Macworld San Francisco 2004 Special Report #6

Two more days to go — Wednesday night commentary on first two days of 2004

Macworld Conference & Expo

So VERY appreciative of San Francisco Nemo relatives for providing place to stay, write, and eat, plus generous family to spend a little time together when I’m away briefly from Moscone Center downtown. Six Nemos had delightful dinner together tonight at Max’s Opera Cafe, corner Van Ness and Golden Gate. Terrific food and entertainment, affordable with good service. Recommended. Come early when opera is in season.

Made two pages of notes waiting for others to arrive. Probably not able to get all scribbled on Tekserve loaner iBook tonight, but will try to be comprehensive and coherent. Said farewell to new colleague Owen Rubin before departing Moscone. He REALLY made the Macworld experience a winner for me, and will soon begin to publish features and reviews on a multitude of topics.

The entire day, beginning before 5:30 a.m., is a blur. My brain got fried a couple of times, and I was able to reschedule media appointments, but my body held up well enough given lack of sleep during Macworld Expo week. Yesterday I hit bottom while working Owen on digital photo uploads. He told me today, when I suggested an early lunch, “John, I’ve seen you with low blood sugar, and it’s not a pretty sight. Let’s eat!”

People know We keep running into them. They say, “Who’s that guy started it? Tim something or other?” Or, “Oh yeah, I like your reviews, and those other articles are really weird every so often.” Yep, they have the correct publication. General attitude is approval, and respect for breadth and range of topics. I call it “informed commentary and in-depth reviews.”

Today’s appointments and drop-in visits took us to: HP, Epson, Micromat, Brenthaven, WiebeTech, Griffin, Netopia, Realviz, Macsense, Altec Lansing, Bare Bones, MacUpdate, SmartSound, and countless others. More of the same on Thursday and Friday, except that Nemo will be a solo, since Owen is unavailable. I’ll do my best.

VIP sightings and conversations included: David Pogue, Chris Breen, and a bunch of Owen’s colleagues from his many years doing software authoring and management. Owen is the REAL THING, a genuine power hitter among techies and digerati. Nemo ran into a pair of pals from his Tucson Mac Users Group, plus a former bread-baking student who happened to be an Apple software designer.

When this gentlemen, named David, was introduced to superstar David Pogue, the two David’s immediately compared notes on hidden and neglected features in OS X. I’ll leave the particulars for another report, but the very project “Apple” David worked on is one of Pogue’s absolute favorites. Grand coincidence.

By the way, you can see photos of many of the encounters described herein on recent and future picture postings from our special Macworld coverage. How do the images look on your screen? We’d like to know, when you have a minute, and you can post your thoughts at the bottom of EVERY article in!

Wherever we go at Macworld we exchange business cards with the colleagues we meet. These cards become lifelines to our subsequent year of contacts and coverage, especially since I’m not taking many notes for a change. If you want us to attempt to review a specific or general type of product, please ask.

Today Owen carried a 17” PowerBook and I toted the aforementioned 12” iBook. Computers are HEAVY to lug around all day, so the pack or bag, and the straps, are crucial. We’re testing different cases from a company called Timbuk2; reports coming soon. Most important are strap comfort, access to contents, and weight or balance. That’s the short version.

A 12” inch computer is best for show coverage, due to its weight and size. Petite PowerBooks get very hot. Junior iBooks don’t, but I just heard that new G4 iBooks are problematic, much worse than G3 iBooks. What’s going on here?

It’s hard to travel light and BE PREPARED for this aging Eagle Scout. I try to bring just enough for every probable eventuality, meaning I’m always a bit heavy or crowded in my cases, clothing, and coat/hats. Yes, hats, plural — my famous “Beemo green” cap, plus a broad brimmed rain hat since precipitation is predicted.

Too tired at night to attend special food/drink/music parties, but we hear about them in the mornings. It’s nice to be invited, so maybe I’ll take a power nap in Media Room one afternoon as a constitutional, then boooooggggie all the way to 10:00 or 11:00. Yeegads.

A bunch of loyal readers continue to send messages of encouragement, which we really appreciate. Macworld reporting is a labor of love that we do at our own expense. I decided during my conversion session middle of last night to plan for Macworld 2005, even though I predict it too may not be a blockbuster (although I’m reluctant to call this 2004 Expo a letdown; more editorial opinion to be written earlier in the day on this topic, time permitting). Macworld is the best venue for jump starting an entire year of inspiration here at

Crowds are thin in the showrooms. No buzz, no crush, very comfy feeling, friendly and inviting, no blaring obnoxious booths. Overall a treat for this trekker.

Eight eMacs in Media suite are speedy enough with 256 MB of memory in Panther 10.3.2. This is a viable G4 limited budget option. More RAM would help, but is not necessary for light-duty short-term usage. At home or work get the fastest processor and the MOST MEMORY you can afford, friends. You’ll thank me for insisting.

When I arrived in the pressroom before 8:00 this morning, first media in attendance, I expected to have sufficient time to edit and submit five or six features in the Nemo backlog. Fat chance. Photoshop tutorials, CD reviews, staff rants, and short fiction all have to wait. Hoping time emerges soon. Wish me luck.

Not much rain showed up in downtown S. F. today, I think, but Tucson was warm and sunny. Barbara went swimming, outdoors! That will be fun for me, next week, if the weather holds.

Will quickly move digital photos from camera to iBook before calling it quits tonight. Watch this space later today and tomorrow for more photos and anecdotes from John and Owen. Long live Long live Macworld Expo.


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