a CD-ROM from the National Multimedia Resource Centre


Turns out the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC) in Pune, India, has quite a few arms of activity to it,.. including the National Multimedia Resource Centre (NMRC) who also ran the "Multimedia Technology for Culture" conference in the city, December 1-2, 2000 (reviewed in this gazette ~ see contents).

Amongst the NMRC's other activities in turn, has been development and deployment of a series of cultural CD titles, including an interesting recent offering called "Shaili".

Most of the page-backgrounds in this gazette of The IDEA have been derived from the Shaili CD, but the entire package as a thought was perhaps most interesting to us because it seemed entirely conceivable that it may have better addressed the marketplace as a book,.. with a CD.

In the event however, the offering is quite the opposite ~ it's a CD with a "catalog" in a large cardboard box. And while such a combination may not seem unlike, for example, the Bhagavad Gita CD also reviewed in this gazette (see contents), the reasons in this case have more to do with preventing or minimizing piracy,.. and it must needs be said that the user unfortunately comes out with an unnecessary bit of bother for this.

The basic idea is described as "Computer Generated Decorative Designs in Flexi-Formats". Basic content is about 800 individual simple and complex "traditional" Indian designs available as motifs, tiles, corners, frames, arches, borders and jewelry elements. The Flexi-Format bit is about how these are each and (almost) all available in any of the following digital formats ~ Adobe Illustrator (.ai), Corel Draw (.cdr), 3D rendered bitmaps (.bmp), 3D Studio (.3ds and .shp), Windows Meta File (.wmf), Image (.jpg) and Web Publishing (.gif).

There's a small installer to run before getting going, after which basic navigation is straightforward enough,.. till you pick a category to choose material from,.. upon which you're faced with a series of codes to choose from (e.g. ACH13, ACH16). At this point, it's time to pick up the printed "catalog" that goes with the CD, choose a pattern/design, pick it by it's appropriate Code number in the dialog-box to get a look at it,.. and then walk out into open sunshine and put on new reading glasses you never needed before to decipher the second clipart-code printed beneath the original code in a sort of "color-on-color" combo designed apparently to defy B/W photocopying.

So then it's back before the machine to feed in this code and proceed on to choose the format/s you'd like to have the chosen design rendered for you in, and the directory you'd like this delivered in, and then with just a quick OK,.. Bob's your uncle (even if he isn't!)

The set's priced at INR Rs. 1,500/-, and a recent review in the magazine Computers@Home rated it 8 out of 10 on bother performance and value for money. The same reviewer also make the point early on that "While there are several sources for Western clipart, it's hard to find Indian designs - Shaili satisfies this need." Or at least begins to.

for more information contact:
Mr. Dinesh Katre
Group Coordinator
National Multimedia Resource Centre (CDAC)
Pune - 411 005 (India)