Macworld 2008

Today was the last day of Macworld. It makes me sad, but there really wasn’t anything left to do there. I saw everything on the expo floor about 5 times, the user conference was over, and I sat in on as many classes and demos at the expo as I could stand. I am fried as always, but can’t wait for next year either.

Macworld makes me happy. I got here at 6:30am on tuesday morning to pick up my badge and wait on line for the keynote. It was already wrapped around the block. 9am came and the keynote started but we were still outside. Hundreds of frozen lemmings. I got into an overflow room at 9:30.

The Keynote: An Outline

  • New features for iPhone and iPod Touch.
    • Free for iPhone users; $20 upgrade for iPod Touch users.
    • Will be included in all new iPod Touches.
  • Time Capsule
    • 500Gb or 1TB wireless serial ATA 7200-rpm hard drive that doubles as a 802.11n Wi-Fi base station.
  • iTunes Movie Rentals
    • All major studios
    • Rent and buy things from your TV. No computer required.
    • You have 30 days after renting to start watching the movie, and then 24 hours to finish.
    • $2.99 for a library title and $3.99 for a new release
  • Apple TV
    • You can rent or buy movies right from your TV. No computer required.
    • Available with a 40GB or 160GB hard drive.
    • Watch standard-definition movies with stereo sound or high-definition movies with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound.
    • Also works for YouTube videos, podcasts, photos (including photos from flickr and .mac galleries).
    • Free software update for current Apple TV owners
  • MacBook Air
    • The crowd oohs and aaahs.
    • So do I.
    • It is the world’s thinnest notebook (slopes from .76 inches down to .16 inches).
    • It fits inside a mailing envelope. Steve pulls it out of one.
    • 3 lbs., magnetic latch, 13.3 inch widescreen display, LED backlit display, built in iSight, backlit keyboard, big trackpad with multi-touch gesture support.
      • Multi-touch gesture support works the same as the touchscreen on the iPhone. You can pinch to make things bigger and smaller, use a finger to scroll through pictures, etc.
    • magsafe connector
    • smaller 34-watt power adaptor
    • 3 ports: usb2, micro-dvi, headphone jack
    • 802.11n wifi, bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
    • No optical drive
    • New built-in feature called ‘Remote Disk’ which shows all macs and PCs in the vicinity. You can ask to borrow someone’s optical drive. A PC can read a mac disk with special software. Not bloody likely, but after you do all that, you can install software wirelessly from the other person’s computer. I think this would be an excellent second computer, but wouldn’t work so well for a main computer.
  • Randy Newman sings.
  • Steve thanks everyone.

After the keynote, the line for the men’s room is about 4X as long as for the women’s room. You don’t see that very often!

I walked around the expo for the rest of the day. There was tons of cool software, lots of show specials, tutorials, workshops, demos, and free wifi. I have never seen so many people with iPhones all in one place.

The user’s conference was excellent. Tuesday morning I went to a couple of sessions on mac troubleshooting and optimizing.

In the afternoon, I tried to go to a session about using macs for small business. The presenter was awful. He kept going on about some old dairy company and how they were marketing geniuses because of milky the clown and his magic rings. After 15 minutes of that, he give us the first tip: you can get free business advertising by making a podcast and uploading it the iTunes store. I am sure that is the first place people go when looking for business information. I walked out.

Thursday was even better. The first session I was planning on going to was changed to another time so I went to the Microsoft Office 2008 session instead. About 10 minutes of explaining ‘Expression Media’, a digital asset management app that does not come with other versions of Office, he announced that everyone at the session would be receiving a free copy of Office 2008 special media edition! Amazing!

Entourage has a new feature called MyDay that shows information about your day in a little window so you can see your info without having to open Entourage. I tried it when I got home and could barely stand to look at it. It has a purple theme and everything kind of glows a sickly purple. The MyDay window is a horrible dark blue and purple. I would like to evaluate it further, but I don’t know how I can do that if I can’t even look at it. I am very picky about what things on my computer look like. It is one of the reasons why I like macs so much. Luckily, I like the apple mail, calendar, and contact apps very much.

Word looked about a million times better than Word 2004. It is more mac-like, more intuitive, and 100% compatible with Office 2007 for windows.

Excel is supposedly simplified. It looks like they added features like Numbers has as far as drag-and-drop and one-click actions. I hope it really is easier. Excel usually just makes my brain hurt.

PowerPoint now has the ability to send slideshows to iPhoto and to iPhones (through iPhoto).

My next session was OS X tips with Rob Griffiths, the creator of the Mac OS X Hints site. He had tons of great tips and tricks for making macs do whatever you want them to. Some of them were by using features that are built into the OS, but it is not so obvious that they exist and/or not so obvious how they work. He had another million tips of things you can do through Terminal. Good clean geek fun 🙂

My last session was the one that I was looking forward to the most. It was called ‘Automator in Leopard’ and given by Ben Waldie. Ben Waldie is an AppleScript genius. I have been to his sessions at macworld before and he is very good at explaining things and presenting interesting information.

He showed us the new features that Automator has in Leopard and then showed us a bunch of examples of creating useful workflows. The new feature that I like the best is that you can record actions and play them back as part of a workflow. My other favorite new features are the addition of looping and variables. I always wished that existed in the Tiger version. Serious time saver, not to mention brain saver.

I got some new software at great discounts. I am most excited about VMware. I can finally run windows on my mac again. Parallels was crazy slow, which had more to do with my old computer than the software, but since I would have had to upgrade anyway, I switched to VMware. I installed 3 virtual machines: Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Ubuntu Linux 64-bit.

I can now test on both Internet Explorer 6 and IE7 without having to use a different computer. Installing the VMware tools for Linux is a long process involving about a million lines in terminal. I am not looking forward to that. It is automatic for the windows installations. I can use Linux with no problem, but it is choppy and does not understand exactly how to interact with the mac.

I am completely exhausted.

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