Blink-Free Photos Guaranteed! A Collection Of Thoughtful And Blink-Free Gizmos Page 2

Kubota Image Tools Trois
Kevin Kubota ( has created another wonderfully useful set of Photoshop Actions. Kubota Image Tools' Artistic Tools Volume 3 contains color enhancing, enriching, and beautifying Actions, including the interestingly named Velveteen, Satin B&W, Renaissance, Fashion Passion, Wash Out, Super Heroine, and Deep Forest. In addition, scripts have been added for automatically sizing images from 4x6 up to 8x10, while adding borders with keyline variations. The set sells for $99, and works with Mac OS X or Windows 98/2000/NT/ Me/XP. It's compatible with Photoshop 7.0 or later, but some Actions require Photoshop CS2. I tested it with a beta version of Photoshop CS3 and it worked fine, but for the Actions to install you must change the name of the "Actions" folder inside CS3's Presets folder to "Photoshop Actions."

Rechargeables From The Bunny
Energizer's ( Dock & Go Charger includes two portable charging pods, each of which holds four AA or AAA rechargeable (Ni-MH) batteries. The charger has space for both pods and can charge up to eight batteries in sequence or four in a pod if the other pod is in use. At just a few ounces, the lightweight pods are small enough to slip into a pocket or camera bag. The device has a special LED indicator that changes between green, red, and yellow, showing the charge's progress and indicating when batteries are fully charged. It takes 2.5-3 hours to charge a set of batteries. Once the pod/pods are charged, the charger automatically shuts off.

The Dock & Go Charger also has a safety mechanism that alerts you if you place non-rechargeable batteries in the pods. With a single set of Energizer rechargeable AA batteries you can capture up to 325 pictures with a digital camera, four times as many as with alkalines, and the batteries can be charged hundreds of times. The Energizer Dock & Go Charger costs $33.99, and is bundled with four Ni-MH AA batteries.

LaserSoft Meets HDR
LaserSoft Imaging's ( SilverFast 6.5 includes a multiple exposure feature for working with High Dynamic Range (HDR) images. SilverFast's Multi-Exposure function is based on the principle of a multi-sampling feature and auto-alignment. With multi-sampling the image is scanned several times using the same settings to identify and minimize noise. The patented auto-alignment feature ensures scan precision, allowing for maximum sharpness and clarity. With Multi-Exposure the scanner's dynamic range is utilized by repeating the scan with different exposure intensities for subsequent scans. This process creates a scan that LaserSoft claims has the "dynamic range comparable to that of a drum scanner." SilverFast 6.5's ColorServer allows color conversion, scaling, sharpening, separation, and image data optimization that can be performed automatically via hot folders. Based on the company's testing, SilverFast 6.5 can improve the results of image capture for both reflective and transparent originals.

Don't Monkey With USB
Advanced Media Inc. (, manufacturer of RiDATA electronic storage products, has added five USB flash drives to their line-up. It's the kind of fun accessory that's popular in Japan but more difficult to find in the U.S.A. Each of the elephant, monkey, bookmark, and puzzle designs includes two additional USB ports, allowing you to turn each drive into a USB hub and add on more devices. OK, so the design is not up to Mimoco's ( PROD&ProdID=72) $79.95 Darth Vader drive, but at least they're trying. The drives are available from 128MB to 4GB capacities, weigh less than 10 oz, and have a two-year warranty. They offer partition and security functions to create password-protected sectors for the storing of personal or confidential material. An LED indicator shows usage status but no external power or battery is required. RiDATA's drives are USB 2.0 compliant, compatible with USB 1.1, and work with Windows 98SE /Me/2000/XP; Linux 2.4; and Mac OS 8.6 or later.