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Prepping for WWDC

I’m packed for WWDC, and have mowed the lawn so it’s not a jungle when I return. Earlier this week, I began prepping my hardware to have (hopefully) everything I need. There are plenty of WWDC “survival guides” out there—most recently an excellent one from Brent Simmons—and I even tried adding some pointers of my own last year. This year, I’ve noticed some little tips and ideas which may not be obvious; they may be too close to the trip to help anybody else out, but they might help you (or me) next year.

Phone and Laptop Prep

Earlier this week, I changed my phone from syncing with my desktop to syncing with the laptop. Last year I had an older laptop without much room on it for my music, so the iPhone was pretty much read-only during that time. Now I’ll be able to update any new podcasts as well as clear out those I’ve managed to listen to.

As long as I was losing all my application data by linking to a new library (I really wish there were a better transition available for that) I decided to finally bite the bullet and install the 3.0 OS. Beta 5 combined with a 1st Gen iPhone caused me quite a bit of grief to install, but I finally got it going and have been using it since.

I’ve trimmed my music playlist on the phone to make room for more videos to watch while traveling without having to pull out the laptop. My paper book for the week will be Cordwainer Smith’s “When the People Fell” which I’m already partway into, and I have Marcus Zarra’s “Core Data” epub in Stanza on my phone.

I’m somewhat paranoid of losing my phone in general, and the idea of leaving it behind in a swarm of almost identical phones at the conference only amplifies that fear. My normal desktop photo is my wife and daughter, but in a room of people who have just met me—and have never met my family—that won’t help. To improve chances of recovery, I have changed my desktop to my business card. It doesn’t fit perfectly, and I haven’t had the time to rearrange the graphics, but my name and email address are legible for anyone who might find my phone.

External Hard Drive

I installed the latest Snow Leopard developer release onto a portable drive, a Maxtor OneTouch Mini I’d bought a while ago. I haven’t been actively developing against Snow Leopard, so if/when we receive a new dev release at the conference, I will feel free to install over it.

Tip: If you are going to bring an external drive to run dev releases, reformat the drive in advance to use GUID Partition Table or it won’t boot your Intel Mac. That’s a really annoying thing to discover after you’ve gone through the OS install process.


Hotel room outlets are a crap shoot. When you actually find outlets you can reach, they’re usually mostly occupied by appliances already. I always bring along my Monster Outlets-to-Go mini power strip. This thing is just one of those brilliant simple ideas, executed well.

During sessions, I don’t know that I’ll need much power. I’ve found that when it comes to note-taking, I’m more of a paper person than a laptop person. I’m not to the point of buying Moleskine notebooks, but I find writing easier and quicker to edit and annotate than a keyboard, and I focus more on the presentation itself. A paper notebook is also much less awkward to carry around and balance on your lap.

I am planning to carry a power adapter for my phone, though. Like Brent’s suggestion to stay hydrated, phone battery tends to be something you don’t think about until you’re critically low. Carrying a charger should allow me to grab a charge as needed.

Keep In Touch

I found Twitter to be invaluable last year for finding out about both sessions and social events. For those I follow in my closer social circle, I have their updates text message me; everyone else I can check as I wish. I just need to remember to disable the text messaging before I go to bed, then re-enable in the morning.

During the day next week, my Twitter stream will become somewhat cryptic: I tweet the session number and room I’m in (e.g. “101 Presidio”) when in a session; if you’re in the same session hall, you can then choose to look for (or avoid) me.

Feel free to follow me, but don’t be offended if I don’t follow you back. To limit the flow from Twitter, I have a general rule of trying to restrict myself to following people I have met in real life. Feel free to say “hi” and I’ll almost definitely follow you back.

I look forward to meeting as many fellow developers as possible this week, and wish you all a successful WWDC, however you define “successful.”