Thursday, June 07, 2007

Make the most of your time @ WWDC

Well I am not going to WWDC this time around. But chances are if you are reading this you are... or at least you just wanna know what all the fuss is about. Scott Stevenson posted his thoughts on CocoaDevCentral and as a first time attendee I thought i’d give you some tips from things I learned at WWDC 06. Students Generally speaking students get the Sunday before the Keynote to go through a few general sessions by some guest speakers, followed by a Dinner and Job Fair. But lets get the ugly out of the way. Get there Saturday with a good amount of time to get the lay of the land. I don’t know about WWDC 07 but in 2006 the Student session was at a hotel and not at the Moscone center. So you’ll need to know where the student session is at and how to get there. If you can print out as many copies of your resume (assuming your going to the career fair) before leaving on the trip, or find a copy place on Saturday and save yourself some time. You should have a good amount of time on Sunday before the career fair to do this, but I would rather have spent the time relaxing. Also you’ll need to get your badge you wear all around WWDC on Saturday at the Student Registration. You can always get this later, but I would really recommend getting your badge on Saturday. When you start out Student Sunday feel free to bring your MacBook/Pro to take notes, etc. Then you’ll have your sessions as well as lunch then the Career Fair. Many students ask about the attire you wear to the career fair. In general most people going wear formal clothes, but you are totally free to chose what you want. Your not required to go formal. The Keynote and First Day Again for the rest of the WWDC attendees, get your badges ahead of time before Monday. Just trust me, it’ll save you lots of time and effort later on. Scott was right about the Keynote comparison between WWDC and MacWorld. I woke up at 6 am and got there 7 am and the line was from the front of the building and wrapped around roughly a block. When I finally got in to the keynote room, I got a spot only a few rows back from the frontmost spot the average attendee could get. In comparison I read about how people camped out the night before MacWorld. Overall get there at whatever time you want, but if you want a really good spot then get there at around 6-7 am, if you want any decent spot I wouldn’t get there more than a couple hours after that. Then you can watch the keynote and break for lunch. After that you’ll go through a couple State of the Union sessions followed by dinner at a reception there. The Sessions Apple makes a list of sessions available ahead of time, but many of them are blank for unannounced sessions. All I can offer you here is mark out which sessions you’d like to go to ahead of time. When they finally do announce all the sessions, all you need to do is compare your selection against the newly announced sessions and make your choice. You can always go for a session in something your interested in learning vs learning how something has improved in the next Mac OS. Personally i’d always go for something new if you can as they paid off big for me, but again it’s all your choice. If say your job revolves around some particular feature/topic then certainly go to the sessions on that. You can always watch the video of the session later on. Hands on Sessions Whereas most sessions are like listening to a lecture/guide to how something works, the hands on sessions are more tutorial-like than anything else. The one hand on session I went to was nice, but at the same time it’s wasn’t required you even follow along to enjoy it. Apple will probably provide code ahead of time on the WWDC attendee site. If you are even thinking of going to these sessions I’d personally take the time and download the code/files for the sessions ahead of time so you have them in case you go to the session. Labs Labs are a nice time to get some one on one time with apple engineers to get answers to your tough problems. If you intend to go to these have your laptop with you and a list of things you are trying to get help on. In many sessions you are attending you should pay attention to any mentions of specific times for a lab on that subject so that you can make the maximum use of your time at WWDC. Feedback Forums Feedback Forums are a very loosely structured meeting. Basically key people from Apple that work on whatever the forum is focused on are on stage and take your feedback on that subject wether it’s good or bad, or if you just want to offer advice on things you think apple really needs to include/improve in whatever the forum is focused on. These sessions are ok, but aren’t really that useful to you unless you really want to give apple some feedback. Special Events There are 3 special events definitely worth attending at WWDC. The first being the Apple Design Awards where developers get recognized for producing some amazing apps. Each time this is held the competition keeps growing in size. The other event is stump the experts. This one is an event they even encourage you to take all the pictures you want. It’s overall a very good time to be had trying to solve the puzzles they put up and all the questions. Too bad theres no video of this on the ADC on iTunes. The last event is the Bash on Apples Campus. If you want to get a decent spot, be sure to line up early. Me and my friends did and we got to be among the first to get in line for the Apple Store there and it still took a while to get in there. If you get there and see a long line it may not be worth it to even try and get in. They have plenty of food and drinks there as well as a musical guest of some sort. WWDC 06 featured a DJ, it sounds like 05 featured a band ( Jimmy Eat World.) Meals Everyday Apple has Breakfast and Lunch for all attendees as well as dinner on a few nights. It seemed to me that there was generally plenty to eat there at any given time. There was even enough laying around just before the keynote to make a decent breakfast. As for lunch, I can’t speak to everybody’s taste, but I found there was a decent variety. Usually there are a few options at any meal and I believe there was some vegetarian meals, but I didn’t pay much attention to them while I was there. As always there are options for meals around you in San Francisco, but mostly they seem a bit expensive and so most of my meals were at the Moscone Center.Also there is always (and I mean ALWAYS) a ton of free drinks in the commons area of each floor (except the 1st floor.) By drinks I mean lemonade, water, etc. Overall Overall just relax and have a good time there. Unless you really need help at the labs with specific topics just go with what seems interesting to you and never second guess yourself, you can always watch the video of the session you couldn’t go to later on when Apple puts it up for download on iTunes. Enjoy yourself at WWDC! Also let me know if there was anything else you thought was important from your experiences at WWDC.

1 comment:

John said...

Some changes for this year. There is no student Sunday this year! . There will still be a job fair and a little student session, but from what it sounds like, nothing as cool as the student Sundays of the past :(.

Also, it looks like Apple won't be inviting people to Cupertino this year. The bash is going to be in downtown San Francisco .

These are some radical changes this year. I hope Apple has good reasons for making these changes. I would say not having the bash on the Apple campus kind of degrades the WWDC experience. It's always fun to visit the "Mother-ship" and the Apple Company store in Cupertino is a must for any Apple geek.

It also feels weird for me not going this year. Perhaps next year I may decide it's worth it to take a week off work and spend the money to go.