since the bus to the expo left from this parking lot near dan’s apartment, i just stayed up all night so i wouldn’t sleep and end up missing the bus. and since i wasn’t quite sure where i’d be meeting the bus, dan, his brother, and i went to the silver diner on rockville pike ‘cos that was at the parking lot that the buses would be meeting at, and this way they could show me how to get there, and we could get eats since we were hungry.
i met up with the buses at the appropriate time, and was assigned to be foodmonkey for the two buses that we’d be taking from this lot. this involved a rather large man giving me boxes of styrofoam containers with muffins in them, and boxes of juice boxes, and being instructed to put one of each on every seat on each bus.
the bus ride up was alright, nothing out of the ordinary. it was about 5 hours long so i tried to sleep on the bus, but most of the time i was squished by another large man who was sitting next to me. ^^; he and the two people behind me apparently worked at the apple store in tyson’s corner. he was a nice guy, though.
got to the expo, got my badge, and made my way into the exhibit hall. it was like an anime convention minus the anime and video rooms, so all that’s really left is the dealers’ room. but the exhibit hall at the expo is a bit more than just a dealers’ room (in fact, not many of the kiosks that were set up were actually selling stuff, and not many of the ones that were selling stuff actually had stock on hand at the expo – mostly it was pay-now-and-recieve-it-in-the-mail-later sort of deals).
the first thing that you saw upon entering the exhibit hall was the giant apple section (duh). they had dozens of the new 17″ imacs up (nothing cosmetically changed except for the lcd screens on these models were 2 whole inches larger on the diagonal), as well as their ibooks, g4 towers, their xserve servers, and various accessories hooked up to each. and people were encouraged to explore everything on these computers, and try them out, and ask the apple employees by each one any questions that they might have.
moving out across the convention center, i stopped by several other booths and picked up free swag (companies were giving out all sorts of free stuff, ranging from pins to keychains to plushies of their products). microsoft was giving out plastic eggs with silly putty in them (this becomes important later).
i found the user group meeting room, where they were having presentations throughout the day, and listened some to the guy who runs dealmac.com. i found out later that andy ihnatko would be giving a presentation later on that day, so i planned to go see that.
i went over to the second half of the convention center, where more kiosks were set up. at one of them some cute girls in orange dresses and orange wigs tried to solicit me for their services… as secretaries. they were trying to get people to sign up for this service called pronto where using your phone you have access to some operator and using just your voice you’re able to compose emails to people and do crazy stuff like that. but $19.95 / month was too steep for my taste, so i had to decline.
i found the omnigroup kiosk and i registered my copy of omniweb there (partly since it’s such a kickass web browser, partly ‘cos it’s fully-featured and it just pops up a window asking you to register if you pleased about once or twice a month, and partly ‘cos the company has such a good sense of humor – their requests for you to register range from “please register so we can start our ferarri collection.” to “a woman in nebraska registered omniweb and the next day she found $0.50 under her sofa. a man in ohio didn’t register omniweb and was hit by a cement truck. which would you prefer?”). lucky for me they had special pricing for the expo, and i was even able to get a student discount. ^_^
i also found the freeverse kiosk where i purchased a copy of wipeout 2097 for the mac (they have this game for the playstation, but it’s hard to find and even more expensive than this copy was when it’s used).
at the far end of this half of the center there was the gaming section. apple had about 40 macs set up, each with a different game on it that you could try – you’d just stand behind the person playing, wait for them to have their fill of gaming, then steal the seat when they would get up to go. this department was pretty crowded, so mostly i just walked around looking at each game.
later in the day i went back to that meeting room and saw andy ihnatko give his presentation. he’s a pretty funny guy – he kept talking how technology is supposed to be giving us the jetson’s car, and not do what scientists are doing now and making stupid stuff like orange keys for the keyboard that combine the features of both the “return” key and the “enter” key, lol. at the end of his presentation, he had a stack of stuff that he had to give away (each panel had recieved loot from companies at the convention to give away). first he let this old lady up front pick two things, because throughout his presentation he used her as his human prop, then he said “ok, who has an ‘x’ in their name?” and two guys got stuff from him because of that. then he gave this old man in the back corner of the room a pick because he had the worst spot in the room. after that he asked for people who had a crochet hook (nobody), an apple newton on them (about 5 or 6 people), and an egg (i pulled out my plastic silly-putty egg and got a book about software for os x ^_^). the last thing he had was a copy of reader rabbit for 2nd grade, so he asked who had a second grader and one guy said that he did – andy made him answer some questions about his kid before he was satisfied that he did have a second grader who could make use of the program, hehe.
after that i wandered around the expo some more (i was there from 10 am – 6 pm), stopped by this booth selling expo gear and i bought myself a messenger bag since i wanted one and it was only $25 and i happened to like it, all before catching the bus with the rest of the users group to head back home. i talked with the people next to and behind me some more again about computers, and apparently the people behind me went to apple’s new retail store where they saw steve jobs and basically were able to tell him “thanks for employing us and giving us paychecks”, lol. slept some more on the bus, stopped for dinner somewhere in new jersey, and got back to dan’s place at about 1 am. whee!