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MWSF Wrap-Up - TMO's MACWORLD Best Of Show Picks

by , 5:00 PM EST, January 16th, 2001

It has taken us a few days to wade through our copious notes from the show, but we have finally compiled our Best Of Show list for MACWORLD San Francisco 2001. The list covers things from the Most Burned Out Expo Employee to the Best Booth Show, so check it out.

Best Apple Hardware - PowerBook G4
Although not quite as revolutionary as the introduction of the iMac, this product gives Apple portable users many things to be happy about. The included functionality, when compared to the size and weight, blows away anything in the PC space. And the G4 processor finally makes comparable with the Apple desktop series. And although it is missing the distinctive curves of prior Apple portables, it still makes a statement with the titanium case, and the glowing Apple that is now facing the right direction.

Best Apple Software - iDVD
This software continues to reaffirm the Mac as the premiere machine for multimedia professionals. Sure, DVD-RAM was nice, but you couldn't do much except store heaps of data. With iDVD, anybody can create a compelling DVD, ready to pop into a standard DVD player, complete with easy-to-nagivate menus.

Best Non-Apple Hardware - Formac studio
Multimedia conversion tools were out in force at the show. We found this unit to offer the most functionality when compared to other units. In addition to being able to convert to or from composite video, stereo audio, S-Video and FireWire/DV formats, this unit also has a TV cable and FM radio tuner, so you can capture cable broadcasts directly to digital format. Honorable Mention goes to Dazzle, who has a similar unit, without the TV and FM tuner features.

Best Non-Apple Software - Alias|Wavefront Maya
This professional animation software is to animation creation what PhotoShop is to image creation. The demo at the keynote was truly impressive, allowing one to create professional quality animations with the greatest ease yet in the genre. Maya is one of the largest tools of its kind in its market, and this, along with Mathmatica, will be accomplishing a lot to show the seriousness of Mac OS X as a performance platform.

Coolest Technology
DataPlay mgets the nod for this, though they still have to come to market. The DataPlay disk is a 500 MB disk about the size of a quarter that is aimed at the MP3 market and markets currently inhabited by Flash media and products like the HipZip/PocketZip. The only drawback is that DataPlay media is currently write-once, making it less usable as a continual source of transferring and storing files. However, at US$10 a pop, many will still find it very convenient.

Most Improved Non-Apple Software - Connectix Virtual PC 4.0
This new version takes care of many of the limitations of the prior version. There is now a 2X speed increase, no more 128 MB RAM limit (of greatest concern with RAM hungry operating systems like Windows 2000), the ability to have multiple PCs running at the same time (RAM permitting) and hard drive images that can grow based on actualy usage, not a predefined size that takes up all of your disk space.

Most Annoying PR Firm - Edelman Public Relations
While taking snapshots of all the goodies at the Apple booth, we were approached by a member of Apple's PR firm, and told that there were some "rules" that we had to abide by, including not being able to tape an interview with an Apple employee. Yes, we know that a lot of info about new products was leaked before the show, and Steve probably had a fit, but you should be coming down on Apple employees, not the press. Anything mentioned on the show floor, when we are clearly identified as Media, and without being under NDA, is fair game. Deal with it.

Most Crowded Party - Mac at Night
Now known as The Party Formally Known as Mac the Knife, has wall-to-wall people, and free drinks to boot. If you're looking to do some dancing, then this is probably not the place, but if you are at this party, then your goal is to meet all of your Mac friends. With the place being so packed, you could achieve a maximum level of interaction, thought you sometimes had to get creative when navigating through the crowds.

Most Burnt-Out Expo Employee
Towards the end of the show, when entering one of the halls, one of the security guards stopped us and, wit.h our trusty Nikon in hand, said that cameras weren't allowed on the show floor. This received a puzzled look from us, until the guard looked down, saw a media badge, and said "duh" We imagine it can get somewhat dull looking and tens of thousands of badges all day.

Best New Feature in the Press Room
Thanks goodness they installed AirPort this year! We could just plop down in the press area and start doing our thing, without all of those nasty wires. We also noticed that many more base stations available from the floor were protected, but we could find an open/friendly one, when required, if we tried hard enough.

Best New Use of Wireless - Epson
Epson was showing an early prototype of a wireless print server. Although probably not quite as useful as AirPort, this could be a boon for places that have a printer that needs to be moved around a lot, and eliminates the need for annoying cabling and other configuration.

Most Attractive Booth, Errr.. Uhhh.. Attractions
Iomega gets the nod with this one. The company had a show that involved six dancers that were augmenting a multi-media presentation about the company's various products. All six of the dancers were entertaining an easy on the eye, but the TMO staff was especially taken with the female half. Dangerous to say in a Politically Correct world, but Iomega's booth was packed to the gills whenever their shows were on. Our hats especially go off to the entire team who did a show every half hour from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM every single freakin' day and still managed to keep a smile on. Manning a booth is hard work, and dancing all day is even harder.

Best Booth Show
Joel Bauer, legendary at trade shows, puts on a show that combines the message of his corporate clients with a gripping show using Bauer's skills as a mentalist and hypnotist. Bauer's ego-centric yet entertaining show includes him offering $5000 in cash to someone who can beat him at a simple card game. Once a show started, it was near impossible for anyone to leave PowerON's booth, each person caught up in the mystery and engima that is Joel Bauer. Definitely entertaining every time!

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