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Comment on "In Defense of WWDC 2006"
by Bill Coleman — Aug 29
OK, I didn't go to WWDC this year. In fact, I haven't been to a WWDC since 2002. But I had gone to WWDC from 1991-2002, with the notable exception of 1996 (which means I really didn't miss anything then, either).

I don't know what the conditions are like at Moscone, but things were already changing at the old San Jose Convention Center back in those days.

One of the things I put in the feedback for the last few years I went was the lack of sit-down lunches and dinners. WWDC had moved to a fast-paced format where there were box lunches, or a school cafeteria tent outside. I was glad to see the tent gone in 2002.

Part of my complaint was that I had learned an awful lot just by sitting down with a half-dozen other developers and chewing the fat for an hour over lunch. I met a whole bunch of people with a lot of different views on Macintosh development. Sometimes they were Apple engineers, sometimes they were people I knew, at least by reputation. Sometimes they were perfect strangers.

The snack situation was in decline for a long time. Back in the early 90's, Apple used to have carts of snacks, including a big cart of candies they would push around in the afternoons.

I also remember some of the lunch-time competitions -- like the lego structure contest, or the music trivia contest. (Best Answer: "Q: What do Def Leopard and The Honeycombs have in common. A: They are both breakfast cereals, except for Def Leopard.") Perhaps WWDC just grew too big for some of this.

Stump the Experts was introduced in 1992. It became my favorite session. I even half-way answered a question well enough to get a shirt one year.

Bottom Line: there's a lot of intangibles to a conference like this. The priority is the information -- the contact with engineers, hands-on with hardware, the NDA sessions, etc. But little things like bad food, lack of snacks, poor treatment by security -- these things add up to a negative impression. Apple ought to be listening to their feedback and try and correct these problems next year.
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