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First Looks

OptiStorm Makes Storage Management Easy

If you're having trouble managing your optical and CD-ROM jukeboxes check out KOM's (Kanata, ONT 613-599-7205) new OptiStorm optical storage management software ($750-$75,000).

Integrated at the device drive level, OptiStorm is 100% Windows NT (3.5 and 4.0) compliant. This means your rewritable or WORM media are written using NTFS and are compliant with FAT. No proprietary file systems. It supports all sizes and major brands of MO rewritable, ablative WORM and CD-ROM.

One of the problems with optical is that it's very confusing to set up and manage your data. Optical jukeboxes are usually added to systems. Integration is rarely seamless. OptiStorm has developed an advanced Windows GUI that makes it easy to install, configure and manage all your optical devices. The high-speed magnetic caching is flexible. Users select the type of cache they want, ranging from no cache to high-speed RAID. Most systems make you work the way they work. KOM lets you chose the cache that fits your budget and performance requirements.

Many organizations run networks with PCs, Macs, UNIX machines, dumb terminals and mainframes. This means not all clients can access your jukebox. OptiStorm lets all users access the data stored in your jukebox regardless of the operating system they're using. It offers simultaneous multiple drive management and manipulation, volume labeling, volume spanning and backward compatibility with all KOM software products.

-- Mark Young

Plustek's OpticPro 9630P Price is Right Plustek's (Sunnyvale, CA 408-745-7111) new OpticPro 9630P 30-bit color scanner is a good value at $300. Its image quality is excellent. The 600 x 600 dpi resolution makes it very sharp. The downside is it's slow.

Most other scanners in this league provide 24-bit color and 600 x 300 dpi. They include UMAX's Fremont, CA 510-651-4000) $200 Astra 300P, AGFA's (Wilmington, MA 508-658-5600) $300 snapscan, Hewlett-Packard's (Palo Alto, CA 415-857-1501) $360 ScanJet 5P; Microtek's (Redondo Beach, CA 310-297-5000) $200 Scanmaker E3 and Mustek's (Irvine, CA 714-250-8855) $300 Plug-n-Play 600 II SP.

The OpticPro 9630P is very easy to install. I plugged the scanner cable into the parallel port on my PC. I plugged the power adapter into a surge protector. I put the software CD in the CD drive and it installed its own software and TWAIN drivers. Then I pressed the "access" button on the front of the scanner and waited two minutes for it to warm up.

I scanned a color photo of rhododendrons at 600 dpi. It took six minutes and 20 seconds. (At 75 dpi, it took only a minute and a half.) Dan Baliotti took this picture with a digital camera and printed it on a high-quality Kodak 8650 dye sublimation printer. The color was very close to the original picture. Our art director Saul Roldan zoomed in on the image in Photoshop and it retained its sharpness and detail.

I scanned a picture Joni Blecher took on vacation in Puerto Rico. Again, the quality was great. The scan took a little over five minutes at 600 dpi. The photo editing software let me do a little sharpening and adjusting of the midtones. It let me crop and rotate the picture. I could also draw on the picture if I wanted to.

I scanned a press release and OCRed it. The recognition was good. There were a few errors. The text was where it should be. The software grouped together the lines of text that were supposed to be together and put them in blue boxes. Arrows showed where the text should flow.

The scanner comes with basic photo editing software and OCR software. It scans in black and white, grayscale and color. This scanner is for homes and small offices. It's meant to be used for reports, greeting cards and other small projects. It's inexpensive, easy to use and good. Check it out.

--Penny Lunt

LEAD Tools Pro Express Speeds Application Development

In the old days of computer programming about three or four years ago, programmers wrote all their own code. That included unique file and image formats, compression algorithms, user interfaces and search engines.

This type of programming consumed thousands of man-hours of work. Much of it was wasted "reinventing the wheel." Even within a single software manufacturer's product line, programmers duplicated each other's work.

Market practicalities forced software programmers to rethink this approach. Object-oriented programming languages were combined with full-service operating systems to give them tools to reuse code. This let programmers add new features and to optimize code, rather than coming up with new ways to implement basic functions. This eventually led to the modular approach of today's software. This is especially true in imaging.

This makes LEAD Technologies' (Charlotte, NC 704-332-5532) LEAD Tools Pro Express an important part of every programmer's toolkit. Pro Express provides code for image viewing, editing and compression. Using standardized routines, programmers ensure their image viewers will be compatible with all of the file formats their clients are likely to encounter.

Using the imaging toolkit as a time saving tool, programmers can concentrate on the features that make their product unique. This applies to both established software products. A tool is a pre-written program subroutine that performs a specific task, such as decoding a JPEG file or converting an image from RGB to CMYK.

Pro Express ($2,000) is LEAD's most complete toolkit. Like a top-of-the-line Swiss Army Knife, it has the tools from all of their other toolkits on one CD-ROM. Pro Express components can be purchased separately.

The tools are divided into two libraries, a 16 bit library for Windows 3.1 applications and a 32 bit library for Windows 95. The tools are available as either Dynamically Linked Libraries (DLLs) or Active X components in each library. There's also sample code that programmers can modify for their own applications.

The toolkit comes complete. There are tools for acquiring, decoding and rendering all image files. More than 40 file formats are supported. There are tools for just about everything:databases, the Internet, printers and image editing.

Look at the new features that being added to popular document management software and you'll see the value of toolkits like Pro Express. Internet-enabled applications are one very good example.

-- Lowell Rapaport

Source: Transform Magazine

What Our Clients Say

  • KOMpliance provides us with functionality that wasn’t available before. We no longer have to worry about meeting different regulatory requirements for different types of studies or patients.

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