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SPECIAL FEATURE JANUARY 8 through 11, 2001
Creative Mac's Macworld Travelogue

The day to day exploits of a lone Mac psychofanatic and his peecee-using companion

by David Nagel
Executive Producer
[email protected]

I thought it would be a good idea to take a break from straight product news to put a little editorial spin on the events of the Macworld Expo going on all this week in San Francisco. I also thought it might be nice to document the day to day activities and intimate (if inane) thoughts of me and my cohort, Paulo de Andrade, during this little adventure.

The journey begins today, as my colleague Paulo and I head off in our rented Lincoln Town Car on a 500 mile trip up the cattle-strewn heartland of Central California. It promises to be a journey fraught with adventure, intrigue and self discovery as we luxuriously drive our way over the mountains and through the hillbillies to seek the Holy Grail of Macdom: a Steve Jobs keynote speech during which he actually announces something important.

So stay tuned and follow along with the adventure!

January 9 (11:39 p.m.)
Married White Male Seeks PowerBook G4. Will Trade Rented Lincoln Town Car.

Dear Diary: This isn't going too well. Obviously, I'm not updating this Diary as often as I had hoped. Why? My devil boss won't buy me a PowerBook. And now that the new ones look so amazing, I think it's time for him to correct this error—and throw in wireless Internet access so I can update the news from the show floor. You may e-mail him and tell him this yourself, if you'd like. (Do it for your ol' pal Dave.)

Keynote and such
So I got to see the keynote speech this morning. Truly inspiring. I thought I would be upset with any G4 running at less than 750 MHz, but Jobs really managed to pull this one off by offering a 733 MHz model with a DVD-R/CD-RW combo drive, plus free DVD authoring software. You just think about that. It's like buying a DVD burner and getting a free, top of the line Mac, plus authoring software thrown in on top and a $600 rebate to boot. See, DVD burners sell for about $4,000. The new high-end Mac runs $3,400 with a built-in DVD burner that, incidentally, can also burn CDs. iDVD, the authoring program that will ship with the new model, is a fairly full-featured piece of software. In some ways, it feels like iMovie—you know, consumerish—but then again, it's the only free DVD authoring suite available, and it has a lot to offer. This is the first time in Apple's history that the high-end Mac seems the best deal.

Getting back to the PowerBooks, I have to say I'm utterly relieved that Apple finally put a G4 into a portable package. What's more, they put it into a stunning, super thin package. It makes me proud to be a Mac user once again.

Now, regarding OS X: You have to see the latest build. It's beautiful, infinitely better than previous incarnations, with several new features that make it behave like the classic OS. Delivery date of March 24? That's what Jobs promised. We'll see. As I've said before, I'm still waiting for Rhapsody. I'll believe an OS X ship date when and only when I get my own copy.

The other stuff
So what else did I and my peecee using companion, Paulo de Andrade, do at the show today? Well, for one thing, we heading back to the Cow Hollow Motor Lodge right after the keynote to do some news updates. However, San Francisco being the worst city in the world, we were unable to get much done, owing to San Franciscans being the worst drivers and parkers in the world. I swear to Jobs, these people not only can't drive, but they also can't walk without getting in my way or begging me for money. (In case you didn't know, everybody in San Francisco is homeless.)

So, anyhoo, I missed a ton on show floor time owing to crazy traffic and spent the rest of the day just trying to catch up. (It took an hour and a half to get from the Cow Hollow Motor Lodge to the show floor.) Hence, no updates all day.

However, I did find time to meet with a number of companies coming out with some great stuff for the Mac. I first met with Digital Voodoo, makers of the D1 Desktop line of 10-bit capture cards, who recently updated their software and announced support for OS X. They also informed me that their uncompressed HD card is mere weeks away from shipping. Juicy.

Next we hooked up with Media 100, who introduced us to their latest streaming product, CineStream. This is a nice little piece of software that not only provides tools for editing media for the Web, but also includes EventStream, the QuickTime interactive technology found in Media 100 i and Cleaner 5. CineStream is actually the latest version of EditDV with several enhancements for working on the Web. It also includes Cleaner 5 EZ. The suite will ship in February for $499.

Speaking of Cleaner 5 EZ, this brand new "lite" version of Cleaner 5 is also included with Adobe Premiere 6, which started shipping yesterday. We missed our appointment with Adobe today, but we'll try to catch up with them later for more info on Premiere.

Next we met with Nothing Real, the company that produces the super-high-end compositing application Shake, previously available only on Irix, NT and Linux. We saw a very early version of the OS X port, and it looks to be pretty special. We're in for a treat when this thing finally does arrive on the Mac some time around summer or a little later. (It will be timed to coincide with a major update on the other platforms.) I can't overemphasize the significance of Shake on the Mac. It's an incredible tool—at least from what I've experienced in the NT version—and one that will be sure to have a big impact on the Macintosh creative community. We intend to work with Nothing Real in the future to bring you tutorials and feature explorations on Shake. Of course, we have to wait for OS X. But, one funny point, Nothing Real has put about two weeks of development into the Mac version, and it was actually running. They credit the quick port time to Mac OS X's Unix core, which makes it relatively easy to bring Irix/Linux applications to our platform.

Finally, we met with the good folks at ElectricImage, who have been showing off the next incarnation of their pro-level 3D suite, Universe. I'm not sure what I can say that could properly express the quality of the renders I saw from this thing. It's beautiful. And the interface is quite intuitive, with a top-notch feature set. We'll bring you more on Universe as it nears release.

EI was also showing off their brand, spanking new Amorphium Pro, the next generation of the 3D modeling, animation and rendering package targeted toward graphic designers. Not only does thing thing include some simply incredible modeling tools, but it also exports directly to the Flash format. Can't wait to get my hands on this puppy. Units should be going out in the mail this month. It's selling for $379, with a $50 rebate for previous owners of Amorphium 1.0. (Well worth the upgrade, from what I've seen so far.) We'll bring you an in depth review when we get ahold of our own copy.

Well, that's it for today. Stay tuned tomorrow for more news from the show, plus info from a whole new slew of vendors we'll be meeting with.

January 8 (11:35 p.m.)
Cow Hollow: Sanitized for My Protection

Dear Diary: Made it though mile upon mile of hillbillies. Now 11:35. Too tired to work or write in complete sentences, even though have six news stories to write. Paulo in same condition, although he did find time to inspect the toilet of the Cow Hollow Motor Lodge for freshness, as evidenced in accompanying photo. Will have to get back to you tomorrow. Am now going to bed and watch anime on the G4 with audio supplied by Bose. No, it's not what you're thinking. Looking forward to beautiful dreams of Britney Spears and Steve Jobs's keynote. Thank you for listening, diary. I know I can tell you anything.

More news:

January 8 (9 a.m.)
The Journey Begins

Dear Diary: Today I head off for the land of the homeless, San Francisco. I still haven't found a converter that will allow me to plug my G4 into the cigarette lighter of our Lincoln Town Car Oh well. At least a little early Macworld news has trickled in. Here's what we have so far. I suppose I'll have to wait until I get up to SF before I do any more updates.

January 7 (Bonus Day)
More Prep Time

Dear Diary: Well, not much yet to report on the show, seeing as it doesn't start for another two days. I guess I'll just write about all the regular stuff that's going on with me, since I know, Diary, that I can tell you anything. Well, here goes. I had that dream about Britney Spears again. She's so pretty, Diary. I just know I'll marry her one day. We'll have two kids—Caitlin and Devon—and a Persian kitten named Cassi (with an "i" not a "y"). We'll be friends with Ricky Martin and Blink 182, and everything will be just perfect. Well, I guess I better go now. Thanks for listening, Diary.

January 6 (Bonus Day)
Pre-Show Preparations

Dear Diary: The adventure begins this weekend as I finish my morning coffee and head out in search of a converter so I can plug my G4 into the cigarette lighter of our rented Lincoln Town Car. I'm not sure I'll be too comfortable with a 19" monitor sitting on my lap for a seven-hour, 500-mile drive, but, hey, it's worth a try! Plus, since the Town Car drives like a cloud, I should have no problems using my Wacom tablet to do a little drawing while I'm on the road. (I'll keep my AAA card handy just in case a desktop computer system proves a bit too taxing for the pinnacle of American luxury.)

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Dave Nagel is the producer of Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; host of the Creative Mac, Adobe InDesign, Adobe LiveMotion and Synthetik Studio Artist WWUGs; and executive producer of Creative Mac, Digital Media Designer, Digital Pro Sound, Digital Webcast, Plug-in Central, Presentation Master, ProAudio.net and Video Systems sites. All are part of the Digital Media Net family of online industry hubs.

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