WWDC 2010 Journal, last day

By Mike Morton, Google Mac Team

Google engineer Mike Morton has now made it home after a week of sipping at the firehose known as Apple WWDC in San Francisco. In today’s post, Mike shares his thoughts and observations as the conference winds down — and so do the attendees.

Thursday was a good day. I attended interesting talks, and I got lots of good info from talking to Apple folks in the labs. I left before Friday, the last half-day of the conference.

As the week goes by, some attendees start nodding off in talks. I don’t think that’s a reflection on the speakers, just on the cumulative sleep deprivation of the conference. I’m pretty sure I’ve kept my eyes open the whole time, even though some of the material is review for me, and other stuff is over my head. A lot of the talks on my last day were about making applications efficient on iPhone and iPad. Here, “efficiency” is not just how quickly they respond, but other measurements, too, such as how long they can make the battery last. Battery life weighs on my mind as I try to find a seat next to a power outlet for my laptop. I sometimes feel like Shakey, an early robot whose sole purpose was to find power plugs.

Labs continue to be a great source of info. I met my colleague Paul on the escalator and he excitedly told me that the answer he’d just gotten to one question was worth the whole price of the conference. I wouldn’t go quite that far, but I’m impressed at Apple engineers who are willing to sit down, look at our code, work through questions, and draw diagrams on a whiteboard.

Between talks and labs, there’s non-stop schmoozing. Some of it is totally business-oriented, but much is just chatting and discovering connections. I bumped into two fellow Dartmouth grads. Both attended after my time, but at least they graduated in the same millennium as I did. I also took several breaks just to observe nerd behavior. One scary trend: some people walk around while looking at an iPhone and an iPad at the same time. Miraculously, nobody accidentally walked into a window or escalator.

The famous James Dempsey and the Breakpoints performed this week. I missed it, but here’s a shaky video.

So Thursday ended and I walked out to catch my redeye. The end of a conference is always an anticlimax, especially so when you leave early. There ought to be some sort of reminder that we’ve come together once again, and that Apple has gone from just surviving to thriving and changing the world. Apple people have a tremendous sense of history, and love to talk about who worked on what when. We see the past more clearly than the future, but we know the future often echoes the past.

I wound up at SFO in the world’s slowest security line. I removed my belt. Then I lifted my arms to get scanned. Somehow my pants didn’t fall down. Maybe it was that Moscone Center food.

I fell asleep on the plane and woke up as we landed at Logan. The guy next to me was putting away a nose-hair trimmer. Perhaps he was getting ready for FaceTime.

See you next year!

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