Washington Apple Pi

A Community of Apple iPad, iPhone and Mac Users

A Pilgrimage to “Mac-CA”

8 Simple Rules for getting the most from the Macworld Experience

© 2004 Craig K. Contardi

Washington Apple Pi Journal, reprint information

January 10, 2004: I have just returned from my very first Macworld, which was held the previous week in San Francisco. I’ve wanted to attend a Macworld for even longer than I’ve owned a Mac (1995). I started as an Apple II user and was fortunate enough to attend three AppleFests (1988-1990) but Steve Jobs was not with Apple during that period so the keynotes were wholly ordinary. I admit it: my primary driving factor in attending a Macworld was to experience the full effect of the “reality distortion field,” a.k.a. a Steve Jobs keynote. While I had already seen Steve speak in person 7 some years ago (in San Francisco as well, actually…), it was at a Windows NT conference and Steve was wearing his “CEO of NeXT” hat. While he was a captivating speaker that day, even when talking about the NeXTStep programming toolkit for Windows, the audience possessed nothing like the exuberant tenor of a Mac-centric population. So the desire remained…

A popular advertising campaign of the 1990’s hits the nail on the head: You only get one chance to make a first impression. The annual Pi bus trip to the New York Macworld, with a fraction of a day at the expo itself and realistically none of the conference sessions, did not seem like an appropriate way to experience Macworld for the first time. Furthermore, in 2003 Apple started refusing to time their product announcements based on the dates of Macworld, and more importantly the East Coast iterations of Macworld would no longer always feature a Steve Jobs keynote. The time had finally come to face reality: I needed to find a way to get to a San Francisco Macworld before it was “too late.”

I cashed in frequent flier airline miles, found a hotel roommate, and made the other firm plans that were part of attending this January’s show. I also made the major decision to buy a laptop computer, since the Pi reclamation project has historically chosen to put donated late-20th and -21st century PowerBooks back in the hands of schools and charities (and not the hands of the club’s secretary). The cost was approaching $2000.00 for essentially a personal vacation. Macs are not even the smallest part of my job, so there was no work tie-in. In fact most of my co-workers just rolled their eyes at my apparently misdirected/misguided enthusiasm. My wife helped me work past this by painting the experience as a combination birthday/Christmas gift from her, and as a pilgrimage (in a quasi-religious kind of way) that I was entitled to make… once.

The experience was wonderful, and I’m certainly glad I did it. I did experience some surprises, and there are a few things I would do differently at the next show & expo I am able to attend. In no particular order, here are my “8 simple rules” for getting the most out of a Macworld.

I hope everyone reading my words are able to experience a Macworld for themselves, and enjoy it as much as I did. Feel free to drop me a line at craig.contardi@wap.org if you have your own “8 simple rules” or have any comments about my 8.