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How to create a good impression

CableNews II Presentation software for Acorn A- series computers, Pounds 149 from Lindis International, Wood Farm, Linstead Magna, Halesworth, Suffolk IP19 0DU.

Many people regard CableNews as the premier package on the Acorn machine for constructing the type of presentation that top companies use to impress clients. Indeed Acorn uses this package for its own displays; walking around any computer show you will see other software houses with rolling demonstrations in using the capabilities of this software.

CableNews II has added several features to the original package so that more dynamic promotional works can be created. It consists of two basic applications, CableMake (the authoring program) and CableView (which enables presentations to be run without CableMake). Lindis allows you to distribute CableView with your final products provided it is given away free.

A presentation is created via a series of building blocks. Each screen or slide is made separately, although more than one can hold the same background or picture. Text or pictures are held in a frame on each slide. Draw or sprite graphics files are dropped directly on to frames, while text can either be typed in directly or, using object-linked embedding, transferred to a text processor for easy editing. A useful feature is the ability to set up different text styles.

Video images or audio CD clips can also be included. CableNews II has some impressive tricks to make your slides look very professional. Frames can have four different effects around them including raised and inverted borders, which create a 3D quality. It is also possible to add a shadow effect either to the frame itself, or to the object inside the frame. The availability of the full colour range for backgrounds, frames and shadowing gives endless combinations.

Once slides have been created, they are then linked together into a "story". Creating a "story" is extremely easy, the author being presented with a chart and simply places each slide in sequence to create the presentation. The amount of time each slide is present on screen can be set individually together with a visual effect to bring in the succeeding screen. It is in this area that CableNews II stands out. More than 20 visual effects are available including some with extraordinary impact. Roll-down, for instance, shows a mirror image of the back of the slide as it is being rolled down on top of the previous screen.

Your final presentation can be set up in a continuous loop, or each slide can be activated by clicking on a mouse while you are speaking to your audience. The major advantage of CableNews II over its predecessor is that hotspots can now be placed on slides that enable the author to move non-sequentially through the information. Hotspots can be made to jump to another slide in the presentation, execute a command or run another application. In this way, CableNews II is more like other authoring packages, where choices can be built in to the presentation.

CableNews II is professional presentation software comparable with programs available for a Macintosh or Windows machine. Running on a fast Acorn computer with plenty of memory, CableNews II is in its element and can show what promotional material packages can do. However, the additional hotspot feature is not as easy as it might be to set up and could be more flexible in implementation.

CableNews II still does what its predecessor always has done well and purchasers are more likely to be attracted to these features rather than any additions.

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