What’s In Store For Attendees at Macworld 2011

I had a chance to visit with Paul Kent, vice president of IDG World Expo and General Manager of Macworld Expo, about what is happening at this year’s Macworld Expo. Paul is the person who, with his very competent staff, makes Macworld Expo happen.

Macworld Expo is two weeks away so you still have plenty of time to make plans to attend. The dates are January 26 through 29 and the conference takes place at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. You can get specific Macworld information at the conference web site.

You may know that last year, prior to the event, all was gloom and doom. Apple was not going to participate so Macworld was going to be a big failure, blah, blah, blah. Well, guess what, those of who were there had a blast. In the Expo where all the new products were introduced you couldn’t stir people with a stick and many of the vendors had to call in extra staff to handle the crowds.

The reason was simple: as much as I love all my Mac stuff, I can see that any time as my Mac store. What I wanted to see was what everyone else had to offer. As I talked to other attendees I found out they were there for the same reason. One of the most popular things last year was the Mobile Apps Showcase which allowed independent app developers the opportunity to show off their apps to this huge crowd of willing listeners. And when I got back home I had to do a presentation for our local Mac Users Group about all the new products and what I thought was super because that is all they wanted to hear.

Paul and I talked about the featured presentations for Macworld Expo 2011 and I will mention those in a minute, but when I asked Paul what will be the most important thing at the show this year he answered without a moments hesitation, “Products are the stars of the show, especially the small exhibitors products.” He went on to point out that for many of them this is their one opportunity to have a national stage to showcase their products and the one opportunity for the general public to get the chance to see them, touch them, and try them.

You may be saying to yourself  “I can’t afford to go.” Can you afford US$25.00? If you register ahead of time you can get tickets for the exhibition show floor through January 24th for that price. At the door price is US$45.00. The Expo portion of the conference runs from the 27th through the 29th and with your registration you can attend every day.

TMO has a special readers hotel deal and it is not too late to take advantage of it.

Getting back to my conversation with Paul Kent. It is hard to say which he was the most enthusiastic about — the products that will be available on the show floor, or the featured presentations.  An Expo registration gives you full access to both. The Expo registration also gives you access to live podcasts and other major events that take place throughout each day of the show. Plus, you never know who you will run into around any given corner.

On the 27th Actor and Comedian Sinbad will be a featured presenter. Sinbad loves Macs and he gives a great show. Also on Thursday, Nathan Shedroff and Chris Noessel will present what sounds fascinating to me: Learning from Science Fiction Interfaces. Sounds technical to me, but what I really want to know is will they show us how to “Beam me up Scottie.”

The 28th brings the guys from IFixIt Live! If you are not familiar with this web site you will want to check out this presentation. I know complete geeks who have fixed their own computers following the directions from this great web site. If you have any interest at all in music you will want to check out the presentation from Cellist and Composer Zoë Keating. She uses a cello and foot controlled laptop to record and create a one woman orchestra.

Also on the 28th musician Jordan Rudess, who is keyboardist for the iconic hard rock band Dream Theater will demonstrate how he makes music using an iPhone and an iPad. Last, but not least, on Friday, TechGirlz: Women in Technology, Making a Difference will tell us how it is done and how woman are making a significant contribution and difference in the tech world.

All the information about each featured presentation (when and where) is available at the Macworld Expo web site. None of the feature presentations overlap so you can make them all and do so with just an Expo registration.

If you can get your company to send you to Macworld, more to the good, but if that is not an option, seriously consider giving yourself the opportunity. It is a great opportunity. You may find the perfect product that will make your life easier. You might make contacts that will lead to a better job. You certainly will have the opportunity to make friends from all over the world. If you have business cards, bring them. If you don’t, get some made.

I’ll be there, I hope you will be too. If you see me or any of the other TMO staff, please say hi, and the same goes for Paul, although he may not slow down long enough to hear you. It is a big show after all.