Barbara @ Macworld Expo!

It’s here! It’s here! It’s gone! Macworld Expo finally arrived! I love to attend just to get out of the stifling Windoze atmosphere. Macworld is overwhelming and exhilarating, all at the same time!

I tried to start off my day with the opening keynote addresses. I wanted to find out if Steve Jobs would be the next CEO! Unfortunately, you’re considered not worthy to attend if you pay only for exhibits. I monitored the news to hear the announcements. Here’s what I saw and what you already know: Microsoft will purchase $150,000,000 worth of non-voting (yeah, right) Apple stock. Steve Jobs is one of four new members on the Apple Board of Directors. Microsoft will also help develop Apple software. (I noted, during the newscast, that applause was very lackluster.)

I myself am disappointed. Microsoft copies everyone’s software, including the Macintosh Operating System, and now Apple is just turning over and letting Microsoft walk all over it. Very discouraging. Fortunately, Macworld itself was great, if a little subdued.

I began my meandering at the World Trade Center (WTC). My first observation was the lack of signage! Granted, I’m not a native Bostonian, but I can generally find my way around. As usual, I took the train into town, all the way to South Station. There shuttle buses were to be provided to the WTC. I walked all around the ever-present Boston construction-no bus. I looked at all the signs, nothing said Macworld. I found the concierge inside South Station. He knew what I was talking about and directed me to the shuttle stop-one block away!

However, after that, the day went uphill! I was surprised at some of the companies not at the Expo. For instance, AOL only had a small table for folks who wanted to take advantage of their credit card. Nothing else! I really wanted to find out about my bookmarks since they never responded to my e-mail. I also could not find Netscape and after that announcement, I now see why. Microsoft Explorer will be the default Internet browser on all Macs.

Microsoft was there in full force, although the booth was smaller than in years past. I sat through a demonstration of Microsoft Explorer 4.0 and I have to admit, it is hot. While I disagree with Microsoft’s world domination plans, they usually come up with user friendly, if code heavy, software. Now, if only it were original…!

I especially enjoyed the Digital Art Gallery held by Meta Creations and co-sponsored by Wacom. Every year I make it a point to stop by and see what wonderful works of art folks are putting together on their Macs. And, while I didn’t stay to watch, I noticed that there were live interviews being conducted with industry leaders. Nice touch.

I wandered the aisles and entered as many of the contests I could find. I never win anything, but hey, hope springs eternal! :­)

Peachpit Press was there, like always, and now Barnes & Noble is in the act, as well. B&N had a nice large space. And, speaking of large booths, the really big exhibitors weren’t the usual, like Adobe and Microsoft. While they did have a respectably-sized space, the really big booths with the light shows, magic shows, and lots of action from the clone makers.

Yes, that’s right, the clone makers; PowerComputing and StarMax to be exact. Both these manufacturers had lots of activity, lots of staff, and a ton of visitors. It was next to impossible to talk with someone. And, I noticed the proliferation of Mac clones being used by all the exhibitors. I didn’t do an official count, but it was very noticeable.

All the major journals were there: Macworld & MacUser (soon to be one and the same), MacHome Journal, and Mac Today (which, in their words, provides an irreverent, off-the-wall, PC slamming, totally biased look at the Macintosh!). I tried to find a totally electronic journal, something like My Mac, and couldn’t.

I sat through a quickie presentation put on by Apple at the Bayside Convention Center. They had a round, center stage with monitors on the ceiling. A couple of Apple folks jumped on up and started “preaching” the wonders of the Mac in time with the video. The two biggest topics in the Apple booth: compatibility with Windows and “The New Mac,” meaning Mac OS 8, and I’m sure, the new alliance. After the evangelists left, the video kept running with Gregory Hines as a semi-narrator/commentator. The most enjoyable part of the video was a teenager turning on his Performa and getting a C prompt! He wakes up from this horrible nightmare screaming!

There was also a quick blurb on “Pyst,” a satire of Myst. If anyone has information on how I can purchase a copy of Pyst, let me know! I love that stuff!

I did check out the new PowerBooks and the hottest model is the 3400. The highest model, 3400c/240, has a 240MHz PowerPC 603e chip, minimum of 16MB RAM, supporting up to 144 MB, 12x-speed CD-ROM drive, 12.1 inch active-matrix color monitor with thousands of colors at 800 by 600 pixels, and weighs just 7.2 pounds. V-e-r-y n-i-c-e.

Unfortunately, I didn’t make it to the Expo on Thursday or Friday. I accomplished everything I needed to on Wednesday and some of the “oomph” disappeared after I saw the news.

I did try to find an Apple person (preferably Steve Jobs) for Russ to interview, but they were all in hiding. I guess after those announcements, they needed to be! 😉

There you have it; a quick snapshot of Boston’s Macworld. Even with the nasty surprise, it was, as always, the best convention a Mac fanatic can attend.


Barbara Bell (

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