The UK's first Macworld Conference took place at the Barbican this week.
The event offered access to some of the worlds most knowledgeable trainers, including seminar presenters from Apple, HP, Adobe, Macromedia, Macworld US, Corps Business, the Final Cut User Group and Snub Communications.
Andy Ihnatko kicked off the show with an energising and unusual presentation focusing on his Mac life. In a presentation that all attendees agreed woke them up early Monday, he talked about old technology, new technology and his desperate need to tidy his flat. His decision to play a rare Apple CD at the end of his speech remains a high point for many at the show, as this contained a 1980's high-energy 'made at Apple' inspirational company song that will haunt Mac users for the rest of their lives. "It was amazing", said one show-goer, "I expected something else, it was amusing and exciting and left me buzzing for the rest of the day."
Ihnatko's engaging personal style and talent for self-deprecation also shone through in his AppleScript and OS X tips sessions, where attendees acquired valuable advice, tips – and laughed – a lot.
To a packed-house, Ihnatko delivered an in-depth AppleScript presentation; managing to transform Apple's under-evangelized application building software. Simplicity is key to AppleScript, he advised: "You just have to act like a guerilla. When you build a script to do something with an application, when making a request of an application with AppleScript you need to make the script ask for just what it wants and then say thank you very much, that's it, I'm off.
"Applications all run differently, so failure in AppleScript-building often comes down to building scripts that are too complex."
Apple speaks Xserve, Xserve RAID
Apple director of software product marketing Oren Ziv talked Xserve and Xserve RAID at the show to a packed seminar room of industry professionals. He took the time to demonstrate the wide industry-standard support available within Apple's high-end products, and while declining to be specific, suggested that more high-end enterprise-ready applications for OS X will appear, as the company continues its attempt to deliver an industry-leading solution to new scientific, research and enterprise markets.
Ziv also discussed Apple's support for open standards and open source: "Open Source is a culture of openess. It's a whole world of very, very smart people," he said, "we want to work with them, and Apple is unique in allowing its talented engineers to take an active part in open source development."
Mac OS X has built-in support for over 80 open source standards, and the open source Darwin kernel of OS X is available and working on a number of non-Apple platforms, he revealed. "Open source has really helped Apple ensure network compatibility", he added.
Dr. Ross Allen, digital imaging guru
HP consultant Dr. Ross Allen also spoke at the show. Attendees were thrilled at his humorous delivery and obvious knowledge, with talk in the Barbican's halls centring on how impressed they were at Ross' erudition and knowledge along with his capacity to explain the most complex matters in clear, engaging style.
Dr. Allen holds 25 US patents and is the former manager of the Color Imaging and Printing Technologies Department of HP Labs. Allen explained the meaning of camera megapixels, the improtance of colour management, and called for an end to the megapixel and DPI race, "so companies can concentrate valuable research and development resources on the other features we need to build into imaging systems."
"The art of being an engineer", he said, "is to know when good is good enough."
One piece of advice stands clear: "The camera you have with you will take better pictures than the one you don't have with you," the sage advised.
Adobe Creative CS, better than TV
Adobe international evangelist Peder Engrob took the conference's busy theatre through a spell-binding whistle-stop tour of the different elements of Creative Suite. His ability to make the complex simple and non-stop delivery was noteworthy, and the multitude of visually spell-binding operations he ran while teaching how to do them made one attendee remark: "This is almost as visually stimulating as watching TV."
Engrob ably demonstrated the integration between all the constituent elements of Adobe CS, with InDesign's ability to format tables actually winning the audiences' applause. Attendees preset all agreed they had learned a great deal about Adobe's next-generation creative applications.
Photoshop guru Deke McClelland and Macworld's Ben Long talked Photoshop. Attendees in that seminar track were seen scribbling furiously, as both men offered wide-ranging advice ranging between the best way to use a digital camera to some of Photoshop's deeply powerful yet harder to understand features. Long came in for particular praise from one attendee, for spending 30 minutes with them explaining things. McClelland – an internationally known Photoshop expert – was seen being pursued by conference attendees clutching copies of his Photoshop CS Bible – they wanted his autograph.
Macromedia's Jon Harris, Craig Grannell, Corps Business' Matt Wyne, Dave Cartwright, HP's Mark Ellis, Angie Taylor, Rick young, Jeremy Leer, Philip James and Peter Anderson; in fact, all the speakers at the show took the extra time to speak after their presentations with Conference attendees.
Thanks are due to all speakers, delegates and Barbican Centre staff for a successful and rewarding event.