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Reflections: Jazz up email with video compression

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By Thomas W. Ivines

There is a technology available that has revolutionized E-mail. Instead of writing E-mail by typing, you can now talk it. And, not only can you talk it, you can also record it live, via video. Thanks to a software program by Aimslab, you can take ordinary AVI files and condense them into extended movies and attach them to your E-mail, or even put them on your web site for viewing online, or for download.

There are many ways to record AVI files. The most common is to use a digital camera hooked to your computers USB port. Or, for as little as $29.00 you can purchase a small computer camera. Just plug the camera into the USB port like you would a toaster into the wall electrical outlet

With a capture card, around $69.00 you can record off of a portable hand held video camera, a VCR, a DVD, or even direct from a television. You can even record right off the Internet, if you have access to the web.

The capture card also allows you to view television and listen to FM radio all the while you are using your computer for other things. The screen for TV can be moved to the corner or anywhere else. It can even be enlarged just like your regular TV, but the real advantage is being able to watch TV or listen to your favorite radio stations while you work. Hah! Explain that to your boss!

The nifty part is that no special, expensive equipment is needed like digital video cameras that only produce MPEG files. The Aims software compresses standard AVI files much more than mpeg files, and that is what is produced from all the media I have just mentioned. See something on TV from your computer screen you want to save? Simply record it, compress it and send it to mom or whoever via E-mail. Yes, you can record your favorite song off the FM radio-in stereo, too, all while working on those spread sheets. It's just a matter of where you point and click.

To find out more about this interesting and exciting new technology for computers, go the web site http://www.aimslab.com and look at their latest breakthrough in video software and hardware. The technology is spreading quickly on the Internet. If you want to be ready for it, download the Windows driver called "aims_player.exe." The driver allows you to view the new, compressed format of videos. The driver is not standard with Windows but is easily loaded by double clicking the file after downloading.

If you want to see a live demonstration, you can now see me talking to you on your own computer. Simply go to my web site at http://www.gdn.net/