Who: VN Publisher/Editor-in-Chief Joseph Connelly
What: 2009 Macworld Conference & Expo
Where: Moscone Center, San Francisco
When: January 7 + 8, 2009
Why: For the swag
The Scoop: If you missed yesterday’s installment of my two-day adventure to Macworld 2009, where I devour the veg options and meet the students from the Santa Barbara Middle School Teen Press, just click here to get up to speed.
Today we focus on the fun new programs, accessories, and gadgets that I dutifully uncovered for all you Mac addicts and fanatics while I loyally wandered the halls of Moscone North and South for two days last week. There were many, so let’s dive right in.
At least two companies are making “removable skins”—of the purely synthetic, non-animal variety, of course—that allow you to customize your iPhone, iPod, and even your laptop, while protecting your device from scratches and UV rays. Seriously. MusicSkins offers a variety of decals featuring music and pop-culture artists, though when I asked if they had The Ramones or Black Sabbath—the favorite bands of VN Technical Advisor Thomas “Mr. T” Russell—the sales guy replied, “No, but we have the Sex Pistols.” God Save The Queen. Meanwhile, GelaSkins offers prints of a more artistic nature, including a panda wearing a headset and the anatomy of a gummy bear. I kid you not.
Speaking of headsets, earphones were the Expo's “it” items, with so many vendors hawking so many styles that I can’t begin to document them all. Suffice it to say that if you are interested, you can find earphones for just about any purpose imaginable (and probably a few unimaginable).
Always on the lookout for green products, I was quite pleased to find several, including Solio, a plug-in hybrid solar charger. This universal device replaces all your chargers (iPhone, iPod, camera, GPS, etc.), harvests its energy from the sun, and can hold a charge for up to a year. Sweet. I can’t wait for the wind-powered charger. Tread, another environmentally conscious company that also happens to have the coolest website I’ve seen in a long time (next to vegnews.com, of course), makes protective cases for your laptop, cell phone, camera, or music player out of recycled butyl rubber … prophylactics for your electronics, so they won’t spread any viruses, I assume. Check them out; this company is worth your support. My third low-impact find was Brenthaven, a Washington-based manufacturer of stylin', high-end laptop bags with a “zero impact” mission and lifetime guarantee. The company promises to offset all purchases with carbon credits, and is introducing a line of bags made of partially recycled materials.
Runners, cyclists, and fitness junkies will love iMapMy, a downloadable application that uses GPS technology to track daily training data on iPhones, rendering obsolete ol’ fashioned watches or pesky GPSs. If you jog or pedal wearing an iPod, you’ll want to get hip to TuneUpMedia, which boldly states, “Your music collection is a mess. TuneUp fixes it. Automagically.” Yes, this download promised to organize and keep updated all the iTunes you have legally downloaded, including cover art. While we’re getting organized, two vendors offer apps for your digital photos. HoudahGeo, for those with an abundance of time, can “pin” photos to the location they were taken, and “geotag” them to Google Earth. Dick Cheney approved, too. MyPictureTown is Nikon’s safe, secure photo storage and sharing website, so you don’t have to store all your snapshots on your own computer. It also offers a Mapview function, similar to Houdah. And my fave foto find was Eye-Fi, the world’s first wireless memory card, which automatically uploads your pics sans cables or those pesky devices some of us still use. Life is good.
I’m not sure I fully understand the Pulse smartpen. It’s a pen that also records audio and can speak what you have written back to you, is headset-adaptable, has a built-in LED display, a speaker, and connects via USB to your computer. Oh, it has a camera, too. Did somebody say Bond? James Bond. On the practical side, the IntelliScanner mini is a tiny gadget that helps you organize everything in your home using barcode technology. Also works great for collectibles, such as wine or books, and is an asset in case of theft or disaster. The software even includes printable insurance reports.
There was much more, including the SwingSeat SwingChair office chair, the varous NadaChair brand non-chairs, and Tutto, the healthy four-wheel-drive luggage, all designed for people with bad backs. But I’m already over word count, so I’ll leave with the following. The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus is a non-profit outreach program that gives kids a chance to express themselves through music and video. See what they do at lennonbus.org.
And last, PositScience develops brain fitness programs that allow you to think quicker, remember more (I think), and … what's that word I looking for? Focus. Yeah, that's it. I took their “brain quickness” test, and rather than embarrass you with my results, I’ll just leave you with this photo. ‘Nuff said.