MWSF Day 3

MWSF Day 3
Well, Day Three of the Macworld Expo has come to a close, and while it was full of fun, interesting, and memorable moments, I’m also glad to be back in the hotel room, nursing a Coca-Cola and giving my poor feet a well deserved rest.

Our day began with a 4:00 a.m. wakeup call. Just to be on the safe side, we also had the alarm set. We needed every minute of sleep, too, because this Expo business really tires a person out. I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow, totally exhausted.

Last night was wonderful. Once Tuesday’s column was written and emailed to Jim for editing, we had a nice night out with Beth Lock and Karen Priorie. Beth, of course, is My Mac’s Babes in Boyland columnist, and Karen is a regular on World Without Borders, better known to all as GCSKap, or just Kap. It was Karen who originally lured My Mac into hosting chats on WWB, and she’s a real sweetheart. The four of us had an excellent dinner and great conversation at a nice Italian restaurant a few blocks from our hotel. But because Adam and I had to get up bright and early to stand in line for the keynote address today, we had to say goodnight and head back to the hotel right after dinner.

By 4:45 this morning we were making our way to the Moscone center, hoping we would be among the first people in line. We were, but our new friends beat us there. These three diehards had been waiting outside since 3:00 a.m.! We posted their pictures on the website yesterday, wearing some of the most original clothing seen yet at the Expo. They had journeyed to a local CompUSA yesterday to check out their website and see if they were on it, which they are, so they treated us to some nice cold caffeine when we got in line behind them. (Mountain Dew in my case, while younger Adam can stay awake without that heavenly nectar.)

By 5:15 we were glad to have gotten in line as early as we did, as many of the Mac faithful began arriving to queue up for the big event. I met some really great people, many of whom had never heard of My Mac Magazine. So I hope we made some new readers today!

Around 7:00 the fine folks at the Moscone center decided to let the press come inside early to get in another line. Being “The Press,” I was only too happy to oblige. Glancing back as I entered, I couldn’t help noticing that my new friends were none too happy having to remain outside. And I can’t say that I blame them, either.

We then waited in the new line for a few more hours, meeting and speaking with some really nice fellow journalists. Some spoke no English, but were kind enough to show off their super-expensive digital cameras. Let me tell you, that was some nice equipment.

We also met some Apple employees, the people who volunteered for the event. A few in particular talked with us for a while, and it was nice to put some faces with “Apple” besides Steve Jobs and the like.

Finally, it was time to move inside the ballroom, towards the press-only area!

We bobbed and weaved our way through the throng of eager press people. Since the first two rows were reserved for VIPs, we chose the two aisle seats in the third row. What great seats! The view was outstanding! Then a couple of the other press people sitting to our right informed us that someone (they weren’t sure who) had told them that the VIP section encompassed the first four rows, not just the first two. Looking behind me, I saw nothing but full seats. To move now would put us in the back of the ballroom!

“We have to move, Tim,” Adam tells me.

“Why? Says who?” I ask, my heart racing. I couldn’t imagine waiting for hours to get this close, only to lose it all now. The horror!

“Someone told them,” Adam replies, nodding towards our fellow press members.

“Yup, we gotta move,” one says to me. So I stand, let them and a few other members of the press by, and motion to Adam to sit back down. “No one told ME that!” I explain to a now nervous Adam. “Just sit back, look inconspicuous, and zip up your jacket to cover your press badge.”

Our row starts filling up with many VIPs. While trying to look like we belong there, I notice that someone is holding open the seats directly in front of Adam and me. Because we’re right on the aisle, I keep expecting someone to notice us and ask us to move. But you know what? It never happened! So there we were, holding down arguably the best seats in the house. Why the best seats? Read on.

I had been reading MacCentral’s pre-Expo coverage for the past few weeks, so I wasn’t surprised to see John DeLancie, better known as “Q” from “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “Star Trek: Voyager” series, seated just a few feet away from me. I nodded my head his way, smiling. He waved back with a big smile and a nod of his own. Cool guy! I really enjoy his work, and consider myself a Star Trek fan (though not a Trekkie.)

“Hey, there’s Steve Jobs!” Adam tells me, and turning to my left, sure enough, is Mr. Apple himself, Steve Jobs not five feet away from me. Adam takes a few quick pictures (without looking like a journalist, mind you) while I wait to shake his hand. The chance to actually “meet” Steve Jobs never happened, though. When he turned my way, and I started to thrust my hand out to him, someone in a coat and tie called out “Steve” from the other direction, and my chance was lost. Ah ,well, thus is life. We did, however, get a few pictures of him sitting and standing right next to us. Though not the best quality photos ever taken, you can see just how close we really were.

It was now ten minutes to nine, the start of the keynote. There was some activity in front of us, and who should sit down in the seat right in front of me but none other than Steve Wozniak himself! Yes, the other co-founder of Apple, The Woz! I was stoked, to say the least! I know many of you look up to Steve Jobs, as do I, but Steve Wozniak has always been a personal hero of mine. (Even before the TNT movie “Pirates of Silicon Valley” and before his website, , made us a Site of the Month.) To be this close to Woz… I was floored. Really! In fact, I’m still a little numb from it. You can see from some of our photos just how close I was. After the keynote speech, as you may have seen from our main page, I introduced myself to Mr. Wozniak and asked if he would mind Adam taking my picture with him. Generously, he said yes. I shook his hand, thanked him, and made my way outside for some much-needed nicotine.

If you want to know more about exactly what Steve Jobs said in the keynote, I would suggest you go to one of the news sites, such as Macintouch or MacCentral. They have much better coverage of that than I will provide. Besides, you already read all about it, or saw the QuickTime version of the event. I will say, though, that sitting there and actually SEEING Mac OS X in action was much different than just reading about it. Mac OS X will truly change everything. If you think the Mac is great now, just wait a year…

Most of the rest of the day was spent visiting vendors, though there are a LOT more I have appointments with tomorrow and Friday. I will go into product-watch type of reporting at a later date, but I did want to tell you about one other very cool thing that happened to me today.

While talking with the Vicomsoft people, I happened to look behind me. And who do I see standing not ten feet away? Sinbad himself, one of my favorite comedians! Of course, Sinbad also happens to be a movie star now, and I watched him in “Jingle All The Way”–his movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger just last week. And there he is, right in front of me. So off I go to introduce myself, once he is done talking to the other guy.

“How you doing?” he asks me, to which I say “Great! Tim Robertson, Publisher of My Mac Magazine!” Hey, what else am I gonna say?

“My Mac Magazine? I get that magazine!” he says.

“You lie!” I shoot back. No way Sinbad, one of my all-time favorite comedians, reads my magazine.

“I do too!” he says, “I get all the Mac magazines! My Mac, I download that!” Sinbad has a personality I love, someone easy to get along with. Talking to him one-to-one was very comfortable.

Then he looks at my badge again, seeing where I live. “Battle Creek Michigan! I’m from Benton Harbor!” he tells me. I tell him I knew that. “The Battle Creek Central Bearcats!” he says, referring to a high school in Battle Creek.

“Yeah, I went there!” I tell him. Notice all the exclamation points? That was how the conversation went at first, very loud and friendly. My kind of guy, let me tell you. So we swap business cards, and talk about something you will learn about in a few months time here in My Mac. Adam takes a picture of Sinbad and me standing side by side, smiling for the camera. But, as always seems to happen, the camera was too low on battery power to record the scene. While I’m disappointed not to be able to post a picture of Sinbad and me, these things sometimes happen. But at least I had a very cool conversation with him!

Tim Robertson, from the Macworld Expo 2000 in San Francisco, California.

Tim Robertson

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