Date: Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014, 08:49
Category: Apple, conference, Features, iPhone, Mac, Meetup, Software
Sessions have always been a big part of any Mac Expo, but especially in recent years in response to the absence of Apple’s Steve-notes and daily product demonstrations and tutorials. While I miss the Apple presence, as a power-user I welcome the fact that the bar for session topics has been risen. Past “standard” sessions (non-IT) focused primarily on the average consumer, giving tips on using iPhoto for organizing and improving the quality of photos, using standard utilities to execute basic maintenance, or creating ringtones with GarageBand. These are all worthy topics, and the average user is an important demographic for Mac, but it was frustrating that there were few opportunities for the average power-user to learn something new or push their learning experience to the next level. While there has been some improvement, I think there could be more done for power-user education, however, that is not to say there have not been some great additions to the session agenda to improve the experience for all types of Mac users.
The only downside is that a number of the sessions I was interested in overlapped, meaning I had make some tough choices and miss out on some good talks. I plan to go into more detail about each session in separate posts, but here’s a synopsis of the ones I was able to attend.
Confessions of an Apple Writer
In his session, Ted Landau recounted his career writing about the Mac, which has existed practically as long as the Mac itself. Currently a Senior Contributor at Macworld Magazine, he talked about his first Mac article as well as his book writing career and how that led him to his first exploration into web publishing. Lastly, Ted discussed his retirement from speaking at the expo and writing full time.
Mac Gems: Meet the Developers
Macworld Senior Editor, Dan Frakes, interviews some of the software developers whose software has been designated a “Mac Gem”, translating to useful and inexpensive software that helps make using a Mac a better experience. The included companies were AgileBits (1Password), BusyMac (BusyCal), Smile (PDFPen), and Prosoft Engineering (Drive Genius). They talk about the changes to developing software for the Mac over the years and the pros and cons of working within Apple’s “walled garden”.
How to Start Your Own Apple Repair Business
The founders of the indispensable web site, iFixit, discuss how to use their extensive library of online take-apart manuals to create or expand a small business. They also announced a new, upcoming section of their web site which will be focused on providing tools and resources specifically targeted to help people develop their own repair business.
Consultants Meet Up
Three existing Mac IT consultants; Benjamin Levy, Andy Espo, and Phil Goodman, teamed up to offer tips and advice to a wide range of people who showed up for this “birds-of-a-feather” discussion. The team talked about their experiences becoming consultants or trainers, and answered questions regarding numerous topics from the world of Mac IT support.
Of the sessions that I had to drop, the ones I was most disappointed about were;
- Wearable Tech: What’s Hot, What’s Not given by Jeff Gamet of the MacObserver web site
- The Making of iPhone: Stories From An Insider by Andy Grignon
- From Myst to Augustus Gladstone: An Interview with Robyn Miller
I think you can see from the topics that there are a lot of useful talks improving the session experience, especially if you get early discounted pricing. I look forward to seeing what they have cooked up for next year. I just hope there is time to see more of them.