More Mac games at the Expo, Part 3

This is the final Mac games post of my 3-part series (read parts 1 and 2). There’s a whole bunch of companies makings games for the Mac who were demoing products at Macworld 08, and I wanted to mention just a few more.

Ambrosia is soon to release a really great-looking game called Aquaria that was described as an “ethereal action/adventure underwater fantasy game.” A guy not employed by Ambrosia had logged so many hours on their demo this week that they let him show me the game. It looked gorgeous. You play as a mermaid trying to reunite her people, who are scattered across what looks like a vast system of underwater caves. Can’t wait to play this game. Ambrosia is also putting out Multiwinia, a sequel to Darwinia, later this year.

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Green Tech at the Expo

Green Tech was by no means prominent at Macworld 08, but there was still a pretty good amount on display. Environmental sustainability has become a major concern when it comes to technology products. Computers and most other electronic devices consume lots of energy while they’re living and produce lots of waste when they die. Hazardous waste, in many cases. But nearly all of the major manufacturers have begun thinking through the lifecycle of their products and designing them to have as little an impact on the environment as possible – not only because of the demand for Green Tech in the marketplace, but also because it’s just plain old good business.

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The Washington Post and the news on the net

If you haven’t ever seen any of the short videos in the onBeing section of, you should do yourself a favor and check them out. They are incredibly funny and profound, yet the idea is simple: People from the Washington D.C. area talking on the subject of being themselves.

The web arm of The Washington Post is one of the most innovative news organs out there. Rob Curley is head of the “skunkworks” team that conceives and builds the newspaper’s creative web presence. He gave a presentation on Thursday at Macworld in which he described himself and his team as “Mac nerds from Kansas trying to save a dying industry from the Internet.” He sees that salvation coming from local and even hyper-local news delivered through a variety of inventive web tools.

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More Mac games at the Expo, Part 1

I promised more coverage of the game offerings here at Macworld 08, and I’m delivering. This is going to be a three-part series of blogs detailing the plans that various companies have for games on the Mac in 2008.

I’m going to start with Aspyr. You may remember from my last post on Mac games at the Expo that they specialize in porting games from the PC to the Mac. They’ve got a huge year coming up, as their new releases are all big gaming franchises being made available for the first time on the Mac.

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My second day on the show floor

I thought I’d share a couple more interesting products and booths that I came across today.

We’ve all been in a situation where our iPod has run out of juice, leaving us tuneless and videoless at the worst of times. Which is why I think the iZAP R08-IV for iPod Video is a great product. The literature claims that it can give your iPod up to 10 hours of video playback and a whopping 36 hours of audio. But the guy in the booth told me he thinks the 36 hour estimate is “soft”! ZAP!, whose name stands for “zero air pollution,” also makes the Recharge-It-All Universal Battery, which has connectors for every mobile device you can imagine. Plus there are actually four rechargeable AA lithium-ion batteries inside that you can take out and use in your digital camera. It’s convenient and it can help you be more environmentally friendly!

IntelliScanner won a Best of Show award at last year’s Macworld Expo for their IntelliScanner mini, which is a miniature barcode scanner that lets you scan all your books, music, and movies and manage your collections in their proprietary software. This year they’ve come out with the professional-grade IntelliScanner SOHO for managing inventories and other bigger cataloging jobs. The software has an interface similar to iTunes, and it even lets you create the equivalent of iTunes playlists so you can organize your audio, video, and book libraries by genre. Before you say “You’ve got to be a serious neat-freak to want one of those,” consider this: The software also has a function that lets you track who you are lending a book, DVD, or CD to simply by scanning it in! My friends would probably think I’ve finally lost it if I started checking out my books to them, but I’ve lost so many from “lending” them to friends that I really don’t care at this point.

I wrote about the Modbook yesterday, but I didn’t get any pictures. I happened to cruise by today and got a couple of great pictures of one of their demo guys drawing a blue-jay on the Modbook, so I thought I’d share them.

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Mac Games at the Expo

Mac gamers: the phrase is pretty much a contradiction of terms. Or at least it has been traditionally. There are actually some encouraging signs at this year’s Macworld Expo that the gaming industry is finally coming around to acknowledging Macs.

For one thing, there’s a grand-looking “Mac Games” pavilion. True, it isn’t quite bursting with game demos, but at least there are enough to allow for an entire Mac Games pavilion. They were all supplied by the few game developers that have booths at the Expo, so I’ll just describe the games by company.

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Macworld 2008

Hoo boy: The first day on the show floor

Aaah, there’s nothing quite like cruising the show floor at a big convention. It’s overwhelming, it’s over-stimulating, but it’s tons of fun. In the Expo’s South hall alone you’ve got major software application developers like Microsoft, Adobe, and Google all conducting tutorials and training seminars; you’ve got access to every iPod or iPhone accessory you ever wanted, and about 18 million more that you never knew you wanted, from big names like Samsung and Shure right down to local retailers from all over the country; and of course you’ve got the Apple store as the giant hub of it all.

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The MacBook Air’s environmental progress report

My biggest hope was for a truly green Mac, and that hope faired extremely well. No, we didn’t get the first fully recyclable, 100% toxin-free, super-energy-efficient machine, but Jobs had prepared a presentation on the environmental friendliness of the MacBook Air, and he stated that he would deliver an environmental progress report with every product Apple announces henceforth. That is huge: It means Apple has really taken the mandate for a greener Mac to heart, and is committed to being the leading environmentally responsible computer manufacturer they should have been all along.

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Keynote announcements

The Macworld Expo 2008 Keynote Address by Steve Jobs has finally come and gone, putting an end to all the speculation. The big news, of course, is that the MacBook Air predictions were nearly spot on.

There was plenty of other news, too, but it took quite a while for the event staff to get the masses in the door and in their seats. So long, in fact, that many of us missed half of the Keynote. The main auditorium was beyond capacity, and so were the rooms playing the Keynote on closed-circuit television. But no one was grumbling. Everyone had come to see a big announcement, and they weren’t disappointed.

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Macworld 2008

First-night parties and late-night campers; plus, help wanted

I checked out the Ars Technica/Gizmodo pre-Keynote party this evening. They were giving away the last raffle prize just as me and my girlfriend got to the front of the line to get in. We also missed the free food and booze, which is probably why that long line behind us was completely gone when we left 30 minutes later.

One good thing about the trip down to Harlot – see grainy, artsy photo I took (okay, I took it with my cell phone) of a painting of a harlot that adorns the wall of this stylish joint – was that we got to see the campers waiting outside the Moscone center on our drive back. About 20 people at 9:30 p.m. A Macworld rep told me while I was at the convention center earlier today that they were expecting campers, and that I should show up by at least 6:00 a.m. tomorrow if I want a seat at the Keynote. She wasn’t kidding, apparently.

After the jump: Help me decide which sessions to attend!

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Hopes and predictions

If you take “There’s something in the air” as literally as you can, it seems obvious that Apple is planning on releasing either a new wireless device or new wireless capabilities for its existing product lines. But then who knows if they even mean it literally at all.

Instead of what I think Steve Jobs is most likely to announce, here is my list of the rumored products that I’d most like to see unveiled tomorrow morning…

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Macworld 2008

The day has finally arrived

I’m mostly looking forward to cruising the Expo floor, I’d say. Grabbing free schwag and being overwhelmed by all the activity at a convention this size is always fun. More specifically, I’m especially excited to check out Berklee College of Music’s Dream Studio, which promises to be “filled with Mac hardware and software to help bring your musical vision to life.” There are over 30 companies unveiling new products this year, too; I’m sure more than a few of them will be worth tinkering with. I’ll also be stopping by the CCP Games booth, no doubt. As a sci-fi nerd, Mac nerd, and former employee of an MMO developer, I was pretty stoked when they announced that EVE Online was coming to the Mac.

The beauty of a convention the size of the Macworld Expo is, I have no idea what else I’ll be checking out while I’m there, but I’m guaranteed to find something completely awesome. Probably many things. Stay tuned to the Macworld Expo blog here on and I’ll tell you all about them. I’ll show you pictures, too.

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