I've just seen a new downloadable app that may not be quite ready for prime time, but it's so powerful and creative that it must be added to your box of Web 2.0 tools.

I met one of the principal's of impera at Squeakfest a few years ago. Squeakfest is the annual summertime Chicago get-together of Squeakers, that rare bunch of computer geeks who use and support a programming environment called Squeak. Based on Smalltalk, it is a free, 21st century environment for drag-and-drop programming that makes it really possible for students, young and old, to create media and simulations and sophisticated programs. See www.squeakland.org.

I reconnected with Michael and found my way to his company's website where I looked at the list of software, award winning software, reviews and announcements. Right up my alley.

Here's the story.

Years ago, when CDs first came onto the market, when multimedia was the rage while still being defined, there existed for a short time a company called Voyager. They were the creators of one of the early models for digital multimedia documents. Their programs ran in proprietary readers or in Hypercard. They have a prominent place in the history of this medium. One of most impressive multimedia docs I've every seen was Voyagers's release of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring. Yes, a symphony. It was presented as a multimedia book, really a learning tool with which one could read about Stravinsky the composer, his age, his revolutionary music. The neatest part was that the user could listen to the symphony while reading a commentary on the music. You could even listen to the music while reading the actual score. and there was more....much, much, more.

So, finally, with SOPHIE, impara has come up with a smalltalk based multimedia authoring tool which enables the user to create 'books' with text, images, video, buttons, etc. and place any and all onto a timeline.

There's a downloadable version on the website at impara.de. Be sure to check out the video demo of how this product works. Better yet, there's a demo book, on Mozart's Quartet in C-Major 'The Dissonant" which provides a great taste of what this tool can do. It's a bit of a long download but well, well worth the effort.

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