Thursday, January 27, 2011

Macworld 2011 for Project Managers - Day 1 Recap

It has been a busy couple of days for ProjectWizards. Earlier this week Frank Blome and I taught a Merlin class here in San Francisco and it was a great success. We had Architects, Marine Biologists, folks from Apple, Google and a number of other companies. After some meetings yesterday we got set for the 2011 Macworld Expo to start today.

Since the departure of Apple from Macworld, the event has continued to scale down, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. This year it was held in a smaller hall in the Moscone Center than in previous years, but the space seemed to be pretty full with a variety of booths. The show still seems to be moving in a more consumer driven direction in that the lion’s share of exhibitors were there to demonstrate products that would be available and appealing to the general public. There are still lots of cases, skins and products that are more about accessorizing devices than actually using them. There is a large area devoted to devices and software that will be more appealing to musicians and the App Area, while smaller than last year, is still filled with a lot of new exhibitors and products.

My main goal was to seek out products that would be valuable to project managers and business. I plan to spend more time on the floor tomorrow and I will hopefully be able to get a few interviews in, but here are the things that stick out for me at the end of one day on the expo floor…

Both ShowWX+ and Papershow by Canson were back from last year. ShowWX+ is a laser pico projector capable of 848x480 resolution. It is about the size of an iphone and weighs only 4.3 oz with the batter. According to the rep I spoke with briefly, it is capable of projecting up to 61 inches of video goodness. However, in their booth, they were projecting video into a small section of an 8 ½ x 11 sheet of paper. The form factor of the projector would be a great thing for anyone who travels and teaches or gives presentations, but I would want to see it on a large screen before hand.

Papershow, on the other hand, actually gave me chills. It looked cool last year, but didn’t seem totally realized. What I saw today was quite different. If you have been reading books like Visual Meetings, by David Sibbet or Back of the Napkin by Dan Roam this is definitely something you’ll want to check out. Papershow comes with a pen, a special USB dongle and special paper. As you draw on the paper with the Papershow pen, what you put to paper appears on your screen and can be projected onto a surface. The writing on the pages is tracked by the camera built into the pen, which records position on the paper by tracking against tiny pixels that you can’t see unless you look very closely. You can change the color od the ink, the width of what you are drawing, etc. Once you are done creating your document, you can simply create a PDF of your work and email it out. I’m going to try to get to spend some time in a one-on-one interview with them tomorrow, but so far, Papershow is my favorite so far.

LiveScribe was there with the new Echo SmartPen and I’m still of the mind that if you are a project manager, you need this pen as badly as you need coffee, aspirin or oxygen. The LiveScribe technology also works on the pixelated paper premise, but the pen records what you write on the page while it is also recording audio. So, if you are taking notes in a meeting, you will have a record not just of what was said, or your written notes of what was said, but they are tied together. So, when the meeting is done, if you tap on the page, it plays back what was recorded while you wrote that particular text. This has saved my butt on more than one occasion and I HIGHLY recommend it.

There is much more I have to write about, but right now I’ve got to head out to the Greatest Party in the World, Cirque du Mac, which ProjectWizards is proud to sponsor. I will have another blog entry, and hopefully a few video snippets posted tomorrow.