Looking Back at the Expo
Dan Knight - 2001.07.23
There was nothing particularly exciting from Apple, just some very good evolutionary products. But that didn't stop the rest of the industry from innovating.
Upgrade leader Sonnet Technology showed Harmoni, a 500 MHz iMac upgrade that also adds FireWire, along with a 500 MHz WallStreet upgrade and a clever flash drive that connects to your USB port.
Epson has taken AirPort to the next level with their forthcoming AirPort-to-printer solution.
Tekserve, the New York firm that does a lot of Mac repair work, showed off a "rare Mac artifact" - a beige iMac. The Apple logo on top was even nicely painted with the familiar old six rainbow colors.
The coolest customized Mac I saw was a blue iBook. The owner carefully removed the white frosting from the inside of the enclosure and applied a very nice shade of blue. It's a real eye-catcher and something Apple should consider if they decide to move away from indigo plus shades ranging from white to graphite.
Fujitsu was showing their DynaMO 2.3 GB magneto-optical drive, which was neck-and-neck with an Iomega Jaz drive in performance. It's a clever technology that I hope to cover in more depth.
Another clever storage technology was a USB "flash drive" smaller than a pack of gum. Sonnet's Piccolo is plug-and-play and comes in capacities from 32 MB to 256 MB with projected prices for $100 to $600. Not cheap, and USB isn't fast, either, but Piccolo is a very cool way to transport data between machines when a network or removable media drive isn't available.
Contour had their MiniPro Mouse available in a metallic finish that complements the TiBook nicely.
In the press room, thank goodness for AirPort, which was also available in other parts of the Expo. The working press was mostly using PowerBooks and iBooks, with a remarkably high showing for the PowerBook G4. Comments about the TiBook were mostly positive, but I heard a few complaints about scratches, the finish wearing off, and especially limited AirPort range compared with other 'Books.
The TiBook has two small rubber nubs that support the screen in the closed position. One of them broke off months ago, and the second one broke on Wednesday. I'm running into the keyboard-impressions-on-the-screen problem now. Apple tells me my local dealer may be able to fix this while I wait.
A lot of people at the Expo are already using Mac OS X and were surprised to hear that I hadn't yet adopted it. Although I have the hardware, none of the applications I use daily would benefit from X, so I'm holding off. Version 10.1 looks very promising, but I'm content with 9.1. I won't change for the sake of change or so I can brag about running the latest OS; switching to OS X will happen when there's a practical reason to do so.
Mac OS X is the future of the platform, but just as many of us are content with older Macs, we may continue to find contentment with older versions of the Mac OS for some time.
Low End Mac Reader Specials
Cult of Mac
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The Mac Observer
Accelerate Your Mac
The Vintage Mac Museum
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System 6 Heaven
System 7 Today
the pickle's Low-End Mac FAQ