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MacEdition Pro News : January 28, 2003

by MacEdition Staff (feedback)

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iBooks for everybody

Apple Canada just inked a deal with a Canadian school board in the province of Quebec that will see 5,000 iBooks distributed to students from grades three and up over the next three years.

The deal, which will kick off with over 1,600 units being delivered by September, was fuel by the success two American school boards have had with their iBook-based learning programs. The first deliveries will take place this month.

“In the United States, both the State of Maine and the Henrico County School Board in Richmond, Virginia, took this comprehensive approach, and in two years, they have had quite a positive experience. After careful analysis of these two initiatives, the Quebec Ministry of Education gave us a green light to launch a project of this type,” explained Ronald Canuel, Director General of the Eastern Townships School Board. “Our project is consistent with the Quebec government’s educational reform and should serve as an important and positive example of the government’s strategy to better enhance learning for Quebec students.”

Along with the new hardware, Apple Canada also committed to providing technical and curriculum integration of the technology with the largely rural school board so that it complies with Quebec’s educational standards, an offer which couldn't be matched by a mail-order computer company.

Lexmark delivers low-cost SOHO solution

Lexmark International launched a new all-in-one document management solution that's bound to catch the eye of small office/home office (SOHO) entrepreneurs everywhere.

The silver-and-black X5150 scanner/printer/copier product comes in with a US$150 price tag and features a 4800 x 1200 dpi printer with a print speed of up to 14 pages per minute in color and a 48-bit 600 x 2400 dpi scanner. The X5150 also utilizes Lexmark’s auto-sensing paper technology which allows the printer to automatically adjust for differing grades and sizes of paper for optimal output.

“Lexmark has always developed products based on what our customers tell us they want – and the success of our All-In-One line reflects the wisdom of that approach,” said Tim Craig, Lexmark vice president and president of its Consumer Printer Division. “Lexmark created the sub-$200 AIO category, and the X5150 sets new standards by offering the best combination of price, functionality, ease-of-use features and striking appearance.”

For Mac users the kicker is this USB device works with both Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X and comes with fax and OCR software.

My fingerprint is my ID

Sony has just made the world a little more secure for OS X users with the announcement of a fingerprint identification device that will begin shipping in March.

Sony’s Puppy Suite is a little USB gizmo that will lock down a Mac running Mac OS X 10.2 until its rightful owner touches the pad to unlock the machine.

At the same time, the flexible Puppy product can also securely export fingerprint templates and high-quality 8-bit fingerprint images, which can be used in market-leading third party matching algorithms. With this capability, the Puppy can support off-board and central database-type matching: users are not tied to a single Mac or fingerprint device. This feature makes the Sony biometric product perfectly suited to support enterprises and complex applications such as homeland security and health care/HIPAA. The Puppy Suite offers robust fingerprint imaging technology based on a technique known as capacitance, which digitally reads the fingerprint without leaving ink residue on your finger. Capacitance sensors cannot be fooled by paper copies and do not require cleaning.

The fingerprint device will sell for US$180 and Sony is offering a software development kit for those who wish to customize the device for their own purposes.

Every point counts

SoftCare has released a new version of Text-O-Meter, a plug-in utility for InDesign and InCopy which measures line length and handles overset text.

Text-O-Meter calculates text length by number of characters and number of lines in an accessible floating palette. The palette remains open while editing, allowing the user to monitor text development while writing. Text-O-Meter can automatically show or hide overset frames for the selected text flow or all text flows on the page, allowing the user to see and edit overset text. The overset text frames are also printable, so that overset text can be proofread on paper.

SoftCare has a trial version of the software posted on its Web site and those wishing to make a closer inspection of the plug-in will be to do so as Adobe’s road show winds through Germany and Austria during the month of February. Text-O-Meter costs 59 Euro (25 Euro for upgrades) and is available through distributors in Europe and the United States.

Content contest launched

A small innovative company Rainjul LLC has devised a unique way to promote its product and provide content for users of its Aizai channel viewing software.

Rainjul announced its Best New Channels contest. Rainjul will be giving away ten free copies of Aizai to the creators of the best new channels on the Aizai Channel Service Network. Aizai is the first technology to allow individuals and groups to view, create and distribute digital photos, movies, music, Web pages, documents and folders via virtual television channels. Aizai runs on Apple Computer’s Mac OS X Jaguar.

The Aizai software is downloadable as a demo and comes with both the tuner and broadcasting components. Registration of the program costs US$29.95 and the transaction can be done via Kagi or PayPal. The contest will run until March 1, with winners being announced on March 15.

Looking for old ProNews segments? Check out our index at http://old.macedition.com/news/. Do you have news releases or tidbits of interest to the Macintosh professional? Send them to pronewsnotes@macedition.com.

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