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Digital Photography News Archive!
January 1999


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Sunday, January 31, 1999

January 31 - Minolta Dimage Scan Speed review posted!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Sunday, January 31, 1999 - 0:00 EST)

-Great new scanner from Minolta! We're continuing to work hard behind the scenes, and the latest fruit of our labors is a review of the Minolta Dimage Scan Speed 35mm/APS film scanner. With an estimated retail price of $1,299, it's clearly at the top end of the "personal" film scanner range, and has capabilities and features to match. It digitizes a full 12 bits per channel, and has a top resolution of 2820 dpi. While it captures excellent scans, we believe its biggest selling point will be its software, which is quite approachable for novices, yet provides all the power a professional would want. Check out the review for the full details!

January 31 - Nikon discontinues Coolpix 900S, Sony and Fuji announce new cameras, and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Sunday, January 31, 1999 - 0:00 EST)

- No more Nikon CoolPix 900S! Steve's Digicams has posted an article stating that Nikon has officially stated that they have sold out of the extremely popular Nikon CoolPix 900S digital camera. Whilst there is no official press release on Nikon's site regarding this, the information on Steve's site from Nikon is as follows:
"Demand for the Nikon Coolpix 900s digital camera has exceeded our most optimistic forecasts. As a result, the Coolpix 900s is sold out. This unprecedented demand was driven in part by numerous industry awards, uniformly excellent product reviews and rousing word-of-mouth from consumers and imaging professionals. When the Coolpix 900 was named the #1 digital camera of 1998 by a leading independent product testing organization, sales accelerated still further. We recognize and regret any inconvenience the extraordinary demand for the Coolpix 900s may have caused for some of our loyal customers. Now for the good news: Some revolutionary new Nikon products, already in expanded production, are on the way. Details about these new products will be available on the Nikon USA website on
Feb 18th, 1999. If you are planning to purchase a digital camera, and cannot find a Coolpix 900s, we urge you to wait for the announcement in order to make an informed purchase decision.
We expect the demand for these new products to exceed past product sales. Therefore, we urge you to reserve your new Nikon with your local dealer as soon as possible. For the name of your nearest dealer visit and click into the dealer information page." Thanks to Steve's Digicams!
- Sony announces new 2.1 megapixel digicam! Reader Wong Ik Ming contacted us with news of a new digital camera from Sony. With PMA coming soon, Sony has decided to take the plunge and be first to announce a 2+ megapixel camera, their new CyberShot DSC-F55K. Steve's Digicams has found another page on the camera at PC Watch in Japan, containing a few links to Sony's site, and Phil Askey's Digital Photography Review has managed to get some exclusive pictures too! Specifications for the camera are: (Note the IR exclusive info in italics.)

  • 2.1 Megapixels, 1600 x 1200 resolution (2,110,000 pixel 1/2" CCD, effectively 2,045,000 pixels used)

  • 4Mb Memory Stick (instead of the normal Sony floppy disk)

  • 37mm Carl Zeiss Lens(Their literature makes a big feature of this.)

  • Rotating Lens assembly

  • Hybrid "daylight lit" LCD - backlit at night, daylight lit (reflective) in day

  • No viewfinder! Relies totally on LCD for control...

  • Aluminium alloy body

  • MPEG capable

  • 2.5x digital zoom - no optical zoom.

  • At highest resolution, takes 3 seconds to process an image, on average takes about 2 seconds

  • Boot-up time of 4 seconds

- Fuji makes a camera with muscle! Fuji has also announced a new camera, the 1.5 megapixel, 700g DS-260HD. What makes this camera different is that it's built to last, with a sturdy, waterproof, dustproof case that ensures the photographer gives up long before his camera. The new camera should retail for about 128,000 yen (US$1100) from 21st March '99 in Japan. There is no word yet on availability outside Japan.
- DCRP gets info on Agfa CL-50? No source is quoted, but the Digital Camera Resource Page are carrying news of a new camera from Agfa, the CL-50. Rumored specifications for the new camera are 1.9 megapixels, 3x optical zoom, 2x digital zoom, audio capability, a solar panel device reducing LCD power usage, and a price of $799.
- HP introduces new scanner! Hewlett Packard Co. has announced the release of a replacement for their ScanJet 5100C flatbed scanner. The HP ScanJet 5200C is a USB scanner featuring one-touch operation. Details beyond this are sketchy in the press release, and the scanner is not listed on HP's website, but further press releases state that the scanner is bundled with Adobe PhotoDeluxe Business Edition and Caere Corp's OmniPage and PageKeeper products. In a related release, Caere announced that OmniPage Pro 9.0 had received a PC Computing 5-star award, and been placed on the Windows Magazine "WinList".
- Olympus lets you get wet taking photos
...but keeps your camera dry! The website has posted news that Olympus intend to release a new case for their D-220L, D-300L, D-320L and D-340L digital cameras that is waterproof up to a depth of 3 metres. The case will allow Olympus users to take photos in shallow water (such as whilst snorkeling), and would also provide the camera with ideal protection from other potentially harmful environments (dust, rain, etc.). The case provides large sealed buttons replicating those on the camera, allowing you to take photos even when wearing gloves, and a similar case is being developed for the Olympus D-400Z. Thanks to for the story!align="TOP" width="1" height="35" naturalsizeflag="0">
- How big a problem is barrel distortion? Phil Askey's website is currently carrying a couple of articles regarding barrel distortion on digital cameras. If you're not already aware of it, barrel distortion is the tendency certain cameras display whereby the image is curved (particularly near the corners), almost as if the image itself were slightly spherical. Phil first of all called attention to a reader of his website who had reported experiencing "extreme barrel distortion" on a Minolta Dimage 1500EX camera over the range of 38mm to 70mm, and had hence returned the camera for a refund. Subsequently Phil and Gunner Fahlstrom (a writer for MacWorld and the Swedish Photographic Magazine) have produced a brief review of the Canon PowerShot Pro70, Sony DSC-D700, Olympus D-620L, Olympus D-400Z and
Sony Mavica FD-91 which includes a comparison of barrel distortion on these cameras.
- Colorocs licenses technology to Canon. Colorocs Information Technologies, Inc. of Norcross, GA have announced that they have granted Canon, Inc. of Japan a non-exclusive license to use Colorocs' patented color imaging technologies for use in copiers, printers and fax machines. Other licensees include Ricoh Co. Ltd., Minolta Co. Ltd., Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd., and the Mitsubishi Electric Corporation. The specifics of the agreement were not released.
- Lexmark announces record results. Lexmark International Group, Inc. of Lexington, KY have posted record fourth quarter results, surpassing Wall Street expectations. Net earnings for Q4 of $82 million were 48% over the $57 million posted in Q4 1997. Revenues for the same quarter rose 23% to a record $907 million, allowing yearly revenues to pass the $3 billion mark for the first time.
- Lexar Media chosen by official Superbowl photographers. Lexar Media, makers of the Lexar Pro series of PC-Card and CompactFlash storage cards, has announced that their 160MB 8X Pro Series PC Card has been selected for use by ImageDirect, the official digital photographers of Superbowl XXXIII.. The card is priced at $649, and is available from Lexar's website.
- IXLA adds to Board of Directors, announces upcoming "portal" site. IXLA Limited, makers of several digital imaging software products including "ixla Digital Camera Suite" and "ixla Explorer" has announced the addition of Abraham Ostrovsky to their Board of Directors. Mr. Ostrovsky is Chairman of JetForm Corporation (makers of digital forms software), and was previously CEO of both JetForm and Compressent (maker of the first software-based color PC fax). A further news release for IXLA unveiled plans to create a new digital imaging portal and news site,, from June 1999.
- IKON signs deal with Epson. IKON Office Solutions has announced a deal with Epson America Inc. to distribute Epson's Professional Graphics products across the USA. In return, IKON will be the sole distributor for Epson's new ColorPage 8000 printer. The ColorPage 8000 is targeted at users requiring 500 to 2000 pages per month, and is a full-featured 13" x 19" tabloid color laser printer with an external Fiery LX server at a price below $10,000.
- MetaCreations announces Q4 and '98 results. MetaCreations Corporation, makers of the popular "Kai's" range of software titles as well as the MetaFlash and MetaStream technologies we mentioned recently, has posted their 1998 and Q4 results. Whilst the company posted a loss for both Q4 ($3.7 million) and 1998 as a whole ($19.8 million), Q4 was still a significant improvement (25% up) as compared to Q3 '98.
- Tektronix receives award from PC Magazine. Tektronix Inc. hase announced that, three months after release, their Phaser 740L laser printer has received a "Year's Best" award from PC Magazine. The 740L is the first greyscale laser printer that can be upgraded to offer full color laser capabilities, and was the only laser printer mentioned in the "Year's Best" awards.

Wednesday, January 27, 1999

January 27 - Jini, Timers, Steamrollers & Lawyers, etc.
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, January 27, 1999 - 0:00 EST)

- Kodak dreams of Jini(tm)? This was a bit of a surprise to us, as we hadn't consciously connected Sun Microsystem's Jini initiative with digital imaging. The scope of Jini is way beyond a simple news blurb, but the basic concept is that of an operating environment that will span mutiple portable (and deskbound) devices, allowing them to talk to each other and collaborate in unprecedented ways. Kodak has announced their participation in the API (Applicaiton Programming Interface) to allow digital imaging devices to join Jini networks. (Now your digital camera will be able to talk to your toaster!) What does this mean? Hard to tell until things actually get implemented (instead of just being talked about and drawn on napkins), but the promise is that images could become as universal and easy-to-use as text. (Is this a good thing? I sometimes wonder, given the hundreds of hours I
spend toiling away with "easy-to-use text." - Dave ;-)

- Camera timer for Macs! We've been using the shutter-lag timer from Digital Eyes, built for the PC. (Digicams tend to have a lag between when you press the shutter-release button and when they actually take the picture. This lag can vary quite a bit between cameras.) Tim Holmes (of the Cult of Tim) just wrote with word of TenSeconds, a shutter-timing tool for Macs, which you can download here. Note though, that this tool is in early beta stage, and apparently really prefers Mac OS 8.5 to run. Tim's page says its "appearance is not ideal under Mac OS 8.0/8.1", but we actually couldn't get it to run at all on our G3 PowerMac, under OS 8.1. Nonetheless, this will be a useful tool for Mac users to contribute to the ongoing effort to characterize camera shutter-lag timing, once the bugs are out! Thanks,

- Major redesign at FRCN, JPEG software review: This in from Randy Glass' excellent FRCN site, by way of Steve's Digicams. Randy Glass of the Feather River Canyon News has been assembling a great collection of reviews on various digital imaging software programs. One of his latest is on a very sophisticated utility for handling JPEG files, JPEG Wizard from Pegasus Imaging Corporation. This powerful program may be of special value to web site operators, but we suspect it will be more than most users need for routine JPEG work, particularly given how cheap hard drives are getting these days. Definitely check out Randy's site for other useful tidbits though! Follow this link, then click on the link there for his digital imaging material. Great
work, Randy!

- Flash from Encad: HP Printers are too cheap! (So buy them quick? ;-) Large-format inkjet maker Encad has sued HP over a promotion campaign that encourages users to trade-in their Encad printers for new HP ones. Apparently, users can in some cases get a new HP unit and receive cash back in the bargain! Encad says this is unfair competition, as the deals are below cost for HP. (Give away the razor, sell the blades.) It appears that the ad campaign showing an Encad printer being crushed by a steamroller driven by an HP executive had something to do with Encad's decision to bring suit... HP should be worried though, the lawyer in this case is the same one who won a $6MM judgement against HP in an earlier case involving inkjet printing."0">
- Scary patent in large-format inkjet printing? More shakeups in store for large-format printing? International Digital Technology (IDTec) has announced the award of a broadly-based patent covering non-paper media (canvas, vinyl, etc) for inkjet printers. They claim that the patented process is actually widely used in the wide-format printing industry, and look forward to significant licensing revenue. - Will non-paper large-format prices go up soon? Only the lawyers know for sure...
- HP upgrades business scanner. HP has announced the ScanJet 5200C, replacing their earlier 5100C business-series color scanner. The new unit will sell for $299, but the press release was light on specifications, and the specific differences relative to the 5100.
- More Canon equipment for missing children! We first reported this back on Jan 14, in relation to their donation of digital imaging equipment to the Atlanta Police Department. Today, the Boston PD demonstrated the benefits of the equipment they've received from Canon. The first few hours after a child's disappearance is critical to their successful rescue: By using cameras, scanners, and inkjet printers donated by Canon, the Boston police and 19 other agencies across the US will be able to put color photo flyers in patrolmen's hands within minutes of receiving a missing-persons report. What a great use of digital technology! We applaud (again) Canon's efforts in this area, and encourage other manufacturers to develop similar programs!width="1" height="35" naturalsizeflag="0">
- Cameras everywhere? Is this January 14 all over again? January 14, we also reported on the development of some new "camera on a chip" products from Photobit corporation, using CMOS technology. While not likely to be up to the standards of photo buffs for current digital still-cameras, the new chips promise *extremely* low-cost digital imaging in lots of places you haven't seen it so far. (PDAs, for example.) Photobit has now announced a manufacturing partner for the chips, Tower Semiconductor, Ltd, of Migdal Haemek, Israel. Over the next year, we expect to see digital still cameras starting to crop up everywhere, in PDAs, attached to cell phones, etc. This is likely just the beginning of the wave...
- Polaroid jumps into digital watermark game. Polaroid today announced the availability of their PolaSave and PolaKey software to the general market. These technologies apparently have already been deployed as part of the drivers-license systems for several states and countries. Similar to other digital watermark systems, the technology encodes a unique key and date stamp into image data, without defacing the original image. Other digital waterstamp technology is more aimed at tracing ownership, the Polaroid approach appears directed mainly at proving integrity of the original image.
- SanDisk wins big, CF prices continue to fall. Despite rapidly falling prices for its CompactFlash memory products, SanDisk reported record revenues and profits for the last quarter of 1998. Check the link for details, but revenues were up $6.1MM, and profits up $1.1MM relative to the previous quarter. At the same time, Kingston Technologies slashed prices on flash memory products by up to 26%. (See the item on our Deals page, noting sharply lower prices on CF memory cards from advertiser d-store.)

Sunday, January 24, 1999

January 24 - PMA Run-up, big drives in small packages, boring earnings stuff, etc.
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Sunday, January 24, 1999 - 0:00 EST)

- PMA Ramp-Up: As the PMA convention draws closer, we expect less news out of camera manufacturers, as most will be saving the big announcements for that show. (Opens Feb 18.) We're aware of at least 3 new models that will debut there, but have to keep our lips zipped, due to non-disclosure agreements we've signed. We CAN say though, that it's shaping up to be a very interesting show, with some neat stuff on the way from several fronts: Stay tuned here, as we hope to have one or two surprises for you on the eve of the show, and Dave will be emailing updates to Mike every night with the latest goodies from the show floor!
- Nikon Rumors: 'Mongering and Control. We earlier passed along a (pretty wild) rumor of a new Nikon camera that would combine just about every desireable feature known to man. We wanted to go on record saying that we believe such a combination of features (SLR, 2 Megapixel, anti-shake technology, $1100 price tag) is *extremely* improbable. We had second thoughts about having promulgated that rumor, but having once reported it, decided not to pull the news item (still available below for those interested).

All that said, we received another intriguing data point from the Washington DC area, courtesy of reader "BC4N6" (no name, just the cryptic email account.) This sounds plausible, although we haven't ourselves heard any plans to discontinue the CP 900. Here's what BC heard: Without mentioning this rumor, I was in a large camera chain in the Washington, DC area (Penn Camera) today, and was told the CP 900 was being discontinued, to be replaced by the new Nikon to be unveiled at the Feb Show. SLR type, zoom lens (though not interchangeable) and 2M pixels. Designed to compete with the Canon Pro 70 and the Sony DCS-D700. No positive proof, just what has filtered down to this dealer. It is enuf to make me wait to find out, since I had been considering the Sony and Canon.
- Big PC-Card drive bodes well for digicams? Maybe... We reported some months back on the availability of 1 Gigabyte Type-III PC card hard drives from Calluna Technologies. Well, they've been hard at work, and now have announced the launch of 260 Megabyte Type II PC Card hard disk drives. The new units are slated to be shown at CeBIT '99. The new units should be available at a MSRP of $299 from resellers in April. Others in the industry have touted this development as signalling the imminent death of semiconductory memory in digital cameras. We disagree, since the Calluna drives are the much larger PCMCIA format, rather than the CompactFlash format used by most digicam makers. We expect the IBM CF Type II cards to have a much bigger impact once they arrive. Another thing: Remember that these are hard drives with moving parts: Drop one and it's toast. While rotating memory will continue to be
important in the professional arena, we expect solid-state storage to continue to dominate the consumer market for years to come.
- Kodak pitches "Picture Friendly" program Leveraging one of the best-known brands on the planet, Kodak has announced their "Kodak Picture Friendly" co-branding program. Under this program, software and hardware manufacturers providing compatibility with a wide range of Kodak digital-related products will be allowed to display a "Kodak Picture Friendly" notice on their packaging and in their advertising. Impact to digicam users? Probably not a lot, other than companies calling greater attention to things they're doing anyway...
- Iomega turns a corner? Iomega Corporation reported a fourth-quarter profit of $19 million, and positive cash flow of over $100 million, up from a third quarter 1998 loss of $14.8 million. Zip and Jaz cartridge shipments were both up 47 percent over the same quarter last year, even though shipments of Jaz drives were down a little. We view the strong growth in media sales as a very positive sign, given the likely high margin for that product category. These figures show no impact from the Clik! product yet, as it just barely began shipping in mid-December. It remains to be seen how significant the Clik! drive will be, in the face of ever-declining solid-state media costs, but we felt the digital camera version of the Clik! offered some nice features, when we saw it at Comdex. (Iomega has promised us a Clik!, but we haven't had the opportunity to follow up since the holiday season.) Regardless of
the fate of the Clik!, it's good to see Iomega returning to profitability, as so many of us rely on their drives & media to handle our burgeoning collections of digital imagery!
- Polaroid wraps up tough year. We've always had a soft spot in our hearts for Polaroid, having used their products so extensively in research over the years. (Any self-respecting science or engineering lab always had a "Polaroid cupboard", with boxes of film to use with the microscopes, or whatever.) Recently, the company has suffered, in part due to problems in the world economy (Russia in particular), and in part we suspect due to the steady encroachment of digital technology into their traditional markets. Polaroid closed it's most recent fiscal year with a reported loss of $75 million, which nonetheless represents significant progress relative to their year-earlier loss of nearly $203 million. On a positive note though, Polaroid says it is about breaking even in their digital business. (Most of our readers probably don't realize that almost every digicam manufacturer out there is losing money,
continuing in the business for "strategic reasons," rather than current profits!)
- Kodak makes big gains, still slammed. Kodak reported a profit for last quarter of $272 million, compared to a loss last year of $744 million. Sounds pretty good, doesn't it? Not according to Wall Street, where an analyst at Prudential Securities said "...the Street was expecting a positive earnings surprise." (Well, if they were expecting it, it wouldn't have been a surprise, would it?) Kodak's stock was hammered down $8.375 a share on the news. Much of the below-expected earnings appear to also have been due to problems in Russia, but "...poor performance in ... digital imaging..." was also cited as a problem.

Thursday, January 21, 1999

January 21/22 - 3D Photography, Nikon rumors, one BIG printer, and much more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, January 21, 1999 - 0:00 EST)

- MetaCreations, Kodak, Intel let you take pictures in 3D! I'll freely admit that this article astounded me somewhat... MetaCreations, makers of the popular "Kai's" range of image editing software, today announced that they had licensed their MetaFlash technology to Kodak and Intel. What is MetaFlash? It's apparently a combination of a customised flash unit and some very clever software that will let your digital camera take a photo with a little extra - a third dimension! A further press release contains a little more information, confirming that the MetaFlash software outputs a file in MetaStream format, MetaCreations' technology for streaming 3D over the Internet. The
article also suggests that "for example, an athletic shoe manufacturer might use this technology to [show] the details of new shoe models in a 3D 'virtual' sporting goods store". The possibilities for such a technology are endless, and having tried the MetaStream plugin myself, I'm certainly impressed and hopeful that MetaFlash is what it appears to be...
- Nikon make an image stabilizer? Hot off the rumormill is a story kindly forwarded to us by reader "Jana". "This information was taken from a message on Steve's Digicams BB (title: New Nikon and more...) This camera seems incredible.. ("If real, says a skeptical Dave...)

...'several 2 Megapixel cameras will be released in March, volume in April. You will see.

The great new Nikon feature (besides 6x optical Nikkor lens zoom) is a "similar to Sony" optical+_digital_ image stabilizing system (though, not the co-developed Sony/Canon system which is *only* optical-prism). It is a 100% new Nikon developed stabilizing system!!!) You will be able to make sharp shots with a 1/2 second shutter speed, even at 6x... The Nikon will also have a rechargable Li-Ion battery, USB, lens cover (similar to the Canon Powershot A5), it will also be a true SLR, 5 full 1.92 res at 4fps max, (even bigger buffer than Olympus D-620L!!) and a new "double-media" CompactFlash/Smartmedia slot.

Uncompressed TIFF is another feature, and the new 1.8" TFT, that is built IN the camera body and can be "ejected" by pressing a button on the right side. The TFT will probably only be used for checking pictures and not for shooting as it is a true SLR camera. You will also have a *big* LCD with *all* features/options, so no need to switch on the TFT when composing a shot. The size will be about the same as for the 900 series, but the weight is much lower (with batteries) because it's using a small Li-Ion battery.

The price will be 1100$ when released in end of March. I will post a picture of the camera on Friday and POSSIBLY a few sample images."

Fact or fiction? Only time will tell, but rest assured that we'll be doing all the digging we can to find out how close to the truth this rumor is. If you find anything about this story substantiated anywhere, please let us know at [email protected]!
- FlashPoint extends Digita Photo Adventure contest! FlashPoint Technology, Inc. have announced that they've extended the deadline for their Digita Photo Adventure contest. The new deadline is February 28, 1999, and winners will be announced March 29, 1999. The Grand Prize is a $2500 trip to either Hawaii, Mexico or the Caribbean, and the first place winner gets either a Kodak DC220 Zoom, Kodak DC 260 Zoom or Minolta Dimage EX Zoom 1500 digital camera. 5 second place winners receive a SanDisk ImageMate card reader and 15MB CompactFlash card, while 10 third place winners receive a SanDisk 10MB CompactFlash card. All qualified entrants will receive a free 1-year subscription to Digital Camera Magazine, so get to work on those entries now, and good luck to all!
- Epson Stylus goes WIDE
. This is a bit of an odd one, in that while Dave saw it in eMedia Weekly (formerly MacWeek), and Mike found that it was mentioned in the online version of that publication last October, we still haven't seen a press release on it from Epson. At any rate, Epson apparently is taking the remarkable ultra-fine resolution, 6-color, variable-dot-size inkjet technology from their Sytlus Pro 5000 prepress proofer, and putting it into a large-format (44"-wide) printer. The new Epson Stylus Pro 9000 will handle media from 13 x 19 inches, to 44 inches wide by 10 feet, all of it printed at 1440x720 dpi, with variable-sized ink dots. (We've seen the output from the Stylus Pro 5000, and it's little short of astonishing.) the new printer also has a very straight paper path, permitting it to handle
stock as thick as 1.5 mm, not to mention its ability to handle two rolls of media at once! Other pertinent characteristics include ink cartridges with a capacity of 220 ml each, and a FieryX2 controller from Electronics for Imaging that supports Postscript Level 3, with a 200 MHz RISC processor, at least 64 Meg of RAM, and a 4 gigabyte internal hard drive. The new printer is speedy too, beating competing units from Encad by as much as 33%, and from HP by as much as 72%. This last year has seen some shaking out of the large-format inkjet market, with Calcomp's bankruptcy the most visible evidence. (We've heard that just about everyone in the large-format inkjet business has had a rough year.) Digital photographers should rejoice over this product though: If the print quality matches that of the Stylus Pro 5000, it will be virtually indistinguishable from a professionally-printed photograph: Imagine the best quality photo printing you've seen, only reproduced at a size of 44
inches by 10 feet or so!
- Imaging Technologies inks Russian deal. Imaging Technologies, whom we mentioned in a January 19 story regarding their new sub-$1000 color calibration kit, have announced they have agreed an exclusive sales and distribution agreement for Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States. The deal has been signed with a Santa Clara, California company, Trans-Ameritech Enterprises Inc., who have a network of over 2000 resellers in Russia, Byelorussia, the Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Kazakhstan. In addition to color calibration equipment, Imaging Technologies also produces Postscript controllers, monochrome and color printers, print servers and digital image storage devices.
- Corel returns to profitability. Corel Corporation of Canada, makers of the CorelDRAW graphics suite and WordPerfect office suite today announced their financial results for Q4 1998 and 1998 Fiscal Year. The figures showed that in Q4 '98, Corel made $6.8 million profit, compared to a loss of $66.9 million in the same period last year, and although over 1998 as a whole there was still a net loss of $30.4 million, this was significantly better than last year's net loss of $231.7 million. Corel intends to release new versions of both WordPerfect Office and CorelDRAW in Q2 1999. In an interesting sidenote, Corel got some excellent publicity off the fact
that CorelDRAW was used by designer Luc Luycx to create the winning design for the back of the new Euro coins to be introduced throughout most of Europe shortly.
- Tawbaware releases new version of Thumber! Max from Tawbaware Software contacted us today to tell us that a new version of his excellent Thumber software has been released. The software extracts thumbnails from Digicam images, creates web-page indexes, displays shutter/exposure information, renames images in batches, performs lossless rotation, transfers files, and more - and best of all, it's free! The new version is Thumber 2.40, and adds the ability to transfer images between a removeable memory card and your hard drive, adds some extra Tooltip help, fixes some bugs, and more... Thanks, Max!
- Kona Systems helps publish digital photos on the web! Kona Systems of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii today announced the release of the first version of their Show the World program. The program enables users to post photo albums on the Internet, similarly to existing commercial online albums - the difference being that the user posts their galleries in the web space provided by their Internet provider. Show the World automatically creates thumbnails of images in the photo albums, and allows you to crop and resize images as well as altering contrast and brightness. The program runs under Windows95, 98 or NT 4.0, requiring the Microsoft Java Virtual Machine to run, and is available immediately at a cost of
$49.95. A free demo is available online, with the only limitation being that it is not possible to save your album or upload it to your ISP.
- MainEvent releases PhotoScripter 1.0 MainEvent Software have released PhotoScripter 1.0, a plug-in for the Macintosh that adds scripting capabilities to Adobe PhotoShop 5.0 and later. A single-artist licence for PhotoScripter is $299, and bulk discounts are available. A $999 production machine licence for up to 10 artists is also available.
- Suite offering from DIG. In the latest installment in the ongoing saga of the FlashPix format, the Digital Imaging Group consortium has announced the availability of an official Interoperability Test Suite. Manufacturers and others can use this suite to test their software for compliance with the official FlashPix standard. The free test suite can be ordered through the DIG web site.
- VisionShape bundles LaserFiche Plus with scanner. VisionShape today announced an agreement to bundle LaserFiche Plus with their VS-7590 scanner and batch capture software. LaserFiche Plus, from LaserFiche Document Imaging, allows users to create a CD containing their archived documents along with a search engine that can be distributed royalty-free. The VisionShape VS-7590LF CD Archive Solution System is targetted at users who scan at least 5,000 pages a day, and is available immediately at a cost of $14,995.
- Whoops! Thanks to reader Benjamin Gordon for having a lot better eyesight than we have typing abilities. In our January 3rd article "32 Meg SmartMedia coming soon!", we accidentally added a dash to the URL for the WindowsNT FlashPath driver at Olympus Europe. The URL has been corrected now, and we thank Benjamin once again for the note!
- Bells a'chiming, and too many candles! Your trusty news editor is somewhat overloaded, what with two birthdays (mine and my fiancee's) followed by our wedding - all in the space of one week - and relatives visiting from overseas for the wedding, too... It's going to be more than hectic for the next few days, between blowing out far too many candles, sipping champagne, and trying to look calm and collected whilst I'm showing the "tourists" around. Why am I telling you this? Because, unfortunately for Dave, it means I'm going to have to pass the news page back to his more than capable (if hideously overworked) hands for the next few days... Spare me a thought at 3pm EST on the 23rd, when I'll be saying my "I do's"... (Best wishes to Mike & Bethany! - I don't know who will miss Mike more over the next week, me or the readers! ;-)

Wednesday, January 20, 1999

January 20 - Popular Photography joins in PMA Show, SmartDisk gets bigger, Toshiba pushes the limits, and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, January 20, 1999 - 0:00 EST)

- Popular Photography agrees to sponsor PMA Awards! DigitalFocus, a leading digital imaging newsletter publisher, today announced that Popular Photography Magazine had agreed to co-sponsor the 2nd annual "Excellence in Imaging" awards at the Photo Marketing Association 1999 Show. The announcement lends extra credibility to the awards, thanks to Popular Photography's position in the Photography industry. Awards will select the best in the following fields: digital cameras, digital camcorders, printers, scanners, software, services, media, and technology innovation.
- SmartDisk expands role of Michael S. Battaglia. In a press release today, SmartDisk Corporation (makers of the FlashPath SmartMedia reader for floppy disk drives and the Smarty Smart Card reader/writer) announced the new role of Michael S. Battaglia. Battaglia was formerly cast in the dual role of President and CEO of both SmartDisk and Fischer International Systems Corporation, who co-owns SmartDisk along with Toshiba Corporation. Battaglia's role is now solely as President and CEO of SmartDisk, reflecting their rapid growth, and he will also shortly be given a place on the Board of Directors of FISC. Battaglia is also currently on the Board of Directors of SmartDisk.
- Toshiba pushes Hard-Disk Density limits! Toshiba Corporation also hit the headlines today with news that they've managed to push the maximum density for a single standard 2.5" form factor hard-disk platter up to 3.3GB, a new record high! This news was accompanied by the announcement of three 2.5" hard-drives based on the new technology. All three drives will be available in volume Q1 1999, and have a 4,200RPM spin speed, 13ms seek, UltraDMA mode 2 interface and require a 5-volt charge with a 0.3 watt standby power consumption. The MK3212MAT has a capacity of 3.2GB with 1 platter, while the MK6411MAT has a capacity of 6.4GB on 2 platters and both drives have a height of 8.45mm. The MK1011GAV has an incredible (for a 2.5" drive) capacity of 10GB, and has three platters and a slightly increased height of 12.5mm. They're not small enough for a digital camera, but here's
hoping the technology makes its way down the chain, and soon!
- Kyocera release new laser printer. Peerless Systems Corporation today announced that Kyocera had commenced shipping a new laser printer utilising Peerless' embedded object based imaging system. The FS-1700+ is a 12-ppm (pages per minute) unit with a resolution of 2400 x 600dpi, and environmentally friendly refillable cartridges. A wide range of networking options are available for the printer, which is available immediately.
- Fujitsu readies scanner with ScanRight Virtual Rescan. Fujitsu Computer Products of America today announced a new scanner, the Fujitsu M3097D, featuring proactive image correction. Image correction is handled by hardware and software from Kofax Image Products, called ScanRight Virtual Rescan. The scanner can automatically correct common problems faced by OCR programs, such as output skewed by up to 30%, strong background colors, darkening of background when text is darkened, speckling and dotting, and rough font edges. It will be available by the end of the month, and is designed to reduce errors and workload in 1,000 pages/day or greater OCR environments.

Tuesday, January 19, 1999

January 19 - Epson drops printer prices, UMAX inks deal with Circuit City, and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, January 19, 1999 - 0:00 EST)

- Epson announces price drop! Epson today announced a price drop on three of their award-winning inkjet printers. The price -cuts are on the Stylus Color 440, 640 and 740, and are effective immediately. The Stylus Color 440, a 720 x 720-dpi unit, has been reduced from $149 to $129, whilst the 1440 x 720-dpi Stylus Color 640 has dropped from $199 to $179. The Stylus Color 740 offers 1440 x 720-dpi resolution and variable droplet-size, and has been reduced from $279 to $249.
- UMAX signs deal with Circuit City! In a deal announced today, UMAX and Circuit City have agreed to sell the UMAX Astra 1220U and 610P scanner in all 533 Circuit City Superstores in the United States. The agreement also covers the Astra 1220P scanner, which will be sold in 36 expanded Circuit City outlets. The Astra 610P and 1220P units are parallel-port units, and the Astra 1220U is a USB unit. Both 1220 units have an optical resolution of 600 x 1200dpi, and the 610P has an optical resolution of 300 x 600dpi.
- Club Photo creates Out of Box Photos Showcase! Have you just bought your first digital camera? Would you like to share your first moments trying that camera out with the rest of the world? If so, you'll be pleased to hear that the Club Photo Network has created a fun new showcase for just that purpose. The Out of Box Photos Showcase lets new digicam owners show off their first digital photos, and everybody else share in the fun of seeing just what that new toy can do! It's a simple, fun idea, and probably gives prospective digicam owners a good idea of how their first photos will turn out too... Email your photos to Club Photo, tell them where on the web the photo is with the submission form, or even set up your own Club Photo website, and upload the photo yourself!
- Imaging Technologies offers sub-$1000 color calibration. Imaging Technologies Corp. today announced the first all-in-one ICC/ColorSync compatible color matching package for under $1000. The package features profiling for scanners, digital cameras, printers, and monitors and includes a precision colorimeter made by Color Savvy Systems.
- Etalon Corp announces 3D PhotoClay. Etalon Corporation today announced the release of a new digital imaging program based on the Microsoft Direct3D API. 3D PhotoClay allows users to convert digital images into 3D models, to which they can apply different lighting and warping effects, and integrate with 3D models. The results can be saved as AVI videos, saved as 2-dimensional pictures, or converted into VRML 3D-environments viewable by VRML-capable web browsers.
- Can Iomega's Clik! succeed? CNet News have posted an article debating Iomega's new Clik! drive, and its chances of success. Will Iomega continue to succeed, or have they come up with too little, too late? Only time will tell for sure, but the article is certainly food for thought.
- Imagination beta-tests e-paper solution for Lotus Notes. Imagination Software Inc. announced the availability of their Virtual Copier application for Lotus Notes. Virtual Copier enables users to scan documents "from virtually any hardware-maker's device", and integrate them into Lotus Notes databases.
- Digital Cameras make it into the... dog kennel?? A Los Angeles dog-kennel called the Doggie View Day-Care Center has announced it has followed the lead of several child daycare centres in introducing digital cameras hooked up to the Internet, allowing owners to watch their pampered pets from home or office...

Sunday, January 17, 1999

January 17 - General news, and some nice new gadgets!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Sunday, January 17, 1999 - 0:00 EST)

- David Pratt appointed CEO of FlashPoint. It was a busy day yesterday for David Pratt, previously Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Adobe Systems, the world's second-largest software company behind Microsoft.. In two news releases yesterday, it was first announced that Mr. Pratt had been appointed the new CEO and President of FlashPoint Technology Inc., the company responsible for the FlashPoint operating system used in several of the newer digital cameras. Then an hour later, it was announced that Mr. Pratt had also taken up a position on the board of directors of NCompass Labs, a web design and content management company in Vancouver, British Columbia. Mr. Pratt has been on the board of directors of FlashPoint since since June 1998, and also holds positions on the board of Punch Networks and Wind River Systems. He has previously held senior management positions at Logitech, Quantum Corporation, Boschert, Intel and Fairchild Systems, and has a B.S.E.E. from M.I.T. and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago.
- Lithium batteries a fire risk? The Boston Globe has posted a story regarding lithium ion batteries, and the reports of battery fires that have recently surrounded them. Essentially, metallic lithium ion batteries can pose a fire risk if lithium powder produced as the battery ages is exposed to air, which can happen if a battery is punctured or leaking. The story reports on research into replacements for the lithium ion batteries we know today, which are non-metallic and remove the risk of fire whilst allowing for quicker recharges and a longer battery life. Thanks to Steve's Digicams for the story!
- Isn't Christmas over already? In a rather curious press release, The Media Farm has announced an agreement to run a Christmas software promotion whereby buyers of participating HP products including printers, scanners and digital cameras in the United Kingdom will be able to select "leading software titles that best suit their needs via a seasonal Christmas brochure". Either they forgot to mention they're talking about Christmas '99, or somebody thinks Christmas happens late in England...
- More on HP's Apollo Consumer Products, Inc. We reported on January 14th about HP's plans to create a new printer brand, selling budget printers under the name Apollo. A further press release from HP yesterday revealed a little more information on the new brand. Apollo printers will ship from Spring '99 in the US and Europe, followed by Latin America and Asia Pacific markets by year-end. The printers will be designed to look more "interesting to the eye", somewhat similar to the "love it or hate it" iMac. The printers will be under $100, and aimed at people buying low-end sub-$700 PC systems, and distribution will initially be targeted at bundled systems with a PC and printer selling together. Later on, distribution will also cater for printers customized for different retailer's preferences.
- Cyclovision provides one-shot 360¼ picture solution. Cyclovision is offering the fastest, simplest way to create 360¼ panoramic images with your digital camera. One click of the shutter with ParaShot's attachment connected to your camera, and it takes a 360¼ image. Transfer the image to your PC, and the ParaShot software unravels the donut-shaped image and turns it into the familiar "scrollable, immersive" 360¼ image that so many websites are starting to offer nowadays. Simplicity and the fact that ParaShot requires no stitching of images or additional processing fees make ParaShot an extremely attractive solution, and a list price of $995 won't really break the bank, either. The ParaShot attachment is designed to fit either the Agfa ePhoto 1280 or ePhoto 1680 digital cameras. Cyclovision offer plenty of sample ParaShot images on their website - all you need is a Java-enabled browser or the LivePicture plugin. Thanks to Steve's Digicams for the story!
- Microtech releases new products at MacWorld. Microtech emailed us with information about several new products of interest to IR readers. First of all, the USB CameraMate offers USB access to both 3.3v and 5v SmartMedia cards in sizes up to 128MB, and CompactFlash cards, including the newer 5mm CF-II type cards. The Digital PhotoAlbum Pro has been upgraded and now offers SCSI access to Type I and II PC-Cards, Type III rotating "DPA" Viper drives, SmartMedia in 3.3v or 5v forms up to 128MB, and CompactFlash cards of all types. The unit also has a Flash ROM to allow upgrades to support future standards where possible. Both of these products support Mac and PC, assuming you have the correct hardware. At the same time, Microtech have announced the release of the first 160MB Type-II ATA Flash Card, at a suggested retail price of $999.

Friday, January 15, 1999

January 15 1/2 - Oly D-620L review posted...
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, January 15, 1999 - 0:00 EST)

- Full Olympus D-620L review posted. We've completed our full review of the Olympus D-620L SLR digicam, a very interesting unit. Its huge buffer memory makes the shooting experience MUCH more like that of a film camera, letting you snap pictures about as fast as you want (every 0.8 seconds), and the external flash sync connector opens a range of possibilities. Check it out!

January 15 - Copyright warning, PMA rumors...
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, January 15, 1999 - 0:00 EST)

- website carries Sanyo VPC-2400EX story.The current news at is of the new Sanyo VPC-2400EX digital camera, which uses daylight to supplement the backlight, reducing energy consumption in the process. In addition to this important feature, the camera also has a 3x optical zoom, 1280 x 960 pixel resolution, a 4MB SmartMedia card, audio recording (4 seconds/picture), and the ability to take ten sequential photos at 0.5 second intervals. The article at includes a front picture of the unit, and a picture illustrating the unusual flap on the top of the camera where external light for the backlight enters the camera. (We saw this at Comdex, but for some reason, Sanyo's priced these in the stratosphere. Cute idea, but too bad Sanyo's so out of line on the pricing. - DE)
- Watch that copyright! It seems that in the growing world of the Internet, copyright is one of the issues that is often overlooked, but in the least few days we have seen warnings that may be of interest to Imaging Resource readers. Phil Askey's excellent website is carrying a warning in their news that a certain provider of free webspace carries a clause in their contract which automatically transfers ownership of copyright on all material they are hosting from the author to themselves! This could feasibly allow them to use or sell your work for their own profit at a later date. At the same time, Steve's Digicams is carrying a warning that similar issues could exist with those sites offering free webspace for your photographs. It's understandable that those providing free services to the Internet community would want to protect themselves wherever possible, but at the same time, it's a good idea to check the contract carefully when signing up for any service on the Internet. Caveat emptor - buyer beware - even if what you're "buying" is free!
- PMA '99 Show gets nearer... and the rumors start to circulate! Steve's Digicams are carrying two stories about the upcoming Photo Marketing Association Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. The first is that Toshiba will be showing a true 2-megapixel camera, the PDR-M4, which will be an all-Toshiba design, not a Fuji OEM. The second story is that Olympus and Nikon will both have new digicams on show. The show itself will be in the Las Vegas Convention Center, February 18-21 1999, and a list of exhibitors is available on PMA's website. (As usual, we're rather restricted in what we can say ourselves about new cameras, since we're under non-disclosure with most of the manufacturers. We expect to have some new things to show you right around PMA time though, and we'll also be attending the show. - Dave will be emailing news reports to Mike, who'll post them here, so you'll get the very latest! -DE)
- SmartDisk Corporation allied with NEC. In a press release today the SmartDisk Corporation, makers of the FlashPath Flash Memory Card Reader, announced that the NEC Corporation had agreed to become an investor and manufacturing partner of SmartDisk. NEC will also distribute SmartDisk's "Smarty" smartcard reader/writer worldwide. SmartDisk's FlashPath reader fits into a standard 3.5" floppy disk drive, and reads SmartMedia flash cards from Toshiba and Samsung.
- GeniCom introduces new laser printers. Genicom Corporation today announced the release of two new 600dpi laser printers. Both printers are capable of 17 ppm (pages per minute), and have 125MHz MIPS processors, 12MB of memory (upgradeable to 64MB), PostScript Level 2 and PCL 6 emulation. The microLaser 170 has serial and parallel ports, and the microLaser 170N adds 10/100BaseT and 10Base2 Ethernet support.
- Mita creates new Printing and Reprographics Division.Mita announced the creation of a new division to handle sales and distribution of their color and greyscale laser printers, and wide-format products including a wide-format digital copier/plotter/scanner (must be quite a device!). The new division is called the Printing and Reprographic Products Division.
- Visioneer releases new OneTouch USB scanner. We covered a story on January 7th about the sale of Visioneer's scanner business to Primax Corporation of Taiwan, and Primax hasn't taken long to release their first new scanner under the Visioneer brand name. The Visioneer OneTouch 7600 USB offers 600 x 1200 dpi optical optical resolution, 36-bit color depth, and four buttons on the scanner that communicate directly with the Visioneer PaperPort software bundled as part of the sale agreement with Visioneer. The SCAN button obviously scans your document, the COPY/PRINT button scans your document and immediately prints it, the FAX button scans your document and sends it to your fax software, and the fourth button is user-customisable. The scanner is available immediately at a recommended price of $149.99
- IXLA and eCi announce alliance. IXLA Ltd., Australian maker of several Digital Imaging software products, and Enterprise Corporation International, a leader in recordable CD-R products, have announced an alliance today. The two companies intend to set a standard for archival of digital images on CD-Recordable media. IXLA's past products include the award-winning ixla Digital Camera Suite (PMA's 1998 Innovative Digital Imaging Product award), ixla Explorer (PC Photo Editor's Choice), ixla Web Easy (1998 PC Week Best of Comdex Finalist), and several others.

Thursday, January 14, 1999

January 14 - Canon wins award, donates equipment, and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, January 14, 1999 - 0:00 EST)

- Canon PowerShot Pro70 wins award! Canon USA today announced in a press release that they had received the first ever "Best Digital Still Camera" award in Popular Mechanics' Editor's Choice Awards. The PowerShot Pro70 is currently believed to be ready to ship in the USA in just over 2 weeks, on February 1st.
- Canon donates equipment to find missing children! In a second news item for Canon today, it was announced that they had donated hardware to help improve searches for missing children. The hardware, including digital cameras, scanners and inkjet printers, was donated to the Atlanta Police Department and 19 other law-enforcement agencies across the USA, in cooperation with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Participating agencies will now be able to produce and publish flyers within minutes of receiving a photograph of a missing child. Congratulations to Canon on supporting a very worthy cause!
- HP to form new printer division! Hewlett Packard Co. has announced that they plan to form a new low-cost inkjet printer division. The new division will sell printers below $100, under the name Apollo Consumer Products, Inc.
- Kodak announces new COO for Digital Imaging.Eastman Kodak Company announced that Philip Gerskovich has joined the company as Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of the Digital & Applied Imaging sector. Gerskovich was previously a Vice President at Data General, and prior to this was Director of Product Marketing at highly successful PC Manufacturer Dell Computer.
- PhotoBit releases new CMOS Image Sensors. PhotoBit announced yesterday the release of two new CMOS image sensors. The PB-100 is a 352 x 288 pixel 1/5-inch optic unit, whilst the PB-300 is a 640 x 480 1/3-inch optic unit, and both are packaged in an industry-standard CIF format.
- Toshiba develops world's smallest DRAM chips! In a confirmation of our January 7th news item, Toshiba has announced that they have indeed created the world's smallest DRAM chips. The new chips are based on 0.175 micron technology, and are 40% smaller than their current-day equivalents. This could potentially lead to either higher capacity storage media, or smaller storage media, either of which would be good news for digital cameras...
- Sony announces Digital8 CamCorders. Sony Electronics Inc. launched a series of new Digital8 CamCorders last week at the Consumer Electronics Show. Of interest to Digital Camera owners is the capability of one model, the DCR-TRV510, to capture digital still images to the camcorder's 2MB Flash Memory or a Hi8 tape.
- OOps! - Web 'droid stung by server... If you went looking for the Oly D-620L images in the Comparometer, as advertised here yesterday, you probably didn't find them. An over-tired droid neglected to verify that the site update worked properly, with the result that a date problem of some sort prevented the Comparometer(tm) pages from updating. The images are there now, the review will hopefully go up sometime tomorrow. Thanks to reader Mike Taylor for pointing out the image deficiency!

Wednesday, January 13, 1999

January 13 - UMAX Price Drop, Two New Cameras and a Printer, and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, January 13, 1999 - 0:00 EST)

- UMAX announces price drop! In a press release today, UMAX announced that they intended to drop prices on three of their scanners. The PowerLook III, a 1200 x 2400dpi 42-bit color unit aimed at publishing professionals and previously $3095, is now priced at $2595. The Mirage IIse, a 36-bit 700 x 1400dpi unit previously priced at $2795 is now $2195. The Mirage II (1400 x 2800dpi 36-bit)/ Master Software bundle dropped most dramatically, falling from $6495 to $3795.
- Epson to release new photo printer? The server can be a bit temperamental (it's taken us several days to manage to get through to it) but reader Bill Pitt has contacted us with a link in Hong Kong containing information on an interesting new printer that is on its way to us. The Epson Stylus Photo 750 is listed as having innovations such as variable-sized ink droplets and improved inks, and a resolution of 1440x720dpi on plain paper. Certainly one to keep your eyes on! Thanks, Bill!
- Fuji announce MX-600 Zoom! Fuji have announced their MX-600 Zoom camera, with 3x optical zoom, 1280 x 1024 resolution, four mode flash, and all-glass optics. Sound familiar? That's because it's a rebadged (and slightly restyled) Toshiba PDR-M3, announced in our news story on January 7th, slightly further down the page.
- SanDisk announce new Vivitar ViviCam 2750! SanDisk Corporation, the world's largest manufacturer of flash data storage products, announced in a press release the fourth in Vivitar's ViviCam line, the ViviCam 2750. The camera is targeted at the lower-end of the market, with a resolution of only 640 x 480. The camera also has video outputs and 2MB of internal memory, and takes CompactFlash cards. A coupon is enclosed for discounts for SanDisk CompactFlash cards and ImageMate external CF reader, however no specifics of the discount have been announced. Vivitar currently have released no further information on their website.
- PC Magazine Editor's Choice awards announced. Steve's Digicams
has posted news that the PC Magazine Digital Camera Editor's Choice awards have been announced. Winners were in three categories, as follows:
    - Business: Sony MVC-FD81
PC Magazine liked the Sony for its floppy-disk storage and MPEG video capability, but acknowledged its lower image-quality when compared to similarly priced cameras.
    - Semipro: Nikon CoolPix 900S
The Nikon was found to be best in all fields, with no real cons listed other than price. It was said to have been found similar to the Kodak DC-260 for image quality, winning due mostly to the availability of extra lens filters for the Nikon.
    - Home: HP PhotoSmart C30
The HP PhotoSmart was found to have reasonable if oversaturated image quality, and a good price. Drawbacks were the LCD screen (grainy, jerky, and hard to see), slow shooting making it unsuitable for action and candid shots, and boxy styling.
- Photobit Corporation wins patent for CMOS technology. In a press release today, the Photobit Corporation of Pasadena, CA announced that they had been issued the patent, which covers technology related to manufacture of CMOS image sensors. CMOS sensors have advantages over traditional CCD sensors in size, complexity, cost of manufacture and power consumption, allowing digital cameras to be made smaller, cheaper and more battery-friendly. The patent was actually issued to the California Institute of Technology, who had previously granted Photobit an exclusive license to the technology.
- PictureWorks and Sarnoff partner in imaging software. The two companies announced today in a joint press release their plans to combine forces in creating technologies and products for use with both digital still cameras and camcorders. PictureWorks software is currently available for scanners, digital cameras, and video conferencing cameras. VideoBrush Corporation, a Sarnoff subsidiary, is best known for their VideoBrush Panorama, a product for creating panoramic images from video images.
- Monaco Systems software with Epson scanners. In a press release this afternoon, Monaco Systems announced an agreement with Epson to bundle their MonacoPROFILER Lite software with the new Epson Expression 800 Artist and Pro scanners. The software prompts users through a wizard-like interface to calibrate and profile their monitor, printer and scanner in less than twenty minutes. The software is expected to be available in March.

Tuesday, January 12, 1999

January 12/13 - Olympus drops D-600L Price!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, January 12, 1999 - 0:00 EST)

- Oly lowers D-600L price $100. Lower & lower! In response to the continual, fierce price competition, Olympus has dropped the price of the D-600L to a list of $799: Street prices will be even lower. (IR advertiser State Street Direct is selling it for only $699!! - ,A HREF="">click here!) As the only Single-Lens Reflex digicam currently on the market for under $3,000-5,000, this strikes us as a real bargain. The through-the-lens viewing provided by the SLR design is hard to beat if you're inclined to hang strange optics off the front, for extreme macro, etc. (As we do.) The D-600L was one of the first digicams we tested when this site went "live" in April of '98. At that time, it sold for $1299. Let's see, at this rate, they should go for $299 next year, and Olympus will be paying people $199 a unit to take them off their hands in 2001! :-)

January 12 - Agfa & Olympus in the Comparometer(tm).
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, January 12, 1999 - 0:00 EST)

- Agfa ePhoto 1680 and Olympus D-620L samples posted. The sample images from the Agfa ePhoto 1680 have been on-line for a while, but we only just today got them stitched into the Comparometer pages. We also jumped the gun (very) slightly and have the images from the Olympus D-620L in the Comparometer in advance of the review itself. (Review should follow by Thursday PM at the latest.).
- Slow news, update to follow: News has been a little slow, after the spate of announcements around CES & MacWorld. We'll have an update posted in the next day or so, though. (DE)

Sunday, January 10, 1999

January 10 - Sony FD-91 review, Alps printer upgrades.
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Sunday, January 10, 1999 - 0:00 EST)

- Review of Sony Mavica FD-91 online! Phil Askey's Digital Photography website has posted a review of the Sony Mavica FD-91. It's well worth a read, and gives you a good insight into the capabilities of Sony's new camera, along with over 30 sample images to help you make up your mind for yourself. Like most digital cameras, Phil finds the FD-91 to be based on compromises - in this case the image quality being reduced to allow a greater feature-set and that 14x zoom lens.
- ALPS adds USB capability to MD-5000 printer. Alps announced in a press release the release of two new upgrades for their "MD-5000 Desktop Print Shop" printer, a 2400dpi dye-sublimation printer. The "USB Interface Kit" gives the printer USB capabilites, and is the only USB adapter on the marketplace to be bi-directional. The "Dye-Sublimation Upgrade Kit" improves detail in the printer's output, although the press release is sketchy in describing what the actual difference is. Both upgrades are priced at a recommended $99, and the printer itself is listed at $599 (PC) or $649 (Macintosh).

Saturday, January 9, 1999

January 9 - MacWorld takes over the news...
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Saturday, January 9, 1999 - 0:00 EST)

- Kai's PhotoSoap earns "Best of Show" at MacWorld. In a press release this morning, MetaCreations, makers of the Kai's range of image editing software announced that they had received a "Best of Show" award for Kai's PhotoSoap at the MacWorld Expo 98. A complete list of the "Best of Show" awards is online at MacWorld's website.
- Genuine Fractals PrintPro™ gets Eddy Award. In a press release today, Altamira Group announced that they too had won an award at MacWorld Expo 98 (seems like everybody's getting one). Altamira's PhotoShop plug-in, Genuine Fractals PrintPro, received an Eddy award as 'Best Publishing Utility of 1998.' The plug-in allows you to greatly compress your images with little or no loss in image quality with the use of a fractal algorithm. The plug-in is available for Macintosh, Windows 95, 98 and NT versions of Adobe PhotoShop.

Thursday, January 7, 1999

January 7 - FLASH: Big email hassles at IR!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, January 7, 1999 - 0:00 EST)

- Our email is *way* flakey! We just discovered that we're missing a significant percentage (as much as half!) of our incoming email traffic, and apparently have been since at least January 1! So far, no rhyme, reason, or pattern, but there's a fair bit of stuff that's not getting through. Our (largely clueless) ISP is working on the problem, no results yet. (We just discovered the problem this afternoon.) We're normally pretty good about responding to emails, so if you've sent us one and haven't gotten an answer, please try re-sending! Meanwhile, apologies for the inconvenience! This is also the reason the news updates have lagged these last two days, as several of Mike's emails to Dave got lost. (We're moving to a new ISP and a dedicated server asap, which will hopefully prevent a recurrence of these problems.)

January 7 - Toshiba releases new camera, and LOTS more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, January 7, 1999 - 0:00 EST)

- Toshiba releases PDR-M3 digital camera! Toshiba Imaging Systems today announced the PDR-M3 digital camera. The camera features a 3X optical zoom, and should be available in February at an approximate price of $599. Other highlights of the design include:
    - ü" 1.5 million pixel striped array CCD

    - 1280 x 1024 resolution

    - Four-mode flash (red-eye, force-fill, lowlight and force-off)
    - All-glass 3x optical zoom w/ 7.6mm lens and 2x digital zoom

    - Ability to view stored photos at up to 4x zoom on LCD

    - Rechargeable lithium-ion battery and adapter

    - 1.8" backlit LCD

    - Built-in video-out connector
- Toshiba develops world's smallest DRAM chip? In another headline for Toshiba, it was reported by the Japanese Nihon Keizai Shimbun business daily that Toshiba developed the chip jointly with IBM and Siemens, and plans to mass-produce the chips in both Japan and the USA by late 1999. The paper also reported that the new DRAM chips would lower production costs by approximately 20%. Toshiba declined to comment on the article.
- MacWorld Editor's Choice Awards released. MacWorld Online have released the 1998 MacWorld Editor's Choice Awards on their website. Awards of relevance to Digi-philes were:
    - Best Digital Camera: Olympus D-620L
    - Best Professional Printer: Epson Stylus Pro 5000
    - Best Consumer Hardware: Epson Stylus Color 740
    - Best Scanner: UMAX PowerLook 3000
    - Best Image-Editing: Adobe Photoshop 5.0.2
    - Best Graphics Utility #1: Vivid Details' Test Strip 2 &
    - Best Graphics Utility #2: Extensis PhotoTools 3.0
    - Runner-Up Graphics Utility: Ultimatte KnockOut
    - Runner-Up Digital Camera: Kodak DC260
    - Runner-Up Digital Camera: Nikon Coolpix 900S
    - Runner-Up Professional Printer: HP Color LaserJet 4500DN
    - Runner-Up Professional Printer: XantŽ Accel-A-Writer 3G
    - Runner-Up Consumer Hardware: UMAX Astra 1220U
    - Runner-Up Scanner: Minolta Dim‰ge Scan Multi
    - Runner-Up Scanner: Heidelberg LinoColor Saphir Ultra 2
    - Runner-Up Image Editing: Painter 5.5 Web Edition
    - Runner-Up Image Editing: Corel PhotoPaint 8 for PowerMac
- Free Living Album 99 Software Final Version Released. Andy Parng from ClubPhoto, Inc. contacted us with this news: "After 4 beta releases and countless hours of testing, Club Photo today released the final version of Living Album 99 for Windows 95/98/NT. You can download the free Living Album 99 software from and sign up for your own free, unlimited Club Photo web site at the same time. With Living Album, you can publish and share all your photos instantly from your albums to your personal photo web site with as few as three mouse clicks! Please feel free to forward this message to your friends and family members so they too can enjoy Club Photo’s free software, free web site, and most importantly, the new and exciting way to share photos." Thanks, Andy!
- Put a third dimension into your digital photos! John Mareda contacted us to tell us about his new company, Trivista Technologies, Inc. Trivista develops software offering new ways to display your digital photos, including 3D ImageScene (create interactive, Web-ready 3D scenes based on your digital photos in just minutes), Paper PhotoCube (create printable, easy to assemble cubes with your photos on each side, or soft-copies to email to friends and relatives), 3D ImageCube (create VRML cubes and carousels of your photos to display online), and more. Thanks, John!
- Put your photos on your TV - without any cables! It's only a prototype thus far, but a press release from the Questra Corporation points towards things to come. Using a new protocol from HP called JetSend and an infrared-capable camera and set-top box, Questra claim to be able to send images from the camera to the set-top box for display on the attached TV "instantaneously". JetSend is targetted for use in a wide array of products including printers, scanners, copiers, digital cameras and many others.
- Visioneer sells scanner hardware business. Visioneer Inc. announced today the sale of their scanner hardware business to a new subsidiary of Taiwanese company Primax Electronics, Inc. Primax will continue to manufacture existing Visioneer scanners under the Visioneer brand name, and have signed an agreement to bundle Visioneer PaperPort with its entire line of imaging products.
- Conexant releases integrated CMOS image sensor. Conexant Systems Inc., announced today the release of a new CMOS image sensor chip, scheduled to be available from February. Volume sales will be available in March, and highlights of the design are:
    - XGA 1024 x 768 pixel resolution at 10-bit color depth

    - 7 x 7-micron pixel size allows use of cheaper ü" optics

    - Single-chip design reduces power usage and complexity

    - Single 3.3v power source does the same

    - Integrated on-chip 10-bit A/D converter and timing generator

    - Support for 25-30 fps LCD display and digital zoom

    - Industry-standard Bayer color-filter pattern

    - Priced at $30/unit in volumes of 10,000 units.

Wednesday, January 6, 1999

January 6 - Agfa bundles Clik!, releases scanner; Macs get Digita Acquire for USB.
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, January 6, 1999 - 0:00 EST)

- Agfa bundles Clik! with ePhoto 1680. This item is on our deals page, but we also thought it important enough to include here: Word has now broken that Agfa will be bundling a mail-in coupon for a free iomega Clik! drive with their ePhoto 1680 camera. The street price of the ePhoto 1680 is a little over $750, and a Clik! drive retails for almost $250, so this is definitely a deal to take notice of! Thanks to State Street Direct for this one!
- Agfa releases SnapScan 1212u Color Scanner. Agfa has announced the release of their latest scanner, the SnapScan 1212u. The scanner uses a USB interface, scans up to A4 (8.5" x 11.7") pages, and has an impressive true optical resolution of 1200 x 600 dpi in 36-bit color. Software includes Agfa FotoLook (scanner control software), Agfa ColorTune, OmniPage OCR, Visioneer PaperPort (for document archival and management) and iPhoto Express / Color It! image manipulation software.
- Macs get access to Digita USB cameras. Kodak has released on their website the Digita Desktop Acquire module. This module allows iMacs and PowerMacs with USB capability and MacOS 8.5 to be connected directly to the Kodak DC220 and Kodak DC260. Definitely worth having if you've got the hardware!

Tuesday, January 5, 1999

January 5 - Lots for Macs, & quite a bit more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, January 5, 1999 - 0:00 EST)

- HP announces DeskJet 882C printer. HP's announcement stated that the new printer, a replacement for the DeskJet 722C, will retail for $299 and boosts printing speed in color by 25% over the previous model. The new printer should achieve 8 ppm (pages per minute) in black & white, and 5 ppm in color. Connection to the PC is via a USB interface, and the printer also has an interesting feature allowing it to compress multiple pages onto a single page, or alternatively expand a single-page printout into "tiles" with which to make a larger "poster". In a further announcement, HP have stated that the DeskJet 895Cse/Cxi printer will be upgraded to offer USB support "in the spring".
- VideoLabs Inc. announces new FlexCams. VideoLabs have announced the release of the FlexCam Digital and FlexCam USB desktop video cameras. The cameras are capable of a maximum resolution of 704 x 576 pixels, and feature a flexible "gooseneck" design and a pricetag of US$199.
- Mac users get to use SanDisk USB ImageMate. KeySpan, a division of Innosys Inc., and SanDisk today jointly announced the availability of a new expansion card enabling Mac users to add USB capability to their machines. The release highlighted the capability for Mac users to now connect SanDisk's ImageMate Compact Flash reader with their Macintoshes. The USB card costs $59, and the ImageMate CF reader costs $89.
- Newer Technology, Inc. offer USB media readers. Newer Technology announced this morning the uFlash-CF (Compact Flash) and uFlash-SM (SmartMedia) readers. Both readers are USB-based, and can be used on PCs with Windows98 and Macs with OS 8.1
- SanDisk supply CF cards for Agfa ePhoto CL30. In an update to yesterday's story on the Agfa ePhoto CL30, SanDisk today announced that they will be supplying Agfa with the 4MB Compact Flash cards bundled with the units..
- IPIX announces Mac version, new features. Interactive Pictures Corporation, creators of the IPIX software used to build 360-degree "panoramic" images today announced at MACWORLD a new version of their IPIX Wizard software for use on Macintoshes, and at the same time announced new features extending Java support in their PC version, and making it easier to make IPIX images. Unfortunately, their per-image pricing stays...
- Club Photo launches free Photo Showcase. Steve's Digicams is carrying a news item regarding a new new photo "showcase" from Club Photo. The site allows you to submit or link your own images to be viewed by others around the world, and to search and sort photos by category, keywords, date, and a number of other criteria. You can submit your own photos at (Thanks to Steve's Digicams for this).
- Santa was generous this year. Lucky reader John Cowley at Lone Star Digital got just what he wanted from Santa this year - a Kodak DCS-315 digital SLR camera - a beauty that's aimed squarely at professionals, and those of us with large pockets and forgiving families. John is understandably eager to play with his new toy, and is sharing the results (and reviewing the camera whilst he's at it) - check it out for some beautiful pictures.
- A personal note... from your new News Editor. I'm a day late, and a little the worse for wear after a rather bumpy move from sunny (!) England to Tennessee, but I'm finally here to take on the job of making your newsfeed as good as I can. What that means to you is that hopefully the news will be a lot more regular, and that you might have to forgive the odd English spelling of a word if I slip up... My thanks to Dave for having made an excellent site, and for giving me the chance to help make it even better! (Welcome aboard, Mike! - Dave E.)

Monday, January 4, 1999

January 4 - BIG news day, Lots of new stuff!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 4, 1999 - 0:00 EST)

- Olympus announces D-340R digicam. Olympus has announced an update to their highly successful D-340L digital camera, in the form of the D-340R, retailing for $499. The new version boosts the ISO rating to 100/200 for better low light performance, increases the included SmartMedia memory size to 8MB, and adds an uncompressed TIFF image-storage mode. The new camera also apparently has more internal buffer memory, resulting in a shot-to-shot recovery time of only 2 seconds(!). Other features of the D-340L retained in the new design include 2x digital telephoto, video out, 4 mode intelligent flash, and "burst" mode shooting allowing up to 10 shots in 1/2 second intervals.
- Agfa introduces ePhoto CL30. This camera has been rumored for a while, with one of the print magazines first breaking their nondisclosure to report on it a few weeks back. Now, it's official: Agfa announced the new CL-30 digicam to the world today at MacWorld, and will be showing the new unit at CES (Booth 4913 for those of you who might be attending.) The new camera sports CF memory cards (in another blow to the SmartMedia consortium), and a dual USB/Serial port interface. The unit has a megapixel sensor, producing up to 1.5 megapixel images using the PhotoGenie(tm) technology we were so impressed with in our own testing of the ePhoto 1680. Other specs include both optical and 1.8" LCD viewfinders, 4MB CF card, power by 4AA batteries, and video output. Availability is set for February, at a suggested retail price of $399
- Olympus announces P-330 printer. Olympus also announced today an update to their P-300 photo printer, in the form of the new P-330. Continuing their theme of "filmless photography," the P-330 provides output from a variety of sources, only a few of which involve a computer. The P-330 connects directly to Oly's digicams, but can also read SmartMedia cards directly, and even accepts video signals! Oh yes, it does computers, too... Functions include: 1) Displaying images from a SmartMedia card on a TV screen. 2) Video frame grabbing/printing for output directly from a video signal. 3) Dedicated photo output from both Mac and Windows computers. 4) Card reader operation, allowing SmartMedia cards to be rapidly downloaded to a host PC via the parallel port. 5) Dedicated printing from Olympus digital cameras. The P-330 prints on 4x5.5" pages at about 2 minutes per page. The unit will sell for $449, and is available immediately
- Epson chops PhotoPC 700 price to $499. The prices keep on dropping! Epson announced today that it had lowered the price of the well-regarded PhotoPC 700 digicam by $100, to $499. The PhotoPC 700 package includes a 1.3 megapixel camera, with panorama, macro, and digital zoom support, along with such bonuses as a Tiffen(r) lens adapter for add-on lenses, and a set of NiMH rechargeable batteries and charger.
- Epson announces USB scanner. Epson has introduced a USB version of their popular SOHO (small-office, home-office) scanner, the Perfection 636. The unit has a true optical resolution of 600x2400 dpi, and includes Epson's color management firmware, built into the scanner itself. Optional hardware add-ons include a $199 document feeder, and a $99 transparency adapter, allowing scanning of transparencies up to 4x5" to be scanned. The Perfection 636U will be available in March for an estimated street price of $229. As an introductory offer, a $30 mail-in rebate coupon will be included with the product
- Epson introduces midrange scanner. (This is starting to look like Epson day on the Imaging Resource news page!) Epson today also unveiled its new Expression 800, a $699 business & graphic arts scanner with 800x3200 resolution, 36-bit color, and high scanning speed. Various hardware/software bundles built around the scanner range in price from $699 to $999. The base model will be available in mid-January, and the Artist & Pro models by February 1.

Sunday, January 3, 1999

January 3 3/4 - New Article Up!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Sunday, January 3, 1999 - 0:00 EST)

- Choosing a Camera, by Barbara Coultry Normally, we don't feature new articles on the "News" page, but this one is so valuable to potential new buyers, and has such useful information on actually using the images we've assembled here, that we just had to tell you about it. Reader Barbara Coultry went through all the typical confusion of a digital "newbie," then carefully retraced her steps for the benefit of others who might follow. Along the way, she imparts some essential information about comparing images, including AOL settings, and how to print the images to get true "apples to apples" comparisons. A great piece of work, and a super service to the community! Thanks, Barbara!

January 3 1/2 - A News Update? (About time!)
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Sunday, January 3, 1999 - 0:00 EST)

- Digicams: $100/Megapixel? The path is being paved toward 2 megapixel digicams selling for $200-300 as early as the end of this year. Long-time reader and contributor Penser sent this one in: An article in EETimes provides details on chip developments from a number of companies that will lead the way. Cirrus Logic has worked with Polaroid Corp. and IBM Corp. to develop a highly integrated "front end" processor for digicams, including a 13-bit A/D converter(!), and such juicy tidbits as correlated double sampling to improve noise performance. Cirrus, IBM, and Polaroid have all apparently been "barnstorming" Taiwan to encourage low-cost Taiwanese manufacturers to enter the digicam market. At the same time, Sound Vision has visited Taiwan to demonstrate a reference design of their Clarity platform using the Cirrus/IBM chip. A Cirrus official projects that at least one vendor will produce a 2 megapixel digital camera next year, selling for $200-300. Other major alignments are Kodak and Motorola partnering on a range of products, and LSI Logic and Minolta collaborating.

So what does all this mean? Well, Polaroid and Sound Vision both have deep experience with digicams, Polaroid in particular having very strong color-management and image-processing technology available for license. What's now happening is that this advanced intellectual property is becoming available for entry-level folks who know how to manufacture, but may not know color space mappings from a hole in the ground. Sound Vision's "Clarity" platform provides essentially turn-key designs for digicams, chopping a year or more from development cycles. Bottom line, we expect to see very credible cameras being offered at very low prices in the second half of '99. Good news for the consumer, bad news for a lot of current manufacturers! (Thanks, Penser!)
- Burr-Brown ships hot chips. A big month for chip announcements: Burr-Brown has announced a complete front-end signal processing IC for digital cameras. IT apparently lacks the A/D converter included in the Cirrus product mentioned above, but includes just about everything else that would go between the CCD and the A/D, is shipping now from stock, and is priced at $2.25 in 1,000 piece quantities. Features include operating voltage as low as 2.7v, operating power of only 120mW, and a power-down mode that takes only 10mW
- 32 Meg SmartMedia coming soon! The German digital camera site reports that Samsung is shipping sample quantities of their 32 megabyte SmartMedia cards, and is projecting volume shipments by mid-February. Our own information suggests that Toshiba is on a similar schedule in the US, so we should be seeing 32-meg cards very soon. (Can 64-meg be far off? We think not...) Meanwhile, in related news, Olympus has a Windows NT FlashPath driver available on their European web site for free download that supports the 32 meg media. (We tried to check the URL, but the server was down when we tried...) (Thanks to Steve's Digicams for this last item
- Reader turns Publisher! We've emailed back and forth a couple of times with Phil Askey, a reader and huge digicam fan. Phil's now set up a US mirror to his web site, and significantly revamped it into a very nice general digicam site. He has also just produced a superb review of the Canon PowerShot Pro70. (Follow the link on his home page to the Canon review.) Check it out! (Congrats, Phil!)
- SmartMedia Update: We reported on the unbelievable price
Diamond Multimedia is selling SmartMedia cards for ($49 for 16 MB!), but haven't had the chance to check their site directly. (Still can't, their server is down today.) Diamond is selling the cards for their "Rio" portable MPEG-III audio player. The DCRP checked, and clarifies that the cards aren't listed as SmartMedia, even though that's what they are. Our contacts in the memory business were startled (to say the least!) by the price, but said that it may make sense, as that would be about the wholesale cost in *very* large volumes for the cards. Several reports on relate positive experiences using the cards in 16-MB-capable digicams.
- Hints of things to come: We expected to have more solid information for you (like actual test pictures!), but previous arrangements fell through at the last minute. The word has already leaked on Toshiba's forthcoming PDR-M3 camera (Think PDR-M1 plus a 3x zoom lens), and Agfa's CF-based CL-30 camera. Most sources have put the availability of these off somewhere later in the spring, but we're confident in saying that they'll actually be announced "Real Soon Now." There's also at least one more new or updated digicam going to be announced next week, and a *very* interesting storage/digicam bundle about to be unwrapped. Stay tuned!<

January 3 - Agfa ePhoto 1680 review posted!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Sunday, January 3, 1999 - 0:00 EST)

Agfa ePhoto 1680 Review is up! These things just seem to keep getting bigger! -We'd anticipated a more concise review of Agfa's 1680 camera, but there ended up being a LOT to write about and test. We ended up just shy of 10,000 words, and a total of 50 megabytes in 147 files! Some of the high file-count was due to testing Agfa's unique PhotoGenie(tm) technology, which does excellent interpolation, and removes JPEG artifacts surprisingly well. We've never been big fans of image interpolation as a way to get to larger image sizes, but PhotoGenie has us pretty well converted. Expecting this to be a bit controversial, we've posted a lot of images both with and without PhotoGenie, so you can make up your own mind! The 1680 also has a collection of other juicy features, including both aperture- and shutter-priority exposure options, and the provisions to work with external slave-triggered flash units. Oh yeah, the pictures... It takes great pictures too, check it out! The images won't be stitched into the Comparometer(tm) until later today, but everything else is up now.
(Long-promised and overdue news/deals update should be posted by the end of the day today! - Sorry for the delay! - 'Got some great deals to share!)

Friday, January 1, 1999

January 1 - Happy New year! (Only 365 coding days left till Y2K!)
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, January 1, 1999 - 0:00 EST)

While not the anniversary of the site, January 1 seems like an appropriate time to commemorate the passing of time, goals achieved, resolutions for the New Year... First though, thanks and apologies to all who have been patiently waiting for a NEWS UPDATE(!). Life at Imaging Manor has gotten a little more hectic than usual the last week or two, between the holidays, an unusual number of devices in for review, and the usual last-minute rush to spend ourselves silly in an attempt to beat the tax man. The results of this recent frenzy won't be apparent to any of you "out there" for another month or two yet (probably not until early March, after the PMA show is over with), but there's lots of neat stuff in store for The Imaging Resource, much of it revolving around a new, dedicated server that will give us a lot more flexibility in adding interactivity to the site. It seems we're always promising more in less than time than it takes, so we won't go in to specifics, but rest assured there's a lot, and it'll be way-cool!

The last 8 months have seen an incredible growth-curve here at the Imaging Resource: We first went "live" last April 1, and logged a total of about 40,000 pages of traffic our first month. From those modest beginnings, we've grown into a web site with over 300 megabytes of data in 2,400 files, and a traffic level just shy of 500,000 pages and 45 Gigabytes of data per month! The support, feedback, and encouragement we've received from all of you has been extraordinary, heartwarming, and uplifting, to drastically understate the case. Thank You!

Heretofore, this news feed has been written by Dave Etchells, chief testing/web 'droid, cook and bottle-washer. Beginning next week, we welcome Mike Tomkins as our official News Editor! Mike has a strong background in both computers and tech writing, and a near-insatiable appetite for searching-out obscure news items, rumors, sites, and other tidbits. With Mike on the job, the news updates should become much more frequent and timely, and the product reviews and other material should also flow more rapidly.

We've also added Paul-the-tech-writer-guy to the IR family, which is already having a positive impact (albeit seen by nobody other than Paul and Dave as yet :-) on the pace of content production.

I hesitate to even mention it, afraid of a flood of response I'll be hard-pressed to answer in a timely fashion (I already get ~50 emails a day), but we're entertaining the prospect of a professional, albeit part-time webmaster. The person we're looking for would be a self-starter with strong team skills and strong experience with Linux, Apache, and server-side processing, including Perl and server apps compiled in C. The work-load (and pay scale ;-) would be light, nothing near full-time, but you'd have a chance to help shape the destiny of a leading, high-visibility internet site. Email Dave directly if you'd be interested, think you would qualify, and value fame and glory over pecuniary awards ;-)

In the midst of all the chaos, I haven't *totally* forgotten the news update: I promise an update by Monday! News has generally been light over the holidays, but there are at least 2 new products coming by CES that we know about, and we'll get to start telling you about them early next week. Stay tuned!



AOL Alert: Several readers connecting via AOL have complained of poor image quality when using the AOL web browser. This is caused by a setting called "compress images" in the browser that causes it to completely mangle images in the interest of faster transmission. You should turn this setting OFF before viewing any of the comparison images on this site.

  • FLASH: Thanks to reader Lynn Mannan, here's an explanation of how to make the correct settings adjustments (at least in AOL 4.0 for PCs):
    • I opened the "My AOL" preferences screen in the toolbar across the top. Then I clicked on WWW icon and selected the "web graphics" tab where I unchecked the "compressed graphics" choice and clicked on the Apply button at the bottom. Now the scanner test pictures are gorgeous. The pictures take a long time to load. But they are worth waiting for. Thank you, Lynn!