WWDC 2010 Journal, Day 2

Wednesday, June 09, 2010 at 10:43 AM

By Mike Morton, Google Mac Team

Google engineer Mike Morton somehow finds time to blog from Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco while also learning, socializing, eating, and occasionally sleeping. Read today's entry for more.

Day 2 had barely begun, and I felt like I’d been here a week. The constant time-juggling is a challenge: attend a session, ask questions in a lab, eat, sleep, work, schmooze? Before heading to Moscone West, I chatted in the hotel lobby with other attendees about the time challenge. One first-timer told me his friends simply suggested he get to as many parties as possible.

I spotted an attendee wearing a “hi, i make macintosh software” t-shirt. I noticed later that “macintosh” is an anagram of “Hm, iOS can’t".

Breakfast at Moscone featured uninspiring food, but inspiring conversation. A friend and I sat at a table with four folks we didn’t know, all with different interests. One was a grad student, doing systems for kids with various disabilities. He asked the accessories engineer if one could build a simple device with just two buttons, for simple apps for his students with motor coordination problems. The accessories guy reached into a bag: “Like this one?”. He showed us Pong running on his iPhone, using the extra hardware to control it!

Last year, the show had a huge display of app icons, each one jiggling each time it was downloaded. This year’s display was different: app icons fell from the top like meteors, one for each download. Popular apps showed their icons over and over. That made it a lot easier to find Google Earth, which I never did spot last year — and Google Mobile seems to be "selling" like hotcakes.

The wifi and cell networks continue to struggle with the load, sometimes failing but usually somewhat usable. Apple staffers did better under load, staying quite pleasant. Some have boring jobs like using a clicker to count attendees entering each session, but they still manage to stay cheerful. I teased one clicker dude: “Don’t you have an app to do that?” He replied he did have a phone app, but that the cheap clicker was easier to use. Low tech sometimes wins.

The Apple Design Awards were noticeably different this year. They didn’t list nominees, but instead just announced each winner. That takes some of the fun out of it, in my humble opinion. More significantly, all the awards were for iPhone or iPad apps — nothing for Mac OS X at all. A bunch of hardworking iPhone developers took home beautiful cubes with a glowing Apple logo and a bunch of hardware, and had their conference costs reimbursed.

As in past years, John Geleynse from Apple demoed each app. This is fun because some apps involve musical skill, artistic ability, game-playing reflexes, and so on. He did pretty well, but joked that the awards committee might be picking apps that he’ll find challenging. And, as in past years, I feel like I should try each of the winning apps, even though there are so many apps, so little time. Perhaps Apple could offer a package deal on the App Store: all the winning apps together, at a discount?

I’m sure the annual Stump The Experts was great [Editor's note: yeah, it was!], but the combined siren song of email backlog and sleep backlog was too great.