Apple’s monkey-wrench in my summer

I’ve decided to collect all my commentary on the WWDC 2003 move in both space and time in one place. This is it.

Thanks again to Dave Winer for the link on Scripting News and to Adam Engst for the link on TidBITS.



Friday, March 21, 2003 - morning

This morning I got word that Apple is going to reschedule (and relocate) Worldwide Developers Conference 2003. I’ve already fired off an email to them, but their change is going to cost me an airline ticket (the airline said this morning that war or not, I couldn’t get a full refund because they’re only offering exchanges, and that only for travel until May 19), ruin my plans for vacation in May (I was planning on taking a few days to drive down the coast to L.A.), and make for a fair number of headaches this morning as I try and reorganize things. To top it off, they’ve scheduled it to begin the day after MacHack ends in Detroit (though the MacHack people are now scrambling to come up with a new plan). The MacHack attendees might not be the most influential developers in Apple’s world (does Apple even admit that anyone but Adobe and Microsoft develops software for the Mac?), but we’ve been some of the most faithful.

Apple’s arrogance in changing this conference is pissing off at least dozens and probably hundreds of developers. There’s no official word on why they had to change it, but I’ve got a few theories. One is that Panther is going to be late. Another is that they couldn’t provide the security needed for Al Gore in San Jose, and possibly his schedule was busy the week when WWDC was supposed to be. Finally, there’s the Apple’s trying to squash MacHack theory. Like I said, I don’t know the real reason, but it sure doesn’t make me happy.

Update: Another theory put forward by John C. Dvorak a couple days ago is that Apple’s switching to Intel chips. That would definitely be a good excuse for being late with Panther, and I could see where it might take another month to put together new presentations for WWDC.

Reading the press release more closely, Apple says:

Apple® … has rescheduled its 2003 Worldwide Developers Conference in order to provide developers with a more complete preview release of the next version of Mac® OS X, code named “Panther.”

So it appears that Panther being behind schedule is the official excuse of the moment. For what it’s worth, Apple is offering full refunds of the conference fee until May 23 (fnord!), and according to the Developer Relations phone line, they are currently determining what they will be doing to placate those of us who are griping about losing hundreds of dollars on non-refundable airline tickets that have already been bought.

I’ll be posting more information here as soon as I know it.


Friday, March 21, 2003 - evening

I just got a call back from someone in Developer Relations at Apple. They’re trying to be accomodating, but I’ve had to tell them I can’t set anything up just yet, since the MacHack schedule is still unknown. She said that Apple will have some very attractive hotel prices in San Francisco (I commented that in previous years the rates through Apple’s Housing Service were generally above market rates), and they will speak to Northwest Airlines to see if there’s anything they can do to keep me from having to pay a penalty for changing the trip. We’ll talk early next week to see if things have sorted themselves out, and what the new schedule will bring.

My impression from the call is that Apple is trying to be very accomodating to developers who have already booked flights and hotels, and if there wasn’t the additional complication of MacHack in the picture, I’d already have a deal from Apple that would stop my grumbling. I also received a promise that my comments would be passed up the chain to those who decided to reschedule the conference.


Tuesday, March 25, 2003 - morning

Tidbits has an article: Apple Moves WWDC 2003 to June in San Francisco. No new information there, but it’s probably a clearer writeup than I had last Friday and they may find out additional new information sooner than I can.


Tuesday, March 25, 2003 - evening

Spunky MacHack stays on Calendar Despite Apple WWDC Move.


Wednesday, March 25, 2003 - morning

I applaud the MacHack committee for deciding to stick to their guns and not reschedule the conference, but now I’m faced with the decision of how I deal with it.

It’s not a simple decision. Over the weekend, I was thinking that I’d probably just bag WWDC and go to MacHack. It would mean getting a refund of the conference fee from Apple, which would in some small way, signify my displeasure with the change.

I had a vacation planned in CA for the week after WWDC, and that’s probably going to be impossible now. I was planning to spend some time with a guy I worked at when I was at ETA Systems, my first job in the computer business. Apple has cost me a week spent hanging out with him and catching up. I’m going to miss that chance now.

Also, June through August are the busiest months of the year for me. The Saint Paul Saints are playing, and I have season tickets to their games. That’s a huge part of my summer, and Apple has chopped a week out of the middle of the season (I’ll miss an entire seven-game homestand, plus the game I would have missed for MacHack already).

But it’s not as simple as just skipping WWDC. I’ve got a lot of reasons to want to attend WWDC, too. I’ve got some technical issues I tried to sort out with engineers at Apple via email, and we got nowhere. I’m convinced at this point that we need a face-to-face meeting to work things out and to get me the answers I need for the long-term. There are also the business considerations. I missed WWDC last year, and because I’m self-employed, getting to WWDC just to remind people that I’m around is something I think I need to do for my business. Most of my work over the past four years has come from contacts I’ve made in the Mac developer community, and I refresh most of those contacts at WWDC. Finally, there are people I just miss seeing, and WWDC is the one opportunity I have to spend time with them.

There’s also the opportunity to find the people from Apple who had some influence on the decision to change the schedule and ask them What the hell were you thinking?! Looking forward to a good burst of righteous indignation is helping me keep an even keel about this at the moment.

Oh well, it’s time to quit griping and get on the phone and see if I can get my airline tickets sorted out. And then I have to actually get some work done for the day. More updates once I’ve talked with my travel agent, the airline, and Apple again.


Wednesday, March 25, 2003 - evening

Hopefully this is the last update. I’ve now spoken with three different people in Apple’s Developer Relations. I ended up changing my flight, and the new flight cost significantly more than the old one. Apple ended up reimbursing me for the difference in price, and I’m a fairly happy camper at the moment.

I still think the change was not a very good move, especially butting WWDC up against MacHack as they did, but the folks in Developer Relations are doing a good job of trying to take care of the people who’ve been hurt by the change. We’ll still have a MacHack without much of an Apple presence this year, but I’m going to make it to both conferences, and that makes me happy.

Copyright 2009, Dave Polaschek. Last updated on Mon, 15 Feb 2010 13:55:44.