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Registrations

We got up and had our first hotel buffet breakfast. It’s all so sweet. As in sugary sweet. Damn tasty, but I think this hotel has a pretty decent breakfast compared to the others. Honey maple smoked bacon strips. Oh boy. So good. So dangerous.

After breakfast we headed back to Moscone West for registrations, and to pickup our badge and WWDC jacket. Energy in the air there is just so awesome, even though the conference hasn’t even started yet.

Whilst there, I managed to swag TestFlight and SourceTree t-shirts. Had a chat to a dev from SourceTree… he was genuinely stoked to be meeting developers in the real world that were using their wares. That was cool.

Afterwards we headed to the bridge across from Moscone to get the obligatory Moscone WWDC photo.

After that we went to Westfield for who knows what reason. It’s just a typical big shopping center. They had curved escalators though which excited me more than it should have. Back to the hotel to drop off the jackets etc.

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Hotel, first drinks and settling in

I had beer at the hotel bar whilst waiting for Tony Arnold (who I am sharing a room with for the week). I used the opportunity to ask the girl behind the bar what the deal with tipping is. She explained it all in great detail to me — for a beer, coffee or other small things, tip a buck. Otherwise 15% for meals etc, or 20% if the service is amazing. Tipping is weird. Anyway, I took my beer out to the beer garden and enjoyed the summer sun!

Once Tony arrived, we dumped our gear in our room and had showers to un-stench. We had a quick wander past Moscone West to see the Apple signage. That made it feel real. So excited!

We headed to The Grove and met up with a bunch of Aussies for some beers and a giant serving of bruchetta. Beer is pretty cheap, and the food is delicious, so far.

We headed with the guys towards a burger place, but ran into some of the other Aussie dudes who were heading to an amazing place called Bluestem Brassiere, so we joined them instead. Eating there was Marc, Rene, Graeme, Alex, Matt, Tim and his wife, Jeff, Sean, Ben and Tony.

I had “Black Truffle Cavatelli” which was described as “shaved duck prosciutto, English peas, morel mushrooms, lemon fondue, ricotta salata cheese, and micro tarragon”. So delicious that I am dead.

After dinner, went back to the hotel to try and catch up on some sleep. The “heavenly bed” package was true to it’s name.

I am so tired though.

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Arriving in San Fran

The excitement started to hit on the plane when they handed us the TSA / custom’s form, oddly. We landed in SF early thanks to the tail winds.

Going through customs was pretty daunting. But really it was just a finger print scan and photo and a few questions about why I’m here. I was expecting the whole pat down / luggage disruption thing.

There are strong American accents everywhere, and the American cars in and around the airport really make it sink in – for some reason I feel like i’m in an episode of Sesame Street. First stop – bathroom. And my first encounter with the full-of-water toilets.  Weird at first, but in my opinion a far superior design to what we have in Australia (for reasons that are probably too disgusting to go into detail on). I’ve got the post-flight sweaty grossness. All i can think about is showering.

I walked to the BART station to head towards downtown SF. Using the ticket machine really makes me feel like a foreigner. Insert all your money to add credit, then remove credit with a -25c button? Weird.

The BART makes a noise that sounds like the Moby outro for Bourne Identity.

When arriving in downtown, i emerged from the BART into the hustle of Market St. I feel so out of place and am already finding it hard too know where to go without any mobile data.

I finally found the Westin on Third, dumped my bags in the lobby, and headed out for a wander around Market St to soak up the Americanness. Got a delicious hotdog from a street cart, an then to AT&T for a SIM card. Back online, and so excited.

I’m in the USA!

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Leaving Sydney for WWDC 2013

Preface: this personal diary of my time in at WWDC in San Francisco & Seattle in June 2013.

The day has come. Al and the kids took me to the airport for my 14:30 flight. We had lunch together and said our goodbyes. Boy it was sad leaving my little family behind. The most I’ve ever been away has been a few nights. This is going to be two weeks. Tears all around :(

I had a window seat, but I sat next to a lovely older couple on the flight who went to the bathroom more than I did which was fortunate. The flight on United was far better than what I was expecting. The extra legroom (Economy Plus) was definitely worth the cost. I really enjoyed just sitting. No movies. Just my music and my thoughts. I tried to get some sleep but that was hard. A chicken sandwich, pretzels and a couple of scotchs at 3am sorted me out though. EFTPOS was broken so i had to make the most of free alcohol after all.

Note for next time: take tracksuit pants. Wearing jeans on a 17 hour flight is just wrong.

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One way, automated iPhoto library sync

Update: whilst photo sharing between family members still sucks, iCloud Photo Library solves most of these issues. 

As per a previous post Multiple iTunes library on one Mac, I feel that Apple still neeeds to do a lot to address multiple Macs all sharing wanting access to the same library of media. Managing multiple libraries/systems sucks. I’ve tried manually managed folder structues, then using tools such as Google Picasa, but it’s just too much work.

So in our household, the master iPhoto library is on my MacBook, and it syncs in one direction to my wife’s Mac. She can’t add/edit/remove photos, but she gets access to them all, which is all she needs.

Here’s the AppleScript that i’m using to do it:

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Multiple iTunes libraries on one Mac

Update: I now use Plex, so this is no longer necessary. 

All of our family’s media (TV shows / movies) are stored in an iTunes library on a headless Mac mini. We use an Apple TV to watch the media in our lounge room. I love the simplicity of the interface, and not having to jailbreak / set up Plex etc.

Encoding / remuxing ATV compatible files, and adding metadata is pretty damn fast these days… and after tha, it’s super easy to use (especially for the kids). I don’t have to worry about anything breaking (I had a Windows Media Server connected to the TV for years and maintenance drove me & my wife mad).

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Grateful for my babysitter

I’ve been reminiscing a lot about discovering Pearl Jam lately. I posted this on my Facebook group Pearl Jammers, and thought I’d chuck it here too.

Back in 1993 (when I was 12), my babysitter, Peter, gave me a tape of Guns N’ Roses – Use Your Illusion II. He warned me to never let my parents hear it cause they’d take it off me. It was like nothing I’d heard before. I loved it, it moved me like nothing had before. Those guitar licks. Those solos. That snake-like screech.

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Meeting Eddie Vedder

This is a self indulgent post, and is predominantly here for my memory.

A little background for those that don’t know: during the Pearl Jam show at Sydney Football Stadium in 2009, Ed Vedder dedicated the song Light Years to our son Sebastian who we lost before he was born (huge thanks go to MR for making this happen).

View on YouTube

Anyway, on Friday night, 25th of March 2011 in Adelaide, I met Eddie Vedder. I bumbled on like an idiot, but it man it was an incredible experience. Meeting my musical idol, someone who i’ve imitated and drawn inspiration from for 20 years… who’s lyrics have gotten me through both the happiest and the most painful times in my life.

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Pearl Jam Austin City Limits Blu-ray

I’ve been getting frustrated lately by the lack of Pearl Jam bootleg material in High Def. There’s been a fair bit of stuff aired (and captured) in HD, but the only stuff that’s been torrented has been converted to DVD. So i figured i should do something about it.

So, here is the very simple menu i’ve come up with for my first Pearl Jam Blu-ray. It’s for the HD broadcast of ACL that was on back on the 3rd of Oct. The full Blu-ray image is available in the various places that things are available.

My Apple Wishlist

Update: LOL

I’ve been running a Windows Vista Media Center system for several years now. And it does a pretty good job. All of my DVDs, HD DVDs and Blu-rays are available with a click (thanks to Handbrake). A dual HDTV tuner card captures all our free to air shows to watch when we’re ready. The system supports full HD with 5.1 AC3 & DTS, from a large range of codecs (including MKV with subtitles). It works pretty darn well.

Most of the time. 

The problem with using a PC is that it’s never perfect. And it doesn’t just keep running with out some maintenance. You get weird crashing. It has issues with some flavours of h264. Being a full ATX PC with a ton of drives, it uses a lot of juice and it’s noisy. You get tearing due to refresh rate issues. That among quite a lot of other things.

I’m close to making the jump to ATV. But i have quite a few things holding me back. Full HD. DVR & program guide. And while i’m complaining: I want to use iPhoto. But i can’t. I have several systems. It’s really difficult to sync the libraries completely. This crap drives me crazy!

Anyway, i know this is an indulgent post, but this is what i’d like – more-so for my own record.

Apple Media Central

AMC would be a media server application which should run on either Mac or PC, just as iTunes does. This is the central location for master iTunes & iPhoto libraries. Multiple libraries could be hosted simultaneously.

Client iPhoto, iTunes and ATV systems can either subscribe to, or synchronize with, one or more of these libraries. When a user makes changes to a synchronized library, these changes are replicated on the AMC and the on other clients. Clients can specify if this sync happens over either LAN and/or WAN.

AMC should also feature DVR extensibility. It should feature DVB/ATSC tuner support, and ability to stream/schedule recordings from ATV & iTunes clients. I’m sure a framework could be provided to allow third parties (ie Elegato) to build products to suit – which eases Apples task.

This functionality could/should also be embedded into the ATV. Whether the DVR functionality is within the AMC or the ATV, the program guide and recordings should be synchronized to all locations automatically.

The ability for iTunes to rip DVD’s and Blu-ray would be amazing, though i can still get by with doing this with Handbrake. Even better would be the ability to rip multiple movies & menus in one file, to allow full DVD / BD rips. Kind of like what was brought in with the .divx menu format. But good. I don’t like that i’ve moved away from all that bonus material, just because it’s a pain to organize on HDD.

Support for DTS in m4v files. My ears need to continue to sizzle.

ATV

Obviously would love MKV support but this will never happen. However DTS passthrough is important. To me.

It needs A DVB/ATSC tuner, either embedded, as an add on, or accessed remotely from AMC. Recordings can be synced back to iTunes / or AMC. In my opinion the ATV has such potential to be nearly as popular as the iPhone is now, however to be accepted by the mainstream it needs to allow people to still consume their free-to-air media (at least here in AU). My wife and my kids have their children’s programing, reality, cooking TV etc. I can get this stuff from online, but it’s not instant and it takes a bit of manual effort. I’m not so worried about cable/paid content. If you’re gonna pay for stuff, just get it from iTunes. Otherwise, buy it elsewhere, and import it yourself.

And i’ll mention the 1080p and app support, but that’s just obvious.