It was pretty obvious that something tech related was happening at the National Hall in Olympia. After all its not every day you see grown men walking proudly through the streets en masse wearing crisp white T-shirts with the Adobe, Google and Apple logos. I swear it was like Reservoir Dogs gone wrong.

Yes, being as I mentioned MacExpo in preview terms I thought it only prudent to check in and actually see what was going on. I am after all as they say a long term Mac head so it would have been remiss not to attend.

As far as expos go this was by no means the largest but rather than a big sprawling monster of an event it was small and somewhat concentrated affair. As is always the case everyone who is pretty much anyone in the Apple world is hawking their wares.

At the moment there is nothing brand spanking new on offer to tempt the buyer. The Intel transition is over, the PowerMac replacement is in the marketplace as is the new Macbook and iMac ranges. Software wise everything is ticking along nicely. All the big names have converted their software into the new Universal Binary format making this the ‘calm after the storm’ so to speak.

So if anything this was more of a consolidation effort, an expo to show the world that everything is right with the world rather than to unleash anything unexpected. Still there was enough to keep the technologically curious happy. Adobe had a substantial presence with seminars covering Photoshop and previews of the up and coming version of Acrobat. I’ve never been much of a Photoshop user or (Acrobat for that matter) but these were well put together presentations that took into account end users of all experience levels and kept things light and interesting (well as light as you can make a Photoshop presentation).

Elsewhere Dreamtek were plugging the seminars on music production using Apple’s Logic Pro 7. This wasn’t quite as approachable a subject and the crowd was made up of a fair portion of chin stroking musos who laughed at jokes about ‘de-essers’ and ‘reverb gates’. Still if you stuck with it and music production is your bag then this proved to be something of interest. In the first seminar they got vocalist Bess Cavendish up on stage to do a live vocal recording to demonstrate just how easy Logic is to use. Cavendish might not be to my specific tastes in terms of genre but there was no denying the girl can sing (one to watch I suspect). Later on Future Cut the production team behind Lily Allen’s single ‘Smile’ turned up and took us through the process of how they created the single. Once again this was a showcase of the Logic Pro (and at this point I was wondering if I still had time to ditch Cubase and retrain myself before I die of old age). What surprised me (and a few others) was how much of the song was written using the built in sounds on Garageband that comes free with new Apple models anyway.

Elsewhere Nike came armed with a couple of treadmills and a team of beautiful people to demonstrate how the iPod worked with their sport kit. Needless to say I avoided being dragged up on to a treadmill to become Apple’s first cardiac casualty in a public place. I left that to others who were more than willing to go burst a valve all in the name of demoing toys.

The games side of the Mac was represented but if anything it proved just how slack this section of the Mac market is. Digging up The Sims 2 and Call Of Duty for another outing along with a host of sub par Disney games didn’t do much to whet the gamers appetite. There were empty chairs on this stand meaning even the littlest kids were refusing to bite.

Friendliest stand of the day award went to Google who were all out to demonstrate their latest versions of Google Earth, Maps, the latest addition Sketch Up. These guys have nothing to prove but were keen to cement their alliances with Apple (apparently). Each product had a team geared specifically to explain it so nobody was ever stumped when it came to questions (and I tried to be a smart arse and catch them out, it didn’t work).

Also in attendance were Intego with their ‘scare mongering software’ (Virus Barrier, remember Mac users, you’re only ten minutes away from a global Armageddon viral meltdown…yeah right). As always selling you a product that will protect you from the effects of a possible future but for now (in my opinion) does precious little.

Of course there were people shifting hardware in bulk whether it be actually Macs themselves or ancillaries like mice, screens or memory. I didn’t see any particularly hard evidence of especially good deals on the day though. Shop around on the net and you can usually beat the prices that were on offer here.

Apple of course was in attendance, showing off their latest kit (the new big iMac is so bright I felt like I was sat next to a sun lamp). They were also rolling out their seminars on the specs of the equipment. In truth they all looked a bit tired, kind of like a band that are coming to the end of a world tour. The performances were acceptable just not as perky as you usually get. Still the faithful were as ever appreciative and once you’d taken a look at the new top end machines, bibs were optional.

So in conclusion it was a halfway decent distraction for the day. The seminars were for the most part really useful and when they weren’t useful they were at least fun. In terms of the kit on display as I said before there were no great shocks. The smaller companies making accessories (especially in the iPod market) had the odd flash of inspiration and if you were looking for some pleasant dressing for your mp3 player then you had definitely come to the right place. So if anything this year proved to be victorious for the little man.