WWDC 2005: Days 2 through 4

As a paid up member of the Apple Developer Connection, I can’t discuss the meat of the sessions, but I can talk about the character of the conference as a whole and the sorts of people I have been meeting. For my first WWDC, I have to say I am immensely pleased.

The sessions have run the gamut. My favorites have been the ones run by Andy and John of the Dashboard team. Those guys are well organized, good speakers, and very, very funny. One or two sessions have been about a breath away from needing life support, and the bulk have fallen somewhere in between.

The material itself is of necessity very condensed. I have been treating it as a crash orientation to programming on the Mac, using local idioms and conventions. I have already figured out the answers to some of the issues that have been bugging me about using Xcode in place of make and gcc. That has been worth the price of admission alone, for me.

Beyond that, I have picked up a book at the mini-O’Reilly store on site (genius) on Cocoa programming after having my interest spark about it. One of the friends I made here has even given me a great idea for a first application (more soon).

I guess the one thing that really has stood out for me has been how friendly all the other attendees are. Not sure friendly is exactly the right word, what I mean is that I can comfortable strike up a conversation with just about anyone, without any awkwardness or shyness like in other settings. Just about everyone here is of a similar background and of similar temperament. Geek jokes get chuckles all around, obscure references can be made without explanation.

I made friends with two fellows the first day and we’ve been hanging out the whole week like old chums, for example.

Highlights over the past three days have included staring into the yawning cavernous maw that is an itty-bitty Intel motherboard hung inside a ginormous, aluminum G5 case. I’ve been able to chat with quite a few Apple engineers working on many different technologies, which is utterly cool. And today not only did I get to meet August and Ray, makers of iPodderX, but also Phil Torrone.

I was able to share with Phil my desire to engage my sons in hacking at an early age and he confided that he intends to include much content in Make and its attendant blog for guys like me, aging geeks lucky enough to have families who want to cultivate the intellectual curiosity (in science and technology in particular) that defines being a hacker in the next generation, parent-to-child.

Outside of yesterday, the weather has been fabulous. And the rain afforded the perfect opportunity to enjoy the Metreon, across the street, and pick up some gifts for the kids. The Intel announcement was exciting and while it has been bubbling about in conversations, most folks here are imminently practical and more concerns about going about the things that they care about and the things they are employed to do.

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