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Monday is Keynote Day

Student Sunday yesterday was excellent. A great introduction to the conference. Aaron Hillegass gave the advanced programming session on Core Data - for those don't know who Aaron is, just take my word for it - it is a big bonus to have him present. After a programming competition/session on the Core Data technology, we heard from Wil Shipley from Delicious Monster. I met him back when he was head hunting for Omni and thought he was a bit of a knob. Well I was very pleasantly shown wrong, as he gave a very captivating presentation primarily on what's involved in starting a software company. Awfully relevant, entertaining and extraordinarily valuable. He could have been talking directly to me as far as I was concerned.

That night was the meet up at Thirsty Bear for a few drinks with Oz reps. You wont believe this, but I swear I sunk 4 of my own balls off the break on my first game. You probably would believe however, that just like everything else in this city, the pockets on the pool table are massively oversized. Well the couple of drinks at Thirsty Bear turned into more at the Cheiftain, and then many unnecessary "last drinks" at various bars, whose locations and names I wont pretend to recall, on the way back to the hotel for a very late retirement.

Thus, Monday morning, the start of the conference, the day of the infamous Steve Jobs keynote, I woke with a pummeling headache as my roommates were filtering out the door. I dragged myself to the Moscone Center and set about drowning all the free bottles of non-alcoholic liquid I could find. The lines had already started as thousands of geeks anticipated the opening of the doors into the Keynote. As the start time of the keynote approached, we still had not been let in and thousands of geeks started to get restless. I was approached by a dude from a magazine published in Silicon Valley (Red Herring I think he called it) who was after a few comments. He asked what I thought of the rumours about Apple switching to Intel. I told him it was all a bunch of crap. Apple wont switch to Intel - they have too much invested in the PowerPC, and you can't just switch to an entirely different processor architecture. He then asked what would happen if Steve was to go ahead and announce such a thing. I told him there would be mass riots, hangings and civil unrest.

It is now 1pm, the Keynote has ended, and Apple have announced that they've switched to Intel. I'm dining on a tasty chunk of foot right now. There are no public hangings as far as I can see, but lots of head scratching and questions about what the switch to Intel means. This is not just a plan for the future to develop a Mac processor in conjuntion with Intel - this is a complete jump of ship. Mac OS X runs on existing x86 hardware - Steve Jobs gave his keynote demos from a Pentium 4 machine running OS X. Interesting times indeed, and I'm sure there will be plenty of commentary floating around the web on the ramifications. I'll mention a little about the Keynote instead.

It is a little hard to imagine it I'm sure, but walking into the keynote presentation room is amazingly exciting. As I walked through the doors into the massive, darkened room, people were scurring to and fro, looking for the best remaining vantage point. The stage is easily 100 metres from the entrance doors, but the booming sound system filled the room with the funkiest club style music, and the buzz really started to hit me. I scored a seat about halfway to the stage, just under one of the larger secondary displays hanging from the roof. Soon enough, Steve appeared on stage to loud applause. He spoke through the usual company report on what's been successful, and then quite quickly, got down to business of the Intel rumours. And in one simple slide, the 3800+ developers, who up until now had been feverishly applauding, cheering and laughing, were silenced. The slide read "It's true", with the final e subscripted in the unmistakable Intel styling. The rest of the Keynote involved various presenters discussing what Mac on Intel means for developers. Roz from Microsoft was pretty appalling, but Theo from Mathematica and the Intel boss himself, gave very interesting presentations. And with that, the Keynote was over! Zero product announcements, only one secret revealed, no "one more thing..." and no freebies. It was a very short keynote, and I'm afraid I've dubbed it "Worst Keynote Ever". But that's not as dreadful a rating as it may sound - keynotes are excellent in general and the worst is still quite good. The conference is warming up nicely, and there's many exciting things to come. It's still easily the worst keynote I've seen.


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