More notes and mini-reviews…

• I spent $10 on a micro-chamois keyboard cover from iKlear. These guys produce a wonderful screen cleaning product that’s used on all kinds of high end cameras and other optical lenses (in addition to computer screens), so I had a built-in trust that whatever this cover thingy was would be a plus for my PowerBook screen. Thus far no complaints.

• I picked up (for free) the December 2004 issue of MacTech magazine. Although some of the articles were marginally interesting, the need for a copy editor repeatedly asserted itself lowering my estimation of the publication’s value and usefulness substantially. (The magazine contains a lot of code, and if they can’t get through the English portions without grievious spelling errors, I have little faith that they’re doing any better in the PERL, PHP, or other computer language sections.) The layout is also ghastly.

• Griffin Technology introduced more items than virtually anybody else at this MacWorld. Their product line-up is filled with super cool stuff that also tends toward the surprisingly affordable. I say forget out me talking up their gear; just go to their web site and check it all out for yourself.

• I played around at the large Canon booth with the petite PowerShot SD200 and SD300 cameras. These are the smaller, better (and less expensive) successors to my now-aging S300. They’re 3.2 and 4.1 megapixel cameras respectively, but otherwise virtually identical in the feature set. Both will record in 640×480 movie mode until the memory card you’ve got is filled up, making for a cool little take-it-anywhere movie camera. I’ve seen the SD200 as low as $219 and the SD300 as low as $289. Either makes a fine camera so far as I can see.

• Speaking of Canon, their XL 2 digital video camera is the best, least expensive way for the independent filmmaker to get in the game. In other words, I want one. In many respects, the camera is designed to mimic a traditional film camera (especially with the new Cine mode), but with much lower production costs (since it’s DV). Very impressive.

• While I didn’t care for MacTech magazine, I’ve got to confess a strong interest in MacHome. It looks as substantial as MacWorld or MacAddict, but without the static feeling of the former or the inane commentary of the latter. Very promising.

• If you’re a fan of Apple’s Safari or Mozilla’s FireFox, do you really need to look at another type of web browser? (Internet Explorer users should run—not walk—to find an alternative.) Well, maybe. Webstractor by SoftChaos certainly offers some features that others lack. Whether that’s enough to justify its US$80 purchase price is up to you. (It’s inadequate inducement for me, though I concede the program’s functionality is very nice.)

• It’s expensive software, but for you budding filmmakers out there, StoryBoard Artist from Power Production Software allows you to make nifty story boards or animatics in no time flat. It goees on my “some day…” wish list.