By Monte FergusonA Tale of Two Trade Shows Part II
After the Christmas buying season frenzy has worn down most of the
country gets back to everyday affairs. But for the gadget geek in the
family the New Year brings in two big electronics trade shows. One is
geared to industry insiders and professionals, CES, the other to
consumers, MacWorld Expo. The difference in focus, and audience ensures
that the shows are very different affairs.
MacWorld Expo ran later in the month of January. Too late for us to
cover it at the January meeting. We touched upon it at the February
meeting. The general consensus after the show was mixed. Either
attendees said it was a great show or it was not worth going. There was
no doubt that Apple’s absence, and therefore other big vendors like
Adobe and Microsoft's no shows, have had a material impact on the show.
The overall impression was that this years show, the second since Apple
no longer attends, was definitely better than last years. The show was
physically bigger than last year, with couple dozen more vendors and
several thousand square feet of in-use floor space.
We highlighted some interesting developments at the show which demonstrates
that it is still a valuable place for developers and customers to
mingle. Cirrus Thinking released Dolly Drive. It takes cloud storage,
provided by the developer, as available drives in Time Machine. When
it's time for Time Machine to run, encrypted files are saved to the
cloud. It does Time Machine one better by having an Inclusion Assistant
to help you figure out which files to back up. It also can make a
bootable clone of your hard drive. Another innovative program turns your
Mac into a live-video production studio. BoinxTV Home includes tools
like lower thirds, text and titles, tickers, green screen backgrounds,
and more. It works on any video captured by a live camera, including
iSight cameras, at a resolution of 960 x 540 pixels. An interesting
hardware device debuting at the show was called the Express. It is a machined-aluminum lap
platform that elegantly holds both Apple's Wireless Keyboard and a Magic
Trackpad. The result looks like an oversized version of a MacBook Pro
keyboard/trackpad. It is made by BulletTrain.
The consensus was that MacWorld, though a shadow of its former glory, is
still alive and kicking. Unlike CES, which is only open to the press and
professionals, MacWorld is open to anyone. It is the last of its kind.
If the organizers can keep fine tuning the show they should be able to
keep it going.
The other big news of the month was that Apple released an iPhone 4 for
Verizon. For those who were current Verizon subscribers we discussed
their options on purchasing a phone. We also compared and contrasted the
plan features, as well as costs, between ATT and Verizon. We wrapped up
our talk by noting that in any market where the iPhone was available on
multiple carriers it spurred competition which is good for us as
consumers. Of course it has also been good for Apple.
We concluded our meeting with our featured presentation. It was conducted by our own Duane Weller. The topic was fixing and improving your audio recordings. Duane started out by noting that there are a large number of audio recording and mastering programs. Which one fits your needs, and your budget, is the best program to use. Duane likes Apple's Logic line of products. (Those on a budget can use GarageBand for some audio tweaking or a free program like Audacity.) There are also dedicated programs, an example being Sound Soap, that attack audio issues like hiss or pops in an audio track. Duane demonstrated some features in his favorite app that eliminate unwanted noises in a recording. He then showed us some techniques that improved the overall recording, for instance normalization. He fielded a bunch of good questions regarding hardware and software needed to perform these actions.
Posted: Saturday, April 16th, 2011