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Corel now distributes Paint Shop Pro X. This program has many one step touchup capabilities for digital photos. It helps organize and catalog photos. Corel demonstrated a sophisticated capability where a digital photo of a firefly with lacy wings was separated from the background and the foreground and background were individually retouched. Corel markets many computer software products including CorelDraw Graphics Suite 12 and Word Perfect. Word Perfect Office includes the Quattro Pro 12 spreadsheet and Presentations 12. Corel will provide software discounts to user groups. www.corel.com
Matt Miller discussed mobile computing devices such as PDA’s and enhanced cell phones. He discussed operating systems, protocols and their capabilities. There were many mobile devices on display. www.geek.com/
Intel described hyper threading and dual core central processor units. One way Intel supports user groups is with 'Build your own computer seminars'. They provide a backpack of training information, free to user groups that ask. They suggest computer components and a retailer ($600-$1900). Then your user group builds a working computer at a meeting. Many individuals have gained confidence in building and upgrading computer hardware from these seminars. www.intel.com
The 'sleeper' of the Raincoast conference was Blender. Blender is a computer modeling program that was originally developed for commercial animation in Holland. The company over-extended and went out of business. The lead Blender programmer launched a 'Free Blender' Internet campaign and raised $100,000 in donations. The source code was purchased and contributed to public domain. With Blender, you create 3-d wire frame models, apply textures and ray trace images. Blender can create still pictures, animations and games. Blender is available for Macintosh, Windows and Linux platforms. It is free and is a modest download of 6Mb. Go to the blender web site and check out the Art Gallery and the movie, 'Midnight Snack'. www.blender3d.org
Microsoft described Digital Image Suite 10, which has many photo retouching capabilities. Photo Library 3 allows you to attach keywords to photos to help you find one particular photo out of your library of thousands of digital photos. Photo Story 3 creates computer generated music for photo e-mail collages. Microsoft demonstrated their next operating system version, Vista, which has many new features. You will be able to attach keywords to user files and organize and reorganize files in virtual folders. Application buttons on the taskbar will display previews when your mouse hovers over them. You will be able to perform routine work with user privilege and switch to administrative privilege only when necessary. Window header bars will be translucent. www.microsoft.com
Linspire is a modern Linux distribution with improved support for iPod, Quicktime and music downloads. LinspireLive CDs were distributed which let you try out Linux without installing any software on your hard drive. This is a good way to see if your hardware is compatible with Linux. www.linspire.com
Once again, CompUSA built a high end computer and gave it away in a drawing. This is always a highlight as many Raincoast attendees eagerly wait to see who will win the computer! www.compusa.com
I am pleased that I had the opportunity to attend Raincoast. It gave me ideas that I am eager to discuss with our BECS SIGs. At Raincoast, I gravitated toward Linux topics, but there were also many opportunities for Macintosh and Windows users. The food was great and there were door prizes. What more could one ask for in a local computer conference?
Corel Paint - This was a demo of their latest and greatest imaging program. This product compares very well with Adobe Photoshop for considerably less money. Speaking for myself, I'll stick with Photoshop, however they did have a very pretty young lady doing the demo!
Word Perfect - Also well done. The latest version has some features not found in Microsoft Word. But of course, that works both ways.
Web Design and the Law - All about copyrights, etc, what is permissible and what will get you in trouble. The presenter described many well known court cases as examples of what's legal and what is permissible.
Intel - Very interesting, not only what we can expect to see in future chip development, but also some of the many other products offered by Intel for the computer enthusiasts that like to build their own. I hope BECS will follow up on one of these projects.
Emerging Intel Technology - This was a continuation of the above only with a smaller group, more informal and easy to ask questions.
Creating a Network - They actually created a network using Mac's and PC's together, both wired and wireless. The demo wasn't without its problems but by the end of the hour, everything was functioning.
Microsoft - Microsoft not only provided an excellent salmon dinner but I believe a fine talk about future developments in computing technology.
Evening Vendor Faire and Door Prizes - Lots of valuable prizes and all the ice cream you could eat. There were many application programs donated by various companies. I won a CD on producing home movies using a computer. Mike Wayte won a well written instruction manual for Photoshop CS2 which he will donate to the Digital Imaging SIG Library.
Smart Computing - Sunday morning was a lively presentation by Smart Computing Magazine. This easy to read magazine offers many features not ordinarily associated with a magazine subscription; telephone and email technical help, storage space on their servers for articles you want to copy, computer access to several of their other publications. This magazine is very User Group oriented.
These were just the presentations that I attended. There were others covering various phases of computing. The big event of the conference was drawing the winning ticket for the computer. The computer was assembled from some $1500 worth of components donated by CompUSA: all the latest technology - 3.5 GHz Intel dual core chip, 120 meg SATA hard drive, DDR RAM, CD-RW, DVD double sided read write. It was assembled by a CompUSA technician who gave a running description of what he was doing. The lucky winner was Marilynn Russell. Here's her photo with the technician just getting ready to close it up.
So come to next year's Raincoast and have an interesting, informative weekend. And maybe you'll be the lucky person to go home with a new computer.
The sessions I attended included demonstrations of Corel’s Paint Shop Pro 10,
Intel’s presentation of upcoming technology, Linspire’s presentation of their
Linux approach, and Microsoft’s Vista and Digital Imaging Suite 2006. All
provided useful information about their products and points to consider when
deciding whether to acquire new hardware or software.