End of WWDC: Let's Party

So I have mehfforted on the blogging for the past couple of days; it started on Wednesday when I decided that I really didn’t have much to talk about (WWDC content being under a certain agreement whereby I can’t tell you the content) so since that took up most of each day, it seemed worthless to post about it. Now it is Sunday night, so I have plenty of content I can tell you about. (This is also the post I am “treating myself to” for successfully upgrading WordPress manually.)

Wednesday night was party night 2: Andrew broke his arm (but he’s all better now!) and we had lots of fun with internet celebrities, developers, free food, the Apple Store, and the homeless. After hours of amazing sessions at WWDC, we headed to the San Francisco Apple Store for CocoaHeads; between arriving and the event, however, we spent the time vacillating over whether to purchase new computers, and messing with the MacBooks on display.

CocoaHeads was as informative as it was refreshing. Three talks that I was keen on being there for were given by infamous entrepreneur Wil Shipley, the talented Sofa guys, and the brains trust behind Cappucino, 280 North. I succeeded in capturing Wil Shipley’s blurry, tuxedoed silhouette on iPhone camera as he spoke to nearby geeks

Wil Shipley is so fast, you need an iPhone 3G S just to photograph him without blur!
Wil Shipley is so fast, you need an iPhone 3G S just to photograph him without blur!

After CocoaHeads, we headed out to the Cloud Made party, which made for an interesting night, but first, here is a photo of a store we passed on the way:

Rasputin Music & DVD store
Rasputin Music & DVD store

Rasputin, lol.

We got to the party, it was in a pretty slick pub. The Cloud Made guys were doing great stuff with non-Google map data on the iPhone, and they awarded the author of OffMaps a prize. But everybody was a winner, with free bottles and coffee mugs delivered by girls in costumes, an open bar, exquisite finger-food (can you say “finger-hamburger?”) and frequent power outages. Best of all of course was meeting the top guys from a few companies. Unfortunately it appears that all the photos I took were when the power was off, or maybe the lighting was just crap, but you can believe me when I say the place was swank, the party was happening, and the schwag delivery girls were cute.

Of course I got home later than I would generally like, but along with the lack of things to write about so far, decided to forget blogging about it and went straight to sleep.

Thursday: wow, another amazing day at WWDC. Met even more people, learned even more cool stuff. We had a terrific hamburger lunch in the Metreon instead of the usual catered fare; I must say it is a shame that the Metreon seems empty.

Thursday night is the night of the WWDC bash. This is generally optimal, since Fridays have fewer sessions than the other days, and many people leave on the Friday. The bash was again held in Yuena Berba gardens. Goodness knows how much Apple pay for the permit to use such beautiful gardens for, essentially, a rock concert where the turf is trampled by over 7000 nerds. At least it was cleaner than Falls festival and the food was (again) free! I got in to the food nice and early, had myself an American style hot dog among food from lots of other cultures, and relaxed, pondering who or what was to be the musical entertainment. It is a running tradition at WWDC to keep the performing band a secret until they get on stage.

Welcome friend
Welcome friend
Two's company, 7000 is a crowd!
Two's company, 7000 is a crowd!

Unfortunately for them, I had scoped out the instruments on stage, and being a muso, I had a few clues as to who it might be. They had a standard drumkit, guitars, bass, keyboard with effects, and a trumpet mute all laid out. Hmmmm…

Well it turns out it was Cake!

Cake
The Cake was not a lie: Cake performing at the WWDC '09 Bash

I had heard rumours that Cake was not a likely choice for band, because of some history with them and Apple. I was sure glad they were wrong! Cake played like Cake does, and we even got a song from their potentially-never-to-be-released next album!

I was pretty happy after the bash: after all, being surrounded by friends and like-minded folk, having a belly full of food, having just listened to a favourite band perform live, and in such wonderful surroundings. So I had a bit of a dance. You might see me on some Flickr streams dancing like I don’t have a care, and I didn’t.

After all the fun, we dropped by the hotel to get ready for more partying. At this point I decided to get an “early” night instead, although in retrospect it might have been better to go, to make sure Jess and Jess didn’t get in trouble with the gang of friendly male attendees who were their fan club! As it turned out, nothing happened, and I got a great night’s sleep.

So Friday rolled around.

Breakfast
WWDC '09: The Last Breakfast

I will miss the infinite juice and the muffins. Following Paris’s advice, I got my bag into order the night before, making checking out of the hotel a slick affair, with the exception of losing the key to my bag lock. Paris lent me one of his locks.

Though Friday had plenty of neat sessions, overall it didn’t seem nearly as thrusting as the previous days. The highlight of the day was listening to the session on [session title redacted] given by Apple’s Principle Research Scientist, Kim Silverman, a fellow Australian with a flowing beard.

After the last session, we bade farewell to Tony who headed back home to Tasmania that night, we grabbed our bags from the Marriott and we walked to the hostel. The Secret Lab awesome foursome (Paris, Andrew, Jon and myself) are sharing a room with two double bunks at the USA Hostel in Post St. (Already we’ve started on the crude humour.) But on Friday, we had other things to do.

We caught up with the Jesses at the Café Royale just up the road. More about that café in just a moment. Jess and Jess had each lodged themselves in different hotels. Jess C stayed in the JW Marriott (a different Marriott to the original) for two nights, whereas Jess L had somewhere slightly lower-brow. Either way we were glad that everybody was within spitting distance of each other again, especially now that we were essentially in the Tenderloin.

After coffeetime, we headed back past Moscone, where they had started bumping out WWDC, to Buca di Beppo, a nice Italian restaurant, for dinner with the rest of the AUC delegation still in San Fran.

Artsy, upside-down photo taken along the wall of Buca di Beppo, near where we ate rather a lot of good food!
Artsy, upside-down photo taken along the wall of Buca di Beppo, near where we ate rather a lot of good food!
This cake was also no lie: two epic slices---one chocolate cake, one cheese cake---to share between six. Andrew in background.
This cake was also no lie: two epic slices---one chocolate cake, one cheese cake---to share between six. Andrew in background.
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And now, a few words about Saturday.

This hostel has a number of awesome features that make it an incredibly good deal for anybody travelling on a budget. For instance, infinite pancakes and oatmeal before 10AM.

Epic pancake
Epic quantities of pancake! Serious maple syrup too! Paris in background.

Other benefits: cheap laundry, nice atmosphere, free wireless internet, endless parties and events every day of the week, and a great rate. But rather than hang out here, we decided after finding the Café Royale that we would hang out there, because of the coffee and the superior internet connection to the hostel. (For a start, they don’t filter out mininova >.>)

I spent most of the day there Saturday, but did come back to the hostel to get some laundry done. What a relief to not have to worry about running out of clean clothes! The laundry is way cheaper here than the retarded laundromats back home. $1 US for the dryer? I normally have to pay $5! Plus the clothes come out dry!

Feature event of Saturday was seeing Wicked, the Musical (again). With the exception of Jon, we had all previously seen Wicked in Melbourne. Though the ceiling and walls of the theatre here are most impressive, the stage is smaller, the audience capacity is smaller, and this led to a different experience. But not only had we seen it before, we also got copies of the soundtrack CD, and I have listened to it a lot. Knowing what the lyrics of the songs are helped me notice a lot of nuances this time around that were lost amidst the awe I experienced the first time.

After the show, this time I was sure to pick up some merch. I really wanted those green glasses this time, and got them: but for $19 US, more than twice the price at the Melbourne show last year. I’m told they really suit me.

Me with glasses
Me and my green shades. Two separate people have told me I look like Art Garfunkel, prior to obtaining the shades, I wonder what effect they will have?

Walking to the theatre was fine, because it was daylight, but walking back home could have been a nightmare. We are apparently now inside the Tenderloin of San Francisco, considered to be the “bad neighborhood” area with gangs, roaming potheads and drunks, regular murders, and shiploads of homeless people.

Apparently.

I haven’t noticed this feature of the area much at all—this doesn’t mean I’m getting complacent!—on the way back from the show, we walked past a few mean-looking guys but didn’t get threatened by any. We weren’t approached for spare change by homeless guys at all. And we all got home to the hotels safe and sound. But best of all, the atmosphere in this place, especially the Café Royale, is more organic, an aspect I’m admiring a lot more than the polished tourist mania of Fisherman’s Wharf or the slick, anaesthetised hotel experience of last week.

This brings us to today. We did our café thing for nearly the entire day. Jon spent it productively completing his thesis, I spent it writing an 8-minute piano track. We were visited by Jess and Jess for the last time. They brought a bag: it had all the stuff they didn’t want to pack and take back. Lucky for me, they included moisturiser!

Finally, this evening, we were entertained at the Café Royale by the Nice Guy Trio, a jazz trio with trumpet, bass and accordion. Really tight little group and I was glad we stuck around to listen to their first half. At about 7:15 we got pretty hungry and left to find a nice dinner. The internet was raving about a little Japanese restaurant nearby called Ryoko’s, so we went there. What did they have on the menu?

Pokemon on the menu
Pokemon on the menu!

OMG. We simply had to have it. So does everybody else that goes there, given by the smile on the waitress’s face.

Pokemon sushi roll
The Pokemon sushi roll: a salmon sushi with some other interesting ingredients.

It was a delight! Between the infinite green tea refills, the amazing sushi, and the tempura-fried icecream, we certainly had a meal to remember.