Macworld Expo Wrap-up

Macworld San Francisco 2002 has come and gone, and the new flat-panel iMac has finally arrived. The iWalk was shown to be a Photoshop daydream, and the 1.0+ GHz Power Macs predicted by the rumor sites are still in the future.

Still, there were interesting things to see. I’ve collected a few of my notes together to offer some final observations of what I saw at Macworld.

In comparison to the only other large-scale “trade” show I’ve ever attended, the National Science Teacher’s Convention, I found the booths at Macworld to be fancier, larger, and stingier. Giveaways for teachers at NSTA include things you could actually use to teach with: a highlighter pen, a dry erase marker, some book covers, a free rocket kit, a Yomega yo-yo.

At Macworld I walked out with a MacAddict foam visor, two buttons from Iomega that didn’t really apply to me, a stack of business cards, and a couple of port adapters offered as review hardware because I write for Low End Mac.

There were plenty of education-centric vendors there: Lego-DACTA had a robot climbing a wall, Starry Night (which I reviewed recently) had a booth, and so did Voyager III (which I haven’t reviewed yet). Still, it was obvious where the big bucks lay, and that was with graphic design, games, 3D applications, and the like.

Or maybe Macworld vendors just don’t know how to talk to teachers. Don’t give us paper we’ll never have time to read. For example, Lego™ DACTA ought to have given away little tiny Happy Meal-sized Lego sets. Starry Night should have had CDs with the free version of their software. Different audience, I guess.

Best Drawing Prize

A new, functional Macquarium built into an original (tray loading) iMac.

Coolest Gizmos I Saw

Griffin Technology had a prototype gizmo that plugs into an iPod to convert it into a universal IR remote control – a full year before Bill Gates plans to innovate the technology with its Tablet PC. The prototype was only the size of a gumdrop and plugs into the top of the unit. You could control your TV, stereo, or whatever uses IR with it. You could even program your station ID codes into the iPod and then select the one you want from a list instead of scrolling through every channel or memorizing that NBC Cable 3 is really Channel 11. To me, that’s almost enough reason to get an iPod; I don’t have enough music to make the whole MP3 thing really worth pursuing.

Longest Wait

20 minutes to ask a guy at the digital camera counter a question, after he cycled through every other person around and passed me over twice. Must be my scruffy appearance.

Weirdest Food on the Expo Floor

A “Chicken Sandwich” wrapped up in a green colored seaweed-based undercooked burrito wrap and containing (theoretically) some chicken soaked in teriyaki sauce and surrounded by some extraordinarily watered-down curry-flavored yellow rice. I think. Not unusual for public functions in California. If you’re used to plain food from the Midwest, you’d best bring it yourself.

Number of Times I Was Panhandled for Money from BART to Expo

Four. They seemed a little more aggressive than the ones I was used to when I used to work in Oakland, where the panhandlers knew you by name and what time you usually went home. (One lady, whom I dubbed “the Greeter,” would stand at the BART station elevator and say, “Good evening, how are you today,” to everyone who passed by.)

Loudest Applause Heard

At the FileMaker booth, the audience went nuts when the demo person (on a large podium with loudspeaker and projector) demonstrated that you could check off items completed in a database of work orders imported into a Palm. Several people whistled. I wonder how much you get paid for that job – sitting in the audience and clapping, I mean.

Thing I’d Be Most Likely to Spend Money On

Kensington was showing a device I thought I had invented: A programmable optical scroll mouse that uses a small trackpad for the scroll wheel. It was being used to shift between scrolling and zooming in a digital editing application. Very reminiscent of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Too bad I didn’t tell anyone about it except a couple friends at work. Anyway, I’d probably spend money on that. Really.

Most Tempting Reason to Upgrade Hardware

Myth III looks really good on a machine with the horsepower to run it right.

Resolutions for Next Year

Register as Press instead of Joe Public. Attend some of the sessions instead of just going to the Exhibit Hall. Take fresh batteries and a tape recorder for impromptu interviews. Take more pictures. And take some people with me.

Keywords: #macworldexpo #macworldexpo2002

Short link: