Though it might not seem possible, I did actually attend the MacWorld Expo, the reason for my trip to San Francisco in the first place.
The Mac rumor mills had been speculating about what Steve Jobs might have to offer at the keynote address. Some said it would be the most boring keynote ever; others suggested Steve might announce a new iPod, or perhaps something new on the MacOS X front. All agreed that the one thing everyone could be sure of was that Apple would not be introducing any new computers this year.
Everyone was wrong.
On the software front, Apple debuted new versions of the iApps, the consumer “digital lifestyle” applications that work with digital cameras, create digital movies and DVDs, and do it all more easily, gracefully, and elegantly than anything on Windows.
On the hardware front, Steve introduced a very slick piece of skiing and snowboarding gear–a specially constructed jacket, thermally insulated, with a secret pocket for an iPod and controls built into the sleeve to select, skip, and rewind songs.
And two new computers.
Two new sexy computers.
Two new objects of lust to make the most carnal thoughts of Larry Flynt seem like the passing daydreams of an innocent young lad.
Specifically, two new notebook computers that are not really computational tools so much as the embodiment on physical form of every technolust fetish in the innermost mind and heart of the geek. One has a marvelous 17″ screen, beautiful aluminum keys with a fiber-optic network beneath them that makes them glow from within in low light, and a lightness and thinness that inspires lust at a touch; the other, a miniature marvel so sexy you just want to lick it.
He even declared war on Microsoft and Netscape, debuting a brand-new browser that gets right what all the other Web browsers get wrong.
On the vendor front, it was almost a wash. Quark was conspicuous, as is an OS X native version of QuarkXPress, only by its absence. The professional pre-press and graphic art front is playing the game of “this year, same as the last.” The new companies that normally appear at MacWorld, selling software and gadgets on the cutting edge of cool, were nowhere to be seen.
Even the classes, for the most part, were a wash. The “expert” leading the seminar on scanning for print was so woefully ignorant of the basics of print production and halftoning that it was embarrassing and painful to watch. Bob LeVitus, who introduced the new “Dockie” awards for shareware and freeware apps, enjoys talking about himself more than anything else. And I didn’t score any interesting swag.
But there was the T-shirt.
Connectix, a company famous for stocking its trade-show booths with nubile women, was selling T-shirts with the word “Switch” emblazoned on the front, in apparent ignorance of the fact that the word carries a very specific meaning in the S&M community. Imagine, if you will, a computer software company featuring shirts bearing the word “Gay” or “Straight” or “Kinky” on the front, in utter benighted ignorance of the fact that those words carry meaning beyond “happy” or “not crooked” or “wavy,” and you’ll have the idea.
Shelly and I simply had to have one. We both now can wear the word “Switch” proudly; indeed, I wore mine to the Power Exchange. Thank you, Connectix, makers of Virtual PC, which is apparently what the T-shirt is supposed to promote.
I also had the opportunity to catch up with my old college roommate chipotle, who moved to the San Francisco area recently in search of a tech job. We spent some time ont he exhibit floor together, he and I and Shelly, basking in all that is geek. I was also able to spend time with feorlen and Steve, as we discussed the possible applications for BlueTooth-enabled sex toys.
Computers and sex. They just seem so right together.