Back from Macworld Expo

Macworld Expo is like reliving your Freshman year in college, condensed into a week: Lots of Hard Work, Sleep Deprivation, and Binge Drinking.

I’m back home after Macworld Expo, and of course have a cold. Those of us in the “mac community” know this as the “post expo crud”… sigh.

Anyway, I do not consider myself one of those Technology Pundits who feels the need to comment on every move made by Apple, Microsoft, etc. and spread it around the “Blogosphere.” So if you are looking for Yet Another SteveNote rehash, or my view on the Intel based Macintosh you are out of luck. For one thing the famed “Reality Distortion Field” has no affect on me (it actually works backwards.) Additionally, I spent about 3 minutes playing with a MacBook Pro (what a dumb name!) so I can’t really give you an honest assessment of its performance beyond “yeah, it worked.”

I attend Expo because for me it is an invaluable opportunity to meet face to face with my peers. I get together with a bunch of people that I converse with via email and iChat during the rest of the year, and an even greater number of people whom I really only see once a year. At Expo. When I was an “apprentice technologist” back in the early 90s, I was lucky enough to attend a series of great conferences, Mactivity, Seybold, Macworld Expo, etc. At those conferences I learned a lot, was motivated by what I saw, and met and became acquainted with a number of very smart people.

So for me, expo is a way to reconnect to those folks, as well as take an opportunity to provide motivation to today’s conference attendees… which I consider a responsibility now that I have survived to become one of technology’s, as my friend Chuq von Rospach says, “old pharts.”

This year I spoke at the MacIT Conference part of Expo. I shared the stage with Shaun Redmond, with whom I have done four previous conference sessions (usually on Network Troubleshooting and/or Security.) Shaun and I work well together in that we are able to communicate well in tandem, never having any pauses, and he plays the great straight man and provides me with perfect setups for punch lines. Shaun & I took on the subject of “Building A Better Datacenter”, which took on the issues surrounding building and maintaining server facilities. Shaun works for a school district in Ontario, Canada, and so he represented the “small” end of the scale, whereas I, even though our datacenter is of a modest (~1000 servers, 5000sq ft.) size by industry standards, represented the “large” end. The audience was small, but I will say they were enthusiastic and a great group to speak to. We used up our 90 minutes, and ended up staying over a half hour longer answering all their questions. I REALLY like it when an audience is into the subject matter and participate like that. I also liked that this is a subject matter that will ‘stick’… meaning that there is no possibility of a software release, or a change in technology strategy will alter or dilute the knowledge that Shaun & I taught the audience. I’ve done sessions in the past that were obsolete within a year (or less!) and it is frustrating considering the price that conference attendees pay.

I also meet up with Vendors, Clients, professional associates, make a few dashes about the show floor, and of course attend parties and socialize. Macworld Expo is like reliving your Freshman year in college, condensed into a week: Hard work, sleep deprivation, and binge drinking.

There are annual events that I can’t miss:
* The Mac-Mgrs Night-before-the-Keynote Get Together
Hard to miss since I am the host!
* The A/UX Users Group Dinner
None of us still use A/UX, but we can’t let the long-running joke die
* The ‘Netter’s Dinner at Hunan
this year with the return of John Pugh after an 8 year absence
* The YML “Rock’s Expo” party
a great affair put on by a long-time client of digital.forest, Shawn King & Your Mac Life

Expo still motivates me too. One great benefit of the Conference Faculty pass is that I can sit in on any session. I try and focus on sessions that I can apply to the coming year’s technology goals for digital.forest. Paul Kent from IDG puts on a great technology conference and somehow every year manages to hit a sweet spot of what people need to know. I picked up some great ideas and am looking forward to setting the goals for my group at work this year based on what I learned this week.

One thought on “Back from Macworld Expo”

  1. I have to say, the OS X on Intel thing is neat. I still have my PowerBook, but I also have a P4 3.4 at home, and I successfully installed the OS onto that desktop. What an amazing difference in speed. I’m impressed Apple pulled it off. It’s going to change things soon, I think.

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