Friday, January 18, 2008

macworld musings

After a long busy week of meetings and other managerial stuff, I manage to find some time to go to MacWorld. I had actually gone there earlier in the week to watch the simulcast with other educational users, but didn't get a chance to go to the exhibit hall where all the fun is.

I think I paid for the exhibit hall once, then manufacturers realized, it's worth the investment to give our codes for free passes to the exhibit hall. It's regularly $45, and I don't know if it's really worth that especially if there's nothing jaw dropping to go look at.

There was the new MacBook Air, which is a pricy little lightweight notebook. For the vast amount of the public spectrum, it's not that useful. Even for me who would like a small laptop to reduce the load I carry around, it sacrifices too much functionality, but then again this is a mini laptop per se. Having said that, I told a coworker, it's really like going to the New York fashion week. Do people actually wear the high end fashion on the runway, no not really. But elements of those designs do eventually get filtered down to just about every clothing manufacturer so you can by elements of the high fashion tone in Walmart.

And really, this is what the MacBook Air and even the iPhone before that were. They are really about setting the tone for the entire laptop market. Already the iPhone touch capabilities are being incorporated into the trackpad functionality on the laptop. I suspect they'll be integrating that functionality to the rest of their laptop line as well. The push for smaller components, absolutely. Moving from the disk harddrive to solid flash drive memory, certainly. These things are expensive now, but as they become cheaper to produce, you'll see them in more and more products.

I loved the beveled contouring of the laptop. It made the laptop so much easier to grasp and to pick up from the table. In one sense it reminded me of a modern and more fashionable early iBook design (you remember, the one they called the toilet bowl lid, that had a handle). Both have rounder corners, and anyone who has dropped their laptop knows that a bad hit to the corner of most laptops will jar the thing asunder. The rounder corners provide a slightly flatter striking surface that I hope will disperse the blow.

The magnetic power cord continues to improve. In this case the cord is connected in a D fashion so while the plug is connected on the side, the cord exits toward the back of the computer unlike today's laptop where the cord exits from the side.

They've also brought along the new keyboard key design that limits the crevice space between keys where it seemed like all the dust and hair dropped into. Yech! Now is has that calculator button look to it.

The new laptop is improving upon it's environmental post-consumer impact by reducing the amounts of heavy metals in all components of the system. Hey, something to expect from a company who has former VP Gore on its Board of Directors.

I think the laptop is good for tech home folks who have a desktop but would like a laptop to work around the house. It'll be good for kiosk conference vendors and with classroom lab settings where you don't want the students loading anything into the machine.

I ended up finding a keyboard cover for my laptop from KB Covers. They also sold covers with the DVORAK layout which supposedly is much faster and ergonomically efficient than the QWERTY keyboard. I'd been shopping around for keyboard covers for a while but the other places were not selling their products at MacWorld. They had keyboard covers with extra large font, various colors, and ones for specific applications. Back in the day they tried to make you buy different keyboards for specific apps. Keyboard covers make so much more sense. I was really impressed by their variety. I also bought a World of Warcraft cover for the hubby.

I also picked up a brochure from ProClip USA for my sister the road warrior. They have all the car mounts so you can see your electronic devices at a nice safe height rather than in the coin compartment next to your seat. Helps you keep your eyes on the road.

Other than that it wasn't like there was this one great thing. I thought it was a really balanced MacWorld in terms of its offerings. There was one year it felt more like iPodWorldExpo.

I ended up clocking a good 3 miles of walking today so stopped by the food court at Westfield for lunch and beardpapa's to take home. I can't believe I inhaled one that fast. No wonder I'm not really hungry for dinner.

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