Apropos of nothing other than, I guess, the rumored dates for WWDC 2011, a colleague whom I met at Voices That Matter asked me for some WWDC tips.

My response got long enough that I asked if it would be OK to repurpose as a blog entry. Nothing here that’s particularly unique or special, I suppose, but he said he wasn’t finding other WWDC tips, so maybe this is a topic that needs to get kicked around the Mac/iOS blogosphere.

  • SELLOUTS: Rapid conference sellouts are becoming the norm. Last year’s WWDC sold out in eight days. CodeMash sold out in less than three. Google IO sold out in under an hour. If you’re serious about going, you’d better plan on registering as soon as it’s announced. The way things are accelerating, I bet WWDC will sell out in a day this year.
  • HOTELS: Check with someone else, because my approach is peculiar. I’ve picked up the habit from a colleague of mine, a former O’Reilly and Prags guy, of not staying down in the Moscone area, but rather partway across town at a small bed-and-breakfast called The Queen Anne near Japantown, and then walking a block each morning to catch a MUNI bus to Union Square and walk southeast from there past the Apple Store, Market St., and the Metreon to Moscone. It means going back to the room is impractical — when I go downtown, it’s for the whole day — but that’s never been a problem for me.
  • DINING: You get breakfast and lunch every day at Moscone. It’s about what you’d expect from meals for 6,000 people, but you’re at WWDC for the knowledge and the company, not the dining. You’re on your own for dinners. There’s a ton of stuff in the area there, especially if you walk north to Market St. or Union Square. A lot of people go across the street to the Metreon’s food court to escape WWDC, but I find it mediocre and crowded… instead, go north to the Emporium mall (you can enter through Bloomingdale’s, which you can see from Moscone West), which has two food courts, the larger one with some real variety and not too expensive.
  • EVENING EVENTS: The ADC awards are OK. I’ve never hung around for “Stump The Experts”, but that’s apparently a charming tradition. Thursday night bash is usually a lot of fun… more or less unlimited food, plus drink tickets, so hold off eating until you get there.
  • NOTES: In 2008, they didn’t post videos or slides until five months after the event. So, in 2009, I went in and took copious notes in every session… and then they released videos and slides the next week. In 2010, the videos and slides were made available to non-attendees for free, which was a first. If you like note-taking, get SubEthaEdit — there is a tradition of real-time collaborative note-taking at WWDC, and many hands lighten the load.
  • LABS: The labs are the most underappreciated and underused part of WWDC. When else are you going to get face-to-face access to Apple engineers? When you get big code questions or “that just bugs me” problems, set them aside and whip up a simple code example to take with you, and you can get the people who write the system and the libraries to help you. The years I went, I got massive pain relief on Game Kit and Core Audio from their respective labs.
    • Don’t lose your badge. They won’t replace it.
    • Moscone is within walking distance of BART, which runs to the airport. Depending where you stay, you almost certainly don’t need a car (and with parking prices in SF, you don’t want one). If you stay far from Moscone, arrange for a shuttle bus like Lorrie’s/Go/SuperShuttle to get you from the airport to your hotel, or use taxis. Moscone has a bag check on the last day if you want to check out from your hotel and leave your suitcase at the conference for the day.
    • Leave some time for shopping Union Square and Market Street, if you’re into that kind of thing (though some of my favorite shops have closed in recent years)
    • If you’re not in line for the keynote by 7AM, you’ll probably end up in an overflow room, watching it on video. I don’t have a problem with this, but some people do.
    • WiFi at WWDC is remarkably good. Many sessions also have power strips throughout the room. If you need to download something big (like an SDK that gets released that week), the lunchroom on the first floor has ethernet drops that are crazy fast (do not try to download a 2 GB SDK off wifi).

Anyone else have some good tips? Please add comments.

Comments (3)

  1. […] I predicted (and feared), WWDC 2011 sold out in less than a day, taking only 12 hours to exhaust its supply of […]

  2. […] see if there’s something unique playing at the Viz Cinema). As I mentioned in my earlier WWDC Tips blog entry, I usually stay in a B&B over near J-town, which means a longer ride to and from the show, but […]

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