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Computer currency.

One of the first software categories to gain the attention of marketers is the personal information manager (PIM). Numerous product offerings populate this category. One of the well regarded brands, GoldMine, is now available in a Windows/95 version, and offers a number of new features. In this issue we take a look at the upgrade and its new features. Another advancement focuses on color printing which has provided rich colors at an affordable price. Thus, we examine a remarkable and inexpensive color ink jet printer, the Epson Color Stylus 500. Finally, marketers have started to exploit the power and user convenience of multimedia publishing. Two problems facing multimedia publishers are the expense and complexity of creating multimedia projects. A new program, Digital Workshop Illuminatus makes multimedia publishing easy and carries a very reasonable price tag.

GoldMine for Windows 95

Despite the high promise of computers, and their software, only a few software categories matured to the point where there are three major contenders in the field. Operating systems and office suites (those combining word processing, spreadsheets, database management systems and presentation packages) are the two exceptions. In most other areas the battle for market domination still rages on.

One such category is the personal information manager (PIM) area. Many software vendors offer products for managing daily (and often routine) tasks such as keeping contact names and addresses, "to-do" lists, an appointment schedule, and a few other features. The number of entries increased over the past few years. Most of these, however, are "stand-alone" solutions, i.e. they offer a single user the ability to use the product.

When it comes to the work environment, where networks now begin to rule, the field is far narrower. GoldMine is the one entrant which claims to be the most comprehensive contact manager available for the networked environment. Unlike ACT (another PIM product which we reviewed last year), GoldMine was not "transplanted" from its origin as a single-user application, to the networked environment. GoldMine provides an integrated program that allows users to take full advantage of the networked environment. GoldMine was conceived and designed for the networked office. As such, this PIM product claims to be a "comprehensive solution for the enterprise." GoldMine for Windows 95 also includes unique enhancements, which make it very powerful, and the winner of Computer Reseller News' "Recommended" (December 4, 1995) and Windows Sources' "Stellar" (February 1996) awards. The following are some of these outstanding features:

(1) Internet integration. You can now send and receive Internet e-mail from GoldMine. If you receive Internet e-mail from a contact who is in your GoldMine database, the message will be automatically linked to that contact's record. Outgoing e-mail messages can be written at all times, and are automatically recorded for the next Internet session. You can also synchronize contact databases via the Internet, merging all changes down to the field level, including notes and history.

(2) Embedded, wireless paging. Although we did not get to test this feature, GoldMine helps the "road warrior" by offering embedded, wireless messaging capabilities. This allows you to send e-mail messages to alpha-numeric pages via your modem.

(3) Wizards. GoldMine, like Windows 95, introduced several wizards. These include the "Merge/Purge" Wizard, the "Import and Export" Wizard, and the "Global Replace" Wizard, to help you navigate through GoldMine.

The "Merge/Purge" Wizard easily identifies duplicate records and merges them together. That feature is of particular importance if you have kept several databases, using several PIM types, and are now bringing them into GoldMine, as we did for this review. You can define duplicates, not only for a contact's name, but also for any number of fields, and have separate Merge/Purge options available. Combining this Wizard with the "Import and Export" Wizard, GoldMine speeds up importing, exporting, and previewing data simple, and fast. We imported over 3,500 records of all the businesses in the Washington/Baltimore area into GoldMine in less than two minutes.

If you carry a laptop and add names to the GoldMine database on the road, you can now use a new "Global Replace" Wizard, which allows updates of information. You can also replace and update simultaneous or multiple fields.

(4) Group and work schedules. We were reviewing GoldMine on a small network consisting of two computers only, but clearly if more were available, as in a typical business environment, more will benefit. Few salespeople work alone, and GoldMine's real strength lies in facilitating workgroup features, such as a group and work scheduler. GoldMine can even track the use of resources.

Thus, for example, if you need to schedule a conference, you could track use of particular rooms over time(!) and the use of specific overheads (and other such equipment) for the same time period. The program also can schedule reporting needs.

(5) Telemarketing. If you need to have telemarket abilities, GoldMine can do it. It also supplies time-analysis graphs and statistics. You can track sales prospects, forecast future revenues and cash flow by individual, group contacts, or by users.

(6) Information center. GoldMine offers the quick search capability of an information center, a read and update with security access by sections, as well as the ability to attach multimedia, graphic or text-based files. In addition, a special "What's New" tabbed section stores topics chronologically, keeping users up-to-date on the latest company information. "These new workgroup features further establish GoldMine as the No. 1 rated contact manager for workgroups," added Ferrara.

(7) Expanded Profiles. Contact profiles and user-defined fields (up to eight additional fields per entry screen) can be laid out to create a data collection form for each user-defined profile reference, and moreover, they can be set up as user-defined tab folders. This allows different users to look at different aspects of the contacts database.

All this power comes with an extremely easy-to-use-and-customize contact database program. Report generation from the data is both easy and customizable, with the ability to print to most address book and calendar programs (e.g. Day Runner, Franklin DayTimers, etc.). With added programs like GoldSync and GoldAlarm, you can further enhance the program, which of course works with most of the major word processing formats on the market. Written in the C language, GoldMine macros can be written to make use of short-cut keys, as well as more complicated routine tasks.

The display of the screen is also customizable, but the important information is also always on top (name, phone number, address). The lower section of the screen has tabs (users of ECCO will recognize this), which you can change to suit your needs.

GoldMine for Windows 95: $295 for a single user, and $895 for each five-user network license. Site licenses and reseller discount pricing are available. GoldMine for Windows 95 requires a 386SX IBM-compatible PC, VGA, 4MB RAM, 6MB HDD, Microsoft Windows 95 and DOS 3.1 file record-locking compatible networks. GoldMine Software Corp., 17383 Sunset Blvd, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272; Tel: (310) 454 6800; technical support Fax: (310) 459 8222; BBS (310) 459-3443; CompuServe 74431,1624; ELAN Software CompuServe forum (GO:GOLDMINE); World Wide Web site (http://goldminesw.com).

Michael V. Laric University of Baltimore

Epson Color Stylus 500: Sharp Color at a Black and White Price

When I first learned about the Epson color inkjet line, I was impressed by its very high resolution. At the time, laserjet printers were first offering 600 dots per inch (dpi) resolution in black and white at Mercedes Benz prices. The Epson line added color as well as higher resolution. After investigating, I learned that the 720 dpi resolution can be achieved using special paper and 720 dpi printing is a slow process. Still, the results were extraordinary. The line included business and home models and one professional quality unit able to print up to an 11[inches] by 14[inches] sheet. The large 11[inches] by 14[inches] inch tabloid format is attractive since it is exactly double the American standard 8.5[inches] by 11[inches] paper size. Thus, a single sheet could be folded in half to form a color printed cover for a brochure.

Recently, Epson has introduced enhanced versions of the original line and has reduced prices. One unit caught my attention, the Epson Color Stylus 500. While it will not print the oversized tabloid size, it can handle anything 8.5[inches] wide or smaller. That includes the standard letter and legal sizes, the European A4 size, and the executive 7 1/4[inches] by 10 1/2[inches] size. It is the first high resolution color ink jet printer priced within the reach of the small office home office (SOHO) market. At a manufacturer's suggested list price of under $300, it offers black and white and color printing which meets the needs of the busy professional or retailer. To be frank, the Color Stylus 500 is not a network usable workhorse able to service a work group. Its print speed at the higher resolutions is slow. However, it can deliver high quality output in reasonable quantities. It might be the perfect tool for concept tests and custom projects.

I tested the Epson Color Stylus 500 which I bought for $279. Numerous retailers featured the printer for that price. It came with a black and a color cartridge, software drivers, and a collection of utilities including Sierra On-Line Print Artist, Adobe PhotoDeluxe image editing software and Epson Extras, which contain 25 extra fonts and 125 high resolution images. No printer cable was included.

Setup

If you have used inkjet printers before, setting up the Stylus Color 500 will offer no surprises. The printer comes with Windows and Macintosh software as well as an Epson setup disk which includes an on screen tutorial filled with diagrams and graphics. It takes one through cabling to inserting print cartridges and assembling the printer. I installed the printer on a system equipped with Windows 95. Setup was straightforward and included using the Epson supplied driver.

Design and operation

The printer impressed me with its simplicity and straight through paper path. Paper feeds into the sheet feeder on rear top of the printer and ejects into an adjustable tray in the bottom front. In numerous page tests, I encountered no paper jams. Notably, it uses two separate print cartridges. One is black and offers true black print. The other contains the three primary colors: yellow, magenta and cyan. Moreover, the printer uses both cartridges simultaneously. That should not be remarkable, but my last inkjet printer required inserting either the black cartridge for black text, or the color cartridge for color printing. The unused cartridge had to be stored separately. Moreover, if I mixed color prints with black text, the black text was not true black. It resembled a charcoal gray and resulted from mixing the three primary colors to approximate black.

At the power on cycle, the printer makes set up sounds as if it were printing. In reality it seems to be cleaning. When it does print, the Epson software offers a graphical meter showing how much of the paper has been printed and after printing, how much ink from each cartridge has been used.

Output

Using special paper in letter and legal sizes, I produced numerous color and black and white brochures. Most were done using Corel WordPerfect 7.0 for Windows 95. I had control of text color and could highlight the otherwise black text using one of 256 colors. I also could print pictures in color. Some of the projects printed at 720 dpi used legal sized paper, printed with the brochure option and folded to yield a 8 1/2[inches] by 7[inches] booklet. Others used letter sized paper folded to a 8 1/2[inches] by 5 1/2[inches] size. Pages were stapled along the fold and looked like they were printed professionally. I produced these for clients who saw them with nothing left to their imagination. From a marketing standpoint, I could communicate the design idea immediately. Previously, I struggled with paste up "answer prints" that looked too preliminary. This is one excellent marketing application of the Color Stylus 500.

I was impressed that black text looked black and the color saturation at 720 dpi was excellent. However, one does not need everything printed at high resolution. The printer offers draft, 180 dpi, and medium, 360 dpi output also. Like the old dot matrix printers, draft printing is speedy. The default 360 dpi resolution produces impressive looking jobs on plain paper at a reasonable speed. I noticed some color banding in large blocks of color and learned that the 720 dpi resolution can employ a feature called MicroWeave. The MicroWeave option reduces or eliminates banding and offers the industry's highest inkjet output resolution - 720 dpi. Output on the specially coated paper really was impressive. It was also slow, although much faster than output with the original Epson Color Stylus. To be fair, time may not be as critical in the SOHO environment as it is in the traditional business situation. After all, one can start printing at the close of the day, enjoy dinner and nip back to the home office to monitor the print job after the dishes are washed. In such situations, even inclement weather need not interfere with the painstaking printing of a masterpiece. For small quantities of a high definition output, the Color Stylus 500 is just the ticket.

The printer can even produce customized T-shirts by printing on special T-shirt transfer paper. Thus it is possible to produce a small quantity of customized T-shirts for important customers, or a company event.

Overall evaluation

At its modest street price, it offers quality like that of an expensive laserjet. Its separate color and black and white cartridges allow efficiency and some cost savings over other inkjet printers. For situations in which economical, high quality color printing is critical, the Epson Color Stylus 500 is highly recommended.

Epson Stylus Color 500, Estimated street price $279, available from Epson America (800) 463-7766, Internet address; www.epson.com.

Robert Jameson Practice Management LLC, Columbia, Maryland

Digital Workshop Illuminatus: Multimedia Publishing Made Easy

Computer multimedia has grown to be one of the most exciting and entertaining forms of communication available today. In business, at school, and at home multimedia is used for sales promotions, informational presentations, interactive multimedia learning experiences, and interactive entertainment. Illuminatus is a simple multimedia publishing tool designed to let you easily create multimedia projects. Multimedia publishing with Illuminatus allows for the combination of text, graphics, pictures, sound, music, animation, and video for creating many multimedia projects. Visualize and develop presentations, electronic books, greeting cards, memos, slideshows, educational materials, promotional materials, business cards, and digital publications using simple to understand tools and windows. No programming experience is needed to produce your multimedia publications; however, desktop publishing experience is helpful. Because you learn Illuminatus quickly, you have more fun creating your multimedia publications.

Installation

Illuminatus is a 16 bit application designed to work with Windows 3.1x as well as Windows 95; furthermore, Illuminatus works quicker and more efficiently with Windows 95. Digital Workshop has not produced a 32 bit version of the program because of potential compatibility issues that could occur if you were to distribute a 32 bit executable multimedia publication to someone without Windows 95. Digital Workshop will release a 32 bit version when Windows 95 is more widely adopted or the compatibility issues are resolved.

The main Illuminatus program is provided on a CD as well as on one 3.5 inch high density disk. The CD also includes resources and samples that can be used when creating your multimedia publications. When I placed the CD in my CD-ROM drive, an installation dialog guided me through the installation process. Illuminatus requires Video for Windows drivers to replay AVI video files. They do not provide these files; however they will provide assistance if you have difficulty in obtaining Video for Windows.

Illuminatus requires 3.5 megabytes of hard drive space for a minimal installation, which allows you to run the program from your hard drive. The recommended installation also includes sample publications that add an additional 9.3 megabytes of hard drive space. A full installation requires approximately 200 megabytes and is not recommended by Digital Workshop during the installation process. With a fast CD-ROM drive, it is not necessary to install all of the included animations, backgrounds, buttons, cursors, graphics, icons, masks, movies, music, photos, and sound effects on to your hard drive, you can access them from the CD whenever these components are needed. The Illuminatus CD also includes several multimedia utilities to edit resources. ILMWaved is a WAV file editor, Remix allows you to alter the instruments playing each track of a MIDI file, and CD Icon Installer is a utility that installs an icon that allows your publications to be run from a CD. Evaluation versions of JASC Paint Shop Pro and Media Center are also included on the CD.

Getting started

Learning to use Illuminatus requires only a couple of hours. You can read the user manual, or use the help menu within the Illuminatus program. Viewing sample publications give you an idea of what you can create using Illuminatus. The manual is less than 200 pages and briefly describes the features and terminology of the program. The user manual also gives basic instructions and helpful tips about creating multimedia projects. I have used desktop publishing programs and I found the approach being used by Illuminatus to be similar to desktop publishing programs. The publication view shows you thumbnails of all the pages in your publication much like thumbnails in a desktop publishing program. Double clicking the thumbnail with the primary mouse button opens the page view. In this view, you layout your page design and add content and actions to your pages. After completing your multimedia project, you preview, then compile or publish your project so that you can test and distribute your programs. I was able to create a simple publication in a matter of minutes.

Publication view

Most projects are composed of a number of different pages. The publication view is used to organize the page order of your project. The publication view is the central location where all pages can be accessed and manipulated. Furthermore, the Illuminatus View Window displayed after you launch Illuminatus and choose whether you want to open an existing publication, create an entirely new publication, create a new publication based on a template, or open the last file used. To build your publication, you add entirely blank pages, page templates with existing frames and buttons, or existing pages complete with contents and actions. Entirely blank pages require the most work because you have to add all the content and actions. Page templates are completely editable just like blank pages; however, the use of page templates allows you to make your project with a consistent look and feel. Not only can you save your publication, but you can save a page with all its content and actions so that you can add that page to any publication you want.

Page view

Any page of your publication can be edited in any order. While in page view you can switch between publication view and page view and move between pages. Illuminatus uses titles to refer to pages rather than numbers. When creating pages, you need to design your layout by adding a background, frames, and buttons. Once your layout is done, then you add content and actions to your page.

The basic look and feel of the page are created using a background. A background color and graphic can be used. You can make the background transparent to allow anything underneath to show through. You can have a simple colored background, a colored background with a graphic, a full page graphic or texture, or a full page graphic that establishes the design for the page.

Frames and buttons are used in conjunction with content and actions. Frames and buttons can be invisible and layered. Illuminatus can perform multiple actions from a single click by layering buttons on top of each other. Layering applies to buttons and frames independently; therefore, if you want to make a frame appear in front of a button, you need to make the button invisible. Buttons and frames can be selected, moved, resized, copied, cut, pasted, and aligned.

Frames and content

Frames contain content. This content can include a border, background, text, animation, or slideshows. A variety of border styles can be applied to any frame. The background can be a single color or graphic image. Transparency can be applied to the image so that whatever is behind the frame will show through. Text is added by typing it into the box or by using an ASCII file to import text. The scrolling option will allow you to use more text than the frame allows. Any true type font can be used and you can choose the styles, colors, attributes, and sizes of the text to meet your needs. A frame can also contain FLC, FLI, AVI, and MPEG animations and video files. AVI and MPEG files can be scaled to fit and the Keep Aspect option ensures the file is not stretched or squeezed. The movie can be set to begin with or without the Action of a button. A slideshow is the last type of content that can be included within a frame. Choose the files you want in your slideshow and add transition effects. A transparency option allows you to lay pictures on top of each other to build up a composite graphic or a series of frames can be used to create simple animations.

Buttons and actions

Most actions are combined buttons, but some actions can be set up on a page basis. The actions that can be set up on a page basis include the length of time a page appears on screen, the way a page appears on screen, and the ability to specify a sound effect or music for the page. Setting a page display time length allows for the creation of rolling presentations which display a series of pages repeatedly or to automatically cycle through the pages of a presentation. The way a page appears on screen includes the background and transition effects between pages. A sound file can be set to play as the page appears, or a file can be selected to loop continuously to provide background music for your publication. Buttons represent actions. A button can be a visible button, a graphic or an invisible button. Buttons can be set to perform an action automatically, with a mouse click, or with the mouse moving over the button. There are two types of actions a button can have: primary actions and secondary actions.

Primary actions are the main actions of a button. Each button can have only one primary action. Jumping to another page; running animations, slideshows, and videos; exiting the program, running other programs; and searching for pages are the primary actions of buttons. Secondary actions include appearing frames that pop up on command; saving text entered by the user to disk; and adding sound, music, or narration.

Previewing, compiling, and publishing

At any time, you can preview a page or your entire project by selecting preview from the menu bar. Preview will give you a good idea of how it will look when it is compiled or published. When you have finished producing your multimedia project then you need to compile or publish your program. Both compiling and publishing allow you to have compressed pages and an optimized color palette. Compressing pages saves disk space and optimizing the color palette prevents strange colors appearing in graphics located on different pages of your publication. Compiling creates an independent executable file on your hard drive so that you can test the way your project performs and looks. Publishing creates an independent version of your program which is distributable on disk or CD.

Support

You can receive technical support from Digital Workshop, the program's manufacturers, or from Jasc Inc., a company that helps market Illuminatus. Although the call is not free, and in the case of contacting Digital Workshop the call is an international call, Digital Workshop and Jasc Inc. offer free telephone technical support for all registered software, and limited support for shareware products during the evaluation period. Other support options include e-mail support, and web site information. Patches, interim upgrades, known problems and frequently asked questions are listed on their web site: http://www.digitalworkshop.co.uk.

Overall evaluation

Creating a multimedia publication from a blank screen may seem intimidating, but Illuminatus' powerful capabilities allow you to easily create multimedia publications and projects without programming. I was impressed to discover that Illuminatus has been adopted for use in UK primary schools and forms a part of courses in colleges and universities. I was also impressed by the idea that after I create my publication, I can publish it to floppy disks for distribution. The number of file formats supported and the inability of Illuminatus to use Windows 95's Media Player instead of Video for Windows was slightly disappointing. I was also slightly disappointed that there were no editors included for editing or converting graphics files. World Wide Web publishing could further increase Illuminatus' appeal. But the positive features and ease of use easily dominate and make Illuminatus worth looking at as a tool for the creation of multimedia publications. At the street price of $119 Illuminatus is quite a bargain. I have used many presentation programs and a few multimedia authoring programs. This is the easiest program to use if you want to create multimedia publications.

Available from Digital Workshop, 19 Parsons Street, Banbury, Oxon OX16 8LY, UK, Tel: +44 1295 258335, http://www.digitalworkshop.co.uk, or JASC Inc., 5610 Rowland Road, Suite 1.25, Minnetonka, MN 55343; 1-800-622-2793, http://www.jasc.com, List price $199, Special Limited Time Offer $149, Street price $119.99.

James D. Hersh Computer Support Specialist, Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission
COPYRIGHT 1997 Emerald Group Publishing, Ltd.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1997 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:computer hardware and software for marketers
Author:Hersh, James D.; Jameson, Robert; Pitta, Dennis
Publication:Journal of Consumer Marketing
Date:Mar 22, 1997
Words:4352
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