Mac Expo London – Closing Report

Written by: Dave Cryer

Categories: News

picture-20.pngI had a busy two days at Mac Expo, leaving behind the crowds with a real good feeling that this years show was a great success. More so than previous years, because I had met so many NEW mac users. From people who had attended the show to find out more, through to those who left the show clutching their new Mac gear.
One gentleman who I approached was leaving with a big smile on his face. When asked, he said, “I came here to find out about the new iMac. I had my eye on the 20 inch model”. He obviously had his questions more than answered, he continued… Now I just have to convince the wife that this 24 inch model really is only 20 inches.” So another new user, but surprisingly buying in at the top of the iMac range. Whilst taking a break for lunch, the general conversation seemed to be around the MacBook and the iPod Nano. To the extreme one nice young lady was discussing how to match the different colored Nano’s with her outfits. This made me smile, knowing that Apple had hit the nail on the head.

So all in all a great show and it can only grow in size from year-to-year. I predict that this will be reflected in other shows around the world. It cannot be ignored that the Mac’s popularity is growing at quite a rapid rate. The iPod and the very cost effective MacBook may well lead new users in, but the quality of product and friendly community will be sure to keep them hooked.

Until next year… enjoy your newfound knowledge and of course your new Apple purchases.

picture-18.pngIn true Mac style, Griffin Technology get my ‘Best of Show’ vote at the London Mac Expo 2006. Not only because my contact there is just so pleasant, but because the company produces the most stunning products available for the iPod today.
For example, take the iKaraoke. This innovative product turns your iPod into a mini Karaoke machine. The styling is good, the user interface well implemented and it is just one of those ‘must have’ products.

Griffin were all smiles on day two of the Expo, because apart from my vote, they also won the ‘Mac User iPod Accessory Manufacturer of the Year’ award ! The quality of all Griffin products is superb, delivered with such enthusiasm that it shines through, from the naming to the design.

Many thanks Griffin, keep up the good work, you are top of my list and iPod users from all corners of the world !

Check out the iKaraoke here.

konica-minolta-2.jpgKonica Minolta had a nicely presented stand, showing a selection of their printer range. From the desktop ‘magicolor 2530DL’ through to their A3+ ‘magicolor 7450’. There were plenty of representatives from the company to ask questions. Their approach was really friendly, which was attracting visitors to the stand.
The 2500 series are the desktop babies of the family. This does not mean that they skimp on features, far from it. With 5ppm in color and 20ppm in monochrome (black & white), you can print on paper up to 200gsm in weight. This is very good by desktop standards. Print quality looked top notch, with the 600dpi engine giving nice detail to the printouts.

Check out the full range here.

picture-17.pngElgato were showing their eyetv for DTT and eyetv hybrid units to the Mac public. Visitors were paying a LOT of attention to Elgato’s offerings, with stand employees reporting massive interest.

The eyetv hybrid unit is a small USB stick device, which has both digital and analogue tuner. The software looks great, with some bug improvements of late. Scheduling for recording to your Mac is really easy. The years free subscription to tvtv (an online program guide) means that you can schedule recordings from anywhere you have internet access. I was impressed with the picture quality that I saw.
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google-5.jpgGoogle made their first UK exhibition this year, with what could only be described as the ‘most colourful stand’ at the show. Throughout the three days their theatre, complete with Google colour, comfy cushions, showcased their complete product line-up. Google Maps got a brilliant reception from the crowd.

My favourite Google application was SketchUp, which offers some superb 3D drawing features, with great integration with the Google online community. You can upload you creations to share with millions. The standard version of SketchUp is free, whilst SketchUp Pro 5 costs £315 (USD$499). It is available for Mac or PC. The Mac version is PPC, but runs pretty good under Rosetta. A universal version will be released early next year.
This was a really ‘good feel’ stand and certainly was creating a lot of buzz.

Check SketchUp out here.

Mac Expo London – Coverage Starts Tomorrow

Written by: Dave Cryer

Categories: Podcast

picture-1.pngThe Mac Expo London starts tomorrow, running from Thursday 26th through Saturday 28th October. Head on down to the National Hall, Olympia, London. It promises some great product announcements, workshops & competitions. Great fun for everyone. Mixed with vendors selling from the show floor, there are bound to be some bargains to be had.
Amongst the news, Quark has been sending out invitations for a worldwide new product launch. I will be attending the seminar and letting you know the news as it happens.

For those of you who can’t make it to London, check back throughout the next three days, for regular updates and photos of the event.

Organise your life – Yojimbo Style !

Written by: Dave Cryer

Categories: Reviews

Yojimbo screenshotWell, I never ever thought that I would move away from bookmarking hundreds of web pages to keep track of interesting items. But things in my everyday Mac life are about to change and it will be interesting to see if the changes are permanent. For a long time now, if I found something of interest on the Internet, I would bookmark it and try to put it into a meaningful category. More often than not into a bookmark folder called something like ‘interesting software’ or ‘to look at later’. I came to realize just this week that I hardly ever went back to these bookmarks, so I was probably wasting a lot of my time, which I could spend more creatively.

Enter Yojimbo, by Bare Bones Software, which I would like to describe myself as an ‘Electronic Scrapbook on Steroids’. Many people are pushing around a category of software called ‘GTD’ which stands for ‘Getting Things Done’, at this early stage Yojimbo does fit into this category, but seems to offer a whole lot more besides.
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Archos 504 – 4.3 inches of Multimedia Goodness

Written by: Dave Cryer

Categories: Reviews

archos_504-dvrstation2-copy.jpgWill the Archos tempt me away from my beloved iPod? I must admit, to say it was interesting is an understatement, with some very nice experiences along the way. On test was the 160Gb version of the Archos 504, yes, you read that right, 160Gb of storage.

The unit sports a 4.3 inch widescreen, capable of displaying 16 million colours. The screen is nice and bright, evenly lit and offers adjustable brightness levels. My only minor complaint was that there were not enough levels to choose from. Staying with the screen, it is very glossy, so you do get some reflections, but adjusting the angle is not a problem. The size of the actual unit is a little bulky feeling, not as pocketable as a 5th generation iPod, mainly because the size that the hard drive adds to the unit, but also due to the weight. Build quality was spot on, with a very nice brushed metal finish.
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i-deck compact – Get That iPod Pumping

Written by: Dave Cryer

Categories: Reviews

ideck-compact-1-web.jpgHaving an iPod is something I have been lucky enough to be party to from the second generation release onwards, so I have enjoyed the simplicity in design, the superb interface, the usefulness and the power for many years. I use my iPod every day for music and podcasts mainly, but the odd video crops up every now and again.

About a year ago I invested in two separate speaker systems for my iPod in quick succession, the first I will not name, the second by Logitech was good and I still have it now. So it was with much excitement that I had the opportunity to review the ‘i-deck compact’, not only because it promised to be a step up from what I had been used to, but also because it is manufactured by Monitor Audio, who just happen to also make the home cinema speakers that I have now enjoyed in my lounge for the last two years.
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Lineform – drawing at a Sensible Price

Written by: Dave Cryer

Categories: Reviews

lineform_screenshot.jpgHow many times have you launched something like Illustrator and been frustrated by the hundreds of tools thrown in front of you, when all you need is a simple application for creating a quick logo, map or other drawing? Or perhaps you are new to the world of design and you need to create something, but do not have the budget to spend on every single app on your shopping list. Until now, there has not really been a viable alternative, so Freeverse steps up to the mark with their ‘Lineform’ application.

Many of my comments in this review may seem to sound negative, but I need to put you straight on this right away. When I say that Lineform offers a simplistic interface, or takes the easy route to giving me the tools to do the job in hand, this is really a positive. For many years now I have used Freehand instead of Illustrator because the interface makes it a lot simpler to find your way around. Lineform is very similar to this, the interface is very clean and allows you to get on with what you are trying to achieve. When you need more powerful tools, they are on tap too, but without being over-complicated (unlike some very expensive apps).
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