Five Favorite Things from Macworld SF

by Derrick Story

Despite a tough economy and soft tech market, Macworld SF 2003 was definitely upbeat. Here are five products that made a positive impression on me.

The ExtendAIR directional antenna for the new AirPort Extreme Base Station (Base Station now only $199) earned a Macworld Best of Show, and for good reason. This device can broadcast AirPort transmissions up to 500 feet. Talk about extending the pleasure ...

The SciDome Digital Dome Theater had me seeing stars. This "portable" planetarium brings astronomy to more kids than ever before. The software is provided by long time Mac favorites, Starry Night.

Apple's new 12" PowerBook is incredible. I watched how people approached this machine in the Apple booth, and the best way to describe their reactions is a mixture of wonder and reverence. The first thing most folks do is pick up the PowerBook and hold it. Then turn it. Then gently place it back on the counter. The specs are good, and this 4.6 pound computer is going to be a winner.

A fun product that I enjoyed investigating was the U.F.O. for the iMac by XtremeMac. This glowing saucer sits beneath the new iMac and provides 4 powered USB and 2 FireWire ports in the front where they are accessible. Very fun, practical, and cool.

Finally, the general category of Amazing Audio brought happiness to my ears. Pro audio had been a little slow coming to Mac OS X, but this show brought some great goodies for audiophiles, including M-Audio Sonica Theater USB Surround Sound Card, and Power Tools for mixing and mastering. Now your Mac can sound as good as it looks.

One last comment ... business at the O'Reilly bookstore was fantastic. We've had to resupply a number of titles, and we've had great turnouts at our in-booth demos. A warm thanks to everyone who stopped by.


2003-01-10 09:51:31
Panic and Griffin are worth a stop, too
These are great picks -- there's so much good stuff at the show. Among my own favorites are Panic and Griffin Technology.

Panic has a little FTP client that I really like (yes, it supports SFTP) called Transmit2. (From their site: "FTP that gives Mac OS X a great big hug"). It's simple, fast, and easy to use. Desktastic is one of their "Li'l Apps" -- only $8.95 -- and lets you scribble or type notes onto your desktop...I'm thinking it would be really useful for presentations. And they have other apps that look useful and fun. They gave the most genuinely enthusiastic booth demos I've seen in a long time and have a nice CD full of stuff as a giveaway.

Griffin has the new "PowerWave", a USB Audio Interface & Desktop Amplifier. If you're wanting to plug in your turntable and rip some LPs, this looks like it might be the perfect solution. And, of course, it has a nice blue glow like the PowerMate.