Wednesday, September 21, 2005  Macromedia launches Studio 8 suiteMacromedia Inc. is calling Studio 8 - the latest iteration of its package of animation and publishing tools for Web content - its biggest launch ever. It’s certainly the biggest in two years, when the last Studio offering, dubbed MX2004, made its debut. "The first thing we did was each one of the product teams went around the world with between 50 and 60 key customers worldwide," says Jim Guerard, VP product management and product marketing for the San Francisco-based firm, explaining the development path for the new offering. Studio 8 includes Flash Professional 8, Dreamweaver 8, Fireworks 8 and two new productivity tools, Contribute and FlashPaper, and Guerard says the company geared the new package to four distinct markets: Studio’s traditional core market of designers and developers; larger enterprise customers, where website content creation and administration extend outside the creative and IT departments; video professionals authoring or adapting their work for the web, and; mobile content developers, who are using Flash Lite, a version of Flash tailored for wireless platforms. Earlier this month, shareholders for both Macromedia and San Jose CA’s Adobe Systems Inc. approved a proposed merger of the two companies, whose products often competed for the same users. Despite the removal of FreeHand, Macromedia’s illustration tool and competition for Adobe’s Illustrator, from the Studio 8 lineup - it’s still available as a standalone product - Guerard says development was well under way before the merger was even conceived. In fact, some useful features from Adobe products were added to Studio 8 components, such as the layout guide and zoom tools incorporated into Dreamweaver 8. Studio 8 is available for US$999 for a commercial licence, or users of older commercial versions of Studio can upgrade for US$399.Internet-in-schools battle brewsFoes and proponents of Bill C-60, the Act to Amend the Copyright Act, faced off earlier this month over the bill’s proposed removal of Internet access from public schools. Jim Muir, Nova Scotia’s education minister, said in a media release that the move "pulls the plug on students and teachers." Section 30 of the original Copyright Act (1985) will be amended to impose more stringent conditions on how schools can use copyrighted material, which some say will force schools to curtail their students’ Internet access in order to comply. A reply was promptly issued by Access Copyright, a collective of various rightsholder groups. "If use the Internet to promote their work and earn a living they should not be forced to give that work away to the education system," said Maureen Cavan, the group’s executive director, in a release. Canadian NEW MEDIA will have more on this developing issue in its September 29 issue.Details of Rogers’ mobile TV dialRogers Wireless announced the lineup for its Rogers Mobile Television service recently. Twelve channels will be immediately available, including such informational staples as CBC Newsworld/RDI, The Weather Network/MétéoMédia, Fox News, BBC World and MSNBC/CNBC, but also live baseball coverage with Sportsnet Blue Jays as well as G4TechTV, The Shopping Channel, and Indie Video on Demand, which shows videos by independent recording artists. Users with video-enabled phones can sign up for the service and purchase it directly from their mobile phone browser, and access to all channels for $25 a month, plus a data transport fee. Filmfest content for Vidéotron customersMontreal’s Vidéotron Ltée is leveraging its investment in and involvement with the currently running New Montreal FilmFest by offering exclusive festival-related content to its cable, video-on-demand, Internet and telephony customers. Subscribers to Vidéotron’s Illico digital TV-on-demand service can access a retrospective of works by Quebec filmmakers Michel Brault, Claude Lelouch and Robin Spry, including showings of Brault’s Pour la suite du monde, L’Acadie L’Acadie and other works. Meanwhile, users of the company’s broadband Internet service were able to take in live coverage of the opening ceremony, and this weekend will be able to see the closing ceremony, as well as participate in an online chat with actor Luc Picard, while Vidéotron’s Canal VOX cable channel is providing daily festival coverage. FuturePlay gaming show goes to MichiganA computing gaming conference started by a Sault Ste. Marie ON university has grown beyond its roots - and undergone a name change. Future Play, which started out as the Computer Game Technology Conference at Algoma University College in 2002, will be held at Michigan State University from October 13 to 15 and will draw such gaming luminaries as Chris Hecker of Definition 6 and Walnut Creek CA’s Maxis, creators of the popular Sims series, Ernest Adams of the UK’s International Hobo, and Brenda Brathwaite of Northampton MA’s Cyberlore Studios. Sessions include paper presentations, keynote addresses, panel discussions, workshops, and more. D-Box debuts new motion simulatorLongueuil PQ’s D-Box Technologies Inc. rolled out its Quest X3ME product line at the recent CEDIA 2005 home entertainment trade show in Indianapolis. The Quest X3ME is a motion simulation chair that moves on three axes, similar to D-Box’s more expensive Odyssee line of products. With three actuators, the Quest X3ME can simulate up to 2Gs of gravitational force through acceleration simulators and move up to an inch and a half vertically. Michener Institute’s new-media recruiterThe Michener Institute for Applied Health Sciences in Toronto recently launched a new interactive viewbook/CD-ROM for students interested in a career in the health services field. Explore Michener: Discover Your Future In Health Care combines conventional CD-ROM media, a printed booklet and web content to provide students with insight into the disciplines of radiation therapy, medical laboratory science, respiratory therapy, nuclear medicine technology and radiological technology as practiced at the institute, which was founded by the Ontario Ministry of Health. IMAX, GE unit team upToronto’s IMAX Corp. announced this month that GE Commercial Financing, a division of General Electric Co., will offer financing for potential franchisees of IMAX’s motion picture theatre technology. Existing and would-be theatre operators in North America and some international markets are eligible for the financing program, which helps fund the buildout of IMAX, IMAX 3D and IMAX Dome cinemas, each of which can have specific technical requirements for its screens, seating, projector, and so on.