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25 Days of Gadgets - Day 14

December 15, 2008 - Dave Hecei
Let’s face it, artists love Macs. Macs are used everyday to edit and enhance photographs, create magazines and newspapers, and design advertising copy. If you are an avid digital photographer or you create original art on a Mac, then why not let go of that mouse and grab a pen.

What I am talking about is a pen for a graphics tablet. A graphics tablet allows you to use a more natural feeling instrument, a pen-like stylus, to draw and paint on your computer. Anyone who works in traditional medium will feel more at home with a pen compared to a computer mouse. A good tablet and pen will have a pressure sensitive tip or surface. Many programs – like Photoshop, Illustrator, or Corel Painter – can sense the pressure and will do things like increase or decrease the brush width or paint density.

Wacom makes some of the best tablets out there and they have a new line called the Bamboo Fun. The Bamboo Fun is available in two models, the small and medium. The small has an active area of 5.8" x 3.7" while the medium is 8.5" x 5.3". They both come with a cordless mouse, which only works on the tablet surface, and a cordless pen. Both the mouse and pen are batteryless.

A unique feature on the Bamboo Fun is the touch ring. This is a touch-sensitive circle in the top center area of the tablet. This can be used for things like zooming and scrolling. On either side of this ring are programmable buttons, two on each side. The can be assigned to different tasks or macros.

There is plenty of software included with the Bamboo Fun, some of it is for Windows PCs. The one that stands out, for Mac users, is a full copy of Adobe Photoshop Elements 4. While APE is currently on version 6, this version is still very good and by itself used to sell for $80-$90.

The Bamboo Fun is available in several colors – white, silver, black, and blue. The small is $99 and the medium is $199.


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Bamboo Fun tablet w/pen and mouse


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