The effect of the iPhone announcement on the Macworld gathering was intriguing. I believe it was the first time Steve Jobs had announced something you couldn’t go out and buy, or at least pre-order, at the show. And only a very few of the pundits, such as Glenn Fleishman and David Pogue, actually got their hands on what, pre-FCC, is best describe as the “working prototype” of the device.
Since no one could buy one, and almost no one had used one, people were reduced to photographing the two iPhones displayed in glass bell jars (like the Hope Diamond), or, as most of us did, going about regular Macworld business.
It took me a full three days to “do” the exhibit halls. Midway through I was invited to be part of the Take Control authors/editors panel on the Macworld magazine stage. Each panelist was asked to comment on show news related to our particular areas of expertise. Fortunately, I’d just picked up a demo of Storyist, new novelwriting software developed by an ex-Apple guy who writes thrillers, so I spoke about that.
For the past few months I’ve been using some nicely thought-out but rather buggy novelwriting shareware. I was excited to see that Storyist has many of the features I like (searchable and organizable lists of characters, settings and other elements) with a cleaner, more OSX-like interface. The cost for real software with more power under the hood? $59.
It was a little odd pitching novelwriting software to a sea of geeks, but a dozen or more faces in the audience lit up and people began calling out requests for the Storyist booth number so they could rush over and check it out for themselves.
So my first foray into Macworld punditry was successful. The following day I came across another writing-related product I wish I could have talked about. So I’ll pass along that tip here:
Blurb.com is a self-publishing site that’s been around for a while and seems now to have gotten its act together. It provides easy-to-use online software that allows you to turn blogs, manuscripts, photo collections, cookbooks, and more into attractive softcover and hardcover books (starting at $18 for a 40-page soft-cover “trade” paperback). The software interface is similar to that in iPhoto for ordering print books, which I’ve used successfully for years. The final products I saw at the show were high quality and quite stunning. I asked which blog apps you can import from using their “blog slurper,” feature and they said TypePad, WordPress, Blogger and LiveJournal. (Note that their website says the Blogger and LiveJournal support is “coming in 2007.” Hmmm.)