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SAN FRANCISCO--It can be easy to forget this during the keynote, but companies besides Apple exhibit at Macworld. So I spent most of yesterday afternoon wandering around the Moscone Center floor to see what they had to offer.

* The Macintosh clone market died about a decade ago, but Axiotron's Modbook tablet computer looks like a lot like a Mac clone. This company, however, doesn't build these $2,200 machines from scratch; instead, it buys MacBook laptops, removes the upper half and attaches its own screen and controls.

* Mac users looking for a voice-dictation program are about to get a new choice. MacSpeech--the developer of iListen, the only program in this category for the past few years--is showing off MacSpeech Dictate, a replacement for iListen built on the same speech-recognition engine as Nuance's highly-regarded, Windows-only Dragon Naturally Speaking. MacSpeech says the new, $199 program should ship "no later than February" for Intel-based Macs.

* Intuit is finally showing a new version of Quicken. The new release goes by the inexplicable code name of "Heathrow" (why remind people of one of their least favorite airports?) for now, but it will be called Quicken Financial Life when it ships this fall. QFL scraps the entire existing Quicken interface, a throwback to Mac OS 9, for something that looks much more like iTunes. But will long-suffering Quicken for Mac users wait around? Between Intuit's other mishaps on the Mac and the rise of such competing personal-finance apps as IGG Software's iBank (a new version 3 of which is on display here), this company may be about to lose a lot of customers.

I've got another hour or so to wander around the show floor, and then--hallelujah!--it'll be time for me to head to the airport and go home. If you're at Macworld too and want to suggest what I should look for, post it in the comments!

By Rob Pegoraro  |  January 16, 2008; 1:15 PM ET
Categories:  Mac  
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Rob -- I'd love to see more on IGG's program as it compares to Quicken. As you know, Quicken for Mac has long been a poor stepchild of the windows version, and the QLM release looks like it will drop features (like investment tracking) for slickness. Now more than ever evaluations of alternatives would be great.

Posted by: ah | January 16, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Two things:

1. I've given up on Quicken for Macs. I am going to buy a Macbook Pro, and use its ability to run Windows in order to run Quicken for Windows. Clunky, but not much choice.

2. Even though the iPhone is slim, it is difficult to keep it in my pocket, in part because many women's pants don't have pockets. Are there any cool iPhone holder necklaces out there? Then my iPhone would be handy and protected. And a fashion statement.

Posted by: PL | January 16, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

I cannot remember all the Mac-based personal finance programs I've tried since I bought my first Mac in 1984. I finally gave up when the Intel iMac came out. I bought it to run the PC version of Quicken which, while a big improvement over the Mac product, still leaves much to be desired. I'm sure I'll try QFL when it comes out, as well as iBank, in my quest for the perfect Mac-based personal finance program.

Posted by: John | January 16, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Go to the best part of MacWorld - the Final Cut Pro User Group's SuperMeet Expo at 5 pm Wednesday. Mission Bay Conf. Center on 1675 Owens St.

Filmmakers gather and $40K in prizes are given away. Always interesting tech.

Posted by: Mary Fallon | January 16, 2008 6:25 PM | Report abuse

I loved Quicken when it came out in 1990 and have continued to use it since then but now ready to abandon it. I am so exasperated with them that I am looking at Wesabe, Mint etc. Over the years they keep adding features that I do not need, making program so complex to use, and then force me to upgrade to the new version. And when I upgraded, I ran into so many technical glitches and Intuit had almost non existent technical support.

And now I hate Intuit. I have stopped using TurboTax 3 years ago and use $19.95 TaxAct. I looked at open source alternatives to Quicken but none of them support online banking yet. Intuit has also started stiffing their Quickbooks business software customers by forcing them to subscribe to a minimum $199 a year payroll service and upgrading every few years. I have already abandoned Microsoft Windows for Linux and Leopard, and Microsoft Office for OpenOffice, TurboTax for TaxAct and am looking to ditch Quicken and Quickbooks. I would rather donate $10,000 to Open Source Foundation to develop alternatives to Quicken & Quickbooks then buy upgrades to these programs from Intuit. In fact I can't even use latest upgrade from Quickbooks because it keeps me giving me an error message that there is no drive E.

Does anyone have suggestions on alternatives to Quicken & Quickbooks?

Posted by: Sanjeevp | January 17, 2008 7:54 AM | Report abuse

I use a spreadsheet to handle personal finances. But I have simple finances. Paycheck, bills, rent, cash expenses.

Posted by: wiredog | January 17, 2008 8:48 AM | Report abuse

I'm considering buying a Mac PowerBook to replace my Dell laptop which uses XP Professional and Outlook - I also use Paperport. I'm told that one can retain all the WIndows programs on the partitioned hard drive, but I'd prefer to integrate all my Outlook applications with the Mac programs, so as not to have two separate systems. Is there an objective place to evaluate accurately the pros and cons of such a move?

Posted by: AA | January 17, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Just give up on the stuff! They will never catch up to us, NEVER!

Posted by: STEVE BALLMER | January 17, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

They were selling sodas for $5 a can!

Posted by: steveballmer | January 17, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

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