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Site updates and Macworld Expo show report Site News
First, there are a number of stories to post, and I hope to get to those this evening. Those that I can't get to before my flight departs will be posted sometime tomorrow.

I have just returned from the opening day of the Macworld Expo, and it was quite interesting. The last time I attended this show was at least six years ago, and there's no doubt that the event was smaller than I remember it. However, attendance seemed very strong, as the show floor was packed the whole time I was there. If, as some people believe, OS X represents the end of Apple, it certainly wasn't evident at this event!

As a user of a machine in the 5% minority of all computer users, it was nice to attend an event that makes you realize that 5% of a very large number is still a really large number. It was nice seeing so many Mac heads in one place, and it was also great to have the chance to say hi to a few of you in person.

If you'd like to see what I found interesting at this year's Expo, read the rest of the article ... warning, it's a bit long!

General Observations:
I was impressed with the size of the crowd. Granted it was day one, but the place was jammed. Phil Schiller's 12:00pm speech on OS X also appeared to be packed, based on the crowd entering the hall (I had the cheapie pass, so I couldn't attend!).

I was happily surprised at the focus on OS X at the event. I would estimate that about 70% of the vendors had either OS X only or OS 9 and OS X solutions. Those that didn't were very quick with answers when asked about OS X plans, so it appears that most attendees are also interested in OS X. I honestly did not expect to see such an emphasis on OS X.

The last general observation is that the CRT certainly appears to be a vanishing breed. Nearly every booth was using LCD panels of some sort on their demo units, and the Painter7 theater was especially impressive, with 20+ Apple LCD panels on easels for the workshops!

Now for a few vendor-specific comments...

Apple
Apple's display was packed, including the large theater in the middle, every time I went near it. They had organized walls of systems either by type (iMac, G4, PowerBook) or by function (iMovie, iDVD, iPhoto, etc). The iDVD and iMovie machines all had their own digital video cameras attached; it was quite impressive!

The new iMac is a bit bigger in person than I expected, but it's still amazingly compact. The tilt-swivel-spin head is indeed an engineering marvel. You can easily push and tilt it, and yet it stops as soon as you stop pushing, and stays exactly where it was when you stopped. I picked the thing up, and I'd guess it weighs 20-ish pounds. The screen is drop-dead gorgeous, and if they offered one at 17" and 1280x1024 (even at a higher price point), I probably would have bought one on the spot and tried to figure out how to pay for it later! Apple was giving away very nice (thick stock) posters (24" by 36", I think) of the new iMac, and they must have printed thousands, as they had plenty all day long.

iPhoto was very popular, and the comments I overheard were generally very positive and along the lines of "This is exactly what I have been looking for!"

The new 14" iBook was (to me) a bit of a disappointment. The screen is definitely larger, and it's still the same great design and it's only modestly heavier. But the new larger screen is used at the same 1024x768 resolution. I was hoping they had bumped it up to 1280x1024, but no such luck. It's still a very nice machine, but without the higher resolution, there's no real reason to consider upgrading our current iBook.

Adobe
GoLive 6.0 and LiveMotion 2.0 running in OS X both look like winners. They were responsive and offered some nice features not found in their predecessors. The Photoshop demos were also good, and the OS X version just may be the one that gets me to buy the full package. Their giveaway was a very very tiny set of 12 colored pencils, sharpener, and eraser. Very cute and fitting with their business.

Dantz
Dantz was giving away preview copies of Retrospect for OS X (I think you can download these as well), and it looked quite good and easy to use in OS X, but I haven't had a chance to test it hands-on as of yet.

Contour Design
Contour Design makes the ShuttlePRO, which looks to be a must-have device if you do digital editing. The shuttle dial in the middle has seven zones to each side of center, each of which can have a unique action assigned. You can also assign actions to the transitions between zones, as well as to the 13 buttons on the device. Within any app, you can have an infinite number of predefined templates which can be easily activated with a key or button press. You can also specify sets for any application on your drive, and their software works in both Classic and OS X at the same time. I may have to buy one for my light iMovie editing and maybe to try in, um, Quake3 :-).

Synthetik Software
As someone without an ounce of artistic ability, I was amazed by Studio Artist 2.0 by Synthetik Software. This painting, drawing, and video processing software (they call it a graphics synthesizer) had some amazing effects generation abilities and fun to use painting effects. I could probably play with it for hours and be entertained by the onscreen effects. They have a downloadable demo, but I'm not sure if it's the OS X version or not.

NEC
NEC was showing their 21" LCD 2110, with 1600x1200 resolution. This display would make a perfect fit for OS X, but at $3795, it's still a few years from my desktop! The good news is that 1280x1024 LCD monitors were prevalent, and their price points have dropped dramatically in the last couple of years.

Kensington
The Kensington booth was my personal favorite. They had a mini-musem which demonstrated just how long they've been building products that work with Apple gear. They had an Apple ][+ set up with their Kensington System Saver (I think that's the right name), along with other older machines and the corresponding Kensington gear. Their new portable optical mouse features a wire-thin retractable USB cable as well as a side panel which removes to hide the USB connector when you travel with the mouse. Quite cool, and only $40. They were also distributing a CD with the 1.1 version of their OS X drivers.

Microsoft
Microsoft had a good-sized display and was giving away the new (also downloadable) 30 day trial for Office v.X. But I spent my time with the hardware peripheral guys. I want drivers for my Intellimouse. When I stopped by in the morning, they were using the OS X default drivers. But later, I noticed the Intellimouse control panel for OS X. When pressed, they guesstimated February to March for a ship date for drivers for both their mice and their keyboards. The software seemed to work well, but the top speed was still not as fast as I'd like it to be (I'm not sure it was any faster than the Apple default). I passed along my "must go faster!" wishes.

ATI
Given Apple's choice to use NVidia in the new iMac, I was pleased with ATI's presence at the show. They are bringing the new Radeon line (7000 and 8500) to the Mac, and the 8500 card was quite impressive. Based on comparing the demos in both NVidia and ATI's booths, it appears the 8500 is a worthy challenger to the GeForce3. The price point on the 7000 is also very reasonable, and may lead many to consider adding a second monitor to their setups. Sometimes I wish I ran a hardware review site so that I could test some of this stuff!

ScanSoft
ScanSoft was demonstrating OmniPage Pro X, due out in a month or so. This looked to be an amazing package. It's at least 40% more accurate than OmniPage 8, which was last updated three years ago. If you have a scanner that works in OS X, OmniPage Pro X will work with it. It also includes the ability to convert PDF files into readable Word, Excel and other formats. It also recognizes tables and spreadsheets. I can't waiit to try this one!

Creo
Creo (I had never heard of them) was showing Six Degrees, an organizational product aimed at authors and creative professionals. The product is hard to describe but very interesting. Six Degrees provides a seemless way of looking at the relationship between files, messages, and people. You can tell Six Degrees which particular file, message, or person you'd like to focus on, and then all the other data is restated in terms of that object. As I said, hard to describe but quite interesting, so take a look at their website for more information.

Harmon Kardon
I don't know if these are new or not, but Harmon Kardon was showing the Champagne special edition speakers, which feature a wider dynamic range than the Soundsticks (which they also had). Although I'm not sure about the look of these speakers, they sounded great!

Games
The gaming pavilion was crowded, and the slate of games coming out for OS X is quite impressive. In particular, Red Faction from Graphsim looks quite fun.

Meeting David Pogue
The final highlight of my day was a visit to the O'Reilly booth, where David Pogue was signing copies of his new "OS X: The Missing Manual" book. I wouldn't even bother relating the following story, but one of the macosxhints' readers I met earlier was with me, and he threatened to post it as a comment if I didn't include it myself ... so here's what happened.

There was a short line to have David autograph your copy of the book. David would glance at each person's nametag and then say something like "So you must be so-and-so" before signing each book. When I got to the front of the line, he glanced down at the macosxhints' nametag, and then blurted out (grinning) "Oh my gosh -- I'm not worthy ... I'm not worthy!", complete with the bowing and the hands over the head motion! It was actually quite funny, and he went on to tell me that macosxhints is mentioned in the book in a couple of spots. I had no idea that he had even visited the site, much less mentioned it in the new book, so this was a wonderful surprise. We had a good chat, and he seems to be a very entertaining and friendly individual. I can't wait to read the new book.

All in all, it was a very fun day and helped me remember why I enjoy using a Mac so much -- it's not just the machine, it's the type of people that use the machine and the wonderful products that are created for it. There's no way my home will ever be without a Mac ... nor my office, if I have any sort of vote in the matter!

-rob.
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Rob's MacWorld Comments
Authored by: 128K Mac on Jan 08, '02 10:57:18PM

Very interesting comment from someone on the ground.

Always enjoy reading such when I can't be there.

Thanks, Rob. :)



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meetings
Authored by: Hes Nikke on Jan 09, '02 02:07:03AM

and which MacOS X Hints members did you meet in person? (besides myself - it was nice meeting you Rob!) :D



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Hmm...
Authored by: robg on Jan 09, '02 01:53:55PM

Well, I didn't take notes, so the record is at best spotty since it's coming from my brain! In addition to yourself, Craig, BJ, Loek (I think that's right!), and a couple of others stopped by...

-rob.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Macromedia?
Authored by: cj69collins on Jan 09, '02 09:39:21AM

I wonder if Macromedia had any presence at MWSF02 this year, or if they even have plans on supporting MacOSX. With Adobe's apparent [finally!] commitment to the X, I would hope for something on the order of a Carbon version of Flash5.

Then again, it may be time to switch to LiveMotion and GoLive.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Macromedia?
Authored by: Anonymous on Jan 09, '02 01:57:45PM

> Then again, it may be time to switch to LiveMotion and GoLive.

Same here, waited for so long now to get my hands on Dreamweaver and FireWorks. Still no news from Macromedia, it's been longer than a year ago since version 4 of them. Adobe ships their products by the end of february, if there is no Macromedia by then, it's goodbye to them :-)



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Exhibiting or not
Authored by: lmaestro on Jan 09, '02 10:03:22PM

Hi Rob,

It was nice to meet the face behind this site. Thanks Rob for making it possible. Mac OS X Hints might have its own 100x100' booth at Macwold one day!

Feedback.
iMac was THE baby of the show. I counted more than 50 of these on Apple booth, plus 2 iBooks, 2 Powerbook, a few PowerMac. The second BIG guy of the Apple booth: Canon with its video camera. So many were hanging over an iMac.

The 2 other BIG guys were Adobe and Procreate. I really think Procreate with Painter did a great job at Macworld.
- 2 booths completely seperate
- A great company booth with nice warn layout
- An awesome class room with quanties of essels and live modeling

When we met, I mentioned the lack of business professional application or even bsd application such as MySQL, PHP programming... I hope this will come very soon. At least, we'll see it in 5 years.

Adobe was impressive. They did a good job by trying to display that THEY were Mac OS X Ready and the only one solution. Also, I think they were so excited to be the only one large software company (except Apple and MS) that they lost their focus and tried to do to much:
- 2 theaters for simultaneous presentation
- Classroom close to the booth.
- They should have trained their demo guys on their products. I found that Golive was absolutely not demoed well. Showing the easy way to import roll over pictures into Golive or design nice diagram was the minimum you expect from this kind of soft. So when I asked about PHP and database driven stuff, the answer was: "The PHP demo isn't installed". In addition to that, they did consider the database driven part of the software and came up with Lasso Studio. Too bad.

Regarding the missing guys and new kids in town
Macromedia and Quark were the 2 missing guys. This is bad and even scary because for a while alternatives are reduced to minimum. I wish this would change soon. Fortunetaly, we have new people at macworld who bring nice things. First choice: OMNI Group. They have really cool people and encourage feedback. I aslo played around with ThinkFree (check thinkfree.com), Mesa Spreadsheet, Missing link for Sony Clie, FastTrack (I will not need MS project anymore), and many others.

What's next?
Probably a PowerMac G5. Since the G4 is now the low end chip for Macintosh. Wait for Macworld Tokyo or Seybold SF.

PS
Bring back to the office a poster of the iMac and attract the coworkers. They will run to your office to see it.



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Macromedia, not?
Authored by: chip on Jan 10, '02 08:31:49AM

Hi Rob,

I have been reading many sites looking for an indication that Macromedia was there. Last year, they were with a modest, but decent booth (I've still got the tee shirt). I decided not to go this year. However, the only reason now that I have to boot up classic is for the Dreamweaver/Fireworks suite, and occasionally Flash.

They were quick out of the box with Freehand, but have been silent, as far as I can tell, about Dreamweaver on their site. This is indeed scary and would be a major defection if they have just avoided the show all together. This is especially true, it seems to me, given the ubiquitous nature of Flash. Rob, I'll bet a number of us would be grateful if you could nose around on this issue and get some kind of feedback from those in the Know from Apple, given your well-deserved growing reputation? How about your new best friend, Pogue?

thanks...



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Exhibiting or not
Authored by: design-nut on Jun 09, '07 11:06:31PM
It is known that Apple did the deisgn for the harmon and Kardon Isub and Isticks Soundsitcks speakers?

I found this web line that says a Mechianical Engineer at Apple worked on the PD Deisgn for the harmon & kardon Isub & Isitcks Soundsticks while he was at Apple?

www.sparkfactordesign.com/work/work-project16.htm

Funny Apple wanted the design the work with its system to much that they did the design work themselves.



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