The MacWorld Report

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Back from a day playing boss-sanctioned hookey from work. Had a chance to head into San Francisco for this year’s MacWorld.

While there I tried to remember when, exactly, was my first trip to MacWorld. I believe it was 1994 and I was gainfully employed by Sandia Labs. Sandia, at the time, bought quite a bit of Mac gear. Because we were such a good customer, I got a ticket to see the keynote. This was before Steve had returned and Gil Amelio was still at the helm. Anyone remember him?

That was the year that Jeff Goldblum opened the keynote with a bit of promotion for the movie “Independence Day”, a copy of which was taped to the bottom of each of our seats. I think I still have that VHS tape in a box in the garage.

Ah well, the good old days. Back when grabbing the entire collection of Iomega Buttons was cool and schwag fell like manna from the sky (I still use some of the t-shirts gained at past Comdex and MacWorld shows to check the oil in my car and polish fingerprints off my guitar).

But those days are over.

This year’s MacWorld was….to say the least…underwhelming.

It’s hard to top the buzz and excitement of the 2007 MacWorld what with the lickable iPhones twirling in jewelry showcases, so close and yet SO out of reach.

But last year’s show had a lot of buzz for the iPod too. Lots of cases, accessories, and audio software to make it fun. There was some of that this year, but it was pretty much the same gear on display as last year.

A lot of the buzz was gone too, the energy was low, there were empty booth spaces and even the Apple booth, usually the showpiece of the floor, was less than usual.

Here’s the booth:

Here’s the show floor (taken from the Apple booth):

The Apple booth was the same sort of set up as in past years. Thick gray carpet, minimalistic fixtures, highlight on the “star” product.

Last year, as mentioned, the iPhone was this dizzying spinning tantalizing thing.

So I was excited to see how they would display the new MacBook Air.

Well, here’s the answer:

That is five MacBook Air bodies hanging from a string. Uh. Okay.

I went over to take a look, and it was cool, but the swinging MacBooks were not accessible, unable to be opened, and not actually functioning machines. So it was…odd.

I did get a change to belly up to the bar and test drive one with the help of a very nice and knowledgeable Apple employee. The thing is scary light. Amazing. Three pounds. Compared to my MacBook Pro, which now feels like a ton of bricks, this thing is a feather and I can see it SO easily tucked into a bag for hitting the road.

It has this cool flip out door for the ports. Only one USB port, which I’ve read some bloggers complaining about online, but I think that can be easily managed. The screen is delicious and it just looks good. Nicely done!

The rest of the show was only ok. Like I said, low energy and not really any new products to get excited about. I had expected to see a lot of accessories for the iPhone and was gravely disappointed. The Cute Boy™ bought a new case for his, I held off. Didn’t find exactly what I wanted.

Saw a pretty cool camera case/backpack that they wanted a lot of money for, but it was really functional. Didn’t buy it, but it was nice to dream.

Tried to get close to the Canon booth, but to no avail. That one is always very popular.

Got only a few schwaggy items, but came home mostly empty handed.

So to sum up MacWorld 2008, in my opinion, it was kind of like the keynote, to quote NewMexiKen, “is that all there is?”

Oh, I tried to “live blog” from the Microsoft lounge, but it was totally packed in there. I hadn’t brought my own MacBook with me to the show, and the few iMacs they had for use were taken up by squatters. Oh well, you get this reacap instead. It’s semi-live cuz after this day, I’m dead on my feet.

All photos by Karen Fayeth and grainy cuz they were taken with an iPhone.

I wanna be supportive, I really do.

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Due to gas costs and the mental toll that commute-time driving extracts from me, I’ve been riding the train a lot recently. Today, for a variety of reasons, I needed to drive, so I took my trusty hoopty out on the road.

And as I cruised along (at, yes, the speed limit) I observed a blue Prius cut me off, then slow down.

As I stifled the curse words and angry gestures (yes, I actually *did* pay attention to that driver’s ed course I took and passed), I wondered to myself, quite bluntly, “Why are Prius people always such crappy drivers?”

I know, broad generalizations are never accurate, but go with me on this, for a minute.

So yes, I live in hola-granola, tree-hugging, skunk-kissing Northern California. Which means there are a lot of fans of that little gas sipping automobile. Fundamentally, I have no problem with the Prius. If the financials could bear it out (meaning the premium they charge for that car more than offsets the cost at the pumps) I might even consider one. I can be environmentally conscious, I really can.

Here in the Bay Area, people who drive hybrid vehicles can get a special sticker that allows them to drive in the car pool lane even if there is only one person in the car. So that has definitely helped boost their popularity.

So there are a lot of little Prisuseseses (what exactly IS the plural of Prius?) on the roads out here. There are a lot of other hybrid and electric vehicles too, but today I’m talkin’ about the Prius people.

I’ve checked in with many friends. Their experience matches my own. Something about the Prius drivers is off. Is it bad visibility? Is it the alternate way they have to drive (coasting to build up a charge)? Is it the kind of person who chooses to own one? I don’t know, but I’ve observed some truly crappy driving behind the wheel of these little wonders.

Like a lot of changing lanes rapidly and slowing down. I’ll attribute that to the coasting, I guess. A lot of not looking or signaling before changing lanes. Is it hard to see in those things? And a lot of driving real slow in the fast lane.

I haven’t observed this as much with other environmental cars, just the Prius.

What’s up with that? I mean, when I read the news report that Al Gore’s kid was popped by CHP doing 100 in his Prius, I thought “well, there’s hope yet!” But perhaps all the drugs had changed his view (…and I can’t support that).

I’m all for assisting the environment by using less fossil fuels (this after reading, with horror, about the “milky rain” in Silver City and the Gila) but damnitall! Let’s keep it safe out there, ok?

Meanwhile, I’m doing my own part by taking the train as often as possible. Good for the environment, good for my sanity.

Thus ends my rant.

Time for my calmness affirmations……”breathe in…..breathe out….”

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Sportsmanship! Feh!

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From today’s Las Cruces Sun News:

“The Western Athletic Conference has issued a warning to all WAC members that any pre-meditated chants that contain vulgar or offensive language will result in a technical foul called against the home team.”

(full article)

You know what, that fine Aggie tradition of shouting “Nice shot, ass–le” at basketball games dates back to my college years. Like, uh, back to the early 90’s.

I started out this blog post going to rant about the demolition of a tradition. But actually, that crowd chant was pretty juvenile back in ’91 (which was why it was fun), but it’s probably time to move it along to something new. And even more juvenile.

Not sure I buy into a Technical Foul to the home team. That’s an expensive penalty, and how are they supposed to corral their own fans, anyway? I guess when the fans lose a game because of the T, they’ll pipe down.

So ok. It’s lame that the WAC is governing this NOW, some twenty years later. They really should have gotten in front of it back then. I mean, you can *hear* it on television! Seems hard to curb this now. But ok, it’s part of the rules now.

So I’ll let this one go. But I’ll *never* let go of the grand SF Giants fans in the bleachers tradition of “what’s the matter with < insert name of opposing team's outfielder here >??……He’s. A. BUM!”

Convergence

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The two halves of me, the New Mexico girl living in California (and a ragin’ Giants baseball fan) collided today.

For Christmas someone gave me a page-a-day Giants and baseball trivia calendar.

The entry for January 14, 2008:

“Who is the only National Baseball Hall of Famer born in New Mexico.”

Wha! I didn’t even know we had one!

The answer:

Ralph Kiner is his name, he was born in Santa Rita and he played most for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He’s now a broadcaster for the Mets.

Oh Fair New Mexico, how I love to learn your little secrets.

Image via Wikipedia.

Friday. W00t!

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It’s been a hell of a week. And getting back into routine, not so good.

And work is once again hair on fire.

I’ll just say this: Happy Weekend to all!

We’ll see you Monday, same bat time, same bat channel!