I Scored with the MacWorld Checklist!

One of the best parts of this year’s MacWorld Expo sort of happened organically. I had seen the wonderful post on Joy of Tech with this year’s MacWorld Expo checklist, and I thought it was amusing. Then, it was blogged about on The MacCast blog and on Justine Ezarik’s blog. So, it was a little bit in my mind – but as I was attending for only one day I didn’t think I’d try to “conquer” the list.

Then a funny thing happened. I started to see the celebs. And then I started to get really obsessed with completing the task. How’d I do? Really well, as you will see.

Here’s the 2009 MacWorld Checklist from Joy of Tech.

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I didn’t get photos of a couple of these. First was Merlin Mann, who I believe is the fellow in glasses in the bottom right next to Walt Mossberg. I’d met Mann a couple times and definitely saw him in passing while on the show floor.

Next, I did see Scott MucNulty when he did a presentation at the Peachpit Press booth. He wrote a book about WordPress and overall I already knew most of what he presented (which was a good thing, for me anyway). I didn’t realize McNulty was on the list or I would have taken a photo.

When I saw Andy Inhatko I did remember he was on the list. Here he is signing copies of his latest book. 

inahtko

Next up is another author, David Pogue. He always draws a large crowd to the O’Reilly booth and sadly I missed his Wednesday morning keynote speech. Next year I’m doing the Conference portion of MacWorld as Pogue has already agreed to do another keynote.

pogue

The celebs started coming fast and furious after this…

Chris Breen at the MacWorld Magazine booth.

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Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak (in the black and white shirt, sitting on a stool).

woz

Now I realized I could really cash in with some of these people on the checklist. So, I checked Justine’s twitter account and saw that she was literally around the corner doing a workout (no, I don’t know what that means). When I came up to her and and asked if I could take a photo for my checklist, she laughed and said sure. This is Justine Ezarik with her buddy Karen. 

justine

Next, I headed off to the MacWorld Expo “Town Hall,” led by main man Paul Kent.  My suggestion for MacWorld 2010? Provide everyone with a Joy of Tech Mac Celebrity Checklist!

kent

After the Town Hall I headed off to the Podcasting Birds of a Feather gathering. Along the way, I saw a couple guys from MacHeads the Movie trying to pimp their showing of the documentary film. The checklist doesn’t name names and the guys I saw were kind of anonymous. So, I’m counting this. Another checkmark for my list!

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At the Podcaster gathering I ended up sitting right near a couple celebs. First is Don McAllister.

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Then I saw the man with the smooth voice. That’s MacWorld’s Chuck Joiner in the lower left near the stage.

podcasters

All in all, including the “non-celebs” on the list, I ended up seeing 15 out of 25 from the checklist. A pretty good job, if I do say so myself! 

MacWorld 2009 Impressions

I attended the MacWorld Conference & Expo on Wednesday. I had intended to post my comments that night but a comedy of errors caused me to miss one BART train, wait 15 minutes for another, and then end up taking the train all the way to Dublin where I had to turn around and transfer again to get back to Fremont. Took me over two hours to get home from San Francisco!

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Moscone Center - Home of MacWorld 2009

MacWorld 2009 was great as always. I arrived in plenty of time for the opening of the Expo floor and met my father who was also attending that day. Here we are in the Apple booth, where a kind Apple employee took our photo. Apple had a nice display for their iLife and iWork products, and their usual stage. They also had a nice display of their recently updated MacBooks. However, the other side of their area was kind of bare, like they had intended to announce something and dropped it at the last minute (can you say “updated Mac Mini?”).  The iPods were on display and getting no foot traffic, hence the perfect location for this shot.

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Frank and Kevin Crossman at MacWorld 2009

Overall, the traffic and activity seem on par with past years, though obviously next year without Apple may be another matter. Here are some of the things I saw at MacWorld.

I did like the display of iPod Touch and iPhones that Apple had on display. I got to play with some great iPhone Apps and try them out. Saved me some money on some I was considering purchasing – now I won’t. But, I did see some that looked coo.

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Apple App Store

You gotta love how Apple gets the attendees to fetishize the Apple hardware. People were literally waiting in line to touch the brand-new Apple MacBook Pro 17″ notebook computer. Where was I in this photo? Yep. Standing in line.

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Brand New 17" MacBook Pro Gets Plenty of Attention

I must say I liked the look of this 17″ MacBook Pro. I’m really a fan of the matte screen option, which is what I use on my MacBook Pro at work. I am not a fan of glossy screens.

Now the cool thing about trade shows like MacWorld is the thing that companies do to draw attention and get people into their booths. Beejive had their “booth babes” dress up as bees. And it was very memorable since I took this photo. I think they make some sort of instant-messaging client for the iPhone. See how that costuming has paid off in the mind of the consumer (me)?

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Busy Bees at Beejive

Google took a different approach with this iPhone Charging Station. I didn’t need to use this but glad I had the option! It was funny to see people waiting to get charged up – one woman screamed at another guy that “your iPhone is finished” so she could get a turn. The guy charged up and demanded “No! See this… that means it isn’t charged yet!” Yeah! Duh!  The things people do for free electricity…   Google also had a British phone booth to use as a YouTube uploading station. I went in but couldn’t figure out how to use it, so I left.  Google would probably like me to mention their brand-new Mac version of the Picasa photo management app. But I don’t care, so I didn’t look at it.

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iPhone Charging Station at Google's Booth

Here we go for the hands-down best booth at MacWorld. The Delicious Monster folks are know for their beautiful software, Delicious Library. And this year, they decorated their booth to look like the software itself. Plus, they had these girls dressed up as “Delicious Librarians” (no, I’m not kidding. They even had name badges that said Delicious Librarian). I guess there was something about this outfit that had some appeal for the MacWorld attendees.  And, giving credit where it is due, the librarians did seem to know their stuff.

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Delicious Librarian

All in all, a great time at MacWorld Expo 2009!  All photos courtesy my iPhone.

MacWorld Predictions Scorecard

Well, Apple’s keynote has come and gone. How’d I do with my predictions?

Will Be Announced

  • Updated Mac Mini with lots of expansion options – nope
  • Updated iMac with faster processors (larger screens are a possibility, though I think it’s a longshot) – nope
  • Updated MacBook Pro 17″ with unibody enclosure – yep
  • iWork ‘09 with online/web/MobileMe component – yep
  • iTunes DRM free – yep
  • Hulu viewing on AppleTV – nope
  • iPhone 3G 32GB – nope
  • iPhone tethering option with AT&T (for too much money…) – nope
  • Pricing and ship date for Snow Leopard – nope
  • Lots of Christmas quarter sales numbers – Lots? No. Some numbers… Partial credit?

Won’t Be Announced – almost all yep

  • iPhone Nano (though I think a smaller form factor would be cool)
  • iPhone/iPod/Mac Tablet (though I think a larger form factor would be cool)
  • Mac Netbook
  • Touch screen iMac
  • Mac Pro update
  • Cinema Displays
  • iLife ‘09 – Oops.

Kind of a bummer I guess. A lot of folks were predicting Mac Mini and iMac updates, so I won’t feel bad about that prediction. I am kind of stoked about the iTunes thing, though. Along with getting rid of DRM, Apple also announced variable pricing on the iTunes Store (a consession to the record companies). You can also purchase iTunes music on the iPhone over 3G networks.

Now the DRM thing doesn’t really affect me since I have all Apple equipment, and thus I don’t have any compatibility issues. Still, I thought it would be interesting to see how much it would cost to convert all my previously purchased songs to the DRM-free format — for 30 cents a pop.

special-offer

Look, I’m no fan of DRM. But, like I said, the DRM doesn’t really bother me. It sure doesn’t bother me 93 dollars worth!

Special offer indeed.

You can NEVER take the kid out of Disneyland

A couple days ago I wrote about Disneyland Dream, the incredible 1956 home movie of Disneyland made by Robbins Barstow. Well, the story continues.

steve-martin

Word of the movie has made the rounds and it turns out that I’m not the only that was impressed. In fact, according to a Hartford Courant article, Robbins was recently contacted by a former Disneyland employee who you made have heard of: Steve Martin.

“At age eleven I worked at Disneyland. I sold guidebooks at the park from 1956 to about 1958. I am as positive as one can be that I appear about 20:20 into your film, low in the frame, dressed in a top hat, vest, and striped pink shirt, moving from left to right, holding a guidebook out for sale.”

Looking at the video evidence I guess we’ll have to take Martin at his word. In fact, Martin has a longtime and regular association with the parks. He is currently seen everyday on Main Street USA just steps away from where he stood in 1956. He appears with Donald Duck in a funny and informative filmed attraction called “Disneyland: The First 50 Magical Years.”

We’re going back to Disneyland in mid-February. You can bet I’ll be sure to check out Steve Martin’s old stomping grounds and laugh at his antics with the duck.

MacWorld Predictions

On Wednesday I will be making my yearly trek to sample the Kool-Aid at the MacWorld Conference and Expo. It’s always fun to see the latest Mac, iPod, and iPhone goodies and at times I’ve even run into celebrities (yes, it’s Sinbad!). Of course, with Apple announcing this is their last year at the show it is a melancholy time, doubly so with all the speculation about Steve Jobs’ health. Steve made a statement today about his health that I view as a positive indicator, though I’d take issue with those headlines that stated “See, he’s okay.” He certainly wasn’t when he dropped out of the Keynote and is far from fully recovered. But, as always, we wish Steve well.

maclogoI’m attending MacWorld on Wednesday, which is good for a couple reasons. By then I’ll have had a time to hear about some of the announcements from Apple and others, so I’ll be able to hit the ground running to check out all the things I want to see. Plus, there is a Podcaster Birds of a Feather event at 6:30 on Wednesday being organized by Adam Christianson at The MacCast that I’ll be attending. Speaking of which, you might wish to listen to the first 30 seconds of the the December 20th episode of the MacCast podcast…

I’ll also be attending the MacWorld Town Hall event at 5:00 on Wednesday, where the Expo organizers will talk about the future of the event. I hope I can come up with some constructive suggestions.

Anyway, to get myself ready for the annual Apple overindulgence, I hereby present my MacWorld 2008 Apple Keynote Predictions.

Will Be Announced

  • Updated Mac Mini with lots of expansion options
  • Updated iMac with faster processors (larger screens are a possibility, though I think it’s a longshot)
  • Updated MacBook Pro 17″ with unibody enclosure
  • iWork ’09 with online/web/MobileMe component
  • iTunes DRM free
  • Hulu viewing on AppleTV
  • iPhone 3G 32GB
  • iPhone tethering option with AT&T (for too much money…)
  • Pricing and ship date for Snow Leopard
  • Lots of Christmas quarter sales numbers

Won’t Be Announced

  • iPhone Nano (though I think a smaller form factor would be cool)
  • iPhone/iPod/Mac Tablet (though I think a larger form factor would be cool)
  • Mac Netbook
  • Touch screen iMac
  • Mac Pro update
  • Cinema Displays
  • iLife ’09

According to the MacWorld folks, AT&T has brought in extra cell towers to handle extra capacity. I know last year all phone and data reception was pretty much killed by 10:30 am until about 3:00 pm, so it would suck if that happened again.

Of course, the big news that we’ll be paying attention to at the keynote is to see if they’re doing anything with iPhone pricing, form factors, colors, etc.  That is because today is Julie’s birthday I have agreed to get her an iPhone for her birthday.

But I’m not stupid enough to buy anything from Apple the day before MacWorld… whether Steve Jobs is presenting or not.

Wii Sports Tennis is My New Obsession

Santa was pretty good to the kids this Christmas and got them a Wii (no, it’s technically not called a Nintendo Wii., like the “Nintendo DS” but just Wii. Really!). Actually, I hear Santa was smart and stored one of these away for the kids all the way back in August. And the kids are loving it. They especially like the LEGO Star Wars and LEGO Indiana Jones games.

As for me, I am really enjoying the launch title, Wii Sports. And while the Bowling and Baseball games are fun, and Boxing is a hoot if you have a partner, the game I most enjoy is Tennis (the less said about Golf the better). Having played a little tennis myself as a kid this game is hardly realistic, but at least the old “skills” translate fairly well.

wii-tennis

The graphics on the game are okay. I like that the default surface is grass, like tennis should be played on. There’s an Easter Egg to allow you to play on a hard surface (hit the 2 button after selecting players), which eliminates some funny ball hops. But overall I like the vibe from this game. I’ve been playing the computer and have gotten pretty good at the game. After you play a game you are awarded points based on the number of winners or errors. When you reach the 1000 point level you’re considered a “Pro.”

I’m up to 1684 points now, almost as good as the best Pro in the game (2000 points). Problem now is that if I don’t beat the computer I can actually lose points. The horror!

I also like the Tennis training games where you can try to return the ball into a moving target. Lots of fun and just long enough for a quick game after work or before bed or something.  

I hear there are some “realistic” Tennis games for the Wii. Probably something I should look into, though I suspect they’re not as fun as Wii Sports Tennis.

Disneyland Dream

I’ve got to thank my friend and fellow blogger (Bay of Fundie) Ron Britton for setting me hip to this. It’s a home movie from 1956 that features the Barstow Family with their contest-winning trip to Disneyland. Now I’m a big Disneyland fan. Actually, more like a Disneyland nut. I listen to a half-dozen Disney parks podcasts, read over a dozen Disney blogs each day, and have a couple dozen books about the parks, Walt Disney, and the Imagineers. And, truth be told, if I had a time machine it’d be hard choice not to travel to Dealy Plaza in 1963 to learn the truth, but if I didn’t go there I’d surely go to Disneyland in the summer of 1959 when Tomorrowland had its big expansion with The Monorail, The Matterhorn, and The Submarine Voyage.

So, this video with circa-1956 footage of The Happiest Place on Earth is certainly of interest. What makes this 30 minute video all the more interesting is the exposure of 1950s culture and social moires. The Barstow Family is shown traveling to Southern California and the dad must have been a film nut because he used a lot of trick camera techniques and great storytelling skills to shoot a great movie. The narration was recorded in the mid-90s but still has that Fifties feel.

But hey, don’t take my word for it. The Librarian of Congress added this film to the National Film Registry this year. They add 25 films per year, so the fact that this home movie made the list alongside cinema greats like The Terminator, Deliverance, In Cold Blood, and others. And, in researching this post, I see that the Zapruder Film is also in the National Film Registry. So, this post comes full-circle…

In any case, you should definitely check out this video. It’s a lot of fun, and if you were around in the Fifties it might take you back. And if you weren’t it might take you there anyway.

Top Songs of 2008

This is my first post on the all-new Kevdo.com blog. Instead of creating another “personal” blog to go along with my iPhone releated blog, Useless Productivity, I decided to merge those into one, allowing me to blog about any topic and on a more regular basis. So, here we are… hope you like it.

In 2008 I decided to leverage the Play Count feature in iTunes and on the iPod to see which songs I listened to most during the year. I have looked at the statistics and in 2008 I listened to 1295 songs at least once. Of course, that number does not count any songs I listened to on CD, radio, XM, or elsewhere. It also doesn’t count all the podcasts I listened to, which are averaging about 2 hrs worth per day (and the sad part is that number might be a conservative estimate). 

So, out of those almost-1300 songs, which songs were listened to the most in 2008?  Here’s the top 20, with the song play count listed next to the artist.

  1. Fistful of Sand (Moon Version) - The Bravery (50)
  2. Every Word Is a Knife In My Ear (Moon Version) - The Bravery (44)
  3. The Name Of The Game (The Crystal Method’s Big Ass T.T. Mix) - The Crystal Method (41)
  4. Love Me Sexy (Frat Pack Remix) - Will Ferrell (41)
  5. Believe - The Bravery (39)
  6. This Is Not the End (Moon Version) - The Bravery (35)
  7. Paralyzer - Finger Eleven (35)
  8. Give It 2 Me - Madonna (34)
  9. Above and Below - The Bravery (33)
  10. The Little Things - Danny Elfman (33)
  11. An Honest Mistake - The Bravery (30)
  12. Fearless - The Bravery (30)
  13. The Ocean (Moon Version) - The Bravery (30)
  14. North American Scum - LCD Soundsystem (29)
  15. Reptile - The Church (28)
  16. A-Punk - Vampire Weekend (28)
  17. Funplex - The B-52’s (26)
  18. Crushcrushcrush - Paramore (26)
  19. Bad Sun (Moon Version) - The Bravery (22)
  20. Tyrant - The Bravery (21)

Well, obviously The Bravery take the cake in 2008. And their appearance in the top 20 has a lot to do with their 2007 Sun and the Moon album that was remixed and re-released in 2008 (hence the label “Moon version”). I like both versions of the album, though I like the remixed stuff better in general. But in any case I did listen to this album and my “Bravery Best” playlist quite a bit in 2008. 

Also note that the number above does not found the number of times I’ve heard at least a snippet of the Moon version of “A Fistful of Sand.” You see, I made a ringtone out of that song and it’s the default on my phone. So, I actually heard that song more than 100 times in 2008!

Number four on the list is the remix that I created of Will Ferrell’s “Love Me Sexy” (MP3 Download) from Semi-Pro. You could download all the individual music and instrument tracks and I was able to put them into GarageBand and tweak some of the levels and add additional musical cues. It was a lot of fun and obviously I ended up liking the results.

It’s also interesting to see a couple of my 1980’s icons on the list. “The Little Things” was from The Wanted Soundtrack and is very Oingo Boingo-ish. I really liked Madonna’s latest album overall and one of her tracks ended up in my top 20.

Of course, this list favors tracks released earlier than later in the year. As such, The Killers are the most likely “victims” of this since their recent album was only released in November. So, maybe it’ll be their year in 2009.

So, I guess I’ll reset all my play counts for 2009 and see who I end up listening to this year. If you had a favorite song, album, or artists in 2008 please leave a comment!

Happy New Blog Year Everyone.