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ImageMAKER News Digest - 2000

24-bit color print capture drivers

Beta versions of the ImageMAKER Color print drivers for Windows 95, Windows 98, NT 4.0 and Windows 2000 Professional are now available and support the following 24 bit RGB color File formats in ranking of file size (smallest first): JPEG; TIFF and BMP. Future supported formats: TIFF LZW and TIFF JPG.

Standard File Resolutions 200x100, 200x200, 300x300 and higher resolutions up to 600x600 are available.

The ImageMAKER Color Drivers are separate from the standard ImageMAKER B&W print capture drivers and require an extra .INI to install. Full un-install is supported. The ImageMAKER Color Drivers support integration with an OEM supplied Control Dialog, the same way as the ImageMAKER B&W drivers.

Download a demo version now: http://www.imgmaker.com/content/download.asp

Improved TIFF images through dithering

All dithering algorithms operate on the same principle: First convert the color image to shades of gray, then simulate the required gray value by filling space with variable black dots. Because digital printers can only print one type of dot (black), (rather than dots of differing gray value), to get a good approximation of a value of gray, you must fill the area with a percentage of black dots. A 20% black area has 20% of the area covered by black dots. A 75% black area has 75% of the area covered by black dots.

It has been proven that dithering quality can be improved by 'dispersing' the dots randomly when filling in the gray areas. By 'dispersing' the dots, you remove 'clumping', and from a visual point of view you end up removing undesirable image artifacts. As you remove clumping, you end up increasing the frequency of alternating black and white run-lengths.

The compression algorithm used for fax images achieves image compression by counting run-lengths of white bits, followed by run-lengths of black bits, then storing these alternating run-length numbers as special compressed tokens (Huffmann compression), one entry for each run-length. From a compression point of view, the absolutely worst condition to be compressed is a line containing alternating white and black dots. From an 'image dithering' point of view, the best results are achieved by increasing the alternating frequency of black and white areas which means, in practical terms, that a 50% gray is best rendered as alternating white and black dots. For this reason, there is a definite trade-off between file size, and image quality.

The ImageMAKER Print Capture drivers can be set to generate TIFF images using the Error Diffusion algorithm that produces the best rendition of gray scales available, for use in transmitting photographs or continuous tone images. Where transmission speed is of greater importance than image quality, or for straight black and white images, we also offer traditional dither patterns optimized for FAX MH compression.

The ImageMAKER Print Capture drivers generate the highest quality TIFF images available today and offer you a competitive differentiation from other fax vendors.

Download the drivers that support this new dithering algorithm from http://www.imgmaker.com/content/download.asp

Future operating systems

The next go-round of the Microsoft Win9x kernel is code-named Millennium and planned to ship in the first quarter of 2000. Millennium is now in preview stages and evidently some developers are being shown pre-beta copies of Millennium which has now been officially named Windows ME.

The first instance of an NT kernel for the home user is code-named Neptune. Slated for release in "April 2001", it will be based in theory on the same technology as what would have been NT6.

There will still be two families of OS:

  • Neptune and sequels will be called Consumer Windows
  • Windows 2000 and sequels will be called Business Windows and Enterprise Windows (Enterprise supports clustering).

As usual, ImageMAKER will be ready with proven components for all new OS releases.

Windows 2000 update

After many months of development (and in keeping with our customer commitment to release corresponding versions of our products within 30 days of Microsoft ships), we are pleased to announce that the release versions of our ImageMAKER Print Capture for Windows 2000 product are now available for client testing. The two initial test versions, corresponding to Microsoft Windows 2000 versions are:

  • Windows 2000 Professional (supporting 2 simultaneous print operations)
  • Windows 2000 Server - (supporting 'unlimited' simultaneous print operations)

The Professional demo version can be downloaded from our web page http://www.imgmaker.com/content/download.asp

For licensing or additional information contact ImageMAKER sales -

Market watch

Worldwide Facsimile Services Market Review and Forecast, 1998-2003 -- a new market research report, written by MailVerge / FaxWire editor Peter Davidson and due to be published by International Data Corporation by mid March 2000. For more information, call Cheryl Toffel at IDC at 508-935-4389 and reference report #21675...

Giga and Sunbelt Software conducted a joint survey on Microsoft's Windows 2000. Polling more than 1,000 academic, government and commercial beta testers and early adopters at domestic and international sites, the survey results — while not absolute — are very encouraging:

http://www.gigaweb.com/Content/AdHoc/RAH-022000-00038.html

ImageMAKER fixes and updates:

ImageMAKER install fix for NT 4.0 Service Release 5, 6 and 6a:

There is a bug with service pack 5, 6, and 6a for the Microsoft NT 4.0 operating system, which causes the installation of the ImageMAKER print driver to hang. Microsoft is aware of this problem, and Spittin' Image Software has made a work-around available. If you have subscribed to our Annual Support and Maintenance, this workaround is available to all "in good standing" maintenance customers by dropping a note to .

The ImageMAKER Print Capture Driver - OS/2 version, has been upgraded to now support Warp 4 (Fix pack 9).

CSID header generation support is now available for ImageMAKER Print Capture Drivers, all Windows versions. Customers wishing to develop internet fax solutions without intervening server rendering processes will find this feature necessary - especially in countries where fax sender identification is a legal requirement - such as the USA.

ImageMAKER Print Capture Drivers, all Windows versions, have been enhanced to now support the Natural Microsystems TIF format G3/G4 option tag.

Fax to email and fax to web

ImageMAKER Internet Fax Connectivity Packs Released - available as upgrades to our latest version ImageMAKER Print Capture Drivers for Windows 95, 98 and NT versions, these Packs offer a direct upgrade path from current Print Capture Driver products to enable RFC2301 compliant Fax via attachment to MS Exchange client Outlook, Notes, cc:Mail, Eudora and Netscape. This capability supports an industry-wide trend away from "custom fax clients" and towards the use of existing messaging infrastructures such as Exchange to provide net based messaging management and unifying of messaging types: i.e. both fax and email using the same client.

Windows Terminal Server

According to International Data Corp., worldwide shipments of enterprise based thin clients will jump 87% from 369,000 in 1998 to 1.2 million this year. By 2003, shipments will top 6 million.

IDC expects the thin client market to surge as a result of recent price reductions to Microsoft's Windows Terminal Server. Other factors that will contribute to the market's growth include Y2K issues and the emergence of application service providers.

Zona research forecasts growth of the worldwide commercial market to more than 2,250,000 thin-client units by 2001, with factory revenues exceeding US$1 billion. Zona's projections assume that, over the next three years, commercial thin clients will play a crucial role for access to mission-critical information and applications over the Internet and over company intranets.

New addition to the Windows 2000 product line-up

ImageMAKER Redirector for Windows 2000 released - in response to customer demand, we've recently completed development and testing for "Redirector", which allows customers to dynamically route print output by presenting the user with a simple print dialog which can be configured to specify single or multiple outputs. Systems Administrators can also specify default or forced output destinations by user / department or enterprise. Redirector is a key component in:

  • Automatically archiving print output for specified users, departments or enterprises to single or multiple destinations;
  • Monitoring print output destination and volume transactions for charge-back and service bureau applications;
  • Enabling remote printing and storage applications across intra- / internets;

Routing output to fax servers and document storage servers using a consistent, foolproof user interface. This is particularity important when Postscript or PCL files are required by the server - the end user does not have to become involved in the process of manually creating and routing an output print file.

Download an evaluation copy from our web page:http://www.imgmaker.com/content/download.asp.

ImageMAKER Development Inc. Takes Over Development and Support of ImageMAKER Toolkit

Spittin' Image Software Inc. announces the creation of a new company: ImageMAKER Development Inc. Spittin' Image Software is transferring the ownership of the ImageMAKER product into this new separate company.

ImageMAKER Development Inc. will be responsible for development and support of the ImageMAKER product previously handled by Spittin' Image Software. Ken Davies and Charles Wangersky, the original software developers of the product, will continue as the principal owners of the new organization, and will be assisted by a new sales and marketing team.

Microsoft Announces First Beta Release of New Operating System (code-named Whistler)

On 31 October, Microsoft Corp. announced the first beta release of the next version of the Microsoft® Windows® operating system, code-named "Whistler." The beta 1 release will be distributed to key partners and customers, as well as to more than 200,000 software developers via MSDN®, with the objective of gathering feedback and enabling compatibility testing.

Metasoft and Spittin' Image Software Part Ways

After seven years Metasoft Systems Inc. (Metasoft) and Spittin' Image Software Inc. (SIS) have formally changed their relationship as co-developers and marketers of the ImageMAKER product line and are now proceeding independently in the image management market.

Both SIS (through its new subsidiary, ImageMAKER Development) and Metasoft will offer the complete ImageMAKER product line and the necessary software support.

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