WWDC 2011 Journal, Day 4

Friday, June 10, 2011 at 8:57 AM

by Mike Morton, Google Mac Team

Google Engineer Mike Morton is finished with Apple's 2011 Worldwide Developer Conference. Here's his final journal entry, written before he hopped a plane for home earlier today, where he's probably catching up on sleep and email, in that order.

My last day in town began with a short – OK, very short – visit to the hotel gym, then the usual breakfast at Moscone of pastries (have these folks not heard that carbs are out of fashion?) and coffee. The guy across the table was wearing a t-shirt that read "I was a Mac user when Apple was doomed". It’s nice to be not doomed again.

Early in the day, I went to a talk on accessibility on iOS. This included a great demo of iOS features to help people who are blind, visually impaired, deaf, or motor-impaired. There were also details of how to make sure our apps are useful for everyone. We also saw a short video of the Wearabraille system, which is the most high-tech accessory I’ve seen for an iPhone.

Most talks include a demonstration app, sometimes with an Apple engineer creating the app one piece at a time. Since they paste in prepared snippets of code, that kind of demo moves fast, occasionally leaving me with the feeling of watching a cooking show on fast forward. Building an app on the fly, even with prepared ingredients, can be tough on the Apple folks, too. Even though it’s scripted, the parts done manually are an invitation for the Demo Gods to fling a few thunderbolts. Audiences are very patient, as most of us have been hit with thunderbolts ourselves, but it’s still tough on the person giving the talk.

One of today's highlights was a performance by James Dempsey and the Breakpoints. James is the funniest guy at Apple, and does a song every year. I got there early and scored a front-row seat. Worth the effort, not only to see James perform "The Accessibility Song" on iPad instead of his usual guitar, but also for the number of words rhymed with "accessibility". I don’t think the performance has hit YouTube yet, but you can find several other performances online.

The other music news of the morning was speculation about which musical act would show up at the traditional Thursday night WWDC bash. Rumors flew about The Edge, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Arcade Fire, and others. Some thought it would be someone whose music was played before the sessions. That would suggest the equally unlikely possibilities of a James Brown gig or a Beatles reunion.

Those wanting to drink at the party had to show IDs to get wristbands. Perhaps they were expecting some serious drinking: the wristbands said "If found, return me to WWDC". The Franti faction was right, and the band rocked Yerba Buena Gardens, driving some of us old folks to the far edge of the garden, where the volume was more tolerable.

Tomorrow’s special event is Buzz Aldrin speaking, but I’ll be airborne while he talks about orbit. I hope he repeats next year! Tickets for next year are already on my mind — WWDC 2010 sold out in eight days, and 2011 in eleven hours. Pressure for tickets will be intense in the future. I wonder if we’ll see scalping, or perhaps ’bots which will buy your ticket for you.

WWDC 2012 will bring new things, but it will also be the same thing all over again: long lines, repeated sleep deprivation, seeing friends. I wonder how we can keep this blog from being the same thing all over again. What should my intrepid editor and I do? Interviews with attendees? Writing in lolcat for teh intire confuhrens? Capturing each day in a single haiku? Using nothing but memes built at http://memegenerator.net? We'll have to work on that. See you next year!