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But I Digress...
by Doc Hillman



How To Get Into The Apple Party And Other MACWORLD Tips
July 13th, 2000

Next month, I'll take some time to let you all (or perhaps I should write y'all, as I do live far south of the Mason-Dixon line.) on how this works. For now, though, it is, most definitely, MACWORLD time, and that means serious business for the community of Mac users who descend upon the Expo with an elevated heart pace.

It is however, extremely important that you take time before the Expo to properly prepare yourself for the exposition. First off, it's in New York. New York. I've been in cities the world over, but there's still no experience quite like New York. A place I learned to make mistakes. Like there was this one time when I was down listening to Larry Coryell play jazz at the since departed Lone Star Café. Lone Star beer, and chili that told me exactly what chili is supposed to taste like. No beans, got it? No beans.

But I digress.

A few things you ought to take into account at MACWORLD. First, and foremost, remember that you are in New York, and therefore certain things are true. First, no matter what the press tells you, Rudy Giuliani has not made New York a safer city. Whatever you do, quietly avoid the cops. They are, well, a little trigger-happy these days.

Next, a huge tip. If you want to go to the Apple Developer's Party, which is an experience unto itself, it can be done. Odds against it without a ticket aren't great, but it can happen. I suppose it's something like hanging around a "phish" concert these days. Reminds me of a story. I used to play poker every Monday night with a pretty bizarre group in L.A. All Mac users except for the gynecologist whose patients included the wife of every player at the table. Except mine. Any way, Guido (one of the players- a screenwriter of great conviction and little success) and I used to go to Dead shows. We brought along Skippy to one of them. Skippy you ask? Yes. Skippy. The "Family Ties" Skippy. So Skip gives this girl a ticket, and she completely freaks. "Skippy? I got tickets to a Dead show from Skippy? For real?"

But I digress.

Here's what you do.

Find out where the party is. Go there. Stand around outside and keep looking for somebody. Choose your Aunt Gertie, it doesn't really matter who shows. Then pray that someone will give you a ticket. Hey, it worked for me. I took a cab down with a couple of women that sold advertising for MACWORLD, asked them to try and find someone inside (like old naïve me would figure the person could be found.) Then I waited and looked for Aunt Gertie. Finally a guy walks up and asks "You trying to get in?" "Um yeah…" "Well I got stood up by a couple of clients- here." Handed a card with an I-Apple-NY button, I walked up and got swirled up by a party crowd. I've never been to a rave before, and don't know if I'll go again soon, but that was something.

Now, the Javits Center. This is not a beautiful building. No, I'll go further than that. This is an atrocious building. There is a limit to the amount of stainless steel and linoleum to which we should be subjected. Javits crosses the line. So, go late, and leave early, or you will spend a great deal of time hanging out in the linoleum thinking, "why am I doing this?" That's not a good thing.

Don't go alone. For goodness sake, bring someone that you know with you. Walking around a cavernous hall for hours with only sales reps to talk to can make it pretty strange. I would far prefer to be there with someone that shares interest in the whole deal. Last year, I saw a lot of kids with their parents. This is a good thing Dads - bring the kids along.

Put a lock on your wallet if you are prone to impulse buying in any way shape or form. I tell you this because this damn Mac habit has caused me more financial misery than I care to remember. I finally had to tell Erin (my wife, #1 important person) to put the MacWarehouse catalogs in the trash before I got them. That company got their hooks into me so bad it was crazy. All told, I probably dropped about $30,000 into their lap, and it was the catalogs. And the three dollar shipping. Remember that one people? Three dollar shipping? Over night? And for some strange reason, the packages always got to Tennessee earlier than they did in Rhode Island. Now they ship out of Jersey, and Rhode Island is five hours away and Tennessee fourteen, but I could get a package from New Jersey in less than twelve hours. I never understood that one.

But I digress.

Fact is that everybody you meet there is going to be selling you something. Not that it’s a bad thing. The prices at Expo can be terrific. The temptation is extreme, and will be extreme this time. You will undoubtedly turn a corner and run into people giving away free stuff more than once. Then you'll get the "win free stuff places," and the buy for cheap places. You'll also get the "Ohmygod that's amazing but I can never afford to get a monitor like that one places." There, just look amazed. Buy if you need too, but not if you just "want" to.

Don't trust everything you hear at MACWORLD. Somehow, you're going to get chatting with someone, and they'll tell you that something is going to happen soon. Back at the Apple Developer Party, I ran into a rep from one company, or rather, he ran into me. He was shooting pool and doing shots of tequila, and smacked me with the pool cue. By accident I'm sure. He didn't know me yet. Any way, I bitched about the tinny sound of my iMac, and he told me that was all going to change. I asked when, and he guarded the state secret, gave me a card and said keep in touch. iSub comes out, and it won't work with my old Rev. A. So, I buy a DV. Guy says he'll send me the iSub. Doesn't. Bummer. Shouldn't have listened.

But I digress.

Use the subway. Be careful of the taxis. They can get insane. Oh they'll get you there, but you may have a heart attack along the way. Or not. Riding the NY Taxi system is kind of like playing Wheel of Fortune. Think about it - how many times would you flag down anyone and ask them to safely deliver you to your destination? Sure, they're professionals, but they are the ones who make it impossible to drive your own car downtown. Which I did. Last year. Rolled into Times Square at about nine after getting lost in Fort Lee, New Jersey. (Mr. Richard Fetter where are you?). If that was normal city driving, I don't ever want to be there around the holidays. From now on, trains and subways, busses, but not those double-deckers that ran a guy down.

And overall, just get ready for some fun. If you hit the keynote address, I've got a hunch it'll be cool but not that much of a ground breaker. Think about it. The big questions are no longer, "What's coming next?" but rather "What incremental change is there going to be in the product line?" MacOSX? That one's been around long enough already. Some will like it, some hate it, but all in all we're going to use it. 'nough said.

Your comments are welcomed.

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Dr. Tim Hillmanis a long time contributor to the Mac community through his work with MacCentral, MacOPINION, and most recently MacOS Daily.



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