Spectrum: Interactive Media & Online Developer News 6 Jul 98

Reported, written and edited by David Duberman for editorial/ subscription inquiries, send duberman@dnai.com
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Today's Headlines (details below)

WEBMEISTER --O'Reilly Upgrades WebSite Pro --Multiactive Launches ecBuilder: Low-Cost E-Commerce Solution: --Ipswitch Adds Web Messaging, Email-to-Pager to IMail Server DEVELOPER'S TOOLBOX --Imperial Software Launches Visaj 2.0 For Java --Pinnacle Ships miroVIDEO DC50 Video Capture Card IN THE INFOGROOVE --Online Ad Industry to Develop Audience Measurement Standards --Alexa Releases 2.0 for IE 4 --CyberTown Unveils ColonyCity Online Community --Northern Light, Billboard Launch Music Search --PUSH Hits 10,000 GRAPHICALLY SPEAKING --Kinetix Ships Character Studio R2 with Motion Capture --HP Launches Internet Imaging Software --Credo Interactive Ships Life Forms 3.0 CONSUMER CHANNEL --All Around Us Interactive Unveils Flagship CD-ROM Title DEALS --NewTek Expo to Join Digital Content Creation Conference & Expo GAMES PEOPLE PLAY --Microsoft Launches Online-only UltraCorps, Multiplayer Strategy Title --THQ Ships Granstream Saga, PSX RPG --Microsoft Baseball 3D and Golf 98 Swing Into Action HAPPENINGS --SIGGRAPH 98 to Feature Interactive Dance Club --DV Conference Set for Pasadena F.Y.I. --About Spectrum --------------------------------------------------


O'Reilly Upgrades WebSite Pro WebSite Professional, O'Reilly & Associates' Windows Web server, has been upgraded to version 2.3 and is now available. This release contains several features and bug fixes, including the fix for a security problem which affected WebSite, and Web servers of Sun and Netscape. The new version solves the problem of a security hole in the Windows operating system that allows the use of a browser to view code from a script, and thus, to illegally copy unencrypted code. The bug was identified by the San Diego Source on June 25. WebSite Professional features a Web server, a merchant solution, and a tag-based programming environment called iHTML, developed by O'Reilly's technology partner Inline Internet Systems. The newest releases of iHTML Professional (version 2.15) and iHTML Merchant (version 1.04) are included in WebSite Pro 2.3. The new iHTML Merchant contains ICVerify and CashRegister 3 from CyberCash, Inc., software used for processing payments in electronic commerce transactions. The upgrade for WebSite Professional also includes WSVersion, a new tool that assists users and technical support with tracking the versions of installed components. The upgrade, which also resolves several minor bugs, is available for free to registered users at (http://software.oreilly.com). Version 2.3 is downloaded over WebSite Professional 2.0, which sells for $799 (suggested retail price). JRun, from O'Reilly partner Live Software, is also updated in WebSite Professional 2.3. JRun is used for running Java servlets on a WebSite Server. The new version, JRun 2.1.4, now includes online HTML-based documentation. -------------------------------------------------- Multiactive Launches ecBuilder: Low-Cost E-Commerce Solution: Vancouver, B.C.-based Multiactive Technologies Inc. last week began shipping ecBuilder, a tool for creating commerce-capable Web sites for small business. Designed with the ISP in mind. ecBuilder lets the ISP to co-brand ecBuilder with their name and hard-code the FTP site, so customers must choose that ISP when uploading their finished Web site. Creating a Web site with ecBuilder is point-and-click process. Working through the wizard-driven screens, the user adds company, contact, product/service and pricing information, and then uploads the site to their ISP. The site is automatically submitted to Internet search sites based on keywords chosen during setup. With over 500 different styles to choose from, the site can be further enhanced and customized with the addition of photos, logos and other graphic files. Visitors can submit orders and inquiries through a secure, form-driven interface. If the Web site owner has a merchant account with a financial institution, they can also process credit card payments. ecBuilder customers receive a free membership and Web site listing at ecPlace (http://www.ecplace.com). ecPlace is an online resource center that provides technical and marketing advice, tools and services. ecBuilder is available for download from Multiactive at http://www.ecbuilder.com for $99.00. To learn more, visit http://www.multiactive.com or call 604-899-2800. -------------------------------------------------- Ipswitch Adds Web Messaging, Email-to-Pager to IMail Server Ipswitch, Inc.'s new IMail Server 4.0, a mail server for Windows NT, now incorporates Web messaging and email-to-pager, previously offered as add-on options. The package is designed to provide a Web-based messaging solution to small and medium-sized businesses, ISPs and resellers. IMail Server 4.0 is available in two editions: a 250-user edition sells for $995 and an unlimited-user edition sells for $1,495. Also available are the Web messaging with advertising option, priced at $995, and the email-to-fax option, priced at $195. For more information, contact Ipswitch at 81 Hartwell Avenue, Lexington, Massachusetts, via telephone 617-676-5700, fax 617-676-5710, or mailto:info@ipswitch.com; or visit http://www.ipswitch.com. --------------------------------------------------


Imperial Software Launches Visaj 2.0 For Java UK-based Imperial Software Technology (IST) last week announced Visaj 2.0, a new version of its visual application builder for Java. The $495 product is written entirely in Java and runs on all platforms, including UNIX, Windows NT, Windows 95 and the Apple Macintosh. It supports Sun Microsystems Java Foundation Class (JFC) Swing components, and provides layout editors, an image editor, graphical hot-wiring of events and JavaBean serialisation. New features include: * Extensive JFC/Swing Support - gives the developer the ability to automatically load and access the entire set of Swing components, and the option to load Swing as the default Visaj palette. Visaj 2.0 provides full access to the built-in children of all Swing composite components. * Swing Box Layout Editor - complements the Swing support by allowing more complex layouts to be constructed visually including visual representation of glue and strut components. This extends the range of existing Visaj layout editors for Gridbag, Border, Grid, Card and Flow layouts. * The Visaj Image Editor, implemented using Swing, can read and write both JPEG and GIF formats. It includes the standard features required for image design and editing, combined with a range of advanced features such as blur, texture, stylize and distort filtering options. * Graphical Event Hot-Wiring - The developer draws a line between the source and destination components in the Visaj containment hierarchy to invoke a ready primed event-binding wizard. Visaj also supports multi-argument methods and Bean properties passed as method argument. For more information.0, call Imperial Software Technology at 650/688 0200 (US), or +44 118 958 7055 (International) or visit http://www.ist.co.uk. -------------------------------------------------- Pinnacle Ships miroVIDEO DC50 Video Capture Card Pinnacle Systems Inc. is shipping its miroVIDEO DC50 digital video editing package for Windows NT running on Intel CPUs. The package is bundled with Adobe Systems' Premiere and After Effects. It provides input and output connections to component, composite, and S-Video sources, as well as both balanced and unbalanced audio I/O. The DC50 also provides genlock input and output for integration into any production environment. DC50 features a capture rate of up to 7 MB/second. A data sheet is available online at http://www.pinnaclesys.com/consumer/dc50/dc50ds.html --------------------------------------------------


Online Ad Industry to Develop Audience Measurement Standards The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) announced that it has initiated a broad-based industry effort to develop voluntary guideline standards for audience measurement of the Internet, and that a September target has been set for completing and publishing a final document, "IAB Online Audience Measurement Guidelines." As the first step in developing these standards, the IAB hosted an industry "Audience Measurement Summit" meeting following its annual membership meeting in San Francisco last month, according to LeFurgy. Joining the IAB at this summit were representatives from the leading media research firms, as well as advertisers, advertising agencies, ad management firms, online media companies, and organizations representing these constituencies. At the summit, participants appointed a working committee to develop a draft document to present to the industry in July. It was agreed that this document would address three major areas: * Best Practices - intended to 'raise the bar' on the quality of online audience research by establishing voluntary minimums that conform with generally accepted research practices * Education - intended to aid the online advertising and marketing community in comparing the research results available from different measurement companies * Research - intended to explore and explain the differences among the various measurement companies, and to experiment with new ways to generate more accurate audience counts Following the initial presentation from the working committee, and after comments from all industry segments are addressed, the IAB intends to publish the final guidelines in September. -------------------------------------------------- Alexa Releases 2.0 for IE 4 Alexa Internet, providers of free Web navigation service Alexa, announced last week Alexa 2.0 for IE 4.0, which loads like a Web page into the browser and installs in under a minute. The program appears as a toolbar in the IE browser frame and displays information about sites visited in the IE sidebar. Features include Site Stats, which displays data such as who the site is registered to, how popular the site is, how many sites link to that site, ratings and more; Related Links, which provides suggestions for related sites to visit next; Alexa's Archive of the Web, which enables users to call up missing Web pages, and an integrated desktop reference. Alexa is located on the Web at http://www.alexa.com, or at 415-561-6900. -------------------------------------------------- CyberTown Unveils ColonyCity Online Community ColonyCity has opened its gates: Fans of games, science fiction, high-tech and related themes will meet in this virtual city, described on the site as an "ancient virtual civilization." CyberTown has developed the online city, which is based on new technology from blaxxun interactive (formerly Black Sun). This technology provides community members with tools for managing the community and includes multimedia communication with 3D (VRML) places, real chat and message boards. ColonyCity is described as an advanced virtual community with its own economy and social structures. The service is free for visitors and registered members. The site is financed through advertising, sponsoring and e-commerce. Visitors who become citizens of ColonyCity can take on jobs, earn community money and buy houses. Using avatars (graphical figures) they will be able to interact in the community with others in virtual reality. Built-in political structures let members run for mayor, city council member, and various other public roles. Volunteers can take responsibility for public places, such as libraries, theaters, shopping malls, cafes, and city halls. For more info, visit http://www.colonycity.com. -------------------------------------------------- Northern Light, Billboard Launch Music Search BPI Communications Inc., publisher of Billboard, and research engine developer Northern Light Technology, LLC, announced the creation of an Internet-based music information research engine. The Billboard Music Search (http://www.nlsearch.com/billboard/) lets visitors access content from BPI entertainment publications, articles from Northern Light's Special Collection research library of over 3,400 full-text premium sources, and music Web sites. Visitors to the site can search on any music-related subject, and narrow their search by source, date or document type. Searchers can choose to exclude personal pages or limit their search to specific document types such as press releases or job listings. Results are automatically organized into Custom Search Folders. -------------------------------------------------- PUSH Hits 10,000 PUSH Magazine (http://www.push-mag.com), a free monthly PDF-based Internet magazine, has hit 10,000 subscribers, representing 30 countries, after four months of publication. The one-page (it's a big page!) e-mag is a tongue-in-cheek look at how popular culture, language, and the media intersect on the Internet from a media-friendly, yet slightly cynical, perspective. PUSH launched on 9 March 98 and is delivered exclusively as an email attachment (the current issue is about 600KB). Each issue features original photography, articles, and links to various sites on the Net. --------------------------------------------------


Kinetix Ships Character Studio R2 with Motion Capture Kinetix, a division of Autodesk based in San Francisco, is now shipping the latest version of Character Studio R2 software, a new version of the $1,495 plug-in software extension to 3D Studio MAX R2 and R2.5 software for 3D character animation in film, broadcast, video, games, and interactive entertainment. Character Studio R2 software combines motion capture, editing, and blending technology with traditional key frame animation, new skin deformation tools, and a patented footstep-driven technique. The software lets animators import, edit, organize, and blend motion capture data, and includes a library of more than 500 ready-to-use motion capture samples, representing a variety of typical sequences, such as punching, kicking, jumping, and running. The product is comprised of Biped, a hybrid footstep-driven/motion capture/keyframe animation system, and Physique, an interactive skinning system. The latter has been redesigned to provide intuitive assignment of deformation envelopes, muscle bulging, and tendon pulling. Physique also provides controls like vertex weighting and skin sliding, to provide control over skin behavior. Upgrades from Character Studio Release 1 are U.S. list priced at $495. 3D Studio MAX R2.5, currently available, is U.S. list priced at $3,495. Visit Kinetix on the Web at http://www.ktx.com, or contact the company at 800-879-4233. -------------------------------------------------- HP Launches Internet Imaging Software Hewlett-Packard Company last week announced Internet imaging software designed to let users control how they view and print Internet images and provide Web-site owners with tools to track and analyze how users interact with images. An evaluation copy of the software, OpenPix ImageIgniter, is available free for 45 days to Web developers and software vendors creating e-catalog and e-business communications for business-to-business and business-to-consumer applications. Features are said to include fast previewing of images, easy image retrieval, streamlined image management and photographic-quality Web-based printing. It features the highest-quality viewing and printing on the Web, analyzes and reports on image use, integrates software authoring tools, and provides low-cost image operation and administration. Also: * OpenPix Image Reporter tracks and analyzes the viewership of OpenPix-ignited composite images and delivers separate activity reports for each image element. * OpenPix Authoring Assistant works with environments such as Allaire HomeSite, Macromedia Dreamweaver and Microsoft FrontPage. * OpenPix Service Manager provides a single point of remote or local administration, with user-configuration parameters, logging/monitoring and diagnostics tools. Find more info at http://image.hp.com. -------------------------------------------------- Credo Interactive Ships Life Forms 3.0 Vancouver, B.C.-based Credo Interactive has begun shipping Life Forms 3.0, software for creating natural movement sequences for 3D character animation. Program features include: * inverse and forward kinematics * range editing lets movement sequences be edited over a series of keyframes with one single action * support for motion capture data includes editing mocap sequences, applying mocap data to different models, and converting between mocap file formats * blend editing lets the user copy/paste individual body part movements between different models * built-in rendering provides movement creation, pre-visualization, and presentation functionality * walk generator creates customized walk sequences with parameters such as velocity, distance, and step count * file browser lets users preview animation and extract movement without opening extra files Credo will release two concurrent versions of Life Forms: Life Forms 3.0 and Life Forms Studio 3.0, both for Mac and Windows: * Life Forms 3.0 (SRP - $299 US) is for novice 3D animators and is compatible with common file formats from many entry-level 3D packages. Life Forms 3.0 includes approximately 50 ready-to-use animations, 40 motion capture files and over a dozen Life Forms ready models. * Life Forms Studio 3.0 (SRP $495 US) is for professional users and is compatible with common file formats from high-end professional packages, including motion capture data. Life Forms Studio 3.0 ships with PowerMoves 1& 2, Credo's 3D animation and motion capture libraries. PowerMoves 1& 2 includes more than 600 ready-to-use Life Forms animations, 120 motion capture files and five additional life forms ready models. This package also encompasses all of the content included with Life Forms 3.0. For more info, visit http://www.credo-interactive.com. --------------------------------------------------


All Around Us Interactive Unveils Flagship CD-ROM Title San Jose, Calif.-based developer All Around Us Interactive last week released its first product, Impact: Ground Zero. The interactive CD-ROM explores the extinction of the dinosaurs by a cataclysmic comet impact, and what can be done to avert a similar threat to mankind. The title offers video and audio interviews with scientists from NASA/Ames Research Center, Lawrence Berkeley Labs, Los Alamos Laboratory, Johnson Space Center and others. It also includes 3D animation of cosmic impacts and an historical timeline. An interactive quiz lets users try to save the world from disaster. A research library is also provided, as is a dramatic reading from Dr. Walter Alvarez's book, "T-Rex and the Crater of Doom." For more information, call 408/723-2635. --------------------------------------------------


NewTek Expo to Join Digital Content Creation Conference & Expo This year's NewTek Expo will run in tandem with Advanstar Communications'Digital Content Creation (DCC) Conference & Exposition (http://www.dccexpo.com) to be held December 2-4, 1998, at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The event will showcase digital technologies used in the entertainment/special effects, graphic design, multimedia, retail, healthcare, government, insurance, automotive, and financial industries. The inclusion of NewTek Expo will add a new dimension to DCC, a business forum designed to bring together the business and entertainment industry segments. NewTek is a manufacturer of 3D animation and video production products. The NewTek educational track will focus on products such as LightWave 3D, Aura, Inspire 3D, the Video Toaster, and the Video Toaster Flyer. Also, various uses of the technology will be demonstrated in sessions, panels, keynote speeches, and events. The deadline for submitting clips for the LightWave Theatre, a showcase of commercial applications of NewTek's flagship software, is October 31. Contact NewTekniques magazine at 714/513-8400 for more information, or visit http://www.newtekniques.com. --------------------------------------------------


Microsoft Launches Online-only UltraCorps, Multiplayer Strategy Title Microsoft's new UltraCorps is now available on the Microsoft Internet Gaming Zone (http://www.zone.com/). Developed by VR-1 Inc. of Boulder, Colo., the title is Microsoft's first turn-based strategy game for large-scale multiplayer competition, and the Zone's second pay-to-play online title. Available now for a free two-week trial period on the Zone, UltraCorps pits thousands of players against one another in a strategic race to dominate the universe. Players command one of 14 alien races, develop new technologies and weapons, and dispatch fleets to conquer and colonize other planets. To succeed, players must also maintain, expand and defend growing empires. Social interaction is an aspect of the game as players form alliances, draft treaties and taunt their enemies. Since UltraCorps is played on the Internet, social tools such as in-game email, player directories and rankings, and newsgroups are built into the game. -------------------------------------------------- THQ Ships Granstream Saga, PSX RPG Just out from THQ Inc. is The Granstream Saga, a Japanese-style role-playing game (RPG) for PlayStation with a real-time 3D-fighting engine. Developed by Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. in Tokyo, the game incorporates puzzles, characters and interactive battles with both weapons and magic. The player assumes the role of a young warrior named Eon as he embarks on a dangerous quest to search for four magic orbs, which have fallen into the evil hands of the Imperial Wizardry. The orbs slow the descent of the continents toward the ocean. Only a clever mind, a skillful sword, and powerful magic can save the world of Granstream from the brink of doom. Most monsters are visible, and players can run away if they wish. But other opponents will ambush and attack without warning. By fighting enemies, players receive special items, gems and magic points. The THQ Web site is located at http://www.thq.com. -------------------------------------------------- Microsoft Baseball 3D and Golf 98 Swing Into Action The Microsoft Corp. games group last week released two new sports titles for Windows: Microsoft Baseball 3D and Microsoft Golf 98, both at ERP $54.95. Golf 98 features include: * realistic 3D game graphics * rendered courses * accurate ball physics * free Internet game play * 63 holes from four North American courses, including Teeth of the Dog and the Links at Casa de Campo Resort, both in the Dominican Republic, and Bay Harbor and The Preserve, both along the shores of Lake Michigan. * motion-captured animation * location-based sounds to offer the complete golfing experience. * customization options such as club distance, strength and weather Baseball 3D features include: * 3D acceleration * real-world physics to determine the path of the baseball based on velocity, gravity and ball spin * special controller combinations provide extra power on a fastball or a burst of speed on the base paths. * force-feedback support (feel the ball hit your bat) For online product information, visit http://www.microsoft.com/games/ --------------------------------------------------


SIGGRAPH 98 to Feature Interactive Dance Club The Interactive Dance Club will premiere at SIGGRAPH 98, the 25th International Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques, 19-24 July, at the Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Fla.. The SIGGRAPH 98 Interactive Dance Club is a multi-participant, interactive environment with real-time computer-generated imagery, lighting, and video, synchronized to dance club music (i.e. acid jazz, world, ambient, drum'n bass). "In the Interactive Dance Club, instead of dancing to prerecorded music and images, participants affect the environment as they dance," said Ryan Ulyate of Synesthesia, SIGGRAPH 98 Interactive Dance Club Chair. A sophisticated system of hardware and software keeps eight zones in sync while analyzing and filtering participant input, in order to deliver a musically coherent and visually satisfying experience. Feedback to the participants is designed to be immediate and responsive. The Dance Club zones, located throughout the club, include: * Beam Breaker Parallel light beams above participants' heads on a dance floor with sensors that detect when a beam has been broken. Participants control aspects of the lighting and trigger musical phrases. * Infrared An infrared video camera, focused on an area of the dance floor, registers participants' body heat. The location of participants within this zone affects aspects of the surrounding environment. Projecting the infrared image on a large screen provides visual feedback. * Stomp Participants in this two-person zone interact by dancing and stomping on floor-mounted pads. Discrete pad hits and the level of activity in different areas within the zone control music and projected computer graphics. * Go-Go Participants step up onto a platform two feet above the dance floor and enter a cone of light. Once inside the cone, they interact by extending their arms and breaking the surrounding light beam, casting a shadow on a circular array of sensors embedded in the platform below. This controls the music in the immediate vicinity. For more information on the Interactive Dance Club projects, contact Ann Kilhoffer, SIGGRAPH 98 Marketing and Media, 619-275-5090 or send mailto:ann_kilhoffer@siggraph.org. -------------------------------------------------- DV Conference Set for Pasadena Miller Freeman's 1998 Digital Video Conference & Expo will take place October 13-16 (Expo: 14-15) at the Pasadena Center in Pasadena, Calif. The show is aimed at software developers, educators, trainers, Webmasters and others using digital video. Conference sessions include video compression, animation and automating digital workflow, video and the Web, audio mixing and more. For more info, visit http://www.dvexpo.com. --------------------------------------------------


About Spectrum Spectrum is an independent news service published every Monday for the interactive media professional community by Motion Blur Media. Spectrum covers the tools and technologies used to create interactive multimedia applications and infrastructure for business, education, and entertainment; and the interactive media industry scene. We love to receive interactive media and online development tools and CD-ROMs for review. Send your interactive multimedia business, product, people, event, or technology news to: duberman@dnai.com. We prefer to receive news by email but if you must, telephone breaking news to 510-549-2894. Send review product and press kits by mail to David Duberman, 1609 Addison St. #6, Berkeley, CA 94703. If you contact companies or organizations mentioned here, please tell them you saw the news in Spectrum. Thanks. -------------------------------------------------- Please send address changes (with old and new addresses), subscribe and unsubscribe requests etc. to the above address. If you use the Reply function, please do _not_ echo an entire issue of Spectrum with your message. -------------------------------------------------- Publisher's note: We are now accepting limited advertising. If you'd like to offer your company's products or services to Spectrum's elite audience of Internet and multimedia professionals, send an email query to duberman@dnai.com, or telephone 510-549-2894 during West Coast business hours. - David Duberman -------------------------------------------------- ┬ęCopyright 1998 Motion Blur Media. All rights reserved. No reproduction in any for-profit or revenue-generating venue in any form without written permission from the publisher.