Day Three at MacWorld/iWorld 2014

And so it all ends so quickly – Thank you MacWorld for another great week of geeking out! Let’s quickly go thru the sessions I saw thru and then talk about the cool Apps and App Developers I got to talk to this week. I got to attend three sessions. The first was by Chuck Joiner from the MacVoices Podcast – Mac, iPhone, and iPad: The Stuff you gotta Have! I am so glad it wasn’t on day one, or I would have spent too much money. Actually, not really, most of the things he recommended I am already using. The items that made the most sense, that I could pick up, are items that I don’t need. The best recommendation that I hadn’t found before is the Scosche 12Watt Car Adapter the show floor had this as a $5 off special for $20, but as a Amazon Prime member I can get it for $19 and have it at home when I actually need it. The best book recommendation was Erica Sadun and Steve Sande’s – Talking to Siri second Edition. I could use this one, to get a better / deeper understanding of Siri.

The second session was called – Music Togetherness: How technology is teaching the world how to sing together by Jeannie Yang – Chief Product and Design Officer Smule. Smule is a cool group of app developers who focus on music and social apps. If you’ve not picked up any of their apps, I highly recommend doing so just to get a taste of the way you can sign or play with people around the world. Jeannie spent the enter talk showing very compelling and cool examples of how people are leveraging social music to meet, form friendships and communities. I had to pick up their Sing app and when I got back to the hotel tonight, I sang Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting as a Duet with someone in England. Way cool.

The Final session I went to is the one I go to each year – Future Tech. Each you the kids from the Hawai’i Preparatory Academy come and show of the projects they are working on. Over the last few years they have showed off work with the Emotiv headset, earthquake sensors and other cool things. This year, they showed work on HDR Panoramas (this is an ongoing project the new part this year was work with Drones). Using music to assess memories, mood, and cognitive function of elderly individuals in nursing homes. Work they are doing to create a wireless Sleep Apnea sensor (with the idea of potentially waking the person before they have a full event). How to identify energy patterns in the noise of telemetry data from an entire building (using social and other data they can identify the signature of certain devices in the data). Creating a ton of project with Raspberry PIs. And the final project was using brain wave data from the Emotiv head set to create music. Very cool!

I then went back on the show floor and talked with the guys from Reallusion. They were showing off their FaceFilter software for Mac. If you work with a lot of portraits, this software makes it really easy to do touch ups, change make up, and overall manipulate faces. Amazing software, I am looking forward to getting a copy and playing with it soon. Maybe I will get an updated headshot from this.

I spoke with the guys over BusyMac they are about to release a new tool, BusyContacts. This looks like a compelling improvement over the default contacts app on the Mac. I am looking forwards to when this comes out. The integration with their BusyCal looks impressive, but thats to be expected.

The show floor is always a bit of a blur, I wish I could get an iBeacon report of all the booths I stopped at… Speakers, Scanners, and Software. I also picked up the EverDock I mentioned earlier this week.

Day two of MacWorld/iWorld 2014

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The Crowd waiting to get in


Wow.. what a busy day, and yes, I picked up a toy today. The Bass Egg was a kickstarted last year, and after hearing it today and doing a few tests (like placing it on my head), I was amazed and had to buy it. I am listening to a podcast on it right now, and this is the best sound I’ve had on my iPhone. Here’s the setup I am using in the hotel.
The Bass Egg Speaker

The Bass Egg Speaker


I spent the day in sessions, almost non-stop. I tried to tweet out from a few of them. Check out my feed at @michaelrowe01.

The first session was way-way too short. Rich Mogull – CEO of Securosis. You should follow him on twitter at rmogull. I was looking forward to this, but with only 30 minutes for the session, I felt it was more of an overview about how Apple has a Philosophy that focuses on usability, over security, but they have done a really good job of addressing security by default. Also, given the closed nature of the platform, they have the opportunity to enforce some really good practices. He did show how his machine was setup, and there was only one setting that I had not setup the same way. That setting is, when traveling he changes the firewall to Block all incoming requests. (Guess I shouldn’t have mentioned that, and it is changed now.

The second session was a presentation by Robert Scoble & Shel Israel on their new book – The Age of Context. Today you can pick up the ebook version for Kindle for only $1.99. I picked it up and the hard copy book, since it was autographed. This was one of those talks that pump a whole bunch of exciting thoughts and ideas into 45 minutes. I’ve been talking about and thinking about many of these ideas due to my work in my day job around the Internet of Things. Scoble and Shel talked about how all the sensors we have around us are providing a ton of context to our daily lives. It also enables an unbelievable level of pinpoint marketing; however companies are failing to realize this. They also addressed the shift of the freaky line, the point where technology freaks us out. I will make a post after I read the book to describe this talk in more detail.

I skipped the next two sessions I had lined up, since I would not get lunch if I did, and instead I walked the show floor some more. I talked with the guys at Bass Egg, and told them I would probably be back to buy it tomorrow. I also talked to the designers of the everdock. This machined aluminum dock is great for charging two devices at once. What makes it unique is that they use your cables, and have a few rubber/silicon pieces that make it a perfect fit for a iPhone or iPad in a case. You can also use it for non-apple devices. I will probably pick one of these up tomorrow.

I also talked with the team over at extra-life.org. They sponsor the 24 hours of gaming in the fall, but they are promoting year round for people to build up teams to game for 24 hours. This is used to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. What a great idea, play games to help kids. I recorded a few questions with the people in the booth, and that will be included in my weekly podcast over at GamesAtWork.Biz.

I then ran over to catch the session on the NSA and you. This was a panel discussion that wanted to have questions from the audience; however, once again it was too short. The panel was a great group of security exports, but with a panel of five people there were only 5 questions all from the panel moderator. While the questions were good, it didn’t give the panel much time to provide deep and meaningful answers. So what where the questions and who were the experts:

  • What is the biggest security thing in the last year? The revolution that the NSA has undermined crypto standards, the reach and scope of the data monitoring, the hoarding of zero day vulnerabilities (with no obvious fixes to our own infrastructure), and the legal interpretation of collection that the NSA uses.
  • Why should the average person care about mass surveillance and privacy?They do care, but they are not really cognizant of what is really happening with their data, given that most people are opting in voluntarily without understanding what the picture is that the data is providing would freak us out.
  • Can we trust Apple with our data? While their corporate culture may favor the user’s experience, you are ultimately at risk that an individual in a company could make a mistake and that violates your trust. Individuals should be responsible in what they do and how they segment their data, so while as individuals you can trust a person, you cannot apply that to an enterprise.
  • What can the average person do? This used to be a simple answer – encrypt everything, but now that the NSA has undermined some of the standards, you need to segment your data, encrypt it, and be very aware of what you do or do not share.
  • How do we put pressure on congress? Ultimately, you need to put pressure on congress and companies, money talks and unfortunately those with the most influence the most. So it may be easier to influence companies into pressuring congress. Having said that, Parker indicated that the USA Freedom Act is a good start, and sets a minimum approach in this space.

The experts:

I then got into another good session on using Logic Pro X – given the time constrains Andrea Pejrolo, PhD actually focused on some great new features that Logic Pro X has introduced around quantification, flex pitch, and the new virtual drummer. I learned tons from this, but was hoping to improve things around my editing workflow and that was not to be. I am going to; however, play a bit with flex pitch on a few projects I am working on. So definitely worth it.

More tomorrow!

Day one of MacWorld/iWorld Expo 2014

Today was day one of the formal part of MacWorld/iWorld. Yesterday was a day of all day sessions, and a day of the MacIT conference, which runs in parallel to the show. I’ve been tweeting out a bit today on my personal twitter account – @michaelrowe01. The great thing about today was that I did the kick off session and a few other talks, but also got to spend some time walking around on the show floor. I didn’t take many pictures, but I did get to meet a few cool apps and app developers.

The first was Tappd – This is not Untappd (my favorite beer tracking app), but a social application recommendations tool that is hoping to address the problem that many of us have with the app store… the inability to find cool apps. I had a chat with @martinuttly and it seems like they may have something here. The App is free and they do not take funding to “improve” app visibility in their app. All of the recommendations are based on Tapps, i.e. recommendations from people in your social network. You can follow people you trust, and get their recommendations. I have installed it, and if you want to follow me in the app, I am using my twitter ID above.

I also had a chat with the team from Cloak. Cloak 2 is a very easy fire and forget VPN solution for the Mac and iOS, that seems to have a really good model. For $2.99/mo you can get a 5GB account of secure data. For $9.99/month you get unlimited encrypted data. But what is the neatest feature for me is that you can configure you device easily and sync it across all of your devices. When you define your account you can indicate which networks you trust. When you device is on that network, it will not enable the VPN, but anytime you are not on those networks, the VPN kicks in automatically. Very cool!

I got to see the developers of my favorite must have app – 1Password. The guys at AgileBits, always have a team of people on the show floor who can answer your deepest technical questions. While this is MacWorld/iWorld they have a version for Windows, and for Android. The Android version is only a reader for now, but there are rumors that a fully 1Password 4 version should be coming out soon! I can now fully recommended 1Password for people regardless of what platform they are on.

And finally I got to see my buddies over at Reallusion. They are showing off their latest cool toy for the Mac – FaceFilter. This tool is great for people who don’t have the time to learn all the ins and outs of PhotoShop but would do want to touch up portraits and other pictures with people in them. I hope to get a chance to play with this app soon and provide a deeper review.

I will try and get a few pictures tomorrow…and will add them to the blog.

Is monthly the new posting scheduled?

As people who follow me on various social feeds may know, I have way too many interests at times: swimming, singing, gaming, programming, technology, gadgets, just to name a few. On top of this, I have a day job that keeps me very busy, more do lately then usual. My weekly podcast over at GamesAtWork.biz is staring to become more of a periodic-weekly episodic event. My time for programming has gone from every weekend, to more like one weekend a month at best. My weekly swimming has become about once every three weeks. My yearly operatic singing, is going to be missed this year. My gaming habit of MMO’s is being replaced by casual gaming when I get my coffee. And my playing with gadgets is also being reduced.

So what am I going to target for this blog? I’ve not been able to attend the usual meetups that I like for some time. So how can I be showcasing cool apps I am seeing, if I don’t get to see them? I am hoping that I can squeeze at least a monthly event attendance and from that I will try and highlight what I see. If you see any cool apps, I am looking for help, and would love to expand the number of authors on this site.

Please drop me an email if you are interested.

I made this

I Made This!

I Made This!


For years I’ve been trying to do some interesting things in 3D, but I found that my artistic skills are not always up to snuff. This week, however, I found a great tutorial on using Blender. If you are not familiar with Blender, it is an open source 3d modeling and animation tool that is in the vein of Maya or 3DMax. About 7 years ago I tried to use Blender and it had major problems with stability and reliability. I had completely forgotten about it, until got a 3D printer recently. I realized that the types of things I wanted to make were not suited for creation in SketchUp, and so I downloaded the latest blender. Overall, it was just as complex as I remembered but I found a few tutorials on YouTube, including one to create a coffee cup. While the video was a bit dated, not quite matching the latest version of blender, it did a great job of explaining the process. My opinion of Blender has gone up a lot, and I look forward to building the pieces to my board game I’ve been developing.