This week was… quite an experience. :)
My company got me a ticket to WWDC – the big apple conference that sold out in less than two minutes. I’ve been in two minds about it ever since getting the ticket. On the one hand: holy crap it’s awesome, I get to go to a cool exclusive conference and meet lots of smart people involved in iOS and other mac stuff. And party, of course. On the other hand… it’s exclusive, which isn’t nice. The culture is different, what with all the proprietary-ness and stuff. And at the same time, it’s huge – over 5000 people in one conference, and more who didn’t get a ticket but came down anyways. I was worried I might not feel welcome there. In the end, there was a bit of both sides, but mostly good, and it all worked out well in the end.
I’d say the atmosphere there was… positive, but.. detached. Instead of a community of developers, it was a million little groups. Most of them were welcoming groups, though, especially since many had only met at the conference in the first place. I only remember one guy in the whole conference who made snide comments about free software (or any competing tech), and since it was such a big conference I never saw him again anyways. In the end, I made some great new friends over the week, and already have plans to meet some of them again. :) I also got to chat with Bill Atkinson, who I’m told is a Big Deal ;) He seemed like a nice man to me, I wish we hadn’t been kicked out of the park so soon.
Most of the conference was like that – lots of new people and never enough time to talk with them. There were multiple parties every night, labs and sessions during the day… I’m going to have to download a ton of sessions I missed, now, and watch some on the flight home. Unfortunately I’m not allowed to talk about them – apple and their secrecy. :/ oh well. The labs were great, though – getting to talk directly to apple engineers about problems we’d been having and API we’d like added. I just hope they’re able to follow through on the suggestions they agreed with, and don’t get stuck in red tape or anything.
I can talk about the keynote, though. That was.. interesting. It was like a little window into apple’s view of themselves and the world. In both the keynote and the rest of the conference, I discovered that they really do see themselves as designers, as people who care about quality and making good UI that’s easy to use. I like that. But, it was a little hard to take it seriously sitting there in my XL men’s conference jacket. I mean, maybe there’s a reason (I can’t think of any) that they couldn’t ask us our size when we bought our ticket like every other conference ever. The jackets were first come first serve, so the people who showed up a full day in advance got to have a small jacket. But they never even made any ladies’ jackets AT ALL. Only men’s. What the fuck, Apple.
The ladies’ lunch managed to fail at shirts too. of all places you’d expect to find attention to that little detail… nope. I got a medium ladies’ shirt (used it as a nightgown last night) and an XS that fit over top of it. It wasn’t until tuesday night at one of the parties (Stir, I think?) that I got a conference shirt I’ll actually wear. Ah well – I bought a hoodie that fits (although the zipper keeps confusing me, it’s on the opposite side because it’s a guy’s shirt) and the free food and alcohol kept me happy ;) I’d heard bad things about apple’s boxed lunches, but I took the beef option twice and it was really good. simple and healthy.
The official wwdc party was good too, but short. I think the band was only on for half an hour. It was Vampire Weekend – I loved the drums. Might have to get some of their music, but my cheap speakers wouldn’t do it justice. I tried to get some dancing going, and there were some people moving a little, but mostly ended up dancing by myself. it was fun, though. :) There might be some photos of that popping up somewhere…
The conference ended friday, but a few of us spent saturday down in Santa Cruz at a ren fair. It turns out there’s a guy at apple who is also a magician, and he invited us down to see his show. It was pretty awesome. :) I figured out a few little tricks, but a lot of it still seems like, well, magic. :)
The rest of the festival was good too – I don’t think any of us had ever been, so we didn’t know what to expect. There were lots of booths selling jewellery, leather bags, and so on, plus some music, food, and mead. Good mead, too, imho. I may bring a bottle of it home. :) I ended up getting sunburn on my hands and feet (yeah, it is possible to burn hands) but it was totally worth it. :)
Now it’s sunday, and I’ve picked up a conference bug. No surprise there. It seems to be a mild one so far, though. I’ve got a couple of days left to rest and see friends in oakland, so hopefully I’ll have recovered a little by the time I go home…