dacs.doc electric

And you thought Australia
only had Koala Bears

by Carol J. Gibson


Ixla Logo.If you were at the September 5th general meeting of DACS you would have learned differently. Kevin Brooks and Gary Coles introduced us to another one of Australia’s wonders. IXLA, a digital photography company. Not just any digital photography company, but one that produces software the everyday Joe/Jane can afford as a start up to digital photography and getting his/her pictures on the internet.

As already mentioned, IXLA was started in Victoria, Australia, in 1985, as a software publisher. Casio Camera came to IXLA and asked them to write drivers for their digital cameras. This, in turn, changed the whole scope of the company. Which in turn led to a great software package to be used with digital cameras. But the best part was the cost. Software and a digital camera for under $100. They really work…and they are GREAT! IXLA has created an easy way to introduce people to digital photography, inexpensively.

Kevin started the evening with a description of what the software package, Photo Easy, can do. For starters, not only does it work with the camera it comes with, it works with 250 digital cameras. You can also import pictures from a scanner, a floppy, a CD, the Internet, or email. From wherever you would normally import a picture you can import it into their software package. You can even do a slide show on your TV. The whole kit comes complete with a cable for your computer’s USB port and one for your TV video port—all for under $100. Can you tell I was impressed?

Kevin took a couple of shots with the Digital dualcam 640, one of the audience and one of Gary. He warned us that the image of the audience might not come out because of the distance he shot it at and the lack of light in the room. He was right. However, the one of Gary came out very well. He then showed us how easy it was to import the pictures. Just a few clicks of the mouse, and they were on the screen (along with other photos he had shot previously). They all came up in a thumbnail view. With a move of the mouse, over any picture, you could see the title, format, image size (in pixels), date and time it was last accessed and the file size. The great part about this feature is, if you have Photo Easy running in the background and you were to go to Explorer and click on a folder with photos in it, they’d all appear in thumbnail format. That’s making for incredible ease in locating photos and categorizing them.

Kevin also told us, if you want to use your photos to make the “perfect” gift, just click on a button and you are at pix.com where they will add your pictures to a mug, a t-shirt, or whatever, at a reasonable cost.

Kevin showed us some of the other features of Photo Easy. While it’s no PhotoShop, it’s an excellent program for the beginner. You can retouch and enhance photos, even fix red-eye! You can have fun with it and warp, twist and stretch your photos for creative fun. And, as if that weren’t enough, you can create custom calendars, postcards, greeting cards, and more.

After presenting the Photo Easy software package, Kevin showed us the WEB Easy Software. I should have stressed on the word easy, because Kevin made creating a WEB page look so easy, I’m willing to bet even the greenest novice could handle it. Imagine, creating a WEB page with pictures and buttons and links, and not having to know HTML. Kevin said this particular package got great reviews, and they are already talking upgrades. His demonstration of this package wasn’t as detailed as Photo Easy because he wanted to give Gary time to show us the latest version of WEB Easy. The new and improved version, WEB Easy Millennium.

Gary showed us all of the new bells and whistles to the WEB Easy program. The big thing is DHTML – dynamic hypertext markup language. He told us you could add as many pages as needed, there is a more complex assortment of templates, and you can customize your page as you like it. You can even use a blank template and build a straight HTML site or a dynamic one. You can create forms by just dragging and dropping. You can bring in another form and change it. It’s easy to get on line. While it’s not a true High End product, it’s easy enough to get you started. I wish I had purchased that program as well, so I could have gone into more detail about its features. However, one of the features on their brochure did catch my eye. “IXLA Web Easy will even take care of publishing, maintaining and updating your Web site once you’ve created it. And, since most Internet Service Providers (like AOL, Netcom, Earthlink and many others) offer free Web site server space as part of a standard Internet account, IXLA Web Easy makes it easy to publish and maintain your Web site without incurring any extra monthly expenses.”

Kevin and Gary were excellent presenters. They really knew their product, and you could tell they enjoyed working with it and liked what it did. Their presentation went very well, there were no hesitations. The program did just what they said it would, when they said it would.

They ended the evening with some great offers on the already inexpensive software. And judging from the size of the crowd on the stage that wanted to get their hands on one or more of the packages, I wasn’t the only one who was impressed with these two guys. Their office, by the way, is right here in Danbury. You can contact them at 17 Jansen Street, Danbury, CT 06810 – telephone 203-730-8805 or fax them at 203-730-8802. You can also check out IXLA USA at their website, http://www.ixla.com.

Minimum requirements for using the DualCam 640 with your PC.

Pentium processor or equivalent
Microsoft Windows 95(serial) or Windows 98 (serial & USB)
16MB RAM (32 MB or higher recommended)
Hard disk with at least 150 MB or higher free space
256 color or higher graphics card (16bit highly recommended)
CD ROM drive
2xAA batteries Included with the camera
Internet access required for on-line components.

Minimum requirements for Using the DualCam 640 with your MAC.

Power Macintosh, G3, G4, iMac, iBook
Mac OS 8.6 or later
Available USB port
64 MB RAM (with Virtual Memory on)
100 MB hard disk space (Canto and Corel software)

Carol Gibson enjoys photographing her grandchildren. She also photographs numerous other items and likes to manipulate them on the computer. She then takes the final copy and uses them for greeting cards for family and friends.