Home again, home again, jiggety jig

I’m back home tonight after a week in San Francisco for WWDC 2006. Though I love the Bay area, its good to be home again with my family. The week has been filled with coverage of the WWDC keynote and all things Apple so I won’t rehash all that happened, rather just my impressions, leaving out the NDA’d bits and such.

Sunday: My flight arrived in Oakland around 4:30PM, where we were met by Scott Naylor, a Griffin associate, who took us into San Francisco to check into the hotel. Next we checked in at the Moscone and went on a “short walk” to Coit Tower, followed by collapse dinner at Fog City Diner. Note to self: Begin regular visits to the Y.

Monday Morning: I met Mike Ash from Rogue Amoeba while waiting in line for the Keynote. Mike and I got along well and had several discussions before the conference ended. The Keynote started well enough, though the Windows bashing is getting a bit tiresome from my perspective. I watched the rundown of the top 10 features in Leopard waiting for the one (or more) items that would amaze me. Sadly there wasn’t one. It certainly seems “nice”, but nothing I would just have to run out and get I think. I was really disappointed about the “Top Secret” features that were being kept hidden, ostensibly to prevent Microsoft from copying them any sooner than they have to. I expect the reality is that they simply weren’t demo ready.

Monday Night: At the reception dinner, we caught up with Rich Wardwell from Landmark Digital Services and then headed over to Buzz Anderson’s Weblogger’s Party. I met quite a few folks here, among them Gus Mueller, Martin Pittenauer, and Brent Simmons. All super nice, though I think I might have freaked Gus out a bit at first, as I began my introduction by saying “I’ve got something for you” while reaching into my backpack. Perhaps he was worried I was a disgruntled VoodooPad user that had snapped. It was all good though. I brought him a promised PowerMate. I also met Scott and Jenny Ellsworth. Scott’s a new hire at Google (you may have heard of them). I spent most of the evening talking to the two of them about all manner of things including the interview process at Google. Fascinating stuff and also very nice people.

Tuesday Morning: During one of the morning sessions I noticed a guy wearing a Nashville Predators jersey and just had to find out who this might be. Turned out it was Justin Williams aka carpeaqua. Justin will be moving to Nashville sometime around the beginning of next year bringing the total number of Mac developers in the area to something like 4. Sadly, we didn’t get much chance to talk though.

Tuesday Evening: After eating something vaguely resembling pizza and vaguely tasting of cardboard coated in Elmer’s glue, the Apple Design Awards began. All of the winners (though the Automator action category was a bit of a head scratcher) were examples of excellent software. Congrats to all the winners. After the ADA’s came Stump the Experts. Which, for whatever reason, wasn’t quite so good as last year. Finally after Stump, I caught up with Rob Barris from Blizzard who told me all the secrets regarding the upcoming expansion to World of Warcraft… not really though.

Wednesday: (Note: this may have actually happened Tuesday, but I couldn’t think of anything else terribly interesting from Wednesday so we’ll just pretend) Whilst standing out front of the main entrance to the Moscone, I was approached by a couple guys (OK, I know this was San Francisco, but it’s not what you’re thinking) whom I chatted with for a while. Turns out they were from Baca Film and found me relatively interesting somehow. They asked if it was okay to interview me… on camera. Being the ham that I am, of course I consented. I’m not 100% sure what they’re up to, but I think maybe they’ll be slip my interview in between that of Woz and Andy Hertzfeld.

Interlude: This would be a good time to say that while the preview of Leopard didn’t exactly blow me away, the same can’t be said about the work being put into the next iteration of XCode and company. The NDA prevents me from going into details, but suffice to say, there are some very nice changes in store for developers in this department.

Thursday Morning: The news of the plot to blow up the airplanes leaving England didn’t exactly start the day off right, but fortunately the news was of arrests and not actual death and destruction. Still I was a bit uneasy about having to fly across country in a couple days. I put the troubling morning news behind me and headed to the conference where I had lunch with Dominic Feira from Ambrosia Software. We chatted about interesting new things going on there and at Griffin, the conference and finally a long bit about coding conventions. The sort of thing that would put normal humans to sleep.

Thursday Evening: Beer! The Apple Campus bash was a lot of fun. Although again I did not manage to beat the line to the Apple employee store. We even traveled by car and beat all the busses there. When I do manage to visit, I expect I’ll be extremely underwhelmed but I can’t imagine what it is that compels folks to stand in line for hours and hours while a perfectly good party is going on inside. The music this time around was performed by bt. I’d have to say I approved enthusiastically.

Friday (aka tourist day): WWDC 2006 wrapped up at 12:30PM leaving the rest of the day to play tourist and finally eat some decent food. Among the tourist stops, Coit Tower, Lombard Street, Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf. By the end of the day I was beat and ready to head home.

Saturday: I was a bit worried about getting to the airport with enough time to pass through the mess I expected to be waiting for me there. It wasn’t much fun, but it wasn’t terrible either. About an hour or so standing in various lines before I arrived at the gate and finally my flight back home to Nashville.

One more thing… I didn’t get one of these from Steve, so I’ll add my own here. Of course I was running Proxi and I can’t tell you how many people where transfixed when they saw the Bubbles plugin running. I just want to say thanks to all of you for the complements. I think it’s pretty cool too 🙂 And finally, they were lots of other people that I met during the show that I didn’t mention in the interest of space (note to “Wolf”: definitely leave the quotes escaped next year!), but everyone was very approachable, personable, and / or just generally nice folks. It was a pleasure and I’m looking forward to seeing you all again at WWDC 2007!