by Alan Zisman
(c) 1993. First
published in Our Computer Player, July 16, 1993
by Ron Wodaski
Recently, I reviewed Kris Jamsa's book, "Instand
Multimedia for Windows
3.1". To be brief, I was disappointed. I found the book too basic. It
to show multimedia, but assumed that users had no sound card, no CD-ROM
player, and as a result, couldn't do much of anything.
As a result, I approached Ron Wodaski's book,
very tentatively. Was I going to strike out again? (And I've been
cash for these books!)
But it included a CD-ROM disk... the first book I've
seen with a CD
bundled. With 500 meg or so of software included, there's got to be
Well, I don't want to keep you in suspense. I liked
this book a lot
more. While it is listed as 'Beginner/Intermediate', it doesn't have
'Dick and Jane' feel of the Jamsa book, while covering much of the same
Wodaski is clearly a multimedia evangelist... he
claims that it's "the
next logical step" for personal computing. He takes you from sound to
pictures, to video, to putting it all together. At every step of the
he takes a look at current (late 1992) software and hardware, with a
on Windows, and shows you how to use it.
He steps through MIDI, sound cards, and CD-ROM, and
looks at a range
of applications. He even looks at the programming side of things,
some Visual Basic and C+++ sample code. (No, you don't need to know
for this book to make sense. It's easy for the rest of us to just skip
those couple of pages).
There's even a Shopper's Guide section, where Wodaski
helps us through
the sometimes daunting task of getting a 'Multimedia PC'. He's prepared
to give his opinions, on sound and video cards, video capture boards,
instruments and sound modules, and software. There's a knowledgeable
on music software, as well as the more widely discussed authoring and
This book leaves the user well informed to begin to
work with the current
generation of multimedia hardware and software. (Of course this means
it will be horribly dated in a year or two!)
But it's not just a book... it's a multimedia
Even without a CD-ROM player, the floppy disk that's
enclosed will help
you get a taste of the multimedia experience. You get the Windows PC
driver, enabling you to play sounds through your built-in speaker (only
recommended for the poor or tone deaf!)
Using that, you can use the shareware WHOOP IT UP to
attach sounds to
Windows events. Or YAKKITY, the talking clock. WAVEEDIT lets you edit
sounds, while MAKIN'WAVES lets you convert other sound files to
WAV format. WINJAMMER is a shareware sequencer (for recording and
MIDI song files). GRAPHICS WORKSHOP lets you view graphics files,
between formats, or apply special effects to your bitmapped clipart.
you still need to register the shareware if you keep on using it...
the book doesn't make you a registered user of these shareware
The new MEDIA PLAYER, also from Microsoft, lets you
play Video for Windows
movie clips. CD AUDIO gives you the ability to play music CDs on your
Because you really want to have a CD-ROM player.
You've got the CD that's
included with the book tempting you... you MUST go and buy a CD-ROM
You MUST go and buy a CD-ROM player. You MUST...
The CD disk is a special edition of NAUTILUS, a
magazine. It installs a small directory of software (and subscription
on your hard drive, giving you a graphical, Windows front-end for this
CD (and other issues, if you choose to subscribe).
I can't even begin to give you a comprehensive listing
of the 500 megs
on this disk...
You get an introduction by Bill Gates... it's a Video for Windows movie
clip. You get all of Chapter 2 of the book ("Sound Advice"), this time
as a multimedia experience. One day, all books will be like this.
You get a photo section, with nature and travel
pics... repeated in
GIF, 8-bit bitmap, and 24-bit full-colour TIF versions.
You get working models and demos of lots of multimedia
Pro sequencer. Band-in-a-Box music accompanist. Autodesk 3-D Studio
Microsoft Bookshelf. Tempra Pro and Tempra Show. Animation programs
Presidio Software. A chapter from Microsoft's CD-ROM on Beethoven's
The Multimedia Toolbook runtime includes a sample
program on the exploration
of space, a theme that's repeated with Video for Windows movies of the
space shuttle. There's even a music video from Windham Hill records.
A bunch of sounds, Windows wallpaper utilities, a
number of antivirus
programs, a couple of games... well, you get the picture... you can do
a lot with 500 meg or so to fill.
If you've got a CD-ROM player, and run Windows, but
really haven't felt
like much of what you've heard about multimedia meant much, check this
book out. While it will seem dated pretty quickly, for now, it's your
way to get a sense of what can be accomplished on a PC, under the name
It's a lot of fun, too.