Whistler in the Summer

We got back on Sun­day from a few days at Whistler, where we spent some days of vaca­tion with my broth­er and his fam­i­ly. While we all nev­er felt very rushed, we man­aged to get quite a few activ­i­ties in while we were there, includ­ing a gon­do­la and chair­lift trip up to the top of Whistler moun­tain, a Zip­Trek tour in the for­est above and around the Fitzsim­mons riv­er, a hike to Lost Lake, a cou­ple of movies (“Get Smart” at the local cin­e­ma, “Jumper” on DVD) and sev­er­al lunch­es and din­ners out. My niece Rena­ta also got in a cou­ple of ses­sions on the bungee tram­po­line, which helped her to bounce a cou­ple of sto­ries (at least) into the air. While I can’t doc­u­ment all of it in pic­tures and video, here are some high points (sic):

The View from Whistler Mountain

The view from the top of a very cold Whistler (which I’ve now put into this blog’s ban­ner)

Pam wasn’t quite pre­pared for how cold it would get, but for­tu­nate­ly, there were some blan­kets avail­able at the chair­lift, about 2/3 of the way up.):

Of course, the cold is one thing. The lit­tle men climb­ing on tow­ers
on your head are anoth­er (Clas­sic pho­to bloop­er. Sor­ry about that…)

I also thought I’d include a few Zip­Trek videos. This gave me a chance to try out Flickr’s video fea­tures. I’m not includ­ing one that I can’t seem to flip hor­i­zon­tal­ly (my Sis­ter-In-Law held her cam­era side­ways and no mat­ter what I do, includ­ing chang­ing the file and sav­ing it to a new movie, the uploaded file seems to revert to that ori­en­ta­tion).

Here’s Pam slid­ing on the wire across the Fitzsim­mons Riv­er:

Now, from the point of view of a par­tic­i­pant. Need I add that this is a blast?

In addi­tion to the rides up in the trees (about 5 times over the riv­er and back), you get a bit of an ecol­o­gy lec­ture about the area and some tips on what you can do to be more ‘green’. I real­ly like Zip­Trek, who seem to prac­tice what they preach, in terms of an eco­log­i­cal­ly-aware busi­ness. Aside from the vans that they use to trans­port peo­ple to and from their sites (and I heard that once there are elec­tric ones or per­haps hybrids that will serve in this capac­i­ty, they’ll switch to those), they are pret­ty gen­tle on the envi­ron­ment. They even have a small water-dri­ven gen­er­a­tor via the riv­er that pro­vides most of the elec­tri­cal pow­er for the A-Frame where they house their offices, train employ­ees, and end some of the tours. Our tour lead­ers were col­lege stu­dents major­ing in Eco-tourism and Geol­o­gy, and they made sure that none of us were ever in dan­ger or uncom­fort­able, despite what looks like an ‘extreme’ sport.

In addi­tion to some good meals togeth­er (Monks up there is very nice and beau­ti­ful to look at; Pam’s Hal­ibut dust­ed with porci­ni mush­rooms and sun-dried toma­toes was superb), Pam and I also had an excel­lent cel­e­bra­to­ry din­ner of our third Anniver­sary of com­ing to Cana­da on July 5th at Il Caminet­to , one of the restau­rants of Umber­to Menghi (his Il Gia­rdi­no and Umberto’s are both down­town). He’s one of the three celebri­ty chefs in the White Spot com­mer­cials, (the oth­er two are Rob Fee­nie and John Bish­op) always talk­ing about ‘the sauce’. We ate a light din­ner; Pam chose a sub­tly flavoured Roast Cor­nish Game Hen atop chick­peas and mixed veg­eta­bles, and I had a sim­ple but per­fect­ly done home­made Fet­tuc­cine with cream sauce, peas and pro­sciut­to along with some excel­lent wine: A good BC Pinot Gris made by the Pen­t­age Win­ery from Ska­ha Bench in the Okana­gan, as well as an intense Ital­ian Mus­cat for dessert . I’ve become a big fan of dessert wines, and some­times pre­fer them over a cake or tart.

So for try­ing of celebri­ty chef restau­rants in the area, we are now 2 out of 3. I guess a vis­it to a Cac­tus Club would now count for Rob Fee­nie, since he has become the ‘food con­cept archi­tect’ of that chain. That’s what the arti­cles say, at any rate.

A nice time was had by all (I think), and we feel pret­ty lucky to have this beau­ti­ful resort area so near to us (for those who don’t live in Van­cou­ver, depend­ing on traf­fic and con­struc­tion on the Sea-to-Sky High­way, it’s about a 2 1/2 hour dri­ve from the city). My broth­er summed up Whistler by and large bet­ter than I could: “It’s a bit like Dis­ney­land for adults.”

A Final Reckoning on WWDC '08

The Entrance to Moscone, site of Apple's World Wide Developer Conference

Now that I’ve had some time to think about last week (besides the event I report­ed on in the pre­vi­ous post­ing), I thought it would be good to offer some last­ing impres­sions. While I’m not a com­put­er pro­gram­mer, I under­stand most of the con­cepts behind the dis­ci­pline. That said, much of Apple’s Devel­op­er Con­fer­ence was geared toward pro­gram­mers for whom code is sec­ond nature. Many of the ses­sions I attend­ed dealt with code, whether or not the descrip­tion of the ses­sion said so or not (I was par­tic­u­lar­ly dis­ap­point­ed when a ses­sion which was described as ‘Build­ing User Inter­faces for the iPhone with Inter­face Builder’ was real­ly more about when you should load some of those User Inter­face ele­ments into mem­o­ry, and how to achieve this in your code.)

I was able to under­stand near­ly all of what was said in the main User Inter­face ses­sion for the iPhone, which was, in a way, more about the scope and scale that one should expect for appli­ca­tions writ­ten for it. Not sur­pris­ing­ly, the key con­cept that so many devel­op­ers miss now and will miss in the com­ing months and years is that it makes no sense to bring all of what a desk­top appli­ca­tion does to the iPhone. Try to do that, and you’ll end up with a prod­uct that is hard to use, not all that use­ful, and full of fea­tures that sim­ply don’t fit in such a small foot­print (in mem­o­ry or screen). I don’t think I’m vio­lat­ing any NDAs here when I relate this, because its so patent­ly obvi­ous. Nev­er­the­less, I’m sure there is already some cor­po­ra­tion out there that is faith­ful­ly try­ing to cram 20–30 screens of func­tion­al­i­ty into this hand-held device, because they have the mis­con­cep­tion that a com­put­er is a com­put­er, no mat­ter how small.

The over­ar­ch­ing prin­ci­ple that Apple made sure was men­tioned in near­ly every ses­sion, was that pro­gram­mers should use the mod­el-view-con­troller (MVC) archi­tec­tur­al pat­tern for build­ing their soft­ware (I won’t go into much detail about it, but it’s essen­tial­ly a way of orga­niz­ing what your soft­ware pro­gram does, so that you sep­a­rate the log­ic and data from user inter­face, mak­ing it is eas­i­er to mod­i­fy either the look of the pro­gram or the under­ly­ing busi­ness rules with­out one affect­ing the oth­er. For more infor­ma­tion about where MVC comes from and who uses it besides Apple [Java Swing, JSF, Microsoft Foun­da­tion Class­es — who call it “Document/View archi­tec­ture”, DRUPAL, Joom­la, the list goes on and on.], check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Model-view-controller).

The oth­er thing that Apple made sure was the case in every ses­sion: Every­one had to be very well pre­pared and extreme­ly pol­ished. Unlike some con­fer­ences and con­ven­tions that I’ve attend­ed, the lev­el of qual­i­ty con­trol for this one was extra­or­di­nary: Near­ly every sin­gle pre­sen­ter was an Apple employ­ee, and I learned from one of them just pri­or to their ses­sion that each pre­sen­ter had sev­er­al weeks of rehearsals, some­times twice a week in the months lead­ing up to WWDC. Since near­ly every pre­sen­ter had a lot of infor­ma­tion to share, the result was a break­neck pace for all ses­sions. For­get about try­ing to dupli­cate their demos of devel­op­er tools, much of this was worked out to the last sec­ond with­out any paus­es, with snip­pets of key pro­gram­ming code at the ready to paste in at key moments, like one of Julia Child’s fin­ished dish­es sit­ting in the oven, ready for the final min­utes of the show on The French Chef. Noth­ing was left to chance; No demo ever failed to work. At the end of each ses­sion, the entire team who worked on that piece of soft­ware or area went to the stage, and answered ques­tions from atten­dees, who were direct­ed to 4 micro­phones at very places in each room. Each and every ses­sion, both pre­sen­ta­tion and all ques­tions and answers, were record­ed and should be avail­able as pocasts on the Apple Devel­op­er web site for atten­dees to review (and you can bet they’ll need to).

Besides the ses­sions them­selves, it was an exhaust­ing expe­ri­ence from the sheer num­ber of atten­dees (as I’ve men­tioned before, over 5,000 of them). That meant wait­ing in line for every­thing, be it food, get­ting into ses­sions (when it paid to be lined up about 30 min­utes before the start), tables, desks or chairs through Moscone West, or even the esca­la­tors between lev­els. It was about 95% male, and the stan­dard attire was jeans and black t-shirt. Just about every attendee had a lap­top (99% Mac­book Pro), and an iPhone. What does a wire­less net­work serv­ing that many wire­less cus­tomers look like? Check this geek porn out (as usu­al, click each to see a larg­er image):


For all but the largest pre­sen­ta­tion rooms, there were pow­er strips duct-taped to the chair legs at reg­u­lar inter­vals, and there were sev­er­al ‘lounge’ like spaces with bean­bag chairs, tables, desks, iMacs (if you didn’t have yours with you), and Indus­tri­al-Strength Wire­less Net­work repeaters, set up at the perime­ters of the inte­ri­or of the build­ing like force-field gen­er­a­tors you see in Sci-Fi movies.

While I did meet up with a few peo­ple I knew (or knew of, by rep­u­ta­tion or from get­ting in touch with them pri­or to the event), for the most part I was among strangers. I did my best so social­ize, but it goes with­out say­ing that Soft­ware Devel­op­ers, for the most part, are not exact­ly ‘peo­ple’ per­sons. Many of them would prob­a­bly much rather code than chat, or if they do chat, it’s through a key­board.

The sec­ond to last evening fea­tured a huge par­ty at the near­by Yer­ba Bue­na Gar­dens, one of my favourite places in San Fran­cis­co. It’s a large open park bound­ed by the Yer­ba Bue­na Arts Cen­ter, the Moscone Con­ven­tion Cen­ter, and the Metre­on, Sony’s attempt at a sort of Enter­tain­ment Mall which is start­ing to show its age. The food con­sist­ed of sev­er­al sta­tions serv­ing every­thing from Sushi to Foc­ca­cia-Piz­za to Chi­nese Stewed Short-Ribs and Stir-Fried Noo­dles. The enter­tain­ment was The Bare­naked Ladies, which must have cost Apple some sig­nif­i­cant amount of mon­ey. Giv­en their suc­cess late­ly, I guess they could afford it. It was nice to see some recog­ni­tion that they were Cana­di­an, and they made some nerdy jokes about those of us to the north with iPhones being crim­i­nals. They start­ed with their arguably their biggest hit, One Week, which even I rec­og­nized. I’ll bet they are sick of play­ing it, but the crowd was appre­cia­tive.

In the end, I’m not sure if I’ll attend WWDC next year. While I did get some valu­able infor­ma­tion, I’d say that about 50% of what I got was in the ‘nice to know’ cat­e­go­ry, and it’s a pret­ty expen­sive (and drain­ing) event for that sort of knowl­edge. Still, I don’t regret hav­ing been to this one, and I’m hop­ing that what I learned and who I met will trans­late to some work at some point in the future. You can nev­er tell.

A Memorable Journey

I’ll do a wrap-up post on my time at WWDC, but I felt that I had to write about this first. On the way back to Van­cou­ver from San Fran­cis­co, I had sched­uled a shut­tle, but at the last minute, can­celed and decid­ed to use BART again. It was one of those deci­sions that I’ll no doubt look back on and think, it’s a good thing, because oth­er­wise I wouldn’t have had the expe­ri­ence that I had. Fri­day the 13th has always been lucky for me, and this June 13th was no excep­tion.

After board­ing the train at Civic Cen­ter, after 2 or 3 stops, 2 men in suits got on the train. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Navy blue suit, blue eyes and gray hair, a US Flag lapel… it was Howard Dean. Yes that Howard Dean, the for­mer Gov­er­nor of Ver­mont, front-run­ner can­di­date for Pres­i­dent in 2004 (whose cam­paign I worked on) and cur­rent­ly, the Chair­man of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Com­mit­tee. ‘I’m nev­er going to have anoth­er chance like this,’ I said to myself. In a moment or two, I got up the nerve and intro­duced myself to him, telling him that I had worked on his cam­paign (He imme­di­ate­ly said ‘Thank you’ for that) and that I was a great admir­er of his. He was on his way to some meet­ings at hotels at the air­port, and to avoid the traf­fic, had decid­ed to take BART. I told him where we had moved (and why). He had many ques­tions about Van­cou­ver; he hadn’t vis­it­ed the city for 40 years. He did men­tion, that he loved Cana­da, and often went to a fam­i­ly house in Nova Sco­tia, near Bras d’Or Lake (since Ver­mont is so close to the Cana­di­an bor­der). Pam and I had gone to that area for our hon­ey­moon. He talked about how cos­mopoli­tan a rep­u­ta­tion that Van­cou­ver has, and that he could absolute­ly under­stand our move here. He asked if we were going to get Cana­di­an cit­i­zen­ship, and that obvi­ous­ly, being a techie, I would have had no prob­lem get­ting land­ed immi­grant sta­tus. We chat­ted about a num­ber of sub­jects: the Pri­ma­ry, What Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma will do to help put the coun­try back on the right track (and whether we’d return after that), even a bit about our land in Ver­mont (“You should hang on to that”, Dean said. “When we get out of this Real Estate slump, that’s going to be worth some seri­ous mon­ey.”). We rem­i­nisced a bit about when I had last seen him on the cam­paign, in Portsmouth, New Hamp­shire, when he spoke by the riv­er, with boats with his ban­ners float­ing back and forth behind him. When I com­ment­ed on the flag pin on his lapel, he said that it was “to show the Repub­li­cans that they don’t own the flag”. He laughed when I sug­gest­ed that per­haps the Democ­rats could have a slight­ly dif­fer­ent (and maybe a more ele­gant) design for it.

To prove that this is not what it sounds like, a ‘tall tale’, I got his assis­tant to take a pic­ture of the two of us, seat­ed on the BART seat:

Howard Dean and Your

We part­ed as he went off to his meet­ing, and I head­ed to my check-in for the flight home, feel­ing as if I were in the air already. At the gate, I imme­di­ate­ly called fam­i­ly all over North Amer­i­ca to tell them of my good for­tune and began this post.

My last­ing impres­sion of Dean is pret­ty much how I imag­ined him one-on-one. He seemed inter­est­ed and charm­ing, intel­li­gent, a good lis­ten­er and a smart busi­ness­man. He was very gra­cious, and seemed gen­uine­ly inter­est­ed and engaged. In short, I was not dis­ap­point­ed.

I sus­pect that the aver­age per­son has a shot at meet­ing and talk­ing to, per­haps 1 or 2 famous peo­ple in their life­time. You hope that those celebri­ties are peo­ple that you’d also like to meet and per­haps even some­one who you admire. I’ve actu­al­ly had more than my share of meet­ings with famous peo­ple in my life so far. I’ve met and even had some con­ver­sa­tions with sev­er­al com­posers, includ­ing Olivi­er Mes­si­aen, Aaron Cop­land, Vir­gil Thomp­son, Ned Rorem, Elliott Carter, Steve Reich and Leonard Bern­stein, play­wright Edward Albee, the writ­ers Isaac Asi­mov and William Gib­son, and some brief moments where I shared a tran­sit ride with Michael Dukakis and William Weld (It’s odd how I always meet the politi­cians when rid­ing on mass tran­sit) I’ve even met some lumi­nar­ies in soft­ware and busi­ness, includ­ing John Scul­ley (the first CEO of Apple Com­put­er while Steve Jobs was in exile) and Bill Atkin­son, one of the more inter­est­ing fig­ures in the his­to­ry of com­put­ers (he invent­ed 2 ear­ly pieces of soft­ware for the Mac, which became the first of 2 cat­e­gories of soft­ware, Mac­Paint, which begot bitmap edi­tors and Hyper­Card, which it may be argued, was a pre­cur­sor to the World-wide Web and has been said to be the inspi­ra­tion behind the con­cept of the Wiki). As Near­ly-Cana­di­ans (and as I’ve not­ed in pre­vi­ous posts in this blog), Pam and I even shared a pic­nic table with actress Nan­cy Robert­son (who plays Wan­da on “Cor­ner Gas”) and briefly met Roch Car­ri­er, the author of The Hock­ey Sweater, a clas­sic sto­ry, ani­mat­ed film and key­stone of Cana­di­an iden­ti­ty.

Nev­er­the­less, it was great to final­ly be able to tell Howard Dean how much I had looked up to him. On June 13, 2008, with­out any warn­ing, I got a chance to talk to one of my per­son­al heroes, and I’m thrilled.

Greetings from WWDC


I final­ly have a free moment where I’m not in a con­fer­ence ses­sion, am awake, and have Inter­net. (More about that in a bit).

The flight down was unevent­ful. Need­less to say, get­ting to the air­port 2 hours ahead of time proved just enough to get me to the gate about 15 min­utes before board­ing start­ed. Yes, check-in, bag­gage, cus­toms, secu­ri­ty and tra­vers­ing the ter­mi­nal ate up and hour and 45 min­utes. Such are the joys of air trav­el in the 21st cen­tu­ry…

Announce­ments noticed upon arriv­ing at San Fran­cis­co Air­port: “Mil­i­tary Per­son­nel are invit­ed to the Wel­come Suite on level…(etc.)” “The cur­rent Ter­ror Threat Lev­el is Orange. Please report any Sus­pi­cious Look­ing Behav­ior to Air­port Employ­ees.” Yes, I’m back in the US of A.

As for get­ting Inter­net when not at the con­fer­ence, when I booked the hotel, the descrip­tion online was Brit­ton Hotel, Inter­net in all rooms, a decent rate, and 4 blocks from the Moscone Con­ven­tion Cen­ter. It turns out that was only half true. Yes, the rate is OK, and they are rough­ly 4 blocks (5 if you count the turn from 7th onto Howard Street). How­ev­er, the Brit­ton Hotel is most­ly a pile of rub­ble, and ris­ing from the ash­es (with con­struc­tion crews start­ing their work around 8AM each day) is The Good Hotel (yes, that’s the name), and Inter­net has been near­ly non-exis­tent. The piz­za par­lor that was sup­posed to be on the ground floor (anoth­er ameni­ty I was look­ing for) is MIA. For­tu­nate­ly, last night it final­ly kicked in around 11:00 PM.

That said, its now day 2 of the con­fer­ence, and I’m try­ing to take in as much as I can, but it is the prover­bial ‘drink­ing from a fire-hose’ syn­drome. Steve Jobs’ Keynote (and announce­ment of the iPhone 3G and its arrival a month from tomor­row in Cana­da) was great fun, and today’s ear­ly ses­sion on devel­op­ing web pages for Safari on the iPhone had so much infor­ma­tion crammed into it that I could bare­ly keep up.

There’s more, but I know after a point, there’s only so much you can take in. How­ev­er, the wildest thing about this con­fer­ence is the fact that there appear to be more lap­tops than humans, and the hard­est thing to do is man­age bat­tery life. For­tu­nate­ly, I’m start­ing to learn where the out­lets and pow­er strips are.

More to come.

Counting Down

In just six days, I’ll be head­ing down to San Fran­cis­co to attend Apple’s World­wide Devel­op­ers Con­fer­ence (also known as WWDC). After all of these years, I’ve nev­er been to one of these. I’ve been to more Mac­World Expos then I can count, and even attend­ed 2 or 3 years of MacHack, the annu­al code-all-night-and-show-off-your-clever-kludge-in-the-morn­ing event in Ann Arbor, Michi­gan. I’ve had pro­gram­mer friends sug­gest I go to this, but it always seemed to come at a time where I was either on vaca­tion or just return­ing from/just get­ting ready to go on vaca­tion. Now, with San Fran­cis­co being a lot clos­er, and my luck this time (or bad luck, depend­ing on how you look at it) of not work­ing, I can final­ly see what all the fuss is about.

Boy, this year there is a lot of fuss. WWDC is entire­ly sold out. Accord­ing to Steve Jobs’ keynote from 2007, there were over 5,000 atten­dees that year, 159 ses­sions, 94 hands-on labs and 1,200 Apple engi­neers on site. Jobs will be doing the keynote again this year, and the sched­ule for ses­sions already says there are well over 150 this year, in 3 tracks, iPhone, Mac, and IT. I plan on going to most­ly the iPhone and Mac ses­sions, and there are a cou­ple of key ses­sions on Wednes­day morn­ing regard­ing User Inter­faces on the iPhone that I’m real­ly look­ing for­ward to.

Tips from a Past Attendee

I noticed an entry online from some­one who had attend­ed last year, and they rec­om­mend­ed, among oth­er things:

  1. Be Pre­pared
    Bring a water bot­tle. The Odwal­la juices on offer are *real­ly* sweet and run out quick­ly, and there’s no way you are going to stay hydrat­ed from drink­ing that and coffee/tea all day. There are plen­ty of water refill sta­tions all over the Moscone.

    Bring a jacket/jumper. Unless you come from Nor­way or Siberia, you’ll prob­a­bly find the weath­er in San Fran­cis­co real­ly chilly when the wind gets going. Dress in lay­ers. Even if you don’t plan on get­ting out much, the labs and lunch areas are *real­ly* cold at times too.

    Bring extra cash for food…Unless you’re on a tight bud­get like me, bring extra cash for get­ting food out­side of the Moscone if you want to keep your spir­its up through­out the week. All food at the Moscone is cold, includ­ing break­fast. Lunch is served in plas­tic box­es.

  2. Get to San Fran­cis­co ear­ly.(He includes some info about jet lag — not a prob­lem for me, thank good­ness).

    If you plan on sight­see­ing around San Fran­cis­co, do it before WWDC instead of after. If you’re a devel­op­er, WWDC will give you a huge buzz and you won’t be able to resist quick­ly fly­ing home after the con­fer­ence is over to start work­ing on the new stuff you’ve learned.

  3. Have a blog or web­site? Put a pic­ture of your­self or your team online.
    There are loads of peo­ple who would love to talk to you about your prod­uct, your blog or your site dur­ing WWDC. The first step in mak­ing sure that peo­ple can even find you dur­ing the con­fer­ence is to make sure they know what you look like in the first place.
  4. (This one sur­prised me): Don’t waste time plan­ning your sched­ule far in advance.
    The ses­sion and lab time-sched­ules change dur­ing the con­fer­ence. You may also change your mind about attend­ing cer­tain ses­sions dur­ing the week itself, so don’t waste too much time plan­ning your sched­ule too far in advance. Just plan a rough guide dur­ing the plane and you should be set.
  5. Par­ti­tion your lap­top hard dri­ve before you leave.
    If Apple is going to give out a new devel­op­er seed dur­ing the con­fer­ence, you won’t be able to resist installing it on your lap­top. I’ve per­son­al­ly heard of two fel­low atten­dees who, in the excite­ment of it all, installed the devel­op­er seed onto their exist­ing Mac OS X instal­la­tion with­out first back­ing up. Ouch. (Good thing this isn’t an issue for me).
  6. Live close to the Moscone.
    Attend­ing tech­ni­cal ses­sions and labs all day is tir­ing work. Com­mut­ing for a long time after each day at WWDC will quick­ly sap your ener­gy. Do your­self a favour, and don’t bum off your friend’s apart­ment on the oth­er side of the city to save a few bucks. Get your­self a room some­where close to the Moscone and get a lot more ener­gy through­out the con­fer­ence. (Check. I’ll be stay­ing only about 4 blocks from Moscone this time.)
  7. Busi­ness cards.
    When­ev­er you receive a busi­ness card, write a descrip­tion about the per­son on the back of the card as soon as pos­si­ble.

    You’ll thank me lat­er when you’re on the plane, sort­ing through the huge stack of busi­ness cards you’ve received, and you’re try­ing to recall whether “John­ny Foo­bar” was the guy you met dur­ing lunch with an awe­some new idea for your app, or the guy that you’re sup­posed to send a review license to. (I learned this one a long time ago)

  8. Make use of the labs.
    Your mileage may vary with the labs, but per­son­al­ly, i’ve got a huge amount of val­ue out of the labs. Bro­ken code got fixed, new fea­tures got imple­ment­ed *on the spot* and mag­ic devel­op­er dust was giv­en out. It’s been awe­some. (Again, prob­a­bly more use­ful for a coder)
  9. Talk to every­one around you.
    The food at the Moscone may be trag­ic, but the lunchtime con­ver­sa­tions are awe­some when you man­age to find the right group. If you’re an indie, you know how hard it can be to get a good tech­ni­cal dis­cus­sion with any­one in real life, so you real­ly owe it to your­self to find a good lunch group. The amount of ener­gy and buzz you get out of it can car­ry you for a long way through­out the week.

    Don’t lim­it your­self to lunch either. There’s great con­ver­sa­tion to be found just stand­ing in line. Just try not to do that at the long queues for the male restroom. (duly not­ed)

So there you have it. Thanks, Joe.