I have a feeling my boss will soon be 200 bucks lighter.
After I wrote a favorable column about the Connectix QuickCam a while back, the editor of my newspaper ponyed out about a hundred bucks for that golfball-sized camera that connects to a PC.A photo snapped with it, featuring a rather homely dog, now graces my office. Obviously worth the hundred bucks.
Now he'll have to buy "Snappy" from Play Inc., a device about the size of a cassette tape that connects your PC to a video source. For about $199, you can use it to take high quality still photos from any video source, a camera, a VCR, a laserdisc player or a TV.
After you install the software, you connect the Snappy to your printer port and run the included cable to the "video out" jack of the video source.
The video image then shows up on your PC screen, about 4 inches by 6 inches in size. When you see the image you want, you use the mouse to click on the "Snap" button.
And that's it.
It helps to predict when you want to click the image, because it takes the software about a second to capture it. I ended up using rewind frequently before I got the hang of it. Or you can use the "pause" or "still" setting on your VCR, camcorder or laserdisc and take the photo when the image is frozen.
The quality is plenty good for use in desktop publishing, Web pages or family snapshots, but don't expect Kodak-quality images, especially if the video isn't well-lit.
The package also comes with Fauve Matisse SE image editing software and Gryphon Morph, software that lets the user merge images into others.
I enjoyed my experience with the product and recommend it. For information and a free demo disk call 1-800-306-PLAY or hit its Web site at "http://www.play.com".
- Tired of downloading new versions of Netscape Navigator yet? Well, expect another lengthy download this week to correct a serious bug with version 2.0.1. The "daylight savings" bug affects reloading of pages that update content frequently. When you hit "reload" or revisit the page, the page won't refresh.
The temporary answer is to enter the OPTION settings, select "Network" and clear both the DISK cache and MEMORY cache before you reload the page.
- CALL OF THE WEEK: Corporate computer departments are howling over a disclosure from Microsoft Corp. last week that users of Windows 95 won't be able to seamlessly upgrade to Windows NT 4.0 when it is released later this year. Turns out the registries of the two operating systems aren't compatible and users who want to install NT over Win95 will have to reinstall all of their applications.
This could be a huge stumbling block for Win95 in the corporate world, where NT is favored because of its stability and networking abilities at the expense of higher hardware requirements.
- NEWSGROUP PICK: "news.announce.newgroups" where the first announcements of new newsgroups are made as well as the first proposals, so you can vote on whether a group should be created.
- WEB WONDER: "http://www.pointcast.com" where you can get personalized news, stock quotes and other breaking information, free.
(James S. Derk is computer research editor for The Evansville Courier in Indiana and co-sysop of Courier Online. His e-mail address is JDERK evansville.net)