WWDC Wrap-up

I haven’t had a chance to write any blog posts last week while I was at WWDC, but I had a great time and learned a lot. This may have been the most important WWDC in recent years.

While last year’s WWDC focused primarily on iOS, this year’s conference was about equally split between iOS 5 and Mac OS X Lion. Both systems share some major enhancements including iCloud storage and Objective C runtime improvements that make memory management easier and a lot faster. I can’t write about much of what I saw, since everything except the keynote is under NDA. I will say that I’m running iOS 5 on my iPad and Lion on my MacBook Air and I’m very happy with both and find them stable enough for regular use. I haven’t installed iOS 5 on my iPhone, though.

On Sunday I went on the annual bus Pilgrimage to Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino. As always, the only thing we were able to see was the Apple company store. I took advantage of it to pick up a USB Ethernet adapter for my MacBook Air, since large downloads aren’t allowed over wireless connections during WWDC. I was pleasantly surprised by how fast the MacBook Air USB adapter is and how it just works without any fuss, unlike USB ethernet adapters I’ve used in the past.

1 Infinite Loop

WWDC isn’t all work. There are also a few fun events, starting with Tuesday night’s Apple Design Awards and Stump The Experts. One highlight of the conference is always the Thursday night WWDC Bash. Since the Bash moved from Apple’s campus in previous years to Yerba Buena Garden across from Moscone Center, Apple has been getting major bands to perform at the Bash. In previous years they had Ozomotli, Barenaked Ladies, Cake, and OK Go. This year they got Michael Franti & Spearhead for a great show.

The conference ended at noon on Friday, so I took advantage of the rest of the day to enjoy San Francisco. I walked from Moscone to the Ferry Building & took lots of pictures, which you can see here. I only brought my Canon G12, since I didn’t feel like lugging the D90. I’m very happy with the results, both for still photos & videos.

Links for 2011-02-10 through 2011-02-15

Links for 2011-02-10 through 2011-02-15:

Posted by Postilicious

The night before WWDC

I’m really excited about WWDC, which starts tomorrow. I’ll probably go to sleep early, so I can get up at 5AM to wait in line for the keynote. Today I went on the pilgrimage to the Apple Company store in Cupertino.

1 Infinite oop

Yesterday I met with a realtor and looked at several places in San Leandro. I found one that I really liked, which I’m still waiting to hear from.

I found a place I like

Unfortunately I’ve been sick with an upset stomach since I arrived here. To top it off, I chipped a tooth today. Hopefully I’ll be able to hold out until I get home so I won’t have to miss any part of WWDC.

Things I learned at WWDC

  1. JavaScript doesn’t suck. I’ve been looking at SproutCore and I really like it a lot. I’ll probably be using it for future web applications.
  2. Lots of cool stuff is being written in Ruby. I really need to start learning it.
  3. iPhone push notification is no substitute for background tasks. It still isn’t possible to schedule something to happen at a particular time. Apple just considered one very specific use case, where something like AIM needs to notify you that a message has been received. You can’t have a process check in with a server at timed intervals, for example.
  4. Animated effects are very easy. It takes almost no effort to add animated effects to views & controls in a Cocoa application and it makes the app look so much cooler. Simply set a property in Interface Builder, write a few lines of code to define the animation, and let it happen in its own thread as you go about your business.
  5. San Francisco has some of the most aggressive beggars. Headphones & loud music are a must when walking from Union Square to Moscone if you want to block them out.
  6. The Barenaked Ladies are a lot better than I realized. Somehow I never got into them, even though I like They Might Be Giants & Soul Coughing, whose attitude & humor are similar. After the Thursday Night Bash I bought some of their music in iTunes.
  7. Carrying a MacBook Pro for several hours isn’t fun. At the end of the day I usually had a sore back & shoulders. I’m considering a switch to either a MacBook or MacBook Air as a travel machine for my next trip. I’m not sure if the 1/2 pound difference of a MacBook will make it that much more pleasant, but it’s a much more capable machine.
  8. Thirsty Bear has the best beers in the Moscone area. Their Valencia Wheat is especially good.

WWDC a success

Despite the record-setting crowd of over 5000 people, this year’s WWDC ran much more smoothly than any recent one. The WiFi network was very reliable, and for the first time we had WiFi working in the Presidio during the keynote, so I was able to live blog it at MacMegasite. Most of the rooms had plenty of power strips available, so it was easy to keep our laptops charged.

The lines were much longer for most of the sessions and they started lining up as much as 15 minutes before the sessions started, but I was able to get into all of the sessions easily.

For tonight’s bash, which took place in Yerba Buena Gardens as it did last year, Apple got the Barenaked Ladies to play for us. THe band members are big Apple fans, since one of their videos appeared on the System 8.6 CD.

I found that after carrying around a MacBook Pro for several hours a day, I ended up with sore shoulders. For my next trip I’m seriously considering getting either a MacBook Air or MacBook instead of the MacBook Pro. The MacBook only weighs about 1/2 pound less than the Pro, but it’s quite a bit smaller, and is a lot more powerful than the Air.

My flight didn't suck

For the first time in a few years, my flight didn’t suck. I breezed through checkin and security, all of my flights arrived on time and my baggage arrived with me.


My iPhone prediction

There are lots of predictions about what Apple will announce monday, many of them sparked by mysterious boxes being delivered to dealers around the world.

I suspect there will be some kind of docking station with keyboard & display for the new iPhones. Since Apple is now referring to the operating system as ‘OS X Leopard’ instead of ‘Mac OS X Leopard’, there will most likely be some non-Mac device that will run it (actually it already runs on several non-Mac devices: the Apple TV, iPhone, and iPod Touch).

The iPhone already has a lot of the Mac’s capabilities, so it isn’t much of a stretch for them to have a docking device with a keyboard & display to make it a full-fledged computer. Another alternative would be something similar to target mode or portable home directories, where a Mac can use the iPhone as their home directory when it’s docked, so you can easily take your setup anywhere and use it on any Mac.