This year's Macworld Expo, every Mac-head’s favorite trade show, was unfortunately a bit of a downer. Steve Jobs was too sick to give his traditional keynote address. There were no really groundbreaking products to announce (iLife 09-yawn), and an overall tone of austerity.
Most of the exhibitors were not giving away any free stuff, and the ones that did have free stuff seemed kind of cheap. There were a few cool booths at the show. Probably the The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus was the most impressive. A fully loaded Greyhound type bus with digital audio and video studios built into it. They visit about 200 high schools a year and teach kids how to produce a CD or DVD. Check out their website.
I saw a huge amount of iPhone and iPod related stuff: little jackets and wallets for the gadgets, speakers to amplify the tiny amount of sound coming from these devices. There are about 10,000 “apps” for the iPhone and iPod Touch now; an amazing selection of software. One of them turns your iPod into a whoopy cushion. Yipee! Truphone (marketed as "a free application that lets you make international mobile calls from your own phone over the internet at incredibly low rates") has a free app that turns your iPod Touch into a VoIP phone when you’re near a wi-fi network.
Myvu has little video eyeglasses that display the video from your iPod -- probably not a good idea to use these when you’re walking or driving around. A company called Solio makes compact solar power devices that can charge up your unit on the go. The one company doing something really different for Mac users was Axiotron. They turn your Macbook into a tablet computer with a touch screen. Of course, it’s very expensive. The Macbook is about $1400 and then another $1400 to convert it into a “modbook.” Ouch! One piece of software I have loaded onto my Mac is Wiretap Anywhere. Basically it takes the audio from any source coming into your computer and makes it available to your audio recording software. Grab the audio off YouTube or MySpace or some internet radio station...whatever! Supposedly, PC users have had this capability for a while, but now it’s here for us Mac users.
So, all in all, it was a day well spent at Macworld. Supposedly, Apple, Inc. will not participate in the Expo anymore. That seems kind of sad. Hopefully, it’s just a ploy for them to control the event more to their liking. In any case, there are more Mac users every day, as people get tired of Microsoft and their lame products, so to those of you who just bought your first Mac, I say, “Welcome!”
Special thanks to Mac expert and longtime Bay Area radio DJ Captain Fred for this report on the recent Macworld Expo in San Francisco, Jan 6 - 9th, 2009. Actively involved in the Bay Area micro broadcasting movement ever since the early nineties when he was one of a few staff working closely with Stephen Dunifer on Free Radio Berkeley, the former KALX DJ nowadays puts in time with Berkeley Liberation Radio (a direct descendent of Free Radio Berkeley) which broadcasts, via a 100 watt signal, on 104.1FM and can be picked up in Berkeley, Oakland and some surrounding areas, as well as streaming live online at www.berkeleyliberationradio.org. Berkeley Liberation Radio's broadcast schedule is from 8AM to midnight daily and Captain Fred's World Cruise show is on Saturday nights from 8 to 10PM when he plays lots of reggae, African, and various other genres.