The line of Woz fans formed early and snaked through Moscone North well before the panel discussion titled “The Move to Mac OS X” was scheduled to begin.
The moderator was Dave Mark, MacTech Mag editor in chief, was joined by Bob LeVitus, Robin Williams, and Neil Ticktin — a good bunch of folks indeed. But the star of the show was clearly Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, whom the audience gave a standing ovation upon his introduction. Unfortunately, that was the highlight of this event.
For starters, the audio was just terrible. Microphones weren’t working, or they’d cut in and out while the speakers were trying to make a point. The presentation was held in a partitioned-off area on the trade floor itself, so the ambient noise level was high to begin with. Having crappy audio only made the situation worse.
As frustration set in for panelists and audience alike, the pace of the discussion began to disintegrate. The topic was supposed to be “The Move to Mac OS X,” but the only LeVitus and Ticktin seemed truly enthusiastic about Apple’s new operating system. And at times, Wozniak even appeared clearly dissatisfied with the Unix-based OS. Not that I was expecting all love and roses here, but I wasn’t prepared for a platform debate either.
From my perspective, this approach wasn’t very illuminating or inspiring. Some good points were made by panelists, but basically the discussion was a rehash of dozens of discussions I’ve witnessed during the last two years. I think it would have been far more helpful for these seasoned OS 9 users to focus on sharing tips for making the move to OS X easier.
Every now and then a healthy suggestion would break through the conversation, that is, if you could hear it. But overall, I felt somewhat deflated by this session. Too bad, because the potential for a great talk was there.
I understand the pain that accompanies a wholesale move from one platform to another. I realize that Apple sometimes engages in “tough love” that is hard on consumers who don’t have the disposable income to upgrade to the latest and the greatest. I too sometimes wish for a more kinder, gentler Apple.
But I didn’t feel that this was the place for that discussion. Instead, how about more time spent on low-cost workarounds that help with the transition to Mac OS X? What can schools do to begin the migration even though they have older hardware? If you’re not rolling in dough, how can you experience Apple’s platform of the future?
Bottom line: good participants, good topic. For some reason, it just didn’t work out. Too bad. I hope Woz comes back again for another try.