Software and Stuff

While big software developers like Macromedia and Adobe attracted the most attention with their high-profile offerings and snazzy spacious booths, there were plenty of small developers on the floor who spiced up the show with their interesting and slightly off-beat offerings.

Ever think your niece or nephew is so adorable you could just eat them up? Now you can -- a photo of them, that is. Club Photo offers a photo-finishing program that then uploads photographs onto the company's web site for sharing with families and friends. Visitors can view the photos as a scrapbook or slide show. If they find a photo they like, they can also order reprints on photographic paper, mousepads or even cookies. (Oh, gingerbread men will never be the same.)

Sienna Software announced Starry Night Backyard and Starry Night Pro, astronomy programs that promise to bring the night sky to your Mac desktop. Starry Night Backyard is geared toward home users and children, and it teaches them how to identify planets, stars, and constellations. Users can print star charts, watch the phases of the moon, and view how the sky would look at different times and dates. The program also features a constellation finder and the ability to connect to the Internet and find more astronomy news. Starry Night Pro, Sienna's desktop planetarium, is geared toward expert users. Users can trace orbits of planets and comets, travel in time from 4713 BC to 9999 AD, and view star fields from 20,000 light years away.

If you'd rather remain earthbound, Trexar Technologies showed two programs that allow users to keep track of things here on the big blue planet. MacTuner 2.1.2 searches geographically for live streaming radio stations using detailed world maps. The company also showed off the upcoming MacTuner 3.0, which plays MP3s and CDs and offers customizable interface skins. Trexar also showed WeatherTracker, the venerable weather monitor program that has 10 years of history on the Mac. Both MacTuner and WeatherTracker are available for download at www.macalive.com.

If you're so busy listening to radio stations and checking the weather that your phone line is constantly tied up, you might appreciate the news from Pagoo. The IP-based voice communications company is partnering with AT&T WorldNet Services to offer members Internet call waiting. With their new service, instead of receiving a busy signal, incoming callers would connect to an Internet voicemail box and leave a message that could be played back within seconds on the user's computer.

In fact, there seems to be little reason to leave your computer at all -- not even to turn down the CD player. ZephIR by StudioZee lets you control your CD player, television, satellite, VCR or any other appliance that works by remote control directly from your desktop. This hardware/software combination records the infrared signal from the appliance's remote and places them at the whim of your mouse.

Don't miss the Hardware installment of Macworld Floor Show.

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