Briefs

New Year sales: With the introduction of 19in screens, the price of 17in screens is tumbling. Panasonic’s PanaSync/Pro P70 with a high 95kHz scanning rate, a small dot pitch and reduced power consumption will be less than 400 in the shops or by mail order. Nikon has slashed the price of its Coolpix 300 camera to 440 and the laptop-friendly Coolpix 100 to 330. The former, now 30 per cent cheaper, can still store 132 colour images and is cross platform.

Radiating media: It’s all convergence. The latest example sees video editing rivals Radius and Media 100 jointly developing a desktop video system based on Firewire, the very fast connection standard, plus DVC, the new digital video camcorder standard. Meanwhile, that old but loved software, Media 100, is now in its v4.5 incarnation with audio equalisation, pro audio meters, selectable cross-fade and more. It will be released next month.

Mapping the Web: Some of you will have come across Mountain High Maps, that four-disk cross-platform app which gives you royalty-free, customisable, high resolution relief maps of the world in TIFF and JPEG formats plus some others. Now version 2.5 is available, containing the entire globe – plus 54 globe views, plus 35 animated globe sequences; all that and clouds and stars as well. Maker Digital Wisdom claims resolution is between 500 and 100 metres per pixel. Priced 450 new, upgrade 100. Call Digital Wisdom on 01223 837 373 or visit http://www.digiwis.com (or, more simply, digiwiz).

Dreamworld: If Mountain High Maps represent the real world, Bryce (from MetaCreations) allows you to design imaginary worlds. You can now do the latter in three dimensions with Bryce 3D – it will output your dream worlds in broadcast quality 3D motion graphics which can be saved as AVI or QuickTime movies. You can animate clouds and atmospheric effects, and import 3D models which you can lay down on a path of your choosing. There are hypertextures including penetrable atmospheres and rainbows, moons and star fields and other scrumptious things. It’s cross platform and a version for the Dec Alpha chip will be out soon. Priced 180 from distributors Computers Unlimited; 0181-358 5857.

Lumpy lingo: Try getting your lips around the following: auto- des- sys has released the first possibility of doing radiosity on the Mac with its release of form- Z 2.95 and RadioZity and RenderZone 2.9.5 at this month’s San Francisco MacWorld show. C’mon guys, give us a break with the lumpy, bad joke names. The letter Z, incidentally, is spoken as a zee, so presumably you say ‘form blob zee Radio City’ – or is it ‘radiOsity’?’ (Radiosity being the highest level of photo-realistic rendering.) Anyway, if it helps, form*Z RadioZity is a special version of form- Z RenderZone. Crazy names aside, this is reckoned by users to be a great app. It should be with the RenderZone RadioZity version being flogged for 1800.

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