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The Fisheye View CD ROM Series

Bob Fenner  

What do you get when you cross high technology with an earnest desire to share the beauty and knowledge of the tropical marine world? An answer is the three compact read-only-memory disks reviewed here. These three compilations of photographic images and narration are the beginning of what should be another great leap (quantum?) forward in how we can learn and enjoy aquatic life. With a click of a "mouse" you can move around, copy, change and send such information, a worthy adjunct to print media.

Quantum Leap Technologies (800-762-2877) is hot off the track in producing and distributing these three titles; Reef Collection, Coral Collection and Fish Collection are, as their names imply, gatherings of outstanding underwater images accompanied by descriptive, enthusiastic speaking.

What You Get: 

Each product includes a shrink wrapped disk, case, instructions and promotional materials. The particular "Collection" includes 125-140 images, most with accompanying music and/or narration (hands-off play time @40 minutes each).

Picture formats are encoded in three resolutions; 1) thumbnail for selecting and previewing (128x192 pixels), 2) snapshot (256x384 for low-resolution manipulation, and 3) a Television comparable 512x768 pixels for moderate resolution.

How You Play Them:

Is a lot easier than the instructions provided would lead you to believe. In the simplest of computer lingo: Go into Main, otherwise Direct your PC to the CD Drive (usually "D") find the ".exe" file and run it; you're on. Alternatively, these CD's play beautifully on the many different dedicated CD-based players. You can pause, go back and forward one pic at a time or post haste all from the main menu. I use mine on the alternate double CD drive for a worthwhile screen-saver.


The photo quality and diversity of shots, compositions and organisms presented is the strongest suite for these products. I like the arrangement of the different biological groups and "meet the photographers" on each CD. The stories spoken are nice as well; history of associations, interrelationships... but I wish these folks would have consulted with pet-fish hobbyists for the narrative text. Do you approve of calling algae "plants"? Do shrimp really wave their antennae to attract cleaning hosts? Is it Anthropoda or Arthropoda? The blue or palette surgeon is not related to the tang family; it's a member of the group. The clownfish Amphiprion ocellaris is mis-identified as, you guessed it, A. percula.

The tag team narrative between photographers Rob and Robin Burr on Reef Collection is at times whimsical, at others, tiresome. Explanations offered are a little too simplistic and teleological to suit me. You can always turn down/off the volume or with a little work, make up and record your own vocals.

With Graeme Teaque's (yes, that's how his name is spelled) Fish Collection I have similar complaints. The images of Caribbean fishes and invertebrates are great, but: the plural of fish species is fishes not fish (sheesh), the spines of surgeonfishes are not used to hold them in place at night, cowfishes do have internal skeletons...

My favorite CD is the Coral Collection; the twenty four bit color close ups are spectacular, and the breadth of corals from all over expansive. Serious divers and marine reef aquarists will buy this CD if they view it's contents.

Not to be too negative, I did learn a few new things. Ever wonder why they're called tilefish? Check out the mounds of rubble males collect to impress the fairer sex.


Most of us would have encouraged the Producers to leave off with scientific names; these were hard to follow and added little to the presentation. Personally, I would have liked to see more on how the pictures were taken, topside photos and maps of locations.


These images are nice and the monologues not totally inaccurate or down-dumbed. For sharing the grandeur and excitement of tropical marines it's hard to beat CD ROM technology. If your PC has CD capability, or you're are fortunate to have a CD Player, these "collections" are worthwhile for their sheer pictographic pleasure. Humans being virtually oriented, everyone will appreciate the image work. Give the folks at Quantum Leap a call at the above 800 number for pricing and current titles available.


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