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Entry 341, on 2006-06-03 at 21:15:02 (Rating 2, Computers)
One of the ultimate experiences a Mac enthusiast can have is to attend Apple's main developers' conference: the World Wide Developers' Conference (WWDC). When you live in such an isolated country as New Zealand its hard to get to events like that just because of the distance. And working in a service division of a University makes it harder - generally we don't have a lot of funding for this sort of thing.
I have been to one WWDC in the past, and it was a great experience. I was supposed to go again this year, but funding now seems to be no longer available. Several other people from the University are going, but strangely enough, only one could really be seen as a developer (and then only part time). The others are general IT support staff, managers, etc. OK, I thought this was a *developer* conference. Maybe I was too busy *developing* software and not busy enough spending time in office politics, pushing my case to go.
I personally think that being given the equivalent time (say a week and a half) to work on any project of my choice would be a better way to improve my skills anyway, but the conference is definitely a good way to learn new techniques, and more importantly a chance to catch up with trends at Apple. After the last WWDC I attended I was discussing future Apple products, etc with other members of our staff for months afterwards - it was nothing confidential, of course!
On the other hand, thinking back, maybe it wasn't that useful after all. You see the last WWDC I went to was about 10 years ago when Apple were in the middle of their transition from Mac OS 9. This was before Steve Jobs returned, and before Mac OS X existed. So the future was all about Copland - a system which never saw the light of day. So maybe the conference wasn't that useful after all. This really does show how uncertain the tech world really is.
Of course Apple are in a far more certain, stable position now - both from a business and a technical perspective, so Apple's future path is far more certain than it was then. There are ways of learning what's going on without going to a conference of course, but somehow its just not quite the same!
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