While we are aware that most holiday planning was started months ago, and you’ve probably had your holiday marketing strategy in place for a while now, it is never too late to go over your list, and yes, check it twice, to make sure you get the most out of this critical time of year.

Don’t miss one detail, right down to what may be considered minor customer service supplies like bags, receipt tape, gift certificates…even extra toilet paper for the restrooms. Double check that you did indeed make sure you have adequate room for merchandise processing and warehousing. Are you completely prepared for your after-holiday clearance strategy? We certainly hope you’ve figured out how you will handle after-Christmas returns from customer service. Even though you may think you’ve got this all figured out, take a second look at your holiday selling plan to make sure you haven’t missed a step…right down to replacing those worn out mats at the front door. It all matters this time of year. Happy Holidays!

ACDSee 9 Photo Manager

While we’ve been busy moaning and groaning over the importance of better image organization and management applications, ACD Systems has been quietly bringing some very solid software solutions in this area to market. Their latest, ACDSee 9 Photo Manager takes this important solution one step further. “With the release of version 9, ACDSee continues to be the fastest and most powerful software available for viewing, organizing, enhancing and sharing digital photos,” the company announced. New features in ACDSee 9 include Quick View mode, desktop Showroom, the Shadow/Highlight tool, Private Folders, Auto Categories, Calendar Events View, and more. ACDSee 9’s Auto Categories takes the pain out of organizing photos by doing it for the user. When getting photos from any device, ACDSee now automatically matches photos up into convenient categories based on their camera information, IPTC data, ACD database information and file properties. Expect an MSRP of $39.99.

SanDisk Mobile Media

SanDisk has introduced the 4GB miniSD High Capacity (SDHC) flash card for the mobile imaging market. The 4GB SanDisk miniSDHC card comes with the promise to provide the fast speeds and large capacity required to support increasingly popular but storage-intensive applications such as digital imaging, music and video record/playback functions as well as mobile television and video games with the mobile phone market. The 4GB capacity can store more than 2,000 high-resolution pictures, more than 1,000 digital songs or up to 8 hours of MPEG 4 video.

SanDisk also recently intro’d their 4GB SanDisk Ultra II SD High Capacity card that stores more than 2,000 high-resolution pictures or up to 8 hours of MPEG 4 video.

The Ultra II SDHC card features write speeds of 9 megabytes (MB) per second and read speeds of 10MB/sec. The cards are targeted at digital photography enthusiasts with 5 megapixel or higher resolution digital cameras or videographers with camcorders that require significantly faster flash storage cards.

Epson’s Ultra HD Printers

Epson has introduced their new line of Ultra Hi-Definition photo printers that include the Epson Stylus Photo R260 and R380 photo printers, along with the Epson Stylus Photo RX580 photo all-in-one.

All three units utilize Claria ink, what Epson calls their latest breakthrough in ink innovation. All the new models also include automatic photo correction, which automatically adjusts improperly lit photos and corrects skin tones for better-looking prints; Epson’s DX5 Technology, that enables Epson’s patented MicroPiezo print head to deliver five sizes of ink droplets, as small as 1.5 picoliters, to produce microscopic droplets of Claria ink for grain-free photos; and faster print speeds, delivering a borderless 4×6-inch photo in as fast as 13 seconds. The Epson Stylus Photo R260 will have an MSRP of $129.99; the Stylus Photo R380 and RX580 will carry an MSRP of $199.99.

Canon’s Latest Pixma/PowerShots

Canon has added another printer to their line, the Pixma iP4300 printer, featuring four dye-based ink tanks, plus a pigment black ink tank, which, they explain, “deliver sharp text and professional-grade documents, making the iP4300 printer optimal for everyday tasks like printing Web pages, text documents, and presentations.” With the front panel PictBridge port, consumers can directly connect any PictBridge enabled digital camera or DV camcorder to print photos. Canon adds that the ChromaLife100 system2 helps ensure that the photos will last, while the individual ink tanks also incorporate the Smart LED system to alert the user to low ink levels and to easily troubleshoot issues. 

The printer employs a print head that incorporates the Canon FINE (Full-photolithography Inkjet Nozzle Engineering) technology with 3,584 precision nozzles that produce a high quality 9600 x 2400-color dpi5 maximum resolution, with droplets as small as one picoliter.  Expect an MSRP of $99.

The company also released several new PowerShot cameras – the A710 IS (7.1MP, Image Stabilization, 6X optical zoom, $399), A640 (10MP, 4X optical zoom, $399) and A630 (8MP, 4X optical zoom, $299).

Kingston’s 4GB SDHC

Kingston Technology Company, Inc., has announced the release of their new Secure Digital High-Capacity (SDHC) Class 2 card along with enhancements to the functions of its existing 15-in-1 Reader. “Although identical in size to today’s standard SD card, SDHC cards can handle the tremendous levels of data that today’s digital cameras and MP3 players are capable of delivering,” said Keyla Velazquez, product manager Digital Media / Flash Memory, Kingston Technology Company. “SDHC cards are a perfect match for today’s digital SDHC compatible devices that support MPEG-4 and high quality video compression commonly found in consumer HD and DVD videos, super VCD, box top DVRs and digital television.” The SDHC memory card is a new standard set by the SD Card Association that redefines performance classifications and capacity. The MSRP for the reader will remain $19.00 and the MSRP for the new 4GB SDHC memory cards is $199.00.

Sekonic Light Meter

The new Sekonic L-758DR DigitalMaster is a multi-function light meter than can be programmed to match the sensitivity of digital camera sensors or types of film for perfect exposure control. The company explains that since digital exposure has presented new challenges for photographers, Sekonic has responded with a new digital-ready light meter to meet digital exposure control challenges. As Sekonic explains, “Since no two digital cameras, camera and light meter or different types of films are likely to agree on exactly the same exposure, they need to be matched to one standard. Sekonic has recognized the need for this and has created a convenient solution, the L-758DR.” With internal programmable memory, the L-758DR can compensate for variation in exposure accuracy caused by different ISO settings, light sources, measuring methods and file formats. In addition, the dynamic range of a camera sensor can be stored and displayed on the meter’s LCD screen. Pricing was not available.

MediaStreet PMP

MediaStreet Inc. has introduced a new personal media player, the eMotion Audio/Video Jukebox, that plays virtually all available audio/video formats and records movies and other video content directly onto its built-in 40GB hard drive from any TV, DVD or RCA jack-in. The new eMotion Audio/Video Jukebox has a 7-inch TFT LCD 16:9 format screen, and provides audio through its built-in Dolby Digital speaker system. Via a built-in SD card slot, consumers can view their photographs or personal videos by inserting the card into the slot. Expect an MSRP of $398.

Pentax K10 DSLR

Pentax recently released the K10 DSLR with 10.2 MP res and a weather resistant body. A Pentax-developed Shake Reduction (SR) system effectively offers a 2.5 to 4 stop advantage for, what the company tells us, are sharp, blur-free images even under difficult shooting conditions, such as macro and telephoto photography or low light settings without a flash. The SR mechanism is designed to minimize camera shake by oscillating the CCD image sensor vertically and horizontally at high speed using magnetic force, while adjusting the speed of oscillation in proportion to the amount of camera shake detected by built-in sensors. As a result, the system does not require special anti-shake lenses.

PNY’s USB Drives

Flash memory manufacturer PNY has announced the introduction of a pair of USB drives that incorporate the U3 software platform. PNY tells us they will add a 1GB U3 drive in its Mini Attache line and a 2GB drive in its Attache line in 2007. PNY’s U3 smart drives allow users to securely transport not only their documents and files, but also popular Windows software applications, personal preferences and PC settings wherever they go. U3 smart drives are ideal for consumers, students and workers who use multiple computers in offices, private homes, dorm rooms, hotel business centers, Internet cafes, libraries and other public places. Pricing info was not available.

Ulead PhotoImpact 12

Ulead Systems, Inc. has releases Ulead PhotoImpact 12, their latest software program that features two

main enhancements to previous version – ExpressFix mode and the SmartGuide task-oriented help system,

designed to help introduce users to digital photography. ExpressFix mode is a simplified interface providing commonly-used photo features as guided and fully automatic tools. PhotoImpact 12 also adds a SmartGuide “How-to” help panel to assist users in completing a range of photo, Web and video and DVD-oriented tasks.

In addition to step-by-step instructions, links in the SmartGuide, help text automatically selects the correct tools to perform the action described. Expect an MSRP of $49.99.