inessential by Brent Simmons

Brent’s WWDC Tips

The single most important thing to remember at WWDC: drink plenty of water! You’re not at your usual places, and you’ll forget.

Hotel tips

When you check in, set up your iPhone charger first thing. If you go out Sunday night (and you should) you don’t want to remember to set it up when you return to your room. It has to be ready. Otherwise you’re screwed Monday.

You also should get some supplies for your room:

  1. Water! More than you think you need.

  2. Pretzels or some kind of snack you like.

The biggest danger after dehydration is simply not getting enough food in your stomach. You’ll be busy and you won’t take time to eat.

Either right before or right after, go register and get your badge — don’t wait for Monday morning.

Write down and put in your wallet your hotel room number. You might forget.

Food tips

It’s well-known that the food at Moscone is awful. Don’t even bother.

I find that I need protein more than anything, so I often eat lunch at the Buckhorn grill in the Metreon. It’s right across the street. I also like the Mexican place there.

After protein the priority is carbs: fries, mashed potatoes, pasta, whatever. Vegetables come last — you can go without for a meal or two, but don’t go too long.

For dinner there are lots of good places. I always like to eat at Annabelle’s at least once. Usually hit Mel’s too for a hamburger. I like the food at Rickenbacker’s. Many people like the Thirsty Bear, but I always feel hungry an hour later. Do not under any circumstances go to Bucca di Beppo, even though it’s right across the street.

For late-night there’s just the Denny’s. It’s not really food, but you’ll find that it’s similar enough.

Session tips

Don’t be afraid to jump out of a session and switch to another one if the one you’re in is not what you thought it would be. You paid; you’re there to learn; it’s your responsibility.

Don’t get paralyzed when choosing. Remember that there will be videos and documentation.

These days you have to line up early to get in sometimes. If you think a given session will be packed, you’re probably right. If you don’t think it will be packed, you’re probably wrong.

Moscone tips

The staff there will treat you like you’re a weird type of cow. Don’t take it personally.

There’s never coffee when you really, really need it. Luckily there’s a Starbucks a block away — it’s Starbucks, sure, but don’t turn up your nose: it’s caffeinated, and staying awake is the issue. (Especially during any OpenGL stuff.) (Okay, maybe that’s just me.)

If you’re new to WWDC, you should take some time to walk around the interior, find out where everything is.

After-hours tips

See Brandon “Quazie” Kwaselow’s party list.

You can’t get to every party, and there are always impromptu and smaller things. Play by ear.

Twitter is great for coordination and for finding out what’s going on.

Some standard hang-outs: Rickenbacker’s, Chieftain, Tempest, House of Shields.

Don’t wait for introductions — nobody can remember who knows who, so you won’t always get introduced. Say hello. Everybody is nice. Shy geeks sometimes, but still nice.

If you’re new to WWDC, and this is your first time meeting your heroes like Cabel and Wil and Gus, a few things to remember: don’t monopolize, don’t report bugs in person, and don’t push a demo on anybody. And everybody likes flattery. (Except for Gus.)

Finally: watch out for Kevin Ballard, who’s completely mad.

The best thing about WWDC

Imagine it’s 100 years ago and you’re a serious, hard-working craftsman — you’re the toy-maker to the king. Imagine that 5,000 of the best toy-makers come from around the world to gather in one place.

Just because it’s 2009 and we get to do this every year doesn’t make it less cool or any less to be savored.


Did I mention water?

Drink plenty of water!

And get at least some sleep.