By day 3 I think I can say that I’m getting into the flow of things at WWDC. That is mainly achieved by not queueing for overrun talks. Or by finding better uses for your time, as I keep preaching, by finding Apple engineers to talk to.
Though I am also mildly disappointed, but not in the program or people, but in myself. I did not heed my own advice of preparing some code to discuss with the Apple guys. Even my partner from Arizona did that, although programming is not his bread and butter. I admit to being proud of this.
I had to clone some source code from my repository to have something to base my questions on. So the rule “bring code” can be bent ever so slightly. It also counts as “bringing” if your code resides in an Open Source repo on GitHub or on your private SCM.
Yesterday I had reported on the possibility of clothes shopping at Moscone Center. Today I learned that there is a category of T-Shirts that is even more special then the ones sold at the Company Store in Cupertino. There are T-Shirts that are only temporarily available at WWDC.
They have the WWDC 2012 at the back and I saw two designs: one had a writable area “Hello, my App is” (and there you fill in the name of your app). The other says: “I left my bugs in San Francisco”. Cute, huh?
Ka-ching goes the credit card because the prognosis was for an intra-day sellout of said goods.
On of the most highly valued things you can do at WWDC is to book a half-hour session with an Apple Designer. People queue up for these right from the morning and you can only get appointments for the same day.
My partner from ICS took the opportunity to get a critique for iCatalog. He reported a very favorable verdict and many good tips on how to improve our app even further. The comment that delighted me the most was related to a certain bouncing animation I had invented. They loved it! Apple Design Awards 2013 here we come!
Indeed the design labs are praised so much that I am considering getting one myself. I have one app, iWoman, where i have a tricky UI situation for which I am on the loockup for an elegant paradigm.
Last year people where attending the talk before the lunchtime session just so that they could stay put for the event that actually interested them. This year Apple had wizened up: everybody had to leave Presidio and re-queue. The whole thing is highly stressful if you actually attend sessions and plan to eat the boxed lunch at the same time.
There you have another reason why it is madness trying to follow the crazy packed busy schedule that Apple offers. Maybe this is what Apple is trying to teach us: you have to learn to know what to not do.
Well, LeVar Burton is a great speaker. Oddly enough a familiar Apple voice reminded us that the content of LeVar’s speech would be also under NDA. Which is extremely odd because just an hour before the event he publicly tweeted this:
‘Bout an hour till we debut the #readingrainbowapp onstage at #WWDC2012
LeVar’s talk had two parts, the first one being about Storytelling, the second about promoting this Reading Rainbow App. This is basically a hundreds-of-books-in-1 children’s book app that is aimed to rekindle the joy of reading.
LeVar was and always will be my Star Trek: TNG hero. Apparently he did this Reading Rainbow TV show for 25 years or so before PBS took it off air. Don’t ask me about the exact company construct, but somehow this lead to a company making this app that is soon to be released.
Either way the app has just the minimum amount of interactive glazing and rewards to keep a young mind interested enough to read through hundreds of curated titles. For many book publishers this app comes as a sort of turn-key solution which saves them from having to figure out whether or not to put their titles on the iBookstore or package it as an app.
As if Apple was fearing that people could love LeVar too much he got ushered off stage punctually and immediately hidden from sight to foil any attempt in extracting an autograph.
Best Party Ever
In 2011 Scribd did their first WWDC party, I lay claim to suggesting to them to “do something for the developers in town” while I was contracting with them. They’ll probably won’t remember that.
The year the Scribd party was even crazier than before. The still had the tasqueria for great food and several barkeepers that kept the spirits flowing. I don’t drink, but apparently the never-ending booze was quite a highlight.
In the area where there is usually a ping pong table they had an event producer set up two giant Zorb balls. Those are these where you can crawl in and roll over water, sleep or try to ram the other as hard as you can. People queuing and signing the waiver where mostly after the latter option.