Macs at SXSW

Although there was nothing remotely Mac-related about the SXSW sessions, amazing to see that 70-80% of all laptops in the crowd were PowerBooks or iBooks. Traditionally, this would probably be explained by pointing to “the creative types,” but the crowd breakdown was weighted more to developers than to creatives. As Tim O’Reilly started noting a couple of years ago, the “alpha geeks” have been adopting the Mac at a rate much, much higher than the general computing population. And SXSW was alpha-geek-central. Other than not having to feel like a leper, some nice side-benefits of being at Mac-heavy conference:

– Being able to use Bonjour/iChat for the back-channel.

– The SXSW organizers built a really cool scheduling system: Once logged into their site, add sessions to your online calendar. The SXSW database kept track of how many people had logged interest in the session. Then subscribe via iCal to your own SXSW preferences and get an ideal iCal interface mapping out your week. Click an event and see not only the room number, but also how many attendees were expected to show up. Now overlay a second calendar for parties and a third for personal meetings, and you have a very slick organizational tool for conferences.

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