Briefs

Zipping along: Devotees of Iomega’s 100Mb Zip drive and the company’s other mass storage and backup devices will be pleased to know it has just unveiled a new storage system at this month’s CeBIT in Hanover. Sub editors, long inured to the spelling perversities of computer marketing goons, won’t be surprised that it’s called n*hand, which is a remarkably stupid name for a potentially wonderful and remarkably inexpensive storage medium: around $10 (6.25) for a 50mm2 20Mb disk. Flash cards cost a bit more than that. You may be able Real Soon Now to buy a caddy so you can read a n*hand disk in your Zip drive, but for the moment Iomega is only flogging the system to makers of digital phones, games consoles, digital cameras (which is why you will be able eventually to read the disk in your desktop) and palmtops – sorry – digital personal assistants. Early adopters might start looking out around the end of the year.

Bedazzled: It used to be called MasterClass until ISC flogged it to Linotype-Hell which renamed it Dazzler and has now brought out version 4. It’s a sort of Director and comes in regular and more-sophisticated/costly versions now with, surprise surprise, web features. Claimed innovations are automatic HTML conversion, Java support, more dynamic hypertext links, better graphics and animation, and prices are 300 for the regular version and nearly 1000 for Dazzler Deluxe. Imago Micro is the distributor on 01635 294 300.

MetaGlue? Looks like Kai Kraus’s MetaTools and Fractal are getting together. Hotshot designers I know are a tad inclined to sideline Fractal’s range, Ray Dream Studio and Painter, and drool at MetaTools’ goodies including the famous Power Tools, Bryce, Final Effects and Vector Effects – though probably not Power GOO. So it’s going to be interesting to see if there’s a programming synergy. Anyone for Metafractals?

ThinkFish, not bikes: No, we don’t dream up the names. The aforesaid Fractal is about to licence San Francisco-based ThinkFish Productions’ non-photorealistic 3D rendering system LifeStyles. It sounds a bit like a 3D version of Expression, the app which turns you from a grey graphics jockey into Vincent van Gogh. Whatever, Natural-Media (we think this means non-photorealistic or van Gogh-like) will thus have spread right across the Fractal 3D range when the next versions of Ray Dream Studio and Designer appear.

Not mea culpa tea: After I’d delivered copy last month a “less” fell out of the DesignWeek Quark engine. Much as we’d like it to be, the SGI Indigo is not 4000. It’s 4000 less than the 20 000 SGI Octane, which is to say 16 000. Sorry.

Dongles in the dustbin: When a graphics app the same price as, say, Photoshop, Illustrator, Freehand and Corel lands on your desk and it turns out to need a dongle before you can install it (and the manual doesn’t mention it) you wonder who’s advising the Oz-based designers of Wright Design. Sounds like a serious case of swollen heads. We’ll probably never know and, since we don’t review dongled apps in this price bracket on ergonomic grounds, we’ll never know if it’s any good. Don’t think un-dongled Corel will be holding its breath – however good Wright might be.

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