We ask, Quark answers

Last week, in this space, we noted that Quark hosted an Expo session in which it was looking to talk to media, customers, and partners about its new Quark Interactive Designer. In the spirit of dialogue, we posed a couple of questions we wouldn’t have minded hearing the answers to.

We didn’t have to wait long for Quark to get back to us with answers. Here are responses to each of our questions, courtesy of Jürgen Kurz, Quark’s senior vice president of desktop products. (His italicized answers follow our questions.)

• Since QID looks very similar to QuarkImmedia, how much of QID’s code is actually derived from QuarkImmedia, and will QID support QuarkImmedia files or assets, such as buttons, animations, and so on?

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Completing the Challenge

Last week I gave you a small taste of the MacBrainiac Challenge —the Apple trivia contest I host at each Macworld Expo. You’ve had the weekend to mull over the questions posed. It’s now time to see how close you came to the correct answers. I’ll reprint the questions below with the correct answer on multiple choice questions in bold .

Q. The Stickies widget can use all of these fonts except:

A. Geneva
B. Marker Felt
C. Optima
D. Gill Sans

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The 360-degree view

One thing I’ve enjoyed most about the Expo coverage here at Macworld.com is something that Macworld editors weren’t all that involved in producing. It’s our Expo photo group at Flickr where Expo attendees could post whatever photos of the show they wanted to—and often did. There’s nothing like attending an Expo in person, but if you couldn’t be in San Francisco last week, the 643 (and counting) photos from your fellow Macworld.com readers could at least give you a flavor for what the show was like in a way that mere articles could not.

Besides, we finally got an answer to the question that has dogged mankind since the dawn of time: just how many photos of an iPhone encased in glass can be taken in one week?

The answer: not nearly enough.

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Strike up the band

I had just finished up a breakfast meeting with Bare Bones Software’s Rich Siegel—Bare Bones was a might bit busy leading up to Macworld Expo—and was scurrying off to Moscone Center to attend the next in a series of day-long drop-ins with assorted Mac developers. Which is when I saw the glitter of crashing cymbals and heard the thunder of rolling drums and the shimmer of trumpets.

“Expo week taxes all of my mental faculties,” I thought to myself. “But surely I am not so far gone that I am imagining a revival of The Music Man has spontaneously broken out before my eyes.”

And it hadn’t—it was an honest-to-goodness marching band parading in front of the South Hall of Moscone Center, just as the show floor was opening up to the general public.

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The one-two project punch

Maybe it’s because I took those report-card warnings from my elementary school teachers to heart—“Needs to play well with others”—but I’m always impressed when two different programs from two different companies not only work well together but actually team up to extend each others’ capabilities.

This spirit of cooperative collaboration seems to be in full effect among makers of project management and mind-mapping programs lately. Project-management programs are great for assigning tasks to people, marshaling your resources, and generally coming up with a plan of attack. But brainstorming the ideas that form the basis of that plan? That’s really more of the strength of mind-mapping programs that allow you to capture and organize those free-floating thoughts.

So why not turn to one tool to complement the other? That’s what AEC Software and Mindjet have done. Version 9.1 of AEC’s FastTrack Schedule adds integration with Mindjet’s MindManager 6. With just a few clicks, FastTrack Schedule users can import data from MindManager files, turning brainstorming maps into editable project-management schedules.

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Attention grabbers

As a vendor, when you participate in a trade show, you have to take steps to really make yourself stand out from the crowd. After all, you will be sharing floor space with hundreds of other companies, many of whom may be direct competitors.

There are many ways to attract attention on a crowded floor, of course. You can offer compelling giveaways, such as t-shirts (always popular), blinking buttons, bouncy superballs, and so forth. As one example, the folks in the Code Weavers booth (#S233), makers of CrossOver Mac, were giving out wine bottle resealing caps. It took me a minute to figure out the relationship, but it became obvious when I remembered that CrossOver Mac is built around Wine, which is the technology that makes the product possible.

But even with your best efforts, it’s tough to stand out. That’s because the playing field has been effectively leveled—your booth, and all the rest, open up onto a common aisle through which everyone walks, comparing your offerings with that of your neighbors. You have to work really hard in this environment to get noticed. Unless you’re really creative. Maybe something like this (click either image for a larger version):

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Mac superheroes to the rescue

On Thursday afternoon, I delivered my annual Game Room session in the Macworld Live booth on the show floor of the Moscone Center. We had a full house in the booth as representatives of Freeverse Software, Aspyr Media, and AMD (formerly ATI) talked about the state of Mac gaming and how Apple’s transition to Intel microprocessors has changed the playing field.

All the vendors at the show, and even Apple’s own games guy, are brimming with enthusiasm about 2007 and its potential for gaming. But that isn’t what I’m here to talk about—it’s what happened after the event.

We gave away a ton of stuff—loads of boxes of hit games from Freeverse and Aspyr Media, and even a high-end Mac graphics card from AMD. I had run over my allotted time, and some of my Macworld cohorts encouraged me to wrap it up, so we had a bit of a mob scene at the end as attendees rushed the stage for free copies.

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