Road to Expo: Consumer Software

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Until recently, Mac users and Mac gamers had pretty slim pickings when it came to software selection. Sure, we had those few scraps of Windows software ported to the Mac months after they were available for the PC, and some of us -- and I stress the word some -- decided to jump ship and head north with the Borg. However, these times, they are a-changin'. With a Starbucks on every corner and an iMac in every home, suddenly the Macintosh is of interest to software makers around the world. It should be noted that there won't be a lot of Expo announcements in the world of consumer software, since most of it was rushed to shelves for the holiday season. But there are a few things you can look for as you roam the halls of Macworld Expo.

After years of working in development, Eric Stattin is happy to be at Macworld Expo to show off his new program, My Private Mutual Fund. This educational software for us big kids is supposed to help you plan out your investments by offering some insight of the stock history of some 500-plus companies over the past 15 years. Stattin, an investor himself -- and a successful one -- will be on hand to show you how it works in the Consumer Showcase.

Also back on the Mac is DeLorme 's Street Atlas USA Version 6.0. This easy to use Map software returns to the Macintosh with some new features like address-to-address routing, one-way roads in major cities, and updated road data. Plus, the software is now compatible with the Earthmate GPS receiver. The GPS receiver currently is only useful on Mac portables, as its Palm-synchronization software only works with Windows. Of course, it goes without saying that using the GPS receiver on a stationary Mac would be extremely uneventful.

Even in the hardest of times, children's software for the Mac has been abundant. In this time of upswing for the Mac market, that's still true. Even though many companies have been wrapped in the arms of giant corporations (for instance, Edmark is now a part of Microsoft; Broderbund was acquired by The Learning Company, which was acquired by Mattel ), they continue to produce quality software.

Edmark will set up shop on the Expo floor to show off recently-released items, such as the Thinkin' Things series. KB Gear will show their suite of children's hardware: a low-priced digital camera and a couple of low-priced graphics tablets.

As far as brand new children's programs at Expo--those are harder to find, but there are some. Among them is the newest in the line of Microsoft's Magic School Bus. The new one is coming out this spring and will be all about bugs.

Coming into this year's Macworld Expo, Mac gaming is enjoying strong developer support. Unfortunately, not too many new games will be coming out at Expo because developers coded into the wee hours to get their games out before Christmas. However, this Chrismas and Expo will see some wonderful new games for the Mac.

Mac Quake 3 Arena is on its way as we speak. Aspyr 's Tomb Raider III is out now. Graphic Simulations ' Descent III also hit the streets a few days ago. Bungie has been working hard to get Oni out the door, and there's a chance it may arrive at the Expo. Bungie's Halo won't be done by Expo time, but maybe there will be some more screen shots and perhaps -- dare we say it -- even a demo?

For AD&D, Sci-Fi, and fantasy players, the Mac is becoming a haven. Graphic Simulations' Baldur's Gate will be released sometime in January. Three new Star Trek products arrived just before Christmas, most notably Simon and Schuster's Starship Creator Deluxe.

For the latest in game news leading up the Expo, stay tuned to Macworld Expo Central, but also be sure to visit !

Go to: Macworld Expo Central
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