New in productivity at Macworld Expo

Reporters notebook: Interspersed between booths hawking the latest in accessories for iPhones and iPads, Macworld Expo attendees could find some new approaches in security, productivity and education for Macs and iOS.
Written by David Morgenstern, Contributor

There was something for everyone at the recent Macworld Expo in San Francisco, from the beginner to the power user, consumer and Mac IT manager. I was impressed by a number of new products in the productivity space.

Already mentioned in recent posts were new Thunderbolt devices, including drives, PCIe card cages and multi-protocol adapters. In addition, I liked The Roost, a new portable stand for MacBook Pros.  

New in productivity at Macworld Expo: Hider 2

Introduced at the store and released to the Mac App Store last week was MacPaw's Hider 2, a twist on vault security. Instead of revealing files in the Finder and encrypting them behind the scenes, Hider 2 "hides" the files, making them available (and visible) from within the app's file browser.

In a demonstration on the show floor, MacPaws Marketing Manager Philip Struchkov showed users can drag a file or a whole folder into the app and then hidden with a click. The files aren't just hidden from viewers or the file system; instead, they are moved into Hider's encrypted container. The price is $19.99 but is available now for $10.

New in productivity at Macworld Expo:BusyContact

I admit that I've never liked Apple's attempts at contact managers. In the era of the Classic Macs, I was a power user of Now Software's Now Contact. Long gone. With OS X, I haven't been compelled to move from Contacts, even though it doesn't make me happy. That situation looks to change later this year with the release of BusyContacts from BusyMac. The software was shown for the first time at Expo.

I liked what I saw on the show floor, including sophisticated tagging and filtering (features of Now Contact), and "smart" filters, which on the Mac means preconfigured, dynamic searching. I believe that BusyContacts could function as a simple CRM client when run with BusyCal. The software will support contact sharing with Exchange and other CardDAV services. It requires OS X 10.9 Mavericks, the company said.

New in productivity at Macworld Expo

The most interesting program at Expo was PencilCase by Robots and Pencils, what the company calls "HyperCard re-imagined." The software is an IDE for the rest of us, letting customers with different programming experience (even none) create OS X-native apps.

I spoke with Michael Sikorsky, CEO and co-founder, who told me the forthcoming PencilCase was a commercialization of Robots and Pencils' own app-making tools. In a demonstation, a demonstration project was created with drag-and-drop tools, supporting animations, a range of effects and applying physics to objects. PencilCase automatically optimized the project and content for iOS devices, including support for touch interface, accelerometer, camera and other systemware. The programs can be fine-tuned with JavaScripts.

The environment will come in different flavors for education, professional and corporate markets, currently pre-released priced at $119, $299 and $999, respectively. It's due by the end of the year.

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