MacExpo underway in London

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Thursday may have been the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S., but in the UK, there was lots of hubbub and business as MacExpo 2001 kicked off.

MacExpo is an UK event that features the latest in Macintosh products and solutions, including special areas for games and edutainment, developers, design and art, music and audio, and more. The show runs through Nov. 24 at the Business Design Centre in London.

Apple used the show for its UK launch of the iPod, its new digital-music player (which can double as a FireWire hard drive). The company has the largest booth at MacExpo and will also be spotlighting its revised iBook and PowerBook G4, as well as Mac OS X 10.1.1 and iDVD 2.

Meanwhile, SoftPress debuted Freeway 3.5,which will be available for Mac OS X on Jan. 2. Freeway is Web design software that produces Web-ready graphic elements, provides flexible HTML page layout, site-upload and automatic site maintenance. Version 3.5 will be free to registered owners of Freeway 3.

This upgrade will take advantage of Mac OS X's technologies to provide high-level typography and graphics handling without requiring the GX Graphics extension, according to Richard Logan, SoftPress Systems' managing director.

UK developer SoftChaos unveiled WorkStrip 1.5, a file-management utility accessed through the Control Strip. It can launch, quit, hide and activate applications, as well as open and preview documents. The application is designed to ease navigation between applications, folders and documents. It's more than a simple navigation tool; it can also remember previously opened documents and applications, organizing such information into "Workspaces." Workspaces help users track files and Internet activities by gathering them into groups. WorkStrip 1.5 is for the "classic" Mac operating system; a Mac OS X version is in the works.

Microsoft is demonstrating Mac Office v. X, which will ship on Nov. 30 in the UK. Adobe will exhibit Mac OS X versions of Illustrator 10, InDesign 2.0, Acrobat 5.0, PageMaker 7.0, and GoLive 5.0. Macromedia is touting FreeHand 10, Flash 5, Dreamweaver 4, Director 8.5, UltraDev 4 and Fireworks 4 in ongoing seminars sessions.

MacExpo is also the first chance for the UK Mac community to see recently announced products from a variety of companies. Formac is showcasing its Gallery 1740 17.4-inch flat-screen monitor, Sony will demonstrate its Trinitiron monitors. Epson, Wacom, Corel, Macally, Alias|Wavefront and P&L Software will their new products, as well.

SmartDisk has used the show to launch FireFly, a 5GB palm-sized hard drive. The FireWire drive offers data transfer speeds of 12MBps, drawing its power from the bus. SmartDisk also introduced its updated VST range, including the SmartDisk VST FireWire Thin Drive, the FireWire portable CD-RW drive, and its USB floppy drive.

SmartDisk acquired Mac-focused firm VST Technologies last year. In a discussion with Macworld UK, company president and CEO Michael Battaglia stressed the importance of the Apple market to SmartDisk.

"Sixty percent of company revenues come from the Apple market, and our relationship with Apple has never been better," he said.

FileMaker is exhibiting its family of FileMaker 5.5 and is offering a case study of one of its clients, Channel 4's morning TV show The Big Breakfast, whose database of briefing cards, week planners, contacts and celebrity biographies are stored and created on a FileMaker-driven database. The company is offering those show goers who order copies of FileMaker from Cancom MacLine or MicroAnvika a free copy of FileMaker Mobile (while stocks last).

Hermstedt is launching several new products, including new versions of its LeoShare and Webshuttle products. The latest Webshuttle II introduces an improved call-bumping facility, so users can access the Internet at 128Kbps using two channels -- although calls can still be received through the automatic release on demand of one of the two channels. Webshuttle continues to provide e-mail, fax, file transfer and remote access. LeoShare 2 offers Mac and Windows clients in mixed networks simple access to ISDN. It runs on a Mac server, equipped with one or more Hermstedt ISDN adaptors.

Digital-file transmission specialist 4Sight is offering two cars as prizes as it shows off its new Industry Smart Transmission Manager 6.0 and Transmission Director 7.0 file-transmission packages with Industry Smart plug-ins for workflow management and reporting. Both operate with Mac OS or Windows NT servers and workstations, and control delivery over FTP, IP, Wam!Net, the Internet, ADSL or any always-on connection, as well as point-to-point over ISDN.

Both packages use 4Sight IP for secure point-to-point delivery via the Web. A new password-protected, automated FTP-file retrieval and uploading facility is also available. Transmission Manager 6.0 is available as a single-user or site-license package. The app's workflow tools enable the set-up of workflow pipelines for the receipt of files from particular contacts. Job tickets can be added automatically and files forwarded to a designated person or folder for action.

(The preceding story is based on reports from our friends at Macworld UK. Please visit Macworld UK for more MacExpo coverage.)

This story, "MacExpo underway in London" was originally published by PCWorld.

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