The expo hall at Macworld/iWorld is filled with companies showing their products, and at Macworld, we do our best to find the ones that stand out.
Macworld's editors survey a list of products submitted ahead of time by vendors for consideration, but most of the work involves scouring the show floor to find worthy candidates. The editors then gather back at Macworld headquarters, and after a long, pizza-fueled debate, the winners are determined. Here are the recipients of the 2014 Best of Show awards.
Akitio Palm RAID A portable storage device the size of — you guessed it &mdsh; your palm, Akitio's drive houses a pair of mSATA SSDs and has a tethered Thunderbolt cable. The bus-powered Palm RAID is available in 256GB and 512GB capacities.
Arcsoft Simplicam This home monitoring system combines a nicely-designed camera and an easy-to-use iOS app. Its facial recognition allows you to set up alerts based on specific people or pets, so you don't have to record footage on everyone in your home. You can schedule recordings or watch live footage all in 720p HD video. and all your footage is saved to Simplicam's cloud service, so you can access the videos anywhere.
Binary Formations Chore-inator Having trouble getting your kids motivated to do their chores? With Chore-inator, you can use your iOS device to organize the chores that need to get done. Set up a list of chores, and the kids can check them off when they are done — and can take pictures to provide proof. The app also lets you track the rewards you give your kids upon successful completion of their to-do list.
BusyContacts BusyCal is one of our favorite replacements for Apple's own Calendar app on the Mac. We're all very hopeful that BusyContacts will be the same for Contacts. The new app has customizable views, tagging, and smart filters finding and grouping entries. It syncs with Exchange, Google Contacts, iCloud, and generic CardDAV-based services, as well as major social networks (Facebook, Twitter, et al.). And it integrates with BusyCal, the two combining to form a kind of personal CRM system. In other words, it could be the Mac contact manager we've all been waiting for.
Cloak Securing network connections might seem like a hassle, but that's where Cloak comes in handy. The latest version of this simple iOS app lets you define trusted Wi-Fi networks; when you join an untrusted network, Cloak will automatically secure that connection over a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Service plans lets you pick up a week of access for $4, a monthly plan for $10, or a yearly plan for $100, all with unlimited data. (A mini plan lets you use up to 5GB of data for just $3 a month.) If you have the Mac version of Cloak, settings will even sync between the two.
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