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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

In Focus: July 2009

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The second generation of the Windows Home Server features expanded support for Macs with backup to the server now possible through the Leopard operating system’s Time Machine utility. Powered by HP MediaSmart Servers ex485/ex487, the unit allows you to back up and access digital content frommultiple computers. Designed for a home network, you can easily access your photos and video clips from anywhere through a secure website. Estimated Street Price: $600 (750 GB); $750 (1.5 TB). Contact: Microsoft, (800) 642-7676, www.microsoft.com; HP, (800) 752-0900, www.hp.com.

Get creative with your nature photography without spending a lot of time behind a computer using Alien Skin Software’s Snap Art 2. Choose from more than 700 presets and 10 natural media, including oil paint, watercolor and pencil sketch. The app simulates the look of individual brushstrokes on a canvas texture, giving the final composition more authenticity. You can customize the brush size, paint thickness and other qualities to create your signature look. List Price: $199. Contact: Alien Skin Software, (888) 921-SKIN, www.alienskin.com.
Block side glare and reflection from your laptop screen using Think Tank Photo’s Pixel Sunscreen 2.0. The small, round and very portable spring-loaded screen pops open instantly for quick access. The overhead cover can be pulled over the sunscreen for extra protection in extreme sunlight. There are side and back openings for routing through cords and cables. The screen works for 12- to 17-inch laptops. List Price: $69. Contact: Think Tank Photo, (866) 55-THINK, www.thinktankphoto.com.

Turn your digital darkroom into a full art studio with Corel Painter 11. The latest version of the program features upgraded digital painting, photo painting and drawing tools. RealBristle technology introduced in the last version to enhance paintbrushes now applies to dry media. So when using markers, pens and pencils, you can shade, create fine or thick strokes and control shading by changing the angle of your stylus on the tablet. Also new is a resizable mixer palette for mixing custom colors. List Price: $399 (full); $199 (upgrade). Contact: Corel, (800) 772-6735, www.corel.com.

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