Amidst the buzz and hubbub swirling about from the World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC), there is the little-conference-that-could: MacHack. Normally MacHack takes place one month after the WWDC, but a schedule change threw Appleis developer conference to just a few days after the scrappier affair in Michigan. While the WWDC has taken some of MacHackis limelight away, attendees of the latter are not allowing the former to put a damper on this conference, which was appropriately dubbed "Unstoppable." In the wireless zones, Mac geeks have been pulling out their stylish laptops, exchanging technical do-dads, and sharing fond memories of MacHackis past.
The best hack
MacHack officially kicked off at midnight (last night), but while people were waiting around before the keynote, ideas for the winning hack were conjured up. Each year, there is a contest held to find the most useless, insane, yet remarkable Macintosh program. Based upon todayis head start, this year is bound to produce some astonishing hacks. Theyire all here -- young and old, professional and hobbyist, and even the occasional Mac celebrity -- to learn, compete, and have a blast. Some people have come almost every year (this year will be the 18th MacHack) and others have only two or three years under their belt, but anyone will admit that itis incredibly addictive.
The fountain of youth
Itis outstanding to see so many fairly new Macintosh programmers. Clearly demonstrating a revival in interest for the Mac platform and development, the Yoot section of the conference, for budding student developers, is going strong. Along with the main hack contest, students have the option of competing with their peers in similar competitions. Donit let their age fool you, however; many of these young programmers are well versed in a wide variety of programming languages, and some are even giving presentations.
While Appleis decision to move the WWDC almost on top of MacHack is a controversial one, attendees are being fairly understanding. There is definitely disappointment at the lack of presence from Apple. In the past, Apple has been a sponsor and has sent many representatives to the conference. This year, Apple is devoting all itis resources to the WWDC and many representatives are tied up in preparation for next week.
Conference attendance is also lower than in past years because some developers could justify the time and expense of only one conference, and many of them chose the WWDC. For others, the conference schedules are a blessing, especially for the international developers, as they would rather make one long trip than two separate ones. For all of those attending MacHack, however, the speculation is rampant on what Apple will be announcing at the WWDC. The people who will attend both shows are clearly excited as to what could be "in the bag."
In the next few days, attendees will flash their programs, heckle the speakers, discover new products, learn about programming theories, and impress each other with their technical magic. Itis a level playing field where anyone can become the teacher or student -- an experience which makes MacHack irreplaceable amongst the Macintosh developing community.