Wow, the last General Meeting of 1996 is here already. Next month is the Computer Show and Sale, (better known as the Garage Sale), on December 14. In January, Jack Quattlebaum of Apple's Atlanta office has promised to return to update us on the progress of System 8 and to let us know what is happening with New Media, (Cyberdog, Live Objects, etc.) at Apple. Don't miss it!
This month's meeting opened as usual with the Question and Answer Session, ably hosted by Tom Witte and Lawrence Charters. This is always one of the most interesting parts of the meeting because you find out that you are not the only one having a particular problem and often you get the fix from our Mac Gurus or other audience members. Of particular interest at this meeting's session was the discussion of the change in AOL's policy. If you are an AOL member, be sure you are enrolled in the pricing plan most advantageous to you. The three plans are a "flat rate" $19 per month plan, a "limited use" plan and an "Internet" plan. There is some confusion as to how the latter two options work. I'll try to get the official word on these and publish them.
After the announcements, we launched directly into this month's presentations. Once again this month we were graced with two excellent presentations. A flip of the coin gave Cyberflix, Inc. the first slot. Rand Cabus of Cyberflix gave us a brief overview of the product line and development environment used in making the software.
The company was founded in 1993 by Bill Appleton of Supercard fame. They are located in Knoxville, Tennessee and can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com. They also have a web site at http://www.cyberflix.com. Their telephone number is (423)546-7846. Their popular CD-ROM games include DUST: A Tale of the Wired West, Jump Raven, Lunicus and the game that was presented at the meeting, Titanic: Adventure Out of Time.
According to Rand, almost 2 years, much of it research into the Titanic and its history, went into this game. In fact, the result was so accurate that is was used during some of the salvage dives on the Titanic to show the divers what to expect! The game is so detailed it comes on 2 CD's. It includes a "Tour" option which lets you tour around the Titanic without playing the game.
The premise of the game is that you are a British Intelligence agent who receives "Her Majesty's regrets that your services are no longer required." As you ponder your fate in your London flat, the neighborhood is bombed and you go "out of time" back to the Titanic. You have a chance to change the outcome of the future by winning the game.
The graphics are stunning, the game looks like a fun challenge and the entire experience looks extremely interesting. I can't wait to try it myself. You had to see this one to believe it. (Hint, hint you need to attend the meetings.) We also got to see a short preview of coming attractions, a new Pirate adventure game coming next year.
Elsewhere in the Journal you will find a special offer from Cyberflix via GTE Entertainment, the publisher of Cyberflix games. You get almost 50% off the price of the game if you mention Washington Apple Pi and say the secret phrase.
Aaron Bird of DataStream Imaging Systems, Inc. of Lexington, KY (http://www.datastrem.com) was next up with a demo of WildRiverSSK, a suite of seven "plug-ins" for Photoshop or other plug-in compatible image manipulation tool such as Canvas 5, PhotoDeluxe, Fractal Design Painter, and Color-It, to name a few. According to Aaron, these effects are enhanced versions of some popular filters available on the Internet known as "Sucking Fish." The Japanese author of the filters apparently wanted the new product to be called "Super Sucking Fish" but the marketing people in the U.S. thought it would be best to use another name. They settled on WildRiverSSK, the SSK standing for Super Sucking Fish (the K is from the Japanese word for Fish which I didn't catch).
Trying to describe this one in words is next to impossible. You really did have to be there. I'll try anyway. The seven filters allow you to add some really fantastic effects to your text and graphics. I've always wondered how some of the interesting graphic effects I've seen on web pages were done, and now I know.
The first filter is called DekoBoko. Deko is the Japanese word for convex and Boko is the word for concave. This filter lets you give a raised, 3-D effect to an image or text. It is also great for making buttons or other graphics look raised from the surface of the page.
MagicCurtain, the second filter allows you to build custom color texture wave patterns. Impossible to describe but beautiful to behold. Chameleon, the third filter is a color manipulation tool. Suppose you decided to remove all of the red from your image. You would simply select the portion of the spectrum you wished to change and the color you wanted in its place and presto! Its done!
TileMaker is a tool for posterizing and tiling images. You can make a mosaic out of any graphic or image. TVSnow allows you to make portions of a graphic look like they are experiencing "snow" or interference on the screen. It allows you to choose the beam types, length and brightness of the "noise." Finally, MagicFrame lets you create multi-colored frames or borders around images. Aaron called up a picture of the World Trade Center in New York and made an instant gold metallic frame appear around the picture. Great stuff for you webmasters in the audience. WildRiverSSK is available for $99.95 from Datastream at (800) 889-7781.
We concluded the meeting with the drawings for the door prizes thoughtfully supplied by our presenters and other vendors. Winners of software and books are strongly encouraged to write a review for the Journal. It's fun and easy and your fellow Pi members want to know what you think.
Lou Dunham and Walter Forlini won copies of Titanic: Adventure Out of Time. Dust: A Tale of the Wired West was won by Glenn Rounsevell and Julia Wickerham. Richard Cross and Mary Ellen Jehn were winners of Time Lapse. Titanic T-shirts went to Susan Lawrence, Robert W. Moore and Jim Hays. Time Lapse T-Shirts were presented to Steven Thorpe and David Wilson. Carl Bednar, Larry Ichter, Henry Ware and Greg Knott won Dust T-shirts. FWB Hard Disk Toolkit software was won by John DiBella, Grace Gallager and Richard Goodwin. A Claris Amazing Animation CD-ROM went to Thomas Berens, John Hyland and Jim Kelly. The ever-popular Apple Services drink bottle left over from MacWorld Boston went to Edward Miller and the Code Warrior T-shirt went to Lou Ward.
Books, books, and more books: Internet Explorer Kit to Roger Hirschy, Walking the World Wide Web to R. Ketchel, Sex, Lies and Video Games to Olin Bockes, What's On the Internet to Andy Werthmann, The Internet for Macs for Dummies to Susan Ware and Free Stuff from the Internet to Bill Wydro.
Thanks to all of you who attended, and special thanks to GTE Entertainment, Cyberflix and Rand Cabus and to Aaron Bird and Datastream Imaging Systems. Many, many thanks to Proxima and Bonnie Allen for the loan of the super projection system that adds so much to our meetings each month. My personal thanks to Beth, Lawrence, Tom, Lorin, my son David and to all of the other Pi volunteers who help make it easier for me to put these meetings together every month. Don't forget: Garage Sale December 14 in the NOVA Gymnasium right across the hall. See you next meeting when Apple Computer will return. Have a happy holiday season.