Credit to the author: Everybody uses Macromedia’s Director (unless they’ve just defected to mTropolis). But the very heavy duty people have long been using Macromedia’s Authorware, which is a lot costlier and often used for creating educational and training material. Now, as version 4 of Authorware Interactive Studio, it can cope with web-based interactive learning applications as well. Before you ask who is crazy enough to do that over the incredibly slow Internet, don’t forget the intranet which operates under the same protocols. And this is Authorware’s traditional territory: corporations and education. For the new single price of 2100 (upgrades cost around 600) you get quite a lot including the new Director 6, Backstage Internet Studio 2, Solis Pathway, xRes version 3, Soundedit 16 or Sound Forge XP. Distributor is Computers Unlimited.

Painting with liquid metal: Fractal’s Painter is a funny app. Originally, it looked like quite a lot of other painting apps, but as time has gone by the prison-haircut lads have started to look at it with grudging respect. It can do things like produce reflective blobs of mercury – using the Liquid Metal floater. The latest incarnation, version 5, is shipping now – and it’s no longer Fractal but MetaCreations which owns it.

A light in the dark: Panasonic’s new lcd projector, the PT-L529, claims a 600 ANSI lumen output and any size projected image from 30 inches diagonal to 300 inches ditto with little fall-off at the edges thanks to a special lens. There’s 1:1.5 power zoom and focus and an image shifter without keystone distortions. Price is 6000 plus VAT.

Empire strikes back: Over in the Evil Empire beta testing is starting on Memphis, successor to Windows 95. According to some, it was going to be Windows 97, or at this rate, Windows 98. System 8 it isn’t. Rumour has it that it’s not much more than the present system cleaned up a bit plus an integrated Explorer, very early versions of which have been available on magazine cover disks. Explorer integration makes sense internally but might have the effect of ousting Netscape which everybody uses and loves.

Plug in, drop out: Now available from distributors Principal are two Photoshop plug-ins from Canadian Vertigo Technology. One, called Dizzy, enables 3D models to be imported, moved and lit in 2D environments. Vertigo 3D Word for both Windows and Mac versions of Illustrator lets you create 3D text and align it to a 3D path. Each costs 60 and should be in the stores now.

Hot off the press: Adobe had brought out ten new fonts, including Hot Singles, Banshee, and Nyx, Zipty Do, Spumoni and the conservatively named Wiesbaden Swing Dingbats. Also the families Bermuda, Coronet/Diskus and Kolo. You can look at them on – or just adobe should get you there just the same.

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