Last week Mike Schramm, Kelly Guimont and myself attended MacTech Conference in Los Angeles. We'll have a video interview with the organizer and editor-in-chief of MacTech magazine, Neil Ticktin, later this week, but here are some observations made during the event.
MacTech is always an excellently run, conference year-ending event in Los Angeles, and this year was no exception. I mostly sat in on the dev track, where we got to see some really interesting talks about AirPlay, how to implement transitions and even a great (though a little out of left field) talk about fitness and dieting. As usual, MacTech Editor-in-Chief Neil Ticktin made sure there was plenty to do outside of the conference hall too, with a very nice trip to Disney Animation and the usual march on Universal City. MacTech is always a great opportunity to do some networking and learn about the state of both development and IT in the Mac world, and this year's conference didn't disappoint.
MacTech is always amazing, and what I love about it most is that you get a different crowd than at other sorts of conferences. You get a lot of enterprise/IT folks who are very, very smart and in some cases, very, very frustrated because their toolset is limited or there's some technological hurdle they can't quite get over. Getting all those people in the same place to share tips and tricks and sort out the Dark Art Of Enterprise Mac Management is a really great thing to see. Add to that the great speakers covering all sorts of content, the food/snacks/coffee and then a nice event each evening, and honestly why wouldn't you go back every year? I tell everybody to go to a MacTech event if there's one near them, and here's my tip to readers: Get a big jar, write MACTECH 2013 on it, and start putting pennies in now. Show up with an empty notebook and be prepared to overwork your brain. Apple says "funner" is a word, so I'm going with it: You are hard-pressed to find a funner conference than MacTech.
As for myself, I noticed the attention to detail MacTech puts into these events. It may seem weird to have a presentation about fitness, or a bunch of sci-fi statues in the hallway, but these things are designed to foster conversations, connections and learning. MacTech is really about the people, and making those connections.
Perhaps the best thing I've seen at any conference were the attendees, stripped of their smartphones for a few hours, loaded into buses to head to Disney Animation Studios, suddenly forced to interact. No screens glowing beneath their faces, just people in the dark talking to each other about their work and lives. That's pretty great.