Videos Less Than Dazzling

The Dazzle Digital Video Creator lets anyone with a camcorder and a newer Windows personal computer feed video clips into that PC, assemble the clips into a slick presentation and sent the results back out to videotape. The product's good, but falls well short of perfection.

At the heart of the Dazzle DVC is a video adapter that connects to the PC's USB or parallel port and provides input and output plugs for either a camcorder or videocassette recorder. Plugging in the video adapter takes only a minute.

The next stop is a piece of software called Dazzle DVC that puts a control panel on the PC's screen. A window on the control panel shows video from the camcorder or videocassette recorder that is plugged into the adapter, with buttons for starting and stopping the process of "recording" that video to the hard disk. There are tools for trimming the clips, organizing them in a library and stringing them together. However, there's a noticeable drop in image quality from video pumped into Dazzle to what comes back out. And Dazzle Multimedia is following a long and shameful PC-industry tradition of providing lame documentation.

-- Mike Langberg, San Jose Mercury News

Dazzle Digital Video Creator

by Dazzle Multimedia Inc.

1-510-360-2300

www.dazzle.com.

$249

For Windows

Viking's New Fast Modems

Viking Components offers two external modems built around the new USB technology. The Windows version is charcoal-colored; the Mac version is the famous iMac Bondai blue. Otherwise, they are basically identical.

The modems are v.90 56K rated and also support the K56FLEX standard. The USB connection is a lot faster than ordinary serial ports so you may realize some speed improvements.

Both models stand vertically, taking up less desk space, and sport nine status lights so you can see such things as speed of the data that's coming or going.

-- Craig Crossman, Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service

56K External Modem

by Viking Components

1-800-338-2361 or 1-949-643-7255

www.vikingcomponents.com

$199.95

For Windows or Macintosh