MacWorld Expo '94
Author: Bob Oswell
Date: February, 1994
Keywords: Macintosh show exposition eworld powerpc
Text: MacWorld Exposition in San Francisco is part show, part conference, part county fair, and all kinds of fun for the Macintosh user. The first MacWorld Expo was held in January 1985 in San Francisco and it has grown ever since. There are now a number of MacWorld Expositions throughout the world at various times of the year. Here in the U.S., MacWorld Expo/Boston is held in August, and MacWorld Expo/San Francisco is held in January. This year around 500+ exhibitors and 50,000 to 70,000 people attended MacWorld Expo in San Francisco. The Expo was held entirely in San Fran-cisco's Moscone Center, with additional conferences and panels held in nearby hotel conference rooms, such as the Mariott and Ana hotels. MacWorld Expo ran from 10 A.M. to 6 P.M. for four days starting Wednes-day, January 5th . The main events were the keynote panel and address; the exhibit halls; the conferences and workshops; and special gatherings, such as the Macintosh User Group breakfast. Expo's keynote sessions are discussions of topics of general interest to the Macintosh community. Some of the sessions focused on CD-ROM, Multi-media, Genera Magic, the Mac in Hollywood, and so on. This year the keynote sessions were held in the San Francisco Marriott's Yerba Buena Ballroom. The workshops are designed to focus on specific Macintosh topics: using PageMaker, Excel, Works, Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced Macintosh, Databases, PowerBooks and Telecommunications, to name just a few. In all there were about 160 of these workshops. Attendance is on a first-come basis, and many of the workshops are VERY popular, (like, standing room only). I did not attend any workshops this year. The exhibit halls are where most attendees spend their time. This year the exhibits were located mainly in the two great underground halls. The South Hall contained the big guns of the Macintosh world: Microsoft, Claris, WordPerfect, etc. The North Hall held the exhibits of the smaller or lesser known companies. I thought of them as the ''High Rent District'' and the ''Low Rent District''. These two halls are joined by a broad concourse where there are food and drink vendors and some smaller halls, one of which held the Apple Computer Pavilion. Seeing MacWorld Expo: some tips Tip 1: pick up the Program & Buyers Guide As you enter one of the two main entrances to Moscone Center there are racks holding the official MacWorld Expo Program & Buyers Guide. Take one. This guide (actually a magazine) has the all the exhibitors listed, their locations in the exhibition halls, a schedule of the conferences and workshops, and other useful information. If you are particularly well-organized you will use this guide to plan your visits to the various exhibitors' booths. Tip 2: visit the MacWorld magazine booth first. If you have preregistered and have your Expo badge, then go straight to the MacWorld magazine booth. Sign up for the free six-month subscription to MacWorld magazine (if you already have a subscription, it's extended six-months). While you're there, pick up a free shopping bag (or two). You'll need them. Tip 3: try to be methodical in seeing the exhibits. MacWorld Expo can be a buzzing confusion to the uninitiated. You can quickly get overwhelmed by the immensity of it all. Guy Kawasaki-former Apple employee, Macintosh evangelist and current columnist of MacWorld magazine-proposes the ''mine sweeper'' approach to seeing all of MacWorld Expo. That is, methodically going up one and aisle and down another. I tried it. It didn't work. As I'd start down one aisle, something would catch my eye the next aisle over. I used a modified version of the mine sweeper and ran across some software and hardware I hadn't heard of before. Tip 4: sit in on the software and hardware demonstrations. The exhibits are great places to see and get your hands on software and hardware that you normally see only as pictures in some mail-order catalog. And, if you sit through some software demonstrations, you may win a full working version of that software. At the least you will get a free hat or coffee cup. At many of the booths drawings for the free software and hardware is done by the ''fishbowl'' method. The hopeful Expo visitor, (that's you), places his or her business card into the fish bowl in hopes of winning that program, printer, monitor or PowerBook, offered as a prize by the vendor. If you don't have a business card, you can fill out an entry blank. Tip 4A: bring business cards. You don't even have to have a business, just a card with your name and address. You can get them made at Kinko's. Tip 5: grab all the literature and free stuff you can get This is where the shopping bags come in handy (see Tip #2). If you are shopping for, say a replacement monitor for your Mac, visit all the booths that feature monitors, check them out, and get all the printed information you can. The people manning the exhibition booths are very helpful and will often provide you with additional information. Also, many of the exhibitors hand out free demo disks of their software. In addition, there are several mail order vendors, such as Club Mac, located at MacWorld Expo. If you buy stuff from them, the shopping bags are a convenient place to carry your loot, er, purchases. Tip 6: check out the prices There are some good deals to be had at MacWorld Expo. Last year, after sitting through the WordPerfect demonstration, I received a certificate which I mailed in with $49 and got a full, legal, working version of WordPerfect for the Mac. In addition, when a software publisher rolls out a new product, they will heavily discount it at the Expo to get new users to buy it. Microsoft did that this year when they introduced FoxPro for the Mac (I got this $400 software for $99). However, be aware of the latest catalog prices for software and hardware. Some of the prices are not that much different at MacWorld. And if you have a credit card, watch yourself. You can get into buying frenzy. What's Up At MacWorld Expo This Year? Every Expo has some sort of focus or theme. This year at MacWorld Expo/San Francisco the focus was on the PowerPC, eWorld and Multimedia. PowerPC Although it's not even out yet, PowerPC seemed to be on everyone's lips. I saw two demonstrations of the potential of PowerPC when a PPPC prototype machine was pitted against a Pentium machine in a PhotoShop shootout. To make it interesting, the Pentium was allowed to proceed (sort of giving it a handicap) while the person giving the demo talked on. Then the PowerPC machine was started on the same PhotoShop task and burned past the Pentium to finish first. Some showboating there, but fun. Apple went to great lengths to reassure Mac users, particularly the business users, that they would not be left behind when PowerPC is introduced. And on the exhibition floor numerous software publishers were telling us that PowerPC versions of their products were being prepared. In fact, Daystar, a vendor of Mac accelerator boards, even showed off a PowerPC accelerator for your old Mac (a bit pricey, though, at $1500). eWorld Since Apple's new online service is vaporware at this point, what we saw in the Apple Pavilion was a MacroMind Director demo of what eWorld will look like. Apple is still developing software, installing a transaction-based mainframe system and signing up content provider. Initially, eWorld will support only Macs, but Apple plans to extend the capabilities of Windows machines and many Unix boxes. Apple promises users will make ''direct'' connections to the company for support, and to get information from providers like Ziffnet/Mac, InfoWorld and user groups such as BMUG and BCS (Boston Computer Society). Supposedly, eWorld will be a worldwide service, with connections to Europe and Asia. Pricing for eWorld is tentatively set at $8.95 a month, including 2 hours of evening and weekend use. Additional hours will be $4.95, with a surcharge for daytime use and possibly for additional services. Apple left no doubt that this is a commercial service. Apple was asking folks to sign on as Beta testers of eWorld, so yours truly filled out an application. Multimedia The keynote panel discussion held in the Mariott Hotel Wednesday morning focused on multimedia in the entertainment industry. The panel was moderated by Steward Alsop of Infoworld, and included Shelley Duvall, CEO of Think Entertainment (and, oh yes, she's an actress, too), Todd Rungren, Graham Nash, George Grayson CEO of 7th Level Software and Scott Billups. The discussion started slowly, but Todd Rungren and Graham Nash quickly warmed to the subject. In my notes I have Graham Nash saying that in the future the database will be the star of the multimedia presentation. He also said that the computer world is rampant with folks like the musicians he knew when he was young: making music 'cause it's cool and don't give a poop about anything else. Shelley Duvall said that interactive multimedia allows you to play like a child. She also said that computer techies are fun to work with (thanks, Shelley!). Mac User Group Breakfast Breakfast at 7 A.M. is too early for this lad. But that's what I did in order to represent SMUG at the Macintosh User Group Breakfast in the Ana Hotel. Good breakfast, and the discussion was about eWorld. Everyone swapped MUG business cards and copies of their newsletters. I met folks from User Groups in Sonoma County and Seattle. A woman from the Seattle group, dBUG (downtown business user group) had been married to a guy I knew at HSU, oh, these many years ago!!! Small world! The Next MacWorld Expo In the fall MacWorld magazine has preregistration forms for the next MacWorld Expo. This year the cost for admission to the exhibits alone was $25; while exhibits and workshops was $125 (ouch!). If you wait and register at the door, the cost is almost double. For your money you will receive a badge that looks like a credit card and a badge holder that will let you into the Expo all four days. Staying in San Francisco is not as expensive as I thought. I got a motel room this year for $49. The motel was located on the corner of Van Ness and Broadway. It was clean, comfortable, and there was free underground garage parking. Being so close to a busy street it was somewhat noisy, but tolerable. Public transportation is readily available, but I chose to drive to Moscone Center and used the parking garage across the street for $7 a day. Come on, next year let's go see the PowerPC's!
Copyright © february, 1994 by Bob Oswell