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MacWorld 09 — Additional Stuff

Hello happy reader;

Here at The Bitstream, it’s time for more stuff from MacWorld 2009 that I found interesting or useful…First up, stashing your computer; KAE Corporation had a very low key presence hawking their rack accessories but their products are sooo useful. If you have an aluminum G5 or Mac Pro and you have only a desk, not a machine room to house your beast, check these guys out. They have a very low cost stationary hanger for the above models that mount to the underside of your desk or drawing table. They also have a slightly more spendy slide–out version as well as a fancy slide and swivel model for those who want to hang the computer and never take it off its mount again. These products keep the CPU off the floor, which means proper ventilation without the beast inhaling dust kitties.

On to pocket projectors, not pocket protectors. If you remember, back in July I blogged about laser display engines. At MacWorld, the folks at Microvision demo’d their as yet unreleased shirt pocket–sized ShowWX video projector. It employs an engine designed in–house, weighs 122 grams, and has a form factor similar to a 2.5″ disk drive. It has its own internal battery and recharges from its USB connection. Being laser–powered, it requires no focusing, regardless of throw distance.

Speaking of beta product, I spent quite a while with the folks at TypeDNA, who ran under, over, around and through their new, cross–platform font manager. This will be a brilliant product when it’s cooked. In addition to the normal management duties, it uses heuristics to analyze the geometry of your existing font resources, and provides suggestions for similar faces as well as harmonious or contrasting faces. No database of font metadata needed! TypeDNA also attempts to recognize a (type) face from a bitmapped image. So, if you see an interesting face on a billboard, snap a shot and present that to the app. It will de–skew and analyze the image, then offer what it thinks the face might be. All in all, a nice collection of features in an iTunes–like UI. As you’d expect, it also includes a plug–in for MS Office and Adobe’s suite that provides auto–activation.

Next up, a cool niche product: Bee Docs’ Timeline 3D. A sole proprietor, Mr. Bee Docs has built an app that creates 3D visual timelines from a variety of data types. On his site, he whips up a LOTR timeline in less than a minute using iCal and Timeline 3D. I think this product’s a must for anyone who uses a Mac to visually present information on a regular basis.

Let’s talk CRM…Do you own or help run a small business? Many of us do and what’s often needed is a way to manage your interaction with customers. For those of you without the wherewithal to run an open source package like SugarCRM and find SaaS versions like Zoho so butt ugly you just can’t go there, I found an alternative at the show. Elements SBM is a SaaS offering from Ntractive that looks and feels like a local Mac app. At $50 per seat per month, it ain’t cheap but it’s relatively easy to use and very easy to get set up. If you want to run Sugar on your own server, I can certainly help you get that hooked up…give a shout.

If you’re a manufacturer, consider xTuple’s PostgreSQL–based ERP suites. Like Sugar, they have a free and Open Source (FOSS) ERP, CRM and accounting version, along with commercial packages with enhanced functionality and support.

Audio anyone? OK, for those of you who simply do not have enough RF energy in your living space, IntelliTouch has an iPod dock with wireless satellite capabilities. Park the Eos dock in the living room, and place up to four satellites in the kitchen, on the deck, in the garage and bedroom. The sound quality is decent, the dock includes an auxiliary analog input jack and, they’ve used spread spectrum RF to ensure the system doesn’t step on your WiFi. To bad their booth dude was the most clueless of the show…

Last up, that rare class of Mac app; anti–malware. SubRosaSoft over in Newark (Calee–forn–ya, not New Jersey) has FileDefense, a nice approach to protection from viruses, trojan horses and worms. Rather than referring to a black list database, FileDefense simply prevents any process from accessing a file without your permission — a sort of self moderated white list. It’s easy to use. The three button interface includes: Kill, Allow This, and Allow All. SubRosaSoft also has a bunch of other nifty utilities.

Well, that’s it for now…Until next time, thanks for visiting and, continue to geek.


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