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Hit me, hit me, hit me with those laser beams...

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Here's some technology that could be useful in that continuing power struggle which is the new corporate architectural life. It is the VersaLaser (assume all the usual no-connection disclaimers). You can see a rather bad Quicktime movie demonstration at www. versalaser. com.

What it is, is a sort of modified printer run by your computer that lays down laser beams of varying intensity rather than ink - and on materials such as metal, stone and wood - though not paper, which would probably just catch fire. It can even cut thin materials or simply do a version of engraving. And, of course, it does images as well as text.

The possibilities seem endless. Start sending in your competition entries as minimalist, etched aluminium sheets - or curlicued copperplate should you be of the other persuasion. You could cut stencils for that old Victorian house you are doing up. Me, I'm saving up for the next office accessory: the 3D printer.

No more craft knives, cardboard and Cow gum. Bliss.

It used to be strictly the preserve of the Mac (no, please don't all write in), but like Microstation and most of the interesting graphics and CAD applications, Konfabulator has just been transmogrified into Evil Empire format. But only for users of Windows XP or 2000. Still, for them it could be a lot of fun. The download site is www. konfabulator. com/downloads, whence you can also download hundreds of widgets. Konfabulator?

Widgets? Well, Konfabulator is the shareware application and widgets are the things that end up littering your screen - like a Felix the Cat, who stomps around vaguely and grins widely from time to time. He has to lift office morale.

There are a couple of analogue clocks, a stock ticker, a weather forecast (for Palo Alto, California), the German news, a UK train departure board, the current wind direction in six Australian locations and 520 or so more. Not for the serious minded, obviously.

sutherland. lyall@btinternet. com

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