Reporter's Notebook

Macworld editors attended a dizzying number of product demonstrations during Macworld Expo this past week. Below, we've summed up what we saw and what Mac users can expect on the market in the next few months.

Storage specialists 3ware ( www.3ware.com ) announced the3ware NSU (Network Storage Unit), a Gigabit Ethernet Storage Area Networksystem. The NSU allows Mac users to add an extra 600 gigabytes of storagespace using existing TCP/IP Ethernet lines. The NSU will support multipleoperating systems and allow users to allocate storage across multipleservers without touching the hardware. With prices starting at $17,000, 3Ware is expecting to ship the NSU at the end of the first quarter.

ADS ( www.adstech.com ) showed off the Pyro 1394 Web cam. The FireWired cam, which shipped November 1, 2000, comes in a translucent graphite-colored casing, has a transfer rate of 30 fps of uncompressed video, and offers 640 by 480 video resolution. The camera has a MSRP of $149, and is bundled with Smith Micro VideoLink Pro, ArcSoft Photo Fantasy, Video Impression, and QuickTime Installer.

In the past year, AEC Software ( www.aecsoft.com ) has rolled out Eddy-nominated updates for its Details and FastTrack Schedule project management applications. At Macworld Expo, the software maker was looking ahead to the next round of upgrades.

AEC announced plans to put out a Carbonized version of FastTrack Schedule sometime after Apple ships a finished version of OS X. "We have a lot of work to do," said AEC President Dennis Bilowus, adding the company is at work rewriting "a couple million lines of code."

Expect a Carbonized version of FastTrack Schedule to take advantage of OS X's protected memory capabilities, says Kurt Wyckoff, vice president of sales and marketing for AEC. The project management application could also benefit from the Quartz and OpenGL graphics capabilities built in to OS X.

As for features that could be added to future versions of AEC software, Bilowus says the company is looking at "adding additional Web enablements for existing products."

Aladdin ( www.aladdinsys.com ) demonstrated Transporter 1.0, a new system utility that allows users to combine a series of steps into a Transporter file that users can access with a single command. For example, users can have Transporter compress a file and send it to a particular e-mail address. Transporters are built via an intuitive, drag-and-drop interface, and they're self-running applications that users can e-mail to friends and coworkers. Jason Foodman, Aladdin's Vice President of Business Development, has high hopes for Transporter, saying it's the next best thing since StuffIt. Transporter is shipping today for a suggested retail price of $150.

Alias/Wavefront ( www.aliaswavefront.com ) demonstrated the beta version of Maya, a cutting edge professional graphics tool that allows users to create 3-D objects with realistic physical properties. The demo featured digitally created plants, created with a few strokes from a pressure-sensitive pen, swaying in a virtual breeze. Director Richard Kerris said that Alias/Wavefront had received thousands of e-mail messages requesting that Maya be brought to the Mac, and after the announcement went out, it received thousands more messages asking when they could buy it. It's expected to ship in the next quarter for $7,500.

ArcSoft ( www.arcsoft.com ) showed off its newly released PhotoStudio 2000 for the Mac, a $99 image-editing program. The program offers a full set of image correction tools including layers, transparency, and color correction. Customers interested in creating projects such as calendars and greeting cards can now check out PhotoImpression 3.0, which has been released for the first time as a $50 stand-alone program. Although it won't be ready for release until April or May, ArcSoft also offered a quick look at the OS X version of PhotoStudio 2000.

AVerMedia ( www.aver.com ) has a new document camera, the AVerVision100. The $599 Plug and Play device can display documents, 3-D objects, and microscopic images to televisions, VGA monitors, and LCD/DLP projectors. It sports a remote control and can project mirror images, or 180 degree rotation shots, enabling users to write on their documents as they are projected without having to flip them around. It comes with a removable lens cover to connect a microscope, and it can display in color or black and white. An optional light box will allow users to project transparencies or negatives. AVerMedia says the camera is primarily aimed at the education market, but they expect to serve the business market, as well.

Belkin ( www.belkin.com ) announced the Regulator Pro Gold Series Mac Version, a battery backup product, which will ship in March. The Regulator Pro offers Automatic Voltage Regulation, a USB Interface, and will be available in two versions, the 500VA for $169.99, and the 650VA for $199.99. Belkin also has several other products in the pipeline: a 6-port hub that will ship in March for $99.99, the USB Dual Serial Adapter that will ship the end of January for $59.99, the FireWire/USB Combo Card now shipping for $109.99, and the FireWire CardBus Adapter now shipping for $99.99.

Canon ( www.usa.canon.com ) introduced the PowerShot 90 IS, their first digital camera to incorporate a built-in 10x zoom lens with optical Image Stabilization. The PowerShot 90 supports the IBM Microdrive, can record a ZVGA (320 by 240 pixel) digital movie clip with audio for approximately 30 seconds, and sports a sleek body design. Targeted at the photo enthusiast, this 2.6-megapixel camera has a suggested retail price of $1,299, and will be available later this month.

Channel Storm ( www.channelstorm.com ) plunges into the Mac market with its first product, Live Channel. This powerful QuickTime server broadcasts media, allowing users to edit and mix sources from two cameras, existing QuickTime movies, audio, still graphics, and text. Live Channel is slated for release in March for $3,000. Those on a budget need not be discouraged -- Channel Storm will also release a free version, which has fewer editing features, and limits users to five connections.

Charismac Engineering ( www.charismac.com ) showed a major upgrade to Discribe, their CD burning software. Version 4.0 has a completely new interface and features CD to CD-R copying, MP3 conversion, and verification. For CD-R drives with the new BURNProof technology, Charismac has added background burning. The software will ship with an additional utility called Audioscribe, which records any sound from the audio in jack and prepares it for CD burning. The new Discribe should be available mid-January for $100.

Anubis and Charismac RAID will soon support FireWire drives. Charismac is showing demos the new versions, which should be shipping next week. Anubis retails for $130; Charismac RAID retails for $200.

Corel ( www.corel.com ) offered Macworld editors a sneak peek at a few of the new features that will be available in the CorelDraw 10 Graphics Suite for the Mac, which they expect to release this summer. In addition to being Carbonized for OS X, CorelDraw 10 will offer user-friendly color-management tools and output to PDF -- both of these features should appeal to users who need to work with a service bureau.

But Corel's main goal is to improve public relations; the company hopes to cast off their reputation as a Windows-only developer and regain the confidence of the Mac community."We're here to show people that we're committed to the Mac platform," said Communications Manager Meredith Dundas.

To that end, Corel handed out beta previews of its OS X versions to Corel Bryce 4.1 and Corel KnockOut 1.5, and it released Corel Painter 6.1, which includes bug fixes. Although these updates are small, Corel hopes they prove to customers that the company is devoted to the programs.

The big news will come later this year when Corel releases full upgrades to almost its entire product line. Between May and September of 2001, Corel plans to unveil Bryce 5, Painter 7, KPT 7, KnockOut 2, and CorelDraw 10 Graphics Suite (which will include PhotoPaint and Rave, a new Flash animation tool). And all of the new versions will be Carbonized for OS X.

Dantz ( www.dantz.com ) is giving Macworld Expo goers a first glimpse at the pre-release, "Carbonized" OS X version of their backup software, Retrospect Backup and the Retrospect Client. The client component will ship first -- with a target date of March 24 -- so that users will be able to back up their OS X systems as quickly as possible. The client software is expected to run up to five times faster than the previous version. The host component of Retrospect Backup is expected to ship closely following Apple's official release of OS X.

Frustrated sculptors and anyone looking to make the move from 2-D to 3-D will want to check out Electric Image's Amorphium Pro ( www.amorphium.com ). The real-time 3-D modeling, rendering, and animation program goes beyond its predecessor, Play's Amorphium 1.0, with such prolevel features as a keyframe-based timeline, ray tracing and radiosity rendering, and editable sculpting and painting brushes. But it still offers a gentle introduction to the world of 3-D, and it's fun -- you can practically feel objects move, squish, and morph under your brush. Once you've completed your creation, you can save it in one of several formats, including Flash, animated GIF, and QuickTime.

The OS X-ready Amorphium Pro should be available later this month for $379.

Epson ( www.ea.epson.com ) demonstrated their line of PowerLite Multimedia Projectors. While high performance projectors are primarily targeted at and used in the business world, one of Epson's new offerings, the Epson PowerLite 50c, carries a street price of only $2,600, which is impressive for this type of product. Weighing only 6.6 pounds, the PowerLite 50c incorporates an advanced three-LCD display system for bright, sharp, and rich SVGA (800 by 600) images. "Value and performance are definitely the best two words to describe what the PowerLite 50c brings to the presentation room," said Mark Pickard, product manager, projectors, Epson.

The projector will be available for purchase this month. The Epson PowerLite 70c weighs only 5.8 pounds, but has a higher price point. And, weighing 15.2 pounds, the Epson PowerLite 7700p has a street price of $8,600. It delivers ultra bright performance at more than 3,000 ANSI lumens and is quiet and unobtrusive. All of Epson's Commuter Series projectors come with a two-year limited warranty, as well, including Epson's Road Service Program that replaces a projector within 24 hours, should it need repair, within the United States and Canada.

In scanner news, on January 8th Epson announced the Epson Expression 1680, the newest addition to Epson's line of professional scanners. One of the standout features in this product is its speedy preview and scan times -- a full color preview is completed in just eight seconds. Plus, the user cannot make any mistakes -- the software and the scanner itself are designed to deliver ease of use and optimum performance. Pricing for the Epson Expression 1680 starts at $799 for the Special Edition; $899 for the Artist configuration; $1,149 for the Pro configuration; and $1,399 for the Pro FireWire configuration. Plus, many optional features are available, including an 8 by 10 transparency unit and an automatic document feeder. The scanner comes bundled with an array of software, including LaserSoft SilverFast Ai 5.

The Extensis Products Group ( www.extensis.com ) showcased Preflight Online. This Web application evolved from the company's desktop application, Preflight Pro. Both examine files before you send them to print shops and identify items that are missing or could otherwise cause problems.

Previously, Preflight Online examined only PDFs. The new version, now in beta, will also process QuarkXPress files. You can explore the beta by signing up at http://beta.extensis.com .

FileMaker ( www.filemaker.com ) is busy with a new sales promotion: buy or upgrade to its $249 FileMaker Pro 5 database software by March 16 and get a free copy of FileMaker Mobile. The mobile application for Palm OS devices lets users synch up data on their Palms or Visors with single-user databases on their desktop.

The company is at work on getting its flagship database product ready for OS X. About "90 percent" of the Carbonization work on FileMaker Pro has been completed, says FileMaker's Deborah Colton. The company expects to have a finished product by spring, after Apple ships a finished version of the new operating system. FileMaker is also touting how closely the database application works with Microsoft Office 2001 for the Mac. Excel users, for example, can open up a FileMaker database and import it directly into Excel without having to jump between the two programs. Users can also convert Excel spreadsheets into FileMaker databases with drag-and-drop simplicity."

"The new watchwords are 'tight integration,'" Colton says.

Formac ( www.formac.com ), maker of ProTV Stereo,is moving away from cards and toward external modular units it is calling the Formac Form + Function line. Studio, the digital video conversion box which was announced a few months ago, is now shipping with an introductory price of $399 and can be purchased from the company's online store. The device can capture analog and digital video from televisions, DVD players, DV cameras, and VHS machines, which it converts to DV stream so that users can edit it in iMovie, Final Cut Pro, or Premeire 6. Studio is powered through the FireWire bus and can also power a DV camera without an external power supply (although users can connect a power cable if needed). Formac's DVD-RAM drive, which features the same sleek casing as its Studio, is available for pre-order for $549 at its online store. Formac was also showing off FireWire CD-RW drives in 12x10x32 ($299) and 16x10x40 ($449) speeds.

Hewlett Packard ( www.hp.com/go/lj3200/ ) demonstrated the LaserJet 3200m, an all-in-one featuring printing, faxing, copying, and scanning abilities. It is a compact product, and its rounded plastic body is aesthetically pleasing. The LaserJet 3200m, aimed at the fast-growing small office and home office markets, has a list price of $699. It is expected to be available in February.

Intuit ( www.intuit.com ) isn't announcing any new products at Macworld Expo -- its major Mac products, Quicken Deluxe and TurboTax, have been updated within the last five months. But that doesn't mean the software maker isn't already thinking about its next release.

Adam Samuels, product manager of Quicken for Macintosh, says work is already underway for this year's edition of the personal finance software. It will be a Mac OS X-native application. The company looking at whether it will issue any update to Quicken 2001 Deluxe that Carbonizes the existing software; even if it doesn't, however, the current program will run in OS X's Classic environment. Samuels isn't ready to talk about new features that will appear in the next version of Quicken. But he did shed some light on trends guiding Intuit in its approach to updating software. The focus, Samuels says, is not necessarily adding big, flashy features to programs like Quicken. Rather, the emphasis appears to be on additions to the software that streamline personal finance, integrate the software with other Intuit products or online tools, and reduce the amount of time people spend balancing their checkbooks and tracking finances.

"The big idea is an idea of saving time and steps," Samuels said.

Building on their long tradition of connectivity products, Keyspan ( www.keyspan.com ) has a new four-port serial hub. The hub connects to a Mac via USB, and is aimed at businesses with specialized serial devices. It will ship with drivers for the Mac OS, Windows, and Linux. Keyspan is also hard at work updating their drivers for OS X. They plan to be ready when Apple begins preloading OS X on their new Macs, sometime this summer.

The Macromedia ( www.macromedia.com ) folks had two announcements. One was about the online learning center, Macromedia University. The other concerned the ponderously named Macromedia Flash Advertising Alliance.

Macromedia University ( www.macromedia.com/university/ ) offers Web-based training in Macromedia applications. Now some of those courses -- Director 8; Dreamweaver 3; FreeHand 9; Flash 5; and Fireworks 3 -- are Mac specific. (No irritating instructions to press a Windows-only key!) In the next few months, Macromedia will offer more Mac-specific courses for Dreamweaver 4, Dreamweaver UltraDev 4, and Fireworks 4.

Macromedia has rallied some powerful partners to join the Macromedia Flash Advertising Alliance, including TBWA\Chiat\Day NY, CNET, DoubleClick, and MSN. The purpose of the alliance seems to be to keep Macromedia Flash's appeal strong by making it a no-brainer choice for Web site ads. The first fruit of the alliance is software that tracks click-through of Macromedia Flash-based ads. You can find the tracking kit at http://www.macromedia.com/solutions/richmedia/tracking/ .

Media100 ( www.media100.com ) announced CineStream, the follow-up to the EditDV line they recently acquired from Digital Origin. CineStream extends the previous functionality of EditDV for professional-level DV editing with an eye toward the Web. CineStream borrows the EventStream technology of Cleaner 5, which allows for Web hot spots and for video clips to trigger HTML. There's also an Export to Cleaner function built-in, and the program comes with Cleaner EZ 5.

For DV editing, CineStream offers 1,000 levels of undo in a history palette format similar to Adobe Photoshop and Premiere 6. users can also now import files larger than 2GB and have multiple timelines within a single project. CineStream will be available at the end of February for $499.

Nemetschek ( www.nemetschek.com ) has two upcoming additions to its VectorWorks Industry series: VectorWorks Landmark and VectorWorks Spotlight.

Landmark is a CAD program aimed at site, landscape, and irrigation designers. The software incorporates drafting and modeling tools to create and analyze site and landscape designs. Spotlight, another CAD program, targets the entertainment design industry with drafting and modeling tools for lighting design. Both Landmark and Spotlight sell for $1,295. They'll ship by the end of March.

Nemetschek introduced the first product in its VectorWorks Industry series, Architect, about a year ago. An updated version of the CAD program is in beta form now. Expect a finished update for Architect this year.

Nikon ( www.nikonusa.com ) demonstrated some impressive high-speed desktop film scanners in action. The Coolscan IV ED, designed for photo enthusiasts who are looking to digitize their images, offers SLR camera owners the ability to scan, enhance, catalogue, preserve, and restore images from positive and negative film. We watched as Senior Project Manager Michael Rubin demonstrated in just a few minutes' time the restoration of an image originally taken in the 1960s. The Coolscan IV ED will be available in March at a suggested retail price of $895. The scanner is packaged with Nikon Scan 3.0, Photoshop 5.0 LE, and a full version of Altamira Genuine Fractals 2.0 software.

Targeted more at higher-end users are the Super Coolscan 4000 ED, a high-performance desktop film scanner designed for professionals looking to increase productivity and profitability in graphics and printing applications, and the Super Coolscan 8000 ED, capable of scanning a variety of film formats, including 35mm, 120/220, 16mm, electron microscope, and prepared microscope slides.

Olympus ( www.olympus.com ) previewed their new product offerings in the digital arena, a 2.11-megapixel digital camera, the Camedia C-2040 Zoom, and a 3.34-megapixel camera, the Camedia C-3040 Zoom. These new offerings are based on Olympus's previous models, the C-2020 and C-3030, respectively.

The C-2040 Zoom offers a super-bright, large aperture F1.8 zoom high-performance lens with an extended flash working range for better low-light shooting; USB Storage Class Plug and Play capability; and a longer Telephoto lens than the previous model. The improved Telephoto lens enables photographers to take further telephoto shots without the use of additional lenses. The estimated street price for this camera is $599. The C-3040's improvements upon the C-3030 also include an extended flash working range for better low-light shooting; USB Storage Class Plug and Play capability; and a longer Telephoto lens. The estimated street price for the C-3040 is $899.

Pixologic ( www.pixologic.com ) demonstrated ZBrush 1.1, a graphics program that mixes 3-D and 2-D elements together in an intuitive, engaging environment. In the 3-D mode, users can "sculpt" objects by rotating them 360 degrees, in a fully rendered form that includes photorealistic textures. And in the 2-D mode, although users can't rotate the scene, all of the shadows and three-dimentional effects are retained. One particularly crowd-pleasing effect was a brush that creates highly realistic hair on a rendered 3-D model in a matter of seconds. ZBrush will be available in about two weeks for an introductory price of $292, after which it will be available at a suggested retail price of $585.

Power On Software ( www.poweronsoftware.com ) introduced Rewind, a new system utility and also announced a new version of its popular PIM. Now Up-to-Date & Contact 4.0 for Mac OS X will sport a customizable Aqua interface; larger capacity (you can theoretically store up to two billion contacts without taking a performance hit); and networkable keywords that you can share with other Now Contact users. Version 4.0 also adds e-mail integration that lets you turn the content of an e-mail into an event, contact, or to-do item.

The Carbonized version will be released "soon after Apple's release of Mac OS X," according to Power On; an OS 9 version will ship sometime in Q2. The retail price is $99.95.

Quest Software ( www.quest.com ), previously Active Concepts, showed Funnel Web in booth 3240, the MacTech Central area. They have a beta of Funnel Web 4.0.2 running on OS X. They are also showing two additions to Funnel Web, WebQA Profile and Spotlight. Both were written in Java 2 and will only work with OS X. WebQA can analyze and diagram any Web site. It graphically represents the connections, keywords, and HTML quality. Users can set parameters to determine Web page quality including Htags, size of images, and browser support. If users have the log files for the site, users can process them with Funnel Web and correlate keywords to traffic.

Spotlight analyzes real-time CPU utilization, traffic load, and bandwidth for a server. Users can set triggers to send an e-mail alert if traffic exceeds a set limit. It does not currently give users a log, or tie into the Funnel Web reports, but Quest plans on adding these features. Both utilities will be ready in March.

Roxio ( www.roxio.com ), a divison of Adaptec, announced the newest version of their CD burning software, Toast 5 Titanium. Set to ship in the spring of 2001, Toast 5 has a host of new features and improvements.

As before, Toast can burn CDs in many formats, including Mac Volumes, Mac Files and Folders, cross-platform ISO 9660, Mac/PC Hybrid, Audio, and even Video Compact Disc (VCD). Toast can now convert and encode any QuickTime video format -- including iMovies -- directly to MPEG-1 that can be burned as a VCD on a stadard CD-R disc and played in most set-top DVD players. And Roxio has built-in the functionality of Toast DVD to allow writing to many DVD-RAM and DVD-R/RW drives.

The new Toast 5 Titanium also has the ability to burn discs in the background, allowing users to continue to use their computer in the meantime, and includes extra programs for recording LPs and tapes and for cataloging multimedia files. Toast 5 Titanium works with OS X, and will be priced at $99.

School Zone Interactive ( www.schoolzone.com ) debuted several new releases in children's educational software. Math 3 is straightforward, easy to use, and fun, presenting third-grade-level math in a familiar workbook format. Students complete exercises ranging from multiplication to addition to subtraction to word problems. Games between exercises reward students for their hard work and concentration.

Smith Micro ( www.smithmicro.com ) demonstrated VideoLink Pro, the first Mac application that speaks H.323. This enables users to video-conference with other VideoLink users and also connect with users of a wide variety H.323 programs, be they on Mac or Windows. And, all that a user needs to connect is an e-mail address. An intuitive interface shows users outgoing and incoming streams at the same time. If users want, they can use it for audio only. VideoLink is available now for $60.

TASCAM ( www.tascam.com ), tireless purveyors of audio-recording equipment, made its Macworld Expo deput by announcing Mac drivers for the US-428. This $499, 24-bit, 4-track studio converts audio to digital and brings it into the Mac via USB. Because it doesn't require a sound card, it can be used with PowerBooks and iBooks, turning the US-428 into a porta-studio .

Toon Boom Technologies ( www.toonboom.com ) offered an advanced preview of Toon Boom Studio 1.0, an upcoming 2-D animation program for the Web. Toon Boom Studio 1.0 offers an impressive range of vector-based drawing and animation tools including a Lip Sync feature that analyzes sound files and helps users visualize the accompanying mouth movements for characters. By animating camera movements, users can quickly create 3-D effects such as zooming into a landscape of mountains. When users are done, they can export movies as a SWF for playback on the Web or import them into Macromedia's Flash to add advanced scripting and behaviors. Toon Boom Studio will be available only for OS X sometime this Summer.

Virtual Ink ( www.mimio.com ) brought its electronic whiteboard product, Mimio, to the Mac last summer. With version 1.5 of the Mimio software, unveiled at Macworld Expo, the company is expanding the Mac capabilities of the product.

Mimio includes a portable USB capture bar that attaches to any whiteboard and electronic casings for dry-erase markers. As you scribble on a whiteboard, the casings send signals to the capture bar, which hooks up to your Mac via a USB cable. The capture bar then recreates what you've written on the Mac, where you can save, edit, and replay pen strokes.

Version 1.5 lets you export Mimio files to QuickTime and iMovie, where you can add digital video content. Examples of how this works can be found at http://www.mimio.com/edu/movies/ . The updated Mimio software also adds support for plug-ins, a feature that could bring the Mac version in line with the features offered for the Windows edition of Mimio.

Look for a Carbonized version of the Mimio software to be available in early June. It will take advantage of OS X's multitasking capabilities, allowing users to run Mimio's whiteboarding feature and applications such as Mimio Mouse concurrently.

Compiled by Macworld Staff

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