Friday, October 22, 2010

Why YOU Should Attend MacTech Conference!

I recently posted just a brief mention of it, but I felt I should explain in greater detail why
I'm more excited about MacTech Conference than I've ever been about a conference, even CES or Macworld.
Did that get your attention? If you're a geek, it should have—and you should read on to find out why I'm so excited about it!

When and where?

MacTech Conference is just around the corner—November 3–5, 2010.  It's based at the Sheraton Universal Hotel, just around the corner from Universal Studios Hollywood, near Los Angeles. This is an amazing hotel which recently underwent a $30 million renovation. It's also near the historic Griffith Observatory (I'll get back to that). There's more information on the hotel and travel here.

Who will be there, and who's it for?

MacTech Conference is primarily for IT professionals, developers, and other geeks who use, manage, or develop for Apple products like the Mac, iPhone, and iPad. People from numerous companies and organizations will be in attendance, including Apple, Google, Disney, Sony Pictures, Adobe, Texas Instruments, Parallels, VMware, Western Digital, a number of science and technology labs, lots of universities including MIT and Stanford, several school districts, and many others.

The keynote speaker is Andy Ihnatko, the beloved Chicago Sun-Times tech journalist and co-host of MacBreak Weekly on Leo Laporte's This Week in Tech podcast network. Macworld VP and Editorial Director Jason Snell will host a special panel discussion on trends in virtualization with representatives from VMware and Parallels, including the inventor of Parallels Desktop. There are a number of other speakers covering a variety of topics, including Misha Leder from Google, Wil Shipley of Delicious Monster, Daniel Jalkut of Red Sweater Software, Adium and Growl developer Peter Hosey, and more. And of course, I'll be there too. ^_^

With hundreds of attendees rather than thousands, MacTech Conference is the perfect size for a conference of its kind. It's big enough that you're guaranteed to meet lots of new people, make new friends and connections, and get to personally meet and chat with a wide array of great people from the Apple community. It's small enough that you won't get lost in an enormous mob of attendees. In part, it's very much in the style of TED or "unconferences" where everyone in attendance is viewed as an equally important person, and the presenters are also there to learn from everyone else.

What is there to do at the conference?

MacTech Conference is so much more than just sitting and listening to people speak. It's a fully immersive experience, with entertainment and all meals included.

On the first night of the conference, attendees get an exclusive evening at the beautiful Griffith Observatory and planetarium. When I say exclusive, I mean the observatory will close early that day just so our group can have private access for the evening.

While we're on the space theme, MacTech Conference will also host the first public showing outside a university or research setting of Mac-based planetary exploration rovers controlled by iPod touch, demonstrated by Professor Wolfgang Fink from the University of Arizona and formerly from Caltech—read more about the rovers here.

On the second night, we'll all head over to Jillian's for another exclusive evening of entertainment (dinner included, of course), featuring bowling, billiards, and video games including Guitar Hero.

Anything else?

Yep! Attendees also get a one-year subscription to MacTech Magazine (or a one-year extension for current subscribers), a conference t-shirt, and (optionally) their name and details listed in the conference directory for networking with others at the conference. If you want to get an Apple certification, you can take a certification exam on the last day of the conference (more about that below). The main conference page teases that "there will be a few surprises along the way, too."

How can I attend?

Register as soon as possible; the conference is coming up fast! If you register by Friday, October 29th, 2010, you either get a free Apple certification exam (worth $200) with the full conference price of $899, OR you get $100 off the price of registration (bringing the conference price—including all meals and entertainment—down to $799). Hotel accommodations are extra, but you have your choice of hotels in various price ranges (I recommend calling the Sheraton first to ask whether rooms and special conference rates are still available), and if you need to reduce your expenses you can split a room with another attendee or stay with someone you know who lives in the L.A. area.

To get one of these conference registration discounts (through October 29th), and to let MacTech know that I invited you, register here:

If you can't make it, please share this with friends or coworkers who might be interested in attending.

I hope to see you at MacTech Conference!