I'm here in San Francisco at WWDC07 and just finished lunch and biking around the city a little bit to have some time and try to cool off about a few things, but it's just not working so I'm going to fill the world in on the details and see how that goes.
We'll see how much of my time this week I take off from work to ride the train for an hour to come to Apple's little conference and get pushed around. I saw some signs that led me to believe that if a session is filling up, students will be denied entrance before non-students.
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- I left my power adapter at home today somehow, which is pretty stupid of me given that I'll be on the laptop for ~8 hours today at the conference. Anyways, unlike years past, Apple isn't selling anything here so I had to go to the Apple Store. It's only a few blocks away, and a good excuse to bike around, so that's fine. They didn't have any discounts for WWDC people like I think they used to, fine. $80 later I have a new power adapter. I wanted to have two anyways so this isn't that bad.
- The provided lunch wasn't very good and my knife broke in half. No biggy. I didn't get breafast though as you'll see a few bullets down...
- I emailed Apple about 2 months ago with a questions about WWDC (biking to Apple campus for the event on Thursday night). They responded that someone would answer my question and I've yet to get a response.
- Coming back from my trip to the Apple store, I locked up my bike and was walking inside. Two doors into the main hall were wiiiide open and people were walking in and out occasionally, all wearing conference badges. I had mine on so it made perfect sense to walk in the door. Right? Apparently not. I get 10 feet inside and a security guard stops me: "Sir, you'll need to enter through the main entrance." Me: "Even though I'm already inside and I have this conference badge hanging around my neck and there are other people in this room in the same situation?" He proceeded to push me towards the door. WTF. I had to walk (not miles or anything, but a good 400 feet or so) to walk in through identical doors that were closed and I actually open, where there was no line or platoon of security guards, just one guy standing there looking around much the same as the guy at the door that apparently you aren't supposed to go through. A few suggestions for the security force: 1. Shut doors you don't want people to go through. 2. Put signage up similar to "Entrance," "Not an Entrance," and perhaps "Entrance is that way ->." It wouldn't really be that hard. I understand the guy was "just doing his job" but still. Theres a point in an event timeline where it's unacceptable.
- But the worst thing by far is the treatment of students this year. In years past, Sunday was a day of student things with coding sessions, etc. No student Sunday this year. Instead, students were told to show up Monday morning for the keynote like regular conference attendees. I decided to show up later than usual this year because I was fine just sitting in the back and my 7:30am arrival last year for the 10:00am keynote only got me halfway to the front. So 8:40 rolled around when I got here and a security guard told me that there was a different line for students. As it turns out, they corralled students in a concrete floored area with no chairs and a fence around it with only standing room. This includes the students that arrived at 5:00am. "Normal" attendees were sitting on carpet leaning on walls using their laptops with power outlets and wired ethernet. And they were eating pastries and drinking juices and coffee. The students only got coffee. We were standing and wireless didn't work 90% of the time. 9:40 rolls around, the other line is moving. 10:00am rolls around, the students are the only ones left. They send us to a room on the second floor that is already packed with people, (I managed to squeeze into a seat in the middle of a row and didn't get to sit anywhere near the 3 guys I'd been talking to), and the keynote had already started. Seriously Apple, bad call. Some freshman in college got the scholarship to come here and shows up at 6am so he can see Steve Jobs talk in person and you make him stand for 4 hours to sit in a room and watch the keynote on a video screen which he could have done in his dorm room on the east coast? That is not the way to get smart young people excited about developing for the Mac. When people ask me about WWDC, sure I'll tell them about how great the platform is but my story will start with Apple's attitudes towards students. Why the change from last year? Is it that hard to just have everyone wait in one line and suggest that people show up earlier if they want a closer seat? When you are going to not let students see the keynote in person, why not email out instructions along the line of: "Students are not guaranteed seating at the keynote and will receive no advantage by arriving early. Please sleep in so you can enjoy your first day of WWDC to the fullest!"