Microsoft Wireless Optical Desktop 5000
Microsoft’s Wireless Optical Desktop 5000 was designed to provide users with quick and comfortable access to frequently-used imaging tasks such as viewing and cataloguing image files and sharing images via prints, emails and slideshows. Consisting of a keyboard and mouse plus wireless infrastructure and software, it’s an all-in-one solution that is simple to set up and use. . . [more]
Microsoft’s Wireless Optical Desktop 5000 was designed to provide users with quick and comfortable access to frequently-used imaging tasks such as viewing and cataloguing image files and sharing images via prints, emails and slideshows. Consisting of a keyboard and mouse plus wireless infrastructure and software, it’s an all-in-one solution that is simple to set up and use.
In addition to the standard alphanumeric keys, the keyboard has a new PhotoCenter on its left side with five Hot Keys assigned to common imaging tasks (Slide Show, Print, Send, Edit and Library) plus a Zoom Slider that lets users enlarge photos and other content. These keys are only compatible with Microsoft’s Digital Image 2006 Standard Edition editing software (supplied). Above the regular keys is a panel with five ‘My Favourites’ buttons, which users assign to selected directories or folders on their PC. Pressing the button opens the linked directory.
Seven MultiMedia keys share this panel, providing access to audio levels and video playback settings. To the right of the Function keys is an F Lock button that toggles between the alternative settings for these keys, while above the number pad are buttons for accessing Calculator, Log Off and Sleep modes. The keyboard itself is curved with a padded wrist rest and well-sprung keys that are comfortable to use.
The wireless mouse has a curved grip and multi-directional tilt wheel for scrolling up and down and side to side (although the test unit didn’t permit lateral scrolling). A button on the left side opens a rectangular Magnifier that enlarges text and images on the screen. Magnification is adjustable by pressing and holding the button while scrolling the mouse wheel. The magnifier works with any material you can display on screen – including other editing software. At top magnification, you can see individual pixels in files from 10-megapixel cameras!
Both mouse and keyboard are battery-driven, each requiring two AA cells to maintain wireless connection to the PC. Microsoft claims batteries should last for roughly six months. A PS/2 connector is supplied for users without a spare USB port, although Microsoft advises USB is preferable
Software represents an important part of the package and full editing functionality is only provided when users have the supplied Microsoft Digital Image 2006 Standard Edition installed. This application only supports the following file formats: *.jpg, *.psd, *.tif, *.bmp, *emf, *.eps, *.fpx, *.gif, *.php, *.pcd, *.pcx, *.png, *.mix, *.tga, *wmf. Raw files are not supported, which positions the software squarely in the hobbyist arena.
Digital Image 2006 Standard Edition is a straightforward editor that is easy enough for primary school children and people with limited computer experience to use. Its start-up screen offers instructional videos that show users how to perform common picture-editing tasks and how to use the Digital Image Library to organise picture and video collections. The editing controls provided cover both automatic and manual correction tools and include colour, exposure, contrast, levels and camera-phone ‘auto-fix’ options, red-eye fix, colour brightness and contrast adjustments, unsharp masking and batch editing facilities.
Cropping, resizing, rotating, straightening and flipping tools can be found in the Format menu and users can also select from antique (sepia), B&W, negative and ‘freehand’ painting/stamping Effects. The Add Something menu lets you add text, graphics, shapes and pictures, while the Edges menu contains lots of framing and matting options. Selection tools are also provided, along with wizard-based instructions for creating collages, albums, calendars, cards, flyers and brochures, business cards and other photo crafts.
The Digital Image Library shows thumbnails of all files and folders stored in the My Pictures folders on the user’s PC. Clicking on a file opens a toolbar with a thumbnail of the image plus its file name, date and time created and the image size in kilo/megabytes and pixel dimensions. Users can rate and caption individual pictures and videos and/or attach Flags to remind them about files they wish to touch up, share or use in other context at a later time.
Overall, this hardware/software bundle is ideal for families who are starting to edit and organise their digital photos and videos. Photo enthusiasts may enjoy the convenience of the wireless keyboard and mouse but the editing software will be too basic. 
Windows XP Home Edition or Professional with Pentium 233 MHz or higher
128 MB RAM
60 MB hard disk space
USB or PS/2 keyboard and mouse ports
Microsoft Internet Explorer V. 5.0 or later.
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