Borkware Miniblog

March 28, 2011

Borkware’s First-Timer’s Guide to WWDC

Filed under: off-topic — Mark Dalrymple @ 12:23 pm

Atm machienSo, you’ve just purchased your first WWDC ticket. Congratulations! Many folks have have published their “First-timer’s guide to WWDC”, so being a veteran of 6 or 7 of them, both in the modern age and during the Dark Times, I figured I’d hop on the bandwagon.

1) The ticket is expensive, so you’re probably short on cash now. Don’t worry about booking a hotel. The weather in San Francisco is really nice. It hardly ever rains. And if it does, there are many store fronts and office building entrances you can use for shelter. It’s also pleasantly warm 24/7.

2) Go to as many sessions, labs, BOF sessions, and parties you can at the Moscone center. It’s a virtual firehose of firehoses of information and activity. You won’t have time to bathe, so don’t even bother.

3) Get into the keynote line early. Most hardcore attendees start lining up Sunday afternoon. You’ll be guaranteed of a good spot if you get there late Saturday night. There’s really only 700 spaces in the keynote room, even though the videos make it look deceptively large (*cough* CGI *cough*). Due to health concerns, Steve’s Reality Distortion Field doesn’t extend past 10 or 15 rows these days. :-( May he rest in peace.

4) Don’t worry about food. In fact, you don’t have to really bring any money, credit cards, or Automatic ATM Machine cards. I can never remember my PIN Number anyway. Apple always lays out a huge spread of food from dusk to dawn and back to dusk again. Make sure to hang around friday evening for Prime Rib and Champagne night, in celebration of the end of a good conference.

5) A secret: you don’t have to wait until the end of a session for Q&A. There are microphones around the room. If the one you are at happens to be turned off, no problem. Bring your own bullhorn.

6) When asking questions in sessions, be sure to state your name, where you work, which platform you work on, which version of Xcode you prefer, and your opinion on the App store and C++ vs Objective-C. Be sure to complement the speaker on their sartorial choices. The sound systems are run rather hot, so please don’t speak too loudly into the microphone. Of course, if you brought a bullhorn, you can tailor its output to the conditions of the room.

7) Follow proper Labs etiquette. The labs where you can chat with Apple engineers are an invaluable resource. It is a scarce, shared resource, so treat it like you would computationaly: pretend to be a mutex. You walk into the lab you want and shout “I AM ATTEMPTING TO OBTAIN A LOCK ON THE MEDIA PLAYER FRAMEWORK ENGINEERS”. If an engineer is free, you’ll hear “LOCK SUCCEDED” from the back, and you can go to the engineer who just shouted and ask your questions. If no one responds wait until you time out, and try again. Expert tip: “spinlock”.

8) We’re all friends at WWDC. If a session looks to be standing room only, feel free to find an available lap.

9) The Thursday night beer bash is actually just a giant mosh pit.

10) Don’t forget that recording devices are forbidden. So please leave your voice recorder, iPhone, video camera, DSLR, pens and paper at home. The TSA has been contracted to provide session information security.

Have a great time! WWDC is an awesome experience.


  1. 6 or 7 times??? :-O

    Comment by Om — March 28, 2011 @ 11:57 pm

    • 1995, during the Gil Amelio time, then consistently from 2004 or 2005 onwards.

      Comment by Mark Dalrymple — March 29, 2011 @ 12:18 am

  2. Don’t you mean Personal PIN Number?

    Comment by Jimkin Bearhugger — March 29, 2011 @ 12:37 am

  3. Haven’t you heard? SF storefronts now require a reservation. And they’re already booked for WWDC. I hear there’s some floor space available at the Embarcadero BART station, though.

    Comment by SSteve — March 29, 2011 @ 12:56 am

  4. Don’t forget to wear layers. Also, hiking boots. Depending on which building entrance you choose for lodging, you could end up walking uphill to Moscone West each day. Both ways. First timers may wish to add a hiking/walking stick to the mix, and–in some rare instances–a sherpa.

    Comment by Joe D'Andrea — March 29, 2011 @ 6:55 am

    • Sherpa is such an archaic term. These days they’re known as ‘student attendees.’

      Comment by Mark Dalrymple — March 29, 2011 @ 8:05 am

  5. I especially like the advice of finding an available lap – this might actually lead to a new iPhone app for lap dancing! Maybe that’s the one iPhone app that hasn’t been done yet.

    Comment by liveon2wheels — April 6, 2011 @ 4:26 am

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