Taking the wrong tablet: As promised, we tried out the new Wacom mini-tablet and pen (80) for the PC. The PC’s port arrangements are such that if you’ve got both a mouse and modem plugged in, you’re pretty much stuffed if you want to add a Wacom tablet. Not entirely so, says Wacom, whose advisor admitted that he had long ago thrown away his mouse and said something about the introduction of USB. Not being completely stupid, I tried it out on a PC. All seemed to go well except, and this may be genuinely coincidental, the sound system stopped and I was asked to remove the thing. It’s waiting for your bike to pick it up, Wacom.
Take a message: The thing I liked about the MessagePad 2000 was the fact that I could plug in a proper keyboard. Now, just when I’ve got used to it, there’s the MessagePad 2100. It’s got 4MB of memory and can thus run more apps simultaneously. One of the latter is NetHopper, a graphical Web browser, and another a new version of Internet Enabler. The interesting thing is that if you already own one of the machines you can have a 125 upgrade until the end of next April. The upgrade includes the extra 3MB of memory, the software upgrades, a free copy of Newton Press and a 2MB flash memory card. Buying the 2100 fresh will set you back $1000 providing you’re in the US.
DESL: (That’s diesel, guys). Not a fuel acronym but a new Windows rapid application development (RAD) environment and language for the Web. It’s the work, over the last couple of years, of Web development consultancy Q4. They developed it as a working tool for the practice, initially for a complex inter-active Web database. It has since been developed and given a human front-end and used on real Web projects. Q4 claims incredible speed for DESL and offers a variety of packages, from the 500 run-time module to the 2500 professional edition with ten developer licences. For further details, call marketing director Jane Braybrook on 0181-317 3733.
Big screen, small screen: Mitsubishi Electric has brought out a new 21in Diamondtron monitor, the Pro 1000. Its usp is a new 0.28mm aperture grill frame and improved P-NX dynamic beam-forming gun design. Bandwidth is 240MHz, maximum resolution is 1800×1440 at 76Hz and there’s the anti-glare coating. It’s also an inch more compact than any rival. Price is around 1250 plus VAT and there’s a 17in model with an ultra-fine 0.25mm grille pitch at around 500 plus VAT.
Quick fix: The year ends with a beta fix for the bug which, incredibly, makes it impossible to use Color StyleWriter 4100 and Color StyleWriter 4500 printers with PowerMac G3 systems and others. It’s at http://survey.info.apple.com/tango/ csw4000/csw4000.qry. The fascinating thing is the way the surrounding text somehow implies that it’s your fault.
CAD standard: Autodesk (of AutoCad and 3D Studio fame) claims to have three million users, including ArchiCad people hooked on DWF which decodes not as a new recreational substance but as drawing Web format. It’s officially recognised under MIME and is now the predominant electronic collaboration format. Its security feature is that you can let others view and plot but not edit the drawings.