documentation for technical devices or real estate and insurance appraisals.

* Under $40 for CD-ROM version.

Minimum System Requirements

Computers: IBM PC/AT compatible computers
CPU: Pentium 133MHz or faster processor
Operating systems: Windows 98 Second Edition, 2000 Professional, Me, or XP
RAM: Minimum 64 MB of RAM (128MB with Windows XP)
Hard-disk space: 100 MB of free hard-disk space
Monitor: 800x600 monitor capable of displaying 24-bit color quality. (1024x768 or greater recommended)

Compatible Image Formats:
JPEG (Exif 2.1 and 2.2, 24-bit JFIF)
BMP (8, 16, and 24 bit)
TIFF (Exif 2.1 and 2.2, non-compressed 24-bit RGB)

Compatible E-mail Applications:
MAPI-compatible e-mail applications such as Microsoft Outlook Express and Microsoft Outlook.

Minolta Corporation
Minolta Corporation, headquartered in Ramsey, New Jersey, is the largest subsidiary of Minolta Co. Ltd. of Osaka, Japan, a leading manufacturer of cameras, business equipment, radiometric instruments and planetariums. Minolta Corporation's Consumer Products Group (CPG) markets 35mm film and Advanced Photo System cameras, digital cameras, binoculars, accessory lenses, photographic light meters, 35mm and Advanced Photo System film scanners and other consumer products.

The corporation's Business Products Group (BPG) markets digital and analog office equipment. Products include black-and-white copiers, digital black and white printer/copiers, plain-paper laser facsimile machines, digital color printer/copiers, micrographic systems, document management software, and related office equipment.

For more information, visit Minolta's Web site located at www.minoltausa.com or access Minolta's PHOTOFAX at 800-528-4767.

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