Having spent three days exploring the halls and conference rooms of Macworld, it is time for the Macsparky Macworld 2009 Best in Show Awards.
Most Promising New Application
I reviewed BusySync several months ago and still use it regularly. BusyMac is taking the next logical step releasing their own calendar application, BusyCal. It is not ready yet but they had a good looking version at their booth. While at first you may wonder why you would pay for a calendar application when iCal is free, after spending some time with the BusyCal beta, I’m very interested. This app was clearly designed by people aware of iCal’s shortcomings. BusyCal provides a variety of features not available in iCal including:
* Bonjour Sync
* Google Calendar Sync
* Multi-user editing
* Offline editing
* Graphics, icons, and themes
* Sticky Notes
* Live Weather Feeds
* Rich Text
* Recurring ToDos
* List views
It works with and syncs out of the iCal database so it will cause no problems with your MobileMe sync. It will retail for $40. Keep your eyes posted for this one.
Best iPhone Case
This case actually fixes the iPhone camera with a sliding lens. With it you can take pictures of documents, business cards, and menus that are actually in focus. This makes mobile Evernote much better.
Best Mac Accessory
Ecamm Network BT-1 Bluetooth Web Cam
Although most Macs have a built in camera, this wireless bluetooth camera releases you from the fixed position and works to about 10 feet. It charges from a mini-USB cable.
Best Screencasting Application
While Screenflow has been on the market some time, it is new since last year and certainly deserves a “Best in Show” award. This paradigm shifting screencasting application changed the game for all screencasters.
Best Hard Drive
G-Technology, the same folks that made a portable hard drive that still worked after being run over by a truck, have come up with a Raid-0 solid state drive drive that screams. Data transfer rates top 60MB/sec write and 75MB/sec read speeds when using FireWire 800. Using eSATA, it blazes up to 195MB/sec. This drive is obviously for the high end video market priced at $2,199 for 500GB. This is a sign of things to come and it is good to see G-Technology taking the lead.
For us mere mortals, they also have the perfect Time Machine Drive, the G-Safe. It simultaneously writes to two independent hard disk drives providing instant back up of your time machine as you save it. For instance, the G-Safe 500 GB includes two 500GB drives and automatically puts one copy of everything you save to it on each drive. I think the 500GB model, priced at $449, is perfect for an external time machine solution.
Great Mac repair and upgrades combined with the “Back to the Future” De Lorean (including the “Mr. Fusion” upgrade). How could you go wrong?
Best iPhone Application
Ocarina is the fantastic 99 cent iPhone musical instrument. The Smule booth featured a regular serenade of Ocarina music and other fun audio iPhone applications. Everytime I walked past it, people were listening. Also, during David Pogue’s Macworld Live, Ge Wang, one of the Smule developers played several songs on it along with David Pogue. It was incredible. I really need to learn how to play my Ocarina.
Best Mac Gadget
Livescribe’s Pulse Smartpen is coming to the Mac. This is, essentially, a computer in a pen. It records all pen strokes and recreates the pages on your screen. It also records audio while you are taking notes and indexes it to your notes. This is very slick for students and anyone who frequently takes notes.
Best iPod Accessory
I recently reviewed the new Audioengine W2 wireless iPod/iPhone transmitter. It was the best iPod accessory in Macworld this year giving you a pain free wireless solution for playing your tunes directly from your pocket. Audioengine also displayed a set of unpowered speakers using their same technologies for users providing their own amplification (pictured below).
Best Work from the Mother Ship
While Apple’s keynote has already been dissected ad nauseum, I spent some time working with the new applications and am impressed with several things:
* iPhoto face recognition is impressive, well implimented, and very useful. How long until this finds its way into Aperture? My magic 8-ball says six months. The incorporation of geo-tagging is a nice;
* New Keynote features and transitions - Chocolate covered goodness. Some of the new animation features will be immediately useful to me.
* Creating Pages forms fillable with Numbers spreadsheets is probably useless to most but very helpful for me.
* Additional functionality in iMovie - It is much better. This should please those that were unhappy with the rewrite in iLife ‘08.
Best in Show
The Macworld Experience.
The best in show award this year goes to the Macworld experience. There was nowhere else in the world this week that I could learn about some of my favorite Mac software and hardware, make new and lasting friendships, attend great parties where it IS cool to talk about Quicksilver, AND I got to dance with YouTube’s Matt. For this reasons, I’m naming the entire experience as this year’s best in show.