A N00b's Point Of View

Expectations is the place you must always go to before you get to where youire going. Of course, some people never go beyond Expectations, but my job is to hurry them along whether they like it or not.

--Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

If thereis one thing Iive learned from 20 months of living in Japan, it is to adjust my expectations. This is my first MACWORLD. Ever. I feel slightly sheepish, having grown up a mere 10 minute drive from the Cupertino campus, a 45 minute drive to the Moscone Center, and yet I never made it to MW San Francisco.

Japan--itis always surprising. Whatever you think is going to happen...whatever you want to happen...Japan will consistently give you the exact opposite. I think Bryan experienced this at MW Tokyo this year. From what heis told me, both San Francisco and New York are madhouses. People and booths everywhere, massive hoops that press must jump through, and most importantly, coffee and food [Editoris Note: and Diet Cokes] in the press room.

A quick run-down of MW Tokyo shows that these three "standbys" are conspicuously absent. The venue is small, press merely needs to write their name on a paper and offer up two business cards (everyone get out paper and crayons!), and in typical Japanese fashion, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Or a free cup of coffee, cookies, Saltines, or stale Jujubes. Just lukewarm orange juice, a dearth of power outlets, and an Airport network that wasnit even on yet when the press arrived.

Ahhh, Japan. And people wonder why Iim often so bitter when I talk about living here.

Where was I? Oh yes, MACWORLD Tokyo and the war of expectations versus reality. All in all, I have to say this has been a wonderful experience. I suppose I would have enjoyed not working at an expo for my first experience, but I canit really complain. The SteveNote was...anticlimactic. I had watched the QuickTime stream of the San Francisco keynote, and was so hyped over that. Thursdayis keynote was basically a re-hash of what Iid already seen. (Not to mention that when youire watching it at home, you can get up for popcorn half-way through.)

Exhibits were fun. Lots of people who love their Macs, and of course, the Campaign Ladies. I was chastised twice about taking photos--once during the SteveNote (OK, twice in quick succession) and once while trying to take a photo of a giant Aqua Apple logo hanging from the ceiling. (It seems that for the latter, I was missing the Critical Red Dot on my press pass. That is so "Japan.")

I think I need lower expectations.

Hopefully, my next MACWORLD will be a Western-style event. I want coffee in the press room and I want exhibits I can understand without extreme concentration. On-the-fly translation is a bitc...pain. (Thanks to Brett Rumble!)