Bob and Joy
     By Bob and Joy Schwabach

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February 2000, Week 3 -- Words and Pictures


   Putting it as graphically as possible, bigger isn't always better.

  Canvas 7

   Editing pictures and laying out text is common to almost every business, and fun for the casual user. For both kinds of users the greatest interest seems to be in the expensive programs, like PhotoShop, CorelDraw, Canvas, etc. I think they're both making a mistake.

   I understand that from a business point of view the initial cost of software matters little. The time cost for people coming up to speed, of becoming proficient, will far exceed the cost of the program itself. But what I think is being missed is that hardly any of the graphics requirements of most businesses require high-end programs, and that furthermore those very programs, because they are large and complex, increase costs in employee time as well.



   Nobody needs hundreds of dollars worth of software to make presentations, put out a brochure, edit a company newsletter or post graphics to the web. We've been looking at two programs that do a great job for less than $100.

   The most impressive is Jasc's "Paint Shop Pro." What's even more impressive is that this program started out as shareware -- software given out for free, with payment to be made only if you like it.


   Paint Shop Pro does multiple layers, image isolation, curve tracing, animation, and has unlimited "undo" levels. Whatever you can do with images, you can also do with text, and the text can be edited on the fly. There's little more you can ask of any graphics program, and it sells for less than $100. This is outstanding.


 Adobe Photoshop LE

   You can also do layers with Adobe's "PhotoShop LE." The "LE" stands for "Limited Edition" and what that means is it's limited compared to the full version of PhotoShop, which costs five times as much. The ability to do layers means you can overlay drawings on top of each other and it's the key to complex illustrations and many special effects.

   Neither of these is a publishing program but I don't think that matters; you can do most publishing jobs with a word processor. Microsoft Word or Corel's WordPerfect have dozens of publishing setups and you can create your own using their table function. You can bring in the illustrations created with the graphics programs above. Our web site was created entirely in Microsoft Word and imported into FrontPage.


   PaintShop Pro is for Windows; PhotoShop is for Mac or Windows. Jasc phone info: 800-622-2793 or 612-934-8888; e-mail:; web: Adobe: 800-888-6293 or 408-536-6000; web:



   Ever wonder where those weird-looking recumbent bicycles and adult tricycles come from? Or what they cost. Ever wonder where to get a four-wheel bicycle surrey? We did, and went exploring. Here are some sites.

--  An overview site for all kinds of recumbent bicycles. Includes bicycle surreys, with fringe on top. The latter are aiimed primarily at amusement parks and holiday concessionaires.



--  Personal bicycle surreys.

--  Electrically powered tricycles for adults. I suppose the kids would like them too. Also pedal-powered.

--  Pedal-powered work tricycles. They have cargo boxes in back.


--  Single recumbents, tandem recumbents, tandem tricycles, folding bicycles and tricycles, bicycle trailers, carriers, etc. Arm-powered tricycles for the handicapped. Many makers.


--  and  Racing tricycles.


--  Combination hand and foot powered tricycles.

--  Info, chats, classified ads.


In Other Internotes:


--  A bookstore for popular sheet music.

--  Lots of news on aircraft of all types, but concentrates mostly on light planes and helicopters.

--  Tons of geographic information and links to other geography sites, historic maps, clip art, etc. Can look up telephone area codes too.


--  Does what the title says, but very pop-star oriented.


The numbers report


   According to Inktomi Corp., a maker of search engine software, there are just over one billion web pages on the Worldwide Web; 86 percent are in English. The most frequently selected page is the home page for Yahoo, a search engine portal that links to just 750,000 of those one billion pages.


That's entertainment

  Big Dirt Movers

   Two good games based on familiar toys. Both are aimed at children, but we found them fun for adults as well.

-- Mattel's "Matchbox Big Dirt Movers" aims at everyone's fantasy of operating the huge machines they see at construction sites. You manipulate 10 pieces of Caterpillar equipment in completing five different construction and demolition sites. We wish there had been 50. It's $20, for Win 95/98. Web site:



-- Lego Racers turned out to be more fun than the dozens of realistic stock and race car simulations out there. In this one, you build the race cars. They remain looking like they're made from Lego blocks. They move like the devil, though, and the test kids never put on the brakes; $40 list price, Win 95/98. Web:

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