Friday, January 30, 2009

Happy Birthday

It's been a year since I received my Modbook in the mail and I don't think I have to elaborate on how this little machine has affected my work and my life.

So I just want to simply commemorate things by saying happy birthday.  You're one year older and sadly, a few steps towards obsolescence.  

Thank you to everyone who's emailed me inquiring about the Modbook and those who have frequented this blog, which also is celebrating it's one year anniversary.  

The Modbook journey continues....

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Modbook Mania at Macworld 2009

I just got back this evening from San Francisco and Macworld 2009 where I spent the entire day geeking out on everything Modbook at the AXIOTRON pavillion.

In between doing on-site demos of storyboards and sketches I was able to also attend the official unveiling of Axiotron's new crown jewel, the MODBOOK PRO which is now available for pre-order at the their website. (The first units ship this coming June)

The Modbook Pro is one stunning machine. This time the mod involves taking the basic guts of a Macbook Pro and encasing it into a multi-bodied aluminum shell exclusively designed and built by Axiotron. Of course it's Wacom Pen-abled and features a new button-less digitizer and frame which has optional matte or glossy surfacing, depending on the user preference. It's an exotic design really. It makes my Modbook look pedestrian in comparison. But be prepared to shell out a few bucks. A modestly equipped Modbook Pro will cost you around $5,000. For the portability, I think it's worth the money. Personally I don't think i'll be getting near a sniff of one for a long time....

To complement the added power of the Modbook Pro, Axiotron also announced it's new breakthrough touch technology called SYNERGY which finally brings touch sensitivity to the Modbook and will enable users to pull up a set of programmable keys that will be used in conjuction with the Pen. In other words, one can now use the Modbook without a keyboard to work in Photoshop, Illustrator and other design software. Keys like the Command, Alt and Control keys are included in the basic set up.

According to Axiotron founder and lead engineer Andreas Haas. The key was to design Synergy independent of the Wacom Pen, thereby eliminating any chance of both technologies from conflicting with each other. Synergy will be available in April as a free download to existing Modbook users and will be available to non-Modbook users for a fee.

Apple co-founder and Axiotron consultant Steve Wozniak was on-hand to at the unveiling and also performed a demo of the new QuickScript handwriting recognition software which he is helping develop in conjunction with Axiotron. QuickScript is designed not only to recognize a specific user's handwriting but it's advanced AI enables it to learn unique and subtle quirks in ones handwriting, thereby customizing itself for that user. It's also programmed to recognize different languages so one can write in Chinese, French, Japanese as well as basic English. (It's so smart, we're told it can distinguish between native French from Canadian French)

As for the convention itself? It's a virtual candy store if your a Mac fanatic. (or an iPhone fiend to be even more specific) Every third-party product from cases, peripherals, software and services is on hand. I didn't really need one but I scored a new iPhone case just for the heck of it. One of my favorites was the Google booth which showcased their iPhone GPS mapping and Google Earth apps, as well as a nice iPhone charging island where the power challenged could tank up on free juice.

All in all I had a swell time at the Mac geek ball. My sincere thanks to everyone at Axiotron for making me a part of their Macworld presentation. Check out the pictures below.

The Axiotron Pavillion

Here's the Modbook Pro encased in protective glass, away from my envious hands...

..and it's keeps it's really slim profile...

That's Steven "Woz" Wozniak and Axiotron president and engineer Andreas Haas at the unveiling of the Modbook Pro

Andreas talks up the Modbook Pro. According to him the three most common user requests after the release of the original Modbook are: More buttons. More Power and a longer battery. Mission accomplished on the Modbook Pro

A view of Moscone Center South and Mac geek ville.....

... and where would we all be without the almighty Apple?....

The demo line up today included yours truly as well as the super talented comic book artist Kody Chamberlain who conducted a concerto on his Photoshop demos...

Macworld wouldn't be complete without Googly - Google....

One final snapshot of yours truly at the end of one of my demos

.... ciao from San Francisco. Maybe I get to go again next year?