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Thursday’s Best of the Booths rundown

Literally the first booth I saw when I walked into the exhibit hall of Moscone West this morning was that of Notion Music, the company that makes the Progression music software for guitar.

This is really a music creation application though, as it has not only guitar samples but also bass, piano, drums, and a whole host of other instruments. Notion Music’s approach to sampling is impressive: all samples are of the real instruments being played by professional musicians (the bass samples in Progression were played by Victor Wooten, for instance; the samples for Notion, an orchestral scoring application also made by Notion Music, were supplied by the London Symphony Orchestra and captured at Abbey Road).

The UI for Progression is cool too, consisting of a tab and sheet music editor, a mixing board with several effects and other tools on board as well as compatibility with many plug-ins, and an actual guitar fretboard for you to plot out your monster riffs in painstaking detail. The best part about the fret board: With a simple click of a button, the wildest solo you can imagine will instantly be written out for you. Then all you have to do is practice for like years and years, or just play it back in Progression and bask in its glory instantly.

Over on the other side of the show floor were several amazing examples of the laser etching work being done by ETCHamac. Etching on a MacBook will run you anywhere from $50 to $200, an iPod anywhere from $30 to $50. The best ones combined laser etching and a process whereby a special dye solution is suffused into the metal of your MacBook’s lid using a laser. I’m sure those are more expensive. If you create your own design, you can upload it to a collection on ETCHamac’s website and get paid royalties if anyone else uses it. I can’t effectively describe how cool these are, so I’ll let the pics do the talking.

Apple was providing free tech consulting to all Macworld attendees.

H&R Block was providing free booze.

Back over on the main show floor in Moscone South was the super fun Plasq booth. They were demoing several of their products, including the Comic Life Magiq, which is so brand new it’s not even out yet. This is a Leopard-only upgrade to the original Comic Life and includes lots of new props, filters, effects, and other stuff to make your comics totally awesome.

Plasq’s Doozla is a drawing program aimed at kids, but it’s sure to entertain anyone. There are four drawing modes in Doozla: you can free-draw and let the built-in line corrector make you look like a professional cartoon illustrator, color in a variety of crazy and cartoony pictures that come with the program, draw on some really amazing backgrounds, or draw on pics you take with your Mac’s built-in iSight camera.

Chris and I happened by the never-ending table of MacBook Airs and I snapped a few photos of it for you to enjoy. Enjoy.