iShell Upgrade Adds Custom Media Players

Continuing its seemingly quixotic challenge to Macromedia Director, Tribeworks (800/807-4458, http://www.tribeworks.com ) has introduced iShell 2, an upgrade to the multimedia-authoring software that adds the ability to create customized streaming-media players for Web sites. The software, developed by one of the creators of the Apple Media Tool, lets you produce interactive media-rich presentations by dragging icons into a project window. Tribeworks says that the custom media players, which can be any size or shape, are full Internet applications that run without plug-ins in Netscape Navigator or Microsoft Internet Explorer. Tribeworks offers iShell through a unique marketing scheme: the software is free, but the company encourages users to pay a $2,000 annual membership fee ($1,000 for renewals), which entitles you to full technical support, third-party product discounts, and a software developer's kit. A beta version of the upgrade is available for download by paid members, but Tribeworks says the final version will be available for free.

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